Chapter 20:

The Dance (Part 2)

The Lonely Lovers Club

“Alright, Jakub,” said Willie. “There’s no need for any shenanigans now.”

Willie placed a hand on Jakub’s shoulder. They stared at Holly across the room. Holly wore a light pink dress. Her brunette hair was tied back with a matching pink ribbon. She talked with a group, all smiling and laughing together.

“Speaking with Holly does not require any fancy plans or strategies. Simply strike up a casual conversation and stay calm.”

“O-okay,” muttered Jakub.

Willie gave him a light push to nudge him forward. He turned back to show an uncomfortable face.

“Good luck,” said Chelsea, in a small shy voice.

Jakub nodded, but said nothing more. He waded through the crowd. Sandra, Maria, Willie, and Chelsea all stood in a line, watching Jakub.

“Do you think he’ll be okay?” asked Chelsea.

“Of course,” said Willie. “He’ll be fine. As long as he does what I told him. Just be cool.”

“You didn’t tell him that,” said Sandra.

“Yes I did,” argued Willie. “I said stay calm.”

“That’s different,” said Sandra.

“No its-” Willie stopped himself to not shout. “It's basically the same thing.”

“Sure,” said Sandra, sarcastically.

“Whatever,” said Willie. “He’ll be fine.”

Across the lobby, Jakub had reached Holly. She still had not noticed him. Standing next to her was a six foot tall giant from the wrestling team. It was Holly’s date, Christof. Not only did he tower over Jakub and Chelsea, he outweighed them both combined. Jakub took a look back at Chelsea and the Lonely Lovers Club. He took a deep breath, then approached the girl in front of him.

“Hi Holly,” said Jakub over the music and voices.

Holly was shocked. “Oh my gosh. Hi Jakub. It's good to see you. I thought you weren't coming to the dance. I didn’t think you had a date.”

“Oh no, I do. Chelsea,” said Jakub. With a smile, he pointed across the room. “She’s over there. In the white dress.”

“Oh my goodness. That’s great. I don’t think I know her.”

“No? She’s great. I think you would like her.”

“Hey, I’m having a small party at my place after the dance,” said Holly. “You guys should totally come.”

Jakub peeked up at the mountainous wrestler beside him. Christof glared back with a mean face and said nothing. Jakub couldn’t tell over the noise, but he may have heard Christof grunt at him.

“Are you sure?” asked Jakub. “I don’t want to crash your party.”

“Oh come on,” said Holly with glee. “It will be fun. Plus, I’d love to meet your date.”

“Okay, yeah,” said Jakub. “It sounds like fun. Let me go ask Chelsea.”

“Of course.” With a wink, Holly said, “I’ll see you on the dance floor.”

Jakub gave her an uneasy smile before stepping away. She did just wink at me, right? Thought Jakub. He took one last look at the giant Christof. The wrestler narrowed his eyes and locked them onto Jakub. With that in mind, Jakub quickly made his way back to Chelsea.

Upon his arrival, Willie wasted no time. “How did it go?” Willie asked with wide eyes.

“It was fine,” said Jakub without any enthusiasm. Jakub quickly focused his attention on his date. “Chelsea, Holly invited us to a party at her house after the dance.”

Willie was more excited than Chelsea. “She invited you to her house?!” Willie said loud enough for the whole lobby to hear. Maria tugged at Willie’s sleeve to help calm him down. Jakub’s attention was still on Chelsea.

Unlike Willie, Chelsea remained quiet. Her arms were crossed against her stomach. She was looking down and to the side.

“Do you want to go?” asked Jakub.

“Umm, no thanks,” said Chelsea. She pointed her toes together. “That doesn’t really seem like my kind of thing.”

“Okay,” said Jakub. “Why don’t we just hang around here?”

Jakub smiled at Chelsea, but she was still uncertain. “I don’t want you to miss a chance to spend time with Holly,” she said. “You should go.”

“No really. Let's stay here.”

“Are you sure?” asked Chelsea.

“I think it would be more fun to spend the night here with you than at a party with that group.”

Chelsea blushed and put her arms behind her back. “Well that sounds good to me,” she said quietly.

“Are you kidding me?” said Willie.

Willie was blindsided. Jakub had just turned down a date with his crush. Well, maybe not a date, but she invited him over to her place that’s pretty big. Even if there were lots of people going. But Jakub just threw away the opportunity. Willie’s job was to match the students of Oakville High with their true loves. He had never seen a student reject their crush after Willie’s hard work.

Willie could not understand his own emotions. He felt his mouth hanging open. His eyes were wide. His heart ached. And he could practically feel the steam coming out of his ears.

“Why the heck wouldn’t you go?” asked Willie.

After rejecting true love, Jakub had better have a good answer.

Jakub shrugged, “there’s no need. We can just have fun here at the dance.” He smiled at Chelsea, who smiled back.

Willie threw his hands up in defeat. “You need to spend time with Holly to win her over. This is the perfect opportunity.”

“I guess I just don’t really want to go,” said Jakub. “But thanks anyways, Willie.”

Willie mouthed the words don’t want to go in complete shock. No one had ever, ever rejected their crush. The Lonely Lovers had a practically perfect track record. Even now they were on track to complete this assignment, but Jakub just gave up.

“Was it too stressful to talk to her?” asked Willie. “Because I can teach you some calming breathing techniques. It's what yoga and meditation masters do.”

“No, no,” said Jakub. “That’s not it.”

“We can give you a ride, if she lives far away.”

“No, it’s really fine,” said Jakub. “I just think I’ll stay here with Chelsea for tonight.”

Willie knit his eyebrows. This was over his head. Who turns down a chance to be with their true love?

Maria put her hand on Willie’s shoulder. “It’s fine, Willie. Just leave him be for tonight. Let’s go dance.”

“But you can dance and also go to Holly’s later,” said Willie.

“It’s fine, but dancing does sound fun,” said Jakub. He turned to Chelsea. “Do you want to hit the dance floor?”

“Oh,” said Chelsea. “Well, I’m not really the best dancer -”

“Come on, it will be fun,” interrupted Jakub. He stretched out a hand to Chelsea and smiled.

“Okay,” said Chelsea, who smiled back. She took his hand and the two ran off to the massive crowd of dancing students.

“What about Brad?” asked Willie. But they were already out of earshot.

Willie stood still, staring after them. He was dumbfounded. They took his advice one minute, then acted like they never asked for it the next. Willie turned to Sandra and Maria.

“What are they thinking?” asked Willie.

“You really can’t figure it out?” asked Sandra casually.

“Whatever,” said Maria. “Let's go dance.”

Maria wasted no time. She grabbed onto Willie and Sandra’s wrists and began dragging them along as she walked toward the dance floor.

“Where’s Ginko?” said Maria quickly.

“I don’t know,” said Sandra. “On the dance floor somewhere. Look for the field hockey team.”

Yet again Willie and his friends searched through faces in the crowd. Willie was hopeful that he might be able to spot Brad while looking. It was obvious that Jakub was too chicken to spend time with Holly, but Chelsea had not mentioned anything about Brad. Willie could see Jakub and Chelsea on the dance floor. Pop music played and they danced along with it. Of course, most of the high schoolers couldn’t really dance, including Brad and Chelsea. It was more like swaying back and forth between their feet and bobbing their heads. Though that was about all Willie could do when it came to dancing.

Maria pointed into the gym. “Hey, there’s Gink… Oh.”

Ginko was right about where Sandra had left him, in the middle of the field hockey girls. He was dancing along to the music along with everyone else, except for one small difference. He was dancing right next to Nellie Federber. When they moved around, Willie noticed they held hands as they danced. They went back and forth, and Ginko even spun Nellie around.

Sandra turned away and stormed off without another word.

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