Fiction Fridays: Discord at Dance Practice

My main writing project at the moment is a young adult novel about a fictionalized Basque American folk dancing group.  Every Friday, I post excerpts from my novel draft.  Get caught up on the last installment here.

The following weekend at dance practice, Patrick delivered the promised DVD to Brigitte during one of their many water breaks at the clubhouse bar. Brigitte accepted it, beaming at his thoughtfulness and the opportunity to be a part of his life in some small way.

“You remembered,” she cooed.

“Of course. I told you, it’s only the greatest movie of all time.”

“That’s a bold claim.” Maia snatched the case out of Brigitte’s hands. “Reservoir Dogs?” Her upper lip curled into a sneer. “Never even heard of it.”

“You should watch it with Bridge then,” asserted Patrick.

“Pass.” She rolled her eyes and handed the DVD back to her friend.

Ignoring Maia’s rebuff, Patrick turned his attention back to Brigitte. “You have to watch it tonight.”

“Okay, sure.”

“Seriously. Let me know what you think.” His eyes connected with hers.

“Okay,” she laughed, a subtle blush creeping into her cheeks. Margo could tell her sister loved the attention. “Did you watch my show?” asked Brigitte, as she placed the DVD case on the bar.

“Oh yeah, I did.” Patrick nodded coolly, his eyes darting to the bottles of liquor behind the bar. “Watched a few episodes online.”

Brigitte took a sip of her water with an unsteady hand. “What did you think?” Her doe eyes studied his face, as he continued to avoid her gaze. Margo laughed silently to herself over how sprung her sister was. She hated to watch the train wreck but could not tear herself away. Conversation happened around her, but she focused her attention on her sister’s sad little love affair.

“What did you think?” asked Brigitte with bright eyes.

“It was pretty funny. But you’ve gotta be kidding me with that guy.” Patrick referred to the male lead and love interest of the show.

“What do you mean? What’s wrong with him?”

Patrick looked at Brigitte with fire behind his cool, gray eyes. “You can just tell he’s every woman’s fantasy. He’s got the looks—how big are his biceps, anyway?”

“I know, right? They’re ridiculous,” Brigitte agreed wistfully.

“And of course he’s funny, cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids… And he’s a handyman! But he’s a Wall Street guy,” Patrick said sarcastically, putting out his hand in disbelief. “Completely unrealistic. That guy doesn’t exist in real life. They just made him up so women all over the country could drool over him and be unhappy with their dudes.”

“Hold up. He totally exists.” Brigitte’s face contorted into a scowl, ready to defend her favorite character.

“Only in the fantasies of middle aged women,” scoffed Patrick.

“You don’t think a guy can be hot and caring at the same time?”

“Not to that extreme. He’s like a cartoon character—walking around in his tight T-shirts, fixing things, helping the kids with their homework. He’s basically a domestic superhero. Or domestic goddess, should I say?” The flames in his eyes danced and laughed at Brigitte’s naivete.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” The corners of her dry lips turned down in indignation. “There are plenty of guys like that.”

“Name three,” challenged Patrick, his mouth puckering into a smug half smile.

“Shit, I don’t know,” she stammered. She pursed her lips and turned her gaze to the popcorn ceiling, mentally reviewing all of the men in her life. Her dark eyes searched underneath her eyebrows, as if waiting for her brain to spit out names that would float in front of her face.

“See, you can’t think of anyone. Not one person.”

“Just because I don’t know anyone like that doesn’t mean there aren’t guys like that out there.”

“That’s where you and every other woman who watches that show is deluding herself. The point is that no one is like that, but you all think he’s out there somewhere.”

“Oh just shut up.” Brigitte turned her back to lean against the bar, elbows pressing into the hard, cool stone surface, her body facing out to the rest of the room. “You’re just making excuses for why you’ll never be that guy. It’s not because you can’t—it’s because you don’t want to make the effort.” She looked at him out of the corner of her eye.

“You’ve got that right.” Patrick planted his own left elbow on the bar, leaning toward her, the icy heat of his gaze focused above her head. “I have no intention of being a businessman, nanny, amateur bodybuilder, contractor, or Mr. Clean. Let alone all of those things at once.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Brigitte insisted. She turned her body to face him, freeing her hands to help make her point. “It’s like that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray deliberately folds the laundry wrong or something when his wife asks him to help around the house. That way she gets fed up with his incompetence, calls him an idiot, and never asks him to do the laundry again. I think a lot of guys are happy to let everyone else take care of them and not step up to do the right thing.”

“Once again, basing your opinions on TV shows.”

“Shut up. You’re one to talk. You’re always living in reruns and movie quotes.”

“But at least I know they’re just entertainment, not real life.”

“But isn’t all entertainment a reflection of society?”

“Not necessarily. It might be hard for you to accept, but some things are just made up.”

“Whatever,” she huffed, turning her body back to face the rest of the room. “I’m right and you’re wrong. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

“You’re delusional,” Patrick smirked. “All I’m saying is I can see why you like the show. It’s a nice fantasy.”

“Don’t you have other people to talk to?” snapped Brigitte. The snark and bitterness of her question cut through the tension like an alligator swiftly breaking a deer’s neck and leading it into the swamp to drown.

Patrick looked up at the ceiling, lifting his chin slightly with indifference. “Sure,” he replied, addressing the light fixtures overhead. Without a final glance at Brigitte, Patrick took his water cup and walked over to Daniel and Joe at the other end of the bar. Margo considered swooping in to give her sister some friendly advice on how insulting a guy’s ego is like the kiss of death if you’re trying to impress him. But then she remembered her little sister was too sensitive and immature to take her advice, so she stood back. Let Brigitte make her own mistakes. Let her push Patrick away. What did Margo care anyway? It mattered little to her if her sister sabotaged her own attempts at seduction.

© 2013 Anne Marie Chiramberro All Rights Reserved


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