“Close your eyes,” Jordan told me, stepping over to the sound system and plugging in his cell phone.
“Why? do you have a surprise for me?” I couldn’t help my snide attitude. Him flirting with Chelley and then asking her on a date had been the last straw. Jordan was my partner. My best friend. No college girl who was older, prettier, more sophisticated and a better skater was going to swoop in and take my Jordan from me. He was mine, not hers.
“Surprise?” Jordan chuckled. “Maybe later. For now, just close your eyes.”
I huffed but did as he requested, standing there in the middle of a small athletic training room borrowed to be used as a private dance studio. I understood what our coach was trying to do by locking us in this room together. She wanted us to work through our argument without the spotlight of competitors, coaches, staffers, nosey reporters and commentators whose sole purpose in life was to spy on rehearsals in order to get the scoop on how things would go down tomorrow when we competed with our short program.
The intro for John Legend’s haunting love song, All of Me, poured through the speakers just as Jordan slipped up behind me, taking my hands in his lightly like he would do before starting our routine. Tomorrow’s short program would be skated to the instrumental version, so I was startled to hear the lyrics playing.
“Keep your eyes closed,” Jordan whispered as he lifted my arms the way he would tomorrow night. The off-ice version of our routine was almost a contemporary modern ballet with lifts and spins and sensual maneuvers where our bodies moved together as one.
Dancing with my eyes closed forced me to allow Jordan to lead me through the dance that we both had memorized. This involved complete trust on my part, complete control from Jordan. His hands seemed to graze my skin in ways they didn’t normally, as if this was the dance he’d perform if we didn’t have to keep things G-rated. This was the way he would dance with me if we were completely alone.
I allowed myself to get lost in the words, imagining Jordan singing the lyrics to me rather than John Legend singing them to his wife. Near the end of the song, Jordan added his voice to the mix and no longer were the words sung by a famous musician. These words were sung by a man who loved a woman. A man who loved me.
Jordan loved me.
Understanding and clarity shifted in my mind. I loved him too. Neither of us were perfect, but we were perfect together. We were perfect for each other. Through this dance and through these words, Jordan was promising me all of himself and asking the same in return.
As we ended the magical piece facing one another, Jordan pressed his forehead to mine and our breathing mixed in one breathless conclusion.
“Open your eyes, Lara,” Jordan whispered. His face was so close to mine that I couldn’t even focus on his features. He repeated the words he’d told me earlier when I’d asked if he liked me as more than a friend. “We’ve been skating together since we were four years old. After thirteen years together, if you don’t know the answer by now then I need to step up my game. But I promised Chelley I’d take her to dinner. Have fun on your date tonight with Gil. See you on the ice tomorrow.”
Jordan’s whisper ended along with the last notes of the song and he stepped over to remove his phone from the connection cable. Then he walked out the door, leaving me standing alone in the middle of a silent, borrowed dance studio.
(As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. -Julie)
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