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That night Alex started toward Therese's room, but wasn't sure in which wing she lived. She knocked on one of the doors. There was no answer. She knocked on the one next to it. The door opened slowly, just a crack. Alex pushed it a little farther and peeked inside. Some of the dancers were there. They all turned toward the door then hastily began putting things out of sight. "Excuse me, uh, uh, I'm so sorry," she stammered.
Richard Ho was there. He smiled at her and shoved something into his pocket. "Hi, Alex, what brings you here?" Purses were zipped shut. "We were just getting ready to, uh, to practice," he added hurriedly. He surveyed the others. "Would you care to join us?"
Alex pushed the door farther and stepped into the room. She looked around. A couple pieces of rolled up green paper lay on the table. She squinted to see if they were dollar bills. "I can't remember all your names, I'm Alex Barron. I'm from Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, and I dance at the Kipp School in White Plains."
An olive-skinned dark-haired boy pushed the door shut. "That's nice, honey. I'm Frank." He sounded like he had a cold. "Jean's over there sitting on the floor. Bettina's on the bed. You know Richard Ho."
Glancing around the room again, Alex focused on Richard's black hair. It stuck out like porcupine quills. His almond eyes only reached Frank's shoulders. "I'll try to remember," she said.
"Don't worry about it. Relax. Hang up your coat." Frank's well-developed leg muscles told her he has been dancing a long time. She had been impressed by his strong leaps.
Alex thought Bettina resembled a cat, the way she was curled up on the bed, her long arms hugging her bent knees. Hergreen eyes peered at Alex and her thin lips curved into a smile. "Hi, there."
Jean stared at her from the floor in front of the bed. Alex decided it must be the large thick glasses that made her look all eyes.
"Yeah, take off your coat, join us. Sit down." Frank ran his fingers through his shiny black hair. His eyes glowed in contrast to his dull olive skin. "Tell us, what's on your mind, honey?"
"Tell you?" Alex stammered, thinking, why should she share her thoughts with these people whom she hardly knew, even if they did let her crash their party?
"Bet you wish you were taller," Richard said. He sat down cross legged next to her. "It's harder for us short ones. We have to stick together."
Posted May 31, 2012