Is It Natural?
The Hyōdō dance studio was occupied by the two pairs of regular dancers for the afternoon time slot on a Friday. Kiyoharu and Shizuku were taking a quick breather and going over a new dip variation while Tatara and Chinatsu were repeatedly turning in a small circle to practice their counter-balance for the Waltz which even an amateur could see was a total disaster. In the corner, Kugimiya was by himself, glowering at his phone and fuming something wicked.
The main door opened and a suitcase entered. Almost falling over the bulky luggage, a tall blonde growled in a foreign language. Looking over to the commotion, Kiyoharu frowned at the perspiring, flustered performance. Before he could speak a word, his mother had come down the corridor which led from her office and advanced for the slightly taller woman. Arms wide open and a smile stretching across glossed lips, the owner of the studio was overtaken by her native language.
Curiosity getting the better of him, Tatara had paused when his sight caught the full-figured foreigner with silver hair hanging loose over her shoulders. Hip bumping into Chinatsu's when he missed a step, the brunet yelped. His mouth opened to apologize but the redhead's narrowed eyes were fixed on the newcomer. From his position, even with sweat in his eyes, Tatara was sure the expression he'd never seen his partner wear was one of perplexity.
"Chii Chan?" The brunet called the girl's name and the addressed looked to him. "Are you okay? I didn't mean to knock into you-"
The female half of the pair quickly returned her eye-line to the sight by the door. Platinum hair danced in the breeze as the newcomer manoeuvred dexterously around the hindrance to greet the owner with a full-body hug. "-Pretty..."
Coming back from an expectant flinch, the brunet peeked up at his partner. "Huh?"
Shizuku had noticed the pair stop their drills to indulge in their curiosity. Walking over with two bottles of water from the fridge, she handed them to the duo. "She stands out, doesn't she?" The brunette looked over the tall, full-figured blonde in loose black slacks and a fitted red silk shirt.
The girl's partner glided along the space in a hammy version of the Salsa to check his cell phone which was plugged in to charge by the window. "She's a looker, but once she opens her mouth, all those fuzzy thoughts are crushed."
Shizuku raised her brow as she looked at her partner. "Is that so, Kiyoharu?" The boy shrugged once and went about drinking his own water. He wasn't going to get into that with Shizuku; she was like a sister. A sister he would often grind on and look longingly into her eyes. Ah, now he thought about it, dance made people strange.
"She looks like an AV model."
The group of four glanced up to see their eldest peer standing a few paces away. Wiping the sweat from his brow with a towel, the tallest threw both it and his phone on the bench at the far end of the room. Flustered by the mere mention of such a job title, Tatara tensed. "How can you say that so casually?"
Kugimiya hummed a moment before holding his hands palm-up in front of his chest. "She's stacked."
The shortest boy deflated. "Ah, Kugimiya San is a man, after all..."
Lines between his brows deepening more than usual, the tallest huffed. "Was there a time when you doubted that?" His tone was as calm as always but the curiosity in his voice was quite clear.
"You're always so composed, so I thought you'd have more tact when it came to females." Tatara looked up at his conversation only to regret it. Placing his eyes elsewhere, he fiddled with his fingers. "You're a lot older than us, so I th-"
"A lot older?" Kugimiya's jaw became taught. "How old do you think I am?"
"I mean, you seem like you have more experience with the opposite gender outside of dancing." The small brunet felt his mind cogs spinning and if he wasn't careful, he'd bust something. Or Kugimiya would burst something for him. Most likely the latter. "I didn't expect you to be so blunt...sexually."
"Why are you making it sound like I've harassed her; I've just made an obvious observation."
Leaning against the wall, Kiyoharu crossed his arms over his chest. "You're going to clash."
Glancing over to the owner's son, Kugimiya asked. "Do you know her well, Hyōdō Kun?"
"Len San was Mother's stray project Patient Zero."
"Are you trying to get at something?"
"My Mother's always had a thing for picking up broken people and mending them. Or trying to, at least."
The onlookers grew uncomfortable with the increasing tension. Shizuku opened her mouth to quell what would inevitably spiral out of control if left unchecked. "Kiyoha-"
"You both have a similar outlook, but the way you project it is completely different." Closing his eyes in thought, the boy with rust coloured hair made a thoughtful noise. "I'm quite interested to find out who will win in a battle of wills between Japan's Most Efficient Lead, and the International Unbroken Show Pony."
Something clicked in Kugimiya's mind and his features twisted. "Did you already know about Idogawa?"
"What's happened to Idogawa San? Is she okay?" The newest pair asked but the concern went ignored when Kiyoharu replied to the eldest present.
"I overheard this morning when she called in."
"And you let me wait around like a fool for three hours without saying anything?" The brunet glowered and the heir played coy with a shrug.
"Enough of the dilly-dally." Marisa stood where the hallway met the main space. "I've got some news, so listen up." Doing just that, the five students faced straight ahead and gave their teacher their undivided attention. "Idogawa is going to be absent for a couple of months due to family issues. At the same time, we're going to have around a new face for most of you. Her name is Valentina Belova." Just as Marisa had said the name, the woman it belonged to came from the corridor in dance practice-wear.
"Varen-Bero-Vaur-" Tatara and Chinatsu tried to wrap their mouth around the name when the newcomer held her hand up.
"Just call me Len; it's easier for everyone." She spoke fluidly in the local language and the newest pair's eyes sparkled.
"You can speak Japanese!"
Marisa rolled her eyes with a chuckle for the bright wonder which had only been brought about due to the duo's own assumptions. "Okay, take a break to introduce yourselves before the next class turns up." Waiting until the newest teen pair and Shizuka had advanced for the blonde, Marisa turned her attention to Kugimiya. Giving him a look, she scooped her hand and turned on her heels. Without a word, the brunet followed his teacher down the hallway.
"Ah, take a gander at these faces," the blonde cupped the girls' chins and put her face closer to theirs. "You've become prettier, Shizu Chan." Sliding her eyes across to the redhead, Len hummed. "What a look."
Chinatsu felt her body tense and her skin heat up under the assuming gaze. "E-e-eh-hh...?"
Inching in even further, the much taller blonde inspected her junior's face. "Hehhh~ all the redhead's I've ever met have always been fiery but you're something else. You remind me of someone special to me." Verdant eyes narrowed into crescents and plump lips curled at the corners. "Is it natural?" Her middle finger plucked the waistband of the girl's shorts.
In his attempt to get a better look at the scene which would be ambiguous by any means if he didn't know the older female, Kiyoharu leaned a little too much to the side. Slipping on his perch at the window, his shoulder smacked into the frame. In his trademark stoic fashion, the young man brushed off the blunder and looked away before his partner could chastise him via their mental link.
Steam floated from Chinatsu's head from the close proximity of the stranger. She opened her mouth to speak, but all that came out was a stutter. Tatara wasn't fairing much better. The brunet had taken to wringing his hands and no matter which way he tried to look away, the glowing red flush was not going away.
"Len San," Shizuku interrupted the playful seduction with a small smile. "are you coming back to competitive dancing?"
At that statement, the air felt heavy to the newest pair. Perhaps it was the cautious tone that Shizuku had used, or perhaps the disfavouring noise Kiyoharu made behind them; it was probably the split-second of consternation which flashed on Valentina's made-up face before she quickly wafted her hand with a chuckle.
"I don't think that's an option; I needed some time away and Mari San said I could work here for the time being."
The younger girl scoured over her senior's filled-out frame with a scrupulous eye. "Is everything going okay?"
"'Same old." Placing the bottle of neon blue on the window sill beside Kiyoharu, Valentina moved into a space by the corner. Leaning forward, she kept her legs straight and reached forward to touch her toes. "This is the only place I won't be followed, so I'll be around for a bit."
"Are you on the run from gangsters?" Hiyama couldn't help herself.
The three who knew each other hummed in recollection and the newcomer placed her palms on the cool hardwood flooring. "Something like that." Relaxing her thigh muscles, the woman slid down until her pelvis touched the ground in straddle splits.
"I spoke to Gabe San about a month ago." Kiyoharu changed the subject and the woman continued to stretch without looking at any of them.
"Is that so?"
"I don't care what he said. He shouldn't go around telling people things about me." Taking a deep breath, the blonde leaned to the right and arched her left arm over her torso to touch her right knee. "If I wanted people to know my business, I'd tell them myself."
Shaking his head, the boy pushed himself up and walked over to where the woman was. Stopping right in front of her, he crouched down to become eye-level with her. He stared at her for a couple of seconds, those dangerous eyes boring into citrine pools lined with black. "But you wouldn't, would you?"
Round features crinkled and the female barely refrained from showing her teeth. "Don't you start giving me a hard time, too." Using the heel of her palm, she pushed his bent left knee upwards.
Falling backwards with his arms flapping to regain his balance, Kiyoharu grunted when his rear hit the floor. Ignoring the passive form of attack, he tutted. Eyes fixed on the woman, he spoke low as he smacked the ground. "We're all worried about you."
"I'm grateful for your concern, but it's just some instructing; kids and oldies, apparently."
"If you get hurt again-"
"Stop it!" Her fist slammed onto the floor between his thighs. Glowering at the younger boy in front of her, the woman red in the face reigned herself in. Prodding the same spot with her nail, slowly and softly, she lowered her voice. "I told you I'm fine; stop bringing it up." Pushing herself up off the floor, she straightened out. Glaring down her nose in a literal sense at the boy she remembered from his starting days, Valentina turned her jaw up. Lids narrowed, citrine slits glistened in the natural light. "I will receive your concern, but I won't accept your pity. I won't take it from my parents, and I certainly won't take it from you, Bocchan."
"I see you're getting along as well as usual." Marisa had returned from her office with Kugimiya and was looking over the group. "Pairs Hiyama and Tatara will continue your drills; Kiyoharu and Shizuku, I want you to go over your steps for the Slow Foxtrot on opposite ends of the room. Make sure you record them." Marisa turned to the middle-aged woman at the desk, "Has anybody cancelled?"
The administrator shook her head, "No cancels, but Ito is unable to get here due to the construction on the bridge."
Marisa hummed as she flicked through the paperwork. "Masami Kun, can you work with the evening class?" Inclining his head, the tall brunet stretched in the corner he had claimed earlier.
"Lenshka." The call of her parental nickname caused the newcomer to look over. "let's have a word." That being said, the older blonde gently jutted her head to the direction of the initial corridor they'd been down.
Updated: 11th December 2019
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