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Adorkable(9)
Cookie O'Gorman

“I had a thing for his dancing,” I snorted. “And don’t act like you don’t know his name.”

Sighing, Becks ran a hand through his hair. “I won’t deny it. I wanted to be Swayze.”

“Hmm,” I said, taking in Becks’s Swayze blue eyes, the thick dark lashes. “I seem to remember you wearing black t-shirts and slacks for two months straight. I’m thinking you were the one with the crush.”

“I—” Becks froze as the song that was playing ended and a familiar one began. It was as if the radio was tuned into our conversation. “Wanna dance, Sal?”

“You sure?” I said back. “Sixth grade was a while ago.”

“Yeah, but you forced me to practice every day for four months straight.” Before I could remind him that he’d been the one to insist we practice so much (Becks’d always been a perfectionist; one of the reasons he rocked in sports and academics), he smiled, held out a hand. “I think I can manage.”

Taking his hand, I assumed the position. Becks at my back, he placed my arm behind his neck, fingertips doing a slow glide down my arm, the side of my ribs, to my waist. I tried (and failed) not to shiver. Maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea.

Learning the final dance from Dirty Dancing had been tough. We’d practiced long hours at my house until we had the moves. The difference between the sixth grade talent show and now, though, was embarrassingly obvious. I hadn’t expected his touch to affect me the way it did. I mean, I’d always been in love with him, but when you’re eleven things are just different. Mom had had to skip the naughty bits so we could watch the movie for goodness sake. The lyrics to “Time of My Life” were as innocent as ever. But I was so aware of him. His grip on my hip, the way he led me across the kitchen floor. Those eyes. The dance had been PG in the sixth grade, but with Becks’s sure touch and my stuttering heart, we were definitely approaching an R-rating.

When he pulled me to his chest, I jerked away.

“What’s wrong?” Becks said, reaching for me. “You okay, Sal?”

“Fine, fine.” I jumped back again, watching his hand fall, wishing my voice didn’t sound so breathless. To cover, I said, “Just out of shape, I guess. Maybe I should start working out like you.”

“Nah.” Becks leaned against the counter. “You’re fine.”

“Says the guy with a six pack,” I said, trying to get hold of myself.

“No, really,” he said. “I like girls with a little meat on them.”

Good to know.

“So, what’s your type?”

The comment was so out there I looked up. “What?”

“Earlier, at school, you said you weren’t into bad boys…or girls,” he added with a wink. “Just made me wonder who you’re into.”

You.

No joke, it was the first thing that popped into my head. Good grief. Not only would it end our friendship, Becks’d run for the hills if I said that to him. Get it together, Spitz.

“Don’t know,” I said. Afraid of the answer, I asked anyway. “What’s your dream girl like?”

“Freckles,” he said not missing a beat.

“What?” I scoffed, secretly pleased. I had freckles! “Way to narrow the field, Baldwin.”

“You didn’t let me finish.” Eyes moving over me with a focus that made my breath catch, he said, “Cute freckles, wavy brown hair, about five six, hazel eyes. Naturally beautiful.”

“Becks—”

“She’s smart—,” He talked right over me. “—can quote Star Wars, curses like a German sailor when she’s mad. Someone who makes me laugh out loud, a girl who’s herself and lets me be me. Sounds pretty great, right?”

I stared at him. A moment, two hours, I didn’t know. He’d sounded sincere, but he couldn’t be. I wasn’t that lucky. “That’s not funny.”

“You see me laughing?”

“Becks…”

“Yeah, Sal?”

“You are joking...right?” I had to ask. Even if the hopeful note in my voice revealed too much, I had to ask.

There was an awkward silence.

Then Becks’s smile broke through, eyes bright.

“Man, you should see your face right now,” he laughed while I tried to recover. “Priceless.”

Well. That answered that.

“You want to know my type, Sal? Female.”

“That’s it?” I asked.

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