This is the first part of my first ballet story, it includes seven chapters. Thanks to Patricia for proofing it for me. Again, it's not transgender or cross dressing story. It is about a boy who is breaking gender norms.
Kyle stared at paper on his desk. He knew what he wanted to put down, but didn't know if he had the guts to do it.
"Class, you only have a couple of more minutes to list your choices," he heard Miss Arceneaux say.
Marie Arceneaux, it was all her fault. He thought as he looked at the choices for the exploratory class he would be taking through the end of the semester.
She was his English teacher, a former professional dancer, an absolutely ballet fanatic. All of the guys had a crush on her, including him.
When all of the teachers gave presentations about the classes they would be teaching, it struck a chord when she talked about her ballet class.
He couldn't possibly mark ballet as one of his choices. No boy in his right mind would sign up for ballet, at least not in this small hick town.
"So what are you going to sign up for?" his friend and confidante Beth Coker whispered.
"Oh probably the computer class with Mr. Dillard, and the electric guitar class," he whispered back.
"You've got to list three," Beth whispered back.
They were to list three choices, in case their top choices filled up. Eighth graders got top priority. They were only in the seventh.
"I'll think of something," he whispered back. "What are you hoping to get?"
"I'm hoping to get in Miss Arceneaux's ballet class," she whispered back. "But the drawing class sounds pretty good too."
He pretended not to be interested in the fact that she was listing the choice he deep down wanted to make.
Finally, he marked his choices. The computer class was at the top of the list, followed by the guitar class.
"Those won't be filled up," he thought as he wrote down a choice he didn't think anyone would find out about: ballet.
When the bell rang, he took the folded piece of paper and placed it with the others on Miss Arceneaux's desk and went on to his next class.
Homeroom was the first stop of the day. Hear announcements. Take notes home, and that was about it. Then it was on to Mr. Clark's science, not exactly a good subject to start off with.
"We have your exploratory assignments," Ms. Ramsey said.
She was not only the homeroom teacher, but also Kyle's math teacher.
She went down each row passing out envelopes with exploratory classes. The first class would be at the end of the day.
"So will it be the guitar class or computers," Kyle thought as Ms. Ramsey came down his row.
He knew the guitar class was probably filled. It was a cool class. But it was worth a shot.
"Here you go, Mr. Thornton," Ms. Ramsey said as she handed him his envelope.
He was stunned after he opened the envelope.
"Ms. Arceneaux, Intro. to Ballet, Aux. Gym 113" was what it read.
"Dude, did you get the class you wanted?" asked Justin Rowan, a good friend of his.
"Umh, yeah..." Kyle said, hardly knowing what to say. He couldn't tell Justin he was in a ballet class.
He thought about what he should do. What would the guys think? Maybe he should go to the office and tell them it was a mistake, that he marked the wrong class.
Deep down, he was actually excited, a little afraid about what others thought, but excited.
The day went fairly quick after that. First came science, then math, P.E., history (and lunch), then English.
He kept the note with his class assignment in his pocket, almost afraid to tell anyone.
Then he noticed Beth and Emilee Spellman, dancing in the hallway on the way to Miss Arceneaux's English class.
"So did you get in the computer class?" Beth asked. "I heard only eighth graders got in the electric guitar class."
"Uh, huh..." again Kyle stammered and stuttered and didn't know what to say.”So I take it by the dancing, you guys got ballet?"
"Yes and we can't wait," Emilee replied. "Only English to go."
They would find out soon enough his real class assignment.
"Come in adventurous ones, guess we'll be walking over to the auxiliary gym together," Miss Arceneaux said.
Beth and Emilee didn't realize she was talking to all three of them.
Miss Arceneaux collected homework assignments and then passed out their graded assignments from the previous day and went through the day's assignment.
Then the bell rang.
Kyle had a strange feeling as he got up and watched as Beth and Emilee approach Miss Arceneaux's desk.
"Let me get a couple of things and then we'll go," she said as grabbed her CD player and a bag.
"Coming with us, Kyle?" she said as she and the girls prepared to walk out the door.
"Yes, ma'am," he said, grabbing his books.
"Kyle's coming with...us?" Beth asked.
"Well, he's in the class, too," Miss Arceneaux said.
Beth and Emilee looked back at Kyle as his face turned an embarrassing red.
"Just where is room 113, anyway?" was all he could say.
"It's the aerobics room beside the gym," Beth said as she interlocked her arm with his.
"Boys don't have P.E. classes in the auxiliary gym," Emilee told Miss Arceneaux.
She then explained to Kyle that the aerobics room was where some of the girls P.E. classes did aerobics, yoga and Pilates. It was also where the cheerleaders practiced since the volleyball and girls basketball teams practiced in the gym.
"You didn't know you were going to be enlightened today?" Miss Arceneaux said.
He had no idea how enlightened.
Walking into the room with mirrors on three sides, he took his place beside Emilee and Beth on a bench. He got some strange looks as other girls entered the room and joined them.
It was a weird feeling to say the least.
Emilee and Beth weren't the only ones he knew. Julia Gardner and Libby Miller were also in some of his classes. The class was evenly divided among sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
His mouth almost opened when Olivia White and Claire Thompson walked in. They were captains of the eighth grade cheerleading squad.
They were easily the most popular girls in school.
Miss Arceneaux went through the roll. There were 14 students in the class, 13 girls and one boy.
"Miss Arceneaux, what is the dress code?" Claire Thompson asked, looking in Kyle's direction.
"I was just about to get to that," Miss Arceneaux said.
She went on to explain about strict dress codes, mentioning that she preferred black leotards and pink tights for girls and that boys traditionally wore black tights and a white leotard or t-shirt at schools she attended, which of course, brought a couple of quiet giggles.
She quickly corrected those girls.
"I'm very glad that Kyle is with us," she said. "Gentlemen play a very important role in ballet and we do not have enough of them."
Kyle breathed a sigh of relief when she said "for this class, I'll just require P.E. uniforms and socks. But if you are bolder, I do know of a couple of shops were you can get your stuff and shoes."
"But for now, run to your P.E. lockers and get your uniforms on," she said. "Then, we'll get started. We only have 90 minutes."
Kyle rushed quickly to the old gym and put on his shirt and shorts and told one of the P.E. coaches it was required for his exploratory class.
He returned to see Miss Arceneaux and a few of the girls moving around what he would find out were portable ballet barres. He joined them as they placed them next to two of the walls.
They then took their places at the barre, all in a line. He found himself safely between Emilee and Beth.
Miss Arceneaux then asked how many in the class had had ballet before. Most raised their hands, but Kyle was relieved to find out he wasn't the only beginner.
She then explained to them the positions of the feet and the arms..."but for today, we're mainly going to have our arms in second."
Then it came time for barre work.
There were knee bends that seemed really strange called "demi-plies, plies and grande plies."
There were also releves, tendus and grande-battements, words that seemed foreign to him.
"At least I'll come out of this knowing some French," he said as he tried to keep in time with the music.
They also worked on jumps facing the barre, before stretching on the floor.
Funny, he never thought he would be doing something called the
"butterfly" and thought "you've got to be kidding" when they worked on splits.
"By the time this semester is over, you'll be the most flexible boy in school," Miss Arceneaux encouraged, to a little bit of playful laughter.
Then it was time for center work. They worked on something called a balance' very slowly and jumped some more.
They then came from the side, with what seemed like gallops and skips and broken down chaine turns.
He heard Olivia tell Beth, "This class is fun, but this is pretty basic."
He also had to admit he had fun. He couldn't believe how quick the class went.
"So what did you think of it?" Claire asked him.
He was in shock. He had been going to the school for two years and she had never said a word to him before.
"I had fun," he replied.
"Great," she said. "I think it's so cool we have a guy in the class."
As he walked toward the door, Miss Arceneaux came up and put her arm around him. Beth and Emilee were with her.
"I was really surprised to have a boy in this class," she said. "I thought you did really well for a first time."
Beth and Emilee nodded in agreement.
"In the computer class, huh" she said with a laugh. "Now we've got to talk to you about getting some tights."
"I wouldn't go that far," Kyle said.
Kyle was amazed the next day at school.
He was expecting to be made fun of or be bullied. As the classes went along, his secret remained intact. Beth and Emilee promised not to tell.
"Although you shouldn't be ashamed to take ballet," Emilee said.
He admitted she was right. But survival in middle school was tough enough as it is. He was already picked on for being a computer geek.
His friends Justin and Alex took a double-take in the hallway when Claire and Olivia spoke to him in the hallway.
"Still sore from yesterday?" Olivia asked.
He admitted he was.
"See you tomorrow," Claire said.
"What was that all about?" Justin asked.
"Oh nothing," Kyle said as they walked to class. His mind was on ballet all day. He wished he could take it more than just Tuesdays and Thursdays.
He felt his secret might come out in Miss Arceneaux's English class. But she didn't say anything to the whole class about it. Before he left, she
told him she looked forward to having him in class "tomorrow,” but other than Beth and Emilee, no one seemed to catch on.
The day passed by quick. Things were pretty much the same at home. A neighbor's mom picked him and his sisters up from school.
He watched them until his mom came home and also did his homework. Beth usually came over once his mother came home, or he would go over her house.
"How was your day?" his mother asked when she came through the door from work.
"Pretty good mom," he said as he finished his homework at the kitchen table.
"I had an interesting conversation with Abby White at work today," she told Kyle. "I didn't know that her daughter Olivia went to your school."
"Yeah, she does," Kyle said. "She's an eighth grader and really popular. She's captain of the cheerleading squad."
"Abby said Olivia told her you and she were in a ballet class at school together," she said.
"Well, it's an exploratory class mom," Kyle said.
"Well do you like it?" she asked.
"So far, I guess," he said, not trying to let on that it was really fun.
"Well I think it's cute," Mrs. Thornton said.
Cute? He thought. He didn't know he wanted to do anything his mother thought was cute.
"What's cute?" his sister Caitlyn said as he walked into the kitchen.
"Your brother is taking a ballet class at school," his mom said.
"No fair," Caitlyn said. "How come he gets to take ballet and I don't."
Kyle knew his 8-year-old sister was mocking him. She was good at that.
"Well, Abby said there is an open house on Saturday at the dance studio where Olivia goes," their mom said. "I can take you two and Katey if you want to."
Katey was their 6-year-old sister.
"I dunno," Kyle said.
Deep down he was interested, but he didn't want to let on that he was.
It was a mad dash from the old gym and the auxiliary gym. Kyle swung open the door of the building and ran right smack into Coach Ruiz, knocking her down.
"I'm sorry," he said as he picked her up.
"You know you're not supposed to be running in buildings," she said. "And boys aren't supposed to be, oh wait a sec. You’re the boy in the ballet class."
"Yes, Ma'am," he said.
"Well, at least you’re polite," she said. "You better get going, but don't run."
The girls were lined up at the barre when he entered the room. About half of the girls were dressed in leotards, tights and ballet shoes. The other half, like him, in P.E. uniforms.
"Hurry up Kyle, we're just about to get started," Miss Arceneaux said.
He looked for his spot between Beth and Emilee, but they were pretty crowded.
"There's a spot between Claire and Olivia," Miss Arceneaux said.
"We won't bite," Claire whispered to him as he took his place.
"OK ladies...and gentleman, we'll start in first with a demi-plie, then a releve, grand plie, then port de bras forward and back, then we'll tendu to second...." she explained as she showed them the exercise.
He did his best to keep in time with the music. Of course, he played follow the leader behind Olivia, and then Claire, when they switched sides....which came with a new twist...something called "susu with a turn."
The plies were followed by tendus, ron de jombres, which was something they didn't do on Tuesday, followed by frappes, degages, something called piques, developpes, which really burned his legs.
They worked on jumps, which he really liked. Miss Arceneaux made a point in saying the men usually worked on elevation and power, which made him feel good. He was introduced to jetes and assembles, which he thought were pretty cool.
He was finding out, the unknown to the world that ballet could indeed be a "guy thing."
This class was turning out to be a little more intense than their first. They worked on waltzes, "sote arabesques" and chaine turns from the side.
At the end of class, Miss Arceneaux made everyone curtsy, which
embarrassed Kyle a little and brought some giggles. But the entire class ended with everyone doing a men's bow, "so Kyle wouldn't feel left out."
"Very nice class," Miss Arceneaux said. "You all did very well."
"Hey Kyle, did you know our mothers worked together?" Olivia said.
"I found out yesterday," Kyle said.
"Did she tell you about our studio's open house Saturday?" she said.
"Yup, she did," he said.
"I hope you'll come," Olivia said. "I've told my teacher there about you. She's been trying to get boys at the studio. It would be cool if you started taking classes with us."
"If you come, you'll get to put up with us again," Claire said.
"There are a lot of girls here at school that dance there," Olivia said.
That, Kyle thought, was what he was afraid of.
Still, he really liked dance and really wanted to go.
He also remembered Emilee's words.
"You shouldn't be ashamed to take ballet."
"Only one more class to go," Kyle thought as the last few minutes of Miss Arceneaux's class ticked off the clock.
They were discussing the major characters of "Huck Finn" and they were told to come up with a book report idea, they would be going to the library on Monday.
It wasn't that the class wasn't interesting. He was just ready for the weekend to begin.
"I need to see Beth, Emilee and Kyle at the end of class," she said moments before the seventh period bell rang.
She pulled out three fliers as they walked up to her desk.
"There is a dance workshop a week from Saturday in Parksburg," she said. "There will be a class for beginners. The teacher's really good. I'm going to tell the rest of the class about it. Would you three be interested?"
Beth and Emilee eagerly nodded their heads yes. Kyle shrugged his shoulder and said "sure."
"Good then," Miss Arceneaux said. "If there is just a small group, will take my Tahoe. If it's larger, we may have to ask some of your mothers to drive."
A workshop might be cool, Kyle thought. Some of the guys might actually be jealous if they knew he would be going out of town, spending the day with a bunch of girls and Miss Arceneaux.
"Want to come over after school?" Beth asked as they went to art, the last class of the day. "Emilee and I wanted to practice some of the exercises and combinations we've been going over. My garage is big enough."
"Well, mom doesn't get home until six," he said. "I'd have to bring Caitlyn and Katey."
"That's fine," Beth said. "They'll have Meggie to play with."
Meggie was Beth's little sister.
Beth's house was just a block down the street.
"We're going over to Beth's" Kyle told his mother over the phone. "Her mom's home. It's the weekend. We don't have homework....oh yeah, mom, I do remember the open house. I do want to go."
Kyle, Caitlyn and Katey made their way down the street.
"Come on in," Mrs. Coker said. "Beth, Emilee and Meggie are in the garage. I've got Kool-Aid and cookies in the kitchen if you guys want anything."
"Thanks, Mrs. Coker," Kyle replied.
Already waiting were Beth, Emilee and Meggie. Kyle was a little stunned to see Beth and Emilee decked out in leotards and tights. Little Meggie had a tutu on."
"Well, what do you think," Emilee asked as they modeled for him and his sisters.
"We went to the Dance Shoppe at the studio where Olivia goes," Beth said. "We're going to be taking classes there."
"Meggie's going to be dancing with us, too, do you to want to join us," Beth asked Caitlyn and Katey.
"Sure," they both said, almost at the same time.
"Hey bro, where's your tights," Caitlyn asked her brother.
"Oh, shut up," he snapped back.
"There's nothing wrong with a boy wearing tights for ballet," Emilee said as she jabbed Kyle.
They worked on everything they could remember in class. They laughed when they couldn't do things correctly and tried to explain things to Caitlyn, Katey and Meggie as they muddled through.
Things came to a halt when Beth's older brother Robert came into a garage.
"Sorry, just looking for my glove and bat," he said before leaving to go play baseball with his friends.
"So Kyle, it finally happened?" he said.
"What?" Kyle asked.
"They've turned you into a girl," he said, laughing as he left."
Kyle's face turned red. Leave it to Robert to be the first to tease him.
He went into the Coker's living room and plopped down on a chair.
The girls came running in after him.
"What's wrong?" Mrs. Coker asked.
"Oh, stupid Robert," Beth said. "He teased Kyle about doing ballet."
"Kyle don't listen to him," Emilee said. "Boys shouldn't be ashamed to take ballet."
"Emilee's right," Mrs. Coker said. "If you like dancing, don't let Robert bother you."
They went back into the garage. Kyle forgot the teasing. They went back to having fun and forgot about the time.
It wasn't long before Kyle's mom dropped by to pick up him and his sisters.
"We had a good time mom," Caitlyn said, "and Kyle can really dance."
Kyle was shocked. She wasn't being sarcastic.
"We all want to go to the open house tomorrow," Kyle said.
"OK, so I'll have three dancers," she said. "Oh yeah, Kyle, your dad called. He wants to know if you'll be playing basketball at the Y this year."
"Oh boy...dad"...Kyle thought. His parents had been divorced for two years.
How could he tell him that he was taking ballet?
Kyle's stomach seemed to have butterflies as the car pulled into the parking lot of Kathryn Miller's Ballet Academy.
"Mom, am I crazy for wanting to do this?" he asked.
She smiled and patted him on the back.
"No, you're not, you should never think that," she said. "I'm proud of you for wanting to pursue something you enjoy. You're very brave for wanting to do something a lot of people think boys shouldn't do."
Robert came to mind. As did a few bullies at school. But the biggest fear was telling his dad. He tried to do just about every sport to please his dad, and make him proud.
How does he tell dad he's taking ballet?
"You want to know a little secret?" she told him. "I took ballet when I was a girl and loved it. I need to pull out the pictures and the costumes I have to show you and the girls. Your grandma can tell you how obsessed I was."
"But mom, how do you think dad is going to take it that I'm following in your footsteps and not his?" he said about his dad, who starred in just about every sport imaginable.
"Probably not well at first," she said with almost a sarcastic laugh. "But Kyle, you've got to be your own man. And I'm proud of the young man you're becoming. The reason why I never told you or your sisters I danced is that I want you to find your own way."
For now, that own way was through the doors of a building that appeared once to be a grocery store. Inside was an interesting place.
There were girls everywhere, not to mention moms. There were a few dads there, and maybe a couple of brothers. But for Kyle, this was uncharted territory.
On the walls, he saw pictures of classes, of dancers in their costumes. In recitals. In competition. In class. Some were very old. Not one had a boy in them.
"Oh my gosh I can't believe she kept this one," he heard a familiar voice say.
He looked around to see Miss Arceneaux.
"Here I am Kyle, and I must have been about your age," she said pointing to a photo of a young teenager in a class en pointe.
There were other familiar faces on the wall, only more recent. Olivia and Claire were in a picture with two other girls holding a trophy.
"That's our jazz team from last year," he heard another familiar voice say. It was Olivia. "We had just won our competition in Atlanta."
"I put all of my student’s pictures on my walls," an unfamiliar voice said. "Maybe yours will be up there at the end of the school year."
He looked around and saw a graceful, gray haired woman, who looked younger than a teacher who once taught Miss Arceneaux.
"You must be Kyle," she said. "Olivia, Claire and Marie have told me all about you. So you're going to be joining us this year?"
"Yes, ma'am," he said.
"You're going to be really fortunate," Miss Arceneaux said. "Madame Kathryn is an excellent."
"I already think he's fortunate to have you teaching him at school, along with Oliva and Claire," she said. "Marie's going to be helping us some. She is one of the best students I've ever had."
Kyle introduced Madame Kathryn and Miss Arceneaux to his mother. Madame Kathryn went on to explain about the classes and handed his mother a schedule.
Ballet classes for Katey and Caitlyn would follow right after school on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Kyle's following theirs. He would be in the same class with Olivia, Claire, Beth and Emilee. It would be a mixture of beginners and more advanced students, but Madame Kathryn preferred her dancers to be in classes with students their own age.
He could do his homework while his sisters were in class.
"Will you be taking jazz, too?" Olivia asked. "Jazz class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays."
"That's up to you," his mother replied.
"Well I could give it a try," he said.
It would pretty much fill up the week. It also left no time for
"You're either going to enjoy dance or be sick of it," his mother said.
She was right. Counting Miss Arceneaux's class, he would be taking ballet four straight days, with jazz mixed in.
Madame Kathryn then handed his mother a dress code sheet.
"I'm pretty much a traditionalist," she said. "Kyle, I'd like for you to wear tights, but I'll make an exception. Just get the shoes and you can wear your P.E. uniform."
"You can buy the shoes and the girls' dancewear here," she told his mom. "Or you can shop elsewhere."
"They're reasonable priced here," another voice said.
"Hello Abby," his mother said to Olivia's mom.
"So you're signing up three?" she asked. "So am I."
They walked into a room with a variety of clothes. Leotards, unitards and other costumes Kyle had never seen before were hanging everywhere. Some were traditional, ballet stuff.
Others had glitter and fringes; he didn't know what they were for. There were tutus and skirts his sisters liked.
All three tried on shoes. Much to Kyle's surprise, there were some black ones his size.
His mother picked out leotards and tights for his sisters to try on.
First Katey came out to model what she had on, then Caitlyn.
"We do keep some boys things, if you're interested," another voice said from behind the counter.
"You must be Judith Thornton," she said. "I'm Gayle Thompson, Claire's mother. I'm the store manager."
She pulled out a drawer with boys’ tights and things called dance belts.
"Kathryn insists we keep something in stock in case a boy does take a class," she said.
"Well Kyle, I think is just going to wear his P.E. uniform," his mother said.
"Well mom, I don't guess it would hurt to at least try them on," he said much to her surprise.
Mrs. Thompson handed him tights she felt might fit him and he took them to a changing room.
He admitted they felt strange as he sort of gawked at himself in the mirror. "Well, maybe I'll show mom, and see what she thinks."
Just as he walked out of the changing room, he ran right smack into Claire, who just walked out of another changing room. She was wearing a black leotard and pink tights.
"You guys look like you're about to practice a pas de deaux," another voice said. It was Olivia.
"A what?" Kyle asked.
"It's partnering," Claire said. "And you would look very nice as my partner."
What could he say? He thought about saying "I'm just trying them on; I'm not going to wear them to class.”
Instead, he told his mother he would wear them to class.
"I guess I'll take them," he said.
"I'm really in trouble if the guys see me wearing this," he thought. "Oh my gosh, what about dad?"
He might be able to keep it a secret from the guys at school. But dad was another story.
"How did lunch with your dad go?" Mrs. Thornton asked as Kyle, Caitlyn and Katy came bounding through the door.
They always went over to their father's apartment for lunch after church on Sunday.
Kyle went upstairs, not saying a word and slammed the door to his room.
"It didn't go very well, mom," Caitlyn told her mother.
"Dad don't want Kyle to take ballet," Katey chimed in.
She went upstairs to find out what happened. Kyle was silent. He didn't want to talk.
His dad's words hurt. Maybe he was right. Maybe taking dance was a stupid thing to do.
When she couldn't get a word out of her son, she went to Caitlyn.
"Just what did your dad say?" she asked her daughter.
"He told Kyle he should play sports," Caitlyn said. "He said boys were supposed to play sports. He said he was disappointed in Kyle. He wanted Kyle to play basketball. He said he wanted to coach Kyle and that Kyle ruined his plans."
It was all Judith Thornton could do to keep her composure.
"Kyle ruined his plans?” she asked. "His plans?!"
"That wasn't all he said," Caitlyn said.
"Oh really?" she asked her daughter.
"Dad said he had three daughters, Caitlyn, Katye and Kylie," Caitlyn said. "Dad said he didn't want Kyle in a tutu. Kyle told him boys didn't wear tutus, they wore tights. Dad didn't like that and called him a sissy. He said it was your fault."
"My fault?" she said in disbelief.
She went back upstairs and tried to console her son.
"Maybe I should drop out of Miss Arceneaux's class," he told her. "Maybe I should quit dancing."
"Is that what you really want to do?" she asked.
"I don't know, mom," he said.
Kyle called Justin and Alex to see if they wanted to go to the movies. He wanted to get his mind off of what happened with his dad. He also wanted to be with his guy friends.
His mom let him go. Maybe it would cheer him up.
She then called her ex-husband. She wanted to give him a piece of her mind.
"Michael William Thornton, what do you mean talking to your son like that?" she asked him. "No, it's not my fault. He had no idea I even danced. How dare you say the things that you said to him...?”
Justin's mom picked Kyle up and took him and his friends to the movie.
"What's up, dude?" Justin asked.
"Me and my dad had it out," Kyle said. "He's mad because I don't want to
He didn't know if he could tell his friends the whole truth.
Right before the movie was about to start, Justin and Alex had strange
looks on their faces looking past Kyle.
"Um, Olivia White and Claire Thompson are coming this way," Alex said. "Oh man, they're major babes. I can't believe they are going to sit next to them."
"Are these seats taken, Kyle?" Olivia asked.
"Well, uh, no," he said.
"Oh man, if the other guys at school could see us sitting with them," Justin whispered to Alex.
They were in awe as the girls whispered to them during the movie.
"Get something at the food court with us?" Olivia asked Kyle after the movie.
"Yeah, I guess so," he said.
"Trying to cheer Olivia up," Claire whispered to Kyle. "She broke up with Chris."
"So how things going with you, Kyle?" Olivia asked when they sat down to eat.
"Oh, okay," he said.
"Actually, he had it out with his dad," Justin said.
"Shut up, dude," Kyle said.
"Oh really, what about?" Claire asked.
"His dad's upset because he won't play basketball this year," Alex said.
Kyle jabbed Alex with his elbow.
"That's not all he's upset about, is it?" Claire asked.
"Come on Kyle you can tell us, we dancers stick together," Olivia said.
"Dude, what is she talking about?" Justin asked.
"They're dancers," Kyle said. "I'm a dancer. My dad's upset because I'm not going to play basketball because I'm taking ballet."
Stunned. There was no other way Justin and Alex could say.
"I think they're speechless, Kyle," Olivia giggled.
"That's cool," Alex said. "There's nothing wrong with that."
"Yeah, he's right," Justin said. "We're behind you 100 percent."
"It's good of you guys to say that," Claire said.
It turned out to be a decent evening.
When Kyle came home, he found his mother, grandmother and sisters sitting on the couch, looking at photo albums.
"Come over here and look through these with us," his grandmother said.
They were pictures of his mother and his aunt Rachel dancing.
They were scrap books his grandmother put together.
"I don't know why you quit, Judith," she said.
"Oh, Michael came along," she said.
"Kyle, I danced just like your mother," his grandmother said. "I loved it. I see that spirit in you. If you love, don't let anybody bully you into quitting. If you do, I'll be disappointed in you."
"I won't grandma," Kyle said.
"Good, because I'm going to help your mother put together scrapbooks for you, Caitlyn and Katey. And I can't wait to see you perform.
Perform. He never really thought of that. He had only been to two classes.
It didn't matter. Suddenly, it didn't seem to bother him if his secret got out.
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