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by Dragyn
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Arts · #2195529
Sammy tries to ignore the whisperers in her class- 1252 words
When the school year began again and everyone returned from summer vacation, the number of students in Sammy's aerial class tripled from three to nine. Everyone greeted each other with familiarity and gossiped about their vacations. Since the studio was just outside Sammy's normal school district, none of the kids were from her school. Zoe had moved up to a more advanced class, and Sammy looked around for a familiar or friendly face, but found none. Her heart sank. This was going to be a tough class.

"Alright, everybody! Let's warm up!" Stevie's voice echoed through the space. "Jumping jacks- and one, two," he counted the students into their cardio and led them through some stretches.
"Isn't he just soooo cute?" a few girls next to Sammy whispered and giggled as they fantasized being his girlfriend.
Sammy sighed and leaned her stretch away from the girls. If this is how the rest of the fall quarter is going to be, I'd would much rather take her chances back in the studio with her whatever pain syndrome, she thought. Boyfriends and dating are gross.

"Okay everyone. Let's do a fun little warm-up game," Stevie's voice brought her out of her thoughts. "We're all going to say our name, and then do one thing where the first letter is the same as the first letter of our name. That way we can all get to know each other. I'll go first. My name is Stevie, and the move I choose to do is a sauté arabesque."
The other girls in the class each went before Sammy- Leslie did a lean, Jenny jumped, Kelly kicked, Reina did a roll, and Becky showed off her backbend. Sammy discovered the two gigglers were Amanda, Taylor, and Carly, who did an arabesque, a turn, and a curtsy. Sammy inhaled sharply. "My-name-is-Sammy-and-I-choose-to-do-a-side-aerial," she managed to squeak out.
"Wow, okay, let's see it." Stevie smiled.
Sammy took a deep breath and raised her arms up, preparing the aerial. She winced as she stuck the landing, feeling her knee complain about the move, but grinned as she came back up.
"Show off" Becky hissed at the gigglers, who giggled in response.
"Great job, Sammy," Stevie encouraged. "Are we all warmed up, then? Let's start with some shoulder shrugs on either the hoop or silks. There's ten of us total and ten apparatuses, so everyone should be doing their own thing, okay?" He gave a pointed look to Becky and the others. "Don't make me assign you spaces."

Sammy grabbed the nearest pair of silks, wrapped her arms, and grabbed on, thankful to give her knee some relief. I'll just ice it tonight, she muttered to herself.
Stevie left his silk to give pointers and ensure everyone was warming up safely. "You alright there, Sammy? It looked like your side aerial went a little... sideways," he whispered.
Sammy faked a grin. "I'm good. Thanks," she whispered back as she finished her last shoulder shrug. Stevie watched her for another moment before nodding and continuing his round. She moved on to inversion practice with ball-and-pencils, wondering what her friends back at the dance studio had done tonight. I wonder if they missed me, she thought, as her body went through the movements.

"Okay everyone! Let's move on! We're going to learn climbs today. Who already can climb?" Stevie asked.
Sammy kept her hand down, looking around at everyone else with their hands raised.
"Excellent. So this is going to be a review for most of you. If you want, we can also do a Russian Climb. Who knows that one?"
Becky and the Gigglers raised their hands.
"Wow, that's great. Then why don't you come show us how to climb, Carly?"
Carly grinned. "Easy peasy," she stared down Sammy as she made her way to the silk. "Like this! She wrapped her foot around the fabric, then used her other foot to step on her first foot, grabbing higher and rewrapping her foot as inched her way up.

Sammy cringed inwardly. Jemima had begun working on her with climbs during camp, but Sammy had yet to master it- slipping down every three or four climbs. I miss dance, she thought. I knew how to do everything there, and people were nice. They didn't giggle about boyfriends either.
"Sammy?" A voice brought her back to the present. "Have you been paying attention?" Taylor snarked. "It looks like you've been staring out into space there. And considering you're the only one who can't climb yet-"
"Whoa there, Taylor." Stevie stepped in, steering her to a different silk. "Let's focus on our own abilities, yeah? Everyone learns at their own pace."

Sammy sighed and peeked at the clock, hoping her mom would come in to rescue her. Unfortunately, there were still another thirty minutes before anyone's parents were due for pickup.
"Don't worry, Sammy, one day it'll just click." Stevie grinned. "Meanwhile, just keep trying, okay? Let me see how you're doing."
Sammy grimaced, obliging Stevie's instructions. This time, she didn't even make it to the third climb before she began sliding down. She winced involuntarily as her foot hit the mat.

"Are you sure that foot is okay? You don't have a torn tendon or something do you?" Stevie looked down at Sammy's foot, which she'd tried to hide behind her good leg. "Let me see it." He bent down and reached over. "Hold on to the silk for balance if you want."
The rest of the class, noticing what was happening, began crowding around Sammy. Let the whispers begin, she mentally groaned.
"Hey everyone, there's nothing to see here. Go practice your climbs." Stevie waited until the students dissipated before examining the foot closer. "It's definitely not broken," he began, "and I don't think there is anything wrong with it in particular."
Sammy sighed in relief. "So I can keep climbing?"
"Just... be careful, okay? Let me watch you a couple times." He crossed his arms and watched as Sammy began her ascent and eventual sliding descent. "You're going through the motions okay, but try to lift your knees higher. That'll give you more height and help you climb higher," he critiqued.
Sammy gritted her teeth.

"Let's see it- oh, much better. See how much higher you got that time? Come back down real quick- and I'm going to help you up this time." Stevie stepped onto the mat. "Okay, just climb like normal." He held her sides after the second climb. "Keep going, I'm right here, you're not going to slip. If you think you need a break, just bend your knees and crouch down before you go again," he instructed.
Sammy took a deep breath and continued up. She grinned as she felt Stevie's grip loosen and saw the ceiling get closer.
"Awesome job, Sammy! Now, hand under hand and come down slowly." He held up both hands, and Sammy slapped them once she reached the ground. "That was amazing," he grinned. "Once you get past that mental barrier, anything is possible. Go get a drink of water and then come back for cool-down stretches."

"Flirt," Amanda whispered as Sammy walked past, just loud enough for the girls in the vicinity to hear. Stevie was on the other side of the room.
Sammy steeled herself, ignoring Amanda. Don't let them get to you, she told herself. You learned how to climb and that was terrifying and awesome. Besides, you're probably light years ahead of Amanda in dance, she beamed at the thought.

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