Page 41

“Yeah, I think they worked it out with him. They didn’t tell him what song we’d be dancing to, but he seemed to think it was creative. Each partnership would be judged separately, anyway.”

“Well, could a partnership split up? Because then maybe you could dance with us, and Evan could be the one in a bikini.”

Celia snorted. “Thanks, but I don’t think they’ll let us do that. I should probably figure out a way to deal with this.” She held out her arms and Dimple stood to give her a hug. “Thanks for not thinking I’m crazy. I think I’ve been hanging out with those three for too long.”

“Probably,” Dimple said, pulling back. “Maybe you can come to dinner with Rishi and me tonight. We’re probably going to be eating at the dining hall.”

“Sounds good.” Celia smiled, seemingly cheered at this thought. “Thanks.”

They turned around and walked back into the lecture hall.

• • •

“So you have the gist, right?” Dimple asked after they’d watched the “Dil Na Diya” video for the fourth time. They were in Rishi’s room after class, getting ready for their first practice session. “It’s not too complicated? I mean, I know Hrithik’s, like, this world-class dancer. But you don’t have to be. Just get the moves down and it’ll be good. I’ve seen the other talent show winners on YouTube, and it’s not like they were all rock stars. We’re coders, you know? Not . . .” She trailed off at Rishi’s raised eyebrow.

“You’re nervous,” he said, but not accusingly. He was sort of smiling.

Dimple chewed the inside of her cheek. “I guess. Kind of.” But not for the reason he thought. She was nervous because in a moment, he’d see her dancing skills. The video had about two seconds of the girl dancing, but still. She’d never danced in front of anyone since the bhangra puke fiasco. Let alone in front of a boy she actually liked. Whom she’d kissed. Dimple felt herself begin to hyperventilate, so she busied herself with putting her hair up in a bun.

Rishi, oblivious to her internal storm of turmoil, had pushed his bed up against the far wall, so they had a clean rectangle of space to work in. He stood in the middle and nodded, satisfied. “Okay.”

Dimple hit the play button with a shaking finger, and the song flooded the room. Rishi paused, his eyes closed, apparently trying to let the beat move him or something.

Then he jerked, his hands and legs spasming as he tried to copy Hrithik Roshan. He kept going, occasionally glancing at the screen to make sure he had it down. He was grinning now, enjoying himself as he jumped up and landed with his feet wide, then shimmied across the room, nodding his head with a heck yeah expression on his face.

Dimple was sure she was in a dream. That could be the only explanation. She saw her hand float out in front of her and hit the space bar on his laptop, pausing the video.

Rishi stopped thrashing abruptly. “What’s wrong?”

Dimple gripped the edge of his desk. The corners of the room swam. Her voice came from a million galaxies away. “That’s . . . that’s how you dance?”

Rishi looked down at his body, as if to check something. “Yeah?” He looked back at her, confused.

Dimple clutched her head. “But you said—you said you were a good dancer!”

“I did not! I barely agreed that I was ‘decent’!”

Dimple glared at him, her temper flaring. She spoke slowly, enunciating the words. “That. Was not. Anywhere near decent.”

They stared at each other for a minute, Rishi’s deep honey eyes boring into hers. And then he burst out laughing. Geysers of “ha ha ha” burst out of him, and watching him guffaw like that, helpless, actually slapping his knee , Dimple began to laugh too, just slightly hysterically.

Finally, Rishi sank down on the floor, holding his stomach, alternating groans with laughter. Dimple sat beside him and wiped her eyes, her laughter subsiding to a few hiccups. “Okay, seriously, what are we going to do?”

Rishi looked at her from where he was sprawled on the floor, his arms and legs askew. “Well, do you still want to win the talent show?”

She nodded. “Obviously.”

Copyright 2016 - 2021