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“Did you know seventy-eight percent of the winners of the talent show have also gone on to win Insomnia Con?” she said, pausing the laptop to adjust her headband.

“Yes, I did know, my sweet,” Rishi said, kissing the side of her head. “You’ve told me about seventy-eight thousand times.”

Ashish snorted from behind the camera, but Dimple silenced him with a glare. “Are you still recording? Shouldn’t you pause when we’re not dancing? Aren’t you running out of space?”

Ashish looked at her quizzically. “You ask a lot of questions when you’re nervous.”

“What do you mean?”

He smiled and shook his head. “I’m uploading all of these to the cloud, so they’re not being stored on my phone. We have a megaton of video, so that was the best option.”

“‘A megaton’ is right.” They’d spent a good four hours the night before watching videos from their “training sessions,” as Ashish was calling them, or “torture sessions,” according to Rishi. He insisted Ashish had gone all Coach Taylor/Friday Night Lights on them.

But Dimple liked the amount of effort Ashish put into coaching them. He had a natural eye for choreography, and everything he said sort of clicked for her. She knew they had a much stronger routine now than they’d had at the beginning. It was funny and fun, quirky, and just cool enough to get the votes they needed.

Rishi ran a hand along her cheek. “It’s going to be okay. Even if we don’t win, we’ll have tried our hearts out. That’s all we can do.”

She put a hand over his. “I know. But I want it so much. We have to win this, you know? Not just this talent show, but Insomnia Con. We have to.”

He shook his head, a little bewildered. “But why? You’re so talented, Dimple. Even if you don’t win this one contest, you’re going to go on to do amazing things. This app is going to change lives.”

“I know. That’s why I want it to get the best possible chance it can.” She looked deep into his eyes, trying to get him to see what she saw. “This app can help people like Papa—I have no doubt in my mind. That’s not me being arrogant; that’s just what living with someone with diabetes has taught me. I’ve seen it encroach on his life. I’ve seen what it did to him. He tries to hide it, but the anxiety is real. And winning Insomnia Con is going to help me get to Jenny Lindt, the one person I know can help me get it out to a wider audience. She’s amazing, Rishi. You guys are probably tired of hearing me say it, but she is. I feel like just being in her presence will help me make my app better, let alone if she decides to help us build and market it.” Dimple laughed, realizing how intense she’d gotten, like she always did when she talked about coding or Jenny Lindt. She was even clutching Rishi’s arm in a death grip. “Sorry,” she said, loosening her stiff fingers.

“That’s okay, it’s my left arm,” he deadpanned. “Don’t need it anyway.” He began to dance around to the steps of “Dance Pe Chance,” his left arm stiff against his body. “See? It works either way.”

Dimple laughed and threw a pillow at him. “Stop it.” She took a breath. “Let’s practice.”

“Finally,” Ashish said from behind the camera, “I thought you two were never going to get serious.”


About an hour and a half later they’d been through the dance once, watched the video once, and then done the dance again. Dimple stretched out her sore muscles. There was a light coating of sweat all over her. “I’m going take a shower. I think we’re well rehearsed, don’t you?” she asked Ashish.

“Yes,” he said confidently. “You don’t want to overdo it. I think now you guys just need to relax.”

“Thank gods,” Rishi groaned, falling backward on the bed.

Dimple laughed and poked him on the knee with a toe. “Gross. You’re all sweaty and now your sheets are going to smell like sweat.”

He sat up and grabbed her wrist, pulling her down on top of him. “You know you love it,” he said, nuzzling her neck. Goose bumps sprouted all over her body as the conversation they’d had last weekend after Rios floated into memory.

“All right, I’m out,” Ashish said, behind them. “You guys need to get a room.” Copyright 2016 - 2022