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Vive La Danse
by Sandra Crook

Flavia limped to the door of the dance studio, casting a baleful glance over her shoulder at Kenneth. Other couples stood around awkwardly.

Madame Rousillon sighed and pushed her spectacles wearily into her polished black top-knot. Flavia was her best dancer, and ear-marked for Saturday’s show. Hopefully she’d recover in time.

“Remind me if you would, Mr Lewis, why you so desperately want to learn to dance?”

Kenneth sighed, and went through it again.

“It’s for Rosie, my wife,” he said. “She’s always pestered me to go dancing, but it’s not really my thing. So now she’s started dancing with a friend of hers. At first it was just once a week but now it’s most evenings. We’re never together these days, so I need to make an effort.”

Madame looked at him keenly, saw his colour rising.

“I’m very sorry about Flavia,” he said, “and about the lady last week. Katrina, wasn’t it?”

Madame Rousillon nodded. “Katrina’s much better now,” she said carefully, “but she can’t make Tuesdays any more.”

“I could change my evening,” Kenneth said helpfully, “I’m on my own a lot now so there’s no problem.”

“Er no… that won’t be necessary,” said Madame, remembering Katrina’s response when asked to to partner Kenneth again.

Phrases like “when hell freezes over” and “in a pigs ear, I will” echoed in her mind.

“Will Flavia be all right for next week?” Kenneth asked plaintively. “I’m getting used to her now.”

Madame doubted Flavia would ever contemplate a foray into Mr Lewis’s arms again.

“We’ll see,” said Madame, unconvincingly. “Same time next week.”

Sighing, he left.

Despite her exasperation with Kenneth’s dancing ability, Madame empathised with this poor man, who clearly had more serious problems than simply two left feet.

When Kenneth arrived the following week, he found Madame talking to a pleasant little woman with no sign of Flavia or any of the other couples.

“Ah, Mr Lewis,” said Madame, “this is Stella Robinson, my new neighbour. She’s about your standard so I’ve decided to give the pair of you my individual attention. I’ve switched the other pairs to a later class.”

By the end of the evening Kenneth’s feet were as sore as Stella’s, and both were equally relieved that the class was over.

“I’m not very good, am I?” Stella said, colouring up.

“Oh it’s not your fault, Stella, the fault is entirely mine,” Kenneth said gallantly. “See you again next week then.”

After a few months Stella and Kenneth’s dancing ability had improved only marginally, but by now they were the firmest of friends and often enjoyed a drink together after the class.

Madame watched the growing friendship between Stella Robinson and Kenneth Lewis with interest.

Just as she had watched the blossoming romance between one Rosie Lewis, a talented young dancer on the professional dancing circuit, and her handsome young partner.

Undoubtedly clouds were looming in the Lewis household, but Madame had done her best to help Kenneth to weather the coming months.

She’d also helped a rather lonely new neighbour to pick up the reins of a social life once more.

And she had saved the professional careers of two of her most promising dancers.

There was nothing Madame liked better than finding one solution to several problems at the same time.