Dakota 11

There was glitter on my thighs.

For once, I hadn’t been expecting Dakota. I didn’t have anyone to dress yet, so I’d been sitting pretzel-style on the tech’s bench backstage, people watching. He’d just strolled up to me about twenty to places, already dressed for show as usual, his hands behind his back. I smiled at him, ready to greet him, but never got the chance.

“MAKEUP HERPES!”

His announcement alone would have startled me, but the yelp of alarm I let out had nothing to do with his words, and everything to do with the fact that his hands landed on my folded legs, right above my knees, on my exposed thighs. I was suddenly unsure whether it was a good thing or a terrible idea that I’d worn cargo shorts that day.

He chuckled sailed away, leaving me to gape after him like a fish out of water.

It was while I was dressing Liza, despite a great deal of distractedness, that I suddenly noticed Dakota lurking. I couldn’t decide on a better word for it; he was always just a few feet away, just behind someone else. Every time I moved, I thought I’d lost him, but he shifted again, right back in my line of sight. I felt like I was dancing with him, but long distance. Every time I spun around to tighten a corset, repin a kilt, zip up a dress, find a lost glove, he’d shift and move into my field of vision. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought he was doing it on purpose.

I turned as the stage manager called five to places, and (not for the first time) caught Dakota watching me as he spoke to someone else.

Frowning, I stepped back, fading into the background, and disappearing into the quick change room. That had been downright weird. Had he done that before? Thinking back, I realized that, more often than not, he tended to throw himself in my way, but not actually talk to me. I’d find him nearby, talking with other people, occasionally coming to poke at me or flirt with me, and then he’d wander off again, just far enough that I couldn’t talk to him while I did my job, just close enough that he was definitely within earshot.

What the hell was that about?

And why had he come to rub glitter on my thighs?!

****

 

I’d wrangled Dakota’s number from him, and it had been the most bizarre experience of my life. It took two days to do, each day more ridiculous than the last. By the time I ended up with his number, I could solidly say that, not only was I attracted to him, but I’d developed an actual, full blown crush on the poor man.

The first day was more of an accident than anything.  I hadn’t flirted so hard in my entire life. Not with Dakota, either, although he’d been involved (hence me getting his number out of it). No, Dakota and I had teamed up to flirt with Val. And it had been a blast.

I’d never seen Val so red, or heard her stammer her way through an entire conversation. Considering that conversation was literally nonstop sexual innuendos, I didn’t exactly blame her. She’d been so flustered I could barely manage words from laughing so hard. Dakota hadn’t lost his smirk the entire time we’d been prepping for showtime. At one point, Bowie joined in the fun, blatantly flirting with Dakota, who flirted right back with equal enthusiasm. Val and I had to lock ourselves into the quick change room for the entirety of the overture because we were laughing so hard.. By the time the show started, I was certain my ass had been tapped, squeezed, patted, and at one point blatantly groped (by Val, of course) more in the hour before places than any other time in my life combined.

Work was careening to a frantic end when I got a message from Dakota.

That was a fun flirt session.

Grinning, I gave Val a saucy wink, and watched her pale face turn beet red.

Yeah it was. We should do it again sometime.

Cackling, I wiggled in my seat. Val kicked me to get my attention.

“What are you in stitches over, Piper?”

I gave her a vague overview and she frowned. “You don’t actually have his number?”

Frowning, I looked down at my phone. Val had a point. “No, I don’t.” A devious smile crept onto my face. “But I bet I can get it from him.”

Day two, Val wasn’t there, but things were somehow more heated. The techs had lost their minds over a power surge, caused by a raging storm in the area, and our start time ended up pushed back an hour– meaning that a couple of the dances would be cut, and intermission shortened to ten minutes. Everyone dispersed when we heard the news, but a handful of us stayed backstage to wait. Performers sat, half dressed, amongst the costuming crew, on the floor with their backs to the wall, or (as was my case) stretched out on the floor. I’d never been good at normal conversations; I always prefered to listen to others talk and learn about them that way. Dakota didn’t disappoint.

One of our newcomers to the show found out she was from the same area he had grown up in. Like a story, I learned that he’d been home schooled, attended high school briefly to graduate. He’d been dancing for what sounded like forever. I wanted to mention my years of dance, but the conversation shifted too quickly, and I kept quiet. He was a Ravenclaw– I grinned when the conversation turned nerdy and actually contributed, as we all announced our Hogwarts houses (mine being Slytherin). Somewhere along the line, the new girl drifted away into a conversation with someone else, and I grabbed my phone and slid over to Dakota’s side, handing it to him.

“Here, put your number in.”

I was immediately distracted by Rick coming to give us an update on timing and who we’d have to dress, and how the show would go, so when I got my phone back, I’d already forgotten I’d handed it to Dakota. “Oh! Thank you.” Glancing at the contact info, I noticed he’d chosen a picture I had of Eeyore as his contact picture, and laughed. “That’s sweet.”

He didn’t get to say anything in response, because the stage manager suddenly gave us a solid “Twenty to places!” We both scrambled to our feet and headed in the same direction, toward the dressing rooms.

Out of nowhere, Dakota poked me in the belly. “Muscles!”

I laughed at that. “Nah, I have no core strength. I’m a dancer, all my muscles are in my thighs.”

“Oh good,” He said, his expression devious. “I can’t wait to be between them.”

I gaped at him for a split second, my heart beating wildly in my throat at that mental image. A shot of hot, breathless desire went through my belly as my complete lack of impulse control took over my mouth. “The feeling’s mutual.”

He just smirked at me and strutted into the men’s dressing room, leaving me to suffer with my mild arousal alone.

 

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