~~~~Hold Me~~~~


Disclaimer - Inspired by stories of Mark and Chelsie's pre show hug fests. I don't think the other dancers hate them, it's just for the sake of the story.

There she was, just standing off to the side of the stage. Her face tilted up to the ceiling and her hands clasped in silent prayer. He knew this was part of her pre show ritual and he waited until her head dipped down before he moved closer to her.

“Hey.”

Chelsie looked up, clearly startled and irritated. “Don’t do that. Say something, don’t just pop up out of nowhere.”

“I’m sorry.” Mark turned to leave, maybe now wasn’t the time.

Chelsie reached out for his hand. “No, I’m sorry. Stay with me.” She took his hand, smiling as his eyes closed and a look close to bliss came over his face. “Why are you like that?”

“Why am I like what?”

“Weird.” Chelsie giggled, as Mark put on a hurt face. “I mean, you’re so quiet, you, like, hover in the shadows and then pop out of nowhere.”

“I just find…” Mark stopped to think. “I’ve never really had many friends who understood my dancing, so I don’t think I do well in big groups. It’s like I want to hide.”

They both looked over to the dancers gathered on the opposite side of the stage. They were chanting something that sounded like rallies you’d hear at a football game and their arms were wound around each other as they bounced up and down.

Chelsie frowned. “Yeah, me either. Ballroom is very competitive. No one talks to you during a competition, so all this…” she gestured to the group. “Is kind of strange.”

“I like being here just with you.” Mark admitted. “I don’t know how to act around them. I’m not sure they like me. “

“You?” Chelsie snorted. “Have you heard some of the thing those cows have called me?”

Mark grinned at her outburst. “They don’t understand me. I think you do.”

“I think, yeah, I think I do…kinda. At least you’re not like them.”

Mark shuddered. “Thank God.”

“So how are you feeling tonight?” Chelsie snaked an arm around his waist and leaned her head on his shoulder. “Good, bad, ready to hurl?”

Mark tossed his head back and laughed heartily. “I was ready to hurl last week when I pulled her name out of the hat. Now…I just have to make the best of it.”

“I wanna dance with you again. You are so good to me. Do you know how many bruises I have from that brute tossing me around?”

“You won’t let me see them, remember?" Mark chided.

Chelsie reached down and lifted her tiny skirt. “Look! Look at this!”

Mark ran his hand over the blackish/purple mark on her thigh. “Ouch. Did he drop you?”

“Almost, that why I have this. He grabbed me to stop me from hitting the ground.”

Mark shrugged. “Well, that’s good right?”

Chelsie smacked his shoulder. “Yeah, it’s wonderful.”

They stood quietly watching the other group. They knew they were aware of them. Several of them had looked over and pointed, but no one asked them to join in with the cheer. Mark pulled Chelsie over to him and rested his arms on her shoulders.

“I wish I was dancing with you tonight, this is going to be a disaster, no matter what I do, she hates me.”

“We can dance together after.” Chelsie tipped her head up and reached to stroke his jet black hair.

“But that won’t mean anything to anyone.”

“Except you and me.”

Mark pulled her close and enveloped her in his arms. “I miss you.”

Chelsie tightened her arms around his waist. “I miss you too. But we’ll be together again soon.”

“You really believe in those random draws?” He pulled away slightly, just enough to look down at her face.

Chelsie grinned. “Nope, final four baby. They can’t stop us from dancing together again!”

Mark squeezed her tight. “I love you, Chels.”

“Ditto.”

“We better go.” Mark planted a kiss on her blonde hair. “Mmmm, you smell so good, what is it today?”

“Coconut, to remind you of home.”

He kissed her again, only on the lips this time. “Let’s go.”

“Good luck, Mark. I’ll be thinking of you.”

“Put a smile on, it’ll help you get through it.”

“Aren’t you going to be thinking of me?” Chelsie asked as she punched his shoulder lightly.

Mark snatched her into another enormous hug.

“Always, Chels, always.”


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