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Of Sequins and Scalpels

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With his arm slung around Helen's shoulders, Nikola looked to the middle distance, waiting for her (scripted) response. It didn't come. Looking at her quizzically, wondering if she'd forgotten her line, she arched her brow and said, "So I have to learn two dances this week?"

That wasn't the script. "Yes."

"And neither of them are slow dances?"

Still not the script, but after two weeks of pre-show training and eight weeks of competition with her he trusted her. "No…?"

A beat, and a grin. "Are you sure the jogging wasn't conditioning for this?"


"Wave to the Instafans, Helen!" said Nikola, holding his phone up. She smiled and waved. "It's Monday, and we got voted through - to the quarter finals baby! - so someone…"

"Is about to do a handstand, yes." She nodded, grinning. Sat cross legged on the floor, she looked behind the phone at him. "Although, I didn't get you back into that tutu."

He winked, trying to fluster her. and said, "Maybe later. Right now, let's get those legs in the air."

Rolling her eyes, she stood. "I haven't done a handstand since I was eight, so I'll be friends with the wall."

"That's fine," he assured her, following her to a recess unadorned of mirror. (It was also, he was happy to note, in the camera's blind spot.)

Quick as a flash, her feet were in the air. "Ah, why can't I feel the wall?" she asked, a tiny, almost imperceptible, note of panic in her voice. Her feet were half an inch from it, although Nikola just shook his head and shrugged. Arms bowing, Helen righted herself, shaking out her hands and arms. "And that's that. Thank you for voting!" She smiled, and a mischievous glint sparkled in her eyes as she stalked over to him. Nikola knew he should be worried, but all he did was stop the recording.

He much rathered the arms full of Helen anyway.


Holding her phone at arms length, Helen pressed the Live button. "Nikola's had to pop out for five minutes, so I thought I'd have a go on this. Hello!" She watched as more usernames joined her video, the viewer count going up. "As you can see, I'm still in the rehearsal hall, wearing a very flattering leggings and t-shirt combo. Oh! Comments!" She read the questions popping on her screen, some complimentary, some questioning. "Someone asked what I'm wearing, so today I'm wearing my Team Teslen t-shirt. Nikola bet that if we had any tens on Saturday I'd wear it to practice today. Uhm…" She got up and walked around. "I'll let you see the set up. How do I turn this-- ah! The hall."

Panning around, she explained what was what, smiling at the comments coming up on her screen. Obviously, she knew people looked at her social media accounts, but the number had been steadily rising since starting the show. "Some of you are asking where Nikola is. I'm not sure, but he'll be back in a minute."

An alert popped up on her phone. "Invite me!" said a message from Nikola's account.

"Does anyone know how to-- Oh!" Helen pressed an icon and sure enough, there was Nikola's delightful smile.

"Well, Helen, if I knew we'd have so many viewers, l would have suggested you do this weeks ago."

"Where are you?"

"I am enjoying a cup of coffee" - Helen made a face (half glad she hadn't returned to selfie mode) - "waiting for your tea."

Well. That changed things. Unsure, she asked, "Are you getting it from the machine or the café?"

He rolled his eyes, and Helen softened when he said, "Would I insult your taste buds with a machine brew? Thanks," he added to their resident café waitress, who smiled and wished him and Helen luck. "Did you tell everyone what we're dancing this week?"

Flicking the camera back onto her face, Helen groaned. "If you all think Quickstep was fast, he's bopping us around in both an American Smooth and a Samba."

"The Samba's the best party dance after the Macarena." Nikola started singing, almost tipping their drinks as he walked.

"I don't know, I'm pretty good with the Time Warp. It's the being told how to dance along aspect of it." She winked, and a bunch of hearts went shooting up the side of her screen. Her eyes, however, were drawn to Nikola, nattering about the American Smooth as he walked. He really was a magnetic personality. Fearing discovery of their changed relationship (and deepening feelings on her part), she jumped in with, "Well, it looks like we've found Nikola, so it'll be back to the grind stone for us."

"Put on some music for when I get back," he commanded superciliously.

"Magic word?"

It looked like he was licking the underside of his teeth before he added the, "Please." Whether he was trying to channel the guy from Tangled or not was a question she didn't really need answering.

"Manners cost nothing, Nikola."

"Ah, but listening to Teacher is a must," he added, winking as he shouldered open the outer doors.

She tried, she really tried, not to react, but the indulgent eye roll just happened. "Only when Teacher is being polite."

"Teacher is always polite. And this teacher" - he held up the carrier with two take away cups - "even went so far as to bring a thoughtful gift."

"And with that, we best let everyone get on with their lunch hour. Say goodbye, Nikola."

"Goodbye, Nikola!" he parrotted, winking as Helen turned off the Live feed. "Hello, Helen," he crooned, opening the door. His shoes clicked on the floor, his walking turning into more of a saunter the closer he got. "After this drink can I have this dance?" he asked, stopping mere millimeters away from her.

Taking the cup closer to her, she sniffed it and rapturously sighed, "Nikola, you can have all of them." Sipping her tea, her eyes rolled as she stifled a pleased moan. Really, the papers were bad enough about the two of them without adding Nikola really knows how to please Helen in the training room headlines to the mix.

He caught it though. Smirking wickedly, he went and changed his shoes. As he fiddled with his speaker and phone, her own phone vibrated. Reading it, she licked her lips and looked at him, still play-acting with his music.

Bet I can make you moan again.

Putting the phone away, she sauntered up behind him and murmured, "Of that I have no doubt, Mr Tesla," taking great delight at the blush staining his cheeks. Two could play at that game (and she was playing for keeps).