We love Laurie (and Ed, too)

When I tried to type the title to this post in, LJ offered to fill in "We Love Randy" for me, since I’ve used it before. Clearly I have no imagination.

Well, I do indeed love Randy, but today I love Laurie, too, and Ed. Who are they? They first appeared in this post, born out of a plot bunny I got when an aerobics class’s music pumped through my weight room last week. This morning before we left for a family reunion in Cedar Rapids I knocked out the opening bits, then tapped out a few more  on the way there, and a lot more on the way home. Now I have 4500 words, which blows my mind a little bit. I’m going to get stuck fast, because this is a dancer and a former football player hooking up to do some competitive ballroom dancing. Don’t know a thing about ANY of this. 

Of course, in October I knew nothing about Poker and even less about Las Vegas, and now there’s Double Blind. So.

Right now it hardly matters, because I’m just letting Ed and Laurie play. And play they do. It turned out that Ed wanted to lead (story-wise, but he’ll lead for the dancing, too), and he completely surprised me. I didn’t know what his personality was going to be, but he turned out to be like nothing I expected. Bouncy. Ed is very bouncy, and cheerful, but also devilish. Far more upbeat than anything I recognize in me. I recognize a lot more Laurie in me. Laurie, who is a little too exacting and beats off the world with an acid tongue. Except he’s not quite as acrid as I thought he would be.

Here’s an exchange. Hopefully you love them as much as I do already.

(And yes, I am still starting TSV tomorrow! But that’s edits and synopsis, and so is TB. I was going to go mad if I didn’t draft at least a little something new. This will be the dessert I get for fair progress on Etsey.)


A Lady Gaga remix was playing when Ed pushed his way through the doors to the gym, some re-do of “Paparazzi,” and it might even have been half-way decent if he hadn’t been screaming over the top of it. The cry “And one! And two! And one!” once again found its way to the base of Ed’s spine and made his teeth ache.

This was not the first time the PA system had failed to work the way the maintenance people swore it was wired to. This was not the first time, either, that Ed had complained, not the first time Vicky had said there wasn’t much she could do, and not the first time Ed had tried to take matters into his own hands. On other nights when he was just in the weight room with a client, he’d been content mostly to vent his spleen and get the aerobics instructor as worked up as he was. Sometimes he’d managed to get the volume turned down, but that was it. Tonight was different, and so tonight he planned to make his approach differently.

But since no one had informed the aerobics instructor of this, he gave Ed a decidedly hostile glare as “the neaderthal” wove his way through the throng of sweaty, flailing middle-aged women.

“No,” the instructor said as Ed approached the stage, flipping up the mouthpiece of the mic so his sharp retort did not carry through the PA. He didn’t so much as miss a beat, either, his petite, lithe, lycra-clad body still stepping from side to side and pumping his arms up and down in time to the music. “No, I will not turn down my music. No, it is not my fault the system keeps screwing up. No, I will not use a CD player, because I can’t. No, I will not at least listen to ‘decent music’ because this is the music that I have chosen and that I like. And yes, I have to count because that’s the way we do it in aerobics class.” He jerked his chin down and gave Ed a withering look. “Did I miss anything? Or have you thought up some new idiotic questions for our weekly duel?”

“I’m teaching a class too,” Ed said, as patiently could. And loudly, so there was a hope of being heard over the damn music. “In the weight room. In five minutes. Where right now no one can stand to be for more than ten seconds because it sounds like the aerobics class from hell.”

Ed would admit to taking pleasure in the way the jab made the instructor miss a beat.

“It’s not my fault—” he began through gritted teeth. But this time Ed interrupted him.

“No, it’s not,” he agreed. “But you’re the only one who can do anything about it right now. I’d cut the wires to the PA in the weight room, but Vic wouldn’t like that, so I’m talking to you instead.” He put his hands on his hips. “I want to know what it takes to get you to use a different sound system just for tonight. I’ll even help you set it up, and I’ll tear it down myself. Just for tonight. Vic says she’ll have it fixed by next week, and believe me when I say I’m going to hold her to it. But this isn’t like training somebody where I can go out to the hall and explain something and then use sign language to communicate in the weight room itself. I need them to hear me.”

“Tell them to come back next week,” the instructor said, and Ed shook his head.

“No. I have as much right to be here as you do. You get your way every time this happens, dude. It’s your turn to bend over.”

The look the instructor gave Ed could have cut glass. “I am not—”

“And so am I,” Ed said, quickly, because he honestly did not want to piss him off anymore. Not until he got what he needed. “So I want to know: what is it you need? Because everybody has a lever. Something here at the center, something outside of the center, something at your job: you name it. Your car washed and waxed while you direct me from a lawn chair, your flower bed dug up—hell, I’ll dress up in a monkey suit and deliver flowers to somebody, if that’s what does it for you.”

The instructor still didn’t so much as slow down, but he did regard Ed thoughtfully for a few beats. “You really want it this time, don’t you.”

“I need it,” Ed corrected. Then he held out his hands. “Come on. Surely you can think of some suitably degrading task you’d love to give the meddling neanderthal in exchange for one half of one night on a sub-par sound system.”

That made the instructor blush, and he looked away. Then he shook his head. “Hold on,” he said to Ed, then lowered the mic. He shouted out some new commands, leading his flock into a new move, took a minute to encourage them, then pushed the mic up again and turned back to Ed. “There’s one thing I need,” he said, “but you won’t want to do it.”

Ed gave him a winning grin. “Oh, I’ll do it. Just tell me, and I’ll head over and get the other system out of storage. I know right where it is.”

“What I need,” the instructor said pointedly, “is for you to come, one night a week for six weeks, and be my assistant at my dance studio.”

Ed blinked. That was it? “What night?”

“Thursdays,” he said. “Seven to eight.”

Ed shrugged, then grinned. “Consider it done,” he said, and turned to make a beeline for the supply closet.

“There’s more,” the instructor said, his voice full of warning.

“Then tell me already,” Ed said, starting to lose his temper. “My class is about to start.”

“As my assistant,” he said, looking Ed right in the eye, “mostly you’ll be dancing with me.”

Ed’s eyebrows shot up, briefly. Then he shrugged. “Okay. Is that all?”

The instructor looked at him with extreme suspicion. “You will dance with me. Just like that?”

“Do I have to do it naked, or something?” Ed asked. “Or recite French at the same time? The French would be a problem, but I could get it if you gave me time.”

“I seriously need this,” the instructor said, starting to sound tart. “So if your plan is to just agree now, get your way and then stand me up—”

“I will get your phone number after class,” Ed said, “and you can give me yours. But if I’m not there, you can go to Vic to get your pound of flesh. You know she’ll be good for it, too. But there won’t be a need. Now.” He jerked his head at the back of the stage. “Can I get you the damn sound system now?”

3 Comments on “We love Laurie (and Ed, too)

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