The Art Of Dancing
“So I just kept dreaming, yeah,
I just kept dreaming
It wasn't very hard
I spent all this time tryna
figure out why
Nobody on my side
See, I've been having me
a real good time
But it feels so nice to know
I'm gonna be alright.”
~This Feeling - Alabama Shakes
- - - -
Peter didn’t know why he agreed to this, well, that’s not really true. He knows why he agreed to come, because Miles invited him and Peter wanted to be a good boyfriend. Also, he can admit that he’s a bit curious as to what a Quinceñera is. Miles explained what it was, almost the same as a Sweet Sixteen, but not really. For one, it happens when a Hispanic girl is fifteen and there’s a lot of traditional stuff, and there’s a service at church beforehand.
Luckily, they don’t go to church, since Peter and May, despite being Italian thus primordially Catholic, aren’t very religious. So, Peter didn’t want to go there and then feel awkward when he doesn’t know what to do, since he’s aware there are certain prayers and there’s kneeling at some point. Peter just prefers not to deal with it. Rio reassures him that they don’t have to go, even if she is Catholic and will be going, and she’ll meet them at the reception hall which Jefferson will drive them to.
“I hate ties,” Peter grumbles as he adjusts his while stepping out of the bathroom. He’s wearing a simple-looking suit that is nothing like the one he wore during homecoming last year, with a dark wine colored tie that goes well with the suit. Peter knows it’s likely ridiculously expensive even when it looks simple, because Mr. Stark gifted it to him for this when he mentioned going to a Miles’s family thing. He’d insisted that Miles had told him that he didn’t have to have dress too formally for it, but Tony being Tony, had insisted he wear the suit.
Now, as he pulled at the tie, Peter was regretting agreeing to wearing it. Miles laughed as he walked over and reached out, undid the tie easily since he was use to wearing a tie due to his school uniform having a tie. “Then ditch it,” he said, looking him over, tossing it aside. “Honestly, you can ditch the whole suit if you wanted. You look nice, but it’s not that formal.”
Peter gave him an exasperated look. “I don’t have any other clothes,” he groaned. “My Dad shoved me out the door before I could grab anything more. It’s either this or my ripped jeans and a t-shirt.”
Miles rolled his eyes as his dramatics. “Just take off the jacket.” He eyes him a moment after he does as he asks, Peter still wearing the vest underneath with a long sleeved dress shirt with the buttons done up to the throat. “Okay, let me just...” he said as he reached out and undid the top two buttons before he stepped back. “Now, roll up your sleeves.”
“Miles,” he complained, but the other just gave him a look and Peter sighed in annoyance before doing as he asked. “Now what, oh fashion guru?” He frowned at the look he was giving him and glanced down at himself. “What? Do I look weird?”
The dark skinned teenager shook his head. “N-no, you... you look great,” he said, shifting nervously.
“Oh, okay,” Peter said with a smile. Then looked him over and saw him wearing a suit, and even a freaking bow tie. He was basically wearing a tuxedo, except it was a eggshell white and his bow tie was a soft pink, perhaps peach. “So, if it isn’t that formal, why do you have to wear that?”
Miles shifted uncomfortably. “Cause I’m a Chambelan,” he said, as if that explained it all. It really didn’t.
“You’re a what now? Changelan?”
“Chambelan,” he corrected. “Look, it’s kind of like a wedding where there are groomsmen and such. Except, there isn’t a groom, just the quinceañera, or the birthday girl, and we’re like... her escorts of honor.”
Peter held up a hand, his lips twitching up in amusement but trying very hard not to smile and make it seem like he was laughing at Miles. Even if he really was. “So wait, there are other Cham.. whatever? More escorts of honor? How many?”
Miles glared at his boyfriend, knowing he was laughing at him. “The.... there are eight,” he said grudgingly.
Peter nodded as he pressed his lips together so he wouldn’t laugh. “Are... they dressed the same? Is it just boys?”
The other sighed, rolling his eyes so hard his eyes threatened to roll into the back of his head. “Yes, we’re all wearing the same tuxedos, and no... there are seven damas, which are all girls.” He decided to just bite the bullet before the other asked, because Miles knew he was going to ask. “We perform a waltz with the birthday girl during the celebration.”
“Oh...oh!” Peter said as he suddenly pointed at him. “Is that where you’ve been doing the last two months after school? Where you had to run off to your study group that Ganke knew nothing about?”
Miles flushed hard, but nodded. He winced as the other smacked his shoulder. “Ow,” he grumbled.
“You could have told me that,” he laughed. “I thought you might be cheating on me or something.”
“Don’t be stupid,” he said, wrapping his arms around him. “Why would I cheat on you?” He said it like it was an absurd suggestion that it made Peter relax. Miles pressed a kiss against his mouth.
When he pulled away, Peter couldn’t help but ask. “So, when are you doing your dance routine?” He laughed as Miles shoved him away, grumbling about bad boyfriends that should be supportive, and not laugh at him.
- - - -
Peter looked at the decorations with a bit of awe, since they had really gone all out. There were tablecloths covering every table along with decorations in the same peach as Miles’s tie but also white, and the center pieces were elaborate and nice.
“Wow, it almost looks like a wedding,” he said, glancing around as he noticed the subtle differences. He moved over to where a doll was the centerpiece of it, and it had a peach colored dress that matched all the decorations. “It’s a doll.”
Miles nodded. “Yup,” he said, popping the ‘p’.
Peter frowned as he reached out to touch it carefully and its dress were very detailed. “Why is there a doll?”
The other sighed and ran a hand down his face. “It’s La Ultima Muñeca, or The Last Doll of childhood before becoming a young woman. It’s a symbol of ending childhood.” He stood beside Peter as he admired the doll with a thoughtful face. “There’s also a song of the same title they’ll play when they hand her the doll.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” he murmured.
They were interrupted as more people started showing up, the DJ starting to play some music. “I gotta go find my cousin. I saw my mom back that way,” he said as he waved in a general direction before he rushed off.
Peter shifted nervously as some of Miles’s cousins eyed him as they passed, or at least, he thought they were his cousins since Miles had to go with the other Cham... belanes (yeah, he was sure that was right), and get ready for the entrance of his cousin and her court or whatever. He hadn’t had much time to explain to Peter what was going to happen, but perhaps Rio would be able to explain.
Only, he didn’t find Rio, only Jefferson. “Hi, Mr. Davis,” he greeted hesitantly. They didn’t have a lot of communication between them, and all he knew was that he didn’t really approve of Peter and Miles being together. “Do you mind if I sit here? I don’t really know anyone.”
The man grunted. “I don’t care either way,” he told him. He tried not to wince as Peter shrank back, stepping away. Jefferson sighed. “Just sit down, Peter.”
The teenager nodded and sat down on the chair farthest away from him, fiddling with his sleeves. Finally, he seemed to not be able to help saying something. “So, do you know what’s going on with... all that,” he said as he waved his hand toward they were lining up outside at the entrance.
Jefferson decided to take the olive branch for what it was. “I don’t really know. Rio’s sister married a Mexican guy or whatever, and their traditions are a bit different from Rio’s family, who is Puerto Rican.”
Peter hadn’t known where the woman’s family was from, only that she was Hispanic. “So, most of the traditions being observed are Mexican? What about her Puerto Rican heritage?”
The man crossed his arms over his chest, and Peter hadn’t ever seen him out of his police uniform, actually. Now, seeing him out of the uniform and wearing semi-formal wear, but still normal clothes, made him seem a bit less intimidating. “Well, Rio teaches them as much as she can, but not as much as she would like.” Peter seemed confused, and Jefferson answered before he could ask. “Rio’s sister passed away when Miles’s cousin was very young. Her father is raising her on his own.”
“Oh,” Peter said, nodding as he glanced toward where the Court Of Honor was gathered, seeing Miles at the back of the line. He also saw that the others didn’t have a pink vest like Miles did. “How come Miles’s tux is different?” He seemed to gain more confidence after Jefferson had answered his first question.
“Oh, that’s because he’s dancing with his cousin, because she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” he said with a chuckle. “Not that her dad would permit it. So, that’s why his tux is a bit different.” The lights lowered and the music started. “Look, it’s starting.”
Peter watched attentively as they came in, the DJ announcing her entrance in Spanish. He could understand most of what the man was saying, but he really needed to practice his Spanish more. The birthday girl came in on Miles’s arm, accompanied by seven damas on the arms of seven chambelanes.
“Un fuerte aplauso para Areli López y su corte de honor,” the DJ said. Peter understood that much as he clapped with everyone else. He also started noticing that a few of the escorts and ladies of the birthday girl’s court weren’t even Hispanic. One pair was a black girl with a white boy, and they moved with a familiar way that showed they were use to dancing with one another. Probably a couple.
The first dance was a Rhianna’s Stay with Mikky Ekko, they danced the song, and Peter watched with a smile on his face as he watched his boyfriend move fluidly to the song. They eight guys surrounded her, each taking her by the waist and lifting her up as everyone clapped, the girls in white ruffled dresses dancing around them.
When that song ended, they brought a chair over and a song started playing and Peter could understand some words to realize this was the song Miles said about the last doll. “Now, presenting la ultima muñeca to Areli in her mother’s stead is her aunt, Rio Morales,” the DJ announced. Peter saw Miles’s mom grabbing the doll carefully and handing it to the girl, who was crying judging by how she kept wiping at her face.
Peter could certainly understand what it was to miss your mom, since he barely remembered his own, and he still missed her regardless.
The rest went by quick, a small cousin put on her tiara, and another younger female cousin changed out her tennis shoes for high heels. Then, it was time for the father-daughter dance while her court danced around them in a line. Peter was going a bit blind from the amount of flashes of cameras that were happening, ever since they’d entered.
After that, came the surprise dance. It started with a slow romantic song that, before it switched to a faster tempo song, and what followed was a remix of reggaetón. He wasn’t too familiar with most of the songs, the only two he knew was the second song which was Loco Contigo by DJ Snake and another artist he couldn’t remember, and the last song which was Power by Kanye West.
Peter couldn’t believe how well his boyfriend could dance, and he was sure he wouldn’t be able to be that smooth on his feet. He was sure he was smiling like a fool at the end of the dance, clapping enthusiastically with the crowd as they finished.
“Whew!” Miles sighed as he fell into the chair beside Peter. “I’m glad that’s over!”
“Why? You were awesome,” Peter said, grinning when Miles ducked his head and looked away. He always did that when he was embarrassed, and it was a nice change since he always had a knack for embarrassing and making Peter blush. The asshole seemed to enjoy it too. “You certainly know how to dance. I don’t know why you were so embarrassed about it.”
Miles shrugged as he leaned against the other, smiling when he wrapped his arms around his waist. His dad had moved away to look for his mom to help her with starting to serve the food, so they were alone at the table. “I don’t mind dancing, but I just hate all that attention on me.” Miles had sat facing Peter, so their legs were pressed against one another as he had gotten as close as he could to the shorter teen.
“So, you thought I was awesome, huh?” Miles asked with a smirk, nuzzling his nose against his throat, his smirk getting wider as he squeaked at the action. He pulled back. “Want a closer demonstration?”
“Huh?” Peter saw his grin and shook his head, realizing what he meant. “No... nonono, Miles!” Peter hissed as he tried to pull him up. “I can’t dance!”
“Well, not yet you can’t. I bet I can show you,” he said, that slightly grin that showed off his dimples on his face. It was always enough to make his stomach flutter and his heart jump into his throat. Now, he just scowled back at him.
Even so, he let the other pull him onto the dance floor, several couples dancing and no one paying the two boys any mind. Miles pulled him close, grabbing his hand and telling him to put his hand on his shoulder as Miles’s free hand held his waist. “Now move to the side two steps, uh huh, and then two steps back, and again,” he instructed.
Peter did as he told him a bit clumsily, but he got lost when he tried to turn them and tried to take two steps back. They didn’t notice that his cousin Areli was behind him dancing with one of her girlfriends, and Peter accidentally stepped on her dress.
Peter gasped in shock when he realized this, seeing that it had gotten stained. “Oh no! I’m so sorry!” he fretted, letting go of his boyfriend as he reached out as it to fix it. He pulled his hands back when he realized what he was doing, shifting in place.
The younger teenage girl was really nice it seemed as she smiled at him. “Yeah, don’t worry about it. You can just pay for the dry cleaning.”
“Of course!” Peter blurted, eager to fix his mistake. “H-how much is it? Do y-you need the money now?”
She looked at him a moment before she burst out in a fit of giggles. “I was kidding,” she laughed, gloved hand to her chest. “You must be my idiot cousin’s boyfriend, right?”
“Hey!” Miles snapped at that idiot comment, but Areli waved him off.
“You’re really cute. I’m Areli, Miles’s more attractive cousin. What’s your name?”
“Dude, you are not allowed to to flirt with my boyfriend! Not cool,” Miles protested, scowling at his cousin.
“Hey, look, your mom is calling you,” Areli said.
“Very funny, but I’m not-“
“Miles! Ven acá muchacho!” Rio snapped. Miles turned and saw her waving him over, and he groaned, threw one last glare at his cousin, pointedly pulled Peter close for a quick kiss, before hurrying over to see what his mom wanted.
Peter looked at Areli, who grinned. “So, want to dance?”
“Uh, I d-don’t know,” he said, feeling weird accepting a dance with his boyfriend’s cousin. Besides, he was sure everyone would look at him if he danced with the birthday girl, and there was the problem of him not knowing how to dance.
“Relax, I was just messing with my primo,” she said, holding out her gloved hand. He didn’t want to leave her hanging, so took her hand. “I mean, I do think you’re cute, but Miles is crazy about you, and I’d never mess that up for him.”
Peter flushed at her words. “I... I’m also... with him,” he stuttered. He hadn’t realized they’d started to dance and he hadn’t tripped yet. As soon as he thought it, he tripped over his own feet.
“Just don’t think about it, and feel the music,” she told him, smiling in encouragement. Peter nodded and tried again, trying to stop thinking and just feel the music. He made it longer before he lost the rhythm again, but it was mostly cause she let him go and one of the ladies of her honor court took over, the black girl that was taller than him.
“Hi,” he said. She grinned and he squawked as she started to lead, and he could do nothing but follow. After a while, her aggressive leading made him trip on someone’s dress, and he lost his balance as he tumbled to the floor with a wince of pain.
She looked guilty as she apologized, but he only smiled and said it was fine. As he stood, Miles was at his side suddenly and held him by the elbow as he led him off the dance floor. “Are you alright?” he asked his boyfriend. He lead him into an abandoned little dark hallway, the strobe lights it the the DJ’s equipment giving them a bit of light.
“Yeah, I hit my elbow but that’s about it,” he reassured, cheeks a bit flushed. He was embarrassed that Miles had obviously seen him fall. “I told you I can’t dance,” he grumbled.
There was enough light to see Miles smile, the other touching Peter’s face as he tipped his head back so he could lean down to press a kiss to his lips. “You were doing fine before you fell actually,” he admitted. He pulled him close as the sound changed out in the dance hall, and Peter realized it was a slow dance. “Think you can do this?”
Peter laughed softly even if no one would hear them in this hallway, which seemed to lead to a kitchen that wasn’t being used. They’d brought food in big pots and there was even rice in a long cooler. The drinks were in similar coolers, except those had ice and there was even a separate one for bear. “You can’t have a fiesta without beer, even if it’s a Quinceañera,” Miles had told him.
“Yeah, this is easy,” he told him, closing his eyes as he rested his head against his chest, just short enough to be tucked up under his chin without it being awkward. It felt nice to sway back and forth, pressing against his boyfriend and enjoying the scent of his cologne.
There were sudden flashes as the song came to an end, both boys yelping in shock, but unlike in the past when they had sprang apart because of Peter not being out yet, now they merely looked to the entrance of the hallway. Areli, Miles’s cousin and her court were all at the entrance, all trying to get pictures of the couple.
“I told you Miles would get celoso that you danced with his boyfriend, Areli!” one of the girls shrieked, the others laughing.
“Let me dance with him next!” one of the male escorts shouted, grunting as he was elbowed by the birthday girl.
“You want my primo to kick your ass, Dylan?” Areli said. She marched over to them, hands on her hips. “You two aren’t allowed to sneak away! You’re supposed to dance with me cause it’s my birthday, and not be sneaky back here,” she said, pointing at Miles.
“I’m not being sneaky,” he grumbled, having pulled his boyfriend close when Dylan had shouted to let him dance with Peter. The idiot wasn’t even interested in boys, he was just trying to rile Miles up. Well, it was working, since Dylan wasn’t a bad looking guy, with his angular face and blue eyes, he was actually very attractive. “Besides, it’s not really your birthday. It was Tuesday.”
Areli threw her hands up. “Who cares! It’s my party, and I get what I want,” she said with a pout. Miles forgot how whiny she could get. “And I want to dance with Peter.” She reached over and grabbed his hand, smacking her cousin until he let the other boy go, before dragging him off. Peter let himself be dragged off by the petite girl, since he had no problem dancing with her. He just hadn’t liked changing partners suddenly, cause he couldn’t keep up.
“Areli! No seas malcriada! Peter doesn’t want to dance,” he said as he rushed after them, glaring at that others as they got in his way.
The fast tempo music had started up again, mostly reggaetón, since the majority of the guests were Hispanic of all types. Peter giggled as she gave a twirl, making her dress fan out around her before taking his hands and starting to dance. “Just move your feet and hips like the people around us,” she told him.
It was easier said than done and he kept messing up, but Areli was laughing and that made Peter laugh at his mistakes. So, he was having more fun than he’d thought he would have, since he was sure he would just sit and watch everyone dance and have a good time. Peter laughed even harder when Miles cut in and pulled Peter away as Areli gave a cry of protest, but was mollified as two of her friends started to dance with her in a trio.
“You’re having fun,” Miles said as he pulled him close and did the two step dance he showed him earlier, Peter picking it up a bit faster this time. He still kept messing up, but Miles just adjusted to his rhythm, if it could be called that. Mostly, he was just moving his feet and trying not to trip on them.
“Yeah.... Yeah I am,” he said with a grin. So, he didn’t regret coming to Miles’s cousin birthday party, or rather, her Quinceñera.
Peter yelped as he was pulled away from Miles to dance with someone else.
Peter just laughed as he stumbled through the next dance.-