Kira was regretting severely that her mother couldn't go to the ballet with her tonight. Every month, the two Ford women tried to think of something they wouldn't ordinarily do, and do it together. The ballet was something neither of them had ever experienced, but were vaguely interested in. But at the last minute, Mrs. Ford had come down with something, and Kira was left stranded with an extra ticket.
Dr. O. said that it would be "inappropriate," but he had looked squirmy at the mention of the ballet. Trent was doing 'take your kid to work day' with Anton Mercer, which meant he'd be gone for the entire weekend on some business retreat. Hayley was interested, but couldn't, as she had to fill in for absentee Trent. Ethan flat-out refused.
Conner, on the other hand, had nothing better to do. That, and Kira had found she could talk him into most things if she worked at it. She should have started with him, this fact in mind, but Conner was the last person she wanted anywhere near anything cultural.
For starters, he had to wear a suit. Kira had explained this to him over the phone an hour before he was supposed to pick her up. "It's classy, Conner, you can't just go around wearing jeans."
"Classy people wear jeans," Conner had argued. "Harrison Ford wears jeans."
Kira rolled her eyes and wished there was technology available that she might insert herself through the phone line and strangle her best friend. "Please, Conner, just look presentable. Okay?"
He huffed loudly, but agreed.
That was the least of her problems, though. He had shown up in a nice, charcoal gray suit with a maroon tie. He looked presentable, all right. He looked quite good, as a matter of fact, and was getting a lot of stares from the women in the crowd as they arrived at the opera house. Conner, naturally, was turning on the McKnight charm as high as it would go, smiling at every member of the opposite sex he saw. He looked good in his suit, and he knew it, and he didn't care who he flirted with. Kira's eyes were going to fall out of her head from her rolling them so much.
"Behave," she said in an undertone. "Jeez, Conner, that woman could be your mom."
"I know," he said. "But it's fun. Can't I have fun?"
"No," she said, and flashed a tight smile at the usher as he led them to their seats.
It was getting progressively worse. "That dude has one severe wedgie," said Conner.
"For the love of...shut up, would you?"
People several rows back could hear the portion of the program where he announced, "Dude, you can totally see his package! This is so not right."
"Conner!" hissed Kira sharply, and he subdued.
Not for long. For the remainder of the evening, Conner would whisper his asides to Kira, and she would snipe at him to shut it, well aware of all the people they were ticking off. Fortunately, though, it was dark, so Conner couldn't see the smile she fought to keep out of her voice when she reprimanded him.
As the evening finally came to a close, Conner and Kira lingered in the front hall of the opera house, watching the people stream by. "You know, I don't know why those ballet guys get all that hype. I could totally do that."
"You could not," she said.
"What, lift some chick? Of course I could. Those girls must weigh, like, nothing. It's gotta be so easy. Here, turn around."
"Turn--Conner! What..!" He hadn't waited for her to 'turn', putting his hands on her waist and attempting to lift her into the air.
He struggled, naturally, not having the professional training of the dancers he'd scoffed at. She could see his arms twitching as he managed to get her not a full inch off the ground. With a pained "AGH!," Kira was dropped rudely back on the ground. It wasn't far to fall, but she was off balance, and careened into Conner. He wasn't expecting the gesture, and the next thing either of them knew, they were sprawled out on the ground.
"Oh, jeez, I'm sorry..." blurted Conner. "Are you okay?"
"Define 'okay,'" she murmured, pushing against his chest to right herself. "Well, we can't show our faces here anymore."
He jumped to his feet and reached out to grab her hand, though she was mostly standing anyway. "I'm sorry, Kira."
She waved aside his apology. Owing more to his innocently snarky comments than to the performance, she'd quite had fun. She told him as much.
"Are you kidding me? I thought I'd ruined your night or something. I thought you were going to kill me."
"Only sometimes," she conceded with a smile. "Consider this my quest for your own personal betterment."
"Next time you want to better me, could you do it without me looking at guys' crotches for a couple of hours?"
So much for betterment.