"Blew up," I said. "Well, blew out, more accurately. It's been on the way out for a while now, so it's not too big a surprise. The tape decks ate tapes, the CD changer didn't change, and the speakers popped and crackled. I don't think I'll miss it."
"But how am I supposed to teach you to dance if we don't have music?" She crossed her arms and looked at me with severity.
"First off, we don't need the stereo. I bought a nice set of computer speakers, very expensive, which I'm running the iPod through. Secondly, there is no chance in this world or the next that you're going to get me to dance. Not going to happen."
"Don't be a coward."
"It's not cowardice," I said. "It's heroism. People would go blind if I did that. I'm saving people by not busting a move."
"You're full of shit, you know."
"Of course I am. You're still not going to get me to dance."
"Not even a slow dance?" She lowered her arms and began swaying gently to unheard music. "You don't have to move much. You just sort of shuffle like a zombie and pretend you're having fun."
I shook my head. "Nope. You're not even going to get that out of me."
She twirled in place, and her skirt flared up, exposing her calves for a moment, before she resumed her solitary slow dancing. "Come on," she said. "I want to go out tonight. I need someone to dance with."
"Muse, you know approximately three million people. Surely you can find at least one of them who can dance."
"I want to go with you," she protested. "And don't call me Shirley."
"Hah. Very funny."
"Do I have to show you the power of the dance?" she asked. "Do I have to overwhelm you with my seductive dancing skills?"
"Unless there's a lap dance in your bag of tricks, Felix, I'm not going to rise to the occasion."
Her slow dance transformed suddenly into something more like belly dancing. "I don't need anything as low as a lap dance to suck you in, buddy boy. You're easy." She flexed herself in some amazing way that disguised the fact that she owned a spine.
I leaned forward in my chair. "You can keep that up all night, Muse, and I'll ogle every minute of it, but I'm still not going to go out dancing. Nothing personal. It's just not my thing."
She stopped suddenly and crossed her arms again. "You're a frump."
"No," I said. "I'm a terrible dancer."
"Oh, fine. Last time I try to get you out on a Friday night. I'll just take Eliot. She loves to dance, and she can actually do it backwards in high heels. High-heeled boots, even. That takes some skill."
"There you go. You're all set. Isn't it nice to have a plan?"
She sighed and flopped on the sofa next to me. "You know, one day you're going to wake up and realize that you spent your life missing out on good opportunities because you were afraid of looking like an idiot."
"And one day, Muse, you're going to realize that I am an idiot."
She leaned over and kissed me on the nose. "Darling, I've known that for a long, long time."