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For Obvious Reasons
I nearly fell backwards into Annie before I caught myself. My scarlet red dress had made me trip while dancing. Annie and Lucy laughed as I tumbled to the floor in front of them. I laughed too, at my own self.
“Are you all right?” Lucy asked, still giggling. I could barely hear her over the sound of the base blasting around us. Her and Annie helped me back up on my feet. I guess even without heels, you can just as easily trip over and fall. I smoothed out my dress and adjusted my strap so I wasn’t hanging out. That would be a disaster! As I did, the song ended and the DJ grabbed the mic.
“All right, ladies and gentlemen, time for our last slow dance of the night! Grab your date and get on out here.” his voice boomed throughout the room. Lucy and Annie squealed and went on a mad search for their dates. Lucy had come with Jim and Annie was with Lindsay. As they went on the chase, I swiftly made my way through the chairs and tables. My date, Martin, had said he was tired and went to sit a couple minutes ago. He saw me coming and stood up.
“Can we dance?” I called to him. He couldn’t hear me, so he walked over and asked me what I’d said. He’d come here in a nice tux with a red vest and tie, plus the bootnier I’d bought him. Now, he’d taken all that off because of the heat of the room. Just a regular white tux shirt. His hair was also all messed up from dancing with his buddies and me. When he was close enough, I batted my eyelashes at him like my mama taught me.
“Can we slow dance? I’ve never slow danced before...”I started to explain, but he’d already said yes. As I followed him out on the floor, butterfly’s gathered in my stomach. Martin was three years older than me, a senior. He said he’d skipped fourth grade, so he was only 17. I was 14, going on 15. A freshmen. Of course, neither of us had ever been to prom before, but he seemed to know what he was doing.
I felt the warmth of his hands on my waist when I faced him. Gently, I placed my hands on his shoulders. I quick looked around at other couples to make sure I was doing it right. I’d lost sight of Annie and Lucy, so he and I were basically on our own. It felt weird to be so close to someone. Especially a boy. I’d never dated before, and the last time I danced with a boy was at 8th grade dance, and that was so long ago. We were barely touching each other anyway. This was totally different.
As we swayed, we got slower and slower to go with the music. It was Alan Jackson’s “Remember When.” A country song, our favorite kind. The lights all around us illuminated Martin’s face and reflected off his glasses. I was put in a trance by the soft music, the warmth of another, and the fact that I was totally drained from dancing all night. Without even thinking, I laid my head on his collarbone and drifted off.
The song seemed to go on forever. More than the regular two or three minutes, anyway. I didn’t think at all, I just rested there peacefully. The smell of his cologne enveloped me and calmed my senses. He was really there. I was really there. The world was nothing but a memory, for the moment. It didn’t even feel like we were touching ground. We were just slowly spinning through air. Once or twice, he almost stepped on my bare toes, but I expected it, and was quick to avoid it without breaking the mood. Pretty soon, I was sleepwalking to the rhythm of the soothing music:
Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now lookn' back it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are,
Where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when
And just like that, the song ended. People around us let go and got ready for the next song. But when I fluttered my eyes open, I felt even more tired. My body was weak from the past few hours, and I hardly noticed Martin take my hand and led me off to the side of the floor. When we did, I expected us to go back to the table. Instead, he stopped and turned to me.
“You wanna leave now, or stay a little while longer?” he asked. I rubbed my eyes and shrugged.
“I’m super tired, but I don’t wanna go yet. I mean, I’m having fun and all, but I know you have work early tomorrow...” I trailed off and watched the kids on the floor, some dancing, others grinding. I got lost in thought for a minute.
The warm brush over my shoulder made me flinch. It was Martin’s hand. He’d done it before, and it shouldn’t have bothered me, really. However, when he did, he did it with such gentleness. His fingers just skimmed over my bare skin like a feather. It sent a sudden chill down my back. A feeling I did not recognize swept over me at that moment. I couldn’t tell what or why, but something I my brain told me he wanted something; me.
I thought it was just my paranoia. The rush of the evening and the thrill of being asked to prom was getting to me. It had to be, right? He was just being nice, a gentlemen to a lady. I shoved aside the thought and kept my gaze to the floor. Lights of all colors flashed, making the students look like still life photos. Everyone was either out there, or sitting at a table. He and I were completely alone.
His hand moved down to my waist and turned me to face him. I smiled and wrapped my arms around his neck to hug him. I thought that was what he was doing. Giving me a hug. I relaxed a bit. A hug was good. Then he began to rub my back. When I say that, I mean, he was drawing invisible circles on my bare skin slowly. Again, I took it as a friendly gesture and patted his back. I heard him chuckle and pat my back, too.
The hug lasted a bit longer. That weird feeling slipped back into my brain. What’s going on? Something isn’t right. This isn’t him. Is he trying to make this romantic? Will he...try to kiss me? But I’ve never been kissed before! I don’t even-! Uh, never mind. He probably won’t. I’m kidding myself. Why would any boy want to kiss Diana Nicole Hunsburger?
I realized I was falling asleep on his shoulder again, and pulled away a little. He wouldn’t let go of my waist. I looked up at him, confused. What was he up to?
He leaned his head down so that our foreheads were touching. I finally noticed how close we were. So close, he really could kiss me if had wanted to. Something told me to avoid his gaze. We stood like that for a minute. His hands around my waist, my hands around his neck, and our foreheads touching. He was so close to my face...
I smiled at him. I didn’t know why, but I found the whole thing simply amusing. I finally looked up into his brown eyes. Were they closing? Maybe it was the lighting. I felt a tug on my back. Not a hard tug, but a gentle one. An alarm rang off in my brain. This was too much now; I had to get out of there.
So I let out a small sighed and said, “I’m so tired right now. Maybe we should leave.” Almost immediately, the tug stopped and Martin let go of me. He nodded and backed off. Emotions mixed and fought around within me. What the heck had just happened? I nearly tripped again walking back to our table. From behind me, I heard him whispered loudly, “Damnit!” I turned.
“What?” I asked, still amused. He looked at me shyly and smiled.
“Well, I...I had every intention to kiss you, but..” he let the sentence hang in the air for a moment. I turned away so he wouldn’t see my dazed expression.
I’d been right all along.
He was going to kiss me, and he would have! It hadn’t been my imagination, it was my instincts. My sixth sense had warned me he was too close, and I’d almost ignored it. Boy, I would have slapped him so hard if he had kissed me! Or...would I? The moment had been perfect...I suddenly was unsure of what I would have done.
We made our way back to the table in silence. After saying our goodbyes, we walked out. Again, he placed his arm around my waist. This time, however, I felt no sexual intentions towards me, so I did the same to him, and we walked back to the car like that. A couple, just leaving a dance they will never forget.
I kept dozing off in the car on the way home. Thoughts filled my brain. What now? What of the future? What would I tell my parents? My friends? Should I tell them? About him trying to kiss me anyway. But I was too tired to really think about it.
He parked in front of our house and got the door for me. I smiled up at him. It was almost like we were both acting like that attempt at a kiss never happened. On the porch I turned to him.
“Thanks so much for inviting me to prom. I had a wonderful night, Martin.” I said, with all honesty. He smiled back at me but the pain of rejection still hung around his face.
“I had fun, too. It was a cool experience. I’m glad I got to share it with you.”
I blushed. He opened his arms for one last hug. I stepped onto the first step so we were height even and glomped into his arms. As I did, I made my decision. As he pulled away I stopped him and pecked his cheek. Just a tiny kiss, about a centimeter from his lips.
“That was for being such a gentlemen to me tonight.” I whispered. And with that, I whirled around and went back inside before he could say anything else.