Summary: She tries to be invisible, sinking into the chair as if its small frame could somehow swallow her by default. Set during the Dharma years.
A/N: Never mind first Lost fic, this is my first fic ever! I think Darlton has given us such a wonderful opportunity to explore the three years we didn't get to see, and lately something has been urging me to try. Title inspiration from the 1974 top 100 chart hit by Maria Muldaur.
Midnight at the Oasis
She sits as far in to the corner as she can get on one of the small wooden school chairs. Around her, people talk with loose tongues and sway with even looser hips. She has to hand it to the '70s, it sure as hell doesn't hold back. The kids – no doubt responsible for the mass onslaught of paper flowers decorating the walls – run in and out of the town hall, boys in cow-boy hats, and girls in mismatched tie-dye. She tries to be invisible, sinking into the chair as if its small frame could somehow swallow her by default. She watches the sea of bell-bottoms, remembering how much she used to hate school dances, any dances really. Ever since Adam Myer had approached her during her high school Freshman Spring Fling and asked her to dance. He only did it to make Isobel Garner jealous, and mid-dance, as if on cue, Isobel had sauntered over and ushered him away from her with some magical feminine touch she could never hope to master. She'd been plucked out of obscurity and then, just as suddenly, dumped right back into it.
She stares at her hands, wringing them lightly while her foot taps evenly to a rhythm she's only half listening to, one part of her idly wondering where someone had dug up a mirror ball and another pretending that she was comfortable right there where she was.
His shoes come into view, and she has a split second debate with herself over the meaning of foot size before inwardly warning herself that she was going to have to find something else to do the next time she moved other than visit the bar.
"You okay there Goldilocks?"
Without moving her head, she peaks up through her lashes. Head cocked and crooked grin, he gazes down at her.
"'Cause you look about six years old in that thing."
She flushes, closing her eyes briefly before tilting her head up to present a stronger front.
"Say something wrong?" he drawls lazily.
She bites back a response. It wasn't his fault she was a social doormat.
Somewhere across the room someone is attempting to out-sing The Hollies. She cringes and then giggles when several others join in, each on their own key, proclaiming just why all they need is the air that they breathe. She catches him smiling at her, and wipes her own from her face. It helps if she pretends to be mad at him.
"I – um – I'm not really good at dances."
"That so? I'd have pegged you for prom queen."
She snorts. "I was in the Science Club, James. Rachel was the sociable one in the family. I was the geek."
"Okay then Miss Science Club, wanna dance?" he holds out his hand, his waggling eyebrows causing her to grin shyly.
He takes her hand in his and pulls her up out of the chair before she can form the sentence. He figures that giving her time to think would be dangerous, and he'd already had just enough Dharma beer to know he'd come out the losing side of a debate.
"It's been a long time since I last danced." She confesses, as he manoeuvres her through the throng of swaying hips.
He turns toward her, still holding her hand. "It's easy, I got ya." He moves her arms around his neck and she tries to ignore the way her stomach flips when he places his hands gently on her waist. It's been a while since someone did that too. "Relax I ain't gonna bite ya." She smiles widely and shuffles in a little closer.
Somewhere next to them a couple has taken their gyrating to a more serious level, and it leaves no illusions as to how their night will be ending.
His grin is cheeky. "Don't worry. I ain't gonna ask you to do that either. That's next lesson."
She curses her fair complexion and seeks the only refuge she can by resting her forehead against his chest. He feels her laughing silently, and takes the opportunity to pull her in the rest of the way.
"See now we sway from side to side like so." And she laughs again, because she feels ridiculous, and embarrassed, and absurdly happy all at the same time. And he's smiling broadly now because she's laughing, and damn he's not sure why but he just knows he likes it when she does. They move in time to the music, her head coming to rest on his shoulder and his almost buried in her hair.
"And then what?" she asks, her voice muffled in his neck.
He tries to ignore the feel of her breath on his skin, and clears his throat before he replies.
"Well – that's pretty much it."
She smiles and even though he can't see her face he realises that somewhere in the last 5 months, since they'd conned their way into the Dharma Initiative, he's managed to map and memorize that smile. She lifts her head to look at him,
"That's all you've got?" she teases.
"It's been a long time for me too."