you and i, we make a grand salute,
stare at each other like lost little birds across the room
-little waltz, basia bulat
She says yes to Randolph because he's probably the sweetest boy she'll ever meet and he makes watching a Yankees baseball game with a Yankees fan fun instead of just plain obnoxious (not to mention, he accepts that no matter what, she'll always be a Mets fan at heart).
He drives her to the dance and opens the door for her and when he nervously touches the back of her hand with his fingertips ever so lightly, she can't help smile at him and quench his anxiousness by needling her fingers through his as they enter the decorated and lit up gymnasium.
They stand in the side and watch the other couples for a while and unconsciously she finds her eyes scanning for a certain boy with tousled curls with his date and it isn't hard to find the couple, perfectly in place, as they should be, in the center of the dance floor.
His eyes catch hers just when she's about to avert her own away and they hold her in place with nothing special, with nothing close to longing or affection or even curiosity but somehow they still have a lingering effect on her, a strange sensation on her skin, long after she's looked away and accepted the feeling of a familiar warm hand in hers.
It shouldn't matter (and it doesn't) she thinks to herself as she smiles a yes to Randolph as he asks if she would like to dance.
And in between the clumsy, unsynchronized steps, and the stubbed toes and constant apologies that always seem to be followed with laughter and whispered 'it's okay,' she thinks tonight didn't turn out as bad as she thought it would before.
Nor as heartbreaking as she thought it would because of a certain boy with tousled curls. She lets the fair-haired boy kiss her cheek at the doorstep and wish her a good night sweetly and she falls asleep finally accepting that there is more to life than unrequited first crushes (loves).
Kevin's wedding is sort of like a winter wonderland meets fairytale and she thinks Kevin would do just that, because he has the heart of a child, made of gold and trinkets of silver, and he'll always be her favorite Lucas brother, he'll always be her best friend.
The beach is frozen of pristine white and crystal lined and the ocean never looked more relinquished and soothing and she tells Kevin so, that this is the loveliest wedding she'll probably ever be invited to.
He gives her a full smile, the sides of his mouth turned up as if to promise to never be any other way and she returns the smile.
She sits at her table and watches as Kevin gets up to dance with his bride once again before turning towards Joe and Stella and noticing how they share one of their far and few moments of solitude, the slight intimacy in the way Joe's hand presses into the curve of the blonde's back and she can't help sigh because it's all so nice and seemingly out of her reach.
Someone taps her shoulder and looks up to see serious chocolate brown eyes and a quiet mouth and her heart stops for a second.
He hands her her cardigan and tells her she left it at the church and she nods her head numbly and wonders how she could ever get so in over her head for someone who she seems to be seeing (knowing) less and less as the days turn into months and the months into years.
Absence really shouldn't make the heart grow fonder when there's never been anything to grow fond of she concludes as he walks away without another word.
It's at Joe and Stella's wedding that she becomes a little more conscious of how his gaze never leaves her, save for when they're walking down the aisle, she as the maid of honor and he as the best man, and he makes sure to keep his eyes fixed forward, the definition of chivalry and composure, and she tries her best to not trip over heels and make a fool of herself. She feels his arm, intertwined with hers, lock in place a little firmer than before, an unspoken promise to never let her fall.
During the vows, he looks at her and she can't help but mouth a thank you to him and she thinks she sees his mouth quirk into a shadow of a smile but it's gone in a blink of an eye and she refocuses her attention on the bride and groom.
At the reception, she goes to the restroom and listens through the wall as the music floats around and reverberates everywhere and she can't help but close her eyes and just pretend. She leads herself out, humming a familiar tune faintly as she dances little, intricate steps with no one in particular.
Her eyes open wide and fast when she hears a chuckle and realizes whose standing in front of her. She can't help feeling a little flustered and embarrassed at being caught.
There's a pause as they stand there and then he takes a few idle steps towards her and tells her he thinks she forgot something.
She looks up questioningly, only to have him guide one of her hands to the top of his shoulder while taking the other in his own gently.
His fingers are cold and she can't help shiver slightly as they dance to a ghost of a melody that he hums quietly so only she can hear and every step they take is precise, full of care and grace.
He pulls her closer to him and she closes her eyes and gets lost in the little waltz they seem to be sharing, enjoying the melody of his voice echoing from his chest towards her. She likes the feel of her chin fitting so easily into the place between his neck and shoulder, the light squeeze of fingers and the pressure of a palm against her back, fingers just a feather away from skin.
He kisses her forehead the second before it's all over. Then takes a step back and stares at her standing there, unsure and a little more lost than either of them would like to be.
She doesn't think she can stand the waiting any longer though, so she pulls him in, hand splayed across his cheekbone and thumb curving down his jaw line, pressing slightly into his neck and pretends to be bold and daring, and secretly prays that he won't move his face away—
He pushes her lightly into the wall behind her, one hand gripping her waist, the other holding the side of her neck with a sense of fragility and she lets him kiss her like he's making up for all the times between them that felt irresolvable, indecipherable, and completely wasted.
She likes how their tongues become acquainted with one another, like their bodies (feet, hands, chests) when they were dancing, and he tastes like slow, aching intimacy shared in the darkness where time cannot exist.
Departed love and quiet pulls at the heartstrings – that's what he makes her feel she thinks as they're walking down an empty street and he suddenly stops mid-step, grabs her hand and gives each of her fingertips a light kiss, never letting his eyes leave her. And he's probably full aware of the effect the gesture must have on her but he doesn't say anything about it.
It's so old-fashioned and timeless, she can't help cherish the moment and wonder where those teenage boys she used to be so crazy about went - when the pop love songs of young love and teenage heartbreak were left behind in old platinum CDs and the track records put away for something a little older and mature.
She laughs as he extends his hand out towards her and asks her to dance with him down the pavement. She takes his hand and lets him spin her around under the streetlights with a lazy turn of a wrist, a loose turn of entangled hands. And when he pulls her closer to his chest, she stands on the tip of her toes and kisses the corner of his mouth like she always does.
He doesn't let her break away from the kiss like other times though. He pulls her closer and makes a messy knot out of her hair with his fingers while using his other hand to lead her feet on top of his so he can kiss her properly. His tongue dances around the inside of her mouth and she tugs at his curls a little more feverishly.
She'll miss this she tells him when they stop. He shakes his head, smiles reassuringly and reminds her it's only for two months and then he'll be back – with her, always her.
He gives her something to remember him by for the time being – three seemingly simple words that change her world and turn it over like an hourglass from that night onwards.
Her fingers are aching from the bitter cold as they take their seats across from one another at the cafe. They start dancing absentmindedly across the rim of the orange colored coffee cup, the steam from inside making them feel a little less frozen than before, as if attempting to keep away the chilliness that steals its way in from outside the stained window pane they're sitting near.
He grasps her hand with his own and sets them both down on the table, next to the big orange and blue cup, letting his fingers graze her palm before letting their fingers slide against one another, the small friction sparking something a little more nostalgic than electricity.
She wants to say something but it gets tangled somewhere down in her throat. She wonders if this is just another passing moment, silvery and coveted like so many others in the past. He asks her how long she's been waiting for him. And it doesn't take long for her to understand that he doesn't just mean tour dates, album releases, solo projects in studios in cities across the country and drifting career paths.
She tries to pass if off as nothing but he won't let her and she tries not to over think where this is going but she can't help it.
He says he doesn't like keeping her waiting and she insists he's not but he won't believe her, says there has to be a way for him to fix this. She sighs softly (because really, there's nothing to fix) before getting up suddenly and walking to his side of the table to sit down next to him. She settles her head against his shoulder and holds his hand snug in hers, tapping her fingers on his knuckles haphazardly.
She hums the music he sang to her all those nights ago and he kisses her long and sweet. When she feels something cold and hard being slipped onto one of her fingers, she can't help let out a breath of surprise.
He stops at the sound and looks at her, brown eyes full of sudden unease and dread for the worst and she can't help the laughter that spills out of her mouth at his expression. She slides closer to him and kisses him for having such a ridiculous thought ever cross his mind.
She mumbles in his ear with sweet conviction, just in case he still doesn't get it. From the way he's kissing her though, she's pretty sure he does.
She asks him to teach her how to dance and it's almost like coming full circle.
She barely reaches his waist and it's an endearing sight to watch, as she daintily places her shoeless feet on his dress shoes and wraps her small arms around his hips, making sure to not let her white dress get bunched up in the front, before letting him lead the way – a slight hesitance in the curve of her mouth before she looks up and the two share mirror image smiles.
He holds her tightly and takes slow steps forward, then back, then to the side and then the other, the tap of his foot keeping in harmony with the music, and she might have his mouth and curls, but she's got her eyes she thinks to herself, as he suddenly picks her up and swirls her around, her laughter of delight like bells and her eyes lighted of life and innocence.
She kisses his cheek affectionately before nestling against his chest. He looks across the room towards her as he spins the small figure in his arms around slowly in place and lets her fall asleep against him. She smiles and waves back quietly, not saying a word.
It's not a concept or a notion but that's what makes it easier to hold on to she thinks.
A/N: I don't know. Maybe if you listened to the song, you would understand where this came from better. Or maybe not.