Friends, they had always just been friends. Good friends. Friends who could always make the other laugh. Who it was never too late to call or text if your car broke down, or you needed to talk out a decision, or your heart had just been broken, or the night was long and lonely. “Hey, it’s me. . .” had always been a sufficient greeting.
Friends. The line had always seemed very clear.
They were the only singles at a party with couples. Everyone was dancing. The song was James Bay’s Let It Go. He had reached for her hand without thinking. Her left in his right. It then made sense for his left arm to drape around her waist. She settled her right hand gently on his left forearm. The only skin contact was her hand in his but he had simply never thought about her hand in his before. How it would fit. How her skin would be warm and smooth except for the fingertips, which had thick guitar calluses like his. She had mentioned that she played guitar a little. He now realized that she meant more than a little.
Neither had anticipated what it would feel like to be in each other’s arms. Suddenly it was hard to make direct eye contact. When she did look up at him through her lashes she thought to herself that she had never noticed before just how beautiful his eyes were. He had been thinking that her hair smelled faintly of lavender.
She could not stop thinking about how the muscles in his forearm felt under her hand. How they were so close to each other that she could feel his breath on her cheek. His eyes were tracing the curve of her neck and wondering about the tantalizing glimpse he was getting of a tattoo on her left shoulder. He thought it was a cherry blossom. Had he known she had a tattoo?
The song changed to Beneath Your Beautiful, Labrinth and Emilie Sande. They could have let go, could have separated with an embarrassed laugh, pretended that this moment of awareness hadn’t just happened.
But they didn’t.
Instead, he thought about the way that she fit in his arms like she was always meant to be there. She was looking up at him with an expression he didn’t recognize. He realized he knew everything and nothing about her.
They didn’t know how long they spent like that dancing. A third slow song came on. Alex and Sierra Take Me. Time was no longer running in familiar ways. Almost as though it had a mind of its own, her right hand drifted off his forearm and made its way to bridge the distance between them, caressing his cheek with its scruffy beard. Without thinking, he turned his head into her cupped palm and kissed the center of it firmly. She wasn’t sure if the deep intake of breath was hers or his at the feel of his lips against her skin.
When he broke off the contact and looked at her in that serious, measuring way, her still disobedient hand left his cheek to move up and entwine itself into his unruly hair, pulling his head closer to hers. Their lips met. It was gentle and tentative at first and then it was something else. Something passionate, something filled with an aching longing neither had ever realized was there. As they moved closer to each other, no longer aware that anyone else was in the room, no longer aware of anything except for each other, the music played on. Shawn Mendes was now singing Love You With The Lights On. And they continued to dance.
© 2016 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved