His eyes were heavy, the bags under them, apparent, after so many late nights, waiting. He trudged himself off into his bedroom, not bothering to close the door behind him.
He was almost sloth-like, his feet dragging across the floor as his head drooped. He made no effort to quicken his speed at the sight of his bed. He probably wouldn’t get any sleep tonight, anyway. There was almost no point.
Dropping himself onto the mattress, he situated himself under the sheets, head lolling to the side as it hit the pillow. He was staring out of his bedside window, and through the glass, he could actually see the stars tonight. Usually, they’re shielded by clouds, or smog, but tonight, he caught himself smiling as he watched.
His weighted eyelids finally fluttered to a close, the smile still etched into his features as he instantaneously drifted into a relaxing sleep:
He gave a quiet huff, the music from the ballroom straying into the foyer, where he stood, alone. Everyone else was on the other end of the double doors, dancing and socializing, drinking and eating, laughing and loving.
He was hesitant, concerning himself with whether his mask was on straight, the embroidering in his vest was even, or if his lace bow around his neck was tied tight enough so it’d stay, but loose enough to where he wouldn’t be asphyxiated.
He stole a glance over to a hall-mirror, admiring his reflection for looking so well-put together for once, pausing to think about what he might find on the other side of the doors, waiting for him.
With one last determined sigh, he pried his gaze away from the mirror, taking timid steps toward the large oak doors, his hands resting on the smooth wood for only a heartbeat, before gliding them to the golden handles.
He twisted them, and then pushed.
Inside the ballroom was simply magnificent. He saw so many people twirling and dancing, all in Victorian-era dresses or tuxedos, all with elaborate embroidery and lacing, and all complimented with masks. Some of the older men even had powdered wigs, accenting their tuxes that they had chosen. There was a grand double-staircase encircling the room (he assumed they led up to the bedrooms), and the walls closest to him were lined with delectable foods, appetizers and main courses alike. The smell of the food was oh-so heavenly, and he tried to match each smell that wafted to his nose to a particular food.
He closed his eyes, taking in a longing breath, his head tilted at an upward angle. When his eyes opened again, they met a glittering chandelier, almost taking his breath away as quickly as he inhaled it. It was the centerpiece of the ballroom, and he was only just beginning to admire all of it’s lovely features, when the music ceased it’s playing, as did everyone’s jubilant dancing.
His eyes darted to and fro, scrutinizing everyone under his gaze. They were all looking atop the staircase. His eyes followed, bee-lining to a lone man, dressed in the most elegant tuxedo of all and equipped with the most elaborate mask, eyeing the others as they quieted. He assumed this was the host, and so he, too, quieted so that the host may speak.
"Ah, so good to see you all! Please, continue to enjoy yourselves! Just being a bit fashionably late, is all. Interesting crowd tonight, though, hm?"
He felt the host’s wandering eyes stop on him, seeming to lock with his own. He blinked, turning his head over his left shoulder, and then again to his right.
The music started back up, and turning back, he saw the host begin to gracefully step down the stairs on the staircase closest to him, hand gliding down the wooden rail, his eyes still ever-watching.
He blinked again, his cheeks burning against the mask. The host seemed intimidating to him, and, out of habit, he turned to the table of food, hoping the host would forget about him somehow, or walk passed him.
His hopes evaporated when he felt a gentle tap to his shoulder.
"Excuse me, love."
Turning, he came face to face with the host of the event, flashing a warm and inviting smile to him. “Would you care for a dance?"
The host extended his arm, and the other couldn’t help but take a small moment to gaze at him; He was absolutely breathtaking, and he seemed to steal all the charm the ballroom once gave off. His dark hair was pushed upward, and slicked with gel, his brown eyes were friendly and kind, and the white beaded mask only helped succeed in bringing them to life. His smile was genuine, melting the other’s heart with just one look, and the ruffles of his cuffs perfectly accentuated the nimbleness of his hand, which the other eagerly took into his own as he nodded.
With a flick of his arm, the host twirled him onto the dance floor, keeping his smile as they began to waltz. Each time they would turn, he would always turn back in haste to face the host again, mesmerized by his adoring features. They stayed like this for a few moments, until the host broke the silence;
"I don’t believe I’ve seen you around before. If I may be so bold to say, you certainly are a captivating young man."
He glanced away, his face flushing from the sudden compliment. The host only grinned wider, twirling him again, before continuing;
"I would hate to remain strangers after this chance meeting. I know this ruins the intentions of the Masquerade, but I just can’t risk not finding you in the future." The host stopped dancing completely, taking one of the other’s hands in his own. “If you take off your mask, I’ll take off mine."
He wasn’t too comfortable with the ultimatum coming from a stranger, but he felt too light, too comfortable, and too free of worry, to care. Placing his free hand on his mask, he slipped it off and over his head, meekly responding; “My name is Luhan."
The host softly echoed the name as his gaze flickered away, his tone full of care, pausing as the sound lingered in the air, above the music, as if the named longed to be said from his lips. He then looked back to Luhan, the bright smile gracing his features once again.
Taking his hand out of Luhan’s, the host placed both along the edges of his mask, gliding the material over his head.
Luhan gasped, his eyes almost becoming moons, gazing at the other with such admiration and appreciation; never before had he seen someone so inexplicably handsome, and so enthralling to be around, at that.
Luhan thought that he might faint, until the host’s response seemed to ring around the ballroom, snapping him back to the enchanted world around him; “My name is Oh Sehun."
In that moment, there were no other people dancing, no chatter to be heard, and no drunken laughter splitting through the air. There was only this moment, here and now, with this stranger, who was named Oh Sehun.
Just as Sehun did, Luhan echoed the name; the word leisurely flowing across his lips.
He closed his eyes for only a moment, taking a small step backward, but he could feel the ground vanish from under him. He was falling back, and as he opened his eyes again, he could still make out Sehun’s tender features.
His eyes fluttered closed again as his back broke into water, the waves engulfing his person, cradling him as he sank deeper, the name still gently echoing around him.
Luhan’s languid tone filled the silence of the empty bedroom. He turned, his back now to the window. The stars seen from that window were glinting across the sky ever-so joyously, as if they were dancing and twirling in the night.
Two stars, in particular, just seemed to burn brighter than the rest that night.