15 - Kisses Under the Moon

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I had moved through the crowd, smiling at passing people that knew I were friends with the bride. I still had my champagne in my hand, ready to gulp at the bubbly nectar if I needed. I had stuck by Ruby's demands, heading back to my father and Emily and making light conversation. I tried my best to be on my best behaviour, knowing what Ruby had said was true. I loved my father, he was all I left in the family department. It had just been the two of us for so long it had became so natural for there not to be anyone else in his life but me. But now he was dating and maybe falling in love with another woman who wasn't my mother. I knew my mother's death wasn't something I could change, wasn't something I go back in time and change at all. But I never really thought of my dad moving on from her. In a perfect world, they would still be together, happily married. But the world wasn't perfect, nothing truly was. 

"Emily seems really nice." A voice jarred me out of my thoughts, snapping my eyes away from the table they perched at, sharing a slice of wedding cake. Laurel was beside me, beautiful in her white gown. I gave a brief nod, accepting the truth. Emily was nice, she was pretty and welcoming and didn't judge me for being a total jerk towards her earlier. They were really cute together too. 

I sipped at my drink, "Yeah, unfortunately." 

Laurel sat down next to me on the bench, her braided hair moving with her head. She twirled to face me, her eyes kind. "I've known you for a long time, you know."

I nodded. "And?"

Laurel's hand reached out for my own. "You've always been so brave but guarded. You don't have to be all the time." It was the second time hearing this speech tonight. "Look at me and Tommy. We weren't always this happy, believe me. But over time old wounds heal...and life moves on, you've just got to move on with it."

I glanced back at my dad and Emily, he looked happy. I hadn't seen him this happy in what seemed like forever. Laurel was right, time moved on and heartbreak passed. It might be hard seeing my dad with another woman but it was something that I was going to have to open up about, my mother wasn't coming back and my dad knew that, I just needed to learn that too. 

"Thanks, Laurel." I gave her the best smile I could manage. I caught sight of her sister, Sara watching us. Sara was very different from Laurel but both girls shined bright. "Your advice is always amazing and I'm very tempted to ask for more but I think Sara wants you."

Laurel turned slightly, watching as Sara beckoned her over, a flute raised in her hand. The crowd started parting on the dance floor as it was time for the classic father and daughter dance. "I guess that's my queue. Be good, yeah?"

I raised my glass in response, a smile tickling at my lips. "I can only try." Laurel just shook her head playfully at me before standing and making her way towards the dance floor where her father stood waiting for her. 

The slow music started as the band swayed on the small stage that was set up. I spotted my dad standing near the edge of the dance floor, searching for me. I didn't move for a moment, taking in the night. I sat on a bench, wearing a lovely dress which I couldn't really afford. I sat among people who were joyous, happy to be here to witness the beauty of love. It was something I wasn't used to because love had always seemed like a burden. But tonight it was something I wanted more than anything. 

I got to my feet, placing down my flute and making my towards my dad, his face lighting up as his eyes fell upon me and I couldn't help but smile. "You want to dance, old man?" I joked coming to stand in front of him, holding out my hand.

Dad shrugged, "Only if my daughter can promise she won't bite my head off?"

I nodded, "She can only try. She's a bit stubborn after all."

Dad's hand took my hand, moving us towards the dance floor where other fathers and daughters were swaying and twirling already. "Well, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." I placed my free hand in his own, smiling up at him. We stepped lightly around the floor, gliding nicely to the music. The twinkling lights above us seemed to sparkle light stars. I felt suddenly alright because tonight was going to end and the world was going to keep spinning and lives would go on and in that moment, I was alright with it. For a long time I had feared change, feared letting go. But tonight I was done holding onto a life that was my past. 

"I love you, dad." My voice was barely a whisper. 

Dad gave me a smile, "I know, kiddo." 

He spun us around, my hair fanning out around me. A giggle erupted from my chest as I clung to his arms like I was a little girl still, dancing on her father's feet. "She's nice. Emily, I mean."

"You approve now, do you?" He asked, keeping his voice light.

I knew I had been a jerk about the whole dating thing but he was blood and I wanted him to be happy and maybe I alone couldn't make him happy anymore. "I'm sorry for being a bitch." I started and meaning it. "It was just a shock but Emily is lovely and of course, I want you to be happy."

Dad leaned forward, planting a kiss on my forehead. "I love you, too." 

Suddenly there was a tap on my father's shoulder and he stepped away, offering Roy my hand. I felt the air leaving my body. "You don't mind, sir?"

Dad shook his head, throwing a grin in my direction. "She's all yours."

Roy's hand circled around my waist, his other hand taking my own. He moved gracefully, like he knew exactly what he was doing. I wasn't too surprised, coming from a family like his own. My eyes drifted up to his face, watching as his lips formed a familiar grin. "Hey," Roy spoke quietly.

"Hi," I replied as we swayed perfectly together. 

Roy was trying hard not to smile and that usually annoyed me, how he was always smirking like he knew every secret that rested on my lips. But tonight, that flirty grin left my head spinning. "I missed seeing your face everyday over the holidays." Roy admitted.

I cocked my head to the side, a surprised delight in my voice. "You did?"

Roy nodded, "Why, didn't you miss me?"

Those few days over Christmas and New Year's had been busy but there had been a hole resting in my heart, wondering what was missing when I gathered with Ruby and Douglas, waiting for the countdown to begin. I now realised that hole missing had been Roy. "Did I miss your never ending banter and cocky grin? Or how you always show up uninvited or how you somehow always manage to get under my skin?" Roy waited for my answer. 

The words that came from my mouth were honest, too honest. "Yes."

Roy's eyes fell back to my face, a tiny crease in his forehead flattering out. Roy hadn't expected that answer, not in a million years. "If I didn't know any better, I think you were getting soft on me, Matthews."

That response brought a grin to my face, a bubble of laughter filling the space between us. I let my head fall back, my eyes gazing up towards the sky. I felt heat in my cheeks, knowing Roy Harper had caused that it. He was everything I hated but everything that made my heart race wildly, maybe that's what love did to someone. 

I felt Roy's hand rest gently on my cheek, bringing my head to meet his own. The moment was still, everything around is freezing all at once. I knew there was music, I knew people were dancing around us but in that moment in was just the two of us. "You don't mind me getting soft on you, do you?" I asked quietly. 

Roy shook his head, the right side of his lip tugging up. "I could never." He replied, his face tilting down. My tongue slipped along my lips, wetting them. It was a habit, something I didn't even know I had done. The flicker of movement pecked Roy's attention, his thumb stroking my cheek. I leaned forward, pressing my lips to his. Roy didn't hesitate, his lips moving against my own. They were soft but sure, determined to make the most of this moment. I threaded my hand around his neck, my fingertips brushing through his hair. I felt a flutter in my chest, wanting to get out. That fire burning in my veins flared as his lips crushed against mine, making my knees buckle. 

That fire warmed my body, all over. And in that very moment, I was happy.

Too bad moments like that never truly last forever. 


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