The Dance

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It takes a little bit
of well-meant persuasion
to get my parents to let me
leave the house on such
short notice, and so late
in the evening.
It's only seven, but I guess
they think that's late enough
to hinder last-minute plans.
But finally, they let me go,
and even agree to have Euni
drive me so I don't
have to walk in the cold.

It really isn't so far away -
Seth lives about the same distance
from school as we do,
if in the opposite direction.
I could have walked, but
my parents apparently didn't
want me to be out alone
after dark.
I don't blame them, but
at the same time,
our neighborhood isn't really
a very violent or scary place.
I think Natalia's party
was the worst we've seen,
and she doesn't even live
in the same neighborhood
as we do.

Though we don't take
Euni's new car,
she seems thrilled to be
out of the house, even if
only for a little bit.
We agree that she will
drop me off, and then
go do whatever she
apparently needs to do,
and I'll ask Seth to
give me a ride home.
Though they haven't yet met him,
my parents seem to think Seth
is a good kid, based on
his involvement with
bringing Euni and I home
from the party.
I guess maybe that's why
they're okay with me going
to meet him tonight.

The park is just
as I remember it:
silent and almost eerily calm,
moonlight drizzling over everything
and half-melted snow
spottily covering the ground.
I wonder if this is becoming
a meeting place of sorts
for Seth and I;
this is the third time
I've been to it
in the past few weeks.
Not that that's exactly
a bad thing, though.

"See ya,"
Euni calls as I
get out of Mom's car;
seconds later, she's
pulling away into the night,
without even waiting to see
if Seth is already here.
So much for my sister
being the responsible,
older one of us.
But as I turn around,
I spot the familiar shape of
Seth's car nearby,
dark and deserted -
so maybe she'd had
some common sense, after all.

I find him
in the middle of the field,
lying flat on his back
and staring up at the stars.
He looks so lonely,
but I just look at him
for a couple moments,
watching the steady rise and fall
of his chest in the moonlight.
Inexplicably, I wonder
if he really needs me at all -
he seems so peaceful and content
there on his own.

He lifts a hand overhead
in greeting as I cross
the distance between us
and sit on the ground beside him.
It's damp with snow,
and soaks into my coat and
the seat of my pants
within seconds.
I try to ignore it.
"What's up?"
Seth smiles, pushing himself
up into a sitting position
with a tiny grunt of effort.
I just throw him
a mildly inquisitive look.

"I could ask you
the same thing,"
I tell him.
"Is something wrong?
Or have you just been bored
since Natalia's been grounded?"

He makes a horrified face
at the mention of our
mutual friend, as if
that was a crazy idea.
"Nothing serious,"
he assures me
with a small grin.
"Nothing she can
help me with, anyway."

"So there is
something the matter."

"Not exactly..."
Back to being serious,
he sighs, a puff of
white condensation
forming in front of his lips.
And then he turns to
look at me, his eyes
fairly gleaming in the moonlight.
"Would it be so criminal
to say that I just wanted
to talk to you?"

I shrug, and
he laughs softly,
but my head is spinning now
and I don't exactly know why.
"Aren't you cold?"
I break in suddenly.
"And wet?
I mean, you're sitting
in the snow."

He casts me a
curious glance, but
only mimics my shrug.
"It's not so bad,"
he says,
"when you've been
out here for a while.
You forget about a lot
of things here, I've found -
and that's one of them, I guess."

"But then you'll
catch a cold,"
I point out.
"Or get hypothermia.
You could die."

He breaths out a laugh,
another puff of white
in the darkness.
"Ever the realist,
aren't you, Matty?
I don't think I'll die,
not yet.
I'm too good-looking
to die young."

At that, I laugh
just a little, and
shove his shoulder
with my free hand to
cover it up.
He grins at me,
bright in the dim light -
and I'm abruptly reminded of
the night he tried to kiss me,
here at this same place,
in nearly the same spot
as we're sitting right now.

"And you're just a
conceited dork,"
I say, trying to
cover up the fact that the
blood is rushing to my cheeks
yet again.
"We make a good team,
you and I."

"Do we?"
he muses, seemingly
lost in his own thoughts.
"Matty, there's something
that I need to ask you."
I think my heart might have
skipped a beat at that -
because what could Seth Hunter
possibly need to ask me?
"You know the winter dance
coming up next week?"
he continues, smiling faintly.
"Well, I-"

And then, it
suddenly clicks.
"You're asking me
to the dance,"
I say automatically,
and then almost slap myself
for speaking my thoughts aloud.
That probably sounded
really rude or something.

"Yeah."
Seth seems just as
surprised as I am.
"I am, actually,
but I guess you beat
me to it."

"It was Nat's idea,
wasn't it?"
I find myself saying.
"She was talking to me
about the dance earlier.
You don't have to
listen to her if
you don't want to, you know.
I know she's trying to
set us up, but she
doesn't always have to win-"

"Matty,"
he breaks in, laughing.
"I'm not asking you
because of her.
This has nothing
to do with Natalia, actually.
I'm asking because
I want to go to
the dance with you -
I can't think of
anyone else I'd want
to go with, actually."

"Oh."
I don't know what
to say to that.
This whole time, I'd thought
he only really was
my friend because
Natalia made him do it,
and only asked me out
because she would have been
upset if we hadn't complied
with her wishes.
After the party, I thought that
maybe I was just
a hassle to him -
Euni and I both.
Well, my sister certainly is,
but now I'm not so sure
about myself...

"So?"
he asks at last,
obvioisly impatient
for my answer.
It's kind of cute.
"What do you say?"

And he looks so
hopefully and earnest that
I can't help but
smile at him,
if only a little.
"All right,"
I tell him,
"why not?
It's better than going
with Nat, I'm sure."

And as he laughs,
something in my chest
constricts
in a way that makes me
wonder if I've said something
terribly wrong.

×

Awwww these nerds. I would love them if I didn't know what's to come ;) But remember, guys - Seth is just a dude. Don't hate him yet, there's plenty of time for that in the future.

Anywho! If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback!! It'd be much appreciated! <3

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