The Matchmaker

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It's significantly more awkward,
I find, to dance when
you're completely sober.
Harder too, I guess,
considering I really don't know
how to dance at all.
Some pop song is playing now,
and Natalia jumps in
with the other students excitedly
after telling us that it's
her 'favorite song ever.'
I've been in the car with her
enough times to have heard
her say that several times before
about other songs, so
I don't take that very seriously.

Seth suddenly excuses himself
after a few moments, leaving me
with only Natalia in the midst
of the crowd of other kids
that I don't know.
I guess you could say that
we're alone now, since
no one else is really
paying much attention to us.
Nat probably knows them all,
but they're just strangers to me.

That isn't really what
grabs my attention, though.
Before he had disappeared,
Seth had exchange a look
with Natalia that I
didn't understand at all, almost
as if they were hiding something
from me and couldn't
say anything about it aloud.
Or maybe that's just me.
It was still weird, especially
since they haven't been known
to get along extremely well.
But I'm distracted from that
train of thought as Natalia
leans in towards me
to speak over the sounds
of the music and chattering students
all around us.

she starts,
drawing out the syllable.
"How's it going with
you and Seth?"
A tiny grin is playing
at the corners of her lips,
as if she knows something
that she isn't letting on.
If I wasn't suspicious
before, I definitely am now.

"What do you mean?"
I have to shout to be heard
over everything surrounding us,
but she doesn't seem
phased by it at all.
Instead, she just shrugs,
looks away and
keeps on dancing
while I feel like an idiot
just standing there, trying
my best to fit in and
not look too awkward.
That's how I always seem
to feel around Nat, though -
she always has herself
completely put together,
her best foot forward, while I
am an awkward nobody
who can't even keep from
falling flat on her face some days.
We're the most unalike
kind of people, but somehow
we ended up as friends.
I still don't get it.

"I was just wondering,"
she asks innocently -
and then laughs as I
frown up at her.
"Seth is such a clutz -
he totally should have
asked you out by now.
I don't even know
what that boy is thinking."

For a moment, her statement
only confuses me.
"He did, though,"
I protest, bewildered.
"Remember when you
forced him to ask me
on that date?"

"That's not what I mean,"
she sighs, throwing her hands up
(and nearly hitting someone
dancing too close to her
as a result.)
You guys aren't actually
dating yet, is what I mean.
There's a difference between
going on a date or two
and dating each other."

I don't exactly see
how there is a difference there,
but I do know that Seth and I
aren't in a relationship,
if that's what she means.
I mean, that date was only
to get Nat off our case -
even I know that.
And I'm sure Seth feels
the same way, so I don't
understand the point of
this conversation, except that
Natalia apparently likes
to play matchmaker
a little too much.
"We're not dating, no,"
I say at last, shrugging.
"I thought you
knew that."

"You're hopeless, too!"
Natalia exclaims,
apparently surprised by the discovery.
"I swear, you two
are just so dense.
It's a wonder that there
is anything between you at all!
You sure are lucky
that I'm here, huh?"

But before I can respond
to that weird question,
the music abruptly changes,
eliciting groans from
several other students,
Natalia included.
A slower song takes its place,
and the DJ says something
into the mic about a slow dance.
That's obviously not something
I want to participate in
by myself, so I
turn to head back
the way we had come.

But Natalia grabs my arm
with a mischievous smile,
one that makes my heart
stutter unexpectedly -
out of anticipation or
something else entirely,
I have no idea.
"Where are you going?"
she asks in a
singsong voice.
"The song just started, silly."

"Yeah, but I-"
I break off as I spot
Seth pushing his way towards us
through everyone else.
Other students have started
pairing up to dance together,
so he has less trouble
weaving through what has now
become a more organized chaos.
He has this weird look
on his face, too, like he's
setting himself up
to do something difficult.
I can't even figure it out.
What's going on with
my friends tonight?

When I turn back around to
ask Nat about it, she
has already disappeared.
That's pretty typical of her,
but I still can't help but
feel a bit disappointed.
Seth quickly takes
her place, though,
holding out his hand to me.
"May I have this dance?"
he asks sarcastically,
as if he's imitating some
Victorian era play,
and we're in a room full of
spinning ladies and
handsome gentlemen, rather than
overdressed teens and
the smell of rancid gym equipment.
The weird expression I saw
on his face as he was
walking towards me
has vanished.

I smile shyly,
"but I still don't know how.
And especially not
this kind of dance."

"Me either,"
he laughs.
"Just copy what
everyone else does.
It shouldn't be that hard."

It turns out that
'not that hard' actually is
kind of hard.
Figuring out how to stand
proves a little challenging,
and then I accidently
step on his foot, and he
just laughs while my face
turns bright red.
But we finally get it down
enough to join in
the awkward swaying
that is the high school equivalent
of a slow dance.
Seth's hands are cold
against my back;
I can't help but shiver
in spite of myself.
He glances down at me
with a smile playing at his lips
like he's going to say something -
but then a familiar voice
draws our attention away
from each other and
to the side.

"Look what I found!"
Natalia says devilishly,
dangling something
over our heads, something
green and leafy with
little white berries.
My heart almost stops
for a second time tonight
as I identify the object.
"It's not Christmas any more,
but that's not an issue, is it?"

There have been plenty of times
before now that I haven't
exactly been the biggest fan
of Natalia Davis, but I don't think
I've ever wanted her gone
more than I do now.
Leave it to Natalia
to try and further
her matchmaking scheme
with a stupid sprig
of mistletoe.
Looking back up at
Seth's narrowed eyes, I
can tell that he feels the same.



Nat apparently won't give up on these two, how wonderful. What a little dork.

Friendly reminder that this story will be put on hold for about a week or so starting on the 11th, just so I can catch up and destress and hopefully stockpile some chapters to post when I don't have time to write. Blame college, man. So much busyness.

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

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