chapter fifty two - II

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I'm already halfway through the crowded dance floor when a couple pivots to let me pass, and when I catch sight of her standing still in the middle of the moving bodies, her red lips pulled back into an amused smile as her deep blue eyes lock with mine, I can feel my heart beat a little faster.

Her floor-length silk dress is reflecting the soft strobe lights above, giving off a warm glow, and the sight is breathtaking because it looks like she's actually radiating a soft light. Like a beacon in the middle of this low-lit hall, she's pulling me toward her, and when I finally stop a step in front of her, I smile down at her as I extend my hand.

"I was hoping I might be able to steal you away for a dance,"

Her eyes widen and I know she realizes that I'm being corny as fuck because I'm quoting myself from the last time we were in this hall for a formal - the first time I ever asked her to dance with me.

She places her hand in mine and her smile is blinding as I pull her close to me and bring my nose down to brush against the top of her head, breathing in the vanilla apple spice of her. Her dress is the softest material I've ever felt, and I caress my thumb across the small of her back just to feel the way it slips so easily over my skin. Her arms slide up my arms, finding their place on my shoulders, and when she tilts her head back to look up at me she smiles and lifts her hand from my shoulder to move a fallen curl off of my forehead back into place.

"So Micah's on wingman duties tonight?" she perks a brow and her lips twitch.

"I passed the torch," I nod.

"Maybe it's a good luck torch," she muses, "maybe he'll be next up to find someone,"

I glance over to Micah who's laughing at whatever Nia is saying, but by the way their hands are placed on the most innocent parts of each other and they have a considerable amount of space between them, it's clear that neither of them are interested in crossing that line.

"Maybe, but probably not tonight," I admit, "we're about to head out to the diner, and unless his girl works there, I'd say his time is running out,"

She smiles a little at the thought, but then shakes her head, as if to say, yeah, I don't think he's going to have much luck there either.

"I mean - there is Josie. She's so cute, and sweet, and talented, but I don't know, I don't know if they'd click," she looks over her shoulder at my teammate and when he catches us both looking he gives us a what the fuck are you staring at look which we both laugh at.

"She's like his exact opposite. He's all hard lines and black ink and storm clouds and Josie is literal sunshine. She wears a ribbon in her hair whenever she wears it up, she almost always has some kind of bright colored paint dried onto her hands, she always slips into Spanglish whenever she gets too excited about telling you something, like she can't focus enough to think in one language, and she has a presence that just kind of - I don't know - lights you up," she glances back at Micah for a second and before he can catch her she looks back up at me with a shrug, "if they weren't complete opposites and I wasn't absolutely sure he'd break her heart -" she shakes her head.

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