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By J.A. Campbell
I’ve been asked a few times, what happened at the dance? Well, now you get to find out. This is a scene I deleted (and slightly modified to conform to the published versions of the stories) from the original MS. Stick around at the end for a giveaway.
“You look wonderful,” Tad said, perhaps to break the uncomfortable silence.
“I didn’t have a dress to wear.” I plucked at the black velvet. “Thank you.” I was pretty sure I was blushing.
Tad grinned. “It looks like you found one.”
“Yeah, it was my mom’s.”
“Well, it’s perfect. Very elegant.”
I smiled. “Tad, I don’t actually know how to dance.”
He laughed. “It’s not to hard, but I don’t really know how either.” He pulled into the school parking lot. The dance was always held in the gym and this year the theme was ‘under the starry night.’ I thought it was somehow appropriate and couldn’t wait to see the decorations.
“I think Steph and Gary are here. Alexander and Ann aren’t.” I refused to think about how I knew. Tonight I was normal. Tonight I was just a teenager on a date. Nothing else.
Tad nodded and parked the car. He came around to my side and took my hand, tucking it under his arm so that we walked arm in arm. I felt very special as he led me to the entrance. The teacher chaperone took our tickets and we went inside. The school was transformed and I stopped and stared for a moment. Stars twinkled from the ceiling and black cloth covered all the walls, making it look like we did walk though a starry night.
“Pretty,” Tad said.
“Yeah.” I tugged him forward and we went the rest of the way into the hallway outside of the gym. “Let’s find Steph and Gary.”
“Lead the way.”
It didn’t take long to find our friends, and Alexander and Ann showed up while we made small talk with Gary and Steph. It wasn’t like we didn’t see each other all the time but it seemed like we were all a little nervous.
After a while Tad put his arm around me. “Want to dance?” He whispered in my ear.
I shivered as his breath tickled my neck. “Yeah, sure.” I tried to sound excited, but I was nervous.
“Relax. I’m not good at this either.”
I forced a laugh.
Tad put his arm around me and squeezed, leading me into the gym. The music was uncomfortably loud, but I managed to ignore it. It was hard to recognize the gym under all the black cloth, stars, glitter and lights, and the transformation made everything feel a little unreal. Tad picked a spot near the edge of the crowd, close to an exit door. I was certain he’d done that on purpose and I grinned at him. Butterflies danced in my stomach and I shivered when he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close.
“And now we just pretend like we’re moving to the music.”
“You make it sound easy.”
I stepped on Tad’s feet more than once, but he didn’t complain, and after a while we had the hang of moving together and I started to relax and have fun. It seemed like it was the first time I’d really had fun since Steph’s birthday half a year ago. Tad was grinning and a happy light shone in his eyes.
The DJ played a slow song and Tad pulled me close to him, almost as if he was hugging me instead of holding me to dance. It was comforting. I rested my cheek against his shoulder and listened to his heart beating while the music filled the gym, drowning out the other conversations.
“You ok?” he whispered into my ear – breath tickling my neck.
It took me a minute to find my voice. “Yes,” I said a little hoarsely.
“Good,” he rested his cheek against my head and held me tightly, moving slowly to the music.
The music faded out and Tad stopped moving. I looked up at him when he didn't release me as I had expected. He stared down at me, taking one hand and brushing a few stray hairs out of my face.
Everything faded to the background until there was just me and him. I looked into his eyes and almost asked him what, but he smiled slightly.
“Will you hit me if I kiss you,” he whispered.
I felt my jaw drop, but I couldn't answer, frozen, eyes wide and almost ready to run.
Amusement danced in his eyes, but before I could be annoyed he leaned over. “I'll take that as a no,” he said, his lips brushing mine as he spoke.
A small, almost terrified sound escaped my lips and he smiled before he kissed me firmly. It was chaste, we were still in a school, but it filled me with pleasure, sent desire rushing through me. My arms trembled and my legs felt weak, but Tad held me close.
Maybe I could have a normal life after all.