Foreword: This is a short story which was actually adapted from a small part of a novel I'm writing. I did this so I could submit it to my school's literature magazine. It's almost completely out of context with my original story.
I hate dances. I don’t even know why I go to them. They're full of people and noise, both my second and third worst enemies respectively. Even so, they failed to match up to my first greatest enemy: boredom. While sitting along the side of a gymnasium during a dance IS more exciting than sitting at home, it’s not by much.
I was thinking of going home as it was getting late, and the dance was nearly over. As I stood up to leave, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. Turning a fraction to the right, I saw a girl with raven black hair wearing a simple and humble white dress. She was a few inches shorter than me, but not by too much. I guessed that she was at least in my grade, but her eyes were those of one who had seen much throughout her life. She was really pretty, but that’s not why she caught my eye. What drew my gaze to her was the fact that she was looking directly at me.
Her gaze met mine across the floor, and we shared a moment of stillness. Suddenly, she slowly but surely began walking towards me. Before I could react, she was standing in front of me as she looked into my eyes. Time stood still as the noise and people around us melted away. I was about to ask what she was doing before she did the last thing I expected. She picked up the fabric of her dress and bowed in a little curtsy, smiling lightly as she cast her gaze downwards and closed her eyes.
“Would you grant me this dance?”
I blinked as I tried to absorb what little information I could. Did I hear that correctly? No, there’s no way. Not in a million years.
“May I have this dance?” she asked again, her smile unwavering.
I know my first thoughts should have probably been along the lines of “What?” or even “WAIT WHAT!?” but really, I only had one thought in my head: “I can’t dance.”
I must have either thought out loud, or she read my mind, because she just laughed. Her sweet laughter resonated in my ears as she took my hands in hers. “Here then, I’ll show you,” she said as she began to pull me along, swerving around other dancers as we walked to the center of the gymnasium. I couldn’t help but notice that her hands were very soft. She didn’t seem to be the type to have a firm handshake, but you could tell just as much from her light grip. Her elegance, her kindness, and her mystery seemed to be conveyed all through this simple touch.
“It’s easy,” she said, taking one of my hands as she placed it around her waist and holding the other to the side. “Just follow my lead, and put your best foot forward,” she said with a wink. “I do mean that literally, just do your best to follow along.”
“Well excuse me,” I retorted. “I’ve never exactly danced before.”
I swear that I was about five shades of red at the moment, so all I could manage to do was obey. I just hope that no one I knew saw me right now. With another soft chuckle escaping her lips, she pulled me along as she led me around the gym. I suppose she would be taking the lead then… dang it.
“One two three, one two three,” I heard her chanting over and over, almost like a mantra. “Come on, count with me! It really does help!” I rolled my eyes, but I counted with her anyway. If there’s one thing I was going to know by the end of this, it was going to be the first three positive integers.
As we continued, it was becoming increasingly obvious that my footwork was absolutely horrid. I kept making simple mistakes like stepping with the wrong foot at the wrong count and crushing my partner’s toes. “You’re really clumsy,” she remarked, puffing out her cheeks as I nearly stepped on her feet for the umpteenth time. “It’s like you have two left feet.”
“I’m ambidextrous,” I said sulkily, wanting to somehow defend myself.
“Then maybe you’ll dance better if you walk on your hands.”
We continued like this for a while, although I really can’t tell for how long. It could have been for minutes, or even hours for all I knew. Know what though? I didn't care.
However, the dance seemed to begin winding down as the once energetic songs became slower. As they slowed, so did our pace. Avoiding the straggling dancers still brave enough to try the slow dance, we made our way back to the center of the gym, almost as if drawn there by some invisible force.
“Thank you,” I heard her whisper. “Thank you for this.”
Dummy, I should be thanking you.
As the final song ended after what seemed like an eternity, we just stood there, accepting this as the end of our night. I barely acknowledged the teacher who announced that the dance was over. Thinking we were done, I began to pull away, but the girl suddenly tightened her grip on me. Looking down to her, I saw that she was looking up to me, and our eyes met once more. After a brief moment of silence, she puffed out her cheeks as she gave me a slight look of annoyance.
“You always put the wrong foot forward,” she said with a pout, although her tone wasn’t one of irritation. However, I don’t think she was talking just about my dancing.
“Yeah,” I said, looking away. “Well I’m just a tad dyslexic.”
“You don’t say? Then maybe that’s why you stink at reading the mood.”
I hung my head in defeat from the most recent of her burning comments. Surprisingly though, she began laughing. It wasn’t a laugh fueled by rudeness or spite, but an innocent amusement.
“I’m sorry,” she said with another of her dazzling smiles. “I was only teasing you.”
“Don’t be sorry,” I sighed. “You didn’t do anything wrong.”
We looked at each other again as we stood in mutual silence once more. She opened her mouth as if she meant to say something, but I’ll never know what it was. In the next instant, the teacher called out to us specifically, telling us to go home. Looking around, it seemed that there weren’t many people left in the gym, and those people were already on their way out. Looking back to her, we reluctantly separated as we stood awkwardly, unsure of what we should be doing next. In the end, we silently agreed to exit the gymnasium.
As we left the gymnasium and walked into the commons, we began walking opposite ways of each other as we had parked on opposite sides of the school. I was about to exit the door on my end, but something occurred to me: Something so simple, so obvious. Whirling around, I saw her about to exit through the twin doors that seemed miles away.
“Hey!” I called. “What’s your name?”
She whirled around as she looked to me, a small look of puzzlement on her face before it transformed into her dazzling smile once more.
“Call me Angel,” she said.
“Angel,” I said, letting the name roll off my tongue. “Alright then, good night Angel!”
“U-um..." She stammered. "See you tomorrow?”
“Sure,” I said, giving my first genuine smile of the evening. “See you tomorrow.”