[14] Smile

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Roxy and Tyler. Forever.

It was really happening. His 5 year anniversary with Roxy was coming up, and he had the perfect idea. They were 26 now, but the Roxy and Tyler that had first started dating those 5 years ago were still there inside of him. He remembered just how passionately he loved her. Walking into the store just now, everything had felt so right.

Tiffany & Co. It was outrageous, he already knew he wouldn’t be able to afford anything from that place. He’d only been working for 3 years now, and he still had student loans to pay off.

But then he walked in and saw the ring. The one he knew she would fall in love with and cherish. It was perfect. No, it was more – it was MAGICAL, because it had called out to him. He was drawn to it, couldn’t help but walk over to take a look.

“Round Brilliant With Pear-shaped Side Stones” Priced from $13,800.

That cost more than a semester’s tuition. Then again, he had graduated a semester early so the impact on his loans wouldn’t be immense – he could just pretend he’d graduated on time. He was so tempted.

He took some pictures of the ring and walked out of the store with a smile. Not because he had an engagement ring.

No, the smile on his face was because he knew what he was doing for their five year anniversary. They were getting married.

Roxy and Tyler. Forever.

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[13] Misfortune

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Everybody in the room flinched as his fist slammed the photo down on the table again.

“Beta, the decision has been made. Ye final hai,” his father said.

His brother looked over at Mahip, carefully masking the pity in his eyes. Behind that pity was a certain frustration, because he knew that his number was next. He would be the next man to walk to the guillotine of the arranged marriage tradition. But he had a few years to go, and he hoped that his girlfriend Suhana would be able to impress his parents enough by then. She was taking a course on computer programming right now. He knew that he would be able to ask for her hand in marriage only once his parents knew she was smart and homely enough for him. He had a few years during which he could pray that Suhana learned how to cook and impress his mother. If she didn’t….well, he didn’t want to think of that.

“HOW? HOW CAN YOU EXPECT ME TO MARRY A STRANGER?” Mahip yelled. Behind the fury was a rage that threatened to break down into tears. “HOW CAN YOU RUIN MY LIFE?”

“Nonsense. Beta she knows how to cook, she makes amazing chai. She’s very pretty, and you two practically grew up together!”

Mahip glared back at his father in defiance. “We live in Hong Kong. She is from America, and YOU grew up with her father. I just knew of her.”

“Knew her, grew up with her. Ek he baath hai na,” his father said.

His brother strode over to Mahip, putting his hands on his shoulder and whispering something that seemed to ease the tension of Mahip’s shoulders. “Yaar, kuch nahi hoiga. If you don’t like her, you don’t need to see her any more than necessary. She’s from America, she won’t know shit about what you do and where you go. This is probably a better life than if Dad found some fobby chick from India.”

“She’s a lawyer. Man, I’m screwed.”

They both studied the picture together a moment longer, ignoring their Father completely. Nobody else in the room noticed the Father sigh. He was doing what was best for his son, but nobody else seemed to realize that or even care. “Zamana badal gaya hai,” he muttered to himself as he walked out of the room to make sure the barat was ready. Yes, times had changed.

Mahip was left alone in the dressing room with his brother as everybody else filed out of the room following his father. A rare and blissful moment of silence ensued. He waited silently, cringing a little as he thought he heard his mom approaching, but it was just a false alarm.

“Am I just supposed to fall in love with her?”

“Yeah, that’s how its supposed to work,” his brother responded. Maybe you shouldn’t have been so afraid of commitment back when you had a girl you thought you loved. But of course, he couldn’t say that out loud, as much as he wanted to knock some sense into his brother’s head and tell him that it was his fault. Right now, the best thing to do was stay quiet and hope for this girl’s sake that he didn’t completely ruin the wedding. No girl wanted to be put in a situation like this one, and his brother was not one to mask his emotions very well.

Slam

“BRO, chill out. That desk has done nothing to you. Neither has the picture. And for that matter, neither has this girl. Just get this over with already, you know things aren’t going to change at this point.”

A little harsh, but better than the smug, sarcastic, I-told-you-so thoughts running through his head.

“Mere kismat hi karab thi,” Mahip thought. He was miserable. Completely miserable. Even if she was normal, had all her teeth, and knew how to make good tea, he wasn’t just going to love her. How was he supposed to LIVE with this complete stranger. He had never even spent more than 4 hours with his girlfriend. Except that one time their movie started two hours late – he had spent like 5 hours with her then. And the chatter had annoyed him so much on their drive back he was about to tell her to get out and take a cab home. And now he had to LIVE with somebody. And like…see her 24/7.

He thought about calling the office and telling the staff he was going to work nights now. Then thought about how ludicrous and crazy that would sound, and put his phone back down. He thought about it. I’m going to be at work all day, and then I’ll get home and sleep. I won’t even have to see her much.

I mean, it wasn’t really fair to her either, he knew that. But then WHY HAD SHE SAID YES? She was being all polite and courteous and he had to do the same thing back, but he wanted NOTHING to do with her. He didn’t want to know her favorite color (It was periwinkle or something stupid like that) or that she accidentally killed her pet bunny when she was 5.  She was so BORING. He had been e-mailing her back and forth a few times since their engagement 6 months ago, and their parents were in shock that the two weren’t madly in love yet. He groaned aloud as he remembered his mom’s anecdote. “I met your father for the first time when the barat got there. i saw him from underneath my veil and I knew he was the one.” He loked at his parents bickering every day and scoffed at the words. Bullshit. You don’t ‘find the one’ because your parents are forcing you to marry her. You just make do.

This girl who he had known about for his life was about to become a wife. This woman who had been nothing more than a name until six months ago was going to be MARRIED to him. She was going to live in his room and he was going to have to wake up and say good morning to her EVERY DAY.

Shaadi? More like MAUT.

PS. Rukmani, shoutout to you right now. You definitely made me want to right more stories around Indian characters. Looking forward to your critique!

[12] Insanity

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I couldn't believe that this was happening. My world was going to change, completely and irreversibly, once I walked around that bonfire seven times. Once I made those sacred vows, and said "I do."

I do.

But did I? Did I want to live with this guy? The son of a friend of my Father’s friend. A perfect alliance. A lawyer and a doctor. We were scheduled to have our first kid somewhere in the next two years, and then I would take maternity leave, raise my baby, and then just as I was able to go back to work, I’d be expected to have a second one. Bye-bye career. It was all so pointless, and I didn’t want to be a housewife.

Then again, it wasn’t like I knew Mahip so well. I mean, sure, we had been acquainted with each other for a number of years now, but that didn’t mean he was my boyfriend. Didn’t mean I’d dated him, kissed him, known he was the one. But now I had no choice, because I was in a wedding dress and he was my Groom and I had already agreed to all of this. It was crazy, but I couldn’t stand the disappointment in my parents’ eyes. They wanted me to marry an Indian man with a respectable family. Mahip had that. He was successful and he was nice. But he was older than me, and I didn’t know him like that. I didn’t know how conservative he was, and what my role in his family would be.

I was terrified. This was insane. I was crazy for going through with this.

“Devika, you almost ready?”

I looked up and saw Roxy walk into my dressing room. FINALLY. There was so much chaos and I really needed her right now.

“Nooo, just my nails. Celine’s almost done. AND THEY’RE SO PRETTY”

I flashed her my other hand before Celine’s assistant gave me a look and told me to put them back down so she could finish the Top Coat.

“You move, you destroy my nail art. You destroy that and I destroy you. NO DENTING. NO MOTION BUT BREATHING FOR NEXT THREE HOURS,” I heard the assistant yap at me.

I rolled my eyes, letting the mundane frustrate and distract from the big picture. I had pointedly ignored my mother today. I didn’t lock eyes with her, and I saw her bustling around, acting a billion times busier than she was, to avoid the awkward silence that would ensue. It isn’t that I was unhappy with the match, because he was a nice man. It was just that…I didn’t love this man, and eveybody aound me seemed not to know that. Those who did thought it was perfectly okay. I was dying. Our “honeymoon” was going to be SO AWKWARD.

It was because I had planned and dreamed of the perfect romantic honeymoon for years. What girl doesn’t? I had waited excitedly for the day when I would put henna on my arms and legs, put on a sari, put on my bangles, put on my makeup and my veil and my glass slippers and walk into my fairytale ending. And in all of those dreams, the romantic honeymoon was with a man I had already known!

I flashed back to those silly little chaptered romance stories I used to read on quizilla as a young girl. They had been so frivolous, but the one thing that had stayed constant with me was that in the arranged marriage, the couple always fell in love. They went from hating each other to dying for each other. The honeymoon was usually where that strange and instantaneous connection was made. I had been hanging onto the vestiges of that age-old dream, but even that was falling apart as I thought practically about what lay ahead of me. A serious, dull businessman husband. A house in another country. A set of in-laws with accents! I mean, I didn’t KNOW these people!

I know I’m repeating myself, but for what its worth, I’m about to get married to a man I’ve been acquainted with for around six months now. As my fiance. I don’t know him as a friend, and I have never known him as a boyfriend. And I never will – the latter anyway. I hope we will at least reach some sort of friendship and understanding during this honeymoon getaway our parents have planned for us. Part of being brown, I guess…I wasn’t even able to pick and plan my honeymoon destination. My mother-in-law had that covered.

I just wanted to cry and wallow in self-pity BUT I COULDN’T EVEN DO THAT. Not with the amount of makeup caked onto my face. I was pretty sure that if I so much as sneezed or opened my mouth more than was appropriate, I would leave a little noticeable crease in the makeup. When I looked back at this day, my husband and I would probably look back and laugh. I hoped so, at least.

I was getting really annoyed at Roxy though. Celine was here, doing my nails, being supportive, and trying to make sure I would hold it together. We both had known Mahip for around the same amount of time, but she had been able to open up to him more than I had. Well, that was understandable. I was the shy terrified and hurting bride-to-be anyway. But she had gone out of her way to talk to this guy and get to know him. She had even been the one who had sent us out on our first few dates, if you could even call it that. I mean, we were already wearing engagement rings…I don’t think a bad date could have changed much. But still, there is something to be said for her efforts. Not like Roxy, who was SO absorbed in her own drama with her boyfriend that she didn’t even seem to care that her BEST friend was getting married to ag uy she didn’t know, and was freaking out about it. I mean, I really was, and I probably would have gotten cold feet like ten times already this morning if she hadn’t been there sternly telling me that everything was going to be okay, that Mahip and I were already becoming friends, and that the honeymoon was only going to speed things along.

I’m not scared of sleeping with him, that isn’t where this is going. I’m just scared that we won’t love each othe. That our marriage will fall apart and I won’t be able to lovingly grow old with man I love. I don’t know though. I’m just hoping that my parents have picked a man from a nice family, and that I will have it in me to live up to his standards and be his wife just as he is being forced into the position of being my husband.

But my nails are finally done now, and almost dry, and I really can’t back out now. I see my bridal retinue heading my way now…I guess it’s time to make my appearance. That I am frightened beyond belief is a gross understatement. That I am praying with every fiber of my being that I will fall in love is another one. But optimism will prevail and we will love. Love, we will.

A little note from the author: Sorry Mahip! If you ever read this, I definitely borrowed a few of your life details for this piece. It just had to be explored ;P Especially after what my mom keeps hinting at, I am intrigued! But yes, this story is ultimately still fiction, keep that in mind.

[11] Memory

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Roxy was in a panic. She had two days to finish her project, a surprise that she had to finish for Tyler before their 5th Anniversary. The only problem now was that he was spending too much time at HOME for this to be possible. There were only so many times in a day she could justify holing herself up in a bathroom for 10 minutes.

The project was relatively simple, just really tedious. She was taking old photographs of their times together. She had known that her OCD habit of labeling everything would come in handy someday. As cluttered and grungy as this apartment was, her habit had not died. It had simply learned to accommodate Tyler’s mess and not make a fuss. Unless absolutely necessary. And the one thing that she had deemed absolutely positively without-a-doubt 100% necessary was labeling her photographs. She didn’t take TOO many of them, but whenever she chose to get photos printed, the backs were, without fail, labeled with the month and year she had snapped the photo. If possible, even the day. She even had a picture of the clothes she had worn when she first had sex with him. In the morning, she had snuck off to take a picture in all her glory. Smeared eyeliner, smeared lipstick, three visible hickeys on her neck and collarbone. All of it, commemorated into that photograph she took on July 5, 2011. Hey, that 4th of July party had been a reason to get trashed, and then there had been the dance and the really sexy guy with the perfect smoldering eye stare and he had danced with her and she had been so turned on by him that night that when they ended up in his apartment and she saw herself in the bathroom the next morning, she wasn’t even surprised.

She had snuck out of the apartment after writing out her number on half a post-it with a pencil snub she had seen on the mess of papers at his desk. He wasn’t one for cleanliness, but that connection she had felt with him had to be explored.

It had been almost 2 weeks later that she got a text from an unknown number telling her to meet at this club in the city. “Drinks on me,” the text had said. Sort of unsure of who this was, she had a pretty good idea and was just young and wild enough to do it anyway. She dragged her friend Celine out with her and danced the night away. He had approached her on the floor and seven songs later, she was at the bar and he was ordering cocktail after cocktail. Celine had left already to her boyfriend’s apartment in the city, and she had assured her that she had a place to crash. She’d stumbled back over to this guy and declared, “I’M NOT DRUNK. LET’S DANCE”

She remembered throwing her camera over to him several times and telling him to take a picture of this or that. She picked up the set of photographs from that month and pulled out the picture of her sloppily giving Tyler a kiss. They were in his apartment already after the night of drinking. Her dress had been loosened expertly and in the picture, the dignity of her nipples was uncomfortably precarious. She remembered that the dress had fallen to the floor not long after that shot.

They may have had a passionate and whirlwind courtship, but when he finally officially asked her to be his girlfriend, although not in so many words, that October, she was more than ready to say yes. He was nothing but a gentleman after that. Except in bed, and who wants a gentleman in bed anyway?

Picking out just one or two for every month she had been with Tyler was tough. She had chronicled the good times and the bad. That one night she had lain awake and looked over to see him sitting on his windowseat. The realization when she zoomed in on the cell phone photo that he had been crying. The misery, the ecstasy, the broken condom, the spoiled food. The meals made together, the food made apart. The texts, the pictures sent to each other when she was away for law school conferences and business trips and networking socials and he was stuck at home. The cuts on their bodies after that one really ugly fight where they had both thrown champagne glasses at each other after she struck a nerve and told him she was the financial pillar of their relationship. The certificate of employment, his first paycheck when he pulled his act together and found something stable.

They had gone through so much shit together. So so so many good memories. These five years had been nothing but a blessing, and she had the memories to prove it.

And in two days time, prove it she would.

[10] Breathe Again

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Roxy was loving this guy next to her right now. He was HOT as hell, and he had dance moving through him too, just like her. All that mattered was that their bodies were in sync with the beat. His hands around her waist, pulling her snugly close and she didn’t mind because her part of their dance needed him close. Needed him to touch her so she could swirl her body around him and effuse his mind with her senses. Her perfume wafting through his soul, her body pressed so sensitively against his that she felt his abs, his rising excitement, and his heartbeat almost as if it were in her own chest.

She was taking over his sensory pathways, overloading them with her presence. Her lips, so ready to be kissed that he could almost hear her moaning in anticipation for his touch. And in fact, she was moaning, because the ecstasy of their union together in this dance was so great that he could feel the energy rebounding off of her back into him, and knowing that he had his fingers curled around her body turned him on so much. That she was letting him, that their beats matched, that this song was made for them, it was so perfect. All he could do was hear her, smell her, feel her. He could taste the salient tension of their bodies in the air, he could taste her skin, as perfect and sweet as the jasmine scent he was maddeningly attracted to now.

He leaned in and snuggled her even closer, turning her around and pressing her back to him so he could lean down just a little and kiss and nibble on her neck. Their bodies connected on so many different levels, it was as if Roxy had been transported. No longer did college bother her, no longer were midterms or finals or recitations or homework a concern. None of that even existed, all that existed was him and the music and it was perfect, and she was breaking away from her old life toward a new one, though she didn’t yet know it.

And through him, she was alive again. Her heart beat for somebody, her body moved for somebody, her thoughts were geared to their connection, and it was so sublime she could barely breathe.

Then she turned around again, the alcohol and the beauty making her want to do wild and crazy things. As their lips moved closer, she forgot to breathe again.

And the guy, he was so overwhelmed by her presence that he forgot to breathe too.

Together, they shared a moment of pure, undilated exhilaration.

[9] Drive

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James slammed shut the doors to his car, trying to drown out the nagging voice that was his girlfriend.

“James if you leave right now i swear don’t even bother tryna call me back”

He fumed. Couldn’t resist rolling down his window and yelling back “Bitch you live in my house” as he turned on the ignition, revved up the car, and shot out of the driveway.

“AT LEAST REVERSE PROPERLY YOU FUCKIN ASSHOLE,” she yelled back.

He couldn’t remember the last time he hadn’t felt angered by the sound of her voice. Why was he still here, trying to make the best of things. He needed to stop being lazy, get up off his ass, and kick her the fuck out. Cooking and cleaning was great, but it was not worth this bullshit she made him put up with. No more clubbing, no more drinking with his bros. No, she wanted him at home every night. AND TO DO WHAT? Bitch hadn’t even slept with him in weeks.

He mumbled to himself, not caring how deranged he looked as he sped onto the highway. In the distance, he saw the Brooklyn Bridge, gleaming lights enticingly calling him away the shithole into the city. Where the real party was at.

“I get home drunk, she tells me to fuck off cuz I’m drunk and she ain’t sleepin with no drunk guy. Get home sober, she says she isn’t drunk enough. Never gonna date no bitch again…”

His mental tirade continued as he approached the bridge. Tonight, its view was lost to him, his mind clouded over with dark and angry thoughts. James rolled down his window a bit, the crisp night air was refreshing. He hadn’t gone on a late drive like this in months. Couldn’t remember the  last time that late drive had been solo. He was a generally social guy, he loved his friends and he had loved spending time with his girl. Driving into the city this late brought back memories – the last time he had done it, he remembered Nicki’s laughter filling up the car and feeling like the happiest man on Earth. He couldn’t remember what had been so funny now, probably one of her annoying prank phone calls. Back then, everything she had done was endearing, but now he could barely stand her. He wondered when he had stopped loving the way her smile was just a little bit lopsided, or when he had kissed away the frown lines on her face and the creases on her forehead. Times were stressful, but living together had never been this hard.

He was in the city now and felt himself getting hyped up for the night. Screw the relationship bullshit for one night, be single, and party. Just like he used to before he got so tangled up that all he could think about was that he was going to have to pay for Nicki to get bigger pants again, the super padded bras she was eyeing cost like $50 a piece, and that every time he looked over at her, she was wearing one of his shirts, tying her hair up in this ragged and morose way, and then stalking about the place saying that he did everything wrong.

See, he was doing it again. He hated what they had done with their life, and he – no, he really had to stop thinking about her. About this. Any of it.

The air blew through the car, in and out of James’s senses as he tried to calm himself down and gather his bearings. Everything was going to be okay. That’s what the breeze whispered to James as it blew by, and he found that there was an eerie calm settling upon him as he concentrated on breathing in and out. Nothing more, just the bright lights, the crisp air, the music, and the sense of serenity that muffled all of the city noises into one bearable beautiful melody.

As he pulled into the valet parking spot of @mber Lounge (Amber Lounge), he checked his phone and saw a text from Nicki. He felt himself scowl and tried to stop the immediate reaction. Without even reading, he had fallen so low that he couldn’t give her any credit. It was wrong of him, he knew, but he was just so frustrated. By everything. By his situation. He knew he was doing right but some part of him couldn’t help but accuse her decision for stripping him of his individuality. His liberty, his freedom.

Before his mind could wander fitfully farther, he gathered in his thoughts and glanced down at the phone, opening the text.

“breaking my trust”

That’s all it said. Three simple words and he almost lost his resolve to go into that club. Then he just got angry. “She’s always tryna do that. Play in my head, fuckin play mindgames with me”

He strode confidently toward the line at the door, gave a nod to the doorman who still remembered him from the days when he had been a regular here. As the line progressed, the bouncer walked over to him and tipped him over in the direction of the doorman in the front, the guy he vaguely remembered. The doorman waved him in with a brisk nod toward the entrance and James had just enough time to glance at the nametag before it looked too obvious. RICHARD, it said. Big serious capital letters that gave off a don’t-fuck-with-me kind of vibe.

“Say hi to the missy for me,” he heard as he walked in. James looked back and nodded at Richard, trying not to let his irritation show. What kind of idiot doorman refers to a girlfriend who isn’t walking in through the doors with him. Obviously, there is a reason. “Fuckin retarded asshole,” James thought.

Then he walked in and instead of uplifting his spirits, the music and the people just soured his mood even more. Right in front of him, hardly a foot away from the bar, there was some chick grinding some luckyass single motherfucker. She was really goin at it, bending down and grinding up against him real good. Her mouth open in a slight pant as she gyrated to the music. “No way she’d be doin that shit with him if they were dating”

Dejected, he walked over to the bar and ordered a shot of vodka. He had vaguely heard that drinks were half off for the duration of the song when he walked in. Or he coulda just been makin shit up but whatever, he needed a drink. When he turned around again, the couple was gone, dry sexing somewhere else thankfully. He scanned the room and thought about ordering another shot.

The music was great, but his mood just wasn’t up for it. He missed Nicki.

Whether it was this realization that directed his attention, or his sight that prompted his emotion, he wasn’t sure. But he found himself watching two people completely lost in the rhapsody of dance, and of music. The girl and the guy moved and breathed as one. He felt like if it had been silent, and they had only been dancing to the music in their heads, he could have heard their hearts beating in perfect sync. The girl looked carefree, no worries on her face. He flashed back to Nicki, to happier times. To when he had loved taking her out because together, they were unstoppable. Because they never had issues or things to nag each other about. Things changed, usually for the worse. But these two, couple or not, looked so genuinely happy that he found himself missing her.

He texted her back as he walked out of the club. “Only had a shot, driving home now”

——————————————————————————–

Curled up in bed, wearing one of his warm, comforting sweaters, Nicki lay and wept. No makeup on, hair falling out of her pony left and right. She was a mess. Not even a hot mess, just a mess. She never knew what to say to him anymore, everything she said was wrong. Made him react the wrong way when all she was trying to do was be in a relatinship with him. But all he seemed to want from her was a woman to clean up after him now. She wasn’t even his girlfriend anymore. Her phone vibrated on the table next to their bed, and she reached over it to read “Only had a shot, driving home now”

A fresh round of tears threatened to leak out of her eyes. He was coming home. He wasn’t drunk, he was texting her back for once, and he was coming home.

She pulled herself out of bed and took off his sweater. She slipped on her own babydoll, the one in peach with a pretty bow around her waist that he had bought her. Then she went to the bathroom and heard her phone buzz again as she splashed water on her face, trying to get rid of the redness.

She still felt all wrong.

Nicki crossed the room to get the phone and collapsed right back onto the bed. Another text from him.

“I miss you”

[8] Innocence

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Flashback

The music beat strangely within his heart. Bass reverberated throughout the floor, consuming his body and heart in a fast disco beat. Tyler had been in the club for hours now, he didn’t even know. It must have been eleven or twelve when he got in, but now it was late and the party was blasting and he was pretty sure he had seen Chris Brown in the corner somewhere at some point in the night. He had no idea how many Jägerbombs he’d had now, I think he last counted 12. He would probably feel like complete shit in the morning but he was pumped up and nothing else mattered. Just the beat.

Tyler had come in with his bros. He had no idea where they were now but he was zoned out in his world, a world ruled by the rhythm and the beat and the gyrating bodies of the dance floor. He continued to pump through the crowd, energized by their enthusiasm and liberated desire.

He loved dance. It isn’t that he was amazing at it or that he had been taking classes since he was 5, but he had a natural aptitude for it. Going to a club was more than for the 2AM booze specials and the girls. They were a plus though. He smirked and headed confidently over to a girl in a skintight red dress. She had accessorized in metallics, and he admired her tiny waist accentuated by gold and bronze chain belts decorated with a silver filigree of some sort. The vintage metallic earrings, bracelets, and necklaces added to the overall effect. For some reason, the word ‘couture’ came into his head.

She looked out of place, like she was trying too hard. She was moving to the music but he could tell she wanted to be on the sideline. He wondered what she did, if she was a college student or…well, he didn’t know. But he was struck by so much curiosity that he had to try to find out. So Tyler made his way over to her and started dancing up on this chick by her. The dance floor was so crowded that it really didn’t matter who he said he was dancing with, there are 3 other people just as close.

He still didn’t know what was so attractive about this girl he was basically stalking now though. Maybe it was the dress, maybe it was the way her hair fell down in soft light brown waves. Maybe it was because the feathered headband she wore accented everything perfectly. Maybe it was because the flashing red lights from the club ceiling highlighted her hair and made him think that just for a second, Venus herself had stepped down for a night of mischief.

Maybe it was just because the alcohol was getting to him.

He moved up behind her and started to move in rhythm to the beat and her body. Got closer with every bar of whatever popular hip-hop song was playing, he didn’t even know, he was just enjoying the proximity.

She was carefree just like him. The music moved her the way it did him, and she was lost, a look of bliss on her face. His arms slung loosely around her waist and she stepped up to this new guy, seamlessly and effortlessly making him a part of her dance. And the dance breathed through them and around them and it was as if they were one but still, she was innocent.