I Dare You

I Dare You

"This is incredible," Bess said. She clutched Nancy's arm. They had just walked into the school gym, the cool night air falling behind them as they entered the crowded area. "How're we going to find Frank and Joe in this mess?" she mumbled.

George just rolled her eyes and smiled, "I'm going to go hang out with the DJ, see what he's got set up in his little corner of the world."

"And not even say hello?" Joe popped up behind the three girls. He was dressed smartly. The brothers had rented suits from a shop in Chicago. Joe looked quite adorable all dressed up. It wasn't everyday that Nancy saw him like this. It suits him, she joked to herself. His eyes got big, and he let out a low whistle, "You look great, George!"

Normally she would have retaliated with a sarcastic statement or just shrugged it off, but there had been something genuine in his voice that brought a deep rouge color to her cheeks. He looked Bess and Nancy up and down, "You guys do, too." George was about to make a go for it when Joe unexpectedly turned to her. "May I have this dance?" he asked as a new song started to play out over the crowd.

She was so startled that all she could do was stutter a, "Yes." She looked to Bess as if to ask if she minded, but her cousin just smiled encouragingly. The two stepped out on the floor only to disappear among the several couples already dancing.

"You gonna be okay? I mean, if I…?" Bess pointed over her shoulder toward the crowd.

"Yeah," Nancy nodded, "I'm going to head to the refreshment table."

"Okay," she shouted over her shoulder before hurrying out into the chaos.

At the refreshment table, Nancy poured herself a cup of punch. It was homemade punch, good homemade punch. She closed her eyes and sipped the red drink. She was finally starting to feel relaxed. She stood there, sipping her drink and listening to the upbeat song. When she finished her last swallow, she put her cup down on the table and turned to face the crowd. As she did so, she abruptly ran into someone else turning around.

"Oh, excuse me," he said, then he took a step back and gazed at her, "Nancy?"

"Frank! We saw Joe when we came in. I was starting to think that I'd never find you," she smiled.

"Wow," he breathed in, "I didn't even recognize you when I first came over. You look…amazing." His eyes were open wide in astonishment.

"You clean up nicely yourself, Hardy," she laughed.

Ah, he thought, to hear her laugh like that again. He cleared his throat, "Uh, you want to dance?"

"Sure," she slowly said with a giant grin.

He took her hand and led her out to the floor. She let herself become enshrouded in people. They danced for a few minutes until the song abruptly ended. A voice called over the crowd. It was the DJ, "All yall are in trouble now! A request has been made, and the rules have been established. No one is allowed to switch partners, and if you don't have one you must find one! If you try to leave or switch partners, we'll kick you out! Ha ha, enjoy a nice slooooow dance. LeAnn Rimes, yall with I Dare You."

Nancy looked up toward the DJ's stand. She saw George wave at her, a sly grin spread from ear to ear. "George!" Nancy mumbled under her breath with a smile. Her smile fell as she become conscious of what had happened. She looked up, realizing who she was dancing with, into Frank's eyes. He looked as if he wasn't quite sure what to do.

The DJ's voice boomed out once more, "Sorry for the wait, everyone, technical difficulties. We'll be up and running momentarily."

"We could slip out, if you want," he said uneasily.

She shook her head. I'm not running away, she thought, I'll show you, George. "No, it's fine," she smiled confidently, "Unless you have a problem with it, that is."

"No, of course not, I just didn't know if you, you know…" He wrapped his arms around her waist as the song finally started. She slipped her hands onto his shoulders and took a deep breath to steady herself. She felt a tingle climb up her back as she laid her head against his chest. They danced silently through the opening music of the song. They had both heard the song before and knew the words, but this was the first time that either of them had actually thought about what LeAnn was singing.

"Nancy," Frank whispered, "Are you-"

"Frank, I'm fine. I'm trying to forget about Ned, you should too."

"I'm sorry…"

"Don't be. We were just being stupid kids."

"That doesn't change the fact that it hurts, Nancy." She paused at that.

God only knows how I've needed a friend

Who can see through the boldness and pride

"Thank you," she breathed, "for being here for me…for…for everything… You're the best friend anyone could ask for."

"I'll always be here for you, Nancy," he whispered. His voice sounded coarse.

"I know." A tear slipped down her cheek. It was her final goodbye to Ned.

Someone strong enough I can put my faith in

Someone willing to let me inside

They listened to the song, dancing slowly, swaying back and forth. Nancy spotted Joe and Bess smiling and whispering to each other. Go figure, she thought.

"Nancy," Frank said again, "I need to tell you something. I actually…I've wanted to say something for a while, but…"

Baby, you've got your reasons

Dangling from kite strings

Nancy lifted her head to look straight into his loving eyes. She couldn't say anything back. She knew what he wanted to say…and she found that she wanted him to say it. She felt a throb grow in her chest. A clump shot into her throat, and tears threatened to rise- they weren't tears for Ned.

"Nancy, I…" he looked down into the blue pools that were her eyes. He was at a loss for words, "Well, I have to say something now. I'll go insane if I don't. I didn't before because…well, because…"

"What is it?" she whispered.

But you can open your hands

Let them fly

"Well, I," he looked down. "I know you…You know me…I mean, we practically finish each other's sentences all the time," he laughed, looking in her eyes again.

I dare you to know me

Like I've never known

"I want the chance…I…the chance to…" he mentally yelled at himself for messing up so bad. Why can't you just spit it out, you idiot! But he couldn't find a way to say it. How do I tell you? he asked himself, How do I show you?

I dare you to show me

That I can be shown

"What is it, Frank?" she asked. She wanted him to say it. She wanted him to tell her. For the last two weeks she had felt like she wasn't worth anything, like she would never amount to anything, like she never could be enough…like she didn't deserve to be happy. She wanted that to change, and she wanted him to change it.

Tell me I

Tell me I'm the one who deserves you

"I've always wanted to tell you…" he stroked her cheek and smiled. She closed her eyes when he touched her. It felt good. It felt right.

Oh, and every time that

Every time you know that you want to

I dare you

His grip tightened around her waist. She opened her eyes, her breath left her completely as he pulled her tighter to him. They stared at each other for a moment. The two had never stood so close before.

I dare you to hold me

Like you never will again

"Nancy," he stared at her, "I…"

"Me too," she said, the tears finally slipping down. He leaned down and kissed her just as LeAnn's voice cried across the floor. It was as if it was planned...and Nancy was happy.

Kiiiiiissss me

Leave the world standin' still

I dare you to waaaaaant tooo waant

IIIIIIIII dare you to neeeeed meee

Like nobody else

I dare you to feeeeeeeel meeee

Like you've never felt

I dare you to waaaaant toooo waaant

To want to be good to meeeeee

IIIIII daaaaare you to waaaaant tooo waaant

To want to be good to meeeeeee

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