Some things come with age. Some come with experience. And sometimes you just stumble into the unknown like walking on a tightrope and you somehow make it through even though you looked down. That is what puberty is like. Its this scary monster that you don't know how to defeat but gradually you realize the monster is really just lost and scared, like you.
"Oh man, these records are from so long ago." Steven laughed.
"Hey! Those are classics!" Connie defended her music library. Steven had her mp3 player and was going through her music, making goofy comments.
"No seriously! I think this one is older than Pearl!" He laughed and Connie snatched it out of his hand. He frowned and dropped his hand.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you upset. Can we listen to it?"
"Why don't we listen to one of yours first? Then you can hear the sophistication in contrast." She smirked and he smiled again. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone playing an up-beat song that he knew all the lyrics to.
As the song began he set the phone on the kitchen counter and held his hand out for her. They had done this a thousand times. She was trained over the last few years to take his hand, stand, and dance with him. And so she did. She gripped his hand and he pulled her up and for a split second something was different. The feel of her hand in his. The way she stopped just inches away from him. It sent a sudden wave of an emotion he couldn't recognize. It felt like embarrassment mixed with surprise almost. It lasted a fraction of a second and just as quick as it came it went when she smiled and let go of his hand.
He brushed off the feeling and started to dance with his best friend, singing the lyrics along with the song. When the chorus came he grabbed her hand and spun her around, making her laugh. They had come a long way from dancing as children. Their moves had advanced from a loose play on ring-around-the-rosy to an actual dance. He spun her and she came back to him, spinning out again and meeting his hands, completely in sync. This was when they usually lost themselves.
Steven's gem started to glow and he heard a voice in his head scream "No! Wait!" but it was too late. She spun back into his arms and the pink light blinded them. emotions were numb for a fraction of a second and when eyes were opened, the two were one. Stevonnie stood where the two had been and there was a smile on her face.
"Well. That was fun. Now for classical music!"
"What? What's wrong?"
"I… I didn't…"
"Come on, it's only fair we take turns."
"I just… I didn't want to fuse…"
"This always happens when we dance. Are you okay? We can split if you want…"
"It's just… Can we?"
There was a second where Stevonnie stood still and the glow came back. Having fused so many times, they didn't fall to the ground like they did when they were children. They came out of it like it was just another twirl to the dance. Steven rubbed his arm and Connie saw.
"Steven? What's wrong?"
"Um, I'm not sure." He tightened his curly ponytail and huffed.
"Go ahead and play that old song you wanted to play for me."
"Okay…" She said and gave him a weary glance. Connie put her player next to his phone and pressed play. A sweet melody started to play. It was soft piano, gentle and calming. after a minute Steven smiled a bit.
"I actually like it."
"See? All kinds of music are-"
She stopped talking when he slipped his hand into hers. She looked down at their hands and back to him.
"Can we dance? Just… dance? Just you and me. Separate?"
She nodded and he lead her across the living room floor. Their fingers intertwined and his free hand rested on her hip.
There was the feeling again. That hot necked, stomach flipping feeling. But they both felt it this time. Connie gulped and rested her hand on his shoulder like a traditional ballroom dance would begin. Before she knew it, he was leading them in a waltz. She smiled and blushed.
"Since when can you waltz?"
"I picked it up." He smiled and they both laughed.
The spinning and perfect steps had his head swimming. What was this feeling he was feeling? He couldn't look away from her eyes and even with the pink glow between them, he forced himself to stay separate. The feeling was foreign. It was like trying to hold your breath. Drinking too much water at once. it was a feeling of preventing something that had become natural to them. But something else was happening. That feeling, that overwhelming feeling that made his heart rate double was keeping him from fusing.
The song ended and they stopped dancing, but their hands stayed where they were. He couldn't look away from her face. He didn't know why but he just couldn't. A voice came from the temple door.
"You didn't fuse." Pearl said softly.
"I didn't want to." He answered without looking away. Connie blushed and looked to Pearl.
"Why not Steven? I thought you loved being with Connie."
"I do. I really like being fused together. It's the best. But… I think I just found something better."
"Steven, what could bring you closer than fusion?"
Connie looked back to Steven and he has a smile on his face.
"Physically feeling your dance partner."
He didn't mean it the way it sounded but Pearl blushed anyway. She came and separated the two of them.
"Okay, I think that's enough dancing for today. You need more lessons to perfect those steps, I saw a lot of mistakes in your leading." She said as she dragged Steven away.
"Wait, Pearl, stop!" He said and she let go, looking surprised at him.
He walked back over to Connie and smiled. He picked her up from the waist and spun her around. She was so surprised she just laughed and closed her eyes. He put her down and she looked up at him.
"Lets learn all kinds of dancing, okay?"
"O-okay." She said and blushed. He pulled her in for a hug before he left with Pearl, leaving Connie with the same feeling she had before. Only she had a name for it. It was the beginning of a crush.