Immortal Desires

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Day Thirty-Seven

The following week rolled on, starting with Travis and his wife’s departure for either Ogdenville or Springfield in their blue Oldsmobile the day after his visit at the Huntingtons’. Hunter and Agatha went for the strip mall and they noticed the place was getting packed by most of the town’s adults, apparently trying to prepare for the upcoming ball. The Huntingtons opted for the cheap but fashionable outfits, but they were persuaded by the clothiers’ advice to spend a little more. It took at least two more hours for the fitting and tailoring until they were satisfied with what Hunter and Agatha looked in their new ball clothes.

Their shopping done, Hunter became progressively restless over the days towards Friday as he had heard nothing from either Travis or his wife. Two days before Friday, he found himself debating whether to go over to house number 308 or not, pacing around the living room. This first amused Agatha as she assumed that Hunter was getting excited about the ball, then realized that this was unusually characteristic of him.

“Hunter, dear, what’s wrong? Did something happen?” she asked him, putting a hand on his shoulder that made him stop pacing around, looking at her as if snapping out of a reverie.

“Uh, nothing’s wrong. Just… impatient,” he said heavily, shifting his eyes slightly. This seemed to appease Agatha, as her initial assumption was correct after all.

“It’s just a ball, dear. Honestly, I’ve never seen you act like this before,” she smirked and then realization dawned upon her. “Could it be…?” she began and then rushed over to the wall calendar hanging in the kitchen. “Yes, it is! Our 50th anniversary is two days after the ball!” she exclaimed.

This surprised Hunter as he wasn’t aware of their anniversary’s coming.

“Well, how about that…” he muttered and managed an uneasy smile as Agatha walked back to him, having a joyous and tearful expression on her face.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know that our anniversary was going to be an extra-special one! So this means you have something cooking up, don’t you?” she smiled and Hunter had no choice but to nod an affirmative. Agatha hugged him tightly and as he returned the hug, he was thoroughly blindsided by this new development. He felt that he was being torn in two: his marriage with Agatha and his desire to be with Travis’ wife.

“Just wait until I tell everyone about this!” Agatha said with tears of joy trickling down her face as she broke the embrace and this didn’t make Hunter feel any better. He was, needless to say, screwed nine ways from Sunday.

On the day of the ball, Hunter was looking haggard and this made Agatha think he was overexerting himself over “such a little thing” as she put it. In reality, he was so enamored with Travis’ wife that he never thought of anything else but her that by the time he was blindsided by the news, he had no time to make reservations or find a suitable anniversary gift. The well-wishers that were informed by Agatha and Betty’s help also contributed to the haggardness upon Hunter’s face.

As the hour drew nearer, the Huntingtons soon worried that Travis and his wife might not make it on time for the ball. So they had no choice but go on as six o’clock in the evening was reached, having made it just in time.

The ball took place in the Otter Lodge Pavilion, situated next to the school buildings. It was a place reserved for dances and formal events. The Huntingtons arrived there among others, Hunter in a black-and-white tuxedo with a small bow tie while Agatha wore an elegant silver dress with her back, a small amount of her cleavage, and arms exposed. They were greeted with applause and cheers, referring to their upcoming 50th anniversary. Agatha was glowing amidst the attention while Hunter seemed to put up a cheerful façade that concealed his internal turmoil.

When the applause died down and the Huntingtons found a table to sit at, Travis and his wife arrived, their appearances somewhat surprising as they walked in together with hooked elbows.

Travis wore a blue peaked lapel jacket that had the folded parts aqua-blue and the undershirt simply white with a blue cravat. His pants matched the jacket’s primary color, having a fine crease to the legs and his shoes a highly-polished black to complete the impeccable appearance he brought unto himself for the night. There were a pair of lapel pins adorned on the right lapel, one having the general design of the French flag, but in red, black, and silver with Japanese kanji on each section. The other had a skull with a mechanical half with a red eye, a pair of blades: a normal sword and a lightsaber crossed with each other behind the skull; this was set against a backdrop of blue and violet bisected by a diagonal black. There were small Latin words in white at the top and bottom of the skull along the pin.

Travis’ wife on the other hand, was for the most part, strange and yet fashionable with a black wide-brimmed hat with a white veil draping around the edge of the brim that reached all the way down to her shoulders, completely masking her head and neck. She wore a white Victorian-styled dress with a bell-shaped skirt that went down to her feet, covering her back, shoulders, and cleavage at the same time. Her arms were also covered by a pair of extra-long white silk gloves. Her overall dress was somewhat reminiscent of a traditional wedding dress, but predominantly Victorian in style, contrasting Agatha’s dress in terms of covering the body.

Several moments of shocked silence passed as the people at the ball stared at the couple, taking in their appearances until one of them began to clap slowly, becoming normal-paced. The others followed suit, clapping reluctantly that eventually turned into a full-fledged applause as soon as they realized the couple were none other than the couple that had recently moved in and got to see his wife going to dance among them, albeit remaining covered from head to toe.

“Thank you! Thank you! You all look great, hope you guys have a great time out here tonight!” Travis called out to the crowd, raising his free hand in greeting, grinning at the same time. Then the couple walked towards the Huntingtons, parting their arms to properly greet them: Travis shaking Hunter’s hand while his wife did a curtsy to Agatha whom returned the gesture hesitantly as she was still digesting Travis’ wife’s appearance.

“Talk about an entrance, eh?” Travis grinned to Hunter as he let go of the handshake, “you look good by the way.”

“Yeah, thanks,” he couldn’t help but grin back and glanced to Travis’ wife who was apparently conversing with Agatha.

“Where did you get that dress? It-it looks lovely on you…” he heard her talk to Travis’ wife, still having difficulty getting over her initial surprise.

“Thank you, we found it in a Chanel store at Ogdenville, marked down from $125 to $99, so it was a steal.”

“You don’t say…” Agatha blinked in surprise and looked to Hunter as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Then she saw her friends walk towards them, excited looks on their faces that told her gossip was going to be inevitable. Similarly, some of Hunter’s friends also approached him and Travis. They had some time to socialize before the dance would truly start.

By seven o’clock, most of New Hamlet’s adults had settled into several tables when the orchestra at the far side of the pavilion began to play a few notes to signal them the dance was beginning. Then they set to work, playing “Kiss Me Again,” which prompted some of the folk to begin the dancing, which others would soon follow suit, couples taking up the waltz.

The Huntingtons felt an intense amusement coming from Travis’ wife, seeing her look at Travis from the direction of her veiled hat facing him. Travis was grinning at her and held out a hand to her.

“Shall we dance, babe?” his question was answered by her taking his hand and getting up to walk onto the dance floor with him, skillfully slipping into place among the slow-dancing couples as they began their own. Hunter noted that they didn’t hold each other as closely as the others did, perhaps taking her hat into account as if not to disturb the veil on it. Despite that, they seemed be enjoying each other through the movements of their waltz.

“They dance well, don’t they?” Agatha remarked, smiling as she too was watching the couple.

“Yeah… let’s have our first dance of the night, huh?” Hunter offered and she held out her hand to him. They proceeded to dance among the others until the song ended to applause and the people moved back to their tables to have a breather and a few refreshments.

Travis was keen on ordering a martini, shaken but not stirred, but frowned slightly at the limited alcohol selection, though he smiled as he ordered a glass of white wine. His wife, on the other hand, didn’t order anything. The Huntingtons chose champagne as they overheard Travis muttering into his wife’s ear, “I’ll see if I can’t snag a bottle for you, babe.” This got them to look at each other, puzzled before sipping at their drinks.

“Travis, do you mind if I can dance with Hunter?” she asked and this made Hunter’s heart do a flip-flop. He sat there petrified, hoping that Travis would decline. To his dismay, he didn’t.

“Oh no, by all means, babe! You don’t mind, do you, Agatha?” Travis looked to Agatha and she took a moment to reply, smiling slightly.

“Only if you will dance with me,” her reply didn’t make it any better for Hunter. Travis grinned and nodded before drinking from his glass.

The orchestra began to start up again, playing “I’m Falling in Love with Someone,” which got Travis and his wife to look at each other and he chuckled softly, grinning.

“How about that? All right, Agatha, ready?” he looked to Agatha, holding out a hand to her. She took his hand as if slightly bashfully and then was gracefully swept towards the dance floor which surprised her. But she recovered and flowed with him as if she had done this before, which she really did with Hunter since several decades for every previous ball.

Unlike Agatha, Hunter was far reluctant in taking Travis’ wife’s hand.

“What’s the matter, love?” she spoke softly as they began to dance with her leading. It took Hunter several moments to answer as he moved along her lead, finding himself at odds with his current predicament and his urge to bring himself much closer to her, as having his body against hers like they did roughly a week ago.

“It’s this 50th anniversary Agatha and I have…” he fell silent, looking down slightly.

“Congratulations! You should be happy!” she replied, Hunter feeling a rush of surprised happiness coming from her. It chagrined him for being such a fool to forget about the 50th anniversary.

“Yes, well…” he started and then fell silent again as they continued to waltz together.

“Come closer, love, and mind the veil if you can,” she spoke with a hint of amusement at the last part of her sentence. Hunter blinked and came closer, going so far as to end up getting close and personal with her while he had his head next to hers as much as her veil could allow. Her scent of freshly dug-up dirt was faintly apparent and he took the chance to smell her deeply to get the most out of it. He closed his eyes at the feel of her breasts brushing lightly against his chest every time they turned, making him relive the event of that day with her…

“Mm, I’ll see if I can’t get us together again soon,” he heard her whisper huskily into his ear through the veil, making him wonder if she happened to have the same thing on her mind as he did. “In any case, do be happy for Agatha and yourself if you can. Fifty years is quite an accomplishment, that is something to be proud of, Hunter.”

“Yes, but I don’t have anything special for her…” he finally admitted the problem to Travis’ wife who remained silent for several moments as the waltz continued.

“Then arrange a private dance here with her, just the two of you,” she offered and went on, “I believe at this point for the both of you, material gifts are useless, it is the gestures that means the most, yes?” Hunter slowly nodded in realization and smiled, feeling a bit more cheerful.

“Thank you. I’d… kiss you here and now if I could, but…” this was met by a strong feeling of mirth coming from Travis’ wife that caused him to grin in response.

“You think you can handle another kiss from me?”

“Oh, I think I can…” he chuckled and she returned it as they continued to dance the remaining minutes of the song.

Meanwhile, as Agatha danced with Travis, she caught glimpses of Hunter actually grinning and closer with Travis’ wife, much more than when Travis and his wife danced to the first song. When the song ended, she also noticed Hunter and Travis’ wife holding hands side-by-side with each other until they let go upon crossing the threshold of the dance floor back to their table. She glanced to Travis who seemed not to notice anything out of the ordinary as he held out his hand towards his wife, grinning. How can you not see that? My husband was holding hands with your wife…!

“Did you have fun, Aggie?” Hunter smiled at her as they all sat down at their table, and it was at this point she realized that he was much more cheerful than before since they arrived here.

“Oh yes, I did. What about you?” she put up a cheerful façade.

“It was okay,” he replied off-handedly, glancing to Travis’ wife who was occupied with stroking Travis’ cheek with a gloved hand, apparently in the middle of something.

Minutes later, “The Blue Danube” was heard playing from the band and Travis wore a surprised look mixed with amusement at his wife and then to the Huntingtons.

“They’re playing our song! Nice! Let’s get it on, babe!” he got up quickly, holding out a hand to his wife, who took it immediately, apparently as pleasantly surprised as he was. In no time, they waltzed to the tune of the song among a few others who chose to dance for a third time.

“Wish I have the energy for one more dance,” Hunter remarked to Agatha, shaking his head with a small smile as he watched the couple.

“It’s the way of things, dear,” she replied wistfully and he nodded in agreement.

“There’s always another time,” he said with a grin that reminded Agatha of Travis. She had been cultivating the impression she had about Travis since the camping trip, and the dance she had with him seemed to confirm two of the aspects she learned about him: he was quite playful, seemingly taking a light attitude to most things. Basically carefree.

As soon as “The Blue Danube” ended, the couple walked back to the Huntingtons at their table, Travis holding his wife around the waist.

“That’s all for us, folks, we’re off to have our own dance in our home! Enjoy each other, eh?” he said with a grin.

“And…” his wife cut in, “if we don’t hear anything about a public celebration for your anniversary, then the best of luck for you two,” she said and did a farewell curtsy before they left the pavilion. Hunter later realized that she subtly reminded him of the advice she gave him earlier during the dance.

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