I Don't Dance
Lincoln turns away from his companion as soon as he sees us walking towards him. Georgia’s grip on my hand tightens as we tread closer to where her dad is waiting.
“This can’t possibly be good,” Georgia mutters.
“Georgia, where have you been?” The old man asks.
“Outside. Making out. You disturbed us.” Georgia answers with a straight face.
Lincoln sighs. “Alex, can you excuse us for a moment, please?”
“Sure,” I tell him. To Georgia, I say, “I’ll be on our table.” I squeeze her hand to give her a boost before leaving her to her dad.
I make a beeline for the dessert table, hoping to grab a brownie, but the plate was empty. “Excuse me, do you have any more brownies?” I ask the server.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, we’re out of brownies. Can I interest you in this molten chocolate cake? It tastes as good as the brownies.” He offers me a plate of the said dessert.
I take the molten chocolate cake in replacement of my brownies before heading back to our table. Without Georgia, I feel much more intimidated by the people surrounding me.
One bite of the molten chocolate cake and I can see why the server would recommend it. It tastes good, but not as good as the brownies.
I focus on my dessert and try my best not to look at Gray in front of me, but something catches my eye. In front of Gray, sitting untouched, are two square slices of the same brownies I ran out of.
I look at Gray. Then back at the brownies. I gulp. I look back at Gray, who’s now looking back at me, her expression unknown because of the mask she’s wearing. She looks at the brownies on her plate, then squints at the dessert table. A look of understanding passes her face, followed by a smile she tries so hard to hide, but it shows in her eyes, anyway.
I remove my gaze from her and continue consuming the molten chocolate cake that now tastes bland because I started comparing its taste to the brownie in front of me that I can never have.
“You can have them.” I snap my head up faster than anyone can say brownies.
“Have what?” I ask, acting confused, but deep inside, I can’t wait to eat the treat in front of me.
Gray rolls her eyes, obviously not buying the act, but goes with it anyway. “The brownies. I know you like them.”
“Oh. I’m good.”
“I’m kidding.” I stand up from my chair and reach over to her side of the table. I forgot that I’m not in the Philippines, where people offer their food at least three times before taking no for an answer. It usually goes like, ‘you want some?’ ‘no, thank you’ ‘here have some’ ‘no, I’m good, really’ ‘are you sure?’ ‘yes,’ and that’s when they’ll stop.
Gray pushes the plate while chuckling. It’s the first time tonight that I saw her smile and a particular line from a One Direction song comes to mind: No one ever looked so good in a dress, and it hurts ’cause I know you won’t be mine tonight.
I pluck a piece of brownie from her plate and push it back to her. “I know you like them too.”
“You know each other?” The girl with the braided hair asks.
I sit down and answer her. “We’re classmates.”
“Cool. So how’s the great heiress in school? Is she also snobbish?”
I snort. “You bet. She talks to like, five people.”
“I am not snobbish.” Gray defends herself. “It’s not my fault people don’t talk to me.”
“I’m kidding. She’s nice. She even gave me her brownie.”
I finally take a bite off my brownie, and oh yes, it tastes heavenly—soft, chewy, and it doesn’t have nuts. I don’t like nuts. While I’m busy savoring the taste of my dessert, I feel eyes watching me. I look to my right, and Carlos’ date was staring at me with a funny look on her face.
“You want some?” I offer.
“I was wondering what kind of girl has Georgia hooked under her fingers, and I get...” she gestures toward me. “This.”
That was a ridiculously condescending comment. What is wrong with these people? Does belittling others come naturally to them?
“If by ‘this’ you mean someone who is kind, well-mannered, and doesn’t look down on people, then I guess Georgia hit the jackpot.” Gray snaps, her unexpected words come rushing out of her mouth. “No offense, but between you and her, I’d definitely pick her.”
A blush creeps up my cheeks, and suddenly, I’m grateful for the mask. I wipe my mouth with a napkin and beam at Gray. This attitude is exactly what gets me in trouble. She’s so temperamental. One minute she hates me. The next, she’s defending me from a millionaire who she’s probably known for far longer than me.
“You’re straight. It doesn’t count.” The girl retorts, and I almost burst out laughing right there. Oh, if only she knew.
“She’s right, though.” This time, Janelle joins the conversation, probably not pleased with the thought of Gray choosing me over anyone. She looks skeptically at me. “I’ve never seen Georgia like this. Are you that good in bed?”
This one, I wasn’t expecting. Sure, the people here are high-class, wealthy, arrogant people who wouldn’t ask for anyone else’s brownies—technically, I didn’t ask, she gave it to me—but I wasn’t expecting Gray’s lover to be one of them. I mean, Gray surely has a standard of some sort, right? I don’t believe she’ll fall in love with someone rude.
I can tell Gray didn’t see it coming either since her lips are pursed, and she’s burning a hole in Janelle’s face right now. The thought of her getting mad on my behalf is reassuring.
“Well, I sure am,” I tell her, still with a smile on my face. “But Georgia wouldn’t know that, would she? We never slept together, after all.”
“We didn’t fuck.” I elaborate, not really minding the use of foul language.
Janelle looks like I just told her I’ve been sleeping with her ex. Her face hardens. “She told me you slept together.”
“Yes, we literally just slept.” Georgia emerges from behind me and comes to the rescue. She puts down two glasses of lemonade on the table and places a hand on my shoulder before taking her seat. “I’ve been gone for five minutes, and you guys start ganging up on my girl. If you have any questions, ask me. Stop making her feel uncomfortable.”
It may just be my imagination, but the air seems to feel heavier. A 5-second stare-off between Janelle and Georgia confirms my suspicions. “I see.”
Carlos’ date doesn’t falter. “So you’ve been obsessed with this girl for weeks, and you haven’t even slept together?”
“She has a name—Alex. And yes, she doesn’t wanna sleep with me. Not yet, at least.” Georgia smirks. “But we’re working on that, aren’t we?”
“We’re not working on anything.”
“See that? She’s not even budging. I don’t know whether my charms aren’t working, or it’s because she likes someone else.” Georgia’s eyes briefly glance at Gray.
Itching to change the subject, I direct their attention to the glass in front of me. “What’s this?” I ask Georgia.
“Taste it.” She urges.
One sip of the drink was enough to bring back the memories of the night I first had a taste of it. “Where’d you get this?”
Georgia gives me a playful smile. “I had one stashed just in case I feel like drinking.”
“Have you lost your touch, Georgia?” Carlos asks. “Looks like Ethan and I will be taking the girls in here tonight.”
Georgia scoffs. “Please. I’ve slept with hotter girls than both of you combined.”
“I can attest to that.” Carlos’ date smirks. Okay, so they’ve slept together. Got it. By now, I’m just assuming that Georgia’s slept with whoever we meet.
The atmosphere changes when the music changes to a slow one. The dance floor that was occupied by one or two couples is now gaining more participants. Carlos and Ethan ask their dates to dance, probably for the sake of saying they at least danced together.
Georgia raises an eyebrow at me as if waiting for a proposal.
I give her an apologetic smile. “Sorry, I don’t dance.”
“You will.” She stands up from her seat and practically drags me to the dance floor. Once we’ve come too far into the middle, I’m left with no choice but to give in.
I dip my head, one arm behind my back and the other one in front of me, palm up, asking for her hand. Georgia’s face lights up and places her hands on mine.
“You really are kind,” Georgia starts as we sway with the slow rhythm of the music.
“I’m not,” I deny. “It’s just easier to go with the flow than argue.” I steal a glance at our table to check if Gray and Janelle are dancing, but to my surprise, they both remained seated.
Georgia pulls me closer, almost hugging my arm, I respond instantly and move my hand down to her waist.
“I envy Alexis.” She whispers. “I never stood a chance, did I?”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s obvious your crush for her goes deeper than what you’d like to admit,” she sighs. “I wish I can do something to help you with her. I really do. But Janelle...” she glances in the direction of our table with a hint of worry in her eyes. “She’s sacrificed too much just to get back to Alex.”
Her last statement piqued my interest. What could she have sacrificed for Georgia to sound this serious? I was tempted to ask, but Georgia probably won’t tell, so I ask another thing I wanted to know. “Are they? Back together, I mean.”
“Not yet, but eventually, Jan will get what she wants. She always does.” Georgia looks at me, her blue eyes contrasting the gold mask she’s wearing. “I’m trying to help by saving you from the pain that comes with it.”
Georgia says something else, but I’m not listening anymore. I’m looking at Janelle, who looks like she’s being asked for a dance by a boy in a white tux. She takes his hand and leaves Gray alone in the table.
I don’t know when I stopped swaying, but when I realize I did, Georgia was looking at the direction of where Gray is sitting alone. “Go,” she says.
I turn to her, hesitating.
She rolls her eyes. “If you’re looking for a duel with my cousin, I won’t stop you. Go. Your princess is waiting.”
This time, I heed her words. I walk briskly to where the most beautiful girl in the room is sitting regally, completely unbothered. When I stop next to her, she looks up, not bothering to hide her surprise. “What?”
I hold out my hand as I did with Georgia earlier. “Dance with me?”
“No.” She rejects me without even batting an eyelash.
The weight of her rejection hits me like the sack of rice at the grocery store decided to hit me back for all the times I slapped it while shopping.
Of course, she’ll reject me. She didn’t even dance with the love of her life. Why would she dance with me? I don’t even know where I got the confidence to ask. Suddenly I want to run out of this place and crawl up into my bed.
“O-Oh. O-Okay.” I blink. I take a step back.
Gray’s eyes widen upon seeing my reaction. She stands up abruptly. “I’m kidding. I’ll dance with you.” She grabs my hand and drags me to the dance floor pretty much like what Georgia did earlier.
I place an arm on her back, resting above her shoulder blades. She rests her arm above mine as our other hands meet and I feel those soft fingers intertwine with mine. “Is it okay for you to dance with me?” I ask, worried. “Aren’t you supposed to play straight?”
“If you’re so worried about that, you shouldn’t have asked.” True. “And you didn’t have to make that face.” She mutters under her breath.
I was too caught up in the moment to notice the people’s eyes on us. The people dancing, as well as the ones still seated, are craning their heads to get a glimpse of Gray. No one expected the princess to dance with anyone, much less with an unnamed lesbian in a tux.
“Why’d you let Janelle dance with someone else?” I ask her.
Gray shakes her head slightly. “I don’t really mind. It’s all just for business.”
“You think she’d mind you dancing with me?” I look for Janelle on the dance floor and find her already glaring at me.
Gray follows my line of sight and flinches. “She definitely does.”
I pull her closer to my body. “I heard you guys aren’t actually back together,” I whisper. “Does that mean I still have a chance with you?”
“Not when you go around making out with other girls on the balcony.”
I bite my lower lip, trying to hide a smile even though she can’t see my face. “Are you jealous?”
Gray answers with silence and inches closer to me. She fits perfectly into my arms. She rests her hand above my shoulders and puts her chin on top of it—which wouldn’t be possible if she weren’t wearing heels, of course. “This feels nice.”
Too late, I realize, that I’m breathing dangerously close to her neck, and it’s tempting me. “I don’t think I’ve told you how beautiful you look tonight.” I plant one swift kiss on the base of her neck where her mole is, and the tiniest bit of sound escapes her lips. Was that a moan? “You look gorgeous, Gray.”
Gray clutches my shoulders tightly, pulling on my tux. She shivers in my embrace. At this moment, we were practically hugging each other. “Do you like Georgia?”
It’s the second time I’ve been asked this question tonight and I see no reason why my answer should change. “She’s attractive.”
“Are you attracted to her?”
“Yes,” I admit. “I find it hard to say no to her.”
“Is it true that you’ve never had sex with her?”
I hesitate. “Can I call you Julia?”
I feel her relax. “Okay.”
I’m smiling like an idiot. “I really like you, Julia. If Janelle doesn’t keep you close,” I bring my lips closer to her ear and whisper in a low voice. “I might just steal you away from her.”