Begin Again

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Twenty: A Simple Dance

My mom wears an evergreen, long dress. She looks stunning, as she always do. Tonight, I escort her to the charity event and I’ve never been more proud of a woman on my arm. My mother is the greatest woman in the world, my dad had been stupid not to see that.

I have no idea if Violet intends to show up, she had been originally invited but I still hadn’t spoken to her after the events that took place last night. I’m not opposed to talking to her, but tonight I chose to focus on the event because it’s priority.

I watch the entrance closely as people begin to enter and as usual, Jenna and Mason are late. Jenna isn’t easy to get ready and of course she arrives with a smile on her face like she’s fashionably late, when really; she’s just late.

Mason pulls Jenna towards where my mother and I stand, he smiles at my mom, “Nice seeing you, Mrs. Vagard.”

“Alexandra,” My mom reminds him for the millionth time.

Mason chuckles, giving my mom a little hug before pulling away and allowing Jenna to hug my mom, “Alexandra, I love your dress! Green is definitely your color.”

My mom only smiles, still not completely over her opinion of Jenna. All she remembers of Jenna is the bad things, sitting in my bedroom with me smoking marijuana and when she caught us about to have sex when I was sixteen. Little do my mother know that I wasn’t a virgin at the time anyway, Jenna was, however.

Jenna was my partner in crime growing up, she and Maks were considered to be a bad influence on me but I could easily be the bad influence on them. Maybe not Maks, but Jenna for sure. She’s much better without me blowing up her life.

“Thank you, Jenna.”

“Mom, did you hear, Mason and Jenna are engaged.” I try to ease the mood.

Without really thinking about her words, my mom responds, “At least it’s not you.”

I can see Mason shift uncomfortably and Jenna frowns, “Alexandra... I’ve changed a lot from what you remember. If you give me a chance to show you, I think you would be able to see that I’m a much better person.”

“Jenna, honey, I can see that you’ve changed... I just...” My mom takes a deep breath but stops herself from continuing.

I can see that Jenna, Mason and myself are all wondering what my mother is thinking but Jenna is the one who speaks up to ask her to continue, “Please tell me what’s bothering you.”

My mom frowns and looks at me, then Mason. As she continues, she shrugs her shoulders, “It isn’t my place to judge, I just... I don’t exactly understand how you can go from one brother to the next. Mason isn’t my son, but I know the relationship you had with Thomas and it just makes me uncomfortable to think that you are with his brother now.”

Well, shit. Mason and Jenna both stay quiet, obviously this isn’t something that can change my mom’s mind on so they have no response that could possibly aid her opinion of their relationship.

“Mom, Jenna and Mason’s relationship is completely different than what as going on between Jenna and I, we never dated,” I defend them, not wanting my mom to think that Jenna is bad for finding happiness, even if it is with my brother, “They love each other, okay? I... I wasn’t good to Jenna.”

“This is a beautiful event, I really don’t think it’s the place to discuss this...” My mom looks at Jenna and manages a little smile, “I don’t want you to think that I don’t like you, I just thought that you had been so infatuated with Thomas. Before Jade, I assumed that you two would have ended up together.”

I had no idea that my mom had these thoughts. She knew that I was never serious with Jenna and I had basically just fucked with her to get sex. I was horrible to her, there were never any emotion feelings or anything near love.

Maybe my mom is just from a generation where sex equals love, but for a long time it was just a release, a game, almost.

“I...” Jenna seems stunned, at loss for words as she looks towards Mason.

Mason is quiet and I hate that he’s put in this position. He’s my little brother and we have become close, I didn’t want his relationship to be questioned because I know how much he loves Jenna.

“I understand where you’re coming from,” Mason nods in agreement, “For a long time I had been insecure about Jenna and Thomas’ relationship, but once I actually took the time to allow myself to open up to her, it’s clear that there isn’t anything there now.”

My mom smiles and rests her hand on Mason’s shoulder, “I really am happy for you, sweetie.”

“Thank you,” Mason smiles back at her.

“I swear the older you get, the more you look like your father,” She laughs softly, moving her arm away and turning to look at me, “Is Violet coming?”

“I’m not sure,” I admit, shrugging my shoulders and looking around as the room fills up. I see Ella putting the final centerpieces on the tables and I smile to myself, “There’s someone I want you to meet, mom.”

I take my mom’s hand and guide her towards Ella, giving her shoulder a little tap to get her attention. When Ella turns around, she smiles at me, “Hey...”

It isn’t until I’m up close that I realize how beautiful she looks. Her blonde hair is in a tidy up-do and she wears a pretty red, slim fitting dress that shows off her curves but remains modest. She isn’t wearing anything revealing, but even without showing her body she looks hot as hell.

“Ella, this is my mother Alexandra.” I introduce the two, smiling as I start Ella’s introduction, “Mom, this is Ella. She’s the receptionist at the office and she’s actually from North Carolina. We went to school together.”

“Oh, gosh. I am so sorry you had to deal with him during his teen years,” My mom jokes, extending her hand for Ella to shake, “It’s really nice to meet you, Ella.”

Ella seems surprised and shy, but she still manages to give a decent impression, “It’s nice to meet you as well, Alexandra. And I’m happy to inform you that Thomas seems to be a better person than he was in high school.”

I playfully roll my eyes at her comment but she isn’t wrong so I can’t necessarily disagree.

My mom continues to smile, seeming to really like Ella. Her gaze shifts to a gentleman in a blue blazer, “Oh! That is the owner of the adoption agency I invited. I’m going to go say hello.”

“Yeah, of course,” I nod, watching my mom leave. I turn back to Ella and gives her a quick once over, “You look beautiful.”

“Thanks, Thomas. You too.” She smiles at me before giggling and correcting herself, “You look handsome, I mean. Not beautiful... Unless you like being called beautiful in which, yeah... You look nice.”

I find myself chuckling at her technicality, with a smug smirk I shrug my shoulders nonchalantly, “I think I look sexy, but if handsome is all I am, whatever.”

“You’re obnoxious,” Ella jokes.

“I’ve been called worse,” I grin, taking two glasses of champagne as the server passes by. I pass one to Ella and hold my glass up, “Cheers.”

“Cheers.”

We both take a sip of our drinks in unison and when soft music begins to play I notice people are beginning to dance. My eyes fall on Ella and I truly can’t see the harm in asking her for one dance. We’re both mature and I would like to consider us friends at this point.

“Do you... want to dance?” I ask her.

She looks around at the people dancing and seems slightly uncomfortable, “This seems like the kind of music that would require a partner.”

I point to myself, giving her a charming smile, “I’m available.”

Ella laughs at my comment but doesn’t agree to dance with me, instead her smile becomes more gentle and sympathetic, “Thomas, you have a girlfriend. That would be inappropriate.”

“I’m just asking for a dance, Elle. Not sex,” I tell her. I make sure not to cross any lines, I don’t want to and I understand the dangers in that. A simple dance, it’s all I ask for and in no way is that cheating, because that’s something I would never do.

She seems hesitant but finally sets her glass on the table next to us, I do that same. I extend my hand towards her and she takes it, allowing me to lead her to where the other people are dancing. When we stop, I place my hands gently on her waist while her chest presses against mine and I begin to sway us slowly with the music.

Ella seems to be avoiding my gaze and I wonder if she’s uncomfortable. I raise an eyebrow at her, trying to see her face, “You okay?”

When she finally looks at me, she’s smiling and her cheeks are red, “I’m sorry... I was just thinking about something.”

“Well, you’re smiling so I assume good things?”

“High school,” She answers while we move along to the music and she wraps her arms around my neck, “If I had told my sixteen year old self that I would dance with you in eight years, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

“Oh jeez,” I groan at her words, she makes it sound like I was some kind of prince charming but in reality I know how much of a jerk I was, far from charming, “You hated me for how I treated you. Back then you probably would have slapped me if I asked for a dance.”

Ella shakes her head and gives her shoulder a slight shrug, “Not exactly. I was just like every other girl, Thomas. Who didn’t have a crush on the handsome bad boy? For some reason it’s a thing and bad boys are the fad.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop right there. You didn’t have a crush on me, I would have known,” I begin to think back but my memory of Ella is very vague, “If I remember clearly, you said something about me being a pretentious douche bag.”

“That is true,” She admits, still smiling, “But like I said, everyone loved the bad boy. I mean, growing up girls are told that if a boy picks on you it means they like you. Which, might I add, is a terrible thing to teach children.”

“You thought I liked you?”

I hate to even think it, but I’m one hundred percent sure that I never liked Ella or was attracted to her in high school. I was a different person and I picked on her because I could, there was never a motive behind it.

She shakes her head no, “Oh, god no. Of course I didn’t think you liked me... But I was optimistic that you would stop picking on me eventually. A cliche story about the bully falling for his prey, really dumb but aren’t all teenage girls naive at that age?”

Jenna was. Although I had told her multiple times that I had no feelings for her she continued to pursue me with the hopes that I would change my mind one day.

“I know I’ve said it a million times but I really am sorry about the person I was back then. You didn’t deserve any of that shit.”

“All is forgiven, Thomas. I can see the person you are now and you’ve changed for the better, I can barely recognize you,” Her words make me feel better but I still regret everything I did back then, “I’m really happy that we’re friends now. Leave all the negativity behind.”

It’s true. Things are much better this way and if I could personally apologize to all of the people I’ve hurt in the past, I would. Unfortunately sometimes when damage is done there’s nothing that can fix it, I’m just happy that I was able to repair the damage I had caused with Ella.

I take her hand, stepping away from her and spinning her back into my arms. She begins to laugh and I dip her. I’m actually quite a good dancer and I haven’t felt so good in a while which made this all the more fun for me.

Holding Ella into dipping position, I grin down at her, “It was a pleasure dancing with you, m’lady.”

She starts laughing, placing her hand on my shoulder for support, “You’re such a dork.”

I’m smiling as I stand her up when the music stops and when my eyes finally drift from Ella, they fall on Violet who is standing behind her in a shirt black dress, watching us. I’m not sure how long she had been there but suddenly I feel guilty for dancing with Ella, taking back what I said earlier about how there was nothing wrong with a simple dance.

Maybe there is, maybe I enjoyed it more than a taken man should. Maybe that’s why I feel guilty. Not because of dancing with Ella but because of how much I enjoyed dancing with her.

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