seeing the real stars
Bennett lead Serin to the center of the bubble, where the majority of the crystal fixtures on the ceiling directed their spotlights. Rotating rays shed light over the intricate rhinestones on Serin’s dress and mask, and Bennett felt like he was watching sunlight refract off of ocean waves.
“I don’t know what got into me back there,” Serin apologized, “Those girls are just so mean to me at school, and I guess I meant to make them jealous, and I know I didn’t even say anything that bad to them, but I wanted to, and…”
Bennett took both of Serin’s hands and spun quickly.
“Serin, I don’t want to spend tonight talking about anyone other than you.” He said seriously, but then blushed and let go of her hands.
Serin adjusted the opal ring, which had nearly slid off her finger, and tried to think of how to continue the conversation.
“The stars are breathtaking from up here,” she said, staring at Bennett.
“I know. I’ve been up here dozens of times for numerous banquets and parties, but every single time, I still get this refreshing feeling,” he agreed, stepping closer.
“When I was little I used to think that when I grew up I would be able to hold them in my hands. I’d dream that I was bouncing from star to star, connecting the constellations. But then I grew up and the stars were still far away, unreachable.” She was still staring at Bennett, the only stars either of them really seeing being the ones in each other’s eyes.
Bennett listened, his attention unwavering.
“My mother is a programmer and an engineer. She’s always encouraged me to think of ways to make my dreams a reality. But what I’m afraid of is that maybe some dreams are just dreams. Maybe I’m great at imagining, but what if I’m not capable of creating the things I imagine?” Serin’s heart ached from confessing the fears that terrorized her.
Bennett brushed his hair from his face and then did the same to Serin’s hair that had fallen onto her nose.
“Maybe you need someone besides your mom to tell you that you’re absolutely capable.” Bennett said softly. “Look at this place.”
Serin smiled and looked around once again.
“I have. It’s like a starry dream designed just for me to be with you.” She said.
“Well you see, you’re kind of the one who made it,” Bennett told her. Serin blinked.
“Really. You’re a talented, extraordinary designer! My father is obsessed with your work. He asked you to create a place with the most dreamlike design you could think of. And here we are.”
Serin closed her eyes and tried to find her calm focus like she did before entering the Findley’s house. She was going to be successful. She was going to have a life where her dreams were coming true because she made them happen!
And Bennett knew all of this. He knew her future. He grew up hearing bits and pieces of news about a woman named Serin Amaranth, and then one day he knew he would meet the girl before she even knew what an important person she would be.
“You’ve known me for years,” Serin realized.
Bennett picked up her hands again, lightly.
“Well yes, but barely. I’ve known of you. I’ve known that you would be here, but as a kid I only saw that glimpse of us in the ballroom.”
“Maybe this is a mistake. I’m having the most magical time I’ve had probably in all of my life, but if I’m never going to see you again and I’m just going to become this successful designer without you being a part of my life after tonight, then maybe I need to not get so attached to you.”
“I feel like it’s kind of too late to change the way you feel. Feelings don’t work like that.” Bennett protested, bringing Serin closer again.
Serin noticed the people around them staring, but they all pretended to look away when Serin made eye contact. The music with the heavy beat had slowed and quieted, and strings and piano took its place. The lights transformed from the bright spotlights to a dim blue glow, and the couples along the hovering refreshments made their way out to the center of the floor to dance.
“Okay Serin, how can I convince you?” Bennett asked.
Serin closed her eyes, thinking but coming to no conclusion.
“You made this place so that we could stand in the stars, but the only star I’m looking at is you. And who knows that we’re not going to meet again? The world has a loop of time that links us together for a reason. Why can’t that happen again?” Bennett said.
“Okay, you convinced me.”
“Wow, that didn’t take long.”
“I know, but you know what? This is my one night to be a star. I’m always shying away from things because so many doubts come into my head. I think I should just let myself be happy and for once, not worry about the future.” Serin looked into the deep, everlasting sky and finally felt like she didn’t have to know what was out there.
Serin and Bennett spun in a circle again, flinging Serin’s frets away.
Hours stretched for years, but the years somehow flashed by.