The moment


He was a little late getting to the dance as the car that he had depended on being there was absconded by his older brother for some reason. He had to hoof it from his house to the school gym (a 20 minute walk at the most) and he had not been nearly as ready as he could have been to account for the delay. He rather relished the walk as it helped him clear his head. He past the bleachers at Barnard Exempts that he had sat on numerous nights listening to his Astral Voyage album. He walked past the gas station where his brother and he would score a big gulp usually after a tennis match and the Olympia restaurant that he had always meant to check out one of these days. Cutting through the Maiden Lanes bowling alley parking lot he passed the smokers by the gate that separated Chase-Pitkin and the school property. He sniffed his shirt and was pleased that his journey through the smoke did not linger on him.

Ascending the stairs he handed in his ticket and saw that the gym was rather packed that night. The decorations shimmered and his friends were, more or less, waiting for him on the other side of the makeshift dance floor past the punch and cookies. It was rather dark (by design) and he noticed Nan in the gaggle of girls waiting their turn to be asked. Joining his friends one of them punched him on the shoulder.
"I just lost a buck in a bet that you chickened out," Pat snarled with a smile.
"Why would I do that?" Mark laughed. "You have such little faith in me."
"Yeah well the night is young," Lee added. "You have plenty of time to disappoint us."
Mark ignored the slight. "So, who have you all danced with?" 
They looked at the ground rather ashamed that they were a bit too focused on themselves to ask anyone. "Has anyone danced with Nan yet?" Mark asked pointedly.
"No, well, maybe...actually we don't know," Scott admitted.
"You guys are pathetic," Mark laughed. "Seriously?"

Their sheepish grins betrayed their lack of attention to the fairer sex. As the disco ball (how did they get that up there?) cast its lights around the room the DJ said that he was going to slow things down with a song from Foreigner. As "I've Been Waiting for a Girl Like You" played Mark's heart raced. He needed to make the first move.

He turned his back on his friends (they weren't much help anyway) and looked directly at Nan. She was looking directly at him! Perhaps a bit more shyly than he was but she was showing that she was interested. He cautiously strode through the couples just beginning their embraces and held out his hand toward her. Not a word was exchanged as her eyes beamed wide. He hoped that the smile on his face wasn't too creepy as to turn her off. As she took his hand they made their way to the dance floor and shared what was the first dance of the evening for either of them.

Were there a million eyes on them? Mark couldn't tell nor did he care as hers were the only ones that mattered. His courage was handsomely rewarded as they wordlessly swayed to the music. She pulled him a bit closer and he relished the gesture. His heart about to burst he wondered if she could feel his pulse through his neck. When the song was over Mark mumbled a "thank you" intending to leave her presence and tell his friends that was how it was done. Simply, Nan gazed directly into his eyes, flashed a small smile, and said

"Don't go."

And they danced.

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