Marissa couldn’t believe it when her name was followed by ‘Evan Sarry’. She was actually going to be spending a half hour with the famed Evan Sarry? When she walked up to the gazebo she was sure that Evan would take Mrs Finney aside and have a quiet word about changing partners, or not wanting to be a part of the scheme any longer but no such thing happened. Mrs Finney pointed her out to him and he walked up with that wide warm smile he liked to wear on his face, took her hand and shook it like the gentleman he always seemed to be and told her, “You look really pretty tonight.”
Marissa flushed. She didn’t think his compliment was the truth: the deep green satin clung to her figure making her look unhealthily skinny and not really complementing any aspect of her looks.
“Y-you look handsome,” she told him, and she knew that she was being honest. The black suit clearly displayed his broad shoulders and thick muscles, his hair was thick and looked wonderful to tangle your fingers in, and his eyes... Oh, his eyes. They seemed to see right through her and gaze upon the frightened young woman inside, hiding behind the lock of brown hair falling over one eye and the foundation which covered up the imperfections of her skin, and though that was terrifying, it was also strangely exhilarating.
“Thank you,” Evan replied, his smile widening fractionally because it wasn’t possible for him to look much happier than they had been looking previously.
After they had received their watch Evan led Marissa to the East Lawn.
“I don’t think we’ll need to use this,” Evan said, dangling the watch in one hand. He slipped it into his pocket and looked straight into Marissa’s eyes. “I’d be quite content spending more than half an hour with you.”
Marissa’s heart fluttered.
“Y-you would?” she said stupidly. She panicked - maybe he’d take that back if he thought she was dumb. “I, I mean, I’d love to spend more than half an hour with you.”
Evan chuckled, and Maria cursed to herself. Now she sounded like she was desperately in love with him.
“Would you like to dance?” Evan asked, as the perfect music for a slow dance suddenly spread across the lawn.
“I- I would,” Marissa stammered.
With gentleness that would be appropriate for a child, Evan took her waist with his left hand while placing his right hand on her left shoulder. Nervously Marissa rested her hands on his shoulders, resisting the temptation to feel their firmness.
As they slowly swayed from side to side, Evan gazed into Marissa’s eyes. Neither of them spoke, as if they were allowing a silent force much more powerful than conversation to express itself and the palpable warmth in the air didn’t seem to be just the climate.
‘I’m slow-dancing with Evan Sarry,’ Marissa thought giddily. ‘Please don’t let it be a dream,’ she prayed.
And by some miracle, a divine force heard her. The music changed and the dancing stopped but she didn’t wake up. She felt distinctly the physical sense of Evan’s arm around her back as he began to steer her towards the drinks tent.
This was really happening.