“May I have this dance?”
Sky Tirra laughed at the posh accent her best friend Roger Locket was putting on. But even with the blazer and tie she couldn’t imagine him as any sort of gentleman - she just knew him too well for that.
“Of course you may,” she said graciously, imitating him.
He took each of her hands and began to do an outrageous waltz whose steps got them in everyone’s way. Sky grinned and Roger winked.
“Courting you is such a fine thing,” he said loudly.
“Watch out,” Sky murmured, though she was amused rather than worried. “People might see it’s a show if you’re too flamboyant.”
“Flamboyant? But who wouldn’t want to show off with you as his beautiful beloved?”
Sky chuckled again. She was so glad that she and Roger had decided to pretend to go out. It felt like they were kids again - conspiring against the rest of the world and having enormous amounts of fun at the same time. She remembered a time in the sandpit at their local park when Roger had convinced a little boy that there were fairies living in the sandcastle he was making with her. The boy had stayed at what he deemed a safe distance away from them while Sky pretended to talk to the fairies, telling them not to be afraid.
When the music changed Roger took her over to a fallen tree in the school grounds. They sat next to each other on the trunk, Roger’s arm around Sky’s back.
“It’s such nice weather,” Sky said. “I thought it might rain - you know, just to spite us.”
“It wouldn’t dare,” Roger said, with mock fierceness.
Sky laughed. “No, not with Roger here to release his wrath on the weather gods.”
Roger grinned. “Yup, that’s just what I’d do.”
Curious, Sky asked, “What did your parents say when you said you were taking me?”
“Taking you where, darling? Here, or to Paris? Or to America like we planned in primary school?”
Sky smiled. “Here, though I still would like to go to America.”
“They weren’t surprised in the least. They think we’d make the perfect couple. What about yours?”
“They were very happy. My mum gave me a big hug and told me I deserved a young man like you.”
Roger laughed. “What is it with your mum thinking I’m a perfect gentleman?”
“I don’t know. You’re always polite, I guess. And you’ve never hurt my feelings or treated anyone like they were inferior to you.”
Roger shrugged. “I guess I have... some good points.”
“Don’t worry,” Sky teased. “I won’t tell her you conspire with the evil fairies late at night when you should be asleep.”
Roger pulled her close. “Thanks, darling.”
Sky rested her head on his shoulder. Without thinking, she asked, “Do you ever wonder if we would be good together?”
“I don’t want us to split up violently,” he told her calmly.
“No,” Sky agreed. “That would be awful.”
“Though I have wondered. We’ve been friends since we were two. You don’t keep a friend for fourteen years without growing incredibly close to them.” With sincerity that almost made Sky tearful, Roger said, “It’s almost like we’re in love with each other already.”
“I feel like you understand me completely,” Sky confessed.
“I do,” Roger said simply.
Internally Sky sighed. Yes, Roger was right. The bond between them was so strong. Did they really need to say they loved each other as such? If... If he kissed her right now, she’d be no more surprised than if she kissed him.
“We’re the luckiest people in the world,” Sky murmured.
She lifted her head and gazed at his face. He was gazing into the distance, his expression serene.
“It’s almost romantic,” she tested.
He turned his head and looked into her eyes. His eyes were unreadable.
“You want that?”
“I don’t know,” she said quietly, looking down.
“Let it happen how you want,” he told her, like he could tell it felt like some outside force was encouraging her to make this friendship a romantic relationship. “I’m happy whatever.” He leant forwards and kissed her hair.
“Let’s stay here and talk.”
Roger’s expression didn’t waver.