Marissa was having a ball. After only one drink she was tipsy, obviously a lightweight, though she tried very hard not to flirt with Evan in case she scared him off.
They were dancing among his friends, though Marissa thought she noticed Evan casting several glances in her direction.
“What sort of things do you like?” he called out over the pumping beat of the music.
“Animals,” she called. “Shopping. Singing. Dancing.” Her mind was in a whirl and she didn’t care what she was saying so long as it didn’t put Evan off her. “You?”
“Sport. Partying. Why did you sign up for the Mysterious Partner Scheme?”
“Sounded fun. To give money to charity. Why did you?”
Evan grinned. “To find love.”
Marissa’s stomach did a somersault. At first she thought she had heard him wrong.
Evan winked. “To see if Fate would do me any favours, Marissa.”
Marissa was stunned. Her mind went blank so that it seemed her body was moving without her giving it any sort of instruction.
“Let’s go sit down,” Evan shouted.
Marissa nodded numbly. He led her over to some fold-up chairs which had been set out for the event. They sat down and Evan asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I think so,” she replied.
“Sorry if I startled you.”
“What... what did you mean?”
“I was looking for a new way to find a girlfriend. It gets kind of boring picking all the ones who fawn over you.” Marissa was very glad that she had stopped herself flirting with him. “This seemed like the perfect thing to do.”
“You don’t find love like that,” she said, pretending to sound amused.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Evan said, smiling very widely at her. “I think I got pretty lucky.”
Marissa looked away, blushing. She hadn’t realised there was this boyish, flirtatious side to Evan. On the one hand it was startling when she’d always seen him as a gentleman. On the other, she actually quite liked him like this.
Evan moved closer.
“I meant it about you looking pretty,” he murmured in her ear. “And I don’t think it’s just the dress.”
Slowly Marissa looked up at him.
“I thought you were handsome before you put on this suit,” she whispered.
Wordlessly, Evan stood up, still smiling. He held out a hand to her. She took it and he led her behind a tree where they wouldn’t be seen by other students or members of staff. Her heart started pounding in her chest. To her relief Evan didn’t push her up against the tree or kiss her passionately - whilst she was attracted to him she had a firm grip on what was right and wrong, and didn't want to find herself having sex with him within the first week. Instead, he gently tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear and planted a kiss on her brow. Another slow dance appropriate track started playing and the pair danced, looking into each other’s eyes, one of them smiling and confident, the other smiling but nervous.
‘I’m in another world,’ Marissa thought.