Twenty-Two: On The Twelfth Night

Andrea bit her lip. She didn’t want to wear the same dress again. She didn’t like to appear…samey. Not now that there was someone to impress. Blushing, Andrea recalled the final fragments of her psychology, the information she was taking into account: imprudence caused by attention.

Stop it! You are being silly.

But no amount of scolding could stop tame her excited heart- and, for the moment, neither could it help choose her an outfit.

Reds, greens, blues… Finally, Andrea settled for the semi-casual, and she found herself wandering out of the bedroom on time.

Unfortunately, it was at that moment that Keith chose to enter the house, having finished work at an earlier moment for some reason. He stood, one hand still closing the door, accusation written all over his face. Andrea watched as he closely took in her ‘get-up’, his eyes flicking numerously, right down to the black bag that she was clutching, a silly finishing touch.

“Where are you going?” It really wasn’t Andrea’s fault that she had neglected to tell him about tonight, she thought to herself. After all, he had left that morning in an instant, without breakfast.

“Nowhere!” Then Andrea turned pink. “I mean, of course, I’m going somewhere, but it’s nowhere important,” she stuttered.

“Out again tonight?” Keith didn’t look satisfied.

“Yeah…there’s a function on at my old school, and it’s something I’ve wanted to see for a while. Birthday…got in the way a bit.”

“Why didn’t you tell me? Why aren’t you taking me?” There was that accusing tone again.

She could have used any excuse, but it didn’t seem worth it anymore.

“Well you don’t really like plays…” (that was true). “And not Shakespeare either. It’s all very true.”

“Right.” Keith cleared his throat. “I guess I’ll see you later then.”

“Sure.”

Andrea continued to burn a bright sheen, but instead, she crept past Keith, keeping her eyes fixed on a point directly in front of her, a way to make sure that he would not catch her eye again and see that everything that she would further say would be based on falsities. It was especially the question of ‘with whom?’ that Andrea was petrified of hearing. She listened to the last sounds of Keith breathing in his place, before she swung open the door and tiptoed out. Awkwardness clung to the air akin to the dewdrops that the night had been tipped with.

***

Lucas’ insides twisted with anxiety. It had been a mistake to say that he would help set up when his mind was easily distracted by the fearful face of his companion. Twice he had moved tables over to the wrong side of the dining hall, and had only flushed on being reprimanded by the Viola on his mistakes.

And now? Now he had been sent, in punishment, away from the refreshments’ table, and Lucas’ only real job was to begin to welcome the parents and staff who would be turning up. Yet, it was not the tedium that drove Lucas to his semi-obsessive frustration. As he whistled Michael Bublé’s ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’- stopping and restarting whenever he was sure that the whistled note was wrong- his mind ran in opposite directions. On this Twelfth of October, Lucas wanted to yell out to the stars, cursing infatuated destiny.

Whilst Lucas put on his smile, and greeted the men and women in his most grandiose tone, his inner voice was shouting commands, begging him to check the phone so that a text from Andrea would not go unmissed. The block in his pocket, however, did not buzz and Lucas’ smile remained false.

Time pressed on with no sign of Andrea. Lucas fidgeted from foot to foot, frowning at the moon-filled sky. A couple of sighs slipped from his lips when nobody was around. Only when Lucas had all but given up, a red car slipped into the car-park and a vision of elegance stepped out.

The style of her long-sleeve top and the skirt she had chosen complimented Andrea’s lustrous figure. But it was the black against her hair that really inspired Lucas’ poetry. If she had ever expressed- albeit she had not, in his presence- a hatred of being ginger-haired, now was the time for her to take her words back. Though her locks still bounced like a comb of candyfloss, the colours that clung to her hair, almost-browns, full-on ginger strands, lighter blonde-reds, and the like, shone out in the starred night, giving the woman a halo.

That angel!

Lucas had prayed that he would be good. No tricks, no temptation, no trying to let his eyes fall over Andrea again. It was her night, her birthday celebration to have, and so that meant that Lucas had to be on his best behaviour. But the Lord was really testing him now.

“Lucas!” The vision waved a hand forward above her head. “Hey.”

And wasn’t that awkward tension between them exciting? When she neared, Lucas could already feel his heart beat double-time. One, two, one, two, an imitation marching beat, frustratingly irregular.

He glanced back into the theatre, to where his other guest was sitting, waiting. She tossed her short brown hair and gave an interesting wave that involved flexing each right finger in sequence. Blushing, Lucas repeated the move, his eyebrows jumping all over the place.

But turning back to Andrea was much more the treat. She finished rooting through her bag and produced her mobile, the screen alight on his text.

“Well, you certainly know flattery gets you everywhere.”

They laughed together, embarrassed still.

“Andrea… I’m…glad you came. It’s good to see you.” Licking his dry lips, he paused. “I’m sorry for what happened. I shouldn’t have been so…”

“No, really, it was my fault too. After all, I, too, should not have been so…floaty.”

Her laugh was full of nervousness. Lucas wanted to place his arms around her, to hold her close and remind her that it was okay. Just sometimes, when sin won, it was okay, because love brought the best of the fall to them. He observed the mysterious air in her eyes, playful, just like the curls of her hair that the light breeze would pick up ever so often.

“Hmm? Will we be standing here all night?” Andrea added, seeing his expression.

“Oh! No, my dear; though I was waiting for you, I was also told to do my pastoral duties and wait to greet the arriving. They’re all here now- well, they better be- and we might soon miss the start if we don’t get a leg on… I like your hair today,” he added with a wink; “it looks gorgeous in the night.”

“Ginger? Never!” teased she in response.

“Oh, come on, your hair is cracking!”

“Cracking? Really, Lucas!”

Chuckling, he laced his arm through hers and pulled her onwards to see the show. Luckily for them, the house-lights were on, and a glance from Mr. Garner told Lucas that he wasn’t too late. The man sat across the aisle from where Lucas led Andrea, to a crowded row, with just two end-seats free, where the other guest had carefully placed her possessions to keep the seats available. On catching his eye, she moved her bag and coat and shoes, sliding the lot under the chairs whilst she fixed Andrea with an equal stare, before turning back to the man in question.

“Lucas,” the brown-haired woman chortled, eyeing him with glee, “I was beginning to wonder if you’d ever return to me.”

“Well, I’m sorry,” Lucas pouted.

He watched as Andrea’s eyes widened, threatened; she was scared- and for some odd reason, it pleased him very much, for it meant that he had her love certain again. If passion was intensity squared, Lucas’ eyes would have been on fire when seeing the expression. His hands darted as his heart did.

However, Andrea would need the explanation to keep her in his arms for long.

“Andrea,” he said with a deep smile. “This is Léa, my sister.”

The End

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