"This is beginning to remind me of dancing with my lover," he chuckled quietly, "always looking at the floor."
"Would you like me to stop?" I asked innocently, not wanting to upset him.
"I don't mind. You're much more graceful. I still get my toes trodden on," looking back I’m sure I would’ve laughed but at the time I was too busy concentrating on the floor.
"Oh," I flushed further, "I..." I sighed, "This feels weird."
"Dancing, with a practical stranger, with nothing but music to connect us," I explained allowing the music to just flow through my mind and the moment sort of caught me.
"Want a different dancing partner?" My mind whirled at the thought and I just wished to exclaim, ‘No!’ But I managed to contain myself.
"I..." I gulped. "No, I'd rather dance with you out of anyone else in this room, if you didn't make me so embarrassed."
"How am I embarrassing you?"
"I don't know, I just feel really warm and I know my cheeks must be beaming." I thought on it for a moment and shook my head; breaking his hold on me I escaped the large dance room. I pushed open the wide double glass doors and ran to the outside, where the cool air allowed me to breathe.
The dark garden was actually rather comforting, the shadowed oak overlooked the stone bench that I perched myself on, trying to dispel the thoughts in my head.
A moment later, he followed me out, a concerned look on his face, "I didn't upset you, did I?"
"Not at all," I muttered my eyes firmly fixed on the cobbles that glinted in the subtle moonlight.
"Foolish thoughts, sir, ignore me, sir, forgive me, sir." I gasped, my speech quick and slurred.
I shook my head furiously, "It's not sir! I shouldn't be so rude, sir!"
"Whatever happened to calling me Gabriel? Honestly, it's fine. I'm used to much worse."
I waved a hand dismissively, "sorry Gabriel."
"So what are these foolish thoughts of yours?" he asked an amused glint in his eye.
"Curiosity killed the cat." I mumbled, still not glancing up. I couldn’t tell him? I was embarrassed enough without having to tell him.
"So I've heard. But I'm still here." I huffed and he shrugged, "shall I leave you be?" My heart stopped and I shook my head.
"I... no," I whispered, finally breaking my eye-contact with the shiny cobbles to look up at him, "no, it's fine." He nodded slightly, quiet.
"Oh my word, I'm sorry," I sighed, I'm useless, utterly useless. I growled to myself as I looked at the floor again.
"No, no! Don't be. I just didn't know what to say."
"Fool." I sighed, pulling my legs up onto the bench with me, un-lady like, I know. I just needed some comfort in this awkward moment.
"Fool just about sums me up. What's on your mind?"
"I wasn't on about you, Gabriel."
He sat beside me, keeping a polite distance between us, "I know. You ignored my question," I fully intend to continue ignoring that question.
"I don't particularly think you want to know."
"I am fairly sure I have heard worse, whatever it is. To be honest, whatever comes out of my lover's mouth seems to be worse than anything I've ever heard before."
I laughed, the thought bringing me back to the first time I had ever heard a curse. "Then to be fair to your lover and you yourself I'll keep my lips firmly sealed."
"Don't be silly. I don't care for the rigidness of our class; a problem shared is often a problem halved."
"Or a problem doubled in some cases."
“In your own words, I am not here to pass judgement, but your trust is yours to place."
"Oh you fool! I think you're cute, my heels are over my head, my heart is beating ten to the dozen and the angels are calling your name." I rolled my eyes, though I wasn't sure if he could see and my eyes were firmly transfixed on the ground.
He laughed softly, though it wasn't mocking or nasty, "angels calling my name? I must say that is a new one, Melissa. Perhaps one day, hmm?"
"I'm utterly useless at most instruments so I find my outlet in writing." I sighed, looking up to the sky instead. To the dazzling stars and the round moon that glowed down on us. "Perhaps one day... you should stop lying Gabriel."
"Yes, a term used when one is not telling the truth," I chuckled, dropping my legs and leaning back in the bench.
"I know what lying is," he scowled, "who is to say I was lying?"
"Me, I don't believe that statement to be true," I realise I had just given him another definition of lying.
"Why ever not?" I didn’t like that question, it wasn’t that I couldn’t answer it. I purely didn’t want to.
"Why so?" I countered.
"I have to get married one day, Melissa, and it's to be someone from a wealthy family, of course."
"But you're lover. I couldn't possibly stand between that and you... you don't love me back. Something so strong cannot be one-sided."
“We've only just met. It took me a long time to realise how I felt about my lover."
"My father always said I was too trusting in people and that emotions shouldn't flow as strong as mine. Just another way for him to call me a freak I suppose." I chuckled, though I didn't really find anything funny. I sighed, moving a little closer to him, but not so we were touching, in fact, we were still a little distance apart.
"I was taught to stifle my feelings. I may have fallen quicker, had I rebelled against my parents. My lover's emotions... are erratic to say the least. Easily pleased and happy one moment to argumentative and angered the next."
"I must say I am fairly loving throughout, that's how I rebel against my father." I looked to him, scanning over his form for a moment "tell me, will your permit me to umm..."
"Permit you to what?"
"To, uh... never mind."
"No, go on,” he was so persistent.
I shook my head, "It is so improper of me."
"I am perfectly used to improper," he muttered, the amused glint sparking in his eyes for a moment.
"You spark my curiosity so. Why won't you tell me your secret master Emerson?"
"Because no one can ever know. I don't think improper will ever cover my relationship."
"Thank you for telling me I'm 'no one.'"
"I'm sorry Melissa. I wish I could tell someone, but I think my lover might just kill me if we were discovered and it was my fault."
"What if I promise that the secret will forever be tied to my tongue, the poison remaining upon my lips to kill me should I tell?"
He sighed and rolled his eyes, "I have fallen in love with a pauper from the village. The lowest of the low. Yet somehow, I have managed to find love with them."
I smiled, that wasn't hard to do, I remembered to my scraped knees, to that pauper boy. But, he thought they were the lowest of the low? How ridiculous, they are better than we. They help each other, they work so hard... "That isn't so bad; may I ask your permission for something now?" He had trusted me so... I hope I wasn't pushing myself.
"Isn't so bad?" he looked at me like I was insane for a short second before blinking, "permission for what?”
“To embrace you...”
"Oh... yes, of course," he mumbled, shuffling slightly closer.
I smiled, my arms slowly moving around his waist. "Never be ashamed of the one you love, Gabriel. You must fight for them always." He was silent as he put his arms around me and I hesitantly rested my head against his chest. "Thank you, even though this is so improper of me." The hug was so warm; he was so warm even against the chill winds out in the courtyard.
"It's fine," he murmured.