He searched through the people until he spotted her. Salla. The most beautiful thing in existence. She was standing alone, her arms wrapped about herself, hugging herself. She seemed upset.
Markus exhaled once more to calm himself; and then walked over to her. She looked up as he approached, and smiled. “Markus, how are you?”
“I am well, Salla. But I am more concerned with how well you are?”
“I am well too, Markus”. She seemed to be waiting for more.
“Salla, would you care to dance with me?” Her eyes lit up, she held out her arms.
“I would love to dance with you Markus”. It was his turn to smile. He extended a hand, which she took. They moved out together, hand in hand into the centre of the crowd. Markus felt his delight at the smiles they got from the other villagers. They came to a stop in the centre of the square. Markus turned to face Salla once more. He placed a hand on her waist, and took one of hers in his free hand. She placed her free arm over his shoulder and they began to move slowly to the music. She laid her head on his chest; it seemed to fit perfectly. Everything about it felt right.
“Salla, there is something I need to tell you; and have done for a while now”.
“Yes Markus, what is it?” She did not take her head from his chest.
“I am, fond of you, Salla. I have been fond of you for a long time now. I wish we could spend every waking moment together”.
Salla raised her head from his chest and ran her other arm around his neck, pressing herself closer to him. She kissed him, a kiss full of passion. When she withdrew, there was a new glint in her eyes; a joyous one. “I am fond of you too”. Markus smiled and kissed her back, placing both hands on her waist. They stayed like that, swaying through the crowd, moving as one being. Markus caught Sed’s eye as he swung by with Beilan. Sed winked at him and pumped a fist in the air; giving Markus his approval. He had done it; he had finally done it, and it had all worked out well.
The quartet struck up a faster number; and the crowd’s velocity increased to match it. Markus span Salla out along an arm, then drew her back in; they began spinning in fast circles, arms interlocked. Salla’s face bloomed with happiness as she laughed; taken up in the joy of the moment; and it made her look even more beautiful. Their feet moved in time with the beat of the music; banging onto the ground with each beat of the drum.
After a time, they moved over to Master Amathorn’s stand; hand in hand, side by side. Salla had let her hair down; and her beautiful smile still lived on her face. She planted a kiss on his Markus’ cheek; which he returned. “A pint of ale, and a cup of your finest wine for the lady”. Master Amathorn smiled as he passed the drinks over in exchange for some of Markus’ silver.
“Markus, how did you know I like wine?” Salla asked as she took a sip of her drink.
“Salla, I have known you since we were kids. I know you well; and I would like to get to know you even better, and tonight, you gave me that chance”. He planted a kiss on her forehead, which she returned on his lips.
“It is about time you two confessed your affection for each other” Master Amathorn said from behind his makeshift bar; a knowing smile on his face. “The whole village saw the potential you two had if you only announced it”.
“And I suppose now they will start the question of when we will marry?” Salla asked.
“I believe they already have. I have had a wager proposed to me this past hour that it will be within the month”. Salla laughed, along with Markus.
“I do not think we would be so hasty”. Markus nodded in acquiescence.
“I did not think so. It looks like I would have one the wager”.
“You certainly would have” Markus said. Master Amathorn shook his head.
“Look at us, talking of wagers on the relationship between two youths. Tell me you two, what do you make of the festivities?”
“The council did a great job this year; congratulations Mr Amathorn” Salla said.
“Thank you Sa-“ he was cut off as a disturbance stirred across the square. The crowd seemed to be pushing back; someone screamed. The three of them turned their gaze in unison towards the source.