The crimson silk cascaded down the backs of my legs. I selected a simple key necklace and a few silver bracelets for my left arm. The ability to strut in stilettoes was never something I was capable of so I resorted to three-inch heels. My makeup was conservative, strictly red lipstick, eyeliner, and mascara, I never used more than that. Before I departure I needed one last spray of perfume.
At the bottom of the stairs, Matt was waiting for me with my father who was eyeing him carefully. “Miller, you look…perfect.” Matt could not contain his excitement.
My father grunted. “When is this shindig over anyways, Emmie?”
I shrugged. “When do you need me home dad?”
“Just call me if you plan on staying over at one of your girlfriend’s houses.” He smiled glancing at my appearance. “Emmie you look just like your mother.”
I sighed. “Thank you, dad. I’ll check in at midnight.” I kissed him on the cheek and hugged him tightly before I slipped out the door with Matt. Matt shook his hand and proceeded in guiding me to his mother’s car.
As always Matt opened the car door for me being the perfect gentleman that he is. I couldn’t help but to glance in the mirror checking to see if Derek had left yet. I had wondered how the big game went for him. I doubt he lost everyone had boasted on how easy the win would be. His car was nowhere in sight which had to mean he was already at the dance.
Matt sat in the driver’s seat and started the engine. “You really do look great Miller. I had no idea you’d clean up so nicely.”
I giggled. “I could say the same Mattie boy.”
I twiddled with my thumbs for a while. “How did the big game go?”
“I’m surprised you didn’t go. Of course Mason brought the team to victory.” Matt almost cringed at the sound of ‘Mason’ rolling off his tongue.
I nodded. “The only makes sense.” I tried to have a tone full of mockery.
When we pulled into the campus parking lot I found Derek’s car immediately. It was in the first stall with confetti all over it, he really did win. Matt found parking and helped me out the car. We walked arm and arm to cafeteria with smiles plastered on our faces. Matt kept making me laugh because he was muttering things about the people we walked by.
The cafeteria was filled with boys and girls dressed completely different than I was used to seeing them. There were crowds of people formed in circles in every direction.
“Do you want to find people, dance, or get a drink?” Matt smiled down at me.
I looked around. “We could find Izzy first if you don’t mind.” Matt agreed and started to walk around with me. I didn’t really want to dance because I never knew what to do with my hands and I always made the same movements with my legs. I never felt confident on how I looked while I was dancing around.
We found Izzy with an attractive guy around her arm. Her eyes grew wide when we approached her. “Emily! Matt! You guys look great!” Matt shook hands with Izzy’s date and they both left to grab us drinks.
“Have you seen Derek? Brittany is hardly wearing anything.” Izzy rolled her eyes.
I shook my head. “No I’ve managed to avoid him on the way in I guess.”
Matt and Izzy’s date returned with some sodas. Once we finished our drinks we decided to dance. The DJ was mixing up every hit from the town’s most popular radio station. There were some kids that had to be pulled apart by the teachers, because they were being too provocative.
Finally from the corner of the room my eyes met with Derek’s. I wasn’t sure if he had seen me until this very moment. Brittany dragged him to the dance floor screaming at the top of her lungs with a couple of her girlfriends. Izzy was right Brittany was hardly wearing anything.
I looked up at Matt feeling a pang of guilt. I was obviously paying more attention to Derek. There was too much confusion as to what was really going on between us and that make him that more enticing.
He leaned down and whispered into my ear. “Miller, I can’t stop looking at you.” As he pulled away from my ear he kissed my cheek softly. This made my stomach turn and made me bite down on my lip bringing water to my ears. I tried to inhale softly to make the lump in my throat leave. Matt was one of the most genuine people here and I couldn’t hurt him like this. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the truth either.
I forced a slight smile on my face. “Oh stop Mattie boy you’re making me blush a thousand reds.”
The DJ played the first slow song of the night: Always and Forever by Heatwave. This was a favorite of my father’s he enjoyed all genres of slow music. Matt cautiously placed his palms at my waist testing to my eyes to clarify whether or not it was okay. I always worried with slow dancing because I forget where my feet are in the process.
I rested my head against his chest immediately feeling safe. Being with him reminded me of my father he was always making sure I was content before he was. We hardly moved around so I didn’t step on his toes at all.
“Thank you for asking me to come with you tonight Matt.” I looked up at him with a smile.
Matt shrugged and grinned. “Anytime, Miller.”
The song faded and the DJ tried to get the crowd pumped again. The girls still wanted to hold onto their dates but the rest didn’t mind dancing on them to impress.
Matt and I continued to dance until I was starting to get warm. I didn’t want to start sweating so I asked if we could sit down.
We pushed our chairs closer to each other because it was too loud to hear from a normal distance. “What time do you have to be home?” I almost shouted.
“My mom doesn’t need her car at all. She doesn’t work tomorrow so I get to stay out as late as I want.” He smiled to himself.
Izzy skipped over to us with he date trailing behind. “Hey kids. Are you guys having fun?”
“Yeah what about you?” I smiled back at her.
“This guy is pretty great.” She put her arm around his neck. “What are you guys going to do after this?”
Matt instantly turned red and so did I. “He’s just taking me home I guess.”
“Boring! We should all go out to eat! Maybe ditch this place early? Everyone is talking about heading down to the diner.” Izzy was practically bouncing in her seat.
I smiled. “I’m up for it as long as Mattie boy is in. Hey where is Sarah? I didn’t see her on the dance floor.”
Izzy shrugged. “She was here earlier. I think she took off early to ‘hangout’ with her date if you know what I mean.”
My eyes grew wide. “Oh…that’s cool I guess. So when are we taking off?”
She checked her phone. “Hmm maybe in like thirty minutes?”
I gave a nod and pulled Matt off of his chair. “We might as well dance those thirty minutes away Mattie boy.” The thirty minutes rolled around quickly. To me all the music sounded the same. I wasn’t a fan of the new hits these days.
As we made our way to the exit I stole one last glance at Derek before I walked out the door. He looked breathtaking and utterly irresistible.
We slipped out of the cafeteria and went straight to the diner. The diner was absolutely filled with kids from the high school. Matt pulled me to a table and we waited for Izzy and her date to get there.
“What are you going to get Miller?” Matt smiled.
I shrugged. “What ever you get but without onions.”
Izzy skipped into the diner and came straight to our table. Once they sat down the waitress came to us with a frazzled look. “Can I take your orders now?”
Matt nodded. “Two burgers with no onions and two cokes.”
Izzy smiled up at her. “I’ll have a burger with onions and a sprite.” Her date mumbled his order and the waitress ran off to the next table.
“The dance was pretty great huh?” Izzy smiled.
Matt glanced at me. “Yeah it really was.”
“I’m going to go to the ladies room.” I rose from the table and made my way the restroom.
I scrubbed my hands and dabbed my cheeks with water. The food was on the table waiting for me when I got back. Matt had waited for me to eat but Izzy had already started to eat along with her date.
We had a lot of boring chatter during our meal. Some of it was intriguing for Izzy and Matt but I guess I wanted to be home and out of my clothes. Izzy’s date hardly talked but for the most part I think he was just eye candy for Izzy.
“Thank you for eating with me Em.” Izzy smiled.
I gave her a hug. “I’ll see you later.” I waved to her date while Matt gave Izzy a hug.
On the way back I could feel something bad was about to take place. I knew that Matt was going to end the night with me at my doorstep. I didn’t want to kiss him but I couldn’t deny him either.
When we pulled up to my house our soft giggles faded. He got out of the car and walked me to my door like I knew he would. He leaned down a pressed his lips lightly against mine. I felt a small handful of butterflies flutter in my stomach. I hadn’t anticipated a feeling in my stomach other than guilt. He stroked my cheek and whispered to me. “Goodnight, Miller.” My heart sank. My stomach began to feel guilt once more.
Matt pulled his car into his driveway and waved before he entered his house.
I unlocked the door and leaned against it. My father wasn’t asleep on the couch waiting up for me. I ran to check the garage to see if he was home. There was no sign of the Lexus so he was probably at the hospital.
I walked up the stairs with my shoes in hand. My feet were starting to feel sore from being on them all night. The light from next door lit my room up faintly. I kept my lights off and walked out onto my balcony. In the room across the way was Derek staring out at mine.
“Hey there.” He smiled. There was no need to shout.
“Hey.” I sighed. Tonight had really tired me out.
He disappeared from his room so I returned inside from the cold. There was a thud on my balcony door. I turned and there he was the utterly irresistible boy I couldn’t help but think about all the time.
I pulled the door open. “How did you…?”
He pulled my face to his brushing his lips across mine. “I missed you.” He pressed his lips against mine. His palm slid to the small of my back and the other tangled in my hair. I couldn’t breathe his scent and my surprise was making me loose control. He released me with my favorite grin. I exhaled trying to even my breaths.
After taking a record off the shelf he placed it in my record player. He searched the list of songs and moved the needle to a specific track. The elegant hum of Billie Holiday filled my bedroom it was Night and Day.
Night and day, you are the one
Only you beneath the moon and under the sun
Whether near me or far
It's no matter, darling, where you are
I think of you night and day, day and night
Derek whispered with a grin. “I wanted to dance with you tonight. If you don’t mind of course.”
I still couldn’t steady my breaths. He was too much to take in. My eyes glanced over his features like they always did when I was around him. I studied his jawline down to his chest. He pressed his lips into a thin line still waiting for me to answer him. I gave a nod. My sarcasm and wit clearly went out the window at this point. “Sure.”
He held my hand up with his and rested his other palm at the small of my back. I never realized how much shorter I was than him. This became evident when I looked up at him.
“I have to admit I may step on your feet a bit.”
He glanced down at our feet and grinned. Taking the palm at the small of my back he pulled me closer to him forcing me to step on his shoes. We swayed to the precious sounds of Billie Holiday. Was he trying to convey something with Night and Day? My head ran through the lyrics.
Night and day, under the hide of me
There's an, oh, such a hungry yearning
Burning inside of me
And its torment won't be through
'Til you let me spend my life making love to you
Night and day, day and night
He studied the list of songs and played this one. Was it on purpose? Was he trying to tell me he wanted something to happen here? Derek continued to lock eyes with mine. The song finished and another started.
“How was the game?” I was finally breathing normally again.
Derek continued to sway. “It was a win nothing too special. Why weren’t you there?”
I bit my lip. “I was getting ready. How was the dance?”
He shrugged. “It was fun hanging out with everyone but it was killing me to stay on the other side of the room. I didn’t want to start a brawl with your date. I figured you wouldn’t appreciate it.”
I smiled. “Yeah, you’re right I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that. Did your date have a good time at least?”
“As great of a time yours did I’m sure. She didn’t want to leave. Why did you leave so early?” His eyes searched mine.
I exhaled lightly trying not to breathe too hard. “We went to the diner. It was Izzy’s idea to bail early.” I started to think of Matt’s feelings. This guilt was killing me.
I pursed my lips. “Derek you should probably go home now.”
“But you’re alone. I wouldn’t want you to be kidnapped or anything. I can stay until your dad gets home. Just sleep I’ll listen for him.” Derek brushed a strand of hair behind my ear.
My breaths were growing heavy again. I tried to suppress them. “You expect me to sleep with you watching me?”
“Just get ready for bed Emily.” Derek brushed his palm down my arm.
I sighed giving into his request. Before I left to the restroom I grabbed a pair of silk pajamas. I would be freezing in these but Derek would be here. I never got any use out of them anyway why not start now.
In the bathroom I pulled the tags off of them. Once I stripped down I pulled the silk to my skin. It sent chills up my spine and all over my skin. I scrubbed my teeth thoroughly trying to leave only the scent of mint. Never in my life had I flossed so much. My teeth were probably the whitest and cleanest I had ever seen them. I decided to leave my hair down but I needed to wash off my make up. After my face was spotless I tried to steady my breathing once more.
I had wondered whether or not he knew I couldn’t steady my breathing in front of him. Did he know how irrational he made me? He couldn’t possible know that? He probably just thought I was shy, right?
When I returned to my room it was silent the record player was turned off. There he was standing on my balcony looking out at our street. I wanted him to move from the window in the event that Matt might look my way or someone else for that matter.
“Goodnight, Derek.” I tried to draw his attention away from the outside world.
He sauntered over to my bedside. “Oh Emily… good night.” Taking his fingertips he traced my chin.
I tried to adjust myself in a sophisticated manner. He pulled the remote off of my vanity and collapsed onto my bed next to me. I wasn’t sure what he chose because all of my thoughts were being channeled into where our bodies where. I was aware of what fingers were rested under his head and the fingers at his abdomen.
My body on the other hand was nowhere near a perfect pose. I didn’t know the appropriate way to lie. I rolled onto my side facing him. “Can you please say something?”
He chuckled. “What for?”
I sighed. “How am I supposed to sleep with you in my bed?”
“Two things. One, I’m not in your bed I’m on it. Two, it is quite simple Emily just close your eyes and forget I’m here.” He smiled down at me.
“It isn’t that simple though. I’ve never…well this doesn’t happen quite often. How can you be so at ease?”
He began to stroke my hair. “Emily when I’m with you I feel relaxed. I’m on my toes but I’m relieved to know I can keep you safe.”
“I didn’t realize I was in danger.” I scoffed.
He grumbled. “You’re in a house alone at night. You aren’t exactly tough enough to fight off an offender.”
I giggled. “I guess so. This doesn’t make you uncomfortable though? Of course not you’re Derek Mason for crying out loud. You don’t get nervous around girls.”
He nodded. “You’re right I don’t. I do however get uneasy when I’m not with you. When I’m not responsible for you.” I looked at him waiting for him to elaborate further. “Matt makes me uneasy. He’s a pleasant guy but he can’t be responsible for taking care of you. He can’t give you everything like I can. I don’t mean material things, Emily. Though, I can provide you with anything you desire.”
“So you want to take care of me? You think I need help?” I felt confused.
“No, I want to protect you from anything and everything. I want you to be mine. I do admit I tend to be a bit territorial.” He played with the end of a strand of my hair. My breath started to go haywire once more. He wanted me he truly did.
“So please Emily get some rest. I’ll see you in the morning.” He reassured me with his eyes.
I looked up. “Wait, you’re spending the night.”
“Until your father gets home.”
Derek Mason was possessive. He wanted me all to himself. I wasn’t sure if I was okay with what came along with the territory. Would my reputation plummet? Would people hate me for being his? Would Sarah never speak to me again? And Matt. Would I loose him as a friend? Could he still look at me? And if he did would I see the pain in his eyes every time? Could it all be worth it? Was Derek Mason worth losing someone I needed?