"What did you do?"
"Jedi mind trick. Works every time."
"You are such a horrible liar."
"Damn. No one else catches on. You know me too well."
I'm beginning to realize one of the side characters is playing the roll of me. She presents the questions I'd ask of these people if I were there, and gets answers to things that a reader of the story should know. It didn't even occur to me until the fourth or fifth time it happened. Maggie = me. How the hell did that happen?
"Are you trying to impress me with money tonight, big man?"
"No. Why, would that work?"
I knew he wanted to impress her, but the ballroom dancing thing caught me totally by surprise. Nothing he wouldn't do for his lady. Even spend weeks learning how to dance to give her one night she'd never forget.
"If you're buttering me up to ask me for something, now is the time. I'd pretty much say yes to anything."
"I've gotten what I wanted tonight. That smile warms my soul. Now dance with me, pretty girl."
And still she refuses to believe. And despite her look of pure adoration, he refuses to push. The tightly woven line between them pulling ever harder, neither giving an inch. But the pain they refuse to tell each other about is becoming a burden.
"My god, Jake, are you sure about this?"
"I've never been more sure of anything in my life. My home is your home, any time you want it to be."
It's like I'm watching a movie I've never seen before sometimes. Details popping out that shock me. Her bright purple dress, low cut, no back, catching lights in the ballroom and shimmering as they turn. His deep blue tux, almost the same shade as her eyes, reflected there in glossy tears of joy. The music so slow, so sweet, so tender. Their night a little girl's dream come true.
"Goodnight, my princess. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Goodnight, my prince. Thank you so much for tonight."
And as they hug in the pale shadow of the porchlight, saying goodnight and letting go of the dream, the heartache, the misery, the joy of the evening quenched in darkness and cold, they part and despair. Both pining, both needing, neither allowing themselves to confess.
And Maggie asks her questions.
"Jen? Are you alright?"
"I don't know."
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