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He shakes his head with a laugh and wraps his free hand around my lower back, pulling me against him.


He begins to sway, and this is where dancing becomes confusing to me. I have no idea what to do next. I look down at our feet, hoping to get an idea of what I’m supposed to do with mine. He rests his forehead against mine and also looks down at our feet. “Just follow my lead,” he says. His hands slide to my waist and he gently guides my hips in the direction he wants me to move.

“Four,” I whisper as I move with him.

I can feel him relaxing just a little bit when he sees I’ve got it down. His hands slip to my back once again and he pulls me even closer. Naturally, my arms loosen slightly and I lean into him.

His smell is intoxicating and before I realize what I’m doing, my eyes are closed and I’m inhaling the scent of him. He still smells like he just stepped out of the shower, even though it’s been hours.

I think I like dancing.

It feels very natural, as if dancing is part of a human’s biological purpose.

It’s a lot like sex, actually. I have about as much experience with sex as I do with dancing, but I definitely remember every moment I spent with Adam. It can be very intimate, the way two bodies come together and somehow know exactly what to do and exactly how to fit while doing it.

I can feel my pulse getting faster and warmth spreading over me, and it’s been so long since I’ve felt this way. I wonder if it’s the dancing that’s doing this to me or if it’s Owen. I’ve never slow-danced before, so I have no other dance to compare it to. The only thing I have to measure this feeling against is the way Adam used to make me feel, and this is pretty close to that. It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted someone to kiss me.

Or maybe it’s just been a long time since I’ve allowed myself to feel this way.

Owen lifts his hand to the back of my head and lowers his mouth to my ear. “It’s been ten seconds,” he whispers. “Do you want to stop?”

I shake my head softly.

I can’t see his face, but I know he’s smiling. He pulls me against his chest and rests his chin on top of my head. I close my eyes and breathe him in again.

We dance like this until the song ends, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to let go first or if he’s supposed to let go first, but neither of us does. Another song begins and luckily, it’s slow like the last one, so we just keep moving as though the first song never ended.

I don’t know when Owen began moving his hand away from the back of my head, but it’s slowly moving down my back, making my arms and legs feel so weak, I question their existence. I find myself wishing he would pick me up and carry me, preferably straight to his bed.

His initials are very appropriate for the way he’s making me feel right now. I want to whisper, “OMG,” over and over.

I pull away from his chest and look up at him. He’s not smiling right now. He’s piercing me with eyes that seem a thousand shades darker than when we walked into this bar.

I unlock my hands, and I slide one against his neck. I’m surprised I feel comfortable enough to do this, and even more surprised by his reaction. He exhales softly and I can feel the chills erupt over the skin on his neck as his eyes fall shut and his forehead meets mine.

“I’m pretty sure I just fell in love with this song,” he says. “And I hate this song.”

I laugh a little and he pulls me closer, resting my head against his chest. We don’t speak, and we don’t stop dancing until the song ends. The third song begins to play and it isn’t something I’m willing to dance to, considering it’s not a slow song. When we both accept that the dance is over, we inhale simultaneous breaths and begin to separate.

His expression is full of concentrated intent, and as much as I like his smile, I also really like it when he looks at me like this. My arms leave his neck and his hands leave my waist and we’re both standing on the dance floor, staring at each other awkwardly, and I’m not sure what to do now.

“The thing about dancing,” he says, folding his arms across his chest, “is that no matter how good it feels when you’re doing it, it’s always extremely awkward when it’s over.”

It makes me feel good to know that it’s not just me who doesn’t know what to do now. His hand touches my shoulder, and he urges me back toward the bar. “We have drinks to finish.”

“And fries to eat,” I add.

He didn’t ask me to dance again. In fact, as soon as we got back to the bar, he seemed like he was in a hurry to get out of there. I ate most of the fries while he chatted with Harrison a little more. He could tell I wasn’t really digging my drink, so he finished it for me. Now we’re walking back outside and it feels a little bit awkward again, like when the dance came to an end. Only now, it’s the entire night that’s coming to an end, and I hate that I really don’t want to say good-bye to him yet. But I’m certainly not about to suggest we go back to his studio.

“Which way is your place?” he asks.

My eyes swing to his and I’m shocked by his forwardness. “You aren’t coming over,” I immediately say.

“Auburn,” he says, laughing, “it’s late. I’m offering to walk you home, not asking to spend the night.”

I inhale, embarrassed at my assumption. “Oh.” I point to the right. “I’m about fifteen blocks that way.”

He smiles and waves a hand in that direction, and we both begin walking. “But if I were asking to spend the night . . .”

I laugh and push him playfully. “I would tell you to fuck off.”



If I were eleven years old again, I would shake my Magic 8 Ball and ask it silly questions, like “Does Auburn Mason Reed like me? Does she think I’m cute?”

And I might be making assumptions based on the way she’s looking at me right now, but I expect the answer would be “It is decidedly so.”

We continue walking away from the bar, toward her apartment, and considering it’s quite a few blocks away, I can probably think of enough questions between here and there to get to know her a whole lot better. The one thing I’ve been wanting to know most since I saw her standing in front of my studio tonight is why she’s back in Texas.