The sounds of carefully composed music resounded through the hall. She walked through the doorway and stepped into the hall, the sound of her heels clicking on the marble tiles muffled the moment she stepped onto the carpeted floor of the ballroom. Her curled hair cascaded around her shoulders and it swished with every step she took, the way a model's would when she walked down the runway.
Her ears perked up at the mention of her name. She turned her head towards the voice She spotted her friend waving frantically at her. Suppressing a laugh, she made her way to her, squeezing through the mass of teenagers between the entrance and the table.
"Hey Melissa," she greeted, sitting beside her friend.
A stray lock of dark brown hair fell onto her face and she tucked it behind her ear. Her ocean blue eyes darted around the room, as though she was looking for someone.
"You okay, Aria?" Melissa asked, confused at the faraway look in Aria's eyes.
Aria mentally slapped herself. Stop looking for him, she scolded herself. She forced a smile. "Yeah. I'm fine," she answered.
Her friend nodded, adverting her attention elsewhere, greeting and chatting with schoolmates as they passed by. She remained silent, not wanting to converse with anyone. Her mind was too occupied with thoughts of him.
She had always found him arcane in his own way. It's like everyone knew so much about him but at the same time no one knew anything about him. He was well liked by the people around him, unlike her. Her face fell a little. He may know her, but there was no way he would notice her, was there?
"Well, you look gorgeous," someone whispered into her ear, making her jump in surprise.
She turned her head back, wondering who had said that to her. Her heart fluttered when she realised who it was. "Chase," she muttered under her breath.
He chuckled at her reaction. "Nice to see that you know my name, Aria," he said teasingly.
Her face flushed, her gaze adverting to her hands that were on her lap. "Shall we dance?" he asked.
She nodded a little too quickly. "Umm. I mean- It's not-"
He laughed, ruffling her hair, messing it up. She scowled. "Not now though." He paused, as if contemplating what he should say next. "Save the last dance for me."
She blushed even harder. He wanted the last dance with her? "Of course" she mumbled, not daring to speak louder for fear that her voice will break.
"See you later."
He walked away from her, forcing himself not to look back, no matter how much he was tempted to. When he had first spotted her sitting there, all alone, his breath caught in his throat.
Her silky, soft brown hair was in curls, the upper layer pinned up loosely in the centre. Her strapless flowing sapphire dress reached her knees, the back of her dress reaching all the way down to the middle of her calf. White gemstones lined up diagonally on her dress, from the top of her dress to the right side of her waist, catching the light, making it glint. A loose string across her waist, the same colour as the rest of her dress, was tied in a ribbon on the other side. The sapphire brought out her eyes. Her cheeks were tinged pink and she was wearing close to no makeup. The way she carried herself made her even more outstanding, giving the impression that she did not care about what others thought of her.
Other girls may dress up more extravagantly, but none were as graceful and beautiful as she was. But I'm just another guy. She would never notice me, he thought.
Letting out an exasperated sigh, he made his way to where the rest of his friends were, intending to eat and converse with the boys to pass the time.
"Please save the last dance for me," he mumbled, his voice barely a whisper. His words were carried away by the breeze created by the air conditioner, maybe drifting into her ears.
On the other side of the hotel ballroom, Aria sat, not intending to interact with many, a thousand thoughts swimming through her mind.
This was the last formal she would be able to go to before graduating from high school. She wanted it to be memorable, to spend it with the people she cared about the most. She wanted to spend it with the small circle of close friends she had made throughout her secondary education. But most all, she wanted to spend it with the one person who made her feel special, even if he did not know it. And her wish would come true. Because he would dance with her. He wanted to dance with her.
Save the last dance for me.
His words rang in her ears and her lips curved up into a smile.
A hand came into view, pulling her out of her daze and back into reality. "It's time," he said. She put her hand in his and stood up. His hand closed around hers and their fingers interlaced. Her heart skipped a beat. She was so nervous but excited at the same time.
He guided her to a door located at the back of the hall. "Where are you taking me?" she asked.
"You'll see," he replied, the words sliding smoothly off his tongue, almost as though he had rehearsed saying those very words.
His heart was accelerating in his chest. It was beating so loudly that he was almost positive that she could her it. He stole a glance at her. She was calm and collected, like she knew what she was doing, having not a single worry.
They continued their ascend up the dimly lit stairway, stopping in front of a metal door. "Are you sure-" she began.
"Just trust me," he answered, cutting her off.
He pushed open the door, revealing the rooftop garden, illuminated by rays of moonlight. She gasped, amazed by its beauty, stepping into the garden. He closed the door silently behind them.
"This is- This is absolutely amazing," she breathed, not believing her eyes.
A small hut was located at the right end of the garden, just in front of the stairs. Potted plants hung from the pillars, the fragrant smell of flowers wafting through the air. Rows of a vast assortment of flowers, ranging from roses to hibiscuses to lilies to bougainvillea, filled the garden, placed in strategic locations in order to make the garden seem full enough while making enough space to take a stroll through it.
Moonlight fell on his figure, enhancing his features. She dared to look at him for the first time that evening and found that he was already looking at her. Their eyes locked and she could see warmth and passion in his hazel eyes, making her melt. His tousled dark hair was gelled in such a way that it seemed formal yet casual at the same time. He was wearing a black suit jacket on top of his white shirt, paired with matching long, black pants and dress shoes. Her eyes travelled to his tie, making her gasp just slightly. Fortunately for her, it was so soft that he did not hear it. His tie was sapphire blue, matching her dress, almost as if someone had tipped him off about the colour of her dress.
What were the odds.
The muffled sound of a song drifted into their ears. Can I have this dance. She smiled at the sound of the High School Musical song. It was her favourite childhood song and she still enjoyed it up to this day, although she did not dare to admit it for fear that her peers would laugh at her.
"This is one of my favourite songs," he told her quietly, like he was telling her a secret he didn't want anyone else to know.
She chuckled. "Me too."
He grinned. "Aria, can I have this dance?" he asked as the first verse of the song started playing.
He guided her to the centre of the garden. A gentle breeze blew at them, the hem of her dress billowing in the wind.
Her hands moved from his hand to around his neck and he wrapped his strong arm around her waist, pulling her close to his body. They danced to the song, moving slowly in a circle.
"Take my hand. I'll take the lead and every turn will be safe with me. Don't be afraid, afraid to fall. You know I'll catch you through it all," he sang quietly to her, gazing at her like she was the most beautiful girl in the world.
She blushed, embarrassed. But she joined in at the chorus, with him harmonising with her. "It's like catching lightning the chances of finding someone like you. It's one in a million the chances of feeling the way we do. And with every step together, we just keep on getting better. So can I have this dance? Can I have this dance?"
They stopped singing after that, both of them slightly embarrassed. However, he chuckled, shattering the awkwardness that was starting to settle between them. He brought on of his hands up to her face and caressed it.
"Aria…" he breathed, closing his eyes, burying his nose in her hair. The smell of hair spray and strawberry shampoo wafted into his nose.
She rested her head on his chest, hearing his speeding heartbeat. Her eyes closed, savouring the moment they had between them.
"Aria, I have something to say to you," he started pulling away, but changed his mind halfway, deciding to hold her close to him. "I won't say that you caught my attention since the moment we first met because that would be a lie. What I can say, however, is that as we got to know each other more and more, I found myself falling harder and harder for you because of who you are. Because of your personality. You're unique, you're smart, you're funny, you're so beautiful." He hesitated. "You have no idea how long I have waiting. Nor how hard this is for me." He let out a nervous chuckle.
"This song… I requested for them to play this song. I remember that one time when you accidentally said that you liked this song, but covered it up by saying it was a joke. I figured you might not be joking as I like this song too, even until now. The lyrics of this song… I mean every single word of it to you. Aria, this is my song to you." He trailed off, almost like he was embarrassed to say anything else.
Tentatively, she asked," What are you trying to say?"
He cupped her face in the palms of his hands and bent down, pressing his lips against hers. Initially, she was shocked at the sudden action, but slowly, the surprise wore off. She closed her eyes and kissed him back with all the feelings and words of passion that had went unspoken.
They pulled away just seconds after. He ran his finger through his gelled hair, trying to gather up the courage he needed. "Aria. Will you go out with me?"
He watched as her face flushed. Her gorgeous eyes were a swirl of emotions. She chewed her bottom lip, her eyes locking with his once again. She tiptoed and brushed her lips softly against his.
"So, is that a yes?" he mumbled.
"In every language. Oui. Si. Ja. Yes," she breathed, unable to contain her excitement.
He leaned in and kissed her again, putting all his passion into that kiss, wanting to make it memorable. Neither of them knew what was to come. All they knew was that they were going to make the most out of all the time they had, not wasting a precious single second.
All they knew was that they were going to dance for as long as they can. Because this dance was invaluable to them.
It opened a new door to both of them, a whole new world to explore, and they wouldn't have it any other way.