As I lead him back indoors, I see that Rex and Tony have found themselves, a couple of dance partners of their own. So, we dance to a group of fast songs, samba, mambo, tango, stopping briefly after each one, to catch our breath, before carrying on.
The man can still dance, and it seems he has endless supplies of energy. However, he still has a job to keep up and I’m loving every second. Then, the DJ throws on a slow song and it's a welcome relief, until I realise, I am going to be in his arms for an entire song. At least with the previous dances, there were times where he was not so close, allowing me a chance to calm my racing pulse.
This time it's going to be full on contact, for at least three minutes, and I'm secretly ecstatic. When I look in his eyes, I see he is uncertain, almost fearful and it surprises me. I let him choose, I will be gutted if he pulls out, but I won't push him. Then I see the moment he decides what to do, and my heart soars as he extends his hand to me.
As I take it, I step into his arms, and I have never felt more at home. With my left hand in his right, I place my right hand on his left shoulder, as his left hand, wraps around my waist drawing me against him. My heart skips a beat as I lay my head on his chest, over his heart, and we start to sway to the song.
The longer we are holding each other, the more comfortable I feel him become and I find myself, listening to his heartbeat and not the music. It's so erratic at first but gradually becomes smoother, in time with the tempo of the music and I begin to wonder if he is having the same reactions as I am, to being so close to each other.
The song ends, and I feel he is reluctant release me, so I step back slightly to look at him and give him a smile. Before I have a chance to say something, a voice comes over the loudspeaker, and we turn to see April standing on stage.
“Good evening everyone, thank you all for coming. You all look amazing tonight. As it is almost midnight, it is time to announce, that when the clock strikes twelve, we will all be removing our masks to reveal who we are.”
She smiles to the crowd, but I feel a cold chill run up my neck at the thought. I can't believe what I just heard, taking our masks off? Is she serious? I can't take mine off because I hadn't planned for this.
I see the concern in his eyes when he looks at me, he sees how nervous I am. He has always believed that I have never been afraid of anything, for as long as he has known me, and the thought of disappointing him, worries me more than I would like.
“Are you okay?”
He asks me, I look at him and give him a slightly unsure smile.
“Um no, not really, the invite didn't say anything about a midnight reveal so I'm a little….
A little what? Terrified? Surprised? Pissed off? Oh yeah definitely that last one, how dare she do this.
That's what takes over, my anger and I see his surprise when he notices the change in me. Before he can stop me, I’m walking toward April and I know, I'm about to make a scene, but I'm past caring now. As I reach her, I see the shock register in her eyes as she turns to face me.
“What the hell are you playing at April?!”
I'm almost yelling but still trying to reign in my temper.
“I don't know what you are talking about.”
She says, attempting to dismiss me.
“Oh no you don't, you self-absorbed cow! You are doing this on purpose, you hate not being in the spotlight. So, you are trying to make everyone feel self-conscious to make yourself feel better.”
I'm in her face but I don't care, we are being stared at, and I really don't care. She tries to cover her shock with a look of indignation, but I see through her, I always did.
“You are way out of line Lilli, and I think the true reason you are upset, is because you aren't beautiful under that mask, and you don't want Drake to see just how ugly you are.”
Wow she just called me ugly, and vain, I'm stunned.
“Sounds to me like you are looking in a mirror April.”
I turn away, to find Drake staring at us, an odd look in his eyes.
It's a mixture of awe and deep rage, and I suddenly feel very sorry for April, but I must diffuse this bomb fast. I walk over to him and place my palm on his cheek just below his mask. I apply soft but firm pressure to make him look at me.
“Drake forget what she said, I'm going to. Just leave it alone, okay.”
He looks at me a moment and the fire in his eyes slowly dissipates. Then I feel him lean into my touch, and I know I have calmed him.
Phew, that could have been bad.
“Okay Lilli, as long as you are okay, but she is still wrong about you.”
“And you know it, that's all that matters.”
I respond, then sigh after taking a deep breath.
“Unfortunately, I do have to leave, so I'm going to go now, and I guess I will see you soon.”
I see it immediately; he is gutted that I'm leaving but I must go.
“At least let me walk you to the door?”
I look into his eyes and I can't deny him; his lost puppy look gets me every time.
“Okay then, I have to call my uncle to pick me up anyway.”
I am rewarded with his huge smile and he takes my arm to lead me to the entrance. We pass Rex and Tony who are quite distracted by the women they are with, Drake tells them I'm leaving, and we say goodnight.