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A Dance or Two

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“Actually… I like girls.” Olivia’s words stunned Felix, and he looked down at his shoes, processing.

“Oh.” Was all he could currently muster as a response. "Oh." He could only repeat himself. Truly at a loss for words.

“Please say something else.” Olivia was fidgeting with the ends of her vest. She hadn’t expected to come out to the other tonight, but she needed to be honest. I mean, when your best friend starts listing off guys and asking if you want to dance with them, what else can you say?

Felix, racking his brain for something to say, looked back up to meet Olivia’s gaze.

“Are you sure?” As soon as the words had exited his mouth, Felix realized how fucked up what he said was. “Wait, I didn’t mean-”

“Turns out Naya was incompetent. We need more muscles.” Daisy’s return from the buffet line caught both Felix and Olivia off guard. As the ravenette took a moment to debate who was the less frail of the two options she had, Felix’s eyes pleaded to give them another moment. A chance to fix this. A chance to make it up to Olivia, to tell her she isn’t alone. “Olivia. Come with me.” Daisy met the blond’s gaze and waved before heading back to the buffet.

Olivia turned back to Felix one last time, hopeful that he had something worthwhile to say.

“When did you… I mean.. Thank you, first of all for telling-” He was cut off by the brunette shaking her head and turning to follow Daisy.

And then it was just him. In a crowd of people dancing and socializing, it was just him. As a wave of panic ran over him, the blond fumbled to pull a salt packet out of the pocket of his slacks before running outside. He couldn’t get a water bottle because they were over at the buffet table, so he sat down on the stone steps to the venue and downed the packet of salt, scrunching his face in repulsion as his thoughts were drawn away from his mistake and instead to the salt now coating his tongue. He would never get used to that.
As the taste of the salt dissipated, Felix unbuttoned his vest and took a deep breath, letting the bone-chilling night air fill his lungs. He would just sit like this for a while. Keep him from screwing anything else up.

-------

Eugene was hanging out at the back of the room with Katherine, the two taking a breather after spending most of the night dancing.

“Do you want to go check on the others? I think I just saw Olivia and Daisy run off to the food table.” Katherine was fiddling with her ring, her eyes drifting away from the other. Don’t get her wrong, she had been waiting for this moment forever, but it just… Didn’t feel right. Maybe her heart wasn’t in it, but she wasn’t feeling that magic she expected to feel.

“Yeah. You check on the ladies, I can go talk to Felix? I don’t think he went with them.” The noiret was halfway through his bottle of water, screwing the cap back on and shoving the bottle into the back pocket of his jeans.

“Sounds good! Thank you for dancing with me tonight. I had a lot of fun.” The blonde got up to give Eugene a hug and a pat on the shoulder, stifling a laugh as she spoke. “Now go check in on your boyfriend.”

“He’s not.. What?” Eugene blinked in confusion as Katherine pulled back from the hug. “Who said that? Was it Naya? Don’t listen to her, I owe her five and she’s trying to embarrass me until I pay her back.”

Katherine just shook her head and began to walk off in the direction of the buffet table. “Just teasing. See you at IHOW!”

The noiret set off right after Katherine did, weaving through the crowd of people. It wasn’t like Felix to set off on his own. The other was almost always attached to someone in the group.
After checking almost everywhere inside, it finally clicked that Felix probably wouldn’t stay in the crowded ballroom if he needed to be alone, because that would be a little counterintuitive. He made his way outside, and, sure enough, there sat the other, clutching his glasses and muttering to himself. Eugene sat down beside him and gently shook Felix. The blond turned as soon as the other laid a hand on him, clearly caught off guard.

“Don’t creep up on a guy like that, jeez.” Felix whined and turned back to face the courtyard. The venue the school picked for prom was one of those multi-purpose country clubs, and the one of the exits to the room led to a barely lit courtyard. The lack of light made the stars shine especially bright, quite a contrast to how Felix felt. “I thought you were dancing with Katherine, what happened?”

“Came to check in on you. You okay? You hardly ever do anything alone.” Eugene took his hand off Felix’s shoulder, opting to rest his hands in his lap instead. Felix made it abundantly clear he had no issue with touch after he clung to Eugene’s leg the first time they met, but he wanted to give him some space anyway.

“I just… Messed up. Royally. Someone came out to me and I said the wrong thing. Like. Worst possible thing I could have said.” The blond slipped his glasses back on, looking forward so they wouldn’t fall off. He meant to get them adjusted when he got them so they wouldn’t be so loose, but forgot about it. “And I know I’m not good with words but this was just.. Terrible.” He shifted to rest his head on Eugene’s shoulder. “Plus, my mouth tastes like salt. And I didn’t grab water.”

It was clear he was just complaining to complain at this point, but Eugene grabbed the water bottle out of his pocket to offer it to Felix. “Here. I don’t have mono or anything, so you won’t die if you drink it.”

“Thanks Eugene. Really. You don’t need to take care of me when I get all worked up though. I should fix my own mistakes.” Felix took the water, fiddling with the cap as he got it unscrewed and sitting up to take a sip, drawing in a shaky breath after. “Whew. I needed that.”

“I know I don’t need to, but I want to. Even if I’m not the best at the whole comforting thing. We’re friends, Felix.” Eugene watched the other quietly as he took another sip of the water, screwing the cap on once more and setting it to the side.

They sat there in silence for a moment, each breath visible due to the evening cold. Felix’s face was a faint pink, which Eugene assumed to be just a cold thing. He stood up, brushing his hands on his pants and stretching.

“I’m going to grab something, I’ll be right back. Stay put, okay?” Felix nodded at the request and Eugene disappeared back into the ballroom, reappearing a few minutes later with his jacket, which was far too informal to have been brought to prom. He sat back down and handed it to the blond. “You looked cold.”

“Oh. Thanks, it is a little chilly out. Are you sure you don’t want to wear it? It is yours, after all.” Despite asking, Felix was already eagerly slipping his arms into the sleeves of the jacket. Was he eager because it was cold, or because it was Eugene’s jacket, he’d never tell.

“We’ll just huddle for warmth. Like penguins.” Eugene let out a small laugh at his own little joke before bringing the other into a hug. The smell of cologne was faint, but it was still a little obvious Felix was wearing it. He really went all out for this sort of thing, and the noiret admired it. “Are you wearing your dad’s cologne?”

Felix, who had just settled into the hug, quickly pushed the other away, sputtering in embarrassment. “It is n-not my dad’s… I b-bought it myself.”

“It’s not a bad thing. I think it’s cool, man.”

“... Really? It isn’t too much? I was worried it was too overpowering.” Felix, less self conscious about his attempt to smell nice, settled back into the hug. They didn’t have many moments like this, which made him appreciate the ones they did. He nestled his head into the crook of Eugene's shoulder, letting out a small hum of contentment.

"Not at all. I think you should wear it more often." Eugene mentally elbows himself. No wonder Naya says they're dating, he's not very good at hiding his feelings. Despite his mental scolding though, he rests his hands on the small of Felix's back, slipping his arms underneath the jacket under the guise of being cold.

Felix sighs, his warm breath grazing the other’s neck. For once in a good while, he felt seen. His faults weren’t all he was. And sure, there is that voice telling him that he doesn’t deserve any of this, but as of this moment, his heart is beating much too fast for Felix to catch even a whisper of what that voice is trying to say. That crushing weight he felt from his previous screw up subsided, and his shoulders relaxed. Eugene noticed this, as he gave the other a small squeeze. A silent indicator that it was okay.

“I’m sure you can fix this, Felix.” His voice was quiet and calming, a tone Felix melted at. He had always been infatuated with the way Eugene spoke. Every word he said nestled itself into his brain, his passion and long winded monologues of who-knows-what droning on replay as Felix attempted to sleep. And even now, Felix listened with his whole heart. “You are not a screw-up. You’re amazing. I wish you could see that.” Eugene moved a hand to undo Felix’s ponytail, brushing his hair out gently with his fingers.

As if on cue, Felix felt a heat rush to his face and his eyes welled up with tears, a small sob escaping his throat. He tried so desperately to calm himself, to not come undone and scare off the noiret, but his unsteady breathing caused his entire body to tremble. Of all the times to get emotional, this was not a good one. It wasn’t even a bad cry, Felix was just overwhelmed by how compassionate Eugene was. Much to Felix’s surprise, Eugene continued to run his fingers through his hair, humming quietly. Felix strained to listen through his shaky breathing and overall unkemptness, but could make out the song after a little bit. He propped his chin on Eugene’s shoulder, lifting his head up so he could speak.

“Are you… humming a song from The Ink Spots?” He had stopped crying at this point, now opting to take deep breaths and repeatedly counting to ten.

“It’s ‘Who Wouldn’t Love You?’ don’t you remember? You made me a playlist for my birthday. I listened to this song on loop for days…” Eugene went silent for a moment, but Felix could feel the grin coming from the other. Of course Felix remembered, he fussed to Olivia for a whole week before sending it in case it was ‘too much’. Olivia reassured him that the other wouldn’t catch on, but Felix fussed nonetheless. It encapsulated perfectly how he felt, in some twisted, Katherine-esque way, Felix truly believed that Eugene completed him.

“I remember. It’s one of my favorites. That’s why I put it on the playlist.” Felix moved his head to rest it in the crook of the noiret’s shoulder once more, tightening his hold on Eugene. His stress and worry had by now entirely dissipated, Eugene having given him something entirely different to focus on.

“It’s one of mine now, too. Right up there with ‘Campfire Song Song’ from Spongebob.” Eugene laughed to himself, then untangled his hand from Felix’s hair and gave a final squeeze of reassurance before pulling away from the hug and standing up, offering his hand to Felix. “I got an idea. Come with me.”

The blond accepted, taking his hand as a needed aid in getting up, barely grabbing his water bottle before the other began to pull them off to the parking lot. Most people got rides from family, but Eugene had driven himself. As they reached his car, he let go of Felix to pop the trunk and rifle through a couple bags. As he waited, the blond zipped up the jacket, pulling the hood over his head and pulling the strings taut, awkwardly standing around as Eugene let out a concerningly loud “A-ha!” before returning and guiding Felix off somewhere else.

“What the hell was that pit stop for?” He complained but followed with little resistance, eyeing Eugene as he brought them to a stop in the courtyard outside the ballroom.

“Doesn’t matter man, quick, hand me your phone. Is your password still dimetrodon?” Felix nodded as he forked up the phone, watching Eugene fiddle with the bluetooth speaker he had apparently snatched from his car, scrolling through what Felix could only assume to be his Spotify after they had heard the alert that meant the phone had paired properly. After a moment, a familiar guitar riff began to play, and the noiret set the speaker and phone down before offering a hand to Felix. “May I have this dance?”

The blond recoiled slightly. “You want to dance with me? Seriously?” This clearly damaged Eugene, who lowered his hand and could only muster a small, uncertain nod in response. “Wait- That came out wrong. I would love to dance with you, Eugene, I was just in shock.” Felix pulled the hood back down and took his hand, almost tripping as the other pulled him in and began to dance, his past eagerness returned tenfold. Unluckily for Felix, he had never been the best at dancing, and the most formal dance he could do was a two step.

Nonetheless, as Eugene placed his hand on the blond’s waist, Felix shook his head and simply followed what he thought was correct. He placed his own hand on the noiret’s shoulder, attempting to move with Eugene in time with the tempo. It was rough at first, but eventually Felix got the hang of it. Finally glancing up from his feet, he caught Eugene watching him with an expression he hadn’t quite caught before. It caused Felix to go red and avert his gaze, hiding behind his glasses. Still, as embarrassed as he was, he couldn’t help but grin ear-to-ear. Things felt different between them, for once. As if all that had been lingering had finally settled onto the two. In fact, speaking of the two, it felt as if it was just them, like everyone else had faded away and left only the cold air and these two high school boys, dancing poorly in the courtyard of their junior prom venue.

As the song seemed to be drawing to a close, Eugene removed his hand from Felix’s waist and brushed a few stray strands of hair away from the blond’s face. He smiled and spun the other, Felix going along with it in the hopes it wouldn’t crash and burn. And when he had successfully been spun outward and inward and brought down into a dip, Felix could feel his heart thrumming and his breath hitching. He couldn’t bring himself to stand up and push himself away, instead opting to just stand when Eugene brought him back up from the dip, practically hyperventilating as he fought to catch his breath.

Eugene of course helped him stand properly once more, shuffling back to the phone to pick a different song. As he set the phone down once more after a moment of scrolling, he returned to wrap his arms around Felix’s waist as “Love Looks So Well On You” began to play from the speaker.

“We’re slow dancing now?” Felix sounded hesitant, but draped his arms over the noiret’s shoulder, gently resting his forehead on Eugene’s as they swayed side to side. Eugene couldn’t tell if it was his emotions getting a hold of him or if it was simply just the punch he had earlier, but he never wanted this moment to end. He simply hummed what could only be considered a yes of sorts, and closed his eyes, basking in the warmth that Felix provided. “Alright Eugene. I.. Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

The two danced for quite a bit, making no conversation except for the occasional request of song from Felix. Most of the songs were the same, love songs or waltz songs that the two would slow dance to. Eugene convinced Felix to let him play something from Spongebob, and Felix simply stood there and grinned as Eugene danced in an attempt to show off. He was dorky, and Felix loved that. If he couldn’t say it before, he could now. He loved that.

As Felix’s watch beeped to announce the night was coming to a close, they stepped away from their small entwinement and quickly hugged. As they drew apart, the noiret fiddled with his thumbs, working up the courage to speak before starting.

“Hey Felix? I’ve been meaning to tell you. I uh… Shit, you were always the words guy, I’m not as articulated as you are.. Uh..” Felix placed a hand on the side of Eugene’s face, shaking his head.

“Articulated or not, everything about you is perfect. You don’t need to say anything, I get it. I-” Felix was cut off by a honk from the parking lot, which caused him to jump a little. “Shoot, my dad’s here. Can I return your jacket on Monday?”

“Uh- Yeah, sure. Text me when you get home, okay?” Eugene watched as Felix scrambled to grab his phone and return to give the noiret a hug before heading to his dad.

“Of course! I’ll probably be up for another few hours if you want to text or call! Bye dude!” Felix, against his better judgment, planted a quick kiss on the other’s cheek before running off, waving as he hopped into his dad’s car.

Eugene could only wave back, dumbfounded as he took a moment to process. Maybe things could go well for the two of them after all.