The landing is soft when he lowers her. He treats her like precious china, probably feeling fragile himself. Her hands leave his neck, but she keeps touching him, less for support, more for reassurance.
On the floor again, she turns back to Orhan. He’s dark eyes shimmer in the shadowy light, and he’s grinning, boyish, pleased, content. She kisses him slowly, and he cups her cheek, before giving her a tight hug.
Jeroen, so different, is cocky again, tugging her back to him to almost suck on her lips. He’s shed the seconds of vulnerability she knows went through him.
Around them, the music is still going. She is aware of it again, and wants to dance to it. The men either side of her do as well, and the three of them move, a single unit again, a little circle of glowing bliss.
Until the song drifts into the next one, and something changes. Not the men, but rather, the room around her.
And once more, she’s being watched. Not just by the curious couple, now dancing near a pillar near where the three of them have stopped. Watched by someone else, who doesn’t want to be seen.
It grips her throat, a suffocating claw, a panicked feeling even as the men hold her and each other. Their arms are suddenly heavy on her, their bodies thick and dull, and she shakes her head, shakes herself, and has to duck out from under their grip.
She doesn’t know which of them said it. Fingers skim at her shoulder, grasping to try pull her back. She turns to them, shaking her head so fast her vision blurs, and she squeezes through the crowd, fast as her elbows and knees will make way for her. Her only goal now is to get to the door.
Image found on flickr, by Toshihiro Oimatsu, used under the Creative Commons License.
A Night in a Year is on indefinite hiatus. Please see the index page for the reasons why. Thank you very much for reading to this point, I do hope you’ve enjoyed it!