Friday, June 14, 2013

Heads, We're Dancing

It must have been the lasers.  Edward hadn't seen lasers in a night club in fifteen years.  This was primarily due to the fact that he had not seen the inside of a night club in fifteen years.  The dancing beams of light, bone-buzzing music, liquor and a sea of youth around him combined to give him the sense that anything was possible.

He was fully aware of the enormity of what he was about to do, and it both terrified and thrilled him.

He stepped outside of his comfort zone and, second-guessing himself all the way, left his safe perch at the back bar, circumnavigated the throbbing mass of humanity on the dance floor and climbed halfway up the six steps that led to the front bar, stopping in front of the girl he was pretty sure had twice smiled at him.  He took a quarter from his pocket and held it up.  It was a brand-new coin, and at that moment caught a bit of laser light, sending it for an instant directly into the girl's eyes.

"Ow!" she yelped, her squint quickly becoming a glare.

Edward was oddly undeterred.  "Sorry," he shrugged, then leaned forward with the hope that she, and only she, would hear him.  "Hey, listen.  Heads, we're dancing."

She stared at him as if he had just stepped off a passing garbage truck and proposed marriage.  Really? She thought.  Before she could come up with an appropriately stinging brush-off line, he was even closer, yelling over the music.

"Come on.  Head's, we're dancing."  He flipped the quarter high into the air, and it spun and flickered and played with the flashing colors as it ascended.  Too high.  It arced gracefully out of Edward's reach and bounced down the steps, stopping on the bottom one.  He scrambled after it and bent over to check the result of his gamble, though he figured at this point the coin would have no say in the matter.  He picked it up, disappointed, and turned to smile some sort of apology at the poor girl and leave her alone forever.  Dumbest pickup line ever, and I am way too old for this shit, he scolded himself.

"Well?"  She had followed him to his wayward quarter, and was smiling brightly when he turned around.


"Heads or tails?"  She blinked expectantly.

Edward's honesty betrayed him, and he frowned down at his hand dejectedly, and shook his head as if to say, "Tails, because this stupid quarter is broken."

"Best two out of three?" she suggested.

Edward's world turned away from the abyss and came back to life.  "Okay!"  He flipped the coin again, and again he sent it spinning out of control.  They followed it to the edge of the dance floor, where it eventually twirled itself to a stop.  The two of them bent over it.  Tails again.

"Oh well," she laughed.  "Better luck next time."

"That's okay.  Thanks for playing along." He could swear he felt himself bow slightly - what was THAT? - and he started to make his turn toward the nearest exit, then he stopped.  "Wait.  We didn't say what tails would be."

She laughed.  Again, his world put down the bottle of sleeping pills and perked up.  

"Oh, I know what tails was," she smiled. "You picked the prize for heads, so tails was up to me."

For the first time in at least two years, Edward allowed hope to open the door - just a crack - and peek inside.  "Oh?"

"Tails was 'We're not dancing.'" she said flatly, and she held her face expressionless for as long as should could stand, which was not long, before laughing and giving this affable stranger a playful shove.  "I'm just messing with you!  Tails was 'Let's go outside where we can hear each other.'  Come on."  She motioned toward the main entrance, and felt a little flush of warmth run through her when he gave her the happiest, sweetest and most sincere smile she could remember ever seeing on a man.  

As they picked their way through the crowd, she took the lead, and took his hand.  He died a little happy death inside.  "I'm Edward," he shouted over the thundering beats.

"Nice to meet you," she answered over her shoulder. "I'm Callista."

Another fine writing prompt (ENORMITY) from my friends at STUDIO 30 PLUS !



  1. This is such a great start! You have no idea what a statement that is coming from an old cynic like me, too! I say that because I'm not sappy in the least, don't like romantic story lines, but I love it! His proposal sounded sincere enough to accept, much like Callista did, so I found it totally believable. The line near the end about his smile had me convinced, and I can't wait to find out how it continues.

    1. Thanks Katy! I'm not quite as far outside of my comfort zone as Edward is, here - but it's close! I do like to attempt to make encounters like this at least a little bit realistic, but having almost NO experience with such scenes, it can be a challenge. My only trick: Make something go wrong!

      Not sure where this is going. I might just serialize it here, but I haven't ruled out turning them into my Camp NaNoWriMo project. Maybe I'll flip a coin...

  2. Nicely done Joey!

    Not once did I want to go check on my Facebook status while I read this and you know how much of a tremendous compliment THAT is! Ha!

    So tell me... is this how you met Maris? ;)

    Can't wait to read the rest of the 49,568 words!

    1. Thanks Marie! I know keeping you from Facebook is no small feat, so that makes me uncommonly proud.

      Hmm... How did [Maris] and I meet? The short answer is "at work in 1995." The long answer will have to wait for Some Other Time, but I can safely say that our first meeting was nowhere near as cute and fun as the story of Ed & Callista.

      As for the rest - I'm on the fence as to whether it is going to "Camp," or to live out its life here in Blogville. Stay tuned...

  3. What a sweet story. How could any girl not dance at least once with a guy like that? You made me care about your character. Good job.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by! I had a version of this in which they actually did dance, but sometimes when I start writing, the story goes, you know, Somewhere Else.

      Once they get to really talk, though, who KNOWS what will happen!