Chapter 1 : Fire
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I could hear the music before I arrived; soft melodies with an edge like a knife floating through the open balcony doors, greeting me as I adjusted my bag on the crook of my arm. I proceeded upon the apartment steps, my knees knocking a little. The light dancing from the upstairs window looked like crystals, and the crevices etched into the wooden door felt like jewels.
Immediately it was ten times louder, and I stomped awkwardly through the room to the cocktail bar. A man with a distracted smile poured me a drink as the song changed into something deeper, more sweeping. I took a sip from the glass; coconut and something fizzy made my throat tingle, and my eyes narrowed to scan the room, shadowy with flecks of light.
Of course I was looking for him. I couldn't not.
"Miss Prewett," I turned, my name falling from the lips of a man with dark hair who I didn't recognise, the man who my eyes didn't seek. Behind him, a band of girls younger than I eyed him hungrily. They looked like statuettes, their tight dresses clinging onto their curves magnificently, their hair thick and curly in an effortless kind of way. I caught my ragdoll like reflection in the mirror above the bar. "Molly, right?"
"Yes," I replied, burning heat climbing into my cheeks, "I'm sorry, I don't remember your..."
"That doesn't matter," He smiled at me, his eyes deep like temptestuous moonlight, "I didn't realise this was your scene,"
"Hardly," I replied quickly, the syllables tumbling messily before us, but he interrupted before I could say another word, slipping his arm around my waist and guiding me to the dancefloor.
"I'm not much of a dancer..." I protested.
"Relax; I'll make sure you have a good time.."
He span me around once, taking control, my heels slapping against the floor as my too-long skirt twirled about my knees. He was doused in silver and looked magnificent, his feet never out of time, most unlike mine, and his gaze fixed on my face; too flawless to be true. Though the dancefloor was full, I felt under scrutiny from the levitating scarlet lights that cast their colour upon us, and as the pace of the song quickened and the bodies pressed closer, I wanted to escape.
"Look, I'm not very..." I tried to explain my atrocious dance moves between the blur of hair and silk and sequins. The beads tied to strands of my fiery red curls slapped across my face as the dark haired man just smiled and twirled me all the more. "I really think I should..."
The beat continued to pump, a cacaphony of violins and guitars so shrill, pressing into my eardrums. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the girls smirking. I felt all the more conscious, and tried to push the man away gently, though he gripped my arms tighter, like a vice, and wrapped an arm around my waist again. I didn't like the song. I didn't like the darkness. I didn't like any of this. His grip wouldn't ease so I pulled harder, trying to stay calm, but slapping his hand away with my own most ungraciously. Turning and storming away from the dancefloor my cheeks blushed profusely, my stomach sinking with embaressment.
I settled at the bar again, my cheeks buried in my hands. No one had noticed a thing about my struggle, except that bloody man and his hounds. Why I came to this party, I had no idea. Though, in my stomach, I knew there was a reason. For a milisecond, one of the lighs flashed bright blue, and my heart leapt. It was the same shade of blue as his eyes - almost grey, almost green, yet so bright they're nearly not a colour at all. He was why I was at this party.
It was his voice. I pinched my thigh, my stomach sinking, because I knew that I was imagining it. The chances of him being here tonight, the same night I was, at a party we would both hate to attend... I turned.
"Arthur," I breathed, as his face lit up cheerily.
I stared at his face in the fuzzy, ever-changing light; his too-big nose, his one-trillion freckles, his bright red hair, a little lighter than mine. He straightened his collar, drawing my attention to his hideous dress robes, a flower poking out of his top pocket.
"Here, I'll buy you a drink," He pulled out a handful of coins and scattered them on the countertop by accident, picking out the strange Muggle ones as I watched. He shook one before my eyes, "Funny little things, aren't they?"
I nodded, a genuine smile breaking out across my lips as I took the glass from the barman, ignoring the peculiar looks he was giving eccentric Arthur. My eccentric Arthur.
"Tell me about them," I said dumbly as he settled on the stool besides me, gazing around the room in wonder, the lights softening and sharpening his features all at the same time. I wanted nothing more than to hear his drabble, his useless ponderings, his less than monumental discoveries...I needed them. I needed him.
"Well, the big silver one there, with all the edges, I think that's a pound coin, which is ever so funny really, because they've got a smaller one, too, see..."
I nodded and smiled and pretended to listen whilst I secretely analysed the curve of his fluffy eyebrows and the way his ears stuck out a little. He was so wonderful. I wondered why we had taken it slow after finishing school, because I knew he missed me, and I him. It was silly to attend every social event in the off-chance we'd see one other. We weren't cool, we weren't hip; we were in love, and that was what defined us. I glanced up momentarily and saw the dancefloor was emptying as a less than trendy song began to play.
"Let's dance, Arthur," I said suddenly, taking his hand and leaving our drinks behind, a childish sense of excitement filling me with fire.
"But, Mol, you don't like to dance..." He started, but I twirled into him, and he grabbed my waist. He blushed and let go immediately, glancing around at the others in the room, but I just laughed, wiggling his arms and shaking my hips nearly in time for the beat. He looked at me nervously, bowing his head a little but easing up, his shoulders more fluid, the smile on his face becoming larger and larger...
"Come on," I breathed, my face shining up at him, my beaded hair twirling gracefully about me. I kissed his cheek and as the rest of the dancers became spectators we continued, our limbs flying everywhere, our laughter short and out of breath.
The beat sped up, the melody guiding us, taking us with it, and Arthurs face hardened with concentration as he executed a move after move. I was so embaressed, but I loved him so much. I heard the snickers of the other guests, saw the cold-hearted smirks, but I didn't care. I was made of fire. I could melt their gazes with my heart. I twirled, leapt about, crouching and shimmying and squeezing a kiss in when I could. I hadn't ever felt so alive, and the lights illuminated my dress like diamonds and pearls, and one hundred other things I would never have but I knew I was worthy of.
I forgot everything and danced with my lover like tonight was the last night of our lives, and when we had done we edged from the room, the next song beginning in a faint flurry of awkwardness, the stares we recieved suggesting we'd just murdered someone. I stuck my tongue out at the man with the dark hair and scampered from the room, Arthur trailing behind me, a grin on his face, and we escaped into our night.