Lucy found herself thinking of ways she could give herself a food poisoning. Now, it wasn't because she was particularly unhappy in her life. Everything was as pleasant as it could be. She was pursuing college as a respectable lady of the Heartfilia Konzern. She was very happy to say that she was with her girlfriends at the Magnolia Harvest Festival, having the time of their lives, playing games, having their fortunes told by shady gypsies, watching men breathing fire and elephants standing on their toes and trying lip-smacking delicacies. Her girlfriends were accompanied by their beaus, while Lucy was the only one who was on her own. She didn't mind, of course. They all had been friends for a long time so it wasn't awkward. Lucy was perfectly happy to be on her own, as she had been since time immemorial and she was never the one to complain.
That was until Bora Probert, showed up. Bora met Lucy and her friends while they were watching a magic show.
"If it isn't the gorgeous lady of the Heartfilia Konzern!" Bora stepped in, flashing a flirtatious smile.
"Good day, Mr. Probert." Lucy said with a tight smile. He forcibly took her hand and placed a chaste kiss on it. She cursed inwardly and tried her best to hide her distaste. How she despised him, because of his ever so relentless nature! The man made his flirtations so obvious, it made Lucy vomit.
"It's Bora for you, Lucy darling." Bora winked at Lucy. Lucy resisted rolling her eyes.
Gray stepped in, realizing how uncomfortable Lucy was. "Good day, Mr. Probert."
"Greetings, Gray." Bora replied, his nose scrunching in distaste, not caring about any formalities while speaking. "I see the whole group is here." He nodded at everyone.
"How do you do, Sir Bora?" Levy smiled amiably.
"Quite well! What a jolly occasion it is today! I was just overseeing the management works, my father is one of the sponsors you see. We saw a very good Harvest this year at the Farm." Bora gloated proudly.
"How wonderful!" Juvia gushed.
Lucy resisted yet another eye roll. Bora was from one of the wealthiest families and they lived in Crocus city. They owned multiple lands and villas across Fiore. And he never failed to mention all that.
"Would you care to join us? We were just going to explore the food stalls." Jellal asked, merely out of politeness.
Bora's eyes sparkled, "Why, Thank you Jellal. I would love to. I hope Miss Lucy would kindly keep me company while we do so." He smiled.
Lucy let out a small laugh, and smiled tightly.
She now found herself in the present situation. Bora kept chatting away, with little regard for Lucy's poor ears. He gloated about his wealth, his money, his adventures. Lucy hoped that her polite laughs and nods were enough to satisfy him. He had no hesitation whatsoever in claiming how all the court ladies were dying to marry him. Their desperation amused him and he said he felt 'sorry' to disappoint them. How she hated men like him. He hardly allowed her to get a word in (not that she would like to talk to him).
She was amazed at how her day started out to be wonderful and then took a turn for worse the moment Bora stepped in. She didn't want him to ruin her day and was really tempted to make an excuse and return to her room. But at the same time, she didn't want her friends to sacrifice their good time. She had no choice but to act like a lady and endure it.
"Mon Cheri Gray! Let's go there!" Juvia pointed towards an attraction called the 'Tunnel of Love'. It seemed like a walkway for couples with windows shaped as hearts. While she dragged Gray along, everyone excitedly coupled up with their beaus.
Without another moment's hesitation, Bora put his arm across Lucy's shoulder and ushered her along. Levy threw an uneasy glance at Lucy, knowing how it frustrating it must be for Lucy. Lucy smiled and nodded her head in good spirits. She was doing fine so far. She was happy to be with all her beloved friends and at least they were having fun.
They walked along the path, decorated beautifully with roses of different colors. White carnations hung from the ceiling, and Lucy was momentarily lost in the beauty of the sight.
"You know, girls are so easy to please." Bora smirked. "Flowers, dresses, accessories, that's all they want and their satisfied."
How insufferably arrogant could this man be? Lucy made no comment. She made up her mind that she would not get worked up no matter what he said. She did not want to create a scene. As girls, they were taught not to show any displeasure or disappointment. She didn't completely agree, but that was the proper code of conduct. It was the best course of action Lucy could take.
They continued trudging along the path and Lucy felt relief to have finally reached the end. "Although, it takes a bit more effort to please a man." Bora slipped his hand from her shoulder to Lucy's waist.
Lucy turned cold. She couldn't remember any other moment in her life when she felt so uncomfortable. His eyes on her, hand on her body, his touch, something felt wrong. Every nerve in her body was in alarm.
He whispered in her ear, "You know what I'm talking about right?"
Lucy's breath stopped short. She felt her body tense and her voice trembled as she struggled to speak, "Mr. Probert, I request you to unhand me right now."
Bora pulled her closer against his body, "Don't be scared, I don't bite." He smiled.
Lucy wanted to scream, run, push him away, but she remained frozen on the spot, fear paralyzing her body. This man was disgusting and she loathed him with all her heart. She wanted him to disappear. She wished someone was here to drive him away.
Thankfully, her prayers were answered.
"I'm so sorry I'm late!"
Bora jumped like a cat. Standing before them was a handsome young man, pink spiky hair, dressed in a fairly modest black suit and a white scaled scarf, with a boyish smile on his face. Lucy recognized him from her school. He was Natsu Dragneel, the cute guy all the girls had been crushing. For him to be her knight in shining armor, life was truly a mystery sometimes.
"I hope I didn't keep you waiting for too long, dear. I was caught up with some urgent work at the college. But now I'm here for our date!" he smiled sweetly at Lucy and she forgot for a moment that Bora was still there. "Who's this?" he turned to look at Bora inquisitively.
Bora fumbled for words and muttered something. "I will see you later, Miss Lucy," and fled swiftly.
Once he was completely out of sight, the man spoke. "Are you okay, Miss?" Natsu looked at Lucy in concern. "It seemed like he was bothering you, so I had to step in. Or I completely misunderstood." He added comically, "That would be awkward,"
Lucy finally exhaled a sigh of relief. She hoped she would never see that disgusting man for the rest of the evening. Or ever. She shuddered to imagine what he would do if he hadn't been interrupted. She never thought that he would go that far.
When she didn't reply, Natsu asked again, "Can I do something for you? Should I fetch someone? Are you here with any friend?" he asked.
Lucy took a deep breath and calmed her nerves. "I'm fine. Thank you. And yes, he was bothering me." she gave him a smile. "You were from school right?"
"Yes, we shared classes a few times. I believe we never formally introduced ourselves. I'm Natsu. Natsu Dragneel." he extended his hand for a handshake.
Lucy shook it firmly. "Glad to meet you. I am Lucy Heartfilia."
"Yes everyone knows," Natsu muttered.
"Pardon?" Lucy raised a brow.
Natsu cleared his throat, "Nothing. You have really beautiful eyes Miss Heartfilia." Natsu grinned.
Lucy let out a small laugh, surprised at his boldness, "Did they not tell you that flattery is improper, Mr. Dragneel?"
"Not when you mean it." Natsu's face turned serious all of a sudden and Lucy felt her heart skip a beat.
"Lucy!" She turned to find Erza and Juvia coming towards her.
"Is everything alright? And where's Bora?" Erza asked.
"I'm fine." Lucy smiled reassuringly. "He had to leave on some urgent business."
"Thank goodness. I couldn't hear more of his non-stop gloating!" Juvia sighed. "Gajeel found a shooting game and he's bent on winning it." Juvia laughed.
"Well then, I guess I'll take your leave Miss. Take care." Natsu nodded and tipped his hat. Was Lucy imagining it, or did he actually look slightly disappointed?
Just as she was leaving with her friends, Lucy turned towards Natsu who was silently standing by. "Would you like to join us, Mr. Dragneel?"
Lucy doesn't know what prompted her to ask Natsu to join him. Perhaps it may seem that she felt indebted to him.
Oh who was she kidding? He was extremely attractive and she would like to know him better.
And he was just as the rumours said, he was wonderfully charming, with a great sense of humor. He was full of banter and Lucy found herself smiling at everything he said. Although today was the first time they talked, Lucy found it so easy to chat with him, easily starting a conversation.
Lucy found out that Natsu was studying at the Mercurius College at Crocus and he had returned home for some family business.
He was extremely competitive too. When he saw Gajeel playing the shooting game, the two of them got all fired up to win the grand prize. In the end, they were collectively defeated by Erza, and they were forced to pipe down. Lucy found the entire thing hilarious. It seems Natsu had been in acquaintance with everyone there and seemed to blend in well among them.
They had fun playing the various fair games. Everyone was occupied in some game or the other. There was a game to drop the stacked glasses, toss the ring, and catch the metal fish using a magnetic rod. Lucy had a great time trying all the games with Natsu. She felt like everything was fine again, barring that incident with Bora and started to enjoy herself again in the presence of Natsu.
Their attention was drawn to a young man huffing and puffing, trying his best to win a game of strength. The game required a person to use a big mallet and hit using all his strength so that the buzzer went all the way up to the top and rang a bell. No matter how much he tried, he couldn't land it on the top.
As the spectators laughed, the man shoving the mallet away grumbled, "This game is totally rigged!"
The girl who was with him patted him, "There's no one stronger than you darling!"
Lucy sighed, "Well, that man made a complete fool of himself. I doubt anyone could win that game. Games of strength are often tampered."
Natsu suddenly pushed forward from the crowd, "I would like to give it a try!"
Lucy stood there mouth agape. By his expression, he seemed so confident, it didn't see like he would lose.
Natsu picked up the mallet and blew an easy strike. Lucy gasped as the bell sounded, a victory of total strength! The crowd erupted in loud cheers and applause. He didn't even seem like he was trying. He was grinning ear to ear as he received the prize.
Natsu strode back to Lucy who looked at him with utter disbelief, eyes wide and mouth agape. "You might want to close your mouth before a fly flies in." Natsu laughed.
Lucy opened and closed her mouth like a fish, "That was absolutely impressive!"
Natsu pulled her hand into his, and Lucy blushed at the sudden contact. "For you," he said, handing her the prize he had just won.
It was a pretty little snow globe with a cherry tree in it. It was so very lovely; she couldn't believe he was giving her something this beautiful.
"Thank you." Lucy smiled, clutching it to her heart. "I will take good care of it."
Hazel eyes met his emerald ones, unable to look away. There was something between them, some connection, a mysterious feeling.
They were interrupted, when a little girl pushed herself between them, "Make way for Cow girl Asuka!" she shouted with glee and she ran around the place.
Natsu looked away and chuckled awkwardly, "Perhaps we should find the others,"
Lucy averting her eyes nodded, "Yes." she replied curtly.
They started to make their way back to the other gaming stalls in an attempt to find the others. However, Lucy's attention was drawn to a little boy standing by the side of the crowd and crying.
"Oh dear, looks like something is wrong," she walked over to the boy.
"There, there, what's wrong dear?" Lucy patted the little boy on the back in an attempt to calm him down.
"I can't find my daddy!" the little boy cried.
Lucy glanced at Natsu worriedly, "It looks like he's lost," she looked around. "Maybe he's around here somewhere," She looked back at the boy," Do you remember where your saw Daddy the last time, child?"
Tears rolled down his eyes as he whimpered, "I don't remember very well." then he let out a loud cry, "What if I never find him?"
Natsu bent down on his knees and put his hand lovingly over the boy's head, "Hey, what's your name?"
The boy sniffed, "Romeo," he answered meekly.
"Don't cry Romeo. We'll find your daddy together! Think of it like an adventure!" Natsu grinned. "You can be an explorer! Or a treasure hunter! Or a knight fighting bad people!" Natsu tried to cheer him up. Romeo stared wide eyed, "Really? I can be all that?"
Natsu nodded, "Everything and much more."
Lucy leaned down and smiled, "Don't worry Romeo. I'm sure your father must be looking for you too. Let's go and find him."
Romeo wiped his face and nodded, "Okay," He instantly held Lucy's hand and pulled her along.
They asked Romeo about how his father looked, and they looked around to find Macao Conbolt, who had bluish hair and was wearing a long white overcoat and a Fedora hat.
They looked around as much as they could, but as the evening was setting in, the crowd started getting thicker and it became hard to look carefully. Lucy gripped Romeo's hand tightly, "Don't let go no matter what okay?" as the crowd got excessively tight. Romeo nodded gingerly and clung to her gown.
Lucy was finding it very difficult to keep up with Natsu, who was moving ahead in urgency, keeping up the search and she had to push around to make her way among the sea of people.
"W-Wait, Mr. Dragneel!" she felt herself losing him in the crowd. "Natsu!" she called, raising her voice slightly. A few heads turned her way and Natsu turned back and immediately rushed to her.
"The crowd's getting really thick right? Let me help." Natsu picked up Romeo and placed him over his shoulders. "There, now you can find your daddy easily," He then extended his hand to Lucy. "So that you don't lose yourself in the crowd," he clarified.
Lucy nodded and joined hands with him, feeling slightly hot in the cheeks. She wondered if he was upset that she had called him by his first name.
His hands were big and warm; they were callous, and even though his grip was firm, Lucy felt good and safe. She was glad she could hold on to him as they navigated through the maze of stalls and people.
Suddenly, Romeo exclaimed, "I found him! He's over there!" He pointed towards an area where tents were set up.
"I'm telling you, my son is lost! Please help me!" The man pleaded.
"I'm sorry sir, we are currently understaffed, and you have to wait for a while." The officer replied.
"Daddy!" Romeo ran to his father and hugged him.
"Romeo! Thank goodness! I was so worried!" he hugged his son tight.
"They helped me find you!" he pointed towards Lucy and Natsu. They stood a few feet away, smiling and waving.
Macao came up to them and thanked them endlessly. He shook hands with them and apologized for the trouble he caused them.
"Take care of yourself, Romeo." Lucy patted his head.
"Can I meet you both again?" Romeo asked sadly.
"Of course!" Natsu grinned as Romeo hugged them both together.
He waved them goodbye and they parted ways. Dusk had finally set in. The two of them caught up with their friends, who demanded the reason for their sudden disappearance. Allowing them little time to explain, they hastened to the location of the main carnival. It was time for the country dance of Fiore, where children, couples as well as senior citizens joined in and danced merrily off into the night. It was the object of excitement among all the girls as this was the closest chance they had to attending a royal party and spending quality time with their beaus.
Just as her friends made it on the dance floor, Natsu offered his hand, "Miss Heartfilia, would you like to dance with me?"
Lucy smiled graciously, "I would love to,"
Smiling at each other, Natsu took her delicate hand in his, and whisked her to the dance floor. They stood opposite each other, the ladies and gentlemen in a single file. As the live music started to play, they bowed to each other and bodies moved and swayed in tune with the sounds. But for Lucy and Natsu, the world seemed to blur, and it was only the two of them in the dim lit room.
And as they started dancing, they moved to a different world, a world of their own, where the time seemed time seemed to stop and extend only for them. They were unable to tear their eyes from each other, and they met in an incandescent union. They spoke a language with their eyes alone, the connection they felt earlier seeming more obvious than ever. To let go, even for a second, felt like an eternity, their hands longing for every touch. When he twirled her, falling back into his arms felt euphoric. They were buzzing with energy with every movement, never wanting to stop.
Every touch was magical; every movement rhythmic and every feeling ecstatic as their hearts soared like a free bird in the bright blue sky. The tender smiles they shared, the soft glances and gentle touches, Lucy couldn't feel anything but feel immense joy and happiness. Her nerves felt like they were on fire, in the best way possible, while Natsu found himself falling deeper and deeper into those sparkling brown orbs, which seemed to have entrapped the stars itself in them.
Everything was absolutely lovely. As everyone bowed at the end of the song, Lucy and Natsu continue to be entranced, eyes never letting go. Finally, Natsu was the one to break the gaze as he blinked, as if he just realized they were present in the room.
With her arm on his elbow, he led her back to the tables.
They were too overwhelmed in their thoughts to have any further conversations.
It was time for them to part as the carnival came to an end. Lucy was to return to their boarding house with her friends, and so she had to bid goodbye to Natsu, who would return back to Crocus.
The moonlight fell on his face, making his handsome features look more intense. Ever since their dance, Lucy felt like there was something they shared, something that made them kindred to each other. How could she feel so intensely for a person whom she had just met? After all, life wasn't like those novels she loved to read. There was still so much to learn about each other, Lucy longed for more time with him. And yet, she felt drawn to him in a way she had never felt before. Natsu, too, seemed to mirror her thoughts, occasionally tugging his scarf nervously and biting his lip.
Natsu bowed slightly, "It has been utmost pleasurable to be in your presence, Miss Heartfilia."
Lucy did a curtsy herself, "I feel the same, Mr. Dragneel."
Natsu cracked a smile, "Natsu is fine, Miss Heartfilia."
Lucy found herself blushing, "I'm sorry if I offended you in anyway. It was just at the spur of the moment-"
"I really don't mind," Natsu cut in insistently.
Lucy protested no further, "Then please, call me Lucy." she grinned.
"Okay. I hope to see you again, Miss-Lucy." Natsu nodded and tipped his hat.
"And I, you."
Lucy was wagely aware that her friends were waiting for her nearby to say her goodbyes, but yet they still stayed frozen to the spot, eyes not leaving each other. Their attraction to each other was undeniable, just as the moon orbited around the planets. It was so hard to let go.
"Lucy..." Natsu whispered huskily, as he moved closer. Lucy felt her breath hitch as he did so, her heart hammering against her ribs.
"May I give you a kiss?" Natsu asked sincerely. Lucy nodded as Natsu took her hand in his. He stroked it tenderly and moved her hand to his lips. Before his lips could meet her the back of her hand, Lucy captured his lips with hers in a fleeting kiss.
Natsu blinked in surprise as he drew back and he laughed, "Woah!"
Lucy laughed innocently, "Thank you so much for today. I had a lot of fun. I will write to you." Drawing her hand back she turned away. "Goodbye, Natsu!"
Natsu shook his head and chuckled, "Good bye, Lucy. I will eagerly await your letter."
a/n: This is a gift for Sachiko Saki, my dearest friend! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this!
its been a year so i'm a bit rusty ;_; this was inspired by this beautiful Netflix series I saw recently called 'Anne with an e'. everyone please watch it if you can! its absolutely lovely!