"Dark Waltz"

Inoue Orihime didn't really like going to parties unless all of her friends were there, but this was a masquerade. Honestly, Rukia and Tatsuki thought Orihime was closed in since her brother's death and she needed to get out more often besides just going to school and buying food.

But Orihime still thinks that Rukia and Tatsuki went too far with this masquerade. A red mask, a white dress that puffed out at the bottom with a veils trail surrounding her legs, and white high heels was the perfect outfit that seemed to fit Orihime's breasts and her curves. Orihime, who had no experience in walking in high heels, kept stumbling and tripping in them.

Orihime would never cuss out anyone or anything. Or at least not out loud. In her mind was a stubborn and completely different Orihime within her, just wanting to get out. But of course Orihime, shy and sweet Orihime, kept her thoughts to herself unless it was necessary not to.

After Rukia was down with Orihime's hair and make-up, Tatsuki observed her. Wavy hair with little curls curling halfway in her pumpkin colored hair, the silver eyeliner and eye shadow lined her gray eyes; light pink lip gloss smeared her lips, and white nail polish from earlier in the process matched her details.

But only a single red, golden laced mask stood out. When they arrived, thousands of eyes were on Orihime. A pink blush stained her cheeks as she clenched the hem of her dress. Orihime opened her left hand, and two blue flower pins rested in the middle of her palm. She pinned one of each them to the lace hem of her sleeves. Quite confidently but shy, Orihime walked down the stairs with her friends.

Her gray eyes grazed the crowds as men surrounded her and flirted with her. Blushing rapidly at their flattery, she smiled shyly at them and tried her best at escaping. But no success came out for Orihime. That was when she noticed a mysterious gaze resting on her. Looking up for the gaze, her eyes stopped on a young man around her age.

His dark brown eyes were now connecting with hers, and everything faded away to Orihime. It was just her and him. They seemed to have a faraway look in them, and it was like he was peering into her soul. But the host broke gaze as the man looked away from her and to the host.

"Ladies and gentleman, I welcome you to my son's eighteenth birthday party." He began proudly," I would also like to wish my deceased wife a rest in peace goodbye with a moment of silence." Silence for forty-five minutes, and Orihime couldn't help but feel his grief.

Her only sibling died two years ago, and she would reflect on it occasionally.

"Thank you. Now that my son has turned eighteen years old today, I believe that he is at marriageable age, don't you think?" He continued." Anyway, I must thank you all for coming. Gentlemen, pick your partners and dance along with these selected theme."

Instantly, Orihime was bombarded with rapid 'will I have this dance's. Orihime smiled meekly at them, and took a step back nervously. Her back hit a hard chest.

"I apologize, but I choose this young lady to be my dancing partner." The mysterious man declared, and the men immediately scattered to their original dates.

The man took Orihime's hand in his, and rested his other hand on her waist. Orihime rested her free hand on his shoulder timidly, and they began to move with the music. It was strange that Orihime felt so safer with him than with her friends. His outfit was similar to hers, but as if it was from the Renaissance time period, ebony and ivory. A ruby pendant pinned his foreign item, and his mask was plain gray.

Orihime kept her eyes plastered to her hand that was with his hand. His hand, being larger than hers, felt warm and comforting. People had seemed to stop and watch them all-the-while whispering something about how lucky he/she is.

Orihime's face felt hot as her shoes became of interest. He chuckled, amused by her reaction. "You seem so familiar." He mused.

Orihime looked at him. "I do?" She said, and he nodded.

"I've seen that hair somewhere before, but I cannot put my finger on it." He stated.

Orihime felt her stomach churn and her heart flutter nervously. "I-I must go." She uttered hastily, and bolted from him.

With her stomach doing flips, Orihime ran as the clock stroke midnight. No one was supposed to know who she was; only her brother should say something like that. Orihime would not have it if that man thought he knew who she was.

Heavy footsteps were chasing after her light ones, and a hand cornered her to a dark corner. Orihime gazed upward in fear at the man she danced with. His hand brushed a strand of orange hair from her face. He leaned down, and she felt his breath and cologne surged across her face. She closed her eyes, puckered slightly. Instead, he slipped something into her hand.

Orihime opened her eyes, and looked at her hand. One of her blue pins that her brother had given her the day before he died was there. She looked at the retreating back of the mysterious man as he called back," See you at school, Orihime!"

Orihime, gray eyes wide and face beet red, dropped to her knees in fearful shock. Lips slightly parted, she let out a sob. He figured out who she was, and she realized who he was. That man had been the one she loved long ago before her brother's death, Kurosaki Ichigo. The lights in the corner were dimmed slightly, and she swallowed her upcoming sobs.

Standing shakily, Orihime wobbled her way to Rukia's direction, which Rukia caught her with an amazed smirk. If Orihime had to choose her favorite time during the masquerade, she would have to choose her and Ichigo's dark waltz.

Orihime looked at the crowds, and saw the entertained smirk on his lips. Orihime was played like a doll by him, and never felt so scared in her entire life. She blamed herself for her brother's death, but Tatsuki and Rukia refused that it was her fault. Orihime removed her high heels, due to her painful blister that were appearing upon her feet.

Orihime stood, the cold marble floor soothing her feet as she weaved her way through the dancing couples and into Ichigo's arms.

He was now taller than her without her shoes on. In the distance, Orihime could hear the prideful murmurs of her friends. Ichigo smiled widely at her, and she gave him a small smile. And to her silent greed, his lips were upon hers. And she didn't want it to end.