Not that I was a model of any kind. One beauty pageant years ago, and suddenly your mother thinks you should have an entire prep team for simple occasions.

But, then again, this wasn't just a simple occasion. A wedding. Lovely. We were flying out so far for a wedding for some daughter of my mother's friend. To be honest, I did not really care whether we went or not. There were plenty of galas and whatnot back home, so it's not like this was some really great chance to dress up. Although, I was getting a bit tired of being the Barbie of the house.

"Watch it," I muttered under my breath reflexively as the makeup lady began applying eyeliner. She gave me a look I couldn't discern, but what would you do if someone was about to jab your eye with a pointy pencil? "Sorry."

"Lovely!" my mother called, twirling into the room happily. She paused just as she saw me. "Oh, Lovely, how darling. Precious."

"Too bad the night's not about me, huh?" I replied. Mother ignored that.

"Oh, Nina, you look beautiful, as always," she continued, placing her hands on my shoulders as she came to stand behind me. The ladies had left.

"Mother, please, why can't I just wear normal dresses? I'm not a pageant girl, you know." Mother raised an eyebrow skeptically.

"Honey, it's alright. I don't think you're conceited. In fact, I'm sure most girls your age do things like this." I frowned at her in the mirror.

"Mother, that's not what I'm concerned about. And I doubt other seventeen-year-old girls have their mothers bring in stylists every weekend."

"Details," Mother said, waving it off. I scowled.

"Mother," I said, knowing I always had to address her first, "I'm going to change my makeup and hair and do it myself, okay? And then I'll pick out some simple dress." I stood up carefully—or tried to. My mother's grip on my shoulders tightened as she restrained me.

"Why would you want to do that, dear? You look lovely!" Her plastic grin was tight.

"Because I highly doubt I'll be received well showing up like this," I argued, taking her hands off me gently and standing up, turning around so I could face her. I crossed my arms over my chest. "Who wears a ball gown to someone else's wedding?"

But Mother only frowned. "I thought you loved the manicures and pedicures—"

"I do, but—"

"—and the makeup and hair sessions—"

"—yes, but—"

"—and I thought it made you happy to dress up, like you used to, remember?" Mother finished. I sighed.

"I was seven when I won that pageant, Mother," I reminded her. "It's been ten years. I don't like playing dress-up anymore." I walked past her and out of the large bathroom. "And I'm going to get myself ready for once! No makeup team!"


I closed the door to my bedroom, cutting off her sentence. My mother was very…blind. I think she was blissful in her ignorance. She didn't really want to make me vain or anything, but she thought I cared more about makeup and hair than anything else. Lately, it'd been getting on my nerves more than usual. I mean, it's not fun when people at school think you're high maintenance. So with that in mind, I figured dear ole Mom wouldn't mind just this once if I did my own thing, though she might be a bit hurt. But what can I say? I'm not seven anymore. I can dress myself.

I stripped myself of the dress, washed off the makeup, and pulled pins out of my hair. I grabbed a simple indigo dress, cotton, out of the closet and changed into it. It was so much simpler than the other—this one stopped a bit above the knee, and was like a tank dress. I slipped on silver flats—I definitely didn't need more height, being a little under six feet tall, unfortunately—and accessories with clunky white jewelry. I flipped my head around, shaking my hair about until it was poufy (not puffy)—or voluminous. I ran fingers through my wavy locks, trying, maybe a bit frustratingly, to get them in order before I decided I just didn't care. As for the makeup—I went with a dark blue eyeliner, smudged, and a light amount of ice blue eye shadow. I ended up applying a neutral pink lip gloss to finish.

And then, walking out to the foyer, I saw my mother's lips pressed in a firm line. I mentally grinned with satisfaction, expecting her to comment on my wardrobe. All she did, though, was pat my head, smooth over some flyaways, and attempt a smile that did look a little real.

And then we had to take the car ride from Seattle to—where was it?—Forks, or something. My father was going to be driving and he gave me a smile, kissed my forehead, and assured me it would be bearable. I nodded and got into the back seat of our car—or, rather, our temporary car. I wasn't sure when we'd be heading back to Chicago, but we might be in Seattle for a while longer. Frankly, I didn't care—people at school tended not to like me. I think it had to do with their preconceived notions of my being high maintenance. So mine was a very lonely existence, with the occasional friends that were interesting and nice to socialize with but very superficial in the sense that I did not get attached to them like I wanted to.

When we got wherever we were supposed to be, a long car ride later, we had arrived at a large white house. It was marvelous, but that wasn't why I stared at it for a moment after I'd gotten out of the car. There was something about it…and I wasn't sure how I felt.

I reacted so strongly to it that Dad had to call me a few times before I snapped out of it. I just gave him a smile when he asked what happened, and I followed after him into the mansion. I felt an odd sense of anticipation as I neared it, for some reason. That confused me more than anything—I had only been claiming it was just another party, not three hours ago. Regardless, I followed my parents into the festive party going on. Apparently, this wasn't where the wedding was—it had already taken place. This was the reception, and people were already mingling. My mother saw one of her friends, apparently, because I heard her greeting someone. Suddenly, I was pulled forward.

"And this is my daughter, Nina," Mother was saying. The lady in front of me, a Native American woman who looked kind, smiled at me. We exchanged greetings before Mother told me to go mingle. I shrugged and walked away with a slight wave for my mother's friend—Mrs. Young, was it?

There was a variety of people here. Pale people, like my skin color and lighter, and Native Americans were mingling freely, though they mostly keep to their cliques. Just like high school. I sighed. And just like high school, I'd probably be left out. So I headed to the nearest, coziest wall and settled into my wallflower tendencies. There was a group of people on the other side of the room that included mostly tan, tall, and bulky men, though they acted considerably youthful. I noticed how everyone was pretty much comfortable with each other and noticed I was one of very few wallflowers there. Great.

There were some people that stopped and greeted me, introducing themselves. Most of them were family of the bride, I guessed, and they weren't exactly as exuberant in their celebrations as the other groups over near the dance floor. I gave polite smiles and made small talk, finding myself getting a little bothered by all of it. It was lonely. I faked smiles and laughter—it wasn't really interesting. I had to excuse myself from a cousin of the bride who had spoken to my mother earlier.

I sighed again, flicking my hair over my shoulder and grabbing a glass of punch from a nearby table. I sipped it and winced a bit at the taste. I put it back down and turned to retreat back into my corner when I bumped into a brick wall.

"Oh, I'm sorry."

No, not a brick wall, but close enough. I looked up at the tall mass of muscle I bumped into and blushed lightly. It was one of the guys from that group I'd seen before. He looked pretty young, and acted young, too. He had dark brown hair, russet skin, and black eyes—I think I stared at him for a half-second too long.

"It's fine," I murmured. "Excuse me." I brushed by to get back to my wall. Once there, leaning against it, I looked out at the rest of the celebrators. My heartbeat was erratic. The anticipation I'd felt upon nearing the house was just hitting me even more. Why? What happened? I looked around subtly, having lost track of the guy I'd bumped into back at the table.

I don't know why, but, when I saw him, I felt…almost as if I knew him. Did I know him? His eyes seemed so familiar. At least, there was something about him…

Then I saw a silhouette across the room, come back through the crowd. He tilted his face up a bit, the lights hitting it, and he caught my eye. He smiled and made his way over to me, and I pretended not to notice. The boy—man?—cleared his throat. Instantly, I was made to look back into those piercing black eyes. He offered a boyish smile, his teeth blinding white against his tan skin.

"Hey, you. I'm sorry about earlier, bumping into you and all," he said.

"I said it was fine," I replied, trying to keep my voice even. "No biggie."

"Still…" He looked back at the crowd for a moment, then back at me. "A dance?" He raised an eyebrow. My eyes widened slightly.

"Oh, no, no way. I mean—it's not you, it's—I just don't like dances," I added quickly. His cheeky grin widened.

"Then it's settled. I'll teach you to dance. Come on," he said, leading me along to the dance floor so quickly I barely noticed what was happening around me. There was a song playing, not really fast but not slow, either. He placed a hand on my hip and took one of mine after placing my other hand on his shoulder. Another breathtaking smile. I was flustered. What just happened?

"Nina," I said.


"Nina," I repeated with a slight smile. "That's my name." He grinned.


It was a bit unsettling, being swept up into a dance so suddenly after my relatively calm wallflower time. Not to mention, I'd never actually danced with a guy like this. So, naturally, my cheeks were heated. Collin's unwavering gaze didn't help with that. What was going on? My heart pounded in my chest—I wasn't good under pressure, and that included around boys. This was getting a little confusing.

"Friend of the bride?" Collin asked suddenly, forcing me to look up. I'd been avoiding his eyes for the past few minutes. I wish I hadn't looked—I was caught in his gaze. I think I fidgeted a bit under the penetrating gaze.

"My mother's friend is her mother, I think," I replied, feeling awkward. Collin only nodded, though.

"So, you visiting? Where do you live?" My breath caught in my throat, and my lips were dry. Why was I getting so flustered?

"Uh, no," I said. "I mean, we're visiting the area for a while, but we live in Chicago." His smile faltered the slightest, but picked back up again.

"So how's this night treating you so far?"

I gave a short laugh, looking off to the side and then back at him. But it was a laugh with a little humor in it.

"What's so funny?" Collin asked, that ever-present smile. I grinned back.

"The same old, same old," I answered. "Making pointless small talk, faking smiles and interest. It's all boring and insincere."

"So this is pointless? And fake?" he teased, though there seemed to be a little hurt in his eyes. I gave a very real laugh, and he joined in.

"No," I assured him. "This is actually pretty nice."

"Glad to hear it."

"Can we stop dancing?" I asked. "I dislike it."

"You dislike it?" he teased, picking up the tempo in our steps. I rolled my eyes at him. "And no. I happen to like dancing with you."

"Thanks, but I happen not to like dancing with anyone." Even as I was joking with him, I blushed faintly.

"Except me, of course."

"Of course."

"Lighten up, Nina, and I'll make this a little more interesting for ya," he proposed, taking on a mock-conceited air.

"Oh?" I chuckled. "How so?" He spun me around. "Ah!" I glared at him slightly, but couldn't help but admit that it was kind of fun. Collin looked over my shoulder and nodded his head in that direction, a mischievous smirk on his chiseled features.

"See those?" He spun us, giving me a chance to see the couple he pointed out. Another tall, buff guy, and a young woman who were apparently discussing something, halfway in the dancing pose.

"Yeah. And?"

"That's Paul, and his girlfriend Rachel," Collin said. "See, Rachel wanted Paul to learn to dance so they could dance together at this, you know? And Paul's not into dancing or anything—it's practically painful for him. I mean, he'll do anything else for her, but taking dancing classes. So—ha! See that? Rachel's definitely not kissing him for a long while—and he's definitely not getting some for even longer."

I giggled at his description. The couple was entertaining to watch. The girl, Rachel, would get a little upset over something and tell the guy, Paul, something, and he'd interrupt her by kissing her. And then she blew up at him, but the music's pretty loud so we wouldn't be able to hear. After leaving him looking like a kicked puppy, pout and all, she walked away and he trailed behind.

"That's crazy," I commented, rolling my eyes with a smile. And it was crazy.

We spent I don't know how long there on the dance floor, with him pointing out various people and joking around. After a while, we went and sat near the wall where I had last been, continuing the ribbing at random strangers—at least, strangers to me. He knew at least half of everyone there. And after another while, when he had gone to get us some punch, my mother came up to me and informed me that we'd have to leave soon. She told me to go say goodbye to everyone I'd met and meet her at the car. I only nodded at her retreating figure.

"Hey." I turned around, mentally chiding myself for being even the slightest bit startled by Collin's reappearance. I offered a grin as he handed me my drink. He smiled back, his dark eyes twinkling in that captivating way, and clinked our glasses. "So? Any new observations, Nee?" I furrowed my brows momentarily at the moniker, but shook my head dismissively.

"Nope," I replied, popping the p. I took a sip of the punch, a smirk on my face. It was much better than the one I'd gotten before. The other one must have been spiked or something. I looked up to see Collin staring down at me—he was so tall, and so much taller than me, who was a height-freak and giant for my age. I felt at peace, oddly.

"Had a good time?" I nodded an affirmative.

"Yes, but, unfortunately, I was stuck with this rather large rude youth for the entirety of my duration here," I said with a mock-haughty air, the both of us bursting into laughter seconds later. "Well, I actually have to be going…" Collin's smile dropped subtly.

"I know. I saw." I placed my glass on the table nearby, and Collin trailed after as we walked. "But I'm hoping I haven't repulsed you too badly."

"You haven't."

"Good." Collin beamed, looking devilishly handsome as he mussed up his hair subconsciously. I wasn't even leaving yet, at least not physically, and I already felt as if I was miles away. This party—reception—was actually pretty fun. I'd miss it—I wasn't ready to leave just yet. But I knew it had to be sooner or later.

"Thanks for the dance," I told him, looking for a way to draw out my stay.

"Anytime." We were silent, just staring at each other for a few seconds. Then he grabbed my hand, almost urgently. "Are you sure you don't have time for one more dance?" he whispered.

"I think I can make time for one," I breathed out. Collin led me to the dance floor again, quickly, just as another song started. It was much like the first. Collin didn't hesitate this time around, placing his arms around my waist as my arms draped across his shoulders. It was at a medium pace, not exactly slow. Unlike the first dance, Collin did not twirl me or spin me, but instead chose to keep me close in his embrace. It was intimate—too intimate for just having met each other, somewhere in the back of my mind thought. But we knew each other… From the first look, his eyes had whispered to me, 'Have we met?'

And now, he held me, as if I was already his world. It made me feel euphoric—on top of the world. Then, all too soon, the song ended, and I knew we couldn't have another dance. He knew it, too, because he let me go slowly. I missed the heat his body brought—he was impossibly warm. Maybe it was because I was cold, but I yearned to return to the warm embrace. Collin took my hand and led me away from the dance floor, towards the front of the house. It'd been a few minutes—Mother was going to ask what was taking so long. I could not find it in me to care at the moment.

And suddenly, we were near the front of the house, and Collin was looking back at me anxiously. Neither of us wanted to be the first to say it, but we knew we'd probably never see each other again. I was staying in Seattle, at a house belonging to my mother's friend, but I lived in Chicago. That was far away from here in Washington. For some reason, the thought of leaving the boy and the dance made me feel sad.

"Well…" Collin paused. "I hope we meet again." I nodded and turned to open the door and go out and find my parents' car when he tugged on my hand. Right. Still holding hands. I blushed lightly and looked up at him, pulling on his hand to let go of mine. He brought my hand up and brushed his lips over the back of it. "It was a pleasure meeting you."

Ignoring my heated cheeks, I smiled sadly. "Thank you for the dance," I said softly. He gave a short chuckle and wrapped his arms around me, hugging me. For some reason, I clung to him, enjoying the embrace. And then…we separated, and I stepped out of the mansion and walked down the drive. I glanced back to see his figure in the doorway, then looked straight ahead as I hurried over to my car, feeling a weight fall upon my shoulders with each step.

On the car ride back, my parents were seemingly tired out. I stared out of the window the entire time, my cheeks still heated. My hand tingled where he'd kissed it, and I placed my other hand over it.

Yes, I thought, it was a pleasure.

This is a short...thing I found in one of my folders and I just decided to upload it. No reason not to. It could most certainly be continued, but I don't particularly want to... I mean, if anything, I'd make it a twoshot, just to resolve things, but I'm pretty busy and, honestly, I changed maybe five words from what it originally was. Hope you enjoyed it, the short thing it is.

Oh, and in case it needs saying, I know I was definitely listening to Taylor Swift's"Enchanted" when I wrote it.