It was the night of the spring dance. It wasn’t normal for British schools to partake in such an American tradition, but it was something Finnley’s school did in the hopes of setting themselves apart from other schools in the area. A unique selling point, if you would. Finnley didn’t want to come tonight, it was the last thing he wanted. The last place he wanted to be. But at the same time, he felt like he had to be there. He was there for someone who couldn’t. A person who lived and breathed fun and parties. A person who would never be able to attend on again.
The freckled boy was currently sitting at a table. Draped with a table cloth that he knew Xander had insisted that they chose. It was such a shame that he never got to see the way that the glitter in the table clothes glistened under the light from the disco ball.
“Are you alright?” Rose asked, plopping herself down on one of the fancy gold chairs and placed a gentle hand on her friend’s knee.
“This isn’t right.” Was all that Finnley was able to choke out.
“What’s not right?”
“We shouldn’t be enjoying ourselves. This is Xander’s thing and he’s dead. We shouldn’t be here.” Fears were streaming down Finnley’s face now. He was just so angry. He was angry at himself for allowing himself to think, for even a second, that it would be possible to have fun without his boyfriend. He was angry at his friends for partying like nothing has happened. He was angry at Xander for not looking across the road. He was angry at the world for taking away the most important person in his life. He was even angry at himself for grieving. He knew that he was only 18 but he knew that Xander was the love of his life. That he was meant to be the person he was going to spend the rest of his life with. That is, if he was given the chance.
He felt like a sappy git doing it, but he imagined what it would have been like on their wedding day. Xander would have been a massive groomzilla, demanding that the tablecloths matched the balloons and that the balloons matched the flowers. To anyone else, Xander would have been completely insufferable during this time, but Finnley wouldn’t have minded one bit. Besides, how could be possibly complain when he was marrying his soulmate. Xander would have chosen to wear a white suit with a black shirt and Finnley would have worn a black suit with a white shirt. They wouldn’t have had doves, they creeped Xander out, but they would have thrown confetti. It would have been cliché yet unique. Romantic yet ridiculous. Sappy yet silly. They never took themselves too seriously, do you think they would at their own wedding?
“Finn, why don’t we get something to eat?” Sylvester shook him from his thoughts. It’s a shame they were such nice thoughts. This was the first time he had seen Sylvester all evening so he took a moment to appreciate his friend’s impeccable and unique sense of style. He was wearing a grey suit with a black button down shirt. The part that made it interesting was the silver tie that matched his hair and his nails. Finnley had to admit, he felt underdressed next to the smaller boy.
“Yeah that seems like a good idea.” Finney did his best to force a smile as sincere as he could muster. It must have seemed disingenuous because Sylvester’s own smile faded and his eyebrows furrowed into a displeased look.
“Look, I’ll just leave you to it. I do have an idea how you’re feeling but I don’t wanna force you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with. I will leave you with this, though. He would’ve wanted you to have fun and enjoy yourself. He wouldn’t have wanted you to be miserable at something as fun as this. Besides, things like this were his favourite.” Sylvester placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder, awkwardly trying to provide some sort of comfort to his grieving mate.
“So they keep telling me. Thanks.” And with that, Finnley was alone with his thoughts again. He didn’t want to be. He wanted to be able to enjoy himself. He was there purely because he promised Xander, he should be enjoying himself. But he wasn’t. He couldn’t. He refused to.
The evening slogged on for Finnley. He sat and he watched his friends dance and sing. He wanted to hate them, but he couldn’t. Afterall, that is what he would have wanted. That is what he would have wanted. It was as if he had just received an epiphany. Or as if what everyone had been saying to him all day had finally made sense. He’s here for Xander. He should be having fun for Xander. As if on cue, Xander’s favourite song played; mambo number 5. Finnley always found it silly that Xander found that his favourite song but suddenly, it all made sense. Life was like a party to the Xander so, of course, it made sense for his favourite song to be a school disco classic.
“Hang on, guys wait for me!” He called out to his friends, excitedly jumping up from his seat. “This one’s for you, love.” He whispered under his breath, his fingers finding there way up to the locket that Xander had given him for their first anniversary. Before joining his friends, he took off his promise ring, the one that Xander had given him a few weeks before he had died, and gently placed it in his pocket. It wasn’t forgetting him or erasing him, Finnley had to keep reminding himself that, he was simply allowing himself to live again, to love again. Maybe that last one could wait a bit. He was still afraid of the future without Xander in it, he had planned his entire life expecting him to be there with him, but he knew he’d never truly be alone. Not with friends like these, anyway.