Dance With Me Under the Stars
Elina was having a good night. When she meant good, she actually meant she was cramming for three exams, finishing two assignments and memorising her oral. Yep, a good night. Suddenly, there was a knock on her window. She looked up, expecting a small creature or a bird, but instead, she was greeted by her best friend, Leo. Elina was suddenly reminded of the first time Leo had knocked on her window. He’d climbed over the fence, tapped on her window, and asked her if she was free to hang out.
“Leo?” Elina stared at him, and he waved.
“Hey, Lina. Can you open the window for me?” He asked, and Elina knew he had crept through the hole in his fence that led into her backyard. She sighed, opening the window and her best friend climbed in.
“What are you doing here?” She whispered, “for goodness sake, it’s 2 am.”
“For goodness sake, how can you still be studying?”
“I have a lot of work to do.” She frowned but was excited that Leo was here.
“Do your parents know you’re not sleeping? You’re literally working by torchlight!”
“No, but if they come in, I’ll give them the excuse that I’m working hard in preparation for my tests.” she smiled, “Have you studied?”
“No questions, please. Turn your light off for a second,” he grinned, “you can go back to your studying later.” Reluctantly, Elina turned off her torch, and Leo held out his hand. “Okay, now come outside for a second.” She took his hand and jumped out of the window. “Now sit,” Leo ordered, and she did so. They both stared at the sky, the stars twinkling faintly and the world was strangely silent. She turned to face Leo, and she noticed he was lying on his back, his hands under his head, and he was looking at her contentedly. “Pretty, right?” he asked when he caught her staring. She hummed in approval, and he slowly sat up. “Okay, Part Two. Stand up, Lina.”
“Wait, there’s more?”
“Lina,” Leo said, pretending to be disappointed. “I specialise in best friend supremacy, when I do things, they must be top tier.”
“Okay, okay,” she laughed, “what’s Part Two?”
“Close your eyes, and hold out your hands.”
“I’m trusting you, Mr Chiaffredo.”
“There is no reason not to trust, Elina.” He murmured, and she held our hands. Leo’s warm hands suddenly grasped her, and then they were dancing.
“Can I open my eyes, Leo?”
“Not yet, patience grasshopper.” He chuckled, and Elina felt Leo guiding her as they swayed in her backyard. She drew in a breath as their chests touched, Leo’s warmth drawing her in.
“Do you do this for all your best friends?” She joked, and Leo’s hand gripped hers tighter.
“You’re my only best friend, Lina.” He said seriously, and for a moment the two of them didn’t say anything. “Can I ask you something?” Leo’s voice rang out in the silence, but before she could answer, he added. “Oh, you can open your eyes now, by the way.” Elina opened them and saw Leo’s smiling face, and she couldn’t help grinning back.
“Ask away, Leo.”
“How long have we been friends for?”
“You know the answer to this,” she chuckled, “why are you asking me?” Leo gave her a pout. “Alright, fine, fine. We’ve been friends for three years.”
“Would you say three years is a long time?”
“Hmm, I don’t think so. It would’ve been nice if I had met you sooner.”
“Oh? And why is that?”
“What’s with all the deep questions, Leo?” Elina chuckled, and he shrugged.
“Answer the question, Lina.”
“Well, I feel like if we had been friends sooner, I wouldn’t have felt like something was missing for so long.”
“Okay, that was actually very sweet of you.”
“Are you implying I’m not sweet generally?” she giggled, “I’m dancing with you, aren’t I?” She whacked his arm playfully, and he rolled his eyes, taking his hand back into hers.
“What are your thoughts on friends to lovers?” He asked, and Elina felt her cheeks grow warmer.
“Well, um, in the books I read, the friends to lovers trope is very cute.” She flushed, and Leo nodded wistfully.
“I see, I see. Okay, and how would you feel, if I kissed you right now?”
“Wait, wait, where is this coming from?”
“I like you, Lina. Is it not obvious?” Elina took her hands out of Leo’s, drowning in thoughts.
“Hold on, you like me?”
“How could I not? You’re very good at what you do, Lina.”
“What do I do?”
“Make me feel like the luckiest person alive.”
“Y-you like me.” Elina muttered before she fell to the ground in a dead faint.
Leo knew he had an effect on people, but he didn’t think it was powerful enough to make his best friend faint in his arms, in her backyard at 2 am.
“Lina? Lina? Are you alive?” He shook her shoulders gently, and she slowly stirred.
“Hiiii, Leo.” she stretched the vowels in her greetings, and Leo wondered what alien had possessed his best friend and replaced her with this strange and almost slightly drunken state. She’d hit her head when he tried to catch her.
“Hello, earth to Lina? Are you okay?” He helped her sit gently on the ground. “You did not just faint on me, Elina Griffiths.”
“Well,” she responded, rubbing her eyes, “I just did.” A sudden realisation seemed to dawn on her and Leo watched her eyes widen. “Holy smokes, I'm so sorry! Ew, this is so embarrassing.” And his Lina was back.
“But you never answered my question.”
“Well, sorry, Leo. I just fainted from shock, cut me some slack.” She huffed, but there was a large grin on her face. “But,” she continued, “whether or not I fainted, I would’ve said yes.” and then Elina was kissing him, instead of him kissing her, and the only thought running through his mind was why had they waited this long?
“Leo, Leo, Leo.” Elina murmured his name, and he felt himself melting over her, they were most obviously not best friends.
“Elina,” he cupped her cheeks in his hands, “dance with me again,” he breathed, “the stars are only out for so long.” They stood up once more, their hands entwined, their bodies moving in sync, and at that moment their hearts were connected.
“Leo Chiaffredo, a pleasure to meet you.”
“Elina Griffiths. You’re new here, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, my family just moved in a few days ago. You probably heard the truck,” he paused awkwardly, “my parents asked me to give this to your family,” he handed the girl an envelope, and she took it.
“Thanks, I’ll give it to them,” she tucked some strands of hair behind her ear idly. “Are you going to the local high school or not?”
“I’m not, I’m afraid. Were you planning on looking for me there?” he smiled, and the girl laughed.
“Oh no, I was just wondering, out of politeness,” she winked, “see you around, Leo.”
In some regard, as an intense bookworm, Elina should’ve seen this coming. Leo had even mentioned the friends to lovers trope because he knew she loved romance books. It all made sense. Kind of. The stars seemed to align in their favour, and Elain didn’t plan on throwing that opportunity away.
“So, where does that put us?” She asked quietly, rubbing her eyes. Leo leant his head on her shoulder, as the two of them sat there.
“Can we be two best friends dating? Does it work like that?”
“Why are you asking me, Leo? I don’t make the rules!”
“You read romance novels, I do not.”
“I caught you reading Pride and Prejudice last week.”
“I was reading it so I could impress you, Elizabeth Bennet.”
“Well, Mr Darcy, you ask a lot of questions for someone who just confessed their feelings.” Elina chuckled, tiredness still not registering into her system. Then again, she could never be tired when she was around Leo. He radiated the purest energy, he was her foundation to something great, and she loved him everything about him.
“I’m just curious,” he smiled, before sighing. “I should probably go home now. Thank you for dancing with me, Lina.”
“It was a good distraction.” Elina said gratefully, giddiness now set permanently in her heart.
“Oh? Are you saying I’m a distraction?” Leo smirked, and Elina bit back a laugh,
“No, dummy, Really, though, Leo. Thank you.” She kissed him softly, but it quickly turned hungry, like the two of them had been starved of each other, despite being so close. It had taken them three years from strangers, to best friends, to lovers, yet to Elina, it still felt like yesterday when Leo introduced himself at her front door.
“Lina,” Leo struggled to form the words, “I- I love you,” he stopped. “That felt really good to say.”
“Well, it’s mutual. Now go home and sleep. I love you too.”
“And don’t I know it,” he winked, “see you tomorrow, Lina.”
“Thank you, Lina.”
“For being my best friend.”
“Silly, you don’t have to thank me for that!”
“But without you, I wouldn’t know what path I’d be on. You inspire me to do better every day.”
“I’m just as grateful, Leo.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Can you make me a promise, though?”
“One day, we’ll dance under the stars if we fall in love.”