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 Your heart beats quickly as you think about the evening ahead. You couldn’t have planned a better homecoming had you tried.

So, it was a complete coincidence that your return coincided with the annual Governor’s Ball, but what better place and time to announce your return to your home town?

You have already heard that He is engaged to that brown-nosing over-achiever that you loved to hate during high school. After all, she stayed local, while you gallivanted around the world the past few years. At some point, you managed to convince yourself that it was to see the world, but in reality, it was to spend time alone – to grow up and do some serious thinking. There is nothing like seeing the world to make you appreciate where you are from. Nothing like seeing other cultures to know how much you love your own.

You sigh as you park outside the venue. As of tomorrow, you’ll get a new job to buy a new ride, but tonight… tonight is about reliving memories and creating new ones – and dazzling the bejesus out of everyone!

You secure your vehicle and take a deep breath, running your sweaty palms down the stunning gown that had cost way too much money, but would guarantee that people noticed you.

Turning back to the vehicle, you check the time. Perfect. Fashionably late – as you had intended. One final deep breath and you walk carefully, confidently, intentionally up the path, careful to ensure your ankles don’t wobble with inexperience on the high heels.

Reaching the door, you smile at the doorman whose surprised expression threatens to crack your practiced constitution. You simply raise your eyebrows and go past him into the foyer where a valet takes your stylish coat and handbag.

You catch your image in a mirror and automatically check your hair to make sure the French twist hasn’t moved a bit. The glittering jewel dropping from your neck gives the impression of wealth, you decide, resting just above your cleavage, made more prominent by the low neckline designed to accentuate that which no one in high school knew you had. Always covered up back then, now, you flaunted it with true grace.

Those weeks spent with the courts in the Distant Lands had been well spent! Even the days when you were unsure you would ever return to your homeland, let alone hometown!

One final deep breath and you breach the threshold of the ballroom itself, filled with strains of a ballad that had couples dancing together throughout the room. Before the final strains die away, your eyes find Him, dancing within the embrace of his beautiful fiancée. You debate, for a moment, whether you should let him know you see him – or whether you should wait to dance with someone else and just dance close to them, so that he might become jealous.

That decision is not made, however, as the song fades away and the whole room descends into a hush. Conversations die, people work their way to the refreshments table. You realize that everyone has seen you. The DJ seems frozen in time.

“You!” He cries out, scarcely above a whisper. He comes closer, ignoring his now-jealous fiancée.

“I’m back!” you affirm, in case anyone hadn’t figured it out by now.

“And grown up,” He says as he reaches you, his eyes roving across your body, taking in every curve and bit of exposed flesh. Finally, his eyes meet yours. “Wow.”

You smile. Of all the people in the room, this opinion was the only one that mattered right now. This was the person you still dream about more often than not.

He takes your hand and leads you around the room, making sure everyone sees you. You can see the surprise in all the faces, people who must not have thought you would ever return. You smile, but there is no time for conversation. Not yet.

As he leads you around the room, you become uncomfortably aware of his fiancée. But moments before you would be forced to face her, he turns to you. “How about a dance?” he asks.

“Sure,” you reply, the smile filling your face.

He leads you to the middle of the dance floor and takes you in his arms – much as you remembered him doing several years ago, before you felt the need to leave. Your arms around his neck and head nestled against him, the years melt away as you dance within his embrace, feeling his hands resting on the small of your back, not covered by the beautiful gown. His thumbs massage your skin, as if worried you were to forget that he could touch your body there.

As you turn together, you catch the jealous gaze of your rival, who obviously realizes that her control over him is waning, the horror feared by every fiancée.

“I missed you,” he says into your ear, his breath warm against you.

“I missed you too,” you reassure.

“Why did you leave?”

“I had… things to learn…”

“Like what? College?”

“No. Just things about life… things about me.”

“You’ve changed a lot,” he replies.

“Yes,” you answer, wondering if he thinks it’s a good thing.

“It’s good,” he reassures. You can hear the smile as he reaffirms,

“Real good!”

“I heard you’re engaged,” you say, wondering if you will regret the subject.

“Yeah.”

“When’s the wedding?”

“We’ve never set a date.”

“How long have you been engaged for?”

“A year.”

“Why wait?”

“I don’t know,” he replies. “Somehow, it didn’t seem important... Or I was waiting for something to change my mind...”

“What do you mean?” you ask.

“You look stunning tonight. No one can take their eyes off you,” he says.

“This town is hard to return to,” you explain. “I wanted to make sure that I could.”

“You did that all right! No one will forget this night for a long, long time! Least of all, me.”

You barely catch the look in his fiancée’s eyes as he lifts your chin and presses his lips to yours. The years separating you from him vanish as quickly as your body molds against his, your lips as hungry for him as his are for you.

And the night is only beginning!

♥♥♥♥♥

June 26, 2020 20:15

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2 comments

Audrey Winter
09:59 Jul 05, 2020

You manage the 2nd person POV so naturally and beautifully. Well done!

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Lori Svensen
22:20 Jul 05, 2020

Thank you!

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