As I walked out of the room I’d been hiding in I pulled on a smile and took a deep breath to steal myself against the onslaught of people.
The living space was full of people. More people than there had been when I’d left. The place was decorated too. Alex had pulled out all the stops. The ceiling was full of light blue balloon and those tin plated ones that were made into shapes. I didn’t know what else to call them. Mylar was the word that stuck in my head provided by a simple look from Alex he smirked at me from across the room.
I waggled a finger at him and beckoned him to come closer but he was in a deep conversation with someone. _In a bit pretty boy._
I nodded and turned to look around to see if I could find some solitude somewhere.
I say Naya playing with Drake and Nickey with Carla looking on worried about something. There was a squeal and peels of laughter as little Liam toddles into their group, he was chasing them around. Carla’s smile brightened when the little boy found them. Hide and seek?
Max and Drew were standing near by watching me. I rolled my eyes as I wandered over to them. “We’ve not see you around lately.” Max said, “I’m losing money on you.”
I laughed, “No more girls for me.”
Drew’s smile was wide and he nodded, “Told you he liked boys more than girls. I could see it from the start.”
“Max doesn’t have any sort of gaydar I don’t think.” I laughed.
Drew nodded, “He never did. So many guys I hooked up with in college, and he never even knew.”
“But you are married now I don’t need to care about your boy toys.” Max said.
“No more betting on me. Though maybe in the ring. I’ll bring Alex the next time I come, he boxes more than anything else he might give you all a run for your money.”
“We’ve not beaten you in a long while.”
I laughed, “I’ve been practicing.”
My brother came over to me and wrapped his arm around my shoulder and smiled. “This is Rider, one half of my twin brothers.”
“Can you even tell them apart?”
I laughed, “Yes. I can. Lake is wrapped around his boy over there.” I pointed at where Matt and Laker sat next to each other talking.
“I’m going to steal him now.” Rider said and I was releived to be going someplace else. Not that I didn’t like Max and Drew, but there was just so many people here.
When we were far enough away, Rider asked, “You alright?” Rider asked.
“Right as rain,” I said.
Rider chuckled. “I never understood that phrase. I love the rain.”
“So you are okay then?”
“Doing alright. I’d be better if my better half was with me. There are too many people here for my liking.”
“It’s a party, Nox.”
“I know. Dance with me?” I asked my brother.
“There’s no music playing.”
I laughed. “I can fix that.”
I walked over to the false wall and pressed the button and the wall slid down. Dorian’s entertainment center revealed itself – I guess it was mine now – ours. I connected my phone to the bluetooth quickly and easily and selected a long playlist full of random danceable songs and hit shuffle. The music played softly inside, but outside was a different story. The speakers around the veranda were loud and I grabbed my brother’s hand and he laughed as he hurried ahead of me to make sure it was clear, and then he started dancing. I was glad my brother wasn’t shy.
I closed my eyes and lost my soul to the music. Or maybe my soul found me in the music. Either way Rider and I danced. It wasn’t long before there were others with us. Cass dragged Quinn out with her and the elder daughter looked uncomfortable. So I took her in front of me. “Stand on my feet.” I took her hands and she looked at me afraid. “Come on.”
I moved my ten year old daughter around the outdoor dance floor with ease and by the time the next song came on she was dancing with the three of us over her own volition. Hunter clung to one leg and Drake the other and I moved with them with the same ease. Cass was too busy doing her own thing to much care what her siblings were doing.
I watched them dance their hearts out. Laker and Matt joined us though they were dancing together – very inseparable. It made me smile. Ryan dragged Isabelle out on the dance floor. I wondered where Ant was.
I caught Alex standing in the door watching and wiggled my finger at him again. This time he shook his head. And I danced my way over to him and held my hand out. “Dance with me.”
Alex shook his head again. “I’ll just watch you.”
I pouted. “Dance with me.”
There was a general stare down as Alex defied his urge to make the pout go away. I frowned and wondered what I’d done to make him hate dancing. And I knew I had. I didn’t remember, but Alex did.
And I saw the image in his head. I blinked away the memory – his memory.
I’d been dancing. Alex had come to the dream like usual. There was no music so he’d made some and flailed about the room. It was meant to be cute and not his natural talent I saw it in the moment, but my younger self hadn’t. I had made a comment and Alex had been hurt by my words. I hadn’t had a chance to apologize before the black blur ripped me away form him.
Again I had scarred my precious blue eyed boy and he wouldn’t dance with me. I could only nod. I leaned in and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I’m sorry I hurt you,” I said then walked back out to the dance floor with a fake smile and tried to get back into the music. But the feeling had fled with the notion that I hurt Alex time and time again and I always left him.
I couldn’t look in his direction so I manoeuvred myself so I couldn’t see him, no one but Alex noticed. But I felt his eyes burning holes in the back of my head. I didn’t want to see the anger or disappointment.
A slow song came on and the dance floor broke off into pairs. I walked away down into the sand and away from the party. The sun was setting and I sat down in the sand heedless of the problems it would present later when I got up, but at that moment I didn’t care. I felt like shit. I could no longer fake the happy smile. I needed a few minutes alone to process everything.
The crunch of sand behind me and the soft citrus scent meant that Alex had followed me. “Why did you apologize earlier?”
“I made fun of your dancing. I saw your memory. You shared it.”
“I didn’t Nox. I didn’t want you to see it. I never wanted to let you see the bad parts. I never told you about that moment.”
“I’d never seen it before until just then.”
“I was thinking about it, but I wasn’t sending it to you.”
“I’m sorry I saw it then, but I can’t unsee it.”
“That’s not my point Nox. You’ve been hearing things haven’t you?”
I looked back over my shoulder at Alex and he was standing there with a beer in his hand and red Solo cup he was sipping at. He sat down next to me handing me the beer. “I think we are sharing some of our powers. There are so many fucking things wrong with that place. I had to leave. It’s why the party. I figured the chaos would make it feel better. But I was wrong.”
“It only made it worse.” I gave Alex a half smile. “What are you seeing exactly?”
“Nothing different but I fucking swear that chair over there doesn’t belong there.” Alex pointed to one chair, and then pointed to an empty spot a bit down the beach. “Like I know it goes there, but I can’t tell you why.”
“That’s what I feel and see all the time. Maybe you are right and we are sharing some of our powers. I have been hearing things. It’s not helping my mood any.”
“I’ll teach you how to filter and shut it out. I can’t do anything about this sight though can I?”
I shook my head. “If you aren’t seeing how they are out of place, only getting that feeling no. Other than put it back in it’s place.”
Alex groaned. “I’m gonna become as anal as you are? Fuck me!” He winked and I leaned against his shoulder and smiled before I took a long drag of the ice cold beer he’d handed me. “As long as I don’t spontaneously start throwing fireballs I think I can manage.”
“I’m sorry I really am.”
“I know Nox. And I know you didn’t mean to make it hurt. And I’m sorry it bothers me so much to dance. I’d love to be the one out there with all your attention.”
“But you won’t join me.”
Alex shrugged. “Let’s just watch the sunset.” I nodded in agreement and we did that – in silence.