The dress I’m wearing is far too tight in all the wrong places. I’m short and broad, with very little waist. This does not do well in ladies’ high fashion these days. You would have thought that the earth colonies wouldn’t have reverted back to the clothing of the 1800’s yet here we are.
The hall has been fitted out to mirror that of an old earth period dance hall. The pale wallpaper stretches neatly to the ceiling from which hangs a delicate chandelier. It would be almost believable, if it weren’t for the glass ceiling which is stretched out above us. A glass ceiling looking out into space. The darkness beyond was spotted with stars and distant planets, all surrounded by swirling galaxies of planets, rubble, and space dust.
I am always happy to be at a party, especially one with an intergalactic guest list such as this. There is just one problem. As the eldest daughter of the leader of this galaxy sector, I am expected to marry outside of our sector to a wealthy suitor et cetera, et cetera, soon too. Soon being tonight, but that is the last thing on my to do list (if it is there at all). The need for young women to marry well, or to marry at all is archaic. Quite literally.
I consider running (always a suitable option), but I haven’t even had a drink yet, or a dance. That’s when I spot Aine through the crowd and all thoughts of running disappear instantly.
Aine looks stunning, as usual. Their midnight blue suit looks like it has been sewn from the fabric of space itself, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. The Lakree have incredible talents
when it comes to being a seamstress. I notice the swirling galaxy over their heart is the same deep purple of their eyes. Clever, I can’t help but think.
My own dress is a deep red. No stars or galaxies here, but the trimming does shimmer. Thanks to Aine, of course. They sewed the trimming on for me. I’d been rifling through their box of offcuts and took a fancy to the pearly trim. It is much too extravagant, even for the daughter of a sector leader, but Aine insisted.
We stand off to the side of the party, near the refreshments table. The table itself runs along one side of the grand ball room. Even the usually plain wooden floors manage to look impressive amongst the beautifully dressed people and candle lit walls.
Beside me, Aine is scanning the room, and there is no doubt in my mind of what for. Their gaze flits around the crowded room, but they never actually move from their position next to me.
“Can’t you relax?” I don’t mean for my words to sound so harsh. It is usually me acting like this in crowds, and I immediately regret all the times I have done so.
“I am relaxed.” The obvious lie seems to roll easily off their tongue.
“You’re looking for someone…”
“Almost.” Aine replies in a tone that clearly says, ‘I’m plotting something’. “I’m scouting out the quality of possible partners for you.”
I can’t help but sigh. Knew it. “My dad put you up to this didn’t he?”
“Sure did,” Aine smiles apologetically. “This is just for show though.” They then whisper, gesturing to their eyes with the hand not holding the delicate glass of champagne.
“Oh?” I know it sounds stupid, but the sound is out off my mouth before I can stop it.
“I have a different plan, if you’ll come with me.” Aine’s smile brightens the already well lit room. When they look at me it is as if the room just slips away.
“There are plenty of handsome men who have noticed you.” Aine continues, though I can tell, now at least, that they haven’t really been looking.
“Don’t lie to me!” I gasp dramatically, playing along. “They’re all looking at you.” And I don’t blame them. Aine is stunning, and much more graceful than any human could be.
Aine rolls their eyes. “Slander,” they joke, a small chuckle leaving their lips.
I smile, and taking a sip of my champagne I gaze around the room.
“Dance with me.” Aine asks calmly, as though it is the easiest thing in the world.
I splutter a yes as they lead me to the centre of the dance floor. Once my steps are synced with Aine’s I can’t help but feel like I’m just as graceful as they are. We spin in time with the music, weaving in and out of the other dancers with practiced ease.
Aine draws me closer in time with the beat to whisper, “I thought it would be easier to talk like this.” They spin me out and pull me back in close.
“Uh huh.” I deadpan, not quite following.
“When you dance with someone you make your own world. No one will hear us talk here.”
“I see.” Classic Aine, I smile.
“Zahli,” Aine begins, they miss a step, stumbling slightly but I steady them easily and lead us on.
“Yes?” This must be big, I think, Aine is usually so collected.
“I want to ask you to run away with me.”
My breath catches in my throat.
“Tonight, I brought my own space-craft, we can leave right now if you want to.” Aine watches me carefully, her deep purple eyes never leaving my own.
“Is that you asking me?” I smile wide, my chest feeling lighter than it has in months.
“Is that you saying yes?” They mirror my question, a knowing smile on their face.
“If you’re asking, then yes, more than anything else in the world, yes!”
“In that case,” Aine pulls me in to brush a light kiss to my cheek, “I am asking.”
Aine takes my hand again as the song finishes and we run from the crowded dance hall to a realm of endless possibilities.
Aine is pronounced ‘AWN-ya’
Lakree is pronounced ‘LACK-ree
Zahli is pronounced ‘ZAHL-ee’
This piece was written for the 2020 Hindsight project I am participating in with the online writing community YeahWrite. For this project you start with a 1000 word creative piece and then each month you rewrite it using a different prompt.
This should be a fun exercise, I’m interested to see where it takes this piece.