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A Promised Kiss and a Heartfelt Wish

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Katey's still afraid.

Her heart beats, rabbit-fast, as Javier moves closer, but his eyes are fixed on the makeshift screen in front of them, not on her. "Your parents, they're… they're perfect."

No, it's Javier who's perfect, Javier with his low, soft voice and liquid eyes. The expression on his face is rapt as he watches her parents dance, flickering figures in black and white on a dusty sheet. She doesn't watch them, not when she's seen the same routine a hundred times before. That's familiar and this… oh, this is not. This is bright and new, and it doesn't flicker.

It burns.

So she watches him instead, drinking in the sight of him, the way his lips are parted, the way that the light from the projector catches the lines and curves of his face, something wistful shining in those dark eyes of his.

"You see how much they want to be in each other's arms?"

His words curl around her like a caress and she shivers in spite of the heat. She doesn't need to look at the screen to see what he sees, not when she can see the reflection of it on his face. He sees a love that still shines as bright as the day it was filmed, and she feels an echo of it in the tremble of her fingers, in the catch of her breath, in the erratic beat of her heart.

She may have seen this home movie a hundred times before, but she doesn't think she's ever really understood the full beauty of it until now.

"For us to dance together," he says, his eyes still fixed ahead, still watching her parents the way that she's watching him. "I mean really dance, that's how it has to be."

The fear's still there, burning bright, but there's something else that's burning brighter.

It's that flame that finally pushes her to her feet, that gives her the courage to stand in front of him, her chin up and her gaze challenging as she waits for him to take the lead.

He was right when he told her she feared it, but somehow the idea that maybe he won't, that maybe he'll leave her to stumble her way through the steps in this dance, the kind of dance she doesn't know, is scarier still.

But she trusts him not to. She trusts him a lot, and her trust isn't misplaced.

Javier stares at her for a moment, just a beat, and then his mouth curls up in a familiar smile, one that sets her heart racing again. There's warmth in that smile, and in the depths of his eyes, a teasing note to it that she knows only too well. But it's not mean. Javier has never crossed the line into mean, and she trusts he never will.

He holds out his hand to her, and when she slides her fingers into his she can feel the familiar calluses under her fingertips, the ones that she thinks she can map now with her eyes closed.

The first steps are easy, practised and smooth. She can do those with her eyes closed now, too, but she keeps them open, letting her gaze trace the lines of his face and watching, bewitched, as a faint frown appears between his eyebrows and then fades again as he, too, gets caught up in the rhythm of the dance.

He smiles suddenly, his gaze catching hers again, and her smile blooms to match it, giddy and certain as the same rhythm surges through them both, catching them up in the same unheard melody. He twirls her away, and she flows smoothly through the move, her feet as light as her heart, before he pulls her back in towards him, closer than she was before. So close that his breath brushes against the skin on her cheek, sending another shiver through her.

Again, and this time he pulls her closer still. Their noses brush together, and his eyes crinkle at the corners, amusement and joy all mingled in together. Her gaze drops to his mouth, to the smile that's widening there, to the joy that is lighting up his features.

She spins, and the world spins around her until she's safely back in Javier's arms. They're not dancing now; they're living and she never wants to stop.

He slides his hand slowly up her spine, his fingertips feather-light as they drag against her skin, shivering shards of sensation that leave her hot and cold both at once. She's already falling for him when he finally dips her, his hand her only anchor where it cups the back of her neck, warm against her skin.

He's waiting for her when she straightens up again, and his gaze is steady even though she can feel the tremble in his fingers where they rest against her shoulder blade, at least until he flattens them against her skin. His eyes search her face for a long moment, and then he leans in.

She meets him halfway, her eyes drifting shut before their lips finally touch.

It's just a brush of his lips against hers at first, as soft and fragile as a butterfly's wings. So soft she might have thought she'd imagined it if his fingers hadn't curled against her skin.

He pulls back just far enough for her to feel his breath against her lips, and then his mouth is pressed against hers again, more firmly this time.

When he pulls back and Katey opens her eyes, his smile is small and shy. Perfect.

And Katey isn't afraid any more.