Ok, I'm not really in a good mood right now. Blame it on the hormones and yesterdays' episode of hellish housemates (yes, I'm still trying to get over my homicidal urges) and my courses this semester, for some reason, are freaking me out big time. So I guess my ego needs a little stroking. And let's not forget geocities' threat to delete my webpage due to some violation of their precious terms of service which as far as I know, don't exists.
Anyway, I wanna thank Espinoza, Jill and Mia for their beta and Rea for her helpful inputs. Despite her involvement and my mood, this is not a death story, that's the other one. :) Ok, enough crap and cut to the chase...
Warning: Spoilers for the end of Strange Bedfellows
Disclaimers: Not mine, no money and if you sue, I'll hit ya in the head with my new text books. At least there's some use for them then.
Notes: The CD mentioned in this story is Lhasa's La Llorona. And the song is De Cara La Pared, which was the one being played where Ray and Stella were dancing in Stella's apartment and in the end where Ray was dancing alone.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
By Eugenie Chua
Steps that were so familiar, yet strange at the same time. Nothing was the same without her, not even a dance, a simple waltz that would never be complete without its other half, like he would never be complete without her...
The beat of the music changed as Ray dipped his phantom partner into a finish. The music transformed from that of a soft, gentle waltz to a faster rhythm, and Ray's movement followed it. No longer needing a partner, he let his mind and body wander free, letting them become immersed in the music. A solo. Nothing but the beat of the music and the movements of his body. This was his life now wasn't it? Alone, solo, with nobody to lead except himself.
* * *
Fraser had been standing outside Ray's apartment for nearly half an hour, listening to the movements and the music. He knew he should have left, that it was rude to be listening, but he couldn't seem move.
The steps slowed down and sped up again with the change of the music, and Fraser could almost see the movements behind the closed doors. Latin steps, to match the lively Spanish music that was playing. Could almost see it...
He had come despite Ray's wishes to be left alone. He was concerned for his friend. But just when he had been about to knock on the door, he heard music started to play. It was the same song that he had heard when he was at Stella's place earlier in the evening. Then he heard what Ray's landlady described as "clompin'" and realized that Ray was dancing, by himself. Quietly, he stood there, unwilling to interrupt.
The first song ended, but it was soon followed by the second song with a faster beat and before long, he was unable to interrupt, captivated by the rhythm of the footsteps and the music, both in perfect harmony, he could only stand there and listen.
Another fifteen minutes passed before the music ended and silence returned to the apartment. Before he could make up his mind whether to interrupt or not, his body seemed to have made up its own mind as his fist rose to the door and knocked.
Footsteps and the door opened with a clearly surprised Ray standing in front of him.
"Ray. I didn't mean to interrupt, it's just that I was...ah..."
Fraser closed the door behind him as he followed Ray into the living room.
"How long have you been standin' out there?" Ray suddenly asked after settling himself on the couch.
"Uh...about 45 minutes." Fraser answered, caught off guard by Ray's question. "How did you..."
"A hunch." Fraser echoed, not knowing what else to say.
"Why didn't ya..."
"I didn't want to intrude."
"So you just stood there and..."
"Yes. Listened. I was...captivated."
"Captivated?" A question. Ray was clearly puzzled by that admission. "By the music?" Fraser could hear a hint of shock.
"Yes. By the music...and your movements."
"Ya couldn't have seen me."
"It wasn't necessary. I could hear your footsteps and my mind was perfectly capable of conjuring up the image of..." Fraser stopped, suddenly self-conscious of what he was actually saying
"So in a sense, you *were* watching me."
"In a sense. Yes."
Ray was quiet for a moment before he reached for the remote that was on the coffee table. He hit the play button and stood up. The song that started with the soft drizzling of rain was now becoming familiar to Fraser. It streamed through the dim apartment, making it sound as though it was actually raining.
Ray stood in front of him, hand extended in invitation.
"Dance with me?"
Fraser could not find it within himself to refuse. He was swept onto his feet into a series of movements, much better than what his mind had envisioned behind closed doors.
He was now one with the movements.
* * *
Familiar steps, now no longer strange. It didn't matter that it wasn't the familiar weight of Stella that was in his arms, what mattered was he had a partner, the other half, someone to complete the waltz...
The figures danced around the apartment as the phantom partner retreated into the dark where it belonged. A ghostly smile on its face, knowing that it would never be needed again.
Love it? Lemme know. Hate it? Lemme know why. Flames? I'll just send it to the direction of those idiots who I have the 'pleasure' of living with. TYK.