Volume & Taper

“Alex!” Emmeline gasped in surprise and joy as she took in the dress Alex was holding up.

Alex, with the dress held against his body, looked down at himself before grinning and replying.

“I’ve never gotten this kind of response with a dress on me, do you think I should start wearing dresses now?”

“Your partner will be jealous of your beauty in a dress, Alexandra,” Emmeline teased.

“Ah, that’s what every girl likes to hear,” Alex laughed.

Shaking her head, Emmeline plucked the dress out of Alex’s hands to examine it more closely. The dress was a piece of sunrise brought to earth; a sheet of palest pink allowed glimpses of pastel oranges and yellows to manifest when it moved under the light, with slim threads of silver woven into the material to add some sparkle. A halter and high-necked dress, it featured a taper at the waistline before widening slightly to accommodate the hips. It was a fitting, floor-length dress, but it had a mid-thigh slit, allowing more movement. It was love at first sight for Emmeline, but…

“You still haven’t told me what’s the occasion for this.”

“It’s a surprise,” said Alex airily. “Just go put the dress on.”

Emmeline didn’t move.

“Go,” repeated Alex with an eye-roll, and he turned away from her.

Emmeline sighed and left to change into the dress. Alex could be as stubborn as a mule, and it was clear that he wasn’t going to tell her where they were going, or what they were doing next. She’d been bugging him for the past two weeks to no avail. She’d find out soon anyway, and set her mind instead to curl her hair and apply make-up. She wanted to dazzle tonight.

Alex was lounging on the sofa, scrolling on his mobile, when he heard Emmeline’s approaching footsteps. He turned. Emmeline was a perfect vision in her shimmery dress, and Alex’s heart gave a squeeze looking at her. Yet, he pretended to be unfazed. He walked towards her, bowed, and offered her his arm. As she took his arm, they both knew that they were reminded of the first time they met.

The ride to their destination was quiet; it was like they both had something to say but didn’t know what, so they settled for stolen glances and sappy smiles. Emmeline smiled particularly brightly when Alex leaned over and took her hand in his. As they neared their destination, Emmeline picked up on the familiarity of it. It was the hall where they first met.

Turns out, Alex’s friend was hosting a party, and Alex thought that Emmeline might like revisiting the place where they first met, what with girls being sentimental about “firsts”. Emmeline wasn’t fussed, actually, but she appreciated Alex’s thought all the same. Besides, a party meant free food, and who would say no to free food?

The party was in full swing as they entered, and it was less organised and more crowded than the event on the other day. People clustered around tables haphazardly, almost fighting for space to eat, and there didn’t seem to be a queue for the buffet. Alex and Emmeline managed to get plates and get “in line” with some difficulty, and Emmeline piled her plate with as much food as the plate could hold, not caring that she drew curious and sometimes insulting stares from others. She didn’t want to make a second trip to the buffet table. Alex himself bit back a laugh when he saw Emmeline’s tower of food compared to his own plate.

Mercifully, there were empty seats near where they were standing, and Alex and Emmeline made a beeline for them. Some food fell off Emmeline’s plate as she set it down on the table, causing Alex to laugh again. Emmeline glared and his laughter subsided immediately. Having battled the crowd, literally fighting for food, they dug in without further ado. A cacophony of techno-pop, funky music played as they ate, and continued to play in increasing volume as they cleared their plates. Neither Alex nor Emmeline cared for this type of music, so they stayed where they were, observing people, making comments about people, and giggling at each other’s comments.

A song more to their liking came on, and Alex pulled Emmeline to her feet and onto the dance floor. After all, they weren’t here to comment on other party-goers. Alex pulled Emmeline close with a jerk, Latin-dance style, and they began to move. At one point, they stepped away in opposite directions before Alex tugged on Emmeline’s arm, reeling her in like a top. They then made each other laugh by exhibiting a number of wacky moves, like a dance battle, but in crazy style. The song ended on a high, and so did they. Alex had lifted Emmeline up on the last beat of the song, and he now slid her carefully down against himself.

Finally, a slow song played, and Emmeline let herself fit against Alex, breathing in his unidentifiable but familiar scent. They stayed like that for most of the song, turning in their own little circle, oblivious to everything else except the feel of each other’s arms. Reminiscent of their first dance, Alex dipped Emmeline at the end of the song again, but when he pulled her up, there was no whisper in her ear this time. Emmeline only managed to register that Alex’s face was zooming in before her eyes before his lips touched hers.

None of them knew how much time had passed when they finally broke apart, and Alex was breathing hard like he’d just run a race. Emmeline laughed and thought that this was a “first” she’d like to remember.

“Out of stamina after one kiss? And I thought I had bad stamina.”

“Well then, I guess I’ll have to train more,” Alex grinned as he pulled Emmeline in for another kiss.


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