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TITLE: Some Dance to Remember
AUTHOR: Laura (kiltsandlollies); email: email@example.com
ORIGINAL STORY: Dance by Yeuni
Summary: Some dances should never begin.
Disclaimer: Most certainly untrue.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget.
It's a tired line from a tired song Liv sings in her head whenever she finds herself in a room like this, lined from one end to the other with tuxedos, taffeta and the occasional tiara. It's another New Year's Eve, the second one she has spent in the company of too many people she neither knows nor cares to know. Most of the cast has long since retired to other rooms in the hotel to smoke or drink or both, and even Miranda abandoned her half an hour ago to call home.
But she's not entirely alone here.
He's beautiful, in the same way she is beautiful, or so she's been told. And in truth, they could be brother and sister. They could be lovers, too, were she not so in love with Royston and his far more ragged beauty. Instead, they are friends, and have been from the first day Liv arrived in New Zealand, nervous and homesick already after only one interminable flight from Los Angeles.
She depends on Orlando now for more than he knows. Yes, she makes him drive, terrified to do so herself on the wrong-wrong to you, he laughs, in his surprisingly throaty voice-side of the road. But she does not have to persuade him to sit and bandy lines in the complicated Elvish back and forth with her. He needs no convincing to hold her hand when she freezes up and suddenly remembers just how big this project is. He's always there, whenever she looks up from a magazine or Peter's monitor. Sometimes he is there when he's not meant to be, and the look on his face when Peter or Caro scolds him back to the correct set is something she loves to see.
Something she loves almost as much as she does watching him dance.
Orlando confessed months ago that he'd learned to dance by watching dreadful movies and forcing only the shyest girls with the lowest expectations out on floors with him at weddings and in clubs. He'd practiced this like nothing he'd ever practiced before, and still feels he doesn't have much to show for his efforts. But he dances nonetheless, with anyone who'll have him for a partner, because he loves the music-and because he cannot resist the pretty flush of a cheek that's been pressed against his own, even for a moment.
Liv watches him now, her eyes settling on his back as he moves. Her gaze only leaves him to check the clock, which is nearing midnight so quickly Liv unconsciously wiggles her toes in her uncomfortable, pinching shoes-a Cinderella eager to lose her slipper. Orlando's made an effort tonight, or as much of an effort as can be expected, anyway. Only his cummerbund- splashed with oranges, reds and blues and dubbed The Vomit Slick by Dominic, who really shouldn't be casting any stones-detracts from the tuxedo, the long, lush hair that will all be shaved off tomorrow, and the brilliant smile Liv can feel all the way over here.
Indeed, no one dances like Orlando. No one attracts so much attention, for good or ill. This has been established in clubs across the North and South Islands, and reported faithfully by the hobbits. His long limbs are perfectly suited for turning a partner, spinning her and pulling her back against his chest. Sometimes, when he's certain no one is looking, Orlando will attempt something like a dancer's expression-the Tortured Tango Artist's pout marring his otherwise smooth, tanned face. Liv has seen it enough times that she doesn't even laugh even more-at least not out loud.
But he's less comical than he is terribly, terribly earnest. And Liv can certainly understand why; Orlando has a great deal at stake every time he steps into any sort of light. There is always someone-several someones- watching him, and he feels it-has confessed that, too, over a bottle of Stoli and a jar of pickles late one night in Liv's trailer. He's conscious of physical beauty everywhere, including his own, and he has no choice but to preen a little like this, dancing partner after partner across the room so there will be something to watch.
Because he could not possibly be interesting enough just standing still.
Liv has tried to convince him otherwise, with varying degrees of success, and she imagines that at least in this she can return some of the care Orlando's shown her. She makes him laugh, at jokes that seem so awful, so very wrong-wrong to you, she laughs, in her perfectly bell-like voice-that even the hobbits roll their eyes or blush. She makes him breakfast sometimes and dinner more often. She goes shopping with him and tells him he's far more beautiful inside than out.
She even saves him her only dance.
It's almost time now. Almost time for the clock to strike and for the confetti and balloons to fall from the ceiling, for the chorus of song to drown out the promises people always make to each other just before midnight. There will be more dancing as soon as the song is over, and some will dance to remember those promises, while others dance to forget. And for the first time tonight, Liv is grateful she is here alone (but not entirely). She doesn't need any more promises than the one she gave Orlando the moment she first saw him tonight, a promise he suddenly seems to recall.
He appears in front of her, balancing heel-toe, heel-toe and nearly vibrating with energy.
"You haven't danced all night," he smiles, tilting his head and blowing errant curls from his face. It's the same phrase he's used time and time again at these events, one that comforts them both.
"I'm a terrible dancer," she smiles back prettily and line-perfect. She waits, two beats, then six, until Orlando's missed his cue and the air between them begins to crackle a little with something new and not easily resolved. Orlando has ceased his bouncing, and his eyes burn into hers, making Liv press her lips together in a tight smile.
"Orli," she says softly.
"Nonsense," he laughs, and the sound is nothing like his own voice. Before Liv can say anything, he's pulled her onto the floor, sweeping her gently into his arms and spinning, spinning them both until the walls and people begin to blur. And Liv feels something different now, something a little like loss. She holds on to Orlando tightly, already feeling him fading, feeling their friendship slipping away.
Liv is dancing desperately to remember, and Orlando is dancing desperately to forget.
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