‘Oh, what a complete bore this is,’ Lucy complied for the hundredth time this evening, making Mina roll her eyes at her. Again.
‘It is not as boring as you think it is, Lucy. Actually, it is quite the opposite. People are dancing, laughing and generally being happy. The only one who doesn’t enjoy herself is you.’
This earned her an annoyed look from the blonde, who was on the verge of a biting reply, when Jonathan interfered.
‘I thought you loved these kind of things?’
He didn’t really understand why Lucy was thinking this to be dreadful, when she usually was chipper and happy on these occasions.
‘Well, Jonathan, I used to love them, but sometimes people change and then they don’t like certain things anymore. It might also has something to do with the lack of suitable dance partners.’
Now Jonathan was really confused and he looked at his fiancé, trying to understand what Lucy meant. But Mina only looked intently at the blonde, surely thinking the same thing he did.
‘But, you have danced quite a lot tonight. And many more men asked you to dance with them.’
‘Maybe, Jonathan, the right person just didn’t ask me.’
She quickly glanced at Mina and then let her eyes sweep over the dancing couples in the middle of the room, wishing for the hundredth time this evening that things were different.
‘Well, he must be a fool, not to ask you to dance with him, my dear. But if you really want to, you should go and ask him, not waiting around.’
The blonde looked at her best friend, forcing a laugh, trying desperately to hide her despair.
‘Oh, I am quite sure they are a fool, but no matter how much I would want to I could by no means ask them.’
‘Is he not attending the ball?’
‘Oh, they are. But they are here with someone else.’
She glanced at Harker this time, looking disapprovingly at him before she could restrain herself. Quickly looking back at her best friend, she saw a frown appear on Mina’s face, but she didn’t say anything.
They sat a while in silence, stealing glances at each other when they thought the other wasn’t looking, while Jonathan obliviously sat beside Mina. When the music changed slightly, he asked his fiancé if she wanted to dance and the brunette quickly agreed. They got up and without as much as a glance back, they vanished on the dance floor.
Lucy was left behind, her mood completely ruined now. She tried not to look at them, but she couldn’t resist so she searched the crowd of dancing couples until she found them. They were leaning into each other, looking happy and when Mina laughed at something Harker said, Lucy had to look away. Why she kept doing this to herself, she did not know. The only thing she was sure of was that Mina looked so radiating and happy and beautiful and she wanted to take everything, every little detail, about her in.
Turning down man after man got tiring and made her feel helpless because the only thing she wanted to do was take Mina’s hand, lead her to the dance floor and swirl her around. Being the one who made the brunette laugh instead of Jonathan. She sighed, drank the last bit of champagne in her glass and then went to ask Alistair to dance. He would be a good distraction and would make her forget her pain and sorrow for a while.
Mina insisted on Lucy staying with her for the night. And when Mina looks at her with pleading eyes and pouting lips, the blonde could never say no to her. They already changed into their nightgowns and were now sitting on Mina’s bed, talking about the dance.
‘You seemed to have a lot of fun with Alistair. He seems quite smitten with you.’
‘Oh, it is nothing, Mina. We danced, shared some laughs, but he is not really my type.’
She regretted saying the words as soon as they left her mouth. Now Mina wouldn’t let this topic go and persist she tell her who her type is and who this mysterious person was that Lucy obviously liked very much.
‘So, he was not the man you talked about earlier. But then, who is it, Lucy? And why do I, your best friend, only hear this for the first time now?’
‘Oh please, Mina, dearest. It is nothing, it is not important. Just something that will surely pass with time. You know me. It was not worth mentioning.’
She hoped against all odds that Mina would let it go but of course luck was just not on her side. The brunette pressed on.
‘But you know that I want to know everything that happens in your life. Oh, please, just give me his name and then we can drop the topic.’
‘No, really Mina, I do not wish to talk about this. Can’t you just let it go?’
Lucy didn’t intend for it to sound this bitter and harsh, but she was hurting enough as it already is and Mina asking all these questions didn’t help her at all.
The brunette looked slightly taken aback by Lucy’s tone and her words, but didn’t voice her thoughts. Awkward silence fell between them, neither woman knew what to say. It was Mina who broke it after long and tension filled minutes. A sudden idea hit her and she sprang up from her lying position, holding her hand out. Lucy only looked confused at her hand and then at her face, trying to figure out what Mina was trying to do.
‘Would you join me for this dance, Ms. Westenra?’
Now Lucy looked relieved, a bit apprehensive and nervous, but seemingly happier than before. She took Mina’s proffered hand and got up.
‘With pleasure, Ms. Murray.’
And then they were spinning and laughing, moving their feet to music only they could hear. Lucy felt the warmth of Mina’s hand on her waist and the softness of the other holding hers in a tight grasp. They swirled and swayed, laughing and giggling and for the first time in a long time, the blonde forgot her sorrows and enjoyed the moment, finally getting what she wished for mere hours ago.
Their dancing came to a sudden halt when their legs hit Mina’s bed and send them tumbling on the mattress side by side, breathing heavily and still giggling. Lucy felt free and full of glee, not caring about anything other than Mina in this moment, letting the walls down that usually protected her. When she looked to her side and saw that the brunette was looking back at her with bright grey eyes and an adorable blush on her cheeks, she couldn’t help herself.
She leaned forward and caught Mina’s lips with her own. It wasn’t a forceful kiss but it wasn’t a light touch of lips either. The blonde felt like she was floating, all her dreams coming true at once. The kiss only lasted a few seconds, then the reality of what was happening hit Lucy and she quickly pulled back. Equal looks of shock were written over both women’s faces and the blonde covered her face with her hands, wanting nothing more than to flee from this situation.
‘Oh Mina, I am so sorry. I don’t know what came over. I -, really I-, I can only apologize. I will get my things and go, you probably –‘
‘You watched me tonight. When I was dancing with Jonathan. You watched me, even when you were dancing with Alistair. And you had this look on your face. You looked lost, forlorn even. I’ve seen this look on you before. Whenever we were talking about Jonathan and our relationship. I just never understood.’
‘Mina, I am really sorry. I, I am not even sure I understand this myself. I tried to fight it but it wouldn’t go away and now I couldn’t help myself. I am so sorry if I ruined our friendship.’
Lucy was desperately holding back tears now, trying to get out of this situation before Mina could hurt her. Not that she thought the brunette would purposely be hurtful, but rejecting her and ending this friendship sure would be enough.
‘So, the person you wanted to dance with tonight, was I?’
‘Yes, yes you were. It has only ever been you, dearest Mina.’
‘Well, you still got your dance, after all.’
This sounded more and more like a final goodbye with every word the brunette said. Lucy wasn’t sure she could handle it. Not now, not ever. But she remained seated, not able to get up and leave, waiting for Mina to continue.
‘Jonathan is a good kisser.’
Now, Mina really was being intentionally cruel. Lucy had no desire to hear more and being hurt even more.
‘Mina, please. Just, let me go and leave. Just, say the words and I will be gone forever, but don’t be cruel.’
But the brunette only shook her head, looking intently in Lucy’s green eyes.
‘He is a good kisser. But who am I to judge on this matter when I have no comparison. And it surely was no proper kiss you just gave me.’
Open mouthed and wide eyed, Lucy stared at Mina, trying to figure out if maybe she fell asleep on Mina’s bed and that this was just a dream.
‘What are you …? What …? Are you saying what I think you are?’ she hesitantly asked after moments of shocked silence.
‘Seeing you tonight, looking so lost, made me realize something, Lucy. I love you, that much is obvious, but there is also something else. Something that makes me want to be around you constantly, that makes me jealous when I see you with other men, that makes me feel like I am the only one who is good enough for you, as selfish as that sounds. I had this feeling for a while now, always with you and never with Jonathan, but I brushed it off as normal friendly affection and feelings. I was so blind.’
Slowly, Mina reached out her hand, resting it against Lucy’s cheek and started stroking her thumbs over it.
‘Please, say something’, she whispered, anxious and nervous, searching Lucy’s eyes for an answer.
‘I feel like I am dreaming. Surely, this cannot be real. I have pictured this moment for so long now, but never did I dare to hope it might become reality.’
For a while, nothing was said between them. They just looked at each other, trying to convey their emotions through their eyes. It was Lucy who broke the silence this time, a smile playing around her lips and a glint in her eyes.
‘Don’t you think that it is such a pity that you have no real comparison when it comes to kissing? May I suggest we change that?’
Mina laughed and slightly shook her head, still not really believing this was happening.
‘With pleasure, Ms. Westenra.’
Professor Van Helsing’s class took longer than Mina had expected this evening. Every window already was dark, but she could see light coming from her drawing room, meaning that Lucy stayed up to wait for her. She quickly went inside, shed her coat and made her way upstairs. Upon entering the room, her eyes quickly fell on the person who was curled in the armchair, head on her shoulder and slightly snoring. Obviously Lucy had wanted to wait for her, but fell asleep in the process.
Mina just stood in the middle of the room for a while, looking at Lucy with adoring eyes. A few minutes passed in this manner, then Mina closed the distance between them and knelt down to be on eye level with Lucy. She leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss against the blonde’s soft lips. It was only the softest of touches but the sleeping woman stirred and slowly opened her eyes. The moment they landed on Mina, she smiled brightly at her through her tiredness.
The brunette melted at the look on Lucy’s face and when the blonde whispered a soft and breathy ‘Good evening, Ms. Murray’ she couldn’t hold back any longer. She cupped Lucy’s face with her hands and kissed her for all she was worth. It was forceful, hot and fierce, their lips moving frantically against each other. Lucy’s hand sneaked to the back of her head, fisting her hair and pulling her impossibly closer.
Breathless, Mina pulled back and looked into Lucy’s now darker green eyes.
‘Well, somebody must have missed me’, the blonde said with a teasing tone and a grin on her face.
‘Oh, you be quite. The class never seemed to end and I just wanted to go home. And you looked really cute when you were sleeping, I just couldn’t resist.’
‘Mh, that’s because I am irresistible’, Lucy playfully replied and then started to get up.
‘What are you doing?’
Mina looked confused at Lucy, who now stretched out her arms over her head.
‘What does it look like I am doing? I am trying to get up, so we can go to bed together.’
She had a mischievous glint in her eyes and slightly raised her eyebrows. The brunette only looked at her, trying not to push the other woman back against the armchair to continue their previous activities. But she was tired, it had been a tiresome and hectic day and all she wanted to do was crawl under the covers, snuggle up next to Lucy and sleep. So she got to her feet and held out her hand to help Lucy.
‘Why, thank you, my dear. How very gallant of you.’
The blonde took hold of Mina’s outstretched hand and stood up, only inches from the brunette’s face. For a moment they just looked deeply into each other’s eyes, then Lucy leaned forward and kissed the tip of Mina’s nose. She turned around and walked towards the bedroom, stopping once she reached the door and facing Mina again.
‘I hope you will join me, Ms. Murray. Otherwise, the bed will be terribly cold, and you wouldn’t want that, would you?’
She gave her one lasting glance before disappearing into the room. Mina was left behind, still staring at the spot where Lucy had been moments ago, her tiredness all but forgotten.
‘You know I am not a very patient person. So you don’t want to keep me waiting, do you?’
The words coming from her bedroom broke Mina out of her thoughts and the smile on her face only grew. She started towards the bedroom as well, her heart beating faster with every step she took, her smile growing the nearer she got to Lucy.