Benrey looked up, startled to see Gordon standing over him. Gordon’s arm was outstretched towards Benrey, who had been sitting alone at a table. Benrey’s eyes flitted back and forth between Gordon’s hand and his face, confused by the gesture.
Gordon chuckled, rolling his eyes. “You look so pathetic just, I dunno, sitting there.” He gestured to the empty table Benrey was sitting at. Benrey hadn’t realized everyone had already gotten up.
Benrey turned and stared back at him, still lost. He fidgeted uncomfortably under Gordon’s gaze.
Gordon sighed, and took it upon himself and grabbed Benrey’s clammy hand, forcing him to stand up from his seat. They started to walk in the direction of the dance floor, where the newly weds, Coomer and Bubby, were already dancing. They were silently talking amongst themselves, presumably about something funny, because they would laugh to themselves every so often.
Darnold, Tommy, and Joshua were holding hands and dancing, too, as upbeat pop music played in the background. Joshie gave a wave to Gordon, along with a wide, goofy grin. He was wearing the cowboy hat he had worn as part of the previous year’s Halloween costume while Trick’or’Treating. He refused to ever take it off, and wore it all around the house every day. He even wore it to bed. Gordon smiled and waved back at him.
A disco ball hung overhead, reflecting dancing, colorful lights all over the room, flickering like stars. Gordon stopped on the middle of the dance floor, and turned to face Benrey. He took Benrey’s right hand in his left, and awkwardly gripped Benrey’s waist with his right.
“Okay, now just put your left hand on my shoulder.” Gordon said. Benrey hesitated, but eventually obeyed.
At this moment, Gordon realized that he had absolutely no clue how to dance. Or maybe he did, but all knowledge of any steps that he had previously memorized left his mind right then in the moment. The music shifted to a slow tempo, some sort of cheesy sad song you would usually hear on the radio in your car. Gordon started to sway along to the music as best as he could.
“what are you doing?” Benrey stood still, slightly being dragged side to side by Gordon’s movements.
“Dancing?” Gordon’s tone made it seem like he wasn’t so sure himself, “Don’t make fun of me. I haven’t danced like this in a while.”
“Y’know, with a partner.” Gordon smiled, shaking his head, “Man, you’ve gotta move along with me or else I’ll look weird doing this alone.”
Benrey pursed his lips and looked down at his and Gordon’s feet. He started to slowly synchronize with Gordon’s movements, careful not to make a wrong move. After a bit, he got the hang of it. A smile started to creep across his face, a laugh escaping his lips.
Gordon couldn’t help but smile, “What is it? What’s so funny?”
Benrey could barely stop himself from laughing, tears stinging his eyes, “dude, this is so dumb. who came up with this? we’re fuckin’... moving like that stick bug right now.”
As he laughed, green-colored sweet voice started to bubble out of his mouth. It floated up, up, up, until it finally popped just above their heads.
Green like a valley means I’m happy. Gordon remembered the phrase from when Tommy taught him the basics of the Black Mesa sweet voice language and color codes. He still hadn’t memorized it all, but could recognize the colors of some of the more . . . important emotions, per se.
“Yeah, it is pretty dumb,” Gordon chuckled, watching Benrey’s sweet voice continue to pour out of his mouth as he continued to laugh. “But it can be fun, too! Sometimes you just wanna move along to the beat of a good song, y’know?”
Benrey’s sweet voice slowly came to a stop as he stopped laughing. He looked back up at Gordon, and gave him a sly grin, “yeah, sure, feetman.”
Gordon laughed, and lightly kicked Benrey’s shin, “Fuck you, dude.”
Benrey laughed again, but suddenly lost his footing, falling backwards. Gordon caught him instantly, keeping a firm grip on Benrey’s arm to keep him from hitting the floor. He pulled Benrey back up to his feet, and realized that their bodies were much closer than they had been before. They locked eyes, their faces only a few inches apart.
Gordon could feel Benrey’s soft breaths on his face, and his cheeks started to grow hot. Flustered, he broke eye contact and stepped back a little, fidgeting with his hands. Benrey remained where he was, his eyes still wide, his cheeks tinted with color.
“Jeez. Sorry about that, uh, you should really watch where you’re-“
Gordon didn’t get to finish his sentence.
Benrey clasped Gordon’s face, one hand on each of his cheeks. He pressed his lips against Gordon’s, deep brown eyes widening in shock.
Something clicked in Gordon just then, like the last piece of a complex puzzle. Like he had been missing something before. Missing that spark. It now felt as if he was complete.
Benrey completed him.
He never would have imagined it to be Benrey, of all people. But he also guessed it was obvious, from how even through thick and thin, Benrey was always there. He always showed up at the right time, just to talk, to be a shoulder to cry on, or just to play on Gordon’s PS3 (which happened unsurprisingly often).
Gordon tried in vain to blink back the tears stinging his eyes, but ultimately failed. Benrey suddenly stopped, giving Gordon a look of both concern and confusion.
“what... what is it? shit, was that too out of nowhere? sorry, i-“
Before he could finish, Gordon barreled into him, wrapping his arms around Benrey’s torso. He buried his head into the crevice of Benrey’s neck, letting out soft sobs. Benrey was startled at the embrace.
Now that was out of nowhere.
But even so, Benrey gave in, wrapping his arms around Gordon in return. Gordon’s thick hair tickled Benrey’s face, but he didn’t mind. They stood like that for a while, feeling the warmth in each other’s embrace, forgetting all those around them. The few minutes they remained like that felt like hours, days, even.
Gordon lifted his head, pulling back to take a good look at Benrey’s face. He took in every curve, every scar, so he could perfectly memorize it whenever he wanted. Then he gave Benrey the cheesiest grin in the world, and Benrey couldn’t help but laugh. They shared a few more soft kisses, having no need for words to know what the other wanted to say.
They continued to sway for a while along to the music, the mellow song going for way longer than they anticipated. But they never wished for it to stop.
They just kept dancing, every so often making a sarcastic remark, or telling a funny story, just to make the other laugh.
Just to see the other smile.