Everything moved just as quickly as the music. As soon as she'd thrown out a defensive veil, bantering playfully that she was complicated, he'd knocked it aside. He reassured her instantly, seeing through her move in a way few people could. It helped, to hear him dismiss her concern so easily, to deflect the fear she had extended him as an exit strategy.
His hold on her tightened to physically reinforce his support and she felt better. He must like her for her after all - as he always had. But again he was accelerating things and she wasn't sure she was keeping up. He was being frank, forthcoming even, and yet she felt like she was still trying to catch up to what was actually happening between them this evening.
He did want to spend time with her, alone, private, uncomplicated. Already he'd thought of places to run away to and hide out from reality. But he immediately countered that with an assurance that he didn't want to only run around in the dark going on secret dates. He wanted more than that. Her mind ran down the threads of what this could mean.
She'd arrived in Dublin unsure what the evening was. Quickly she'd realized she was in fact on a date. Though she had no idea what one did on a date having never been on a date in her life. Things were moving so quickly through a series of events she'd never participated in. Even his words were difficult to process. Men didn't speak to her like this, ever. It was like she'd been sat down at a chess board for the first time ever, having never laid eyes on it, and told to play.
At least she felt capable of keeping up with the banter about their fictional, book lives. "Of course I would be bored of that life in a week," she confirmed giggling as well, "But fictional Farren is a more simple, content person." She smiled and shook her head. "The sheep are staying in the story. We can have a shop and dance at the pub but the sheep are non-negotiable." Laughing she met his gaze and the confusion and nerves settled for a fleeting moment. He was happy, laughing, holding her close and somehow even though they'd never done this before it was terrifying yet entirely comfortable.
They were older, he was more assured, more handsome. She was horribly complicated now and more independent but as they laughed, spinning around the floor in this grubby little pub, he was exactly who she'd always known him to be.
He spoke again and the whirl of the room around them seemed to slow. Around her she could hear the beating of people's feet to the tempo and her heartbeat just as loudly. This was a maneuver she'd not seen coming. It was somehow equal parts enthralling, exhilarating, and terrifying. Her expression slipped to something serious, her smile fading as she listened, surely he could see in her eyes how frantically her mind was working to process all of this.
As he brushed a strand of hair behind her ear his fingertips left a trail of sparks across her skin and her breath caught in her chest for a beat of the music. Her eyes searched his face for more, a hint of some kind as to how he wanted her to react. She was fully overwhelmed now. Farren didn't understand what exactly he meant by ask her out properly. Hadn't he asked her out? She was here now because he'd asked her out. But the way he said it now, officially ask her. He'd like that - even if it was very messy. There was nothing messy about being best mates. Nothing messy about things as they'd been. But here he was in front of her, holding her close to him, earnestly suggesting they take each other by the hand and proceed forward in some kind of organized capacity into the future, together.
"Declan," she gasped softly, worried if she stayed silent he'd become scared and let go of her. Again her hand grabbed the lapel of his coat to steady herself even though her feet were sure under her. If she couldn't speak her mind she could at least physically show him that she didn't want him to budge. Her mind was frantically tripping over ways to respond to him trying to fill the deafening silence between them in the boisterous room. She looked away from him for a moment, overwhelmed. Everyone around them had not a care in the world. No one was paying them any mind even though she felt like everyone was waiting for her to respond just like him.
Licking her lips she swallowed another lump in her throat and turned her face back to his. It didn't matter if anyone could hear them. He had been very clear, vulnerable even to propose such a thing after spending so little time together. She owed it to him and herself to be just as explicit.
"Yes," she said, simply nodding as she shifted in his grasp. She moved closer, filling the little space there was between them, she draped her arms over his shoulders around his neck, her hands resting against the back on his neck. "I am overwhelmed," she admitted softly, her eyes dropping from his for a moment as her mild shame at being unprepared and vulnerable washed over her. "When I arrived here, I wasn't sure what this was all about. I can't say that I've done this kind of thing before and I'm sure tomorrow morning I'll wish I had said something poetic or coy or smart."
"To be honest, I'm not even sure what you mean," she laughed, clearly nervous. "You asked me out to get me here didn't you? This kind of thing....dates....etcetera, it's quite foreign to me. But if you're asking me....if I want to spend time with you, then the answer is yes. If you're asking if I want to spend more nights dancing close to you. Yes. If you're asking if I've discovered some unexpected pull towards you. Yes. If you're asking if I want to explore the fact that when your fingers brush over my skin it tingles pleasantly, yes. I would like that very much - I think. I can't remember the last time I felt this way. Just...happy to be next to someone." Exhaling heavily she felt some of the tension in her chest ease but the hammering of her heart continued to echo in her ears.
"But..."she added quickly, "I didn't realize until the other day, seeing you again, all those years apart, losing our friendship....well I don't want that to happen again. Perhaps it's too frank to say this but I feel like you're supposed to be part of my life. I can't bear to lose my friend again." Sighing she bit the inside of her cheeks trying to distract herself as she tore down yet another wall for him. There were few memories in her mind where she'd felt this scared, this vulnerable. Her fingers fumbled with the ends of his hair, lazily playing with a strand of his hair as some kind of means of grounding herself as she came to the realization of how she felt. "This matter is... I feel everything is bound to be - delicate. Still though, yes."