You were sitting next to your good friend, Elizaveta wearing a (favorite color) dress that hugged your body perfectly. You were on your way to the 'masquerade ball' that your school was putting on. It was a dance the highschool threw every year during the winter.
You hadn't wanted to go, but Elizaveta had managed to convince you it would be fun. So now you were staring out the car window picking at your (favorite color) mask, which would cover your eyes and nose, leaving only your lips showing. Your hope was that no one would recognize you.
Of course, that was the goal of most people, you realized as you and Elizaveta walked into the school gym, seeing that everyone there had hidden their identity. There were masks of all colors and sizes all around the room. It looked as if even the teachers had worn masks, to join the festivities.
'Lovely, now I'll have to worry not only about what student I'm talking to, but I'll also have to be worried about whether or not I'm talking to a teacher,' you thought to yourself as Elizaveta pulled you into the crowd.
"Come on, have some fun, (your name). It's a dance!" Elizaveta said, smiling.
"Yeah, but Lizzy, I have no idea who any of these people are!" You complained, looking around at the people surrounding you both.
"That's part of the fun! To dance with someone, not knowing who they are, so that you can't pre-judge them! And then, at the end of the night, if the two of you are sure you want to know who you've spent all of your time with, you will remove your masks! Or maybe you'll want the night to last forever in your mind as a night you spent with a wonderful stranger. It's very romantic, if you think about it!" Elizaveta said with slightly dreamy eyes.
"Yeah, sure, dancing with someone who you could possibly hate with a burning passion for an entire night. Very romantic," You said, rolling your eyes.
"Or it could always be with a certain Italian teacher, who you've been in love with since your first year of highschool," Elizaveta said with a grin and an evil glint in her eye.
"Lizzy, what are you talking about? He is a teacher!" You practically hissed, looking around to see if the two of you had been overheard. You grabbed Elizaveta and pulled her to the side of the gym.
Elizaveta giggled, "That's never stopped you two before now!"
"Yeah, when we're alone! Not in the middle of a school function!" You were hissing now.
How could Elizaveta be talking about your biggest secret where anyone could hear!
You had been with Mr. Vargas, or Romulus, as you called him, since your sophmore year of school. You didn't think it was that bad, because he was a really young teacher, he had just gotten out of college and began teaching your freshman year. He had been twenty two and you had been fifteen. Only seven years difference.
But while the age difference could be accepted, the fact that he was a teacher and you a student could not be overlooked. He would be fired and possibly thrown in jail. And you? You would become known as a whore student. You would have to move out of town, possibly even out of town. So you had to keep your relationship a secret. Elizaveta was the only person you had ever told, because you believed the romantic in her would keep her mouth shut.
"Well, everyone is wearing a mask. You can't tell who is who. So you're safe to have a little time with him. No one would notice it was a student and a teacher!" Elizaveta said, smiling softly and patting your arm.
"But, I can't risk it..." You trailed off.
"(your name), come on. For one night, take a risk! It's the only reason for you to be here!" Elizaveta smirked triumphantly as she saw you realize that she was right. There were plenty of people for you to be dancing with, but there was only one person that you wanted to dance with, and you weren't going to let that chance pass you by, even with the risk.
"I hate you." You said, turning to the crowd to look for him.
"You'll thank me later," Elizaveta called out before heading in another direction, probably to find her own person to dance with.
You bit your lip, then pushed away your fear, stepping into the people, walking past many dancing couples, trying not to bump into anyone. But try as you might, you bumped into almost everyone you passed, calling out "I'm sorry' with each hit.
After about five minutes of this you were ready to give up and just sit on the side of the gym, watching other happy couples when you bumped into someone else. This person was alone.
"Sorry," you murmured before turning away. But before you could walk away a voice from behind stopped you.
"It isn't very polite to bump into someone and not at least make sure they're ok, Ms. (last name), now is it?" The voice said in a playful tone.
"Well, Mr. Vargas, I don't believe it is very polite to stand in the middle of a crowd of dancing people and not be dancing yourself," you countered with a small smile.
"Well, then excuse me dearest, but it seems you have the same problem," Romulus said, stepping closer to you.
"Yes, it seems that way," You said stepping up to meet him.
"Then lets dance, so we can stop being rude," Romulus gently grabbed on of your hands, resting his other hand on your waist.
You sat your free hand on his shoulder, gripping his hand tightly with the other. "Of course. How could I say no?"
Romulus smiled again and the two of you began to dance together, not speaking but instead letting the beat of the music move the two of you together, looking one another in the eye and for a moment, forgetting what could go so wrong with your relationship. Instead choosing to pretend that nothing mattered but the moment you were in now.
And then Romulus had to ruin the moment.
"Come home with me," He whispered in your ear.
And you wanted to say yes so bad. With every fiber of your being you wanted to whisper back the words, "Okay, yes, take me home."
But you knew better. What would your parents think when you didn't come home? How could you explain where you were.
"I-I can't," you whispered back, biting your lip and looking away from him.
He sighed. "Of course, (your name). How could I even think it. I'm sorry."
The song ended and he stepped away, bowing. You curtseyed back, then turned away, walking off of the make-shift dance floor.
You wiped your eyes as you walked away. What were you thinking? You could never be happy with Romulus. Not the way you both wanted...
---Le time skip---
You had been sitting next to the punch bowl for about half an hour, watching others dance and being bitter. More than one person had walked up, asking you for a dance. You had rejected all of them, saying you didn't feel like dancing, but thanks anyway.
Elizaveta walked up to you and said, "What are you doing sitting on the sidelines? Why aren't you dancing with Romulus."
You winced at the sound of his name. "I just...I don't think it's a good idea for the two of us to be together anymore..." You mumbled.
Elizaveta sat down next to you and said, "Aw, what happened?"
You shrugged. "Nothing happened..."
She scowled. "Don't you lie to me, (your name). I have been your best friend for years, I know when you're lying."
"Ok, fine. Something did happen. But it's stupid..."
"Tell me." Elizaveta said.
"Well, we were dancing and then he asked me...he asked me to come home with him," you covered your mouth with your hand.
"Oh, honey, it's ok if you don't want to stay the night with him, that's no reason not to be together."
"No! The problem is I wanted to go with him. I wanted to go with hima and stay the night, and the next night, and the next and the next! And I realized I can't. Not now, not ever..." you wiped the tears forming at the corners of your eyes.
"It's only until we graduate." Elizaveta said quietly.
"But I can't wait that long, Lizzy! And even then people will talk. I can't do something like that. He has a life here, I can't ruin that."
Elizaveta shook her head. "Why don't you go outside, clear your head."
Before you could answer she was pushing you up and toward the door. You shook your head and walked out of the gym. You walked along the side walk, out to the area where the school was giving carriage rides. You smiled sadly, wishing you and Romulus could do something like that. But of course that was just another thing they couldn't do together.
You sat down on a bench watched for a minute before you felt someone rest a hand on your shoulder.
"Care for a ride?" Romulus asked.
"Together?" You asked.
He didn't say anything but instead waved for one of the carriages to come over. It pulled up and one of the schools bus drivers looked at the two of them and said, "Now what have you two gotten yerselves into?"
"William?" You asked.
"Yea? Are ye gonna get in, or just sit there?"
"We're getting in," Romulus said, pulling you up and into the carriage.
William pulled a cover down over your faces. "If anyone asks, I wasn't the one driving ye, understand?"
"Of course," Romulus said before turning to you and smiling.
"I didn't get to talk to you earlier when we were dancing, Carissima." He whispered in your ear.
You blushed at the use of the pet name. "Mi dispiace per lasciare." You said, looking down.
"Che è bene più caro." He lifted your chin to look you in the eyes. "I shouldn't have said what I did. It was uncalled for."
"NO! It's ok, I-I wanted to say yes."
He looked at you, surprised. "Then why did you run?"
"Because I...I was afraid," You whispered.
"Because I...I don't want to get you in trouble," you said, looking away.
"Oh, bella, don't worry about me. I am a grown man, I can handle anything."
"But what about your job? And what if they send you to jail." You were crying now, tears sliding down your cheeks.
"You graduate in a few months, and who cares? There are plenty of places to work, and you are eighteen now." He gently lifted your face and wiped the tears away.
"Are you sure?" you whispered.
"Of course, mio amore." He said, kissing your forehead.
"Okay." You said, blushing lightly.
"This is yer stop, so get out of me carriage." William called.
Romulus stepped out, and then offered you a hand down. You took it and stepped out of the carriage. He smiled at you and you walked back into the dance, unnoticed. Well, except for Elizaveta, who came running up and whispered in your ear, "Your mom thinks your spending the night with me. You're welcome."
You blushed and said, "Thanks." as she ran off back into the dance.
"Does this mean you're coming home with me?" He asked, grinning.
You nodded and smiled.
---Le time skip again, this time two years later---
You sat at the kitchen table, eating a healthy breakfast of toaster waffles. You felt someone place their hands on your shoulders, and you smiled. You had been living with Romulus for almost a full year now, but you would never get used to how touchy he could be.
"Buongiorno amore mio," He whispered in your ear.
"Good morning, love." You whispered.
He pulled your chair out from the table and kissed you lightly on the lips.
You kissed back, blushing as he pulled away. He winked and walked away. You sighed and went back to your breakfast.
You would get used to living with Romulus someday. But you would never be bored.