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“It’s a wedding, you have to dance, don’t Shadowhunters dance?” she had said. She had leaned across the table while she said it and a bit of hair had fallen into her eyes. She wore gray which made her eyes look blue and she was distractingly pretty.
“Shadowhunters dance,” Will had confirmed from halfway across the room and Jem had considered calling him a traitorous bastard but Tessa was still looking at him so he didn’t send more than a dark look down the table, “I happen to be quite good at it.”
“That’s cause Mam taught you when you were little,” Cecily said put in.
“My mother taught me how to throw knives, read music, and properly handle a broadsword,” Jem said.
“You don’t know how to dance?” Tessa asked seeing straight through what he had actually said to what he was trying not to admit.
And that was how he found himself here.
He’d refused to allow Will in the room for this though in spite of promises of help and support and a declaration that he would not laugh. There was no music though they were in the music room. She smirked at him and he sighed. Of all the skills to be lacking, he couldn’t dance. He had been to dances. He had sat in parties and watched the dances. Admittedly only half paying attention while he listened to the music but still, he’d been near dancing. But he was not a person who danced.
He was the addict and the best friend of the lunatic. He smelled like burnt sugar and looked like a scarecrow with tinsel on his head. He was not someone others sought to dance with and he never asked. It was a circle. He did not dance because he did not know how and he did not know how because he never danced. Now he had this beautiful girl standing before him, telling him he was graceful and handsome and demanding he learn.
“It’s just moving your feet. You can already do all that footwork that Gabriel keeps trying to teach me, this is far easier than that,” she told him. He met her eyes and crossed the little space between them to stand in what he thought might be the right place. She adjusted and put his hands where they were meant to be and he missed what she said next because his mind had instead decided to call up the memory of what that dip in her body felt like without a corset and a heavy dress over it.
He blushed and met her eyes but she was smiling in that way he’d never seen her smile at anyone else. It was a tiny bit of intimacy that smile. She looked a little surprised but happy about it. She was surprised that he looked at her like that. He was baffled that she looked at him at all. He redoubled his efforts to focus on her words and learn this. That it would make her happy to dance with him was more than enough reason to learn it.
She repeated her instructions and walked him through the first few patterns of the steps. They did it a few times and she was right, it was easy enough. The problem came in having another person so close. The steps weren’t hard but keeping his steps with hers was more of a challenge. When she spun back towards him he caught the lavendar scent of her hair and was distracted by it badly enough that he stepped on the hem of her dress. She stumbled into him and he found himself with her caught up and laughing against his chest.
They’d been so very well behaved these last few weeks. He hadn’t had her this close in what felt like an eternity. She straightened up and fluffed up her skirt so it lay as it was meant to and then held out her hand so he could try it again. He did and this time when she passed close to him on the turn he managed to keep his feet where they were meant to be.
“See, easy,” she told him.
He leaned in, still holding her hand and keeping the other at the proper place on her waist. He leaned in and she tilted her head up to meet him when he kissed her. It was gentle and careful until her hand slid up from his shoulder to cup the back of his head and though he didn’t remember doing it, his arm had tightened about her waist so he held her against him and could kiss her harder.
“How’s dancing lessons going?” Will called in a half-mocking tone through the door and Tessa pulled away from the kiss to bury an embarrassed noise against Jem’s chest. Jem smiled and held her there in a hug, both arms wrapped all the way around her.
“I’m learning so much,” Jem said and Tessa shoved him a little bit as she smothered a laugh in his shirtfront. Once Will had wandered off, thankfully without opening the door, she looked up at him, biting her lower lip and blushing he said, “We should practice that last one again, I don’t think I’ve quite mastered it yet.”
“You were doing fine,” she said but she obliged him by wrapping her arms up around his neck and pulling him in to do it again.


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September 2017


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