It was hot, and dirty, and he didn't want to be there. The breeze was entirely dead, and a hot mugginess lay over the whole field and the hundreds of people there. Milling around, a crushing mob, and he wanted out.
A flash of white caught his eye, and he turned to look. A group of women in white stood in a huddle, apprehensively watching two of their number a ways off, arguing with one of the coordinators. The girl closest to his side of the group was staring down at the grass at her feet, clutching her purse and looking as miserable and hot and annoyed as he was.
Something – perhaps she felt his gaze – made her look up. She caught his eye, and nodded, giving a small smile. He smiled back, but before the interaction could develop further, his grandmother requested his attention and he turned away from the Girl in White. She slipped from his mind entirely as he trailed his grandmother during her shopping.
He did not care to watch the dancing, either, it was boring, and the temperature was steadily climbing. The sun and clouds seemed to have some wicked conspiracy to parch everyone foolish enough to be outside into mere husks. Shifting the items he was holding for his grandmother, he stared stoically into the open space. A bunch of women, clad entirely in (more-or-less) white, save for their tartan sashes, walked in pairs out into the space. The Girl in White he'd seen earlier was among them, again stopping closest to him, facing another lady. Her expression had changed, now, though. A distracted intentness had settled over her features, and she seemed not even to notice the crowd, her entire focus reduced to the set of women.
The dancing was still unarguably boring. But he watched the Girl in White the whole time, and found it wasn't as unbearable as he'd expected it to be. After the dancing was finished, one of the women – the one who had been arguing with the event volunteer, he noticed – got up and spoke at length about the history of the dance. Thoroughly uninterested, despite his grandmother's admonishments, he walked off to put the items he was carrying into the car.
He only returned just as the lead dancer was finishing up her history lesson. Dismissing him to do whatever he wanted until she called, his grandmother wandered off. Left at loose ends, bored and irritated, he wandered toward the grand old live oaks lining the edge of the property and the marsh. There were already dozens of people there, seeking shade, taking pictures, or sitting on the branches low and parallel to the ground. One of the dancers was there, too, the Girl in White, shoes and purse abandoned at the base of the tree she was happily scrambling up. He paused to watch her, thinking how purposefully she must have moved to arrive before he did.
Reaching some unseen goal, she stopped, balancing precariously and holding on with one hand. Turning to glance back behind her, she saw him and grinned. Unexpectedly, he found himself speaking to her. "Your dancing was very good."
She turned, shifting her handhold, to face him, looking a bit uncomfortable. "Thank you. The others are better, though."
"I didn't think so," he contradicted, looking up at her and moving closer to the tree.
She shrugged. "One who wasn't intimately acquainted with the dancing would not have recognized my mistakes, but I know them."
He kicked his sandals off and scrambled up the tree to stand on the trunk near her before veering off on another branch. "You did very well," he replied with certainty.
She smiled, watching him. "Well, thank you," she conceded the debate graciously.
Another voice cut through the discussion. "There you are!" Looking down, he saw another girl much resembling the first, scowling as she continued to scold. "We had no idea where you were. And you'll mess up your clothes! That's my dress you're borrowing, come out of that tree at once!"
"Give me a little credit," the first girl said in mild indignation. "I know how to climb a tree without messing up my clothes, and besides, I'm just standing here!" Her voice switched to an odd blend of coaxing and bossy. "Anyway, I'd really like a picture. Would you get my phone out my purse and take one? Width-ways, I want to put it on my computer as a wallpaper. It's in the back, behind my wallets."
"Fine," huffed the newcomer, in a not-quite-real put-upon manner. Digging through the black purse, she turned up a phone, holding it up and snapping a photo.
"Thanks," said the first Girl in White brightly. "Now move, I'm coming down." Looking up at him, she said unexpectedly, "It was nice meeting you."
"You too," he said, watching as she inched down the trunk before leaping to the ground. Her sister – for so the second girl had to be – promptly began scolding again, but she didn't seem to care. Carelessly lifting shoes and purse, she ducked out from beneath the trees, ignoring the prickly mulch beneath her bare feet as she walked over to the grass. There she stopped to wipe her feet off in the grass, head bent, hair blazing golden in the sun, white dress almost painful to look at.
He settled into a sitting position on his branch, wondering if he'd ever see her again. At the last moment before she left with her sister, she turned back to give a small shy smile and hesitant wave. In that moment, he knew for certain that yes, indeed, he would see her again.
This is an entirely fictional story based completely off an entirely real event that will happen, entirely real events that have happened, and two very real people.