Chapter 20:

Party: Between Steps and Memories

The Day I Forgot About You

Saya blushed and took Neo's hand with a soft smile on her face as she said, "Yes."

Cassandra was surprised to see the proposal and even more so when Saya accepted, "Since when does Saya agree to dance with someone?"

Sunny was also taken aback, but she was beginning to respect the boy. She valued impulsive actions, and seeing Neo muster the courage to ask Saya to dance with a crowd around them was commendable.

"After choosing your partners, please come to the teacher's table to give your names," Karine instructed.

Neo felt a mixture of emotions within him. On one hand, he was happy for summoning the courage to invite Saya, but on the other hand, he felt almost suffocating nervousness. His heart was beating strongly. He couldn't walk properly.

"Saya and Neo, right? Good luck," Martha said as they appeared at the table next to Pietro and Elena, who were surprised – Elena for the same reason as Cassandra, and Pietro for not imagining that Neo would dance as well, considering he hadn't mentioned anything.

Neo felt the need to clarify something before they continued. He was concerned about a small detail and didn't want it to ruin the moment.

"I... just don't know how to dance," he admitted, almost embarrassed. He looked down for a moment, avoiding Saya's gaze.

However, instead of expressing surprise or disappointment, Saya chuckled softly and took the boy's hand, encouraging him to lift his gaze. She had a kind and reassuring look. "Don't worry, Neo. Let's go out there and have fun. Just follow my steps, and everything will be fine."

Saya led Neo to the center of the dance floor, where other couples were already starting to move gracefully to the music.

Looking around, Neo could see Lenner with his girlfriend, and also Richard and Sarah. As he found himself among those couples, he realized he no longer felt out of place. He was allowing himself to enjoy the moment; being there with Saya was what mattered.

As the music continued to play, Saya took the initiative and gently embraced him, placing her hands on Neo's shoulders. Their bodies naturally drew closer, and Neo felt a wave of warmth and comfort. As Saya guided him with gentle movements, he realized he was almost instinctively following the rhythm of the music. His initial nervousness seemed to be fading as he surrendered to the dance.

Fragments of memories invaded his mind, as if distant voices echoed through time. He relived a childhood scene, a cozy room with a soft carpet and inviting sofas. But as he struggled to grasp these details, they slipped through his fingers like the memory of a fleeting dream.

"Listen. Neo, Carolina and Leo, I need to teach you something important," a loving voice echoed.

Neo stood next to the caring figure that spoke, Leo was seated, and Carolina was sprawled on the couch, bored.

"Something that's really necessary in your lives," the woman continued.

"Like building a robot?" Neo asked, curious.

"No," the voice replied, with a hint of amusement.

"Fighting?" Leo asked while striking some martial arts poses from a movie he had recently watched.


"Cooking?" Carolina asked, hungry.

"You already know that, young lady," the voice confirmed, bringing a smile to her lips.

The trio's confused eyes searched for answers, until the woman took a deep breath, her eyes gleaming with captivating joy.


Even with the woman's excitement, she didn't win over the hearts of the three, who responded with disapproval.

"Hey, what's that expression? It's something very important, knowing how to dance. Especially at social events, you wouldn't want to embarrass yourselves."

Still, they weren't convinced. The woman looked at the girl lounging on the couch and ordered angrily, "Now! Carolina, get up and come be your brother's partner!"

Carolina reluctantly stood up, moving slowly like gelatin as she struggled to get on her feet.

"And Leo?" Neo asked, as if he wanted to throw the younger brother to the lions.

"Leo is without a partner, but he's not old enough to worry about that yet. I promise to teach him when he's older."

"Phew," Leo sighed in relief as he settled back onto the couch where he had been sitting.

Carolina and Neo assumed their positions. The woman played a classical piece of music, and as instructed, they attempted to dance, stumbling over each other. Leo couldn't stop laughing.

Over days of practice, Neo and Carolina progressed, moving from stumbling to synchronized steps. Step by step, they grew accustomed to the rhythm of the music, and the dance became more fluid. They spun and twirled, each step intensifying the connection between them. The distant room of the past slowly faded, giving way to the present gym.

Carolina's and Saya's movements intertwined, connecting the past to the present, as the image of Neo's sister began to fade gradually.

Saya noticed how well Neo was doing and let out a soft laugh, teasing him gently. "See, it's not that difficult. You're doing great for someone who claimed not to know how to dance."

Neo laughed along, feeling encouraged and happy to share that special moment with Saya, and she was so beautiful, shining like a star.  Saya and Neo were the center of attention for all the couples who were dancing. Their lightness and happiness filled the gym and everyone present.

The music gradually came to an end, with the couples striking a pose for the grand finale, accompanied by camera flashes and applause.

A bit of sweat trickled down Neo's face as he held Saya's hand, awaiting the teachers' verdict. He looked at Saya with curiosity; there was something he had wanted to ask for a long time.

"Saya, can I ask you something?"

Saya looked at him, curious. "Of course, Neo. What do you want to know?"

"When I was unconscious in the infirmary, I heard you singing. And your voice hasn't left my head since then. You're enchanting when you sing."

Saya looked distant, whispering, "That reminds me of that day."

"So, could you sing again sometime?" Neo asked.

Saya sighed; it wasn't that she didn't want to sing, but... the courage from before had diminished.

"Someday. I promise."

The teachers reached a consensus and handed a paper to Karine, who couldn't contain her excitement upon seeing the winners' names.

"And the prize goes to..."

She paused, and everyone listening was in suspense.

"Neo and Saya."

Murmurs of surprise spread before applause took over.

Each couple received a paper with comments from the teachers, explaining their evaluations and justifying their votes.

Diana liked all the couples; for her, they all looked beautiful and deserved to win the prize. Mariana, who everyone expected to be the easiest to please, didn't like any of them, finding faults in all the couples. Martha, the one everyone feared, gave the best critiques.

Neo's and Saya's embarrassment increased as they were called forward.

As Karine approached Neo, she couldn't contain her pride, her eyes brimming with tears. She handed them the trophies and positioned the couple for a photo.

Sunny approached Saya after the photos were taken. "If I had my boyfriend here, I would've won."

"Definitely," Saya replied, smiling.

"At least you won wearing the outfit I made. That's a bigger honor than winning at dancing."

Neo rejoined the baseball team; most of the boys were happy for his victory, especially Maeda and Shike, who wanted the prize.

Pietro, on the other hand, was furious. "You traitor!! How can you motivate me like that and then steal it from me? I didn't even know you could dance."

"Sorry, Pietro."

Pietro rolled his eyes, still avoiding eye contact with Neo. With time, his anger subsided, and he began to forgive.

"Fine! Fine! I'll forgive you, as long as you teach me what you showed today."

And so, the party came to an end; the lights dimmed, and the students were free to go home.

Neo, exhausted, walked slowly toward the school exit, alone. A boy approached him, hair similar to his, similar stature, and formal attire.


"So, you do remember me? Brother, we need to talk."

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