Work-in-Progress Wednesday

“Did you mean to give me a ‘come hither’ stare?” Abbie asked.

Parker grinned. “I was just enjoying watching you. I didn’t know it would summon you, but I’m not sorry it did.” He held out a white-gloved hand. “Would you like to waltz with me?”

“Are you any good?”

“I excel at many things, dancing among them.”

Abbie rolled her eyes, but she set down her plate on the nearest table and brushed any lingering food particles off her hands, lest she dirty his tuxedo. “I think you just wanted a way to touch me in public.”

“If you’re waiting for me to deny that accusation . . .” He led her toward the center of the room. “. . . you’ll be waiting a long while.”

Oof, it’s been a long time since I’ve done this. Yet as Abbie placed her right hand in Parker’s lifted left, she was surprised how good it felt to be in his arms, however removed the rest of their bodies were. Abbie smiled as she remembered her lessons from Mrs. Andel, the famous Trellan dancer who’d married a member of Brevsporan aristocracy. Let your hand perch upon his shoulder like a baby bird . . . He put the right amount of pressure on her upper back and held his arm out stiffly, gently supporting her hand, and she stepped backwards following him into a basic box step.

“Well, that answers that question.”

“What question?” Abbie asked.

Keep your gaze over your partner’s shoulder, children, well to the left; romantic as the dance is, if you try to look at your partner, you’ll drift right and get all tangled up. There had been rampant snorts and giggles at that.

“The question of whether you know how to follow,” he said, and she could hear the teasing in his voice.

“That all depends on who’s leading.”

Keep your hips up, Abelia. She’d had no desire to touch her hip to Norman Barkus, who smelled like sweat and potato chips and kept pushing on her hands instead of indicating turns with his lower body like he was supposed to. But Parker’s hip seemed glued to hers, and she could sense him turning before she knew what was happening.

I’m leading.”

“I sensed that.” She tried to hide a smile. “You’re good at it.”

“I should be. I’ve had ample practice.”

With whom? Her mind demanded to know. Whose hips have you been touching? Those are my hips. She did not ask, but she was glad she didn’t have to make eye contact with him, lest he see her question there.

“My first sister loves to dance but often lacks what she considers to be a suitable partner. I have accompanied her and her book club friends on numerous occasions. Or I did, before I became intolerably busy.”

Her jealousy subsided with this new information and she felt a little foolish.

“You should still go. All work and no play makes Parker a grumpy Gus.”

“All work and no Abbie, you mean.”

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