SUMMARY: Eliot teaches Parker to waltz.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: A ficlet I wrote for leverageland's Dance Challenge.
“I can’t do this!” Parker shouted, throwing up her hands in frustration. “I’m never going to be able to do it!”
Eliot grit his teeth and resisted the urge to snap at her. He’d spent the last hour up on Nate’s roof doing his best to teach Parker to waltz. She’d gotten the basic steps down but her movements were stiff and hesitant and she kept second-guessing his lead and stepping all over his toes.
For the con to work, they needed her to dance with the mark at a big fancy charity ball; quitting wasn’t an option. Besides, Eliot had never yet met a woman he couldn’t charm across a dance floor and he wasn’t going to let Parker be the first.
“Close your eyes,” he ordered.
“Why?” she asked suspiciously.
“Do you trust me, Parker?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Why?”
“It’s a simple question. Yes or no?”
She seemed to think about it for a moment. Then she shrugged. “I guess.”
“Then close your eyes.”
She made a face and squeezed her eyes shut. He placed her left hand on his shoulder and took her right hand loosely in his. One of Strauss’ Viennese waltzes was playing on the iPod he’d set up for their lesson. “Relax,” he said softly. “Just listen to the music for a while.”
Parker puffed out an impatient breath. But after a moment he felt her grip on his shoulder relax and she begin to sway subtly in time with the music.
“Good.” He placed his right hand on her back gently. “You feel my hand on your back?”
“That hand is going to tell you everything you need to know to follow my lead. Keep your eyes closed, forget about the steps, forget about everything around you, just listen to the music and trust the pressure of my hand to guide you. Okay?”
“But I can’t see where—”
“Have I ever let you fall, Parker?”
She frowned slightly and shook her head.
“All you have to do is trust me, okay?”
She nodded hesitantly. “Okay.”
“Here we go.” Eliot started slowly. There were a couple of false starts, but soon enough Parker had relaxed into his touch until she was gliding along with him effortlessly, their feet in perfect step. They swirled across the rooftop together, their footfalls making little crunching noises in time with the music.
Parker opened her eyes, her face lighting up. “I’m doing it, aren’t I?”
Eliot nodded, unable to resist matching her smile. His right hand moved slightly lower on her back and he raised his left into the air. Parker followed his lead instinctively and twirled under his arm, laughing delightedly.
Eliot’s grip tightened, pulling her closer. Parker’s body brushed against his and her smile deepened almost imperceptibly. The music was tantalizingly slow and smooth and her eyes were locked on his as he swept her across the rooftop under the stars. They danced waltz after waltz that way, lost in the music and the feeling of their bodies moving together in the cool night air.
So lost, in fact, that they didn’t notice when Sophie joined them on the roof. She cleared her throat loudly and they shot apart like a couple of teenagers caught making out.
“Well, it certainly looks like you’ve got the hang of it, Parker.” Sophie raised her eyebrows slightly and directed a smug, knowing smile his way. “Eliot must be a very skilled teacher.”
He scowled. “I think she’s got it, yeah.”
“Good,” Sophie said. “Because it’s time to do her hair and makeup.”
Parker started to follow Sophie towards the stairs, but then she stopped and ran back over to Eliot. “Thanks for the dance,” she whispered, giving him a quick hug.
For the next week Eliot kept catching himself humming the Blue Danube waltz under his breath, usually with a stupid smile on his face. Fortunately, no one on the team seemed to notice. Except maybe Sophie, and she knew better than to say anything about it.