Rating: PG-13 for now
Spoilers: Up to and including Monday
Word Count: 3000
Summary/Disclaimer: see Chapter 1
They walked a few more steps, stopping in front of a door. “Okay, take it off.”
Danny grabbed her hand, while she pulled off the bandana grinning.
And her face promptly fell. They were standing in front of Isabella’s Dance Studio, posters on the door advertising lessons for couples. Danny felt her stiffen beside him and turned to look at her. “Jordan…”
“No.” She said sternly, pulling her hand out of his and starting back down the steps.
“Jordan!” Danny raced after her, chasing her down until he could weasel beside her to get in front of her. He put his hands up, stopping her. “Wait.”
Jordan tried pushing past him, but he put his arm on her bicep, pleading with her. “Listen to me…”
She pulled out of his grip and started by him. “I can’t believe you.”
“Damn it, Danny!” She slammed her hand into the front door, realizing she had nowhere to go.
“Who told you?!” she yelled, embarrassment turning her face red with anger.
“Forget it. I should have known better after the letters—“ she started, Danny not liking the implication.
“Wait a minute, there,” Danny said, anger started to rise in him too. “This wasn’t some…some ploy
to, to make you… I mean, this wasn’t supposed to be-“
“Supposed to be what,
Danny?! Because I’ll tell you what it looks like from here!”
“Tell me then, Jordan! What does it look like?!”
“It looks like you deliberately-“
“Because I’ll tell you what it is!
I want to take you to the Ball! And I thought—“
“You thought what? You have no idea what you’re playing at here, Danny! No idea what it was like…” she trailed off, turning away as her voice cracked.
Danny softened at her tone, taking a step toward her to stand in front of her. “Tell
me then, Jordan.”
“No!” she said pushing him in the chest. “You don’t get to do that! You don’t get to act all charming, just so I’ll say yes, and you can tote me around, like you’ve won the game!”
She started to turn away from him. “You’ve been chasing me around and now you want to-“
“Wait a minute!” Danny yelled, grabbing her arm and spinning her back to him. “You’re in this too! You make it sound like all this was against your will! I wasn’t the one in the car with my hand on your—“
was against my will, Danny! I don’t want to go to the Ball, okay?!”
“Why?! Why can’t you just be with me, without—“
“You know why, Danny!”“I’m not him!!”
The two stopped yelling, breathing heavily and staring at each other.
Danny took a deep breath to calm himself and looked down at his feet. “I’m not him Jordan. I’m not going to go there and make you do something you don’t want to do. I’m not going to hurt you, and I can guarantee you I’m not going to leave you. Either of you.” He looked up at her, meeting her eyes. “I’m not him.”
Jordan deflated at his words and took a seat on the steps. “Why did you bring me here then? If you don’t want to make me do something I don’t want to do, why bring me here?”
Danny looked down at her and then sat next to her, taking her hand in his. “You don’t like dancing, and you think that’s what messed it up last time…”
“I don’t think that that’s what messed it up-“
“Okay, but that was the turning point.” He paused, looking down at their hands intertwined. “There were a lot of people there...” She looked away and he squeezed her hand, trying to turn her back.
“It’s stupid,” she muttered.
stupid. I scheduled a private lesson—just you, me, and an instructor. No one will know. I just…” he paused, wondering how to get through to her. “Jordan.” She turned back to him. “If after this you still don’t want to go, we don’t go. This isn’t some trophy thing -- you should know that’s not me.” He searched her eyes when she didn’t say anything. “You do
know that, right?”
She nodded and he wrapped an arm around her waist. “I want to hold you in my arms,” he said simply, and she looked up to him. “I want to feel you swaying against me, and I want to press my cheek to your forehead and lead you to the music.” He smiled down at her. “Frank Sinatra said music leads the way to romance…”
Jordan smiled back, leaning over to kiss him gently. She leaned back after a moment. “You do
know you’re quoting, ‘I Won’t Dance,’ right?”
Danny laughed, pulling her closer and resting his cheek against the top of her head. “I hoped you didn’t know that.”
Jordan took a deep breath, thinking and enjoying Danny’s embrace. He wasn’t Scott or Roger, and she knew that. He wasn’t going to make her do anything she wasn’t comfortable with, and he was willing to go to all this trouble to help her get past her fear and her past. Jordan’s heart swelled thinking of him.
Danny felt her take a breath and helped her to her feet. “Come on, I’ll take you to a movie or something.” He started to walk towards the door, but Jordan pulled on his hand, bringing him back to her.
“Jane Austen said, ‘To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.’”
He smiled, not knowing where this was leading, but loving the implication. “You memorized that?”
She scoffed at him, brushing her hair back. “Please. I’m a woman. Every woman knows Pride and Prejudice.”
“Excuse me, then,” he said with mock indignation. Their shared smile betrayed their fun.
Jordan’s grin faded and she squeezed his hand. “Just you and me?”
He nodded hesitantly. He wasn’t sure if she was ready now that they had discussed it, but he hoped she would take his words to heart. “Just you and me.”
She looked down, thinking it over, but mainly for his sake. She was still nervous, but even just the feeling of his hand in hers strengthened her resolve to get past this—for herself and for them.
Danny stepped closer so he was standing one step below her. He dropped her hand and tilted his head to catch her eye so she would look up. When she met his eyes he saw her hesitation, but also her resolve and emotion.
He had one more under his belt. He leaned up and kissed her forehead, before pulling back to whisper. “O, Love's but a dance, Where Time plays the fiddle. O, Love's but a dance, A whisper, a glance, ’Shall we twirl down the middle?’"
He held out his hand in silent question. Jordan looked at him closely and smiled, taking his hand and leading him up the stairs.
“Hey, Iz,” Danny led Jordan into the room by the hand, dropping it as the woman came over. Jordan eyed her cautiously. The two obviously knew each other, and she watched as, who she could only assume to be Isabella, strode up to him.
Danny moved his hand to the woman’s waist and quickly pecked her lips, before Isabella stepped back, looking towards Jordan. Danny reached behind him, grabbing Jordan’s hand and gently pulling her forward. “Isabella Moretti, this is Jordan McDeere. Jordan, Iz.”
Jordan held out her hand and the two shook, each eying each other. “Nice to meet you,” Jordan said, stepping back towards Danny.
“Likewise.” Isabella turned and walked over to the windowsill, turning on some spicy salsa music. “So you two want some lessons, huh?”
Jordan looked worriedly up at Danny when she heard the music Isabella had put on. Danny laughed at her expression. “Relax,” he whispered, squeezing her hand and smiling. “Nice, Iz.” He yelled, turning back to their instructor. “No, you know I wanted something a little more… elegant?”
Isabella turned to him smirking. “Salsa can be pretty smooth, Danny. I’m sure you remember.” She gave him a feisty look, and Jordan wondered exactly what kind of history the two of them had. From her looks, at one time they had obviously been together.
Danny looked down to Jordan. “Give me a sec?” he whispered. At her nod, he let go of Jordan’s hand, heading over to Isabella.
He leaned down close to her ear, while she changed her shoes into something more suitable for ballroom dancing. “Hey, give me a break, huh?”
She grinned up at him. “Just having some fun, Daniel.”
He laughed at her look, helping her up when she had secured her shoes. “Well, we’re kinda nervous here,” he said, nodding slightly back towards Jordan. “Lay off?”
“Sure.” She said, straightening her skirt.
He looked down at her, smiling. “I’ve missed you, Iz.”
She gazed up at him, smirking. “You too.” She glanced down before looking back into his face. “But its good you’re not over here too much anymore…” she drifted off, touching his arm to soften her comments. She knew her studio was a few blocks from his old hangouts. And she had seen him at his worst, drugged out of his mind, and was just happy to see how he had straightened out.
He smiled and went to turn back towards Jordan, when Isabella whispered his name, stopping him. “You look happy.”
He grinned, turning to look at Jordan before turning back. “I am.”
She smiled and shooed him back to his date. Danny walked back up to Jordan, who had been studying the pictures on the wall, while trying not to let Danny’s private conversation bother her. He walked behind her, snaking his arms around her waist and resting his head on her shoulder.
She turned as he pulled back to see her expression. Nodding she let him lead her over to Isabella.
“Alright, Danny. Why don’t you get Jordan into the closed position while I fix the music.” Isabella walked over to the stereo and Danny took Jordan’s hand, positioning it on his upper arm, and placing the other in his hand. Jordan smiled, surprised at this side of him. She wouldn’t have thought it before, but apparently Danny had some dancing in his past.
He moved her feet into proper position and dropped his hand to her back, before pulling her closer so the right halves of their bodies were touching from thigh to torso. Danny grinned down at her, running his hand over her back while they stood, waiting for Isabella to return.
“You good?” He whispered, trying to tilt his head to better read her face.
She had been studying their footing, but looked up at his words. Smiling, she leaned further into his body suggestively. “Mmm hmmm.”
Danny’s smirk grew wider, and he was about to lean towards her lips when Isabella walked up to them.
“Nice. Okay, I’m going to play some music and we’ll just start with what is called the forward and back basics of the foxtrot. I’ll say the count, and Danny, you know what to do. It’s going to be slow, slow, quick, quick. Jordan, you’ll let Danny lead you, but you’ll take one step back with your right leg, one back with your left, one right with your right, and then join it with the left. Slow, slow, quick, quick. Ready? Okay.”
She pushed the button on her remote to key the music, and stood next to Jordan, walking with her while Danny led her through the steps. Isabella chanted the count while Danny and Jordan moved across the room.
“Okay, good. That’s good.” Isabella watched them for a few more steps. “Okay, stop there guys.”
She walked up to them, noticing the grin Jordan shot Danny. “I want to try what’s called The Promenade. Jordan, this starts off the same way…” she stepped up to Danny, taking his hand and stepping in, while Jordan stood back to watch.
“You do the back with right, back with left, right with right, join with left, and then you’re going to turn out. See how our bodies are now facing the right?” Jordan nodded and Isabella continued. “Okay, then you take a step forward with your right, and then one with your left. And notice how the left side of my body stays against the right of Danny’s.” They paused, while she pointed out their positions. “And then you finish, turning your bodies back so that you are again facing, and take a right step the same way, and join it with the left.” She stepped back from him and Jordan joined in.
“Same count, slow… slow… quick, quick, slow… slow… quick, quick. Try that guys.”
Jordan looked down at their feet while they moved flawlessly. This wasn’t as hard as she thought before. In fact, she was looking forward to showing it off. Danny moved his hand from her back to her chin, tilting her head up. “Look at me.”
She tried not turning back to their feet, and just stared into Danny’s eyes, letting his body lead her though the motions.
The sounds of Isabella’s count were lost on Danny, as he watched Jordan take this step in her life. It humbled him that she would do this for him. He had wanted to help her, but wasn’t naïve enough not to consider that she might be mad initially. He was glad that they got past it, and all he could think about was how her body felt pressed against his, moving to the music. His heart swelled, and he honestly thought that might have been the best moment of his life.
Jordan’s eyes radiated concentration and he noticed how her bangs held the slightest indication of perspiration. He felt her hand squeeze his shoulder and he was aware of the heat of her body through their proximity.
After about an hour of rehearsing various simple steps, Isabella announced a complete lesson, and Jordan thought she would be ready for the ball. “Let me run upstairs for the register, and I’ll be right back.” Isabella started up the stairs and Danny wandered over to the stereo, messing with the CDs until Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” came over the airwaves.
He walked up to Jordan, who had been leaning against the wall, and held his hand out, taking hers and leading her back to the middle of the floor. “She’s coming right back…” she whispered, even though she followed him onto the floor.
“Dance with me.” Danny took her arms, moving them up to his shoulders. He dropped his to her lower back and pulled her body closer to his, slipping one leg in between hers.
Time stopped for both of them and Jordan dropped her head to his chest, sliding one hand down to his upper arm, while her other hand played with the hair at the back of his neck. Danny took a deep breath and swayed them to the music, dropping his hands lower to her waist.
Their hips swayed back and forth, and Jordan tried to move closer so their bodies were pressed together from the thigh up. Danny kissed her forehead and inhaled the scent of her hair, dropping his forehead to her neck and resting it there, before placing gentle kisses along her shoulder. Jordan sighed and moved her head back, opening up her neck to him and closing her eyes, enjoying his caress. Danny ran kisses along the column of her neck, and exhaling sharply Jordan pulled her head back, meeting his eyes. They focused on each other before Danny leaned down and softly brought his lips to hers. Instinctively his hands tightened on her hips, and Jordan rose up onto her toes, tilting her head to deepen their kiss.
“Sorry about the wait.” The sound of Isabella’s voice at the top of the stairs broke them apart, and although she didn’t catch the kiss, their reactions after breaking apart put a grin on her face. Jordan casually walked over to gather her things and Danny waited for Isabella. “I guess you’re not,” Iz muttered to Danny as she passed him, grabbing a pen from the desk.
Danny took his card back from Isabella, signing the receipt. She was going to give them the lesson for free, but Danny insisted on paying her. Grinning he flicked the pen back at her. “Thanks, Iz. I really appreciate it.”
“No problem, babe.” She leaned in one more time and kissed his cheek. “If you ever need a partner…” she faded off smirking, and he laughed, remembering the crazy days of his past.
He glanced over at Jordan gathering their stuff, before he turned back to Isabella. “I think I’m set.”
They both smiled at each other and Danny walked back over to Jordan.
The walked down the stairs, and Danny held the door open for Jordan as they passed back into the night silently. Danny led them to the car and unlocked her door, before moving to walk around to his side. Jordan grabbed his sleeve and pulled him back to her. She kissed him quickly on the lips, and pulled back. “Thank you.”
He grinned, leaning into her. “So, about the Ball…”
He grinned, pulling her in for a hug and lifting her off of the ground. She laughed and he put her back down, but kept his arms around her. They stared at each other for a moment and Jordan looked down hesitantly before meeting his eyes again. “I think Jane Austen was right.”
Danny remembered her quote and smiled, leaning close to her lips, but not bringing them together. “Oh yeah?”
She closed the distance between them, pulling back for a second. “Oh yeah.” He grinned, pulling her to him.
They were going to the Ball.