You might wonder why I don't post the whole story or get it published or something. Well, what usually happens is that I grab bits and pieces from old stories to write new ones. For instance, the injured stranger in this original story ended up becoming T.J. Silver for Family Secret. He wasn't gunshot, but he was hurt, and it was a creek, and Cory and Andi (and Rosa) found him. So it's not likely I'll be using another stranger-found-wounded-by-creek idea anytime soon. I'm thinking I'll salvage this dancing scene for a future book, like Book 4 in Milestones, Shadow from the Past. But it will be drastically altered from its present form.
For now, please enjoy part 2 of the scene from a never-before-published, nameless book.
Remember! You read it here first!
Another Weary Night on the Dance Floor: Part 2 (of 2)
Andi headed across the dance floor, straight for the punch bowl. It sat on a table in a quiet corner. She hoped she could keep out of sight of those boys from the private school. Otherwise she might have to humble herself and ask Chad for another dance.
“Hi, Lydia,” Andi greeted the new girl as she sat down with a glass of punch.
“Hi.” Lydia looked across the dance floor at Chad as he stalked off in the opposite direction of his sister. “Goodness, Andi! Your brothers are so handsome. I wish one of them would ask me to dance.” She bowed her head in sudden embarrassment. “I don’t know why I said that.”
Andi looked at her in amusement. “You’re not the only one.” She laughed. “You’d think they’d all be married ten time over by now, but I reckon they like ranching better than they like taking time to go courting.”
Lydia heaved a sigh. “I guess I’d just like to see what it would be like to dance with somebody besides school boys who feel like they have to dance with me.” She shook her head. “You know. Out of politeness. They’ve all given me my one required dance, and now . . .” She shrugged. “Here I am.”
“Lucky,” Andi murmured.
“Oh, nothing. Dancing with the vultures from Fresno Prep is no pleasure.”
Lydia giggled. “But they do know how to dance, which is more than I can say for some of the boys around this town. I didn’t think I’d have any toes left after that barn dance out at Morton’s last fall.” She sighed. “This is much more like it. The young men from that private school are so handsome, too, dressed up so fine. I wish they’d notice I was here.”
Pudgy Jason Wright, handsome? “You’re new in town, Lydia,” Andi consoled her. “By the end of the school year you’ll know them all well enough, and you’ll be wishing you were back at that barn dance, which was lots more fun than this.”
“I don’t know about that,” she said softly.
Andi regarded Lydia with interest. She hadn’t spent much time talking with the new girl, especially when she had found out she was from a wealthy freight-shipping family who had business up and down the west coast.
Andi was ashamed of herself for not being friendlier. Lydia seemed awfully nice.
“I’ll tell you what, Lydia. I’ll grab the next brother who comes along and ask him to dance with you. When those other boys see you dancing with them, they’ll cut in for sure.”
“Oh, you don’t have to do that. I don’t mind sitting here, as long as I’ve got someone to talk with.”
“I’ll talk with you.” Andi waved an arm toward the roomful of people. “You like this better than a barn dance?”
“Oh, yes! The fancier the better. I love to watch all the ladies and their beautiful gowns, the laughing faces, and the good times. And . . .” She sighed. “I do love to dance. I’ll even take a barn dance if nothing else is available.” She looked at Andi. “Don’t you?”
“No,” came Andi’s honest reply. “I really don’t. Although the dance out at Morton’s was fun because everybody was just having a good time and it wasn’t fancy. But most of the time I’m so sleepy I almost fall asleep in the corner at these late-night affairs.”
“Why!” Lydia’s eyes opened wide. “The night’s only begun, and you want to go to bed?”
Andi shrugged and helped herself to another glass of punch.
Lydia continued. “Another thing. Why are you sitting over here in a corner when I know for a fact that you could have your pick of several eligible young men?”
“Because I got in an argument with Chad. I don’t want to dance with him anymore.”
“My brother. He loves to annoy me and boss me around.”
“If he annoys you, why do you dance with him? I’ve seen a few of those eligible young men looking your way. They’d love to get a chance.”
Andi sighed and put down her glass. “Because they’re safer—especially at functions like these. I know exactly what to expect from them. This dancing business is risky. Ever since that beast, Jeremiah Lake, danced me off into a corner last winter and tried to kiss me, I’ve been on my guard.”
“How romantic!” Lydia crooned. “What did you do?”
Andi gave Lydia a disgusted look. “I kicked him in the shin, naturally. He yelped like he’d been stung by a bee. I ended up making a spectacle of myself while everybody watched Jeremiah hobble off the dance floor. They all looked at me as if I’d committed a crime.” She shook her head. “Ever since, I can count on at least Mitch dancing with me. If nothing else, my brothers make it plain that they’re watching out for me.”
Lydia giggled. “That’s the funniest story I’ve heard in a long time.”
“It wasn’t very funny at the time.”
“Don’t you ever want a boy to kiss you, Andi?”
“Oh, maybe someday. When I’m lots older. And if it’s the right fellow, and if we’re practically engaged. But”—Andi tossed her head—“that’s not happening for a long, long time—years and years from now. I’m only fourteen, you know.”
“What about that Cory Blake fella from school?”
“Huh?” Andi wrinkled her brow. “What about him?” She gazed over the crowd, trying to spot one of her brothers.
“Wouldn’t you ever want to kiss him?”
“Cory?” Andi gaped at Lydia in shock. “Cory Blake? He and I are friends. I sure wouldn’t want our friendship to get messed up with that kind of stuff.”
“I doubt he’d think of it like that. He likes you. I know he does.”
Andi laughed. “Of course he does. And I like him. He’s one of my best friends.”
Lydia rolled her eyes and sighed. “For someone who has older brothers and an older sister, you sure don’t know much about beaux.”
“You’re right,” Andi agree with a grin. “And I plan to keep it that way.” She stood up suddenly. “Say, there’s Justin.” She waved him over. “Justin, c’mere!”
“Having fun, honey?” Justin smiled and helped himself to the punch. He looked around in amusement. “You’ve managed to find yourself a nice little corner.”
“It’s good for now.” She smiled. “Justin, this is Lydia. And this, Lydia, is my oldest brother—a dashing and sophisticated lawyer who knows exactly how to charm a young lady onto the dance floor. Don’t you, Justin?”
He replaced his cup on the table and bowed politely. “I would be delighted. Miss Lydia, may I have the honor of this next dance?”
Lydia looked like she hardly knew what to say. “You may,” came out just above a whisper, and her cheeks turned pink when she curtsied. She smiled shyly over her shoulder at Andi and mouthed thank you. Andi waved at her new friend. “I’ve done my good deed for the night,” she said, chuckling.
Twenty minutes later, Andi watched Lydia go round the dance floor with a number of classmates. She smiled with delight. It looked like that ol’ Oliver Jensen was smitten with Lydia Bensen. I’m sure she’s rich enough to catch his fancy, Andi thought with a yawn.
She sat back in her chair and leaned her head back against the corner. Her eyelids fluttered. She hoped nobody disturbed her until it was time to head for home. As a lively, new dance tune started up, she thought,
I wonder if Cory would like this dance.