The Last Dance

The Last Dance

“Last dance, folks!  Make it count!”  The master of ceremonies had been fantastic and his enthusiasm and engagement with the audience had helped turn a very uncomfortable evening into an unforgettable one.

When Hannah caught a glimpse of Andy across the dancefloor she had wanted to run and hide until she realised that he didn’t recognise her and why would he?  The last time Andy had laid eyes on her was about 6 years ago when she was still a scrawny, scabby-kneed ‘dove’ (as he used to call her).  What Andy was looking at was a beautiful woman with the most incredible head of curly red hair  but it was her eyes that entranced him – emerald green with an untamed, fiery look.

He had excused himself from present company to make his way over to this ethereal creature but, as he placed his empty glass on one of the side tables, she had dashed off.  He couldn’t be certain but she had looked startled by his presence, although, Andy chuckled to himself, he did seem to have that effect on women.

Andy turned on his heel and made his way to the bar, sharing pleasantries with acquaintances along the way.  Andy always hated the pomp and ceremony of these things but his mother insisted he attend to keep up appearances.

Andy stopped in his tracks as he’d just had a word with Senna.  An unpleasant, bitter woman for one so young.  Andy flushed red at the memory of their brief courtship.  She had been a demanding woman whose prejudices always made Andy uncomfortable.  There was something in the shape of her face, the slight upturn of the nose that was familiar.  Could the girl with the fiery hair be Senna’s little sister, Hannah?  She’d be what?  17 or 18 now?

Andy decided that he would steer clear of the ethereal creature just in case it was Hannah.  He was just starting to find his feet again and make amends with his mother and he certainly didn’t want to jeopardise that by getting involved with the DuBay family again.

“Rum on the rocks, please.”  Andy needed something stiff to steady his nerves.  As he waited for his drink he turned round and surveyed the room.  All this pomp and ceremony.  He never could understand why he had to attend these things.  Most of the people in this room barely tolerated each other in the real world. And here they all were swapping stories and giggling behind their hands as though they were all long lost friends.

He caught a glimpse of the green dress out of the corner of his eye.  There she was, standing next to a pillar.  She too was looking out across the floor.  It was definitely her, definitely Hannah.  Although she was all grown up she still had that look on her face, that pensive, far-off look as though she was physically somewhere else.

Andy picked up his glass and downed the rum in one gulp – Dutch courage!  He decided he would ask her for a dance, after all, just to be sure.

As the heat of the rum rose up from his stomach he all but stalked over to her and threw out his hand, startling her.

“May I have this dance?”, he asked nervously.  Her face made him laugh, or maybe it was the nerves but it certainly broke the ice for him as he regained his composure.  Hannah, on the other hand, looked like she’d rather die of some incurable disease that take his hand.

“It’s only a dance, not a marriage proposal,” he said trying to lighten the mood, “It’s me, Andy.”

“I, I know,”  she stammered, hesitating just long enough for some of the awkwardness to creep back in.  When she did stretch out her hand to take his she stepped forward, lost her balance and fell unceremoniously into his arms.

Startled into action, he put his arms around her to stop her from falling.  She looked up into  his face with those captivating eyes.  It was at that moment that Andy knew he must have her and he felt a chill run slowly up his spine.

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