Two to Tango

by Sheri

"I can’t believe I let you talk me into this!" Erin whispered to her former best friend, watching the center of the room with dread.

""C’mon Erin. It’ll be fun, I promise. Besides, you’re the one who said you had to learn." Nita whispered back, not a bit concerned at the heat in her friend’s words or the daggers shooting out of her eyes.

"I know! That’s why I asked you to help me. I did not ask you to bring me here!" Erin’s eyes were drawn once again to the center of the room where men and women were twirling gracefully around the dance floor. "I am nowhere near ready for that!" Erin’s eyes nearly bugged out of their sockets as one man dipped his partner in perfect time with the music.

"Of course you’re not, silly. This isn’t our class. That’s the advanced ballroom class. Our class starts in 10 minutes."

Erin dragged her gaze from the dance floor and saw that there were other people around the edges of the room watching the dancers with the same awestruck look in their eyes. Slowly, she started to relax.

As the music drew to a close, a warm, husky voice floated over the dancers, into Erin’s ears, and straight to the base of her spine, which tingled in response.

"Alright ladies and gentlemen, as always that was something wonderful to watch. Keep practicing and I’ll see you on Thursday." The woman the voice belonged to shut off the CD player and began to load it with the CDs she needed for her next class. The beginners were always her favorites. Just a small amount of success would replace the apprehensive looks she was seeing now with beaming smiles. The advanced classes hardly needed her help at all; it was the beginners that made the most of her teaching skills, and Lil had to admit that she loved a challenge.

The advanced dancers were clearing out and the beginners were left milling aimlessly around the room.

"Ok everyone. Beginning ballroom is next so if your looking to boot scoot boogie," this was directed to the couple in jeans, boots, and cowboy hats, "that’s down the hall. My name is Lillian Patterson."

With a good-natured chuckle, the couple left and Lil was faced with a row of men and women. As usual there were more women than men, and only one man who didn’t seem to be with a wife or significant other.

"Those who already have a partner line up on the left, anyone who needs a partner grab from whoever’s left, ok? Perfect."

Erin turned to Nita, who was, as always, talking to the only unattached man in the room. Nita turned to Erin and said, "Do you mind if I pair up with him?" Nita’s eyes were pleading. Erin looked into those eyes, amazed at first and then rueful. She had never been able to resist her best friend, "No, I don’t mind. But you owe me big."

"You’re simply the best."

"I know, I know."

While this exchange had been going on, the other unpaired women had paired up and Erin realized that she was the only one left without a partner.

"Guess you’re the unlucky person who gets to be my guinea pig." The low voice rumbled into Erin’s ear. "Ready to demonstrate?"

"Uhm…" Erin stammered, still reacting to that voice in her ear. "I’m really new at this, maybe you should use someone else."

"Honestly, you’ll be fine. Trust me."

Against her better judgement, and her irrational fear of being the center of attention at any time, Erin found herself agreeing.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the first step to learning how to dance together is to learn how to move together. So, I want you all to form two lines facing one another. Men, put your left hand on your partner’s waist. Ladies, your left hand goes on his shoulder. Your right hands should be clasped together like this." Lil placed her hands on Erin and Erin reciprocated. "By the way, what’s your name?"


"Nice to meet you, Erin. Call me Lil."

"Nice to meet you too, Lil."

Lil looked around and saw that everyone was paired correctly, she released Erin to assist a few couples, then returned.

"Ok, everyone ready? Good. Now, I want you all to walk around the room. No pattern to follow; just make it up as you go. Gentlemen, it’s your job to keep the lady from hitting anything or anyone. Indicate turns with pressure from whichever hand is in the direction you want to go. Left hand, left turn; right hand, right turn." Lil demonstrated with Erin as she spoke.

"Alright then, let’s begin." Lil started some music and watched as the couples began moving around the room. Lil took Erin’s hand and they followed suit. Soon, Lil looked down at Erin, smiled and said, "So, why are you taking ballroom dance lessons?"

Erin looked up from her feet, "What? I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, I was concentrating."

"I know." Lil replied. "Stop. Pay attention to your partner, not your feet." She raised her voice, "That goes for the rest of you too. Don’t look at your feet, look at your partner and what’s beyond your partner’s shoulder. Ladies, you may have to tell your partner to move if you see someone coming."

Looking back to Erin, "I asked you why you’re taking ballroom dance lessons."

"Because of my brother actually. My parents are throwing themselves a 25th wedding anniversary party and they want to dance. My brother was giving me a hard time about showing me up on the dance floor, so I asked my friend Nita to help me learn. It was her idea to come here. She said it was the best dance school in the county."

"Wow! I’m flattered. I’ll have to thank your friend." For more than the recommendation Lil thought, then added, "This is my school."

"A few minutes ago, I would have said you wouldn’t have the chance to thank her."

"Why not?"

"Cause I was going to kill her for getting me here and then dropping me to partner up with a guy and leaving me as the odd man out."

"And now?"

"Now…I may have to thank her myself." Erin said quietly, looking up into the warm, blue eyes of her partner.

They continued to move around the floor in silence, eyes locked, when suddenly, Nita and her partner bumped into them.

"Sorry." Nita said grinning at Erin.

"No problem." Lil replied with a quick glance around the room at the other couples. Some teacher I am, she thought, this is supposed to be a lesson on avoiding other couples on the dance floor and I let someone run into my partner.

"What’s wrong?" Erin asked, seeing the faintly disgusted look on Lil’s face.

"Nothing." Lil said sheepishly as she told Erin what she had been thinking. "But," she defended herself, "I had a very good reason for my lapse in concentration."

"Oh really, what?"

"Your eyes."

"Oh." Erin was left quite speechless at the thought.

Fortunately, the music chose that moment to end and Lil clapped her hands, stepping away from Erin and over to the stereo to turn it off.

"Very nicely done. Now on to something a bit harder, your first dance."

There were a few muffled groans and many anxious glances tossed Lil’s way.

"Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll all do fine. We’ll start with a basic box step. So called because you move your feet in a box pattern. Lil reached out to Erin, "Ok, everyone watching? Erin, I’m going to move my right foot forward, so you need to move your left foot back. On one, one." Lil moved forward and Erin took a step back.

"Good. Now the same with the other foot." Erin and Lil moved together. Lil dropped her hands saying, "Ok, everyone try it."

When all of the couples had completed the step Lil said, "Congratulations, you have just danced the first step. That is always the hardest one." A soft laugh fell from Lil’s lips and it was echoed around the room.

"Now for the rest. Once you have completed the first step back, you move to the side. Ladies to the right, men to the left; that way you both move in the same direction." Lil demonstrated and Erin followed. "The key is to move together." Lil looked at Erin, "Again." She said and this time they moved together. "Great. After you move to the side you repeat the first step in reverse, then slide back to your starting point, and you have created a box on the floor." Lil looked into Erin’s eyes, "Ready?"

Erin nodded and Lil smiled reaching for her hands once again. Slowly, Lil guided Erin through the step twice, they moved together perfectly.

"Now, the rest of you." Lil danced Erin around the room watching the others. After a few minutes she made it over to the stereo and started it. "Watch this." Lil whispered.

Erin looked at Lil quizically. As the first strains of music were heard every single person in the room stopped, looking remarkably like grandma must have just before she got run over by a reindeer. Erin was only barely able to clap her hand over her mouth in time to stop the giggle from emerging.

"Happens every time." Lil whispered, her lips a hair’s breath away from Erin’s ear.

The urge to giggle was quickly replaced with far more primal urges that caused the ear in question to turn a light shade of red as Erin blushed from her thoughts. Thankfully, Lil didn’t seem to notice as she directed her attention back to the class.

"Don’t look so frightened everyone. You were all doing so well that I thought it was time to add the next element, music. Do you hear what I hear? That strong beat? I chose this piece because of it." Lil began lightly clapping her hands in time with the music. Slowly she began to see others picking up the beat. Soon she saw that most everyone was following the beat.

"Very good, now all you have to do is move your feet to that beat." Lil took Erin’s hand again and slowly started the steps again. Soon, she saw Erin’s friend Nita and her partner begin to follow them. One by one, the other pairs began to dance.

Erin was thoroughly enjoying the lesson, even though Lil had to stop every now and then to help someone with their form.

"You are doing very well you know." Lil said as she returned to Erin once again.

"Actually, I was just thinking that my ‘skill’ had more to do with my partner. I don’t think I would be doing this well with my best friend as my partner."

"It is true that a good partner can make a difference; however, trust me, as a teacher I can tell that you are a natural."

"Well, thanks. I was wondering something."

"Hold that thought." Lil had noticed the time and the fact that her music was running out. She clapped her hands to get everyone’s attention, "Congratulations ladies and gentlemen. You have just completed your first lesson. You all did a great job. I look forward to seeing you next week. Until then, practice. You won’t improve if you don’t practice. If you don’t have a partner to practice with, practice in front of a mirror. See you all next week then," Lil was immediately surrounded by students thanking her, asking her questions, and commenting on the class. She looked out over the crowd to see Erin talking to her friend. Catching her eye, Lil mouthed, "Wait for a minute?"

Erin nodded and turned back to catch what Nita was begging for now.

"So, can you?"

"I’m sorry Nita, I didn’t catch that. Can I what?"

"No problem, teacher’s pet." Nita teased, "Can you get a ride home? Earl asked me to go get a cup of coffee with him. I really want to go, but I know that you need to get home."

That’s ok Nita. I can call home and have them send the car for me if nothing else."

"You’re the greatest, Erin."

"I know, and you owe me again." The room was starting to clear out as the students finally left.

"I’ll call you tomorrow?" Nita said as she walked over to the door where Earl was waiting.

"Sounds good. Have fun, be safe. Goodbye Earl."

"I will." Nita said and she and Earl left with a wave.

Erin made her way over to Lil, who had gone over to the CD player to start packing up even though she was still fielding some questions. When the last student left, Erin stepped up to Lil.

"Do you have another class tonight?"

"Nope, you guys were the last group. I don’t have another class until Monday."

"I was wondering if you give private lessons. That 25th anniversary party is coming up pretty fast and I want to be ready."

"Sure, if you want to come down to the office I can give you the schedule or…"


"We could go to the diner next door, get a cup of hot chocolate, and I could tell you the schedule."

"Hot chocolate?" Erin asked, surprised.

"Do you like hot chocolate?"

"I love it. I was just surprised. Most people would have suggested coffee."

"I don’t like coffee, never have. I’ve always loved the smell, but…"

"I can’t stand the taste." Erin finished.

"Right. So, are you interested?"

"Absolutely." In more than coffee, Erin thought.

"Great. Let me just grab my things and lock up the building."

Lil shut the lights off in the room and then checked the other rooms as they walked down the hall to the office. As they entered the office, Lil went to get her bag while Erin took the opportunity to look around the office. There were quite a few trophies along one wall. Erin looked closer and saw that they all had Lil’s name on them, but that there weren’t any trophies from recent years. In fact, the most recent one was five years old.

I wonder why she hasn’t been in any competitions lately? Erin thought. Maybe she has been and just hasn’t won you goof. Although I find that hard to believe, she moves so well.

As if to confirm these thoughts, Lil chose that moment to reach down and retrieve her back from the bottom drawer of the desk, giving an extremely good view of more than Lil’s moves. Wooo, is it getting warm in here? Erin thought, fanning herself with her hand.

Lil looked over at that moment and caught Erin’s motion. "Sorry, it’s a little warm in here."

"No! It’s ok. Just a bit warm to have a jacket on, but I know I’ll need it when we go outside, it’s like a winter wonderland out there."

"That’s for sure. I can’t believe how much the weather has changed in the last week. Is it always like that here?"

"Most years, yes. Although this year I think the snow and cold have arrived a bit sooner. Is this your first year here then?"

"Yes. I moved here from Nevada this summer."

"Where in Nevada?"

"Las Vegas."

"Really! Were you a showgirl?"

"As a matter of fact, yes."

"Wow! Where did you work?"

"The MGM Grand." During this conversation they had moved outside and across the street to the diner.

"I’ve been there. A friend of mine works for Ballys."

"That’s a nice place."

"How long did you work at the Grand?"

"For about 4 years."

"What made you decide to move here?"

"I got tired of all the late nights and it was getting to be too hard for these old bones."

"Old bones!? You’re kidding me right? You can’t be that old. You don’t look any older than I am."

"How old is that?"

"I’ll be 30 next month."

"Oh no, the big 3-0!" Lil said with a grin.

"I know. Tragic isn’t it?"

"Tell me about it. I reached it 3 years ago."

"Well, 33 is not old."

"It is in dancing years. Doing 2 shows a night, 6 nights a week can really take its toll."

"I imagine so. My job isn’t nearly that difficult and I’m worn out by the end of the week."

"What do you do?" The waitress arrived to take their order.

"Sorry to keep you waiting ladies. What can I get you?"

"No problem." Lil replied, "It sure is busy in here."

"Always is at this time of night lately. When the classes let out across the street, the students come here for coffee. It’s been great for tips, but it sure makes for a busy night."

"Glad to hear it’s going well. We’d like some hot chocolate."

"Coming right up." The waitress left.

Lil looked back to see Erin staring at her, a look of disbelief evident on her face.


"You didn’t tell her."

"Tell her what?"

"That you own the school that has given her such good business."

"Why would I do that?"

"For the credit."

"Why would I get credit for that?"

"Lil, this diner probably hasn’t ever had the kind of business it’s had since your school opened up. You’re probably the only reason this place is still open. Don’t you want the credit for that?"

"Of course not. I’m just glad they’re doing well. It’s nice to have this place so close. A lot of my lunches come from here."



"That attitude is just so different from what I’m used to hearing. Most people I know would have made sure that the waitress knew that they were the owner of the school and expected free hot chocolate just for having the graciousness to open their school next door."

"That’s silly. I’d be glad for them to know that I own the school in the interest of fostering good relations with my neighbors, but I certainly wouldn’t expect anything else."

"Well believe me that’s a rarity in my world."

"You never did answer my question. What do you do?"

The waitress delivered their hot chocolates so Erin waited for her to leave before responding, "I work at a shelter."

"The people at the shelter are always trying to get credit for things?"

"No! Not the people who use the shelter, the people who fund it. I am in charge of fundraising. The only people I ever get to talk to want recognition. If they donate money, they want their name mentioned somewhere. If they donate a piece of playground equipment it has to have a plaque with their name on it somewhere."

"I can see where you would start to think that everyone wants credit. Why do you do it?"

"Mainly because I’m good at it. I am really good at getting people to donate. I also really like being able to help people, even if all I can do is earn money."

"I’m sure that any help is appreciated."

"So…" Erin brought the conversation around to the reason they were in the diner. "What does your schedule look like for private lessons?"

"What works best for you? I only teach a few evening classes a week. Most of my days have some free time although I do spend a lot of time at the nursing homes and some time at the schools too."

"My job is pretty flexible so I’m available anytime."

"How about tomorrow morning? We could have the lesson at about 10:30?"

"Sounds like a plan."

"I suppose I should let you get home." Lil remarked, "I noticed the waitress waiting with our bill a few minutes ago and I think they are getting ready to close up.

Erin looked at her watch and started in surprise. "No wonder! It’s after midnight."

"I had no idea it was so late." Lil stood up and placed a few bills on the table to cover their tab along with a healthy tip.

"Thanks." Lil said to the waitress as they headed towards the door.

"No, thank you!" The waitress smiled as she picked up the bills.

"What do I owe you?" Erin asked once they were outside.

"Don’t worry about it. Next time you can buy."

"Will there be a next time?"

"I’d like to think so."

"Me too."

"Can I walk you to your car?" Lil asked.

"Yes. No! Oh shoot."

"What’s wrong?"

"My car."

"What about it?"

"It’s not here. I came with Nita."

"How were you going to get home?"

"I told Nita I’d take a cab, but I don’t think they’re running anymore."

"I would bet that they run until the bars close. I have a better idea though. I’ll drive you home."

"I couldn’t ask you to do that."

"It’s a good thing you’re not asking then isn’t it? I’m offering. C’mon, I have to drive myself home anyway."

"Ok, if you’re sure it’s no trouble."

"No trouble at all." Of course, Lil wasn’t planning to mention the fact that home for her was an apartment above the school. She wasn’t quite ready for the night to end and if all she could get was the car ride to Erin’s house, she would take it.

"Great." Erin really hadn’t been looking forward to waiting for a cab, and she definitely didn’t want to call home for the car this late at night. Their driver, Roger, would’ve been happy to come and get her, but Erin hated to make him do that and she didn’t really want to wait out on the street this late at night. Of course, the extra benefit to Lil driving her was getting to spend a few more minutes with the lovely woman.

Erin was glad to follow Lil back across the street and into the garage behind the school building.

"It must be nice having a garage to park in."

"Yeah, I like not having to park on the street. Especially when the classes are in session at night. I’m glad I don’t have to take up a parking space that my students could use."

"Wooo, nice car." The garage door had opened to reveal a 1965 corvette.

"Thanks. I’ve had this car for years. I found it on a lot out in Vegas. The owner had to sell it to pay off some gambling debts so I got a really good deal. That’s another reason I’m glad for the garage. I can keep her in here for the winter. I don’t really want to drive it now that the snow has started falling and they’ve started putting salt on the roads. One of these days I’ll have to take the time to find a winter vehicle to drive."

"Yeah, you don’t want to be going over the river and through the woods sliding sideways because you have no traction. You know I have a cousin who works at the local car dealership. If you’d like I could take you over there sometime."

"That would be great. Which way?"


"Which way to your house?"

"Oh, sorry. Turn left."

The next bit of time was silent except for the directions Erin gave. All too soon they were pulling up the long driveway to Erin’s parents house.

"Pull around to the side of the main house. I rent the guest house in the back."

"For a minute there I thought you lived in the mansion." There was a definite note of relief in Lil’s voice.

"Would it be a problem if I did?"

"Noo, I guess not." Lil could tell that Erin was not convinced.

"Lil, I don’t live in the mansion but my parents do. I do rent the guest house from them but the only reason they take any money from me is because I insist on it. My fundraising job is really more of a volunteer thing. I draw money from a trust fund my aunt set up for me years ago. The reason I’m such a good fundraiser is because I know a lot of rich people and they know me. Look, would you like to come in? I’d like to talk about this some more and to be completely honest I don’t want this to be over yet."

"I don’t want it to be over yet either."

"I sense a but coming."

"But, I think I’d better be going home. It’s late and, honestly, I need to process this information."

"Ok. Can I just say something before you go?"

"Of course."

"I’m interested in you. I think that there’s something between us that could grow into something very special. I hope you’ll give us that chance."

"I’m interested in you too. But you have to admit, it’s a bit of an adjustment. It’s not everyday I meet someone intelligent, beautiful, rich and able to dance without stepping on my feet." Lil smiled.

"I never thought I would be able to ballroom dance, even a little bit, so my skills must be because of the teacher." Erin finally dragged herself out of the car. "Now I’d really better get going too. I have some calls that I need to make in the morning. I’ll see you at 10:30 though, right?"

"I’m looking forward to it."

"Thanks for the hot chocolate." Erin said still trying to prolong their time together.

"You’re very welcome. Maybe we can do lunch after your lesson?" Lil was just as reluctant to leave.

"That would be great, and if you have time we could go to my cousin’s car dealership in the afternoon?"

"That should work for me. I don’t think I have anything scheduled."

" Ok then." Erin backed away from the car towards her front door. "See you tomorrow."

"You bet. Sweet dreams."

"You too." Erin felt the door at her back and reluctantly turned to open it. When she had the door open, she took a look back to where Lil was still sitting in her car. With a wave, Erin walked in and closed the door behind her. Peering through the small window in the door Erin saw Lil’s return wave before she started her car and drove down the driveway to the street and back home.

Lil drove away from the mansion back to the school thinking about the woman she had just left behind. She couldn’t quite understand why she felt as if she was leaving a piece of herself back behind that door, but that was how she felt nonetheless. Lil wasn’t used to feeling like this, and she had never felt so much so fast before in her life. She had been attracted to other women in the past and had even had her share of relationships, but those feelings paled in comparison to what she was already feeling for Erin. Holding her while they danced had felt so perfect, as if they were made to fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. Lil was a tall woman, almost 6 feet, with jet black hair and clear blue eyes. Erin wasn’t short, but at 5’6" she was short enough for the top of her head to tuck nicely under Lil’s chin. Even though they hadn’t actually danced that close, Lil knew that other parts of their bodies would fit together just as well. (Erin’s blond hair and green eyes were also nice compliments to her own.) Lil’s heart started to pound at the thought of Erin’s body pressed so closely to her own in an entirely different type of dance, one that involved far less clothing than your typical ballroom required. Thankfully, the streets were deserted and Lil was able to make it home without getting into an accident from her own distracting thoughts.

Once she was lying in her bed, other thoughts that weren’t nearly as pleasant kept her from getting to sleep. After a lot of tossing and turning, Lil made the decision to tell Erin why the thought of her wealth made her so nervous. Lil just hoped that Erin would understand. Decision made, she was finally able to go to sleep.

Across town in her comfortable bed, Erin was already lost in dreams of a tall, dark-haired woman dancing her around a magnificent ballroom and on to other, more private rooms, when the music stopped.

The next morning, Erin arrived at the school for her lesson. She went to Lil’s office, but she wasn’t there. Since she was a bit early, Erin wandered around peering into classrooms. She didn’t see Lil, but there was another teacher preparing for a class.

"Hello." Erin introduced herself. "Can you tell me where to find Lil?"

"May I ask why?"

"I’m Erin Lucas. I have a lesson with Lil this morning. I’m a little early."

"Ok. I’m Kate, one of the teachers here. I think Lil is upstairs."


"Yeah. She told me earlier that she had some calls to make and went to her apartment to make them."

"Her apartment? Here?"

"Yep. Right above the school. Pretty handy if you ask me. A little noisy during the evenings, but otherwise it’s a pretty nice apartment. Go through that door and up the stairs. It takes up the whole floor.

"Thanks." Erin replied and went through the door Kate had indicated.

"Interesting." Kate mused as she watched the cute blond disappear through the door. "In the 5 months I’ve worked here Lil’s never given any private lessons, even though plenty of students have asked for them."

Erin walked up the stairs and found herself standing in what appeared to be the living room of Lil’s apartment. There were pictures on the walls of Lil with numerous celebrities. There were also some paintings that seemed to leap off the walls, their colors were so vibrant. She walked over to one and looked at the signature, but she didn’t recognize the artist.

"I know mom, I know. Believe me, I’m doing the best I can." Lil came walking out of one of the back rooms, a cordless phone to her ear and the shirt she had yet to put on in her other hand. "In fact," she said to the phone as she noticed Erin across the room. "Things are looking better by the minute. Mom? I’ve got to go. I have a lesson to give. What? I do to give private lessons." A blush started crawling up Lil’s body. Erin happily watched it crawl up the long expanse of still exposed skin.

"Mom, I’ve really got to go. No I can’t make the student wait. Because she’s standing about 10 feet from me and I’m standing here in my bra while you keep me talking! I’ll call you later, ok? Love you too. Bye." Lil shut the phone off and tossed it onto the couch nearby.

"Hi. Sorry I’m late."

Erin didn’t answer. She couldn’t. Her eyes and brain were frozen on the semi-clad woman standing in front of her.

"Erin?" Lil suddenly realized why Erin wasn’t answering and quickly pulled her shirt on.


"Not a problem, believe me."

"Ok. Uhmm…Should we go down for your lesson?"

"In a minute. I just want to ask you something first."


"Exactly how many miles is it from the school to your house?"

"Ok, ok I’m busted. I live here. I didn’t have to get the car out to drive home last night. I just didn’t want the evening to be over yet. Besides, if I had left I would have just had to look out my window and watch you until you were safely in a cab. The only other option would have been to invite you up here until you could get a cab and I think that would have been dangerous for both of us. Right?"

"Hmm." Erin was busy visualizing what could have been. "Oh. Right. Dangerous. Absolutely."

"Right. So, would you like the nickel tour before we go to your lesson?"

"Sure. Sounds good."

Lil showed Erin the kitchen, bedrooms, office, and bathrooms then they came back to the living room. "And this is the living room."

"Is it strange having the stairs come right out in your living room like this?"

"Actually, no. I like having this area all open."

"What about uninvited guests?"

"It usually isn’t a problem. The staff knows not to let anyone up here unless I tell them I’m expecting someone, and when I’m downstairs I keep it locked. I rarely come up here during the day. The only reason I was here today was because I had a call to make. Then I spilled some orange juice on my shirt and had to change. I was in the middle of that, obviously, when my mom called. I’m surprised Kate even let you up."

"Well, she did seem a bit shocked when I told her I was here for a private lesson."

"I’m sure she was. My mom was a bit surprised too."


"I knew you’d ask that." Lil mumbled. "Truth be told, I don’t usually give private lessons." Lil said coming over to stand next to Erin. "In fact, in the 5 months that I’ve owned this place, I’ve never given anyone a private lesson." Lil was standing close to Erin now, their bodies nearly brushing against each other.

"So, I’m the exception to the rule?"

"You are definitely exceptional." Lil leaned even closer to Erin and their lips were a breath apart when the phone’s jarring ring sounded from the couch.

"Damn." Lil muttered harshly.

"Ignore it." Erin pleaded.

"I shouldn’t." Lil replied moving impossible closer.

"Please." Their breath mingled.

Lil was barely resisting the temptation those lips represented and the plea from Erin pushed over the edge. She brought their lips together in the softest of kisses. Of course, that gentle brushing wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy either of them. This time it was Erin reaching her arms up, lacing her fingers in the long, black hair, and pulling Lil’s head down to her waiting mouth, crushing their lips together passionately. Lil’s tongue sought and gained entrance to Erin’s mouth. The kisses went on and on, neither wanting to break apart for even the slightest of necessities. The phone ringing again barely penetrated Lil’s consciousness, but the insistent voice on the answering machine was impossible to ignore.

"Lil? Lil, pick up the phone." The voice was Kate’s from downstairs. "Lil, the police are here and they want to speak with you. Please pick up!" Kate’s voice was reaching panic levels.

Lil dragged her lips from Erin’s and bent them both sideways so she could grab the phone off the couch. Still holding Erin close, Lil rested her chin on Erin’s head, blew out a heavy, calming breath, and clicked on the phone.


"Oh thank god! Lil, the police are here. They’re demanding to speak to you. I told them you were unavailable, but they said they would wait. What should I do?"

"Calm down Kate. You did the right thing. Don’t worry. I’ll be down in just a minute, Ok?"

"Ok." Lil could hear Kate taking a few breaths and she did the same, trying to calm her racing heart so she could think clearly.


"Yes Kate."

"I’m really sorry I had to interrupt your ‘lesson’. How was it going?" Lil swore she could picture the sly look of innocence on Kate’s face. She looked down at the woman in her arms. Erin was also trying to calm her racing heart. As she felt Lil’s gaze, she looked up and smiled. Lil smiled back and said, "It was going just fine thanks, but I think we’ve reached a point where we can take a break." Erin nodded her agreement and Lil continued, "Tell the officers that I’ll be with them shortly, Ok?"

"Ok. I will."

Lil hung up the phone and put it back on the couch. She looked down at Erin, still nestled comfortably in her arms.

"So," Erin said, "Lessons over huh?"

"I guess so… unless?"

"Unless what?"

"Unless you’d like to wait. We talked about having lunch. I’m sure it won’t take long to talk with the police."

"Do you know why they want to talk with you?" Curiosity was evident in Erin’s tone.

"I have a pretty good idea. Look, Erin."

"You don’t have to tell me anything."

"That’s just it. I want to tell you. I just can’t right now. I really need to get downstairs and talk to these guys so it can be over with. Would you like to wait up here?"

"Sure. Go on and talk so you can get back to me."

"Thanks." Lil bent her head down and kissed Erin. What was meant to be a simple goodbye kiss became much more very quickly. Lil finally had to drag her lips from Erin’s and take a step away.

"See you in a bit?"


Lil walked over to the stairs and looked back at Erin. "Dangerous." She muttered as she went down the stairs and out of Erin’s sight. Erin heard the door open and shut at the bottom of the stairs as she sank onto the cushions of the couch.

"Absolutely. Whew." Erin fanned herself with her hand. "I wonder what Lil has in the kitchen." She figured she might as well make something for lunch rather than having to go out when Lil was finished.

"Let’s see." Erin must aloud, looking at the meager contents of Lil’s refrigerator. "Not much to work with, that’s for sure. No wonder most of her lunches come from next door." There was enough to make a salad and some nice sandwiches. "That’ll do. That way if Lil takes longer than she thought, nothing will be spoiled."

While Erin was figuring out lunch, Lil had gone to her office correctly assuming that Kate had told the officers to wait there.

Before opening the door to the office, Lil took a deep breath and pasted a smile on her face. "Good morning gentlemen. My associate told me you wanted to speak with me?" Lil said as she walked into the room. She was quick to note that both officers had been investigating the contents of her office. One officer was looking at her trophies and pictures while the other was perusing the items on her desk, with his hands conspicuously in his pockets to show that he wasn’t touching or moving anything. This officer was the one in charge, Lil could tell, and he was the one to speak.

"Miss Patterson?"


"Oh yes, of course. Mrs. Patterson, my name is Jerry Williams and this is my partner Chris Rios. We’re with the Las Vegas Police Department."

"You’re a long way from home."

"So are you, Mrs. Patterson."

"This is my home now."

"Yes, for the last 5 months if my information is correct."

"It is."

"If you don’t mind my asking, why did you leave Las Vegas?"

"My husband had recently been killed and I needed a change."

"I’m sorry to hear of your loss."

"Thanks, but my loss is the reason you’re here, right."

"That’s right. He was killed in a car accident, correct?"

"Well, if you consider an explosion an accident. Then yes, he was."

"You don’t think it was an accident?"

"No, I don’t. My husband was involved with a lot of not so nice men officer. He was very rich and these men were the ones who helped him get that way. I think that he either got too greedy or too stupid and one of those men killed him."

"Your husband left everything to you, but you didn’t take it. When you left Vegas all you took was your car and money from your own savings account. Why?"

"The money wasn’t mine to take. I left it for Bill’s kids. They deserved it more than I did. They had to put up with him all their lives, I only put up with him for the last 3 years of it."

"Do you have any idea who killed your husband?"

"No, I don’t. As I said, Bill worked with a lot of men who weren’t always operating within the law."

"Who were those men?"

"I don’t know any names."

"Are you saying that you never met any of these men? Never had them over for dinner? Never went out for business dinners with them?"

"That’s what I’m saying."

"Your husband never took you with him to meet any of those men?"

"My husband and I weren’t very close." Lil could tell that the officer wanted to ask her more about that, but didn’t quite know how.

"Well then Mrs. Patterson, if you think of anything that might help us figure out who killed your husband, please give me a call." He handed her a card and with a nod to his partner, left the building.

Lil glanced at the card, put it in her pocket, and headed towards the door to her apartment. She had just reached for the knob when Kate’s voice stopped her.


"Yes Kate?"

"Is everything ok?"

"Yeah, everything’s fine. What do we have scheduled for this afternoon?"

"Nothing unusual. Just our regular classes."

"Good. I’m going to be out this afternoon, but I’ll have my cell with me if you need me for anything."

"Fine. Have a nice time." Kate teased.

"What?" Lil asked with an arched brow.

"Oh nothing."


"Is Erin going with you?"

"As a matter of fact she is."

"Oooh, then I know you’ll have a good time."

"We’re just going to lunch and then she’s taking me to look for a winter vehicle."

"Of course she is."

"What! Her cousin owns a car dealership."

"I know. Her family owns a lot of things around here."

"You know her?"

"Everyone in this town knows her. She does a lot of good work for the shelter and other charities throughout the year."

"Would being friends with someone rich bother you?"

"Friends, no. More than friends? Maybe."

"What do you mean, maybe?" Lil walked over to one of the chairs placed in the hallway and motioned to Kate to do the same.

"I guess if the person was really obvious about having more money than I do it would bother me."

"How do you mean?"

"If they paid for everything, drove a flashy car, and made sure that everyone knew they had money; that would bother me. On the other hand, if they let me pay what I could and weren’t always trying to impress me or others with how much money they had, I think someone like that I could deal with."

"I never really thought about it like that. Thanks Kate."

"Anytime. Have a good afternoon."

"I will." Lil stood and went to the door of her apartment. "Thanks again." She said as she went through and up to her apartment. When she reached the top of the stairs, Erin was nowhere in sight.


"In the kitchen."

Lil walked into the kitchen and saw the lunch Erin had laid out.

"What’s this?"

"I figured this would be easier than going out somewhere. Besides, I wasn’t sure how long you would need. This way we can get to my cousin’s quicker."

"That was really nice of you, and good thinking too. You didn’t have to go to such trouble though."

"It was no trouble, really. I like to cook. Although there really wasn’t much cooking involved here. It’s just a salad and sandwich fixings."

"Looks great to me."

"Cool. Let’s eat then."

Lunch was extremely pleasant and soon they were heading out of the school to go find a car for Lil. Lil and Erin drove to the dealership in Erin’s car.

"This is a nice vehicle. What is it?"

"It’s a Dodge Durango. I like it for driving in the winter. I have a car that’s more fun for driving during the summer months though."

"Oh really? What do you drive then?"

"A Dodge Stratus."

"Let me guess. Your cousin owns a Dodge dealership."

"Right the first time."

"Glad to see you support your family."

"I like to whenever I can. Besides, Dodge’s are good vehicles and they have a really good warranty." Saying this, Erin pulled into the lot.

When they went into the showroom, Erin asked for her cousin while Lil looked at some of the cars on the showroom floor.

Erin walked up to Lil who was looking at a red Durango.

"People would really think that Santa Claus is coming to town if you drive around in this red sleigh." She joked.

"I was thinking more along the lines of Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer myself, but I see your point. I really did like riding over here in your Durango though."

"I do really like mine, but maybe a different color would be a better choice."

"I think so."

"Erin! Great to see you again." A man came up to them. "Are you thinking forward to your parent’s anniversary party?"

"Oh yeah. I can’t wait. Noel, this is my friend Lil. Lil, this is my cousin Noel Lucas the third."

"The third?"

"Yeah." Noel replied. "Our grandfather is the first Noel."

"Oh. Cool, hi Noel."

"Hi. So, what can I do for you ladies today?"

"Lil is looking for a good vehicle for the winter."

"Is price a consideration?"

"Yes and no. I want something reliable, but I need to get some financing."

"Ok then, are there any vehicles that you’re interested in?"

"I like the Durango."

"Well, we have some good ones here, both new and used. I’m sure we can find something for you." Noel took them around the showroom and out onto the lot. Lil took a few vehicles for test-drives before making her decision. An hour after they had arrived, Lil was taking Erin out for a celebratory dinner in her new black Durango. It wasn’t new, but it still had a lot of good miles in it.

"Hah. Let it snow. I’m ready for it now."

"All set for a white Christmas, huh?"

"You betcha."

"Ooh, now you’re starting to sound like a true Minnesotan."


Once they were seated at the restaurant, Lil looked at Erin, "I’d like to tell you some things."

"And I want to hear them. Let’s order and then we can talk."

"Ok." The waiter came and took their order shortly and then they were alone, or as alone as they could be in a restaurant full of people.

"Where should I start?"

"Why not start with why the idea of me having money freaks you out."

"It doesn’t, at least it doesn’t anymore."

"Really? What changed your mind?"

"You did. Well, you and Kate."


"Yeah, Kate and I had a talk before I came up to lunch."

"About me?"

"Not really about you, mostly about being friends with people who have money."

"What did she say?"

"She just pointed out that there are two kinds of people with money. Those who flaunt it and those who don’t."

"And which one am I?"

"I know that you’re one that doesn’t."

"I’m glad you feel that way. I would hate for my trust fund to come between us."

"I would hate for that to happen too, but there is another reason for the way I reacted to your money and I am very scared that this one might come between us."

"What is it?"

"It’s kind of hard for me to talk about."

"Take your time, but believe me when I say that I don’t think there is anything you could say that would change the way I am feeling about you."

"My husband was very rich too."

"Your husband!? But… I thought? I mean? When we kissed this morning, that felt real." Erin slumped back in her chair, totally thrown by what Lil had said.

"Oh no! Erin, don’t even think that way. Not even for a second. That kiss this morning was the most real I have ever felt. Please believe me."

Erin looked into Lil’s eyes and saw the sincerity there. A twinkle appeared in Erin’s eye, "I don’t know…married. That’s a lot to measure up to."

Lil caught the twinkle and hoped it meant what she thought. "How can I prove it to you?"

"Oh. I don’t know, you might just have to kiss me again before I’ll believe you."

"I think that can be arranged, but do you mind if we wait until we get someplace more private?"

"I think I can deal with that. So, will you tell me about your marriage?"

"Yeah." The waiter brought their meals and then left them alone again.

"I don’t know if you noticed the trophies in my office?"

"I saw them last night. The most recent one was from 5 years ago?"

"Right, a few months after that last competition my mother got very sick. You have to understand that we never had much money when I was growing up. We got by, but my dad left when I was 8. My mom had to work 2 jobs to keep things going. Even with all that, she was somehow able to send me to dance lessons and she was always able to be at my competitions. When I got out of high school I started competing professionally. I was winning most of the time, but I wasn’t making much money. When my mom first got sick I quit competing and got my job at the Grand. At first I was able to keep ahead of her bills, but then her insurance ran out and I couldn’t keep up anymore. That’s when I met Bill Patterson. He came to the Grand one night and saw me dancing. He asked to meet me afterwards and I agreed. He seemed like a very nice man and we met several more times throughout the next few weeks. I told him what was happening with my mother’s illness and he offered to help. He told me that he needed a wife. I laughed and told him that I was sure he couldn’t have any woman he wanted. He sure wouldn’t want to be married to someone like me. He told me that he didn’t want a wife in the traditional sense. In fact, all he really wanted was someone to escort to business functions and help run his house. I asked him why he didn’t just hire someone to do those things and he convinced me that a marriage of convenience would be better. It took a lot of convincing and even then I didn’t want to believe him, but then my mom took a turn for the worse. The bills that I was already falling behind on grew higher and higher and I started to get desperate. I finally agreed to marry Bill and after it was final, he paid all my bills. He even paid for the best doctors and hospitals. I’m convinced that it was this care that allowed my mom to recover."

"He sounds like an extraordinary man. What happened to him?

"What makes you think something happened to him?

"A couple of things. You said your husband was rich, not is. And, you’re not with him anymore. I get the impression that you are a woman who honors her word. You don’t strike me as the kind of person who would leave your husband after your mom recovered even if it was only a marriage of convenience."


"Just the truth as I see it."

"You’re right on both counts. Something did happen and if it hadn’t I would still be in Vegas with Bill. Why don’t we save that part of the story for a more private setting—it’s not as nice as the beginning."

"Your place or mine?" Erin asked.

"Yours if you don’t mind. I have to take you home anyway since Noel had someone drive your car there from the lot."

"One of the perks of buying from family. My place it is." Erin signaled for the check and paid. When Lil started to argue Erin said, "You paid last time, remember? You said the next one was mine, besides, we’re celebrating your new car."

"Ok, but I get the next one then."

"Deal." Erin agreed. They stepped out of the restaurant and walked across the parking lot to Lil’s car.

"Sure is a silent night tonight." Lil said.

"Yeah, and cold too. C’mon, let’s get someplace warm."

"Your wish is my command." Lil said opening the door for Erin, "Your chariot awaits."

"Thank you m’lady." Erin giggled as she got in and Lil closed the door. Lil hurried around and jumped in behind the wheel. In no time at all, they were pulling into Erin’s driveway. Lil left her car next to outside Erin’s door and they went into the warm house.

"Ah! Much better." Erin sighed as she took off her coat and sank down onto the couch in the living room.

"I take it you like being warm?"

"Warm, no. Personally I like feeling like chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The more heat the better in my book."

"So…it’s not warmth your want…it’s heat." Lil whispered the last bit into Erin’s ear as she leaned over the couch.

"Oh yeah." Erin replied weakly, "Heat is verrry good."

"Well then," Lil said, coming around the couch and pulling Erin into her arms, "maybe I can find some way to increase the heat."

"I have no doubt." Erin said as their lips met.

After a few blissful moments of kisses, Erin drew back.

"Still cold?" Lil asked.

"Are you kidding? I think I need to turn on the air conditioner." Erin stepped back. "Would you like a tour?"

"Sure." After Erin showed Lil around the small house, they ended up back on the couch with cups of hot chocolate on the coffee table in front of them.

"Feel up to telling me the rest of the story? You don’t have to you know."

"I know, but I want to tell you and I would rather just get it over with."


"Where was I?"

"You and Bill had gotten married and he had paid all your bills."

"Right. I hate to admit it but I was suckered. Bill talked a good game, but after we were married and he had paid all the bills, he changed. Once I was truly indebted to him, he became the man he had been to everyone else all his life. He was truly a bastard, in every sense of the word. The business functions he told me he needed a partner for? Never happened. All he really wanted was someone he could control. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything unless he approved it. He never hit me, but I knew that if I tried to leave there would be hell to pay. By the end, we rarely spoke and I tried to avoid him as much as possible. Thankfully, we lived in a large house. We didn’t have to see each other."


"It’s true."

"Oh, I don’t mean that I don’t believe you. I mean that it’s unbelievable that someone could hold that kind of power over someone else in this day and age."

"I owed him a lot. Heck, I owed him my mother’s life. Also, by that time I had found another reason to stay."

"What was that?"

"Bill’s kids. He had 3 kids from a previous marriage. They were all in their teens and having a hard time. One of his sons was struggling with his sexuality; the other was just trying to live up to his father’s image. His daughter was trying to find herself in a family of men and I’m glad to say I was able to help them all. We are still very close, in fact, I’m hoping they will come and visit during the holidays."

"Are they still in school?"

"William and Judith are still in high school. Jeremy is in college now."

"Who takes care of them?"

"They live with their mother’s parents. I left them all of Bill’s money so they will be able to do whatever they want to with their lives."

"What happened to their mother?" Erin was almost afraid to ask.

"She died a few years before I met Bill."

"Of natural causes?"

"Oh yes. She had cancer. From everything I have heard, Bill was actually rather nice to her in the end."

"So, what happened to him?"

"Bill was killed in an explosion."

"An explosion!"

"His car exploded on his way to work one morning. It must have been on a timer or something because it didn’t explode right away. He was almost halfway to work when it happened. He died instantly."

"Is there any idea about who did it?"

"That’s why the police were here this morning. They are trying to find out what happened. I told them that I didn’t have any idea who might have killed Bill, but Bill did business with a lot of people who could have wanted him dead. I told them everything I know and I hope that will be the end of it. I wanted you to know, especially if we are going to get to know each other better. I hope I haven’t ruined any chance of that happening."

"Of course not. If anything I’m even more impressed with you than I was before."

"I’m glad. On that note, I’d better get going."

"Do you have to work tomorrow?"

"There are some classes scheduled and I am going to the nursing home in the afternoon. Other than that, I don’t have anything going on."

"Other than that, hmm? That sounds like quite a bit to me. Do you think you could squeeze some time into that schedule for a private lesson?"

"That would depend on who the student was."


"I think that can be arranged." Lil replied leaning over to kiss Erin.

"Good. I really do need to learn how to ballroom dance." Erin said. "By the way, are you going home for the holidays?"

"I wasn’t planning on it, why?"

"I was wondering if you’d like to be my guest at my parent’s anniversary party?"

"I would like that. Are you sure it would be acceptable?"

"Of course it would. My parents know about my lifestyle and are very accepting. In fact, they would expect me to bring someone. Besides, I can’t wait to dance with you."

"If you’re sure."

"I’m sure. Now, if you’re sure you have to go…"

"I really should."

"Let me walk you to your car then." Erin said, going over to get her coat.

"No, it’s cold out there. Just walk me to the door."

"Ok." They walked to the door. "See you tomorrow?"

"You betcha."

"Good night" Erin reached up and drew Lil’s head down for a goodnight kiss.

"Good night." Lil said after a few moments, and she went out the door before she ended up staying the night.

The next few weeks went by in a blur as the holidays approached. Lil and Erin met almost daily for Erin’s dance lessons and their relationship blossomed as well. A few days after Lil bought her car she got an envelope in the mail.

"Hmm, pretty paper." She opened the envelope and found an official invitation to Erin’s parent’s anniversary party. Along with the official invitation was a handwritten note saying, ‘We hope to see you there. We know that Erin will have a blue Christmas without you there.’ "That was nice of them."

That afternoon, at Erin’s lesson, Lil showed Erin the invitation.

"They told me they were going to send you an invitation."

"I didn’t realize it was actually on Christmas Day."

"Can you still make it?"

"Oh yeah. But why then?"

"They got married on Christmas Day."

"Makes sense."

Soon, the day of the party arrived. Erin had wanted to have another lesson before getting ready for the party and even though Lil didn’t think Erin needed it she had quickly learned that she couldn’t deny Erin anything.

Lil was in her office when Erin arrived at the school for her lesson.


"Hey." Lil said getting up from the desk and coming over to enfold Erin in her arms and kiss her. "Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you too. I can hardly believe it’s Christmas Day already. The 12 days of Christmas sure have flown by this year."

"I know what you mean. It seems like just yesterday it was Thanksgiving."

"Did you tell Santa what you want for Christmas?"

"All I want for Christmas is you. Does that sound too corny for words?"

"Not to my ears. Sounds like the perfect gift to me. Although I did get you something else."

"You didn’t have to do that."

"I know I didn’t have to, I wanted to."

"Well, where is it then?"

"Actually, I took it up to your apartment before coming in here, I hope you don’t mind. I asked Kate to open the door for me."

"No, I don’t mind. In fact, that kind of leads into my gift to you."

"What did you get me?"

"No protesting about how I didn’t have to get you anything?"

"No way, I love presents. Gimme, gimme."

"Ok, hold your horses." Lil went over to her desk drawer and pulled out two boxes, one small and one larger.

"Which one should I open first?"

"Open the larger one first."

"Ok." Erin ripped open the box and saw a lovely white-gold charm bracelet. "It’s beautiful." The charms were all dance oriented.

"Now open the other one."

Erin opened the smaller box and found a key on a simple key-chain. "What is this?"

"This is the key to my apartment. I want you to feel welcome in my home and I want you to be able to come by whenever you feel like it."

"I can’t believe this."

"Unless you don’t want that?" Lil asked, suddenly feeling insecure.

"Oh I absolutely want that. I’m just a bit upset."


"Because you stole my thunder, that’s why." Erin said, pulling a small box out of her coat pocket. She handed it to Lil. "This is for you."

Lil opened the gift and found her own key.

"This is the key to my place. I want you to feel comfortable too."

"Thank you. I love it."

"I’m glad, now are you ready for the next gift?"

"You mean there’s more?

"Of course, I told you I took your gift upstairs."

"Well let’s go upstairs then."

"Great." Erin led the way to the door and took her new key out and opened the door. Before she went through though she reached up and kissed Lil. "I hope you like your gift."

"I’m sure I will." They went up the stairs, Erin making sure that Lil went first so she would see her surprise right away. As they reached the top of the stairs Lil heard, "Surprise!" and couldn’t believe her eyes. Standing in the middle of her living room were Jeremy, William, Judith, and her mom, Julia.

"How? What? What are you all doing here?"

"This lovely young lady called me last week and asked me what I was doing for the holidays. When she invited me to her parent’s anniversary party, I couldn’t refuse. Merry Christmas baby." Lil’s mom walked up and gave her a hug.

"Yeah Lil. She called Jer last week too."

"But I thought you guys were going to spend the holidays with your grandparents?"

"Hey, we see them every day. How often do we get to see you, especially now? We’ve missed you." Judith spoke for the two boys.

"Oh guys, I’ve missed you so much." Lil hugged all of them at once. "Is this why you wanted to have a lesson today?" This was directed at Erin.

"I wasn’t quite sure how else to pull this off. Now I think I will leave you guys alone to catch up." Erin started walking towards the stairs.

"You absolutely will not!" All five people spoke at the same time, then Lil continued, "You are going to stay and have lunch so everyone can get to know you better."

"If you all don’t mind?"

"Of course we don’t mind." Lil’s mom said, and that was the end of that. The rest of the afternoon was spent learning more about the woman Erin knew that she loved.

That night Lil drove everyone to Erin’s parent’s place. As they pulled into the drive, it was like pulling into a fairytale. The house was decorated for the season. There were lights all over the trees and the house. Up on the housetop there was a Santa complete with sleigh and reindeer. There was a manger scene complete with the three wise men and little drummer boy.

"This place is beautiful." Judith said, trying to look everywhere at once.

"Yes it is." Lil agreed. They pulled up to the door and got out. The valet came to the driver’s door and helped Lil out of the car. "Thanks."

"Wow!" Jeremy breathed, "You sure can pick em Lil."

"What…?" Lil started to ask; then stopped when she saw what had caught Jeremy’s eye. Erin stood at the top of the steps, a vision in a beautiful green gown that matched her eyes. The dress was amazing, but the woman in the dress was even more so. She literally took Lil’s breath away.

"You look amazing." Lil said as she made her way up the steps.

"So do you." Lil had decided to wear a tuxedo, having had more than her fill of dresses while she was competing. "You cut quite a dashing figure in that tux."

"I have to hold a candle to my breathtaking partner."

"Breathtaking?" Erin whispered.

"Mine and Jeremy’s."

"Are you ready to meet the folks?"

"As ready as I’m going to be."

"Why don’t you guys go on in? I am going to borrow this lovely lady and introduce her around."

"You two go ahead. We can entertain ourselves for awhile." Julia said.

They went into the main ballroom where Erin’s family was waiting. Her mom and dad were sitting at the front of the room, greeting their guests.

"Mom, dad? This is Lil."

"So nice to finally meet you, Lil. We’ve heard a lot about you from our Erin."

"I’ve heard a lot about you too. It’s a pleasure to finally meet the people who raised such a wonderful woman."

They spent the next few minutes chatting until the number of people waiting to talk to the guests of honor grew too large to ignore.

"I’m so sorry to have to cut our time short dear. You must come over sometime soon for dinner so we can get to know each other better."

"I look forward to it."

After meeting some other relatives of Erin’s, they sat down at a table with some supper.

"Well Erin, are you ready to be humiliated on the dance floor?" A man’s voice echoed across the room.

"Hello Rudolph."

"And who is this lovely lady?"

"This is my girlfriend, Lil. Lil, this is my brother, Rudolph."

"Nice to meet you." Lil said, trying to be polite.

"Nice to meet you too. Say, why don’t you and I ditch Erin here and go show everyone how to dance?"

"Let’s not. The only person I’m going to be dancing with is this lovely lady here." Lil said, reaching out and bringing Erin’s hand to her lips for a light kiss.

"Oh come on. Wouldn’t you rather be with a real man?"

"Rudolph?" Erin had had enough.




"Run, Rudolph, run because if I catch up with you, you are going to be leaving this party with the paramedics. Lil is my girlfriend. In fact, she is the woman I’m going to spend the rest of my life with if she’ll have me. So if you value your ‘manhood’, you’ll stop trying to hit on her or I will be forced to do something about it and I would hate to ruin mom and dad’s party."

"Fine, Geez, try to have a little fun." Rudolph continued to grumble as he finally walked away.

Erin watched him go, almost afraid to look back at Lil after her little speech. Lil took matters into her own hand though and reached our her hand to gently cup Erin’s chin and turn her back to face her. Erin finally got the courage to look into Lil’s eyes.

"Did you mean it?" Lil asked.

"With all my heart."



"Yeah, good. I would hate to be alone here."

"Will you?" Erin asked and Lil didn’t have to ask what.

"It would be an honor."

Just then the band started to play. Lil stood and held out her hand to Erin, "Shall we dance?"

"It would be my pleasure."

They walked out onto the dance floor and began to dance. Lil noticed that Rudolph had found a partner and was clumsily trying to match the music. Then she only had eyes for her partner as they glided across the dance floor and into their future.



Something wonderful (Cabaret)

Boot Scoot Boogie (Brooks and Dunn)

Perfect (Sara Evans)

Amazed (Lonestar)

Simply the best (Tina Turner)

Trust Me (Janis Joplin)

I’m Sorry (All 4 One)

Stop (Sam Browne)

Teacher’s Pet (Doris Day)

Goodbye Earl (Dixie Chicks)

After midnight (Eric Clapton)

Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics)


Return to the Contest Page

Return to the Academy