“Well, here’s the predicament. I already told her that I wasn’t going to a sideshow that made me feel like a fool. She agreed to that and now she’s backing up on her word.”

“John, a dance is not a sideshow. And Sara’s a grown woman. You should know that you’ll do what she asks of you.”

“Hah! And I suppose I should have to listen to this just because you’re her sister? No wait, I forgot. I’m listening because you’re a woman.”

Thinking he scored some manly points on that comment, he planted a smug smile on his face.

“Don’t get smart with me, John Sidermen. I’ll fix you good like I did at Uncle Brian’s house two months ago.”

Shoot, he thought. There went the man points. He responded with the first thing that came to mind.

“Agghh!”

“Well isn’t that the typical male response. I don’t know how Sara puts up with you. First of all, you’re a male. And as if that weren’t enough, you don’t show her any respect, you never think of her first, and you won’t even go to a dance with her!”

“Now wait just a damn minute! Sara Parker is the only woman on this green earth, other than my mother, who I would willingly lay down in traffic for. There’s not one person I respect more than her.”

Frustrated with women in general, he felt a fierce frown creasing his face.

“If what Sara wants is to dance, then she’ll get more electric slides and chicken dances than she can shake a stick at.”

God, what a ridiculous comment, he thought with an inward wince. With a low growl, he bolted out of the door heading straight for Sara’s house to drag her to the dance he had no inclination to go to just minutes ago.

Angie smiled triumphantly when the door had slammed shut behind him. She’d been trying to get that slow, stubborn excuse for a man to propose to her sister for a good two months. “Maybe tonight you’ll stick that stubborn foot of yours in your mouth and finally tell her what you just told me.”

With visions of orange blossoms and white veils dancing in her head, she decided to sit back and enjoy a good book. Maybe later on she’d even take a dip in a bubble bath. Life was too short, she figured, to not enjoy some of its simplicities.
 
 
“Well aren’t you going to dance?”

Sara looked questionably at John while he fidgeted with his hands. A frown was etched deep into his face. “Sure I want to dance,” she declared softly. “But not with a man who won’t enjoy it.”

“Well you’ve got no worries then.” He was already pulling her to the middle of the dance floor. “I enjoy dancing.”

She burst out laughing when he finally looked at her. “What did Angie say to you to get you so riled up? You about knocked me dead when you showed up at my house all but dragging me to this dance.”

“Angie didn’t have anything to do with this. I just wanted to show you how much I respect you is all.”

“By dragging me to a dance?”

“Yes.” It took him a minute. “No!”

“Which is it, John?”

“Stop messing with my head! You’re just like your sister.”

“Ah. So Angie did have a part in this.”

“I make my own decisions! Your sister didn’t get me here.”

“Mmmhmmm.”

“Don’t go mmmhmmming me. Just like a woman to make a man feel stupid. They have no regard for his feelings if you ask me.”

“I didn’t realize you felt that way.” She switched to a more serious tone as they made their way around the dance floor. “Do you think I don’t care how you feel, John?”

Well hell. How am I supposed to get out of this one? he thought. Better to try the direct route and be a man.

“Do you want something to drink? I could get us something to–”

“John.” Now they both wore unpleasant frowns.

So much for the direct route, he cursed himself.

“What was the question again?” he asked grudgingly.

“Do you think I don’t care how you feel, John?” She hoped she repeated the question calmly instead of shouting it like she wanted to.

He took her into his arms and laid her head on his shoulder so he could say what he knew needed to be said. The music gently coursed through both of them as silence pressed on and time seemed to slip away. Sara almost forgot she was waiting for him to answer when he finally broke the silence.

“I love you.”

To John’s dismay, Sara just kept on dancing as if he had made a comment on the weather. Must not have heard, he thought. Better try again.

“I said I love you, Sara.”

“I know that, you bubble-headed porpoise piece of male.” This time there were tears in her voice. She thought it was too bad she didn’t care for curse words, since she could think of a few choice ones she’d like to use at the moment. “What took you so long you dumb ox?”

Caught between frustration and humor, he wasn’t sure how to respond. He knew when she started calling him an “ox” that she was struggling not to curse at him. Trying to keep the beginning of a smile out of his voice, he said “I don’t appreciate being called names. But if you insist on doing so, at least call me something more manly like a tiger or–”

“Oh shut up.” And to her surprise, he did.

“I’ve waited five months to here you say that. I’ve loved your stubborn, slow, caring and gentle, pig-headed heart for five months. And now you tell me! You stupid–”

He pulled them to a stop on the dance floor. “Now wait just a damn minute! I didn’t know that you loved me.”

“It figures you big–”

“And I’m sorry I haven’t known until now. That way I wouldn’t be making a fool of myself in the middle of a dance floor.” He cast a look downward. “I’ve been stepping all over your feet.”

Sara’s tear-filled laugh bubbled up slowly. She sometimes thought it was so unfair that she could never stay mad at him for long. “You have beautiful feet. I’ve always admired your feet.”

“Sweet mother of God. I’m glad I have something on me that you like.”

The beginning of a smirk spread out over Sara’s angelic face as she looked up at him. John’s heart did a double summersault and a few hand springs.

“God, you’re beautiful.”

She responded with a slow smile.

And that, he thought, was simply perfect.
- – -
Written by Charles Weatherhead
July 19, 2001