Jack’s mouth formed a smile as he veered his head around to take a look. There sat Miss Abbot with her back against the same side of the booth as his. He turned back quickly before she saw him.
Chuckling quietly to himself, he premeditated his next plan of action. He picked up his menu and glanced at the choices before speaking. “I hear the lobster is terrific tonight,” he said in a slightly raised voice.
He waited for her response. Nothing. He waited a couple seconds more while keeping one eye on the side of his booth. “Of course, the truffles and quail are to die for.”
Striking red hair filled his view first followed by inquisitive blue eyes, as she peered around the side of the booth to his side. “I wondered when you’d join me.”
Her jaw dropped and her eyes blinked as she started at the sight of him. “Jackson Tobias, what…what…” She returned to her side of the booth wall and knocked her head against the back of the seat.
Within seconds her musical laughter filled Jack’s ears. “I’m glad you find this funny,” he replied. “So, are coming over or shall I join you.” This time he poked his head over to her side.
She tried to give him a disapproving look, but a smile broke through, ruining her façade. “No, I’m doing quite fine over here, thank you very much.”
He sat back upright. “Come, Miss Abbot, we can engage in polite small talk.”
“Shh!” she called over the dividing wall. “People are starting to look.”
He chuckled again. He’d been caught doing a lot worse. A waiter approached his table the next moment. Jack ordered some dinner but as the man left, he couldn’t remember what he’d said. His mind was too full of Amelia Abbot and how he could get her to spend time with him tonight.
Before he could say more to her, a waiter addressed her. He waited as she ordered her chicken dish. The live band adjacent to the dance floor started their instruments up. With things calm once again beside each of their tables, Jack bucked up his courage to try again. Coming to his feet, he came to stand in front of her. She lifted her face upwards to look at him, her head cocked at a slight angle as if hinting she had his number.
“We agreed to be friends, remember.”
“Yes, I do remember, but what does…”
He held his hand out to her. “They’ve started the dance music. Care to?”
She eyed him wearily for a short moment and then set her small hand into his. “All right. One dance.”
“One dance,” he agreed.
“I don’t really dance.” Anxiety moved its way across her features.
“Don’t worry, I’ll lead.”
“I’m sure you will.” She rolled her eyes at him. “But, really, the only time I ever danced in public was at a friend’s younger sister’s quinceañera.”
He pulled her from her seat and led her to the other side of the restaurant. There were only a few couples dancing when they made it over there. A waltz had just begun. They stood in front of each other.
Still resisting, she added, “I was seventeen at the time.”
“The last time I danced.”
Even though she continued to appear apprehensive, she raised her hands and placed one on his shoulder. He took the other in his and set his other hand lightly around her trim waist. They were eye to eye. She really did have unusually blue eyes. He could have spent the rest of the night just staring into them and he would have been fully satisfied.
“That was a long time ago.” Her voice came out a tad breathy.
“I hear dancing is like riding a bike.” He tipped his head a bit closer to hers. “You never forget.”