This is a fan fiction story based on characters from the Lonesome Dove television show, which belong to Rysher Entertainment and Hallmark. No infringement on copyrights is intended.
It was the loveliest of summer nights - perfect for the Ladies' Annual Dance.
Selina just couldn't keep indoors and her walk took her right past the Dove where the music, light and laughter spilled out the open doors.
Slowing her pace, she craned her neck slightly - moth to flame. She sighed wistfully.
Lost in her own thoughts, the low southern drawl made her jump and whirl to face its owner. "Why, Mr. Mosby ... you ... startled me."
"My apologies, ma'am." Clay smiled softly, pulling on the brim of his hat. "I assure you that wasn't my intent."
Selina returned the smile in the warm amber eyes, but the start of another dance - the melody so inviting - pulled her gaze back toward the gala.
"Are you going in?"
Selina's eyes flew back to his face as she shook her head. "Oh, no. I wouldn't be wel.... I mean, I ain't had much occasion fer fancy dancin'."
Unconsciously as she spoke, the stubborn chin raised ever so slightly. Fingers tightened on the folds of her shawl as if grasping the few tattered remnants of pride she had left. "Good evenin', Mr. Mosby." She nodded and started past him.
"Selina ... hold on there." Clay lightly touched her arm, turning her back to him. "I must say, it's been awhile since I've had the occasion to do any 'fancy dancin' myself, but I'm particularly fond of that tune and if you'd do me the honor...." Tilting his head, he proffered his arm to escort her inside.
Shock gave way to suspicion, but he appeared completely serious.
"Oh no ... I mean ... they wouldn't...."
"They?" Clay raised one brow. "My dear Selina, 'they' haven't asked you to dance. I have." Brooking no denial, he entwined her arm in his, keeping one hand firmly over her own to ensure compliance.
As they entered the Dove's foyer, conversations ceased. Clay tightened his hand over hers ever so slightly. Inclining his head, he flashed a dazzling smile. "Evenin', ladies." He nodded to Curtis Wells' "finest," but did not pause as he guided Selina towards the dance floor.
"Old cows...," he muttered in an undertone only Selina could hear.
Selina's breath constricted in her throat. Her pulse raced and her heart pounded with equal measures of apprehension and anticipation. She stole a glance at his face. Naturally arrogant, he seemed to stand a little taller tonight and there was a defiant, somewhat mischievous glint in those damnable eyes. "Why ... he's ENJOYING this, flaunting them ... kinda like going to battle or somethin'...."
But then all conscious thought ceased as they gained the dance floor and he gathered her into his arms.
Mosby looked down at her with an evil grin. "Enjoy the dance, Selina."
And then she was floating - held to earth by strong arms and amber eyes.
They walked in easy silence the few blocks to Twyla's. Nearing their destination, Selina stopped short where the full moon was unobstructed and illuminated his face.
"I wanta know one thing -- why'd ya do it?"
Clay bit back a flippant reply and met her gaze steadily. "Why did I ask you to dance?"
"Because...." He paused and raised her chin slightly with the crook of his forefinger. "Because lovely ladies should dance often...." His voice drifted away and a slight frown creased his brow as his thoughts turned inward. He regained the moment and looked down at her. "Life ... life can be ever so ... brief."
Abruptly he released her chin and continued their walk once again in silence. In a few moments, they arrived at Twyla's.
"Selina ... my offer still stands. A job at the Ambrosia...."
He was silenced by a firm shake of her head. He sighed and caught her hand, raising it to his lips. "Good night then, Miz Selina."
This time the smile never touched his eyes, and in a moment, he was gone. She watched his disappearing form and suddenly wondered which of them the night had touched more.
"Selina, honey, where ya been? We got customers waitin'. C'mon, get a move on it, you don't wanta hear about it from Twyla ... come on now."
Selina glanced down the darkened street one last time as Florie pulled her inside and once again, another door closed behind her.
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