The moment the band announced The Bear’s Circle, I pulled my sister-in-law up onto the dance floor with a previously unknown vigour. Janet’s surprise was visible but she said nothing. Now I just had to make sure we were standing close enough to her that we would meet before the music was over. With this number of participants, not every would get a turn with everyone else. Anyway all I’d get would be ten seconds; ten fleeting seconds to get her to notice me.
I had no idea who she was. I didn’t even know why I found her particularly attractive. She wasn’t one of the beauties Janet was trying to persuade me to ask for a dance. And she wasn’t being asked by other men very often either. There was just something about her, something that made me want to get close. Of course, I could just have gone up to her and asked her to dance. Like Janet was trying to persuade me to do with her list of eligibles. But I just know, I could never do that. I’d either freeze up or start babbling away like an idiot. So I stood in the circle, Janet to my right and counted the couples between us and her: Five. That should mean I’d get my ten second fling – in and out, in and out, circle around and swing – before handing her on to the next partner. Actually, with this band, the usual ten seconds would probably last another two or three. Not that that made any difference. If I couldn’t make my mark in ten seconds, an extra three weren’t going to help. But how was I to get her to notice me? I’d smile, of course, but that wouldn’t go far. I may even be able to put in a word, but which one? What would impress her?
We were moving by now and I’d already changed partners once. She was a good dancer. I could see her moving out of the corner of my eye. Perhaps if I spiced up the swing a bit, that would make me stand out from the rest. But she didn’t seem the type for those kind of antics. And neither was I. Besides, if I got it wrong we could both end up in a mess on the floor. A few more changes of partners and there she was on my left. Another ten seconds and she’d be dancing with me. How was I going to make them count? In and out, in and out, circle round, swing and… that’s when it happened. He must have been wanting to make an impression too, the guy before me. Just as he was about to pass her on to me, down she went. He stumbled but managed to stay on his feet. Before I knew it, I was down on one knee helping her up. With the others dancers passing us by, I waleked her over to the chairs and sat down next to her. It was only now I realised, I’d missed my chance. But I didn’t really care. For now, I had at least until the end of the dance to make my mark.Inspired by today’s author’s Write Now prompt: “You have ten seconds…”