This has been floating around in my head for a few days…I have an idea of where I want to go with it…thinking maybe 2-3 chapters in all. Thank you, thank you to the creator of the Take My Hand video. I love it so much. Hope you don't mind that I used it here too…Let me know what you think!

Set sometime in the future (obviously). Post Tom, post Tom fallout, etc.

Xxx

He stares out the window as the evening light falls on the buildings below, bronzing them before fading into the trees. The glass pane runs from ceiling to floor, the night chill seeping through the barrier and permeating the burgundy of the room.

He welcomes the cold, winter being his favorite season. The season where it's already gone.

His thoughts wander, the scotch in his hand loosening his mind. He sees a glimpse of her in Montreal. Her dress black and lace and…he stops. That was the beginning. The beginning of the acknowledgement anyway. The first time he let himself go, for just a minute, with her. Let himself pretend, indulge in his fantasies.

A move that had come back to haunt him.

The sound of a jazz ensemble drifts up from downstairs. Something slow and bluesy. The song unfamiliar, yet the notes…soothing.

He takes another drink.

A movement, a flash of blue, catches his eye and he turns. His gaze meets her own and his breath catches. Her hair down and lips red, she…

For a moment the past tangles with the present and there she stands, less than steady, her red dress plummeting and flowing. On his arm. The Syrians. The effigy. He slipped that night. The words bursting forth unchecked before he could stop them. Save himself. He worried she would suspect it then, but her past, dark and convoluted had clouded her profiling that evening and she had missed it…missed the break. His lips turn up, remembering.

He has to be careful now. The slip-ups come more frequently. His ability to check them becoming…unstructured. Undone. That's why it must end. Before he breaks completely.

Lets her in, through him, to them.

He forces himself to relax and he smiles at her across the empty space. Lifts his drink and beckons her forward. No words. She understands, his Lizzie.

The happiness in her eyes lifts his spirits just as surely as it ever does…and he feels a pang of regret, sharp and cold.

He didn't plan for it to happen. Didn't know that it could. Winter and all of that. But, despite the fight, it did.

He loves her.

And because of that.

He will leave her.

Somewhere below the music stops.

Xxx

She sees him looking at her, his smile bold and practiced. Red, she has come to understand, expresses emotion only with his eyes, most of the time anyway. His other facial features props in the games he plays.

Her eyes take him in - from the smooth leather shoes to the tailored vest and shirt - then stop at his face. On second consideration she sees that his eyes are tired, not infrequent for him, and sad. Her heart catches.

Her hands move to the front of her dress and suddenly she is conscious of how he must see her. Knowing this time that the dress is for him…no guise of work tonight. He invited her here. The invitation causing her heart to jump and plummet simultaneously. Somewhere deep down her subconscious had been waiting for this…night.

"Red," the words coming out on an exhale. Breathy and foreign to her own ears. He does this to her…these days.

"Lizzie," he holds his hand out to her. Welcoming. Almost.

Downstairs the music pauses and restarts, an upbeat number. The singer delves into the melody.

"You look…"he pauses. Seems to reach for the right word.

His eyes roam over her figure. Taking their time. The crimson precursor of a blush spreading across her face.

"Is it too much?" She interrupts his contemplation, her confidence disappearing and doubt creeping in. She looks down at the deep blue dress turning and melding around her, each dip and curve evident…it wasn't something that she would normally wear…but for him…

"…beautiful," he finishes.

Her blush takes hold and she finds herself smiling back at him.

Xxx

The music swirls and sways. Smokey. Late night bars in one light towns.

He sets his glass down and closes the distance between them. Reaches to take her right hand in his left. Carefully.

His thoughts ebb and flow and he finds himself in her living room standing in front of her couch. He surprised her that night, surprised himself. Exhaustion making him weary but he…had to see her, make sure that she was…well. 'Welcome back,' she had said, and he lost himself in her gaze. Letting himself pretend the concern in her eyes was something more. The reality and the desire blurring in the dark.

His breath stumbles but she doesn't pull away. Leans into him instead of out and he sees the questions in her eyes. His thoughts unraveling his actions.

"Dance with me."

She hesitates.

"Please."

Xxx

He pulls her against his chest. A little roughly. His movements erratic, less orchestrated than the usual. She feels him press against her, feels the delicate fabric of her dress compress.

Using his left he moves her right hand to his shoulder. To the bare skin of his neck. Frees her fingers, forcing her hand there. Touching him. She feels his other hand move around her back and tighten. Palm moving this way and that. Caressing the small of her back. The curve below. Slowly. Like he wants her there…like he wants her. The thought immediate and true.

The music slows. A familiar note floats up and then the words. Wise men say…

If he notices he doesn't react.

But she does, sighs and moves into him. Lets him lead tonight, lets him have her. Their dancing small in the large room.

Xxx

Tbc…

Anyone like? I have the next chapter about halfway done…let me know!