"Well…" Nerves took over and the pair became silent. After a few minutes of just standing and not looking at or speaking to each other, Shana opened her mouth to speak, only to have Shipwreck tug her back out onto the dance floor. She looked over at her new escort for assistance.
Duke chuckled and casually looked on, enjoying her torment. Then the number ended, and a new one began…and Shipwreck kept dancing with her. Then he appeared to be trying to feel her up a bit more than she was willing to go along with. Conrad Hauser had seen enough. The hair on his neck stood stock-straight up as he approached the pair.
Shipwreck glanced over his shoulder, saw the Apocalypse Incarnate heading his way, and took off, stammering a quick apology as he did so.
Shana smiled and looked over at Conrad, who was already mostly calmed down. "My hero…" she joked. He smiled and asked, "May I have this dance?"
"I thought you'd never ask." She took the offered hand and began to dance with him.
A couple of numbers later, she glanced up into his eyes…and was captured. In those crystal blue eyes, she saw remorse, concern, affection, even love.
He was immediately aware of her noticing those feelings in his gaze, because he could plainly see, in her own eyes, the guards come down and those feelings reflected back.
He tried to speak, but his voice caught. He cleared his throat, then started again, "Shana, about earlier…I'm sorry. I shouldn't have tried to hurt you. I messed up."
"Conrad, we both messed up. Let's just forgive and forget, shall we? Bygones be bygones and all that?"
"I've got no problem with that."
Another dance ended and a new slower song began. The couple joined in the dance once more. Conrad couldn't believe how lucky he felt at that moment.
They continued to dance, neither wanting the moment to end – each wondering if there was anything better than this.
Finally, Conrad couldn't hold back any longer. He knew that this woman was the most special in the world to him. Ironically, the song ended and was replaced with Kiss the Girl from Disney's The Little Mermaid. Someone definitely had a sense of humor.
He suddenly realized that, not only had he been staring at her, but she'd been returning the stare. At that same moment, Shana smiled softly and asked, "Well? Aren't you going to?"
It took him a second, but he realized she was referring to the song's refrain – Kiss the Girl. Now, he had an obvious invitation to do so. Only a fool would pass up such a chance after waiting for it for as long as he had.
And Conrad Hauser was no fool. With the thought Carpe Diem going through his mind, he accepted the invitation…and softly kissed Shana's lips.
She was naturally surprised at first, but she certainly recovered quickly. She returned the kiss with equal fervor. Both were stunned to find that there was, in fact, something better than continuing to dance together.
When they broke for air, neither could believe what was happening. It had to be a dream.
After a few seconds, Shana softly asked, "Conrad?"
She quietly laughed and said, "This is real."
"Yes, Shana. This is real. I…I love you, Shana O'Hara."
From the way her face lit up, he wouldn't have been able to make her happier by offering to tie Shipwreck to a target on the firing range.
"I love you, too, Conrad Hauser." It was obvious to all that this was the best moment yet tonight.
The couple continued to dance until the party ended half an hour after midnight.
On the fringe of the party watching the dance floor and the new couple stood two men. Hawk glanced at the primary instigator of this plan.
"Well, Snakes, look like a success to you?"
Yes. It was obvious that he was smiling beneath his mask.
"She probably wasn't expecting him to take her up on the offer."
Duke? Do something completely spur-of-the-moment? Funny.
"Actually, I thought the whole thing was pretty funny."
About that time, Shipwreck appeared out of the crowd nearby and joined them. "Looks like it worked."
"Yes, it did. Thanks for helping, Hector. And if you catch up with Jaye, Flint, Beach Head, or Cover Girl, pass on my thanks to them, too."
Hawk glanced at Shipwreck and was surprised to see a small smile of pride in the accomplishment mixed with satisfaction at a job well-done with a touch of happiness for the newly established couple as he watched them dance.
"Hector, I think you're either drunk…or you have a huge soft side."
Shipwreck actually blushed a little and replied, "Very, very drunk, Sir," though it was quite clear that he was anything but.
He cleared his throat and muttered something about making another couple-to-be miserable as he headed toward Courtney Kreiger.
"And to think…" Hawk chuckled. "All this came about because of a accidentally printed report."
A/N: Please review if you liked it. I like to know when others enjoy reading what I enjoyed writing.