The sound of a waltz got Sophie's attention. Drifting down the spiral stairs, she paused in mid-step and settled on a step to watch hoping that her movement didn't interrupt the moment. The couch and rug in front of the six screens had been moved to clear an empty dance space.
Parker had a familiar confused and disgruntled "Why am I doing this again?" look on her face and Hardison seemed like he wanted to flee. Eliot just looked aggravated, but that was kind of his default setting.
"C'mon Hardison," Eliot admonished, "it ain't that hard!"
"It is when your partner keeps trying to lead!" Hardison complained.
"I'm the one who knows where I'm going." Parker said matter-of-factly. "You just need to keep up." Parker slanted a look up at Hardison through her lashes and smiled impishly.
"Okay, get in position." Eliot ordered.
Both Hardison and Parker took the male dance stance. Hardison made a face and gestured at Parker indicating "See? I told you!" and Parker giggled.
"The girl, Parker…you need to be the girl!" Eliot demanded. Sighing, Eliot moved around behind Parker and moved her arms into the correct position. "Focus!" he hissed in her ear before moving away.
Sophie propped her chin on her arms as she watched the lesson continue, it was fascinating. Eliot gave nearly all of his attention to Hardison; now that Parker was cooperating she had the easier part because she simply needed to follow. But Eliot didn't stand front and center barking orders as Sophie assumed he would. Instead, Eliot hovered behind and slightly off to Hardison's right side. Every time Hardison would fidget or start to let his body loosen its position, Eliot would touch him behind his right shoulder blade and remind him to tighten up. Eliot kept a soft count of the music and prompted with a tap when Hardison had to step or turn. At the same time, Eliot was generous with is praise when Hardison stepped correctly.
Once Hardison was moving smoothly, Eliot pulled back slightly. He still circled with the dancing couple, but now his direction was verbal, not physical. Eliot's voice was soft and calming, and it occurred to Sophie that she remembered him using exactly that voice when speaking to the horse that one time. He was training Hardison like he'd train a horse. It was perfect!
Thrilled with this revelation, Sophie widened her focus and took in all three of the dancers. They were moving in a delicate pattern; Hardison and Parker were perfectly in sync as was Eliot in orbit around them. When Hardison turned them and was facing the stairs, Sophie was surprised to notice a softly tender expression on his face; another turn revealed an unusually content expression on Parker's face as well. Sophie's eyebrows raised nearly to her hairline. That was interesting.
A few moments later the music stopped and so did the dancing. Eliot was satisfied with his pupil's progress, but Hardison wasn't quite ready to let go. "You did a good job…being the girl…" Hardison began. Parker wrinkled her nose and pulled away.
Flustered Hardison continued, "You know…you the GIRL…you my girl… but you did a good job dancing as the girl…you know what I'm sayin'?"
Eliot walked past and patted Parker on the shoulder. "Good job, Parker."
"I thought so," Parker nodded in agreement as she turned toward the kitchen and began to examine the contents of Hardison's pockets that she'd lifted.
"Oh no, girl!" Hardison moaned as Parker started to walk away. "Gimme back…you know I need…" he began frantically patting his pockets. "Come on, now…my library card?"
Sophie smiled as Parker led Hardison into the kitchen. It was true, all he needed to do was learn to keep up.