A/N: I've started a series of little excerpts of scenes, moments that LMA didn't expand upon or happenings that were hinted at but never really mentioned in much detail, usually relating to Jo and Laurie, but there may be others. Anyway I love the scene when they first meet and I also love the way it's done in the 1994 movie so I borrowed a little from the two and this is what I came up with. One should after all begin at the beginning. (For those reading Valley of the Shadow, never fear, I will get back to it.) Please leave reviews!
Disclaimer: Mostly belonging to LMA, one line from the 1994 movie and some imagination on my part.
The Laurence Boy
"So," Laurie stared at the peculiarly frank girl next to him with veiled curiosity, "who were you hiding from when you bounced in here?"
"Oh, gracious!" Jo flushed, but a laugh escaped her nonetheless. "You must think me terrible. Well…" she stood up and after trying vainly to disguise the burn on the back of her frock for a moment gave it up as a lost cause and went back to peep through the curtain. "Do you see that boy there, the one with the red hair?" The Laurence boy appeared at her shoulder and looked in the direction of her discreet pointing.
"The one dancing, or trying to, with the girl in the green dress?"
"Yes," Jo snorted in such an unladylike way that it would have given Meg conniptions. "He looks like a grasshopper having a fit doesn't he? – Oh – blast my tongue!" Too late she realised her comment was impolite at best and covered her mouth in an attempt to hold in any more such uncharitable pronouncements. Her mouth curled into a smile beneath her fingers however when she realised that Laurie was laughing too.
"Yes, he does rather, doesn't he? Or a duck paddling frantically on the pond; his legs seem to be going every which way and his arms are as stiff as boards!" Much to Jo's delight Laurie performed a brief impression of the object of their hilarity and the two of them dissolved into hopeless fits of laughter. They created such a rumpus that they had to back away from the curtain, still clutching at their aching sides, and collapse onto a nearby couch just so that the other guests wouldn't hear them.
Laurie for his own part couldn't believe his luck that this irrepressible and admittedly odd girl seemed so willing to talk to him. Since his arrival in Concord he had been desperate to approach the lively girls in the house next to his own, but hadn't been able to summon the courage. Now that the opportunity had, almost literally, fallen into his lap he meant to make the best of it so if making her laugh meant prancing around like a fool then he would do it. Watching her happiness through the tears streaming down his own face it dawned on him suddenly that he would probably do just about anything to make her laugh like that again. It was an odd thought to occur to him having only just met the girl, but there was something about the notion that he knew to be true.
"Do you like to dance?" He queried once they had recovered their sensibilities slightly.
"Of course," Jo answered, "it's just that dancing doesn't particularly like me. At least, not that sort of dancing," she waved a large hand towards the crowd of gay butterflies swooping around the floor beyond the curtain. "I have no coordination and have a terrible time of it tripping over my own feet constantly. Amy says it is because I've got such long legs and they leave no room left for being civilised on the dance floor. I don't see why dancing should be so very civilised anyhow; it's much more fun to be wild and carefree – oh goodness," her eyes popped as she covered her mouth again, "blast my dratted tongue! I fear I've gone and been shocking again, and I did promise Meg to behave, and I've used the most appalling language too. What would she say if she could hear me? I am sorry Laurie."
"No need to apologise," Jo was relieved to hear him chuckle again. "I'm a hopeless dancer too, I never feel comfortable being so proper and formal, and I never know what to say to a girl if I'm dancing with her. Your way sounds much better."
"Doesn't it?" Jo asked her eyes lighting up with mischief. "Well then Mr Laurence, since we are being improper anyway what say you to a dance?" She leapt up from the couch and extended her hand, a lively tune had sprung up out on the dance floor and she could feel her feet beginning to tap.
"I don't mind if I do Miss March."
With that, the two newly affirmed friends took hands and began stomping up and down along the length of the room, swinging their arms and skipping about in time to the music, but in such a wild manner that had any of the prim matrons beyond the curtain seen them they would certainly have been overcome with shock. Back and forth they pranced, leaping about in an exaggerated manner, swinging each other around and trying not to knock over any of the Gardiner's furniture in the process.
After only a few moments both were flushed, their dark eyes sparkling as they laughed joyfully. Jo could feel her hair beginning to escape from the plait she had forced it into before leaving the house; haphazard tendrils flying loose to jig about her face in time to their steps. She didn't care however and she suspected that Laurie didn't either which only made her like the boy all the more and she redoubled her energy. It was as well that the music in the next room was that much louder for it only just covered the noise of their antics.
Suddenly Jo felt her foot land heavily on something that was shaped all too much like a shoe and not the floor. "Oh! I'm sorry!" She laughed and tried to look contrite at the same time, a feat made all the more complicated by the fact neither of them broke off their bounding steps for a moment. "Meg always makes me take the gentleman's part at home, it's a shame you don't know the lady's part."
"That's alright. Perhaps you could try and teach me it some time," Laurie called back breathlessly, eager for any excuse to see the dishevelled girl in his arms again. His foot did ache a little, but all the tea in China would not have been able to drag the admission from him. "So, do you dance like this often at home?" He asked curiously as they swept round a corner and began springing along the length of another deserted room.
"Oh, yes! Though you mustn't tell Meg I said so. She and Amy would simply die of embarrassment if they thought I had told you."
"That's alright," on impulse Laurie twirled Jo around, which she obliged him in laughingly, "a gentleman never reveals a lady's secrets."
"Well, much as my sisters and Aunt March try, I doubt I'll ever be called a proper lady, but thank you all the same." The end of her sentence ended on a resounding shout as the music suddenly stopped and her words dropped into silence. "Oops," Jo whispered with a giggle, glancing towards the curtain to guess if anyone had heard. She and Laurie crept over to peek through, but it seemed as though they had gotten away with their rowdiness as the hubbub in the next room was louder than anything even two wayward children could produce. Everyone seemed to be milling about trying to find partners for the next dance, congratulating their old partners on the last one or engaging in the sort of small talk that made Jo yawn and fidget. The two retreated back into their hiding space.
"I can't remember the last time I had this much fun!" Laurie exclaimed his youthful face shining with energy and excitement.
"You should visit us sometime my sisters and I are always up to some lark or other. I've often meant to come and invite you when I see you studying at your books, but…"
"Your mother and sisters wouldn't approve?" Laurie was beginning to see a pattern emerging.
"Not particularly. I am trying to be good, it's just… problematic," Jo smirked ruefully.
"Good is overrated, I think."
They smiled at each other for a moment and into the silence the first strains of another dance could be heard breaking out over the chatter outside. Laurie turned to her a smile in his eyes and mischief on his face, one hand outstretched towards her. "So, shall we go again?"