Well, this is the weekend my family is moving up to Minnesota for good, so instead of writing a post to explain the scene from yesterday, I’m going to post another deleted scene.
In advance, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! My next post will be on Wednesday, and Dave Larson has asked to speak with me (after ignoring me for months), so I decided to humor him. That will be in Wednesday’s post. 😀
The dance wasn’t as bad as Justin feared it would be. He hadn’t attended one before. All the dancing he had done had been limited to dinner parties and the wedding. He was surprised when Carrie apologized to him as soon as he came home from work. She admitted that she had to take into account that he did have a responsibility to his clients but simply asked him if he would be able to take time off for her in case an emergency did come up. He assured her that he could. “And if I’m not in the office when you call, ask Mr. Drummond where I am. He’ll tell you where to reach me,” he concluded. Mr. Drummond was the receptionist. It was his job to notify Justin or Jonathan if anyone needed them. Carrie seemed content with this answer and was actually amiable toward him during dinner.
Now as he stood to the side of the room while Carrie walked around and talked to the women who were close to Harrison Sr., he had to admit that no one would suspect that she was keeping an eye on the man. She’s just as good at this as my uncle is. He knew that if it had been him, the elder Grant would have called him on it half an hour ago.
“You look bored,” Brad told him as he came up to him.
He smiled. “Good evening, Brad.”
“Is my sister still giving you problems?”
“Well, she’s been avoiding me like the plague. I can’t get within five feet of her without her running away from me.” He sighed. “I really thought she would want to be with you once she got to know you.”
“I think she likes me. She just doesn’t like my work.”
“Just because of what happened with the Davidsons?”
“That and the fact that I missed my surprise party and cancelled plans with her to be with a client.”
“She was willing to marry Harrison and he’s more dedicated to his job than you are. You actually took time out to be with her. From what I hear, he doesn’t spend nearly as much time with his wife as you do with yours.”
Justin really didn’t care to be reminded of the fact that Carrie had been willing to marry Harrison. Though she no longer wanted to be with him, it wasn’t a nice reminder. Changing topics, he said, “Mr. Mitchell hired her to keep an eye on Grant Sr. That’s why we’re here.”
“Is this because of what happened on Monday?”
He nodded. “Apparently, she has a good eye for details.” He looked at Brad. “So, do you wish to invest in Hershey’s candy and Dr. Pepper? My uncle has decided to take a closer look at those things.”
A blond and a redhead, who were seventeen, walked over to them.
“Good evening, gentlemen,” the blond greeted.
Brad naturally caught the attention of available women, so Justin wasn’t surprised they came over to talk to him.
His friend smiled at them. “How are you doing this fine evening?”
“We are doing well,” she prettily blushed.
“Justin, do you know Sarah MacIntyre and Lisa Williams?”
“No, but I am familiar with their fathers.” Justin politely smiled at them. “They are good men to do business with.”
“My father said that you made him a good profit for the past five years,” the redhead replied.
“I’m pleased to hear that he approves of my choices.”
“As long as you get in on the candy and soda market, you’ll do even better with your clients,” Brad added. “I’m sure such talk would bore you ladies. Sarah designed that dress she’s wearing herself. She has such good fashion sense that Mrs. Parker is thinking of hiring her. Lisa has a green thumb. She can grow any flower known to man.”
Sarah blushed. “Why, Brad, you flatter us.”
“You know, it might be nice to dance,” Brad told him.
He shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. He didn’t wish to dance with anyone but Carrie.
“What a lovely idea,” Lisa eagerly agreed.
Justin noticed that they were both looking at Brad with hope in their eyes. He knew that they would rather dance with Brad than with him, which used to bother him in the past but tonight, he was relieved. It meant that whoever ended up dancing with him wouldn’t want anything but a dance with him.
“We could take turns,” Brad told Justin.
Justin considered saying no but he saw that Carrie was on the other side of the room and didn’t appear to be willing to return to him anytime soon. He felt awkward enough standing by himself, so he agreed to dance. It would help the evening go faster. “I would be honored,” he finally replied. “I must warn you two that I don’t dance very well.”
“Oh, I teach people how to dance in my spare time,” Lisa said. “I don’t mind giving you a lesson.”
“I could use one,” he admitted.
“Then it’s settled,” Brad said. “I’ll dance with Sarah.”
Sarah widely smiled and took his arm.
“All I know is the waltz, and I can mess that up,” Justin warned Lisa.
“The waltz is a good dance to start with. Don’t worry about messing up. Just take your time and start slow,” Lisa instructed. She held out her arms and got ready to dance.
He accepted her offer and took a deep breath to steady his nerves. He wasn’t graceful but the fact that she was willing to bear with him eased his anxiety. He mentally counted the steps in his mind as they began to dance.
“Try to relax,” she told him. “Your entire body is stiff. Think of dancing as a flowing movement. Pretend that you’re in water and can easily move around.”
He recalled his last time swimming in the ocean and he felt his muscles slightly relax.
She smiled. “That’s it. You’re doing great. Now, instead of staring at your feet, look me in the eye.”
He frowned. “That doesn’t sound like it’ll work.”
“Trust me. When someone juggles balls, they don’t stare down at their hands. You will actually dance better if you turn your attention to something else.”
Since Lisa was a better dancer than him, which was displayed in the fact that he stepped on her feet but she didn’t step on his, he obeyed her. He looked in her eyes.
“Don’t count either. You may think of a square if you want but visualize yourself gracefully making the square.”
He did as instructed and was excited when the method worked.
When the dance ended, she asked, “Do you want to dance one more time to practice your new skill?”
“That’s a good idea.” If he was able to dance one more time with her, he would easily recall the process next time he had to dance.
“You’re doing very well.”
“I do have a good teacher. You must do this a lot.”
“It helps that I’ve had several brothers to practice with.”
“I think I met a couple of them at the bi-monthly convention.”
“Yes, they do periodically go there to build up the customer base for our father’s business.”
“Your father makes excellent furniture. In fact, my wife just made some purchases from his store.”
“I heard. She’s one of his favorite customers.”
He laughed with her. Considering the size of the bill Lisa’s brother handed him, he wasn’t surprised to hear that Carrie made her father very happy. “When she decides she’s going to buy something, she goes all out.”
“Is it true that she wants an annulment?”
“I suppose everyone knows about it.” It irritated him to no end that the entire town knew that she didn’t want to be with him.
“I’m not your wife but I do know a woman’s heart. I think I’ll do you a favor.” She loudly giggled and gave him a flirtatious smile. “Why, Mr. Monroe, you are very charming,” she sweetly said. The dance ended so she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “If it doesn’t work with Carrie, I’d be interested in getting to know you better.”
He dumbly stared after her as she walked off the dance floor, making sure she swung her hips back and forth as if she was inviting him to watch her. He was definitely uncomfortable now. He turned around to quickly retreat off the floor so people could stare at someone else when he bumped into Carrie.
She glared at him and crossed her arms. “What was that about?” she demanded.
He glanced back at Lisa and saw her give him a wink. He smiled. That’s what she was doing. He turned back to Carrie. “Do you want to dance?”
“No,” she angrily retorted. “I’m here to work. I’m finding some useful information from the women here.”
“Then why are you standing in front of me on the dance floor?” Would she admit that she was jealous?
“I think you need to do some talking to the men and find out what you can.”
“Why? I’m not the one who’s getting paid.”
“You can have half of what I make.”
He didn’t expect her offer. “I already make more than that with my job.” A couple bumped into him. “If you don’t want to dance, we should get off the floor so we can talk.”
“Fine. Let’s dance, but we have to make our way over to Mr. Grant. Can you lead me over there?”
“The father. I don’t believe the son knows what’s really going on.”
He took her in his arms, enjoying how wonderful she felt in them. Didn’t it occur to her that she belonged in them? Forcing aside the question, he asked, “Why do you think the son is innocent?”
“I’ve been talking to the women and partially listening in to what the father and son are saying to people and I’ve been watching what they’re doing. I notice that when the father talks to someone and then talks to his son, he tells his son a different version of the conversation he had with that person. But the son is straight forward and honest in what he tells his father. I may not like the son, but I believe that he doesn’t realize that the reason he and his father are as successful as they have been is because his father is using unethical measures in order to get his way. It makes sense with what I saw at the convention. Harrison Jr. was talking to Mr. Parker. His father was the one who took the wallet. Harrison couldn’t see what his father was doing from where he was standing.”
“Then why did Harrison court you?”
“His father told him to. I never saw Harrison enter my father’s parlor, but Harrison did ask me a lot of questions about where my father kept his work in the house. He said that he wanted to get an idea of how he should organize his office at home. I suspect that his father told him to ask certain questions so his father would know where to break into the house. His father did come over once to talk to my father. He must have been checking the layout of the house.” She stopped talking for a moment when she stepped on his foot.
“Don’t worry about it,” he whispered.
She frowned. “I notice that you’re not dancing poorly anymore.”
“Lisa taught me how to dance better.”
“So you know her name?”
He hid his smile. “Yes. She was very helpful.”
“I bet she was,” she snapped. She glanced over at Harrison Sr. and nudged him to move further to the left.
He gracefully obeyed.
“Will you hold me closer and pretend you’re whispering in my ear? I need to listen to what he’s saying.”
Like he needed an excuse to hold her closer. He did as she requested and kissed her ear.
She stepped on his foot. “I need to concentrate,” she whispered.
He sighed and simply held her close.
When the dance ended, Harrison Sr. walked off the dance floor so Carrie said she had to stop dancing. “You should talk to the men and find out what you can about the father,” she told Justin.
“Why? Are you afraid Lisa will return?”
She refused to answer him, but he decided to humor her and did as she wished.