I shook his hand. “Hi, I’m Kristie. You must be Josh.”
He gave my hand a firm squeeze. “I’m so glad you agreed to meet me. I really need your help, and Kevin assured me that you’re a pro at this.”
Laughing, I felt myself blush. “Well, I’ve done this before, if that’s what you mean.”
I sat in the chair he pulled out for me, and reached for the contract in my purse. “First of all, I’ll have you read the contract and if you agree to all the terms, you can sign it.”
I slid the papers across the table. He studied them, frowning slightly, but not saying anything.
He looked up. “I suppose there’s no room for negotiation on any of this?”
I smiled politely. “This is my standard contract and I prefer not to deviate from it.”
“It’s just, well, I need something a little bit more than what this says you’re willing to provide.” He folded his hands and tilted his head.
“Mr. Langley, as I’ve said before, I’m a professional. This is my normal protocol. If that’s not good enough for you, we can end this here and now,” I said calmly and firmly.
Frowning, he picked up the pen and signed. “I guess I don’t have much choice, since I don’t have time to shop around.”
After our negotiations, he stood and assisted me in rising. I realized then what a gentleman he was, and I felt a stab of guilt for not being more amicable.
“Listen, Josh, maybe I was a bit hasty when I said I couldn’t deviate from the contract. Depending on what you want to amend, I might be willing to go along with it.” I rose from my chair to stand beside him.
His sapphire eyes glimmered, and he grinned with relief. “That would be great, Kristie! I’ll let you know. Get plenty of rest, and wear your dancing shoes because I intend to get my money’s worth tomorrow night.”
I saluted him. “Aye-aye, Mr. Langley, I’ll see you then.”
The next evening, he was waiting outside the building when I arrived. I jingled the keys in my hand as I turned them in the lock. I switched on the lights and pulled the blinds in the windows. I turned to him. “Mr. Langley, where would you like to start?”
“First of all, call me Josh and I’ll call you Kristie. After all, we’re going to be rather close for the next several weeks.” He winked and chuckled. “Besides, when I hear Mr. Langley, I look around to see if my Dad is nearby. This is something, I definitely don’t want my dad to see!”
I grabbed his hand and led him to the middle of the floor. “Alright, let’s begin with the waltz, since that’s a very common wedding dance. Then we’ll move on from there.”
“I sure hope my sister appreciates everything I’m going through for her. I don’t want to embarrass her on her special day. I also really appreciate you giving me private lessons like this. Since I have two left feet, a dance class would be too embarrassing.” He gave a self- deprecating laugh.
“When I’m done, the girls will be lined up to dance with you.” I took his hand in mine and placed his other hand at my waist.
In the next month, he learned the waltz, the rumba, and other couple dances. He was a challenge, but once he learned a number he had it down pat.
The last week of lessons, he hesitantly asked, “Um, Kristie, I have a favor to ask you. You said you might be willing to deviate from our contract? Well, here’s the deal. I don’t have a date for Jen’s wedding and since we dance together so well, I thought …”
“I would go with you as your date.” I finished for him.
He looked down at his shoes, suddenly shy. “Kinda.”
I reached out and lifted his chin to gaze into those sapphire eyes. “Yes, I’ll go with you. But I’m warning you. I may be an expert dancer, but I’m a very amateur date.”
“That’s alright. I’ve been on a date or two, so I can be the professional. I’ll draw up a contract to have you sign.” He shook his finger at me. “But I’m warning you, there’ll be no deviation from it.”
I laughed and held out my hand to shake his. “You have yourself a deal Mr. Langley.”
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