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SandySha

 

Dance with me, Johnny

*I don’t own them.  Wish I did.
** This story is written based on the beautiful song ‘Waltz Minuet,’ by Singer/Songwriter/ Lancer fan Robin Hackett.  Robin wrote the song for Johnny Madrid Lancer.  My thanks to Robin for allowing me to attempt to do her song justice.   A free link to the song is at the end of the story.  Listening to the song before reading the story may help you to appreciate the story more.
*** Thanks to Alice Marie, Susan, Cathie, Rosey, and, especially, Robin Hackett for their input.

Now sit back and enjoy a love story called ‘Dance with Me, Johnny.’

 

“I can’t do it, Scott,” Johnny groaned as he threw up his hands and walked across the Great Room.  “I ain’t no good at dancing and I sure ain’t gonna’ be able to do a waltz.”

“Of course, you can,” Scott smiled at his brother noting the way he walked was almost like a waltz in itself.   There wasn’t anything his little brother couldn’t do.  Didn’t they call it a ‘dance’ every time gunfighters faced each other?  

“Let’s try again.”

“Aw, Scott,” Johnny was shaking his head, “you can try to teach me this dance all you want, brother, but it’s not gonna’ do any good.”

Scott looked around to see Teresa sitting across the room laughing at them. 

“Do you think you can do any better?” Scott asked with his hands on his hips.

“I certainly couldn’t do any worse,” Teresa answered laughing.   “Scott, who are you supposed to be, the man or the woman?”

“The man, of course,” Scott answered with a frown.

“So,” Teresa burst out laughing again, “Johnny is supposed to be the woman?”

Johnny’s eyes narrowed as he looked at his brother.  “I’m the woman in this dance.  No wonder I can’t get it right.  I ain’t no woman, Boston.”

“I know you’re not a woman, Johnny, but this is the only way I know to teach you,” Scott answered.   “Teresa, would you take my place with Johnny.  I think you may have more success than I have.”

Teresa looked at Johnny and sighed.  There was nothing more she wanted to do than to dance with Johnny, really dance with him.   They had been to many socials and not once had Johnny danced at any of them. 

Teresa slowly moved across the room and stood in front of Johnny.  His deep blue eyes smiled down at her.  She reached up and took his right arm and placed it around her so that his hand was on her back.  Then she took his left hand with her right and put her left hand on his right arm.

Once she was in his arms, there was a moment her heart fluttered.   There was something that felt right about being in Johnny’s arms.

Teresa blushed.  This man was supposed to be her brother, but her thoughts and feelings at that moment were anything but sisterly.

Scott turned the crank on the new cylinder phonograph his grandfather had sent from Boston.  The device held a wax cylinder that had grooves in it.   Sound was produced when the phonograph needle was placed on the turning cylinder.

The music started, and the sound of string instruments and a piano filled the air.   Johnny misstepped, and his boot came down on Teresa’s foot.

“Ow…,” she yelled out in pain.

“I’m sorry, Querida.  I told you I’m no good at this,” Johnny shook his head and turned away from her. “Maybe we should just forget it.”

“No,” she grabbed his right wrist, keeping him from moving away from her.

Johnny quickly turned back as if slapped.  A dark and dangerous look flew across his face and then just as quickly disappeared.   No one had ever gotten away grabbing his gun hand like that, but the moment he looked into her brown eyes he relaxed.

Teresa realized what she had done.  She started to let him go, but held tight.  She knew that if he walked away at that moment, the dance would be over for them, in more ways than one.

“Johnny.  It’s alright.  We’ll try again,” she patiently said as she listened to the music still playing.  She pulled him back in front of her.  “Remember, you’re leading.  I’m going to follow you.   I’ll follow your every step.”

Yes, she would follow his every step, if he would let her.  She wanted to keep step with him, but he kept pulling away from her, not only in the dance but also in life.

‘Would it always be like this with them? she asked herself. 

As much as she wanted to be closer to Johnny, she knew he was dancing to music only he could hear.  She truly hoped that one day that would change.
 
The song she sang to herself mirrored the music playing.

When we are in rhythm, you step out of time
When we play the song, your words do not rhyme
We move on the upbeat; then you put me down
When will we stop going round and round

Oh, dance with me Johnny, one two three step
The moon is arising, and the sun wants to set
Dance with me Johnny, the Waltz Minuet
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest

Scott stopped the music. 

“Alright,” Johnny looked down at his boots, “it’s one, two, three. Is that right?”  

“That’s right.  Now take my hand, and we’ll try again. This time try to relax and listen to the music.  I’ll be right there with you,” Teresa said as they once again attempted the dance.  She knew that when the dance ended, he would go back to work and out of her arms and she liked being in his arms.

This time when the music started, Johnny began to twirl her around the room.   She closed her eyes and let him sweep her away.  Again, she let her mind wander, and her heart sang the tune.

We twirl round in circles; then you come to a stop
You hear new music that I can hear not
You tell me it's time, but the words are unknown
Then you go off dancing, and I'm left all alone

Oh, dance with me Johnny, one two three step
The moon is arising, and the sun wants to set
Dance with me Johnny, the Waltz Minuet
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest

When the music ended, Johnny stood for a long moment looking at her.  They had danced the entire dance without as much as one broken toe.

There was a mixture of emotions flowing through Johnny.   He didn’t want this dance to end, but he knew he had to make it end.  Teresa was too good for him; besides, he was supposed to look at her as a sister.  His heart was telling him something else, and he wondered if she felt it, too.

“Well, I better get back to work,” Johnny cleared his throat and took a deep breath reluctantly dropping his right arm and releasing her hand.  

“Yes,” Teresa answered not taking her eyes off of his.  There had been magic in the room for a moment.  She could feel it, and she knew he felt it, too.   “I’ll see you tonight.”

Scott stood by and watched two of the most important people in his life and for the first time saw the spark between them.

********

Johnny couldn’t get the image of Teresa in his arms out of his head.  The waltz they had danced replayed over and over again as he rode toward the north pasture and the waiting herd.

“Scott?” Johnny looked at his brother.

“Yes,” Scott answered glancing sideways at Johnny.

“That church social coming up…well, do you think if I keep practicing that I would be able to make a decent showing on the dance floor?”

“I don’t see why not,” Scott answered with a smile.  “You enjoyed the waltz, didn’t you?”

Johnny blushed.  “Yeah, I did.  It wasn’t so hard when I was dancing with Teresa.”

“I noticed that,” Scott kept his head down not wanting Johnny to see the grin on his face.

********

The brothers didn’t say anything about the dance for the rest of the day.  That night at dinner Murdoch brought up the subject.

“John, I understand Scott’s been teaching you the waltz,” Murdoch said as he looked up from his plate.

Johnny nodded.  “Yeah, he tried.  It took Teresa to finally get me to figure out my right foot from my left.”

Murdoch looked at Teresa.  “Is that so?  How did he do, Teresa?” 

“Johnny is a wonderful dancer,” Teresa answered looking across the table at Johnny.   “I think just a few more lessons and he will have the waltz mastered.”

Murdoch nodded.   “I used to waltz with your mother Scott and yours Johnny.  The waltz can be a very romantic dance if the right two people are dancing it.”

Johnny didn’t say anything.  He looked up from his plate and saw Teresa looking at him.

********

After dinner, Teresa wandered out into the garden.   It was a clear night, and the stars filled the sky.  The warm air was filled with the light scent of roses.

“I liked dancing with you this morning,” Johnny’s soft voice startled her.  She turned around to find him standing close behind her.

“I liked it, too.  You know you do dance very well,” Teresa said as she turned back around and looked skyward. 

Teresa moved around the garden with Johnny by her side.

“You think you could give me another lesson tomorrow?”  Johnny moved closer to her.

“I’d like that,” she answered as she sat down on one of the benches in the garden.

“The moon’s rising already,” Johnny moved to sit with her.

Teresa smiled.  It appeared that they had waltzed themselves around the garden and were now sitting side by side.

Inside they could hear Scott starting the phonograph.  The waltz music filled the air around them.

“The waltz is pretty, isn’t it,” Teresa broke the silence between them.

“Sure is. It’s even prettier when you have someone pretty to dance it with,” Johnny answered trying not to look at Teresa.

Teresa smiled and took a deep breath.   

“I suppose we had better go in.  It’s getting late,” she said as the music faded away.

“Yeah,” Johnny agreed as he stood up and offered her his hand.

Teresa put her hand in his, and he pulled her to her feet. 

********

The next morning Scott, Johnny, and Teresa were in the Great Room again.   The music played, and with Teresa in his arms, Johnny whirled her around the room.

Murdoch watched from his desk as the two waltzed.  He had talked to Scott the night before while Johnny and Teresa were in the garden.

“Scott,” Murdoch had started, “I noticed the way Teresa and Johnny were looking at each other at dinner.  Is there something I should know about?”

Scott had smiled.  “No, Sir, not yet.  I believe Johnny is just starting to have feelings for Teresa.  I don’t think it’s serious, yet.”

“What about Teresa?” the older man sighed.   He didn’t know if he was ready for his youngest son to be courting the girl, he considered a daughter.  Although, secretly he had hoped that one of his sons would marry the young lady.   Somehow, he always thought it would be Scott that would have been attracted to Teresa, not Johnny.  

Scott had smiled, “Oh, I think Teresa has been in love with my little brother for some time now.”

Now, the two men watched Johnny and Teresa dancing.

“He’s a very graceful dancer, isn’t he?” Scott said as he cranked the phonograph again.

Murdoch had to admit that Scott had been right.  Johnny was a graceful dancer.  Every move his youngest son made, both on and off the dance floor was done with grace.

 

********

That night after dinner, Johnny and Teresa were once again in the garden.    They sat quietly for a long time when Johnny finally spoke.

“Teresa, you know I like you, don’t you?   I mean, of course, I like you.  You’re my sister… but, well, darn it …”

“Johnny, I’m not your sister,” Teresa turned to look up at him.  “I know Murdoch wants you to treat me like your sister, but that’s not what I want.”

“It’s not?” Johnny was holding his breath.

“No, it’s not,” she answered.  “We keep doing this dance, you and I.  Just when I think we’re in step with each other, you step away.   You don’t seem to be able to find the right words, and when you do find the words, they aren’t what I want to hear.”

“What words do you want to hear, Teresa?” he moved closer to her, his right hand stroked her cheek.  

“Oh, Johnny, I can’t tell you.  That’s something that you have to find out for yourself.  Until you do, I think we’re just going to be going around and around and never find a place to stop,” she took a deep breath.    “It’s going to be like the waltz we’ve been dancing, but you’re dancing to one song and I’m dancing to another.  Until we’re dancing to the same music, I don’t know that we have a chance.”

“Querida, you know I’m not good for you.   I don’t want to hurt you,” Johnny looked up at the stars.

“There you go again. Just when I think you’re ready with the right words, you don’t make sense.  Johnny, I …”  Teresa started to say more, but the sound of someone coming into the garden stopped the conversation.

Murdoch had been watching from the doorway.  He couldn’t hear what the two young people were saying, but he could tell it was getting serious.  Feeling it was time to break the two apart, he moved into the garden.

“Scott and I are going up to bed.  I think we should all call it a night.  We have a busy day tomorrow,” Murdoch said as he watched Johnny and Teresa look at each other once again.

Johnny turned and walked past his father.  

“Are you alright?” Murdoch asked Teresa as he moved closer to her.

She took a deep breath, trying to control her emotions, “Yes.  I’m alright.  I just wish…”

Teresa looked at her guardian as tears filled her eyes.  She didn’t want to voice how she felt.

Murdoch put an arm around her shoulder as she turned and buried her face in his chest.  It was far more serious than he had thought.

“It’s going to be alright, sweetheart,” Murdoch said to her.  “The dance has just started between you two.  There is still time for you both to work out the steps.”

Teresa looked at Murdoch.  He knew how she felt about Johnny.

“I don’t know. One minute I think we are both hearing the same music and we’re in step with each other, and then the next moment Johnny hears another tune, and he’s gone,” she said with a sniffle.

“That’s the way life is,” Murdoch said.  “Life is the dance.  Sometimes we are in step with each other and other times we’re not.  But those times when the music is just right, and the dance is perfect, it’s as if time stands still.   Just give it time.”

Murdoch walked Teresa back into the house and left her at her bedroom door.  As he walked down the hallway, he passed Johnny’s room.  The door was ajar.  

Murdoch pushed the door open slightly and saw his youngest son with his eyes closed swaying to the music only he was hearing.  As Johnny slowly waltzed around the room, Murdoch backed out of the room and smiled.

“No, this dance wasn’t over.  It was just beginning,” Murdoch thought as he went to his room.

********

The next night when Johnny went to the garden, Teresa wasn’t there.  He hadn’t expected her to be there, but still, it hurt.  He had enjoyed the evenings sitting in the garden with her in the moonlight.

Johnny heard someone come out of the house and for a brief moment thought it was Teresa.  When Murdoch stepped up beside him, he felt disappointment.

“Beautiful night,” Murdoch said as he took a deep breath of the fresh air.  “I used to come out here with your mother.”

“Is that right?” Johnny asked with a slight smile.

Somehow, Johnny had never been able to see his mother and Murdoch as a couple.  Of course, they had to have been, or there wouldn’t have been a baby Johnny.   He quickly pushed those images out of his mind.

Murdoch cleared his throat, “Johnny, I’ve noticed something in the last few days that I suppose I should have realized some time ago.”

“What’s that?”  Johnny glanced sideways at his father.  The light of the moon made Murdoch seem even taller than he was.

“I’ve noticed that you and Teresa…,” Murdoch started to say more and Johnny cut him off.

“You don’t have to worry about me and Teresa,” Johnny sighed and looked down.  “I know what you’re gonna’ say.  I’m not good enough for her.  She deserves someone who … well, someone, she can be proud of, and that’s not me.”

Murdoch looked at his son’s lowered head and turned to face him.  He reached out and lifted Johnny’s chin.   Tears were forming in his son’s blue eyes.

“Son, don’t you ever say that again,” Murdoch said with conviction.  “You are good enough. Any woman would be proud to be by your side.   What I was going to say is that I’ve noticed that you and Teresa may be developing feelings for each other.  Feelings more than that of the brother and sister I had envisioned.   I want you to know that if you both feel that way, I won’t stand in your way.”

Murdoch stepped away from Johnny and then turned back to look at him.

“Teresa is still young.  I don’t want you rushing into anything.  I want you both to be sure of your feelings,” Murdoch watched as a smile came across his son’s face.

“Really?  Murdoch, I don’t know how I feel for sure.  It’s like she said last night, we just can’t find the same tune to dance to.   Maybe it’s me.  I’ve been dancing alone so long it’s hard to get in rhythm with someone else.    It’s just…”

“Just what, son?” Murdoch asked.

“When we’re dancing that waltz, I feel she’s the only one in the world I want to be with,” Johnny answered thinking about having Teresa in his arms and twirling her around.   “She’s the only one I want to dance with for the rest of my life.  Does that make sense?”

Murdoch smiled, “More than you know, John.  More than you know.”

 

********

A week later everyone was at the church social.   Teresa was excited.  She hadn’t danced with Johnny again after that second time in the Great Room.   Her hopes were up that tonight he would dance with her once more.

Teresa was wearing an off the shoulder, blue satin gown.  She had chosen the material for the dress because it matched Johnny’s eyes.  She wondered if he would even notice.

The music was playing, and couples were dancing.  Teresa looked around the room.  She saw Scott and Murdoch to one side, but no Johnny.   She was ready for disappointment when through the door stepped the most handsome man she had ever seen.

Johnny was wearing the clothes Maria had picked out for him.  He looked like a true hacendado. He was dressed in a white shirt with black embroidery down the front, black calzoneras with silver conchos, and a matching bolero jacket with silver trim.  He had even worn a black string tie.   He looked every bit one of the owners of the largest cattle ranch in the state.

Johnny saw his father and brother across the room and walked over to them.

“You do clean up nicely, little brother,” Scott said with a smile.  He noticed that Johnny wasn’t wearing his gun and that surprised him.

“I do at that, don’t I,” Johnny answered looking around the room.  He really didn’t want to be there, and he was nervous about dancing.

“I notice you left your gun at home,” Scott quietly said.

Johnny smiled and reached behind his back and patted a small bulge in his waistband where he kept a derringer.   

Murdoch and Scott looked at each other and shook their heads.  “I might have known,” Murdoch said with a chuckle.  He knew Johnny would never go anywhere unarmed.

The room became quiet.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” the dance caller announced, “the next dance is a waltz.”

Johnny watched as Teresa made her way across the room toward him.  He had never seen anyone more beautiful.   She stopped in front of him and smiled.  

“Dance with me, Johnny,” she said softly and held out her hand.

Johnny stood mesmerized for a moment and then nodded.   He took her hand and led her to the dance floor.    Taking Teresa in his arms, he looked at her and was greeted with her warm smile.

The music started, and they began to dance.  It was almost like floating as Johnny and Teresa began to glide around the room.   Teresa knew now what her heart wanted, and she wished she could sing it aloud.  

 

Well I waited all summer just to dance at the ball
And I waited in the moonlight to hear your voice call

Yes, dance with me Johnny, one two three step
The moon is arising, and the sun wants to set
Dance with me Johnny, the Waltz Minuet
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest

 

Neither of them wanted the music to stop, but all things come to an end.  When the music did stop, and the dance ended, they stood looking into each other’s eyes.  Finally, the applause of the other dancers broke the moment. 

Johnny led Teresa off the dance floor.  

“Thank you, Johnny,” Teresa said.  “That was beautiful.  I don’t think I’ve ever danced like that before.”

“You just didn’t have the right dance partner before,” Johnny replied.

Murdoch and Scott had watched the two young people dance.  They made a beautiful couple.

********

Teresa smiled, and her eyes gleamed as the music of jingling spurs filled the hacienda.

She turned around to find him walking toward her with a smile that lite up the room.

“Howdy, little lady,” Johnny said putting his arms around Teresa’s waist, pulling her to him.  He never got tired of kissing this woman.

He’d barely had time to release his wife when Johnny heard a small voice.

“Papa,” the dark-haired boy ran across the room propelling himself into his father’s arms.

“Juan,” Johnny said with love in his voice.

Murdoch and Scott entered the Great Room just in time to see the little whirlwind flying through the air to his father.

“Papa, Tio Scott’s going to teach me to dance. Aren’t you, Tio?” the boy enthusiastically blurted out.

“Is that so?  Scott here is gonna’ teach you to dance?” Johnny laughed as he turned to face his brother.  “Scott, I would have thought you had learned your lesson.  You better leave the teaching to Teresa.”

“Can you dance, Papa?” Juan asked.  “Who taught you?”

“I can dance, hijo,” Johnny laughed as he put his son down.  “Your Mama taught me to dance.”

Juan ran to his mother and looked up at her.  “Mama, will you teach me?  What’s your favorite dance?”

Teresa looked at Johnny and smiled.  “The waltz, darling.  My favorite dance is the waltz.  It was the first dance your father and I danced together.”

“Show me, Mama.  Show me how to waltz,” the little boy said as he ran to Scott and pulled him toward the phonograph.  “Play a waltz, Tio, so Mama and Papa can dance.”

Scott cranked the phonograph and put the needle to the recording.

Murdoch sat in the large leather chair in the room and watched his son and daughter move toward each other. Yes, she was his daughter in his heart and by marriage.  It had been one of the happiest days of his life when Johnny had married Teresa. 

Waltz music suddenly filled the room.

Teresa walked up to Johnny and looked into his blue eyes.   A smile crossed her face as she held out her hand to him. 

“Dance with me, Johnny,” her voice was as soft as the first time she had used those words.

Johnny took his wife in his arms.   As Johnny led, Teresa followed his every move.  Her eyes never leaving his.   Neither of them heard anything but the music, accented by the gentle sound of Johnny’s spurs.

It had taken Johnny almost a year after the night of the church social to find the right words to ask Teresa to marry him.   No longer did he hear a different song or want to.  They were in rhythm with each other, both with the music and in life.   They twirled around in circles, gliding across the floor, moving as one, pledging their love to each other with every step.

Johnny laughed.  Teresa threw back her head and laughed with him.   Across the room, a small boy clapped his hands watching his Mama and Papa dance the waltz.

There was no longer one song for her and one for him.  There was only one song now; their song.    They both knew they would never stop dancing it.

********

Johnny and Teresa walked in the garden in the moonlight listening to the music of a waltz coming from the house.  Their granddaughter was dancing with her new husband.

“Teresa, have you been happy?” Johnny asked taking her hand and kissing it.

“Oh, Johnny, yes.  I’ve been happy.  I can’t imagine what life would have been like without you,” in the moonlight he could see the smile on her face and the glistening of her eyes.

“You think she’ll be happy?” Johnny nodded toward the house and their granddaughter.

“Did you see them dancing earlier?  Those two have found the song they’re going to dance to, just like we did,” Teresa smiled and held his hand tightly.

“We did finally get the dance right, didn’t we?” Johnny said. “Do you think we have one more waltz in us, Querida?”   

“I don’t know, cowboy.  Do we?” she answered knowing the answer.

“Maybe, one more,” he said as he twirled her around and pulled her into his arms.

Teresa closed her eyes as they danced; remembering that night years ago at the church social.  

Whenever she heard a waltz, she could see herself and Johnny dancing that first time.  She had worn a blue dress, and he had been so handsome in his calzoneras and bolero jacket.

There had been many other dances in their lives, both on the dance floor and off, but there was never another dance like that first.  Johnny had truly captured her heart that night and never let it go.  
  
Yes, she would always remember the night when she had said, “Dance with me, Johnny,” … and he had … for the rest of their lives.

Yes, dance with me Johnny, one two three step
The moon is arising, and the sun wants to set
Dance with me Johnny, the Waltz Minuet
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest
It's been a long winter's night, and my heart wants to rest

 

 

~end~
November 2018

To listen to the song:
1. Copy and paste:
  https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/hackett1

2. Scroll to song 6 - Waltz Minuet.  Click the arrow to the left of the song title.

Note: I’m pushing history a little here. In 1870 there was no phonograph. Thomas Edison’s cylinder phonograph was invented in 1877.  It was in the late 1880’s that it became popular.  

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