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A Graph of the Heart

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Sara walked into the bar like she owned it. It was times like this that she missed Len. He was the only one who had kept up with her when she was in this kind of mood. Mick was good back-up, but he lacked Len’s poise. Surveying the room, there was the usual jocks and blowhards, but her eyes immediately noticed the blonde in the corner. She had delicate features and a wide smile. She was sitting with two men, but Sara didn’t pay them any mind. They kind of faded into the background with the blonde there, at least to Sara.

She nodded at Mick as he went off to the pool tables, and made her way to the bar. She ordered a shot, and downed it, and then settled in with a beer chaser, leaning her back against the bar so she could admire the blonde.

The guy on the blonde’s right noticed Sara’s attention first. His eyebrows scrunched and he nudged the blonde to bring her attention to Sara, all while scowling at Sara. When the blonde’s gaze met Sara’s, Sara could feel the spark from across the room. Finishing her beer, she sauntered towards the corner table.

Looking only at the blonde, Sara asked, “Would you like to dance?”

The blonde beamed at Sara. “I’ve been learning. I’d love to.”

The guy on the blonde’s left said, “We’ve been teaching you so you’d dance with us, Parker!”

The other guy scowled even more, but said, “Parker dances with who Parker wants.”

The blonde, Parker, downed her drink and slammed it onto the table. “Damn right.” She stood up, eased by her tablemate, and came out to take Sara’s hand.

Sara couldn’t resist one little glance back where she winked at the guy who had protested. He scowled now too, and got into a furious conversation with the other guy. Parker flowed into Sara’s arms on the dance floor, and put her arms around Sara’s shoulders like they were at prom. It was sweet.

Sara brought their bodies close together, and wrapped her arms around Parker’s waist. Looking into Sara’s face with a slight frown, Parker said, “So what do we talk about? I know what to talk about with Hardison and Eliot.”

Not wanting to discuss those two while having Parker in her arms, Sara twirled Parker and when she laughed, winked at her. “Who says we have to talk?”

They swayed and twirled their way through the next two songs, Parker beaming her approval. Sara’s mood was also improving. Even if Parker went home with the other two, Sara was having fun with the most beautiful person in the room, lightening the gloom that settled on her when she thought of her responsibilities.

This lasted through the third song until a guy tapped on Sara’s shoulder and said, “Let me dance with the little lady, yeah?”

Not liking his tone or his ‘little lady’ comment, Sara frowned and saw a similar expression on Parker’s face. Parker said, “No thank you, I’m happy here.”

Sara was easing away from Parker, the better to fight since the guy was now reaching for Parker, and she saw Mick look up from the pool tables, but before she was free, Parker’s two tablemates were there. With an air of menace now apparent, the scowling guy said, “She said no.”

The guy frowned at Parker’s friend, but before he could say anything, both of Parker’s friends stepped forward, and the one scowled harder and said, “Don’t even think about it.”

“What you’ll let her dance with her, but not me?”

“No one lets her. Parker decides who she dances with, and she told you no.”

Between one blink and the next, new guy had his arm restrained behind him by the scowling one and was being escorted out the door.

Parker’s friend who was left with them waved his hands towards them, and gave Parker a nod. “As Eliot said, you dance with who you want. Pretzels are always here for you when you’re done.” Obviously Eliot had talked him around in the interim.

At that nonsensical statement, Parker beamed at him, and leaned slightly out of Sara’s arms to kiss him on the cheek. “Thanks. This is almost as fun as rappelling off the Empire State Building,” and then together they said, “Nothing is as good as that.”

Parker’s friend Hardison (since that is who was left) rolled his eyes and finished with, “I am never doing that again, just so you know.”

Sara asked, “Wait, you really did rappel off the Empire State Building?”

Parker and Hardison exchanged looks, and Parker said much too loudly. “Of course not! Who would do that?”

Sara frowned at Parker, but before she could say more, Parker pressed a quick kiss to her lips. Out of the corner of her eye Sara could see Hardison gaping at them. Sara held her there for an extra beat, and then let her go saying, “I can keep secrets, you know. You don’t have to try and distract me.”

Parker beamed at her, but Hardison was still opening and closing his mouth like a fish. Eliot joined them then, and Hardison wordlessly motioned towards Parker and Sara, and Eliot rolled his eyes. “Yes, totally hot, let’s leave them to it.”

Hardison’s mouth closed, and then a wicked look came over his face and he grabbed Eliot’s arm. “Are you sure you don’t want to dance with me? Parker says dancing is almost as good as rappelling off the Empire State Building.”

“I meant dancing with, hey, what’s your name?”

“Sara.”

Eliot pulled away from Hardison and said, “I am not dancing with you,” and looking at Parker he went on to say, “And I am never doing that again.”

Parker pouted, and it was much too adorable, making Sara laugh. She was beginning to suspect the Empire State Building thing would be a fabulous story, but she had her own secrets to keep. Sara said, “I like you guys. Now leave me to my dancing.”

Eliot nodded seriously at her and Hardison grinned, but then he was back into needling Eliot to dance, and Parker was giggling into Sara’s shoulder as Sara twirled her away.

Later Sara saw Eliot totally dance with Hardison, and he didn’t let anyone cut in.