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Last Dance

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"I don't know what to wear!" Jules moaned as she stared out across every piece of fancy clothing she owned, strewn over her bed. The annual police SRU banquet was still a week away but Jules knew from long experience that she needed to pick out her clothes early. Anyway, this particular banquet was much harder to choose for. Sam was going to be there and though Jules knew they could never be together, the look in his eyes when she came in wearing something pretty would make her feel beautiful. So the suits were out. She wanted to play up being The Girl instead of hiding it. That also left out the two formal dresses she owned. They were old, and frankly, she didn't like them all that much. Finally giving up, she sat down on the bed in a huff and grabbed the phone.

"Hello?"

"Hey Wordy, it's Jules. Is Shelley there?"

"Hi Jules! Hold on a sec, I'll go get her."

"Thanks."

"Hello Jules! It's nice to hear from you. What's up?"

"Hey Shelly. I need your help. The banquet's next week and I have nothing to wear. I'm really bad at shopping for nice clothes but I wanna look nice."

"Of course I'll help you! I actually need a dress as well so we can go together. Why don't we go in two days? If nothing comes up, you guys are scheduled for the afternoon off."

"Sounds great! You know what, why don't we invite Sophie as well and make it a party?"

"That's a great idea! I'm sure she'd love to come."

~o~

"So Jules, does this need to look pretty have anything to do with a certain rookie?" Sophie teased as she, Jules and Shelley strolled through the mall.

"No," Jules muttered unconvincingly, cheeks slowly staining pink. The two older women chuckled and exchanged significant looks behind Jules' back. Catching the look, she raised her voice slightly, "And even if it did, said relationship wouldn't go anywhere. No fraternizing with your teammates."

"Of course, most teams don't have an issue with this. Men don't cause this problem when it's just them on the team," Shelley pointed out sensibly.

"But remember that scandal way back on Team Three? Ed couldn't stop laughing," Sophie recalled, "That caused quite a stir and some guys getting moved around."

Entering a store, the conversation fell off as the trio of women went to work. Pulling dresses off the racks, Shelley pushed Jules into a change room and began to hand her dresses over the door. The first three were promptly handed back and the two women smothered laughs as a fourth dress was met with an exclamation of disgust and shoved over the top of the door. Shelley had barely returned the 4 discarded dresses to the return racks when the door creaked open and Jules stepped out with a radiant smile on her face.

"This is it! I love it."

As she stood in front of the mirror, Shelley and Sophie examined the dress with critical eyes, commenting on the fit and colour. Jules just grinned and smoothed the dark purple, satiny material until it lay right against her legs. It was perfect. Feminine but not too feminine - and showing just enough cleavage to attract a certain male eye. For the first time since she joined the SRU, Jules was looking forward to the banquet.

~o~

3 days later found Jules peering anxiously into the mirror as she fought to get her hair and makeup exactly right. "Why can't I wear it in a braid? It's not like most of them would notice. And why do I need all this makeup! I can't get it to look right!"

She growled in frustration as a knock at the door caused her to drop her hairbrush for the nth time that afternoon. Chucking it across the room, she stalked over to the door, yanking it open only to find Shelley standing on the other side, grinning and clutching a garment bag.

"Hey honey! I thought we'd make a girl's night out of getting ready and besides, Kevin hinted you might need a little help."

Jules grinned in relief, "I'd love some help! Wordy caught me one time in the locker room swearing to myself as I tried to get ready for a date. I can do my makeup a little and the same with my hair but anything more than 'pretty' I need help with."

~o~

Kevin Wordsworth looked impatiently at his watch as he waited for his wife and Jules to answer the door. He didn't like all the prep work for these things; he'd had at least 45 minutes longer than he needed to get ready. His eyes widened as the two women opened the door. He whistled at them before giving Shelley a kiss and Jules a hug.

"You look beautiful," he told them and grinned at Jules, "Who would've thought." He winced theatrically as Jules playfully smacked him on the arm, "I could say the same for you Wordy!"

He pretended to preen and grinned at Shelley, "Did you hear that? I'm beautiful!"

Laughing at her husband's antics, Shelley climbed into their car while Jules climbed into her own. She didn't want to be a burden on anyone and she was NOT planning on going home with a guy.

Outside of the venue, Jules took a calming breath and clenched her hands a few times, trying to control the tremors. Pulling up her courage, Jules followed Shelley and Wordy into the lobby, her eyes automatically darting around the room in search of Sam. He wasn't there. Disappointed, and annoyed at herself for being disappointed, she continued into the hall to greet the rest of her team. A general uproar followed her appearance:

"Lookit you Jules!" – Spike
"You look great Jules." – Greg
"I told you guys she looked awesome." – Wordy
"Who knew you cleaned up so well!" – Ed
"You're a girl?" – Lew

Laughing, she brushed off the compliments and took her seat at the table. Team One followed suit and conversation flowed freely. Just before the dinner started, Jules excused herself from the table and hurried to the washroom. As she stared into the mirror, her logical, cool side battled with her 'girly side'

Why isn't he here?
Maybe he was stuck in traffic.
But I've seen the way he looks at me. I always assumed he'd be early.
What if I'm wrong and he's just a flirt?
I refuse to believe that.
Relax, Jules. Now go back out there and sit down at your table and ENJOY the night. If he gets here, he gets here.

With that final thought, Jules briefly fixed her hair in the mirror and strode out of the washroom. Heading for the hall doors, Jules failed to notice the lobby doors swing open but she froze when a soft, "Jules..." in a familiar voice reached her ears. She turned slowly to face him. Sam stood frozen in the doorway, a shell-shocked expression across his face. As she watched, the confident, cocky grin replaced the stunned look and he made his way towards her. She couldn't take her eyes off him. Was it just her, or did he look about 10 times more attractive in that suit? Stopping in front of her, he caught her eyes and his grin softened into a genuine smile, "You look so beautiful Jules." Blushing, she unconsciously leaned closer to him, breathing in his unmistakable cologne, before a loud burst of party music reminded her of where they were. Wrenching herself from his stare, she hissed, "We can't do this Sam! Not here and definitely not now!" With that, she turned and fled into the hall.

Safely seated at her table, she tried valiantly to avoid glancing towards the door, waiting for Sam's official arrival. When he finally did slip in, she took the moment to really examine him. His hair looked as if it had received more attention than usual in a failing attempt for it to lay flat and Jules itched to run her fingers through the carefully combed strands. Her eyes traced the shape of his shoulders through his suit and she couldn't help but wonder at his lack of a date. Were the women of Toronto blind?

Catching her eye as he approached their table, Sam gave her a subtle wink and grinned as she turned away with a scowl. Slipping down into his seat, he settled in for a long wait as the awards show began.

An hour and a half later, dinner had been eaten and the dancing had begun. Jules was a popular dance partner, partly due to her new dress but mostly due to the fact that she was one of the only non-attached females in attendance. Spinning past their table in the arms of Team Three sergeant Troy, Jules could see Sam sitting alone, eyes following her every move. As Troy released her at the end of the song, Jules could swear Sam gave him an evil glare. Returning to the table to grab her drink, she was pulled away by Lew for the next dance, followed closely by Spike, Wordy, Greg and Ed. Resigning herself to the fact that she probably wouldn't be allowed to sit down that night, she went along with it in good spirits. She loved her team and was more than happy to dance with them. As she was wheeled across the room, Jules threw subtle glances at Sam only to become more and more puzzled about his behaviour. Finally it hit her as she saw Sam rebuff a conversation with Spike shortly after their dance finished. The mighty Samtastic was jealous! If only he knew how much she wanted these arms around her to be his...Jules shook her head. She couldn't be having these thoughts! They were not allowed as much as the both might have wanted it.

Finally, the DJ announced the last song for the night and Jules as able to take a seat as her friends swept their dates off for their final dance. Preoccupied with watching the dancers, Jules was caught off guard when a husky voice whispered in her ear, "May I have this dance?"

Without turning, Jules whispered back, "You know we can't."

Chuckling, Sam pointed out, "But you danced with the other eligible men on our team and in the force, wouldn't it look suspicious if you didn't dance with me?" He had her there. Taking her hand, Sam led her towards the edge of the dance floor, pulling her into his arms. Jules, fully prepared to keep a 'safe' distance, put up no fight. She wanted this. Resting her head against his shoulder, they swayed in time to the music, Sam's hands resting gently on her hips.

Sam sighed softly and tightened his grip on Jules. This was where he wanted to be. Damn the SRU's rules. Jules' breathed in the scent of Sam's cologne and tried to memorize the feel of his hands burning through the thin material of her dress. She would fight it until the end of time but she no longer had any doubt that this was what she wanted for the rest of her life. Maybe someday.