“Ugh, and I thought it was going to be a quiet night,” Fletcher grumbled as a lively, fast tune filled the main deck of the ship we were abroad.
“This is typical for passageway ships, especially ones in the Priefeen Narrow,” My eyes watched the fiddler who whirled around the deck, encouraging people to dance in the middle. Gradually people joined in, groups of wanderers doing jigs while young couples opted for a quick-paced waltz and children formed chains, weaving through the throngs of people.
“I usually take small merchant or fishing boats when I travel outside of my company,” Fletcher slumped against the wooden, plain railing, a grimace on his face. Did he ever lighten up?
“Have you always been this serious?” I pulled myself up onto the railing, swinging my feet to the music. The early evening sun warmed my back. It was a calm, bright night with light-hearted festivities, so why wasn’t he able to mellow out even just a bit?
“No, before Franz disappeared, I would say I was very carefree. But losing him in such an unclear way like that, I had to find some way to push myself out of the grief,” He ran a hand through his hair and let out a soft sigh. “And that was by learning that certain situations in life demand your entire focus to achieve the ideal goal. Yet, I’ve also learned you should divert your focus from it for things of equal importance only,”
My lips pressed into a firm line. Yes, great focus was needed for your goals and I was glad it helped him grieve, but if one just continuously centered themselves on them they would eventually get exhausted. Everyone needed to take a step back and do something else to break them from that constant stream. “Come on,” I jumped off the railing and held my left hand out to him.
He frowned. His eyes fixed on my hand. “I don’t know how to dance,”
“I can teach you, it isn’t that hard,”
He looked out across the horizon, running his hand through his hair again. “I don’t know…” His voice trailed off.
I snatched his hand. Tugging on his arm, I took a few steps toward the center. “Let’s have some fun, we probably won’t be able to for a while,”
His frown deepened and his eyes narrowed at me, but he reluctantly followed me to the edge of the group of dancers. The music had mellowed out to a slower pace but was still upbeat. More people had taken to dancing in pairs because of this, so it seemed we would fit right in.
I guided his hands into the correct positions, his left on my waist and the right in my hand. I rested my free hand on his left elbow. “You should be coming towards me with each step, so just follow me,”
He nodded his head. I gave him a small smile and squeezed his hand. I waited a few moments to pick up the timing of the song and once I found it, I started to lead us in a square step. Fletcher stiffly matched me, which was to be expected. It didn’t matter though because he was trying. “You’re doing good!” I grinned at him while I picked up our pace to match the new song.
He made an inaudible grunt, yet offered a small smile though his eyes never left my feet. I softly chuckled, he really was a narrow-focused man. I hoped he would be good on his word about continuing to fix the past and gave attention to both our relationship and our infections. So far, he had been, but people sometimes tended to still slip back into old habits. Thus, making their changes temporary, fleeting ones.
Breathing in what was becoming his familiar scent of honeyed brandy, I silently wished that he would prove faithful and true on those words.