Dean had two left feet. That was the real irony of Lulu and Dean's romance. Lulu, a classically trained ballet dancer, always proclaimed that she'd marry a man who could sweep her off her feet. Literally. In a manner of speaking, Dean did just that when, rounding the corner at their shared local grocer's, he bumped directly into Lulu and sent her and her basket of fruits and veggies, flying. She landed in one spot and her produce in another.
She gasped, stood up, brushed herself off and did a releve to make sure she wasn't injured. She had a performance of Swan Lake tomorrow and she was the principal.
When she looked up from her grocery-store dance move, orange rolling toward her perfectly pointed toes, she saw Dean. He bit his lip and looked at her in awe. It was love at first sight for him, but not quite reciprocated.
"Do you have any idea how risky that was?" Lulu shouted with a sigh. Her mixed emotions of relief and disbelief at the nerve of this man were swirling around both of them. Then Dean's heart started to swell and the atmosphere was thick with anticipation.
What could Dean say that would be the perfect response of apology and sincerity to help ease her anger and convince her that he was a nice guy.
"I'm so sorry," he settled on and started darting around the store gathering her runaway produce.
Now you might think that he fell in love with her eyes or her smile. You might think her jet black hair, pulled up into a perfect bun was what enchanted him. But the truth? The truth is, when she stood up and tested her limbs, his stomach twisted and his breath caught in his throat. Her strength. Her clear dedication and commitment. He didn't know how he knew - but she was someone he already looked up to. Her determination and will alone could carry his heart for miles.
That's why he barely noticed when she stalked off after he put all the items back in her basket with profuse apology. That night, he bought a ticket to Swan Lake and planned to apologize one more time.
When he watched her perform, all of his instincts were confirmed. She was strong, commanding and stole the show with her confidence. And when he went backstage to introduce himself, instead of carrying a bouquet of flowers, he brought her a biography of Tchaikovsky, a copy of Proust's Swan's Way and an orange. And while for him it was love at first sight, for her it was love at second.
Their romance was never whirlwind. It was slow and steady, like her practice. It was purposeful and thoughtful. She had a dream to live out and Dean was just happy to witness it. His love and support over the years proved to Lulu that he was her rock. He was her biggest supporter. That's why, five years later, when they were shopping at that same grocer's and Dean playfully upended her basket of produce, her annoyance turned to pure joy when she saw him get down on one knee, pick up and orange and pull out a ring. What could her answer be other than, "Yes. Always. Yes."
All these memories flashed before her while she stood in the studio of SJ Couture bridal and stared at herself in THE dress. The perfect dress. It was the one that she felt most at home in. The one that she knew would feel most like herself in. She twirled in her tulle in front of the mirror and said, "Let's start this new dance."
And when they played the first song at the reception, Lulu was swept off her feet. Literally. When Dean lifted her in a Penche during a Pas de Deux. All this time, he'd been taking lessons.
"Thank you," she whispered in his ear.
"Thank you," he said. "For being my best friend, my inspiration and my role model. Your strength inspires me."
Then, they danced into the night.
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