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Dance of the Heart

"…I believe
It's meant to be, darlin'
I watch you when you are sleeping
You belong with me
Do you feel the same
Am I only dreaming
Or is this burning (burning) an eternal flame.
Say my name
Sun shines through the rain
A whole life so lonely
And then you come and ease the pain…"
"Eternal Flame" 
by Susanna Hoffs, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly

Chapter 1

Casey followed Carlotta’s instructions, and began moving her hips to the music.

"No, don’t jerk…flow," the gypsy woman instructed. "Use your belly more…that’s it, yes!"

The two women moved across the floor of Carlotta’s dance studio.

"You’re sure this is how it was done in Ancient Egypt?" Casey asked.

"Yes. It was taught to me by a woman who was taught by one of the Pharaoh’s consorts."


"Yes. Turn, slowly…yes, that’s good. Now, I will sit in the chair, and you will dance just as I taught you." Carlotta sat down, used the remote to restart the stereo, then watched as Casey began to move across the floor, her body moving sensuously. When she reached the chair, she bent over backwards as far as she could go without falling, then moved her body gracefully back up just as the music reached a fevered pitch. Casey’s hips became a blur of motion. "Excellent!" Carlotta declared. The music slowed again, and she finished the dance just as she had learned it. "Perfect! That was wonderful, Casey!"

Breathless, Casey grinned. "I never knew that harem dancing could be so exhausting!"

"That is why the dancers seldom had to…entertain…afterwards," Carlotta smiled.

"Well, I’d better figure out a way to do just that, because I can tell you right now, after doing all that, I’ll have him so worked up he’s not going to want to wait."

The older woman laughed. "What you are doing speaks of your love for him. I have no doubt that he will appreciate it. Now, remember, take the scarves off slowly…you want to make him eager to see more of your body. The slower the last three come off, the better. You did very well today."

Casey was pulling on a robe, sipping from a bottle of water. She had been here, doing this same thing, every day for three weeks. "Do you think it would be okay to lead him to the bath after the dance? I’ve arranged for a room with one of those big tubs with jets. I…I don’t like being all sweaty when…" her voice dropped off, and she blushed.

"I think, my dear, that when you are on the floor at his feet, naked, you will be able to lead him anywhere you want him to go," Carlotta smiled. "I think it would be lovely. Now, about that navel ring, how is it?"

"It’s fine. No itching. It’s been hard to keep him from finding out about it, though." Yesterday Carlotta had pierced her belly button in preparation for the birthday surprise that Casey was planning for Daniel.

The dark haired woman laughed. "I’m sure it is. Please, come here, I have something for you."

She held up what looked like a very wide, long earring, full of beads and loops of silver chain.

Casey walked over to her, allowed the woman to open her robe and attach the piece of jewelry to the small platinum ring that glistened in her navel. "Oh, wow…that is so cool!" The beads and chains reached to just the top of her pubic hair. "Those Egyptians knew about sensual, didn’t they?"

Carlotta laughed. "As did a great many other civilizations. However, since Egypt seems to be Daniel’s favorite, it’s only fair to do things their way. It is not too heavy? Move around a bit, see if it is going to bother you."

Casey moved her hips, shook them, following some of the dance steps. "It feels…different, but not heavy. It doesn’t hurt."

"Good. Now. Your costume." Carlotta walked over to her desk and opened a long, flat box. Inside were colorful, translucent silk scarves, meant to be wrapped around the body and slowly removed. The edges were all beautifully embroidered, tiny silver and white beads decorated them.

"Oh, Carly! They’re beautiful!"

"I once danced for a powerful sheik in these scarves. Please, take them, use them to enchant your husband."

Casey hugged the dark haired woman. "Thank you, Carly. For everything!" She glanced at the clock on the far wall of the studio. "Oh, cripes! I have to go! I can’t be late, he’s already getting suspicious as it is!"

"Go, then, my friend. And tell me all about it when you return."

"Promise!" Casey said as she hurried to the locker room. She took a hurried shower, then raced to make it home before Daniel did. She missed by five minutes.


A  A  A  A  A  A


He was in the living room, on the floor with Emmie when she walked in the room. "Hey, gorgeous. Your mom said you went to the grocery store. You could have waited, I’d have gone with you," he said. His voice was strained.

Grocery store? Shit! She hadn’t thought to stop and grab anything…she should have worked out a code or something with her mother before she left. "Oh…uh…well…they didn’t have what I wanted anyway," she stammered.

He frowned. Something was going on. She had been…distracted…for weeks now. Disappearing every afternoon, coming home tired…and last night was the first time she had ever turned him away…ever. He noticed that her hair was still damp. She had just taken a shower. Not good. Terrifying. His heart was pounding painfully against his ribs.

"So, ready for dinner?" 

"Sure." She was heading for the freezer. Again. Not that that was a bad thing. It was just that she usually wanted a 'fresh' meal at least twice a week. He stood up, put Emmie in her playpen, and walked into the kitchen, stood against the counter, his arms wrapped tightly around his waist. All the signs were there. Jack and Duncan agreed with him, although neither could believe that it was true. He certainly didn’t want to believe it either. "So, did you have a nice afternoon?"

"It was great, thanks. You?" She kept her back to him as she pulled out a casserole and put it into the microwave to thaw it. She would need to take a day or two to restock the freezer when she got home, she noted absently.

"Same old routine." He watched her take vegetables from the refrigerator to the sink. He couldn’t take it any longer. His heart dropping to his stomach, he moved to stand beside her. He started to reach out to touch her, dropped his hand, pulled it back against his shaking body. "Who is it, Casey?"

"Who is who?"

"Whoever it is that you’re having an affair with. Why, Angel? What did I do wrong? Why are you-"

Casey was looking at him, eyes wide, mouth agape. "Daniel Melburn Jackson, I oughta slug you for that!"

He stopped, looked at the fire in her eyes. "Casey, something is going on!"

She slammed down the knife she had been using, turned to face him. She studied him for a minute, saw the genuine fear and worry in his eyes. Her expression softened, and she smiled. "Sweetheart, do you trust me?"

He hesitated.

Well, she thought, if the shoe were on the other foot…"Daniel, I am not cheating on you. I don’t know how you could ever think that. Yes, something is going on. Sheesh, you couldn’t wait just one more day, could you?"

"One more day?" His heart stopped. What was happening in one more day? Was she planning on leaving him? She said she wasn’t having an affair, did she only mean that she hadn’t slept with…whoever…yet? He was confused…hurt…scared…worried....absolutely terrified that she was slipping away from him.

"Yeah. One more day. July 8th. Your birthday."

His birthday? His birthday. My birthday! He grinned.

"Every year it seems that somehow your birthday gets sort of…passed by. I mean, you get a cake, but…not really a celebration."

"A surprise party," he grinned, folding his arms across his chest. "You’re throwing a surprise party for me." Waves of relief washed over him, nearly knocked him to his knees.

He was so sure of himself that she couldn’t help but giggle. "Sure, sweetheart. That’s it." She could salvage this surprise yet.

He leaned over and kissed her. "It’s not necessary babe. But I appreciate it. I promise to look surprised when the time comes."

She giggled again. Surprised? She was hoping for down right shocked.

"Uh, babe…about last night…" he still needed to know what that had been about.

She sighed. She had nearly cried last night when she told him she was too tired, and rolled to her side to sleep. She reached down, unzipped her jeans and exposed her belly to him.

He looked, stretched his hand out and touched the tiny ring. "Wow. When? Why?"

"Yesterday. I didn’t want you to know about it…yet. Oh, Daniel, I’ve worked so hard on this surprise, please, don’t ask any more questions."

The look in her eyes put an end to his questions, if not his curiosity. As long as she wasn’t having an affair, as long as she still loved him, he could wait. "Aw, babe, I’m sorry. I was just so damned scared, that’s all." He wrapped his arms around her.

She hugged him back, held him tightly, pressed her lips to his neck. "I promise, my heart, you won’t regret waiting." She felt his fingers on the ring, caressing her skin. "Daniel, if you don’t stop that right now we’re going to have a problem," she whispered.

"I’ll stop now, but I’m going to play later," he whispered in her ear.

She shivered. "Promise?"

"Definitely. Promise."

"If you really need something for your hands to do, cut up these cucumbers," she grinned wickedly.

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