The Bar, The Bull, and the Girl

Submitted into Contest #249 in response to: Write a story that begins with someone dancing in a bar.... view prompt


Romance Fiction Western

Upon entering the dimly lit bar, Dan was immediately greeted by the crowd’s rising volume of murmurs and whispers. With each stride towards the center, the clink of glasses and the low murmur of conversations faded into the backdrop. Clinging to his broad shoulders, his leather jacket added a touch of ruggedness to his appearance. At the same time, the dim light highlighted the contours of his face.

The venue buzzed with anticipation as the band tuned their instruments, creating a symphony of discordant sounds. Dan’s attention was immediately captivated by the lead singer, whose untamed curls and powerful voice filled the room. With a playful wink, she managed to coax a wide, happy grin from him.

Dan was always seen at the bar corner, never sitting elsewhere. He had heard about this place—the kind where the thumping music echoed, immersing everyone in a bubble of carefree bliss.

With each step he took toward the center of the floor, the spotlight grew brighter, casting a beam of light directly on him. As soon as the beat started, he gracefully spun a hesitant woman into a waltz, their feet gliding across the dance floor. He guided her steps, and her laughter filled the room, bouncing off the walls in a delightful echo. Gradually, more people joined in—initially hesitant but soon finding their rhythm.

Dan’s eyes roamed the room, capturing fleeting moments of happiness and raw emotion. As he spun a lonely woman in a business suit, he noticed her rigid expression soften, and a faint smile appear on her face.

Angie’s melodic voice filled the room, transporting him back in time as she sang the nostalgic tune. Although “At Last” wasn’t a country song, it captivated his attention effortlessly. Angie’s eyes twinkled with delight as she watched Dan captivate the crowd. The band’s setlist mainly consisted of songs by Haggard, Jones, or Willie. Still, occasionally, they would switch it up and perform one by Loretta, Tammy, or even Etta.

In the dimly lit smoke-filled bar, a random couple clung to each other, swaying to the rhythm of the music. Their troubles dissolved in the shared movement, forgotten for a few precious minutes.

Dan watched with pride as he observed them gracefully executing the dance moves he had taught them.

The man held her close, his hand on the small of her back. She rested her head against his shoulder, her eyes closed. The world outside ceased to exist—the bills, the deadlines, the heartaches—all replaced by the simple pleasure of being held.

Dan and Angie watched them from afar, admiring their effortless grace and secretly yearning to possess the same allure.

The fiddle played on, its mournful notes weaving through their bodies. They moved as one, their breaths in sync. The crowd watched, some smiling, others lost in their own memories.

And for those few moments, the bar became a sanctuary—a place where worries were left at the door, where the past and future merged into the present.

As the night wore on, Dan became more than a dance partner. He was a catalyst for connection, a bridge between strangers. The band played on, and the bar pulsed with life. Dan’s purpose was fulfilled—he’d taught them to dance, but more importantly, he’d taught them to feel.

His pulse quickened. The mysterious young lady appeared like clockwork every Friday night and was about to step into the bar. He’d heard whispers about her. She was an enigma, her laughter like the tinkling of wind chimes. That face, he knew that face. Was she there to find a dance partner, or was she there to forget life for a while?

Dan positioned himself near the entrance as the band struck a sultry tune. He leaned against the worn wooden bar, pretending to sip his whiskey. His eyes scanned the room, anticipation humming in his veins.

And there she was. Another regular glided through the door, her heels clicking against the floor. Her dark hair cascaded in waves, and her eyes held secrets. She moved with grace as if the music guided her steps.

He watched as she weaved through the crowd, acknowledging familiar faces with a nod. Her gaze swept over him, and for a moment, time hung suspended. Was it recognition? Or merely curiosity?

The twang of a steel guitar filled the air, and Dan stepped onto the dance floor. The room hushed, eyes drawn to his boots as they shuffled in time with the music.

Dan turned to find he was face to face with a lady wearing a low-cut neckline that left little to the imagination. The fabric strained against the curves of her breasts, daring him to look closer, to imagine what lay hidden beneath. Was it an invitation? Or merely a tease? Dan’s mind raced, desire igniting like a wildfire in his veins. He couldn’t tear his eyes away, caught between the promise of pleasure and the danger of getting burned.

At that moment, he knew he was in trouble. The lady before him was no ordinary woman. She was trouble-wrapped in denim and desire, a mystery waiting to unravel.

And Dan? He was just a man caught in her web, wondering if he’d ever find his way out.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked, her voice as warm as the Texas sun.

Dan grinned, extending his hand. “Not at all.”

Together, they swayed to the rhythm, the sawdust-covered floor creaking beneath their feet. The other patrons watched, their fingers tapping on tables, lost in memories of dusty barns and summer nights.

As the song played on, Dan taught her the two-step—the basic, timeless dance of the Lone Star State. He led, she followed, and the world outside faded away.

“You’re a good teacher,” she said, her eyes crinkling at the corners.

“It’s all about feelin’ the music,” Dan replied. “And lettin’ go.”

Angie watched them from the stage. If she was going to capture the heart of that cowboy, she needed to get with it.

They spun, their laughter mingling with the fiddle’s lament. The bar became a honky-tonk haven, where worries dissolved like sugar in sweet tea.

The Friday night lady wasted no time finding new dance partners while Dan observed the whirl of dancers attempting the Chicken Dance. A lively line dance that was choreographed and a crowd favorite.

Angie stepped off the stage and joined Dan. “Having a good time?”

He nodded while smiling at her.

“You’re in excellent voice tonight.”

Nodding, she knew it was more than her voice he was enjoying. Her perfume wafted around him, causing him to breathe deeper as he noticed her beauty again.

Her curves, like the gentle undulations of a winding river, drew his gaze. The indigo dress clung to her in all the right places, accentuating the delicate slope of her waist and the swell of her hips. His eyes traced the curve of her collarbone, the softness of her skin—a landscape he longed to explore.

And her smile—the warmth of a sunbeam breaking through storm clouds—melted the distance between them. It was a smile that said, “Come closer.”

“May I have this dance?” he asked, his voice a low rumble.

She nodded, her eyes never leaving his. “What took you so long, Cowboy?”

As they swayed to the music, he realized that sometimes curves, cleavage, and warm smiles held more magic than any honky-tonk tune.

Angie’s gaze shifted to the woman in red—the enigma who had been watching them all evening. The dim light played tricks on her features, casting shadows that danced across her face.

“Who is she?” Angie whispered, leaning closer to Dan.

Dan shifted uncomfortably, his gaze following hers. The woman stood near the entrance, a vision in crimson. Her dress clung to every curve, and her hair spilled over her shoulders like a waterfall of fire.

“A girl I used to know from school,” Dan finally answered. His voice held a hint of nostalgia and a touch of regret.

The woman refused to dance with the strangers. He heard her laughter as it floated across the room, and Dan’s memories surged. They’d been friends once—more than friends, really. But life had taken them on different paths.

“She’s been watching you all night,” Angie murmured. “What happened between you two?”

Dan hesitated, then took a sip of his whiskey. “We danced,” he said. “Under the stars, at the homecoming dance.”

Angie’s eyes softened. “And then?”

“And then life happened,” Dan replied. “We drifted apart.”

She leaned closer, “Maybe it’s time to reconnect,” she suggested. “Dance with her again.”

“You think that’s a good idea?”

Angie’s madness had a purpose. “I think there is a hidden passion under that fiery red dress. You should see if it ignites for you.”

He drained the last of his whiskey, the liquid warming his throat.

The band began playing an old Loretta tune as Angie retook the stage. The rhythm of the song urged him forward. The woman stood near the bar, her eyes still fixed on him. Was it curiosity? Longing? Or something deeper?

Dan hesitated, then pushed away from the bar. His boots carried him across the room, the sawdust crunching beneath his steps. The woman’s eyes widened as he approached, and he held out his hand.

“Care to dance?” he asked, his voice low.

She hesitated, then placed her hand in his. The music enveloped them—the slow country tune, the heartbeat of Texas. They swayed, bodies close, memories rising like smoke from a campfire.

“Hello again. You’re not the same girl from school. Who are you now?” Dan murmured.

She smiled, her lips a flame against his ear. “Someone who remembers the magic.”

And in that dimly lit bar, they danced. The past and present twirled together, and Dan wondered if the flame burned for him or someone else. Was it a beacon leading him back to where he belonged or a raging inferno warning him away?

Angie’s eyes couldn’t help but linger on Dan, torn between admiration and a deep longing. His confidence commanded attention as he effortlessly twirled his dance partner, his laughter echoing through the room and his presence captivating everyone.

But Angie knew her place. She wasn’t the temptress in the crimson dress, the one who set hearts ablaze. She was the quiet observer, the friend who cheered from the sidelines.

Dan’s warm and infectious laughter reached her. He glanced her way, and for a moment, their eyes met. Angie’s pulse quickened. Maybe, just maybe, there was a chance.

But then the woman in red stepped closer, her hand on Dan’s arm. Angie’s heart sank. She’d seen this dance before—where she faded into the background, a forgotten melody.

As the music played on, Angie forced a smile. She tried to convince herself that she’d be content with memories—the way Dan’s eyes crinkled when he laughed and moved like a man who knew the rhythm of life.

And so, she watched from across the floor, knowing that sometimes, catching someone’s heart was harder than catching their eye.

Felicia sat, her heart racing, as Dan’s gaze shifted to the man across the room. The stranger’s eyes bore into them, and he felt a mix of discomfort and nostalgia.

“Who is that guy watching us?” Dan asked, his voice low.

Felicia hesitated, then met Dan’s eyes. “My ex,” she whispered.

The memories flooded back—the late-night conversations, the stolen kisses, the promises made under moonlit skies. But they’d drifted apart like two ships on separate tides. In a way, he was an ex, too.

Dan’s jaw tightened. “Does he still matter to you?”

Felicia considered her answer. “Not in the way he used to,” she said.

“But some flames never fully extinguish.”

Dan knew the feeling of flames all too well. The man in question approached, his expression guarded. Felicia stood, her heart caught between past and present.

He tipped his hat to Dan as he stood between them.

“Dance with me,” he said, his hand outstretched.

She glanced at Dan, who watched her with curiosity and something more profound.

“Maybe it’s time to find out,” she replied, taking the man’s hand.

Dan’s heart raced as he pieced together the puzzle. The woman in red—the one who had haunted his thoughts—had a past, a history that intersected with his own.

He watched her dance with her ex, their steps fluid yet guarded. The twang of the steel guitar seemed to echo their shared memories.

As the night wore on, Dan observed their subtle glances—unspoken words and lingering touch. He wondered what had torn them apart, what had left scars.

Angry words from across the room garnered the attention of the bouncer, Dan, and others. Her ex headed toward the door with her in tow before the bouncer showed him the door. And then, unexpectedly, she broke away from her ex. She crossed the room, her eyes finding Dan’s.

“I owe you an explanation,” she said, her voice a whisper.

Dan nodded, his heart pounding. “Tell me.”

She took a deep breath. “I disappeared because I was chasing a dream. I was in love with you, but he had everything I wanted. Wealth, a good job, and he was home every night.”

She caught Dan’s gaze as he stared intently at her. “but not the warm embrace of love?”

She shook her head. “No, he’s a solid guy, but there is no passion, no fire.”

Dan bit his lip.

“What are you planning to do?”

She shook her head again, her hair swaying with the motion. “He is waiting for me in the car. Dan, that lady you were dancing with, the one singing your cheating heart, has the same feelings for you that I do.”

Dan turned his head to catch a glimpse of Angie, who seemed to be singing to him.

“You know this?”

Felicia nodded, a small smile tugging at the corners of her lips. “You don’t need to attend an Ivy League school to see that she’s head over heels for you, Danny.”

With that, Felicia smiled and turned toward the door. He watched as she left the bar, the scent of alcohol and cigarette smoke lingering in the air. Angie also watched, her lips curling into a wry smile.

Dan’s beer sat untouched as the lively beat of the line dance swept through the bar. The sawdust-covered floor pulsed with energy, and he found himself at the center of it all.

Angie, her eyes sparkling, pulled him into the dance. Her laughter mingled with the fiddle’s melody, and Dan twirled her with practiced ease. But she wasn’t the only one vying for his attention.

Other ladies joined in—their cowboy boots tapping, their skirts swirling.

They spun, they stomped, and they laughed. Dan’s hand was in high demand, and he obliged, a grin tugging at his lips.

The room blurred—the faces, the music, the scent of whiskey and sweat. Dan lost himself in the rhythm, the shared joy. It wasn’t about romance; it was about connection, about letting go.

And so, he danced with Angie and the nameless women who laughed and spun.

The night stretched ahead, promising more twirls, laughter, and memories.

Felicia’s voice echoed in his mind as Angie left the floor to entertain the crowd with a Patsy Cline standard.

Indeed, life’s twists and turns can be as unpredictable as a wild bronco ride. The honky-tonk bar, neon signs, and sawdust-covered floor became the stage for their reunion—a dance of memories and what-ifs.

Dan, his heart a tumbleweed caught in a storm, had watched her—the woman in red—move with a grace that belied the fire within. She’d been his high school sweetheart, the girl who’d stolen kisses behind the bleachers. And just like that, she was gone again, leaving only a faint echo of her presence behind.

Angie looped her arm in his. “You see that mechanical bull over there?”

Dan glanced at her and nodded.

There was complete silence as her gaze bore into his. The bar’s dim lights cast shadows across her face, setting the stage for the pivotal moment in their lives.

“Dan, tonight is my last night,” she said, her voice a low murmur. “If you want to see me past tonight, cowboy, you need to make a decision. Pardon the sayin' ol'e buddy, but you need to fish or cut bait.”

Dan’s heart raced. He’d danced with her, felt the heat of her touch, but life had taught him caution. He’d lost love once.

“What will you do if you ain’t singing?” he asked, his voice rough and low.

“Depends on you. I’m not getting any younger.” Her lips were a breath away. “Chase the melody or let it fade.”

Was his ranch life ready for someone to keep him company on those starry nights?

He glanced at her and smiled. Dan knew—he’d ride this lasso of fate, hold on tight, and follow her wherever the music led.

Glancing at the bull, she observed a young lady in a short skirt energetically bouncing around the padded floor. “Are you going to hop on?”

Dan hesitated, then grinned. “Why not?”

He mounted the bull, gripping the worn leather handle. The crowd cheered, their voices blending with the twang of the guitar. The bull bucked, and Dan held on.

Angie’s eyes were fixed on him, her smile encouraging and teasing. As they stood before the bull, it became evident to both that this encounter would mark a turning point in their lives, causing them to question their choices. With her decision made, Angie closed her eyes and felt the weight of her silent prayer.

And as the bull spun him, Dan wondered if this was fate’s way of saying, “Saddle up, cowboy, and hold on tight.”

May 07, 2024 17:57

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Darvico Ulmeli
12:13 May 10, 2024

Pretty nice. Like your descriptions of dance.


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Alexis Araneta
18:22 May 08, 2024

The romantic in me swooned at this. Lovely work. I so cheered for your protagonist with every paragraph !


Scott Taylor
04:46 May 09, 2024

I am having fun with it. A far cry from science fiction. Thanks Again!


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Trudy Jas
21:25 May 07, 2024

A lovely love story. Tewy took the long road, but got there in the end.


Scott Taylor
23:17 May 07, 2024

Thanks, Trudy, that was a lot of fun.


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