Mais um dos tais pedidos. Neste caso pediram-me apenas "a romance".
Who You Dance For
An old aunt had told her once that sometimes it wasn’t about who you were dancing with but who you were dancing for. As she stepped up to the floor with Alexander, the words returned to Marina’s mind. She wished she had someone to dance for because she certainly didn’t want to be dancing with that man.
He was her parents’ idea of the sort of man she should be seeing. And since she hadn’t been seeing anyone for quite some time, they had taken it upon themselves to ask him along for the evening.
Her mother had been going on about how much Marina loved to dance and Alexander had said he was a good dancer. Well, of course he was, from what she had heard that evening, the man was practically perfect in everything – at least in his own mind. And of course mother had to insist that they danced together.
So there she was, on the dance floor and the very good dancer was barely passable: too stiff, too dispassionate, too by the numbers. Not that her heart was in it, anyway.
She did love to dance. It was fun, it was liberating, it was sexy. Tonight, however, she felt too trapped to be having fun and she certainly had no desire to be sexy for Alexander.
It was then she saw the tall dark-haired man leaning against the wall by the corner, watching the dancers on the floor. Since Alexander was twirling her around she only caught glimpses of him at intervals, either when she was turned his way or when she could catch his reflection in the large mirror at the other side of the room.
He was lean, but not skinny; the slate grey suit he was wearing outlined broad shoulders and powerful thighs. His hands were narrow with long fingers and he was holding an unlit pipe, turning it around over and over again, caressing the polished wood in soft slow movements.
Marina became aware that her own movements had become more fluid and sensuous as she watched the stranger. She hid a small smile. She had found someone to dance for.
Alexander faded from her perception; he became nothing but a fulcrum for her motion, a useful but unremarkable part of the setting in which she was performing. Now she could hear only the music, the voices of the other partygoers were gone. The dancing and the deep eyes of the stranger on her were all that mattered.
The beat of the song had changed, or maybe the thrumming of the blood in her ears made it seem so. Her hips swayed, the shantung silk of her dress pulling across her thighs, the uneven surface of the fabric caressing her skin.
Light made sound surrounded her, coursing through her body, connecting every muscle, every bone and tendon so that the smallest movement would send a syncopated wave of energy along her limbs and joints, offsetting perfectly timed rotations. Her lower lip dropped slowly, admitting the extra oxygen she needed to go on moving, to go on glowing.
Her eyes met those of the stranger. He was watching her. His hands had stopped toying with the tobacco pipe and his full lips were raised in a half-smile. She swirled, turning her back on him, but still feeling the intensity of his gaze on her body as clearly as if it had been those long agile hands tracing her curves.
For a moment, she worried the awareness of his eyes following her would make her movements too self-conscious, that she would find herself trying too hard to be sensuous, striving for perfection, only to have her efforts backfire.
It never happened, the concept of his presence merged seamlessly into the dreamlike state she often fell into when dancing and became a catalyst for her passion. The rhythm of the music became more intense to her, the perception of her own body moving more expansive, the warmth enveloping her skin more vivid.
Until the song stopped. She looked up as if the music had been coming from above and not from the band on the dais to her left. Alexander placed his hand on the small of her back and lead her back to the table. He was saying something about her dancing. She wasn’t listening. With the number of people moving from the dance floor back to the tables, she had lost sight of the stranger.
They sat down. Her mother immediately started raving about how lovely they had looked on the dance floor together. She really had no notion.
The stranger was still nowhere in sight and Marina wasn’t about to start looking around to try and find him. She tried to tell herself he had been nothing but a useful distraction to make dancing with Alexander bearable. Then the music started up again and a hand fell softly on her shoulder. He was standing there, behind her, his smile fully open.
“Care to dance?”