But Joe has different ideas and convinces her to dance with him while her small staff sees to business. It seemed the air had turned into champagne, every breath filled with effervescent, free-floating giddiness. My glasses slipped again, and I began to adjust them. The room turned into a blur of glitter and shadow.
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But Joe has different ideas and convinces her to dance with him while her small staff sees to business. It seemed the air had turned into champagne, every breath filled with effervescent, free-floating giddiness. My glasses slipped again, and I began to adjust them. The room turned into a blur of glitter and shadow. He took me in the same hold as before, except now we were closer, our steps intimately constrained. This time he no longer followed the orchestra rhythm, only settled into a slow, relaxed pace.
I breathed in the scent of him, burnished with sun and salt, and I was confounded by the yearning to press my mouth against his neck, taste him. I nodded. My breath caught. I turned my face away deliberately.
I had to break the spell, or I was going to do something I would regret. I stiffened as I felt his hand slide to the center of my back. My head tipped back, my vision filled with the twinkling firefly-lights entwined in the tree branches. I gasped as he pulled me upright with astonishing ease. Now we were matched front to front. I was quiet, unable to make a sound if my life had depended on it. I closed my eyes. My senses were busy gathering him in, the hard strength of his body, the caress of his breath against my ear.
All too soon, the song ended with a bittersweet flourish. Another song started, the notes flaring softly. But every now and then an old song could pierce through your heart as if you were hearing it for the first time. As we danced, I tried to gather every passing second for safekeeping, like pennies in a Mason jar.
But soon I lost track, and it was only the two of us, wrapped in music and dream-colored darkness. I had no idea what song played next. We stood locked in a subtle sway with my arms linked around his neck. I let my fingers drift over the nape of his neck, where the thick hair was tapered in close layers. A feeling of unreality swept over me, and my imagination kept veering in the wrong directions.
I wondered what he would be like in intimacy, the ways he might move and breathe and tremble. His head lowered until his jaw grazed my cheek, the touch of shaven bristle delicious. A shock of sweetness went through me as I felt his lips touch the thin, tender skin, grazing the frantic thrum of a pulse. Reaching into his pocket, Joe withdrew my glasses and gave them back to me. There was a crescent mark on the left side of his jaw, a thin white line amid the shadow of shaven bristle.
And another mark near the outward corner of his left eye, a subtle parenthetical scar. Somehow the tiny imperfections made him even sexier. I wanted to touch the marks with my fingertips. I wanted to kiss them. When you fell for a man like this, it would be an all-consuming bonfire. And afterward, your heart would resemble the contents of an ashtray.
And I hurried away with the sense that I was running through a minefield.
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Except for scorpions. That was a new one. The distinctive movement gave it away, a sinister forward-and-back scuttle across the tiles of the pool patio. But as the scorpion skittered toward me with its grasping claws and upward-curved tail, I forgot all about rule number one and let out a shriek. Frantically I rummaged through my bag, a tote so heavy that whenever I set it on the passenger seat, the car would signal me to buckle it in. My hand fumbled past tissues, pens, bandages, Evian, hair products, deodorant, hand sanitizer, lotion, nail and makeup kits, tweezers, a sewing kit, glue, headphones, cough drops, a chocolate bar, over-the-counter medications, scissors, a file, a brush, earring backs, rubber bands, tampons, stain remover, a lint roller, bobby pins, a razor, double-sided tape, and cotton swabs. The heaviest object I could find was a glue gun, which I threw at the scorpion.