“Dance with me,” Scott requested, holding out his hand. He pulled Claudine into his arms and guided her in time to the soft Christmas music issuing from the speakers.
They were the only ones at the informal party dancing. Everyone else had been chatting around the coffee table as fragrant cups of steaming coffee were handed out in delicate china cups. Trays of sweets were passed around on large trays. Luscious tarts, elegantly decorated sugar cookies, and rich morsels of English toffee, covered the trays.
She had been sitting in a pine green velvet chair next to the large white pine Christmas tree bedazzled in stunning turquoise and cranberry balls. Lavish, glittering snowflakes hid among the branches while crystal icicles dripped from the branches. While the tree could have been considered very patriotic, it’s very essence was luxurious and elegant. The little twinkle lights sparkled and caused the faceted ornaments to send shimmering light across Claudine’s gown. The flame colored gown of silk Georgette sparkled as she sat apart from the gathering of people. The lights even made her sable hair light up with little twinkles. She looked hauntingly beautiful. She also looked hauntingly sad.
Lost in her thoughts, Scott had hesitated, not wanting to intrude, but a crystal tear, caught in the corner of her eye, like a delicately placed diamond, demanded he remedy the situation.
Claudine danced silently, her thoughts troubled by his closeness. She had been lost in thought when his deep voice and outstretched hand had brought her crashing back to reality. She wasn’t sure why she had accepted his request. He disturbed her in ways she couldn’t explain. She wasn’t sure how she felt about him other than she was always on guard. A feeling of helplessness always centered in her chest when he was near. As if she didn’t know what to say next. Or what he would say.
“Are you better now?” he asked gently.
“Of-,” her voice broke and she cleared her throat. “Of course I am. Why do you ask?”
Her tone was defensive and he smiled at her prickly question. His hand held her’s loosely, while the palm of his other rested on her hip, just a touch possesively. He wanted to pull her closer, but thought she might object.
“You seemed to somber a bit ago.”
“Was I? I can’t remember why,” she mused.
“Well, the tears are gone.”
“You had one caught,” and he touched the corner of her eye with his fingertip, her lashes brushing feather-soft. “Right there.”
“Oh.” Her voice was soft. “Certain Christmas music always seems to make me a bit misty eyed.”
“Hmm,” was all he said. He didn’t believe her. He gave into temptation and pulled her just a little bit closer. He grinned as he heard her breath hitch.
“Do I bother you?” he questioned. He felt he knew the answer, and his suspicions were confirmed as her emotions warred and flashed across her face. He felt her fingers clench in the wool of his forest green pullover. Her pansy brown eyes grew big and round and a faint flush of rose spread over her cheeks.
“I do, don’t I?” he said in amazement.
She stared resolutely at the collar of his white shirt. She wasn’t sure what she’d blurt out if she looked up into his coffee-colored eyes.
“Yes,” she finally muttered.
“Pardon, can you repeat that? I didn’t hear you,” he asked as he inclined his head closer to her mouth.
“Yes!” she hissed. “You do bother me.”
“Why?” He looked down into her eyes, now glittering with more unshed tears, as if the admission had cost her. He thought she might not answer, as she kept silent for a long while, her lush mouth compressed in a tight line.
“I don’t know,” she whispered, eventually.
“I don’t bite, you know.”
“I’m not so sure of that,” she muttered in reply.
His laugh was low, but rich and full of body. It swirled around her, and she felt the vibrations travel through her body. The motion made her breathless as tingles of awareness moved through her body. She glanced up at him through her lashes, eyeing him carefully. She must have given something away; she wasn’t sure what, but before she could protest, his mouth settled on hers, ever so softly.
He kissed her gently, lingeringly, and when he pulled back, it was his turn to have troubled eyes.
“Whoa,” he murmured. His eyes searched her’s, feeling a blaze of something hit his gut as she inclined her head closer to his.
He kissed her again, then spun her around as the music continued to play softly.
Like I mentioned over on Escaping the Inkwell, I’ve been inspired by Emilie Loring right now. This bit of flash fiction came after listening to some really nice instrumental jazz Christmas music. I just pictured this grand old home, with a large living room, decked out in gorgeous Christmas decorations, a la Martha Stewart. From there, I wondered why someone would be dancing. Well, of course, me being the romantic I am, I needed a guy and a girl. I’ve been playing around with names, and Claudine seemed nice. Scott is a name from a Loring, so I borrowed it. I borrow names all the time. I’m terrible at name hunting.
So, if you can picture it, there they were, dancing. Picture Kevin Kline’s line to Meg Ryan in French Kiss. “And we’re dancing.”