“Royal, I’m so excited about taking these lessons with you,” Layla said as they ascended the stairs of the dance studio on the windiest night of the month. “I’ve always wanted to learn ballroom dances.”
“Well, here’s your chance,” Royal replied, fighting not to frown. He did not want Layla here tonight. Yet the moment she learned he was interested in taking dance lessons, she got on the bandwagon.
Royal had his mother to thank for this bit of inconvenience. She’d seen the brochure in his car last Sunday, questioned him about his potential enrollment and then passed the word on to Layla.
By now it was obvious to Royal that his mother was playing matchmaker between friends. He just hoped Layla didn’t fall for it. He didn’t want to see her hurt, especially since he didn’t see her as a potential love interest at all. Not even when Delia wasn’t in the picture.
Some women are just meant to be friends, Royal mused, deeming Layla in that category, despite how attractive she was. Maybe I should start playing matchmaker myself. See who I can hook her up with.
As they entered the red-brick building, Royal wondered why more men didn’t pursue Layla. She was certainly good-looking, financially stable, and very smart. Yet she could be all work and no play at times. Moody even and distrustful due to her past.
Were those negative aspects of Layla’s personality major turn-offs for would-be pursuers? Or did her positive aspects intimidate most men who didn’t have all those things going for themselves?
Perhaps a little of both.
Yet the main reason Layla wasn’t being pursued by a lot of men was because they simply got tired of being rejected. Others got tired of being teased and let down. For the men in the second category, Layla would go out on dates with them, share kisses and caresses with them, and then deny them access to her body. All due to her secret love for Royal.
Finding a seat in the back of the studio, Royal scanned the crowd for any signs of Delia. He spotted her over in the southeast corner of the room talking to a tall, dark, handsome stranger.
The man might have been a stranger to Royal, but he was obviously no stranger to Delia. Not only did they have on matching costumes, she kept touching his arm with familiarity.
I thought Aisha said he was gay. He doesn’t look gay to me, Royal mused, wondering if his cousin only told him that to ease his mind. After all, Delia’s dance partner had more muscles than him. But then again, what did muscles have to do with a person’s sexuality anyway?
“Hey, isn’t that Delia Valentine?” Layla leaned over to whisper in Royal’s ear. She’d spotted that familiar face, too. Or rather a familiar profile since Delia alternated between having her back turned to them and standing sideways.
“Looks like it,” Royal replied, deliberately keeping his tone casual and low.
“Seems like we keep running into her,” Layla noted, narrowing suspicious eyes at him. Like so many others, she’d seen the newspaper photos of him and Delia, read the articles and wondered if there was anything personal between them. They’d seemed so familiar with each other on those photos and not in a professional way either.
“Seems so.” Royal forced his gaze away from Delia in order to throw Layla off the scent. He wasn’t ready for her to know about him and Delia yet. For if Layla knew, then his mother was going to know.
Royal wasn’t ready for that level of interrogation yet. Not when his relationship with Delia was already hanging in the balance. Though Royal was willing to walk through hell and high water for their love, he had to make sure Delia was his first before doing so.
“Right now I’m just wondering if I’m going to have to wear those tight pants when I dance,” Royal continued, changing the subject altogether now.
Layla chuckled at his words and relaxed again. “I think you’ll look cute in them.”
“Yes, but will I be able to reproduce afterwards?” Royal countered.
Layla held her hands over her mouth to keep from bursting out laughing. Inside she fell a little bit more in love with him. No other man made her feel so relaxed, so capable of feeling carefree from her own sordid past.
Before Royal could say anything else comical, the lights were turned down and the show started. One by one the couples were brought onto the stage and introduced by an announcer. A little tidbit was told about each dancer and why they chose the class in the first place.
“Delia Valentine came to us proficient in the Beyonce Bounce,” the announcer said, causing the audience to laugh. “She wanted to expand her horizons. Now she can Cha-Cha, Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Samba, and Rumba with the best of them. In fact, Delia is one of our star students. Miss Valentine, give the crowd a little taste of your talent.”
Royal found himself licking his lips repeatedly as Delia proceeded to do the Cha-Cha with her dance partner. Her movements were smooth, fluent, and flawless, the same way she made love.
And her appearance.
From head to toe Delia was gorgeous. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail. The red sequined dress was formfitting, short, and revealed her elegant back and supple curves. Her legs were even more toned than before from weeks of intense dance practice. The red strappy heels on her feet made Royal want to get on his knees and kiss each toe.
If he hadn’t delivered her last child himself, Royal would have never guessed that Delia had one child. That is definitely going to be my wife, he vowed, feeling his body expand the more Delia twisted and turned her body.
Suddenly Royal found himself jealous. And not necessarily of her partner either. No, he was more jealous of the fringes at the bottom of her dress. They kept caressing Delia’s shapely thighs as she danced.
Delia’s partner kept his hands on her back and arms, which wasn’t necessarily a sign of the man’s homosexuality, though it could be. Had it been Royal on that dance floor with Delia, his hands would have been all over her goodies.
“Delia’s good, isn’t she?” Layla whispered beside him.
“Yes. Very good,” Royal replied a bit on the husky side, licking his lips again.
Layla’s eyes narrowed for the second time that night. That’s when she knew something was definitely up between Royal and Delia. That knowledge inflamed her temper, though she still had no tangible proof yet.
Just then Layla’s cell phone vibrated against her waist. She looked down at the message and groaned as she read it. “Duty calls. I guess we’re going to have to sign up for those lessons another time,” Layla whispered a few seconds later, not sounding as disappointed to leave as she tried to look.
“I’m staying. You can take my car,” Royal whispered back, pulling out his key ring. His gaze kept returning to the dancing woman in red.
“You’re staying?” Layla looked shocked. “How will you get home?”
“I’ll catch a cab. Or hitch a ride home with someone,” Royal said as he pulled his car keys free from the key ring. Again, his gaze was glued to Delia.
“O…oh, okay.” Now Layla really didn’t want to leave him here alone. Yet she had to. One of her patients was in need and she tried never to let any of them down.
Carmen is ‘not’ going to like this, Layla mused as she walked out of the building a few minutes later. She didn’t like it so much herself for she already knew whom Royal would hitch a ride home with tonight.
© 2008 by Suprina Frazier
To see the dance Delia was doing in this post, click on the link below: