the prettiest girl in the place
The music thumped, colors from the lights fluttered. I’d been watching her for half an hour, since I got here, and had danced next to her for the last two songs. I couldn’t hear my own words but trusted she could.
She could. She flushed, bowing her head a little, looking up at me through her lashes. Tossed her thin, long blonde hair.
“Can I buy you a drink?” I asked.
She nodded, still shy, eyes flashing. Interested. “Vodka cranberry?”
I smiled – that half-smile-smirk with the soft eyes, perhaps my most handsome look – and returned to her with her drink, red, in one hand, my drink, Jameson on the rocks, in the other.
She sipped hers slow through a straw. Lips carefully placed. We drank. We danced more. Hands on her hips, watching the way her body spun and quaked. Such elegance in the slow curves. I spun her around the dancefloor and she followed. Brilliantly. Blue eyes on my face all night.
Wrists in my hands and her back up against the wall, mouth open. Open. Anything could happen here. The wall is sticky, the floor acts like it hasn’t been swept in years. Crushed under the bottoms of too many feet. Push her legs apart before she realizes I’ve cornered her. Take her by the hand and lead her outside the bar.
She follows, wordless. I light a cigarette.
“So,” I say.
“So,” she says, kicking at the brick building with the toe of her flat silver ballet shoe. Dark capri jeans folded nearly to her knee. A loose blouse, soft yellow, thin, revealing everything.
I smoke. Breathe. I’m not particularly interested in the cigarette. It’s just something to do with my mouth, instead of …
She leans against the brick wall and shifts her hips. Shifts her weight from one leg to the other. She doesn’t look at me. She waits.
Oh, god, I’m terrible at this part. Just stay calm. No expectations. Just me, and the prettiest girl here.
I say something (anything) witty. She laughs, a delightful sound. A reward for my efforts and I try again, which becomes again, which becomes dominoes and her eyes shine as she gazes smiling at me. She bites her lip, parts her mouth. Breaths in.
I flick my cigarette with my thumb and forefinger, sparks against the sidewalk. I take a step closer to her and gently let my hand touch her hip. She breathes into the touch, deep and sharp, breathes into the place where my fingers are touching skin. I circle her waist with one arm, she’s tiny, shorter than me, delicate. Her arms fall back from her shoulders like her hair, gravity pulling them down and against me who is pulling her another way, against me, to me, and her back arcs and I lean over her as she tilts her head.
I hesitate. Feel the space between us electric and alive. Then kiss her, light, a whisper of a kiss, air and spun sugar and she tastes like gardenia.
The thick blossoms of summer.
And it hits me: I’m single. One. Only me. There is only my own desire, my own life path, my own choices. There is only my needs, my intentions.
This is not to say I do not want someone, I do. But I am picky now. I know what I don’t want.
This girl, this lovely girl, the most beautiful girl in the whole bar, looks back at me and says, “Ready to dance?”
Oh, am I ever.