Chapters 22-23

Chapter 22: Lucinda Makes Up Her Mind

 

Lucinda divorced after twenty-plus years of marriage.

She had married a man in the bloom of her youth, and giving to him the great gift of her virginity. A virginity she persistently kept intact as the perfect gift for, what she had blushingly called, the love of her life. She would know him when he came along. And along he came and she knew it. Gift given by her and received by him, he proceeded to be not so grateful about anything else the rest of their married life.

She told me of the dance that clarified everything in her marriage. A dance with a man she never saw again. A man who said she was a wonderful dancer. A man who asked where she went dancing. A man who laughed when she said her kitchen. A man who said her husband was stupid for not taking her dancing. Because, said this man, she danced like a dream, she felt wonderful to hold, and my God, if only she wasn’t married why —

The man left the thought to stay and said goodnight, leaving her standing on the dance floor feeling for the first time in her life like a woman should feel in the arms of a real man. Shaking with a passion unknown to her. Crying alone in her hotel room because now she knew what was missing in her married life. Sobbing weeks later because she knew she would never have it with the son of a bitch to whom she gave the great gift of her virginity. Yet alive in a way she had read about in novels and beginning to understood only now.

So, one year after the dance, in the glow of middle age, she finally said to hell with it, rightfully took half of the assets, and went about proceeding to make a new life for herself. But after twenty-plus years of diapers and dog shit and laundry and dishes and being the perfect, perfect wife, and wonderful, wonderful mother, she had no clue about the dating scene.

Not that she really wanted to date. She didn’t. She simply wanted to dance. She loved to dance. During her married life she had danced exactly five times with her husband and never with another man ever, except that one who served as the catalyst to do something about her ache. Those five times her husband said she wasn’t a good dancer and besides, he scolded and instructed, she was leading and he wanted to lead so let him lead. Lucinda neither understood a word he said nor comprehended what she was doing wrong, and her husband could never explain to her satisfaction.

Pre-dotage, she sat in her little apartment and thought about the rest of her life. It was two-thirds over. She didn’t have long. She assessed her body. It was firm and somewhat trim, but only after weight loss and exercise over a period of four years in a failed last-ditch-desperate attempt to save her marriage. Her knees were okay. She was still strong. She cleaned up good. But where did one go dancing if it wasn’t a wedding or an office party?

She needn’t have worried. A new girlfriend called and offered to take her to a place to get her mind off her troubles. You’ll love it, she said. Nobody will hit on you, she said. Everybody only wants to dance.

Lucinda went. And was horrified. Is this what she looked like? She glanced around the room and saw gray hair and wrinkles and sags and bags and — ahhhh! Was that a cane and a walker? Oh, God!

She ran to the bathroom, locked herself in a stall, pulled out her hand mirror, and double checked. Blonde; bottle but it didn’t cover any gray, only brown. What wrinkles there were, were full of personality. Nothing sagging. Nothing bagging, at least not badly. She finally found the courage to laugh at herself. She had no idea she was full of such ego.

Taking a deep breath, she walked out to the edge of the dance floor knowing she was the youngest one there. And she felt good. And men asked her to dance all evening long. Only one hit on her — so she wasn’t the youngest one there after all, she mused — and he walked her out to her car and kissed her goodnight. She grabbed his collar and pulled him in for another kick-ass kiss as he pressed her body hard between him and the car. And he was hard. Oh, God, he was hard!

He liked the kiss so much he couldn’t focus. She knew because when she looked in his eyes to gauge the completeness of his response, his eyes were cloudy and vague. It took him a moment to clear them, at which point she got scared of her response and pushed him away with a wag of her finger and said night, night.

But…but…but…he stuttered as he stood helplessly in the parking lot while she closed and locked her car door and drove away. She was gasping for breath and did not know how she made it home, but make it home she did.

She poured herself a glass of wine and drank it in big, gasping gulps. She slammed the glass on the counter, put her hands on the counter edge, and wanted that man now. Now, do to her what her body was aching for.

What was his name? Richard? Darrell? Tom? God, she couldn’t remember. She was such a slut! Damn.  She tore off her clothes, brushed her teeth, threw herself in the bed, and proceeded to think about that nameless man and the man who danced with her one year ago and she thought about them until her body was so completely stimulated she was relaxed. She slept soundly.

Embarrassed, she promised herself it would never happen again. Ever. And once she made up her mind, it was good and made up. Or so she thought.


 

Chapter 23: Lucinda Gets Attention

 

And thus began Lucinda’s entrance into the Dance Floor Wars. A mild skirmish, to be sure, but Lucinda decided maybe she didn’t need to go dancing anymore quite yet. Maybe, she thought, she needed to cool it for a bit. Concentrate on work. Serious stuff. Those sorts of things. She was asked to go out of town to give a presentation. The night before the presentation, she went to the hotel bar, enjoyed a glass of wine as she reviewed her notes for the next day.

She heard, “Excuse me. Is this seat taken?”

She turned her head to the right and there was a young hottie. She nodded the seat was available, though for the life of her she couldn’t understand why he asked seeing as how every other seat at the bar was empty. Young Hottie didn’t waste any time. He proceeded to get drunk and with each drink became bold in his attentions toward her. With each drink his age rose. At evening’s onset he was twenty-eight; two hours later he was forty-two. Lucinda found the process amazing. Lucinda was awfully embarrassed because both bartenders watched her, waiting on what she’d say when Young Hottie made the offer. And her it came, right on schedule:

“Let me take you to your room and give you a bubble bath you won’t forget, baby.”

Two more days left at this hotel. She would not be able to handle the whispers. She turned Young Hottie down who then proceeded to whine, “But, whyyyyy?” Horny as she was, Lucinda wasn’t stupid. She knew he would drown her, chop her into little pieces, and take something of hers as a memento. They would find her body the next day and Young Hottie would have disappeared like a mist in the midday sun. Young Hottie said that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard, but Lucinda was firm. Now Not-So-Young Hottie put a hand behind her neck and they kissed passionately. That is, he kissed her passionately. She, while being in a complete physical state of arousal, was now mentally turned off by the guy and she slapped him away after discreetly enjoying a bit of his tongue in her mouth. Damn, he could kiss good.

Lucinda!

She brought herself to her senses.

The bartenders stared at Young Hottie; he whined again and left. When Lucinda turned around, there were two old women, grinning at her, completely enjoying the scene. Lucinda could tell from their knowing glances they had been there before and liked it. Lucinda went to bed and thought of Dancing Man and, again, lulled herself to a peaceful sleep.

Her presentation went well, she returned to the hotel, indulged in a nap, and then went down to the bar where she proceeded to look neither right nor left and simply stared at her glass of wine or the television.

“Excuse me. Is this seat taken?”

She turned her head and there was this…this…gorgeous hunk of a man. Blonde, in excellent shape, around forty-five. She inclined her gaze to the seat indicating its availability. The bar was full this night and the only empty seat was next to her. So he sat. She watched the television. A half hour went by before this man spoke.

“So…you like basketball, I see.”

His question was asked with a small laugh and before she knew it, three enjoyable hours passed during which the bartenders and other patrons talked to him like they knew him because they called him by name and he knew theirs. The man asked permission to call, and she gave him her number. He left. She went up to her room and thought of him and lulled herself to a peaceful sleep…again.

She left the next day and he called. He drove to her town a week later. They had lunch. He walked her to her car and gave her a gift. She couldn’t remember the last time she had received a sincere gift. No strings, she asked? What strings, he said, surprised she’d ask such a question. They stared at each other, finally hugged goodbye, and could barely pull themselves apart the attraction was so strong. She opened her car door and sat watching his cute little boohiney as he, identified to this reporter only as Attorney, walked to his car. His eyes weren’t focused, either. She knew because he walked right by his car, turned around back to it, and had a difficult time unlocking his door. He stared at his key fob like he couldn’t figure out what to do with such an alien piece of hardware? Tool? Decoration?

He called a few days later and invited her to his home for the day, to go sightseeing. She went. They met for breakfast and that was the last they ate for twenty-four hours so focused and intent were they on their cravings for each other. Oh, they went sightseeing, she assured this reporter. They looked at flowers and trees and gravel paths. They looked at butterflies and rivers and kayakers. But these were merely punctuations between glances they gave each other over flower buds, personal caresses in the car, and kisses on the paths when no one was looking.

Lucinda and Attorney went back to his house. The only hunger they felt was for each other. They kissed. They stroked. He put his hands in her hair and pulled her head back and kissed her neck and nibbled the skin at the base of her skull until she thought she’d go blind. She got almost naked. He got all the way naked. He begged to be inside her; she cried in response. What’s wrong, he asked. She sobbed. She didn’t know this was going to happen, she explained, and she was on her monthly cycle.

He didn’t believe her and she knew he didn’t. After all, he said, his soon-to-be ex-wife had been on her period for the last thirteen years — continuously. But Lucinda convinced him it was so and her sincerity of explanation, along with her sobs of passion delayed, finally convinced him, and with his naked, gorgeous body against her, he stroked her breasts, and gently kissed her nipples and her lips and they fell asleep in each other’s arms dreaming of passion to come another day.

When Lucinda drove away the next afternoon, his words still rang in her ears. Do you want to go away for a weekend? Yes, yes, oh, yes.

A plan formed.

 

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