Chapter 32: Mojo Rising
Saturday night Lucinda was surrounded by a group of men, laughing at some joke she told. I managed to stand close. “Hey, Mike.”
“Gordon.” Mike handed me my regular. “How you doing, man?”
“Where you been?”
“Out of town on assignment.”
We heard the men laugh uproariously and turned to them. Lucinda said, “Hey, I’m just saying. Okay? Okay.”
The men nodded and choked on their beers, they were laughing so hard. She said, “Okay. You want to hear a blonde joke?”
That was funny to them because she was blonde and they all nodded yes and leaned in.
“A blind man goes into a bar. He says Hey, I got a blonde joke for you. A woman says Mister, before you tell the joke you should know I’m six feet tall and blonde and I’ve got a baseball bat. The bartender is blonde and she has tattoos and chains. Behind you are three biker chicks and they’re all blonde. Now…do you really want to tell that blonde joke? The blind guy sighs and says No, I don’t want to have to explain it five times.”
And, of course, all the men laughed again and the party was on. In the group were two soccer players from England, one married, one not. Lucinda heard a tune and said, “Ooo, I got to dance to this one.” They parted like the waters of the Red Sea and let her pass through safely to the other side. Then the sea moved to the railing and watched her dance.
Damn. I couldn’t wait to meet her.
That evening I spent trying to get introduced to her, but these men kept coming out of the woodwork and grabbing her up and hauling her out to dance. She barely had a moment to sip water in between before she was gone again. I enlisted aid in getting introduced.
“Hey, Mike. I’ve been seeing Dancing Queen out here all the time. What’s her name again?”
“You mean Lucinda?” Mike said as he topped off a pint for the guy next to me.
“Yeah. That’s right. Lucinda. I don’t think I’ve ever met her, just passing, nothing else.”
“I’ll introduce you when she comes back. But, damn, tonight they’re keeping her hopping.”
These are the guys who kept her hopping:
Don #2: “Lucinda, darling. It’s been ages. Dance with me, my sweet?”
Fred #1: “I’ve learned a new step. Let’s go try it out.”
Avionics: “Can’t stop blushing, baby.”
Mr. CPA: “I shall spend many pleasurable hours trying to figure you out, honey.”
Soccer Man #2: Blush, blush, blush, blush. “Can we dance again, please?”
Then The Reed showed up, as did Hey-Sailor, and a couple of other regulars with no names.
Napoleon: “So, you’re an equal opportunity employer, huh?”
Angry God of Dance didn’t approach, though he watched and tried to catch her eye, which she avoided catching.
Eventually, though, the evening wound down and Lucinda managed to stay in her seat for a whole song while she rested and sipped wine.
“Hey, Lucinda, have you ever met Gordon?” Mike pointed to me.
Lucinda leaned toward Mike, cupped her ear, and said, “Who?”
Mike hollered over the music. “Lucinda. Meet Gordon.” He then helpfully pointed again to me, standing at attention and looking suitably eager and anxious at the same time. I was a good actor.
Lucinda turned her head to me, as I had seen her do so many times to others. She held out a hand, as only a Dancing Queen can get away with. She was a good actress, too. She said, “Gordon? Did I hear him correctly?”
“Yes. And you are Lucinda, right?”
“Yes. How are you? I think I’ve seen you out here a few times.” Then she shook her finger at me and said playfully, “But you’ve never asked me to dance. Do you dance, Gordon?”
Now, you got to understand I had fully intended to dance with her. I’d been waiting for the opportunity. And it ain’t like I didn’t know the subject would come up. But there I stood, staring straight at her. Blank. She waited patiently, she’d seen it happen so many times; I waited for the traffic jam to clear in my corpus collosum. I finally spoke.
And the hell of it is, I wasn’t acting. I couldn’t string a damn sentence together to save my soul. She saved me.
“Is that a yes?”
She slowly nodded her head up and down and said, “A nod will suffice.”
I nodded. She stood and took my hand and out we went. I could hear Mike laughing his ass off.
The song, a slow one, motivated her to get up to me nice and tight. Just the way I’d seen her do with others only I didn’t figure on the power of the music in this equation. I’d hugged her and we’d had full frontal bodily contact before. I’d kissed her. But we weren’t wiggling around at the time — and not for four minutes.
Her body against mine. The music slow. We’re moving rhythmically together and…
I blushed because Mojo was rising.
Lucinda kept dancing as if nothing happened. She said, “So, Gordon, where are you from?”
“Uh…ummm…let me think, now. Washington. Yeah.”
She smiled and said, “Would that be the state or D.C.?”
“State.” Get hold of yourself boy and get it under control.
“Hmmm…Pacific Northwest. I’ve always wanted to visit the area. I hear it is beautiful, but I’m afraid I’d need more sunshine than it affords.”
Lucinda giggled and readjusted herself to my body. She moved so damn smoothly I thought I’d faint.
Neural pathways cleared, I whispered in her ear. “Lucinda, honey?”
“Yes, Gordon, dear?”
“Geez, woman. You got me going blind.”
Oh, that was good. She said it so innocently and leaned back and looked at me with such wide eyes and no guile, I felt like a lecherous old man storming the virginal castle. She giggled again and said, “I got to be going home. See you in the morning?”
I put my arms around her tighter, leaned my height down to her, and said, “Yes. Same place? Same time?”
We laughed out loud, the song ended, and I — thankfully under control — walked back to the bar, where I sat and she settled up. After shaking my hand with a So nice to meet you, you dance so well, and a Goodnight, Mike, she gave a little wave and breezed out the door like I’d seen her do so many other times.
Chapter 33: Pleasure of a Reply
“You look tired.”
Those words greeted me as I showed up fifteen minutes late for breakfast. “I couldn’t sleep and when I did go to sleep I kept getting woke up, thanks to you.”
“What do you mean thanks to me?”
“You kept me awake all night long. You and that dance of yours.”
She grinned and said, “Oh. That.”
The waitress set our plates in front of us as Lucinda explained the quick service. “I took the liberty of ordering your usual.”
“Thanks, babe.” I leaned over and kissed her on the mouth. Not a sloppy long kiss but a good old wet smack was hers this morning. I deserved it after she tortured me all night long. She didn’t complain. Hungry, I ate every bite on my plate, and then started searching for scraps on hers. She pushed her plate closer to me and smiled. But not her typical smile. This one was a serious smile. A sad smile. A sweet smile. How she rolled the three together, I don’t know. I stopped my foraging, took a napkin, and gently wiped an almost invisible speck of toast crumb off her chin.
I thought she was going to cry when I did it. Was she that needful of a small kindness? She quickly turned to her coffee cup and blinked fast to get herself under control and changed the subject.
“Want to hear a funny story from last night?”
“This guy—” she began. I interrupted.
“Oh, you know the guy with the brush-cut like a Marine or something?”
“Yeah. Older dude?”
“Uh, uh. Well, when we were dancing, he’s grilling me about sex. Says he’s a swinger and did I want to swing with him and such stuff as that. I kept saying all I wanted to do was dance.”
She leaned back in her chair and sighed. “Then he says he can go for three hours. Well, I thought, fine, I’ll shut his little old butt down. I said ‘Can you go for three hours au natural or would that be a chemically induced three hours?’ ”
I laughed out loud. “No, you didn’t. You said that?”
“Yep. Sure did.”
“What’d he say?”
“He didn’t expect that question. He explained that, he used chemicals now. But, he said, that’s only been in the last two years because before that he could go with no help at all.”
“Are you kidding? Did he not understand what he said?”
“No. He did not. Then I said ‘Well, honey, two things you need to know. One: Past success is not an indicator of future performance. Two: I don’t really care because all I want to do is dance.’ ”
“He won’t ask you to dance again, will he?”
“No. No love lost there, though.” Then she grinned and said, “I got another funny story for you from last night. Wanna hear it?”
“Well, see. This guy I met for the first time. I sorta felt sorry for him, though. I mean, he was kinda tall and distinguished looking; not ugly at all. Says he’s from…let me see if I can remember…yeah, the Pacific Northwest. He got a little frisky dancing last night and was blushing like crazy. Poor fella. Not sure if I’ll ever see him again.”
You can call me slow, because I am. “Who? What do you mean frisky?”
Drum roll, please, and hit the high hat. Bing! I got it. I threw a twenty and two singles on the table and walked out with her arm through mine. She chuckled at her little joke. I couldn’t stop grinning.
I spent the rest of the day in a horny haze. It had been a few days since I sent the letter and I know she had to have gotten it by now. Then again, maybe not. But I so wanted to hear a reply to it. Then again, no news is good news, right? Maybe I didn’t want an answer to it. By Wednesday a reply had still not come in any fashion and we had had coffee twice. She never made mention of getting the letter, never let on that a letter had been read by her, never said anything about making a reply to any letter received by her sent by me after being written at four in the morning.
But on Thursday the reply arrived. There. In my mailbox at the post office. Casually laying between the power bill and an invitation to send money to some charity I’ve never heard of. Just as casually, I walked to the car. Just as casually, I threw all three envelopes on the seat. I didn’t really throw them; more of a toss.
Toss. These are simple things.
Toss. No power to change my life.
Toss. Yep, just a typical day for mail.
I drove home without looking at the mail in the seat next to me, though it stared me down. Eventually I arrived home and picked up the three envelopes. I couldn’t breathe. My head pounded. My eyes barely focused on the key in the lock. I roughly ripped open the power bill first. About the same as last month. I tore open the charity’s envelope. All that went in the trash along with the envelope from the power bill.
One envelope left. I stared at it as it lay on the table. I studied it. I had seen her handwriting in the margins of my stories. It was a nice handwriting there and it looked nice on the envelope, too.
Would this be a letter I’d keep for years? I couldn’t rip the envelope of a letter one would keep for years. It took me several minutes of meandering about the house to find my letter opener and, when I found it, it took me several minutes to meander back to the letter. I was thirsty and should brew a pot of coffee. It took another five minutes to clean the pot, empty the old grounds, refill the water, measure the fresh grounds, push the button.
Open the envelope, you coward.
So I slit the flap at the top and pulled out the letter. I unfolded the page. The envelope was a #10 and the paper was eight and one-half inches across and eleven inches tall, typewritten. And all she wrote fit on one side of the sheet. Well, that wouldn’t take long to read. Here is her letter:
Gordon, my dear Gordon,
Ah. A week of nakedness and pizza and wine. I’ll give it some thought. Not a bad suggestion, my friend. I had a dream about you the other night. It was so real, I woke up and could see you sitting on the edge of my bed, telling me a funny story. Then I woke up all the way and…well, it was just a dream, wasn’t it? I couldn’t sleep. For three hours I walked around the house looking for something to do and all I wanted was not to be lonely. That’s all. Not be lonely.
And here you are. Offering to keep me company for a whole week. I love it. But am I, and are you, ready for what will happen after that week is over? The hunger of not having that company — or of being relieved there is no company — is not a question I want to answer with you yet.
I believe in love. I know it exists. I believe I’ll be loved one day by someone who can show it openly and publicly and I pray, I really do pray, that God will help me through this and help me not make decisions based on a weak need. Thus far, He’s been helpful like that.
In the meantime, you have your project for the paper. We have our new ability to dance together in public now that we “know” each other. And we still have a future unwritten, unknown. I need warmth. I have a feeling you will give me that. But only at the time best for it and when it is best, oh, Gordon, we will not have to communicate like this. We will go.
I love you. I do.
Chapter 34: Lucinda and Rising Mojos
“Hello, Lucinda. How’s your week?”
That was me saying hello to her as she arrived at the club’s bar two days later. Even to my own ears I sounded eager. What a Boy Scout I was.
“Well, hello, Gordon. So good to see you,” she said as she put her purse down on a seat next to mine. She turned and gave me a quick hug. “You saving me a dance tonight, are ya?”
“Of course,” I said, as Mike put a glass of Merlot in front of her.
My bottle and her glass tapped a gentle Cheers and we sipped. She put her arm around my shoulder and said, “Good. You dance so well.”
I grinned like an idiot. “And you dance good, too.”
The evening continued as men came and got her to dance. She danced up-close-and-personal with a few men and I, jealous as hell, kept remembering she simply followed their lead — and needed touch. Three hours later, the crowd thinning, and we had not danced. Lucinda said she’d be right back and walked over to the DJ. They had a quick conversation, he nodded his head, and she returned. A few minutes later, she took me by the hand, and led me to the floor.
She moved her body close to me, took my right hand in her left and guided it to her hip, where she twined her fingers through mine. I pulled her close and held her tight against me. Her right arm she put over my shoulder. My left arm cradled her back. Thus supported, she leaned back against my arms and smiled at me. I couldn’t smile. With the inevitable rise of Mojo, she snuggled in closer and put her forehead against my cheek, leaving my neck to feel her warm breath.
There was no fancy footwork involved. It would have been excessive. We did not speak. Words were not needed. I gave myself over to the music’s aura and made love to Lucinda in my mind, anticipating the future. The song ended, another began, and there we stayed. Last call took us by surprise. We settled our bills, said goodnight to Mike, and I walked her to her car.
She put her purse in the car, closed the door, and turned to me. I was ready for her. Her arms went around my neck, my arms around her waist. Our lips met in our first we-are-serious-about-this official kiss. Fresh from the confirmations of embraces on the floor, I don’t think I had ever kissed so sincerely — or well. I breathed in her scent with each and she murmured Gordon, Gordon each time she turned her face.
We could have gone on like that all night, in the parking lot, next to the car, if a whining voice had not interrupted. An incensed Carlos HaHa wailed. “LooooCINdaah! What are you DOOOOing?”
Lucinda waved him away and his tires squealed in anger as he left. But the spell was broken. “That was very nice.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “Breakfast in the morning? Same time? Same place?”
I opened her door, she slid in, I leaned in and kissed her once more and shut the door. Watching her drive away was difficult — I wanted to follow. Mike walked by with a Goodnight, Gordon, and a knowing smile.
“Good night, Mike.”
I whistled on the way to my car and I whistled on the way home and I whistled in the morning on my way to breakfast. She was waiting on me, reading a book, sitting on a bench out front. She saw me and rose. We went in, ordered our usual. Didn’t have much to say at first except what our silly little grins said for us. Food arrived and we ate. She put her leg over mine and I patted her thigh. She gave me a look that said Oh, you know what’s happening right now, doncha? And I gave her a leer that said Yes, indeedy, I do.
Then we sipped our coffees in tandem. That was as close to sex as we could get without getting arrested or having mothers and fathers cover their children’s eyes and ears.
“Want to take a walk again this morning?”
“Sure.” Anything to stay with her. Breakfast finished, we drove to the park and repeated our climb to the top. I still huffing. She still slowing down and pretending she wasn’t. This time we chose a shaded spot at the top and leaned against a boulder. We held hands and we kissed and we smiled and giggled. I tried not to giggle, but I did, and it didn’t seem unmanly or unseemly. A man can do and say things in private in front of his woman that in public would ruin his reputation. In public he’d deny ever doing those and would completely rip apart a guy who did do them in public. But privately? Hey, love’s a funny animal.
So I giggled with her and said things to make her laugh. And generally a good time was had by both.
Then I had to say something about Mojo rising and I wondered how often it happened with other men and asked how she handled it.
“Oh, Gordon, it happens all the time. There isn’t a night of dancing it doesn’t happen.”
“Really? You mean, men’s…”
I couldn’t bear to talk about other men’s bits and pieces in front of her, so I said, “…their…you know…every night?”
“Yep. Every night. At least once. Sometimes more.”
“Surely it’s embarrassing?”
“Could be if I handled it wrong. But I don’t.”
As a typical male whose whole world is often wrapped up in that one little piece of his anatomy and which is such a huge part of his ego, I could not understand the matter-of-fact manner in which she said if I handled it wrong.
“What does that mean? If you handled it wrong.”
“Gordon, by it I mean the situation. Not the member itself.”
The Member! The Member? I’ve heard it called everything under the sun, named by many, impersonalized with titles, but The Member? Never. It took me a minute to clear the pathways in the corpus collosum and then I could hear her again.
“…so anyway, here is Mr. Quarterly —”
“Mr. Quarterly?” I had to catch up.
“Yes, Mr. Quarterly. He only comes around every three months. So anyway, here is Mr. Quarterly showing up in his regular rotation, standing at the edge of the dance floor, watching me. I see him and wave and I know what is going to happen. He has requested three songs in a row that he likes. When the first one comes on, he is right there and we have this great salsa dance; and boy can he dance.”
I interrupted. “So…what’s —”
“Let me finish. He dances all three dances with a ginormous hard-on, which we do not acknowledge as being there.”
“What? I don’t understand?”
“What don’t you understand?”
“How big is ginormous?” We men are simple fellows.
“You mean in comparison to you?” Lucinda giggled.
“No.” Again, my answer sounded lame.
“Oh, there is no comparison,” she said as she patted my hand.
She said this so sincerely, I smiled, manhood intact. But being a guy who makes his living with words, it took me a moment to realize no comparison was not the complete information I looked for – and needed. No comparison could mean he was bigger than me and she was okay with that. No comparison? Hand patted in consolation?
Oh, God. Lucinda seemed oblivious to my anguish. I sat back against the boulder, trying hard to smile, but finding it nigh on impossible. She chattered on about other men whose members she had ignored on the dance floor. How could she be so matter of fact about this? I guarantee you, men are not so matter of fact about women’s breasts when they are flaunted, flashed, and flounced in front of us. Not for us the casual commentary on their anatomy making us blind. Never. We care! Members, indeed. How would she feel if I casually said to her that I ignored other women’s members when they pushed them against me when we are dancing? Yeah. How about that, Lucinda? Not so casual now, are we?
“Huh?” I said as my attention returned to the moment.
“I asked if you were worried about the other men in comparison to you? You seem like you are.”
“What? Me?” I made a pshaw sound, completely dismissing the idea I was worried about comparison. “Never. You said no comparison, didn’t you?”
She grinned. “Yeah, I did.”
I smiled broadly, took her hand, and pulled her up from the ground. See, Mommy? See how strong I am? No comparison. Pshaw.
But, what did that mean…exactly?
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