Her cabin was twice the size of his, with a sliding glass door that led to a balcony. Precioso. So beautiful. He stood for a minute looking out into the black. She closed the door and slipped off her shoes, silver sandals with buckles that glittered. She sank onto the small loveseat and stretched out her toes. “I don’t have anything fancy to offer you to drink,” she said with a little laugh. “I think there’s bottled water or cold sodas in the fridge, though.”
“It is fine. I do not want anything.” Sebastian picked up the television remote. “May I? There is music on some of the channels. Good for relaxing.”
She nodded. “Go ahead. I don’t even know what’s on.”
He found a station playing soft Latin music, the one he sometimes listened to before bed.
Her head dropped back on the loveseat. He remained standing where he was. “Do you like working here?” she asked.
“I’m not –” What was she really asking? Women, American women especially, always seemed to have a second or third meaning in their words. Did he like the guests? The captain? His actual job of teaching three or four classes a day to people who didn’t know the difference between the cha cha and the mambo?
“I know you said it was a good change for you.” She opened her eyes again. “But what do you really think? You’ve been on board – how long? Almost a year?”
“What do you think we could change? What would make people happier?”
Ah, happiness. “I am not sure I am the best person to answer that question.”
“What do you mean?”
“Only that I am still trying to figure it out myself. True happiness, what it means, where it comes from. How to find it again after it disappears.”
She looked at him for a long minute, saying nothing. Her eyes shifted to the television, where a blue line zig-zagged across the screen as the music played. “That is nice,” she said. “I don’t know what it is, but you’re right. It’s soothing.”
He hesitated a moment, then held out one hand. "Would you like to dance?"
"Here?" She looked around. “Is there enough room?”
"Does not take much.” He smiled. “I do know this: happiness for me comes when I am dancing. When there is music in my soul, when my feet can move, then nothing else matters.”
She stood, her bare toes peeking out from beneath her dress. “Well, how can I turn down an offer like that?” She took his hand. “I have to tell you, though, except for this morning, when you were showing me the tango, I haven’t danced in years.” She blushed, and her fingers tightened around his. “I mean, I haven’t danced with anyone.”
“It’s nothing. It’s like – what do you Americans say? Like riding a bicycle. You do not forget. It is like breathing." His free hand went to the small of her back. "Let me lead."
A worry line appeared between her brows, and her spine stiffened. He shook her fingers to loosen them. It had been forever since he'd taught a private lesson, since he'd had a woman who looked more concerned about where to put her feet than trying to peel off his clothes. It felt good. Refreshing.
The music changed, and the tempo picked up. He smiled and nodded to himself. They could move easily to this one. But three beats into the song, Andrea turned fire-engine red. She froze, her hand gripping his as though she were balancing on a two-inch ledge. “I’m sorry. I have no idea what I’m doing.”
He pressed his palm into the small of her back. “Just follow. Try to relax.”
Her lips parted in a breathless laugh. "I'm not sure the last time I actually did that. I might not remember how."
The song changed again, and he improvised a few dance steps, just to put some space between them. At that, she smiled, and turned on her tiptoes in the small cabin, mimicking his motion. Ay dios mio, he had a hard time looking away from her. “See? You are very much a good dancer.” She twirled again, only this time she stumbled a little at the end – straight into him.
Coming in September 2014!!