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The Lady in Red

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By Thom Gossom Jr.

 

“May I have this dance?” His hand extended toward her. It hung there, an invitation to join him on the dance floor.

 

She didn’t look up. She didn’t speak.

 

Their images painted a picture. He patiently standing overhead, his hand extended. She sitting, her head down, not meeting his eyes.

 

A gentleman, he waited. His look saying, “Take as much time as you want.”

 

This was the third time he’d asked. The second time, she’d whispered in response. “I’m not ready.”

 

“After the Dance” by Marvin Gaye drifted in from the speaker. Marvin’s melodious voice sexually stroked the room.

 

Dance with me, come on

Dance with me baby,

Dance with me

Come on dance with me baby

I want you

You want me

So why can’t we get together after the dance

 

In a fit of courage, she looked up, meeting his eyes. Coy, she smiled like a schoolgirl. Her big brown eyes, like chocolate marbles, danced with delight.

 

He grinned all over himself.

 

“Yes,” she murmured. “I’d like to dance with you.” She extended her hand. He took it in his, bowed, and led her onto the dance floor.

 

The red dress she wore clung to her, accenting her figure. Her beauty radiated. She looked marvelous. It had been a long time but each step brought her more confidence, made her surer of herself. Other men noticed. She noticed that they noticed.

 

He took her in his arms. Their bodies melted into each other’s. She did not look around to see who was watching.

 

The DJ mixed in Chris De Burgh’s “Lady in Red” with Marvin Gaye’s “After the Dance.”

 

I’ve never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight

I’ve never seen you shine so bright

I’ve never seen so many men ask you if you wanted to dance

They’re looking for a little romance, give ’em half a chance

And I’ve never seen that dress you’re wearing…

…and that feeling of complete and utter love as I do tonight

 

It had been a long and rough season of life to get to this night.

 

Dance with Me,

Come on

Dance with me baby

I want you

And you want me

 

He held onto her with no intention of ever letting go. She snuggled further into his body. She felt safe, like the first time and for the first time in a long time. He was virile but kind and gentle, like always.

 

He’d fallen for her the first time he’d seen her. She was beautiful, pretty, smart, and classy but the description he used more than any was that she was dignified. She had dignity. You couldn’t get that at the mall or the beauty salon.

 

He leaned back and looked into her eyes. She blushed, revealing the twinkle she’d hidden there. He’d almost missed it. She had not meant for him to see it yet, not this early into the evening. But he had. She wrapped her arms tightly around him. He pulled her closer. He wanted her.

 

Never seen you looking so gorgeous as you did tonight

And when you turned to me and smiled it took my breath away

And I have never had such a feeling, such a feeling of complete and utter love…

It’s just you and me, it is where I want to be

Well, I hardly know this beauty by my side

I’ll never forget the way you look tonight

I’ll never forget the way you look tonight

 

Others stopped dancing. They watched. There was something magical about the Lady in Red and the man who doted on her.

 

She laid her head across his chest. It was like the first time. The first time he’d held her. The first time he’d kissed her. The first time… She squeezed.

 

But that had all been before…

 

From the book Another Slice of Life by Thom Gossom Jr. Reprinted by permission. Gossom is an actor, writer and communications consultant. He received his Bachelor of Arts in communication degree from Auburn University, where he was the first black athlete to graduate. His other books include the memoir Walk On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University, published by State Street Press in 2008. Discover more at www.BestGurl.com.

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