“That sounds great, Sebastian. What time will you be here?”
“Can you be ready in half an hour?”
The second we hung up, I sprang into action. It’s a good thing I’d thought to bring the requisite little black dress. I quickly pulled off the outfit I had put on before Sebastian called – the blouse and slacks that had seemed attractive before now looked staid and unappealing.
I slipped the dress over my head and scrutinized my reflection in the full-length mirror on the back of my bathroom door. Not bad, but it would look better with heels. Thank goodness I’d packed my black stilettos.
After a judicious application of red lipstick and a last-minute decision to pull my hair into a loose chignon, I was ready and with five minutes to spare.
The club was dark and crowded. A band was playing a jazzed up version of “Ma Vie En Rose” when we walked in that had no business sounding that good.
Sebastian steered me in the direction of the bar.
“What would you like?” he yelled over the music.
“Amaretto on the rocks,” I replied.
At first, we just sat at the bar sipping our drinks and watching the people around us sway lazily from side to side.
Suddenly, his mouth was at my ear, his breath hot on my neck. “Would you like to dance, Emily?”
I found I was speechless. I nodded.
The band struck up a lively number that got most of the floor on their feet.
Now, normally, I am not much of a dancer. I don’t know if it was the amaretto or my being a stranger in a strange land, but something in me that normally held back suddenly broke loose. I danced with abandon, feeling my pulse beat in time with the music.
Sebastian pulled me close to him so that we moved as one body. I thrilled at being so close to him. I wondered at how comfortable I felt with him, as though I’d known him for years and not days.
At midnight, Sebastian looked at his watch. “I’m afraid I have to play the role of Cinderella tonight. I have to get up early tomorrow for a meeting with my boss.”
I tried not to look too disappointed.
We spoke in the cab all the way back to my hotel, discovering we had similar taste in music: we both liked Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, thought The Rolling Stones were overrated, and wished The Smiths were still together.
“There’s this great planetarium near my dorm that plays laser light shows every Friday with music from different bands, like The Doors, The Beatles, Queen. Stuff like that.”
“That sounds fun. I would like to go there some day. New York sounds like a wonderful place.”
“I wish you could come, too,” I said and wished my voice hadn’t sounded quite so wistful.
When the cab pulled up in front of my hotel, Sebastian helped me out of the car. I waited for him to kiss me on both cheeks, wondering if I had the nerve to do what I wanted to do.
As he leaned forward, I thought to myself, It’s now or never. What are you waiting for?
So I kissed him.
“You did what?”
“I kissed him, Mom.”
Silence on the other end. I sighed. “I thought you told me to enjoy myself, start living again.”