Dan was a full head taller than everyone else in the room, causing him to tower above us all. His skin was an even dark brown, like chocolate. His lean frame perfectly outlined in his fitting clothing. Thank God for that. I didn’t want any room for further mishaps. Being a learner, I knew there would be plenty of that. At least I could rule out tripping over my dance partner’s baggy trousers off the list of possible incidents. The short sleeves of his shirt allowed me and the other females in the salsa dance class to view his well-toned arms.

I sat by the fan and tried not to openly stare. This was my 4th class and I still couldn’t get over how magnetic his presence was. I had seen him dance with other girls. He made the dance appear so very elegant. I hadn’t had the opportunity to dance with him yet. We had spoken a little, yes. Mostly joked but that’s all. At the moment he was talking to the dance instructor, Alex. The way in which he carried himself when he stepped into the room, how he went round and said hello to everyone, how he went straight to the radio and put on a song that he liked….he owned the place.

The music went off suddenly and I realized I had drifted off in my thoughts.

“Ok, everyone grab a partner then we can start today’s class,” Alex said.

My heart sped up as I prayed frantically for the dear Lord to compel Dan to walk over and claim me as his partner, all the while, trying to act as nonchalant as possible. I saw him from the corner of my eye walk towards me. I could feel a blush coming on and I knew the only way to hide it was to smile. So I turned to him, and acted sufficiently pleasantly surprised that he was making a beeline towards me. I put a bright smile on my face and tried to make an obvious overly enthusiastic performance of being his dance partner. I hope everyone knew that my intention was to come off as joking. Dan, the darling that he was, played along. He bowed; I curtsied. He offered me his arm and I linked my arm with his and he led me to the floor. We broke out laughing as we held this little ‘show’.

Alex started giving instructions.

Dan put his arm on my back and pulled me in closer. At my eye-level was his chest. I raised my eyes ever so slightly and there were his lips. I had to take a steadying breath.  I put my left arm on his shoulder. He took my other hand and held it up high, such that both his and my arms were at a right angle to our shoulders.

“Just let me lead you,” he said in my ear.

I may as well. Alex’s words hadn’t registered from the moment Dan had drawn me to him.

As I was looking at his neck (even his neck was sexy!!!), I became acutely aware that Dan had found a way to close the already too small space that was between us. He was looking down at me….or was he looking at our feet to make sure that we were in sync? Did it matter? His lips were right next to my right temple. I had to move back a little. Each time I blinked, my lashes would brush his lips. I could feel his breath with each inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. Glorious inhale, glorious exhale.

Goosebumps pimpled my skin and I could feel the hot prickle of sweat at the back of my neck.

It was a slow dance. We barely moved but there was movement. I swayed my hips, as did he. It was a sensual dance. We moved in rhythm. His hand being nowhere near any sensitive area of my body was causing many sensations though. I was completely aware of how easy it was for him to move to the music; a feat not many Kenyan men could do. He would tap my leg with his to signal a change in movement and without conscious thought, I followed.

I began blushing, my cheekbones threatening to poke their way through my skin. He noticed, and I hated him for it. I just hope that he didn’t notice my racing heart rate. I more felt him rather than saw him smiling. I tore my gaze away from his chest and looked at the couple dancing next to us but all my other senses were still transfixed on this man.

My ear was to him, so he took the opportunity to make my life hell. He brushed his lips against it. I stepped back a bit too quick and bumped into someone who was behind me. I looked to find that it was the dance instructor with another one of the newbies.

“Sorry,” I said, trying not to appear as if I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar. Turned quickly back to Dan. The bastard was now grinning slyly.

I wanted to call him a corky bastard, but we hadn’t known each other long so….

We went back to dancing and I reverted to my admiring the corners of his beautiful mouth.

In no time, Alex was announcing that our class was over and to get our asses out so that the class at 8 could start.

I turned to the room and found it had a dreamlike appearance. The light was unnaturally bright, the music uncharacteristically loud and the chatter from the other salsa dance learners was dim. I floated to my bag, said goodbye to a few people and headed for the door. I was afraid to look around the room in case Dan was looking at me. If I did and he was, I would surely fall down and take down a few people in the same fashion a bowling ball takes down pins. But if I did and he wasn’t, my ego would be shattered. So I decided not to look.

I went to stand at the bank of elevators and checked my phone for any messages as I waited for one.

“You’re not even going to say goodbye?”

I looked up to see Dan and his devilish grin. The elevator door pinged then opened.

“Goodbye,” I said and got into the lift.

“Next class,” he said.

“Next class.”

The elevator doors shut.

© Yvonne mulandi