I was completely off balance, emotionally and physically – thank you, jackass who invented heels – when Emma stopped at the edge of the dance floor. She looked back at me. “What was that?” she shouted over the music.
I was pretty sure it had been a string of profanities. Maybe just the same one over and over. I had no idea what to do. “I have no idea what to do,” I yelled back at her.
“It’s easy,” Emma called back. “You just have to catch the rhythm and move with it. Watch.” She started bouncing on her toes, matching the beat of the club’s bone-shaking dance techno. Then her hips started to sway. Her head bobbed and her shoulders swung – just a little. I stared. Emma was mostly just staying in place while moving. It wasn’t like the foxtrot or the tango or anything else we’d done during the one day of dance in middle school gym class. Emma made it look good.
I tried to focus on her, if only to block out the writhing masses of strangers around us.
I knew Emma’s name, so she didn’t count as a stranger anymore. Right? Right?
Emma kept one arm straight at her side, palm to the floor. The other one was raised and her hand was beckoning me to join her as her body moved in sinuous synchronicity with the music. Her eyes were closed and she’d clearly lost herself in her own world despite her invitation. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to join her in my own little world, devoid of strangers, I couldn’t.
I’m not graceful. There’s no way I could move like that.
I gawked instead. My mouth felt dry – I hadn’t been paying attention before, but now that I was I couldn’t help but realize that Emma was pretty. I mean… she wasn’t Megan-beautiful or Fumiko-hot or Katherine-terrifying, but she wasn’t plain like me, either. Not by a long shot.
Emma was young. My age? Younger? She couldn’t be much younger or they wouldn’t have let her in the club, but she was way younger than Katherine, anyway. She had blonde hair like mine, but hers was longer and better behaved. She was a little taller than me, and curvier in the appropriate places. She was wearing a pastel cap-sleeved tee shirt with a pink cartoon pony on it and a pair of purple pants that were leather or pleather or maybe some kind of metallic paint. They were really tight. She was also wearing two multi-colored glowstick necklaces, and her wrists were laden down with mismatched multi-colored bracelets: clunky ones, thin ones, cloth ones, metal ones, braided ones – even a couple more glowy raver bands.
In short, she was pretty – the girl next door, moonlighting at a rave party.
Emma opened her eyes and smiled. “See?” she asked.
I nodded numbly. I was trying very hard not to have inappropriate thoughts about her and this large, punk-rave bartender I’d made up. I mean… I’d just met the girl.
Although… how long do you have to know someone before it’s not inappropriate to picture her grinding up on a guy until he fucks her from behind, right there, standing on the dance floor; her tee shirt pulled up and knotted around her wrists and her shiny purple pants shoved down and clinging round her hips while she moans and writhes for everyone to see?
I decided to blame it on being a stress response. People aren’t entirely responsible for those, right? I was distracting myself from the fact that I was surrounded by strangers, standing on a dance floor – just standing there like a dork – while the person who’d brought me there showed off just how exhibitionist a pastime club dancing could be.
“Join me!” Emma cajoled. She was smiling, bright-eyed and just a little flushed.
“Uh… maybe I can just watch?” I offered instead. Preferably from somewhere over in the shadows by the wall where no one would notice me. Or maybe I could secure one of the booths at the back of the club – some of those looked like they had curtains. Obviously so that shell-shocked newcomers like me could hide out and just do their best not to imagine what was going on in the rest of the club.
Not that my imagination wasn’t already wildly, indecently out of control.
“Well,” said Emma, “if that’s your thing.” She winked at me and moved a little closer. She was still bobbing and shimmying to the music, but she wasn’t turning around to show it off to everyone else anymore. She moved a little closer still – but no, I had to be imagining things. I mean, if I wasn’t, then she was dancing at me. And that just didn’t make sense. How does someone even dance at someone, anyway? I was just being certifiable.
But even so, Emma was seriously in my personal space. We were almost touching – but not. Emma even ran her hands over my hips – without actually touching them – while she shimmied down to her knees. I swallowed. She looked up at me, smiled, and rolled her shoulders – arching backward with each movement until her hair swished against the floor.
So: Emma wasn’t just pretty. She was also pretty flexible.
My imagination did not need to know that.
Also, apparently, I’d been co-opted into her exhibitionistic dance style despite myself. She wasn’t dancing at me – we were doing the ‘hey look, guys: we just might be lesbians’ pole dance, and I was the pole. I kept my attention firmly on Emma so I wouldn’t have to try to cope with knowing exactly how many strangers were salivating at us from the surrounding crowd.
Emma swished back upright and then shimmied her way back up me. Our gazes were locked the whole time. I don’t know how she could move like that without watching what she was doing, but she did.
When she was all the way upright, Emma leaned in close to my ear. “How was that?” she asked.
I swallowed. I didn’t know what to say. I’d been too busy watching her to judge anyone else’s reactions or point out whose interest she may have piqued. In fact, I’d been deliberately avoiding looking at anyone else. Obviously, she needed a more adept partner for this. I really hoped Megan and Katherine got back soon.
Fortunately, the music changed and I was saved from replying by Emma stepping out of my personal space and bouncing excitedly. “I love this one!” she shouted. Then she caught my hand. “Come on!” she encouraged. I dimly realized I could either do what she was doing or be a prop again. This was what Megan considered ‘shy?’ But then again, by Megan’s standards maybe an exhibitionist was. Or maybe Emma was just drunk – who knows what she’d been up to before we arrived? Katherine had certainly been quick enough to bolt for the bar.
I did my best to bounce in place. I had to look like an idiot. At least when Emma bounced she bounced – since my corset top was sleeveless, I didn’t even have on a padded bra to give the illusion of a jiggle.
But Emma grinned at me. Then she did some spinny step that sidled her up next to me and swung her hip into mine.
If she hadn’t been holding my hand I might’ve gone sprawling. As it was I stumbled, caught myself, and tried to reciprocate – but that ended up more like a protracted hip shove than a hip check. God, I was bad at this.
I’m not sure Emma minded, though. She swung her hip against mine again, but this time instead of bouncing back she lingered, pressing her leg against mine and dragging her hip over mine in a sinuous way that probably made my skirt lift to a dangerous degree on that side. Then, in one smooth motion, she rolled her body along mine until we were standing back to back.
Well, I was standing. Emma was still dancing in place. She caught my other hand and since that meant she was holding both of them I was forced to move when she did. I had to look like a spastic marionette – I was distantly glad that Emma couldn’t see how badly I was botching her efforts. I squeezed my eyes shut so I wouldn’t have to see the massive, gawking crowd that could, either.
I mean: a pretty girl was grinding her ass against my butt in a blatant display of faux lesbianism. Who wouldn’t be staring?
Unfortunately, in the absence of visual stimuli, my imagination rose to the fore. I wondered how far Emma would be willing to take it.
I bet if Megan and I hadn’t arrived when we did, Emma and Katherine would have concluded their dance and started making out. Arms and lips and tongues entwined; one of Emma’s legs draped around Katherine’s hip as they clung together.
And then some poor drooling bastard would get too close, and Katherine would spring her trap – and the next thing he knew, he’d be leashed to the foot of her bed, bound hand and foot and naked except for the whip marks she’d given him, a ball gag, and a butt plug with a fluffy tail attached.
And meanwhile Emma, abandoned on the dance floor, would be at the mercy of all the other hyper-aroused carnalvores she and Katherine had attracted….
But despite all the indecently erotic ways that could play out, my imagination kept insisting on going back to the two women kissing. God damnit, Fumiko!
Emma let go of my left hand and rolled her body along mine again. She raised my right arm and spun under it, ending up in front of me – but pressed just as close as when she’d been behind me. I opened my eyes wide. Emma’s arms were over my shoulders. Her wrists were crossed behind my neck – and her body was dragging lightly over mine as she worked her hips and legs and everything in an utterly un-self-conscious display of seduction.
Whoever her ex-boyfriend was, I had to believe he was kicking his own ass every day over their breakup. As for me, my mouth was bone dry and I felt way too warm and I was frantically aware that pretty soon this dance would end – but from the sparkle in Emma’s eyes I didn’t think she cared that I wasn’t Katherine.
I don’t even star in my own sexual fantasies. So the realization that in reality a pretty girl was just about to kiss me was enough to trip all the panic reflexes that I’d been desperately trying to keep under wraps since entering the club.
I tried to push myself away from Emma. I was all set to run. But in my haste I mis-stepped. My heel skewed out from under my foot and I went down with a yelp.
Emma caught me around my shoulders and I caught myself against her – complete with a face-plant to the chest that would have made any ecchi mangaka proud to have conceived.
“Ow,” I muttered. It came out muffled.
“Are you okay?” Emma gasped.
I looked up at her and tried again. “Ow,” I said. God, I was pathetic. Talk about fail: instead of escaping I’d mashed my face into her boobs and effectively hobbled myself. Well done, me! “It’s the heels,” I said – bemoaning my own incompetence. “I’m not used to them.” If I were, I would have escaped.
Emma winced and nodded. “How’s your ankle?” She asked. She shifted her grip to better support me. I felt like an ass. I’d been trying to run away in a mad panic, and here Emma was trying to take care of me. But at least the music had changed and we hadn’t started making out.
And that wasn’t disappointing.
I tested putting weight on my ankle. The sharp spike of agony was just what I needed to clear my head. I breathed a sigh of relief. If it had been really bad I wouldn’t be able to walk on it – but I could, so it wasn’t.
“I’m fine,” I said.
Emma looked me over. “Okay,” she said dubiously. “But maybe we should sit down for a little bit, anyway. Maybe get you a drink?”
I nodded. Megan and Katherine had gone to the bar. I really wanted to find them. Or at least Megan. “Okay,” I said.
“Great,” Emma replied. She shifted her arm around me and made sure I had an arm around her. She did her best to support me, even though I did my best to walk normally. I’ve watched enough movies to know the old hack coaches throw out about working through the pain – but for me, frankly, sometimes the pain is the only thing that lets me work at all.