July 16, 2016: The Day I Danced with a Vampire (Part 2)

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Will and I joined the other couples on the impromptu dance floor. I'd assumed we would sort of face each other and sway, but to my surprise Will placed his right hand on my waist and took my hand with his left. I rested my free hand on his shoulder because I didn't know what else to do with it. As Will spun me slowly in time to the music, I felt like a character in a BBC period drama.

You can't imagine how surreal it was, Diary, to be surrounded by elderly retirees in my neighbor's living room, dancing to slow jazz with the man I like least in the whole city of Bend.

Even weirder, Will seemed content to merely look at me while we danced, without saying a word. His silence wouldn't have been so strange if his expression had been aloof or hostile, but it was alarmingly pleasant. If he wasn't angry, why was he just staring at me without speaking?

Since he wasn't inclined to initiate a conversation, I took up the mantle. "What's so bad about dancing with Caroline when she's drunk?"

Will's eye twitched. "Alcohol makes Caroline very...affectionate."

I giggled. "I've noticed. I think she's cute when she's like that."

Will guided me away from Dan and Susan Long, who were twirling and dipping enthusiastically. "If your date over there drank too much and started feeling you up, would you think he's also 'cute'?"

I imagined an "affectionate" Winston and shuddered. Why did Will have to put such a disturbing image in my head? But I got the point: sexual harassment isn't cute.

I couldn't admit I was wrong to Will, so I said, "Winston isn't my date."

Will raised an eyebrow at me.

"I mean, technically he is, but only because...family reasons. The word 'date' is so loaded. He's my 'guest.' My 'plus one.' I'm not dating him. Or anyone else, for that matter."

Will smiled at me in an indulgent way, as if I were a fluffy kitten swatting at his ankles. "I see. Thank you for telling me."

I flushed. Will made it sound like I was desperate for him to know that I wasn't dating Winston. Which I was, but only because I don't want anyone to think I'm romantically involved with Charlotte's android boss, not because I want Will in particular to know I'm single!

I changed the subject. "Your posture is so formal. Did you take ballroom dance lessons as a kid, or do you watch a lot of Dancing with the Stars?"

"I took one quarter of social dance at Stanford. Charles registered for it to meet women, and he needed, in his words, 'a wingman.'"

"Uh huh, you took it only because Charles asked you to. As a healthy college-aged guy, you couldn't have had any interest in meeting hot coeds yourself."

"Rather than 'asked,' it would be more accurate to say 'pestered' or 'begged.' I had no interest in the class for myself. I didn't go to Stanford to pick up women and learn the cha-cha."

I was sorely tempted to ask Will to show me the cha-cha. I resisted the impulse with all my might and said, "You should have taken a class in communication skills instead. They're much more useful than the cha-cha. No one dances like this anymore."

There, I thought. That should make it clear to him that I wasn't angling to date him. Nothing kills a man's interest quite so gently and efficiently as giving him advice.

Will asked, "Would you prefer me to hold you a different way?"

He let go of my hand and moved both of his to the small of my back. To my dismay, my arms wrapped themselves behind his neck in response. It was merely a reflex, I swear.

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