Top of the World

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It was warmer in this pocket of the world, air thick with the scent of perfume and cologne. Bodies brushed past them, couples locked in their own revolving galaxies. Lee felt like a transplanted star adrift without purpose, tugged along by Alex's gravity, but that was enough.

They began as most partners did, close enough to share a breath. The song before was dying slowly in the distance, another racing to take its place with a boisterous note from nearby speakers, synthetic bass and keyboard rumbling with 80's glee through the floor.

The hairs on the back of Lee's neck stood on end at the same moment Alex's skin prickled. Suddenly, the room and their fellow compatriots fell away until it was only a beauty and her beast. The graceful beat of the music swirled around their feet in a cool breeze, the spark leaping between them powerful enough it could have illuminated the room had the auditorium plunged into darkness.

Alex helped guide Lee into her respective position while she fought the raging butterflies taking flight in her abdomen. They joined with barely a whisper of fabric, Alex taking the higher hold, fingers light on Lee's shoulder, her partner's right hand sitting low on Alex's back.

"Are you ready?" she breathed, excitement turning her eyes into topaz gems.

For you, Lee said honestly, always.

Alex pushed off, taking the lead. Dry-swallowing and stiff, Lee's unease was plain from the beginning. She faltered early on trying to find a suitable rhythm while focusing too closely on her feet, on her hands, on the other bodies circling around them. Why was this so hard? The movies always made it look effortless.

"Relax," Alex whispered, squeezing Lee's hand to reaffirm she wasn't going anywhere. "Just listen to the music. Break the rhythm down, and your body will synchronize all on its own."

I've never danced like this before.

"It's no different than when you dance in your lab." Alex winked. "I've seen what those hips can do."

The brashness of her flirting successfully kicked Lee out of her funk with a helpless laugh. Break it down. She could do that. Briefly closing her eyes, she sought and found the rhythm.

One-two-three-four.

One-two-three-four.

One-two-three-four.

A simple four-count, nothing more, but to Lee, it was her world.

Step by tentative step, she began to understand the rhythm as Alex guided her around the room, forever patient. Their eyes never lowered, Alex's touch feather-light yet firm, and with each rotation, Lee grew bolder, hands tightening around her partner until she could feel their conjoined heartbeats. She knew this dance, didn't she? It was the same one her heat had been doing from the moment she laid eyes on Alex all those months ago. All she had to do was grasp it, like Icarus reaching for the sun, wax wings falling away and sending her into blissful freefall.

The tides turned in a fluid rush that left Alex momentarily breathless when Lee rose up to meet her, leveling the playing field. They twirled around the iridescent ballroom awash in kaleidoscopic colors. Each step synchronized them further. Each spin. Each twist. Each dip, bodies gravitating towards one another like the pull of the sun against the planets.

Cheekily throwing caution to the wind, Lee twirled her partner like every cheesy romance movie, Alex's dress spinning and snapping, heeled shoes scraping softly against the floor. The sudden halt of her spin as they reconnected pulled her loose hair over one shoulder, a bright flush heating her cheeks.

"You're catching on."

I'm a fast learner, Lee grinned, finally starting to feel in her element.

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