"Sunny, are you going to the dance tonight?" The voice was a little louder than it needed to be. The caller often spoke that way during telephone conversations, because she wore hearing aids and turned them off, or removed them, for her telephone calls.
"Oh Polly, I don't know." Sunny took a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. "It has not been a good day for me. I spent half the afternoon at the Social Security office. Mandatory retirement stinks."
"You need to go to the dance tonight," Polly announced, almost as if it was a command, and then lowered her voice before adding, "I talked to Jim earlier, he said Bob is back in town." Polly's pride at knowing, and passing on, a juicy tidbit of gossip did not escape her friend's attention.
Instead of showing elation, as she knew Polly expected, Sunny did not seem interested. "Well, then I think I'll stay home."
"What? Sunny! Jim said Bob was specific about asking if he thought you would be there." Suddenly recalling Jim told her not to say anything, Polly adds, "Actually, he asked Jim how many of the women he used to see at the dances were still coming regularly."
"Polly, I hate to say this, but Bob is not the kind of man I want in my life. In fact, I'm not sure I need a man at all." Sunny clamped her mouth shut, and said a silent prayer that her remark escaped Polly's immediate attention. Despite how much she enjoyed her conversations with Polly, Sunny knew her friend was a gossip who often called another friend to pass along information she believed was too delicious not to share.
"Oh darn," Polly exclaimed, "I've got call waiting on this phone. Someone's trying to call. I need to go. I'll call you later."
Happy to escape the conversation with Polly, Sunny returned to the cooling dishwater to finish her early supper dishes only to have the phone ring for the second time.
Polly immediately started speaking without waiting for a greeting, "Jim's on his way to pick me up. We're coming to get you in twenty minutes. Wear that new silk dress. Gotta go, bye."
Sunny grumbled to herself, but it was only half-hearted, because she was soon smiling. She really would like a reason to get out more often. Her date of mandatory retirement was swiftly approaching. Other than regular housework and a few outside chores she would like something to occupy her time. Perhaps she could find some volunteer opportunities. Being sixty-five does not mean you have to stop being active.
She stripped off the t-shirt and sweat pants she changed into when she got home, pulled the new silk dress on, and started buttoning it. Looking in the mirror, she realized the top of her bra showed and so pulled the dress off. After removing her bra, she donned the dress back on, closing the buttons from top to hem. She then slipped her feet into comfortable low heel shoes without bothering to wear stockings. The community room where the senior's dances were held didn't have good lighting and it wouldn't matter that her legs were bare.
Finally, she combed her hair and applied a fresh coat of lipstick, but didn't refresh her makeup. Many of the women, who attended the regular Tuesday evening senior's dance, wore very little makeup. However, she sprayed a little cologne into the air and walked through the falling mist on her way to front door. She just barely had time to grab a little cash, a credit card, her driver's license, and house key, stuffing them in her pocket as she walked out the front door when Polly's boyfriend, Jim Preston, tooted his car horn.
Meanwhile, in the same minutes Polly Jacobs was commanding that Sunny go to the regular Tuesday evening senior's dance, Gerald Burris was doing much the same to his younger brother, Hale. However Gerald's visit was done in person. Gerald complained that Hale should not have retired and then gone back to work half-days. Yes, he was earning more as a consultant than he did as an employee and he did get to keep his retirement pay, too. Unfortunately, Hale's half days at work interfered with Gerald's need for a fishing partner.
"Dammit, Hale. Come on. I figured the only way I'd get you off your ass was to come get you. Put your coat on and let's go."
"Okay, I'll go," Hale agreed, although he had initially declined. "But let me change shoes. These rubber soles aren't very good for dancing."
Gerald turned to walk out the door of his brother's house. "I'll meet you there. I'm taking my car. I might get lucky tonight."
Hale chuckled as he walked toward his bedroom, knowing his brother's luck. Gerald said he usually found a woman to take home halfway into the night of the dance. He occasionally made it all the way inside her house. A few of those times, he bragged, he spent the night in her bed.
Hale was a few minutes behind his brother as he walked into the community room of one of the local city parks, noticing that in one small corner of the room four older men were setting up guitars, keyboard, and a simple set of drums. He had forgotten that Gerald said the first Tuesday of the month often had a live band. For the remaining dances throughout the month, a local radio station DJ played music the seniors enjoyed dancing to, which included, mainly, country and western. Some of the music was quite old, but had a good beat.
Hale introduced himself to the two couples on the opposite side of the long table. Before he could sit down, Gerald returned with a beer in each hand, giving one to Hale. "Here, next round is on you."
As he removed his coat and put it on the back of his chair, Hale's attention was drawn to the entrance. Two women and a man, who was almost completely bald, walked in the door. He watched the shorter blonde woman, as she laughed at something the man said. Behind the couple was a taller woman, laughing as she caught her skirt when a gust of wind blew through the door, lifting the light material, showing half of her thighs. Hale's breath caught in his throat so suddenly he coughed.
"Damn." Hale muttered under his breath. He watched, almost spellbound, the soft material with the swirl of blue, green and gold colors, clung to her body as she walked into the large room. Her full, but not large, breasts were cupped by the detail of the dress. They rose as she raised her fingers to comb through her short salt and pepper hair, brushing the windblown strands away from her face. In a heart stopping moment, the woman looked across the room straight into Hale's eyes and smiled.
Hale heard one of the women across from him announce, "Oh my, there's Sunny. I'm glad Polly convinced her to come tonight. I'll bet Bob is the first man to dance with her."
The other woman at the table added her own comment. "Bob may get to dance with her, but I'll bet you, she still won't let him take her home and I wouldn't blame her."
"Be nice, Patsy," the first woman complained.
"Nice has nothing to do with it, Marie" the second speaker scoffed. "Bob's fickle for chasing after Janie and too dumb to know what's good for him. Sunny's twice the woman Janie will ever be. Janie filed for a divorce before their first anniversary."
"No she didn't. Bob filed," Marie seemed to know what she was talking about. "He told me he wasn't going to let her come back down here to live and leave him with that big house on the lake. So, he came back down here, too."
As the two women traded gossip, Hale looked at his brother and mouthed, "Sunny?"
Gerald nodded and leaned over to whisper, "Sunshine Benson; used to be Sunshine Thomas, Herb Thomas's widow. She married Bert Benson after his wife put him in a nursing home, and then took him to the cleaners, or so his son said. Sunny stayed with Bert until he died about a year ago. I heard they were cousins, in-laws, or something."
Hale knew there had to be more to the story than that, but he wasn't really interested right now. Rather, he was more interested in the woman. As he listened to his brother answer his questions about the two people with Sunny, he watched as the couple and Sunny moved to a table across the room where two other couples and another woman were sitting. They all got up and hugged Sunny, then hugged the blonde and shook hands with the man. All of them were chatting and being friendly. Another couple from the next table caught Sunny's attention before she could sit down and she moved to their table to give each of them a hug, or a handshake, too. She talked for a few minutes, throwing her head back to laugh at something one of them said.
Before taking his seat at the table, Jim Preston turned toward the concession stand but came back when Sunny called him. She had some paper money, which she was trying to put in his hand. At first he refused the money but finally took it and returned a few minutes with three beers. Polly tapped Sunny on the shoulder and pointed across the room. Sunny and Polly both waved at Patsy and her date, who returned their greetings with energetic waves of their own. Sunny looked at the other people around the table and lifted her chin slightly when Hale raised his beer and nodded at her. She blushed, and then smiled, nodding her head at him.
Slightly embarrassed from the attention of the good looking man across the room, Sunny turned to ask Polly, "Who is that man sitting beside Gerald Burris?"
A moment later Hale saw that the woman sitting beside Sunny was looking at him. Polly turned back to Sunny, obviously answering Sunny's question about everyone at Hale's table. For the entire time he was being examined, Hale did not look away from Sunny, nor did she take her eyes off him.
Hale would have been embarrassed at Polly's response to Sunny's question. "That's Gerald's gorgeous brother, Hale. His wife died about a year ago. Half the women in this room would like to give him a key to their house, but he probably wouldn't take a single one of them. This is the first time I've seen him here. Isn't he luscious?" Polly's last remark was followed by a deep throated growl.
As the band began the first number, a slender man with thinning blonde hair and a stiff hipped gait, sauntered across the room, and hugged Sunny. Sunny turned her head when he tried to kiss her and despite the rebuke, the man led her to the dance floor. She was laughing at something one of the women said as she walked slower than the man, who had to stretch his arm to pull her behind him. Anyone witnessing this could see that she wasn't quite ready to dance, but she went anyway. Hale watched the man pull her into his arms. He was surprised to see Sunny push against him, preventing him from holding her as tightly as he wanted as they began to dance.
Across from him, Hale heard Marie say, "See, I told you Bob was going to be the first man to dance with her." Seconds later, Marie was urging her partner, "Come on Jerry, let's dance."
Before Marie stepped into Jerry's arms, Patsy was urging her date to dance also, which left Gerald and Hale alone at their table, enjoying their beer. As both couples vacated the table, Hale looked up and saw Sunny, plus the man with whom she was dancing, had covered half the dance floor. They were directly in front of him. Sunny glanced at Hale, smiled, and pushed herself a little farther away from her partner. Hale almost stood up, but settled back in his seat, without taking his eyes off the beautiful woman he planned to dance with, at least once, before the night was over.
During the next hour, Hale chatted with the other people at the table, sat out a few dances, or danced with each of the women at his table, plus two other women in the room whom he had known for some time. Both of those times, he was on his way across the room to ask Sunny to dance with him, but another man got there first. Each time he was within Sunny's sight, she was looking at him, smiling softly. He knew she was watching him, because he could not keep his eyes off her.
When a dance ended, leaving Sunny and her partner standing right in front of Hale as they applauded the band, he stepped onto the dance floor. He had finally decided he was not going to wait any longer to dance with the fascinating woman.
Hale took Sunny's arm, "May I have the next dance?"
Sunny turned to look at Hale and nodded, stepping into his arms as a slow waltz began. She smelled wonderful. He slid his hand down her back and pressed her closer to himself. He felt the softness of her hair against his cheek when she rested her forehead on his shoulder for a moment. Before he negotiated a fourth of the dance floor, Hale could feel his erection growing. He knew he was holding her closer than any man had done. He also knew she could not avoid feeling the beginning of his erection.
He could do nothing about it, nor did he want to. The moment he had his arms around the woman, Hale felt the beginning of his tumescence. He felt the heaviness against his leg, the delicious feeling of excitement spreading throughout his body as the woman matched her steps to his.
It had been several years since he had truly felt a sexual arousal to this degree. The years of his wife's illness and since her death, he had not found much to excite him, although if asked, he would admit that he had not been looking, either. It may not have been the purple headed erection of his youth, but it was curious, comfortable, and exciting, to know Sunny caused such a quick reaction to his libido.
Sunny leaned back for a moment and looked up at Hale. He raised one eyebrow, as if to ask, "Are you offended?" Sunny gave him a soft smile and allowed him to pull her back into his arms. He reveled and responded to the exquisite feeling of her breasts rubbing softly against his chest. Her belly brushed his, and her soft hand rested in his, while her other hand rested on his shoulder. He celebrated her nearness, breathing in the musky fragrance of her own arousal, as the heat between their bodies rose around them.
Their dance ended much too soon. Sunny was in a haze of sexual excitement. It had been a very long time since a man had excited her so much. Neither she nor Hale spoke, they merely held each other, as he led her around the dance floor. Sunny was not sure she even heard the music playing. He had his arm around her and her eyes were closed with her cheek resting lightly against his shoulder.
Sunny felt a bubble of moisture escape between the lips of her labia, which belied the myth of vaginal dryness she heard some of her peers whisper about. At least that part of her body still worked, even if other parts did not work as well as they did when she was younger. After a whole day of accepting that she was almost sixty-five, feeling a sexual thrill because she was dancing with a good looking man, meant the day was ending just a little better than it had begun.
During the first two hours Hale noticed the man, whom he assumed was Bob, approached Sunny for additional dances. Occasionally, he was successful and other times he was not. Once, when a man at her table took her hand to lead her to the dance floor, before Bob could get to her, Bob turned around and walked briskly toward the small concession stand. His footsteps were hard and determined, as if he was not in the least happy about his failure to reach her before another man asked her to dance.
After another hour, a few couples began to leave the dance. Some were couples who had arrived together, or had been sitting at the same table. However, occasionally a man from one table walked across the room to take the hand of a woman at another table and lead her, or hold her arm, as they left the building. Hale had already picked out the woman his brother was interested in; she danced about every fourth dance with Gerald.
Knowing he wanted to hold Sunny again, he walked across the room, stopping in front of her at about the same time Bob approached her. Hale offered his hand to Sunny and she stood, ignored the same offer from Bob, to take Hale's hand.
Over Sunny's shoulder, Hale watched their progress around the dance floor, carefully steering them away from the crowded areas of the floor. He bent his head down and whispered, his lips just barely touching her ear, "I want to kiss you," and then he straightened his head as if nothing had been said.
Sunny rested her head on his shoulder for a moment and he felt her lips touch his neck. At the corner of the dance floor he leaned down and quickly kissed her cheek. When he turned away to avoid a collision with another couple, he pulled Sunny tighter into the curve of his body and felt her press herself against his erection.
A few steps farther along and they were directly in front of the entrance. Hale grabbed her other hand and pulled Sunny behind him as he left the building. Moments later, they were in the cool night air and he had his arms around her, with her back against the side of the building, captured and held there by his body. He pressed his lips to hers and just held them there, savoring the softness of her.
He raised his head for a moment to look at her, "Kiss me, woman," he pleaded, and returned his mouth to hers.
Very slowly she parted her lips, and then she pushed lightly against Hale's chest. "Please."
"Please what? Please don't kiss you, or please do?"
Sunny turned her head away, "Just, please. Don't rush me."
Hale took his arms away from her, held them out the sides of his body, took a step back and grinned, "Then come over here, and kiss me."
Sunny took one step forward, put her hands on his face and raised herself to her toes, tilted her head and kissed him. He dropped his arms, but did not touch her. It was a long slow kiss. Something of beauty, so gentle and easy that Hale knew it was the best kiss he'd ever received, given, or shared. When she took her hands from his face, he simply stood there, with his eyes closed, savoring the blood pulsing through his body and the deep throbbing inside his head.
When Hale opened his eyes, Sunny was gone, and he was hurting.
He spent several minutes pacing in front of the entrance, breathing deeply, and calming his intense sexual arousal. Finally, he started walking toward his truck, but at the last second turned around and returned to the building entrance. When he entered the building Hale saw to his astonishment, Sunny dancing with Bob. She turned her head to look straight at him just as the couple, with whom she arrived, walked by Hale; the woman had her purse tucked under her arm.
Hale took one step forward, not sure if he intended to cut-in, take Sunny away from Bob, or planned on doing something else. Seeing Hale come towards her, Sunny slightly shook her head and turned her face to respond to something Bob said. However, she did not smile at Bob.
After their dance, it took little imagination to know what was happening when Bob stopped by the table he had occupied most of the evening. Without letting go of Sunny's hand, he retrieved his jacket, and turned to leave the building. Hale stood and took his own jacket off the back of his chair. When he caught his brother's eye, he pointed toward the entrance and waved. Gerald nodded once, and pulled the woman he was dancing with a little closer to him. Hale grinned at his brother, who did not bother to hide his own smile.
With no intent, other than leaving the dance, Hale followed a few cars out of the parking lot. Two cars ahead of him, the passenger in a large expensive sedan, lit by the headlights of the car behind it, was wearing a dress with the swirl of blue, green and gold colors of the dress Sunny wore. For no reason, other than the look on Sunny's face when he watched her walking toward the building's doors, Hale turned into the same line of traffic as the sedan, even though the sedan entered the line of traffic with a squeal of tires. A few blocks down the street, the sedan needlessly made a wide turn, which was overcorrected and then straightened, before going several blocks into a residential area. Hale followed, calling himself every kind of a fool, with no more brains than a lovesick teenager.
The sedan came to a sudden stop at the curb in front of a town house. Hale pulled his truck to the curb, turned off his lights and engine, and sat for a moment to watch. Bob left the driver's side of the car, to open the passenger door, but instead of offering his hand to help Sunny out of the car, he stood in the open door, effectively blocking her from leaving the car. With the door open, the car's interior lights were on, showing Sunny turned with her feet outside as if she was prepared to stand, but Bob was in her way. Bob was leaning over, straightening up, and then leaning over again. He seemed to be saying something to Sunny, who was shaking her head.
Sunny put her hand on Bob's chest to push him back. When Hale saw that Bob did not move, Hale stepped out of his truck. He walked to the passenger side of the car and offered his hand to Sunny, surprising Bob.
"Come on, Sweetheart, I'll walk you to your front door."
When Sunny looked up at Hale, he saw she was almost in tears. Bob straightened up and raised his voice, to ask, "Who the hell are you?"
"If you'll take a step back, I'm the man who will walk this lady to her front door, sir."
When Sunny reached for Hale's hand, Bob slapped her hand away and spoke sharply to Hale, "You're not needed here. Get lost, buster."
Sunny had jerked her arm back when Bob slapped her hand. Hale leaned into the car, to take Sunny's arm and felt a hand squeeze his shoulder.
"Hey, bud. I thought I told you, you're not needed here." Bob's voice was slightly slurred, either from a slight speech impediment or from enjoying the beer he had been drinking for several hours.
Hale ignored the hand on his shoulder and pulled on Sunny's arm, to help her out of the car. He did not turn his head to look at Bob, but his remark was loud enough for there to be no mistake, to whom he was speaking. "I think the lady can decide that for herself. Come on, Sweetheart, I'll walk you to your door."
Hale held Sunny's shaking arm for the entire walk to her front door, speaking quietly to her, despite Bob calling her name. "Don't look back. If you want to, look up at me, but do not look behind us."
When they stepped up to her front door, Hale asked,
"Do you have your key?" Sunny took her eyes away from Hale's face for only a moment, just long enough to take her key from her pocket and place it in his outstretched hand. Hale reached over in front of Sunny and pushed the key into the lock, "Ignore him and watch me unlock your door."
Hale turned the knob, but only opened the latch, without pushing the door inward. Instead he turned to Sunny and put his hands on her shaking shoulders. "Now, we can stand out here and pretend we are talking, or I can step inside with you until he leaves. The choice is yours."
Sunny looked up, "Would you like to come inside?"
"I would like that very much, thank you," Hale replied, pushing the front door open and putting his hand at the small of Sunny's back, urging her to walk inside. He closed the door behind them and backed up against the door, watching Sunny take several deep breaths, rubbing her fingers across her forehead.
"How much did you have to drink tonight?" Hale asked, leaning against the front door, his arms folded across his chest. From outside came the sound of a car door being slammed and tires screeching down the street.
"Oh, just two, no it was probably three beers, but I didn't drink all of them. I very seldom drink. I've just had this dull headache since mid-afternoon." Sunny jerked at the sounds from outside, looked around, and lowered her eyes, "I'm sorry. I'm not being a very gracious hostess. Come with me and we can find a more comfortable place for a conversation."