“I … I was invited,” Jill said. “I …”
“I don’t remember you on the guest list. And I should know. This is MY engagement party.”
Just then a server bumped into the bride-to-be, spilling a full tray of red wine down the rich girl’s ivory silk dress.
“I’m so sorry,” Megan’s husband, Tim, said. “I didn’t see you there. Oh my God …”
Jill watched Tim scamper to get a towel. To keep from laughing, Jill coughed into her hand. The rich girl screamed at Tim, then at Candy. When her father came over, she screamed at him, only to collapse sobbing into her mother’s arms. Her mother led the tiny woman away to change.
“This is the most fun I’ve had at a family gathering in at least a decade,” Jacob said.
“I assume he was a friend of yours.”
“Brother-in-law,” Jill said.
“She had it coming,” Jacob said. “She knows exactly who you are.”
Jill shrugged. When she turned to look at the party, she saw a variety of male eyes looking in her direction.
“Would you like to dance?” Jacob asked. He nodded toward the dance floor, where couples danced a perfect waltz.
“I don’t know how,” she replied.
“Just follow me,” Jacob said. He set his glass down on the bar. “I’m this close to you. I’m not going to let you go.”
He put his hand on her arm and was confronted with another server holding a tray of drinks.
“It’s all right, Christy,” Jill said. “He just wants to dance.”
Christy scowled at Jacob and then looked him up and down. “Be nice.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jacob laughed.
Holding Jill’s hand, he led her to the dance floor. He situated her hands then whispered instructions into her ear. After a few missteps, she fell into the simple rhythm of the dance and the closeness of this man. For the first time in a long time, she felt — well, not exactly happy, but a tiny bit of delight.
“You are a wonderful dancer,” Jacob said.
“Not really,” Jill replied. “I just know how to follow what you’re doing.”
Jacob laughed. “That’s most of the work.”
“It’s not hard to follow,” Jill said.
“Do you dance?” Jacob asked.
“I like to dance … Oh, you mean for a living? You think I’m a stripper?!”
“Why is that funny?” Jill asked. Dropping her arms, she stopped moving. “I’d like to sit down now.”
“Please don’t. I laughed because I suck at this small talk crap, particularly with a beautiful woman. I rehearse what I’m going to say, you know, in my head? But it sounds awful when it comes out.”
“Oh. I do that sometimes if I’m nervous. Are you nervous?”
“Yes, I’m nervous.”
“Well, if I blow this, someone might kill me,” Jacob laughed.
They danced in silence for a while. Listening to the music, Jill enjoyed the liquid pleasure of movement in the arms of this man. She’d only ever been this close to Trevor. She sighed a little as her body warmed in response to him. God, he even smells good.
“Is your wife here?” Jill asked.
“I don’t have a wife,” Jacob said.
“How come?” Jill asked.
“It’s shocking, I know. I am smooth with the ladies,” Jacob laughed.
She pulled back to see if he was serious. He winked at her and she returned to looking over his shoulder.
“Actually, I fell in love with a woman and then found out she was married.”
“Oh, did that stop you?”
“Yes, it stopped me,” he said.
“Why? I thought that’s how you people did things.”
“Rich people,” Jill replied.
Jacob laughed. He’s funny too. Jill sighed, melting a little closer to his warmth, his strength. She nodded at the guitar player in the band when he winked at her.
“Is she here?” Jill asked.
“The girl you fell in love with.”
“Yes, she’s here,” Jacob said.
Jacob pulled back a bit to look at Jill. His eyes puzzled for a moment. Seeing her sincerity, he made a vague movement in the direction of a crowded corner of the room.
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1 continues tomorrow…
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