Lee looked up through the cathedral windows of his modified ranch house, the cobwebs cupping leaves like babes in cradles.
The outside temperature stabilised just above the freezing point of water.
Lee thought back to the previous night, trying to separate fact from fiction.
His wife working the night shift, he made his way over to Bai’s flat after an hour or more on the dance floor with new instructors Maelzel and Katerina a married couple who taught Lee the nuances of ’40s Charleston.
He recalled muscle memories, the light touch of Katerina’s waist on his fingertips as they performed the barn door and mirror moves. He ran his internal eyes through visual images stored like a video recording her long, red hair, sculpted eyebrows and dance style that made her look like she floated on air, a graceful double-jointed marionette.
Her green eyes were well-hidden mysteries she shared most often with Marvel, doling out eye contact to Lee with private, reserved purposes.
Maelzel stretched his arms in the air like with happiness, seeing his partner enjoying the dance lesson.
Lee walked into Bai’s flat.
He carried Christmas presents for her.
Her flatmate, George, opened the door and smiled, inviting Lee in.
“Bai’s not here.”
“No problem. I can wait. I brought some moonshine, if you want some.”
They clinked glasses. “Cheers!”
After two heavy shots of the peach liquor, Lee heard Abi arrive.
Looking cute but sexy, Bai walked in wearing a short skirt and cap made from the same lime-and-pink Argyll-patterned sweater. She removed the cap and tossed it on the sofa with her ivory wool coat. Her hair, freshly-dyed purple and still wet but drying, was pulled back with barrettes.
His silly grin crossed his face. “Hey. Want some moonshine?”
“No thanks. I’m on a 24-day cleansing diet. What do you think?”
She spun around on her toes.
Lee’s heart skipped a beat. He thought Bai was really going to kill him one day…like a moth to the proverbial flame, he was…
He nodded. “You’re slimmer. Your waistline looks great!”
“Good. Let me change and I’ll be ready to work on you.”
To be continued…