He prowled the stage like he was searching for someone to take him on, looking us all over, sizing us up. Think you can handle it, girl? The words were my fantasy, but my imagination is good; I can hear his voice, purring as he says them. I felt like screaming and laughing at the same time. The feelings he'd pulled out of me were so strong, felt so delicious . . . and I knew there was no place to go with them. That's where the screaming part came in.
The door to the bathroom was right in front of me, but for some reason I looked back across the room then and just happened to see my date waving some money at the bartender and trying to grab two beers. I just couldn't take it; I had to get out of here.
There was a door next to the ladies' room—it must lead outside. That was it; if I could just get outside for a while, clear my head, remember to breathe. Maybe this tension that was building up somewhere south of my belly would start to go away. I doubted it, but it was worth a try.
I stumbled out the door, into an alley. The noise from inside was still loud and I kept moving, heading for the corner of the building and hoping that there was some larger space on the other side somewhere I could walk and work out this energy. Too late, I thought to check and see if the area was clear first.
There was a large courtyard before me, with a little alcove in one corner. I saw a man standing near it, lighting up a cigarette. A match flared into flame, but the second before it did, the outline of his body in the half-light, the curve of his hair, the white undershirt . . . all registered on my senses. My heart started hammering so loud in my chest, I thought he was going to hear me before he could see me. For I had already seen him. Cyrus.
I stepped back against the wall, not wanting to disturb him but unable to leave. I wanted to stay and just look at him for a minute, just drink in the sight of him. As I watched, he paced back and forth in a tight little circle, pulling on the cigarette and blowing out smoke in a steady rhythm. I realized suddenly that he was doing the same thing I was—letting out the pent-up energy his performance had created. It was like he couldn't sit still, he was so pumped from the experience.
And then he saw me. He had just turned to make another round when he looked up sharply and saw me there against the wall. The immediate instinct—for both of us—was to freeze. I could tell, even in the semi-darkness, that he was staring at me. Probably trying to decide if I was going to bother him and what he would do about it if I did.
So I smiled at him. Nothing more—just a smile. A few seconds passed . . . and then he smiled back. He moved closer, into the weak pool of light cast by the only lamppost, and his smile got bigger. I realized suddenly that he was aware of just why I was there, as clearly as if I had told him. The tension we were both experiencing was so thick in the air, how could he not?
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