You turn away as she sways against him.
You are tapping your fingers in time to the music when you see a flash of red in the corner of your eye, and it is followed by an exhausted giggle. You glance up and force a smile.
"I swear Warrick's trying to kill me," she says, grinning, face flushed from her activity.
"I'm sure he knows of much more efficient ways," you comment dryly.
Her brow creases and she looks at you incredulously for a second before releasing a short laugh. "That's… not a comforting thought," she smirks.
You smile genuinely now; unable to refrain when you hear the melodious sound of her laughter again. She giggles for a few more seconds and takes several sips of her white wine, which has sat beside you for the last fifteen minutes while she danced.
"You seemed to be enjoying yourself," you comment, hoping it doesn't come out as bitter as it sounds in your head.
"I was," she grins. "But why aren't you up on the floor?"
You shrug your shoulders once. "I don't feel like dancing." It isn't a complete lie.
"Got something better to do?" she asks.
You purse your lips in brief thought. "No."
"So are you gonna dance with me?" She holds her right hand out for you to take.
"I can't dance with you to this." You indicate the music. "I cannot dance like you were with Warrick." And there is the reason why you don't feel like dancing. You don't want to dance if it isn't with her, and there's no way you can compete with her other partners.
"We don't have to dance like that In fact my body will love it if we don't." She smiles as she speaks, but then her eyes become serious as she shakes her outstretched hand a little. "Dance with me?… I wore my best, red dress."
She holds her arms out to the sides to show off the referenced garment and your eyes have followed the smooth fabric down her torso and her long, slender legs before you even realise what you're doing.
Quickly snapping your gaze back to hers, you find her smirking, eyebrow raised. "So are you going to dance with my dress?"
There is such hope in her eyes it breaks your heart to turn her down; but you've spent all night watching her with other men, you know she can fake the emotions conveyed by the moves, and you always wanted the moment you danced with her to mean something more. You had always imagined soft notes, and gentle swaying, her body close to yours, your faces, cheek to cheek. Though you would never deny that when she moves to a faster beat she is incredibly sexy, that's not what you want dancing with her to be about.
You shake your head. "I really don't feel like dancing."
You see disappointment cloud her eyes and she nods once. "Okay… I know this really isn't your kind of music."
"I'm too old for Warrick's moves," you remark, only partly joking.
"When my muscles are aching tomorrow, I'll be telling you the same thing," she laughs.
You talk for the next hour and she turns down several invitations to the dance floor. Her eyes, however, glance in that direction every so often, and you feel guilty that she isn't up there where she belongs. She is beautiful in any situation, but when the disco lights catch her eyes as she revels in her enjoyment, she is purely radiant.
"Go and dance," you say the next time her eyes stray.
She looks back to you and shakes her head. "I'm fine here."
"Catherine," you say firmly, "You were born to dance."
She seems taken aback by this, and you wonder if it came out wrong. Then she sighs and looks back to the dancers again. "I wouldn't mind another dance before the evening ends."
"Then go," you smile. "Don't let my aging body stop you."
She laughs at your joke, and squeezes your hand as she stands. "I still think you should be dancing," she comments.
You choose not to respond and she smiles to you once more before moving away.
Minutes later the pace of the music changes and you realise the end of the night is drawing near as the delicate sound of a slower song reaches your ears.
You await the hated announcement about couples gathering on the dance floor, but instead you are startled to hear a familiar voice, telling you in no uncertain terms that you are definitely not too old to simply sway.
You turn to see Catherine standing in the middle of the dance floor; her long red dress standing out amidst the black and white outfits surrounding her. She stands alone, just waiting; an eyebrow raised in what you know is a challenge to defy her.
And as the first line of this song's chorus filters through the sound system, you can't help but smile and move to join her.
"Good song choice," you whisper as you wrap your arms around her waist, and hers settle on your shoulders.
"I thought so," she smirks as you prove that she was right and you are not too old to simply sway.
And as she moves in closer and rests her head against yours, you know this emotion is real. You are finally dancing with Catherine, and your lady in red is dancing with you.
Cheek to cheek.