Originally posted April 13, 2015 for the A to Z Challenge
Bruce arrived a few minutes early. The sound of his knocking rattled against Jessica’s brain. Paranoid that Whitmore might have returned, she drew her knees to her chin and curled into a ball on the couch next to the door, waiting for him to burst in. By the time she mustered enough courage to unlock the door and pull it open, the clock had already struck nine.
“I thought you might’ve changed your mind,” Bruce said. He was wearing a blue cardigan with a dark gray button-up underneath. He ran his fingers through his hair, making it swoop over his face the way it had on their lunch date. He tugged on the bottom of his jacket and coughed into his fist. “I noticed the wood in your door was split down the middle. Almost like someone tried to beat it down. You might wanna—”
He paused when Jessica stepped outside. Her nose was red and her eyes swollen from crying. She still wore her yoga pants and t-shirt from the gym, the collar of her shirt soaked from where she wiped her tears.
“What happened? Was it him?” Bruce asked as if reading her mind. He placed both hands on her checks and brushed away the tears with his thumbs. He pulled her into a hug, resting his chin on top of her head.
“He’s more delusional than I thought,” she cried into his shoulder.
“I’ll take you to a place where you can forget about him,” Bruce said.
Jessica didn’t know much about Eartha Kitt—only that she had played Catwoman in the Batman television series and had an affair with Eddie Murphy’s character in the film, Boomerang—but as she sat at the table in the dimly lit restaurant, listening to the jazz musicians’ tribute to the late singer, she couldn’t help but feel intoxicated. Transcending the problems of her current relationship, she snapped her fingers, rolled her neck, and let out a deep moan.
“She just makes you want to forget everything around you,” Bruce whispered in her ear. He was suddenly standing behind her, massaging her shoulders.
“Just to live in the moment,” Jessica said. She had forgotten how underdressed she was. All she wanted was for Bruce to wrap his arms around her and move her body with the soothing notes of the trombone, saxophone, and trumpet in harmony.
Bruce leaned in, nuzzled her neck, and inhaled her perfume. “Lilacs, and a hint of must,” he said smiling.
“Shut up and dance with me.”
Bruce took her hand and together they glided to the dance floor just below the stage. The music had stopped, replaced with a rhythmic beat on a djembe drum. Jessica placed her hands on her hips. She bounced and rocked as the woman on stage sang into the microphone deep from the back of her throat.
“Come oooonnnn-a my house . . .”
Jessica danced and spun and let Bruce take her by the hips and pull her into him, his lips grazing behind her ear. She threw her head back, wrapped her arms around the back of Bruce’s neck, pulling him closer to her.
The final beat on the drum sounded, and the piano, bass, and horns returned.
“Oooooh, John, pleeease don’t kiss me. Ooooh, John, pleeeease . . .”
Jessica rubbed her cheek against the coarse stubble on Bruce’s chin.
“Oooooh, Bruce,” she echoed. “Pleeease . . .”
And he kissed her.