FreeSpending time together. XXX Images

Salvation can sometimes be found in strange arms.

When Carlton finally returned her to her seat, the barstool on her left had been moved a little farther left to be nearer its neighbor. A couple occupied the two stools. They were chatting as if they were well acquainted, using short sentences as they discussed their day. Tank was now sitting on her immediate right. He had moved to give two couples the stools between him and the far corner of the bar.

Cassandra thanked Carlton for the dance and climbed back up on her seat. The interlude had given her a chance to relax a little, but now her tension was back. A full glass was sitting before her. She looked at Harvey and he jerked his head to the man beside her. Tank had bought her a fresh drink. It was now or never. Could she pull it off? She did not know but it was worth the effort to try. Oh well, here goes nothing.

"Thank you," Cassandra turned her head as she spoke, keeping her chin down and speaking quietly. The practice to lower her voice and speak slowly produced sounds she was so proud of, they added an extra sparkle to her eyes and a little more to her smile.

"You're welcome," Tank replied, trying not to stare down the front of this woman's dress but still barely glancing at her face. He finally decided he had been mistaken. This was a woman, several years older than Sandy, although the resemblance was remarkable. Her facial features were more mature and her body was certainly much more voluptuous. He suspected she was two or more inches taller than his memory of Sandy.

"Are you a guest at the hotel tonight?" His question was so nonchalant she didn't recognize it as one of the oldest pick up lines the man knew.

Rather than cross her fingers, Cassandra crossed her ankles, hoping for the same effect, when she replied, "Yes, but only for one night." Oh heck, why did she tell him that? A simple positive response would have worked just as well.

"Are you traveling on business?"

Cassandra tested the chuckle she had practiced for a month, "Oh yes, and hoping my business doesn't keep me here longer than one night." She took a deep breath before asking her own get-acquainted question, "And you?"

"No, I live here. I just like this place. It's quiet. If I stay too late Harvey will call someone to put me in a cab for home." He laughed a little, matching her humor.

"Yes, it is quiet. The man at the piano, Tony, he's good."

"This is his bar."

Think slow Cassandra, she reminded herself, "Oh really? Does he own the bar so he can have a permanent place to entertain, or is it the other way around?"

Tank looked at Tony then turned back to the woman, "You know, I'm not sure. I could go ask him."

Cassandra put her hand on Tank's arm, "Oh please, don't." She tried to laugh. "I think I was just making conversation."

They continued their polite conversation for a few more minutes, interspersed with short periods of silence. Several times Cassandra looked at Carlton but his attention was usually directed elsewhere. She also gave her attention to the other men around the perimeter of the bar, none of whom interested her. She might as well see how far she could go with hiding who she was from Tank.

Tank turned and offered his right hand, "My friends call me Tank."

She placed her right hand in his. "Cass." She did not know why she didn't complete the rest of her first name. He had known her as Sandy, perhaps not saying Sandra would help with her subterfuge.

"Is that short for Cassidy or something like that?"

"Yes, something like that. I just prefer Cass."

"Then Cass it is. Now then, Cass, would you like to dance?"

"Yes, I would." She pushed against the bar to turn her seat and took Tank's hand, holding on as they threaded through a few tables to reach the small dance floor.

They danced through two different pieces of music, getting accustomed to each other's movements and occasionally looking at each other.