Trina looked over the group of men standing close to her. Two male wolves, three coyotes, and one snow leopard made up the group. None of them particularly drew her attraction or thoughts. Yet, dancing with one or two of them might get conversation flowing. After all, chaperoning a high school dance didn’t require more than keeping the kids out of dark corners. Making small talk with the other parents present and enjoying the music. Miss Elly and Vernon were out on the dance floor cutting their path across the gym. More fifties music blared out of the speakers. Even Gill and Chloe tried their hand at some of the intricate dance steps the music teacher had shown everyone before the music started.
She wiped her hands down her heavily starched poodle skirt. Missy Elly’s kindness included loaning her clothes in theme with the music. Her teased and sprayed hair bounced each time she nodded her head in time with the music. A few feet away one of the teachers named Mick stood wearing a black leather biker’s jacket, tight ass-incasing jeans, and a dark red t-shirt with the outline of wolf on it. His slicked back hair refused to adhere to the gel. Two lone curls close to the top of his forehead gave him an air of mystique. An edge that caused her breath to catch and set off warmth the reached deep into her. Sex for the sake of physical release stymied her. Her chemistry required more. An attraction and mutual interest revved her hormones. If she wanted to get off—she snickered at her use of male thoughts and terms—her battery-operated boyfriend worked fine thank you. No need for making small talk and acting nice when all she wanted and needed was a hard fast orgasm. One that rocked her to sleep or into a blissed out state that lasted more than someone poking her saying ‘my turn now.’
Mick looked up from the table, counted the number of couples on the dance floor, and smiled. At least four of his students were out there trying the steps he showed them earlier. Many were standing in segregated groups of boys and girls. Their parents were doing much the same. When had kids lost the art of mingling and mixing with the opposite sex? This was Talbot’s Peak. Sex and what it entailed wasn’t shunned or stuffed in the closet. No, every kid new the basics by age eight. After all short gestations could manifest themselves quite easily. Ah, making sure his students understood the birds and bees aspect of life wasn’t his teaching area. Music and art took more than a few hour-long sessions per week to understand and enjoy. Good thing Gill and the town council got the need for after school activities like these.
He glanced over his shoulder back to where the redhead stood. Her petiteness intrigued him. She also ignited a protectiveness he was sure she didn’t require. After all, she was part wolf and coyote, two animals that could take care of themselves. Still making her acquaintance and enjoying a few dances didn’t entail getting involved. Friendship added to life. Why not add a new friend to his group? A female one too. Mick tossed his empty cup in the trash receptacle near him and turned. The next song was a slow hold your partner close one. Easy to dance too and long enough to learn a few things about each other. Yes, a good choice. He started toward Trina.
Mick walked across the floor, keeping Trina in his sight. She ducked her head, looking away. He’d watched her peruse all the males present. The teens that danced past her, she smiled at and shook her head no. The older ones made conversation and moved off to find their mates or spouses. The few women who stopped to talk, pointed to males at various points throughout the gymnasium. He reached Trina as the opening strains of the melody began.
“May I have this dance, please?” he asked, holding out his hand. He kept his gaze on her face. The costumes hid much of their physique. Not that it mattered. Many here used scent and their other senses along with their animal sixth sense to pick out their chase. There were no victims here. Matting happened when all parties agreed. Dancing didn’t resemble the sweaty pleasure enhance bed rumpling stints most of the youth here tried to do. No, dancing was for conversation, getting to know each other, and asking for another dance. Even time to nibble finger foods and sip the sickening sweet punch the cafeteria provided. He’d heard whispers Louie from Rattigan’s was due at midnight; something about road kill stew and other more delightful cuisine.
Mick smiled. Trina turned toward him. Her hands lay one on top of the other, resting on her fanny pouch. Most of the women carried purses or clutch bags. Not this one. Dare he ask what she carried in it? Too personal a question too soon? He wet his lips ready to change topics when Trina spoke.
“Thank you. I’d love to dance.” Trina stepped closer to him. “Been a while since I slow danced.”
Mick chuckled. “Easy to remember. Like riding a bike. Of course, unless you like to lead.”
“Oh, I’m not supposed to?” Trina grinned, raising her arms. “Maybe you better show me how this is done. You know I might need a bit of private tutorial here rather than out there.” She point to the open dance floor.
He glanced over his shoulder. “Okay, one tutorial coming up. Then we make our way across the gym and back. This is the slow long songs portion of the evening.”
Trina nodded her understanding and moved closer until he could easily see her in the darker portion where they stood. He took a hold of her wrist, instructing her as he did. “You hand goes on my shoulder. A light touch is fine.”
He reached for her other hand; Trina held it out to him. “This one goes with this one?” She touched his palm with two of her fingers. Heat burst off her deep into him and jaggedly made its way up his arm. Mick swallowed hard and nodded. Did she realize what affect she had on him?
Trina pressed her lips together. Letting out a startled gasp might send him moving away. Heat like this hadn’t happened since her late husband. The one man—human not shapeshifter—who understood her and ignited a sexual chemistry that kept its volcanic explosions going until illness claimed him. Too bad, he turned out sterile. A child or two by him to remind her of the passion and love they shared would’ve eased the pain and sorrow. She blinked pushing the five year old past memories back to where they belonged, deep in the memories of another time in her life. She’d come here to start over and it appeared she’d chosen a good place to do so.
Mick slid his hand along Trina’s waist. Her hand rested lightly on his shoulder. He moved closer to her until they were approximately three feet apart. She smiled, shaking her head.
“What’s funny?” Mick asked, looking down. He placed his foot between Trina’s. His size ten and half shoe stuck out between her smaller ones.
“Us. This reminds me of the dancing lessons I took in junior high school. Most of the guys could shake their bootie and move around the dance floor like their pants were on fire.” Trina glanced down.
Mick snorted. “Seems that started the phase of trying to teach us etiquette and some form of courting.”
Trina’s laughter warmed his cheek. He winked and moved tighter to her. “Now shall we practice those steps and moves our parents spent money on?”
Trina arched her neck, looking up into Mick’s eyes. They reminded her of the blue sky over the lake during summer. The time of year, she could laugh and run free all over the campgrounds her parents owned. Summer camp allowed her and her siblings time to let their animal counterpart out. No harried admonishments either about hiding or keeping her furry side under tight control.
She licked her lips and nodded. “Sure. I can waltz; do a mean two-step, the occasional foxtrot, and a slow sultry dance that permits conversation. You have a preference?”
“Slow dance and conversation. Sultry is a little much for the kids.” Nick winked, stepping back wards as the music began.
“Yes, we chaperones need to keep an eye on the youngsters.” She chuckled moving in sync with Mick as he guided her out across the dance floor toward the middle of the gym.
“Ten questions each? A little getting acquainted info?” Mick swirled her in a circle creating more space between them.
“Okay. You pulling away?” Trina looked down and back up meeting Mick’s gaze.
“No, just allowing some room so we can talk easier. “ Mick grinned. “First question. Favorite color.”
“Mauve. Same for you.”
“Turquoise. Reminds me of the ocean.” Nick nodded. Vernon and Miss Ellie danced by them.
“Nice song choice, Mick.” Vernon twirled Miss Ellie, pulled her back into his arms and titled her back over one arm. “Allows a little swing and sway.”
Before Mick could answer, Vernon and Miss Ellie danced away. Mick glanced back at her. He stopped and started swaying back and forth in place. “Vernon’s right.”
Trina burst out laughing. “What about the other songs?”
“Fifties music and a few early sixties tunes. The rest are ones the kids requested. I don’t know if there’s much to dance to in their choices.” Mick started moving them around the dance floor again. “Why mauve?”
“The color of my grandma’s kitchen. She loved to cook and bake. That was the one place all ten grandkids could gather and all have grandma at once.” Trina shook her head as Mick opened his mouth again. “You’ve asked two questions. My turn.”
Mick nodded. “Go ahead.”
“Where’d you grow up?” Trina closed some of the space between them as another song started.
“All over. My dad joined the military right out of high school. He wanted to see how the other half lived. Human half.” Mick paused near the bleachers as the music picked up beat. “Continue dancing?”
“Please. Makes our conversation less conspicuous.” Trina glanced over her shoulder. “Second question. Why turquoise?”
“San Diego, California. The one place we stayed more than two years. Mom decided that moving wasn’t a good idea with changing schools constantly.”
“A place you call home?” Trina started nodding her head in time to the music. “Almost a latin rhythm to it.”
“Yes. Maybe we can two-step our way across the gym. And that was your third question.” Mick picked up pace and changed steps to match the beat of the music.
“So answer it. Then your turn.”
“It’s a place where I found me. My parents bought a house and Mom put down roots. All five of us graduated from high school and college there.” Mick leaned closer to her. “My third question is why Talbot’s Peak?’”
She’d kept so much of her past hidden. The pain and hurt dulled after a while. Could she talk about leaving home and knowing she couldn’t go back? The unofficial ‘get out’ her father ordered when he found out she wasn’t his daughter stung for a long time. Many didn’t take her mixed heritage well. Would Mick?
Trina swallowed hard. She inhaled, counted to three, and slowly exhaled. Her palpitating heart slowed some. No one asked her why about anything she’d done up to now. Even Phil’s wife took what she said at face value and checked her references on prior nanny positions. They offered a place to stay and a bond with a group that accepted her. Let her be her and embraced what she brought to the table, a person who gave from her heart and took what she needed, a roof over her head and acceptance. Maybe that made more sense than trying to explain it all. Acceptance meant comfort, approval, and belonging. That topped her needs list. A place where her mixed heritage didn’t end up another label to wear or a taunt that got repeated over and over. She turned and faced Mick. She wet her lips and spoke. “Why Talbot’s Peak?”
“Because here everyone knows your name, doesn’t care where you’ve been or come from unless it pertains to your work, and they care about me as a living being. “ She paused, ready to say more.
“I understand,” Mick said, smiling at her. “Finding a place where you fit in can make or break you.”
Trina shrugged trying to ignore the tears threatening to run down her cheeks. A lot of the places she’d been to scoffed at her. Treated her like a second-class thing. She didn’t ask why she threatened people. She packed up and moved on like her family had for many years until her parents bought the farm close to the Wyoming Montana border. Find her place on her own counted. After all, she wasn’t a young inexperienced woman. She’d hit her thirtieth birthday last year.
Mick reached up, knuckled a tear off Trina’s cheek. He could see trust wasn’t easy for her. Gaining hers would take time and effort. The soothsayer predicted his mate, his heart mate, would affect him like no other. Holding Trina as they danced set off a warmth and a desire he hadn’t felt in a long time. Maybe she was the one. Was he ready to take another chance at love? He and his heart hadn’t fared well the last time.
Happy Weekend Gang!
Sorry I missed a few weeks. Edits and rewrites took more time than expected. Weather bouncing all over hit the Spice Homestead and laid DP, me and Gal Pal low for a bit. Mage and his family got a few sniffles too. We’re back on our feet and ready to enjoy warmer weather.
First chapter of Trina and Mick’s story is done. Pris finally got them to agree tell us more of their love story. I hope to bring you chapter two next week. We’ll have to see what Mick and Trina reveal next. No one ever said the path of love and joy was a smooth one.
Until next week, keep positive, a song in your heart, and joy pouring forth!