Melody looked over to where she knew Fernando was and her heart skipped a beat when she caught him watching her. She couldn’t look away and as their eyes locked in a steady gaze, her hips began to move more to the pulsating Latin music. His younger brother, Jose, oblivious to what was going on, continued to talk to her as they danced.
She knew that Jose liked her but she didn’t feel the same way. She was head over heels in love with Fernando. Jose knew that but still he continued to hope that things would change between them. Melody didn’t want to hurt him but she couldn’t help the way she felt about Fernando and even if he weren’t in the picture, she knew that she still wouldn’t have romantic feelings for Jose even though he was a really nice guy. She hoped that he would get over her soon.
Just then, Jose twirled her around and when he caught her to him, she smiled up at him and then turned to where…her mouth tightened when she saw Fernando get up from the table to make his way over to Gina, a stunning woman who made no secret that she was attracted to him. Melody watched as she flirted with him and jealousy surged through her when she saw him take her hand and lead her to the dance floor.
The song which played was salsa and she watched their bodies move slowly to the sensual beat. Gina’s thick black hair tumbled down her bare back. How she was able to breath, let alone move in that tight red dress, Melody had no idea. Fernando was looking down at her and smiling. He looked sexy in the black dress shirt unbuttoned at the neck and the black pants. His hair was slightly tousled and Gina reached up and brushed the strands of hair from his forehead before putting her hand on his shoulder again. It was too much for Melody. She dragged her eyes away and glanced up at Jose who was looking at her because she had stopped moving. “I need a breath of fresh air,” she explained and he released her.
“Do you want me to come with you?” he asked.
She shook her head. “No, I’d like to be alone.” She forced a smile. “Don’t worry about me, Jose. I’m fine.” She excused herself and quickly walked away. He watched her go in the direction of the terrace before he turned and joined a group of friends at a table.
Melody stepped out on to terrace, the fresh air and scent of hibiscuses assailed her nostrils. It was a balmy evening. A slight cool breeze blew, caressing her skin. She had her hair in an up-do instead of her usual side plait. She had followed her sister’s advice.
“You need to do something different with your hair if you want Fernando to notice you,” she told her. “Put it up. You want to look like a woman not a little girl.”
The new hairdo flattered her and showed up her long, slender neck. The black mini halterneck dress with the plunging neckline turned quite a few heads when she walked into the party. The high black strappy sandals made her legs look longer than they were. She danced with several of the men before Jose stepped in but the one man whom she wanted to dance with hadn’t asked her. So, it was like a slap in the face when he asked Gina to dance. She grimaced now and she gripped the balustrade in anger and bitter jealousy. To hell with Fernando Alfaro. He could dance with all of the women in the room for all she cared.
“Tired from all that dancing?” a voice inquired behind her and she swung round, her heart skipping a beat when she saw Fernando. She leaned against the balustrade, her eyes wary as they met his. She caught whiff of his aftershave. Why did he have to be so irresistible? Even as she was upset with him, she wanted to throw herself into his arms and tell him how much she loved him.
“Shouldn’t you be in there dancing with Gina?” she tried to sound nonchalant but there was an edge in her voice and her expression betrayed her. Why does it have to be so bright out here?
“Should I? What if I want to take a break before I dance with her again? It was getting pretty hot in there.”
“I bet it was,” she retorted jealously. “She was all over you and you liked it.”
He studied her, his expression quizzical. “Which man in his right mind wouldn’t welcome the attentions of such a beautiful and desirable woman?” he inquired, raising his eyebrows and was rewarded with a nasty look.
“Yes, I noticed how you couldn’t take your eyes off her. It was as if rest of us didn’t exist.” She was almost beside herself now with jealousy. She wanted to slap that smirk off his face and then…kiss him.
“That’s not true,” he countered, moving closer to her. It’s you I couldn’t take my eyes off, he thought, aching to take her in his arms and show her how much he wanted her. It drove him mad watching her dance with other men, especially Jose and in frustration, he danced and flirted with Gina. He knew it was a childish thing to do but he was blinded by jealousy.
“I know what I saw,” she declared. That’s why I left and came out here. I couldn’t bear to watch you with her anymore.
He saw that she was very upset and decided that it would best to drop the subject. He held out his hand. “Let’s not fight any more,” he suggested. “Let’s just enjoy the rest of the night.”
She knew he was extending an olive branch but she stubbornly refused to take it, folding her arms instead, still stewing over his remark about Gina. He thinks she’s beautiful and desirable. “Why don’t you go back to your precious Gina and enjoy the rest of the night with her?”
He withdrew his hand. “It’s not so much fun when the shoe’s on the other foot, is it?” he asked.
She raised her chin. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You know very well that the only reason you were dancing with Jose was to make me jealous.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she retorted. “Why would I want to make you jealous?”
“For the same reason I wanted to make you jealous of Gina.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she insisted and was about to walk past him when he caught her arm and pulled her roughly against him, making her gasp.
“You owe me this dance,” he muttered tightly. When she would have pulled away, his grip tightened. He held her gaze as they began to move to the music, his eyes darkening with desire and his breathing becoming unsteady. Being this close to her and holding her in his arms was his undoing. His gaze dropped to her lips which parted. Unable to resist, he bent his head and kissed her. When he felt her respond, it drove him wild and he ravaged her lips. Melody clung to him, her head tilted far as she returned his kisses.
They stopped dancing and just stood there, clinging to each other and exchanging hot kisses, expressing feelings they had harbored for such a long time. Then, an image of Gina and him dancing flashed in her mind and groaning, she pushed him away. She stepped back, trying to catch her breath. “I—I think we’d better go back inside.”
He stared at her, nonplussed. “Why did you pull away?” he asked and was about to reach for her when she pushed his hands away. “Melody…”
“I can’t get what you said about Gina out of my mind,” she told him. “You as much as admitted that you are attracted to her.”
“I did? When?”
“A little while ago you said that no man in his right mind could resist a beautiful and desirable woman like her.”
Fernando sighed. “I said that because I wanted to make you jealous the way you made me jealous when you were dancing with other men.”
She gaped at him. “You were jealous?”
“Yes,” he muttered thickly and this time when he reached for her, she didn’t resist. “I get jealous whenever I see you with another man, especially Jose.”
“Jose? He and I are just friends.”
“He wants to be more, Melody. I can tell just from the way he looks at you and I can’t say that I blame him.”
“He knows how I feel about you.”
He swallowed, a muscle throbbing along his jawline. “And how do you feel about me?” he asked, cupping her face and looking deep into her eyes, his darkening when he saw the longing in hers.
She released her breath shakily, her heart pounding wildly against her ribs. “I love you, Fernando,” she confessed huskily.
“I love you too,” he moaned. “Every time I look at you my heart stops.”
“And my heart beats only for you,” she murmured, closing her eyes when she felt his lips on hers. In the background the music played and she thought of the quote, If you dance with your heart, your body will follow.
Two years later on their wedding night, they danced in that very same spot.