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At the Corner of Solitude and Hope

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* * * Solas * * *

We met in Havana.

I’m the personal body guard for the Owner and CEO of Mythal Enterprises, a multinational corporation that dabbles in almost everything. Mythal was meeting with potential business partners in Havana. Abelas and I were given the night off, leaving security detail with the other sentinels on duty. The pair of us went down to one of the Cuban discos for drinks, I was hoping for some playful dancing with one of the locals. Abelas just scowled at everyone. For a wingman, he was ineffective.

That’s when I saw her.

Fiery red hair framing her elven face, mischievous blue eyes, sinful red lips, and a black dress that hugged her hips and flared out at the high end of her thighs. She was the most graceful thing on the dance floor. I was smitten before I learned her name. The redhead paired off with several locals, not dedicated to any one partner before moving to the next. When I finally was able to salsa with her, she was all hips, grace, and high energy.

When I bought us drinks and stepped out on the patio with her, I learned she was a dance instructor and studio owner in New York City, but her accent was all Georgia peach. I swear she stepped out of a Technicolor film, everything about her was just… brighter. You could imagine my disappointment when she informed me she was leaving the next day for Rio de Janeiro.

Later that evening, I asked her to walk with me along the sea wall, el malecon, to catch the sunrise before she returned to her hotel room to pack. The air was salty and we became damp from the sea spray hitting the wall.

“When are you returning to New York City? Maybe I can attend one of your classes,” I slipped my hand in hers. Her long fingers were cool to the touch, but warmed quickly in mine.

Laughing softly, Serafina shook her head, “I’m spending the winter in South America.”

“Several months from now?” I tried not to sound disappointed, “Are you going for the samba?” I drew her around to face me, twirling her around and traveling with her.

Hips moving with the silent music, Serafina laughed, “Yes, among other things. Where did you learn to dance anyway?”

“Here and there.”

By the time the sun rose in the east, my black jacket was draped across her shoulders, her back was against my chest to keep warm, and my arms around her waist. Letting her leave was the start of a bad day.



* * * Serafina * * *

I’d been in Rio de Janeiro, touring dance studios, working with other dance instructors, and teaching dance to young people. I knew the samba, but enjoyed learning a few things in the country of origin. I’d been in the country for two weeks when I received a message at the hotel desk.

“Ms Lavellan, you have a message from a Mr. Solas,” the clerk said, handing me a slip of paper.

I’m in town on business. Found a great samba dance club nearby. Interested? ~ Solas (local number)

I thanked the clerk and returned to my room. On one hand, he was a great dancer. I tapped the message against my lips considering. That somber expression off the dance floor turned into a playful smirk the moment the music started. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get lost in those eyes of his, steel grey and violet. On the other hand, I never told him where I was staying in Brazil.

A quick Google search on my laptop didn’t turn up much. A few pictures of him and another tall elf standing sentry near the statuesque and impeccable Mythal of Mythal Enterprises, the articles attached were to the business mogul and nothing about the sentinels that protected her.

Dialing my best friend still in New York City, I needed someone else’s opinion, “Dorian?”

“When are you coming back? It’s dreadfully boring here.”

“I met someone.”

“Has a Latin lover swept our Serafina off her feet?”

Laughing, I said, “Not exactly.” Then explained how I met Solas in Havana, the dancing, the sunrise with the orange-r than orange sky that morning, and how he was now in Rio asking me to go out dancing.

“Wait, back up. The colors were brighter? More vibrant?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Call him. Tell me all about it later.” Dorian hung up, more cryptic than usual.

I dialed the number on the message.

“Hello.”

“Solas? This is Serafina. We met in Havana.”

“You called,” his voice going from a business flat tone to surprise, “I don’t know what I was expecting. I mean, I hoped you would call back. But I was afraid I might appear too, uhm, forward? Stalkerish?”

“The thought crossed my mind. How did you find me?”

“Mythal did, actually.”

“She was tired of him moping around,” a voice in the background said, loud enough for me to hear.

“I was not moping.” Solas hissed to the man in the background. “Sorry, that’s Abelas. Don’t mind him, he’s an asshole.”

Giggling, I agreed to meet him later for dancing. He told me to expect a limo in front of my hotel at the designated time.

Standing beside the limo, Solas was dressed in a black suit and black skinny tie. Once I was inside, he introduced me to the driver, Abelas, and though I remembered seeing him in Havana, I never caught his name. A tall elf in black, his long, white hair braided down his back.

“Oh no. This is too much,” I told him, once he closed the door behind him. The limo smoothly pulled out of the entrance pick up area and out into traffic. Immediately I helped him out of his coat jacket, when I noticed the gun and holster strapped to his chest and shoulders. Growing up in Georgia, my papae made sure I knew about guns: cleaning, safety, storage; and took me hunting with him each fall for the deer that would feed our family the rest of the winter.

“You wont need that either,” my chin dipping to the holster as I deftly removed the tie. He merely grinned wolfishly at me as I undressed him, starting with the top button of his black shirt and ending more than half way down his chest to expose his chest. “There you go.” His eyes seemed brighter now, more blue than grey. Everything about him seemed brighter, like walking out of a Technicolor movie. Dorian seemed to know something about this, I’d have to wrangle it out of him later.

Once he slipped out of the holster, he handed the gun and holder through the window separating the driver and the passengers, to Abelas in the driver’s seat.

The next two weeks we were inseparable and time flew, each night finding a new disco or night club to try out, or returning to a favorite.

Once he learned I would be in Buenos Aires for four weeks, Mythal made it clear he was granted to accompany me. For my protection, she said. But the sly smile said something else. It was unexpected, but by that point, his presence was welcome, proving to be one of the better dance partners I’ve ever had.


* * * Solas * * *

Anyone who had met the love of their life, their soulmate, had said their world was black and white and shades of grey before they met their love, then the world became drenched in color. Since I’ve always seen in color, I thought it absurd.

Two months previous, the salsa brought us together, fun, flirty, and graceful, in that one night, everything seemed brighter, more colorful, more lively. For two weeks in Brazil, samba brought out the sexy and sensual, and while I wanted to take that energy off the dance floor, each early morning, she kissed my cheek at the hotel entrance, and left me standing there as she continued to the elevators to reach her floor. And though she left me after a night of dancing, my world seemed brighter for having her in it.

Standing on the rooftop patio of the milonga, she and I were cheek to cheek, listening to the music play from within while dancing outside. Now, more than ever, I didn’t want to let her go.

“You return to New York tomorrow,” I said, more of a statement than a question. Right foot forward, left foot forward, I walked her backwards as our feet slid across the ground.

“I do.” Promenade, tap, she swiveled.

“Mythal Enterprises has an office there.” I drew her back into my arms, her leg slid across mine. Droplets began to hit the ground, atop of my head, on her cheek. We continued to dance.

“When you return to New York City, I know several clubs.” Pivot, twist, I twirled her away from me, I followed with long sliding strides. Many of the other dancers were returning to the indoor dance floor out of the rain. The music continue to play.

“Is that an open invitation?” I asked, my hand slid into hers and twirled her to me, dipping her briefly when she was back in my arms.

“You have my email,” she said, sweeping her foot from side to side, my foot against hers.

Cheek to cheek, her arm around my neck, our sliding steps took us across the patio, “You have a rare and marvelous spirit,” I whispered, “I… I want to be happy with you. Now and in the future…”