On Saturday night, fate must have been at work, because I got my chance. David had taken a late flight from New York that evening. The reason for the trip, a meeting with the SEC, wasn’t until Monday, but he’d flown in early for a football match. Sometimes we played five-a-side on Sunday afternoons. The matches were great fun—as long as David didn’t have a hangover and play like shit or get in a fight because he’d hit on someone’s girlfriend. The prospects of a Sunday morning hangover for David were high that night when he demanded that we go out for tapas. His favorite tapas place was a restaurant in Adams Morgan that had plenty of black-haired beauties who went there for the dancing. Neither one of us could dance a salsa to save our lives, but we made the most of the bar. When we walked in, the place was crowded, and the music loud. I ignored the dance floor at the back and instead scoped out the bar to see if we could find a seat. I was about to nudge David over to an open spot when I heard him say, “Well, it’s been a long time, but I’d say that’s your bird.” “What?” “Over there. Dancing. With that short-arse.” As soon as I focused on the dance floor, I saw Nicki. There she was, in a slinky green dress, dancing with Juan Carlos fucking Jimenez. They were laughing as he spun her back and forth in his arms. Her dress clung to her body, showing it off nicely. When they switched to moving their hips together, Juan Carlos looked straight down at her pelvis with a leer. There was no doubt about it. The man was thinking about having sex with her, and I wanted to kill him. “Those are some nice moves she has. I like the hip action.” David chuckled. “Looks like her partner is thinking the same thing as me. Got some competition there, Adam.” “Fuck you.” Motioning to the dance floor, David retorted, “No. Fuck her. Before he does.” “He already has,” I said, feeling the heat rise on the back of my neck. “That’s her boyfriend, Juan Carlos.” I hated saying the words. Watching Nicki act so happy and carefree with him made it even worse. “Juan Carlos. Huh.” Never afraid to size up the competition, David gave an appraisal. “He’s a handsome son of a bitch. Still short, though.” “So is she.” “But you said that Nicki’s keeping everything about you two quiet, right?” “Yes, for the most part. But she told him.” “Doubtful she shared everything. And a bloke like that wouldn’t feel threatened by a childhood boyfriend. That’s good. Work it to your advantage. You’ve gotta get in there, mate. Dance with her.” “Salsa? Are you kidding me?” “Wait for something slow.” David shook his head disapprovingly. “It’s a miracle you ever had a shag without me.” Then he snickered. “Though it’s been a while…”
That deserved a slug in the arm, but the music changed to something softer, and David patted my back. “Sorry, Cuz. Forget about what I said. It’s time to make your move.”
At once, I looked over to Nicki. Overheated from the dancing, she fanned herself and wiped her brow with the back of her hand. Juan Carlos had his goddamn hand on the small of her back. It appeared that he was asking to dance again, but she shook her head no.
“Now’s your chance.” David nudged me forward. “Don’t worry. I’ll cover you.”