It's not necessarily dark as it is slightly dim, really, but she knows dark has a different connotation than dim. More... sensual. Or rather, smooth. Rich, something that can be sliced into chunks and popped in the mouth and left to melt on the tongue.
She does not look at her partner, could not even if she wants to, for it is dark.
She feels his hands, yes, one grasping hers, one on her upper back. They could be the only part of him existing for all she knows because she cannot see the rest. Except for the scuffs and clicks of shoes in the room, she could believe that she and the hands were the only things moving to the sound of strings swirling in the darkness.
But he is there, this partner of hers. Without looking she knows he is executing a turn, pulling her closer, allowing her to extend a leg back and lunge gently into darkness, careful not to advance too quickly or too forcefully, for she does not want to hurt her partner.
For the time being, their hearts beat together, their feet brush and step and move in unison, and there exists a sort of bond between them, even though they are barely touching.
This partner is experienced. That she can tell, for these are capable hands that are holding hers lightly, and she can feel his pulse through her fingers, strong but steady, no skipping, no speeding. He is leading her then, and he has done this before.
And she loves him.
That's a bonus.
A glance, a brush, their arms touch.
A sudden pull, and her partner pulls her gently against him before letting her go.
She turns into the void, the thick swirl of strings and the dragging of bows and scuffing of shoes and inhales and exhales and heartbeats, sweat and sighs and the feeling of hands clasped together as journeys are charted across the floor.
Void is a good word too. It speaks of emptiness and the infinite nature of space. But there are people in this emptiness. Is it a paradox?
Her partner lets go.
Almost immediately, she is caught by another.
She almost smiles at the perfection of this handoff, this farewell to one and greeting to another. Like a pilot switching frequencies to speak to a new centre, a farewell as Gander turns to Shanwick over the wide blue Atlantic, she has handed herself off to another.
They have planned this - nobody will need to know of the quiet movement that has separated the stars locked together and lost in time. Her first partner will whirl off into the void she has willingly turned into, will eventually reach the end of the universe that is the dance floor, straighten his tie, and disappear into the mix of music of both kinds - that which echoes in the form of waves and that which is created by the tap of heels and scrapes of feet.
She is not worried about him. She knows he is capable.
This partner is less experienced than her first, she knows from the new frantic pulse beating through her fingers, the sweat beginning to transfer to her palms, but he is managing himself beautifully.
And she loves him, too. In a different way than the first, but love nevertheless.
That's always a bonus.
The murmur of a turned page, a bow moved, rosin catching on the perfectly-tuned string and letting off a spray of white powder that coats the instrument, the bend of a scroll as it bobs up and down.
All this is part of the darkness, her darkness and her new partner’s and the partner of before. Part of the void, the dim, the chunks that melt in the mouth and dissipate into a shadow of what splendor it once was.
She is leading now, has taken the place of the capable one, is leading her partner on a journey around the dance-floor universe where they live.
They make a home together here, the leader and the led, over and over again in the people that flit over this floor, but she is different in that in the course of this dance, she has been both led and leader.
They turn, they move with each other, as they step past each other she can just feel her hip brush his and once she lets him turn into her and if she wants to she can let her lips ghost over his exposed neck (he does have a rather long neck) but...
But they barely touch and she is leading him, but to where? For this is the void and the only universe they know is square, perfect, infinite in the waxy melodies coaxed out of the instruments not far away from them.
They twirl and advance, the two of them, locked in orbit, losing themselves in time and finding each other again.
Not looking, not wanting, for she knows these hands like she knows her own mind, and there is an element of trust in this masquerade where the only thing cloaking the face is the darkness, the void, weighty and heavy and laced with perfume.
They lose themselves and each other in the void, in the darkness.
But then the music stops, and everything comes back to the earth, and they look at each other for the first time, breathing heavily.
Her partner smiles nervously at her.
She smiles back.
A coat sailed through the night air.
Theresa caught it. “Thanks,” she said gratefully as she shrugged it on. She had been starting to get cold out here in the navy dress she was wearing. Douglas and Martin had agreed, as her partners, that she looked stunning in it, but in all honesty, it was not providing her a great amount of heat in the slight chill of the night.
“You're welcome,” Douglas smiled back at her, putting on his jacket and handing Martin his own.
Martin nodded in gratitude and put his jacket on, curls bouncing as he shook his head out, as if shedding the darkness that still clung to his hair.
“Ready?” Theresa asked Martin once he'd finished, stretching out her hand to him.
“Yes,” he replied, taking her hand and moving towards her.
Their hips brushed slightly as Theresa half-turned to grin at Douglas, who was looking at both of them with a look of deep affection.
“Let's go,” Douglas invited, moving forward and squeezing her shoulder, and then Martin’s, before they began walking and let themselves melt into the void.
It was dark.