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Lovely In Her Bones

Sighing, Dom took another sip of his beer. He caught glimpses of Elijah now and again, dancing in his particular jumping, flailing way. Elijah was having a good time. Everybody was having a good time.

I should be too, Dom thought–he loved dancing, he loved being a DJ, he loved the energy and excitement of a Saturday night.

But tonight he’d really rather be home, on the couch with his head in Dana’s lap, reading or watching TV or talking about nothing. Dana liked to stroke his face, scratch her fingernails in his beard or in his hair, trace his nose. “Don’t ever change this,” she’d said once. “Don’t ever get this *done.*”

“Your nose is perfect–I’m jealous,” he’d answered and then kissed her for a while.

He’d like to be kissing her now.

In a room as full of movement as this one it was easier to be noticed if one were standing still, and there was a girl by the DJ booth doing just that. Her eyes were on Dom and she wasn’t doing more than moving her shoulders to dance. He smiled a little but shook his head, and she pouted prettily but didn’t move away.

Dom looked out at the crowd, wondering if Elijah would remember their old “rescue me” signal–but he was grinding away between two girls and not looking Dom’s direction at all.

The girl climbed up the steps to the DJ booth and leaned against the half-door. “I want to dance with you!” she half-shouted.

“I’m the DJ! I’m working!”

“Put on a long song, then!”

He shook his head again. “I’ve got a girlfriend!”

“Is she here?”

“No, but–“

“It’s just a dance,” she said, but her finger along his hand said it wasn’t just anything, if he wanted.

He glanced at the console: this particular mix had another ten minutes to go. Oh, why the hell not, he thought, and said, “Just one dance,” as he opened the door to the booth.

The girl led him out into the press of bodies and started dancing, raising her arms above her head, keeping her eyes fixed on his. Dom felt awkward for a moment or two–he hadn’t gone dancing since the last time Billy visited–but then Elijah bumped him with his hip, grinning at him, and the girl was smiling too and it felt really good to be moving.

He tried stepping back every time the girl got too close but there wasn’t much room on the dance floor to move away. She was very pretty, really, dark-haired and olive-skinned, tall enough to look directly into his eyes, to stand practically nose-to-nose. It reminded him of how tiny Dana was: in her bare feet she was a full head shorter than he, just the right size to tuck under his chin.

He wished she were here–wished it so much that when Elijah poked him and gestured towards the stairs to the dance floor, Dom thought the woman he was pointing out looked eerily like Dana. And the man beside her looked an awful lot like Orlando.

And neither of them looked very happy.

And adding insult to injury, the music ended and he was nowhere near the booth.

“Dom,” Elijah said in an urgent tone, and Dom pushed through the now-milling, murmuring crowd to the booth.

“Sorry, sorry,” he muttered and started the next mix as quickly as he could. Across the room Ramon, one of the bartenders, was shaking his head at him; and on the floor, Elijah was holding Dana’s arm and talking in a rapid, animated way. Orlando was already surrounded, smiling uncomfortably at whatever he was being asked.

This, Dom thought, is not good.

With the music playing and the lights flashing the club returned to its normal state. Dom tried to pretend he wasn’t watching every inch of their progress as Elijah brought Dana to the DJ booth. He opened the half-door for her and said, loud enough for Dom to hear, “You should be okay in here.”

“Thanks,” Dana murmured, and shifted in her high heels as Elijah went back down the stairs.

They looked at each other a moment, and Dom said quietly, “Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Oh–here.” He moved a tray of empty glasses from the nearest chair and Dana carefully sat down.  She crossed her legs and folded her hands on one knee, her shoulders rigid. “I like the outfit,” Dom added. “You look great.”

“Thank you. It’s all yours but the shoes.”

“I thought those trousers looked familiar.” His tuxedo trousers had never gotten better use, he decided.

Dana ran her fingers along the crease, then said, standing again, “I shouldn’t have come. I’ll ask Orlando to take me home.”

“Dana! Of course you should. I want you here.” He put his hands on her waist, but even standing close like this Dana didn’t look into his eyes. “Dana,” he said again. “Please stay. I want you to.”

Dana removed his hand from her waist and said, playing with his rings, “I think you’ll have more fun if I’m not here. Don’t worry about me, okay?”

“Stay. Keep me company. Let’s get you a drink and you can look disapproving at all the copyright laws I’ve broken tonight.”

“Dominic,” she said quietly, looking into his eyes at last, “I don’t want to be here.”

The music seemed to fade away as Dom’s pulse pounded in his ears. “Why?”

“I just want to get back to your place and–and get out of these shoes.”

“Take the shoes off, then–nobody cares about the fucking shoes.”

She took a deep breath. “This is your world. I was right–there’s no place here for me. This isn’t me. This is you. You’re comfortable and happy here and I’m not. I’ve had fun this weekend but it’s time to stop kidding ourselves. You and I, we just don’t fit.”

Dom gripped her fingers. “That’s bullshit. One occurrence in four days when you’re not comfortable and you say this is it? Bullshit.”

“Not just one occurrence–it’s become very clear to me all weekend that–“

“How? What’s happened? Aside from us talking and playing and hanging out with my friends? Who you like, you said you did, so it’s not them. Is it me? Did I say something in the last ten minutes to make you think this is the end?”

“You were dancing with that girl.”

“She asked me! It was just dancing!”

“And you were looking at that baby at the beach today–“

“It was a cute kid,” he protested. “What’s that got to do with us?”

“Dominic,” she said, sounding as if she were barely holding onto her self-control, “that girl is who you should be dating. Girls like her. A girl who can give you children and support your career and live this life with you and be happy doing it. And it’s just not me. I can’t do this. I can’t make you a father and I can’t be a Hollywood wife.”

“Can’t or won’t?” Dom said. His voice sounded harsh even to him.

Dana’s mouth tightened for a moment, and she said, “I want to go home. I shouldn’t have come. I knew this was a bad idea. I’ll ask Orlando to take me home.” She turned away from him, her hand pressed against her injured side, and climbed slowly down the steps to the dance floor. Orlando and Elijah were close, dancing in the same large group, but they both stopped when she approached them. She spoke to Orlando and he nodded, and Elijah looked from her to Dom and back to Dana, his expression concerned. He stopped her, his hand on her shoulder, but whatever he said didn’t convince her: she shook her head, frowning, and Orlando kept a protective arm around her shoulders as they made their way out.

Elijah bounded up the steps. “You two had a fight?”

“Fuck off, Lij.” He turned to the console, wishing he’d brought some records to scratch just to have something to do with his hands.

“So you’re just going to stay here.”

“Yeah, I’m just going to stay here. I’ve already embarrassed myself once tonight.”

“And you’re letting your girlfriend leave crying.”

He looked up at Elijah, the anger at Dana already beginning to fade. “She wasn’t crying.”

“She was. And she’s not like us, Dommie. She’s not–” He gestured to his face. “All her emotions aren’t right out there. I noticed that right off. If you let her leave like this you’ll never get her back.”

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