Lily felt deep red heat rising, streaking her cheeks as they danced. Sarge’s hand holding her’s as he led her in the small floor space wasn’t any different from all the other times they’d danced, yet it felt like the most intimate touch ever in the midst of so many people. She’d intended to send a message to the b-brigade and the other women, but she hadn’t given any thought about how anyone else might react to her actions. Sarge had grinned happily, exactly as she’d counted on him doing, when she’d asked if he felt like dancing even though no one else was. Little George had given her a quick thumbs up when she’d handed him her plate of food with encouragement to eat the remaining contents.. As she’d reached to take Sarge’s willing hand, Anton had caught her eye and nodded approvingly as had Percy Two and the other men in the group. It was clear they wanted her to finally show Sarge some preferential treatment in the midst of a very successful public gathering. There were no razing or off-color comments, just quiet approving encouragement as they moved away to make their way to the area next to the musicians.
But now whenever she caught someone’s expression as they made the most of the little floor there was for their dancing, she realized they’d attracted the attention of a lot more people than just the women she’d wanted to dissuade from even thinking of making any moves in Sarge’s direction. At the same time she was enjoying having his hand in hers and his other lightly resting on her waist as they moved. She could tell that even in this crowd of neighborhood people Sarge felt comfortable dancing and safe touching her and that felt good.
The song ended and they stood patiently waiting without talking for another to begin while the group decided what to play next. In keeping with their own agenda to mellow out the atmosphere, the musicians put another easy-going tune into motion and Sarge responding accordingly by gathering Lily in closer for moving with the soft textured music. His hands didn’t roam, he uttered no sweet nothings into her ear, he didn’t press suggestively against her as their feet kept moving, there was plenty of polite space between them and yet Lily as if felt he was making love to her as they danced. Fixing her attention on a small section of his borrowed too large flannel shirt where green and blue lines of the pattern intersected, she noted that her vibes were happily humming with the song and let herself simply fall into sync with him via the dance. For the length of the song they moved in a sphere of their own making oblivious to everything except the music and each other.
When the music stopped Lily glanced at the quiet, intent expression on Sarge’s flushed face then she lowered her head enough to let her hair fall forward in an effort to hide her own blush. The guitar players murmured to each other, then decided to take a break in order to enjoy the bottles of beer someone had brought them. She sensed an unfamiliar tension in the room as Sarge began leading her through the crowd towards the open space in the house’s main hall. Her hand firmly holding his, she followed closely in his wake. As they moved through the densely packed mass of humanity towards the comparatively empty and much cooler hall, Sarge’s grip on her hand tightened and tensed.
Lily’s eyes focused on the heels of Sarge’s boots as he’d set their course. In her quest for a little personal privacy while she inwardly basked in the afterglow of dancing, she kept her head down while walking close enough to his backside that if he made one step backward he’d be standing on her toes. Preoccupied with her own deep internal workings, feeling secure in the close proximity of his large form and linked by their hands, she let him lead her along through the people continuing to enter the large main room. Hence, she missed the initial bold face to face approaches by several women making aggressive efforts to get Sarge’s attention and directly draw him away from Lily. Her first clue that her effort to make a public social statement had gone awry came in the form of a young man she was barely acquainted with attempting to wedge himself between her and Sarge. Realizing that his action had nothing to do with the crowded room when he slipped an arm around her waist in an effort to pull her in the opposite direction, Lily pushed him away with a single hard hand upward shove to his chin. The entertained and intrigued tone of his laughter and that of his friends as he retreated effectively alerted her to the highly charged, unpredictable nature of the room’s current atmosphere.
From the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Joan Osborne preforms Heatwave