The club was hot, smoky. Bass reverberated off of everyone’s sternum. The lineup for the ladies’ was around the corner and the gents just sprinted upstairs to piss in the alley.
She sat at a sticky table. She wore a red satin dress. She wanted to leave.
Then you sat down across from her. You took her hand in yours. You leaned across the table, not caring that you’d rested your elbows in spilled drinks and cigarette ashes. You hollered, “let me help.”
She shook her head and tried to pull her hand away, but you grabbed her wrist and tugged her off-balance toward you.
“Trust me,” you shouted.
Like that would be the most natural thing to do, like grabbing someone’s hand uninvited wasn’t bad enough. She didn’t trust you. She wouldn’t trust you. She shouldn’t trust you. You knew that. You knew what you thought of when you thought of her. You knew it wasn’t innocent.
You pressed your mouth against her ear. “There are pressure points in your palm and fingers,” you said, loud enough that she could hear you over the music. “If you rub them just right, you’ll feel better.” You stood, still holding her wrist, stepped around the table to stand beside her and tucked her arm up under yours, holding it close against your ribcage.
She shook her head again and raised her other hand to push you away, but she was still off-balance. You began to massage the palm of her hand. You pressed your thumb up across her life line along her fate. You held her hand, palm up, between both of your own. Mount of Venus, Mount of Mars, Jupiter – you pushed the tension up through the phalanges and out the tip of her index finger. You felt her relax. Just a little.
For the next half hour, she was yours. First her left hand then her right. When you placed her right hand palm-down on her lap, she looked up at you and smiled.