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Of Sequins and Scalpels

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"Straighten your back, Nikola," Helen ordered, pressing her hands against his abdomen and lower back. Then, with a gentle caress, pushed his head up. "You're a natural at looking haughty, so do it now." Walking around him, she pressed down on his shoulders. "Bend your knees," she told him, placing his arms into the correct position. "Hold yourself like that."

"For how long?"

She shrugged. "By the end of the week, at least a minute and a half. For now, thirty seconds."


"Concentrate on your frame, Nikola, not on what you want to say." She smirked. "The time for your acerbic wit will be later."

"But I'm so naturally witty," he argued. She could see him struggling, but he still had time to go.

"Don't drop your left elbow," she warned, walking around him again.

"Or what?"

She looked into his eyes, quirked her eyebrow, and said, "Or we do it over again." He growled her name, but she just smiled and walked into his arms, her frame matching his. "Five, four, three, two--"

One never came, muffled as it was by his lips on hers. Holding her tightly, he walked her backwards into the mirror, pinning her against the glass. When he asked for tango lessons, this was not what she'd had in mind. She expected passion, but measured and controlled, like every other aspect of his life. This was fire and electricity blazing through his skin to hers. His fingertips burnt wherever he touched. All she wanted was to catch alight.

Tugging at his hair, offering her neck, a delighted squeak melted into a deep moan. His sharp fangs teased a sensitive spot and her knees forgot how to work.

With a start, Helen awoke. Wide eyed, her gaze darted around the room, taking note of all the shapes in the dark.

Her room. She was in her room.


"Just a dream." Rubbing her eyes and sighing, she collapsed back into bed. She would have fallen back asleep but her alarm was a vocal opponent to rest. A quick glance told her it was half past three in the morning. "Bloody interview." She had to be out the door by five, to be in make up by quarter to six, for a ten minute talk about flu jabs at half past eight. "Should've stayed on Harley Street, Helen," she complained to herself. Giving up on any more rest, she pushed herself up and out of bed.

A shower would work wonders.


"You and Nikola looked all cozy last week," the breakfast show host wheedled, after finishing the main part of the segment but filling time. "Is there any truth to those rumours?"

Helen laughed. "You honestly think there's time for anything like that? Between practicing and being a parent, there isn't time for anything else."

"But you look to be having the time of your life," the other presenter added, maybe trying to smooth her ruffled feathers.

Nodding, Helen was about to answer when the first presenter chimed in with, "Notice there was no denial."

"Really, that's the most preposterous notion," Helen argued, smiling. "We're just friends."

It could have gone on longer had the second presenter not interrupted with, "The time is now 8:45am…"


"Hello, friend," Nikola greeted her as she entered the dance hall. His tone was neutral but the wicked smile hiding in the commissures of his lips wrested a nose wrinkle smile from her.

"Good morning. I see you watched a segment about the flu jab today."

"One has to keep on top of the latest developments in regards to vaccinations and the like." He winked. "Come, friend, you must put on your shoes so we may dance the friendliest of friendly dances… As friends."

Shaking her head but smiling indulgently, she just said, "Prat," then carried on getting herself prepared to dance with her friend and more.