A Dance By Any Other Name

A Rose By Any Other Name

This modest flower shop isn't very large, but houses a wide variety of flowers and gardening accessories. The pink tiled floor and the terra cotta colored walls make this shop seem even cheerier than it already is. The shop is predictably lined wall to wall with flowers. There's not much leg room between aisles of fresh flowers, herbs, and gardening accessories. A rack near the wall next to the cash register displays a variety of vases and pots, some of them plain and cheap, others extravagant and pricy. There's also a small revolving rack with greeting cards near the cash register. A back room undoubtedly leads to where more flowers and supplies are stored. The large picture window in the front of the shop creates both a nice display area and lets the sunlight stream through into the shop, provided it's a sunny day. A neon sign is affixed to the front door, blinking 'OPEN' in green from eight AM to five PM on weekdays, ten AM to four PM on weekends. The shop's name is artfully painted onto the glass of one of the picture windows in neat red cursive.

If there's one thing Hugo knows, it's how to show his appreciation for favors done. And if there's another thing Hugo knows, it's women. And if he knows anything about women, they like receiving flowers. So here he stands, studying the flowers in the cases, mulling silently to himself as to what sort of arrangment to pick, what flowers to used, his gaze flickering back and forth between a book of examples in his hands and the flowers on display. So many choices! And it's hard to know which to pick when you don't know the woman in question very well. I mean, what if she's allergic? Or what is her favorite color? Hmmmmmm-mmmmm.

Getting back into a regular routine after a long absence isn't easy, but it can be done. Life goes on, no matter what's happened, or what's confusing a person. It's time to order the flowers for the next exhibit at the museum, and since Desiree serves on the decorating committee, it's up to her to get things settled with the florist. Fortunately, she knows what she wants to compliment the elegance of the museum, and the dignity of the up-coming exhibition. She enters the shop with a sure, confidence which is easily noted, her steps measured and smooth. She has grace and aplomb, and isn't bad on the eyes, either. A glance around shows her the florist is busy at the counter with another customer, so Desiree decides to browse. She examines the displays, taking note of the man also studying the flowers. She smiles, obviously recognizing his dilemma. "Wife or girlfriend?" she asks, a smile in her voice. "Red roses for the former, yellow for the latter always worked for my brother."
Chuckling, Hugo's head rises as he glances over to Desiree, flashing her a brilliant smile as he counters, "Neither. The lady in question did me a very great favor at what seemed to be considerable inconvenience to herself. I merely wish to express my gratitude for her assistance." He strolls back and forth curiously, noticing that Desiree seems to be ready, no doubt upon her features or figure and as such he waves a hand at the counter person, noting, "Oh, feel free to help the lady here. Could take me awhile to make a choice at this rate." Turning toward Desiree, stdying her instead of the flowers, he asks, "And you? What are you here for? A wedding perhaps?"

Desiree listens, nodding. "Then I suggest an arrangement suitable for display in the living room. White or pink roses, depending upon the lady's age. Pink is usually for younger women." She laughs, the sound almost musical. "My mother was one of those socialites who always knew which flowers to use or send. She spent hours imparting the knowledge on her youngest." The grin would indicate that's her. "Oh, no, take your time," she says to the counter girl, who seems to recognize Desiree. "I'm only here to drop off the final tally of table arrangements and accent pieces for the museum," she explains. "Seems I'm always on the decorating committee." Another laugh follows. "Not quite a wedding, no. And certainly not for me. Weddings and I don't get along. Been there, done that, got the divorce papers to prove it." A cheeky grin, hers.

Shaking his head, Hugo notes, "Definitely not pink. She isn't the least bit 'girlie'. Pointing out the elegant midsized irises. "I was thinking an arrangement of some irises, with baby's breath and maybe something with tiny yellow flowers, to emphasize the yellow of the irises center. Maybe a selection of different colored irises as well … I'm not sure." His head tilts as he muses, "She doesn't seem a very frivolous sort of woman." He lays his book to one side and chuckles again. "I've never ventured into the bonds of matrimony. I'm just not /that/ kinky," he notes with a small wink.

"Just how kinky /are/ you, then?" The question is out before Desiree can stop herself, but she laughs, trying to make it more of a joke. "Seriously, the irises are a good idea. Perhaps something like this," and she picks up the booklet, flipping to a specific page. Seems she's done this before. Displayed in full color is an attractive arrangement of white, purple and soft golden irises, accented by baby's breath, dark green lace fern. The entire arrangement looks almost like a star burst: tall in the center, and spreading outward. Sedated, but beautiful. "You paint pictures with words, so artistic. Like you can see it in your head." She smiles. "Desiree DeVilliers," she says by way of introduction. "I own Studio 10, and serve on museum committees."

One brow lifts rakishly, his ocean-blue eyes sparkling with mischief as he counters smoothly, "Only one way to find out…" He tilts in, his arm pressing lightly against Desiree's own as he studies the selection and nods, "Mmmmm, yes, that's pretty much what I was thinking. Maybe a little smaller version thereof, but yes." He lifts his head without bothering to pull back, his face very close to her own. He smiles again, chuckling softly as he notes, "Oh, my sister would be furious to hear that. She's the writer of the family. I'm the artist. But I guess I can always say that she rubbed off on me, or something. Or perhaps I just know how to talk about beautiful things." His gaze flickers over her face as he speaks, landing briefly on Desiree's lips before lifting once more to her eyes. Only then does he step back slightly, enough to offer his hand and his name in return. "Hugo Bosch." His head tilts to one side quizzically, asking, "Studio 10?"

No woman alive can ignore a statement like that from a good-looking man. Desiree's breath catches slightly as he speaks, leaning in close to look at the picture. There's a warm tingling where their arms touch, however lightly, and Desiree feels a flush creep up from her bosom to her cheeks. "Yes, I suppose that's true," she murmurs softly, moistening her lips. Then she clears her throat. "Smaller, yes. That should do very well." She smiles, unable to keep her own flirtatious nature at bay. "Perhaps, or maybe you just have a way with … words." Her own eyes lower to his mouth, then lift to meet his gaze. "Well met, Mr. Bosch." Her hand is placed in his, fingers soft and smooth. There's an aura of exotic, unique perfume around her, and she smiles. "A dance studio. I teach dancing when I'm not off cheering for the Cowboys, or doing a commercial someplace. I just got back from New York, as a matter of fact." And then the counter girl is free, and Desiree gestures. "Go ahead, I just need a moment to hand her a list for the opening tomorrow night."

"Hugo," he corrects aimiably. "Mr. Bosch is so… formal. I am a very informal sort of person." His lips part ona small 'oh' of comprehension as he notes, "Ahh, I was wonderfing. I didn't /think/ it was one of the local art studios, and for once I'm right. A dancer, a cheerleader, and actress, and a consultant for museums. You are a very busy bee, Ms. DeVilliers. When do you ever find the time to have some fun?" But his eyes light up a moment later as he echoes, "From New York? Were you there for business, pleasure, or a little of each?" He asks with a hint of seduction and more than a hint of genuine interest and curiosity. But as she ushers him ahead of her, he murmurs, "Ahhh," once more, his hands brushing hers as he takes the book from her grip, his touch lingering for a moment before he turns and points out what he wants, explaining the few changes that he desires, the counter girl making the appropriate notes and nodding.

"Desiree," she tells him in return. "I'm hardly a formal person, either. I find being informal helps put people at ease." The words slide from her almost like honeyed wine, her voice and manner as intoxicating as his own. There are kindred spirits in the world, and sometimes they recognize one another. When that happens, it's anyone's guess what will come of it. "Not a consultant. I rather inherited the board position from my parents. They were sponsors, and since I'm an art lover," she extends the word slightly, "I keep it up. And, I'm more of a dancer and model than a true actress, as witnessed by the rather dismal revival that just closed on Broadway. That's why I was in New York. I was cast in 'Annie Get Your Gun' which really deserved a better death. I, of course, was fantastic in my role. Everyone else sucked." Her lips twitch, and she quiets as he gives his order. When he finishes, she simply puts a packet of papers on the counter. "Someone will be at the door around 7 am to let you guys deliver the order. Just let Mr. Fuller know the total cost, and I'll deliver the check tomorrow afternoon before the opening." Turning to Hugo, she cants her head to the side. "That's my last errand, and the day's still young. I'm free and … available for lunch, if there's anyone who'd be interested in helping a busy woman … relax." Sultry, that voice. Full of promise. And there's an almost wicked glint in her eyes. A challenge, perhaps?

Glancing over his shoulder, Hugo gives Desiree a quick grin, turning about the rest of the way once his order is in the making, leaning the small of his back against the counter, strong, capable hands lightly gripping the edge. "An art lover? Well, I'll have to make sure you get an invitation to my opening night, if you're not on the list for one already. It's in a few months time. Should be quite an event, or so they tell me," he jokes with relaxed ease. An artist he is, but an egomaniac he is not. He chuckles softly at her confession and then denial, his shoulders shrugging as he confesses himself, "I do recall that dying a quick but painful death. Never did see it, but musicals aren't really my thing…" Promises, promises. Glancing behind him, Hugo nods and pushes away from the counter noting, "I can always come and pick up the flowers later. No rush, and lunch sounds lovely. I'm all for relaxing." Picking up his messenger bag, Hugo loops the strap over his chest and gestures for Desiree to precede him. "Since you are the local, I'll let you pick the place."

Waiting for him at the door, Desiree smiles as he decides to join her. "Have them delivered," she suggests about the flowers. "That way, she's surprised and will thank you when she next sees you." Once he's beside her, or at least exiting the shop with her, she will let him open the door into the Texas heat. "Whew… it's too hot today," she says, tugging on the neckline of her already dangerously low cut top. "I melt if I'm out in it longer than a few minutes." A glance up and down the sidewalk, and she's pointing. "How's sushi sound? It's after the noon rush, so it should be nice and quiet inside. And, most importantly, cool!" She grins, eyes sparkling with good humor. There's still that aura of promise lingering in her expression and in her body language, which is something Desiree has down to a fine art. She knows her body, knows how to use it to her greatest advantage, even if it is only walking down the street a couple of blocks.

"Yeah, but there's a good chance that I'll never bump into her again. I'd rather deliver them in person, give her my thanks in person. Besides, not exactly sure where to find her when. Makes delivery a little more tricky that way." Stepping out into the heat, Hugo's lips curl wryly as he counters, "Yep. But at least it's a dry heat." Summers in New York City have gotten him accustomed to the heat it seems, though he does tug slightly at the neck of his black t-shirt. His eyes flicker to the restaurant, a small chuckle escaping him as he replies, "Sushi sounds great." He walks besider her, his hand touching lightly at the small of her back to urge her forward, his stride relaxed and easy. Hugo might not be a dancer, but he clearly has a sense of his body and its strengths. He smiles down at Desiree asking, "So, what museum are you making arrangements for? Something special I'm guessing? Should I make an effort to attend?"

"The Meadows Museum's hosting a traveling display of Salvador Dali," Desiree answers his last question first, since that's fresh on her mind anyway. "It's only going to be here a week, but it's a marvelous exhibit. There're a few pieces of his jewelry designs, as well as original paintings. The Dali Museum in Sarasota, Florida is sponsoring the tour, and we were lucky enough to get it." She seems extremely excited by this, and there's a toss of her head, which sends her hair brushing over his hand. Desiree glances at Hugo when his hand touches her back, but doesn't protest. In fact, she seems rather comfortable walking beside him, even though they're virtual strangers. "I could've always taken you to the studio. It's not far from here. My apartment's upstairs, and I always have lots of food. It's a good thing I do dance, or I'd weigh a ton!" She laughs again. "But, I thought that might be just a touch … presumptuous … open to the wrong kind of … interpretation." Not that her expressions and teasing might've done the same thing, right?

"Oh, I /definitely/ need to see that," he replies, actually pausing for a moment on the sidewalk, his hand droppig away casually from Desiree's back at her look. Though naturally flirtatious and something of a womanizer, Hugo prides himself on not making anyone uncomfortable with his interest or advances. He shows no worry upon his countenance, just readjusts his approach based on her look. Smiling at Desiree, Hugo notes, "It is certainly a touch… provocative… and would certainly give a man some ideas. But no means no, and as long as the boundaries are made clear, there should be no problems or complaints either way, don't you agree?" Blue eyes meet green as Hugo just holds Desiree's gaze, his own direct and open, a smoldering hint of sensuality gleaming within the depths therein. "Perhaps … you could teach me some new moves? I run to keep in shape, but I do enjoy dancing. Always fun to learn something new and exciting though, don't you think?"

"Tickets are on sale now," Desiree says slyly, her lips curving into a smile. "I happen to know someone who has a few the museum holds back for special attendees, too." She chuckles as he stops. "Seriously, as an artist yourself, you really should see these. Some of them are being purchased by private parties, since the museum in Florida is suffering financially. If that happens, they may never be seen again." There's concern in her tone, and she seems troubled by it. It's the next few things he says which make her blink a couple of times, but then she gets on board. "Exactly. Setting boundaries is important. No means no, but there's a lot of fun to be had persuading the no into a yes." She smiles slowly and nods. "So, what would you like to learn? My rental's parked right back there," she says, jerking a thumb over her shoulder. "We can be there in 15 minutes, and it's a convertible." A wicked little smile at that. "Learning new things is imperative to growth, and I can promise to make it … exciting."

"Hence why I want to come. I can't believe I hadn't heard about this before now." But then Hugo's focus has been more on the smaller galleries, the up and coming artists, rather than the dead and established ones. Hugo doesn't like the idea of the Dali's being sold off either it would seem by the look on his face, but when she turns the conversation back he cocks his head to one side before stepping closer and catching one of her hands. "Why Ms. DeVilliers …. are you coming on to me?" He tilts his head the other way and, despite the heat of the day, steps a little closer, their bodies almost touching. "You haven't even bought me dinner yet. A man has his standards, after all. I'm neither cheap, nor easy …. no, wait, I'm easy, just not cheap. See? An honest man. You can't find many of those in this day and age. A bargain, at any price, no?" Hugo has no doubt that Desiree could show him a great deal. Dancers are so very… flexible, and in touch with the natural sensuousness of their bodies. No doubt Desiree could make things /very/ exciting, if she had a mind to do so. She certainly already has the body.

Studio 10 - Dance Studio

Two walls of Studio 10's foyer are dark red and decorated with stylized, black and white paintings of dancers. The other two walls are large, floor-to-ceiling windows: one set faces the street and bears the name and logo of the dance school, the other facing inward to the studio. Two comfortable, white leather sofas provide seating for guests and would be students, while potted ficus trees and spider plants in hanging baskets add a touch of soft green. The floor is carpeted in black, with dark red accent rugs. A coffee table in front of one couch is covered in dance magazines.

Through a glass door is the polished wood floor of the studio itself. Mirrors line two of the walls, so students can watch themselves dance. Walls not covered in mirrors are a pale blue, one with a mural of impressionist dancers in black and white. On those walls are also two wooden barres which run the length of the studio, with one barre set at the perfect height for younger students. The second is set higher, and used by older dancers. A state-of-the-art music system sits between the boys and girls locker room doors, with racks of CDs (classic Tchaikovsky to hip-hop and everything in between) attached to the wall above it. On the ceiling are lights which can be brightened or dimmed according to need. Two doors open off the studio: one is marked "Office." The other is designated "Private," and opens onto a set of stairs leading up to the second floor apartment.

Lunch is spent in pleasant coolness, the sushi delicious, the drinks enjoyable, the conversation stimulating. Desiree finds herself telling Hugo about other, future exhibitions she'd love to have at the museum, and even goes so far as to let him know there are a few "fuddy-duddies" on the committees who just can't see anything beyond the Old Masters. Afterwards, she again reiterates her offer to show him her studio, and maybe teach him some "new moves" like he wanted. So, it's into the rental convertible (a Mustang, one of the new ones that look like the older model fastbacks from the 60s), and she's driving them smoothly back to Deep Ellum, breezing through traffic with the skill of someone who knows how to drive and enjoys it. By the time they're inside the studio and she's turning on the lights, she's in a great mood. "This is it," she says, gesturing around. "Office, lobby and studio. I'd like to redecorate in here and the studio, but that has to wait until I win the Power Ball." A chuckle, and she's moving forward into the studio itself. "And here's where the magic happens."

Hugo is one of those very rare things to find in a man - a good listener. He laughs at her depictions of the more straightlaced of the board members, offers thoughts and opinions about her future exhibition ideas and once the meal is finished, he leaves his car behind to hop into hers. He strolls about the interior of her dance studio with a curious gaze. Although his parents insisted he learned how to dance at a very young age, Hugo has never been in a proper dance studio before. He follows Desiree into the 'magic' room and turns in a slow circle before asking, "Magic, hmmmmm? So what kind of dance do you teach? What's your speciality?"

The flip of a switch turns on lights and A/C, though the former flickers once, and the latter sounds like an asthmatic. She winces. "I've got to make some renovations," she apologizes. "Oh, I teach just about everything— ballet, tap, ballroom, jazz, folk. You name it, if it's movement, then I can teach it. I'm on a Salsa kick right now, since my adult ballroom class wants to learn that." She moves about, removing her hat, and putting her purse in the office. "Choose your poison while I make a quick change? I've got a private lesson at four-thirty. She's going to New York for an audition, and I'm helping her hone her routine." She gestures to the music station, then disappears through the door marked "Private." Ten minutes later, she's back, dressed in leotards, carrying appropriate shoes. Not a bad looking body under the close-fitting clothes.

A wry smile curls Hugo's lips as his head tilts to one side, listening to the rattle of the air conditioning and noting, "I'm sure once the music is playing it's not so bad. Besides, better loud air conditioning than having none at all, yes?" He lifts his wrist to check on the amount of time they have left, a soft chuckle that is purely self-directed rumbling in his chest as Desiree departs to get changed. "Slow and steady wins the race," he reminds himself playfully, holding his arms out to an invisible partner and taking a few steps abut the room in a classic waltz. His clothes are comfortable enough for dancing in. When she returns. Hugo smiles again and wanders over to the music station, suggesting, "How about you teach me the Salsa? Since it is both your favorite right now and not a dance I have learned before…"

"Sounds good," Desiree says, sitting down to put on a pair of heels with straps around the ankles. Well-toned legs are flattered by the shoes, and she moves smoothly to the music station. Choosing a CD, she presses play and turns to him. "There're several variations on the Salsa, but we'll start simple. You watch me, and then I'll show you how it's done." When the spicy, Latin music begins, Desiree smiles saucily and begins to move. Hips play a large part in the Salsa, and hers move as if they have a mind of their own. "Now, you won't be expected to do the exaggerated hip moves I do, but you need to be loose. We'll start easy, I promise." She can talk and dance at the same time. Care to throw in chew gum?

"Well, like I said, I have danced before… a little knowledge can help a lot," he notes, his hands clasping Desiree's in turn, without hesitation. He pulls her closer, even though she's doing more of the leading than he is at the moment, which causes him to laugh again. "Just don't try to dip me," he warns playfully. He's certainly not perfect, steps missed here and there, but he does catch on quickly and he does manage not to step on her toes. At the end he continues to hold her close, lingering in the moment before he shrugs and counters, "Perhaps it is you who is the natural … a natural teacher."

"I've been told that before, but I just … enjoy dancing." The next dance is slower, more moving of hips, but not as fast. More a mambo than salsa. Desiree again leads, but once she's fairly certain Hugo has the rhythm down, she allows him to take the lead, following his body with her own, the sensuality unmistakable. "You pick things up quickly," she says, smiling, her eyes smoky and dark green. She moves away, then back close to him, hips going from side to side, body brushing against his. "I've been told dancing is the vertical interpretation of something usually done … horizontally," she tells him when he's holding her close again. "That could very well be true in some instances." This one, perhaps? It's a flirtatious dance, with bodies moving close, hips swaying and legs occasionally intertwining.

"I don't often get the opportunity to dance like this," Hugo murmurs, improving with the slower pace, his hand drifting down to the small of Desiree's back to hold her close as their hips pivot and twist, brushing together before parting again. "I'll have to remedy that." He smiles warmly as he turns Desiree about, musing, "Well, if that is true, that might explain my supposedly natural affinity for the steps involved? There are certainly many parallels between dance and passion." His gaze has become heavy-lidded, gazing down at Desiree through the swath of hair that has fallen over his brow, a sensual, relaxed smile upon Hugo's lips. "Hmmmmm-mmm, perhaps I should sign up for some private lessons. Improve my dancing…"

Passion of any kind has never been a problem for Desiree, be it dancing, lovemaking or simple flirtation. Her own eyes are dark and sultry, her body moving with incredible sensuality. "Perhaps you should," she replies in a soft voice, one only he can hear. "This's Carol's last lesson before she leaves. I'll have this time free every week. The lessons aren't expensive, either." There's a subtly about her words, and a slow smile touches her lips. "You really are quite fun to dance with," she remarks, turning in his arms to place her hands on his hips, back to his chest. "Dancing is doing what feels right. There are basic steps, but once you've exhausted them, you can … free-form, improvise, even invent new ones." Fingers move on his thighs, lightly caressing the fabric of his trousers. "Enjoying yourself?"

"I think I will," Hugo returns softly, a shift between flirting and something more than flirting triggering a reaction within him, inspired by Desiree's encouragement. Money isn't really an object for Hugo right now, but he doesn't tell her that. He is seriously thinking about taking dancing lessons with her .. just as seriously as he's thinking about how much he'd like to show her his bedroom styled moves. He smiles again and notes in turn, "I enjoy dancing with you as well…" and when her fingers start to roam, Hugo presses his hips against her to let Desiree know just how much he's enjoying their dancing. "… possibly more than I should…"

There's a soft intake of breath at this last, and Desiree's eyes drift closed. This is one of the longer tracks on the CD, chosen by her as a favorite. "I … see," she whispers, head tilting slightly backwards to rest on the front of his shoulder. They're much of a height, considering her heels, and seem to fit together well. "I can say the same," she tells him. "More than /I/ should, perhaps." With a deft twist of her body, she's just as close, but facing him, her face slightly lifted. "There's something romantic about the Latin dances. Do you tango?— or just the standard ballroom dances. I can teach you just about anything— about dancing. Other things, should be … improvised." Arms move up the sides of his body, around to the front, then rest on his shoulders, a sensual smile toying about her lips. "So, tell me about those kinks…?"

"Well, at least it's not just me," Hugo murmurs with a small seductive smile. "That would be tragic…" One hand remains at the small of her back, the other glides up till Hugo's fingers are delving into her hair at the nape of Desiree's neck. His blue eyes are bright with attraction and arousal, but he doesn't push the matter any further, their bodies still lazily dancing, brushing against each other. "I have yet to tango," he confesses. "Yet another thing you can teach me." He slowly turns and dips Desiree back, his lips lightly brushing her throat, grazing up to her ear as he pulls her back upright and against his hard frame, murmuring there, "What? And spoil the surprise?"

"The tango's all about the thrill of the chase," Desiree tells him once she's upright. The pulse in her throat is throbbing, easily seen by human eyes. "As is the Paso Doble. Man versus woman, the hunt, the chase, the capture…" Breathy words, which carry them to the end of the song. When the music's over gratuitous Doors plug here :), she doesn't pull away from him, simply remains in his arms. "I don't know what's next. I just had a friend do up a Latin mix for me. But … yes, I'd love to teach you the tango." Her own green eyes are the color of royal jade, brilliant and smoky at the same time. "You're quite a … dancer, Hugo. I look forward to more … maybe after Carol's lesson, since I have you at my mercy." She chuckles throatily, her expression as warm as the sound of her laughter. "She'll be here any time, but you're free to watch or wait upstairs in the apartment. Warning, I have cats."

There's a soft rumble that escapes Hugo's throat, like a low growl of a predatory animal. He holds her close, reining back in his desire to just pounce and take, fingers curling up into her hair as he leans in to breathe the scent of Desiree in. Pulling back, Hugo sighs and remembers the lesson, Carol, shaking his head to clear his mind, a wry smile touching his lips. "I don't think she would care for an audience, but if you wanted to pick up where we left off, I could wait upstairs if you don't mind?" His smile broadens as he notes, "I /like/ cats."

Eyes close as he comes even closer. "No, I don't suppose she'd be thrilled to walk in on … us," Desiree says. "I doubt her mother would be happy, either. She's only 15, after all." A low, throaty chuckle. "Sure, wait upstairs for me. It'll only be an hour. There's TV, stereo and a comfortable couch. Also a patio garden with a spa, if you're inclined." Her lips spread into a smile, even as there's the clang of bells from the front door. Desiree detaches herself from Hugo. "Clothing is … optional." A wink, and then she's moving away, heading off Carol and her mother, giving Hugo time to retreat unnoticed.

Scene was Faded to Black here…

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