The Millionaire Claims His Wife

By: Sandra Marton

“Come on, Annie and Chase.” The bandleader’s painted-on smile widened. “Let’s get up on the dance floor and join the bride and groom.”

“Let’s not,” Chase growled, under his breath.

“The man’s out of his mind,” Annie snapped.

But the applause had grown, and even the wild glance for help Annie shot toward Dawn, still swaying in the arms of her groom, brought only an apologetic shrug of her daughter’s shoulders.

Chase shoved back his chair and held out his hand.

“All right,” he said grimly, “let’s do it and get it over with.”

Annie’s chin jerked up. She rose stiffly and put her hand in his.

“I really hate you, Chase.”

“The feeling, madam, is entirely mutual.”

Eyes hot with anger, Annie and Chase took a couple of deep breaths, pasted civilized smiles on their lips and swung out onto the dance floor.


IMPOSSIBLE, miserable woman!

That was what she was, his ex-wife, what she’d turned into during the years of their marriage. Chase held Annie stiffly in his arms, enough space between them to have satisfied even starchy Miss Elgar, the chaperone at Annie’s Senior Prom.

“Propriety, please,” Miss Elgar had barked at any couple daring to get too close during the slow numbers.

Not that she’d approved of the Frug or the Mashed Potato, either. It was just that she’d figured those insane gyrations were safe.

Even all these years later. Chase smiled at the memory. Safe? A bunch of horny kids shaking their hips at each other? And no matter what the old witch thought, the sweetly erotic, locked-in-each-other’s-arms slow dancing went on behind her back just the same, in the hallway, in the cafeteria downstairs, even in the parking lot, where the music sighed on the warm spring breeze.

That was where he’d taken Annie, finally, out to the parking lot, where they’d danced, locked in each other’s arms, alone in the darkness and so crazy about each other after four months of dating that nothing else had mattered.

That was the night they’d first made love, on an old patchwork blanket he’d taken from the back of his beat-up Chevy and spread on the soft, sweet-smelling grass that grew up on Captree Point.

“We should stop,” he’d kept saying, in a voice so thick it had seemed to come from somebody else, though even as he’d said it, he’d been undoing Annie’s zipper, removing her gown and baring her beautiful body to his eyes and mouth and touch.

“Yes,” Annie had whispered, “oh, yes,” but her hands had been moving on him, even as she’d spoken, trembling as she’d undone his silly bow tie, sliding his white dinner jacket from his shoulders, opening his shirt buttons and smoothing her fingers over his hot skin.

The memories surrounded him, as if it were a gentle fog coming in over the sea. Chase made a soft sound in the back of his throat. His arm tightened around his wife; the hand that had been holding hers in stiff formality curled around her wrist, bringing her hand to his chest.

“Chase?” she said.

“Shh,” he whispered, his lips against her hair. Annie held herself rigid a second longer, and then she sighed, laid her head against his shoulder and gave herself up to the music and to the memories that had overcome her.

It felt so good to be here, in Chase’s arms.

When was the last time they’d danced together this way, not because dancing was what you did at the endless charity functions they’d attended so Chase could “network” with the movers and doers of the business community but simply because there were few things as pleasurable as swaying slowly in each other’s arms?

Annie closed her eyes. They’d always danced well together, even back in her high school days at Taft. All those senior parties, the last-minute Friday night get-togethers in somebody’s basement rec room the weekends Chase came home from college, and the dance at Chase’s fraternity house, when her parents had let her go up for Spring Weekend. The school formals, with Elgar the Dragon Lady marching around, trying to keep everybody at arm’s length.

And the night of her senior prom, when they’d finally gone all the way after so many months of fevered kisses and touches that had left them trembling in each other’s arms.

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