Writing Advice

Help for Authors and Writers

Prompt: Write a story with two people dancing together.

This story formed from a writing prompt on Quora, and I ended up revisiting these characters several times. Eventually I may write a proper story about them.

“If you blow in my ear, I’ll follow you anywhere.”

“Oh, will you, now?” Her gray eyes danced with amusement. “Well, then. How can I decline such an offer?” She leaned forward to exhale delicately in his ear, so close he could feel the warmth of her body on his skin.

“Well, then,” he said. “It seems I’m yours. Now that you have me, where are you going to lead me?”

“Into temptation.” She took his hand in hers, long fingers stroking his palm. “But first, dancing!”

“You may have me at a disadvantage—”

“Oh, I certainly hope so.”

“—but I’m afraid I’m not much of a dancer,” he finished.

“I have every confidence you’re a quick learner.” With a sly wink over her shoulder, she led him onto the dance floor, where dozens of people already turned and flowed, in twos and threes and fours, to the languid beat of the music. She pressed herself lightly to him, one hand light on the back of his neck. The music folded around them, as gentle as a summer’s rain. “Tell me something about yourself,” she murmured.

“What would you like to know?”

“Let’s make it interesting. Two truths and a lie.”

“Ah, so it’s to be that sort of evening, is it?”


“Very well.” They danced for a while in silence, turning and looping over the smooth hardwood floor, while other dancers drifted around them, lost in their own worlds. Presently, he said, “I always hated my brother growing up. We fought like cats and dogs. Only now, as adults, have we learned to get along.”

“That’s one.” She twirled free of his arms, her dress flaring for a moment from her hips, then spun back to him, her hand finding his once more.

“Let’s see,” he said. “I…” His breath caught at the nearness of her, the subtle scent of her skin.

“Am I distracting you?”

“Yes.” He drew her close, spinning her around in a slow, smooth moment, delighting in the simple pleasure of the dance. “I studied architecture in my first year at university. Hated it. Changed my major to economics.”

“And three?”

“I don’t usually do this.”

Her hand crept fractionally up he back of his neck, sending shivers down his arms. “Do what?” she purred.

“Dance with flirtatious strangers.”

“A flirtatious stranger?” Something mischievous sparkled in her eyes. “Is that what I am?”

“I certainly hope so, or else I’m going to feel very silly.”

“Well, let me see.” She frowned in thought. He gave her a quick turn, spinning her away from him. Three women danced through the space that opened between them, all in identical red dresses that hugged their forms, long red tails fluttering from their wrists. She closed with him once more. Her eyes searched his face. “I think that last one is a lie. You definitely enjoy dancing with flirtatious strangers.”

“That might be true,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean I do it often. The first one is the lie. My brother and I have always been thick as thieves. It’s my sister I didn’t get on with when we were young. Your turn.”

“Two truths and a lie?”

“If you like.”

“Very well.” She drew close, until her body lightly touched his. They danced cheek to cheek for an endless moment, lost in the steady, sensual rhythm. “Okay,” she said at last, breath warm in his ear. “Number one. I rarely do this either.”

“Do what?”

“Dance with handsome strangers. Number two: I’m an only child. No brothers or sisters.”

“And number three?”

She moved in closer, until her lips almost grazed his ear. “I’ve been thinking about kissing you since we started dancing.”

“Now that’s definitely true.”

“You’re that certain, are you?” She stepped back. He spun her beneath his arm, then caught her again. She laughed. “That might be an arrogant thing for you to say.”

“Not arrogant at all. It’s purely logical.”

“Purely logical, is it? You’re that certain?”

“Yes.” He spun her beneath his arm once more. She stepped in close, smirking. “Consider,” he said. “If it were not true, if you didn’t want to kiss me, then saying you did would be dangerous indeed. What if I want to kiss you, and so I did? I might be excused, you see, if I took your words at face value, and then what would happen?”

“I suppose I might slap you.”

“You might, but it seems risky to take a chance on an unwanted kiss.”

“Maybe I like living dangerously.”

“Maybe you do. That’s why I’m going to go with the first thing you said. You don’t normally do this? I think that’s a lie.”

“Very good!” She grinned at him. “You win the first round. I think that deserves a reward. What would you like?”

“What are you offering?”

“No.” She shook her head. “I see what you’re doing, and it won’t work.”

“What am I doing?”

“Shifting the risk onto me. If you ask for something I’m not willing to give, you risk rejection. If you ask me what I’m willing to offer, I risk rejection. I’ve already put myself out there. Now it’s your turn.”

“Tit for tat?”

“You can call it that, if you like.”

“You’re trouble.”

“I know.”

“Well, I could say…” The music rose around them. He spun her out, fingers laced lightly with hers. Her dress flared again. He traced her body with his eyes, his expressions appraising.

“Yes?” she said when she was back in his arms. “Do you like what you see?”

“I do.”

“What could you say?”

“I could say I would like you to kiss me, but that would be a safe choice, considering I already know you want me to kiss you. And you’ve already chastised me for trying to take the easy way out—”

“I’d hardly call that a chastisement.” Her fingertips caressed the back of his neck. “Perhaps a mild rebuke at best.”

“Since you’ve rebuked me,” he said, “I feel that, in the proper spirit of this evening, I should perhaps ask for something more.”

Her eyes glowed. “Oh, I can’t wait to hear what you say next.”