Eric Barton held Sylvia Weatherstone tightly in his arms, guiding her this way and that across the empty dance floor. She was thirty years his senior, but she moved with the practiced grace of a life long dancer. Eric marveled at how much she had learned in such a short time. Even though the two of them were alone, they were dressed for the finest ball, Eric in a black tuxedo, and Sylvia in a knee-length sequined gown. The diamonds around her neck and wrists glittered in the dancing brilliance of the faceted ball that sprayed the room with pulsing light. Eric always insisted that his students dress like they were going to a presidential ball. Wearing their finest clothes and jewelry made it much harder for them to refuse him.
Eric whispered into her ear, “I’m sorry, Sylvia, but this must be our last lesson.”
Sylvia said, “What are you talking about? I’m not that bad, am I?”
She was actually quite good, and a ready learner. In just four lessons, she had learned to respond to the slightest pressure of his lead. He wasn’t about to share this information with her. The dance lessons he offered were just the beginnings of his real scam. Eric knew it was time to move in for the kill on Sylvia, and more importantly, her money.
“I’m afraid my lease on this studio is about to expire, and I can’t cover my back rent. I’m already three months behind.”
She stopped dancing and held his hands in hers. “There must be something I can do. These lessons have grown quite important to me, Eric.”
Perfect. She was falling for it. Sylvia said, “If it’s just about money, I can take care of it. How much do you need?”
“I feel odd taking money from a student.”
Sylvia caressed his cheek gently. “Is that all I am to you, just another ballroom dance student?”
“I don’t like to mix business and pleasure, but I really don’t have much choice.”
As the music stopped, Sylvia said, “Just tell me how much you need.”
Eric fought to hide his smile. “I have to have ten thousand dollars by tomorrow or I’m going to have to shut down.” He watched her eyes carefully. He had asked for a lot, but he really needed the money. His gambling losses had wiped out most of his working capital, but he knew if he just kept betting, his luck was bound to change.