Bond and Moneypenny dancing again.... in Gricel


Part I

“You’re sure you don’t want to join me tonight?” I shout as I step out the front door.  “Bond will be there and I’m telling you he’s a new man!”

“I don’t go out on Sundays, and if I did it certainly would not be to Gricel!  And I have enough new men in my life, I don’t need an old-new man”,she replies with a chuckle. “Suit yourself!” I respond and hop into the limo she ordered for me; Sabrina has been insisting that this is how I have to move around now, or for now at least.

We drive off, down Carlos Calvo, passed 9 de Julio and down to Umberto Primo; “You can just leave me at the corner of La Rioja, no need to go around, por favor” I say to the driver, Damian.  “Perdon, pero no puedo, I have instructions”, he responds, as he gives me a little wink in the rear view mirror and detours around the corner. “Como quieras!” I respond.

As soon as the car stops, Damian gets out to open my door, extends his arm, and as I reach out for it, I can’t help but notice how incredibly fit and handsome he is (and incredibly yet another of Sabrina’s lovers, but she has a little weakness for this one I sense).  He has that typical Italian-Spanish-and something touch-look, dark hair, dark eyes, killer smile and just the right amount of English to seduce you; just the type of porteño you want to stay away from. 

“Message me when you want to leave, and I’ll come running back to you, any time…..any place….”, he says before rushing off to what I can only imagine is a night with Sabrina, no wonder she didn’t want to come to Gricel!

I stand on the sidewalk staring at the people walking into Gricel, the doors are wide open, I can hear the hum of the Milonga from across the street; it feels so nice to be back.  I walk in, take out my neatly prepared pesos to pay the entrance, when a man walks right up to me and says: “Bienvenida hermosa, I am Javier, the host of this milonga and you do not have to pay to join us.  It would be my pleasure to have you here". 

“I’m sorry, do I know you?” I ask intriguingly.

“You do not, but I hope to correct that as soon as possible”, he responds with a smile and adds “He is sitting at the far right corner; he’s been waiting for you”.  Of course, Bond, I should have known. “Gracias, please do join us for a drink when you have a minute”, I say and turn around to pay the entrance fee. 

“Very independent I see”, the host says “You’ll have to give me the opportunity to invite you some other night, a night of your choice”, he says and escorts me to Bond’s table.

With  it's velvet curtains ornating the entrance, a large wooden dance floor, dim lighting complemented with the red hue given off by the neon sign at the back of the dance floor; Gricel has a  rustic, almost brothel-like milonga feel to it.

Everyone is dressed up in formal tango wear: women in shockingly revealing-form fitted dresses, the men in suits with their hair gelled back, everything seems to be in place, except  for Bond who somehow always stands out despite all his efforts to the opposite; or maybe it's just that I can't help but notice him.

The tanda has just started, it’s a vals,  couples are twirling around the dance floor with skirts of every colour flying around, it almost looks like a proper Viennese waltz, only not so proper since this is tango.

Bond spots me immediately and starts to pour me a glass of bubbly.  “Right, I had almost given up on you old girl, you’re late!” he utters.  “Late?  How long have you been out of Buenos Aires, it’s barely midnight Mr Bond, things are just starting to get interesting.  But have no fear you will not have to finish that bottle all by your lonesome”, I retort.

“Be quiet and put your shoes on, so we can get one tanda before the exhibition starts”, he adds, just as the dance floor empties and the show is announced.  Bond gives me a look of reproach and hands me my glass.

It’s exhibition time!  The dancers walk onto the dance floor,. I’ve never heard of them before; V and J are their initials and are performing for the first time tonight, we are informed. They're both beautiful; her with her large brown eyes, dark hair and snow-white like complection has all the men gawking and the women red with envy; him with his assertive walk and penetrating eyes has all of us bewitched (and maybe a little in lust); together they are mesmerizing.

They dance to Pugliese, their dance is classic, no frills, no acrobatics, no excessive drama, just simple, genuine, divine dancing. His musicality is irreprochable; her feet complete his lead to perfection; it’s as if the music followed their dance and not the other way around.  The entire room is in silent awe, which, given the amount and level of tango in Buenos Aires is no easy feat. 

I stare over at Bond who seems transfixed by the dancing.  “She’s too young for you Bond”, I say teasingly.  “And he’s too young for you” he responds with a smirk.  “I am simply enjoying the tango’ I answer back to which he adds “As am I my dear, as am I”.

As they go into their final pose, everyone rises to their feet to give praise to this very promising couple, two stars are born tonight!  “And they’re not even sleeping together”, says the woman sitting at the table adjacent to ours.  I had forgotten what a small world tango is.  

As the night’s Fred and Ginger take their last bow, the young tangero and I cross glimpses, he gently smiles and gives me a little wink; I can’t help but smile back, he is afterall the celebrity of the night (and not to mention cute as hell).

I finally bend over to put on my shoes, the strap won’t quite hook on; Bond has lost patience and is already dancing with someone else.  When I at last get my shoes on, and reach out to take another sip of champagne, I notice him…. I had forgotten all about my last night in Buenos Aires at La Viruta and what I had done…..

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