Dolores thought of Felix’s predecessor whose intimate encounters had almost lost him the Presidency. Felix was a bachelor, of course, and so his secret was somewhat less alarming. Given the times, though, she was mindful and correct teaching Tango on the mirrored parquet of the Oval Office. Her ID badge said Dolores Ferreyra, Cultural Affairs Attaché, and she had 30 minute access every Tuesday at 7 pm. This was their last class before Felix’s visit to Buenos Aires, where he would waltz with Mademoiselle Quiroga, the President of Argentina, at her Inaugural State Ball.
The scarlet satin dress and gilded stilettos folded into Dolores’s purse tripped no alarms. She was shown into the Oval Office by Amancio, a fresh-faced presidential aide, whose discreet glances spoke of devoted puppy love. Felix was on the phone, tie askew, his feet propped on the desk. He stood and kissed her cheek.
“Good to see you, Dolores,” he said.
She changed in the little powder room off the Oval Office, and dabbed Provocatif on her earlobes. As she came out, Felix glanced at her golden heels.
“I love your…,” he said, and he paused, looking for the next best word.
“Mr. President, did you just say you love me?”
He smiled and reached into his briefcase propped against the leg of the Presidential desk. He drew out an iPhone and a JamBox.
“What do you think? Di Sarli or Pugliese?” he said.
Dolores loved this man who set aside affairs of state for her. But Felix was caught in the insidious grip of Tango. He changed his polished wing tips for soft felt-soled dance shoes. As a Pugliese waltz filled the Oval Office, Felix embraced her intently and led her, her eyes closed, attentive to the slightest move, into the gathering delirium of “Desde el Alma”. They came to a halt precisely on the final beat, and his hand on her back traced a wistful caress that spoke of lives they’d never live, whose expression was best and most safely left to Tango. His phone pinged. Felix pulled away and listened gravely.
“Brief me at 7:00 am,” he said.
He smiled, she re-cued the music, and they danced once again the set of steps that painted every nuance of Pugliese’s waltz. A tap on the door announced the next item on the agenda. Felix grazed his lips across hers.
“Later,” he said.
Amancio was waiting outside. He consulted his Blackberry, tapped the little screen twice, and strode off down the corridor. Dolores hurried after him.
“TuTu Tango, right?” he called over his shoulder.
A limousine took her to TuTu’s, where she nursed a Malbec and listened to the elderly bandoneonista and his meditative violinist. Around 10 a flurry of suits appeared at the bar, and Felix sat down beside her. He caught the bartender’s eye, indicated her glass, and took her hand.
“Dolores,” he said, “I love Tango. But tell me: how do I distill the message of Tango from the beautiful messenger?”
“You tell me, Mr. President.” She touched her glass to his. “You’re the leader of the free world. Lead me.”
They stepped onto the tiny dance floor, and the violinist smiled. As the music enveloped them, Felix and Dolores merged into the safe primal embrace of a man and a woman moving as one to Tango’s hypnotic invitation.