Tiny Dancer cont.

The night of the party, I met Lisa beforehand. Her simple sexy style was in full gear; she looked amazing. We were both in great spirits excited to spend the night out. In route to the party, I asked about Etienne. This was to be the night of their great couple unveiling. She had seen him that morning at the dance school and spent the night with him twice that week. He knew about the party and told Lisa that he would meet up with her as the night progressed. It did not sound like a date or their first outing as an official couple…it sounded more like a friend promising to meet a friend for a casual drink. I wondered if the tentative plans would even pan out.

At the bar, we met up with our other girlfriends. It was one of those rare night where everyone made it out. The weather was great and we were ready to dance the night away! There were a plethora of tequila shots and drunken girl photos. You know the ones, full of air kisses and tongue out rocker faces. Amid loud conversations and frequent group trips to the bathroom, Lisa wondered allowed when Etienne would arrive. Tipsy and overly curious, I urged her to call him. Acting demure Lisa shot down the idea, she didn’t want to seem desperate.

“If he wants to see me, he will come. He knows where we are,” she protested.

“Nah, you should call him! Give me the phone; I’ll call him!”

Begrudgingly, Lisa dialed Etienne. I leaned over her shoulder listening in. She asked where he was and if he was planning to come. I shouted in the background urging him to stop by the bar. I was eager to see them as a couple and discover what about Etienne in his private life made him so attractive to my friend.

“He said he is on his way,” Lisa announced.

Actually, I was quite satisfied, and looking forward to seeing Etienne in something other then a leotard. About a half hour later, Lisa spotted Etienne’s car pulling up along side the bar. Out the window, she pointed as Etienne and another man piled out and toward the bar’s entrance. He made his way over for greetings and introductions. The man with him said that they had been drinking at a bar down the street. Why hadn’t he come directly to the party? Why did he wait to be summoned? This was supposed to be a date.

Etienne bought the birthday girl and her companions, including Lisa and myself a round of shots. He stood by the bar and avoided eye contact or private conversation with Lisa. I was surprised when Etienne approached me to have a conversation. We spoke about the school and my progress so far. He gave me some helpful tips and I expressed my appreciation. He was more of Etienne the teacher and school owner rather then a guy at the bar. He wouldn’t break character. When the conversation lulled I said, “So, you and Lisa! That is unexpected but it makes sense. You guys make such a cute couple.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he replied.

“Oh, Lisa told me you knew that I knew. You two are dating.”

“No.”

“It’s ok, I won’t say anything. I think that it is great that you guys share the same passion and finally acted on the attraction.”

Etienne gave me a puzzled look, as if I had six heads. On his phone, he pulled up a picture of a busty blond Pamela Anderson type. This woman was the opposite of Lisa’s petite yet exotic beauty, she was plastic and typical. He explained that they met the weekend prior and that ‘this’ was his ‘type’. I was perplexed. How could a refined classical dancer be attracted to a peroxide blond Barbie? Surely, Lisa, with her svelte figure and dark bedroom eyes was more appealing. He must be trying to hide something. Perhaps he just did not want me to know the truth. Maybe he worried that dating a student would be bad for his school’s image. I apologized for commenting on his personal life and touched on how much Lisa looks up to him.

“I understand you don’t want to talk about your personal life, but Lisa is a great girl an she deserves to be happy. I only asked because I care about her, “I explained.

“No, you have it all wrong. She has a crush on me. I acted on it a few times but I am not into her at all. In fact, I put an end to the romantic aspect of our relationship weeks ago.” To Etienne this was matter of fact but on the way over Lisa mentioned that they were together earlier that week. Something did not add up. Shortly after that, Etienne gathered his friend and headed out the door, not so much as a goodbye wave to Lisa.

Now, by this time I had gotten to know Lisa quite well. She was certainly not the type to fabricate details or inflate the truth. There was simply no way that she lied about Etienne and his promises of their future together. Either Etienne felt that as a student of his school I should not know the details of their relationship…or he was truly serious about dating the other woman. Could Lisa be obsessed or delusional about their relationship? It just could not be…why did he lie?

The Etienne I knew through Lisa and the Etienne I spoke to in person were two completely different people.

Tiny Dancer Affairs cont.

Lisa and Etienne continued to see each other secretly. Etienne had Lisa teaching classes at the dance school so he could conveniently pull her into the back room for “one on one” time. He loved the thrill of the knowing that someone could discover them at any minute; the affair brought exhilaration to his daily life. The rush he felt during the private encounters left him feeling free of his problems. The failing economy and the expense of his divorce were threatening his livelihood. Acting on sexual impulse with Lisa was enough to mask the turmoil of his otherwise depressing situation. The more risky the encounters the longer his good feelings would last; Lisa was like a drug. As his days became more stressful, his sexual needs became more extreeme.

One night after class, Lisa invited me for a drink. Weeks prior, she confided in me about her relationship with Etienne. She swore me to secrecy and asked me for my honest opinion as it applied to her circumstances. She explained that during the day things with Etienne were normal, almost like a married couple. They would plan the studio’s teaching schedule; go shopping for supplies and share meals before evening classes. They spoke mostly of dance, their shared passion, and the future of the studio. Etienne dreamed that one day Lisa would run her own studio, bearing his name, on the other side of town. Lisa felt that these types of conversations proved that their relationship had a public and lasting future. Then Lisa began reflecting on the darker side of things.

Most nights, after class was finished, Etienne would follow Lisa home to her apartment. There he would drink and conversation would shift from dance to sex. Etienne knew that Lisa was deeply devoted to him. Not only as a student, but as a lover and potential boyfriend. He preyed on her vulnerability by promising that sharing in his fantasies would seal their union. He wanted to bring other people into the mix and experiment on levels that made Lisa uncomfortable. She was embarrassed by the proposition, but considered participating in the hopes of keeping Etienne engaged. From my perspective, it seemed like Etienne’s thrills were rooted in his power to manipulate. If he could turn a good girl bad, he would experience unparallel ecstasy. The delight was not derived from the acts as much as the power over another person.

Lisa was not naive to Etienne’s manipulation tactics. She explained that he would use his influence to control students at the dance school. He studied great leaders and self help gurus to master the art of suggestion. For example, Etienne would compliment certain students and have them believe that they had special talent. He would pull them aside and tell them that they had the potential to teach their own classes at the school. To develop their extraordinary skills they would need to take extra class and a certification course, which, naturally cost hundreds of dollars. In few instances, the students would successfully complete the training and actually become a certified instructors. In this case, Etienne would put them to work but without pay, since they were still in an “apprentice” phase. So you see, the exceptional talent, was only part of a greater money marketing scheme, the result being free labor for Etienne and his dance school. Thus, Etienne’s manipulation tactics carried over into his personal life.

Lisa understood she was being used on some levels and she expressed anger and frustration over the state of affairs. She wanted to swear Etienne off and cut the physical ties but she still loved the man he was during the day deeply. Lisa wanted to bargain; find a way to keep him in her life. She considered an ultimatum…he dates her publicly or not at all. In fact, she had the perfect opportunity to present her terms. The next weekend was her best friend’s birthday party. She planned to invite Etienne as her date. I would be the only other dance student at the party and I already knew of the relationship, so there was no concern over the business and pleasure boundaries. It would be an opportunity to start fresh, taking the dark relationship into the light where the manipulation and erotic dares would cease. He would be the same man he was during the day at night. Makes perfect sense, don’t you think?