50 Shades of Salsa in Cuba…

***Here’s Part 2 of “Salsa Lessons in Cuba” ~ written by one of my best friends & favorite travel companions, Miss Nina Di!  If you haven’t read Part One yet ~ read it now before diving in!  It’s “The Bachelorette” meets “50 Shades of Cuba” in this scintillating piece by one of Portland’s finest…so grab a glass of rose & read on, friends….& don’t blame me if you buy a ticket to Cuba after reading!

Salsa Lessons Author, Nina DiFrancisco

This is my friend Nina, & this is her story…

Our 2nd Salsa Lesson…

While my girlfriend and I get all dolled up for our second salsa lesson, I’m nervous as hell.  Though I don’t show it, I’ve got butterflies in my stomach thinking about how this lesson will go. Will it be just as passionate as the first ~ or more?  I do self-talk in my head, like Stuart Smalley.  I say to myself: “I am confident. Focused. No matter how distracted.”  This man, my soon-to-be dance instructor, has some kind of power over me that is undeniable.

With our hair loud and our outfits tight, we head back to the dance studio. But we’re thirty minutes late!  Our taxi gets lost in the streets of Havana.  Shit!  They better not cancel our lessons!  Hustling, we turn a corner and see the sign for the studio.  Thank God!  Stumbling in, we see beautiful new men everywhere. Where do they find all these men and how do they get them all here in one place?  I’m distracted.  Yet even though the place is crawling with beautiful men, my body still stands at attention, waiting for the “One.”  I have to see him.  Where is “Grey Shirt?”

Salsa in Cuba

Where ohhh where is Grey Shirt??

Our original instructor, the skinny one, leads us upstairs for our lesson.  Still no “Grey Shirt.”  Where is he?  For a moment, I think he’s not coming.  Please don’t disappoint me or make this part of your foreplay.  We wait a few minutes, then, through the mirror, I see him walking up the stairs.  So smooth.  So coy.  Sexy as hell.  His shirt exposes his arms.  Holy muscles.  Immediately, I think about what he can do with those arms and how they would feel wrapped around me.

Focus Nina! I tell myself. Class hasn’t even started and already, focus is lost.

Without hesitation, he grabs my hand, then lower back, and pulls me in.  Eyes lock.  Ohhh man….the urge is back.  I realize I’m in the moment and may never have this again.  Ready to embrace, my “A” game is on.  I stare back hard into those brown eyes. Feeling strong….the music starts.

Salsa Lessons in Cuba, Havana

Let the lessons begin…

1-2-3, 5-6-7. Repeating the basic steps, our eyes never leave each other. We smile.  Gaze moves back and forth from eyes to lips. 1-2-3, 5-6-7.  I stumble over my feet and forget the moves as there is only one thing on my mind….this man.  I pretend I care about dancing but in reality, I just wanted this feeling.  Sensuality, depth, and a pull so overwhelming that it gives me tunnel vision. I only see him.

Music stops. Original teacher calls me out again.  Tunnel vision lost.  “Are you nervous?” he asks me.  I lie and say no.  He sees right through me.  With a man like this in the atmosphere, what woman wouldn’t feel at least a little bit nervous?  The teacher smiles and says that my partner is strong.  “Obviously,” I say sarcastically, gesturing toward his muscles.  The teacher shakes his head no and says, “In more ways than that.”  So I point to his heart and say, “Here.”  I point to his head and say, “Here.” He nods yes and I look back at my partner.  He is smiling.

“Your partner is strong.”  “Obviously,” I respond, gesturing toward his muscles.  “No. That is only one way to be strong.  He is strong in more ways than that.”  I point to his heart. To his head. Our instructor nods and smiles, as if to say, She’s finally getting it

I’m reminded of the steps again and called out for my lack of focus. Knowing this will continue, I pretend like I’m taking notes. Once again ~ arms around me.  We are close.  Sweat drips down between my thighs, under my skirt.  His skin is soft and not yet sweaty.  He smells of a sweet cologne that will forever be remembered.  Scent creates memories. This time, he pulls me closer. I take a deep breath. The front of our bodies are touching, our foreheads close. Eyes connected. Lips, inches away from one another.  Suddenly, I realize this class is going to be much better than the first.

He asks what I’m thinking.  How do I respond?  With hundreds of thoughts playing in my mind, I eek out a simple answer: I’m enjoying this.  He ignores my idiotic response and goes straight for bluntness.  “What did you think of me the first time you saw me?”  Stoned.  I’m not answering.  I smile and stare into his eyes.  He stares back deeper.  He asks if I thought he was dangerous.  Not truly understanding what he means, I continue smiling.  What do I tell him now?  I look like an idiot. I have no words for these emotions. I just want to be.  Especially in these arms.

He tells me he wanted to kiss me the first day we met.  My stomach drops.  I didn’t even realize he was attracted to me ~ much less wanted to kiss me!  Something is lit within me.  I smile and ask why he didn’t.  He responds that somehow he knew he would see me again.  And with my permission, he would like to kiss me today.  I smile and with no hesitation, I say yes.  He smiles broadly, white teeth exposed.  Butterflies are brewing.  Then he says, “Well, we have the whole class.”

Salsa Lessons Cuba, Havana

Why do you have to be so damn sexy?!

 He pulls me closer and we dance.  Music soft.  Tunnel vision back.  We sway.  No more of this bullshit 1-2-3, 5-6-7 crap.  He takes both my arms and places them over his shoulders, cradling his head.  His hands are on my hips. Swaying in place, we stare.  He sees into me and I let him.  All that exists is right here, in front of me.  All I see and feel is this man.  Seconds of breathing on each other.  Noses touch.  His strong hands squeeze and cup my back.  His lips graze mine.  I stay still.

“He pulls me closer and we dance.  We sway.  His hands are on my hips.  Swaying in place, we stare.  He sees into me and I let him.  His lips graze mine.  I stay still.”

He leans in and softly touches.  My body lights on fire but cool chills run down my spine, making my whole body shiver.  Fire and ice.  His lips so soft yet piercing.  He pulls away for a spin.  I stumble over my feet.  For goodness sake, really?!  Ohhh….this man knows what he’s doing.  I spin and he pulls me in.  We kiss again, longer and stronger this time.  My hands are wrapped around his neck and shoulders.  I squeeze harder and pull him in closer. His hands run down my back, landing on my hips. I feel like a woman. A woman with needs. He knows exactly what a woman needs.

Music stops. Our partners stand there smiling, staring at us.  We have completely forgotten about them, and yet, they pull us back to attention.  Lessons continue.  How in the world…??!

“I feel like a woman.  A woman with needs.  And he knows exactly what a woman needs.”

New steps come into play. As if things can get any more complicated?  I’m already stumbling over my own basic steps. Who’s thinking about steps?!  Ahh – the teachers. Ok. Focus.  Mr. Wonderful is back to teaching, explaining that I need to be confident and smooth.  Don’t think too hard about the steps, he says, and….Let. Him. Lead.  Meanwhile, I laugh to myself ~ when was the last time I let a man lead??  Ha!  Cute joke.  Doing my self-talk again, I tell myself just this once I’ll let my guard down, since I am here to learn….dancing.

1-2-3, 5-6-7.  Side-to-side steps, spins, back-and-forth steps, movement, again and again.  I stay as focused as possible and start to do okay.  “Okay” as in no more stumbling for the time being.  We are flowing, the music is playing.  Ba da da, baa daa daa.  How fun is this!  Free with movement we are spinning and smiling.  He sings the words.  Such a beautiful voice.  I tell him to continue and he giggles.  It sounds so sexy and fun.  He smiles so huge and sings while spinning me.  I feel like I’m on the movie set of Havana Nights!

Salsa Lessons in Cuba, Havana

Dirty Dancing! Havana Nights! Whatever this is….I’m IN!!!

Bam!  He pulls me in again.  Still moving swiftly, our faces are close this time.  He moves my wild hair away from my neck and brushes his lips there.  What is this man doing to me?  I close my eyes and keep moving while tilting my head slightly to give him better access.  He kisses and moves back to my lips.  Hands firmly grab my lower back.  We pull each other close with no room in between.  Eyes open and close…deeper and deeper in the moment.  Minutes fly by that feel like hours.

Music stops.  Por que?!  This stopping and starting again is one fat tease.  Every nerve in my body is activated from the tip of my roots to my toes.  Overwhelmed with sensuality.  A feeling rarely ignited.  He takes my hands and asks when we leave Cuba.  Monday.  Two days from now.

“I want to see you again,” he says.

I want to spend my remaining days with him. He asks to meet me on Sunday ~ tomorrow, in between jobs.  They work a lot in Cuba.

I’m in.

We finish the lesson with dips and spins and fast repetitive stumbling.  Grins from ear to ear.  We end the class with a kiss.  My entire trip is capped right there.  Couldn’t be better.

We say our goodbyes and run quickly out the door.  I’m on Cuban cloud nine.  This man is heaven and I feel like a woman.

Nina lives in Portland, Oregon & runs an event management company with her father, which keeps her busy flying all over the country! In her spare time, she travels every chance she gets, & will be writing future GWTW blog posts ~ so stay tuned for more from this witty, hilarious gal!

Stay tuned…because the tale doesn’t end here!  There’s one more installment of this fateful “Salsa Lesson” ~ the final one!  What happens during their final encounter in Havana, the day before she returns to America?  How hot & heavy does it get??  Find out next week!


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