Like thousands of other Washington career singles. Xenia saw Saturday night as a sweet and sweating purge of work pressures, of deadlines, of scraping for the mortgage. And of course, the opportunity to meet someone who would make the problems more palatable. And there she was -- her signature black slacks tucked in her black boots and her embroidered black Moroccan shirt flying over her trim angles -- the same outfit a guy in her office told her mdae her look threatening.

The joint was jumping with the pulse of the Village People and the Jacksons. Then Xenia saw him. A body at first, tall and lean. Then the attitude languid, serene, confident. He moved her way, and they danced. They didn't talk.She concentrated first on how he expertly put his hand in the small of her back. The moves of a master, she thought, her chin pressed close to his chest. She felt comfortable in their steamy electricity. She let herself reminisce about the teen-age parties with the one red light and the worn-out Little Anthony and the Imperials record, where she was always the wallflower, wishing for one of the crowd's heroes to ask her to dance. Now she had a catch. When she opened her eyes everyone had moved to the sides, watching his moves. The new Romeo broke her train of thought, with the lilt of the islands in his baritone: "When some people dance, it's about sex, but we are just about good dancing." Arrogant but cute, she thought.

The joint stopped jumping, and they parted. Xenia asked around but couldn't find out his name. On Monday, work pushed the memory to a nocturnal fantasy. He drifted in and out of her thoughts for a week. Then one day she attended a luncheon speech. The kitchen door was opened. Her Romeo. He was balancing a tray. His air was still aloof. She remembered his graceful touch, and watched as he approached her table. She looked up with an eager smile when he put the fruit cup down. But his smile was automatic, one that showed he didn't remember. Maybe the next Saturday, she thought.