I walked down the stairs towards the ballroom, my gown trailing behind me. My heels clacked into the marble floor, my face covered with a mask. The crowd went silent as I reached the end of the stairs, my hand letting go of the balustrade.
“Ms. Charleston,“ I heard my name being announced.
The rest fades out as the night begins. Socializing, dancing, taking a bite to eat here and there. It wasn’t long before I found myself outside, wandering near the garden.
I sat down on one of the benches near the pond, moonlight shining down on the tranquil waters. I’m left to my own piece of mind; the breeze keeping me cool and the sound of crickets accompany me in my solitude.
I startled, looking behind me to see a guy with pale hair walking around the bench to sit next to me. He’s clearly dressed for the party but I haven’t seen him anywhere inside.
“Good evening,” I stuttered out.
He looked up to the sky, “It’s a beautiful night, isn’t it?”
“It is,” I agreed and took my chance to study him. Pale gold hair with a strong jaw line and high cheekbones, a slight wrinkle at the corner of his lips; laugh lines.
“So what brings you here, milady?” I heard him ask.
I shrugged lightly, “I needed a breather.”
“But you could have done that in the balcony.” He pointed out.
I looked back at the balcony, now slightly crowded before sighing out.
“I wanted to get away from the crowd,” I confessed.
“Ah. Well in that case, I’m avoiding the crowd as well.” He said smiling as he took a seat next to me.
I looked at him from the corner of my eyes, “I haven’t seen you anywhere inside.” I remarked.
“But I have seen you.” He said simply.
I raised my eyebrows but didn’t comment, instead I discreetly observed him from the corner of my eye.
“Ah, I see. It seems like I have my own stalker then. Par excellence, I suppose?” I teased.
“That would be much of an exaggeration. I merely observed the whole time.”
“Observing par excellence it is.” We both laughed; low rich baritone and soft soprano tenor blending in the night.
I hear a soft bark coming from my right, only to find a small puppy sitting down while wagging his tail.
“Oh hello there,” I leaned down to stroke its fur before picking him up and placing him on my lap.
“Animals attract to you?” My ‘observer’ asked.
“Either that or I’m attracted to animals, but yes I suppose so.” I mused.
I was silent afterwards, me stroking the little puppy and my ‘observer’ staring out into the night, lost in our thoughts as the air breezes and made me shiver. I heard some rustle and sudden warmth on my back. I felt my shoulder and encountered with fabric.
“Oh thank you.” I smiled gratefully when I see him without his tuxedo jacket, him smiling back in answer
“Sire!” Our small bubble got interrupted when the butler soon arrived.
“Yes?” He looked up from the pond.
“Your presence is required immediately in the ballroom.” He said and was responded with a sigh.
“I’ll be there soon.” The butler went back to the mansion. He stood up and offered his hand to me.
“Well milady, it seems that our small adventure is coming to an end.”
I take his offered arm. “A shame, I quite liked this small adventure of ours.”
“I’m quite sure that we would face another adventure soon. Until then.” We had reached the French doors and getting closer to the ballroom.
“I suppose I should give your jacket back now.” I started to take it off before handing it to him.
“Until then.” He smiled as he shrugged his jacket on before striding inside.
I made my way inside and up the grand staircase, taking one last look at the party before going outside, oblivious to the pair of eyes watching intently.
As I went to pick my coat, the same butler from the pond arrived with a card in his hand.
“Miss, this is for you.” He handed me the card as soon as I finished wearing my coat.
“Who is it from?”
“I was told to not give away any identity.”
(to be continued)