As the doors parted, Angie could hear a quartet churning out an upbeat jazz tune. The pleasant music was accompanied by a cacophony of voices. She peered out of the elevator and spied a lavishly decorated lounge. Directly in front of her was a short series of steps leading down to a recessed dance floor filled with costumed party-goers. To the right was a small stage where a tux wearing piano player was perched in front of an ebony grand. Behind him sat three other musicians in masks playing coolly along with the piano lead. To the left was an elegant marble-topped bar decorated above with rows of hanging crystal stemware. As she glanced across the lounge, she could see a seating area with plush black and white chairs, chaise lounges, and matching floor cushions. Beyond were tall windows that looked out onto the city lights below.
The lounge was decorated in a vivid Mardi Gras theme. Multicolored Streamers hung from the ceiling. There was confetti and glitter everywhere. Intricate decorative masks were hung on the walls and laid upon the counter tops. There were glazed ceramic statues prominently posted throughout the lounge. Each statue depicted one or more jesters posing lewdly with naked or nearly-naked women.
The costumes of the party attendees matched the lavishness of the environs. Angie could see feathers, ribbons, stockings, and plenty of skin everywhere she looked. All faces were obscured by decorative masks and each costume seemed designed to simultaneously project an air of elegance along with a sinful dose of sensuality. It was as if a sample platter of ornate Vegas show outfits had been arranged before her. Some attendees were sitting at the bar, some were sitting in chairs or lying on pillows on the floor, and others were dancing out on hardwood in front of the stage. A disco ball swiveled lazily over the proceedings, casting shards of multicolored light everywhere.
Her prince stepped confidently out of the elevator with a flourish of his cape. The band went silent and the majority of the audience turned to face him. An abrupt hush fell over the proceedings and a palpable wave of anticipation rolled towards the elevator doors as the masked faces turned to watch the caped figure standing on the precipice. With a beaming smile, he turned towards her and extended his arm - clearly inviting her to step out of the elevator.
Angie shivered at the prospect of his invitation. What had been a simple quiet elevator had transformed into a catapult waiting to launch her before a crowd of masked strangers. Her own trepidation about the skimpiness of her costume multiplied as she contemplated stepping into the limelight. What was her escort doing? Did he intend to ridicule her, to make her look the fool? Had she been horribly wrong in trusting him and allowing him to bring her here?
She stared at him, halfway in resentment and halfway in dire need of reassurance. It only took a moment of peering into the haunting recesses of his mask before her hesitation began to melt away. His eyes commanded her. He would not be denied. She realized that when he had told her to trust him, this was exactly why he had said to do so.
Taking one final deep breath, she stepped out of the elevator and took his hand. His smile brightened as her hand went into his - clearly savoring a small victory on his part. He then held her hand up and turned towards the assembled audience.
"Ladies and gentleman! May I present to you, my angel!"
The crowd immediately broke into applause.
Angie's eyes scanned the masked faces beaming at her. She was not used to being put on the spot like this, especially in front of a crowd of enshrouded strangers. Her only saving grace was the fact that her date was standing there with her, clearly proud of the moment.
After what felt like an eternity of scrutiny, the applause subsided and her escort guided her down the steps to the dance floor. They were met immediately by a tall blonde woman in a red bustier with matching stockings and mask. She addressed Angie directly.
"Good evening. May I take your coat and cell phone?"
Angie looked over at her prince for confirmation. He nodded.
"My cell phone?" she asked the vermillion attendant.
"Don't worry, it will be safe," she smiled, "We prefer to avoid any outside distractions tonight."
Her prince was already helping Angie out of her white bolero coat. Once it was removed and draped over his arm, he gingerly reached for her purse and handed both to the attendant. Dumbstruck, Angie watched as the girl winked at the stranger and sashayed off with her belongings.
Without saying another word, he ushered her across the dance floor and up the shallow steps to the bar beyond. Angie could feel the eyes of many masked strangers casually watching her. Her prince seemed oblivious to the stares, or at least unconcerned. Pulling out a padded leather chair, he encouraged her to take a seat at the bar.
"Two please," he said to the bartender, a tall brunette dressed in the same outfit as the attendant who had taken her purse. She winked at him and set about combining a flurry of different liquors into a tall silver shaker. The final result was an ice-cold glass rock full of a thick black liquid. A final flourish of what appeared to be liquid nitrogen gave the two drinks a cloudy head of overflowing vapor.
The prince took the neighboring seat and set one of the drinks in front of Angie.
"This is a special drink of mine I call the Devil's Promise. Dark and alluring, but hiding something sinister."
"Sinister?" Angie responded in half-feigned alarm. "And what 'sinister' thing did you put in my drink?"
He laughed. "Oh, there's nothing sinister in the drink itself, just behind it."
"In other words, you?"
"Exactly," he smiled while picking up his glass, "Cheers."
Mimicking his motion, Angie scooped up her glass which was quite cold to the touch. The frothy fog left a trail through the air as she raised the drink to her lips. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her date shotgun his drink in two gulps. She did the same.
The cold liquid slid past her lips like quicksilver. The taste was rich and sweet with a hint of licorice. As soon as the first gulp washed down, she felt an urgent need to consume the rest of the drink as if it were a cool glass of water after a long day in the sun. Once it hit her belly, she felt a warm sensation radiate outward until she was awash in a pleasant buzz.
"Mmmm..." she intoned, "Alluring indeed."
"I thought you might like that," he smiled as he set his empty glass down.
Feeling much more comfortable, she leaned into him. "So tell me, what did you mean by announcing that I am your angel? Why did everyone clap?"
"Isn't it obvious?" he answered, "I mean, look at you... clearly you fell from heaven."
Angie smirked at him, making it clear that his reply was unsatisfactory. "Come on! I've come this far with you. Clue me in here a bit."
He paused for a moment and then sighed, "It's not that complicated really. The people I work for host this party every year. As you can see, it is a pretty high production-value affair, but even this can get boring without a little... improvisation. So I decided at the last minute to see if I could find myself a date and here you are."
Angie found his explanation surprisingly plausible - almost depressingly so.
"And what about the whole angel/devil thing?"
"Well, I'd call it a coincidence, but that trivializes the whole affair in my mind. I prefer to think of it as fate. Here I am dressed as a Devil wandering the streets at night in search of a beautiful woman and who do I find but the yin to my yang? The good to temper my own inherent evil - a lovely angel dressed in white and all alone. I couldn't resist the irony, much less your beauty. I was drawn to you."
Angie was blushing now. Perhaps it was the drink she had just consumed, but she suddenly felt very warm.
"Well if I am your angel, then clearly it is my duty to make sure you behave tonight," she teased him.
"Oh hardly!" came his immediate response. "Tonight is Mardi Gras, the night of sin! Even Heaven turns a blind eye to the doings of mortals on this day. If you truly did come down from Heaven my angel, it wasn't to police me. Instead, it was to be seduced by the Devil on the one day there won't be any consequences for doing so!"
"Oh?" Angie smiled, "So who's seducing who then?"
He simply smiled and stood up from his chair.
"Care to dance?"
"Of course," Angie smiled as she took his hand.
He led her out onto the dance floor right as a slower song began to play. He immediately pulled Angie in close and she willingly wrapped her arms around his neck. She felt wonderful. Here she was with a strong, charming, and evidently successful man dancing at a much more glamorous party than where she had started. She wasn't sure if there was something in that drink or not, but either way it served as an excuse to drop her inhibitions and simply enjoy herself fully. She let her head rest on his shoulder and purred softly as he ran his hands slowly up and down her back. She took deep breaths through her nose, reveling in his manly, musky scent.
They danced like this for several minutes while the song played out. When it was over, Angie turned and saw an older woman take the stage with a microphone in hand. She wore an elaborate black gown that was see-through in parts and hugged her well-kept figure. The collar of her dress was stiff and tall, giving her a very regal appearance. Her face was adorned with an ornate black mask featuring large black feathers that sprouted out from the top and sides.
"Ladies and gentlemen," she began, "It is now eleven o'clock - one hour before our reveling must be complete. As is our tradition, I invite all of our lovely ladies tonight to partake of the beads. I have instructed our hostesses to distribute them to you."
Angie looked around and noticed several of the devil-costumed hostesses walking around with silver trays. On each of these trays was piled a collection of ornate beads.
"This year I am pleased to offer hand-carved and lacquered maple beads created exclusively for this occasion. When you get yours, take a moment to admire the individual carvings on each bead. I think you will agree that the craftsmanship is exquisite. As a result, you may deem it necessary to demand more of your suitor before parting with them. Ladies, you know what to do."
With that, the woman left the stage and women in the crowd began taking the beads from the hostesses.
"What's going on?" Angie asked her prince.
"Watch. You'll see."
Angie watched as all of the ladies in the lounge made their way to the dance floor to collect their beads from the hostesses. One of the devil-costumed women approached Angie with a nearly depleted plate of beads, clearly offering her the chance to take one. She stared at it wistfully, unsure of what accepting one might mean. Before she could make a decision to take one, the decision was made for her. Her devil, the dark prince claimed a ring of beads from the plate and stepped behind her - clearly meaning to place it over her head. She sighed a silent curse to herself but did not resist. This was clearly part of why he brought her here. She would have to see this through and learn where it lead.
As the draping beads passed over her eyes and settled around her neck, she could feel his hands running through her thick raven hair, gently moving it out of the way so that her new necklace sat prominently on her neck. Compared to the flashy plastic trinkets she had already collected from Jaime, the drab but highly ornate wooden beads made a telling contrast: elegance and tradition versus kitsch and trendy.
Angie turned and faced her man. Slowly scanning her sultry eyes up into his, she dared him to show her what would happen next. Again, he met her stare with a steely, confident resolve. It was dawning on her that she might never shift his demeanor, but he seemed to be shifting hers with each moment that passed. He turned away and gestured towards the landing up the stairs behind them. In front of where the seating area was, two regal high-backed chairs had appeared.
"Our appointment is ready. Shall we?" he extended his arm once again.
Each bold step she took out of her own comfort zone seemed to earn the entreaty into another larger step. Yet she would step anyway. What new adventure loomed next? She assured her timid self with the realization that the chairs might be better than being on the floor - especially considering the things that might happen next.
To obscure her frantic desire to retreat from the dance floor, she steadily extended her arm to meet his. He accepted it and they turned. Hand in hand, they stepped deliberately off the floor and up to their appointed seats. Continuing his gentlemanly ways, he held the chair for her as she sat down and then scooped up his cape before descending into his own chair.
Angie leaned over to him and whispered, "So are we king and queen of the prom now?"
"Oh, I'd like to think we're presiding over something better than that," he replied without skipping a beat.
"I suppose these chairs are a coincidence as well?" she smirked at him. "What other 'coincidences' do you have planned?"
"Shhh... just watch," he commanded.
Angie turned her attention to the dance floor. She saw multiple women strutting around wearing beads. Men would come up to them and talk to them, clearly negotiating in some fashion. She noticed one woman smile and nod at a male suitor. She continued to watch as they stepped off of the dance floor and proceeded to the sitting area. She then took a seat and he stepped behind her and began massaging her shoulders.
Angie turned her attention back to the dance floor and saw one male performing a striptease in front of a costumed female. Her eyes scanned further and settled on another man licking and sucking the elongated neck of another party-goer. She let her eyes wander again and her jaw dropped as she spied one man dropping his pants and waving around a partially-erect and apparently gigantic appendage in front of a giggling masked older woman.
Each action was rewarded with an exchange of beads. Victorious, the men proceeded to proposition other women. Some were clearly working to earn more beads. Others were trying to entice the women to earn the beads back. It became apparent to Angie that whoever had beads could request 'favors' from those who did not. Soon thereafter, Angie was able to observe women 'earning' beads. Some were topless. Others were performing lap dances. Others were engaged in passionate kisses with men or with other women for the amusement of the men.
Angie found herself becoming aroused watching the scene unfold before her. Each act to secure beads was sexual or flirtatious in nature. She didn't see any obvious acts of oral sex or penetration yet, but there was plenty of nudity and friendly groping. The sexual tension in the room was building. She turned over and looked at her prince. He sat regally in his chair passively observing the events before him.
She turned back towards the dance floor and gasped when she saw that a topless masked man was standing before her, beads in hand. His torso was tan and impressively muscled. His pristine white smile was immediately disarming.
"M'lady," he began while holding up his necklace, "I offer my beads for the chance to please you."
Angie's mouth worked up and down, but no words came out. She had no idea what to say to the sculpted Adonis before her. She turned to her prince, hoping for some clue as to how to proceed. He simply nodded, seemingly content to let her handle the situation however she saw fit.
She turned back towards the man before her and gave him a half-hearted smile. She didn't really want his beads, but sensed that it would be rude to turn him away. She surmised that any small task would please him. Thinking quickly, she sat up in her chair and tried to assume the most commanding pose she could muster. She extended her arm towards him, palm down.
"You may kiss my hand."
She feared that her offer might be too token for him, but his face showed only glee. He gathered his beads in one hand and then knelt before her, gingerly taking her hand into his own.
"May I remove the lady's glove?" he asked, looking into her eyes pleadingly.
Angie briefly wondered how many more concessions she might have to make before the night was through, but didn't see a good reason to deny his request.
He then set about carefully pulling each of the fingers loose before gently sliding the entire glove off her arm. He then took her naked hand in both of his and leaned forward to place a soft loving kiss on the back of her hand. His ginger touch and obvious enthusiasm was enough to send goosebumps racing up her arm. He then turned her hand over and placed the glove in her palm. Next, he stood up and offered his beads to her. Sensing that he meant to place them on her himself, she leaned forward slightly. With a smile, he slowly draped the beads over her neck and stepped aside.
Behind him stood another man with beads in hand. And then another, and another. Angie turned to her prince seated next to her for some indication of what to do next. He gave none.
"M'lady, I offer my beads for the chance to please you."
She offered him the chance to kiss her cheek. He did so gleefully and just as sensually as the man before him. She noticed that he smelled good.
The next man got to kiss her foot, reveling in the chance to slowly unzip her boot. He then ran his hands slowly from the top of her calf down as he lifted her leg to his lips - more goosebumps.
She became more bold with each subsequent suitor, willingly testing the bounds of her newly discovered power. Her other glove and boot came off. Then she tasked a man with putting her gloves and boots back on. Accumulating too many beads to wear, she tasked another man with holding them for her.
It wasn't only men in line. There were women too. The first was an extremely tall blonde with never ending cleavage. She demanded a kiss on the lips and was rewarded with a soft, wet, and tasty one. Another girl, a shorter redhead was instructed to suckle on her earlobe. Angie savored the girl's sweet perfume as she used her tongue to draw Angie's earlobe into her mouth. Angie cooed as she felt the girl's glossy lips work back and forth.
One by one, the suitors came to her and were granted a small token of her sexual affection. Angie was extremely turned on and she was sure it was no secret. Each suitor clearly sought to seduce her in whatever small way she allowed. Each sigh and moan elicited from her was met with giddy wide grins.
After a torrent of requests, she looked up and noticed that her first suitor had returned with another set of beads. Determined to give him a better reward than last time, she stood up and turned her back to him. She spread her legs slightly and bent over, placing her hands on the armrests of the chair before her. Turning her head, she looked over her shoulder at him.
"Kiss my ass."
She got the reaction she was hoping for. His eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. She realized too late that her instruction might be open to a wider interpretation than she had intended. Turning her head back, she stared into the eyes of her prince, almost daring him to disapprove. Instead he looked on, eyes alight with a slight grin curving the corner of his lips.
The Adonis placed his hands on either side of her thighs, running them slowly upward around the curves of her ass pushing her miniskirt out of the way. Her naked butt was now exposed to the entire crowd behind her with only the thin fabric of the thong pushed up between her cheeks providing any coverage.
He then slowly brought his hands back over the curves of her ass until they met where her cheeks parted. He gripped her buttocks and spread her cheeks apart. Angie gasped as the cool air tickled her exposed crevasse. The Adonis then leaned in close, placing his nose just above the pinched fabric of her thong and took a long slow breath inward.
If it had been any other night or any other situation, Angie would've felt so violated that she would've lost control. She would've screamed, kicked, punched, and tried to run away. Instead, she felt warm. She was a queen tonight and now she was letting her favorite suitor know just how turned on she was. In any other moment, the thought of someone smelling her like this would've been mortifying. Instead, she could only imagine how wonderful the mixture of the juices leaking from her sex, the sweat, and even the heady aroma of her dirtiest part must seem to him.
He held his breath for a moment, as if he was trying to forever transfix her scent into his memory. Then he let it out with a satisfied sigh. Next Angie felt a finger loop around the edge of her thong and expertly pull it aside. Angie closed her eyes and held her breath. A moment later, his lips settled onto her sphincter. He did not linger. After a simple gentle kiss, he withdrew - replacing her thong and pulling her miniskirt back down.
Angie stood frozen for a moment, sorting her lingering discomfort from the waves of pleasure now washing over her. She had almost orgasmed when he kissed her. She could still feel the quivering of her sex radiating outward over the rest of her body. It was so dirty, so naughty, so... good.
Regaining her composure, she turned around and smiled at him. He looked extremely pleased and smiled even wider as he offered his beads to her. She took them from his hand and scanned the crowd before her. There was nobody left in line, yet everyone was watching. They were enthralled, and maybe just a bit jealous of her Adonis.
A quick scan of the necks in the room quickly brought Angie to the conclusion that she now possessed all of the beads. Was that the point of this whole exercise? She turned to her prince and gave him an inquisitive look. He smiled.
"Very good my Angel. Now all you have to do... is give them back."
"Oh my god, you're such a slut Angie!"
Angie wasn't really stunned by her friend's outburst, considering how dripping with sarcasm it was. Yet, she couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt as some small voice within her insisted on agreeing with Jaime.
"Oh, come on! You know I'm only teasing you. But my god! You had WAY more fun than I did last night!"
Having lived through the experience herself, Angie wasn't so sure.
"You think so?" she asked.
Jaime blew a raspberry at her and frowned in mock jealousy. "Oh absolutely! It's like last night came out of some artsy porn flick!"
"Ha! Whatever," Angie scoffed.
Jaime scooted her chair closer to Angie and leaned onto the table towards her. "Okay, so tell me. What happened next? Did you end up the centerpiece in some giant orgy?"
Jaime frowned, "There's no use in being coy now. Spill it!"
"Actually, I don't really remember what happened next."
Angie shook her head, "No really... the next thing I remember was waking up in his limo..."