Angie frowned, “My dark prince?”
He smiled, “The Devil, Lucifer, Satan, Beelzebub, whatever… just no names.”
Angie took a sip of her drink as she contemplated the latest turn of events. What was he trying to hide? Why try to hide it? Maybe anonymity was simply the order of the evening. After all, she found herself extremely attracted to him. She couldn’t dismiss him yet. She was curious to know what he had in mind.
“Okay Dark Prince,” she said with a tinge of sarcasm, “What now?”
He paused a moment to look her over. It seemed as if he was weighing something heavy in his mind.
“I’d like to go for a walk – talk for a bit.”
“A walk?” Angie answered, a bit surprised, “Well I can’t just leave my fr…”
“I’ll bring you right back,” he interrupted with a smile.
“Well… it is a bit cold out…”
“I’ll keep you warm,” he interrupted again.
The simple suggestion of him doing so, warmed her cheeks immediately. She could feel that warmth spreading from another place on her body as well.
Here she was being asked to disappear into the night with a dark, handsome masked stranger. She had only met him a minute ago. Alarm bells should have been ringing in her head right and left with images of rape and murder. Instead, she only pondered the opportunity to get closer to him, to feel his embrace, to learn his secrets.
“Okay, but just a quick walk,” she answered with a hesitancy that belied her true excitement.
With a swift motion, he downed the rest of his drink and set it down. He stood away from the bar and offered his arm to Angie.
Angie smiled and took his arm, secretly delighted at the prospect of embracing him, even if only in this simple way. Arms linked, they made their way from the bar and out the door into the downtown scene that loomed just beyond. His friends watched him and Angie leave the bar with no concern apparent on their faces as to who she was or where he was taking her.
As they stepped outside, the cool night air confronted Angie, causing her to immediately seek the shelter of his arms. He obliged willingly, extending his arm and ample cape around her shoulder. Angie, couldn’t help but sigh contentedly. Despite the bizarre situation she found herself in, she felt comfortable.
They walked slowly down the street, passing one bar-front after another. The night was alive with the sounds of car stereos on the cruise, late-night vendors hawking their food wares, and the shouts of laughter from the hodgepodge of drunken Marti Gras partiers. Angie smirked at the girls who went bouncing by her. Bedecked in numerous party beads atop crumpled shirt-tops that were stretched and distorted from multiple liftings, the girls seemed proud of their bounty – a testament to their own promiscuity. A brief thought of Jaime flashed through Angie’s mind and was dismissed just as quickly in favor of nuzzling closer to the dark stranger who confidently marched her down the sidewalk. For his own part, he seemed to ignore everyone else completely.
After walking a couple blocks in silent embrace, they took a turn off the main drag heading towards the business district. As the cacophony of vehicles, vendors, and gluttonous vagrants slowly died down behind them, Angie began to get worried.
“Where are we going?”
He motioned over to a small park clearing in front of a nearby tall office building.
“Just over here. I thought we might sit and talk for a bit where it is quieter.”
Angie half-turned and looked behind her. They wouldn’t be very far off the beaten path.
“Okay,” she nodded.
They crossed the street and entered the clearing nestled in the shadow of the skyscraper behind it. It wasn’t much – just a patch of grass, some bushes, a few leafy trees, and a couple park benches. Compared to the din they just left behind, it seemed quite pleasant.
The stranger took off his cape, and half draped it over a bench. He held it up for her and motioned for her to sit on it. She did and he draped the rest of it over her shoulders, enveloping her in it’s velvety warmth. He straddled the bench and sat right up next to her, placing a gentle hand on her thigh.
“You know,” he began, “you are beautiful. I was drawn to you the moment I laid eyes on you.”
Angie blushed, not sure how to respond. Instead she looked up into his hazel eyes, nearly obscured in the recesses of his mask. Perhaps they contained the key to his mystery. He was unflinching in returning his gaze. There was a darkness to his eyes. Something haunted lurked within them, yet he didn’t try to hide it. Instead, his eyes invited her to peer into them. While she couldn’t know his name, she was welcome to see his nature. He was conflicted, but confident and strong. There was no malice in him, yet a subtle weariness in his visage suggested that it had every right to be.
The intensity of their eye-contact overwhelmed Angie and she wistfully turned her head away.
“You brought me all the way here just to say that?” she asked, half-kidding.
“No,” came his assured reply.
Then his hand drifted up off of her lap, a finger trailing in the folds of the cape as he delicately traced the contours of her ensconced body up to the nape of her neck. Gently, he turned her chin back towards him and slowly leaned inward. He angled his head so his mask wouldn’t rub against hers and paused. His lips were just an inch away from her own, waiting to see if she would turn away again.
She couldn’t. She wouldn’t. She wanted nothing more in that moment than to feel his lips against hers, to taste his essence, to finally see if he had the spark to unleash the fire kindling within her.
After a moment of agonizing anticipation, his lips met hers. He was very gentle, only barely grazing her lips with his. It partly seemed as if he was teasing her, she wanted to drink him in so badly. Yet at the same time, she could sense there was a danger in going too far too soon. He was in control, and if she was patient, she would learn the full extent of his passion.
His lips were wet, full, and blissfully warm. Like a key set into a lock, they slid perfectly into the crook of her own lips. She could feel the heat welling up in her instantly from their contact. Suddenly, the warmth of the cape was stifling. He lingered only for a moment, then just as slowly and deliberately pulled away. The thinnest strand of dew bridged their lips for a moment, maintaining their erotic connection, and then fell away.
“Mmm…” she cooed.
As she opened her eyes again, she found him still staring intently at her.
“I want to show you something… something special,” he said.
Anything... Everything... Show me everything!
“What is it?” she asked, representing only a mild curiosity.
He stood up and extended his arm to her. Curious and excited, she reached out her hand and took his. He helped her to her feet and then stood behind her and collected his cape from her shoulders.
“I’ll need this back.”
Despite her newfound warmth, Angie shivered as the cold air tickled her naked shoulders. She half-turned and watched as her prince deftly donned his cape in one swift motion. He then stepped up to her and placed an assured hand on her back.
“Where are we going?” she asked as they set off from the bench.
“You’ll see,” he said gesturing towards the building before them. Then almost as an afterthought, he added, “Trust me.”
The stranger marched her confidently up the steps of the building, through the spinning doors, and into the foyer. The security guard lounging at the front desk stood immediately.
“Um, I’m sorry folks but we don’t allow…”
The dark prince produced a shiny silver and black card from his pocket and held it up for the security guard to inspect.
“Go right ahead. Elevator 1 is available.”
Without another word, the stranger urged Angie to step past the security desk and towards the elevators. The security guard immediately resumed lounging behind the desk as if nothing had happened.
A thousand questions flooded Angie’s mind, but she stayed silent. Her own curiosity drove her on and she secretly feared that saying anything now might make him change his mind about where he was taking her.
The elevator door opened as they approached it and they quickly stepped inside. He brandished the card again and slid it into a slot above the numbers on the elevator panel. A chime sounded and he withdrew the card and pocketed it once again. The doors of the elevator slid closed.
Angie gazed at the stranger. She was fearful and excited about what might happen next. She sensed something dark about his character, but did not fear him. He turned to her and spoke.
“When we arrive, follow my lead. Do not speak unless spoken to. Do not take any action without invitation. Above all else, remember that you are here of your own free will and can leave at any time. If you desire to leave, simply tell me and I will escort you back to where we met. Do you understand?”
Angie’s mind raced with all of the possibilities that might occur. What sort of situation was he suggesting? Where were they going? What had she gotten herself into? His droll statement had heightened her excitement, but also filled her with dread. Her only saving grace was that he had promised to bring her away if she was uncomfortable. She wasn’t sure that she trusted him, but she felt comfortable enough to believe that what he said to her was true.
Angie nodded her head. Clearly contented with her affirmation, he smiled and stepped behind her. Leaning in close, he whispered into her ear.
“You are going to have incredible fun.”
And just then, the elevator doors opened.
“Well,” Angie paused, “I’m not sure I should tell you the rest…”
Jaime frowned, “Are you KIDDING me? You can’t start telling me a story like that and then just stop!”
“Well…” Angie trailed off and then sighed.
Visibly stalling, her eyes roamed around the room and then she hid behind her mug as she took a slow deliberate sip of her lukewarm coffee.
“Angie!” Jaime raised her voice, clearly frustrated.
“Well it’s just that…” still stalling, Angie searched for the appropriate words, “Well, it got a little weird.”
“Even better!” Jaime responded, “Now tell me!”
Angie took a long deep sigh and tried to remember all of the details about what happened next.
“Okay, so the elevators opened…”