Big, Poufy Dresses
By: Robin Gagnon
I watched him mingle in the crowded ballroom. His black hair and mask shone in the bright lights that lit up the gold and silver room. He really shouldn’t be here, I knew that, but the other mask adorning guests had no idea who he was. I suppose that was the point of attending a masquerade. It was easy to get in and out without being detected. I couldn’t see his pale blue eyes from here, but I knew they could send shivers up my spine. His good looks and perfect smile were what made him look like he belonged here among the elite.
Descending the grand stair case, I kept my eyes trained onto him so I wouldn’t lose him in the crowd. It took a great deal of concentration to not trip and fall in my ridiculous high heels and lengthy red dress. Who would choose to dress like this for fun, I wasn’t sure. When I finally reached where I had last seen him standing, he was gone. I sighed in frustration and thought to myself, “Dumb, poufy dress.”
I scanned the crowd around me, but a melody had just started and now everyone was moving around to create room on the dance floor for the couples to waltz. It would be just my luck for the dancing to get underway after I had made my way down the stairs. I should have stayed where I was.
Suddenly, a deep, velvety voice startled me from behind, “Care to dance?”
I turned to see him standing behind me with his cold, blue eyes taunting my very existence. He was half bowed with a smirk on his face and one arm behind his back as he curtsied. I let a sly smile escape my lips, but offered him no answer to his question.
Standing straight up, he reached out and took a strand of my wavy, brown hair from behind my ear and brought it to his lips.
“I can’t say I’m surprised to see you here,” he mumbled into my locks. “You’re looking more beautiful than ever tonight.”
“Flattery will get you nowhere,” I smiled with mischievousness in my light, brown eyes. “I know why you’re here.”
He sighed dramatically, “I’m a workaholic, I’m afraid. I’m always about business.”
“I don’t think so,” I replied teasingly. “I’m none of your business.”
He put his dazzling, white teeth on full display as he responded, “Oh, but I want you to be.”
He held out his hand and despite my best interest, I took it. We waltzed for a while, with the heat of his hand burning into my backside, before he eyed me suspiciously. He knew me just as well as I knew him. This wasn’t our first dance and our last one had ended a little more intimately. I had let him get the better of me once, but not this time.
“What’s wrong?” I asked innocently. “You look uneasy.”
“It’s unlike you to come to these social gatherings unless you have your own business to attend to,” he answered analytically. “If you’re after the same prize that I am; you’re going to leave empty handed tonight.”
“Is that so?” I replied casually. “Are you challenging me?”
“It’s not a challenge if I’ve already won,” he taunts me, before handing me off to my next dance partner. “Have a good night miss.”
I turn to see him vanish into the crowd of petticoats and ballroom dresses and smile to myself. He was going to be the one left disappointed tonight. I had seen to that.
After the song ended and everyone began mingling again, I headed toward the back of the ballroom to get a good view of the show that was about to start. Any moment now, somebody would notice that the important piece of the night was missing.
“Guards!” a man yells out, signifying the beginning of the show. “The royal jewels, they’re gone! Someone has stolen them!”
The panic that ensues puts a smile to my face, as I join in. I’ve always known that man to love a good chase and he didn’t disappoint tonight.
“I saw a suspicious man walk out of the throne room,” a woman calls out with distraught written all over her face. “He had black hair and blue eyes and was wearing a black mask.”
The guards immediately rush over to question her and I begin to walk towards the exit. I wish I could see the look on his handsome face once he figures out that the jewels aren’t real and his name is wanted for cheap replicas.
I smile to myself, as I take my leave completely unnoticed with a secret under the many layers of my clothing. I suppose there was one upside to big, poufy dresses.