Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 29

A Party

OK, I hear some of the more nautical of my fans groaning, “When are we going to get back onto the water?” Patience, friends, we’ll get there. Meanwhile, we do get to find out exactly what that magic necklace does.

Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 29

We took a cab to the party, and I was glad to have Pierre to help me out when we arrived. As tall as I am, I seldom wear heels at all, and the ones I was wearing that night were the highest I had ever worn. I wobbled a bit and leaned on Pierre for support, then giggled as I realized I now towered over him. We were greeted at the door by a servant in a tuxedo – maybe the butler, but I wasn’t sure about which servant would be doing what. I’d have to ask Pierre to clarify such things for me if we were going to be moving in these sorts of circles. It was clear that Pierre himself moved in this particular circle fairly often, as the butler (or whatever he was) greeted him. “Ah, Monsieur Pierre, it has been so long since you last visited. And I see you have brought a new girl. Ah, she is the most beautiful yet.”

Pierre lifted my left hand so the butler could see the wedding ring. “This one’s for keeps,” he said.

“She has enchanted you, then,” the butler said, kissing my hand. “Ah, the other girls, they will be so disappointed to hear that you have been taken.”

We proceeded to the main room; I was gradually becoming accustomed to the tall shoes, but I was still unsteady enough that I needed to hang onto Pierre for support. As we approached the doorway, I could hear the sounds of a very large crowd, talk, laughter, music, and the sounds of roulette wheels and slot machines.

I was unprepared for what happened next. As we stepped through the doorway, the noise dropped abruptly, not all the way to silence, but still, a sharp hush. All eyes were on me, and I wondered what I had just done to draw such attention to myself. Was Pierre so well known that everybody had to look and see what his latest new girl looked like? Or was I so clumsy on my heels that I stood out? I did notice a distinction among the crowd: All of the men, and a few of the women, were smiling appreciatively, as if I were a work of art. The majority of the women, however, simply looked startled. What was that about? Sure, in that dress, I did look good. But from the neck up, I wasn’t much to look at. My hair was still the unruly tomboy mop I’d had most of my life, and I seldom wore makeup, although for this occasion I had applied just a touch, far from the glamour look that all of the other women in the room wore. Taken by surprise, I stumbled, and I would have fallen if Pierre hadn’t been there to catch me.

Suddenly, the room sprang back to noise and life, as people surged toward us, offering to help me to a chair, offering champagne and canapés and cigarettes, overwhelming me, sweeping me into the room with Pierre trailing behind. Almost as an afterthought, people began to notice him. “Pierre, what a lovely girl you have brought this time!” “Such a beauty, where did you find her?” “You lucky devil, how do you get all the pretty ones?”

Pierre put an arm around my waist and again showed my wedding ring. “This is the only pretty one I need now,” he said, smiling up at me and winking.

“This is news,” one of the men said. “Pierre, the eternal bachelor, got himself trapped. Well, old friend, if you had to get trapped, you certainly picked a stunning girl to get trapped by.” He raised his champagne glass in a toast. “To Pierre and, uh …” He paused and leaned over to Pierre. “Uh, what is her name?” he whispered.

“It’s Sarah,” Pierre said.

“To Pierre and Sarah!” the man said, straightening up and raising his glass again.

I felt my face grow hotter and hotter, and I wondered how anyone could consider me beautiful if my face was as red as it felt. I switched focus to Pierre’s eyes to see what I looked like as he looked up at me. Yes, I was blushing, but it wasn’t detracting from my looks. There was a radiance, some sort of subtle glow that seemed to shimmer, almost imperceptibly, around me. I realized that glow actually was imperceptible to ordinary people, but it was affecting their perceptions. Pierre was stretching up on tiptoe, and I realized he wanted to whisper something in my ear, so I bent down. “Dora used to turn heads like that,” he said. “She could walk into a room with the glitteriest of high society, and she would out-glitter them all. And it wasn’t just heads; she turned, uh, other organs as well.”

“Let me guess,” I said. “She was wearing this necklace.”

“Come to think of it, that was the one she usually wore to these sorts of occasions.”

Having pinpointed the cause of my becoming the center of attention, I was able to relax and enjoy myself more. I worked on learning how not to fall off my shoes, and then on how to walk in them gracefully, so that I would no longer need to lean on Pierre for support – at least physically. As the men in the room came into orbit around me, eager to please, it was good to keep Pierre with me to keep them from overwhelming me. It was an odd feeling to know that, if I wanted anything, I would have dozens of people eager to run and fetch. I wondered whether queens felt that way.

With the crowd’s attention focused on me, we wouldn’t have wanted to try anything magic even if it had been safe, so we just cruised through the room, playing the different games in totally non-magic fashion, and by the end of the evening, we had lost some money, but not much. We danced some, too, although that was awkward for me. I had never learned dancing before, and those high shoes were a handicap. Pierre, however, was an accomplished dancer and was able to lead me in some basic steps, in spite of being so much shorter than I was. “We’re going to have to see about getting you some lessons,” he said.

I bent down to whisper in his ear. “Only if you can be my teacher,” I said, brushing his cheek with a light kiss. “You’re the only partner I want.”

“Ooh, we’re going to get hot when we tango!” he whispered back. Both our bodies were physically responding to the idea, and we decided it was time to leave the party and get back to our hotel room. I couldn’t help but notice a few envious glances from Pierre’s friends as we departed.


Blogger Tillerman said...

Uh oh. I can see that next week's chapter is going to have major chunks redacted again.

Wed Apr 19, 01:02:00 PM MDT  

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