I enjoy parties. Love the noise, the people – well, the ladies, particularly. And of course the music. So that party might be rather fun. The invitation, from a friend I had almost forgotten about, the way one forgets, said something about a masked gothic night. Gothic? Guests were expected to wear a disguise, as well as a face mask. I thought about this for a little while. Visions of “Eyes Wide Shut” came to my mind. Then I sought the opinion of my darling wife. “Well, she said, the invite is really for you, nominally, and says nothing about partners, wives, or husbands, for that matter. So, do feel free! As far as the “gothic” thing goes, you have a nice uniform to use!”
My wife was referring to my old Dracula outfit. I ruminated for a few more minutes. There was still time to plan – or desist. The friend – Oscar – had requested RSVP by Thursday night. The party was on Friday, starting at 8 pm. It was now 10am on Thursday, the day before.
I had a busy afternoon. In the evening I told my wife I wished to go, would she mind? “Of course not dear, as a matter of fact, I have a book club evening tomorrow, you know, with my chums?” “O yes, I replied, that bunch of nice women!” Indeed the club was a nice bunch… I emailed my friend I would join the party.
On Friday morning I had a few meetings to attend to, then a working lunch with a big customer. The day went by quickly. I was back home by 7pm. Time to breath. I had a shower, relaxed, playing Infinity Blade for an hour on the old iPad. My wife popped in, getting ready for her club. “Enjoy yourself, dear, and don’t get too drunk!” I smiled, and wished her a nice evening.
I got myself kitted out as the old Count. Took me a little while to get the make up right. You know the pale cheeks, the red lips… The eyes mask was perfect.
I got to my friend’s house, a smart place in Mayfair, parked the Aston Martin in the underground and walked in, as the party was getting into speed. The bar was well suited to a “gothic night” with plenty of vodka, Hungarian champagne and delicious caviar. There was a live band. Everyone was masked. The dancing space was facing the garden with large bay windows open to a terrace, and to the late summer evening. I got a bit tipsy on champagne, observing the dancing couples, feeling my way through a crowd of charming people. The costumes were delicious, ranging from true gothic – razor blades and stuff – to ghostly appearances.
Advising a lonely female silhouette, dressed up in a revealing Medusa outfit, I launched into my first invite of the evening. We spoke as we danced, she appeared to be Russian. After a while I realised she was probably a tart. She left me anyway to dance with a tall, muscly vampire. A bit relieved, I walked around listening to conversations, observing the ladies. I drank a few more glasses of champagne, then switched to vodka. The party was now in full swing. I felt happy, and free. The band was playing metal rock and club tunes in turn. I undertook to visit the house, followed a staircase – marble and chandeliers – up to a first floor that consisted of a long corridor with many doors. People were coming in and out of what were, in all appearance, bedrooms. Indeed looking into one of the rooms, I withdrew in a haste, from the sight of a bed covered with half naked bodies.
Back in the main room I stood at the bar, looking around. Suddenly I saw her. The succubus, her disguise was amazing: she looked the part, at the same time bleak and – sensually – appealing, a mystery woman. Her black hair tight into a bun, the very white forehead, the rest of her face hidden behind a hideous mask. She was sitting, alone, observing the dance floor, as if lost in a dream. I seized two glasses, one of champagne, the other of vodka. I walked to her, smiling, introduced myself as the Count, offered her the champagne, which she accepted. I started talking some nonsense about what a lovely evening that was, and how good the band was. Then I continued talking about the music, and the atmosphere of the party.
She remained dead silent. I could not see her face, so had to assume she was listening. I drank the vodka – must have been glass no 12 or so – and invited her to dance. We walked to the centre of the floor, in the middle of a large group of masked dancers. We moved slowly. Her scent was vaguely familiar but I did not enquire. I talked more nonsense, then decided I would have a go. Her body was supple and she danced well. I got closer, and she opposed no resistance, following my steps gracefully. I felt elated to hold her so close. More minutes passed, and I was closer, perilously. She was still silent. I offered more champagne, and she acquiesced, silently. So I went to the bar, got the drinks, walked back. We stood, silent for long minutes. The room felt now rather hot. I talked to her, in a low voice, about the instant, the pleasure I had in dancing with her, how beautiful and mysterious she looked.
Her silence was exciting, and provoking. My succubus was the real article. I offered another dance. Now the band was into serious metal. We rocked, her pace was very assured, while mine was getting more hesitant. I felt a bit dizzy. I offered the terrace, for fresh air. Silently my “partner” agreed. We crossed the room, her holding my arm, reached the terrace, found a bench. The air was cool outside, exactly what I need to dissipate the vodka’s fumes. The tunes were reaching us, the noise of the enchanted crowd inside, a dimmed backdrop. I realised I wanted to make an offer. Succubus was sitting upright but visibly at ease. Her presence was… stimulating. I said I was free for the evening, and would be delighted to go further if she so wished. Succubus was silent. I took my chance, an arm around her shoulder, meeting no resistance. Minutes passed. I slowly turned towards her: “ I cannot kiss you with that mask on” I said somewhat hesitantly.
“Then why don’t you take it off old fool!” said my wife with a laugh, taking off her mask. “And by the way I pinched your car keys, so you’ll have to walk home!” And Succubus went into the night.
A screenshot showing combat in Infinity Blade. The character’s and enemy’s health bars are at the top of the screen, the dodge buttons are at the bottom left and right, and the shield icon is in the bottom center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)