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Masquerade

by SJZ76 12/07/10

December was sending out the year with a frosty disregard for scantily clad party goers. It was beyond cold. It was frigid. Ella had only left the cozy interior of the car seconds ago, and there was already frost forming on her eyelashes. Well, almost. She stood shivering on the sidewalk and watched her best friend primp in the car's window. Looking at her, Ella regretted her own choice in apparel for the twentieth time that night. She watched as Katy made some last minute adjustments to her outfit before they made their way into the masquerade party. It was taking a surprisingly long time considering there wasn't much to it; a red halter top trimmed with faux white fur paired with a shockingly brief black skirt, black fishnet stockings, and black, thigh high, vinyl boots with impossibly high heels. Last time she had checked, Halloween was still in October. Ella shrugged. Katy had never been particularly.....subtle.

She looked down at her own outfit. It was a simple black cocktail dress. It had thin straps and a square neckline that she thought flattered her figure nicely. The skirt was soft and full and flirted above her knees. Her favorite part of it was the back -- it plunged daringly low. She supposed it was rather understated, but the mask she had chosen for the night was very ornate. She toyed with it while she waited. It was typical masquerade style with elaborate beading and trim. It was all black, the only color coming from a bold emerald colored feather. She had gotten a bit daring with her eye make up and slicked on some deep red lipstick. She had cajoled her hair into a crown of glossy ringlets, and she had given in when Katy insisted that Ella wear a pair of stilettos and giant silver loop earrings to up the "sex factor." Even with those additions, Ella felt rather plain next to her flamboyant friend. A group of men walked by, whistling and calling out their appreciation for Katy's outfit. She grinned, winked, and curtseyed for them. Katy, finally finished with her adjustments, arched a brow at Ella's expression.

"Don't be so prim," she teased. "I told you that this party required a bit more sex. Remember, we don't even get to speak for the first couple hours. And you can't take your mask off. "

Ella groaned and rolled her eyes. "I know, I know! I'm supposed to seduce without speaking, tempt and tantalize with body language. Got it. Just one question, how did you talk me into this?"

"You know how." Katy grabbed Ella's hand and tugged her towards the entrance to the club. "As my best friend, you're obligated to be my wingman when needed. It's rumored that there will be many a hot man there tonight. So you're needed. Now quit whining and use those pretty painted lips to find some mischief tonight."

Ella knew she was bested. There was no way to talk her best friend out of a party. She could at least whine a little bit as they trudged through the arctic parking lot. "Who goes to masquerade parties for Christmas anyway?"

"We do. What better way to celebrate the holidays than securing a spot on Santa's Naughty List?" Katy slipped a ruby red mask covered in sequins and rhinestones into place. She winked at the door man before sashaying into the club. Ella tugged her mask on and followed obediently.

The club had been transformed -- Mardi Gras meets Christmas. Red and white silky fabric covered the tables and dripped over railings. Long ropes of Mardi Gras beads tangled over Christmas boughs. Glittering mirrored balls dripping with mistletoe hung above each table. The wait staff looked like elves that got lost on Bourbon Street. LOTS of bare chests... on both the men and the women. The entire place looked like a bad Santa's Workshop porn set, especially considering the amount of body glitter and baby oil gyrating on the dance floor.

Katy had already insinuated herself into the center of the crowd. Even with her usual witty banter temporarily muted, she was in her element and certainly didn't need a wingman. As she scanned the room, Ella wondered briefly how she was supposed to order a drink without speaking. A waiter seemingly appeared out of thin air with a tray packed with wine glasses and shot glasses and bottles of beer. He was dressed in old fashioned tails and also wore a mask. He, of course, wore no shirt. The coat was buttoned over his belly, but from what she could see - he had a body worthy of the Chippendale's stage. She accepted a bottle with a smile and a tip of her head.

She found a spot by the corner of the bar and watched the scene in front of her. Beautiful bodies clad in practically nothing gyrated together on the dance floor. It seemed like Santa's Slutty Helper was the theme for the night. Little clusters of people batted masked lashes at each other around the edges of the room. The shadows in the corners seemed to move, no doubt filled with illicit couplings. As she toyed with her drink, she wondered if she'd have to guts to get freaky with a stranger in the middle of a club. She took a swig from her bottle. The thought had appeal... Her mind drifted to the possibilities of a blatantly anonymous hook up.

"Ahem!"

The whisper seemed to echo against her ear and she jumped, startled rudely out of her little fantasy. She looked up to find a very tall, lean man leaning on the bar next to her. He was dressed casually. Surprisingly, he wore a shirt. And no body oil or glitter. Just a crisp looking white button up shirt and jeans. His mask was brown suede, completing his very subtle look. She met his eyes; chocolate brown, framed with thick lashes, and sparkling with mirth. What she could see of his face seemed attractive. A nice jaw line covered in a ridiculously sexy five o'clock shadow, strong cheek bones, and a very, very enticing mouth. He had dark hair - she couldn't quite tell what color -- cut short. She quirked a brow at him. He leaned in against her, intimately nuzzled into her hair. Again he whispered.

"You're killing me with that bottle routine." He pulled back and looked pointedly at the bottle she still held to her lips. She blushed as she realized that she had been running it over her bottom lip while she'd been caught in her day dream.

She leaned into him to whisper. "Apologies, sir. I was lost in thought. You do know that speaking is strictly forbidden?"

"I'm not much for following the rules. You don't seem the type either." He shrugged away the idea of conforming. She opened her mouth to protest that she wasn't a rebel at all. The allure of being a bad girl stopped the words. She smiled instead and mimicked his shrug. She drank from her bottle again. Sliding her gaze his way, she slid the bottle across her lower lip. Her tongue slipped out to trace the lip of the bottle. She murmured the slightest sound of pleasure. She watched through lower lashes for his reaction. His focus was on her mouth. She licked her lips. He mirrored her in what had to be an involuntary response. He really had the most delectable mouth, she thought. She wanted to slip her tongue over his lower lip, just as he had.

Reluctantly dragging her gaze from his too-sexy mouth, she scanned the room for Katy. She was on the dance floor, seducing a group of men with the gyrations of her little black skirt. Ella smirked. Katy wouldn't have hesitated for a moment; she would have followed her urge and kissed the rule breaker right on his tempting mouth. She sighed and took another sip from her bottle.

"What are you thinking about that is making you sigh so sorrowfully?" He whispered against her neck. The intimacy of speaking like this, of breaking a frivolous rule, made her pulse jump. She turned into him a bit more, her body inches from his. She lifted her face so her check was against hers.

She mustered her courage and boldly slid a hand into the hair at the back of his neck. She dropped her voice and murmured, "I'm thinking about breaking another rule."

His hands found the small of her back, tugging her closer. "What rule?"

"The one that states you should never make out with masked strangers."

His fingers flexed on her back. His whiskers scraped against her cheek as he nuzzled her hair. "That rule is antiquated and absurd. You should most definitely break it."

She hesitated. This sort of thing never happened in her life. The only risks she took were calculated. She wasn't here to hook up with a random stranger; she was here to support Katy. She glanced over her shoulder at the dance floor. Katy was dirty dancing between two glittery, over grown elves. Obviously she didn't need assistance. Oh what the hell, she thought. You only live once.

Ella put down her bottle. She slid her other hand up his chest and raised up onto her toes. His mouth was barely an inch from hers. She peeked up at him through her lashes. His gaze was on her mouth, eyes bright with anticipation, but he wasn't going to take this kiss. This one was hers. She closed the distance and brushed her lips across his. Her eyes drifted closed and she sank into the sensation of him. He responded immediately. His mouth opened over hers, his hands fisted in the fabric of her dress. She pressed more fully against him. He was....hard. Aroused. His erection was pressing into her belly. A heady rush of excitement and power and lust poured through her.

The kiss was, to be cliché, the hottest thing she had every experienced. It wiped all coherent thought from her head, along with the ability to reason. She wanted this man. She didn't care what his name was, where he was from, if she was going to see him again. Katy told her to find mischief, right? He turned her so her back was to the bar. His hands slid to her waist and she was vaguely aware of being boosted onto a stool. He spread her thighs with a nudge from one of his and then stepped between them. His fingers slipped into her curls. He tugged her head back just a bit. The sensation that danced from her scalp, down her spine, made her moan. He took her mouth again and plundered. She slipped her hands under his shirt, up onto his belly. Mmmmmmm, hard. She traced the ridges of his abdomen. She moved her touch around his sides, up his back, down to his butt. The man was hot and hard and everything that any woman every fantasized about.

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