Monday, January 6, 2014

As the Ball Drops

As the Ball Drops
Eva Rayne

I had told McKenna what felt like a dozen times that I didn't want to do anything this new years eve. My love life, hell my life in general, had been pretty dull since Braden, my boyfriend of two years, and I had broken up several weeks ago and the last thing I wanted to do tonight was go to a party, let alone our law firm's stupid annual new years eve masquerade ball.

But here I was, holding my breath as McKenna pulled up the zipper of the deep blue ball gown she had brought over for me.

"You look beautiful!" she cried, spinning me around to face her. "Wait, hang on," she adjusted one of my curls, "There, now you're perfect!"

I felt like I had been her Barbie all afternoon. It had started with "Let's just add a little wave to your hair," which ended up being completely curled. She had also insisted on doing my make up herself. I still didn't understand the point of spending almost half an hour perfecting my make up when I'd be wearing a mask for the majority of the night, but apparently McKenna did, and it was important to her at least, so that's what we did. 

"Now you just need your mask." Careful not to muss my carefully placed curls, McKenna place the mask over my eyes, pulling the thin black elastic strap around my head. "I thought it would go perfectly with the dress and it does! Go look in the mirror," she demanded before going back into the bathroom to change into her own dress. 

Following orders, just as I had all night I stood in front of my full length mirror. I had to admit, she had done a fantastic job, I almost didn't recognize myself. The deep blue dress hugged the curves of my upper body before it turned into a full skirt. I normally wouldn't have picked something out for myself with this much glitter - the skirt was covered in thin layer of it and my chest was decorated with an intricate pattern of tiny, sparkling beads - but I actually loved it. I couldn't help but think I looked like a princess. 

As much as I loved the dress, the mask was my favorite part of the costume. It was a simple black mask covering my eyes and part of my forehead. The black seemed to sparkle, but wasn't choked in glitter the way some of the masks I had seen at these parties were. There was a handful of white beads sewn into the mask, bright, shining, against the black. They looked like stars in a dark night sky.

"Are you ready?" McKenna asked, reappearing in my room. Her dress was a light purple, her mask was the same color and covered in sparkles. She looked young and flirty in all the ways I looked older, more mysterious. 

"Yeah, I'm ready."

It was only ten thirty and I was wondering yet again why I had let McKenna talk me into this. She had sworn up and down that it would be good for me, that I needed to get out there again, and that she wouldn't leave my side all night if I didn't want her to. But, in true McKenna fashion, the second we were in the door to the ballroom she had disappeared. She may be the world's best assistant, and a wonderful friend - for the most part - but she was still a little naive. She was still under the impression that no one knew she had started seeing the new intern up in legal, but I had known for weeks and I was pretty sure that's where she had disappeared to.

The expansive ball room was filled with our entire company, as well as what seemed like half the community. Our firm had been throwing this party every new years eve for as long as I had worked for them and all the proceeds from the tickets went to charity and every year the turn out seemed bigger than the last. 

I stood off to the side, sipping a martini that the very nice bartender had been kind enough to refill...again. It would have been easy to pretend that I was in a movie, some of the dresses and masks were definitely elaborate enough to be right out of a movie. It was almost eleven and I had started to wonder if anyone would notice if I slipped out a side door and took a cab home.

I had almost made up my mind to go when I felt someone step up next to me. I turned and looked and was suddenly very glad I stayed. The man standing next to me was wearing a well tailored black suit with thin gold trim around his jacket that matched the golden mask on his face. 

"What are you doing over here all by yourself?" he asked, not looking at me but out over the crowd just as I had been moments before.

"No date," I said shrugging, "I didn't think I was coming until the very last minute." At this the mystery man turned to face me and raised an eyebrow.

"Six hundred dollar tickets and you didn't know if you were going to come or not?"

I shook my head, "I work for the company, it's kind of expected of us to be here,"

"So you're a lawyer?" he asked, sounding genuinely interested.

"For a couple years now, I love it," I said nodding before bringing my glass up to me lips.

"Let me get you another of those," he nodded at my now empty martini glass, "And then I have a proposition for you." His mysterious tone had caught my attention and I handed him my glass, "Don't move." His bright blue eye sparkled behind his mask and I smiled. 

"I'll be right here,"

When my mystery man reappeared he handed me my glass, sipping on a tumbler of his own, filled with something amber colored.

"So, what is this proposition you have for me," I asked after a moment of silence, running my finger around the lip of my martini glass. 

"How would you feel about ringing in the new year with a bang?" he asked, turning to face me. His tone was mysterious but the excited twinkle in his eye made me feel bold.

"Let's do it." I couldn't help the smile playing on my lips. Setting his tumbler on a near by table he grabbed my hand. I had barely enough time to set my own glass down before he was pulling me after him. We slid through a small side door which led down a carpeted hallway. I couldn't help but laugh as we ran down the hallway, headed who knows where. 

After a minute though I had to pull on his hand, "Hey, slow down," I said through breathless giggles, leaning against the wall. 

"Are you okay?" he asked, coming to stand in front of me, looking slightly worried. 

"I'm fine," I said shaking me head, "The combination of vodka and heels and running though, recipe for disaster," he chuckled, shaking his head. 

"Yeah, I know, I'm adorable," I said, poking his chest, feeling bold.

"Have you seen yourself tonight?" he asked, raising an eyebrow again and I looked up at him confused. "That dress? You're gorgeous," as his eyes flickered over my body the excited sparkle turned dark with lust. 

"Thank you," I said softly, my hand now resting lightly against his chest. He was so close now, his scent invading my senses.

"You're very welcome," his voice was low and husky, his hands hovering lightly against my hips. Feeling bold I pushed myself off from the wall and his arm quickly found its way around my waist, holding me against him. His other hand gently tipped my chin up and before I could think of anything remotely witty to say his lips were finding mine.

What was that old saying, that one about doing on new years day what you wanted to do all year? If how I felt now - the butterflies in my stomach, the electricity racing along my skin where he touched me, the heat running through my veins, spreading through out my body - was any indicator, I was going to be in for a very good year.

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