Lying Through Her Fangs
A range of emotions filtered through me like water winding down a stream bed and the strongest one was utter confusion.
“I have a date so who were you expecting?” I stammered up at Christianna’s face.
“Me,” came a mellow voice from behind the group.
He was the perfect image of a Latin Lothario and the devilry in his eyes showed that this scene was not fazing him one bit. Looking around, he was the only one not affected by this turn of events.
Stepping around my best friend, he extended his hand to me. “I’m Brian, as you now know. And you would be the beautiful Xylia. It’s a pleasure meeting you.” He bowed over our joined hands and fanned his hot breath over my skin in the resemblance of a kiss.
Slowly, I pulled my hand from his and pasted a smile on my face. If he read my eyes then he would know it wasn’t an eager smile, but a polite one.
“I’d like to say that it’s a pleasure but it seems there was a lack of communication somewhere.” Then I captured the gaze of my uncertain best friend. “Did you listen to the voice mails that I’ve left you?”
“Yes but I thought that you were just trying to get me off course so I left things alone. I’m taking it that wasn’t the case?”
“I stated that I was keeping my plans and that is what I meant,” The smile kept the edge off my tone.
“No worries, as there are no other engagements for me this evening and Christianna didn’t bring a date, so I will just be her gentleman for the evening. No sense letting a wonderful evening go to waste when there is food and dancing to enjoy.”
Christianna looked at him then me. Twice. She had the nerve to shrug. “Sounds good to me. Brian, how are you at dancing?”
He answered her but still looked at me, “I’m well trained in the ways of body movement and excel at many of them.”
Christianna cleared her throat, “Let’s get a drink, Brian.” She nodded her head toward the bar and walked off in the expectation that he would follow her. Few men didn’t and tonight should be no exception as she looked like a siren of the sea in her variegated dress of blues and aquas. Her stilettos were nude crystal coated and added four more inches to her already five feet nine inches frame.
Nothing was uttered by Hael until Brian had indeed gone after my blonde friend. “That was not awkward in the least.” He stated with a double portion of sarcasm.
Turning to see him completely, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“At least you know this was not my doing and I am giving you bonus points for handling it so well.”
“Hmm, bonus points?” His features transformed into a slight leer and my laughter sounded more genuine.
“Bring it down a few decibels, Hael,” I replied.
“I better or you’ll take my points back away from me,” was given to me with a simple grin and a meager bit of tension left me. “Why don’t I get us another round of drinks?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
Then he headed off. I took a few moments to analyze my feelings in silence. I wasn’t sure how to take Hael’s flirting, especially after him seeing a good looking man had been preassigned to my dance card. Then Brian’s replies to me were even more to digest as it was just plain out of the ordinary. How do I get through the evening in this current predicament? Not with poise, it would seem as I was struck with a total loss of words on how to wave this whole thing away. Maybe another glass of wine and the distraction of dinner arriving would solve that problem for me. I hoped so.
“He had a different red but he said he preferred this one,” Hael wound his arm around my shoulders with the glass extended in front of my face.
“I appreciate it. I’m sorry for all of this.”
“You have nothing to apologize for since this wasn’t your doing. We’ll just agree to go with the flow and see what happens.”
Letting the sincerity of his words take hold, I raised my glass to his. “Here’s to chance encounters.”
“And the beauty of fate,” Hael added with a look in his eyes that made me want to shiver.
I inclined my head to him and tapped my glass with his. What else could I say? If he’d been a man I had been dating for a while then this moment would flow with the ease of being on familiar ground.
We silently took in the mingling people and the few more who came in before the doors to the ballroom were closed by attendants. A second gong sounded and a stream of wait staff waded through the linen covered tables. The salad course was set at our place settings and the staff was gazing at the cards in front of each of us before leaving each item. I nodded at the one given to me with the red dressing and the gentleman looked at me then at Hael.
“The other, sir.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he acknowledged as a plate greens with a creamy white dressing was slid into place for Hael.
It was handled so well that only few would pick up on what had happened. As I’d never brought a human to a work event before, it had never stuck in my mind.
After that course was settled, I felt him slip closer to me.
“Do I ask why you picked out my salad for me?”
“Remember how I said there would be choices for dinner?”
He nodded at me.
“You got the human course,” I answered very quietly.