Excerpt from With Love from Val and Tyne Anthology
Laurie Ryan was absentmindedly fixing dinner for her ten year old twin brothers when the doorbell rang. Terry, who was older by six minutes, ran to open it. From the kitchen she could hear Terry greet Jeff Cannon, her best friend, and also the lawyer for her father's estate. They trusted me enough to leave me the boys but not enough to let me control their finances , Laurie thought somewhat bitterly. She loved her half-brothers and was grateful that her irresponsible father and his wife had thought to provide for the boys, but their deaths two years ago had wreaked havoc on her life. She'd had to leave college, return to her hometown and assume responsibility for the two rambunctious little boys. She was grateful Jeff had helped her get an administrative position at his father's law firm where he now worked. It was difficult to find a job without completing her degree and she needed the income to supplement the monthly allowance they received from the estate.
"It's Uncle Jeff!" Terry announced as he bounded into the kitchen with Jeff following. Laurie's face flushed slightly and her breath caught in her throat when she saw her friend. She carelessly brushed off her reaction. She had known him since they were in diapers. He was just a friend. It was just instinct responding to a handsome man—that and the heat in the kitchen. She was a terrible cook and had been leaning over the hot stove in a futile attempt to put something edible on the table tonight.
"Hey Lulu," Jeff greeted her with a cheeky grin, using her brothers' long-time nickname. "I have your check. And this," he handed her a long white box, "was sitting on your front step when I got here."
Laurie took the package curiously. She wasn't expecting anything and especially not from the posh dress shop, Le Plumage. "There must be some mistake."
"Just open it," Jeff suggested.
Laurie lifted the lid off the box and found a sparkly sapphire blue dress and an elaborate mask nestled in a bed of white tissue paper.
"There's a note," Jeff commented as he peered into the box over her shoulder.
Laurie opened the note and silently read, "You are cordially invited to the Valentine's Day Masked Ball" noting the time and location of the ball.
"Are you going, Lulu?" Gerry asked. Laurie had been so engrossed she hadn't noticed Gerry enter the room.
"I can't." Laurie shook her head reluctantly.
"Don't worry about us," Terry piped up. "Mrs. Johnson can come over."
"It would be crazy to go. I don't even know who sent the invitation." Laurie glanced back at the dress and felt compelled to try it on. "Maybe I could just try it on," she murmured as she wistfully fingered the delicate material.
"This is crazy," she muttered to herself when, a few days later on Valentine's Day, she found herself wearing the beautiful gown, spinning in front of the mirror, feeling a little like Cinderella getting ready for the ball. A slender spaghetti strap rested on her left shoulder, leaving the other bare. The dress had a tightly fitted bodice, leaving little to the imagination of the curves hidden underneath. The skirt fell straight with a short train. When she first put it on, a wave of calm washed over her and now she surged with confidence.
"Are you ready yet?" Terry called up the stairs. Laurie glanced once more in the mirror before picking up the mask and her evening purse. Her little brothers stood in the foyer wearing identical mischievous grins. Most people couldn't even tell the twins apart, but to her their personalities were a dead giveaway.
"Have fun," Laurie's neighbor Mrs. Johnson called from the living room.
Terry and Gerry nodded, enthusiastically echoing the sentiment.
Laurie left the house but, even though her social life had been significantly stilted since the boys came to live with her, she took a boatload of guilt with her at leaving them for the evening.
She stood outside the impressive hotel on a luxurious red carpet as the valet drove her car away. The train of her dress curled dramatically at her feet and she assessed her surroundings through the limited view behind the mask.
"Bon soir," a man greeted her with a thick French accent. He had brown hair and was dressed in a tailored black tuxedo.
"Oui," he answered simply before leading her into the hotel and straight to the grand ballroom where couples swirled around the dance floor to a live swing band. Wordlessly the French stranger took her into his arms. Her pulse throbbed and her breath caught as she was swept away in a tirade of emotions, none of which she could define. He seemed so familiar, yet she couldn't tell his identity from behind the mask. She was fully aware of him and excitement radiated from her body just from being close to him. He pressed intimately against her, his spicy cologne teasing her senses. It had been so long since she had been held and even longer since she had been loved. She could feel the strength in his arms; there was no escaping his embrace, even if she wanted to. But she was happy to stay in his arms, she noted as his soft caresses stirred a much denied longing. Soon tension coiled low in her belly and being held simply wasn't enough.
After what seemed like hours of dancing, the stranger finally led her away from the dance floor. Her pulse raced as she instinctively knew he was taking her to a room upstairs and she responsively shivered in delight. She didn't know him but her body was humming with desire and being with a stranger was her ultimate secret fantasy. With her life the way it was now, she only had one chance, so just for tonight she would let reality go and live out her fantasy. No second thoughts.
Following the stranger into the room, Laurie turned seductively and reached out to remove his mask. He subtly shook his head. Even better, she thought with a thrill, no names, no faces, just mutual satisfaction. Covered in goose bumps, her body continued to hum, the anticipation heightening her desire. She boldly unzipped her dress and stepped out of it, leaving her in a black satin chemise with garters.
For a split second she thought she saw doubt flit over the exposed features of her mystery man. But she was too far gone to care now. She advanced predatorily on him. He might have gulped but his sudden turnaround only spurred her desire. She had never been the pursuer before and she reveled in the feeling as he backed up toward the bed and abruptly sat down. Feeling like everything she had ever wanted was within her reach, she grabbed the front of his shirt and pulled him in for a kiss.
The moment their lips met, Laurie felt like she had exploded. Need pulsed throughout her body, causing wetness and an uncontrollable throbbing between her legs. She slipped onto his lap and ground herself wantonly to ease the throb. It had been too long for her and she felt desperate for his touch on her skin.
Changing his wooden response to a more ardent one, he cupped her ass firmly as she rubbed against him. Moaning loudly, Laurie felt her body shiver and quake as she was hit with an orgasm. She still felt needy and whimpered pathetically for more satisfaction.
When he moved away from her, she begged, "Please." He smiled secretively in response before he took off his jacket and unbuttoned his shirt. Laurie's mouth dropped as she openly ogled his muscular chest. She wanted to touch him but her fingers didn't get the message. All she could do was stare admiringly as he slowly and methodically undressed. Her body screamed for satisfaction and she could tell she wasn't hiding her reaction very well. She was panting and a thin sheen of perspiration had formed on her forehead.
With a cocky smile, he pushed her back on the bed and confidently advanced on her, deftly removing her black thong and dipping to lick the sweet juices from her earlier pleasure.
"Oh my God," she gasped as she gripped the bedcovers. When she didn't think she could take it anymore, she was nearly hyperventilating from all the panting; he gave her one last purposeful lick and crawled up her body slowly. His rough body hair scratched her smooth skin provocatively until they were face to face. Tenderly cupping her face, he leaned in slowly for a kiss. Laurie could taste herself on his lips and found it oddly erotic. Opening her legs to him, he accepted her invitation and gently thrust inside her.
"Oh Lulu," he moaned, all traces of a French accent gone.