The reception was ritzy… really, really ritzy. The entire hotel ballroom was filled with people. There was a waltz playing; some people were dancing. Two chandeliers filled the place with golden light. Outside, in the gardens, white lights were strung through the trees, and candles floated in the fountains.
Leon stood near the bar, scanning the room for gorgeous women to meet. He hadn't been to the concert (two hours of opera wasn't really his thing), but he could tell that it had been a success.
Amethyst Moon was dashing around among all the guests, floating in a cloud of satin and sheer fabrics. This night was for her, and she was clearly in heaven. There were flowers in her purple hair, and a white scarf was tied around her arm. Her big, lavender eyes were bright, and she hardly touched the ground as she moved.
"Her first concert tour at eighteen?" Leon said to himself. "Damn. That kid's gonna go places!"
The girl continued mingling with the guests… chattering here, dancing for a minute or two, hugging some of her friends, greeting new people, and always singing to herself. Suddenly, her face brightened, and she came running lightly straight towards him.
"Ella!" she cried, beaming. "I've been looking for you!" She hurried towards a short woman standing nearby.
The woman had fluffy brown hair, light-green eyes, and a foreign accent, maybe Russian. Her voice was smooth and resonant. Obviously, she was a singer, herself!
"Amy!" she responded, delighted. Ella took both of Amethyst's hands, pulled her down, and kissed her on both cheeks. "Bravo, my girl, bravo!"
Orcot turned away. That had to be her teacher or something. He really wasn't cut out for this sort of stuff. He ordered another drink.
"Oh! I felt like I was loosing it on the art songs!" moaned Amethyst.
"No. I will not hear it," Ella returned imperiously, holding up a hand and half-turning away. "Your voice is fine! You sang like an angel!"
"The last aria was quite good!" Ella praised. She pushed her student slightly. "Now go! Mix!"
Leon gave up. Coincidence or not, instinct told him this girl just wasn't a murderer. "I can't believe I let Jill talk me into this!" he sighed, feeling like a total moron. He grabbed his jacket and headed for the door, fully intending to go to a club.
Amethyst ran right into him. "Uh! Sorry!" she exclaimed.
"Hey, congratulations," he said, pausing.
She nodded once in acknowledgement, smiling like a goddess. "Well, thanks for coming."
"Um, yeah." Leon looked at her expectant face, feeling uncomfortable. "I'm with the police. I just stopped by to make sure everything's okay."
"Nice meeting you," she answered politely. She waved and walked off in the direction of the door.
"Wait!" ordered Leon, startled. "Where are you going?"
She stopped. "Outside! It's a beautiful night."
"You shouldn't go anywhere without an escort," he informed her.
A few minutes later, they were standing in the garden. It wasn't exactly Leon's idea of a good time, but his first priority at this point was to get some information and keep her safe. He would stay with the singer until she went back inside where security was tighter.
"So, what do you want to do next?" he asked her.
"After the tour?" She looked up at the sky, taking a breath. "I want to go to an academy and study for a few years. And then, I'll audition for the Metropolitan Opera."
He couldn't help admiring her confidence. "Good luck, kid."
Amethyst was distracted. "Um, Leon?" she said, her gaze directed at something behind him.
"Good evening, my dear detective."
Leon jumped backwards, spun around, and pulled out his gun, managing to accomplish all of that at the same time without falling over.
"D!" he raged, fuming. "What in the hell are you doing here!"