My fear soon became almost crippling when an extremely uncomfortable realization hit me; we were the only females in all the rooms. While this caused my sense to become hyper vigilant, I began to become unnerved when I realized something else. Many of these men might have been dressed differently, but their features and demeanors were all too similar. If any of these men attacked me in any manner I would only be able to give a solid description of what they were wearing. It was almost like they were too generic and in the terrible lighting it became even more difficult to distinguish them. This crippled my senses more as observing and noticing details was a comfort for me. This party felt like it was designed to make me feel like I was helpless. It was like I was being driven to seek an artificial way of easing my nerves. I didn’t drink often and I didn’t touch drugs as having loss of control was a fear that was left from a traumatic childhood. I wouldn’t voluntarily offer my power of self control in a place that felt so dangerous.
Another problem glaring me in the face was my desire to focus on Rhonda and memorize the man she had been with. The gentleman was dressed in English Naval uniform. He stood a foot taller than her and that was a feat in my eyes as she stood a good six foot when in her heels. He had no problems walking with her off away from her companion. He was definitely demanding in way of attention and considering the number of men in the room with us right now he appeared to be the alpha of the situation. I watched her carefully as she interacted with him. In some of her actions and reactions to the way they were talking made it appear that they have spoken before. This fact didn’t comfort me in any manner. Rhonda was never a good judge of characters and I often came to the rescue at this moment. I didn’t feel confident enough to keep both of us safe.
A man dressed in a widow’s mourning attire approached me carefully. He moved slowly, it was almost like he was treating me like a venomous reptile and if he approached in a non threatening manner I wouldn’t attempt to strike him. His top hat in hand was a deep black while his coat and vest were not so dyed. They were worn in a fashion that would suggest he wore those clothes more often than the top hat. He bowed to me slightly and leaned in to make his introductions. For a moment, before I had truly focused on what he was saying I could only hear static. The words were sounds crashing against each other and caused me to cringe. I attempted to hide my displeasure and focused hard on what he was saying. I had missed his name. But he made it clear that he was surprised that my friend had brought a newcomer to such an extravagant event.
While this man’s starting conversation was not threatening, there was something in the way he held himself that made me keep my guard up. His desire to be so close when speaking was causing the hairs on the back of my neck to rise and tingle. I would shift away from him and soon found that the further away I was from him the less I was able to understand him. It was as if the close proximity allowed my brain to register that he was there talking to me. This understanding of why he was so close did not hinder the uncomfortable feeling he was giving me. His words seemed to be attempting to caress me, but it only felt like I was a cat that was being petted the wrong way.
The thing that distracted from this terribly uncomfortable feeling was now that my eyes were becoming acclimated to the unusual lighting of the room and its separate sections, I noticed some kind of symbols over the heads of everyone in the room. In some cases there were strike marks over a symbol and it appeared faded while another symbol blazed above their heads. I could understand this as a count down now. The woman had signaled three to me and now staring at these men’s symbols I was taken with the idea that these were our chances of behaving at this party.
The widower soon tired of speaking with me about the weather and his job. With me not even attempting to converse with him, he soon left me to my corner and returned to the other men in the first room playing cards. All of them with strikes and one of them that was exceptionally loud and reacted too aggressively had more than three strikes through symbols. None of these men even dared to approach me now. The failure of the widow must have deterred them. From their hushed tones and discussions, I assume about me, made it clear that I was a goal not worth any of their attention. They would glance over every once and a while, but just shake their head in some kind of argument with themselves and continue their playing.
The hostess soon appeared and looked around the room for someone. Her searching stopped when she found me. She nodded with a small smile on her face. It appeared that she approved of my situation of being alone.
Rhonda finally returned from the third room where she had been off with the officer. The grin plastered across her face of bliss was one I hadn’t seen before. She froze when she saw the hostess and changed her whole demeanor. She now appeared as if she were a puppy that was about to be scolded for piddling on the floor before her master.
The woman just met her eyes and made no effort to hide her displeasure in the discovery of where my friend had come from. She simply signaled for us to follow her. The men made no attempt to follow as we left the room. The man my friend had been with didn’t even bat an eye when she made her exist.
The action of making no attempt to follow her or ask for her number was something that seemed a bit odd for me. I would have assumed that if I laughed, chatted or did some illicit substance with that I would at least get some kind of way to contact you. Maybe I was thinking too hard on this, they did seem to know each other, maybe they were in contact and he wasn’t one to make a show of affection.