As we drove, Spence had told me that I should invite Casey to join us for dinner, so I had called her, and she said she’d love to, especially since she was pretty much ready to go already because of all the prepping earlier. We pull up outside her apartment building and wait until we see her approaching the car. The chauffeur is out and waiting to open the door for her. She slides in and takes a seat across from Spence and me.
“Hi guys,” she smiles broadly, her lips are red like mine.
The theme of retro-glam was used on all three of us girls this afternoon, except her eyes are smokier.
“Hello, Casey, nice to see you again,” Spence greets her, “you look beautiful tonight.”
“Thank you, Spence,” she flushes.
“You do Case,” I agree.
Her gown is a black satin halter neck that is cut down low, nearly down to her belly button, backless and tightly form-fitting everywhere else showing off her amazing figure, with a slit up the thigh.
“Very sexy,” I add.
“That’s what I was going for, and I got lucky finding it seeing how it was short notice,” she tells me, “I hope it’ll snag me an interesting night.”
“Sweetheart, I can guarantee that it will if that’s what you’re looking for,” Spence says smoothly.
“Yeah? Have any handsome and available friends that you can introduce me to?” she replies, just as smoothly.
“I think that could be arranged,” he nods, running a hand up my thigh.
“Excellent,” Casey smiles, “so are we picking up Chris and Lena?”
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell her this.
“No,” I say.
“But you said…”
“I know. It was a ruse. We sent her and Chris a private car tonight. She only thinks they are still riding with us,” I tell her.
“Oh. Why?” she smiles, sensing there’s more.
“Chris is proposing to Lena tonight on the way to the party,” I explain with a huge grin.
“Awe!” she squeals, “That’s so romantic and adorable. Good for them.”
“I know, I’m so excited for them.”
“Hey, before I forget,” Spence chimes in and reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a gold card, and hands it to Casey.
“What’s this?” she asks, flipping it around in her hand, and I recognize this card.
“It’s your pass into the VIP area,” he tells her then turns to me, “There’s one for Chris and Lena too when they arrive.”
“So what kinds of things happen in the VIP area, Spence?” Casey asks him suggestively.
He peeks over at me and then smiles before returning his eyes to Casey.
“Use your imagination, it’s really up to you,” he says vaguely, then adds, “there are multiple areas back there, including my private room.”
“So this will allow me into any room?” she asks.
“Ones that are not occupied, I suppose, unless you are invited to join said rooms. You’re welcome to mine at any time,” he explains.
“And what if something is going on in your room that I shouldn’t see?” she challenges him with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, who knows if it would be something that you shouldn’t see, maybe more of something you may not want to see,” he chuckles darkly.
Casey has a small smile playing on her lips as she considers this, and then her eyes are on me.
“Have you ever been back there in the VIP area, Rox?” she asks me.
I swallow hard, uncertain if I want to answer, but I have to stay honest with her.
“Yes,” I reply simply, resisting the urge to bite my lip nervously. Spence squeezes my thigh reassuringly.
“How about we forget about last year, and focus on this year,” Spence says, cutting the topic off so it can’t go any further.
“You’re right,” Casey nods, “I guess I’m just curious, but I think I have a pretty good idea as to what happens back there now.”
“It’s not only what you think, Casey. Sometimes people just go back there to talk in a more private setting, and sometimes, even business is discussed,” Spence informs her.
“Sure, sure,” Casey laughs, “Business.”
“As I said, whatever you want,” he says with a shrug.
We pull up in front of the restaurant, an elegant and surprisingly modern French restaurant, not stuffy looking at all. The valet opens the door, and the three of us slide out. Casey and I stand on either side of Spence, and he offers an arm to each of us. Casey and I peek around him and smile at each other as we take his arms.
“I am one lucky man tonight,” Spence grins as we go forward towards the door.
We are immediately led to a table, with many eyes watching us as we go. Spence nods at a few people as we go who are also dressed in tuxedos and gowns, and I assume they may also be guests to tonight’s festivities.
After a bottle of wine is delivered and our orders are taken, the three of us are chatting and laughing with each other. The conversation is rolling smoothly when another couple in their evening finest approaches us…Seth and Anya. Oh god, this should be interesting. We look up at them, and Seth takes in the three of us together, a slow smile spreading across his face.
“Well, apparently, this is the place to be tonight,” Seth says to us.
“Why hello Seth,” Spence says, getting to his feet and reaching over to shake his hand, then offering his hand to Anya, and she smiles and takes it.
“Anya,” he greets her politely.
“Spence,” she croons, batting her eyelashes at him before she comes around the table towards me. I stand to greet her, and she leans in and kisses my cheeks.
“Roxanne, you look positively delicious,” she says silkily.
“Hello, Anya, thank you, you look lovely too,” I offer, ignoring her tone.
She does look beautiful; her gown is tight black satin and lace, backless, with long sleeves made of lace, and a plunging neckline. It’s classier than I was expecting of her. Her long black hair is down in loose waves, with one side pulled up in a beautiful pin.
I then turn towards Casey, gesturing to her. Casey has her eyes locked on Seth, not looking pleased.
“This is my best friend, Casey,” I say, pulling Casey’s gaze towards us.
She stands and offers her hand to Anya.
“Casey, this is Seth’s girlfriend, Anya,” I tell her.
Anya looks Casey up and down, appraising her.
“Pleasure to meet you,” Anya sings as Casey appraises her right back. While this is going on, Spence and Seth are murmuring.
“Would you two care to join us?” Spence offers.
“Uh sure, why not,” Seth accepts, and Spence waves at the waiter.
Now it’s the five of us sitting at the circular table. I sit to Spence’s right, with Casey on his left. Anya sits next to me, with Seth on her other side, next to Casey.
“So, it’s good to see you, Casey, how have you been?” Seth asks her.
“I’ve been good, Seth. Busy, but good,” she replies shortly, not reciprocating much.
I can tell that she’s feeling suspicious of him. He seems to notice her attitude towards him, and he peeks over at me with a question in his eyes.
“So, is anybody going with a fake name tonight?” Casey then asks, before pointedly looking at Seth.
All eyes at the table turn to her.
“How about you, Seth? Or shall I call you Joe?” she asks him, and his mouth drops open.
Oh shit! I think Spence is going to say something, but he just stares at Seth.
“What’s this about?” Anya asks, and Casey turns to look at her.
“Oh, it’s nothing sweetheart, just an inside joke, that’s all,” Casey says, smiling sweetly at her.
“I think I’ll just stick with Seth tonight,” Seth finally responds through his teeth.
“Excellent. That will help avoid any confusion later,” Casey giggled, ignoring his evidently angry tone.
“There’s more to this story,” Anya says, “and I’m getting sick of being left out of the loop,” she whines.
“This doesn’t concern you, honey,” Casey replies to her, and Anya narrows her eyes at her.
“I’m using the same name as last year,” I cut in, trying to break the tension, “Roxanne.”
Spence reaches over and takes my hand and squeezes it.
“Spence for me, I don’t bother with the false identity bullshit,” he states.
“What’s this about the fake names?” Anya asks again and then shoots Casey a look that says she wasn’t asking her.
Spence quickly speaks.
“Remember when I told you that most people who attend this party like discretion and anonymity? Well, some guests achieve that by using a false name if they wish. You will be informed further of the rules when you arrive.”
“Oh, okay. That’s interesting,” Anya nods, and then puts a finger to her lips to think about it, “perhaps I should use a fake name, that could be fun.”
“How about you Casey, you’re the one who asked, are you going to use a false name?” Seth asks, turning towards her, his eyes burning.
“Maybe,” she shrugs without looking at him, “I haven’t decided yet.”
“I’m sensing a lot of tension here,” Anya says, her eyes darting between Seth and Casey.
Seth pulls his dagger stare from the side of Casey’s head and towards Anya.
“No, babe, we’re just fine,” he tells her.
“Bullshit, but whatever,” Anya snorts, rolling her eyes.
While this plays out, Spence leans in towards me and whispers in my ear, his lips brushing against my earlobe.
“So, I assume you told Casey everything then?”
I nod in response, and he continues.
“Well, she still seems a little pissed, because she’s sure stirring the shit pot,” he finishes and pulls away.
He’s right, and I don’t want it to ruin the evening.
“Casey, I need to use the restroom, care to join me?” I ask her, standing up.
I give her a look, the one we know as the, ‘I have to talk to you’ look.
“Sure,” she smiles, sweetly, and stands.
I take her hand, and we head towards the restrooms. Once we’re in there, I make sure we’re alone before I start.
“Casey, are you still angry with me?” I ask worriedly.
“No, what makes you think that?” she asks, her brows furrowing.
“Well, asking Seth about his fake name, and even earlier in the limo when you asked about the VIP room.”
Casey sighs loudly and purses her lips.
“Sorry. I was still curious about last year's masque, and I had been wondering where you guys would have done what you did, now I know, but I’m not angry about it. And as for Seth, well, I just felt like messing with him a little. I want to keep him on his toes. You know, I already dislike that little girlfriend of his…something about her bothers me.”
“Okay, good. Spence was concerned that you were stirring shit up,” I inform her with a smirk.
“I’ll try to behave,” she laughs.
“Can you please try to be nicer to Seth, though? He’s a great guy; he’s not like Lucas. He was really hurt, and now he’s dating girls like Anya because he’s worried about getting burned again,” I plead with her.
Casey tilts her head and searches my face.
“Do you still have feelings for him, Roxie?” she asks softly, placing a hand on my shoulder.
“Not romantic feelings, but I do care about him still, and I want him to be happy.”
“Are you sure that’s it?”
“I’m sure Case, I love Spence with all my heart. I’ll admit, when I saw Seth for the first time after not seeing him for nearly a year, it rattled me a little, but the more I think about it, the more that I know Spence is the right choice for me.”
“I’m happy to hear that, Roxie. I’m glad you’re so happy with him.”
“Maybe you should get to know Seth a little better,” I hint, and Casey’s eyes go wide in disbelief.
“Are you serious? Wouldn’t that be too weird? I think it’s too weird,” she says, shaking her head.
“I just don’t like him with that girl.”
“I wouldn’t worry about her Roxie; you even said yourself that they aren’t serious. And you were right about one thing. I saw the way she looks at Spence like he’s made of diamonds or something. And what was with her calling you delicious?”
“You heard that did you?”
“I think the whole table heard her.”
We go back out to the table just as our food is being delivered. Casey looks at Seth, and he glances over at her, she offers him a small smile then leans in to whisper in his ear. Seth listens, and he nods along, and then turns his head and smiles broadly at her. She must have apologized, he then looks at me and flashes me his dimpled smile.
“Is everything settled?” Spence asks quietly, so only I can hear him.
“All better,” I respond, leaning over and planting a kiss on his cheek.
“Tonight is going to be…interesting,” he adds.
“I think so too,” I sigh.
After dinner, Spence, Casey and I are back in the limousine and en route to The Manfredi Hotel.
“Dinner was great, thank you so much for inviting me Spence,” Casey says.
“You are most welcome Casey, I’m glad you could join us,” he smiles back at her.
“Yeah, I’m kind of a third wheel tonight, aren’t I?”
“Of course not, I’m lucky to have two beautiful women with me tonight,” he assures her.
“Yeah, Casey, I’m thrilled you’re here,” I chime in.
Casey smiles at me and then gets up from her seat and comes over to sit next to me.
“Me too,” she says, wrapping her arms around me and hugging me tightly.
Then she pulls away and gazes into my eyes, I stare back into hers, wondering what she’s thinking about. That is until she leans back in and presses her lips to mine. I hear Spence suck in a breath as Casey’s hands reach up, and she holds my head to hers. I feel her tongue touch my lips, coaxing my lips apart, but I’m frozen. What’s she doing? My heart starts beating erratically.
“Casey,” I murmur against her lips.
“Roxie, would you rather me or Anya?” she whispers against my lips, and I know this stems from her desire to try this last year, and I had turned her down then.
Do I turn her down again? What would it mean to do this? But I can’t help but think that I would trust her near Spence, more than I’d trust Anya. So, I decide. I close my eyes and press my lips to Casey’s again, and she hums happily when I allow her tongue access to my mouth. She wraps her arms around my neck and deepens the kiss.
“Fuck,” Spence groans quietly behind me, but he doesn’t try to get in on the action.
Casey is the first to pull away and smile at me.
“See? That wasn’t so bad now, was it?” she whispers, and I shake my head.
“As much as I hate to stop you, ladies, and trust me, I hate it…but we’re here unless you want to circle the block a few more times,” Spence says, his voice husky.
“No,” Casey answers, keeping her eyes glued to mine, her arms still around me, “it’s okay; we can continue this later.”