Beyond The Masque Part II

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Chapter 5

I luckily find some mouthwash and thoroughly rinse and repeat about a half dozen times. Ugh! That was not pretty. I haven’t been sick like that in years. I’m going to blame that one on all the hard liquor and cigars…and nothing else. I don’t even want to go there right now. Get it together Roxanne, what is the matter with you? So you saw Seth having sex with his new twenty-one-year-old girlfriend. So what? No biggie. Right? I just wasn’t expecting that, that’s all. Why should I care? I should be happy that he’s found somebody that he’s willing to at least give more of his time than a day or two.

I take a deep breath and blow into my hand to make sure that all I can smell is mint, and step out of the bathroom. I’m ready to face the world again, the world that is this boat anyway. I go quickly past that door, and up to the main level to join my fiancé. I find him sitting on one of the cream-colored leather sofas against the wall, sitting between Victor and some other friend of his whose name I can’t remember.

People gather, surrounding them, listening to Spence talk about the stock market or something like that. Topics that always cause my eyes to glaze over. People are always hassling him for financial advice, and it happens so often that I just zone out. I guess if I were really smart, I’d listen to what they say and learn a few things for myself. I work my way through the small crowd, and Spence spots me, sending his gorgeous smile my way.

“Move over a little Harry,” he tells the man to his right, “my lady needs a seat.”

Harry pushes over a little, so I can sit down between them, and Spence drapes an arm around my shoulder.

“Are you okay? You were gone a while?” he whispers in my ear, being sure not to let anybody hear.

I nod and offer him a small smile.

I decide not to tell him that I just got sick; otherwise, he would have us leave right now, and I know that he’s having a good time. So I just sit quietly, nestled against him, listening to him talk. I sometimes forget just how smart he is. When he speaks, you can sense his confidence, and I still feel the power that radiates off of him, though I’m no longer intimidated by it. I place a hand on his thigh and squeeze, not caring if anyone sees it or not. I feel him run a finger up the back of my neck in response- This is the way we communicate to each other when we can’t say it out loud.

Suddenly, Anya comes pushing through the crowd and plops down on her father's lap, next to us. Seth stands nearby, looking like the cat who just ate the canary, avoiding looking me directly in the eyes.

“Hi, daddy!” Anya says brightly, kissing Victor on the cheek. Then, she peeks over and smiles conspiratorially at me.

“Hi pumpkin,” Victor chortles, he’s drunk as a skunk already.

“So Spence,” Anya turns her attention to Spence, interrupting him, “I hear your masque is next weekend?” she inquires.

Spence turns to her.

“Spence, huh? Whatever happened to calling me Mr. Manfredi?” he smirks at her, amused.

“I’m all grown up now,” she smiles at him, biting her full bottom lip.

“Yes, I suppose you are,” he nods, glancing over at Seth.

“So, I was wondering then, can I come to your party?” she asks him hopefully, jutting her bottom lip out in a fake pout, “I’ve been a good girl, and I’ve always wanted to go, and now that I’m old enough… please?”

She leans in and gives him some big puppy dog eyes. Spence laughs out loud at this.

“Vic! Your little princess here wants to attend my party next weekend. What do you think of this?”

He elbows Victor, who stares up at his daughter on his lap, eyebrows furrowed.

“Well now Anya,” Victor starts, shooting a look at Seth that says he remembers just what he did last year at said party, “I don’t know if that’s a good idea,”

Victor shakes his head.

“Well daddy, unfortunately, it’s not up to you,” she states and returns her gaze to Spence, waiting.

Spence sighs, seemingly trying to decide if he should give in or not. He looks over at me, asking my opinion, without actually saying the words. I shrug at him. I don’t want any part of this.

“I suppose you’d be bringing a date?” Spence says, raising an eyebrow at Seth.

“Does that mean it’s a yes?” she asks hopefully, grabbing Spence’s arm.

He just nods once, though he doesn’t look very sure of his decision, he actually seems a little irritated.

“Oh, Yay!” Anya squeals, leaning in and hugging Spence around the neck, and planting a lingering kiss on his cheek, “I’m so excited!”

“I’ll have you and your date, added to the list,” he murmurs, shaking his head and looking over at Victor, who is frowning at Seth, who is looking around, looking slightly uncomfortable.

“Sorry, Vic,” Spence says quietly.

“I guess I have to get used to this shit at some point. What my little girl wants, she usually gets, so why should this be any different?” Victor mutters as Anya hops off his lap and hurries over to Seth’s side, and then pulls him away from the crowd.

“How’d those two meet anyway?” Spence asks Victor.

“Seth was showing me some new properties that I’m interested in, and you know that I like to deal with him directly instead of his staff. The boy knows what he’s talking about. Anyway, Anya happened to accompany me during one of these meetings, and she went crazy for him. I couldn’t stop her. She was determined, to say the least,” Victor explains.

So I guess that explains that. Victor doesn’t approve by the sound of his tone. I suppose if I were he, I wouldn’t either, knowing what he knows, having been there last year in that VIP room just before Seth, Lucas and I did what we did. Spence, Victor, and his wife had left us alone in that room, knowing full well what was about to go down. That idea still makes me inwardly cringe a little when I think back to it.

“My little girl is growing up, and I hate it. I’m just glad that you were off the market before she came here because she’s had a crush on you for years,” Victor reveals, and Spence chuckles.

“Even if I weren’t,” Spence shoots me an assuring look before turning back to Victor, “I would never go there, Vic. I’ve known Anya since she was a little girl.”

Victor laughs, raucously.

“Her name for you was Mr. Hottie Manfredi. She even had pictures of you on her wall that she cut out of magazines. Seriously drove her mother and me crazy.”

Spence frowns at this, looking slightly uncomfortable, and I mirror this discomfort a little bit. I don’t like the thought of that girl fawning over my fiancé, however innocently, because she doesn’t seem so innocent anymore.

Later on in the evening when the sun has set, most people have congregated to the upper deck, now that the hot sun has eased off. The upper deck is half-covered with another full bar underneath, and bar seating tables and chairs. There is even a hot tub up here. This is the party floor. Loud music is being fed through some invisible speakers, and the party is now at its peak. Most people are relatively intoxicated, including Spence and I. In my inebriated state right now, I’m finding Paulette, The Horrible, actually pretty fun as she tells me some hilariously inappropriate story. We laugh and giggle loudly together with Spence at my side, chiming in every once in a while.

Out of the blue, Seth comes over to us, looking like he wants to say something.

“Can I talk to you a minute Spence?” Seth asks him, glancing at me. My giggles are halted in my throat.

“Alone?” he adds.

Spence’s smile disappears, but he nods once at Seth.

“Excuse me a moment, my love,” Spence murmurs to me, kissing my forehead, and walking off with Seth.

I watch as they climb the steps to the uppermost level where the bridge is. I wonder what that is all about? Then as if that weren’t awkward enough, Anya stumbles over to me. She is clearly drunk.

“Hi Roxanne,” she smiles at me, her dark brown eyes twinkling.

“Hi Anya,” I smile politely at her.

“So that was crazy earlier right?” she giggles, obviously referring to our little run-in downstairs earlier today.

“Sorry about that, I was looking for a bathroom,” I tell her, feeling my cheeks grow warm.

“Oh, it’s okay. I didn’t mind,” she says smoothly, “You could have stayed if you wanted to.”

What? My eyes almost pop out of my skull. Did she just say that to me?

“Excuse me?” I gasp.

“Yeah,” she smiles, “you heard me. You know what? I think you are really hot.”

She reaches out and runs a long fingernail down my arm. I watch her in disbelief, and I notice Paulette watching us with interest.

“Um…” I stutter, not sure what to do.

Anya moves in closer to me, too close, and leans in to whisper in my ear.

“I think that you and I should have a little fun together. I like girls too, you know,” her breath tickles against my skin, “and let our guys watch us.”

I pull back and look at her, shocked.

“Whoa there Anya,” I say quietly, trying not to attract any attention to this little scenario, “I don’t think that is going to happen.”

“Why not?” she asks, still touching my shoulder.

“Because that would be inappropriate, and I’m not interested,” I tell her.

“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, Roxanne. I think you would be amazed, just how much you would like it,” she purrs, moving in close again, this time pushing her breasts against mine.

She’s about the same height as me, and so our faces are only inches apart as she stares me down. This girl has the gift of seduction, that much I can tell. Now I understand why she gets what she wants.

“Anya, please,” I whisper to her, my eyes darting side to side nervously.

God knows who is watching this, and what they are thinking, including her father and stepmother. She just smiles and backs away slightly.

“Just…think about it,” she says softly, biting her lip, “see you at the masque Roxanne,” she says and strides away.

Holy shit!

“Wow!” Paulette blurts once Anya is gone.

“Holy shit, right?” I agree.

“Victor’s daughter is a naughty one, isn’t she?” Paulette giggles.

“Apparently,” I mutter.

“Watch out for that one Roxanne; she’s up to no good. I would know,” Paulette states, raising an eyebrow.

Paulette may have a point there. Anya almost reminds me of a female version of Lucas, and that couldn’t be a good thing.

Spence and Seth eventually come back down, and I’m surprised when I see that they are laughing. Spence has an arm around Seth’s shoulders. They approach me, and I watch them cautiously, confused, very confused.

“What’s going on?” I ask them.

“I just apologized to Spence here for my behavior earlier,” Seth says, “I told him that I was just surprised, but I’m actually happy for you guys and wish you nothing but happiness. Also, I hope we can be friends again. Water under the bridge?”

“Really?” I ask dubiously. This is quite a turnaround.

“Of course, why not right?” Spence chimed in, flashing his best smile. I look between them, not sensing any tension. They just smile back at me easily.

“Okay…” I offer a small smile, still unsure, “if you say that’s it, then I’m glad we can move past everything and be friends again.”

“Great!” Seth replies, excitedly- too excitedly, it doesn’t seem natural on him.

Spence moves so that he stands between us, and puts an arm around each of us.

“Water under the bridge, or boat, or whatever,” Spence chuckles before smacking us both on the back and turning to go over to the bar to get a drink, leaving us standing there on our own.

I look over at Seth, who is smirking at me, looking amused.

“So, now you’re happy for us?” I ask quietly.

“I’m going to try to be,” he nods.

“What made you change your mind?”

“Rox, I’d rather have you in my life somehow than not at all, okay?” Seth says, taking a deep breath.

Oh!

“Really?” I nearly whisper.

“Yeah really,” he says quietly and steps in closer to me.

He leans in slightly.

“And the day you finally realize who you’re really supposed to be with, I’ll be there.”

“Seth!” I retort, “I’m marrying Spence. I love him.”

“I don’t doubt that you do Roxanne, but I think that you still have deep feelings for me too,” he argues.

“So you were just lying to Spence about being friends again?”

I frown at him.

“No, I meant it.”

“Friends don’t try and steal their friend's fiancées.”

“I’m not trying to steal you, and really, you can’t steal something from someone if it was never really theirs in the first place.”

“What does that mean? Of course, I’m Spence’s.”

I glare hard at him now.

“Okay, we’ll see,” he says lightly.

“Seth, seriously…” I fume.

“Relax Roxanne. I’m not going to try anything. I’m just going to be your friend, and I’m just going to be here whenever you need me, alright?”

“Yeah well, I’m not so sure if that’s a good idea or not.”

“Why ever not? If you are confident that Spence is it for you, then fine, I shouldn’t be a problem. We should be able to be friends. We were before, so why not now?”

“Things were different then,” I mutter, “And what about your little girlfriend?” I add, and he snorts.

“Oh fuck, Roxanne. Do you really get the sense that she and I are serious? Please,” he smirks.

“She tried to proposition me tonight, you know?” I tell him, but I don’t know why I bother.

“Really?” he raises his eyebrows.

“Yeah. She said I should have joined you earlier. You guys should really learn to lock a door by the way.”

“That was interesting,” Seth chuckles, not commenting on the other part.

“Not funny.”

“It was a little funny,” he counters.

“No…it really wasn’t. Not to me,” I frown.

“It bothered you?”

Crap! Should have kept my mouth shut.

“No,” I say quickly, avoiding his knowing eyes.

“Yes it did,” he murmurs before Anya comes over and wraps her arms around Seth’s neck and kisses him interrupting us and ending our conversation.

It’s probably a good thing that she does because it was going nowhere good, fast.

“Hi babe,” she coos, “Let’s go in the hot tub,” she says, pulling on his arm.

Seth shrugs and lets her pull him away, but not before smiling over his shoulder at me.

“That could be fun,” Spence says from behind me.

It causes me to jump, making him laugh at me.

“Sorry, did I startle you?”

“Um…yeah,” I breathe, “What could be fun?” I ask as he hands me a glass of wine.

“The hot tub.”

He gestures towards it with his chin.

“I don’t have my swimsuit,” I say, feeling a smile tugging at the corners of my mouth.

A distant memory of Spence and my very first sexual encounter comes to my mind, and how I had said the same thing to him then.

“Just wear your underwear, it covers all the same stuff,” he smiles, tugging me towards the large hot tub.

It’s big enough to fit at least twenty people. We make it to the edge and look down into it. Anya is already climbing in with just her bra and panties, and Seth is just pulling his pants off. I watch as he climbs in, my eyes landing on his wing tattoo. I quickly turn my attention to Spence, who smiles at me as he removes his jacket and tie, then he starts undoing the buttons of his white shirt.

“Come on, Roxanne,” he winks at me.

So I go with it, I turn and pull my hair aside for him to undo my zipper. He pulls it down, and I shrug out of my dress and step out of my shoes. I’m now in only my nude-colored bra and thong. I am feeling overly exposed to the crowd. I quickly climb into the tub and duck in until the water is up to my neck.

I look up at Spence who steps out of his shoes, then his pants. Now wearing only his underwear, he gathers up our clothes and puts them down on a nearby chair, before coming back and stepping in. God, he’s so sexy. If we weren’t in public right now, I’d be jumping him this instant. I glance over at Seth and Anya, and Anya’s eyes are glued to Spence, and Seth’s eyes are glued to me.

“Wow! This party just got a lot more interesting!”

We all look up to a grinning Paulette, who starts undressing and climbs in as well. Soon, a few more people join in, forcing the four of us to move in closer together. Yeah, everything just got a lot more interesting.

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