Modellahz diaries

Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Prom Dance Ch.9

While we were sampling the food, Ruth and Betty were giving me an education about the families present. The Waters, old money made prior to the civil war in the slave trade. They gathered as a group after pushing three of the small tables together. The Dan-Musas, newer money made by owning many local radio and television stations. They were a rather loud crew and seemed to be laughing more than talking. The list went on as I began to lose track of the names and occupations. Ruth and Betty were an encyclopaedia of family knowledge. "Excuse me, Miss," Betty said, waving down one of the roving waitresses. "Yes, Ma'am."
"Those crab crackers, what are they called?" Betty asked. "Crab on a Cracker, Ma'am," the waitress replied with a smile that wasn't insulting. "Of course," Betty smiled back, "can we get a plate of those and another glass of white wine." Betty and Ruth were handling me. It was going to be a better evening than I thought. "And thank whoever is making the Crab on a Cracker."
"Yes, Ma'am," the waitress nodded before she headed off.
"Thank you," I said to Betty. Ruth beamed at Betty with pride. My mouth moved before my brain could stop it, " two...a couple?" I wished I could take it back as soon as I said it. I was sure my cheeks were turning red. "For thirty years, dear," Ruth said with a soft smile. I was so thankful I was right. Some might find the insinuation insulting. Ruth and Betty shared a look that only a couple would understand. I raised my almost empty glass. "To thirty more years," I toasted. Ruth laughed and didn't scowl when Betty joined her. I was at the perfect no-pressure table. Our glasses clinked and we drank to their years. I was then treated to their history, difficult courtship, family trauma and finally the inevitable acceptance by all. It was a good tale that we were able to share many Crab on a Cracker over. More than once they had me laughing. The third glass of wine didn't hinder the amusements.
"Those are the Petersons, of the Andy Petersons," Ruth said, her eyes leading to the entry way, "Damien and Rebecca. They are the ones who sponsored this ball. Lots of old money, oil money and constructions." I looked over at the man and woman who entered with strong smiles. Many of the guests turned and greeted them as they entered. They seemed comfortable with each other, every now and again they would find a reason to touch each other, be it hand to hand or hand to shoulder during a chuckle. "That's their son Oliver." I nearly spilled my drink. Oliver was my flat-tire Oliver. My-breasts-are-beautiful Oliver. I felt my face flush as I turned away quickly. I couldn't possible face him. He had seen me practically naked and he knew me as Ella. I tried to suck my breasts into my chest. I downed the rest of my wine and took a deep breath. I wasn't sure I could stay knowing he might see me. Damn he looked good, somehow taller out of the rain. Thankfully, the band started to warm up. The sounds distracted the ladies from my obvious surprise at seeing Oliver. The warm up sounded like the band tended toward a brassy swing. I wasn't sure I could hold my own with that kind of dance. That and Oliver, I was as uncomfortable as when I first entered.
"Tasha," Ruth said, waiting for my eyes to acknowledge her "you're looking a bit pale. Are you feeling okay?"
"Fine," I said, after letting out the breath I was holding. I forced a smile to my lips, trying desperately not to look back at Oliver. I was waiting for the shout 'Hey, aren't you the naked tire girl.'
"We have to find you a first dance," Betty said, "someone polite who will keep his hands to himself." Sisters - that's how I saw Betty and Ruth. I never really thought of Katie and Stella as sisters. We never really cared what happened to each other. Betty and Ruth seemed to have adopted me as their own. "George would be happy to do it," Ruth said, "and a nicer guy you couldn't meet. He might spend a few minutes describing his perfume collection, but he'll move on if he sees your bored." Oliver's hair looked softer now that it was dry. I glanced back briefly to verify. His eyes met mine. I snapped my head back. "What do you think, Tasha, do you want us to fix your first dance?" George wasn't Oliver so it was better than embarrassment. "Ahh, sure," I agreed, half-heartedly, "I'm not sure if I can dance well to swing."
"Just smile, dear," Ruth chuckled, "men just want to think you're pleased with them." Ruth headed off, I assume to gather George. "Oliver Peterson is not hard on the eyes," Betty said, her eyes alive with humour. She saw right through me. "Who?" I stalled. I couldn't believe Betty was putting things together so quickly. "Mr. tall, dark and dreamy," Betty said with a laugh, "the guy who has you all flustered."
"He doesn't know me," I said quickly. Too quickly. The ridiculous statement had a desperate tone to it. "I could change that," Betty said, her smile turning evil mixed with teasing. "Please don't," I begged. Betty lost her smile, examining my desperate expression. Her eyes softened and her shoulders relaxed. "I'm only teasing," Betty said, her voice relaxed, "He's kind of a loner anyway." I knew she sensed my apprehension and was letting her kidding drift away. "Loner?" I asked. Her statement surprised me. Loners don't pull off to the side of the road in a rainstorm and help people with their flat tires. "He's some kind of computer genius," Betty informed me, "he isn't living off his trust fund like half the people here. Of course, building a personal fortune requires work and work requires time. From what I understand, he is married to it. Not that a lot of women haven't tried to change that." "What's he doing here?" I asked. "Hard to tell your mother no, I suppose," Betty chuckled, "she is still hopeful for grandchildren to spoil." I had to smile. My real mother, had she lived, would have wanted the same. My father would have been satisfied with happy and Jeremaine would prefer me out of the picture, something I meant to deny her. "Here comes George," Betty said, pointing with her wine glass. I turned to find a well-dressed man approaching with a large smile. He was escorting Ruth, her arm entwined with his. His nose was speckled with prominent freckles that went well with his neatly cut red hair. More cute than handsome, his smile was welcoming. I found myself trying to copy it. "Tasha Igwe, may I introduce George Waters," Ruth said. George's eyes found mine, he held them with confidence. "Ruth informs me you need a partner for the first dance," George said. His voice was unexpected. Deeper than his face advertised, more like a network anchorman. "I would be honored if you allowed me." Ruth was beaming. I assumed she had a special liking for George. I couldn't say no if I wanted to, and I didn't want to. "That would be lovely," I replied, trying my best to assume the speech patterns from Corona. George's smile grew. "How's the family, George?" Betty inquired in her trailer park way. "Wonderful, Betty," George said and moved himself to the table between us. His eyes travelled from face to face as he talked, seemingly including us all. "My sister had her baby. A girl she named Roseline after our grandmother. So, I'm an uncle now." The conversation went deep into his family that Ruth and Betty seemed to know well. Normally, my mind would have drifted away, but George made it a point to include me and had me laughing at some of the histories. He was a charming guy. "I think that's our cue," George said as the band started the first song. He held out his hand and I felt more than comfortable taking it. Luckily, it was a slower song, more big band than swing. The sax was nicely melodic. George led me to the floor, taking my right hand in his left and placing his right hand lightly around my waist. "I have instructions to show you off," George said, "I am thinking I may just keep you for myself." I laughed at the humor in his eyes. "There's a lot of people wondering who you are."
"I'm nobody really," I said, my smile frozen to my lips. He spun me around so I was facing back the way we came. It was easy to follow his lead. "Take a look at the girls," George said. I knew he meant Ruth and Betty. There was a small crowd around them. "See, your popularity grows. They're all wondering who the beautiful woman is." I looked back at George. He meant beautiful. My face heated up. "Blushing just makes it prettier," he added. His laugh was so forgiving I had to join him. George was a wonderful dancer. He seemed to know when I might stumble and moved in a way to absorb the errors. He floated me around the floor as he pointed out people, warning me about some and complimenting others. His joke about my stepsisters was most amusing. We danced right by them and my stepmother without an inkling of recognition. Ella wasn't beautiful, but Tasha was. "You're a wonderful dancer," I said as the song was winding down. "All due to my mother," George said, "she insisted I take dance lessons for many years." He leaned in close to my ear, "I think she expected it would get her grandchildren quicker."
"How's that working for you?" I joked. "My tastes don't lean toward women," George said, without a hint of it being uncomfortable. "Ahh," I said, "and may I say we women are most disappointed." I came to fancy dance and the first three people I meet are gay. It was strange and somewhat comforting. No pressure to be anything but friendly. "Thank you, Tasha," George said honestly. He spun me around, making my gown billow out in a most wonderful way. "I can see why Ruth likes you." The music stopped and so did we. After a brief applause, he escorted me, arm in arm, back to the ladies. The people surrounding them drifted off as we approached. "Thank you, George," I said, my smiling emphasizing the point, "I really enjoyed the dance."
"As did I," George replied, "I need to make the rounds, but I would love a repeat sometime later tonight if I may."
"Absolutely," I agreed. I felt so pretty with him leading. I wanted to feel like that again. He nodded with his smile and excused himself. "George is such a nice guy," I said to Ruth and Betty, "and what a dancer."
"He is perfect for a first dance," Ruth said, "a gentleman who knows how to make a woman look good." It wasn't hard to agree to that. I lost my smile when I saw Oliver Peterson from across the room. His eyes were on mine and he was walking toward the table. I looked away quickly, pretending I didn't notice, as embarrassment rose to the surface. I was sure he recognized me. I turned away, trying to find a place to move off to and avoid the confrontation. I rotated right into a sharply dressed man who begged my forgiveness even though it was I who bumped him.
"Timi Heineken," the man introduced himself with a smile, "I understand you are Tasha." Word was traveling fast. Timi had a set of bushy sideburns that reminded me of some of our ex-presidents from way back. Everything was neat and clean, but I had a strong desire to take a razor to those sideburns. "Yes," I said smiling. Anything was better than facing Oliver, "it's very nice to meet you."
"Do you think I might have this dance?" Timi asked. It was a question, but the way he worded it I don't think he expected a no. With Oliver on his way, it was as good an escape as any. "I would be delighted," I replied. He held out his arm and I wrapped mine through it. Escorted, I moved to the dance floor and away from the impending embarrassment. The tune was a bit livelier than when I danced with George. Timi kept it sensible, but did teach me a few spinning moves that were fun once I got the hang of it. He didn't have half of George's dancing skill, but he made up for it by ignoring my mistakes and laughing with me while I learned. "I haven't seen you around before," Timi mentioned, his eyes were sparked with interest. "This is my first one of these dances," I said, "I must say, I am enjoying myself."
"A lot of people see these things as some kind of requirement," Timi continued, "it's refreshing to meet someone who is here to have fun."
"What about you, Timi?" I asked, trying to get the conversation off me before he delved into my false identity, "fun or duty?"
"I thought it was duty," Timi smiled, "now it seems to have turned into fun." He spun me around again as I digested his veiled compliment. I was feeling pretty good about myself and he was feeding my ego even more. I was having a really good time. "Something tells me you always have a good time," I bantered back. His confidence and smile defied his pretence of showing up being a duty. We did a couple movements that brought our opposing hips together which we executed rather smoothly. I was proud of myself. "Maybe you can test your theory," Timi smiled, "Allow me to take you out to dinner next week." I must have looked prettier than I thought. It was a tempting offer, but Tasha wouldn't exist after tonight. How do you explain something like a name change? Not to mention, I was basically a janitor and he was obviously used to the finer things in life. "You move quickly, Sir," I joked, not able to find a way to say no nicely. "Too much pressure for a first dance?" Timi asked with a big smile. "A little," I shrugged and promptly stumbled on the next step. He steadied me with a kind chuckle. "I'll retract it then," Timi said, "but know that if we find ourselves at another function like this, I will make the offer again." I could hear the humor in his voice. He had expected me to decline his first offer. I instantly felt better. "Next time," I said, "I might be inclined to accept." That seemed to please Timi and we finished the dance with good feelings. I needed to take a break. Sweating in my gown didn't really appeal to me. I was about to head back to Ruth and Betty when I saw them talking with Oliver. "Timi, can you show me the ladies room?" I asked. At least I could stall for a few minutes and hope Oliver would move on. "This way," Timi said, once again offering me his arm. He escorted me out of the main room into a hall, its sole purpose was to house the bathrooms. I thanked him kindly for the dance and we went our separate ways though I suspected I would run into him again that night. The bathroom was huge. Along one wall, ten marble sinks, each with an individual oval mirror trimmed in some kind of gold leaf pattern. There were two attendants constantly wiping up water and handing out cloth towels. Each stall was as large as my utility room, complete with hangers, hooks, and a dark wood bench like the ones you find in Mr. Price. I wasn't sure the need of a bench when the toilet was right there. After struggling for a few moments, I found it easier to just remove my gown and then relieve myself of the night's wine. A heated toilet seat graced my bottom which made me smile. Such opulence. Even the toilet paper felt luxurious. While I washed my hands, one of the attendants came over and straightened my gown and brushed off some lint I had gathered from somewhere. I wasn't totally comfortable with the attention, but I couldn't take it out on her. "So, you're Tasha, the one that has everyone talking." I recognized the voice immediately. It was Katie and she was right behind me. I started washing my hands a second time, giving me an excuse to not look up. Oliver outside, my stepsister inside. I shouldn't have come. "I'm not sure I know what you mean," I said quietly, trying to slightly deepen my voice. I was going to work a few layers of skin off my hands at this rate.
"New people always generate buzz." It was Stella. Great, both stepsisters. I grabbed a towel and started drying my hands. "It is my first ball," I admitted then an idea struck, "Ouch," I groaned and squinted my right eye and brought the towel toward it, "I think something flew in my eye." The attendant rushed over to give me a hand as I turned around, my eyes squinting and the towel covering half my face. "You'll have to excuse me, ladies, it seems I can't see," I added for effect. "Oh, how terrible," Stella said, "of course." They both exited the bathroom quickly, not wanting to get involved in my problems. I knew them too well. The attendant, a young women with dark hair, smiled with me when they left. She realized what I had done. I handed her the towel and looked back at the mirror. I hadn't messed up the makeup on my eyes, which was good since I had left my purse on the table with Ruth and Betty. I couldn't hide in the bathroom forever, so I left after thanking the attendant who had helped me. When I entered the main ballroom, I saw that my sisters had cornered Oliver off to the right. His desperate eyes saw me just as I turned to the left. For once, my sisters would do me a favour as I moved quickly around the outside of the room until I ended up with Ruth and Betty.
"Poor Oliver," Ruth said, "He is being waylaid by the Okoyes." I looked back across the room and watched his fake smiles and nodding as my sisters did all the talking. I felt a little pained for him, but not enough to ruin myself by rescuing him. I already had enough close calls and started to think I should call it a night. It had been fun and I enjoyed the dancing. I had never put Oliver in the calculations when I thought of coming here. He could easily wreck everything. "Are they really that bad?' I asked. Ella already knew the answer, but Tasha wasn't supposed to know. "Think of leeches," Betty replied, "then give them barbed hooks and inane chatter." I covered my mouth when I laughed. "Really, Betty," Ruth scowled. It was a wonder these two stayed together for so many years. They were so different. I did start to notice that Ruth's eyes sparkled when she scolded Betty. Maybe, Betty was Ruth's alter ego, saying the things that Ruth always wanted to say but was too polite to engage the words. "He was asking after you," Betty commented. "Who?"

"Oliver Peterson," Ruth continued, "he came by when you were dancing with Timi. He thanked us for coming as a pretence but then turned the conversation to you." I waited for the bomb to drop. I was sure he recognized me from the flat tire and told them I had another name. Ruth misconstrued my apprehension and smiled at me, "You shouldn't wear such a pretty dress if you don't want attention."
"What did you tell him?" I asked, realizing he hadn't blown my cover.
"The little that we know," Betty said, "we've been pretty popular since you've joined our table. A lot of people are trying to figure out who you are. I, for one, prefer the mystery. I think it makes you more attractive." I panicked when I saw Oliver had broken away from my sisters. He may not have figured out who I was yet, but if I gave him a closer look he might put two and two together. He was heading toward our table seemly ignoring the rest of the ball. "I think I'll mingle," I said and quickly turned away from Oliver and headed in the opposite direction. I had no idea how to mingle with wealthy people. I didn't have the social experiences necessary to draw upon so I walked aimlessly between the tables smiling, hoping someone would save me. Luckily, it didn't take long. "Hello, Tasha is it?" A man said. Artist type with his brown hair pulled into a short ponytail. He was rather handsome, but I sensed he knew it. "Yes," I replied, "and you are?"
"Raymond Silva," he returned, holding out his hand which I gracefully shook. "Pleased to meet you, Raymond," I said cheerfully, thankful for his rescue, "It seems everyone knows my name and I know so few." 
"The curse of being new," Raymond said, "and beautiful." His eyes twinkled when he added the last part. He had no fear and, I was sure, a lot of practice praising women. Normally I would back away, but it was either Raymond or Oliver. Raymond, I understood. The band began a slow song. "Shall we?" Raymond asked, his open hand leading off to the dance floor. I wanted to say no just because he was so confident I would say yes. It was the Oliver effect that made me ignore my intuition. "I would be delighted," I lied and he led me to the floor. I saw Oliver out of the corner of my eye, grinning as he slowed once he realized where I was headed. I turned away, pretending I hadn't seen. I knew for sure now, he was hunting me. I couldn't run all night. I would have to plan an exit. If only Oliver hadn't stopped to help me with my tire. Raymond was not a gentleman. George and Timi had spoiled me into thinking wealth brought with it a certain class. Raymond was classless. He pulled me tight to his body, I retreated as best I could and spent the next few measures raising his hand from my ass to my waist where it belonged. I began to regret not choosing the shame that Oliver would thrust upon me. "We move well together," Raymond whispered in my ear. The words slithered with sexual innuendo. I pulled back farther and again corrected his hand. His smile held confidence in my submission. I had lost my smile. "You expect too much," I said clearly. I grabbed his wrist before his hand could drop back down to my butt. His grip on my other hand tightened. "The fight is kind of cute," Raymond said, "I like tigresses." He spun me in a circle and somehow ate up the space I created between us. "Enough," I said firmly, but quietly. I didn't want to make a scene. I tried to break away from his grip but he tightened up and his confidence increased. I wasn't sure I could get away without making a scene. "I think we both know where this is leading," Raymond said, "why fight it. It'll be the most fun you ever had." I began to struggle and he just chuckled, tightening his grip and keeping me off balance with another spin. I got my knee ready. If you're going to make a scene, might as well make it a good one. "No, Raymond," I said clearly, knowing others would hear. Raymond just chuckled and tightened his grip even more. He had been warned. It was the only warning I was going to give. I lined up my knee, aiming at his groin. It would ruin the dance, but I wasn't going to be treated like meat. 
"I'm cutting in, Raymond." Oliver moved quickly, grabbing Raymond's wrist. Raymond released my hand. The two exchanged a look that wiped the grin off Raymond's face. Raymond's other hand released my waist and I let go of his wrist. "I don't believe the lady agreed to dance with you," Raymond growled. I thought there might be a fight in the middle of the dance floor. I saw it in Oliver's eyes. He wasn't going to let go of Raymond until Raymond backed down. Raymond wasn't going to back down. "Thank you for a wonderful dance," I said sweetly to Raymond, loud enough for close ears to hear, "I apologize for forgetting I had promised this dance to Oliver." I gave Raymond an out. He visibly relaxed, his fake honor intact. It was better than a knee to the groin. Of course, now I had to face Oliver and all that came with it. "Of course, Tasha," Raymond said calmly, "women sometimes forget their commitments in my presence." It was all I could do not to drive my knee forward. He smiled for the crowd and headed off the dance floor. To my surprise, Oliver filled the void quickly, hand to hand, hand to waist, respectable distance apart. "You picked a bad way to avoid me," Oliver said, his smile eating past the lies I was trying to form. "Avoid you?" I said, trying to give myself time to think. "It's my duty to greet all the guests and thank them for their kind donation," Oliver smirked, "you have been most troublesome to try and thank." I was sure I was turning ten shades of red. To make matters worse, Oliver was a terrible dancer. Stiff as a board. "You're a terrible dancer," I said, my smile growing. Work on his weakness and maybe he will forget the avoidance. Instead of losing his moral high ground, he laughed. His eyes crinkled, his lips curled and revealed a set of pearly whites that grew my smile all the more. "I saved you from the hound and still you try and keep your distance," He said, "I've checked my deodorant twice, made sure I didn't have something in my teeth and ate a few mints. You're going to give me a complex." I didn't see any recognition in his eyes. Of course, I was practically naked and he was a man. Maybe he only saw my breasts. I softened my grip on his hand that had been tighter than necessary. "You call Raymond the hound?" I asked, trying to keep the discussion off me. His eyes were on me, though. They were intelligent eyes mixed with a bit of a whimsical boy. They only saw Tasha. I had been hiding for nothing. "I could have warned you," Oliver said, his feet moving like they weighed 100 pounds each, "had you not been disappearing every time I approached." That's why he was grinning when I accepted Raymond's offer to dance. He knew I had worked myself into a corner. He just walked up and rescued me - no need to chase me down anymore. "I thought all you guys were good dancers," I joked. I didn't want to explain my running from him. "That's stereotyping," Oliver countered with humor. He felt no shame in his inability to dance. "I was reading when these guys were in dance class." His eyes were still drinking me in. They shifted across my face and always returned back to my eyes. I moved closer, cutting the respectable distance in half. I liked Oliver looking even if he couldn't dance. "Do you read a lot?" I asked. "All the time," he answered, his smile shifted to sly, "Do you run from your hosts a lot?" He wasn't letting me change the subject. There was a lot of intelligence behind those eyes. "Do you chase down your guests a lot?" I replied. His laugh brought mine to the surface. His laughter made the bad dancing enjoyable. I was surprised when he answered. "I usually avoid the guests," he said seriously, "there is something about you that piqued my interest. I am not sure what it is, but I am going to try and find out."
"I thought you said it was your duty," I pointed out. 
"So was going to dance class." This time, I started the laughter. "There's a wonderful walking path around the grounds," he said when we caught our breath, "Would you like to get some air? I assure you I am highly skilled at walking." I wanted nothing more at the moment. I was kind of wishing all the people would disappear so we make each other laugh louder. I was so happy that he didn't remember Ella. He didn't even know he already liked my breasts. "I'm not sure my shoes are fit for walking," I said. My heels would most likely fail on a stone path. At $750, I wasn't sure I wanted to try. Maybe I could go barefoot."The Meriden is prepared for that," he said with a smile, "they stock loaner tennis shoes just for these occasions.." He paused for a moment, "I assure you they are cleaned well between each use." I would have worn them dirty. I nodded in agreement, trying to shrink my smile. It was hopeless. I was going for a walk with tall, dark and dreamy. We swung by Ruth and Betty who smiled knowingly as I grabbed by hand purse. It would have been rude to make them watch it if they intended to move on. Oliver took my hand and led me out the main door, past my stepmother and stepsisters. I could see the envy on their faces. They forced smiles to nod at Oliver. His speed increased as we passed them. I could almost feel his trepidation of possibly confronting them again. The silly warmth of revenge washed over me in a wave. They would never know, but I did. It was more satisfying than I would ever admit out loud. It took about ten minutes for The Meriden to outfit me in a pair of pink Converse All-Stars. My gown made changing shoes difficult and I considered traveling back to the bathroom to get it done. Oliver discounted the idea and dropped to his knees. His hands were wonderfully tender as he removed my heels and replaced them with the All-Stars. I never had a man dress me before. It felt warmly intimate even if it was only shoes. "How's that," he said, rising to his feet. I took a few steps, assuring myself that everything was set properly for a walk. "Perfect," I smiled. He held out his hand again. I took it as we headed out the door. The walk meandered through the grounds. It was composed of tightly compacted brick in a fishbone pattern that would have easily eaten my heels. What we could see of the foliage in the darkening light was immaculately cared for. There were small ground lights, strategically placed behind foliage, which cast diffused light across the path. Just enough light so you could stay on the trail, but not enough to detract from the privacy. "So," Oliver started as we lost sight of the main doors, "am I ever going to find out why you were avoiding me?" I could make out his smile. He was enjoying his teasing. "I never admitted I was," I countered. His hand squeezed mine. Shamefully, I squeezed his back. Tasha was such a tease. "That means no," he laughed. He wasn't going to let me deny it. He was going to let it slide. "I interrogated half the room and found out almost nothing about you," he admitted, "Who is Tasha Igwe?" 
"A girl on a walk with a guy," I answered. I didn't want to make up any more lies. The thought that it was Tasha meeting Oliver hurt a little. It could go no farther than tonight. "Your mystery is beguiling," he said, "I suspect there are things you don't want me to know right now." He paused for a moment as my mind reeled at his intellect. He was analysing me, dissecting only the facts and assembling a picture that wasn't far from the truth. "I will let you have your secrets," he turned his head to me and smiled, "not that I have much of choice." 
"You seem to like the mystery," I analysed him, "why would I give it up?" 
"I do love puzzles," he admitted, "they are so much fun to solve." We walked for a few steps in silence, still hand in hand. "Let's try a differ..." A buzzing in his pocket interrupted what he was about to say. I disliked the buzzing. "I'm sorry," he stumbled, letting go of my hand. I began to hate the buzzing. "It's rude, I know, but there are problems at work." He fished his phone out of his pocket. "It will only take a second."
"Peterson," Oliver cursed into the phone. "What do you mean you can't?" Pause. "Well trace the destination. You know what was exposed." Pause. "Let me know what you find." Pause. "No, I'm not coming in." Oliver disconnected without saying goodbye. He shrugged his shoulders with an apologetic smile. "Sorry." This time, I held out my hand. He took it. Apology accepted. "Sounds serious," I said, "if they want you to come in."
"Actually," Oliver said, "I am normally working at this time. The world is a lot quieter at night, makes it easier to develop," he chuckled to himself, "my mother says I'm half vampire." I started at his admission. He was on the same clock as I was. "What do you do for work?" I asked. I already knew it had something to do with computers. "Ahh," he laughed, "a puzzle for you. Revenge is best served quickly before it gets cold." I pulled him closer, my laughter merging with his. It was only fair. We walked around a bend that circled an old oak tree. There were a couple of memorial benches surrounded by flowers off in the corner by the stone fence. It was pretty in the dark, I thought it must be phenomenal in the daylight. "Favourite movie?" I asked. If we weren't going to talk about our real life, might as well move to entertainment. "That depends on my mood," Peter said, "right now, it would be Forrest Gump." 
"You liked all the historical entanglements?" I asked, trying to keep the conversation on him.