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The Masquerade Ball
I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the many mirrors that adorned the elegant walls of the ball room. I took a second to look myself over, checking for any blunders in my appearance. The deep red corset hugged my upper body, contrasting the black and red sarong that swelled out around me. I tugged on my crimson satin gloves, pulling them up to cover my elbows. My black and scarlet mask covered the top half of my face, leaving only my blue-gray eyes visible. . As I went to swipe a brunette curl from my cheek I saw him; a raven haired man staring at me from across the ball room, barely visible through the masked couples dancing across the floor. He wore a black dress shirt and black pants; his mask was white with gold embroidery. The laughter and conversation seemed to disappear and the music dulled to a quiet hum, the whole world blurred around man staring into my eyes. I stood, muscles tensed, frozen in place, afraid that if I shifted my gaze for even a second that the man would disappear into the crowd. Quickly, I turned from the mirror, holding his eyes for as long as I possibly could and letting out a sigh of relief when I realized he hadn’t gone. We began to move towards each other, taking deliberate steps bringing us ever closer. I felt my hand break into a cold sweat inside my gloves, and my stomach filled with butterflies. The orchestrated melody fluttered above the ball room, and the quick, bubbly notes danced together in a glorious harmony that inspired the masked patrons the waltz ever so weightlessly across the dance floor. Couples moved gracefully together, lost in the pleasurable mystery surrounding them and allowing them to let go of themselves. Adrenaline pumped through their veins, letting their inhibitions slip away. Hidden behind their masks they showed their true faces, unabashed and unafraid. My chest constricted with anticipation and my body tingled with electric energy. When we finally reached each other we were in the center of the ball room. The man took my hand, his green eyes still locked on mine,
“Would you like to dance?” he inquired his voice deep and smooth.
I gulped, forcing myself to speak, “I desire nothing more” I managed to croak.
With that he rested his other hand upon my lower back and pulled me impossibly close to him, leading me through the intricate waltz. He expertly spun me through the swift movements,
handling me with the utmost delicacy. When he lowered me back towards the floor, his lips brushed my throat causing my breath to catch and my heart to constrict with giddy excitement. His hot breath lingered on my neck, leaving goose bumps. As we continued to dance I found myself slipping into a separate reality. The brightly colored tapestry melted together as we spun round and round blending with the dancers moving in unison; prancing back and forth, to and fro, here and there. The resonating sound of plucked strings and ardent chords filled the air and the scent of lavender and rose tickled my nose setting a grin across my face. My soul was set to fire and my skin burned with vivacity and untamable emotion.
When the song finally came to an end, the masked man ushered me outside, the cool night air thrusting me back into reality. I could smell autumn leaves and sweet wet grass. I clung to him, his arms still cradling my form. The only light was that of the full moon and it cast an eerie glow upon my surroundings. Suddenly I felt a wave of urgency wash over me. My lips trembled as I struggled to speak.
“I do not wish to leave this place. You have made me forget how I lived without your touch, how my heart beat without feeling yours next to it, how my breath ever caught. I will not wake tomorrow with life coursing through these veins if I cannot look into your eyes again. I simply cannot.” I whispered.
The statement came so quiet from my lips that I scarcely believed that he had heard me. My pleading words were carried away by the cool wind. A solitary tear rolled down my cheek and I could taste the salty despair. Forcing down silent sobs, I turned away from the stranger, angrily wiping away my tears. My emotions screamed at me, drowning out any logical thought, telling me that I could not ignore this connection. My cheeks turned scarlet with chagrin but I could not stop the tears from falling. I felt the man’s hand on my shoulder and then his velvety voice in my ear.
“Please” he pleaded, “do not cry. I feel the same fire as you, the same overwhelming attraction. My skin prickles at your touch. I wish to know you! I rip my barely beating heart from my chest and throw it before you for you to do with it as you please. This is no coincidence; it is fate, you and I!”
His passionate words shook my very core and I propelled myself around to face him once more, his lips capturing mine in a kiss. My entire body was engulfed with heat and my blood began to boil. Our hearts beat in unison and new found vigor coursed through me. Finally we released each other, gasping for breath. A smile crept across my face, and was reflected on the mug of my partner. He chuckled,
“I don’t suppose we’ll be needing these anymore” he said, motioning to his mask.
“No, I don’t suppose so” I replied, still grinning.
As he moved to remove his mask, I began to hear this deafening ringing in my ear. The ringing got louder and louder and suddenly the world around me began to fade. I reached out to grasp the man, but my hand fell through as if I were a ghost.
“No! No, no, no!” I cried as the color drained from my surroundings and the ringing continued to grow louder still.
Then I awoke, gasping, tears streaming down my face, throat caught in the production of another cry. My covers lay upon the floor and the sun peaking through the window hurt my eyes. My alarm clock screeched, the high pitched cries reverberating through my tiny bedroom. Furiously, I slammed the snooze button and fell back upon my pillow willing myself to sleep again, willing my masked soul mate to return to me.