tagNovels and NovellasVictim's Ball

Victim's Ball


(On July 14th ever year the French celebrate La Fête Nationale, a holiday that here in the United States we call Bastille Day. It is celebrated with parades, period costuming and fireworks. Large parties with decorative food--blue, white, and red--also music and dance play a prominent part of the celebrations. This story is themed to fit that ... in my own odd personal way. Enjoy. MST)


"So let me get this straight," I said, as I leaned my back against the kitchen counter in my best friend's apartment. My eyes dropped to Maggie's ass by their own will. That little twitch-sway she was making as she decorated sugar skulls (?) and petit fours with a piping bag was getting very interesting. "This new girl Jason is bringing. She has never gone to see a movie at a theater? Never been to a concert? Never been to any kind of party ... in her whole life? What is she an ex-nun? Was she raised in a cult?" I asked as I took a sip of my beer.

Maggie shook her head and looked over her shoulder at me. Luckily, I had moved my eyes before she did that. Our just friends status would have been seriously damaged if she ever knew how incredibly hot I considered her. How much I desired her has been my secret for a half-dozen years.

"No, she's just from a very religious family. Idle hands are the devils holiday and all that." Maggie shrugged and went back to piping on icing. "She's nice. I mean, it's not like she preachy. She's really a very sweet girl. I worry about her dating Jason though. That clean-cut, good-guy crap he's been using since we got out of high school ... it may have helped him get that job, but I know better. That bastard can be a sleaze-ball to women."

I felt my blood suddenly heat up.

"Maggie? Something I need to know about?" I asked. My teeth ground together when I saw her shrug my question away. I liked Jason, I mean we have been friends since our freshman year session room. But if that fucker had hurt Maggie, I would kick his ass so hard, he would need a doctor to get my shoe out his prostate. "Maggs?"

"It's nothing. He asked me out once; I told him no, I had other plans already. It was true I did, but he thought I just didn't want to go out with him. He didn't take it well." She shrugged. "It's all old history. High school drama crap. I haven't really thought about it in the three years since it happened."

She went back to her decorating, and I went back to looking at her ass. Well, I was and I wasn't. My eyes were there, but my mind wasn't really focused on what I was seeing. I was thinking back to school when all those rumors got started about Maggie. The ones that said she was a lesbian. Three years back, huh? About right. Could that have been Jason? Memories of finding Maggie crying her eyes out on the back school steps came flashing back.

"So this Daughter of Christ ... got a name?" I tossed my empty beer bottle in the trash and debated another one. I was going to be driving here in a bit and I knew Maggie would give me hell if I had a second beer. I opened the fridge and grabbed a coke and then got one for Maggs as well. "Our Lady Mother Angelica of ... what?"

"Don't do that. Thank you," she said when I handed her the Coke. "She is very sweet and yeah, shy enough to be a nun. Please don't give her any grief. She's dating a twit; she doesn't need to have to deal with a twat."

Opening my soda, I hid my smile behind the bottle. Riling up Maggie had been my sport of choice since grade school.

"I just asked her name."

"You asked her name in an asshole kind of way." Maggs said a soft cuss word, and turning around handed me a tiny cake. I saw it had smeared icing. "Here, eat this. Her name is Wilhelmina."

I paused with that sweet tidbit halfway into my mouth.

"Wilhelmina? Wilhelmina?" I gave my head a little twitch. "Oh, so she's Amish?"

Maggie, looking over her shoulder, gave me a sour look, and then turning around, pushed the hard, wax-paper-wrapped cookie tray into my gut.

"Put these in the car with the others while I go get dressed," she snarled. "Before I have to hurt you. I would hate to have explain to your mother why she can never be a grandmother."

"Okay. Fine, fine. I'll not tease the new girl. I just have one question though."

Maggie stopped by the sink, shook her head and looked back at me with a resigned expression. "What?"

"This party--if I read Cassandra's Facebook post right--its theme is a Gothic, post-French-Revolution-costume party, celebrating Bastille Day, yes? Okay, that being the case, what do these Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls have to do with that?" I looked down at the tray of cookies. "The petit fours you made I get, but the ..."

"Mark Thomas, go put the cookies in the car."

Turning away, I hid my smile and headed out to my Monte Carlo. Popping open the trunk one handed, I placed the cookie tray on top of the other three just like it. The wax paper on them kept everything separated. Reaching in, I snagged me another cookie before I shut the trunk.

Looking up at Maggie's apartment, munching on sugar and icing, I saw her silhouette pass behind the window in her bathroom. The blinds may have hid her from view, but not from my imagination. I smiled as I pictured her slowly getting dressed. That short, bobbed haircut of hers just brushing her naked shoulders with ebony hair as she bent forward to pull on the fishnet stocking she had shown me. Then the shimmy of her hips as she pulled up that black vinyl skirt.

I was just beginning to visualize what her breasts must look like as she reached behind her to fasten a no doubt black lace bra, when my phone rang.

"Your nickel?" I answered.

"Hey, Mark! You about at the party?" asked my buddy, Chris.

Leaning back against my car, I sighed as I looked back up and I saw that Maggie had moved away from her window. "Nope. Still at Maggs' place. We'll be there soon. What's up?"

"I've been driving around here for ten minutes. Where the hell is this place again?" Chris asked. I could hear his girlfriend Cindy talking to someone on her cellphone in the background. "I've tried Map Quest but that gave me the wrong place."

"It's on Carson Mills Drive. Right across from the old firehouse. You remember; it's got that dark brick wall all around it and those big old cast iron lanterns by the gate."

"Oh, that place? All right, I'm not too far from there. Well, thanks. I'll see you when you get there." I could make out Cindy saying something just as the phone disconnected. Shaking my head, I pocketed my phone. Love the guy, but that dumb ass could get lost in a bathtub with a GPS and a map. And his girlfriend was worse. All Cindy had ever been able to find was a guy just like herself.

Heading back into the apartment, to take a quick piss, I stopped at the open bathroom door and leaned my shoulder against the door frame, silently saying, "Wow." Funny, how after nearly fifteen years being friends with her, I had only in the last five seen just how beautiful she was. Maggie applying her makeup was like watching a master painter at work. Highlighting this, shading that. De Vinci was an amateur at bringing out beauty next to her. My eyes left her face for a moment, following the curves and hills of a landscape of female perfection.

"Does this skirt ride too high? I feel like my ass checks are showing in it." Maggie cut her eyes to me, while still applying lip gloss. "Yes? No? Maybe?"

I, with all the apparent reluctance of a man walking to the gallows, made myself look down at her ass. The shiny, black vinyl hugged her ample hips in a way that made me envious of that skirt. The bottom edge met the top of those fishnet stockings leaving just a hint of white thigh showing in a way that would make a saint hard. And I'm no saint.

"They'll only show if you bend over. So don't drop your keys lest we all go blind," I teased. I had to dodge a quick spritz of hairspray she sent my way. "Chris called."

"He's lost," she said as she shaded under his eyes. I cringed as I pictured having to put a pencil that close to my eyeball. "Let me guess, he forgot to take a left turn at Albuquerque?"

"Something like that. I think I got him pointed in the right direction. You about done?" I asked.

"Nearly, why?"

"Oh, just my eyeballs are starting to float." I shifted to the other side of the door frame.

She put down her eyeliner and picked up a small metal case. I watched her start applying eyeshadow. "You can suffer for stealing that second cookie."

"What second cookie?" I asked, all innocent.

"I know you better than you know yourself. There is no way you could carry them out there without taking one. I love you to death, but you have the self-control of a monkey fucking a football." She snapped her little case closed.

Letting my tongue chase the last of the icing off my teeth, my eyes dropped to the open cleavage she was displaying. A visual of those breasts covered in the icing from the piping bag came and went.

"Believe me, Maggs, if I lacked in self-control you would know it." She quirked an eyebrow at me. "Well, you are wearing those 'Oh, tickle me now' clothes."

Maggie grabbed her curling iron from off the side of the sink. I could see the waves of heat drifting up from it.

"Don't even think about it, funny boy." She clicked the metal part at me. "You try to tickle me and I'll clamp this to your nipple." Her eyes dropped to the open collar of my shirt. "I'll singe every hair off your chest for you."

I held my hands up in a show of peace as she edged her way around me and out the bathroom, the hair curler held like a Jedi lightsaber. She gestured with it for me to back away, and then she shut the door behind her.

Chuckling, I clicked the door lock. I took a second to look at myself in the mirror then moved to the toilet. The sigh of relief was nearly orgasmic as I finally convinced my bladder it was okay to piss now. Then it felt like I had to piss forever till I finally got done. Moving to the sink, I had to move a few things out the way so I could turn on the water to wash my hands. Her melon, apricot and lilac hand scrub assaulted my nose as I used it. Wishing for something as simple as Irish Spring soap, I dried my hands and was about to leave when I noticed my foot was against a small pile of clothes. That flour covered T-shirt from earlier, a plain white bra peeked out from under it, and a pair of lace-topped panties that were the pink crown of the pile.

Bending down, I picked them up and brought them to my nose, without a single thought about it. As I pressed the still somewhat warm cotton into my lips, I breathed deep a rich, heady scent that caused me to become instantly hard. A second deep breath placed that scent firmly into my memories. It would stay there for a long time, that mixture of her perfumes, soaps, sugar cookies, and the natural scents that were a part of her.

A part of my best friend in the world.

That hit me hard. Feeling a little guilty even as I took one last sniff, I leaned down and did my best to place them exactly where they were before. When I stood up and my eyes fell on myself in the mirror, her words about lack of self-control washed back over me.

"No matter how quietly you sneak up on a mirror, you always find yourself staring right back at you," I quoted a movie in a soft breath to myself. "Windows to the soul."

"Hey? Have you fallen in or something?" She tapped on the door. "I need my cell phone."

Grabbing up her phone from the sink, I turned it around and snapped a quick selfie of me with my tongue stuck out for her to find. Opening the door, I handed her the phone. I tried to look innocent, even as thoughts of tickling her came back.

Or doing something far more fun than tickling. I was hard and the scent of her was still in my nose. As we passed, I looked at her, and our eyes met. For a moment I wanted to lean in and kiss her, to taste those sweet-looking lips. Knowing that it would damage our fifteen-year friendship so very badly was the only thing that stopped me.

That and my phone rang. It was Chris.

He was still lost.

** ** ** ** ** ** **

Balancing a store-bought chocolate cake and four pans of cookies, I followed Maggie, who was carrying the petit fours, into the side door of the old hotel. One of the kitchen staff smiled at us and thankfully held open the door. We followed the hand gestures, and half-mumbled instructions of his. After we found the large banquet hall door, I saw that I could have saved the fellow the time. I had known where to go. All I had needed to do was follow the sound of Cassandra's voice.

"Okay, put that over there, yeah next to the rack. No, closer to the guillotine."

I stopped in my tracks, looked at Maggie and mouthed the word "Guillotine?" She shook her head and held the door opened for me.

Stepping through, I felt almost like I was stepping back through time. The room, despite a few more modern touches like electric lights, looked to have been brought forward from the early eighteenth century. Everything from the furniture to the wallpaper looked ancient. Clean, yes. Polished till it shined, yes. But all of it was clearly handmade and made by true craftsmen at that. Even the invention named after Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotine, which held place of honor at one end of the hall, looked well-constructed.

And certainly deadly.

"Okay, what a lovely party. Time to go now though," I mumbled under my breath as Cassandra came rushing over to us. Her long, black hair flowed out behind her like her own bit of shadow given life. She gave Maggie a quick hug then grabbed two of the cookie trays from me.

"Happy Bastille Day! Oh, thank you for bringing these. Ooo, and the cake looks wonderful as well. Let's put these over here." She led us to a buffet table covered in all kinds of unfamiliar looking foods. French, maybe? Most of it was blue, white, and red. I held everything till, control-freak-that-she-is, Cassandra had decided what went were best from an artistic point-of-view. Once my arms were finally empty, she gave me a hug as well. The smell of her, all patchouli and sandalwood incense, was as alluring as it was disturbing, as always. I knew that those scents were so heavy to help her hide other scents.

I couldn't help but hold her a second or two longer than she might have liked, but she felt like such a delicate flower in my arms, I was almost afraid to turn her loose. Like she was made of porcelain. My eyes went to the black hair my chin and cheek were resting on. The wig that covered her bald head felt itchy.

She patted my back, and said softly into my chest so that only I could hear it. "None of that now. Plenty of time for that later."

With an inner sigh I didn't let her hear, I turned her loose. She smiled at me, winked, and then reaching into a box on the table, pulled out a name tag and handed one to me and one to Maggie. Before I could ask about it, she snagged Maggie's arm and led her away to go look at something.

I pinned it to my shirt, even though it didn't have my name on it. Not even close. It looked French.

Sensing someone walking up on me, I turned to see Jason bringing me a beer. He was not in costume for the ball, but in a stylish suit. Given my earlier thoughts of him spreading rumors about Maggie back when we were in school, I wanted to take the beer bottle and break it over his smug-as-sin looking head. But I didn't. It was full bottle after all, and following that moment with Cassandra I needed a drink. I needed a drink far stronger than beer. I took it from him with a nod, not really trusting my voice to not break, and went back to looking at the decor as I sipped.

"There is something decidedly morbid about this whole, Bastille Day thing." Jason said, shaking his head. "I mean given ... well you know."

"Yeah, I know." I took another long drink. Always the you knows when people can't stand to mention the C-word. "So where is this new girl I hear you have?"

Jason pointed with his beer to a girl over by where Chris and his girlfriend Cindy were standing togther. She was more than pretty but less than beautiful. My eyes took in the nervous looks she gave everyone and the "out of place" way she seemed to be standing. I could tell that was what she was feeling even from across the room.

"She's a bit of a handful at times, but she is real looker, huh?" he bragged as he adjusted his glasses. "I can't wait to find out what she's like in bed. Bet once I get through that shell she's going to be a freak." If he had moved his hand to shift the blue-black tie at his neck I would have probably slugged him. Here I was dress, more-or-less, like a pirate--as close to 1800s as I could get on short notice--and he was more in a costume than I could have ever been. My eyes took in the hair cut, the manicured nails, and the clothes that he had custom fit, and I almost wanted to laugh in his face. I had so many memories of this clown from school.

Wishing he would go bug someone else, I looked around at the other guests as they began to pile in. The clothing choices ran from semi-period clothing, similar to mine, to more like the sexy, black-vinyl look Maggie was wearing. But then, as more and more Goths arrived at that moment, I began to get the feeling I was in a Marilyn Manson video.

"Might skip out this ... soiree ... here in a bit." Jason told me taking a sip of his beer. "Let Wilhelmina get a few more glasses of that punch into her and this could be the night of her life."

He adjusted his tie. And then smirked and gave me a wink.

I looked at the half bottle of beer in my hand and then at the side of his head. Debating, debating.

"Mark, come take a look at this." Maggie grabbed my arm and began pulling me towards the hotel's front entrance. "Hi, Jason. Bye, Jason. It was wonderful to see you; we must do this again sometime." She pulled me away before he could say a thing in response.

"Thanks for the save, Maggs. I have no desire to spend the night in jail for assault."

She chuckled. "I saw your face. That cute little twitch by your eye was starting."

"What little twitch?" I asked, confused. She didn't answer, just pulled harder on my arm leading me to who knows what. "Where are we going?"

"Cassandra showed me this. It's so cool; I know you'll love it." Maggie stopped in front of a large painting. "Look here."

Looking over the wall size painting, I was puzzled for a second till my eyes registered that the half-built thing in the background was the Eiffel tower. Then, as the city skyline of Paris began to take shape, I saw that it was not the Paris I had told Maggie was my ideal vacation spot, but rather one from a much older time. Maybe late eighteen-eighties, given the height of the tower; an image my architectural design professor had grilled into us.

"It's pretty. Who's the artist?"

"No! This here." She reached forwards and pointed to a specific building in the painting. "Look familiar?"

Looking closer, I saw it was the hotel I was standing in. "How...?" I mumbled.

"Over here." Maggie again took my arm and turned me. This time to face a metal plaque, bronze, rimmed in maybe gold leaf, attached to the wall by the entrance.

~ L' Hôtel du Nord~

"Established in 1693?" I felt my jaw drop when I read that. "No way in hell."

Maggie lightly popped the back of my head. "Keep reading."

Muttering. Rubbing at the back of my head, my eyes went back to the plaque.

~Established in 1693, by the LeCouvereur family on the outskirts of Paris, it was a popular destination for many who wished to visit the ancient City of Splendor, but didn't wish to stay too close due to the overcrowding that was common in the city during theater season. The original hotel was brick-by-brick demolished by the original owner's descendants and moved to America in the early nineteen-hundreds. They were quoted to have said that they "Feared its possible destruction" in the growing tide of war mongering that was sweeping Europe at that time. The hotel was reassembled exactly as it had been, here on this site, and in a strange twist of fate the hotel was reopened on the exact same day as WWI began. The 28th of June, 1914.~

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