Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dinner and a Show

 **We continue. Pretty tame, but building to the "big finishes" to come. Hope you enjoy. **

The Evening Activities
Dinner had gone deadly quiet. Outside, the sky fell in a steady, drumming rain deepening the quiet. The scraping of forks dented the silence without truly breaking it. 

Inside each of the folders were examples of each of the participant's writing. Melissa wasn't sure what was more mortifying. Knowing that sour, unpleasant Jez was responsible for a piece of writing that had kept her and her vibrator busy for a few hours or having the bitch stand up and read one of Melissa's stories. Out loud. At the dinner table. She was just grateful it wasn't what she had written that day. It was probably the hottest, dirtiest writing she had ever done.

Luckily, Jez's “reading” came before the Professor joined them. He was here now, his eyes cool, but keen. He was watching Melissa intently, but without the predatory gleam or the fawning foppishness of the boys that she went to school with. No, the Professor looked at her the same way he did in class. Like he had a challenge for her. Like he knew what he was asking would require work on her part, but he was sure she was up for it.

We have all had time to ourselves. Now we must get comfortable with one another. Let us chat. What's your favorite guilty-pleasure read?”

He directed the question at Crystal, Melissa noticed, immediately including her despite her “non-participant” status.

I read paranormal erotic romance. I know it gets a bad wrap, but I don't care. Danger turns me on.”

Interesting.” He was fully in Retreat Master mode now. “What would you do if you found yourself in a dangerous, sexually-charged situation?”

The woman's brown eyes flicked up to the ceiling for a moment, thinking. “I guess it would depend.”

On?” It was Rena that asked the question.

On who I was with. On how comfortable I felt.”
A quiet knock on the door from the kitchen startled Melissa. Marcus stepped halfway through the door. “I'm going to go now, if you don't need anything else.”

Melissa eyed the pounding rain and remembered the twisty roads that led to the estate. Certainly he wasn't going to drive in that mess? Her face must have been easy to read; the Professor smiled at her.

Would anyone object to me offering Marcus a place to stay here tonight? I'm afraid he won't make it back to scramble eggs for us in the morning if we let him leave now.”

Well, we can't have that. Can we?” Crystal answered, apparently getting more comfortable by the moment. Rena shook her head, offering no argument.

No objections here.” Melissa piped in.

Jez looked prepared to argue, but saw that the room was against her.

Join us for dinner. It's delicious.” Crystal smiled.

I hope so. I spent hours working on it.”

Melissa's cell phone began to buzz in her pocket. She chose to ignore it. It continued to buzz every three minutes until she finally stormed out of the dining room to have a strained conversation with her mother. Melissa did her best to keep her composure while blocking the sound of her mother's shrill voice. In the end she only managed to escape by promising her mother she would stop by before she returned to her dorm.

The rest of the night was uneventful, passing in conversation and wine. Lots of wine.
Marcus turned in first, using early morning egg making as his excuse. Rena and Crystal agreed and shortly after they stumbled off, hand in hand, toward their suite. After one or three too many glasses of wine, Melissa excused herself, as well. Her bed was calling her.
Jez and the Retreat Master 
The man who so annoyingly referred to himself as the Retreat Master stopped Jez as she stood up to leave. “Stay back for a moment, won't you? I would like to talk to you about your writing.”

I bet you would.” She quickly appraised him. Salt and pepper hair, steel blue eyes. Not obviously muscular, like her Brandon, but trim and fit nonetheless.

Actually, I have something I want to show you, but it's not quite ready. Sit down and have a glass of wine with me. I noticed that you didn't imbibe with the others.”

I don't drink.”

Oh, I'm so sorry. I can go and get you a glass of tonic if alcohol is a problem for you.” His facial expression seemed caught between pity for a drunk and cautious indulgence for a religious nut. Neither of those types fit the careful picture that Jez wanted to present. She quickly disabused him of either notion.

I don't drink wine. If you happen to have a nice scotch, single malt, I'll happy drink with you.”

Ah ha! Excellent. I'll just go fetch it from the liquor cabinet. Ice?”

No. Thanks.”

He returned a few moments later with a cut crystal rocks glass filled with disgusting, disgusting scotch. He'd been generous with his portions.
The trick would be to belt it down. It would make her look tough and get it over with quickly. She threw back the drink as fast as she could, but the glass was near full and it took several swallows to get it all down. The burn took root in her mouth and came to full bloom in her belly, causing her to gasp for breath. “Woo, that's good stuff.”

He rambled on for a few minutes more, spouting more of the philosophical crap from the folder. She didn't pay him any mind until he focused on her specifically. “I think that we can go take a look at what I wanted to show you now. It should be ready.”

Jez stood up and wobbled, surprised at how fast the scotch had gone to her head. She followed Mister Master. Ha ha, Mister Master. Oh, crap. I might be drunk! She did her best to remain upright and poised on their walk out of the dining room, out of the house, and down a familiar covered pathway. She suspected she didn't succeed.

They silently approached the solarium. Bright light glittered through the glass walls.

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