“Nancy Drew’s” view
That early summer evening I was attending a posh masquerade ball with my parents. My twin brother was supposed to come but ended up spending the night keeping company to a neighbor girl he fancied, who was babysitting some young nieces of hers.
At the time I was a young lass of 15. I thought I knew everything at that stage in my life and was far too cheeky to be told differently.
For the affair, we all happily dressed up in our best. Or at least mum and I were happy, father maybe not so much.
Father had dressed in his tux with a green cummerbund. He wore a green eye mask.
He was also carrying a flask of brandy and a case of cigars.
Father, though now a police super, had started as a university student clerking for MI6. So he claimed his costume was the spy James Bond
, Which explains his toy pistol that was actually a lighter to use for his cigars, but not brandy or cigars themselves.
Since father was Bond, mum declared she was dressed as the secretary Miss Moneypenny.
That evening she wore her elegant eye-catching blue taffeta gown with a scooped neckline, ruffled half sleeves, and a fluttering skirt that lay knee-length in front, shin-length in back.
With it, she wore her best jewels. A matching sapphire and diamond jewelry set that sparkled deliciously under the ceiling lights of the great banquet hall. The matched set consisted of a long side hair clip, earrings, necklace, bracelet, cocktail ring, and a kite-shaped broach pinned to her waist. The necklace was especially pretty. A wide v shape, set with large pear-shaped sapphires interspersed with smaller round diamonds set in loose gold chains. She wore a deep blue mask that covered her eyes and nose. Mum joked that she was a secretary undercover.
I thought she looked more like a movie star on the BAFTA red carpet.
As for myself, I was wearing my shiny green party dress. It has a sheer satin blouse with long sleeves. And a shiny pleated swishy skirt that fell to the top of my black leather pumps with the fake emerald clasps. The mesh waistline was decorated with emerald and diamond rhinestones.
I was wearing my “good” jewels. My long gold and diamond heart-shaped pendant, wide rhinestone bracelet, and 4 of my favorite rhinestone rings with green gems.
I also was wearing the long old fashioned clasped rhinestone diamond earrings that mum had given to me on my birthday. She had bought them while at university from a second hand for a couple of pounds. Later she discovered that the 2 largest stones were real diamonds, the earrings being worth 10 times what she had paid. This was my first time wearing them out.
I felt quite pretty dressed up like I was. And ready for what I hoped would be an evening of adventure. Especially after my father said his ladies(Mum and I) were both “dressed to kill” that evening.
I also wore a black bandit-type mask I had gotten from my brother’s room. It came from a costume play box we both kept our role-playing game items in.
Not sure who I was masquerading as, but when Father suggested Nancy Drew, I went with it.
Overall, as a party, the masquerade ball was simply dazzling.
A dressy, mostly adult affair. By the way, everyone was dressed, I was reminded of the way actors and actresses attending an awards show looked. With the only real costumes being the fancy masks the guests were wearing.
We found a small side table and snatched it. No one else joined us.
Mum and dad ended up leaving me alone a lot as they mingled and then danced on the raised floor at one end of the hall.
Which was not fair for they also expected me to stay close.
It was packed that evening, so much so that there was not enough room on the raised floor, that reached up to my chin when standing. So some of the dancing couples were forced down to the lower floor directly below.
I had been to several school dances myself, and admit to desiring to be asked to dance this evening. But there were few there my age, no one I knew, and I was far too shy to make any approaches to make new acquaintances that night.
Feeling a bit nervous, I found myself playing a lot with my bracelet. Watching, mesmerized by the sparkling jewels set in it. I also pulled out my small compact and amused myself by watching my earrings sparkle while I made them sway.
At one point, a couple of hours in, I was sitting there alone at our side table, drinking slowly from a small goblet of wine my father had gotten me, with a bit of light-hearted scolding from mum for doing so.
Well, the wine has purseits effect, and a call to nature I felt overrides what my father said about staying put.
I picked up my small green velvet purse and headed off in search of relief.
I found the loo across the room, next to the long bar where drinks were being served.
It was crowded inside and I got jostled a bit as I stopped right in the way of a pair of young ladies. “ Rude twits,” I said under my breath, for they never even apologized barreling along as they were.
I finished and headed back out. I stopped by the bar to have a look around.
Those twit girls who had been rude to me were standing there, backs to me, blocking my pat as they were giggling over something
Looking for another way around, I saw off to my left an opening that led outside. I went over and found myself at the entrance to a large upper-floor balcony with about 12 tables strewn about. Only half the tables were full.
I went out and started to explore.
It was a warm evening with a beautiful full moon that made everything appear romantic and fairytale-like.
Looking over the side I saw hedges below, like the kind that would border a flower garden. I couldn’t see over them, but I detected the smell of roses coming from that direction.
As I circled around, several ladies were watching me, and I got nervous about being out here alone.
So I cut back to the entrance. I then noticed something I had missed. Just on the inside of the balconeys’ entranceway, was a small set of stairs leading down. A thin rope was across with a poster reading: Gardens are off Limits.
“A thin rope is not much of a deterrent.” I thought reading the sign.
Just then a man in a security guard’s uniform passed.
He warned me sternly.
“No one allowed below, young miss.”
I nodded, red-faced, and headed to the entrance.
I went straight back to my table. My parents were not back, so I grumpily sat back down.
How it galled me to be treated as a child by that rental cop(as father calls them) when I was feeling so grownup this evening.
I was still fuming as a gentle hand unexpectedly took hold of my shoulder, startling me.
A voice said, “Hello Samantha.”
I turned and found myself looking up into the smiling eyes of a handsome young male. He was all in black. His opera phantom half mask, tux, vest, shirt, and bow tie. Not a bit of color, except for his twinkling blue eyes.
“I’m not Samantha, wrong girl,” I said apologetically, rather wishing I was Samantha with a handsome friend like this.
He said, “ No, you certainly are not my friend Samantha.”
He then looked me up and down…
“Far prettier, if I dare say.”
How do you do, held anyone up lately?” He added with a firm, soothingly deep voice that reminded me of Father’s.
I was too taken off guard to answer back right away. Obviously, he has mistaken me for someone closer to his own age. Mum had said I looked years older that evening, with my eyes made up and with my red hair swept back, held in place by a green velvet clip.
I gulped. The proper thing to do was make him aware of his mistake. But I was a bit off over feeling the odd man out and quickly decided to go with the moment.
I decided to stay in my character of Nancy Drew.
I raised my hand. “How do you do sir, my name is Nancy, and no, despite the mask, I’m not a thief.”
Taking my hand he kissed it with chivalrous gallantry. “Pleasure is all mine, glad my watch and wallet are safe”.” he chuckled merrily, looking at me with thoughtful eyes.
Then, still holding my hand, asked…” May I sit for a bit, rather tuckered out at the moment?”
I nodded my head feeling that this could well be the adventure I was hoping for.
It felt both secure and divine being treated as an adult. I then realized he was asking me a question.
“So Nancy, what then, does your character do for a living if she is not a thief?”
Without thought I answered, staying in character…“ I am an amateur detective.”
He answered in his soothingly deep voice “ Well that is quite interesting indeed, what kind of cases do you like working on?”
I didn’t know how to answer that and squirmed as my face turned red, which I know really makes my freckles show up on my cheeks.
“ I bet you are really clever at catching thieves. And that is why you are here this evening? Or are you taking the night off?”
Taking the cue, I nodded my head. Hard enough that I felt the green clip loosen “No thieves here tonight.”
He laughed in a winning manner. “ I guess not, probably no reason for one to be here. So miss Nancy, you’ve not asked whom I am playing this evening.”
I had not, so I guessed..” let me see, an Undertaker ?” I said teasingly.
He chuckled..”Not even close. A.J. Raffles, cricketer, at your command my lady.”
I had no idea who A.J.Raffles was, and I could see that my face had been a dead giveaway to that.
He chuckled. “Never heard of him? Well, Raffles loved to play cricket, as well as several other hobbies. And there is a story behind that, as a lad, that helped him choose his course as an adult. Care to hear it?”
Nodding yes, I took a sip of wine as he began his tale.
“When A.J. Raffles was a lad of ten he attended a wedding where his parents were both best man and maid of honor. A.J sat at a table with an older Great Auntie who paid him no heed.
He soon fell in with a group of bored older boys who had been throwing dice in a makeshift crown and anchor board. The game had been broken up by one of the servers and they had all been chased away
AJ was huddled in with that group as they watched the dressed-up wedding guests up on the dance floor. They began talking amongst themselves, commenting over the scene before them.
“Look at dem jools the birds are wearing. Bet they’d be worth a lot.” One of the lads was saying. Another quipped back that too bad those dames weren’t their age. “Yeah, like that would mean anything. What would you do, lift their jools?” Came the teasing retort. “Hell yeah I would.” said a cocky lad. And someone else said “I like to see you do it. “ AJ was taking all this in, squirming a bit because he had always had a secret desire to make a collection of the pretty jewellery he’d seen ladies wearing. Tonight was no different.
I smirked, “sounds like my brother.”
“There you go then, you know how he felt also “ my new friend answered smiling pleasantly before continuing…
Well as fate would have it, two young teenage girls came walking Purposefully past. They threw that group of boys a rather coy look while passing as close by as they could.
One was dressed in a slick satin high necked gown of deep red with a rhinestone necklace and earrings. Her companion was wearing a sky blue sleek satin party dress, smooth black jacket, and strands of imitation pearls.
No sooner had they passed than the inner circle of boys began to dare and double dare. Money was put up in bets that enticed two of the lads to take up the challenge. That being to come away free with the girl’s necklaces.
The two lads left, and as the others looked on, went up to the two young lassies and began to converse. The giggling girls finally allowed themselves to be led to the dance floor
As they began to dance, more bets were made amongst the remaining lads, with young AJ joining in. Spending his only farthing on blue satin losing her pearls, and doubling that it would be done without her noticing.
Both of the dancing boys made several amateur attempts upon their female partner’s jewels. Blue satin, misinterpreting why her partner had his hand high up on her backside, giggled and fled away. Red satin ran off after her friend, but not before the wily lad who had been holding her had given even her a hug, nicking her shimmering necklace off from around the high collar of her slick gown as she struggled free.
He came back triumphantly to collect his winnings. Though some argued that seeing her necklace had not been touching skin it was not a real contest. He got his winnings in the end and the group wandered off, the prized necklace being passed around with envy.
AJ stayed behind contemplating. He watched as the lads stopped by a table where a young girl sat alone. She was wearing a long bridesmaids’ gown of silk dyed in several shades of teal and green. A single string of real pearls hung down from her bare neck. Expensively swinging down elegantly. He knew what the group of lads were discussing in their private huddle. AJ moved off not wishing to see anymore.
“Those poor girls, I am glad your character walked away from that instead of embarking on a life of crime, “ I said to my new friend.
He looked at me thoughtfully, I saw a gleam grow in his eyes that I found exciting.
“Nancy, out of curiosity, if I’m not prying, you mentioned your brother would like my Raffles’s story?”
It was a delicious question, one I had been hoping "Raffles" would ask. I picked up my pendant as I answered, my mouth dry with anticipation to see his reaction.
“Yes he would, your Raffle story is similar to a game my brother came up with.
“Please tell me more, it sounds rather interesting, and I bet you have fun playing it.” He said, with excited curiosity.
I giggled. “Well, we play it in the woods. I wear a play dress and play jewelry. My brother actes as the thief who tries to catch me and rob me of my jewels. Then, if he does, he hides and I play the detective trying to find him. I know it sounds rather odd.”
He gently took my hand. “No, not at all odd, as I said, sounds rather exciting.”
“Yes, very exciting “Raffles” added a faraway look in his eyes.
A silence ensued and I happened to look up at the raised platform of the dance floor and saw mum and father dancing there.
He turned around, followed my eyes.
“I see you’re looking at that lady, pretty in blue, with the sparkly sapphire jewels”
I guiltily nodded yes, turning to look at him. “If you wait a bit, you will meet them. That’s my mum and father.
Turning back to face me, his eyes went down to mine.
“You and your mother are both are very pretty, if I may be so bold?”
He took up my hand and kissed it as he asked this.
“But now, I must be toddling off, taken up too much of your time I’m afraid .”
We both stood up to say goodbye.
Without thinking, I happily held out my hands for a friendly hug to thank my “Raffles” for being so very nice and entertaining.
He did so willingly and I felt his reassuring fingers securely patting up along my back. it felt very nice and I became aware of a rather pleasant prickling-like sensation in some very good feeling areas.
He looked at me up and down smiling.
“Well “Nancy” I hope you liked my Raffles story.
I looked up at him with an intriguing, almost hopeful expression. Thinking of his story, thinking my twin brother would have loved to have been there. I then asked, holding my breath:
“Do you think Raffles regretted not playing the games those boys were up to?”
My heart was beating miles a minute, and I started to place my hand upon it to still it.
Before I could, he took that hand up in his.
Holding it, he told me, while patting down along my wrist and arm reassuringly…
“I think Raffles is the type never to regret anything, what do you think?”
I nodded my head happily satisfied. Feeling my earrings move along my face as my hair fell out of place just a little bit more.
I remembered having watched those earrings in mum’s mirror. I had quite liked the way they glittered. I was hoping he had noticed also.
As I looked into those friendly blue eyes, I believe he had noticed, for I could see their shimmering reflection in them.
He smiled at me broadly.
“Here “Nancy” allow me to get you seated.”
Such a gentleman I thought as he pulled out my chair and gripped his fingers supportively along my arms as I slid forward.
He then again lifted and kissed my hand.
“Righto,” he nodded and was off.
I was feeling a warm tingling sensation over the whole adventure. I placed my hands down between my legs and happily mulled back over the whole experience as I rocked back and forth in my seat.
Was this what it was like to be treated with special attention from a handsome stranger?
I had felt so lifted away as he had hugged me. And his fingers felt like heaven as he had run them ever so gently through my hair. I locked my legs together as I shivered over reliving that feeling.
So, now I was again left alone to my own devices. But with really nothing to do.
After a happily spent 45 minutes of daydreaming and imagining different scenarios over how my meeting the charming Raffles playing stranger could have gone, I realized that I had a sudden urge to do something, anything than just sitting here.
I daringly decided to explore the off-limit gardens.
I pushed back my chair with determination and rose.
Grabbing my purse, I moved off in the direction of the balcony. I skirted the outer wall, going past the main door, and reached the outdoor balconies entrance. I had not been spotted, successfully avoiding the dance floor and bar area.
I looked around. No rental cops were now in the area.
I turned the corner with a beating heart, snuck underneath the rope at the stairs entrance, and scurried down.
Reaching the ground I looked around. Catching my breath as my beating heart slowed down. I saw the hedges, and the woods off to the side, a path running along in between.
I took the path, knowing it would be out of sight of the upper balcony.
My excitement over going on an adventure increased as I walked, taking in the cool air, marveling over the moonlit beauty. I came to a side entrance and found myself in a rose garden. The roses were beautiful and fragrant. Off in the distance, I heard a fountain bubbling.
I pulled the now loose clip from my hair, shaking my head as I felt my hair fall to my shoulders.
Feeling more comfortable, I looked around, deciding on what to do next.
Some of the roses surrounded a white marble statue of Cupid. I walked the 10 paces from the wood path up to it, bending down to smell the roses.
Suddenly a rabbit jumped from the judge, startling me. I gave out a loud gasp, my hand holding onto my breast to quell the renewed pounding of my heart.
I then giggled at my silliness.
But a chilly feeling washed over me as I realized I was out here all alone.
I became very aware of how I looked
“Dressed to Kill” as Father had said.
“And I knew why I was warned not to go off exploring on my own.” I thought to myself, visions of what could happen filled my head, fueled by what I had seen on the Telly and the games I played with my twin.
I began to turn. Intent on losing no time to get back to the stone staircase.
It was then something small hit the fountain with a shocking clang.
I totally jumped out of my skin.
Suddenly a pair of cold hands slipped over my eyes and I was pulled back against what was unmistakably a man’s figure.
I gasped, my heart leaping up. Within a split second, I had thoughts that it was my twin brother playing a game. But I knew he was not here, and this was not one of our games.
My hand went to my chest, grasping my pendent as my whole figure wilted and my head began to swirl.
End of Part One
Part 2 coming Soon
Tagged: , magnific , master , art