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I paused just outside Syd’s, my hand rested on the heavy brass handle, from the other side of the door I could hear the party goers mingling, laughter spilled out from inside the wall. Relieved to have left my usual lieutenant crisp blues behind for the night along with the strains of the job, I made one last attempt to adjusting my mask, pulling my cloak tighter across my body and entered the bar.
Standing in the dim entrance I took my time, my eyes carefully taking in the room. In the midst of the bar a group of people gathered, smiling faces, high spirited voices calling out to one another. Immediately recognizing a few of my friends….Halloween masquerade party or not…some people’s presence couldn’t be concealed. I spotted my partner Gage Logan, he was talking to a little brunette dressed as a kitty-kat, she rubbed herself against him I imagining her purring. I smirked at him before rolling my eyes, with his All American good looks… he stood 6- feet tall, his shoulders spanned the width of a small brick house, his dark blonde hair curled into angelic tendrils, women melted into his piercing emerald eyes, his firm jaw, full lips….all made a day in the field hard to swallow when he was around, constantly brining attention to his pretty boy face. The little kitty-kat reached her delicate hands to his face pushed his mask over his head, a ripple of laughter exploded from her little frame, she clapped her hands together, obviously enjoying this game. Gage turned briefly in my direction, as he was off duty tonight, his face held a relaxed smile but his eyes were on full alert once he saw me standing there, shaking my head I made myself exercise my facial features into what I hoped resembled a smile. And with slight nod of his head undetected by any others, he winked at me before raining his full attention on his waiting lady.
I slid the hood of my cape down over my shoulders, long loose curls sprung free. Slowly I untied the silk string that gathered my cloak together. Underneath I wore a black-tie tuxedo corset that cinched at my waist, the boning cutting into my hourglass shape. Draping my cloak over one arm I made my way to the bar. Teetering slightly in my heels I glanced down at my feet grimacing…perhaps my usual detective boots would have been more appropriate. I gathered my composure ordered a glass of merlot and leaned back into the bar. I watched as friends and strangers snaked their way around the room…singles coupling up briefly to try to identify one another before parting again to unveil more of the nights mystery. A pair of covetous blondes positioned them selves on either side of me. I glanced from my left and then to my right. Smiling at my friends as they looked on at me speechless…they had no idea who I was! Rapping the tip of my tongue against my upper lip I smiled a slow seductive smile, a husky laugh eased its way past my lips, “Ladies,” I whispered with a gentle nod of my head, low voices tangled in my wake.
Spotting an empty chair in the corner of the room quickly I mapped out my plan visually…the least amount of walking tonight the better I would be off. Maybe if I sit down for a bit, have glass of wine, switching modes would be a little smoother transition. Carefully walking around the large galvanized tubs that were filled with the most unusual trick or treats, I was almost safely to my seat when a voice from behind willed my attention. “I’d know that walk anywhere Lieutenant.” I stopped dead in my tracks as tiny shivers ran up my spine The voice was rich, smooth, and very sure of its self. Slowly I turned on büyükçekmece escort my heel, every ounce of air constricted in my chest. The man before me was dressed in a phantom costume He leaned in closer to me allowing me a faint glimpse of his scent. His mask covered three-fourths of his face. A knowing smile played on his perfectly etched lips. From behind his mask his eyes teased, oh, those eyes, a shade that could only have risen from a fusion of the ocean. I stood before him entranced for a moment, the digi-gods above must have been in a specially good mood the day they made this one. His short dark hair picked up flecks of light from the gothic styled candle holders placed around the room.
“Lieutenant, “he whispered in my ear, standing dangerously close to me now, “don’t tell me you don’t recognize me?” A hint of laughter played behind his words. The word lieutenant snapped me out of his hypnotic trance, I stood up as tall as my petite 5’4 frame would take me, still he towered over me, I smiled, but my eyes said watch it buddy. “No, I don’t think I do”.
His face softened instantly, detecting the shift in my attitude, a reassuring gloved hand cautiously rested on my bare shoulder. “Mmm…it’s okay La Fay, it’s—-” just then a couple of party goers bumped roughly into the two of us. Quickly his hands wrapped around my waist, steadying me. The small crowd moved closer, gathering around, trapping us in between them. Shifting my eyes to a couple across from me, the woman’s face lit up as she winked at me, a smile formed on my lips as I mouth a hello to a regular at Syd’s. I listened to the phantoms voice as he joked with the new arrivals. His voice had a comforting and soothing caliber. I squint my eyes, I know this voice, I’ve heard time and time again. My eyes fogged briefly in my confusion. I entered Syd’s moments ago sharp as at tack and now I couldn’t remember my own badge number if I had to. With one hand still firmly around my waist the Phantom’s fingers traced along the boning of my corset that was now beginning to cut into my skin. An involuntary moan escaped me. The Phantom looked down at me and with a hearty laugh pulled me away from the crowd and out onto the terrace.
The crisp night air cut threw me like a knife. He took my cloak from my hands, replaced it around my shoulders and slid a free hand inside back along the boning of my corset. I winced as his fingers ran over the tiny hooks that held the torture trap together. One finger slid down the center of my back, dipping in, touching the bare skin that was marred by the small claws. Forgetting myself I closed my eyes and leaned into his able-bodied hands. He pulled me to him, my eyes focusing on his chest, he reached under my cape again, bracing my self, I held my breath ready to lift my right arm under his chin in protest when I felt him gently unfasten the first hook on the back of my corset. “Breathe La Fay, just breathe,” he whispered in my ear, I exhaled slowly, my body begging to relax, I placed my hands on the outside of his arms. The warmth of his breath on my neck enfolded over mine. Music from the party began to play inside, wavering out onto the terrace. The Phantom began to hum as he worked away loosening the claws. “There, ” he whispered, with a soft touch he ran his hands over the angered skin. Pulling my even closer, his body swaying to the music he chuckled lightly in my ear, “What were you thinking Lieutenant?”
“It’s a Halloween party, ” I raised my head to look up at him, searching what little of his face I fatih escort could see, I know this face.
“And quite a costume you have on there La Fay,” a gloved hand reached up, one finger curved down my jaw twirled down my neck stopping just above the rise of my corset where my breasts poked out, a little to eagerly for my liking. I fought the urge to hoist up my top in the jumping up and down manner of a 5 year old uncomfortable in her party dress. “Well it appears that you know who I am ….but just who are you?” I asked.
The Phantoms poetic lips curved into a beautiful smile, he lowered his face just inches from mine, his breath, my breath mixing in the crisp air. “You don’t…” he began to say when he bent down to nip at my bottom lip, he pulled away his eyes never leaving mine “…have the slightest…” he flicked his tongue playfully at my top lip, “…idea who I …” cradling my head in his hands he pulled me into him, tracing his tongue along my teeth, leisurely tasting me, his lips drawing deeply from mine “…who I am Lieutenant?” Overcome with the need to surrender, to give up my tough exterior if only for the night…if only just for this moment…to let someone else be in control, not just anyone, but him. His gloved hand carved its way over my corset in zigzag patterns up my rib cage cupping one full breast in his hand, his thumb teasing one nipple. Gripping his cape I pulled him down to me, my mouth inches from his when a beeper sounded off breaking apart our spell. The Phantom stepped away briefly pulling a small back pager from his waist band, his lips forming a tight line. “Come inside for a moment.” We walked back into the room , the party was in full swing, most of the party goers masked have been discarded, I watched as he walked behind the bar into the back room to use the phone.
A waiter slithered past me, my arm shot out like a bullet, grabbing a glass of champagne from the passing tray. A couple walked towards me, the ebony haired beauty’s hands entwined with a distinguishing older gentleman’s. “Lieutenant La Fay, ” a sweet seductive southern accent poured out of her perfectly painted lips, “Your looking absolutely sinful tonight dear.” She leaned over her lips brushing against my cheek.
“Well hell,” I muttered sliding my mask over my head and though my hair. Just then the pair of bodacious blondes entered our circle, “Lieutenant!” They gasped wrapping there arms around me in hug that lasted longer then I liked at the moment. My head swarmed as I listened to their voices melting together chattering all at once. Out of the corner of my eye I watched the Phantom make his way across the room, his steps taken with tenacity, stopping abruptly before my partner Gage, they spoke for a moment and then he hurried through the front door.
“Excuse, ” I set my glass down, pushing pass the crowd to Gage.
“Gage, ” I began above the noise, “Gage Logan…Hey Ace…DETECTIVE!” My partner whirled around to face me.
“What did he just say to you?” I asked my eyes searching his face.
“Who?” I could see the confusion clouding his brain.
“The PHANTOM, ” Shaking my head, uttering those silly words to my partner, my aid, my detective.
“Oh…he said to tell you he was sorry he has to leave.”
Reaching up I grasped the collar of his shirt, pulling his pretty little face level with mine, “Who was he Logan?” Forcing my words my breath coming up short.
“Hey…easy girl…I don’t know who he was…I assumed you did considering you have spent a better part of the evening esenyurt escort out there on that terrace with him.” His eyes twinkled mischievously at his own remark.
Shaking my head I released him from my death grip, and walked across the room, out the door and into my private car. Starting the engine at once I tossed my mask on the passenger seat of my car, turning the car in the direction of home with only one thought in mind…sleep.
Gage and I entered Syd’s the next afternoon for lunch. Sliding the shades down my face, slim fitting black pants hugged my hips as I walked across the room, my holster molded over a black cashmere turtleneck, soft worn leather jacket over one shoulder, scarred black leather boots kissing the wood floors, my badge hung just off my right hip. I smiled inwardly, I watched behind the bar, he had poured my ice tea, popped in one of those pink-girly-bendy-straws I loved so much, had waiting for me even before I made it to the stool. Gage and the bartender shook hands, he pour coffee for my detective placing it in front of him.
I slid my jacket off and was placing it over the back of the bar stool when an a black & white photograph behind the bar caught my eye. I leaned in closer, my heart catching in my chest, it was the Phantom. I glanced over at the bartender searching his eyes…his lips…looking back at the framed picture. The resemblance set alarms off in my head.
” I hear I missed a great party last night, ” wiping down his bar, he passed a menu to Gage, he watched as I came behind the bar to take a closer look at the Phantom’s picture.
“You- you weren’t here last night?” I asked in a whisper
“No…I was called in at the last minute to my other job, I hear…”
I cut him off abruptly, “Who is this? Who is this in this picture?” My finger nail tapped on the stained glass covering the photograph. Even through the aging photograph I could see it was him, his eyes talking to me, the same dark hair, the sensual poetic mouth that smiled to me the night before. The same lips that feed from mine.
He laughed a gentle laugh, his eyes bore into mine, “That, is old Syd. The original owner. He opened this place himself back in…. 1902… yeah, this place was his life, he spent day and night here, he built an apartment upstairs, a small office…it was inside him.” He tapped on his chest, “it was his life.”
Was it my imagination or did he just wink at me?
I cocked my head to the side, long silky hair fell past my shoulder shielding one of my wide opened eyes. 1902…
He continued on, “But of course, you know what that is like Lieutenant.” His voice just low enough for me to hear. Images exploded in my mind, my body reacting to his voice.
I glanced over at my partner, he had engaged himself deep in conversation with the perky waitress. Shaking my head in disbelief at Gage’s relentlessness in woman.
He leaned closer, standing behind me as both of us looked at the picture of Syd hanging on the wall. “You know what that is like Lieutenant…to be consumed by something….to feel something so strong…an indescribable desire to have something…someone…you can’t explain it.”
I stood starring at the photograph, afraid to move, Gage hollered out his order to the bartender.
“You understand don’t you La Fay?” he whispered as his hand gently pressed against the still aching skin on my back. With one touch my skin was sent a flame.
Grabbing my jacket, I willed my legs to move, commanding them each step as they took me outside of Syd’s, my body crashed against the side of my unmarked vehicle, bending at the waist, covering my face with my hands I forced the air into my lungs, deeper and deeper, hands shaking as I raised up, my lips starting to quiver. Swinging the door open I swore to myself as I slid behind the wheel into my car, turning the engine on as my partner ran out of Syd’s yelling after me, “La Fay, where are you going?”
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