A Prelude to Hyde (A story of Hub City)

dancehall1

 

I spent all morning asking myself, “What was I doing here?”  It was a 1920’s dance hall converted into a modern event center. Its’ owners had taken great pains to keep it in its’ grand original condition.  Lots of people said he had been there to remember, but most people considered that to be urban legend, nobody had ever been known to live that long despite what ancient government rumors and outdated media propaganda suggested.

Falcón Gionetti was an old world restaurateur, enamored with movie stars, high rolling gamblers, aristocrats, and Mafioso of the past.  He wasn’t a crime boss himself, but it was obvious he admired the lifestyle. Some said that Capone once dined here as well as Hollywood Stars, and dignitaries from around the world. It still boasted lithographs of 20’s movie greats and grand dances with magnificent ball gowns plumed with feathers and lace and glittering with gems and sequins made from sho-nuff real fish scales.

But that was long ago, before Hub City was built. The skeleton of the building was made of some unknown flexible material which withstood the super storms that had leveled the previous territories upon which Hub City was now built; it was safe to say that not much else was left standing, intact.

I watched the echoes of gleaming light from the crystal chandeliers bounce off of the bubbles in the sparkling water as I poured them into plastic champagne glasses.  It was hard for plastic to mimic the elegance of this place. As much as the clients were spending to rent it, you’d think they’d have used real glass.

Working here, it wasn’t hard to daydream about what it must have been like to attend functions in this grand relic from a past I would not have been allowed to participate in. Blacks in the 20’s didn’t attend balls in this hall. They were servers doing just what I was doing now. Only then it was champagne pouring and cocktails.

I had been working here for some months, thinking it was a non-complex way to add a couple of hundred dollars to my monthly income that wouldn’t require much brain power.  Hub city rotations had allowed me to learn many skills associated with management of staff and kitchens, though it was not directly related to restaurants.

What I had not counted on was being promoted to Maître D, and assuming the responsibilities of scheduling and orchestrating the daily activities. It wasn’t time consuming, but it was sometimes very stressful.  Many of the other staff members resented my being promoted after only being employed here for such a short time, but after months of cleaning up scheduling, reorganizing the kitchen, and actually taking the initiative to get to know everyone, I eventually grew to be liked even favored by the staff.

That is of course except for Raymond, a half-black half something else throw back from the 1950’s who claimed to actually have family once connected to the original owners of the place. Which was hard to believe since he seemed to have such difficulty both managing his money and his own personal affairs. The only thing that seemed to have been connected to the past was his way too superior attitude.  He may have been the next in line for Maître D had I not so conveniently shown up to take the position.

I had been here since 10:00 am. The reception for some big wedding wasn’t scheduled until 4:00 PM, but it was my responsibility setting the tables, ushering in the decorators, and making certain each place setting had been poured a glass of sparkling water minutes before the guests were scheduled to arrive. Timing was everything.  But in my reverie I had not noticed the time. It was half past the hour of 4:00 PM, where was everyone? A hundred place settings with sparkling water, each with one cube of ice would not stay sparkling for long.  Water and ice were expensive, extravagant especially in these quantities; fines for waste in Hub city were exorbitant, I didn’t want trouble if the guests arrived late.

I delayed the final tables and the dais, and went to make a phone call.  After a short conversation with the owner, I returned to the ballroom to resume my duties. I was assured by my employer I would not be held accountable for the delay. I filled the last of the glasses and took my station at the front to begin ushering in and seating the guests when they began to arrive.

It was 5:00 PM when the first of the guest began to trickle in. The wait staff and servers including myself had begun to get bored and irritable. I finished an opened bottle of sparkling water and proceeded to seat the first of the guests.  A middle-aged woman in awe of the magnificence of the place looked around as if to discover any item not nailed down that she could collect as a souvenir. I notified the staff to watch her.

Next to arrive were the bridesmaids and groomsmen, a collection of either very fat or very skinny unattractive women, paired with a group of unmemorable gentleman in nicely tailored tuxedos. Had I a greater experience with weddings, I would have mentally prepared myself for the Bride. However a novice in these matters, I was shocked when upon entry, she stomped up to me fuming and announced loudly to the entire room, “This is not sparkling water!”

Embarrassed by her loud unruly behavior, I managed still to feel a bit resentful, having poured all hundred glasses of sparkling water, and feeling rather disrespected and unappreciated for the care given to her tables I responded handing her the bottle, “Yes ma’am, it is, and I’m certain it would still be sparkling had your party arrived at the time you specified.”

Her reply however singed my ruffled feathers. “Look waitress, if you can’t manage water, maybe you should call the owner and see if he can find more competent wait staff.”

I held in my angry response and called for new bottles to be opened, assisting the other wait staff to replace the flattened drinks. What did I care, she was paying by the bottle and would pay the fines for the waste, the owner would make certain of that.

As I poured glasses for the guests I began to experience an intense feeling of being observed, as if two pair of eyes had been following me at each turn. One set connected to a ruggedly handsome and charming middle aged man who seemed oddly menacing below the exterior of his mild mannered countenance.  The other set obscured from view. That made me nervous, timid.

I smiled and thanked the guests for their patience, and maneuvered my way through the tables, inching my way ever closer to the piercing gaze that had continued its observation of me from the moment it set eyes on me to the present.  What was he looking at?

“You stick out like a sore thumb in here.” He said in a matter-of-fact tone.

“That’s funny,” I responded, “I thought I fit right in amongst all this old-world elegance.”

He laughed a wild magnificent sound to hear. “I meant surrounded by all these uncouth, rude and unruly people, I wasn’t referring to the building, although you seem too young to fit in to the time to which these premises belong as well, unless you’re telling me you’re just well-preserved.”

I laughed.

Moments later Bridezilla returned complaining that she had nowhere for her additional guests to sit.  “As much as I am paying, I should at least have seating and food for my additional guests.”

“I am sorry ma’am, but the arrangement was for a hundred guests, as it is we will have to cut your cake remarkably thin in order for each of your guests to have a slice.”

“Look waitress, that is simply not acceptable, I want to speak to the manager.”

“As a matter of fact, ma’am, I am the manager, also the Maître D, so, if you have any complaints you may take them up with me, but be aware, your fees cover the cost of the hall and all extra services including catering, servers, and valet are contracted extras to which you specified at cost per person, and per hour. My employer will not appreciate any breaches of contract, if there are extra guests for whom food and seating have not been arranged it is because you did not specify any in your contract, therefore they were not and will not be accommodated for.” I was losing my patience.

The Bridezilla looked tearfully at her new husband and pleaded with him to do something.  “Look here lady, you’re spoiling our day and…”

I cut him off mid sentence.

“Excuse me Sir,” and I used the term loosely, “I am not trying to spoil your day, the arrangements for your day were made by your Bride, if she had anticipated changes or additions, she should have conveyed them before today, in these economic times, we do not prepare food or provide accommodations that have not be accounted for in advance, your wife said one hundred and that is what she got, anything outside of what was contracted will not be made available.”

The Bride bounced away with veiled threats under her breath of kicking my ass. Let’s see her try it, with her fat ass in that too tight dress.  I held in a laugh at the comical vision, and turned to see what the pair of eyes viewing the scene had thought. But when I turned to look he was not sitting in his chair. He was speaking with a gentleman in the foyer.  As I looked at him, I noticed something that had apparently been forgotten.

When I went into the kitchen Raymond was sitting on a stool with his foot against a shelf. “There’s trouble here, that man upfront is the police.”

“What kind of trouble?” I asked too shocked to even be surprised that Raymond was engaging in conversation with me.  He looked destroyed, like he’d lost his last bit of cash at the horse races and was preparing to lose his house.  And then I heard it, a scream like one of those you see in those 1920’s mystery thrillers.

I turned to run out but Raymond caught my hand.

“Don’t go out there miss, I’m sorry I know we haven’t gotten along well, but this is going to get ugly, I feel it.”

Something about the look on his face warned me that what he said was true, but how he knew this bothered me only momentarily.   In my few short months working here I had learned that when Raymond said anything about the future or alluded to upcoming events it was better not to question him, he seemed always to be right. That is unless it was some scheme he was working on for himself.

I called the owner instead and warned him that something was up and urged him to hurry down here.

As I was cradling the phone I felt him before I turned to see him there. Raymond eyed him curiously, not exactly with fear, but a mixture of wonder and respect the way you might view a lion in those zoos without bars.  I looked at him again and found my mind envisioning dancing with him in the ballroom with his arms wound tightly about me. It wasn’t like me to daydream about men I saw at events, or men at all for that matter.  I reminded myself that I was here in an employed capacity and shook the daydream out of my head.  I remembered again the thing that had been forgotten earlier.

“Come with me,” he said, I’ll need your help,” and then he looked knowingly at Raymond at  said sideways to him smiling, “and you clairvoyant, you had better make yourself scarce, the agency shouldn’t find you here, they won’t know you by your employment records, but they may recognize you  despite your seasoned appearance.”

Raymond nodded acknowledging his order and returning his smile he stood, collected his things, and departed immediately.

“You should pack up your things and be ready to go when your employer arrives.” He said plainly.

“How did you know I had already spoken to my boss, and why would I be leaving, I thought you needed my help?”  I answered in response to his request, or was it an order?   I suddenly had the feeling of being naked and I could feel the color rising to my cheeks.

“Let’s just say I have a way of knowing certain things about people. Like you for instance, manage your anger well, blush when you are embarrassed, and seem to be able to instinctively read how people feel or appear.” He said in a matter-of-fact manner while looking around the kitchen.

There was that color again.

“And as far as needing your help, I do, and I’ll be leaving with you, but I need to attend to something with the police first. They should not find you back here.”

“What did you mean by clairvoyant and how did you know,” I asked.

“That will have to wait until later. Can you find a simple ball gown here on the premises to borrow?” The man spoke in riddles. Didn’t the police already know I worked here and that I was on the premises? And for whatever should I need with a ball gown?

He looked at me and answered the questions in my mind without blinking, “I meant they shouldn’t find you back here with me and the gown you will need for where we will be going.” He smiled a knowing kind of smile and ushered me out.

I proceeded to the ballroom to await the police and my employer and stopped momentarily at the desk to gather my personal things to stow in the alcove nearest the exit. I suddenly had a feeling I would later need to depart inconspicuously and I wanted my belongings to be where they could easily be reached when the time came.

As requested, I located a ball gown, a fine silk lame gown I wasn’t sure was intended for a figure like mine, curvy, voluptuous.  I also found a fabulous pair of antique slippers.  Once everything had been stowed, I returned to the front to meet the impending arrivals and noticed again that the entry hall drapes had been slightly closed.  I first noticed it when I’d seen the gentleman speaking to the police chief in the foyer, and recalled it a second time when we were speaking in the kitchen.  How had those drapes been closed again, when the staff had aired and opened all the drapes hours before the reception?

Apparently the body of Lysander Archess, a prominent alien official had been found propped up at a table in one of the other ballrooms. That nosy old woman from the wedding reception had been wandering in search of something to lift and had discovered him sitting at the table and spoken. When he did not return her greeting she approached him and found that he was not moving.

In front of him was a plate trimmed in gold, a crystal goblet half filled with what may have been champagne, gold plated flatware, and a silk napkin. When she went to touch him, the head that had been until that point staring straight, fell into the plate. The resulting scream could be heard throughout the building. In her petrified state I guess she had forgotten the lovely place setting as potential souvenirs and ran screaming into the grand ballroom.

The Bridezilla overwrought with attitude, threatened to gather up her guests and leave but at the very moment she was conjuring up enough cheep sentiment to move the hearts and asses of her guests, my boss and the police arrived and refused to let anyone leave before questioning.  I was questioned first.  Detective Peters was the questioning officer.  I assured him that the premises had been thoroughly cleaned just this morning and that no ‘body’ had been there prior to 5:00 pm when the guests began to arrive. In fact,  both the cake and the photographer had gone into that very ballroom upon arrival and the Bride and Groom had taken pictures in the entry way while the cake was being set up for display and consumption.

The police questioned each of the guests one by one. The general consensus was that the gentleman had not arrived with the guests but had been installed there in the last hour. No one admitted to having seen him come in nor were they even certain he was among the wedding guests at all.

The Bridezilla’s father however insisted that he had been at the wedding, and had been a friend of the family for many years. A business associate of Archess, he had been in negotiations with him hours before the wedding. He found it very disturbing that none of his daughter’s guests were willing to come forth with information.  How could no one have seen him arrive?

It was then that I softly mentioned to Detective Peters that someone had partially drawn the foyer drapes after the arrival of the guests.  When he examined the foyer, he also noted that the outer ballroom doors had been closed. That had been done since the discovery of the body to avoid further alarming the guests and to prevent anyone from disturbing possible evidence.

I could feel the penetrating pair of separate gazes as Carlucci entered the room.  Detective Peters nodded his salutations to Carlucci as he crossed the ballroom floor.

“Evening Detective Peters,” he responded as he returned the nod.

I could tell from his mannerisms that he greatly respected this officer. I did not get this impression when he spoke to the police chief. I did not however ponder this long, being suddenly interested in the investigation taking place.

The body’s temperature was still warm as if it had been living only moments before discovery, and despite its severed head had maintained its temperature and avoided blood loss due to having congealed to a taffy-like state. What could have caused such a condition? I was too curious to be revolted by the dead body and peered over the shoulder of Detective Peters directly into the open neck of the body.

Carlucci stared directly into my face and asked, “Ms. Spires is this room exactly as it appeared prior to the arrival of guests?”

I looked around and attempted to notice any changes in the room.  A crystal knob was missing from each of the entry way drape tiebacks, no doubt the 1st souvenirs of our busybody guest which may have answered how the drapes were suddenly closed. This may also have been why the other guests hadn’t noticed his arrival. With the drapes slightly drawn, only those seated directly in the middle of the ballroom would have seen out into the foyer.

 

But this somehow seemed too easy an explanation.  How could anyone have known someone would take the tieback knobs? In addition, the place setting was not among those owned or used on the premises, if it had belonged to the owner I had never seen nor used it and I certainly would not have set out such expensive items so openly at any table among so many questionable guests. In addition to this, no champagne had been delivered for today. Where had the champagne come from?

The police officers questioned each of the staff and made inquiries about staff not present noting several names on the staff roster including Raymond’s.  I told them Raymond had not been scheduled to work today and two others scheduled were out sick.  I wasn’t certain why I suddenly felt inclined to lie, but I had a feeling that it was important not to mention that Raymond had been on the premises, I had yet to get answers to that clairvoyant thing, and I was certain I was protecting him somehow.

I could feel those two pair of eyes watching me again and caught a sideways glance from the pair in the room as he noted my fabrication.  Detective Peters took down the names of those present and allowed my employer to dismissed the staff.  Carlucci motioned me to the door.

I rose to leave, and then turned to Detective Peters, “May I go now?” I asked.

He smiled, “Certainly Ms Spires, we’ll be in touch if we have any further questions.”

I retreated to the alcove and dressed quickly in a storage closet located behind the curtains there, stuffing my work clothes into my bag, and draping my coat gently around my shoulders before passing through the alcove exit doors. A car was waiting for me there.  Carlucci tossed my bag into the compartment and ushered me quickly in. As soon as the door was closed I wanted answers to questions?

“Alright, Ms Spires, may I call you Cassidy?”He continued without waiting for my response “I suppose some explanation is in order.”

Gionetti is rumored to be greater than 200 yrs old, and though there is no documented proof, he is suspected to be an alien that landed on earth during the 1920’s. Though he’s able to manifest human appearance, he has never been able to change the appearance of his eyes, and through some in depth research I believe there are powerful people who have discovered his secret and are interested in the key not only to his longevity but the very nature of his existence.   As for Raymond, he too is not what he seems.  His family is connected to the Gionetti family and through some strange fortune he has inherited both limited longevity and his father’s ability to view the past, the immediate present, and the possible future.

He used to work with the department to hunt down serial killers and such, but got involved with some mob scams trying to make some fast money during the early 20th century and found himself labeled as a snitch. During those turbulent times it was not an ideal reputation to have and he suddenly found himself a target from both directions. The police no longer trusted him and the criminal element felt threatened by his gift, uncertain if he was feeding information to the authorities.  He was forced to go into hiding and might have had to stay there if the super storms hadn’t destroyed this entire area.  He remained here after discovering the family business still partially standing and offered to help Falcon to restore it.  His biggest problem now has been avoiding the Agency, since they have been hunting down and destroying all clairvoyants, fearing their gifts and feeling them too dangerous.”

 

He did not explain how he knew Raymond and would only say that he had run across him during some very high profile cases.

He continued, “A criminal element outside of the city who has been attempting for some time to get into Hub City had been blackmailing Gionetti trying to get him to use his influence with prominent wealth to find a way into the city. Although he’s not directly related to crime in the city, many of the rich and powerful respect his influence. Archess was simply a negotiator but I believe he discovered the bargaining tool used to persuade Gionetti and got greedy making him a liability.”

Hub city did not tolerate criminal activity from outside. Don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of crime in the city, but it was regulated by criminals in the city and outsiders were dealt with severely.

“We’re here, he said changing the subject, “I hope that was a good enough amount of information to appease your appetite, it’s all I can give you for now. “

As we stepped from the car a valet relieved him of the vehicle and a door person escorted us into the magnificent high rise. “Where are we? I asked but he only responded, “Don’t ask any more questions and for goodness sake don’t answer any.”

 

We entered a room filled with stylishly dressed people, and I felt a bit self-conscious about the antiquity of my dress. Truth be told its elegance fit in nicely with its present day counterparts, and on my body itcassidydress

probably drew acclaim it had never experienced before having been worn originally by toothpick thin flappers and debutantes of the 20’s.

One young lady eyed the dress with envy and asked, “Where do I get material to copy that?”

I responded,” In the time machine,” and giggled softly to myself.

“Dance with me,” Carlucci said catching me off guard. “Having fun? Don’t be too brutal, the young rich ladies have a difficult time as it is adapting to young women their own age. It’s  probably quite difficult having someone like you come in wearing what you’re wearing and looking like you’re looking wearing it, taking all of the attention in the room.“

I blushed and allowed him to sweep me around the dance floor.   I could feel the intensity between us increase as we moved from one corner of the room to another.   Simultaneously I felt a feeling of déjà vu and alarm. A gentleman who had been watching for quite some time now walked up to us on the dance floor.

“A woman like you could lead a man around like a sheep to the slaughter,” James Ekyl said and laughed almost wickedly. “May I”, he said taking my hand.

I felt myself being swept away for a second time without having had the opportunity to even consent.  I suddenly felt like a rope during a tug of war between two evenly matched opponents, but my instinct told me not to waiver into the direction of this handsome gentleman who now gracefully maneuvered me around the dance floor.   My instincts were seldom wrong.

He eyed Carlucci and masked a sneer as a smile. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought it was jealousy that fleeted momentarily across his gaze before returning to his all too aloof stare.

“They say you are known by the company that you keep,” he smiled, ‘that makes you, mysterious, intelligent and possibly dangerous.”

From his inference I assumed he was referring to Carlucci who eyed him casually from the edge of the dance floor.

“Sheep are not dangerous,” I answered and smiled provocatively at Carlucci as we floated past his edge of the floor.

He raised an eyebrow but otherwise did not seem perplexed.  As the music changed, James Ekyl lead me back to my escort and made several contrived attempts at flirting with the women at the bar all the while keeping his eyes riveted on Carlucci and me.  Curling my arm in his he swept me from one area of the room to the next, entertaining me with fascinating commentary and anecdotal narratives of the history of Hub City.

Within his casual chatter he included discreet references to Ekyl which told me the reason for my reservations. He’d use any method available to him to establish some relationship that allowed him a greater report with Gionetti and closer access to Raymond.  I attempted to ponder these ideas when a warm sensation caused by his palm at the small of my back began to be quite distracting.

I sultrily eyed Carlucci mentally sizing him up but could only maintain the gaze momentarily foiled by an intensity I had not expected to be there and suddenly I felt flushed.  He smiled acknowledging my failed attempt at seduction and lifted my face to meet that intensity head on. Smiling again he whispered against my cheek, “Careful little lamb, I am not a sheep.”

My head was spinning in circles the entire evening as I was pulled back and forth between the two gentlemen.  I began to notice a lopsided competition between the two, one that seemed desperately irritating to Ekyl but didn’t seem to disturb Carlucci in the least.

“What is it with you two?” I asked curious.

“Nothing, James wants anything he thinks might belong to me, it amuses me, but it’s not serious. Never the less be careful what you say to him. ”

I could feel his hands possessively holding my waist.   I was beginning to feel a level of attraction I had not considered possible.

“Shall we go?” He said.

“Yes,” I found myself answering knowing full well what he was asking.

“Wait here, I won’t be gone long.”

He walked over to Ekyl and they disappeared behind large polished parlor doors.  A short time later he reappeared and silently escorted me to the elevator. He walked with me to the vehicle and quietly drove a short distance before asking, “You don’t mind if we go to my place?”

“No, not at all”, I answered.

His flat was in an area I had never been to in the city. Clean and organized but somewhat tussled as if he frequently left in a rush.  He took my coat then kissed me deeply for several minutes, afterward taking a deep breath.

“I’m sorry; I’ve been waiting all evening to do that.” He said when he had breathed in again several more times.

I realized for the first time this evening that both pair of eyes I felt watching me were viewing me from the same source. Scrutinizing and evaluating like a test subject in an experiment as well as stalking and sizing me up like some large predator anticipating its attack.

“I won’t let them hurt you, but you may need to take this off now,” he said lightly fingering the delicate fabric of the dress, “I can’t be held responsible for what may happen to it if you wear it much longer.” As he said this he slowly slid the straps down my shoulders.

I looked up into his eyes to find a tenderness I had not expected nevertheless it was match by a spirit of urgency that almost made me lightheaded.

I was surprised to find myself at the mercy of a man who was capable of almost anything.  Or maybe I shouldn’t call it mercy.  Had he actually been willing to give me mercy or had I actually been looking for it under the circumstances, that may have been another thing altogether.  Under the influence of whatever thing this was in his spirit, he handled my body with complete abandon.  Each controlled stroke of his hands seemed a desperate insatiable manipulation just short of clawing, had we not been so enraptured I was certain that he could have torn the flesh from my bones.

Sweat streamed from him as he lifted me over and over.  The look in his eyes nearly consumed me.  Each penetration into my physical being seemed like a desperate attempt at connecting to me on a deeper level.  What was he trying to reach, besides orgasm?  My brain was too occupied to be asking these questions, I was being ravished by a man whose spirit was just short of an animal.  As he grew closer to orgasm I could feel a power striving to control him, but whether it was a power trying to escape or him attempting to subdue it at the time I could not tell.

A single hand crept to my throat and grasped me firmly around the neck with gentle but increasing pressure.  My eyes widen and I grew afraid but he did not let me go.  I opened my mouth to scream, but the pressure from his hand increased preventing enough air to escape from my lungs to allow sound.  I clawed desperately at his shoulders and begged him with my eyes to let me go.

At that moment he was at the height of his orgasm, and from his throat came a sound that was a mixture of the howl and a groan.  The sound of it vibrated the walls.  The hand at my throat released the pressure allowing me to intake breath. I gasped and cursed him as waves of orgasm overtook me, shaking my body from head to toe.

“What did you think you were doing?” I scolded with tears running down my cheeks.

He pressed his finger to my lips, his other hand gently stroking my hair and said, “Sh sh sh,  There are many things you do not know about the man you think I am, I would never hurt you but there are limits,  watch what you say.”

This was not a chastisement, but a warning.  My inner instinct told me not to be afraid, but how could that be, how different was he from the man who had been strangling the prostitutes in the street?  What separated him from the madman that was running around murdering unsuspecting women for no apparent reason?

Still I trusted my instinct.  I knew this man was not someone for me to fear, not in the sense that he would harm me nevertheless it was important for me to be very careful. As we lay there still, his spirit now seemed calm and he casually stroked my skin and we talked about the evening, its highlights, and its purpose.

“James will likely come to see you, but you shouldn’t get involved with him.  He’s a genius, but he cannot read minds, he mustn’t see us together too often, and never tell him anything personal, especially about us. He and his brothers are ruthless and dangerous.”

“What do I do if SIX comes to the event center?”I asked in concern.

“Never call him that again, many people know and refer to him that way, but few except his brothers have ever called him that to his face. People have died just being heard making reference to him using that name. Don’t say it again.”

Thoroughly chastised I moved on.  His face wore a snide grin as he noted my lack of acknowledgement to his rebuff and continued my conversation.

To accentuate the point he asked, “Did you hear what I said?”

I obediently answered only, “Yes.”

“He will likely lose interest as long as he believes you have no interest in me.” He then grew quiet and closed his eyes. I could feel the energy growing again. Round two.

A few weeks later James Ekyl (SIX) strode into the event center.  He was wearing his charm like his well tailored suit in the manner of a cultured gentleman, and though I was aware of him I made no effort to make any recollection of him.

After speaking briefly with my boss, he walked directly over to me. “Good afternoon Ms Spires, or May I call you Cassidy?”

The staff buzzed around as if the King had just come back and had decided he was hungry. They busied themselves serving him expensive dainties and cognac in a bottle I had never seen before. He invited me to sit.

“I really do have work to do?” I attempted to decline.

He motioned me to sit and insisted in gesture saying only, “Please.”

“What can I do for you?” I asked as much without feeling as I could muster.

He began to make small talk telling me of his business and himself and at length posed the query he had come to address.  “So how long have you known Carlucci?”

“I don’t know him at all, I attended the party with him as a favor, in fact I met him on the night of the party right here at my job. “

“That’s funny, from the way you danced I assumed you two had known each other much longer and had a much more intimate relationship.”

“Oh no,” I responded,” I don’t have any relationship with him at all. Besides I’m working on my career and seldom have time for relationships of any kind,” I said.

“Really and what are your plans for the future?”

“I plan to be a manager.” I answered.

“What of the city, interested in power eh?”

“No”, I said, “an events manager.”

I could already feel he was beginning to get bored. His initial cat and mouse game had been foiled and as his intrigue waned so did his interest. His final question put the icing on the cake. “What you don’t find men like Carlucci fascinating?”He asked.

“Actually I prefer the marrying type.”

A Prelude to Hyde (A story of Hub City) © DJuna Blackmon 2014, All Rights Reserved

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