"You, my sweet, look ravishing," Vaughn said, his gaze raking over Page.
"Thank you, your majesty." She curtsied deeply, which gave him a very interesting view of her bosom, the dress being somewhat closer to risqué than authentic. "Nigel isn't so bad either," she told him with a salacious wink.
Vaughn had to agree with her assessment. Nigel was wearing a tunic that, had it been an inch shorter and he hadn't been wearing a jockstrap under his tights, would have made him almost pornographic.
"We'll be the hit of the gala," Nigel commented, linking his arm with Page's. "Poor Vaughn, he's the odd one out."
"I'd better be if we're going to make this work." Vaughn smoothed a hand down his longer, dark tunic. "The cab should be here momentarily so make damned good and certain you both have everything."
"Yes, bossman." Nigel patted the small purse hanging from his belt, "Invitation and the rest."
Vaughn's cell rang at that moment and after answering he told them, "Our chariot has arrived." Then he strode quickly to the kitchen, dropped the phone into the trash compactor and flipped the switch. After one more look around the ground floor of the now empty house, he followed Page out to the cab.
* * * *
Nigel stayed out of view, watching from behind the almost closed curtains. When they were gone he went to the kitchen, turning the compactor off now that it had done its job. Then he picked up the bag that sat by the front door, slipped on his topcoat, stepped outside, and headed down the street.
At the far corner he went left, spotting the cab that had been called for him sitting in the parking lot of a large and very modern highrise. He rapped on the back window to let the driver know he was there before getting in. Fifteen minutes later he was exiting the cab at the gates of a large mansion. The bright lights that played across the front of it cast correspondingly dark shadows along the drive leading to the front door. Nigel slipped into them, dropping the bag he was carrying behind a flowering shrub, along with the coat. Then he strolled casually up the walk, joining the throng of party-goers at the door. Once he showed his invitation he was allowed to enter the mansion.
To his right was a large living room where couples mingled, chatting as they waited for the festivities to begin. On his left were a pair of tall doors that he knew led to a huge ballroom. Over the myriad voices, he could hear musicians tuning up behind the portals.
He joined the other guests, stopping at a small bar along one wall of the living room to get a glass of wine. Then he looked around for his partners, smiling when he saw Vaughn standing rather stiffly beside Page. She was talking animatedly to two young men as Vaughn looked on in stern disapproval. The scene was being set, and as soon as they were allowed into the ballroom, the game would begin.