The House of the Seventh Minuet XXIV

Hungarian: A Hetedik Menüet Háza

I was soon back downstairs. There was a James D. Stark song playing, and I loved being able to sway slowly to his velvety voice. The dance floor was a little thin during that song, but it was far from empty. I let myself fully merge with the music; it surrounded me, held me, comforted me. It’s a wonderful feeling, being just mind, body, and music. I think a lot of other people like that feeling, too. What we didn’t like was someone breaking the trust we had in each other and violating our personal space.

You may or may not already realize that when we slow dance on goth night– and sometimes even with faster dances– we get so lost in the sultry rhythms and the deep voices that we’ll close our eyes. We let one another flow with the music; there’s an unspoken rule that we don’t interrupt one another. If my friends really need me, they can come get me, but that’s all.

And this guy wasn’t my friend. I don’t know if I would have wanted to be his friend even if he’d approached me differently; he’d given me enough reason to be wary of him. So when I felt the hand on my hips and warmth at my back, my heart sank. I really didn’t want to deal with anyone bothering me. I was there to support the debut of DJ Sleipnir and enjoy some time with my friends, not to meet anyone new. I was also angry that I was being interrupted during one of my well-loved songs.

“Your red hair is so becoming,” the voice said into my ear. I could feel how he had to lean down to do it. “It’s fiery, just like your spirit.”

I practically growled when I jerked my body out of his hands. I turned around and glared up at the tall man in leather and silk and mesh.

“I don’t know what makes you think you can be so forward with me,” I snapped, “but I didn’t come here tonight to meet anyone.”

The look on his face told me that he didn’t care one bit about what I’d just said to him.

“Ah, but I most certainly came to meet you.”

The way he hooded his eyes as he looked down at me didn’t do anything to calm me down. “Just leave me alone,” I hissed, and I stormed off to the far edge of the dance floor.

I swerved through the crowd and eventually passed one of the large columns. I paused beside one of the dual trash can/recycle bins, finished off my cider, and deposited the bottle. Then I noticed a couple walking away from the darker side of the column, and walked over to lean my back against it; if it was good enough to obscure them while they were making out, it was good enough to keep the tall man’s eyes off of me– at least for a while.

Eventually, I peeked around the column and saw the tall man on the dance floor. There were several young women and men dancing with him, grinning as they watched the way he moved. He was definitely good at getting attention. The chains he wore were dancing, too, as he moved, and I don’t know what he’d done to make the fake horns stay in place so well.

Whatever. I wasn’t about to go out on the dance floor while he was out there. It was weird how badly I felt the need to avoid him; normally after telling someone to back off a couple times, I felt like I could go back to doing what I wanted. Not with this guy, though. As much attention as he was getting from others, I had a feeling he’d head straight over to me if he saw me again. The current song was too harsh for me to want to dance to, anyway.

A seat opened up in one other darker corners, and I took the opportunity to sit down where he was less likely to see me. I checked my phone for messages and e-mails, passing the time for a couple songs. Thankfully, the group dancing with the tall man took him upstairs– probably for drinks or snacks or something. Good; maybe he wouldn’t come back down. Maybe I could go back to dancing undisturbed.

A little after one A.M., “Cirice” by Ghost played, and you can be sure that I got up to dance to that. The crowds weren’t as thick as I would have liked for avoiding notice; that was a weird thought, since normally I don’t like crowds. I just really didn’t want that guy to notice me for the rest of the night. I wanted to be there for Stefan and then leave with my friends and never see the tall creep again.

“You cannot hide in the darkness.” The voice rumbled low in my ear.

Dammit! I thought to myself. I must have let my guard down.

I was in the middle of turning to push him away when his hands gripped my shoulders. I squirmed, but he gripped tighter. Then I was the one being pushed. The tall man snarled as he forced me back, away from the edge of the dance floor, away from the other dancers. My shoulder hit the wall, and he leaned in close to me.

“Can’t you see that you’re lost without me?” he said, trying to sound sensual. He forced the rest of my body flat against the wall.

“Don’t try using the song’s lyrics against me,” I snapped, glaring up at him. “You have no right to come in here and act like I owe you anything!”

He chuckled, which really only served to irritate me more. “Let me guide you,” he said, practically pressing his body against mine, “and I can explain everything to you.”

I pushed back again, but he had me pinned firm. “Get your hands off me!” I shouted.

He ignored me, toying with the ribbon at the front of my dress. “Is this just for show, or does is actually serve to keep you–“

“None of your business!” I yelled. Now I was trying to get a knee or a leg up.

“I’m not giving up on you,” he growled, pressing his thighs against mine.

“Let me go,” I demanded.

He shook his head. “No, Leila,” he intoned. “You are far too precious to be released.”

Almost reflexively, my eyes widened. I stared up at him. How in the world did he know my name? Nobody else would have told him, would they?

“Just say that you’ll play for me,” he whispered into my ear, “and I’ll make sure you’re happy.”

I struggled again under his grip– he was strong for someone that lean– and I was about to demand to be released again when his weight was suddenly off of me. The tall man shouted, clearly surprised, and then I realized that another man was shouting back.”

“Don’t you ever touch her!”

I knew that voice. I looked down to see a back, covered in fur and miles of straight blond hair. The man they belonged to was pinning my assailant to the floor, growling and snarling and commanding.

“How do you like being pinned down?!” He looked ready to punch him.

I realized then that I was breathing hard– practically hyperventilating. Having that creep be able to control me that much had more of an effect on me than I’d first realized. I tried to calm myself down as I watched a pair of security guards hurry down the stairs. They each took one of the tall man’s arms, and Stefan got up to let them take over.

“Don’t ever come back to Club Nightshade!” Stefan snapped as security escorted the tall man away. He turned to face me. He was breathing hard, too.

“Stefan…” I whispered. It was embarrassing how badly my voice was trembling.

Stefan took a deep breath and steadied himself. “Leila.” I think he’d planned on saying more at first, but then he couldn’t get the words out.

“I… I almost had him off of me…” I told him, even though I knew there was no way I could have slipped away from that tall man. “But thanks for helping.”

He didn’t call me out on the lie. “You know I’m always here for you, Leila,” he said. Then he took my hands. “You’re cold. And shaking. Come on over and sit with me.”

“I’m fi–“


I looked up into his eyes. I must have been exhausted, because my vision was getting blurry. The artificial fog was causing me to– no, actually I think I was starting to tear up. The was no way that creep could have gotten me so emotional. I tried to focus on Stefan; he was there, the other man was gone. His eyes were a mix of fury and worry. Now that I think back on it, I’m glad he had the next song queued up, because he stood there with me for a long time, and we had enough eyes on us without letting Club Nightshade fall silent.

“Cirice” by Ghost. The music video is pretty interesting, too!

About Legends of Lorata

Eleanor Willow is the author of the high fantasy series Legends of Lorata, which takes place on a medieval-style world filled with elves, dragons, and faeries. There is also a fourth race, one that is rare and magical: the angelic Starr. Lorata is a distant planet watched over by four deities: good, evil, elemental, and celestial-- and there are plenty of legends about them all! One of the most important ones is the prophecy of Jenh's champion, Loracaz, who is promised to return to the realm whenever evil threatens to take hold. There are currently three books completed, and the first one can be read online. Book four is currently being written, and a fifth will most likely be in the future.
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1 Response to The House of the Seventh Minuet XXIV

  1. garretsidzaka says:

    i enjoyed the tension in this scene, well done

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