Monday, June 29, 2009

Heist, Part Four

And the saga continues...we're still quite a ways out from the Doctor's involvement, so I hope you're not reading this waiting for him to show up...

Idly, as she headed out of the maze of darkened hallways and into the well-lit ballroom where Dame Abigail was holding her latest party, she wondered if her industrialist friend might not be here tonight. She snatched up a glass of champagne from a passing hover-tray without breaking stride, sashaying casually through the knots of guests. It was a risk; after all, when one stole from high society for a living, it did make parties a bit more high-risk than one usually considered. The Duke of Sarabeth, over there, still had a four-million diam reward on her head for the theft of his wife’s necklace, and if he knew what she looked like, Amanda was sure he wouldn’t spare decorum in tackling her right into the hors d’ouvres. The Baroness Alexandra Winter, on the other hand, served as the final destination for many of the items she stole, and Amanda smirked lightly to see that she was wearing the Sarabeth family jewels. The woman had style, even if she was a ruthless, amoral, possibly actively immoral, cruel, vicious aristo bitch. Fabulously rich, though, and able to afford the things Amanda stole…and since Amanda had long ago amassed enough personal wealth to be able to donate the proceeds of her thefts to charity, she felt no misgivings in dealing with the woman. In fact, Amanda thought, you could almost think of it as noble, if you were genuinely self-deluded and didn’t want to admit that you stole things for fun. She raised her champagne glass to Winter in an impromptu toast, but wasn’t surprised that the Baroness didn’t respond.

A young man in a forest-green suit who’d tinted his eyes and hair to match walked up to her, hand extended. “Would Madam like to dance?” he asked, smiling to reveal a line of perfect teeth.

Amanda blinked once, consulting her HUD chronometer. She still had three hours before her computer virus expired and the security satellites around the planet began noticing little things like her space-ship in geostationary orbit; that was plenty of time for a quick waltz with a handsome young man. “Why not,” she said, taking his hand in one of hers while keeping a grip on her champagne with the other. A small fleet of sonic generators hovered around them and began resonating with each other, creating a small field of perfect dance music that wouldn’t disturb anyone outside of their tiny little universe of noise. Amanda smiled, and began to waltz.

Over the music, the man said, “My name is Gavin. Gavin Lloyd. I’m here as a guest of the Duchess of Westchire, but to tell the truth, I’m feeling a bit low-born—I’m new money, made it all in computers. And you are…?”

Amanda smiled. Gavin danced quite well. “What kind of a mystery woman would I be if I told you my name?”

He grinned back. “The kind I could call tomorrow and invite to a better party.”

“I’ll have to hand you my slipper,” she said. “Mind you, we’re not anywhere near midnight yet, so we’ll get to finish the dance before I turn into a pumpkin.”

Gavin laughed at that one, and the two continued to dance in their own little world, while all around them dozens of others moved to their own beats. It was almost a metaphor for the universe, Amanda thought, excepting that nobody was bumping into each other and getting violent. For just a moment, she let herself forget why she was there, just enjoying the music, the dance, and the company.

As the dance finally ended, she curtseyed to Gavin, who said, “Another, perhaps?”

She shook her head, careful to make it seem regretful. “I do have to keep moving,” she said. “This is as much business for me as pleasure, and I’m afraid I can’t let one person, even a charming one, monopolize my time.”

He frowned. “Will I see you later, then?”

She touched his cheek. “Maybe. If you’re good.” With a last, dazzling smile, she turned and headed off. A good job, that; she could turn up somewhere else ‘by accident’ a few weeks from now, and be almost guaranteed entry to his house. Always assuming he had anything tasteful, of course; new money tended towards the garish. Old money did too, come to that, but at least they’d had generations to build up a few nice pieces.

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