part 1 here
He scanned the room for her, but she’d Houdini’d once more. He took note of the people moving around the perimeters of the room; girls and older women bearing trays of bubbly, and hors d’oeuvres; the occasional assistant attending to her or his duties. He watched a chubby older women climbing the stairs. She limped a bit, her hand grasping the rail firmly and taking each of the marble steps carefully.
He watched a waiter refilling a tray for a younger serving girl, the too-casual touching of her hand on his, their blushes.
Young love, he almost scoffed. His gaze returned to the woman on the steps.
He wondered about that. Why had she caught his attention twice when he’d already seen and dismissed…he was moving towards the steps before he was fully aware, used to instinct and logic mating soundlessly in his mind. She was suddenly of prime interest.
He reached her by taking the steps two at a time.
“Excuse me miss,”
“Oh!” She jolted in surprise. “You startled me young man.”
He looked into the dark brown eyes, knew a flash of disappointment…her eyes had been blue, pure, real blue. This time he did dismiss her as a tired and overworked assistant. Damn!
“May I help you up the stairs?” he asked, as his eyes searched the crowd below over her head.
She patted his hand, matronly, and refused.
“Go on, young man, I can see you’d rather be down there with all the flash and sparkles.”
And she turned and began making her way upstairs once more.
He stood another moment, for once, at a total impasse. Clearly, something about this woman had drawn his attention. Yet equally clearly, she was not his quarry. He watched as she turned the corner and headed down the long hallway that he knew ran parallel to the ballroom below. Ah, well, he mused, even his ‘spidey-sense’ could fuck up occasionally. He jogged down the steps, returning his attention to the glitterati amassed below.
She turned into the butlers closet as soon as she noted that he was not following her. Her heart was pounding, and she was so glad she had decided to spray her throat with the numbing spray to distort her voice, turning her normally husky tone into a thin warble. She pulled her penlight out of her bra, as well as the tiny floor plan. She found the location of the door to the discreet service steps that ran, enclosed between floors, to allow staff to quickly and invisibly carry out their duties. It was located, thankfully, at the end of this hallway. She took deep, calming breaths, and counted to 30 before she cracked open the door to be sure she was alone.
The hallway was clear.
She made her way to the end of the long corridor without incident, opened the door, and found the stairway leading up.
This was getting far too easy, she mused as she made her way quickly, quietly to the Marquise’s rooms.
He roamed the floor. She was nowhere to be found, and yet he *knew* she was here. There was no way she would ditch her plans just because he was here.
For all he imagined, it even added to the cache of it. Stealing the Empress Diamond out from under his nose would be an added jewel in her crown. Little bitch. He should have grabbed her and cuffed her when he kissed her hand. He’d really wanted to catch her with her hand in the cookie jar, so to speak. That would add to the cache for him. He thought of that lovely hand, those slender, talented, bad little fingers. His cock twitched in his pants and he subtly adjusted himself.
Dammit. He was annoyed that he found her so fucking alluring. Perhaps he’d fuck her mouth before he took her down. Or perhaps more. She was a tasty morsel, to be sure. But first he had to find the fucking minx.
A picture flashed into his mind, that of the older woman on the stairs a bit ago.
Why did she keep popping into his head? He closed his eyes, and thought about kissing the thief’s hand, then about the elder woman. Perhaps they were in cahoots? But no, no, she had a reputation for working alone.
Wait. Her scent was subtle, he recalled. Just a hint of a memory, and he focused on recalling it. He thought about the peppery-spice fragrance teasing his nose, and placed the fragrance as Poivre. Pretty fucking exclusive perfume, retailing about $2000 greenbacks for a tiny 2-oz bottle.
He only knew that because his last girlfriend had been a perfume junkie, and had begged him to score some of it for a special Valentines Day ‘surprise’. Right. As fucking if he’d drop two grand on a few diddles of oil. He told her he preferred the scent of her cunt, and when she was done smacking his face, she left.
She did pack a helluva slap, he recalled with a smile.
And the woman on the steps had that same, subtle scent, albeit overlaid with that fresh-scrubbed-off smell of pink bathroom soap.
He’d found her Achilles heel, by God! He turned and wove his way around the masses thronging in the ballroom, and sprinted back up the steps.
“Gotcha!” he crowed to himself. Except…she was not to be seen. He wondered if he’d find her in the Dowager Countess’s rooms fondling that bloody diamond.
Gods above he certainly hoped so!