OK I am starting this story a long with the one i already started with Shereen and Nisha! I am not going to give a character analysis i am just going to get right to the story, and it isn't going to be too long!
Kripa gasped as she walked through the tall oak doors that led to the ballroom. She had never before seen such an extravagant room. The tall walls were draped in rich maroon tapestries that accented the cherry oak paneling. A crystal chandelier hung from the high ceiling, illuminating a grand marble staircase that lead to the second floor of the ballroom where dining tables were gathered.
Twinkling lights were scattered throughout the room. Bouquets of the most gorgeous flowers she had ever seen enhanced the already ornately decorated room. Wood carvings of seraphim and cherubim sat high in every corner of the room as if guarding the hall from outside evils.
The right half of the great hall housed four large tables that carried an assortment of drinks. A large counter stood towards the far end with two barkeeps tending to their patron. In the middle of the table was a fountain that appeared to be emitting champagne rather than water.
To the left of the hall sat the orchestra and the dance floor where plenty of guests had already committed themselves to a night of dancing. Looking past the ball floor, Kripa noticed large French doors that were opened to reveal a large stone balcony that no doubt possessed an amazing view of the city before them.
The gothic beauty of the room would have overwhelmed Kripa had it not been for the competition for attention between the full orchestra playing steadily in the corner and the murmur of lively conversation from the guests of the ball.
She then turned her attention to the gorgeous gowns of the women around her. Most of the dresses were lavishly intricate with beads and sequins, with ribbons sewn to the hems and at the top of each bodice. The men were dressed in tuxedos of various colors, mostly dark blues and blacks. They were made of the finest materials and accented their broad shoulders and aristocratic features.
Although Kripa wore a dress of equal or greater beauty, she felt out of place amongst such society. She was not used to brushing elbows with society's elite; her humble background most always got the best of her. What made her most uncomfortable was that she could not recognize anyone, not even her friends from work.
Everyone possessed a mask that hid all or part of their facial features. Some masks covered only the eyes; others covered half of someone's face. Some masks, much to Kripa's joy, were placed on long sticks and could be removed easily.
One such woman whom Kripa recognized immediately carried this style of mask. Kripa smiled joyfully as her friend approached her.
"Alliyah, you look marvelous!" Kripa said, noticing the black gown that hugged Alliyah's body like a glove. Its skirts rustling as Alliyah turned in front of Kripa, her red hair glistening in the light.
"As do you! Kripa, you look gorgeous!" Alliyah squealed, obviously taken up in the beauty of the evening.
It was true that Kripa was dressed exquisitely. Her gown was made from the finest silk and was the color of champagne. The bodice was threaded with light blue ribbon and small flowers with blue and green petals were crafted into the voluminous skirts. The same blue threads laced her otherwise open back, allowing the dress to fully accentuate her womanly form. Her hair was pulled simply into a twist, where matching flowers were sprinkled throughout her hair. She wore very little make up, save for a light pink lipstick that enhanced the natural flush of her cheeks and the dark brown eye liner and mascara that made her chestnut eyes appear dark and bottomless.
"So where is your date, Kripa?" inquired Alliyah.
"Oh, rahul? He was going to meet me here at 8:00," she said, eyes darting about in hopes of recognizing someone. "Although I doubt I'll recognize him with all the masks."
"Yeah, isn't it silly? But it's also so mysterious. Quite romantic I think," Alliyah said wistfully.
"Quite frustrating, I feel like I know no one," Kripa said with slight frustration. She fanned herself lightly as she continued to look around.
"I think you should put your mask on and join the fun. It's a night of disguises. You can be anyone you want to be, no one will ever know . . ." trailed Alliyah as she spotted her date. Prithvi and Alliyah had been dating for quite some time now, and as Prithvi inherited all the wealth of his deceased family, he had awarded himself a special place in society. Alliyah, being the daughter of one of the richest people, had her place in society due to her birthright.
Kripa, however, had to work hard to achieve her place in society. She slaved away for years after school to perfect a potion that could cure cancer. She thought she owed it to her friend, Tina, who died during the final battle to save her life. She spent five years perfecting the potion, making it accessible to every person in the world and soon it was to be produced in all of the continents.
"Hey beautiful," Prithvi said, wrapping his arm around Alliyah and lightly kissing her forehead. "Hi Kripa, you look very lovely this evening," he said, kissing Kripa's hand.
"Thanks Prithvi, you look great too," Kripa replied, noticing how well Prithvi looked in his black tuxedo that matched Alliyah's perfectly. At this moment, she longed for her date to show up. She did not want to be a third wheel.
"Ah, Kripa, there you are," a voice came from behind.
"Oh, Rahul, hello!" Kripa said with her voice a little higher than normal from being taken by surprise.
"You look great . . . Oh Prithvi, great to see you," Rahul said quickly, shaking Prithvi's hand and forgetting about Kripa. Alliyah noticed Kripa's smile fade and decided it was time for them to eat.
"Well, I'm starving, don't know about you people, but I'm going to go eat," Alliyah laughed, nodding her head towards the stair case.
"Shall we?" Rahul said, offering his arm to Kripa. Her smile reappeared as she accepted and let Rahul lead her up the stairs behind Alliyah and Prithvi.
While the two couples moved forward, a tall man stepped from behind a large marble pillar not far from where the two couples had met, his eyes never straying as he watched Kripa ascend the stairs. He was dressed in robes of pitch black, sharply matching the dark brown hair that hung loosely over his brow. He wore a mask of the black that covered his face from his brow to the tip of his nose. All that could be seen was his full lips pursed tightly together and a steely glare radiating from his light brown eyes.
* * *
Dinner had been delicious but the conversation had been less appealing. Rahul monopolized most of the conversation by discussing the economical status of the Southeast Asian community with other men at the table. Prithvi spent most of his time conversing with Josh, who had joined the group for dinner with his date Anjali. Kripa and Alliyah had an enjoyable conversation about the likelihood of Prithvi proposing soon, which although made Kripa very happy also left her with feelings of intense loneliness.
The orchestra below began again, playing a mixture of classical waltzes and modern ballads. A faceless crowd gathered once more on the dance floor. Kripa gazed longingly at the sight of the beautiful colors swirling below her.
"Well I think we've bantered long enough. Ladies, I dare say it would be our honor if you accompanied us to the dance floor," Rahul spoke, flashing a charming smile and nodding his head toward the other men at the table.
The party rose from their seats and descended the stairs. Kripa smiled and nodded her head towards people she did not know but whom Rahul recognized right away. She could not see how anyone could know who anyone was. She thought that even if she had met these people before, there still were too many for her to remember. She was in awe of Rahul, who not only recognized faces but seemed to know them personally.
Reaching the floor, Rahul drew Kripa to him and proceeded to guide her swiftly across the floor. Although he was not the most graceful dancer, he still danced with an air of confidence that made up for his lack of grace. He smiled at Kripa occasionally, but his eyes were usually drawn to the crowd of people around them, nodding here and there. Kripa couldn't help but think he would rather be dancing with his business partners, than her.
Kripa was thankful when Prithvi decided to step in and take a turn around the dance floor with her. Prithvi moved with more ease than Rahul, and Kripa smiled at the familiarity of the situation. She recalled dancing with Prithvi at school at their graduation dance. She laughed to herself as she remembered how he stumbled across the floor, stepping on her toes and tripping over his own feet. He had greatly improved in his dancing since then.
"Ouch!" Kripa gasped as Prithvi stepped on her foot.
"I guess some thing's never change, eh?" Prithvi laughed.
Kripa smiled at him, glancing quickly past his shoulder. A sudden sense of uneasiness overcame Kripa as she noticed someone staring at her.
She dismissed the idea. He was wearing a mask; it's easy to mistake things she reasoned.
She continued to smile as Prithvi spoke happily about his relationship with Alliyah. He confessed that he was hoping to propose soon, but did not want to reveal when.
Occasionally, Kripa would look beyond Prithvi's shoulders to see if she could recognize anyone. The back of her neck would tingle as she got the sensation that someone was watching her.
Beyond the sea of dancing, a stranger stood still as his eyes danced rapidly, watching Kripa move elegantly across the floor. His gaze relented only to observe Kripa's date surrounded by a group of men discussing the financial affairs of large corporations. He rolled his eyes and returned his gaze upon Kripa.
Her beauty was striking to him. He had known for years that she was a pretty girl, but tonight it was evident that she was more than pretty – she was ravishing. His eyes softened as he watched her speak animatedly with her friend who had finished dancing at the same time Kripa did.
Her hands waved in front of her in passionate gestures, her eyes shone with pride as she continued to speak to her friend. Although he could not hear what she was saying, the stranger smiled as he read her actions. Of all the things he admired about this woman, it was her passion for life and for her work. In all aspects of her life she showed equal devotion.
"Kripa, you look distracted, what is it?" Alliyah asked, noticing Kripa glance quickly behind her shoulder.
"It's just . . . I think someone's watching me," Kripa confessed in a whisper.
"Who?" Alliyah said, her eyes widening as she stepped closer to Kripa.
"I don't know who, but he's standing near the back . . . black mask, black robes," Kripa whispered quickly.
Nonchalantly, Alliyah glanced in the direction Kripa indicated. "I don't see him," she said.
Kripa looked quickly to where the stranger once stood. "He's not there now," she said, the feeling of uneasiness returning to her body.
"I wouldn't worry about it Kripa. Who wouldn't want to stare at a beautiful woman?" teased Alliyah.
Kripa was not comforted by Alliyah's words. She nervously picked at her skirts not daring to look into the crowd for fear of seeing the masked man.
"Alliyah, I finally escaped!" said a breathless Prithvi, having just walked up to the two girls. Prithvi had been whisked away by the head of some club or another and was subsequently passed between two other members of the organization.
Kripa smiled halfheartedly at Alliyah and Prithvi. Prithvi had once again wrapped Alliyah in his arms and was whispering in her ear. Alliyah smiled back at Kripa as Prithvi led her to the dance floor.
Kripa sighed softly to herself as she was left alone.
* * *
The stranger smiled to himself. The moment he had been waiting for finally arrived. He walked steadily towards Kripa, his eyes fixed on nothing but her. He was thankful that she was not wearing a mask, although he could never mistake anyone else for Kripa. He had her every feature committed to memory.
Kripa moved aside as another couple made their way to the floor. She heard a familiar tune rise from the orchestra, sending a tingle through her body. She looked in the direction of the orchestra, her breath suddenly caught in her throat.
A man was walking towards her - The man in the mask.
She stood in silence as the stranger moved swiftly, weaving through the crowd. Within seconds he appeared directly in front of her. She stood transfixed on his face, hoping for any sign of recognition.
He noticed her desperate search and twisted his lips into a smile. She noticed a quick light flicker in his eyes that made her heart beat rapidly against her chest. She breathed deeply as the stranger stretched out his hand towards her.
She stared at his hand, placing her own hand on her chest in hopes to calm it. She looked back at the man in the mask and saw the same light flicker back into his eyes. She hesitantly lowered her hand into his and he grasped it firmly.
The stranger led Kripa to the center of the floor and placed her hand upon his shoulder before resting his gently on her waist. He took her other hand in his and gracefully moved them across the floor. She noticed immediately how well he danced. She deduced that this grace could only have been learned through years of lessons and years of balls. She reasoned that he must have been born into society.
The stranger's hazel eyes penetrated into Kripa's chestnut eyes, knowing she was looking for any sign of recognition. He saw confusion mixed with intrigue and adventure within the depths of her eyes. He knew she would never be able to tell his identity. Secretly, he wished she knew but in his heart knew that she could never find out.
Kripa lost track of time and space as she felt the stranger pull her body closer to his. Her heart pulsated within her body as she felt his rapid breath tickle her skin.
The music did not stop and they continued dancing, ignorant of the crowd around them. No one in the room took note of this pairing, as they did not recognize the man in the mask or the beautiful girl in his arms. Kripa's friends were lost in their own continuum, oblivious to what was happening to Kripa.
Kripa did not care. She was unaware of everything around her. She melted into the stranger's arms as he held her close; he overwhelmed all of her senses. The smell of his cologne was like an intoxicating spell that left her breathless.
Kripa was broken of her trance as the orchestra stopped playing the classical piece that had taken her into her new world. The band immediately began with a new tune that Kripa immediately recognized.
The mysterious man in the black mask also recognized this song. He too had been swept from his reverie by the notes that now flooded his ears. His heart beat within the pit of his soul, begging to be released. He could not fight it and quickly surrendered. He lowered his lips to her ear.
Kripa gasped as a soft voice sang into her ear:
"Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation. . . Darkness stirs and wakes imagination . . . Silently the senses abandon their defenses," the voice whispered into her ear.
Kripa's heart pounded within.
"Slowly, gently, night unfurls its splendor . . . Grasp it, sense it, tremulous and tender . . ."
Kripa's body trembled as his breath touched her skin over and over again. She stole a glance into the crowd only to have the stranger pull her chin towards him with the soft touch of his hand.
"Turn your face away from the garish light of day . . . Turn your thoughts away from cold, unfeeling light . . . And listen to the music of the night."
The strangers eyes dug into hers, burying his soul deep within her own. She listened in sweet surrender to the sound of his voice flooding her ear and her ear alone.
"Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams . . . Put your thoughts off the light you knew before . . . Close your eyes and let your spirit start to soar . . . . . . . . . . . . and you'll live as you've never lived before," the stranger whispered gently, his voice shaking.
Kripa closed her eyes as she released control of her body, allowing the stranger to see and feel every emotion she had been harboring.
"Softly, gently, music shall caress you . . . Hear it, feel it, secretly possess you . . . Open up your mind, let your fantasies unwind . . . In this darkness that you know you cannot fight . . . The darkness of the music of the night.
Let your mind start a journey to a strange new world; leave all thoughts of the world you knew before . . . Let your soul take you where you long to be . . . . . . . . . . . . Only then can you belong to me."
A traitorous tear escaped from her still closed eyes as she heard the despair in his words.
"Floating, falling, sweet intoxication . . . Touch me, trust me, savor each sensation . . . Let the dream begin, let your darker side give in to the power of the music that I write . . . The power of the music of the night."
Kripa opened her eyes to find that she was no longer inside the ball room. She was outside on the balcony, the lights of the city twinkling below while the stars of the night sky shined above. She looked up into the eyes of the stranger. His cold eyes now had warmth she could not explain. His eyes revealed desire and longing but also pain and distrust.
The music floated from within the hall and filled her ears with its harmonies. It grew increasingly louder as the intensity of the song reached its peak.
Her heart stopped when the stranger's voice filled her soul once more . . .
"You alone can make my soul take flight . . . help me," the voice whispered, "make the music of the night."
Her heart began to beat as the song faded away into the night. All of her senses seemed to abandon her now. The man in the mask looked pleadingly into Kripa's eyes, begging for her to accept him.
She withdrew her hand from his and placed it delicately on his face, feeling his soft skin tremble beneath her touch. His breath quickened as she read desperation once more in his eyes.
The stranger lowered his head, closing the distance between his lips and hers. They both lost their breath as a volt of electricity surged through their bodies when their lips just barely met. Kripa was certain that her heart would fail if they touched once more but her body hungered for the shock again.
Hesitantly, the stranger lowered his lips once more to Kripa's. Her taste was more than he could handle, knowing he could very well devour her very essence. His own heart began to beat once more when his lips touched hers again and again.
Kripa had never shared so passionate a kiss with anyone before. Her body moved against his in ways she did not understand when she felt his tongue inviting hers to dance. She did not feel her arms wrap around his neck, nor did she feel his grip tighten around her waist, while she melted into him.
* * *
When Kripa at long last opened her eyes, the stranger was gone.
She searched all around her and looked into the ball room but did not see him. She sat on a bench, allowing her body to recover and for her breath to slow down. A myriad of emotions plagued her mind, her thoughts racing from one to another.
Who was that man? Who could have made her feel this way? Will she ever see him again? Why did he leave?
"There you are!" a voice called through the cool night. "I've been looking for you all over the place. Did you step out here for some fresh air?"
Kripa looked up to see Alliyah standing before her, a puzzled look upon her face. She had not seen him.
"No, I uh . . ." Kripa said weakly.
"Hmm? Are you feeling all right, Kripa?" Alliyah said, rushing to Kripa's side, feeling her forehead for any fever.
"I think I had better go home, Alliyah," Kripa managed to say.
"All right, let's go get Prithvi and Rahul," Alliyah said as she helped Kripa walk back into the ball room.
From inside, a stranger stood in a secluded corner collecting his thoughts. He had not planned for this to happen. He had not planned to reveal so much. He had only planned on getting her way from that fool so he could dance with her just once.
He had not planned this.
His thoughts paused as he watched Kripa being ushered through the ball room by her friend.
He had not planned for this.
He had not planned to fall in love.
* * *
A Note from ME!:
"The Music of the Night" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, from The Phantom of the Opera
I give credit to Andrew Lloyd Webber for not only the song, but for giving me the idea . . . This is not going to be a version of Phantom of the Opera, but it has definitely inspired me . . .just wait and read it WILL be different
Also i hope you guys liked it! AND please tell what you think it can be good and bad!
Edited by simplyconfused - 2005-11-13T11:46:36Z
Topic started by simplyconfused
Last replied by nabz8888