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“You've got to come with me, I don't know anyone there,” My friend Amy was telling me on the phone., “Besides, maybe you'll meet someone new.” She was always taking this angle, ever since I had broken up with my boyfriend, Jordan.

“I don't know,” I groaned and rolled my eyes. “I don't even have a costume.” The truth was, I had plenty of costumes, but none I deemed worthy of wearing to the poshest New Year's shindig in the city.

“We'll get you one,” she answered. I could hear the frustration in her voice. “I know just the place.” I hoped it would be a good one, if I agreed. New Year's Eve afternoon seemed like a last-minute effort to me.“Just say you'll go. Please?” It was that last-minute inflection that did me in. “Alright,” I replied, “I'll go, but don't you even dare try to pawn me off on the first guy that tries to dance with me.” “Scout's honor,” she laughed. “You won't be sorry. I'll meet you at two, okay?”

I met Amy at the shopping center in downtown, my feelings a mixture of apprehensive and excited as we perused the different stores. I found nothing that I wanted until we happened upon a small shoppe nestled in the basement of an older brick building. There, amidst the bolts of fabrics and ancient sewing machines was a dress-form with a gown exactly like the dress worn by Christine in Phantom of the Opera, my favorite musical. “It's not too fancy, is it?” I asked Amy.

“Nope, it'll be perfect,” she answered as I tried it on. It hugged every curve of my body. I admired myself in the mirror while she found me a suitable mask. I decided on one shaped like a black cat that only hid half my face.


We spent the remaining hours before the soiree getting dressed, doing hair and make-up until we glanced at the clock and realized we needed to hurry. I still felt self-conscious. “Are you sure I'm going to look alright?”


She nodded. “You look gorgeous! In fact, I bet all eyes will be on you tonight.” Amy was one to talk, She'd picked out her dress months before and it was a form-fitting cocktail number, emerald green with feathers trailing off the back.


“If you say so,” I said doubtfully as we pulled up in the cab. The party was at a lavish estate, in a palatial house that came complete with a circular driveway that surrounded a fountain with a cherub on it spitting water into a cracked vase.


When we stepped inside, we could see the ball was in full swing. There was a parquet dance floor in the middle , edged one one side with a DJ's setup, on one side with a bar, and on the other two with tables at which some people sat and sipped drinks. “Come on!” Amy grabbed my hand and pulled me down the grand staircase into the center of activity. “Let's find a table,” she said excitedly as she pulled me across the side of the dance floor.


I could only mutely follow, my mind in a whirl at everything that was happening. As we sat down at a table, a waiter approached, his tray carried precariously, balancing wine glasses filled with both red and white wines. “Would you care for some drinks?” he asked, holding the tray at table height.


“Please,” Amy smiled. “Would you like one?” she asked me.


“Thank you,” I smirked as I pulled a glass of white Riesling from his tray. I sipped at it, letting the tart liquid pour down my throat.


As we admired the costumes that swirled on the dance floor, a man in a tuxedo and wolf mask approached Amy. “Would you care for a dance?” he asked her, offering his elbow. She lifted up her butterfly mask and winked at me as she stood up, took his elbow and followed him to the dance floor.


I was alone and miserable. It wasn't that I was determined to not have fun, but I had really no idea who I could mingle with. I rose and walked the perimeter of the floor, white wine in hand, careful not to bump elbows and spill something upon my dress. I wandered and weaved until I was at the edge of the floor that faced the grand staircase, watching the dancers. I felt lost, but I didn't want it to show.


My attention was upon the whirling and swirling, my ears attuned to the music much like the rest of the crowd until he entered. My eyes were drawn to him, his presence as he appeared at the top of the stairs, commanding attention as he stood in his red velvet cape. I couldn't see his features, only his eyes as they scanned the crowd and settled upon me. I could see the curl of his lips under the lower ridge of his mask. A Phantom mask.


I felt a chill of excitement as he descended the stairs, his eyes still riveted on me, his movement so fluid, so graceful. The flock of dancers spread for him as he walked through them, their movements stilled as though he were God. He came to stand in front of me, his tall, languid form made even taller by the raised platform of the parquet. Holding a gloved hand out to me, he said, “Christine, where is Raoul?”


Not only was this man dressed to match, but he knew exactly what my dress had been modeled after. I could barely speak, me knees were weak, but I managed to shakily answer, “I have no Raoul.” I grasped his outstretched hand.


With a deep chuckle, he helped me step up on the platform and wrapped his arms around me. “Dance with me, then, my love,” he whispered, his voice no more than a growl against my ear.


I nodded, trying to get a bearing on him. As I gazed into the eyes behind the mask, I could only make out a deep, cerulean blue, yet they were kind, caring, and the lips that peeked from blow were soft and thin.


He held me close and waltzed me through several songs, careful to make sure I followed his every move. When the DJ played a slow song, he pulled me close again, his breath warm against my neck as he leaned down and kissed what bare skin I had there. The night belonged to him and I had no idea who even he was.


As it got closer to midnight, we stopped dancing and he led me from the floor to a secluded corner. “Will you kiss me at midnight?” he asked teasingly.


“I suppose I might,” I teased, shyly averting my eyes and chewing on my lip.


He reached out a single index finger and placed it under my chin, nudging it up so I was looking at him once again. “Or I could kiss you now,” he whispered, his lips landing softly on mine, fluttering sweetly across them.


I gave in, a moan barely audible in my throat. He pressed into me and I wrapped my arms around him, sliding my hands across the red velvet. His kisses migrated down to my neck, coming to rest at the clevege that spilled over the top of my bodice. One of his hands slid up and cupped one of my breasts, the other he reached behind me with and clasped my backside as best he could through all my skirts and petticoats.


It was a heady mixture, the wine, his touch, and I felt myself slipping away. I was helpless when the hand that was on my bodice reached down to gather my skirts up, slid underneath them and found the elastic of my lace panties, tugging them until they ripped and fell to the floor, hidden only by the rest of my dress. I gasped as those same fingers found my already-sodden folds and fluttered across them. I felt one single finger slip between and begin petting and tracing around my clit, making it harden with each stroke.


I arched my back against him, raising my breasts to him while my hands fumbled with the ties on his breeches. When at last I got them undone, he had me nearly at my edge. I began to whimper and he shushed me with his mouth, kissing me passionately, his tongue flicking and working against mine. My hips bucked and he chuckled darkly as he caught me, pulled my leg around his hip and lifted me so I could wrap the other one around him. “Perhaps a bit more than a kiss,” he growled as he nibbled on my earlobe.


His cock was at attention and I could feel its warmth as he pressed against my own wet heat. “Perhaps,” I purred. I leaned back as he positioned himself at my entrance and thrust inside slowly, allowing me to stretch to him as he moved. I mewled at the sensation, my body on fire as just the feeling of him filling me began to bring me back to my peak. He began gyrating his hips, allowing his pubic bone to rub against my clit, each little roll sending a shockwave, and each rotation making his tip hit against my innermost point of pleasure.


Panting, my vocalizations began softly, building to a crescendo as I felt the paroxysms overtake me and I screamed my pleasure into his mouth. He slid his mouth from me and offered his shoulder, my lips cupping around it as it muffled the cries of my orgasm. “Sing for me, my angel,” he growled as he pounded into me. I reached my crescendo just as midnight hit. He released me from his shoulder so my screams could mix with the cacophony of the celebration/


I could feel his cock twitch as he thrust, felt each muscle harden more as my walls milked him and his release spilled inside me, hot, viscous, until we were both spent.


As he let me down, he asked breathily, “Can I at lease see you without your mask before we part ways?”


I pulled my mask back to reveal my face. “Sarah,” I said, introducing myself, my face flushed. “And, how about you.”


“I'd rather you not know,” he groaned. He began lacing his breaches back up. “I'm an actor and I was hoping I could go about my evening without recognition.”


“Turnabout is fair play,” I scowled. “I deserve to know who I fucked into the new year.”


With a huff, he replied, “If I must.” He reached for his mask. “Close your eyes, I'll give you a clue.”


I complied, shutting my eyes and feeling him lean close and kiss me once again. As his lips met my ear, he whispered gruffly, “I am burdened with glorious purpose.”