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Dave ST

Chosen 02: The Gala

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Ravi smiled slightly at Sienna, though he didn't share what he viewed as her insecure, fearful resentment towards D'Sombra, who had the Old World class and beauty which any New York socialite would kill to possess and which Ravi was more than comfortable around.  Admittedly, few in Europe's high society were quite as... predatory or intriguing as the woman, which piqued the young aristocrat's interest further still.  He remained silent for the moment, letting D'Sombra's candid revelations about some grand game between her and this 'Mourne' fellow percolate through his mind as he watched her handle the fuming young woman.

D'Sombra disturbed him somewhat, but she also reminded Ravi of what it was to possess influence, to wield power with self-assurance.  He had not realised till witnessing it so starkly how much he missed that aspect of his old life.  Her straightforwardness in pronouncing her list of sins also appealed to him - she didn't need the approval of others, she was what she was and dared anyone to take her to task over it, even making a bold statement of her intention to steal Sienna's 'dancing partner'.  He did wonder as to her goals - what was this game of hers about?  And why did it involve such a disparate number of unrelated people?  Why him, a disgraced young blue-blood from England?  He had no influence or power worth speaking of.  Curiouser and curiouser, he thought as his eyes gleamed watchfully behind the meaningless pleasantry of his smile.

Sienna's disgusted look did remind Ravi that he was, to coin a phrase, 'on the clock' right now.  With a graceful motion, he took D'Sombra's champagne glass from his date's hand, clearing his throat politely and handing it to a passing waiter.

"It appears I am monopolising your time, Miss D'Sombra.  So many others must also be wanting to seek out such a notable woman."  he smiled, his voice a smooth deep purr.  "And besides, there is so much more to see here, I am sure.  I feel confident we shall meet again."  He gave her another quick smile and took Sienna's hand, tucking it through the crook of his arm with practiced ease, plainly intending to withdraw.

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D'Sombra wasn't making any particular effort to lower her voice, so Mel heard everything. And the hidden instinct that had been warning him about her was suddenly validated. Of course that left questions. What was going on between Mourne and D'Sombra? Why them, since the only thing in common between him, Casey Mason and Maya Flynn was the Coffee Pot? Which left out the dark-skinned arm candy whom Mel had never seen before in his life. Or what she meant about 'everything you think you know about the world being wrong'?

Mel didn't say anything, just look significantly at Brent. Brent remembered that look. It was the look he'd seen once after the rescue of a MIA soldier, where Mel had personally killed several Taliban fighters in sudden rapid succession. Too composed, too focused. It was just daring him to say that Brent knew about this. Because it didn't matter how powerful D'Sombra was or what she could offer. Mel did not stand for being jerked around or used like a chess piece, and his decision was being rapidly reconsidered.

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Ms. D'Sombra smiled at the charming Ravi and looked to both him and Casey.  "If the two of you will excuse me, I've a matter to attend to."

[Mel] She moved elegantly away, her black gown wrapped around her curves like a loving shadow never wanting to loose it's hold on her.  With a predatory grace and devilish intent she slithered he way to where Brent and Mel were waiting patiently.  "Gentleman.  Mr. Grim, I assume you've decided to accept my offer?  I admit, once Brent told me your background I decided I must have you.  So, when can you start?"

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Mel let a finger tap his chin for dramatic effect before simply voicing. "Almost never." Mel caught her surprised look with his own level stare. It might not have packed the sheer power of Ravenna D'Sombra's dark presence, but decades of soldiering had turned it into a decent runner-up. "I'm used to following orders, but I'm not a pawn to be screwed with for your entertainment. You have two minutes to explain yourself before I turn around and walk away."

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"Well, that's a shame," she replied with her expression slightly twisting into mock concern.  "I'm afraid the myriad of the machinations I have planned for you and the others will require far more than two minutes."

"I do hope you'll, at the very least, finish out the remainder of your services this evening.  I'd hate to not see you awarded everything you were offered this evening."  She reached for him and her soft yet chilled hand took his own in hers.  She looked at the bandages still adorning his fingers and spoke softly.  "You clawed through in an attempt to unearth your wife's ghost," she chuckled softly.  "I'll admit, that's a new one."

She raised her eyes to meet his and smiled warmly.  "Do have a good evening, M. Grim."

With the same sway she approached him with she walked away into the shadows and glamour of Manhattan's aristocracy.  The 'tings' of champagne glasses and the clamor of a couple hundreds voices all trying to be heard at once as she slithered her way in back amongst them.

Excitedly Brent approached his old friend with a grin on his face.  "Well?  What'd she say?  When do you start?"

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Mel had been too composed to give a reaction when she said those words. But D'Sombra knew that the very lack of the reaction, the excess of effort holding off a reaction proved that she had hit home. He watched her go off silently. The Devil Wears Prada? Forget the movie title, the Devil wore brands Mel probably never heard or, or ever would. Impossible knowledge of something that wasn't real to begin with, wasn't it?

Although she gave the sense it was something real, all of it, and not just a Section 8 mess. Damn it. He had to know now.

When Brent came up, Mel responded through nearly gritted teeth. "She's a complete and utter bitch... and if she'd been running the DoD, perhaps we might have actually gotten 'Mission Accomplished' after all. Tell her I'll start in a few days. I'm going back to patrol."

And he did, stiffly marching off.

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"That woman makes my skin crawl."  Sienna murmured through her fixed smile as Ravi steered her around a group of chattering upper-crust.  "Did you see how she was sizing you up like a... like a side of... of beef!"  This last was delivered in a harsh hiss as she leaned closer, the heat of her palpable to Ravi as she pressed against his arm.  He turned his head, the lights playing over the blue-black glossy sweep of his hair as he smiled down at her.  She was more than annoyed, he sensed with some impersonal clarity.  She was also rattled.  D'Sombra scared her in a deep primal way.  For a moment, Ravi considered whether to poke at that wound, to drop a casual comment of how lovely and gracious Ravenna seemed to him.  But he decided against it.  It was one thing to be provocative, another to be a sadist.

"And yet you are the one on my arm."  he said quietly, the deep purr of his voice a balm to the frazzled socialite as he leaned down closer to her ear, his breath warm as he kissed her cheek.  He felt rather than saw the tension leave his date and smiled, dropping another lingering kiss just below her ear and feeling her shiver.  He rather liked Sienna - she was beautiful, just bitchy enough to be entertaining, a warm and passionate lover with just enough of a scorned woman's insecurity to add a primal edge to her fucking, and talked a lot about 'bettering' his situation.  Of course, he knew that likely meant moving in with her permanently and being a kept toy-boy, but he appreciated she liked him enough to think of such a thing.

"Yes, yes I am."  she replied with a smile, drawing her head back and looking up at him as she cupped his cheek in her palm, feeling the faint rasp of well-shaved stubble.  "Now come on, let me introduce you to some nice people."

"Those exist here?" he asked with a sly smile, glimmers of mirth dancing in his exotic eyes.  "Is there a special room for them we haven't been into yet?"

"You are terrible!" Sienna's laughter was silvery as she led him over to a group of well-dressed art appreciators and philanthropists.

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Casey bit her lip and turned several shades of red. Everyone was staring at her at least that's what it felt like. No what it felt like was just like the last party she had been too, and that one had ended a career too.

Without another word Casye looked at the man and woman whom she had barged in upon to confront D'Sombra. "Sorry for interrupting, please excuse me."

Without waiting for any answer she spun and retreated back to the kitchen she should never have left.

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