She hauled her bright red suitcase behind her on the approach to the hotel check in. As usual, a perky and perfectly put together young woman smiled and took all the information to see Nadine able to retrieve the keycard and head to her room.
Three days later, she was exhausted but also filled with exhilaration. A typical conference, full of goofing off, meeting the online friends she only saw once a year, and ending the day looking at her silhouette and wishing she’d managed to shed thirty pounds before attending. Then squeezing into the almost too tight outfit she’d bought just for the evening frivolity.
Tonight was the last party and she was dreading coaxing her very tired feet into the bright pink little pumps. But this was the last and a chance to make sure she had all the contact information for the new friends she’d made as well as the professional contacts.
Nadine brushed her tight curls and fastened one side up with a vivid green hair clip. Taking a deep breath, she just managed to fasten the top button of the split skirt. Good thing the shirt had started out slightly loose! Three days of conference challenged anyone’s diet. Especially when it came to drinking and picking up chocolate treats, left out by authors hoping to lure readers into pausing long enough at a display to be intrigued by the actual book, and not just the goodies scattered about.
She’d be there one day, and had to admit, she’d put out chocolate, too. It worked!
Last night had been a different sort of fun than the simple rock and roll event of tonight. The vampire ball always brought out the more decadent and curious of the convention goers. And if one stayed late enough, it was amazing what was seen. She shivered, remembering the slender man who had watched her dance with several of her friends.
There were so few men at the conference; it was natural to notice the ones that did come. And this man was conspicuous. He wasn’t one of the muscle bound men vying for the book cover model prize. He was too old, for one. He had black hair liberally streaked with silver. She’d noticed him particularly. There was an aura about him, as if he was alone even at a table full of women, all babbling.
No one seemed to be with him. No one took his arm or leaned close to hear his words. Nadine wasn’t even sure the women at the table realized he was there. When the dancing began, he moved toward the edge of the stage, just out of the light and watched. She’d been tempted to shimmy over toward his vicinity, but a lack of self-confidence had squashed that impulse pretty quickly.
He wore black, but most men did at the vampire ball. In fact, most everyone wore black or shades of black. She’d been slightly different and gone for a deep blue velvet gown. That was probably what had drawn his attention. The four women she’d been with had swept from the ballroom as it grew late and taken her with them. And she hadn’t seen the man again.
Well, she had dreamt about him. Shaking her head, she put those thoughts out of her mind. It had too long since she’d had a lover, that was all. And a man that slender and put together wouldn’t be interested in a zaftig woman with unruly hair and limited sexual experience. So she might as well think of something else.
Forcing her feet into the shoes, she snatched up her key, tucked it into her badge holder and left the room. Four hours later, she somehow found herself alone in the bar. Two of her internet friend had to leave for red eye flights home and it seemed a very large number of attendees were opting for a last chance to visit the Magic Kingdom instead of the last party.
And Janice had fought with Nell. Nadine was refusing to take sides, so that left her out in the cold. She actually didn’t mind. It was pleasant to just enjoy her margarita and think about the extra day she was spending before tackling the flight home on Monday.
Until he sat down across from her. Thinking about it all several days later, she couldn’t recall what he’d said. But she’d been mesmerized. That, she remembered. He’d bought her another drink, stroking her fingers where they rested on the coaster. A chocolate martini. She’d never had one and the taste of it had melted any reservations she carried about why he’d taken the chair across from her.
Who cared? He looked as rich and elegant as the beverage sliding down her throat. And she enjoyed looking at him.
She’d enjoyed a hell of a lot more than that. All night long.
It had been past noon when her eyes had cracked open. Her body had never felt so good. Reaching out a hand, she’d found herself alone. But when she pushed the curtains back, she saw the single red rose left on the extra pillow. It had been extra, for days.
She could just recall his saying something about “…plump as a fragrant red rose…” She picked up the rose and inhaled its scent. Heavenly.
Her brain hadn’t fully registered what was different about her body for several hours. She’d showered, still dwelling in the sensual universe he’d spun about her. She languidly shampooed her hair, moisturized her face, and belted the robe about her waist… And ordered room service. She hadn’t left the room until dinner.
This was when she realized something had changed. Her pants fit. In fact, they were falling off of her. She’d been quite confused and pulled out the jeans she’d worn two days earlier. Same thing. Hell, her panties didn’t want to stay up!
She dropped her clothing and went to the full length mirror just outside the bathroom. She normally avoided full length mirrors like a plague. This time she studied her body. Where was her belly? Was that an actual waist? There were no dimples on her thighs! Her tits…she looked down and could see the nipples without pulling her shoulders back!
What the fuck?
Nothing she’d brought fit her anymore. Gigging at the miracle, she pulled out a simple shift she’d brought and pulled it on. And went to the boutique at the hotel before going to dinner.
She didn’t notice her dark companion, sitting near the fire, sipping a cup of coffee. One hand rested on a rounded belly as he smiled to himself.
God, he loved these conventions!