It's The Devil I Love
One bar encompassed the full length of the room and was flanked on both sides by buffet tables overflowing with every imaginable food and decadent desert one could create.
The smell of ganja mingled with the musky odor of men's cologne and intoxicating aroma of women's perfume.
As Selina began to weave between bodies exuding the scent of the sexually hungry; the cacophony of voices were somewhat dimmed by Neko Case belting out a song whose lyrics could have been about her:
"Compared to some I've been around
But I really tried so hard
That echo chorus lied to me with its
"Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"
As she slithered past the buffet, she was overcome with a mix of dread and excitement - her spidey senses were tingling -which always served as a prescient warning.
Approaching the enormous bar, she grabbed a shooter glass of vodka from a wandering waiter, downed it quickly, then without missing a beat, ordered her signature White Rose martini from Jake, the drop dead gorgeous bartender who doubled as a hired gun.
Jake not only served up a mean drink, he also served as her back up when needed. Not that she needed his services often, but it was nice to know he had her back, and later, if she was in the mood, that she could have him. Jake was very adept at rimjobs and serious backdoor sex.
Drink in hand, she had an overwhelming sense of a charismatic presence nearby, so she turned around and in a flash understood why her senses had been in overdrive.
There He was, surrounded by a small crowd of people anxious to be in his presence if only for a few moments.
They had met 18 months earlier, yet it seemed like a lifetime ago. He was powerfully charming, and could melt her heart with his smile.Two enigmatic strangers who should have been passing in the night, but instead were powerfully drawn to each other.
"The most tender place in my heart is for strangers
I know it's unkind but my own blood is much too dangerous
Hangin' round the ceiling half the time
Hangin' round the ceiling half the time"
Both were very skilled at creating facades to mask their vulnerabilities and hide their true selves from the world. Yet, they had connected quickly, intensely,and had a deep connection that never waned. During the months they spent together, they would inexplicably find themselves stripping away their own masks.
She watched him closely, knowing that at any moment, their eyes would meet. His emotions never got the better of him when on a mission.When it came to women, he loved the hunt, yet always managed to remain detached from his prey. But with Selina, he had, at great risk, opened himself to her in a way he had never done with any other woman.
With her, he shared secrets and thoughts no one else had been made privy to. While that was liberating for him, it was also very dangerous. Selina now knew all his weaknesses. To be so openly vulnerable was an immense liability for him.
Instinctively Selina understood what he feared most was that somehow, someday, in someway she would use the secrets he had shared with her against him.
He had often said he was like the wind, just blowing through, never staying in any place too long. So after several months, when he indicated it was time to leave, and he quietly slipped away into the night disappearing half way around the world, she let him go. She didn't want him to go, but leaving is what he did - it was as if his survival depended on it.
"In the end I was the mean girl
Or some body's in-between girl"
Now it's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love
Her assignments constantly took her around the world. She was usually seen at any event in which the rich famous powerful denizens of the world congregated in bacchanalian fashion. She came alone, played the room with finesse, setting up someone to be taken down when least expected, and usually left alone.
"I leave the party at 3:00am,On many nights when she was alone,she sensed he was thinking of her, and that they would unavoidably meet again. And she wondered what she would do when that happened.
Alone, thank God
With a valium from the bride"
"It's the devil I love
And that's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love"
He surveyed the room, while shaking hands with power brokers from the military,government and private industry. He was iconic in their eyes, and they wanted any part of him they could have, so they made him promises of fame, money, and access to whatever he wanted. Most offers he turned down with his self effacing charm, but some he accepted with a graciousness that belies his sharp calculating mind. Poor unsuspecting fools had no idea that he kept his friends at bay but his enemies very close.
It was only a matter of seconds before he would notice her. She knew he could be ruthless, especially if he felt threatened. And while Selina posed no real threat to him, she had no doubt that he considered her to be dangerous.
Wearing a tight black sleeveless cocktail dress, her trademark 5 inch Manohla Blanicks exposing a white rose tattoo on her ankle, and her white diamond horseshoe necklace, she was waif like, impossibly small, and certainly appeared to be no threat to anyone, let alone a man. No one could ever suspect just how dangerous she truly was.
She laughed to herself thinking how she flirted with her marks and when they asked her name, she smiled seductively, leaning into their ear, and whispered, "Danger Girl". It was tattooed on her wrist.
Suddenly, three feet away from of her, he turned in her direction, and their eyes locked. Like a deer caught in headlights, he stopped moving.
He had not been expecting to see her. Not now.Not here.Not ever. When he left he had asked her not to seek him out, and she hadn't, but it seemed like life was hellbent on bringing them together. She had found herself in the same places as him on a few occasions, but she was often in disguise, playing some character out of a cleverly crafted story meant to enable her to fool her prey, and so she had skillfully managed to avoid him, but this time serendipity won out.
Selina pondered what she should do now. She had no way of knowing exactly how he'd react, or what he would do, but she was never one to run away when confronted with any challenge. He knew she gave as good as she got, never went down without a fight, and never did anything half way.
She inhaled a long deep breath, "To hell with it, she thought to herself as she exhaled slowly, "what's the worst he can do, try to kill me, again?"
Completely unarmed, no knifes, no guns, no weapons of any kind in her purse, slowly, very slowly, almost imperceptibly, she walked towards him.
"That echo chorus lied to me with its
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"
*Lyrics to "Hold On" by Neko Case from "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood"