She spent the afternoon pretending to sleep. Silka only came downstairs again after she had managed to squeeze into one of her old evening gowns and was ready to go to the party. Although she had not thought of the Blakes in a long time, her memory of them was fond and she loved them. Don and Tabitha Blake always referred to her as the daughter they had never had. As for Taber, they called him Tay for short and he was a spoilt brat if there ever was. She endured him, but resented that he always got his own way, even with her own parents. All he had to do was give a long, whiney ‘moooooommmmm’ and she would have to yield possession of the toy he wanted or accept defeat in the game.
As they grew up and became teenagers, he morphed into a typical obnoxious jock and hung out with the cool crowd. She was always invited to his parties as a courtesy, but no one ever paid any attention to her. She was fine with that. She would go so as not to offend his dear parents. During those parties she sat at the far side of the room watching them graze on food and drink themselves into a new blood group. She always kept her cool and looked in control and relaxed in the circumstances. The Blake estate, after all, was like a second home to her and the Blakes were like family, even Taber, after all the special holidays and vacations they had spent together.
She was also not intimidated or pressured easily. Any advances from horny jocks or snide remarks from the cool crowd were met with a smile and a quick disarming remark. Her grace, wit and intellect were something she had inherited from her father.
"Theodore, darling," her mother pronounced almost breathlessly on route to the Blake estate. This was normally the part when Silka wanted to scream that her father's name never had been nor ever would be, Theodore. His own birth certificate stated his name to be Ted. Just T.E.D!
"Please do not let Mrs. Thomas-Duvall in my presence tonight. My nerves are in no condition for that ostentatious woman. I shall not be made a fool of, Theodore. I absolutely forbid it," she commanded her husband in the car. Her husband looked into her eyes and with a slight sigh, dully responded, "My angel, you cannot possibly be made a fool of looking the way you do tonight. For whatever Mrs. Thomas-what’s-her-face has to say, I assure you, no one will give her much consideration or regard." His grace and calm ‘under fire’, made her grin and glow in delight. If Lucelia had been any happier, they'd have to commit her.
The Blake estate was spectacular. The property consisted of the main, double-storey mansion with six bedrooms, three servant’s quarters, two guest houses, a boat house, a helipad and a tree house. The main house from the front boasted tall pillars, bold architecture and big cottage pane windows. It looked like a scene from Gone with the Wind or a modest replica of the White House. The driveway circled around a massive fountain.
The Blakes never did anything by half measure. As they entered the ball room and stood on the platform by the wide stairs leading down to the ballroom floor, their ears were filled with modern music which played in the background. There were waiters serving champagne among the guests on the ground level. Young waitresses carried trays laden with canapés to snack from.
There was a bar along the side of the left wall. The barmen served every single drink known to man in every color of the spectrum.
Along the white walls behind the bar, black and white photographs of a male model were elegantly spaced.
At the very back of the room a DJ had set up shop. He didn't have the usual smoke, mirror balls and lights you'd expect. Instead he had only his consol and behind him, a large white screen. A projector suspended from the ceiling, displayed a slide show. Silka barely recognized the pictures of her as a child, taken during family holidays. Every photo was of her doing something at some place she barely remembered. For a moment she was overwhelmed at the gesture by Tay’s parents. Her eyes lit up and the happiness she felt made her heart swell.
The right side of the hall, revealed double glass Italian doors that lead to an equally impressive concrete patio that followed concrete steps to the Lake side of the garden. They had spent many summers swimming and water skiing on the lake.
"Could this be her?" asked Tabitha, as she joined them at the top of the stairs, dressed in an elegant cream gown with soft flowing sleeves to her elbows. The dress hugged her curves and tapered at the bottom, complimenting her pale skin tone and thin physique. The v-neck elongated her oval face. Her hair was made into an elegant up do and soft curls caressed her cheeks down to her shoulders. She looked like a Greek Goddess. Even for her age, nothing would permit any reference of mutton dressed as lamb. Her makeup was flawless and her teeth pageant ready. She pulled the look off despite her age and much to all the other older women's dismay, as could be seen on their faces as they passed them.
"Sweetie, darling, hello, but of course this is Silka. Say hello, darling," her mother implored Silka with an icy smile.
"Hello, how are you?" responded Silka, happy to oblige and leaned forward to give Tabitha a generous kiss and hug.
Her mother’s blue satin gown looked more like a straight sack, covering her arms, figure and legs, but Silka knew Tabitha could put a positive spin on anything.
“You look stunning!” she complimented Lucelia on her blue evening dress as she kissed Lucelia and Ted to welcome them.
"Thank you for hosting us," Lucelia responded with more kindness this time after that compliment.
"Taber heard of your home coming and invited a few friends," Tabitha gestured to the masses below, "so you will know some people your own age in town."
Few? Silka smiled at the gesture, knowing his mother had made him do it, but nonetheless she would endeavor to thank him.
"He is here somewhere," Tabitha managed before Lucelia lead her away to discuss a matter of grave importance, viz the current disposition of a certain Mrs. Thomas-Duvall. They met up with some other ladies their age to which a competition between air kissing and ass kissing ensued.
Taber had noticed their entrance immediately and could not contain his curiosity about the lady that escorted the Fonteins. He contemplated going to them, but somehow lost his ability to breathe when he looked at her. She was gorgeous. Her hair was long, softly curled and brown with lighter shades in some places, the kind of highlights not obtained from foils and chemicals. Her eyes were bright blue and she had long lashes. She had a soft glowing skin, a healthy medium bronze tone. A delicate nose, contoured cheeks and soft red lips completed her stunning face. She wore a red fitted halter neck gown. Her feminine shoulder line was perfectly accentuated by the halter neck. Even with the dress on, he could see she had the perfect figure, unlike the stick figures they considered models on the runways. Her long slim legs and arms were muscular and toned. Her breasts looked as if they had been sculpted by an artist. They contoured down to her small waist, which curved out to her rounded hips. Hourglass figure was his first impression and it had been a while since he had seen a woman with curves like these. Most women obsessed with their weight and ended up with no hips or waistline at all. She had the body of a yummy sex siren, he finally decided. It took a few minutes to regain his composure and go to them.
By the time Lucelia had dragged his mother away, he met Silka and Ted as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Good evening," he greeted smoothly.
His hands were behind his back; his stance almost military, but the kind grey eyes that bored into her alluded to something soft and caring. Silka noticed his short, dark hair was styled and shiny but not gelled (much to her relief). His dark brows framed his beautiful grey eyes perfectly. Underneath his straight nose, dark stubble made his soft pink lips stand out. They were the most perfect lips she had ever seen, with the corners slightly turned up suggesting a smile. The five o'clock shadow failed to hide his perfect complexion and the dimple on his chin. His face was slim, but still masculine. Underneath his tux she could see he was well built. He was as tall as her father. Yep, I'll tap that. She looked up into his eyes again. It was then that she realized! The photographs were of him and not some anonymous male model. Ego anyone!
"Good evening Taber," she responded coolly, but very pleased with herself to catch him at a disadvantage.
"You remember Silka?" Ted enquired. Very slowly Taber lifted his gaze from her and addressed her father with a firm, but kind two-handed handshake. Her heart pounded progressively faster as he gazed back at her, this time with an exited, wicked glow in his eyes. Fortunately she knew how to keep her heart rate under control, by slowing down her breathing.
"Always a pleasure to have you here, sir, not to mention the company of your lovely daughter." He took a pause as if to catch his breath.
"Please make yourself at home and enjoy the party. Excuse me, but I have to welcome some new guests," he said before he slowly swaggered to other couples.
Just then Don Blake appeared. What, are they playing relay or are they telepathic? Tag...you're it....it's your turn...no shit.
"Don, old friend! It is nice to see you again!" Her father greeted him with a warm hug and a firm hand shake. Don gave a quizzical look towards Silka.
"Forgive my manners, old pal, but last I checked, you were still with, Luciferia...Un-fairy godmother of my son. Wherever she is, don't let her catch you with the beautiful, future Mrs. Alimony over here."
Both men giggled like naughty school boys. Silka remembered Don well. She always thought something about him was appealing. His good humored nature, tall physique, green eyes and beautiful smile made him very likable. Remarkably his hair was still mostly brown, although many shades lighter from the bits of grey that shone through. Once he learned that it was the beloved Silka that had returned from obscurity, his stance immediately changed. In no uncertain terms he made it clear to her that she ought never to do that to her mother again!
"Your poor parents were beside themselves when you decided not to return from your trip abroad, young lady. It is a wonder your mother is still a functioning member of society. We almost resorted to slipping her prescription drugs to keep her calm and sane," he admonished.
"Well, look on the bright side, at least now we don’t have to do it illegally, without prescriptions," her father came to her rescue. Both men laughed heartily and started catching up after a few weeks of enforced ‘radio silence’, due to some remark Don had made at their last gathering; ultimately upsetting the fragile flower that was Lucelia. As usual, they were all clueless as to what it was he had actually said.
“Excuse me,” Silka smiled and went to get a drink. Taber watched her intently for hours while circulating between his crowds of friends. She glided from person to person, chatting away, making jokes, even though she didn't know anyone - anymore. Everybody responded to her and lapped up her ability to give them her undivided attention. She could make hobos feel like a million bucks.
Silka went to the bar eventually and waited patiently to order another drink. She hadn't seen so many people in a long time. Where she had been recently, more than ten people in one place was considered an illegal gathering. Silka noticed that Taber was dancing with a five year old girl in his arms, as her parents stood by laughing about the grin on the little one’s face. Silka was not the only one staring. Every eligible woman there had their eyes on him and wished they were that little girl.
As the evening progressed Taber and Silka kept their distance, but couldn't keep their eyes off each other.
Neither could believe that the person they had met was the same kid they had grown up with. There was no way they should not have recognized each other. Neither could comprehend how the other had changed so much. Neither could begin to understand the immediate attraction.