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Adrienne knew the party would continue long into the wee hours of the morning, leaving many a drunken and weary individual in its wake. At the moment, she was happy to have escaped both the heat and the drunken revelry housed inside by seeking the seclusion of the veranda, and was enjoying the quiet and crisp coolness of the river’s breeze floating in over the veranda.Adrienne had been in a bit of self-induced seclusion and had not been out for several months or since the break from her former fiancé, but tonight was a fabulous night of Mardi Gras celebration in the city, and Angelique had insisted she participate in the masquerade ball, convincing her that it would be both fun and good for her to venture out. Adrienne had not been so sure but had reluctantly agreed. She had sought refuge with Angelique after she’d caught her former fiancé cheating, and, although a bit unusual in her ways, Angelique was a lovely and loyal friend. She had welcomed Adrienne with open arms, telling her she could stay at her home for as long as she liked. That had been six months ago, and since that time, Adrienne had scare been out of the house except for necessities.This night, Angelique had insisted upon arranging a blind date for Adrienne with someone named Jean-Luc, saying it was well past time for her to "get back on the horse", so to speak. However, Jean-Luc had not yet manifested into a reality, so Adrienne chose to enjoy a few moments alone on the veranda. In her eccentric, playful way, and since it was a masquerade ball and everyone would be wearing a mask, Angelique had insisted that Jean-Luc must seek her out and ask if she’d like another glass of Merlot to both reveal himself and discover her identity. Adrienne sighed. Chances were slim that he would find her amidst the throng of guests. Perhaps it was simply not meant to be. What difference would one more failed attempt at love make at this point, she mused ironically to herself as she glanced out on the nearly empty street?Of a sudden, the hairs on the nape of Adrienne’s neck and arms rose, and she realized she was not alone. Turning sharply and glancing about the darkened area of the veranda, she stifled a gasp as a tall, lone figure emerged from the shadows.“Excuse my intrusion. I did not mean to frighten you,” a deep voice issued forth on the night air. The stranger wore a mask, but Adrienne could not help but see the semblance of a smile beneath it – one of irony if she was not mistaken. How strange, she thought to herself. What could he possibly find ironic in this moment?“It’s fine – you just surprised me,” she said a bit nervously. “I was merely trying to catch the breeze from the river.” While also avoiding the crowd of drunken people inside, she added mentally.He casually drew nearer, choosing to stand only steps away from her along the wrought iron fencing that ran the length of the veranda. “Yes, me, as well,” he said, and then quietly added, “But alas, I fear I was also avoiding so many unfortunate and drunken souls.”She nodded slightly, aware that his presence seemed to permeate the entire space. And had he just read her mind? It would be impossible for him to do that, wouldn’t it? A room of drunken souls was an easy observation to make on this night of celebratory endeavors during Mardi Gras.Taking a large sip from the glass of Merlot that she held, she inadvertently took notice of the fact that he had also chosen to wear the requested costume attire of the eighteenth century to this masquerade ball. However, his had surely cost a small fortune it was so splendid and believable. Nervously, she tugged at the skirt of her own dress, very self-conscious that what she wore was not nearly as authentic.“You look like you stepped off the pages of a French novel,” he said, his deep voice melodic as if he were teasing her.She glanced up, surprise etched across her brow. That was twice now he’d easily discerned that about which she’d been thinking. Was it all real or was the wine she was drinking wreaking havoc with her thought process tonight?“You can’t be serious,” she said adamantly. “At least, not while you look as though you’ve stepped off the pages of an Anne Rice novel,” she softly laughed and then added, “By the way, that’s a very handsome costume you’re wearing. You, sir, are the epitome of a French nobleman.”The stranger arched a brow at her comment, but the semblance of a smile tugged at his lips. “I assure you I do not jest. You look lovely and divinely French,” he said. “I, on the other hand, am just wearing an old piece of fabric I pulled from my dusty attic.”In response, Adrienne eyed him curiously before being briefly distracted as she turned to watch a rowdy group of people pass by the house situated on Laurel Street. When she glanced back up, she noticed that, even though it was only minimal, the stranger had drawn a bit closer. She could now see intense blue eyes behind the mask along with strands of thick, dark hair that were tied back from his face in a neat, single queue at the nape of his neck. He also held a glass of what looked to be Merlot from which he drank. The wine seemed to momentarily stain his lips as he took a large swallow. So close, it was easy to see that he was quite handsome. She wondered what he’d look like without the mask. There was little doubt he would be very attractive, and thus far, there was a nice allure to his conversation as well.“Are you from New Orleans?” he asked casually, taking another sip of his wine, his blue eyes penetrating her as he spoke.“Yes, I’ve lived here all my life. And you?”“I’m originally from Paris,” he replied.“Paris? But you have no accent,” Adrienne observed.“I’ve lived here for many years now,” the stranger said while looking into his drink. “And as a result, I’ve lost my accent over the years.”Adrienne eyed him a bit skeptically but decided he did very much embody a French nobleman despite having no accent, at least at the moment anyway.“How long have you been in New Orleans?” she asked, genuinely curious as to his response.“For many long years,” he replied. “And what do you do when you’re not looking like you leapt from the pages of an eighteenth century French classic?” he teased before adding, “I am in the business of antiquities.”Was it just her or was he dodging her questions with more questions posed for her?“Well, I am in the business of writing,” Adrienne said with a faint laugh. “Or at the very least, I attempt to write.”“I am sure that what you’d write would be well worth reading,” he said.Adrienne was about to laugh and retort that she wouldn’t be so sure, but the look in his intense blue gaze stopped her. He was serious. His blue eyes left little doubt as to his belief that what he said was fact. Embarrassed for some odd reason, she looked down at her own drink to gather her thoughts. This stranger was making her more self-consciously aware of herself than any other man had in a long while. Despite the heat of the night and for reasons unknown to her, she shivered.Beneath her mask, he watched the stain of a blush creep across her cheeks and felt the shiver that ran through her body as if it ran through his. She was lovely, he thought to himself. Angelique could have paired him with any of her silly, vapid female acquaintances, but she’d obviously known that this one was quite special in more ways than one. And Jean-Luc was all too anxious to learn those ways. To see if she would be someone with whom he could share his darkest secrets. His secrets derived from living many centuries as a vampire, created from the dark streets of Paris in the mid-eighteenth century. He was tired of being alone. Indeed, he was ready for a new beginning of sorts. And this one was no silly female creature, but someone astute and perceptive beyond even her own awareness.Despite the shiver that ran through her body, Adrienne nervously fanned her face with the beautiful, yet dainty porcelain fan that had come with the rented costume. She lifted her glass of Merlot and nearly drained it as the man who had emerged from the shadows stood near her and closely watched every move she made. She could feel the heat and warmth of the French Merlot sensuously move through her and ease a bit of the nervousness as she felt him continue to peruse her like a book. She knew she should be alarmed, but strangely enough, she was not. Instead, she was much more intrigued and drawn to him than even she could understand. He was definitely not the usual type of man she attracted. No, without a doubt, he was much different. And she was interested in learning what those differences might entail. She instinctively knew he likely had stories to tell that could keep her interested for years.“Are you all right? Or may I get you something?” the stranger asked, knowing full well why she was suddenly so nervous.“No, I am fine,” Adrienne said while still gathering her wits. Was it her imagination or had he drawn even closer than only moments earlier?“I just want to be sure you’re all right,” he said, lightly touching her forearm. At his touch, her response to him was instantaneous and moved through her like a bolt of lightning, and without a doubt, they both felt it.Suddenly, she realized that he’d done it again and drew back ever so slightly. “Am I so easy to read?” she quietly asked, eyeing him with a bit of skepticism.He cocked his left brow in question. “I’m not sure what you mean,” he lied, feigning ignorance.She reached up and touched his left temple lightly, feeling the thickness of his hair beneath her slim fingers. His skin was decidedly cool despite the heat of the night and the costume he wore. How did he manage to appear so cool, calm, and collected amidst all the revelry and on this unusually warm night? Indeed, how did he manage to exude such confidence and also read her thoughts, she wondered?If Jean-Luc could have shivered, he would have done so at the moment of her touch. Instead his blue eyes turned crystal blue and then deepened in response to both her touch and her question. She was undeniably easy to read, and it was as though he’d known her all the many years he’d spent on this earth.“You seem to be able to pull my thoughts from my head and into that handsome head of yours. How is that so? Are you real? Or some figment of my imagination?” Adrienne questioned him, her voice only above a whisper.He watched her closely, and he was sorely tempted then and there to make known to her what creature of the night he was, mayhap tossing caution aside and by tasting of the sweet richness of her blood. But of a sudden, their thoughts were interrupted.“Oh, Adrienne, dear. There you are,” Angelique’s voice rippled from the doorway across the length of the veranda. “I see you’ve already met Jean-Luc. You two look just as lovely together as I always knew you would.” And with a look of satisfaction, Angelique turned on her heel and disappeared once again into the crowded ballroom.Stunned, Adrienne looked at Jean-Luc, who simply stared at her with a more confident interest in his crystal blue eyes than he had only moments earlier.“Jean-Luc?” she whispered, nearly afraid that he would reply in the negative. Could the world suddenly have aligned itself and gotten this date thing right?Jean-Luc continued to watch her with an intensity to which Adrienne was already becoming very accustomed. His lips slowly formed a beautiful hint of a smile at the surprise in her green eyes. “Yes, my dear, Adrienne. The night is young. Would you care for another glass of Merlot?”,dating older women Blunt,local singles Atlantic Hlds,completely free dating Pearl Harbor,dating 40 year old woman Nora Springs,dating over 50 Valley Fork,match dating Bitumen,meet women near me Le Sueur,50 plus dating app Lyles,