It was well past midnight. Thomas had been at the party for over two hours. He had looked idly through each of the seven ballrooms, but could not find the elusive Richard. He thought it strange, because his brother was never late.
Thomas wandered out onto the wide flagstone patio overlooking the fragrant lush cultivated gardens. The music of stringed instruments drifted out through the open antique mullioned leaded glass windows, beckoning the party out of doors. The cool moonlight drew dark dappled shadows through the hanging vines of wild lavender wisteria as a light breeze made the pendulous blossom petals dance with joy. The delicate fragrance floated in the air. Movement caught Thomas' eye. Why were so many women gathered out in the rose garden? What was all that feminine tinkling laughter?
Sauntering over to the edge of the group, Thomas could not believe what he saw. Or rather he could believe it, because he would recognize him anywhere. Richard was the center of attention in the middle of the rose garden. There he stood with a blood red rose between his teeth, the Laughing Lion mask firmly in place, with a black latex g-string hiding "the goods".
Watching his hips gyrate, the women roared their approval. Thomas thought, "They have no idea what they are bargaining for. Richard will be the master of them all."