“No! Please stop!” Tina begged her attacker, but the pounding continued. If anything, her pleas seemed to enrage him more.
She couldn’t believe, that just hours earlier, she had thought him a great catch. She had gone to the costume party reluctantly, but once there, after a few stiff drinks, she had really gotten into things. She couldn’t believe it when a true Greek god had walked in. Every other woman in the room flocked to his side, but Tina decided to play it cool and watched from the sidelines.
“He definitely picked the right costume,” her friend Charles had remarked and whistled.
Tina laughed and punched him in the arm. She knew Charles was madly in love with Greg from accounting and was only enjoying the view across the room. “You better be glad Greg didn’t hear that,” she told him.
“Ha!” he laughed. “He’d be over there hanging all over the guy like all these other vultures,” Charles replied and winked at her. “He flirts more than I ever thought about.”
Tina hoped to one day have a relationship like the one Charles and Greg enjoyed. So far, her forays into love had been full of jealousy, anger and disappointment. She couldn’t imagine it being as easy as her two friends made it seem.
“Oh, lookie here,” Charles whispered and nudged Tina to get her attention. “He’s looking our way.”
Tina glanced up and saw that Charles was right. She quickly lowered her eyes and took another drink. Charles laughed at her discomfort. Jabbing him in the ribs, she ordered, “Shut up!”
“Uh oh, you’re in trouble now. If you couldn’t handle him looking at you, you’re really going to be in trouble now.”
“What are you talking about?” Tina asked, scared she knew the answer.
“Mr. Perfect is coming this way, my dear,” Charles replied.
Tina spewed scotch all over Charles. She was apologizing when she noticed his shocked expression and started to laugh. “You should see the look on your face,” she sputtered between gaffs. “You’d think I kissed you or something.”
“Very funny,” Charles replied while trying to clean the liquid from the front of his costume. “I paid five hundred dollars for this outfit.”
“And it was money well spent,” a deep baritone offered. “It’s the best costume here tonight.”
Charles started and swirled around at the comment. When he came face to face with the Greek god, he smiled. “I do believe you have that honor, judging by all your fans.”
The man laughed and thrust his hand forward. “Michael,” he said, pumping Charles’s hand. “Nice to meet you.”
Charles shook his hand and replied, “Same here and this is my friend, Tina,” he added, pointing her way.
The man held Tina’s hand to his lips and brushed a kissed across her palm. Tina tried to hide the impact the kiss had, but was sure the shivers running up and down her body gave her away. “It’s always a pleasure to meet such a beautiful lady.”
“Thank you,” Tina whispered, unable to draw her eyes away.
Charles chuckled and excused himself. Tina barely heard him; she was so engrossed in the man before her. She was sure she had never before seen such pale blue eyes. They literally mesmerized her.
“What?” she asked, seeing Michael’s lips move but not hearing what he said over the music blaring from speakers all over the room.
“I asked how you know Samantha,” he replied. He cupped his hands around Tina’s ear so she was sure to hear him. Little did he know, his touch made it almost impossible for her to think straight.
“Who?” Tina stupidly asked, not recognizing the name of their hostess.
“Samantha,” Michael said again. “The lady throwing this shindig.”
“Oh,” Tina replied, a blush covering her cheeks. “I used to work with her before she got married and left the firm. And you, how do you know her?”
“I’ve worked with Tony, her husband, on occasion. I think they just needed another male to even up the numbers tonight so asked me to come.”
Tina was glad Samantha had made that decision. Every female eye in the room was burning a hole in her back while she talked with Michael. She couldn’t help but feel a little thrill that she was the one he had chosen to single out.
“It’s getting kind of tedious here though, don’t you agree?” he asked after being pushed into the wall once again by someone wildly dancing by.
“It is a little rambunctious,” Tina agreed.
“What do you say we get out of here?”
Tina knew it was never a good idea to leave a party with someone you just met, but since he was Samantha’s friend and seemed harmless enough, not to mention he was the most gorgeous thing she’d laid eyes on in a long time, she pushed aside her better judgment and agreed to leave with Michael.
The last thing she remembered, after leaving the party and before waking up to a kick in the stomach, was Michael coming up behind her and placing a sickly-sweet smelling cloth over her face.
“Poseidon?” a voice called from up the stairs. Tina screamed in hopes that whoever was up there would call for help. When Michael just laughed and kicked her again, she knew she was mistaken. “Down here, Medusa,” he called before he dragged Tina across the room toward the stairs, threw her down, and started climbing them.
Tina wondered, briefly, why the two were calling each other by mythological names, but was more concerned with finding a way out of the house and avoiding another beating.
After the door opened and she heard the first hiss, Tina knew why the woman called herself Medusa. At the slippery feel of something brushing her arm, Tina’s screams filled the night when she realized there were things much worse than another beating.