Last updated on May 23, 2021
Chris Shane entered the ballroom and everyone turned to him. He smiled that bright smile of his, golden locks reflecting the light above him.
He stood alone. The host of the party was well-known to be a loner, a man kept to his own eccentricities, and the people who gathered in his ballroom were people he had worked with, kept a large distance from, dealt with in business, and their friends. There were representatives of the oil, gas, coal, even solar and nuclear energies. None of them would have missed this party.
A microphone stood at the stage, ready for the lead singer of the band to begin playing. He stepped away when Shane picked up a wine glass from a tray and walked across the room to the microphone.
Someone started applauding, and then there was sporadic applause carried throughout the room. Shane strode up to the microphone.
Shane stood almost as tall as the microphone, and the lead singer put the microphone down for him. He thanked the man, then held up his glass of wine. The applause slowed down and stopped.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, his voice gentle. “I am glad you have all decided to attend this gala. Please, let the festivities begin.” He sipped from the wine glass and placed it back on a tray. He stepped back from the microphone and sauntered to the appetizer table.
A dark-haired man watched the tray carefully. He followed the waiter back to the kitchen. He intentionally bumped into him. “Oh, excuse me,” he said, and took a glass from the tray—the same glass Shane drank from.
The dark-haired man put it in his coat pocket. With his hand in his pocket, he headed to the exit, having gotten what he wanted—much easier, and much quicker than he had expected.
Shane mingled with the people. Women flirted with him, but he seemed to ignore or not notice their flirtations. Having made a circular route around the room, he stopped at a door. He caught the eye of his loyal friend and bodyman, MacArthur.
MacArthur nodded, and unobtrusively came over to Shane. He opened the door behind them, and Shane slipped out of the crowd.
No one noticed he had gone.