The invitation arrived with the mail on Tuesday. At first Beth dismissed it, thinking it was another credit card offer. But just as the attractive young housewife was about to toss the envelope in the trash, something about it caught her attention — there was no stamp. The expensive black envelope also had no return address; it simply was a glossy black envelope with an embossed gold label reading: ‘Mr. & Mrs. Robert West. . .Confidential’.
Now curious, Beth put the other mail down and carefully opened the thick flap and removed the heavy gold-embossed card. She turned it over looking for any signs of familiarity or recognition about the sender before she slowly read the cursive message:
‘You have been recommended by a close, but anonymous, personal acquaintance to receive this invitation to attend a very exclusive private party. The occasion cannot be discussed at this time. . .except to assure you that any concern or reservation you may have about the legitimacy of this greeting is unwarranted. This is no gimmick or advertisement. Similarly, any and all expectations you might have about the evening will surely be exceeded. In many respects, this invitation represents the most intimate of opportunities for you as husband and wife. The party will be held the First Day of May at 8:00 p.m. sharp. Dress is semiformal. Due to the exclusive nature of this invitation, your immediate attention is critical. Please RSVP to the phone number below at your earliest convenience. You will be given additional details at that time. I look forward to the pleasure of your company. Regards, Your Host’
How mysterious, Beth thought. She turned the card over again a few times trying to find any clues about its origin, but there was nothing. Finally she sighed and put the invitation aside with the intention of discussing it with her husband when he arrived home from work.
Bob and Beth West enjoyed a typical, upper middle-class lifestyle in the suburbs. Both in their thirties, the couple was attractive and outgoing. Beth enjoyed her role as full-time homemaker and mother of two beautiful daughters. Bob’s career as an investment advisor was just starting to take off. And while the family was not wealthy yet, they were certainly very comfortable in their handsome, upscale home in a quiet neighborhood with many families of similar background.
The Wests were friendly and fairly social; but since the girls came along, Bob and Beth remained at home with their kids more often than not — only occasionally going out with a small circle of friends. . .or a rare husband and wife date. In fact, life had settled into a sort of vanilla-flavored routine without much variation. It’s not something that Beth or Bob really noticed or even minded. But, every once-in-a-while, both entertained secret fleeting thoughts that perhaps it would be nice to spice things up a little.
Even in the bedroom the relationship was normal and satisfactory for the married couple. They made love regularly — usually on the weekends — and they both shared devotion and affection for each other. There had never been any major problems or obstacles in the marriage, so there had never been any reason for either to consider infidelity. Still, if you were to ask Bob and Beth to be honest and direct, both would admit that something was missing in their lives — something that neither of them could really identify or explain.
“I have no clue what this is about,” Bob said as he looked over the invitation that evening. “Probably some sales or real estate trap. . .or maybe one of those Amway things. But, no postmark or return address, huh? That’s strange.”
“I know. . .” Beth agreed. “It was in the mailbox with the other mail, though. You think somebody hand-delivered it?”
“Probably. . .I dunno. What do you think? Guess it wouldn’t hurt to at least call and find out what the deal is. I’d like to find out who sent it.”
Beth had been thinking about the card on and off all day. The possibility that the invitation was legitimate had certainly crossed her mind; and, quite honestly, the idea was exciting. It had been ages since they’d attended a real party. An elegant, “exclusive” gathering they could dress up for might be just what the doctor ordered. “Sure, might as well see what it’s about. . .” she finally said.
Bob dialed the number and a deep male voice immediately answered, “Yes. . .?”
“This is Bob West. . .I received an invitation in my mailbox for a party, and. . .”
“Yes, of course Mr. West,” the voice cut him off. “Thank you for your quick response. We sincerely hope you and your wife do not have any conflicts that evening. May I confirm your attendance?”
“Hold up!” Bob shot back, slightly annoyed. “I have a few questions. What is all this about? Who are you and how did you get my name? You should know up front that we are not interested in any sales pitches or time-share opportunities. . .”
“I assure you, Mr. West, that the festivities have absolutely nothing to do with sales or marketing. In fact, nothing will be required of you other than your presence. The pleasure of your company is all that is expected. This is a very exclusive party that you and your wife have been specifically recommended for and invited to attend. You should feel privileged. I’m confident you will thoroughly enjoy the evening.”
“Who are you and who recommended us?”
“I’m afraid that information is confidential, to protect the valued privacy of our guests. I can only say that it is someone you trust.”
“I don’t like surprises. . .” Bob said sharply. “This all sounds a little strange.”
“I understand your trepidation, Mr. West. Please understand that you have nothing to be concerned about. This will be a most enjoyable evening for both or you. . .perhaps the most unique and entertaining experience you will ever have. Now, may I confirm your reservation?”
“Hang on a sec. . .” Bob placed his hand over the mouthpiece and looked over at his wife who had been listening carefully to his side of the conversation. “He says it’s all legit and that we’ll have a great time. But he won’t say who he is or why we were picked to go. I dunno. . .what do you think?”
“Sounds kind of creepy. . .but also sort of intriguing, you know? I guess we could always leave if it’s bogus,” Beth said thoughtfully. “What do we have to lose?”
Bob considered it for a moment, then uncovered the phone. “Yeah, OK, we’ll RSVP. But this better not be a put on. When is it again?”
“May the First at 8 p.m. And may I congratulate you both on your decision. Drinks and dinner will be served, followed by entertainment. Please be prompt. As the invitation suggests, the dress is semiformal. Do you have something to take down the location?”
“Yeah. . .hang on. OK, go ahead.”
“The address is 1591 Peacock Way. Are you familiar with the area?”
Bob immediately recognized a very affluent section of their community. He did have several acquaintances and clients who lived there. “All right, I know where that is.”
“Good. When you arrive, you will be asked for a password. This is simply to insure privacy and to prevent admittance to any uninvited guests. The password is ‘Royal’. Please do not share the information — the password or the address — with anyone. Is this completely understood and agreeable to you?”
“Yes. . .I think so,” Bob answered — a million thoughts swirling in his head. He was still suspicious.
“Fine,” said the voice. “You will be pleased you attended. You and your wife will have a wonderful experience. Again, we look forward to the pleasure of your company. Good evening.” The line went dead.
Bob and Beth discussed the strange events for a long time. Bob was still fairly convinced that the whole thing was some kind of scam. While Beth shared her husband’s hesitancy, she also allowed herself to privately think about the excitement of a lavish night out. It sounded fun and exotic, and she was already making plans to shop for a new outfit.
Everyday life took over and the couple all but forgot about the party. Beth did manage to schedule a babysitter and slip out one day to buy a slinky cocktail dress and a few accessories. When the day finally arrived, the young housewife splurged on a full make over at an upscale spa and salon. She emerged feeling refreshed and pretty — her hair and makeup were styled to perfection and she felt exhilarated about the evening to come.
Bob had been doing some half-hearted investigation about the party, trying to discover anything about who had sent the invitation or which of their friends had recommended them. But he was drawing a blank; nobody knew about it, and finally he resigned himself to the fact that he would just have to find out what was going on when he got there.
Later that evening, Beth stood in front of a full-length mirror getting ready. She had picked up some new under things at Victoria’s Secret — a black satin thong-panty and bra set — which she admired on her petite, trim body. Beth was indeed a beauty: 5’4″ with raven-colored hair cut in a cute page-boy style with soft curls turned under at the ends to frame her pretty face. Tonight her hair was swept up behind her ears to her favorite antique comb clip, then cascading down in a fall past her slender neck to her shoulders. Her eyes were smoldering green and fiery. At 34, Beth kept herself in fantastic shape with lots of exercise and a sensible diet. She had fresh, soft features that made her face look much younger than her years — almost girlish; yet her figure was alluring and womanly with high, firm breasts that strained against the encasement of the shiny bra. Her stomach was flat and tight, and her naturally olive skin glowed with an almost perpetual tan.
Bob came into the bedroom from the shower and couldn’t help feeling like a lucky man. He lustfully admired his wife’s gorgeous features as she dressed — gazing at the twin globes of her taut, round bottom just as she slid her tiny black dress down and over her hips. The dress was tastefully short and showed off her silky-smooth legs with no need for pantyhose. She looked back over her shoulder at him and smiled seductively. “You like?”
“Yeah. . .something new?”
“Oh. . .just some old rag I found,” she giggled. “Not too expensive.”
“Right. . .” he snickered, knowing very well his wife’s expensive taste. “Well, you’d look fabulous in Goodwill stuff.”
“Sir. . .flattery will get you everywhere!” she laughed as she completed her outfit with a short little sequined black jacket.
After giving the babysitter some final instructions, Bob and Beth headed out to find the address. Soon they were winding through the lush landscaping and manicured lawns of the city’s most exclusive area. The gates and walls got higher and the impressive homes got bigger the farther they traveled up Peacock Way. Finally they found 1591. The sun was setting as they turned through a magnificent iron gate onto a long paved driveway. Slowly they passed the immense grounds of the estate with giant trees, football- field-sized lawns, and almost every kind of flowers, hedges, and shrubbery imaginable.
At the end of the driveway was a truly astonishing house that almost looked like a hotel. The architecture was superb. Outdoor spotlights were already casting a soft glow to the giant structure, and a monstrous chandelier hung inside a mammoth archway that served as the entrance. A large fountain was positioned directly in front of the house, and there was a circular gravel drive around the fountain forming the parking area. Several expensive cars were already positioned there and a uniformed parking valet waited for Bob and Beth to stop in front of him. “I’ve seen better. . .” Bob joked, but the couple couldn’t help being impressed by the residence.
After giving the keys to the courteous attendant, Bob and his wife made their way up the long walkway to the gigantic front door. Before they could knock, the door swung open and a handsome young man wearing what looked to like a butler’s uniform greeted them with a pleasant smile. “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs.’W’, may I have the password please?”
Beth and Bob were shocked that this stranger seemed to know them. . .at least by their initial. Bob stared straight into the man’s deep blue eyes as if to size him up for a moment. “Royal,” he finally said firmly.
“Very good. . .thank you. Please follow me.” The man led them into the house and down a long, dimly lit corridor. The Wests followed close behind — gazing at the many fine and expensive furnishings and decor of the mansion. At last they came to a large room that was obviously the library. Each of the walls were stacked from the floor to the high ceiling with a myriad of books neatly arranged in tall oak shelves. Spread throughout the center of the room were groupings of overstuffed leather chairs and couches for lounging and reading. It was quite a comfortable and inviting room.
Several couples were already mingling and chatting softly. A small staff of waiters served cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Bob immediately scanned the gathering to see if he recognized anyone. All of the guests looked very similar in age; they all seemed to be in their mid-thirties, married, attractive, and well-off. There were three or four couples. . .then Bob suddenly spotted someone he knew; it was Dan — a stockbroker friend he often played racquetball with. Dan saw him too and waved with a smile.
But before Bob and Beth could move over to their friend, the butler was in front of them again holding two jewelry boxes. “A gift from your host. Please put these on and wear them throughout the evening. It is like an identification badge. One of the house rules asks guests not to refer to each other by their given names, but instead to use only initials. . .for privacy. I trust you will respect this simple request.”
Again something strange and mysterious. Bob and Beth glanced at each other questioningly as they opened the boxes. Inside were golden medallions engraved with the initials of their first names: ‘B’. The finely-crafted disks were attached to satin ribbons to hang around the neck. Bob’s ribbon was purple and Beth’s was pink. They put the pendants on and made their way toward Dan, or ‘D’ as his medallion identified him.
“Welcome, welcome!” he exclaimed, smiling broadly. “I’m so glad you could make it. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.” D gave both of them a warm hug. “You remember my wife, ‘M’. . .”
The couples exchanged greetings and hugs. “What’s this all about?” Bob finally asked. “Who’s house is this?”
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you, buddy. . .” D said, “But you and your wife are in for one helluva great time tonight. You don’t have any idea how hard it is to even be considered for one of these things. I had to pull some serious strings.”
“Thanks, I guess. But damn. . .I have so many questions. Who are these people? Bob asked, still confused. “And why is everybody so protective of their privacy? I mean, this only using people’s initials thing is a little bizarre.”
“Trust me,” D chuckled. “All your questions will be answered soon. In the meantime, just relax and enjoy yourselves. Get to know the other guests. Amazing place, huh? You have to admit this is probably not what you were expecting.”
“We didn’t know what to expect. . .” Beth piped up. “But I certainly agree with you. This place is amazing.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet! Enjoy yourselves. . .we’ll keep an eye out for you.” D grinned and his wife winked at Bob as the couple moved off to visit with some of the other guests.
Bob watched them go, secretly enjoying the way Dan’s wife looked in her shiny gold dress. Truth be known, Bob had always considered Mandy to be a “looker”; she was taller than Beth, probably 5-7, with long blonde hair and piercing blue eyes that seemed to be teasing him whenever they spoke. M had a fantastic figure with big, full breasts and a shapely ass that undulated seductively in her tight gown as she moved away. Bob watched her go until Beth noticed where he was gazing and punched him playfully on the shoulder.
There were only two other couples in the room. Soon Bob and Beth met and visited briefly with both. ‘S’ was a big, ruggedly- handsome man who looked like a former football player. Rock- solid from head to toe, he shook Bob’s hand firmly then surprised Beth by taking her small hand in his huge paw and kissing it lightly. His hazel eyes stared deep into hers as he smiled warmly. Beth liked his friendly, relaxed manner instantly and couldn’t help fixing her gaze on him as he introduced his wife, ‘T’, a lovely, tall redhead. Bob and T chatted for a few minutes, while S turned his attention back to Beth.
“So, this is your first time here, huh? I’m so glad you came,” S said smoothly; everything about him seemed to smile at Beth. She liked the way the soft tan-lines around his eyes wrinkled slightly when he laughed. There was a slight touch of grey at the sides of his full head of sandy-colored hair, but it just made him look that much more distinguished and attractive, Beth thought. He really was a good looking man.
“Yes, we are still kind of trying to figure out how we got here,” she answered. “It’s all kind of mysterious, isn’t it? Do you know the hosts?”
S laughed with delight. “I’m not sure any of us really know each other very well. We’ve been to one or two of these parties, but, like you said. . .it’s all rather mysterious. That’s what makes it all so exciting. Don’t you agree?”
“I suppose, yes, I guess it is kind of exciting. I’m looking forward to finding out what else will happen,” Beth admitted.
“So am I. . .” said S softly, gazing at her again in a way that almost made her knees weak.
The other couple was ‘J’ and ‘V’, a black husband and wife. Like the others at the party they looked like they were in their thirties and very attractive — almost exotic looking. Bob and Beth soon discovered that it was this couple’s first time here too — and they were as mystified as the Wests. J, the husband, was also very solidly built and fairly tall — perhaps 6’5″. Bob thought he must be a former athlete as well. J’s wife, V, was voluptuous in every sense of the word. She wore a beautiful multi-colored dress made from a gauzy material that almost looked like scarves tied together; it accentuated her generous curves extremely well, and she caught the eye of every man in the room as she moved gracefully about.
After about 30 minutes — when the couples had a chance to introduce themselves and sample some of the excellent champagne and appetizers — a man Beth and Bob had not seen before stepped quietly into the library. He was large, muscular, completely bald, and he was wearing a uniform similar to the butler who had met them at the door. The man moved to the middle of the small group and rang a little bell to get their attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of your host, may I offer you warmest greetings and appreciation for attending the party. My name is Mr. Kensington. I have been asked to represent the owner of the estate who sends his deepest regret that he is not able to join you personally tonight. But I have been instructed to extend to you, his dear guests, every courtesy and to provide for your every need while you are with us. Some of you are here for the first time. To you in particular we extend our warmest greetings and sincere wish that you will enjoy a most memorable evening.
In a few moments dinner will be served in the dining room next door. Afterwards, some very special entertainment has been arranged for you in the ballroom. Prior to that, however, I will have some additional information and instructions to share with you. As you enjoy dinner, please remember to respect the request to use only the initials on your medallions as you visit with and refer to one another. Thank you for your cooperation. And now, ladies and gentlemen, dinner is served. . .”