Happy Mardi Gras! III

Just a little factoid: The Krewe of Nike is dearly departed,  according to www.mardigrasdigest.com/krewes/Departed_Krewes.htm 
 Everything’s still fiction.

Her Majesty, Nike Queen Pia Barilloux, cordially requests the honor of your presence at the 
Krewe of Nike’s Annual Gala Ball. 
Theme — Take a Chance
Lisette stared at the engraved invitation she was about to give to the doorman, giving her admittance to the crowded ballroom. The Krewe tableaux  and decor was completely decorated in silver and gold — a perfect foil for the black coats and white ties and gloves the men wore, and the jewel tones of the ladies’ gowns. Alone, without an escort, in her elegant white silk, Lisette was a single pearl alone, among colorful gemstones.
People lined up along the velvet ropes that cordoned off the ballroom’s  ‘parade route,’ an indoor preview parade for the Krewe members’ invited guests. Costumed and masked in the themes of the various floats, riders socialized with guests before scurrying away to climb on the floats and get their throws ready.
Chillbumps raced over her arms. She hated the fact of how she got here, but Lisette couldn’t deny that she loved being here. Her heart pounded extra hard as she drank in the glittery decor, the costumes, the celebrities.
No matter what was yet to come, I’ll burn this memory in my brain, to have when things get tough with CB. 
CB… Where was CB? Bad enough he’d abandoned  her to ride with with Pia in the limousine, forcing her to hitch a ride with Drea and the nail techs in the Floating Lotus Spa van. But now he was nowhere to be found. And here she was without her trac phone….
Such a strange noise blending with the hum and buzz of conversation and laughter, but just as her brain registered the clopping sound of horses’ hooves on the hardwood floor, just as she started to turn to see–

–a white gloved hand reaching from a silver satin sleeve appeared just below her bodice, scooping her off her feet and up onto the horse’s saddle, plop! in front of the Krewe Captain.
Before she could process…, before she could register  that she was sitting — more like sprawling — on a horse with the masked captain — The Masked Captain!, whose identity was  kept secret, hidden, even years after  Carnival Season was over– they were cantering through the crowd, through the riders, away from the floats, the ball… and out the industrial roll up door. 
“Put me down!” Lisette screamed frantically. She flailed, she screamed, she dug her nails into the one hand that held both of hers in an iron grip… to no avail. Tourists on the French Quarter’s sidewalks pointed and gawked, diners in restaurant windows stared, but no one came to her aid.
The horse’s canter slowed to a calumping stroll, and it shook its braided, bedecked mane as if to say, “All clear.” Lisette’s kidnapper was equally silent, but he hauled her body up further to gain a better hold on her body, trying to make them both more comfortable.
“I’m going to press charges. I know people,” Lisette growled. “I’ll find out who you are, and I will let my– my–”  Who? What’s CB to me now? She blurted out the word she didn’t want to speak, didn’t want to hear. “My employer know!”
Oh yuk...she cringed inside, that awful revelation reverberating inside her head. But there it was — the truth laid bare.

The horse nodded and snorted and slowed, its hooves on uneven brick paving now that Chartres Street ran into Jackson Square.The arches and dormers of the Cabildo came into view — fitting, since Lisette was set to commit a crime. But next to the Cabildo, waiting for them, stood CB.
The captain hand delivered Lisette to him, directly before the massive double doors to St. Louis Cathedral.


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