The following night, Roderick returned to the masked ball as he did the other night. This time, the girl who put a rose in his chest pocket was in a vermilion dress. She had loose brown curls. She waved the rose under his nose for a short moment before putting it into his chest pocket.
“Do I know you, miss?” Roderick asked, thinking of Rella.
As an answer, the girl reached out with a gloved hand and linked her arm through his. They walked into the spotlight. As soon as the music started, they danced in perfect cooperation. The dance identified them both. A crowd formed around them once more. Like last time, both Roderick and Rella were smiling through and through.
The crowd left slowly when their dance was over. Roderick and Rella were simply but surely beaming at one another in admiration.
All of a sudden, Rella gripped his shoulders as her expression twisted from one of pleasure to pain, her knees giving way. Roderick supported her by the waist.
“What’s wrong, Rella?” he asked.
A moment later, Rella stood back up. She looked over her shoulder once, and turned back to Roderick. Shaking her head with a reassuring smile, she strolled away.
Immediately after Rella fled the scene, Roderick followed. However, her silhouette was already gone by the time he reached the front door. Bewildered, he stepped outside to the cool night breeze. Gazing up at the moon, the faces of two very different girls entered his mind.
One was Rella, the other Cleo.
He never thought himself to be the type of to fall for more than one person at the same time. Cleo was one of his best friends, while Rella turned him on the instant they started dancing the first time. Would Rella ever show her face? If he was forced to choose between the two, would he be able to do it?
Just then, an outraged scream brought Roderick back to the real world. He dashed back inside to see what was going on.