...Thomas stuck by Paul as he strode across a tree-laden courtyard with stone benches scattered throughout. Shadows from overhanging leaves made it tough for Thomas to know exactly where they were headed, plus he had quite a buzz going from all the champagne he’d drunk. Paul was in charge now, since Thomas would have been lost among the buildings, especially in the dark, if left on his own.
By the time they reached a metallic door, the loud music from the core of the ball had receded into the background. When Paul opened the door, however, the beat of techno music floated up from below. Two laughing men were stumbling down the corridor, one dressed like Louis the Fourteenth, the other like a court jester.
“Ah,” Paul said, “let’s follow the Sun King.”
They followed the two masqueraders to the end of the corridor, which veered off in two directions. The left led down another corridor and the right to an alcove with a hidden doorway. The two fellows turned toward the alcove, with Paul and Thomas right behind. The Sun King and his jester were so plastered they could barely get the door open. The sight of them losing control, especially with King Louis falling into hysterical giggles against the door, made Thomas and Paul laugh, too.
“Allons-y, messieurs, je vous aide,” Paul said.
They thanked him in slurred French and managed to stand straight long enough to let him open the door. When the court jester saw Thomas, he said, “Ah, un ange!” and the two of them fell out laughing again. King Louis swept a gloved hand inviting Thomas to pass before him. Thomas nodded in thanks and followed Paul down a narrow spiral staircase.
“Just leave them,” Paul said, waving off the two figures he’d helped through the door. “It’ll take them time to negotiate the steps.”
Dim light shone through a doorway at the end of a passageway from where the music originated. Thomas could see a rosy haze of smoke wafting along the air and sniffed.
“Oh, tonight?” Paul began. “Tonight you may want to prepare yourself. I think there’s no getting around breathing hashish and opium and God knows what other concoctions of herbs down here. Even if you don’t actually smoke it, you’re bound to inhale it.”
“Oh,” Thomas said. “Well, it beats nicotine at least.”
“That’s the spirit.”
Thomas followed Paul into a low-ceilinged room that looked surprisingly comfortable, despite its subterranean aspect. It took a moment before his eyes adjusted and he was able to make out costumed figures among the purple-rose lighting that created a strange, shadowy effect. Interestingly, he was surprised to discover the thick smoke smelled good.
He saw a man dressed like a sheik lounging on a sofa. Apparently, the hookah he was sucking on was responsible for most of the foggy air. He was about to ask Thomas what the guy was smoking, but the music was so loud, he decided not to scream to be heard. When his eyes focused better, he realized gyrating masked figures were rubbing and groping each other on the dance floor.
As he followed Paul around a corner, Thomas scanned the room to see several cocks massaged openly by their dance partners. On his way into the next room, he almost tripped over a guy dressed up as a Roman guard. On his knees, the guard was avidly blowing another guy dressed in nothing more than a mask, a feather boa and a pair of Doc Martin boots.
Paul turned toward Thomas, his eyes laughing behind an otherwise impenetrable silvery-white mask. Thomas read his amusement as loudly as if he’d said, “What did I tell you?”
At once, he realized they’d made their way into the orgy room.
In every corner figures were engaged in sexual activities that would undoubtedly have been termed “misconduct” if the school board had known. Well, perhaps they did, and that was why this room had been secretly sanctioned for playtime with the boys. Whatever the deal, Paul had been right about “no holes barred...”