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   Chapter 30 Alliance

Alliance: Book Three of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 15376

Updated: 2018-02-26 15:15

Chapter 30

Dressed and as ready as she would ever be, Elena reached for the doors into Danvers. She pushed the heavy glass door to the restaurant open with the feeling of pushing a snowball down a mountain.

"What out below, " she muttered under her breath. She stepped inside and could see that the normal tables looked just as they always had. The one exception being that the people who gathered there to see or be seen were those not attending the private party on the upper level. They were just the ones who wanted to attend, but hadn't managed an invitation. As her gaze slid around the room, Elena saw her cousin Therese. Therese was glaring at her with a level of hatred that felt like it ought to burn. She was somewhat relieved when the Hostess stepped over to her.

"Captain Calabrese, " The young woman said softly, her smile warm and welcoming. It was a relief to turn away from Therese.

"Yes, " Elena replied.

"Your party is this way, if you will please follow Damon, " the woman said indicating a model perfect man in his early twenties.

"Of course, " Elena said. She turned and stepped towards the indicated Damon who led the way to the stairwell. She followed him up the stairs and was treated to a lovely view of his sculpted backside. 'Those pants have to be half spandex at least, ' she thought as she watched the muscles shift beneath the form fitting fabric. She didn't know if this was standard Danvers-ware or if the young man was a show off. 'Of course with that backside I would be too, ' she thought. Damon led her into the upstairs room and smiled at her as though he knew what she was thinking.

"Your party, madam, " he said. He inclined his head, turned and headed back down the stairs leaving Elena to fend for herself. She took a deep breath and looked around. This was the first time she was invited to one of the upstairs gatherings and she was unsurprised to see the upstairs was just as opulent as the first floor. Beneath her feet the polished wooden floor, gleamed darkly. In a place where all wood had to be imported slowly and at great expense, the floor stood as a reminder of the wealth and power Danvers commanded. Given the weight of the lumber and the size of the floor, Elena knew that it would have comprised the bulk of at least three separate shipments.

There were upholstered chairs placed in small conversational groups around the edges of the large room. Tall tables were placed randomly throughout as well to provide places for drinks to rest as people congregated, with a central dance floor being left clear. A bar was set up on one end of the room and a live band was playing something classical and mellow at the other.

'Somehow I can't see this group storming the dance floor anytime soon, ' she thought as her gaze slid over the various people mixing and mingling. All of the high and mighty seemed to be present and accounted for. The current Council members were scattered around the room and were fairly easy to pick out.

'And at least I know all of their names.' She couldn't say the same thing of the group she mentally dubbed 'councilors in waiting'. 'Somehow I have the feeling Therese would know.' She doubted that her cousin would be giving her a tutorial anytime soon.

Across the room her grandfather nodded at her and then returned to his conversation. She received less than welcoming looks from Robert Jenson, Ian's former Head of House. A couple of others glanced at her with something she could only term speculation flashing in their eyes. Evan winked at her and then turned away. She knew he needed to maintain a distance in public as the Librarians were thought of as a neutral balance and couldn't show interest in any particular House. A couple of people passing gave her a long once over as if wondering what she was doing.

'Of course I am standing in the entryway like an idiot, ' she thought. With no other obvious choice of destination in mind, Elena headed towards the bar where she received a glass of white wine from a helpful bartender.

'At least if I spill, the white won't stain, ' she thought. 'Now what?" Elena wondered how she was supposed to start mingling when she didn't really want to talk to anyone in the room. Luckily, the choice was taken from her as a stocky Asian man about ten years older than her walked over.

"And you must be Elena Calabrese, " the man said. "Do you mind if I call you Elena? I wish we could have met earlier. I have to say, I have big plans for our partnership."

"Do you, " Elena said, trying to figure out who she was talking to

arting to thin and she nearly sighed with relief. She could probably leave now without offending anyone. As her gaze traveled the room she noticed the chandeliers for the first time. She felt her face go blank when she realized they were the same chandeliers from her dreams.

'Although if they turn to rain here I think I may scream, ' she thought.

"Problems?" Peter said, noticing her change in expression. His voice was hard and he looked around the room, trying to spot what had caused her concern.

"No, " Elena said, bringing her polite smile back. "I'm just tired I suppose. I didn't manage much sleep with Thompson to worry about."

"I imagine not, " Peter said. "It was a good trick changing his clothes and hair before bringing him here. The few that believe him to be anything more than a crew member for your House think him to be the one who replaced Andre in your affections."

"Replaced Andre…" Elena began. She stopped, startled. "Thompson?" she said questioningly.

"They do not know him as Thompson, now do they?" He asked, although he seemed somewhat relieved by her response. "And bringing him to the DF would be the easiest way for him to meet your family."

"I think I feel sick, " Elena said, mostly to herself.

"He isn't that bad is he?" Peter asked.

"As a person I'm sure he's fabulous, " Elena told him. "As the smart one in the Smith debacle currently running one of the military designed ships into the channels, he leaves something to be desired."

"I am relieved to hear that, " Peter said with a laugh.

"Because you want my affections to stay with Andre?" Elena asked before she could stop herself.

"No, " Peter said. "I'm already rather certain that he has lost those affections. And I can imagine several possible reasons why." He paused and looked at her. "I don't suppose you'd tell me?" he asked after a moment.

"No, I wouldn't, " Elena said.

"I didn't think so, " he said with a shrug. "But I had to ask."

"And the relief?"

"Well you not dating Thompson means that you don't have a death wish, which means we may be able to keep you around for a while. You do have a tendency to make things interesting wherever you go."

"And you were dying of boredom before?" Elena sighed and noticed the room seemed a little more sparsely populated than before. As the different family politics were starting to give her a headache, she decided to excuse herself and head back to her quarters. She left Peter and her mostly full wine glass upstairs and headed towards the stairs and escape. This time there was no attractive man to study on the way down, but as her head was overly full she didn't mind.

At the bottom of the stairs, Elena felt eyes turn to stare, evaluating her importance and whether or not they wanted to invite her to join them. To her surprise, several seemed interested. Most dismissed her, which suited her quite well. She saw Therese was still in attendance and received another scorching glare before her cousin turned away. Elena sighed and moved towards the door.

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