Santana's Nightclub was a hip and funky place indeed. The exterior was quite nondescript, but once you crossed the threshold to the entrance, it was another world. Inside was cool and the lighting was dim but allowed for plenty of illumination to see what the customers needed to see, and there was no danger of feeling in the dark. There was a huge indoor waterfall in the center of the room, and small bistro type tables surrounded its perimeter. Located around the outer part of the room were several leather banquettes in a deep orange color. Each one had its own wall lamp that was lit with small opaque light bulbs. There was a raised dais at the rear of the room where a band played some pretty groovy sounding jazz, and right now, the patrons sitting in the banquettes and at the tables were just enjoying the music.
Warm, rich colors were the dominant theme of the interior, where the walls were painted in scenic murals, depicting singers and dancers, in various stages of performing, and musical notes and instruments were blended in to complete the scenes. The images had been painted with such precision and with such expertise and likeness to the people they represented, that they seemed to flicker in the subdued lighting and come alive from the walls, in a three dimensional parody of the real thing. The shiny dance floor did not yet hold any dancers, but the night was young. One could enter this club and immediately feel a sense of excitement and the promise of a good time.
Dante had accompanied them to the entrance of the club, and he had summoned the club manager Robaire Wendell as Mr. DeJohn had instructed him to do. When the ladies had been greeted by Robaire, and shown to the VIP Lounge, only then did he feel free to take his leave. He was quite a bit younger than his former charges, but he held an admiration for each of them and he had not missed out on a single thing about how they looked. Extremely well dressed, smelling good enough to eat, and wonderful personalities to boot. So many Americans thought themselves better than Jamaicans, and they came over here with their demands and their condescension, thinking that the measly tips they left gave them the right to look down their noses at him. But not Ms. Alexis and her friends...they were classy ladies if he ever saw one.
No sooner had the ladies been seated on a long, white leather couch in the VIP Lounge, did a man approach them. Claudette turned as she heard a man's voice speaking close by to see Robaire, their host give a nod in the direction where they were seated. The man that was speaking reached down and took her hand, kissed it in a way reminiscent of old world gallantry and when he spoke, his voice sounded like liquid silk...if there were such a thing. He introduced himself as Sebastian Jarvis, manager of the jazz band that played there. He looked absolutely delicious as he stood there in his white linen slacks and shirt opened nearly halfway down the front, and whatever the fragrance was he was wearing, she had never smelt before and would never forget. He wore a white beret with a gold insignia on it and the touch of his hand was smooth and dry.
Helena watched them all unobtrusively. She noted the suave way this new player Sebastian carried himself, she noticed the high blush on Claudette's face, and she noticed something else; and she was sure that she was the only one who did. There was a shrewdness about the way he carried himself, that was both passive and luring at the same time. While Mr. Jarvis was making his preliminary move on her friend, someone else was watching from a distance. It was more of a feeling at first; you know how your skin prickles and a flush comes over your body at the same time your sensory perception goes off the radar in a way that alerts you to danger. She automatically knew that somehow they were in jeopardy.
For a few moments, Helena simply sat nursing her drink trying to remain calm while she gathered her nerve to turn around and look. She wasn't sure where she would look, or what she would find, but she knew that all she had to do was turn her head slightly, and whatever it was that was actively causing this nervous sensation would manifest itself.
She turned her head just a bit to her left because Sebastian and Claudette were on her right. Her pretense was to smile at the patrons seated nearest her left side. She did, and then she let her gaze slowly roam over the area near the entrance and she noticed two very tall and imposing women looking directly at where they were seated. They were both exquisitely dressed, and very quite attractive and had an authoritative air about them. Their ages were hard to tell because of the lighting in the VIP Room, and because of the dim lighting here also.
Nevertheless, Helena met their steady gaze with one of her own. She did not smile, nor did they. After the space of a few heartbeats, Helena turned away very casually and again picked up her drink. Claudette was laughing coyly at whatever it was Sebastian was saying to her, and Alexis was ordering some light appetizers from the Hostess/ Waitress. Bonnie had excused herself to go in search of the powder room. The two women did not move from their place by the door as Bonnie got up, so Helena was pretty sure she wouldn't be followed. Still, she remained on alert just in case.
It wasn't until Bonnie had returned to her seat, and Sebastian and Claudette had taken to the dance floor that Helena started to relax a little bit. Well, it was too soon because just as she tossed her head laughing at something Bonnie had said that she again felt the strange sensation. Before she could turn her head and look this time, the two women had approached their seating area, drinks in hand and without waiting for an invitation, they both sat down; each one on a separate end of the long couch.
“Good evening ladies, allow us please to introduce ourselves. This is my friend Taniyah Darnell. And I (she paused for dramatic effect) am Druscilla. I am Sebastian's wife.” No one said a word or even breathed it seemed.
Helena had only a split second to take note of their cultured way of speaking and carrying themselves before her next thought; “Oops. Kingston we have a problem.”