Chapter 2 - Joan
I stopped at the stairway. I steeled myself with a deep breath before reaching for the handrail and taking the first step up. I told myself that the first step is always the most difficult, but I hadn’t found it any easier when I’d gone another six steps. At the top, I found the stairs opened onto the balcony with no door to impede my progress. I stepped onto the patio floor and stopped. Just as I’d decided to turn and run down the stairs, he spotted me. I saw him raise his eyebrows and lean down to whisper something to the woman beside him. He walked toward me with that stupid grin in place. What did the man have to be so damned happy about? I was trapped. I’d make the best of this horrible situation.
“Well, well, well,” he said as he ambled up to me. His gaze raked me from head to toe and back again, stopping at my eyes. A chuckle escaped his lips. “Didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”
“The damned door locked behind me. I can’t get inside.” I scanned the crowd of laughing people. Involuntarily, my body swayed to the music.
“Might as well make the most of it. Let’s get you some wine,” he said as he took my elbow and walked me into the crowd. He picked up a bottle of Merlot, which was my favorite wine, but I didn’t want him to know that, so I shook my head and pointed at the Chardonnay.