by Christine Morgan

Author's Note: The characters of Gargoyles are the property of Disney and are used here without their creators' knowledge or consent. Nikki Taylor was created by Leva Mevis. Mature readers only please due to sexual content and language.

        The latest issue of VIP was in with the morning mail. As Alexander picked all the marshmallow bits from a milk-free bowl of Lucky Charms to save for later, Fox Xanatos began flipping through the glossy, celebrity- oriented mag.         Oh, good, a Best and Worst Dressed feature. She always got a kick out of viewing the appalling things actresses wore to awards shows. Reminded her of that story about the naked emperor. The designers, who were in most cases bitter and misogynistic and despised their movie-star clients, sure weren't going to let on that their latest creations were purposefully designed to make even the loveliest starlet look like homemade shit. The other attendees were always far too busy kissing up and being seen to pull a fashion disaster victim aside to break the news. The press fawned adoringly, all the while busily shooting the most unflattering pictures they could.         Yes indeed, only when the mags hit the shelves would the unfortunates realize the stark and awful truth. Made you wonder if they ever even looked in a mirror.         Chuckling to herself, she skimmed over gossip disguised as news, a gushy and overcomplimentary review of a new movie (someone had treated that columnist to a very nice lunch, Fox thought), and a Horoscope of the Stars.         She sat up straighter, pleasantly surprised to see her own face, complete with trademark blue-green foxhead over her eye. The party for the premiere of the new Will Smith movie. She and David had gone, since he'd been called to the West Coast on business that week anyway.         It was even a good picture, unposed and spontaneous, a group shot of herself, Uma Thurman, and Gwyneth Paltrow enjoying the frantic antics of Robin Williams as he mugged it up. Best of all, Uma had been caught with her overly-generous mouth wide open, and Gwyneth looked more about to sneeze than laugh. So of the three, she, Fox, was the babe of the bunch.         Turning the page, she spotted her husband, and her grin froze on her lips. The caption beneath the picture read "Rising star Nikki Taylor gets a rise of a different sort from billionaire playboy David Xanatos."         And yes, that was Nikki, a cocoa-skinned vision in a gown of shimmering silver, putting a total lip-lock on Fox's husband. And not under protest, either. In fact, David had a handful of Nikki's nicely-rounded ass -- seen not once but twice in the course of the movie.         Just then, David came in. "Good morning, Fox, Alex."         "David, darling," she purred with such sweetness that he knew right away somebody was in trouble.         He raised his eyebrows questioningly at her, and she turned the magazine around so he could see the photo.         "Care to explain this?" she inquired.         "You know Hollywood," he said with a shrug. "New York men kiss women's cheeks, L.A. men squeeze women's cheeks."         "Not funny, David."         "A pretty good picture. Nikki will be happy."         "Of course she will! The whole country's going to see her slipping you the tongue!"         "Why, Fox, I do believe you're jealous."         "And why are they still calling you a billionaire playboy? You're a married man."         "You are jealous," he grinned.         "Are you sleeping with Nikki?"         "Don't be silly."         "That's not an answer."         "Fox, I have never cheated on you." He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down. "And I don't intend to, either."         "Hmm," she said, tapping a forefinger against her lips. "Should I believe that, coming from the most accomplished liar in the world?"         He looked her square in the eyes. "I am not sleeping with Nikki."         "Very convincing."         "Women!" he groaned to the ceiling. "Seen as how there's obviously nothing I can say to get this bee out of your bonnet --"         "Don't do that."         "What?"         "Belittle me by calling it a bee in my bonnet. Damn it, David, I just want to know the truth."         "What can I say, Fox? I've told you I'm not cheating on you. It's up to you to believe it or not. Or would you like me to call Detective Maza and see if I can arrange a trip down to the station and borrow their polygraph unit?"         "That won't be necessary, David. Besides, once Elisa had you strapped into that thing, I'm sure she'd start asking all sorts of things. You'd wind up back in jail."         "Well, then." The matter settled as far as he was concerned, he took the magazine and began looking through it.         Fox freshened her own coffee and watched Alex, now done with the cereal bits, studiously sort his marshmallows by type. When he was done, he counted them, then one by one ate off the piles with the most until he had the same number of each type left.         " -- party?" David asked.         "Hmm?"         "I was asking if you were still planning to pick up our costumes for Derwent's party."         "Yes, when I go shopping."         "You'll make a beautiful angel," he said with a leer. "All those yards of see-through white gauze ... never has so much concealed so little."         "And you'll make a very handsome devil," she replied.         He winked at her. "Don't I always?"                 *               *         On the way home, sharing the back of the limo with a multitude of boxes including two from Arlene's Costume Boutique, the idea came to her. Pushing a four-foot pair of white feathered wings out of her way, she pressed the intercom switch and told the driver she had one more stop before they returned to the castle.         Then she gave him directions to a shop called Spank Me Mama ...                 *               *         "Did you take anything for it?" David asked with concern.         Fox grimaced and rubbed her temples. "Nothing's helping. I think I'd better just stay home tonight. I'm sorry to miss the party, but all I want to do is lay down with the lights off and wait for the Tylenol to kick in."         "Do you want me to stay with you?"         She smiled wanly. "No, go ahead. Derwent's counting on you to make an appearance."         "If you insist ..." still wanting to be coaxed.         "Don't let me ruin your evening," she said, stretching out and pulling up the covers. "I'll be fine in the morning. Go on, and have a good time."         "It won't be nearly as much fun without you," he said, but he was already on his way into the dressing room attached to their bedroom.         "Oh, you'll have fun," she murmured.         "What?"         "I said I hope you have fun."         "Dinner's at eight, unmasking at midnight," he said, coming out with the costume box under his arm and a red and black plastic pitchfork in his free hand. "I should be back no later than one."         "I'll probably be asleep by then."         He leaned over and kissed her gently. "See you later."         Once he was gone, Fox swung herself out of bed and hurried into the dressing room. From a Bloomingdale's shopping bag, she took a smaller bag, this one pink and black with a logo of a stylized pair of boot-clad female legs.         An hour later, she was putting the finishing touches on her costume. Makeup concealed her foxhead, a domino mask and a glittery swirl of red and gold on the opposite cheek further taking attention away from the cover-up job. Petite red horns peeped through a silky black wig done in a cute/sexy pageboy. Light grey contacts changed the color of her eyes.         What little she wore consisted of outrageously high heeled shoes in deep crimson, flesh-tone stockings heavily embroidered so that flames seemed to be licking and lapping their way up her bare thighs, red thong panties, a strap-on curved devil tail, and a red leather mini-dress cut down to here and up to there.         Bountiful toe-cleavage to appeal to the foot-fetishist, other cleavage to appeal to the tit-man, legs and butt forced into a strutting sluttish pose. Ooh, baby, ooh, yeah. She was a figure to conjure with.         Donning a long coat, she rang for her driver.         "The Manhattan Overlook," she told him, fingering the cream-and- gold embossed invitation.         As the limo pulled smoothly into traffic, Fox leaned back and smiled slyly. "Now we'll see," she chuckled to her reflection in the tinted glass. "We'll see just how Mr. David Xanatos, billionaire playboy, deals with temptation."                 *               *         The Manhattan Overlook should have been the tallest building in the world. Would have been, too, if not for David Xanatos' deviousness. He'd let the plans for the original Aerie Building slip to his old friend and rival H. Derwent, a hotelier extraordinaire. And in the spirit of competition that had flourished between them, Derwent had revised his own design of the Overlook to top the Aerie Building by thirty feet.         He hadn't reckoned, of course, that David Xanatos would add an entire castle to the top of his skyscraper, and by the time that news came out, the Overlook's main structure was already finished. Derwent laughingly ceded the match to Xanatos, and instead concentrated his efforts on his building's interior, determined to turn it into the most lavish, spectacular hotel this side of Vegas.         Long years of work had finally paid off. The Overlook's grand opening was scheduled for next month, with this preliminary masquerade party to celebrate its completion. Invitations were eagerly sought-after, the menu was the most closely-guarded secret in the country, and the guest list encompassed the wealthiest and most powerful people in all the world.         Fox's limo crawled through the crowd in a line of long black cars. Spectators and reporters thronged among them, desperate for a look, a photo. The paparazzi were out in force, but were thwarted by the guards at each entrance, not to mention Derwent's dogs. Other places might have pooches trained to sniff out drugs or explosives; to Fox's knowledge, only Derwent had them sniffing for film. Any lucky soul who happened to get a picture would be able to name his or her own price from the magazines and tabloids.         The Overlook's entire first two floors were given over to enclosed parking lots, so the crowd outside didn't even get a peek as the guests went from car to front door. Fox handed over her invitation and was ushered into the sumptuous lobby.         She made a stop at the coat-check, and then crossed the lobby basking in the lustful ogles of other partygoers. There was simply no way to walk in these shoes; all she could do was strut with everything swaying and jiggling. Just how she wanted it. Conversations stopped, heads turned, old men realized that suddenly they didn't even need Viagra.         The elevator was full beyond capacity, all of the beautiful people in their mysterious costumes pressed hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder (and someone behind her either had a baseball bat in his pocket or was really glad to see her).         At the very top of the hotel was the Overlook's ballroom, shining like a diamond visible all over the city. Its walls were glass, its ceiling a faceted dome supported by crystalline pillars. The floor was white marble polished to so high a gloss that she could look down and see her own red panties.         Flights of stairs curved down to marble terraces and outdoor balconies, lush with fragrant potted plants, offering shadows and convenient nooks for those wishing a little privacy. Nookie-nooks, she thought, and laughed.         Fabulous costumes abounded, some nearly as revealing as hers. At tables ringing the dance floor, along the crystal bar that ran the full length of one wall, talking in groups, dancing in pairs, the elite were everywhere.         Even amid all the color and dazzle, Fox had no trouble spotting her husband. The handsome devil, as always.         The mask was a work of art, six hundred dollars of sculpted red horns, hooked nose, pointed chin. The rich, full mane was made from real human hair, as black as could be. The rest of his outfit consisted of shaggy goat leggings with hooflike boots, a red satin turtleneck, and a black cape that was split up the middle of the back to let his tail stick out. It was tipped with an arrowhead-shape, and controlled by a grip built into the palm of his glove, so that with a gesture, he could make it move, twitch, and curl.         She wondered if he could make it do the dirty tail trick ... and how long it would take her to find out.         Probably not very long, she though as she watched him dance with a woman in a spangly, damn-near-not-there harem getup. He was having far too good a time for a man who'd just this morning assured her that cheating wasn't on his mind.         Let's just see how far he'd go with the right sort of encouragement!         Biding her time, she downed a couple of drinks and mingled and flirted and generally enjoyed herself. She had arrived too late for the eight o'clock dinner, and planned to leave well before the midnight unmasking. Not unlike Cinderella, but it wasn't a shoe she was planning on leaving behind.         Eventually, as she'd known he would, he approached her. Their costumes alone made it inevitable. She made sure her persona was firmly in place, not wanting to tip him off by any familiar mannerisms, and sort of pushed her words to the front of her mouth so they came out in a breathy little- girl sex-kitten pout.         "Well, hello," she said with a smile.         He dipped his mask in greeting. "I never knew the gates of Hell could be so inviting."         "The gates aren't open yet."         "But I assure you, I have only good intentions."         "And we all know where that road leads." She tugged playfully on his goatee, then glanced mournfully into her empty glass. "I seem to have run dry."         "What a shame." His tone, albeit muffled by the mask, made her words an entendre. He led her to the bar and got her a fresh champagne.         "Nothing for you?"         "I got tired of drinking through a straw. Would you like to dance? They're playing our song."         She tipped an ear toward the band and laughed. "I'd love to, but my dress isn't blue."         "Close enough."         They danced, and Fox swiveled her hips like she had ball-bearings in her joints, shimmied and undulated and writhed with an abandon that made her the center of attention. The heady rush of power that came from knowing that most of the men and even a few of the women in the room wanted her only heightened her arousal.         During a slow song, she ground against him lewdly, and the coarse feel of his goat leggings against the bare skin of her upper thighs awakened her raw animalistic lust. Or maybe it was the bulge swelling beneath his furry codpiece. Or both. Didn't matter.         "I could use a breath of fresh air," he murmured in her ear.         "And I could use another glass of champagne."         They left the dance floor for the bar again, and then went out onto one of the terraces. Music and laughter and light were only a few yards away, but the cool shadows enveloped them luxuriously.         "Mmm," Fox sighed. "It's nice to be alone. Just the two of us."         "You took the words right out of my mouth. I always enjoy the company of a beautiful woman. And you are by far the most beautiful one here."         "Do you really think so?" She 'accidentally' turned and pressed her hip fully against his groin. "Oh, I see that you do."         He chuckled. "My name is --"         "Hush!" She laid her fingers along the mouth opening of his mask. "No names. It's not time for the unmasking yet."         His tongue flicked out against the sensitive pads of her fingertips. "If that's what you want."         She bowed her head demurely. "Well, I'm a little bit shy."         "Shy? You?"         "Or maybe I've always fantasized about making love to a total stranger." She put her arms around him and rubbed her body against his in a slow and sensual manner. "Just giving in to the passion of one mysterious encounter."         "I understand perfectly." His hands cupped her ass and pulled her close, and he worked one of his fur-clad legs in between hers. "What about these masks?"         "Leave them on." She squeezed his thigh with hers. "It'll be even more exciting that way."         "You are irresistible. How could I refuse?"         He sure didn't try very hard to resist, a sour little voice spoke up in the back of her mind. But she shoved it aside. Time enough for recriminations later.         Fox shrugged out of the top half of her dress, baring her breasts to the night.         "Magnificent," he said, letting go of her ass to caress and knead the soft flesh. His satin-gloved thumbs slipped back and forth across her nipples until they were stiff little points.         She moaned and dropped her hand to rub against his groin, moving her palm in a firm circular pressure. With a mind for discretion, he urged her to move deeper into the shadows, where a waist-high marble rail divided this terrace from the one below. A bench hid in the dark, and he sat on it and pulled her down beside him.         "Wait," she said, and shifted so that she was sitting on his lap facing him, her knees on the bench to either side of his hips, her crotch snuggled firmly against his codpiece, and her breasts at a level where he could push his devil-mask between them.         Her skirt was hiked up to her waist, and all of the textures against her bare skin were maddening. Fur and leather, marble and satin, his hot breath on her chest and the cool air on her backside. His tongue worked its way out from the mouth opening again to tease her nipples into even harder nubs, and he slid one hand under her to find the moist warmth barely concealed by her panties. His questing fingers moved the fabric aside.         Fox cried out in a low voice as she felt him probe gently along her labia and then bring the satin glove against the bud of her clitoris. She scooted backward on his lap until her rear was resting on his knees, and undid the codpiece. He wore nothing beneath it, and his erect member sprang forth in full glory.         She wrapped both hands around it and cooed as if she'd never felt anything so marvelous, retaining enough awareness of her charade to stroke him in a different rhythm than she used at home.         He was breathing heavily within his mask, his fingers moving inside of her to explore what he thought was new territory.         She let him bring her to the verge, then gasped for him to stop. "Not yet, I don't want it to be over too soon, I want to do something for you."         "Don't worry, I'm nowhere near done yet," he said.         Nonetheless, she moved lithely off of him and wiggled out of her panties, tossing them indifferently on the bench beside him. She knelt between his outstretched legs and reached for her glass of champagne. Filling her mouth with the effervescent liquid and holding it there, she leaned forward and parted her lips just enough to slide in the full length of his stiffness.         He lurched on the bench, hands closing in a convulsion as the cold bubbles tingled and fizzed all along his shaft, contrasting with the heat of her tongue coiling around the head.         Fox let the champagne trickle down her throat in slow swallows until it was gone, and was about to continue her oral ministrations when he bent down and pulled her onto his lap.         "You are incredible!" he gasped, drawing her forward until she was held tight against him in their former pose, but this time with nothing at all separating them. He was hot and slick and slightly sticky, she felt as if she'd been coated with warmed honey. Without entering her, only nestled along the furrow of her labia, he began a gentle rocking that created the most delirious friction.         "Oh, oh, oh!" Fox panted. "Yes, that's good, that's wonderful, oh, I'm so close!"         Just then, he stood, holding her by the hips. She clung to him as he carried her to the marble rail and braced her on it, positioning her at a convenient height. She her hands to hold onto the edge of the rail and bent back, aware of the drop behind her but not caring, suspecting she might not have cared if instead of going fifteen feet down to another terrace it had been the full plunge to the ground.         He brought her legs up so that they lay along his chest with her feet on either side of his mask. Then she felt him nudging at her, prodding but still not entering.         "Are you sure about this?" he asked.         Second thoughts? He was finally having second thoughts? Well, Mr. David "I've never cheated on you" Xanatos, it was far too late for that!         "Fuck me!" she urged. "Do it, put it in me, do me hard and fast!"         He did, shoving into her with a primal gutteral cry. His arms clamped around her legs, he pulled out in a steady slow movement, then rammed back in. His hips struck her buttocks hard enough to make her breasts bounce. "Like that? Is that how you want it?"         "Yes, oh, God, yes!"         Racing now, racing toward the pinnacle. He went faster, their bodies smacking together, then changed to a series of rapid, short strokes that catapulted her into orgasm. He came a moment later, set off by the involuntary clenching spasms of her inner walls.         Fox rode it out, feeling like every inch of her skin was aglow from the now-dimming fire. She felt him gradually soften within her and then slip free. He backed away from her on shaky, coltish legs and sank onto the bench with an overwhelmed groan.         "Ooh," she said, none too steady herself as she got down from the rail.         He nodded and made some noise that must have been agreement.         With trembling hands, Fox put her dress back in order and smoothed her wig. "Thank you for fulfilling my fantasy," she said.         "Thank you," he replied fervently.         Having now recovered enough to repair his own costume, he did so. She noticed, without letting him realize that she noticed, that he surreptitiously picked up the discarded panties she had purposefully neglected to retrieve, and tucked them away. Perfect.         "It's late," she said. "I should go."         "You're not going to stay for the unmasking?"         "No, I can't, I really can't."         "But you never even told me your name!"         Fox smiled. "And you never told me yours. Let's leave it at that."                 *               *         She was in bed when the door opened, sitting up and reading a book, knowing she looked radiant with her freshly washed and brushed hair flowing like liquid flame over the shoulders of a silky blue peignoir. She'd been planning what she was going to say, playing out how it would go, ever since she got home.         He came in with the costume box under his arm, yawning. "You're still up? Feeling better?"         "Much," she said. "How about you?"         "Oh, I'm all right. Tired." He put down the box and sat on the edge of the bed to take off his shoes, then pulled at his tie.         I bet you are, she thought. You smug bastard. Now I'm going to get you. Now I'm going to make you squirm.         "How was the party?"         He draped the tie neatly on its rack and stretched, then took off his jacket. "Actually, I had some important business come up at the last minute. I had to give Owen my costume and send him instead -- Fox? Fox, what's the matter?"         Her book tumbled to the floor. "You ... sent ... Owen?"         David nodded. "He said he had a very good time. Strange, Owen usually doesn't much care for parties."         "You sent Owen?"         "Fox, are you sure you're all right? Do you want some more Tylenol?"         "YOU SENT OWEN?!?!?!?!?!"         "Fox --"         She sprang out of bed and tore down the hall. David called after her, but she didn't even pause.         Perhaps drawn by the shouting, Owen came around a corner right in front of her. She was on him before he could begin to react.         SMACK! The first was the slap of an outraged woman.         THUNK! WHOCK! The second and third were the blows of a trained martial artist, the first a chop to the side of the neck, the second a heel of her hand to his cheekbone.         Then she was running, her hair and nightgown flying all around her, no conscious thought or destination beyond knowing she better get out of here before she killed someone.                 *               *         David Xanatos came around the corner just in time to see Fox vanish into the elevator. He shook his head and turned back to Owen, who was sprawled against the wall and wincing as he touched the already-puffing bruise under his eye.         "You'll need some ice on that," Xanatos observed.         A pained gurgle, all Owen could manage thanks to the chop to the neck, answered him.         Xanatos hunkered down and helped him up. He couldn't hold back his smirk any longer. "I'm terribly sorry, Owen. Looks like you bore the brunt of my little joke."         Another gurgle, this one ending on an interrogative note.         "Never mind," Xanatos said. He patted his pocket, where, tucked from view, were a pair of red thong panties. "Let's just say that Fox should know me better than that."                 *               * The End.
Credits: H. Derwent and the Overlook -- Stephen King's The Shining. VIP Magazine -- Tabitha King's Small World. See also "Sex With the Wrong Partner," from The Big Book of Urban Legends.