Authors note- For this story to work, I had to take some literary exceptions with the complete history of the Titans. I have tried to keep the participants in character as much as possible. However, Teen Titan purists will probably have some problems with this. But, remember, this is fiction. Enjoy.
Disclaimer- I do not own any rights to the characters portrayed in this story.
Chapter 1- New Beginnings
There is an unmistakable, often irrational sense of denial when the human mind is confronted with the possibility of betrayal. In matters of the heart, it can especially disconcerting. A strange phone number appearing too often on your better half's phone bill, the 'I have to work late again' message in your voice mail, and then the business trips out of town begin to extend through the weekend. In most Civil Courts of law, the weight of the evidence above is enough to find guilty. However, for most of us we chose to ignore and deny until the smoking gun is laid in our laps. Then…and only then…a search must be made into the very depths of one's soul, will you survive…or not. It is very simple really. That is, looking from the outside in.
The true drama however, is not in betrayal, but the perception of betrayal. The way each person handles a situation. The response of those whose advice has been sought . The intricate weaving of alliances, those close to you becoming remote, and those who were adversaries becoming closer. No one alive can fully explain 'love', the kinetic force that binds and constrains, and eventually frees us all.
The morning light began to show through the dark curtains that surrounded Raven's room. Though not normally a morning person, she had been a bit more cheerful lately and looked forward to a few moments of meditation before joining the other Titans at breakfast. As usual, it doesn't last.
The noise felt like the walls were going to collapse at anytime. Then another loud THUD!
Raven raced to her door, frantically opening it and barely sticking her head into the hallway before her sixth sense shouted "BACK UP!". She did…just in time to see a small ball fly at breakneck speed past her face.
"Booyah"! Exclaimed Cyborg.
Dude, you cheated! Beast Boy was screaming.
"I did no such thing" Cyborg now stating with his arms folded.
"What the HELL are you two doing"? Raven was yelling so loud, the other Titans were momentarily stunned.
"Just playing Roller Hockey", Beast Boy said meekly. He then smiled and said "Did we wake you up, Ravey-Poo"?
"AUUUGHHHH", Raven slammed her door in disgust.
"Dude, maybe we should take this to the roof", Beast Boy said , almost whispering.
"Yeah, you are right", Cyborg also using a hushed tone, "Must be PMS or something".
"I HEARD THAT, Raven's voiced bellowed from behind the closed door
Good God, They are so immature. Raven knew she was growing weary of her dorm type of life.
Even though Raven was now 18, roughly the same age as the other Titans, her maturity level was much higher. Maybe it was the dark side of her personality or perhaps it was the result of her childhood, which she barely remembered. Truly, that was a lifetime ago. Lately she has begun to find herself looking…No, yearning…for something…or someone, like herself. Even at her young age, she knew deep down, down to the depths approaching her very soul, that this search may never end.
As she again calmed down and began to try to meditate, she knew the Titans were her family. It is hard to stay angry at people, especially when you know they care deeply for you. After all, at some point in time each Titan had literally risked their life for her. Just before going into her meditative trance, she wondered…Oh my God, maybe it is PMS? Nah, not the right time. All of this did not matter really, as it was Thursday and on Thursdays she went for a night out alone to her special place. The same place Beast Boy describes as a hangout for Gothic weirdos. Raven finds solace there, along with several books on meditation, mysticism, and general Eastern Spiritual subjects. You can sit on big couches, drink latte, listen to amateur poetry, read, talk to others…something Raven has yet to do. But, it is Thursday, and lately on Thursdays…He… has been there.
Disclaimer-no ownership of characters
Chapter Two- Ice Breaking
"Raven…Raven friend, Can I come in?"
"Sure Star" replied Raven, somewhat hesitating.
Raven was sitting in front of her mirror putting on the finishing touches of make up, which for most girls, could be described as very little.
"Oh Glorious…you are doing the face painting again, Starfire exclaimed. "Please, please can I also?"
"Star, I am really finished, and I'm about to leave, but I promise I will introduce you to the world of make up some other time." Raven assured her.
"OK, friend Raven, but please do not forget…you look so pretty when you do the make up." Starfire smiled brightly.
"Uh…yeah, thanks…I think." Raven responded. Knowing full well Starfire didn't mean she looked bad without make up, just sometimes Star mixed up her English in amusing ways.
"Are you going to 'the Crows feet' again tonight? Asked Starfire.
"Its Nest!…The Crows Nest," replied Raven, "Crows feet are something that…Oh never mind".
"Robin is taking me to a movie tonight…or I would gladly join you," Starfire said, almost apologetically.
"No problem, you guys have fun", Raven replied, all the while thinking…thank you God.
Raven loved Starfire, more than any sister could ever feel for another. She just needs her own space sometimes…and at the Crow's Nest…well, Star definitely does not fit in.
"Friend Raven… do you think I could practice with the make up even while you are not here?"
Starfire's question was punctuated with a slight puppy dog pout.
"Sure…whatever, look Star…its eight o'clock, I need to get going. Raven replied while standing and taking one last look at herself in the mirror. Wondering if the black jeans were too tight, or maybe not tight enough. She didn't even her Starfire's response.
Raven walked down the stairs, heading for the for the front door. Hoping that as she passed the main room the others would be occupied. Upon entering the large main area she could see the boys..all of them… on the couch playing video games. Maybe if I walk real fast…
"Whooo Hooo, Raven," Cyborg was the first to speak up. "Looking reeeaaal nice tonight"
"Dude! What did you do to your hair?" Beast Boy's question was becoming irritating, "Are you in disguise or something?" …"And don't you think that shirt is a little tight…are you even wearing a bra?"
"FIRST… I am not a dude, my hair is pulled up in a bun and yes I am wearing makeup!" Raven's voice was rising in pitch, "Whatever clothes I am or am not wearing is nobody's damn business but mine…Is there a problem?".
Robin, being the leader, quickly interjected, "No problem, Rae…have a good time. If you need anything give us a call". You have your communicator, right?.
"I got it" Raven replied, somewhat disgusted, while opening the door and exiting the tower.
Raven was relieved find it a beautiful autumn evening. Perfect for walking the seven or so blocks between the Tower and the hangout. I am so not in disguise! Raven was now thinking out loud. I really just get tired of being a Titan 24/7. She tires of the drooling questions from pre adolescent girls about Robin, and from boys drooling over Star. Deep down, she knows that the hood and cape that makes up her uniform, pretty much keeps her anonymous. Maybe…she just wanted to look special tonight. No matter, she had arrived. Walking through the door, she felt that strange tingling in the pit of her stomach. An muted type of excitement had gripped her the last three weeks or so. Ever since he began to show up.
'The Crow's Nest' was not really a club. I guess the best description would be a fancy coffee house. Not the yuppie kind like on "Friends". No, it was definitely draped in Gothic tones mixed with a throwback type of free performance nightspots prevalent in San Francisco in the mid to late Sixties. The lighting always dim, housed in an old building with real hardwood floors. Several sofas, loveseats, chairs, and large floor pillows were scattered about in no apparent scheme. Bookcases aligned the walls, with titles ranging from classic fiction to philosophy. There was a microphone stand in the back, surrounded by an impromptu stage. Anyone could get up at anytime and recite poetry, read excerpts from their own as yet unpublished masterpieces, or do any other number of creative exercises. Raven would listen sometimes, but participate…not a chance.
Tonight, found her wandering about, pretending to be looking over book titles. All the while she was actually scoping out the room. When she did not see what…who… she was looking for, she half heartedly grabbed a book, found a couch to herself and flopped down. Thumbing through the book, acting like she was interested in whatever prose it may offer, her thoughts wondered. He usually sat on the loveseat under the large window, drinking coffee, reading, always slowly, as though each word were a symphony to be relished. Rarely did he look up and he was always alone… Like me… He always wore jeans, usually sandals, no socks. Shirts were always long sleeve and never wrinkled. Raven wished for once to see him in sort sleeves, due to the fact that he was very…and I mean very muscular. Not like that of a football player, or a body builder, but leaner…like a prizefighter. Stunning hair, blond almost white in color, short, but not too short. With barely noticeable dark stubble on his face…oh the face… strong…yet non threatening. Oh God…he was so handsome. She knew he was older…trying to convince herself, 'probably around 25". She knew the truth was probably ten years past that. So what…she was always more mature than her age, right? She could never fall for the perfect bronzed Adonis…too boring. She was always looking for the slight flaw, that little something that makes us all unique. This is probably why the eye patch he wore seemed…so…insignificant…and cool.
Disclaimer- still no ownership of characters
CHAPTER THREE- We meet
Raven startled herself slightly, like we all do when coming out of deep thought or daydream while in public. Looking around to see if anyone noticed, she was still holding the book she blindly picked off the shelf upon her arrival. It was only then that she noticed the book she had been pretending to read. Edgar Allen Poe-The Raven. "Great… just great", she muttered to herself. A quick glance around the room was enough to know that her true objective of the evening was still a no show. She decided it was time to hit the door anyway.
Before leaving as was her custom she stopped at the bar and ordered a cup of coffee for the road…black of course. The bar area was crowded. After successfully completing her purchase she backed slowly out of the crowd, turning around only when she felt she had escaped the crowd. At this same instant she slammed full force into another patron. Coffee went flying, some on the floor but mostly on Raven. "Dammit", she whispered to herself, crouching down to retrieve the cup from the floor.
She could hear the other voice, " I am terribly sorry…please forgive me".
Raven still in a squatting position responded with out even looking up, "Its OK…really I should have been looking where I was going". At the same instant the stranger knelt down to help Raven up.
"No, it was totally my fault, please allow me to…", He continued to talk, but it was at this point that Raven looked up only to see that it was…Him. She was literally speechless. Now almost in tears from total embarrassment, she stood and made a move towards the door.
"Please…Miss", he started again, "Let me pay for that, I owe you… for my clumsiness".
"Really…I'm fine", She was almost stuttering. "I have to go". She hit the door at that same instant, which she remembered you had to pull open…not push. However this slight pause gave her enough time to hear him say "Then at least next time I see you, I insist on buying"
"Ok…sure", she replied and in an instant was out the door.
The air outside had become somewhat cooler and the dampness from her shirt gave Raven a sudden chill. Not that she noticed. Her mind was racing at light speed, trying to review the most recent events. OK…sure. That's the best I could come up with. She had been rehearsing what she would say to him for three solid weeks. The phrase Ok…sure, never seemed to be a part of these rehearsals. God, I'm such a loser. I will never be able to go back there again.
Before she knew it, she was back at the Tower. When she entered the main room, her disgust at the night's events did not even let her hear Robin's first comment.
"Raven…earth to Raven", he said in a voice she really was not in the mood for.
"What!" she replied.
"I just asked if you would check on Starfire, she's kind of holed up in your room…I think she has been crying".
"Crying!", Raven's voice was now elevating to the point that Beast Boy and Cyborg began to slide down the couch in an attempt to hide.
"Robin, what did you DO to her", Raven was definitely loud now.
"Nothing…Rae, I mean we have been down here the whole time", Robin's voice was cracking somewhat. Raven gave him a hard look, turned and headed upstairs.
Robin turned to Beast Boy and Cyborg, muttered "Women, I don't think I'll ever figure'em out"
"Nope", said Cyborg.
"Ain't happenning", replied BB, almost in unison.
Raven hastily headed towards her room, upon entered she could she Starfire, sobbing, sitting on a stool with her head in her arms resting on Raven's small vanity.
"Star..what hap…", Raven was stopped in mid sentence when the Tamaranian lifted her head up and turned in her direction. It took almost all of Raven's supernatural willpower to keep from laughing. Starfire had tried to use 'make up' all by herself. The result, thought Raven, was a cross between a rodeo clown and Tammy Faye Bakker on Steroids.
"Oh, Star", Raven's voice was now soft and motherly. "What have you done?"
"I just…wanted…to…look pretty for Robin," Starfire was half muttering, half crying. "So that he might notice me…more like a…girlfriend."
Raven had already gone into bathroom and retrieved a washcloth, dampened it, and was sitting down beside the distraught teen. Starfire continued to mumble as Raven gently began to wipe away the assortment of designs and colors that her friend had so heartedly applied. After the second washcloth was completely covered, she spoke,"Star, putting on make up does not necessarily make you pretty, besides, there are some people that are just naturally beautiful. You my dear, are definitely in that category. There are very, very few men in Jump City that wouldn't give up a limb just to have you as a girlfriend."
"Eww," Starfire replied with twinge in her lip.
"Er…Ok…so that didn't come out right, what I meant was unlike me, you are really drop dead gorgeous and don't require a lot of makeup."
"I am going to drop and die if I put on the makeup?", Starfire said with concern.
"No, Star…it's a figure of sp…never mind. Tomorrow I will help you with this stuff…Ok."
"Promise !", exulted Starfire.
"Yes, I promise", Raven's reply was less than enthusiastic, but it worked. Starfire gave her a hug and headed for the door, then abruptly turning said, "Friend Raven, did you realize your shirt is wet?"
"Yeah, I do, goodnight Star." Raven said, knowing that she probably be replaying in her mind how the shirt was doused over and over tonight, instead of sleeping. At least she had made her friend feel little better.
"Good Night to you Raven." Starfire's voice was her old cheerful self again.
Raven lay in her bed still wired from her encounter earlier in the evening. Thoughts raced in and out of her head. Why does everything have to be so hard? He has to think I'm some kind of nut. Why did I just run away? It doesn't matter, what would he see in me, probably has tons of girlfriends. All of them pretty…and blond. Probably dumb too. Pretty, dumb and blond. That's what men like anyway. Maybe he has a wife! The last thought kind of jolted her a little bit. Nah, didn't see a ring. What is wrong with me? I am acting like a middle school girl with a crush on a senior. He's just a man, no big deal. But, DAMN, he is handsome. Raven turned onto side, took a deep breath and realized sleep was now taking control of her body, but not before one last thought…I wonder how he lost his eye?
Diclaimer- probably never have ownership of characters
CHAPTER FOUR- The stars are in alignment
The weekend came and went. The first part of the week was uneventful, mostly involving training, meditating, listening to Robin's updates on how he was close to finding his current obsession, Slade.
Raven even sat down with Starfire and helped her with the basics of lipstick, rouge, etc. Very sparingly though, as she had actually been telling truth, Starfire needed little help in the beauty department. Before long, it was Thursday. All during the week Raven had convinced herself that going back to the scene of last week's embarrassment was out of the question. As early evening came she began to get restless. Then, a knock on the door outside of her room.
"Raven! It is I Starfire, have you left for the Crow's House yet?".
"I'm not sure if I am g…" Raven's reply was cut off in mid sentence.
"Because if you want, we can practice the eye liner again." Starfire spoke and continued to knock at the same time.
"Uh, sorry Star but I was just figuring out what to wear." Raven knew she had to go now, she could handle anything…except more make up training.
"Ok friend Raven, Oh before you leave, I want to bring you something." Starfire said as she dashed down the hall.
"Sure" Raven replied while sliding into a pair of jeans and tank top. After a quick glance in the mirror, Starfire returned carrying a small bottle.
"Uh, Star…I'm not really into perfume." Before Raven's words had a chance to sink in, Starfire had already placed a small drop of perfume behind each of Raven's ears.
"Now you are ready." said Starfire. "This scent only comes from Tameran, you and I are the only two on this planet that smell this way."
"Thanks…I think." replied the sorceress. She thought to herself. It 's not too smelly, guess I can use all the help I can get. Starfire was now gleaming with joy.
"Have a good time with the 'Crow' people friend Raven!"
Raven left the Tower, not sure of what direction she would take. After a few minutes she was heading toward The Crow's Nest. Standing just outside the door, she was trying to convince herself to turn around only to realize she was blocking a small group of patrons that wanted to enter. She quickly stepped inside to let the others in. Ok, she thought. I'm here, might as well grab a cup coffee. Raven made the purchase, holding the cup in both hands, walked over to the only empty loveseat and flopped down.
It was then she noticed an obscure book on yoga that was left on the small coffee table at her knee. Cool…I actually had been looking for this book. She couldn't help but think that tonight, things were actually going well. After a few minutes of flipping through the pages, she reached down to grab her coffee and only then noticed He was at the bar. That was not all, he was now making his way all the way across the room…towards her!
Her stomach was almost convulsing with butterflies. I know he is coming over here, I just know it. Calm down, Raven. Breathe. Calm. Her thoughts were firing faster than a machine gun. He's carrying a drink in each hand. One must be for me. It was at this time the realization hit her that she was holding a nearly full cup coffee in her hand. Looking up and noticing he had turned his back to her while trying to navigate around a waitress, she quickly threw her drink, cup and all behind the couch. Quickly, she grabbed the book, pulled it to her face and tried to hide.
"Hello" He said simply.
"Hi" Raven replied while slowing pulling down her book.
"I believe I owe you this." He said while slowing offering a cup of coffee to her. "I apologize for my clumsiness the other night."
"No, really it was me who was careless." Raven was thinking, no way this guy is clumsy, he moves so effortlessly, like a tiger walking through the jungle. "Really, you did not need to buy me…"
He cut her off in mid sentence. "Yes, the dollar fifty was a huge sum…but something tells me I will still be able to eat the rest of the week." He smiled. "Would you mind if I sat down?"
"Please" Raven let out a little smile. "And thank you."
"My name is Ben, Ben Wilson." He held out his hand. Raven reached out and lightly shook his hand. She was so mesmerized that she didn't notice he was waiting for a reply.
"And…you are?" He asked, still smiling.
"Oh…yes, sorry, I am Rav…I mean Rae, my friends call me Rae." She was now really flustered.
"Ray?" He said with amusement"Would that be short for anything, like 'ray of sunshine' or perhaps 'sting ray'?"
"No, Rae" she laughed, "With an e…R-A-E."
"I see, but you still didn't answer the question"
"Oh…right." She thought for a few seconds. "My friends would probably say sting ray, definitely not anything to do with sunshine."
Both smiled, looked down and had a sip of coffee at the same time.
"Rae…" His tone now somewhat curious.
"Do you realize there is smoke coming from behind this couch?
Damn. Now remembering her coffee hastily throw away earlier. "It's…it's…probably just a steam vent." She said thinking quickly.
"Steam vent…yes you are probably right." He was still smiling. Quickly Raven tried to change the subject.
"Do you come here often?" she spoke so fast she didn't realize how cliché the words came out.
"Now that's original" He replied. Raven's embarrassment was to show. He could see she was slightly frazzled. "Sorry, couldn't resist that, I have been here a couple of times a week for a month or so. I noticed you here a lot."
He noticed me! Raven was wondering if she should mention her reason for being at this place at all.
"I have seen you too…I mean you kind of stand out."
"Yes…I know." He spoke and began to motion to his eye patch.
"NO! I mean…I didn't mean like that! She knew she was not alluding to his eye, but now she has to convince him.
"It's just…" She began, "You don't look like you belong here. You have very confident and graceful presence. Almost like a Knight from Camelot, or a movie star. You seem nothing like most of the men usually in here. They look like they would rather play Dungeons & Dragons all night instead of kissing a girl. Raven was slightly stunned at how well the words came out of her own mouth.
"Wow." Ben was slightly taken aback. "I wish I had some eloquent come back for that. But I just noticed you… because I thought you were pretty."
There was a few seconds of silence, then both smiled.
"So tell me Rae…How old are you? He said with a slightly evil grin.
"I'm Legal!" Raven blurted out. Ben's eyebrow raised. Raven quickly cupped her hand over her mouth realizing what her response sounded like.
"I mean…I'm Eighteen…and a half." She sunk back on the couch totally embarrassed at her attempt to explain herself. Ben also relaxed back deep into the huge cushions with a grin.
"And…you? She timidly asked.
"Well, let's see." He responded. "according to your accounting methods, I would be thirty four…and a third."
Raven smiled and grabbed a small pillow and through it playfully against his chest.
For the next hour they shared observations about different topics. Raven became more and more comfortable as she found out they had a lot of the same feelings with regards to a myriad of trivial topics. Every time he spoke it was like a sedative slowly erasing away any semblance of nervousness. She couldn't help but think…the stars have aligned for me tonight.
Before they knew the shop was starting to close and they were the only two left.
"I guess I better be going." Raven said very hesitantly.
"Yes, I guess its time". Ben sounded somewhat disappointed also.
"Rae, I know this is short notice, but I actually have two tickets to the opening of the Egyptian exhibit at the museum for Saturday. It's kind of a stuffy black tie thing. I was wondering…I mean maybe if you didn't have plans, would you like to…"
"Yes!" She responded before he could finish.
"Great, then shall I meet you there…lets say around Seven?"
"Seven O'clock, it's a date" Raven said while shaking his hand.
Disclaimer- same as the last million disclaimers
CHAPTER FIVE- We Go Shopping
Ben Wilson walked briskly back to his loft in the downtown area of the city. He had recently purchased the entire second floor of a older building and converted it into a loft. A downtown revitalization effort had seen many wealthy people using space the same way. The lower level of his building consisted of five or six trendy shops. But the upper level was all his. Aside from a partition here and there, it was basically one large open area. It had a main room, bedroom, kitchen area, study, workout area and he had even installed a large fireplace. Artifacts from all over the world were tastefully displayed and the walls were mostly lined with book shelves.
He entered and without as much as turning on a lamp, flopped down on the main sofa and closed his eyes. She is really something. Definitely not a debutante. Innocent, yet with a dark side. I can feel it. It would take that to understand me. Get a grip on yourself! No one could ever understand my journey. She will only make me weak. Maybe I am getting weak? Those rat bastard military doctors did say the injections might wear off after several years. Maybe I am becoming normal? Impossible, I don't even know what normal is. Besides her breasts are great. No, they are perfect. She's kind of young though. And…something about her face…she looks so familiar…like we have met.
Raven awoke the next morning with a smile on her face. Rolling around on the bed, she hadn't slept that well for a long time. She had no intentions of getting up, just wanting to savor the felling of the successful night before. Then, it hit her…jolting her straight into a sitting position.
"Starfire!" She screamed. "Starrrrrr!"
Within thirty seconds the Tameranian came through the door.
"Raven!" Starfire was still breathing hard from running. "What is wrong?" "Are you all right?"
"I…I need a dress." Raven said sheepishly.
"You need a what?"
"I thought…you were hurt." Starfire said looking a little bewildered.
"I'm sorry Star, I just realized I need a dress for tomorrow night. And…I don't really have one"
"Raven, you have…"
"Formal…Star. I need a formal dress. Will you help me get one?"
"Yes, I'll gladly help, but it is kind of early. I do not yet thing the mall is open." Starfire was yawning and rubbing her eyes.
Raven then noticed Starfire must jumped out of bed and ran straight to her room. Due to the fact that she was only wear a t-shirt and nothing else. The shirt did not quite stretch far enough to cover everything.
"Star, you know you really shouldn't walk around the halls like that" Raven was grinning.
"But…but…I heard you call…I thought something was wrong"
"Really Starfire, do you have no shame? Raven was laughing now.
"AUGHHHHH" Star fire turned and exited in a huff.
Later that afternoon the two girls were visiting some of the more chic clothing stores. While browsing, a saleslady approached. "May I help you"
Starfire immediately spoke up, "She is in need of a dress!"
"Yes, I can see that." the lady replied somewhat smugly. "Let me guess, shopping early for the prom"
"No." Raven said with a grimace. "I need something formal looking…for some kind of opening at the museum."
The lady's eyes opened wide. "You mean the thousand dollar a ticket benefit at the museum scheduled for tomorrow night?.
"I guess." Raven looked at Starfire with an unsure expression.
"Well then my dear, you have come to the right place, follow me"
Raven proceeded to try on several dresses. Starfire proceeded to turn her nose up at each.
"Do you not have something with a shorter hem line? Asked Starfire.
"Actually, I do." Replied the saleslady. "Be back in one minute".
"Starfire!" Raven was whispering in a frustrated tone. "What was wrong with the last dress?"
"Trust me on this, friend Raven, just trust me." Starfire was smirking.
The saleslady returned with another dress. "Ok dear, now this is a little more daring. But still classy. Besides you definitely have the legs for it."
The dress was pure black, form fitting, no straps…and short.
Raven tried it on and walked out towards her friend. Starfire's response was quick, "We'll take it."
"Excellent choice." Replied the saleslady.
"Footwear." Starfire was beaming now. "She needs the footwear to match."
After several boxes of shoes were brought out, a pair was finally selected. The saleswoman gathered everything up and head for the register. Raven nudged her friend and quietly said, "I'm not sure if I can afford all of this. I mean she didn't even tell us the prices."
"Not to worry friend Raven." Starfire was grinning ear to ear. "I got the plastic thingy from Robin, called credit card. Its what the boys use for all of their techno gizmos and supplies for the Tower."
"Yes, but does it have a credit balance big enough for this? Raven said fearfully.
"I think so, it says the limit is…unlimited."
"Star…I could kiss you."
"Perhaps." said Starfire. "But something tells me this four hundred dollar dress…is not for me."
"Plus, you now owe me…full and complete details of everything that happens tomorrow night. And I mean full and complete."
"Star!" "What are you implying…I mean we are just friends. I mean…Ben…we just met. I don't think anything juicy is going to come from tomorrow night. Besides it is just an innocent date."
"Not after he sees you in that dress." Starfire responded very, very wickedly.
Disclaimer- feel like I own characters, but don't
CHAPTER SIX- Things Heat Up
Raven arrived at the steps to the museum promptly at seven o'clock. The city museum was atypical of most, large, with massive columns. Several marble steps led up to the entrance. She noticed a very ritzy crowd milling about, everyone was dressed to kill. As she walked up the steps, an uncomfortable feeling began to grow deep inside of her. I don't belong here. I have nothing in common with these people. Do I look alright? Who Am I trying to fool, he is out of my league. I should turn now and go back home. Then she noticed Ben, standing at the top of the steps conversing with another patron of the arts. His back was to her but she knew from his wild hair color and the telltale black strap encircling the back of his head who it was. Even with his back to her, she could see he cut a dashing image in his simple but classy black tux.
She stood about three feet away form his back, not wanting to interrupt his conversation when he suddenly said, "Rae!" "You made it."
He turned around and Raven was nervously staring at her feet. All of her life, Raven had felt low self esteem. Now was no exception, and when Ben remained silent for what seemed like an eternity, she spoke.
"I… I hope I am dressed Ok…I mean…if you think this is not appropriate…I can go ba…"
"Rae." He began, his voice was soothing and calm. "I have traveled the world over. I have seen the sun rise in Fiji, I have seen the sun set in the Aegean Sea…but I have never…ever seen anything as beautiful as you are now." He then held his elbow out slight for her to grab. "May I escort you inside?"
Raven gently held his arm and began to walk, thinking. I know now this is a dream, wonder when I'm going to wake up.
As they made their way through the entrance, Raven spoke up, "Ben, how did you know it was me? "I mean back there on the steps?"
"Ah, my child, it was your scent." "You are wearing the same fragrance you had on the other night."
Now she remembered, Starfire's perfume…being somewhat superstitious as was her nature, she decided to wear it again. It seemed to work the first time…so what the hell.
"Oh," Raven replied. "Yes, it's kind of rare. Actually, there are only two girls on the planet…Er…I mean in the city…that are wearing it. Kind of experimental."
"I see." He responded smiling.
"I am not a child." Raven spoke somewhat defiantly.
Ben stopped. Held Raven's hand and just like a graceful dancer, spun her around slowly. Looking intently at her from every angle, said very wickedly, "Yes, my lovely Rae. It doesn't take two good eyes to see that."
Raven grinned and smacked him playfully on the arm.
For the next hour or so, they mingled with the so called high society of Jump City. Ben seemed to be well known in these circles. She noticed every so often he had to fend off advances from unmarried debutantes. These women, she thought, had money maybe, but no class. Even though Raven was attached to Ben's arm, they still openly flirted with him. As expected, he was courteous to them, but never did he seem to give them any opening.
"Rae, I know this must be boring." he said sympathetically. "But, I just want to see one thing before we go."
"No, I…I am having a wonderful time." Raven was half telling the truth. The event was boring her, but just being with him was more than making up for it.
"Here it is." He said. They were now standing in front of display, obviously displayed in bullet proof glass, with every kind of alarm sensor known to man attached. Inside the display was a simple, yet elegant jeweled necklace, laying on dark blue velour. The engraving below the case simply said, 'JEWELRY FROM THE TOMB OF PHAROH RAMESEUS II'.
Ben gazed at the necklace intently, without looking at Raven he began, "These fools, they do not even know what they have. This is the true property of Prince Kummen Ra. The only son of Rameseus. The story goes that…" Raven cut him off in mid sentence.
"The center stone supposedly contains a small piece of wood from the staff of Moses. Given by Moses to Rameseus, who was his half brother. To protect his only nephew Kummen Ra, from the wrath of God. It is said to contain magical powers to the wearer, even to this day."
Ben stared at Raven and was for the first time in their short relationship, speechless.
"You…you know the story?" He asked.
She nodded and said, "Yea, I kind of know about this type of stuff."
"Rae…I…Think I am falling in love." He said with a mocking tone.
"Makes sense." She replied, "That was my basic plan."
Ben laughed so hard, people turned to stare. "Tell me my dear, would you like me to get this trinket for you?"
"Ben, I don't know you that well, and its obvious you are far from poor. But no one person could afford to buy this necklace, it is priceless."
"Rae, I am hurt that you doubt me." Ben said with a really evil smirk, "I never mentioned buying it."
Raven laughed, somewhat uneasily.
"Rae, the night is still young." Ben spoke as he opened the door for Raven to exit the museum. "Would you like to get something to eat?"
It was at this time Raven remembered in her excitement getting ready for tonight, that she had not eaten since lunch.
"Yea, that would be nice."
"Great!" I Know really nice restaurant not far from here."
As they walked down the steps, he led her to a waiting limo. The chauffeur quickly opened the door and they settled in the back.
"Maurice, take us to 'Bernard's'."
A very British accent then spoke, "As you wish, sir."
After a sort ride the limo came to a halt in front of a small, but very elegant bistro. The driver quickly exit and opened Raven's door. Gently helping her to exit. Damn, she thought. I could seriously get used to this. "Thank you."
As they entered the host exclaimed, "AHHH, Mr. Wilson, so very nice of you to join us this evening. Please follow me."
The restaurant was very intimate and dimly lit. They were soon seated at a romantic table for two. "Francois will be your server tonight, and I will let Bernard know you are here" The host bowed and left.
"I am impressed." Raven finally spoke.
"Rae, please do not take this as some type of master plan to woo you with grandeur. But I am hungry, and this place is actually very good." "However." Ben spoke and leaned forward, motioning Raven to do the same. "I will let you in a little secret." Raven leaned forward, placing her hands under her chin, a little smirk from one corner of her mouth, "And just what would that be?" She said seductively.
Again he leaned even closer and whispered, "My all time favorite meal…is a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and a Coke."
Raven fell back in her seat laughing so hard, she knocked over her waterglass saturating the tablecloth. "Oops."
When the waiter came over, Ben ordered for both, speaking fluent French. Raven had no idea what type of food was forthcoming. She was so mesmerized by her new friend and so hungry that it didn't matter.
A short while later, the food arrived. There was a period of silence while they ate. Raven finally broke the ice.
"Ben, what do you do?" "I mean if you don't mind I ask."
"No, not at all. I guess you could say that I am semi retired from the military."
Raven had a puzzled look to her, knowing he was obviously wealthy. "Were you like a General or something?"
Ben smiled and wiped his face with a napkin, "Not hardly, no, just a regular soldier."
"But" She said, "Aren't you kind of young, I mean…to be retired?"
Ben again smiled and made a slight motion with his finger towards his eye patch. Raven sank down into her chair. Her thoughts consumed her. You idiot, you did it again. He probably was discharged for the eye.
"Please forgive me." She said, "It must be the wine, I should have known."
"Rae, lighten up, its no big deal." He was almost chuckling. "Oh and by the way, mystery woman, what do you do when you are not mesmerizing me with your beauty?"
"I…well…I…um kind of work with my friends…well, they are really my family. We kind of do…security work."
"You are a security guard?" He asked.
"No!" "Sort of like consulting."
Raven did not want to even begin to try to explain the Titan thing. Between the wonderful meal and a few glasses of wine, she was as comfortable as she had ever felt.
"I would really like to go your place"
Ben's one good eyebrow raised somewhat. "Rae…is that you talking, or perhaps the wine?"
"That's for me to know, and you…to find out"
Ben turned his head slightly to the direction of the waiter.
"Francois!" "Check…siv' vous plais.