She didn't look at him.
He didn't look at her. They had an understanding. The only way to succeed was if they didn't show the mark that everyone in the room was absolute strangers.
Glasses clinked, the lounge pianist droned his snooty song, polite ladies left to powder their noses, and she stood directly under the chandelier's magnificent crown. In a few seconds, the lights would fizzle out, he would pull the cord, and she would lie dead, crushed by the weight of the crystals and copper.
Or they would make it. They would make it to the mark, take his portal key, and never look back.
"Aria, is that you?" She lowered her nose, pretending to dig through the purse, but the old woman's hands were not as deft as her own.
"ARIA, DARLING. CAN YOU HEAR ME?" The obnoxious man continued.
No, she couldn't. She was gone.