| This is copyright by me and I ask that it not be posted or
archived without my permission and do not claim it as your own.
The castle mentioned in the is in fact, a real place. I
have no idea if it is being used this New Year's Eve - I just
took creative license with it. I mean, if ever a castle begged
to be in an ass* story, this one did!
Special thanks go to Shon for making sure I got it done in time.
If you'd like to comment on the story, email me at
"The Stroke of Midnight"
Blending in with the shadows of a tall spruce tree as if born
from their substance, he observed the building across the street
and the dwindling line of guests entering. The clouds, and
stagnant, shrouded the moon's glow and lent the night an air of
mystery. A soft blanket of new snow covered the ground and
helped to muffle footsteps. He smiled to himself; the perfect
night for a heist.
Nymphenburg Castle was bathed in muted light, from outside as
well as within. No loud and raucous celebration here. The
guests would be ringing in the new millennium in stately grace
and impeccable decorum. He slid back the cuff of his black
tuxedo and looked at the Bulova on his wrist; time to get moving.
He was known as "Midnight", jewel thief extraordinaire. Some
half-wit journalist had tagged him with the moniker early in his
career, and to his dismay, it had stuck. It sounded girlish to
him, but no one had asked his opinion. Now he was and
couldn't give two cents what the press wrote about him.
He strolled up the long drive, past the precision-trimmed hedges
and the frozen pond with its fountain, turned off during the long
winter months. In the spring, the gardens around the castle
rivaled those at Versailles. Now the barren trees shook and
rattled in the cold wind above him and the flowers lay dormant,
waiting for Persephone's sweet smile.
At the door, he handed his invitation to a burly, craggy-faced
footman. The inclined his head and motioned him to enter.
The forged document was perfect, as he knew it would be; he'd
paid enough for it.
A nab of a champagne-filled flute from a passing waiter and then
a leisurely stroll through the foyer to the Great Hall. Most of
the rooms, as well as the east and west wings, had been cordoned
off for the gala but they held only passing interest for him,
anyway. The heavy Baroque ornamentation leered back at him from
every corner. Former Bavarian rulers had spared no expense.
Tonight's little gathering of 300 or so guests to ring in the new
millennium was the brainchild of Bavaria's Minister of Economic
Development. Nymphenburg Castle, situated right in the heart of
Munich, would not have been his first choice. He'd have much
preferred something smaller and more isolated. As usual, no one
had asked his opinion.
There was a lavish buffet set up in the main room with an
abstract ice sculpture in the middle. A quartet played in the
corner, a saucy Latin number. The trick was to be seen without
being conspicuous. Just another face in the crowd.
He lounged in a corner and thought about the latest object of his
affections. No flesh and blood woman; his quarry was much more
substantive, at least in his mind. He was a jewel thief and one
of the best, if not *the* best. He was after the "Vale of
Tears", a necklace comprised of three blood-red rubies, so
perfect and dark that they were almost black in color. It was
part of a display entitled "Jewels of Bavaria" and had been
featured in a special showing earlier in the day. Now it rested
just two floors up and three rooms over. And by the time the
clock struck twelve, it would be his.
Two glasses of bubbly later, he noticed her rounding a statue of
Cupid. He'd seen her earlier; he couldn't help it. She was not
one of those drop-dead knockouts that grace the covers of fashion
magazines; her beauty crept up on you and heated your skin like
the last rays of a summer sun.
He watched her approach. White Versace dress, long and high-
necked - not body-hugging but still tight. Designer pumps and
matching handbag. She was closer now. Honey colored hair and
crystal blue eyes. Her nose was too small, her bottom lip too
full. Somehow it all worked on her. It wasn't so much her looks
as it was her attitude; the presence she wore like a second skin.
He didn't move an inch, just waited for her to come to him. He
could smell her designer perfume now and see the necklace she
wore around her neck. Well, well, this was certainly
interesting. He graced her with a slow smile.
"You must think me really forward," she said, "but I noticed you
when you came in earlier." Her English was flawless with only the
faintest trace of an accent. "My name is Margot, Margot
He extended his hand and grasped hers lightly. Placing a
lingering kiss against the delicate skin on the back of her hand,
he replied, "Not forward. Captivating, but never forward."
Her answering smile was coy. "And you would be?"
"Forgive my manners, please. Garrett Anderson." She was
becoming a distraction he wanted, but didn't need. Any other
time but tonight. "That's a lovely necklace you're wearing."
She fingered the stones absently. "Why thank you. It's a copy
you know, of the one that was on display earlier. 'das
Jammertal' they call it, or 'Vale of Tears.'"
"Fascinating." Damn but that was a good copy. He'd wager his
Corvette that Sergei had made it. He was the best when it came
to making jewel copies. Back to business now. He made a show of
looking around the room. "I'm sorry, my dear, but I promised
Lady Breeden I'd dance at least once with her."
"Of course," she said, graciously.
He kissed her hand once more. "I hope I'll be seeing you later."
His eyes conveyed his meaning quite clearly.
"I'd count on it," she answered, her voice dropping an octave.
She turned and left then and he drew in his breath. He felt
like he'd been sucker-punched. The back of her gown was open all
the way to the gentle swell of her buttocks. She was not
slim, but curvaceous. Rubenesque would be the word he'd use for
her. Quite appropriate considering their surroundings.
'I've got to stop this. Concentrate, chap,' he admonished
himself. He turned and crossed the room, seeking out a garish
dowager whose cackling laugh could be heard in all corners of the
room. He led her out on the dance floor, just in case Ms.
Helling was watching. Hopefully she didn't personally know the
woman. If so, and she confronted him with it later, he was
confident he could cover himself. After all, he'd spent the last
22 years doing just that.
The dance finished and he noted the time; fifteen minutes until
midnight. Some of the guests were arming themselves with party
He started edging toward where his floor plans had shown the
servant's staircase would be. A shrill voice intoned, "Luis! Oh
Luis!" Of all the parties she could have attended tonight, why
did Madeline von Bregen have to pick this one?
Ducking into a darkened alcove and pressing himself flat against
the stones, he waited until she'd given up her search for him and
joined the rest of the crowd. Great. She'd cost him two minutes
that he could ill afford. That was one of the reasons he liked
to work in the dead of night when no one was around. The less
socialization he did on the job, the less likelihood of getting
He found it amazingly simple to slip up the stairs to the third
floor. He was counting on the Y2K computer glitch to give him a
slight edge around the pressure-sensor casing for the necklace.
It helped, too, that there was a flaw in the security
system. Despite their sterling reputation, Fortress Security Inc.
had an embarrassingly shoddy alarm system on their own offices.
The jewels were in the upper Minstrel's Hall, a room about the
size of Garrett's whole Manhattan condo. The object of his
desire was in the far right corner, surrounded by a network of
infrared lasers. He knelt by the black casing affixed to the
wall. He'd set his watch with the clock in the main hall and
checked the time now. One minute to go. As he drew a small box
from an inside pocket, he could hear the merriment downstairs
picking up. He attached the box, a specially modified surge
suppressor, to the side of the laser casing. The infrared beams
had a 3-second delay on them, from the time the beam was
interrupted until the time the alarm went off. That, coupled
with the 10-second delay provided by the Y2K glitch in the
mainframe, should give him the time he needed to see the necklace
safely in his grasp.
The guests below started to count down.
He flipped a switch on the suppressor.
The beams became visible for a second and then disappeared
He crossed the floor to the glass display case.
He lifted it gingerly.
The grandfather clock in the entrance hall began to chime the
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
Delighting in the shiver going up his spine as he grasped the
stones, he carefully replaced the glass top, and stepped back
outside of the laser area.
Just in time, too, as his watch chimed with the 10 second count
off. He removed the black box and slipped it back into his
pocket. He spared a few moments to hold the necklace up for
inspection. Through the dim moonlight coming in through the
stained glass windows, he admired the workmanship. The intricate
links in the gold chain seemed to have been wrought by a fairy
hand, so tiny and perfect were they.
"Well, hello again, Mr. Anderson," a soft, feminine voice said
from the doorway. Margot took a step into the room, the necklace
gleaming around her neck as brilliantly as the original he held
in his hand. "Or should I say, 'Midnight'."
He frowned. "I'm afraid I'm confused."
"Come now," she chided. "I'm not stupid. Who else but the
greatest jewel thief of the decade would be brave, or foolish,
enough to steal the 'Vale of Tears' with so many people around?"
"I bow to your superior deductive skills, madam," he said with a
short bow. "What do you intend to do now?" He was amazed at how
calm he sounded, considering his heart was racing 90 miles an
hour. In the guise of wiping his sweaty palms on his trousers,
he slipped the necklace into his pocket.
She walked closer. "I'm well aware that you could knock me out
and just disappear into the night, but I don't think that's your
style." She laughed at his upraised brows. "But I think we both
know what I want."
"And if I give you..what you want..?"
"I'll forget I ever saw you." She was close enough now to finger
the buttons on his crisp, white shirt.
'What in the Hell are you doing?' his mind screamed at him. 'You
must leave...now!' As his gaze locked onto hers, his mind shut
off as all available blood left it for a more appropriate
With a fury to rival a tropical storm, the two came together in a
passionate kiss. Her hands went to his face, his arms around her
waist. Sweeping her up, he walked with her in his embrace toward
the Aubusson carpet in the center of the room. As they reached
it, he lowered her until her heels touched the floor.
Pulling reluctantly from the kiss he turned her around. He swept
her hair to one side and as his hands began inching up the skirt
of her dress, he alternately and nipped at her neck. His
mouth moved to the top of her spine and then he began to lick
downward, toward the tantalizing swell of her buttocks. As he
reached his goal, he lightly pushed her over.
Gasping in surprise, she looked over her shoulder at him. Her
eyes widened as he spread her legs, kneeling behind her. With
nothing on below the waist other than a stark white garter and
hose, she made a delectable picture.
Margot's eyes flashed then slammed shut in pleasure as he blew
lightly across her moistened thatch and pressed his lips and
tongue against her heated skin. A stifled moan escaped her lips
as his tongue lanced across her swelling clit.
Bringing his fingers up, Garrett spread her lips open wider and
plunged his tongue deep inside. Her knees almost gave out and he
placed his arm around her hips to steady her. Sliding his thumb
up to her burning clit, he began to stroke it in small, fast
circles. Her pulse pounded in her throat and she swallowed
Margot bit her lip as the rest of her body screamed out with her
escalating orgasm. The waves of passion crashed over her and the
pressure between her legs burst in a tidal wave of electrical
impulses. Garrett held her up as she trembled and shook with the
force of her orgasm.
As she re-oriented herself to her surroundings, he stood and
unfastened the front of his trousers. Dropping them, along with
his briefs, into a pile around his ankles he lay down on the
carpet and pulled her atop him. She growled at him as she
lowered herself onto his tumid member. Her thighs locked around
his hips in a viselike grip. Her hands digging into his shoulders
and his hands resting on her hips, she started to move up and
down on him in a dance as as time.
Slowly at first and then faster and harder she moved, her nipples
puckering against the smooth fabric of her dress. The muscles in
his thighs and ass tightened as he felt his release building.
The revelric sounds from below, and the knowledge that they could
be caught at any time, only heightened their passion.
Her breath started to come in shallow gasps and it wasn't long
before the tenuous quiver of her voice joined the low groaning of
his. Crashing over the edge, he drew her into the depths of the
maelstrom with him.
When the room stopped spinning, Margot got to her feet. She
tugged down her skirt, straightened her necklace and smoothed her
hair, while Garrett deftly slid back into his pants. She walked
over to him and ran her hand through his short, black hair.
Green eyes twinkled back at her. "Does this mean I can go now?"
She laughed and stepped back, sweeping her arm to the side in a
grand gesture. "I always keep my promises...Midnight."
He refused to rise to her goading. He tipped off a smart salute.
"Until next we meet, Mags," he said, and walked out of the room
as if he hadn't a care in the world.
Margot stood there, lost in remembrances until someone clearing
their voice startled her back to the present. "Papa! You
startled me so!"
An gentleman, with her same crystal blue eyes, walked out
of the shadows.
"How long have you been there?" she asked, her cheeks flushing.
"Long enough," was the semi-stern reply. "How could you, Margot?
That is a thief."
"It's okay, Papa," she said with a carefree laugh. "He only took
the necklace in the case; the paste. The original is still here,
safely around my neck." She smiled at the brilliance of their
"Is that so?" her questioned. "Then why is there a deep
'M' carved into the center stone?"
"What?" She fumbled behind her to unfasten the necklace and hold
it to the light. Sure enough, a crooked 'M' had been scratched
into the surface of the undeniably fake 'Vale of Tears.' "He
must have switched them, but.." her voice trailed off. She could
guess when, but not exactly how. He must have known all along!
Her eyes flashed fire as she trembled in barely concealed rage.
No one played Margot Helling for a fool! They would meet again.
She didn't know when or where, but there *would* be a next time!
As she stormed out of the room, her following closely, she
could have sworn she heard his laughter echoing down the deserted
***Copyright 1999 by Souvie