“Hi, I’m Flutter,” the towering woman introduced herself to Marie with a broad smile. Flutter was easily the tallest person in the room, but Marie was the shortest if she didn’t count the caterer. She looked up at the redhead that she guessed was at least three feet taller than her, and introduced herself.
“Hi, Flutter. Marie,” she extended a tiny olive-skinned hand, it was enveloped completely by Flutter’s giant, milky-white grasp.
“Can I talk to you alone for a moment?” Flutter asked. She gestured at the open sliding door that led to the deck.
“Sure,” Marie smiled. She came to the party planning to shmooze with as many wealthy investors as she could. But, she wasn’t about to ignore the chance of finding a date or three. She followed Flutter out to the deck while admiring the way her flowing red dress fit.
Outside, the sun was setting into the ocean. A cool breeze caressed Marie’s arms as she joined Flutter at the rail overlooking the beach.
“So, how’d you end up here?” Flutter started the conversation.
“You know the finance app, Dragon Hoard?” Marie had only been at the party for about an hour before Flutter introduced herself. In that time she managed to mingle with several people, all of which gave a polite chuckle when she mentioned the name of her app. One even referred to the name as, “very clever”. Marie was surprised when Flutter let out a loud guffaw. She noted some heads from the beach turned to see if everything was okay while Flutter continued to chortle loudly. Marie began to get the feeling Flutter, and maybe everyone else at the party, was laughing at her. It definitely soured Marie’s feelings toward her a bit.
“It’s not that funny,” Marie said once Flutter seemed like she was calming down. Still giggling, Flutter nodded her head.
“It totally is, though.”
“Well, I hope you enjoyed the moment,” Marie gave Flutter a flat smile, then turned to head back inside.
“No, wait!” Flutter put a hand on Marie’s shoulder to stop her, but let go instantly. “I’m sorry, I’m not laughing at the name of your app. I’m laughing at those idiots in there,” she pointed at the party happening inside. Marie really wanted to like Flutter. She decided to give her a chance to explain.
“And, why is that?” she asked.
“I’m going to tell you a secret, but don’t freak out. Don’t panic, you’re safe with me,” Flutter said. Marie moved to the rail again.
“I’m listening,” she said.
“This little club is by invite only,” Flutter said.
“I got one,” Marie was quick to defend herself. Though, despite the reflex, she realized that Flutter didn’t seem to be the elitist type. Stuffy people tended to avoid guffawing so freely, lest they embarrass themselves.
“I know, listen. This is a private club with a very exclusive membership.” Marie shifted her weight toward the party; Flutter noticed and skipped to the point.
“Everyone here, except you, is a dragon. It looks like they thought you were one too.”
“Proof?” Marie crossed her arms and took a single step toward the party.
“I can do this…,” Flutter said. Her alabaster skin darkened. It shifted its color and texture. In moments her arms, chest and face were covered in brilliant golden scales. They gleamed in the setting sunlight and Marie was left speechless. Both in surprise, and awe at her beauty; the golden scales somehow made Flutter’s red dress look better. After several moments, Flutter relaxed and the scales receded into her skin.
“You’re not in any danger,” Flutter said when Marie didn’t say anything. “If and when they find out, they’ll just make you sign an NDA and kick you out of the club. The last thing they want is the police snooping around for a missing woman and taking a close look at their finances.”
“They’re really dragons?” Marie asked finally. It seemed like an unnecessary question, but it was the only sentence she could string together. Flutter nodded but didn’t say anything else. She smiled at Marie letting her sort through her thoughts. Marie walked to the railing and stared out at the sunset for several quiet minutes. Then, a thought struck her.
“Everyone’s a dragon?” she asked again.
“Yeah,” Flutter said.
“And they thought I was a dragon too?” she asked. Flutter nodded.
“How did you know I’m not?” Flutter smiled.
“Donna told me,” she said.
“Donna..?” The name sounded familiar. “Donna Chang? The caterer?” Marie thought the food was delicious and was sure to introduce herself to the caterer and get a business card.
“That’s the one,” Flutter said.
“How did she know?” Marie had another realization. “Is she a dragon too!?”
“She is; she can see things most others can’t. Don’t worry though, she’s not going to tell anyone about you.”
“She told you,” Marie replied.
“She trusts me.”
“Should I trust you?” Marie asked. She took a half step closer to Flutter.
“I can’t tell you that,” Flutter said with a wink. “But, we should get dinner tomorrow night so you can decide for yourself.”