Many months had passed, in fact, nearly a year now since Teresa and Barbara clashed at the Woman of the Year Formal Ball. Terri's last humiliation actually had some beneficial effects on her personality. She was no longer the haughty, domineering, social diva that she had once been. She had actually become courteous and attentive to others in her social circle and no longer used leverage to gain her own way in matters. The change wasn't left unnoticed by others in this Connecticut town and was welcomed by them. Other changes were taking place as well.
Barbara Anderson, having gotten the upper hand on Teresa and causing her naked display one last time, had now moved into the role of "alpha" female. Surprisingly, Barbara was becoming more like Terri, as Terri became more like Barbara had been. Barbara was more diplomatic, in her dealings with others, than Terri ever was, but she had learned to assert herself despite it. The two women had seldom crossed paths, in the past several months. In fact, Terri seldom attended any functions at all, lately, at the Country Club. This, apparently, was going to change, once again, at the Club's Halloween Fancy Dress party.
Barbara had gotten herself elected Chairperson of the Country Club's entertainment committee. She was in control of all arrangements and activities for the party. The highlight of the event was to be the Costume Contest. Barbara had worked hard to obtain desirable prizes for the winners. The Grand Prize for the winning couple was a weekend at an exclusive ski resort in Vermont. Barbara knew she wasn't eligible to win the prize herself, but she certainly wanted one of her friends to have that Vermont trip.
At the Scalia household, Dominic and Teresa were dressing for the party.
"Do you like the costumes I selected?" asked Terri.
"I feel like a damned fool!" said Dominic. "Do I have to wear this nose all night?" Dominic was dressed as a storybook puppet (the one who wished to become a real boy), complete with a feather in his cap and green lederhosen.
"Of course, you do! You are Pinocchio. Don't tell any lies or it will grow, your nose, that is," she said teasingly. "What do you think about my costume?"
"I think you look wonderful! It's not really your usual style, but very attractive on you nonetheless."
To compliment Dominic's Pinocchio costume, Terri had elected to go as the Blue Fairy, from the same story. Her gown was a floor length, powder blue chiffon, very feminine off-the-shoulder gown, with lots of crinoline and a scooped neckline that showed off just enough of Terri's more-than-ample cleavage. Her hair was done in an upswept style and she wore a small tiara in it. Attached to the back of her gown, was a small pair of diaphanous fairy wings and, of course, she carried a "magic" wand.
"We haven't been to the Country Club for a longtime, Dominic. Not since that episode with Barbara, at the Woman of the Year banquet," Terri recalled.
"I know, Terri, and you and I both know why, but time has passed and I think everyone has moved past that little public display."
"Well I certainly hope so, especially Barbara Anderson. I just want to have a fun evening, with no problems from her."
"That's what I want too, but I'll tell you something. I've been very proud of you and the way you've handled yourself, since that banquet. Just remember, you don't have to take any guff from Barbara Anderson, but be a lady and don't cause a scene unnecessarily."
"I'll do my best, Dominic. That woman will never get the better of me again!"
"Terri, I'm telling you, NO SCENES! Understand?'
Meanwhile at the Anderson residence...
"Velcome to my castle!" announced Mark Anderson, in his best Bela Lugosi dialect, as he did a 180-degree turn, flourishing his red lined vampire cape, "Let me feast upon your blood!" Mark playfully mouthed Barbara's neck from behind.
"Calm down, Count. We don't have time for any hanky-panky."
"But you look like such a sexy witch. Where did you get this outfit?"
"I had it made, just for this occasion. Do you think it's a little too much?"
"No I think you look fine, just fine," said Mark, with a wink at Barbara.
Barbara was indeed dressed as very sexily. Clad entirely in black, Barbara's dress had a high neckline and long sleeves; however, the back was completely open, practically to her waist, revealing her very attractive back and shoulders. The skirt portion was snugly fit around her hips, with the hemline just reaching mid-thigh. Barbara's shapely legs were encased in black stockings and, of course, she wore black stiletto heels. To complete the ensemble, Barbara put on a small, pointed and brimmed witch's hat and carried a small broom.
"Come on, Mark! Let's get going. I want to check on a few things at the Club, before the guests arrive."
Mark and Barbara arrived around forty-five minutes before the official start of the party. Barbara set about checking on the decorations, catering, and entertainment. Barbara's good friend, Rhonda Miller, was already there to assist her.
"Rhonda, how is it going? Is everything coming together as planned?"
"I think we're in good shape," Rhonda replied. "The DJ is set up and the decorations look great. I've got the prize envelopes here and the judges have all confirmed that they'll be here."
"Great! It looks like we'll pull this off in great fashion," Barbara said.
"There is one thing I should tell you about, though, Barbara. I was going through the RSVPs and I saw Dominic and Teresa Scalia's name. I just thought you should know that your Italian "girlfriend" might show up tonight," said Rhonda, teasingly.
Barbara looked surprised and said, "You're kidding! They're actually going to come to this party? I didn't think she'd show her face in this Club again. Oh well, it's a free country and I doubt very much that she'll act up again."
"You never know about her, Barbara. I'll help by keeping one eye on her for you, just in case," Rhonda volunteered.
"Okay. That sounds like a plan. Let's just make sure we have a successful party and that one of our friends gets that wonderful Vermont trip."
Rhonda and Barbara finished the final preparations, with time to spare. Barbara met with the three judges, who had been retained to rate the partygoers on their costumes. In the interest of impartiality, the judges were all from out-of-town and did not know any of the competitors. Barbara went over the criteria that the judges were to use and how to identify each entrant on their ballots. Because some would be wearing masks, it was decided that they would identify them by character name or simple description. Rhonda would be in charge of assisting the judges in their work with tallying the votes.
The guests soon began arriving. Many had really gone all out with their costumes. There were the usual monsters and ghosts, along with some very exquisite costumes from the French Court of Louis XVI, Star Trek characters (both Star Fleet and Klingons) and a few storybook characters. What seemed to catch everyone's attention was the entrance of Pinocchio and the Blue Fairy. While Dominic played his part as the puppet boy adequately, it was Teresa, as the Blue Fairy that got everyone's attention. She looked absolutely breathtaking. She was, perhaps, slightly womanlier in shape than what most would think a fairy should look like, but a sight to behold, nonetheless. The other guests soon seemed to surround her. Comments rang out on how it had been so long since they had seen her and also on how lovely she looked this evening. Teresa was somewhat taken aback by all of the positive attention. The costume judges had taken full notice of her, as well, and were marking their scorecards, in advance, appropriately. Rhonda Miller, flitting around the judges, caught a glimpse at their scores. She couldn't believe it! Teresa was running away with the competition. She had to find Barbara and inform her about what was going on.
Rhonda searched for Barbara and found her and Mark near the DJ stand.
"Barbara, I've got to talk to you. This is important."
After getting her attention, she whispered, "Teresa Scalia is going to win the Costume Contest. I got a look at the judges scorecards and there's no one even close."
"Oh no! That can't be! I don't want her waltzing in here and walking off with that Vermont trip," exclaimed Barbara.
"So what?" Mark interjected. "If she wins the prize legitimately, then so be it."
"Mark, I'm not going to let that happen. She's not winning that prize!"
"Barbara, I'm giving you fair warning. Do NOT cause any problems tonight with Terri Scalia!" warned Mark.
"Come on, Rhonda. Let's see where Terri is." Barbara said, as she walked away from Mark, ignoring his warning.
"I think I saw her out on the veranda, before I came to find you."
Barbara and Rhonda started their reconnaissance. As expected, Terri and Dominic were on the veranda, having a drink and conversation with two other couples. Terri had her back to the railing, not quite up against it, and was facing the main ballroom.
From their vantage point, Barbara and Rhonda could see where Terri was, without being noticed. Barbara surveyed the situation and formulated a plan.
"We've got fifteen minutes until the Grand Promenade. That's when the judges will make their final selection. I've got to come up with something to keep her from winning." said Barbara. "Are those long shears still in the utility room?"
"Yes they are. I know right where they're at. Why? What do you have in mind?" asked Rhonda.
"Go and get the shears and bring them back here to me. Then, I want you to go up to the veranda and keep Terri occupied with some of your "sparkling" conversation, okay?"
"Okay, I guess, but be careful. Mark warned you not to cause any problems."
"Don't worry about Mark. I can handle him. Remember now, when you're talking to Terri, try to keep one eye on me. Keep her facing you with her back to the railing and don't let her leave until I give you the signal. Understand?"
"All right, Barbara. Good luck."
Rhonda did as instructed and delivered the shears to Barbara. Rhonda then made her way through the main hall and out to the veranda. Barbara crept around the building to the outside of the veranda, right behind Terri. The veranda's deck was approximately four feet above ground level. Barbara looked around for something to stand on, so she could accomplish what she had in mind. Fortunately for her, there was an empty bucket, just under the deck. The lighting on the deck was subdued enough and the sound level from the music in the main hall filtered out through the open doors, making conversation a little difficult, but masking any other noise and her presence.
Barbara kept a low profile, just peaking over the deck floor, watching for Rhonda to show up. Rhonda swept through the doors and walked directly up to Terri as if she had just found a long lost friend.
"Teresa dear, it's so good to see you. My gosh, it's been ages!" Rhonda gushed.
"Well hello, Rhonda. It's so nice to see you. How have you been?" asked Terri.
"I'm going to get us a couple more drinks, Terri. Rhonda, would you like something?" asked Dominic.
"No thank you, Dominic. I'm fine," replied Rhonda.
Dominic walked back into the main hall, toward the bar.
While Rhonda and Terri engaged in small talk, Barbara set her plan into action. Standing on the bucket to gain elevation, she used the shears to quietly and discretely start cutting, very slowly and cautiously, making a vertical cut on the hem on the right side of Terri's dress. She didn't dare tug on the fabric, lest Terri be alerted to what was going on. Rhonda kept looking over Terri's shoulder, when she wasn't noticing, to see if Barbara was making any progress. Rhonda had to stifle a laugh, when she realized exactly what Barbara was up to. Barbara completed the first cut, traveling from the hem nearly to the waist, then across the back and down the left side. She deftly lowered the fabric but was disappointed at the results. She signaled Rhonda to keep talking.
"And where did you get this lovely dress? It really becomes you." Rhonda remarked to Terri.
What Barbara hadn't counted on were the layers of crinoline beneath the dress fabric. Again, as stealthily as possible, Barbara reached with her left hand and compressed the crinoline, as she worked the shears, being extremely cautious not to accidentally touch Terri's body or tug on the fabric.
"Rhonda, I think I'll go back in and find Dominic, before the final costume judging starts."
Rhonda looked down at Barbara who was vigorously shaking her head from side to side, signaling her not to let her leave yet.
"Oh, you've got plenty of time, Terri. Tell me about Dominic Jr. How is he doing in school this year?"
Terri accommodated Rhonda's inquiry about Dominic Jr. All the while, Barbara was snipping away at the crinoline petticoats. The music faded away and the DJ made an announcement: "Ladies and Gentlemen, please assemble in the main hall for the Grand Promenade.
"Rhonda, it's been nice visiting with you, but I really must find Dominic." With that, Terri walked away from her, toward the door to the main hall. Barbara made the last cut, just as Terri had stepped away from the railing. Barbara threw the cut fabric to the ground, smiling and admiring her work as Terri walked away.
Barbara had completely removed the back of Terri's gown from the hem nearly to the waist, revealing Terri's very shapely and famous derriere, which tonight, was encased in pale blue sheer pantyhose. Terri's outfit was so color coordinated that her French cut panties were just a slightly darker shade of blue.
As soon as Terri was out of earshot, Barbara and Rhonda broke into peals of laughter.
"Well that should take care of her," Barbara told Rhonda. "I don't believe she'll be taking any prizes home tonight."
"Oh Barbara, you are so wicked." Rhonda sneered.
"Come on. Let's get ourselves another drink and find a good vantage point, so we can watch the fun begin."
Barbara and Rhonda walked around the corner of the veranda and entered the main hall, through a side door. Terri had found Dominic, on his way back to the veranda, with their drinks in hand.
"Would all those competing in the costume contest please gather at the end of the hall by the DJ stand? Final judging will commence in a few moments, after the Grand Promenade," announced the DJ.
Dominic and Terri walked to the opposite end of the hall to take their place in line for the judging. Terri noticed that several people were intently looking them over as they moved through the hall. She was sure they were admiring her and Dominic's outfits. What she wasn't sure about was the snickering and chuckles she was hearing, as they passed by them.
Those who weren't competing were gathered on either side of the hall, forming the promenade. The contestants were to walk down the promenade, toward the judges at the opposite end. After presenting themselves to the judges, the contestants were to then do a complete turn before acknowledging the observers.
Dominic and Teresa began their walk. The laughter grew louder behind the couple, as they advanced toward the judges. Teresa felt a cool breeze on the back of her legs and on her bottom, for some reason.
Teresa whispered to Dominic, "Dominic, do you feel a draft?"
Dominic, intent on playing the role of Pinocchio, wasn't paying much attention but answered "What? Draft? No. I was apparently exempted."
As Dominic and Teresa made their walk, Barbara took a position at the front line of the observers, to enjoy the effects of her mischief. Standing with her hands on her hips between the rows of spectators, Barbara could see Terri's embarrassment unfold before her eyes.
Mark stepped up beside Barbara and whispered, "Is this some of your doing?"
"You bet it is! She was running away with the contest and I wasn't about to let her have that Grand Prize. I think this should take care of any chance she had at winning," Barbara declared.
"I told you not to start anything tonight! We'll discuss this later, but I am not happy with you," said Mark.