Puzzled, I followed her out to the corridor. She stood in the doorway and beckoned, pausing to swap her high heeled shoes for trainers. She held my arm and, weaving slightly, led me around the side of the house. She seemed tipsy rather than drunk. Her face, its features softened by drink, was less forbidding. She refused to elaborate about the stone. We reached a stout wooden door built into the park wall. Helen took out a large bronze key and unlocked it.
We entered what proved to be a small stone room; the air was cool and still. The sounds of the party were blocked out completely. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could make out a rough stone cross, 2m high, standing in the centre of the flagged floor. Helen stepped forward and turned to face me.
"This is Saint Michael's cross," she recited. "It was found when the house was built. It's supposed to be quite old: the inscription's Celtic or something."
I went up to the cross, bending close to see the detail of the carving. Helenm, her supply of information exhausted, rested back against the stone, shivering as her bare shoulders touched the cold surface. I couldn't make out the weathered letters, and reached out to trace them with my fingers.
"This is amazing-" I started to say, but was interrupted by Helen's laugh.
"I didn't think you'd really do it - prefer to touch an old stone than a warm girl."
She took my hand in hers and placed it firmly on her breast. Through the thin cloth of the dress I could feel her flesh yield to my touch, and an answering pressure on my palm from her nipple. I stood up and kissed her. Her lips were surprisingly hard and dry: I had expected drunken slobber. I ran my hands over her arms, waist, thighs; she responded in kind, systematically tugging my shirt free at the waist. My psoe was uncomfortable and awkward, but I didn't want to break the mood by speaking to suggest a rearrangement. Instead, I crouched down to kiss her throat, while reaching up under her dress to remove her pants. After a short, hectic coupling, we stood there, panting. Helen psuhed me gently backwards, and stooped to retrieve her underwear.
"We'd better get back," she said brightly; I nodded in the gloom.
As we walked towards the house, she shook away my proferred hand. That was evidently that, whatever that was, or had been.