As far as Mortimer was concerned, the Midsummer event was nothing more than a chore, much like the Opening and Returning Feasts. It involved his least favorite part of his job, getting up in front of the students and giving a speech. Not that the man was afraid of public speaking but he loathed having to pretend to be pleasant and festive and the slightest bit interested in the social occasion at hand. Mortimer hadn't been here nearly long enough to perfect such difficult acting skills. Being friendly and personable went against the core of his very being. Just the fact that he was able to manage to keep himself from scowling or sneering was an accomplishment.
The only positive thing that he could say about the ball was that it was the easiest event to plan for. It was always the same whereas with other events people always seemed to want something new and different from what he understood. Of course, the ball also had the most potential for drama and misery. Thankfully, he kept his distance from the emotional states of students-something he had no idea how to deal with in the first place- and really only interacted with them if he had to step in as a disciplinarian.
The hall had been transformed into a real dance hall with a stage for the band the school had hired, one that played popular tunes. Not necessarily Mortimer's taste, but he supposed he once again had to make concessions. There was a huge dance floor with groups of medium sized tables surrounding it. The Hall was decorated in the colors of the winning house and flowers were the center pieces at each table. There was also a table with buffet much like the one at the Bonfire last year. Not the classiest thing but it wasn't like they could hire waiters, and a set menu didn't work either when you had a wide range of tastes in food. Besides, for those less than enthused about the ball in general, they could at least enjoy their meals.
Once everyone had settled in, he stood. "Good evening and welcome to this year's Midsummer ball. I have a few announcements before the festivities start. First of all, we are saying goodbye to Miss Jera Valson who is leaving to pursue other opportunities. Next, we have decided to save announcing Head Students for next year's Opening Feast." It really didn't make sense to announce them at the Midsummer Event then have to repeat it all over again for the firsties at the Opening Feast next year. "That is all. Go on and enjoy yourselves."
With that, he settled in for what was most likely going to be a boring evening for him. Mortimer had never been one for parties in general and ones meant for younger people were even duller.
OOC-The specific winners of the House Cup will be announced next week. Also, the yearbook should be out tomorrow.
Clark Dill arrived at the ball, dressed up in his most fancy duds. This was not to say he was dressed in fancy duds. Charlie had helped with some alterations to his nicest school robe (they were all hand-me-downs that had been second-hand when Dad got them, but some were in much better condition than others) to make it a bit snazzier, but Clark hadn't had anything else. He could have, of course, picked up a new dress robe over Christmas; there had been plenty of warning that this formal dance was coming up, but dress robes were expensive, and his dad had said he could get a new robe or a new video card for his computer, and, well, it wasn't the robe that he got new. It wasn't like he wore robes anywhere but at school and school didn't generally call for fancy ones.
Plus, there wasn't anyone he was particularly trying to impress, either. Sure, he had friends there, and some of them were even girls, but he was still only thirteen; he hadn't asked any of them as a date, figuring he'd just meet them there and hang out as friends and dance for fun if he didn't terrify them during their first foray onto the dance floor. (Stellar dance moves were not, sadly, one of his alien superpowers.) He figured if any of them cared enough about appearances that an altered school robe at a ball offended them, then there must have been some terrible miscommunication somewhere and they probably shouldn't have been his friends in the first place. He normally wore the hand-me-down robes over Think-Geek t-shirts and jeans so it wasn't like they had had cause to think he'd ever be high-fashion.
Charlie's alterations were good enough for Clark's purposes and cost a whole lot less. It was win-win, as far as Clark was concerned. So he arrived at the Hall wearing a fancified school robe - Charlie had done a great job with what little he'd had to work with, so it was barely recognizable for what it was.
He looked around for some of his friends, but didn't spot any before the Headmaster started talking. He felt no particular loss at not finding out who the Head Students would be. He honestly wasn't really sure which of the older students he knew from Quidditch where even sixth years, nevermind in the running for Head Student. He was sad to hear Professor Valson was leaving though. Despite her official title of 'substitute' he hadn't had any other DADA professor in two years, except when she needed a substitute herself.
Then the short speech was over and Clark headed over for the buffet to start the ball off right. He was thirteen. That meant he was perpetually hungry. He'd just finished filling a heaping plate when he spotted someone he knew and his eyes lit up and he grinned in greeting, "Heya, I was just going to go look for you."
OOC: Charlie's alteration successes approved by his author.
There were five minutes until the appointed meeting time and Wendy felt only half ready. She should be rushing, she knew she should, but she couldn’t smear her makeup or ruin her curled blonde hair. Wrinkling her beautiful dress was absolutely out of the question—if she could live in this dress, she would. It was comfortable, perfect for the occasion, and had more than one splash of color, one of her favorite parts to it. It was sure to stand out just like she’d stood out during the last ball in her unique flower-on-peach-fabric dress.
It was all thanks to Charlie that Wendy looked halfway decent for tonight. After all of his help with her makeup decisions and his recommendations—not to mention tips on how to put makeup on in the first place—Wendy was looking pretty good and also a little different. It had taken an hour to put all of the eye shadow, mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss on. Trying to keep the eyeliner even was the hardest part, but she had somehow managed. The sparkly gold eye shadow matched well with her blonde hair, and the lip gloss gave her lips a slightly tinted sheen, making them look a little redder. Her eyes were a little darker and accentuated her hazel eyes. Charlie’s tips and makeup choices had certainly made her face look beautiful.
More than five minutes had passed as Wendy finished smoothing down her dress and spraying a tiny bit of lavendar perfume her sister had sent her in the mail. She had grossly underestimated the time it would take her to get ready and now she had been keeping Rupert waiting for at least ten minutes. It was lucky she was going with someone in her house, and equally lucky that she had asked to meet a little earlier before the ball to walk to Cascade together. If she was late to the dance, that would be pretty embarrassing as a Prefect. Punctuality was important, and would be even more important as Head Girl.
Finally Wendy was satisfied when she looked in the mirror. She hardly recognized herself under all the makeup, but she liked it. She liked looking a little different and grown up. Now that she was older, she could see the appeal of wearing makeup to hide blemishes on her pale face or to accentuate some of her favorite facial features. Her curls bobbed a little as she twirled in her dress, and she couldn’t help but smile at her reflection. The thought of Rupert’s reaction when he saw her made her feel warm inside, a feeling Wendy still hadn’t figured out. It was the same feeling that Wendy had felt when Charlie had sprung the idea of kissing Rupert onto her, but this time it wasn’t embarrassment. It was hard to pin down, but she didn’t want to categorize it; she just let herself feel happy inside as she made her way down, ready to apologize profusely for being so late.
When she saw him, Wendy walked over gingerly, feeling just a tiny bit shy and not knowing why. It was true that she wasn’t best friends with Rup as she had been with Carter, her last date to the ball, but there was no reason to be nervous. “Hi,” she said, all smiles as she looked at him. While the last ball had felt like a fun party with one of her closest friends, this one felt a little more serious, like she was going to the same party as an adult. It was a strange but not unwelcome feeling.
19Wendy CanterburyRunning just a little late.245Wendy Canterbury05
Neeka couldn’t take it anymore. She had spent six years doing little to nothing, always feeling like an outsider, always alone. Her roommates, of course, were friendly enough, but even with them, she had never felt like she belonged. In fact, she was beginning to wonder if there was anywhere she could properly belong.
Facts were facts. The school was, by a seemingly overwhelming majority, a bunch of purebloods. There were some Muggleborns here and there, a few halfbloods like her, but the purebloods had the numbers. But these were not just any purebloods; they were “society” types, concerned with reputation and power more than anything else, or at least their families were.
And while she didn’t really want to bring it to attention, the Pecari wondered if race also had something to do with her distance. There obviously was not an abundance of diversity at Sonora; primarily, there were a bunch of white people. And again there were exceptions, but the majority remained.
It just grew more and more apparent as she flipped through her yearbook, dark brown eyes scanning over each pale face and finding subtle pleasure in any exceptions to that mold. The awards were no particular shock; she was Most Bashful and Most Dazed And Confused again, neither of which were characteristics particularly poignant for her but were ascribed to her every year out of lack of knowledge. This year, however, she also won Most Well Behaved, which was ironic with all the proper ladies and gentlemen out there and laughable with what she intended to do this evening.
A slim hand slipped into her pocket--the advantage of sewing one’s own dress was the ability to add necessities like pockets that so often went untended--and played with its contents, fingers sliding around the covered lip of a small vile. By now it seemed everyone was occupied either with their yearbooks or their date, so Neeka supposed it was time to make her move. With inconspicuous casualness, she strolled over to the punch bowl, hand still in her pocket, carefully unscrewing the lid as she went.
Finally she reached the table holding the punch, and she produced the vial from her pocket. Essentially a flask, it contained a potion that would mock the intoxicating effect of alcohol without providing the more unfavorable side-effects such as vomiting and stumbling. The sixteen year old was tired of the properness of her classmates; this, she hoped, would loosen some of them up a bit. It was a potion certainly not taught in class, but rather one Uncle Lukas had made once, then promptly instructed Neeka to forget (at which point she of course made certain to write down the ingredients and steps for future reference).
With a quick glance around and a smile uncoiling her features, Neeka held the flask over the punch bowl and prepared to tip. A little chaos never hurt anyone, right?
12Neeka CampbellReflection and chaos244Neeka Campbell05
Alone in his dormitory, Marcus stood before his mirror, nervous hands fidgeting with his suit jacket, turning to view himself from every angle he could imagine. He had to get tonight just right; it was Melanie’s night, and he wanted it to be perfect for her. As far as he could tell, he had the appearance thing done well enough. The sleek suit fit him just right, and the light blue tie would match Melanie’s dress exactly.
His main concern was his feet, or rather, their clumsy actions. Ginny had been an amazing teacher over the past few months, and the seventh year felt that he had made great progress, but he still worried that it just wouldn’t be enough. He practiced idly where he stood, arms out before him as if an invisible partner would return the embrace and sway along beside him.
He glanced at his watch a moment later, and, realizing he only had about five minutes before he was supposed to meet Melanie in the Common Room, he tugged on his dress shoes, took one final glance at his reflection, and headed out. Consulting his watch again upon arrival, he was exactly four minutes early. In that time, he smiled at passing Housemates in fancy clothes on their way out, offering compliments specific to each individual.
But when Melanie arrived, everyone else dissipated into nothingness, and she was everything. His mouth opened to speak, but no sound could come out, the compliments bubbling and trapped in his throat. Marcus almost felt like he might tear up, and as he often had, he wondered what on earth he had done to deserve her. “You-.. You look-... Wow,” he managed at last, one hand running through his blond hair incredulously. “I-I mean, you always look-… wow.. b-but you really-.. wow.”
When he finally got himself together again, he offered his arm, a crooked smile on his lips, and together they walked to the Cascade Hall. “Wow, they did a great job decorating,” he noted half to himself. To his beautiful date, he added, “Where would you like to sit?”
Soon enough, the yearbooks arrived, and Marcus scanned through eagerly. He only skimmed the regular awards, hurrying to the farther end for the parts that interested him more. He was glad to see that not only had Melanie won Best Looking (as she deserved) but so had Ginny. He didn’t really know if he was technically allowed to vote for two girls for the category, but he had given Ginny his second vote sort of as a “thank you” for all she had done to help him with his dancing. Both ladies definitely deserved the honor.
But what really mattered was the Best Couples section; his face lit up to find “Melanie Lennox and Marcus Crosby” as the very first couple listed. “Look, look!” he beamed, tapping his fiancee’s arm and pointing excitedly. “Haha, we won!”
And then it was time: the first dance. He felt his breath growing labored, his chest weighed down by nerves, as they moved into position to begin. The Teppenpaw glanced at his partner, trying to gauge her emotions; was she nervous about dancing in front of everyone, especially with him? “Hey.” His hand found hers and squeezed. “You’ve been such a great Head Girl.”
The music. The movement. The surprising grace with which Marcus managed to carry himself. He felt like he was glowing as the music flowed through him like electricity. “Surprised?” he asked coyly as they turned. “I guess I’m just full of surprises. This is what it’s gonna be like for us, Melanie. The good news, though, is you’ve got forever to figure me out.” And he felt like he would wear this grin forever too.
OOC: Minor godmodding of Melanie approved by her author.
12Marcus CrosbyA magical night with magical Melanie225Marcus Crosby05
Francesca knew that she wasn’t exactly a prize beauty. Everything about her was far too long and thin. Her face was, which combined with her long nose, gave her rather sharp looking features. Her body was stubbornly athletic in figure, with a well toned stomach that most girls would probably be envious of were it not for the fact she sported nothing in the way of hips or bust to make up for it. Still, as she prepared for the ball, she was pleased with the image staring back at her from the mirror. She had little natural taste in fashion - not that she ever chose badly but she chose conservatively, sticking to the things she knew worked for her. However, this lack of her own judgement, along with the lack of maternal interest in the subject, had led to several close relationships with a select few, trusted shop assistants. One such girl had let her try on the spring/summer samples they’d had in over winter, explaining there was no point picking a gown until then in case she shot up, as she was wont to do. Stretching charms would only go so far on a garment, and usually showed up badly. The dress had arrived, fitted to her up-to-date set of measurements, two weeks before the ball. The fabric was silvery - something that made her smile, given her usual predilection for grey, and the reputation it had no doubt earnt her for favouring drab clothes. Although this echoed her usual favourite, it was anything from dull, shimmering enchantingly just from the lights of her room. It had thin straps with cowling around the neck to disguise her lack of figure, the rest of it flowing straight and closely cut. It fastened at the side, though the tie was on the inside and virtually invisible, so that it could - should one be called out on such a matter - be technically called a robe. Her hair was swept up in a simple do, as she had never been one for making much fuss with it, though she had left some strands loose and curled these, on the advice that this would soften her features. She wore the barest touches of make-up but, paired with a large set of sparkling earrings, it still made quite the change from her usual self.
She had met Jay in the Common Room and they had exchanged pleasantries but, aside from their fancified attire, it all seemed relatively normal. They had made their way down to the hall as housemates, friends, team-mates… And then they took their position for the first dance. Her fingers intertwined with Jay’s, one hand was on his shoulder, and his other was around her waist… Suddenly, it felt like a date. A date which they had agreed would last approximately three minutes but… This was not how she normally interacted with Jay. She wasn’t ever sure she’d really touched him before, aside from the occasional high five, or messy, airborne team victory hug. And now he hand his hands on her body… It was a body he’d seen plenty of at training, in situations other girls would probably consider horrendously embarrassing - he had seen in her in shorts and a vest top when they practised on scorching hot days, hair plastered back and sweating like a pig. He’d seen her mud-spattered and drenched through and she had never cared. He had even seen things she did find embarrassing - she was rare to show emotion but Quidditch had probably been the cause of it more than any other thing. He had seen her shout or cry, usually with frustration, and she regretted every single time that her emotions had got the better of her. But none of that, even all of those rare moments added together, did not compare to this. He could feel her. Everything about her - the shape of her body, how she moved - he could probably feel her heart beating in an increasingly panicked fashion - and she found herself feeling self-conscious, wondering what he thought. She had danced with people before, of course, but it had never felt this strangely intimate before. Perhaps because she didn’t know them so well.
“Well. This certainly makes a change from you using me as target practise,” she smiled, hoping that acknowledging the tension would make it go away.
“Though I guess that’s over now,” she added, a little sadly. Since joining Sonora, she had dreamt about working her way up through the ranks of the Quidditch team. She had never considered how much it might suck to have that go hand in hand with losing the old, familiar faces. With everything that had happened between her and Ginny this year, the last thing she needed was to feel like she was losing someone else. Even though seconds ago she’d felt embarrassed and awkward in Jay’s arms, she now, without realising it, squeezed a little closer, wishing she wouldn’t really have to let him go at the end of the evening.
“What’s the plan?” she asked, “Off to see the world like Arthur?”
OOC - permission about meeting in the commons etc obtained from Jay. Dance posture etc assumed from common sense.
13FrancescaWell, this is..... (tag Jay)250Francesca05
Rupert was incredibly nervous to be attending the ball with Wendy as his date. He waited anxiously in the Pecari common room, pacing and attempting smiles and greetings at his house-mates as they departed for Cascade Hall. He’d come down a bit earlier, hoping to beat her to the commons, but it seemed as though she was going to keep him waiting. The suspense was killing him. He was doing his absolute best to keep his hands from tugging on his shirt collar or touching his hair. It had taken him quite some time to style his blond hair just as he wanted it. After combing the front up and to the side, his slightly longer fringe had needed more gel to stick. He didn’t enjoy using gel on his hair, but it looked rather nice once it was finished. He just hoped it would last and Wendy would be at least a tad impressed by his outfit.
He had dressed up just as bright as his usual ensemble of choice. He wore yellow trousers, the colour of sunflower petals, and a tangerine-orange suit jacket over a blue-and-white chequered button-up. The colours were vibrant and would certainly make him stand out next to Wendy, and he was glad for it. He hadn’t dressed to match her; he’d told her to keep her outfit a surprise just as he’d kept his. There was something lovely about the two of them expressing themselves through clothing and arriving at the ball together. If they completely clashed, however, they would certainly be a sight for sore eyes. Whilst Rup believed Wendy had an eye for aesthetics, he enjoyed causing a bit of visual chaos for everyone. The usual dress-robes and the conservative dresses were all so tiresome after awhile. Some colour wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Waiting was becoming unbearable, so Rupert slumped into an armchair and sighed. Only five minutes had passed, but it felt like hours. When he heard a noise on the stair, he stood quickly, smoothing down his suit jacket. He was hoping she would finally appear, wondering why witches took so much longer to get ready, but his thoughts left him when he turned and saw her standing there. Rupert thought she looked lovely no matter what she wore, but seeing her so dressed up to attend the ball with him was something else entirely. The familiar butterflies in his stomach remerged and he smiled at her. “Hi Wendy,” he said, remembering to breathe. “You look—” His voice cracked and he cleared his throat. “You look beautiful,” he amended, still smiling like a fool. He extended his arm for her to grasp. “Ready to go?”
On the walk down to Cascade Hall, Rupert made some conversation, chatting about nothing incredibly important. The hall was beautiful, which he commented on, and they joined the other Prefects with their respective dates in the centre of the dance floor. They had barely made it on time, but Rupert merely smiled at her, raising his eyebrows in recognition of their smooth entrance.
The music began on cue and Rupert took her in his arms and began to lead her in the dance. Holding her in such an intimate way was thrilling, but Rupert still felt the knots in his stomach despite his years of ballroom training. He wanted to impress her, not step all over her feet. He’d have to get some punch afterward to try and calm his nerves. “This is a lovely song,” he said, attempting conversation. Rup was usually adept at it, but now he found words difficult to find. “One of the few classical pieces I actually enjoy.” He had a bit of trouble meeting her eyes straight on now that their faces were so close together. His hands were beginning to shake slightly as well, he could feel it. “Do you attend any balls when you’re home?”
40Rupert PrincetonYou were certainly worth the wait.248Rupert Princeton05
Leo didn’t know why he was here. Cascade Hall had been dressed up for the occasion and Leo felt stiff in his dress robes. He’d combed his blond hair nicely, but for what? He had no date to prepare for. Rupert had convinced him to go, first telling him he ought to escort Charlotte to the hall since they were house-mates, then to make new friends. Leo didn’t see how making new friends during a school ball was possible, seeing as everyone already had dates and cliques that they were going to be with. Leo would be sitting at a table, bored out of his mind, counting down the minutes until he could go back to his room and pack his things or practise more spells.
The exams had been easy for him, much easier than he’d expected. His lonely study sessions had helped tremendously without Nellie there to read textbooks to him. During the summer, he imagined himself spending more time in the family’s library than anywhere else. It was depressing. Books were fine in their own right, particularly books on interesting spells, but replacing friends with literature was not acceptable in any sort of society.
As he’d hoped, there was a table that was relatively empty, and he sat down. Leo watched the familiar proceedings go on, with the Prefects opening the floor and all the students lining up afterwards. Leo had gotten dressed up, even had his black shoes shined, just to watch his classmates dance together whilst he sat in a corner on his own. Leo stifled a yawn, watching his brother and his cousins, all three of whom had dates. He’d been somewhat appalled that Charlotte had managed to snag herself a date, though from what he knew of Emrys, he wasn’t at all surprised. The wizard had been flustered easily when Charlotte was mentioned during their conversation. Adam’s choice was a bit more surprising, but it was old news now. Leo was envious of them all, though he would never admit it. They had all somehow attained friendships easily without trying, and whilst Leo attempted to do the same, nobody seemed interested in him. He’d simply been sent to the wrong school; he had trouble relating to these Americans.
The time was ticking away and he decided to pour himself a glass of punch by the end of the third dance. It tasted different, as if some sort of potion had been mixed in with it, but it was tasty. That was all that mattered to Leo, really, and he poured himself another after finishing his first glass. He walked back to his table and to his seat with a full glass, sipping it as his eyes went about the room, appraising everyone, wondering what they were all thinking dressed up as they were. Particularly the ones who were sitting about watching the spectacle as he was. Leo finished his second glass quickly and felt the urge to pour himself another. It tasted better by the minute and he really had nothing better to do. His walk to the punch bowl was a bit unsteady, and he was surprised to find the world less stable. There was something mixed in the punch, indubitably, and Leo tossed his glass instead of pouring himself another. The damage, however, was done.
He took his seat again, his head feeling fuzzy. Whoever had poured the potion in was brilliant. He’d like to shake the hand that had poured the concoction into the punch. Finally there would be some entertainment to this dull affair. Leo couldn’t help chuckling aloud to himself, imagining how everyone would act. He imagined Tristan getting sick all over Nellie’s shoes and Nellie falling over after one too many glasses. They deserved it, the lot of them, after ignoring him as they did.
Another dance passed, and Leo tilted his head. He wanted to dance, and the longer he sat in his restless state the more urgent the feeling became. He noticed an older witch without a partner and he stood, leaning heavily against the table for a second before walking over to her, attempting to act as normal as possible. It wouldn’t hurt to attempt once more at socialising before returning to England for the summer. If they never spoke again after this dance, then he didn’t care, but at least he would get his dance. Leo was taller now, about as tall if not a few centimetres taller than Rupert. When he reached her, he gave a short bow, and when his light eyes met hers he smiled, emphasising his cherubic facial features. “Would you care to dance?” he asked, extending a hand, hoping he didn’t seem as light-headed as he felt. He felt looser, and his smiles came easier despite how he had dreaded coming here earlier.
40Leo PrincetonQuite enjoying the effects.263Leo Princeton05
Upon emptying her flask into the punch bowl, the first thing Neeka did was pour herself a glass and walk away as inconspicuously as possible. She let her spiked concoction slide through her, the taste of the punch magnified and slightly altered, although taste was not the purpose of consumption. She sought the buzz, the tingly bubbles in her stomach; this was easily her favorite potion in the entire magical world, and its effects were nothing but enjoyable.
After a seemingly appropriate amount of time, she allowed herself another glass, the buzz intensifying into borderline nirvana. The Pecari felt more relaxed than she had at Sonora in a long time; suddenly, her background didn’t feel so detrimental. In fact, she actually forgot for the most part what she had been so stressed about. Everything was just totally chill.
As she finished her third glass, much to her surprise, a boy approached her. She immediately assumed he had experienced her little prank, since no one ever really talked to her, let alone bowing like the good little pureblood he had to be. He smiled when their eyes met, a conversation of light and dark that inspired her to smile back. “Would you care to dance?” he asked.
Neeka wasn’t entirely sure who this guy was or what he thought dancing with her would accomplish, but she wasn’t terribly concerned about it. He was probably younger than her and vaguely resembled her yearmate Rupert Princeton, so she figured he might be his younger brother or something. The main point was that he was pretty cute and rather friendly, so she accepted the hand offered to her. “Sure!”
“I don’t know your name,” Neeka stated coyly as they headed for the dance area, “So I’ll assume you don’t know mine. Would you like to, or will this be more fun if we keep it a mystery?” The potion provided a confidence she otherwise lacked, enabling her to flirt more easily. Yes, he was probably a pureblood, which meant this was obviously going to go no where in the long run, but the sixteen year old wasn’t really all that concerned with long term anything tonight. She just wanted to make a little magic, have a little fun, and, now, dance with this boy.
Even though he had agreed to take Lena Westley to the ball, Tobi was not happy with Liac. His cousin liked to prance around; acting like he knew what was best for everyone—and had a complete disregard for the feelings of others. The note Tobi’s mother had included in the package with his dress robes at least made Tobi feel a little bit better about the situation and reading the part where she called Liac “a meddling raven” had probably been his favorite part. Although a legend from the Pacific Northwest, it was still one of Tobi’s preferred tales and the comparison of Liac to the trickster god made him smirk in a way more characteristic of his younger brother, Arne.
He had arranged to meet Lena outside of Cascade Hall before going in together since they were in different houses, but he was still wary of the reaction her brother would give him when he showed up. Before he left, Tobi checked himself out in the mirror. His dress robes were the dark charcoal grey that his father’s parents had bought him for special events, but his mother had lovingly stitched white shell beads sent from her parents in the Northeast into the cuffs. “I’ll see you later, Liac,” Tobi called, heading out the door before Liac could respond. He had purposely started getting ready for the ball before Liac so that he could avoid walking down to Cascade Hall with the perky criminal-to-be. As much as he loved his cousin, Tobi really didn’t want to deal with Liac’s cheery attitude which, after spending nearly a whole year with just Liac for company, were starting to get on Tobi’s nerves.
He was glad that before their families took their annual trip to Germany he would get a few weeks to distress in their Northwest cedar cabin. He was looking forward to spending time with his immediate family and the Chinook friends he had made and he couldn’t ever remember being happier to get away from his cousin. Once he arrived in front of Cascade Hall, he found a place against a wall where he could wait for Lena. While he waited, he fingered the beading along the cuffs of his dress robes. He mother had lovingly embroidered the Haudenosaunee flag pattern that symbolized the unity of the five original nations with an Eastern White Pine in the center, repeating it until it wrapped around the cuffs perfectly. If he looked close enough he could see a few needle holes where his mother had made mistakes and corrected herself but that made Tobi love his mother more—even with four other children to take care of and a fifth one on the way she still had taken the time to make his dress robes special for the night. Suddenly feeling better, a warmth spreading in his chest as his fingers ran over each individual bead, he straightened his shoulders and rose to meet Lena. Though a few ball-goers had entered before Lena arrived, Tobi wasn’t too worried—he had arrived a few minutes before the arranged meeting time because he hadn’t wanted to be in the same room as Liac for another moment.
“Hello,” he said, bowing deeply like his father had taught him to do. “You look lovely. Shall we go in?” He smiled at her politely, resolving not to make this night bad for Lena even if they had both been tricked into going. While he did feel extremely guilty letting Lena think they were there under false pretenses, he also didn’t want to offend her, worrying that if he told her the truth she would hate Liac and hate him by association and then her brother would slowly, painfully kill the both of them. Besides, if he said he didn’t like her she could take it the wrong way—girls, it seemed, tended to do that and Tobi didn’t want to have any more miscommunications. So, instead, he said what he believed to be a neutral comment in an attempt to put them both at ease. “I don’t know what Liac told you about me,” Tobi said gently. “But I just want you to know that I think I’m too young for love so I have no expectations from you and hope we can have a good time.” That, he thought, was a polite way of letting her know that he wasn’t a creep and he wasn’t enamored but that he did genuinely care for her well-being even if they had only just met properly for the first time.
10Tobias Reinhardt IIHoping for amicability289Tobias Reinhardt II05
Friends and chocolate--nothing better (Chloe & Emery)
by Ava Fletcher
Although she hadn’t been asked to the ball, Ava was still semi-excited about going. She had never really had a fully formal even to go to and thereby wasn’t entirely sure what to wear. One of the older students, Charlie Boxton-Fox-Reynolds, had been offering tips for the ball but as Ava hadn’t felt comfortable admitting a fault to someone she didn’t know she ended up working things out on her own. She was fourteen, after all, Ava reasoned, and a rather creative fourteen year old at that. She was certain that after looking through a few fashion magazines on her own she would be able to find something to wear. As such, Ava had gone to the library a few times in order to research this trend of dressing up and going out with dates. According to the books, bold lips were “a timeless favorite” and one could never go wrong with “a little black dress” that was not only “classic but also an essential piece to complete any modern woman’s wardrobe.” That had been enough for Ava. At the next chance she’d had, Ava had ordered a couple catalogues and ordered not only a nice, form fitting black dress with a skirt perfect for twirling that “promised to stun” but also a gold belt to match the gold lace that detailed the skirt because “complementing accessories are a necessity when turning that LBD from daytime to evening wear.” LBD, as Ava had discovered during her research, stood for Little Black Dress.
When the dress arrived in the post Ava delighted put it one and wrapped the belt around her waist. However, she found that it was not quite as formal a look as she would have liked and she was sure that the other witches were going to be well-dressed in sparkles and floor length gowns. With a glum face, she hung the belt and dress up in her closet and resolved to fix it late. Later arrived and with it no alterations or solutions and so, the night before the ball, Ava rummaged through her closet trying to figure out how to dress it up. Eventually she found a floppy black hat that she thought she’d seen a look alike featured in an Audrey Hepburn movie and, figuring that since Audrey Hepburn was the epitome of class, she put it on her bed with the offending dress and belt. One more search brought forth a gold stamped necklace that her grandfather had given her for Christmas that read “Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” and a pair of tan, lace-up ankle boots which were her only non-paint stained shoes at this point. The resulting look did not particularly please Ava but it was the best she had and besides, she thought that the splash of color the bright red lipstick she had bought helped to at least make it look slightly nicer instead of a thrown together ensemble which was the result of procrastination and too much pride to ask for help.
Once she arrived in the Aladren Common Room she smiled at Emrys and Emery. “You guys look nice,” she said. “Shall we go meet up with Chloe and drop you off with your hot date?” The latter she directed at Emrys with a teasing smile. She flicked a piece of hair behind an eye, revealing a bit of turquoise paint along the edge of her jawbone. “I hope there’s good food to eat! I’m beyond hungry. I forgot to eat because I couldn’t find my shoes despite my having laid them out the night before. I was hit with inspiration, you see, and I started painting which of course led to a giant mess as it always does and I had to shove everything into the corner of my room to make sure I didn’t get paint anywhere! At least there’s no paint on my clothes for tonight!” She beamed happily, oblivious to the red smear across the toe of her right shoe and the orange spot on one of the corners of her dress, as if someone had taken it and dipped it into a pot of paint.
When she and Emery found Chloe, Ava gushed happily over her one girl friend. "You look great!" she said, clasping her hands together in excitement. She felt beyond under-dressed as everyone else seemed to be in fancy dress robes and dresses, but at the same time she felt quite fabulous in her hat so she held herself high as the three entered Cascade Hall. It looked beautiful as Ava expected and she made a beeline for the buffet table, loading up her plate with desserts and fruit. However, due to the amount of chocolate and sugar on her plate, she decided to opt for water instead of the punch, figuring that the plain tasting beverage would make it easier to swallow all the delectable choices she had taken. Besides, there was something about water that made Ava indescribably happy. It was so refreshing and so many different uses. And if she ever needed to thin out a bit of paint she could always count on adding a couple drops of her favorite beverage to the mix. Plus if it spilled, as it inevitably would, there was less of a mess to clean up and no worry about sticky puddles attracting bugs.
“Oh my goodness,” she sighed into a piece of fudge cake that she had placed a strawberry on. “This is amazing! I’m so glad I decided to be a glutton tonight!”
OOC: Meeting Emery in Common Room and Chloe outside Cascade Hall approved by their author. Emrys will just split off to meet Charlotte wherever her author indicates.
10Ava FletcherFriends and chocolate--nothing better (Chloe & Emery)258Ava Fletcher05
Keme was looking forward to the ball. This was not something that he had really expected to do as he was not the most social of people, but the year had gone on quite well and the ball seemed like a great way to end it. Not for the first time, Keme was glad he was not the house Prefect. He had secured a date with Willow, to which he was looking forward to, but he was not that interested in dancing in front of the entire student body at the start of the ball. Dancing later with her when everyone else was allowed would be just fine with him.
Since his tribe did formal gatherings a little differently than the rest of the population, Keme had to ask his sister for help in understanding what the proper attire should be. They had the ball back in his first year and so he knew that it would be dress robes, but since his date with Willow was slightly more than possibly mutual friends and certain deeper than it had been in his first year when he had only just begun to know her, he didn’t know if that changed anything. But KoKo only said that simple well-tailored black dress robes with a bow tie would be classic and elegant enough for the evening. Plus, it would likely match whatever color she was wearing, unless she chose brown but no girl ever chose brown (according to his sister). So, with his sister’s advice, Keme managed to find that look and ordered a wrist corsage of white roses for her to wear if she wanted.
Keme stood in the entrance of Cascade waiting to meet Willow just as he had back in their first year together. His hair was combed and styled, something he had never done before, but he felt that it made him appear more presentable. He watched as other people mingled about, some with friends, some with ‘dates’, although he wasn’t sure if they were actually dating or not. Sometimes it was hard to tell who were a couple and who were just friends. Like, Julian and Charlie. They were always together, but he wasn’t sure if that made them more than just friends because Keme wasn’t sure about Charlie. And then you have the other three Prefects who were usually together if he wasn’t sure if Adam was dating one of the girls, but he was apparently at the ball with one of the Pierce twins, so did that mean he was dating her? But then, did that mean Keme was dating Willow? He didn’t think so, but he wasn’t sure of the rules with all of this.
He spotted Willow in the crowd wearing a lovely shade of a blueish-green dress (Keme was not good with color names). With a pleased grin on his face, Keme waved to her to get her attention. He was tall now, standing at 6 feet at age 16 but there were many others around his height too, so it was a good thing that his ethnicity had him stand out more than anything else. “Good evening Willow.” Keme greeted with a polite bow. “You look beautiful.” He complimented, his ears reddening slightly. “I brought this for you.” He said, holding out the corage. “I hope you don’t mind the color, but I figured we could charm it if you didn’t think white was appropriate.”
6Keme RunningBearFiguring things out (tag:Willow)249Keme RunningBear05
The night of the ball, Liliana felt oddly nervous. Tonight would be the first time that she ever had a date to a formal event even if it was just Atlas. The two of them had planned to meet in the Pecari Common Room—five minutes ago, but Liliana was still sitting on her bed, wringing her hands with nerves. She had already picked out a ball gown with the anticipation of going whether or not she acquired a date because Liliana knew that with her family history of throwing balls she would be expected to attend. She had only been late to meet Atlas once before and, coincidentally, it had been on the night that he had asked her to be his date for the ball. Though she had accepted his invitation a small part of her was slightly disappointed that it had been Atlas who asked her—he was her best friend and he was Muggleborn (as far as she knew). He wasn’t at all appropriate date material and he also, likely, asked her out of pity (despite denying that when she confronted him). However, a date was a date and Liliana genuinely did enjoy spending time with him.
Explaining to her grandmother, however, had been rather difficult but in the end Grandmère had sent her a present of a delicate gold bracelet with a singular red gemstone embedded into it to wear with her dress. She knew it was her grandmother’s way of accepting the situation and saying that she was proud of Liliana for being loyal to her friend. However, Liliana was also sure that over the summer it would largely be impressed to her the need to find a proper and suitable wizard for her affections. Liliana blushed, twisting her hands. What Grandmère didn’t know was that Liliana had already found the perfect wizard—Wesley. She sighed happily and blushed even deeper when she caught site of her bright red cheeks in the mirror. “Breathe, Bannister,” she said to herself as she tried to get her red cheeks to go away. “Just breathe.” Finally the red subsided enough that it seemed only as if she was wearing a light amount of blush (it was for this reason that Liliana had decided to forgo the makeup, save for a small amount of mascara applied to her upper lashes and a light rose colored lipstick) and she rose to meet Atlas in the common room.
Liliana spotted Atlas, sitting on one of the couches, looking rather adorable in his dress robes, and walked up to him. “Hi,” she said, smiling and giving a little twirl so that he could see the way her knee length glittery dress flared out. She had picked the dress because it had a fitted Pecari gold bodice and a cream colored skirt. Her shoes, which matched the glittery gold of the bodice, had a slight hint of red on the soles to match the bracelet. “What do you think?” she asked, holding out the pretty gold chain she had wrapped around her waist. At the tip a tiny golden Quaffle charm dangled. She had chosen it because of the way the charm caught the light. She had wanted to wear the hair pins that Atlas had given her because the tips resembled snitches, but she also had known they wouldn’t look nice with her dress so she had picked the next best thing to complement her ensemble. Besides, as a Keeper she interacted with Quaffles more than Snitches. “Ready to go?”
When they got to the ball, Liliana tugged Atlas over to get their yearbooks. "Before we do anything I want to look at these!" She exclaimed. "I want to see if the people I voted for won in their categories!" That wasn't the only reason she wanted to see the yearbooks so desperately—she figured that if she stalled long enough they wouldn't have much time to dance. As much as she liked hanging out with Atlas, something about dancing with him just weirded her out. They weren't exactly the most touchy feely sort of friend—just last term he'd avoided her for the longest time after she gave him a simple hug and Liliana did not want to have to spend another summer not communicating with him just because of something as stupid as sharing a few dances together. So, she opened her yearbook, taking a seat on one of the chairs and gestured for Atlas to do the same, mentally crossing her fingers that she and Atlas would not be listed as the biggest flirts as they had been the year before. The majority of her votes had gone to the people who won and that pleased Liliana as it meant she had been right. However, not only had she been voted as class flirt again but also, it seemed, people thought she was dating Atlas. The thought was absolutely preposterous and Liliana wanted to rip her hair out and scream “we’re just friends! Only friends, do you not see the best friends category?” Propriety, however, kept her from doing so but now she needed to figure out how to remedy the damage before it got to her grandmother’s ears as it inevitably would.
10Liliana BannisterThe best kind of ship is a best friend ship. (Atlas)274Liliana Bannister05
It was one of the things everyone said, part of the scripts they’d all had to practice before school so they could recite them convincingly no matter how insincere the sentiments really were, but Jay meant it when he told Francesca she looked lovely during the exchange of pleasantries. He refrained from mentioning that he was a little surprised, since he was sure it would come out wrong – it was not that he’d thought she was unattractive before, just that he hadn’t thought of Francesca as being attractive or unattractive much at all before. Since they usually interacted in Quidditch and she was one of the better players, Jay…never forgot she wasn’t one of the guys, any more than he forgot that his problem children Clark and John were poor and without the right sort of family, but the dynamics of a team meant he didn’t often behave the right way toward any of the team’s three outliers. He did feel like he should take an interest in and try to provide a good example to the boys despite the mutually exclusive interests of their social classes and didn’t think of Francesca as someone as fragile as non-Carey girls and women were supposed to be, or at least be treated as if they were.
He had yet to mentally sort Clark and John into the categories they’d have to belong to if he ever met them again in the real world, but as the Midsummer Ball began, he was feeling very clear on Francesca’s place and status. The last time he thought he’d felt this almost-dislocated with someone he knew had been in the week before Arnold’s wedding, though he had to say, he appreciated the effect of Francesca dressing up and dancing a lot more than he’d liked seeing Arnold serious and Arthur…much less so than usual. He smiled at her acknowledgment of how unusual the situation was.
“I guess so,” he said. “Which is very strange to think about. I keep thinking about what we’ll need to do next year if we have another team to play, then I remember, well….”
He shook his head when she asked about his plans. “Not now,” he said. “I’ll work with my father over the summer at least. If I stay there for long, I might end up overseas for a while – he’s in imports – “ and the less he said about that, the better off he most likely was; he didn’t think Dad would get him involved in procuring the stuff the law said no witches or wizards needed as much as they thought they did, but it was always possible – “but I’m not sure yet what I’ll be into long-term.” In the end, since he already knew they were going to want him to support Henry and help out a lot with Peter and Cecilia at least, he would take the best offer he could get, but didn’t want to put it so bluntly to her. “What about you? Do you think you know which RATS you’ll try for already?” He really did not see Francesca treating the RATS courses as an excuse to spent two more years trying to catch a husband without putting much effort into the work; it was bizarre to even try to imagine it, though he guessed it didn't help that he couldn't understand, maybe just because of how much his mother and older sister frustrated him all the time, why girls would want to do that or why anyone would want to even date, much less marry, the ones who did.
In preparation for the ball, Arnold had done quite a bit of studying, researching the finer aspects of school dances and balls. He had attended a fair share of balls in his time, but never before had he gone with a date. And while Ji-Eun was Just A Friend, Arnold remained worried he would screw something up dramatically. He cared about her too much to risk it on his amateaur knowledge, so he delved into any resource he could find.
He had the option of dress robes or a suit, and in the end, he went with the latter. The Aladren was admittedly a bad shopper, so he had asked his mother to send him something to wear, but when the package arrived, he was a little surprised by her choices; he liked the dark red coloration of the jacket and pants, but the velvet-y feel was a bit more up in the air. It came with a black tie, but he also knew Ji-Eun intended to wear a light purple-ish dress, so he had requested a tie of that coloration to match. Now he could not decide if the purple actually went with the red of the suit, so as he prepared, he tucked the black tie in his pocket, just in case.
In his research, he also stumbled upon a practice he had not heard of in the magical world but that was apparently popular with Muggle school dances. He liked the idea, so he opted to follow through with its customs. Arnold had ordered what was known as a corsage, which was apparently a bracelet-type thing of flowers meant to indicate which two people were dates, as the boy wore a boutonniere, which was a matching pin for his lapel. He wasn’t entirely sure how well the flowers he picked would match her dress or his suit (as indicated previously, Arnold was not very good at matching), but he had chosen yellowroses because they symbolized friendship and joy; since they were Just Friends, he thought it might be a good way to subtly tell her that he would not pressure her into anything else.
His breathing was already a bit shallow from nerves, but when he met up with Ji-Eun, he felt his lungs momentarily forget their function and simply lock up. His stomach, likewise, apparently believed it was a gymnast as it began flipping about his core. Or perhaps it was still but full of butterflies, as if it suddenly thought it was actually a nature reserve. But despite his body’s failures, Arnold felt a smile creep across his face. “You look amazing,” he grinned.
“Oh!” he remembered at once as he produced the corsage from the pocket not occupied by his extra necktie. “I, uh, got you this. It’s a corsage, and you wear it to, like, match my thing.” He pointed to the boutonniere on his lapel. “Can I put it on you?” He felt a timid blush rising in his cheeks, which was exactly what a redhead in a red suit didn’t need. “It goes on like a bracelet.”
12Arnold MangerA great night for... friends. [Ji-Eun]261Arnold Manger05
Rupert's outfit was more than Wendy could have asked for. An orange suit jacket? Yellow pants? She was in love. With the outfit, of course. It wasn't everyday that someone with Rupert's style popped up in her life. "Thank you. You look amazing!" Wendy replied enthusiastically. "I love all the color. It takes a brave man to pull all of it off, and you definitely do." She smiled back at him, wondering if it was normal for her pulse to pick up a little at the sight of such a beautiful outfit on a really good-looking date.
His smile was charming and Wendy took his arm gently, feeling unusually self-conscious as they walked to Cascade Hall. The night air was slightly chilly as expected of the desert, but Rupert's body provided some warmth and she stuck close to him. Half of her wanted to rush into Cascade Hall, hoping that the Prefect's dance hadn't started without her, but the other half wanted to continue listening to Rupert talk as they walked together arm-in-arm. When they arrived at Cascade Hall, she had to remind herself that they were here as dates. He wasn't going to disappear to hang out with his Quidditch friends, and even if he did she wouldn't mind. At least, she didn't think she would mind.
Everyone looked so pretty and Wendy wanted to do several things at once: she wanted to go dance and fulfill her duty; she wanted to approach Charlie and thank him for all of his help and also seek his approval with the final result; she wanted to stare at everyone's dress robes and gaze at all the beautiful decorations that still struck her with awe; and she wanted to twirl around and watch her dress rise around her kind of like the Whirling Dervishes. But all of her plans would have to wait until the Prefect's dance was finished. Thankfully Rupert got them to the dance floor right before it started. Even though she had danced ballroom-style before with Carter, that was years ago and this wasn't Carter, it was Rupert putting his hands on her. Wendy could feel herself growing warm as their hands touched and she couldn't understand what was wrong with her. She had come in feeling a little cold, but now she felt like she was on the brink of sweating. She was grateful for the really helpful Anti-Sweat Charm that she had found in a girly magazine. Otherwise who knew how she would be after three consecutive dances with her date.
It looked like she wasn't the only one feeling nervous, but while Rupert couldn't find many words to say, Wendy could only think to run her mouth in response. "It is really pretty," she said as they danced. "I've never heard it before, but I don't listen to much classical music. I feel like I should because it's so pretty in an understated way, like, powerful without needing words or an electric guitar. I like to sing pop songs, muggle pop songs, that is. It's the contemporary music in the non-magical world. I'll have to show you sometime." He hadn't asked about her taste in music, and Wendy had to physically shut her mouth to keep herself quiet.
It felt like his hands were shaking slightly and it made her even more self-conscious. Was he nervous because he liked her? Did she feel flattered? Should she say something or just ignore it? She could actually feel his hands shaking. Wendy was about to burst and she still didn't know why. "No, I don't," she said, attempting to be as normal as possible. "High schools in the magical world have dances, but they're not fancy dress-up type balls like these ones. I mean, people dress up, but nobody dances ballroom anymore. I didn't even know how to waltz until the last ball. I'm sorry if I step on your feet at all." So far, so good. "Do you go to a lot of balls when you're at home as a pureblood?" she asked. The longer they danced, the more she was able to convince herself that this was okay, that she was just talking to Rupert, that she and Rupert were just friends. But if he thought otherwise...
Feelings were too complicated, Wendy decided. She would just have to let her emotions carry her without trying to sort through them, permitting that they didn't cause her to make a fool of herself. Trying to pinpoint how she felt only made it more complicated.
0WendyYou're turning out to be a great date0Wendy05
“Right,” she nodded sadly, even though Jay had left the sentiment unfinished. It made it more real to almost hear it from him but she still couldn’t quite wrap her head around what it would be like to come back next year and for him to simply not be there any more. Then the year after, for the same to happen with Anthony. She had gone through people leaving before but this was harder. Maybe because it marked the last of the people she had met when she first arrived - all those who had always seemed older and wiser, meaning she was now, seemingly impossibly, at that age and in that position herself. Maybe because Jay had started to seem like a friend lately. “You know, you and Anthony had better be sending a whole bunch of Carey cousins to join us. Your numbers have been thinning out terribly these last few years,” she admonished, “Preferably impressionable little female cousins for me to mould in my own image,” she stated far more decisively than she felt. Other Careys would be good, they would probably have grown up around Quidditch and be able to hop straight onto a broomstick and mesh with the team, but it still wasn’t going to be the same. She felt the nagging sensation again, like her breath catching, wanting her to hold on tighter to Jay as if that could somehow stop it being true that he had to leave, but she thought they were about as close as they could get without her resting her head on his shoulder or something similar. It was strangely tempting but not something she was about to try.
She was initially pleased when he put the question back to her of what she would do next, thinking he was giving her credit, and the possibility of having ideas and independence, but he turned out to just mean her RATS, which everyone had to do, even if they planned to let them gather dust whilst they put their feet up.
“Probably Transfiguration, Charms and Potions. It will be a tough workload but I want to get into law school when I graduate,” she explained, not passing up the chance to explain her future plans, even if they hadn’t been specifically asked for, “and they tend to favour those as the more traditional and strongly academic subjects. I mean, Defence is up there too and it might well be useful to dodge hexes in that line of work, but I’d rather pursue the others. You seemed to survive the exam,” she smiled, harking back to their conversation at the opening feast, “How many highly skilled assassins was it, and did you have to knit a scarf or something at the same time?”
The dancing had become slightly more mechanical. Not in the sense that she was doing it in a cold or dispassionate way - but they had slipped back into being themselves and that made her relax about the dancing, and find it enjoyable instead of intimidating. It was pleasant to be wrapped up in their own little bubble of conversation, gently swing-and-swaying their way around the floor.
13FrancescaDifferent can be good, bad or scary.250Francesca05
For once in his short life, Leo didn’t care to ask whether or not she was pure. It wouldn’t matter, after all, as this was only a school dance and his brain was currently indisposed. She seemed to agree somewhat enthusiastically to his request and Leo led her to the dance floor. He contemplated her question seriously, the thrill of mystery seeming rather appealing at the moment. Without a name, Leo could simply enjoy himself without wondering if he’d ever heard her surname anywhere or if he ought to conduct himself a certain way as a Princeton.
“Let’s keep it a mystery,” he said, the words coming out of his mouth airily as he smirked. “There is some fun in that, isn’t there?” It would be like the mystery novels his mum had read to him when he was a child, with the mysterious but lovely witch and the hero who always won over any person he encountered. This, however, would only be for a night and Leo was looking forward to it. On any other occasion he was proud to be a Princeton, but tonight he would throw it off and have some fun. He had not planned to have a good time here, but there was no one here to stop him.
He began to lead his mystery witch in a waltz, his footsteps feeling less stiff than usual. The punch was a lovely concoction the longer he was under its effect. “Did you happen to have any of the punch?” he asked, the words pouring out before he could think meticulously about them as he usually did. “It’s lovely stuff, much better than I expect the school would allow. They never want to allow us any real fun.” He twirled the witch once, grinning at her as he pulled her back into his arms and whirled them around the floor again. He bumped elbows with someone and chuckled. “Oops, so sorry.” Everything looked much more pleasant, even bumping elbows. He suddenly didn’t care what anyone else thought of him and it felt liberating.
After a moment, Leo’s mouth opened again. “I haven’t really seen you around, but I suppose I haven’t really been out socialising very much. I’ve spent most of my time in the library these days, but I loathe studying. I’d like it loads better if they offered language courses here. It’s one of the few subjects I actually enjoy. Any tips on what there is to do for fun at this school?”
For the last few hours, Charlotte had been fighting waves of nausea as they came. She was still getting over the stomach flu, a nasty virus that had kept her bed-ridden for a week instead of readying herself for the ball as she had planned. Exams had caused such incredible stress for her that Charlotte wanted to put some of the blame on academia for getting her sick as well. It had been awful – she’d been closer to the toilet than she’d ever been before, and the timing was equally terrible. At least the nausea wasn’t as bad as it was before, but Charlotte consumed a good amount of healing potion just in case. The only consequence was that she felt a bit light-headed and everything seemed fuzzier to her.
She felt pretty today after spending nearly as hour curling her blonde hair and putting light makeup on her face. Her mint-coloured dress was one of her favourites, and she’d worn pearl-drop earrings though they were hidden behind her hair. It was flattering having a date to the ball, particularly for Charlotte who had imagined herself drifting through the walls of Sonora, friendless, or constantly shadowing Adam with nothing better to do than sit in the library alone and read or study. It was a relief that Emrys had appeared to rescue her from such a dire fate, and he was a satisfactory companion in every way.
Charlotte’s feelings towards him had grown considerably over the past several years, but she was still unsure if she truly fancied him. The lines between friendship and something more weren’t clear in Charlotte’s mind. Any respectable wizard was potential husband material, given that they were from a respectable family and had enough wealth to support a family of his own. Love and feelings hadn’t really been a large factor in securing her future. It was difficult to discern between the two, friendship and romance.
For now, she left it alone, determined to enjoy herself at the ball. As she and Emrys were from different houses, she walked down to Cascade Hall alone, nervous that she might trip and stain her dress or, even worse, tear it somehow or smudge her make-up. None of those things happened, fortunately, and she arrived in front of Cascade Hall in one lovely piece. She was very grateful that neither she nor Emrys were Prefects, meaning they didn’t have to dance together in front of the entire school as Adam had to. She would possibly die of embarrassment with everyone’s eyes on her, though she didn't mind the attention nearly as much when she was sitting and looking pretty.
When Charlotte spotted Emrys, she smiled at him, nervous and blushing all at once. “Were you waiting long?” she asked quietly, her voice coming out a bit higher than usual. With Emrys, Charlotte had learnt to open up somewhat to someone who wasn’t Adam, and for that more than just Adam was grateful. However, she wanted Emrys to approve of her, and her eagerness to please caused her to withdraw back into her shy shell until he did so. She fiddled with her hands in front of her, trying not to act nervous but failing miserably.
40Charlotte SpencerLooking forward to a good time with Emrys.265Charlotte Spencer05
I came in like a wrecking ball... [Tag: Chaslyn Brockert]
by Liac Reinhardt
Tobi had seemed less than amused with this little scheme, to which Liac felt a little bad about. All he wanted was for Tobi to break out of his shell a little with other people, but apparently Tobi wasn’t having it. Even so, his cousin being the boy he was, had agreed to go with Miss Westley, so Liac secretly hoped that his cousin would still end up having a good time at the ball. Liac had just finished putting on his black dress robes when Tobi bid him adieu, heading out before he even had the chance to respond. For someone who didn’t want to go to the ball in the first place, he seemed pretty keen to go now. After taking a quick peek at the clock, he noticed it was just about time for him to head down. He checked himself out in the mirror one more time, making sure his robes looked tidy, smiling to himself smugly as he brushed a flyaway hair down. He thought he looked pretty good in his robes, like a well to do pureblood (even if he was only a halfblood). After tucking his wand in his pocket just in case a little magic was needed, he grabbed the Gardenia he had picked out for Chalsyn and headed out of the common room. He wasn’t sure if he needed a corsage for this type of event, but his mom suggested giving his date a single flower might be a nice gesture.
He had asked to meet Chaslyn outside the entrance to the hall, as he had no idea where the Crotalus commons resided. He waited with the flower behind his back for her to arrive. Then upon seeing her, he smiled his goofy grin, greeting her with a well-practiced bow.
“You look wonderful Chaslyn!” he exclaimed as he straitened himself. He thought she looked nice all the time, but he had learned the hard way that on special events you ought to complement the girl right away. Last Christmas, Liac’s little sister (with the help of their mother) had painstakingly curled her hair and put on a lovely jade colored dress, all to which flew right under Liac’s radar of ‘things he ought to comment on’. When the night had passed and he hadn’t said anything to her about her appearance, she ran to her room crying about how mean her older brother was. Needless to say, he wasn’t going to make the same mistake with Chaslyn. Besides, he did think she looked very lovely.
“Thank you accompanying with me tonight. I couldn’t have imagined coming with anyone else,” he said as he held out the white flower to her. Although he had joked to Tobi about asking a seventh year, he knew from the start he would ask Chaslyn first. He thought it would be fun to hang out with her a little more, especially as they wouldn’t be in the same classes next year.
“Shall we go in?” He asked, offering Chaslyn his right arm to escort her into the hall.
0Liac ReinhardtI came in like a wrecking ball... [Tag: Chaslyn Brockert]288Liac Reinhardt05
The day of the ball was one Annabelle had been anticipating for, well, about nine months, since Headmaster Brockert reminded them it was a Dance year at the Opening Feast. She had everything planned for a perfect evening for both herself and Annette except for one minor setback.
Hours before the it was due to begin, she had begun final preparations. She got herself and Annette dressed. She had interrogated Adam last week to find out his plan for dress robes so she could make any necessary alterations so that Annette's outfit would compliment his. She did both of their hair. She did both of their make-up. She saw Annette down to the common room to meet up with her date and confirmed that Adam had shown up.
That left her stuck with the one thing that had not gotten arranged beforehand. She herself had no one to go with, either as a date or as friends. So she just said good-bye to Adam and Annette in the Common Room and headed out to Cascade Hall alone.
She took her time picking her way through the Gardens from Pecari's secret entrance back to the school proper. She was in heels tonight, giving herself about a two inch height advantage over Annette who was in flats. She was better with heels than her sister, but they were not a common feature of her wardrobe and while she would be fine on solid floors even when dancing (she had, in fact, spent more of her life dancing in heels than walking in heels), well, . . . uneven dirt paths were quite another story. Plus, the hedges themselves were something of a hazard to her light blue gossamer robes, and she was careful not to get too close and create any pulls in the delicate fabric.
Her dress was quite stunning, if she did say so herself. It was entirely white (another reason to take care crossing the Gardens) and shimmered wonderfully as she moved. It was long and sleek, close fitting around the torso with a corset to bump up what little she had by way of chest, and flowing out below the waist, narrow enough to be flattering but pleated enough to not impede her ability to move. Over top of that, she wore a fine blue robe that brought out the color of her eyes and prevented the ensemble from resembling a wedding gown (always a danger when wearing white), but was so light and delicate that the dress could still be seen quite well beneath it and the way it fluttered in even the most minuscule of breezes or drafts reminded her of butterflies. She felt positively enchanting wearing it.
Unfortunately, there was no one specific available to be enchanted, and she entered the Hall all by her lonesome.
She found a place to stand near the dance floor, in part so she could see Annette dancing with Adam during the prefect dance, but also in part so any males who might have arrived without a date might see her and decide she was worth dancing with once the prefects were done. Before they began, though, the Headmaster made his speech and she couldn't entirely suppress a quiet protest, "No!" which she did managed to keep mostly under her breath for decorum's sake when he said the Head Students would not be announced until next fall. That meant she had to wait an entire summer before she would know the results of the vote a couple of weeks ago. She and Annette had both been on the ballot and it was terribly unfair that they had to wait months instead of weeks like the other Head Students that came before.
In her irritation, she spent most of the prefects' dance mentally critiquing any mistakes anyone on the floor made instead of enjoying the presentation. Then she got her year book, and that didn't improve matters at all. Annette got Quidditch Obsessed, of course, as she should, because she was. Annabelle had come to this conclusion when her sister preferred discussing what when wrong during the games and insisting they practice more instead of preparing for the ball, even after the second game was over with. Annabelle herself had somehow come out on top of the Logical award, and she wasn't quite sure where that came from but she didn't mind it. The one she did mind was the Most Likely To Become A Criminal one, which Annette had earned again for every year running. Annabelle supposed it was an improvement that they weren't both listed this time. (And if that was how the popular vote swung, she was glad that they'd decided to put both of their Head Girl votes toward Annabelle; clearly they had been right in assuming she had the better shot.) She almost closed it in disgust after that, but forced herself to keep looking. She wasn't sure if it was good or bad that the only other thing they'd won was best friends with each other.
She headed over to the buffet table and collected some food that did not look like it would be messy (the other trouble with wearing white was that it showed everything you spilled on it), and tried to be dainty about eating it instead of chomping down in frustration. She moved away from the buffet to eat and noticed she had found herself near one of her yearmates and asked, allowing herself to sound mostly hurt rather than cross, "So do people think Annette is going to be a criminal because we did the Quidditch thing before we were allowed to, or just because nobody in our year seems criminally inclined and they needed a name and hers is attached to a violent sport?" She had noticed a fair number of the other would-be criminals were also Quidditch players, so she assumed there was a connection.
OOC: Adam's author has confirmed intent to meet Annette in the Common Room.
Swing, sway, slide.... (FAO prefects, HSs, my sidekick)
by Jamie Park
Jamie had been kind of bored by the prospect of the ball until he had met Shino. Sure, he had planned to make mischief regardless, but it was always fun to have a partner in crime, someone who knew where the credit for the carnage was due. For Jamie, who relished every chance he had to show off, having to keep quiet was the worst part of every prank. He had thought long and hard about what to do for this most special of occasions. It was frustrating how limited his magic was as a second year. Defence had mostly been about shield charms and all that psychological fear crap. There were a few hexes that might be fun but you had to hit people one at a time, and he dreamed so much bigger than that…. Ideally, he thought the height of hilarity would be releasing a troll in a tutu into the ball, but he sadly lacked the resources for that - after all, how the hell was any self respecting wizard going to know where to get his hands on dancewear?
He filed into the ball with Shino and the rest of the school, the most cherubic of looks on his face. His robes were fairly plain and black, after his mother had vetoed his first choice, which were displayed in the window of a Quidditch supplies shop and had featured bad-ass flame patterns licking up the sleeves. He had tried to modify the black set to mimic them but had only succeeded in singeing the sleeve. The fifth year probably could have sorted it for him, but he wasn’t going to ask someone like that for help. All in all, he was glad he hadn’t succeeded, either in persuading his mother or making the modifications, as this was he was a lot less conspicuous.
He took his place to watch the majesty of the opening dance. He had identified this as his preferred target early on - the pompous prefects, the school’s golden boys and girls, with the rest of the school gathered around, supposed to be fawning over their excellent example. It was enough to make you sick. His only slight regret was that Ji-Eun wasn’t a year older and out on the floor at this point. He had thought long and hard about how to put his limited magic to use. He could change the head girl’s dress to a vile snot green which she would probably regard as the end of the world but it wasn’t really enough for him. He had paged through more books than he ever had for homework, trying to find something to cause slips and trips en masse. Eventually, a tired looking volume called ‘101 Common Magical Accidents and How to Prevent Them’ had given him an answer. A lot of it was dull stuff like cauldron contamination but, after much impatient page flicking, he had come across the sliding charm. He had long held aspirations of transforming the dance floor into an ice rink but hadn’t found a good enough way. The freezing charm required there to be water present already, and was an intermediate spell, and transfiguring it was also way out of his league. The slipping charm, however, was a simple household charm, designed to facilitate the moving of objects which were too heavy to be levitated, or where the user lived in an area densely populated with Muggles. But, the book cautioned, be sure to remove it when finished to prevent nasty falls!
With quite the opposite intention in mind, he took careful aim at a point on the opposite side of the dance floor, waiting to time his shot until no one was moving past him. The crowd around him, whilst there was the risk they were watching him, also hid and sheltered him somewhat. Hopefully they were all distracted by the prefects. Luckily, his chosen spell required quite a subtle movement, a gentle, sliding gesture.
“Glisse,” he cast softly, relying on the music to cover him. He wasn’t going to cover the whole floor. If Shino asked, his excuse was that this way was funnier. If he did the whole floor, they would all tumble at once and it would be over in seconds. This was slower - as each couple hit the patch he’d targetted, they would slip or stumble. Some might recover, some might go down. Either way, everyone would assume they had lost their footing. Until it happened to the next and then next couple. At that point, he planned to break the spell, give them a few bars to rest before starting it up again somewhere else. Of course, the real reason was he couldn’t cover an area that big, especially when he had to keep his voice down when casting, but he thought he could carry his story off with enough style that it seemed convincing.
OOC - as he’s only affect a small patch of the dancefloor, and as he will be cancelling and then recasting it elsewhere, you can choose whether or not your character happens to hit that particular space at just the wrong moment. I imagine that most people would cross one of the patches at least one but there is a get out if you don’t want to have your character involved in this, or if they’ve seen a few people stumble, they might be able to brace themselves against it when going over.
13Jamie ParkSwing, sway, slide.... (FAO prefects, HSs, my sidekick)284Jamie Park05
Ji-Eun was feeling a little anxious about the ball. Or rather, whether she had done the right thing in agreeing to a friend-date with Arnold. If it happened to get back to her mother, she probably wouldn’t listen to her excuses and would still be furious at her. She also worried about how Arnold was feeling… What if he was hoping their friend date turned into more? It couldn’t. And maybe it would have been kinder to just completely shut down that possibility. Except it had seemed so mean to crush his feelings - even telling him she only wanted a friend date, even with a valid-ish excuse of not being allowed to date right now, she had felt bad. She wasn’t sure she had ever managed to say a flat out ‘no’ to anyone, let alone someone she actually liked.
She had a few moments of tranquility as she got ready, getting to enjoy the purely girly aspects of the ball. Once her dress was on, she stopped worrying that she would be the only one who hadn’t opted for full length, as she just loved it regardless. She twirled in front of the mirror, watching the knee-length A-line skirt fan out around her, the sequins on the bodice catching the light. She had curled her hair for the evening. It was something she loved doing but didn’t do often, as it was very time consuming and, even though she was getting much better at the curling charms, her hair was somewhat naturally opposed to them and they rarely survived things like bending over a steaming cauldron. The majority of her hair was in a loose up-do, to show off the ringlets, with some framing her face. A small tiara with a heart at the front perched on her head, making her feel like a real princess, for all that it had come from a cheap accessories store.
She was momentarily distracted when she met Arnold by his interesting choice of attire but she smiled at him all the same, blushing a little as he complimented her.
“So do you,” she said. Arnold’s suit was a bit different but it was fun. “I like the fabric,” she added. They clashed quite horribly in terms of colours, with her in pale purple, which she was a little distressed by but supposed it added much more to the ‘not a date’ look that they were going for, so maybe it was for the best.
“Thank you,” she smiled, when he revealed he’d bought her a corsage. She held out her wrist obligingly. The flowers were very pretty and, not being well read up on floral symbolism, the idea of them as an image of friendship was a little lost on her. Flowers, in her mind, were rather date-like, and she wondered again what exactly she was doing. What was a friend date - what were the differences and the rules that made it that? Did it just mean there wouldn’t be kissing? Everyone would probably still talk about them and her mother would still be mad if she knew. Plus every time Arnold did something like this it made her feel awful that she couldn’t feel more for him.
Effie should have been more excited for the ball than she had been for anything in her life. She was, of course, thrilled to not only be going with Anthony but to actually feel like he might like her, in more than the sense that he had to because he was a Carey and she was an Arbon. She had styled herself with care for the occasion. Her hair had been wrapped in a towel with a copious amount of Sleek-Eazy’s Extra Shine Serum for thirty minutes before she began styling. It was now neatly twisted around the base of her head, decorated with small silver leaves, and with long straight wisps trailing at the front. Her complexion glowed, her eyes were bright, with a little help from various friends who resided in her dressing table drawer. Her robe was short sleeved, made up of delicate layers of gauzy pale pinks. The hemlines were cut to points in a different places, showing off the different layers. The palest was embossed was a pattern of leaves, echoing the decorations in her hair and the little tree pendant, with its letter ‘E’ woven into the branches, which she always wore. As was usual with Effie in general, but especially when dressed up, the effect was rather elfen.
She floated out of the dormitory, looking light as air though with a weight still on her mind, and glided down the corridors, hair and dress flowing gracefully. Although she had taken much time over her preparations, she was still early to meet Anthony. It would never have done to be late when they were expected to open the dance, and she had more than enough practise at getting ready for balls to budget her time appropriately.
She stood watching the other students assemble, keeping a watchful eye out for Araceli. She had styled her sister’s hair for her whilst her own was gathering shine and had asked whether she would like to walk down to the Hall together. She had received a shake of the head, and had not pushed the issue, owing to the presence of other people. She felt concerned by Araceli’s refusal. She knew her sister was anxious about the ball and about making a good showing that would please their father. She had mentioned as much in their limited conversations, though more recently she had stopped mentioning the subject altogether, and if it was mentioned became, if possible, more silent than usual. Effie could not help but feel that her sister might be planning to avoid the occasion altogether Whilst she could see the benefit in the short term, she knew that father would not be at all pleased, and she so dearly wished for Araceli to come and to have a good time… As each person passed who was not her sister, her face fell a little. She was good at smiling when she had to and pretending all was well but she was used to having an audience to trigger such a reaction. As she stood waiting, she forgot to perform for the passing crowd, her anxiety telling on her face. She was brought to by someone approaching her, and she quickly hitched a pleasant smile back on her face, though possibly not before her previous expression had been noted.
13Effie ArbonWaiting anxiously for Anthony238Effie Arbon05
Aria slipped into the ball after the first dance had already begun. She was supposed to apart of that dance, but as she was not asked by anyone, she could not join in. She had known since the last ball that she would not have a date. She was too different from her classmates for anyone to possibly see her in a new light. She had been a little hopeful that James would have wanted to have the first dance with her. She knew even when the thought first appeared that it had been a silly one, but he had been the only person who had remained kind to her throughout her years at Sonora. She had hoped his kindness would have filtered into the ball, but alas, it had not.
She stood in the back of the hall watching the other Prefects and the Head Students dance. Aria was not nearly as glamourous as those around her, but she felt beautiful in her layored lace http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v139/Twinkelsc/ball%20dresses/Ariadress-2.jpg”>dress. Her hair was straightened and then curled, giving it a smoother look rather than her usual chaos and although her make-up was the same, it appeared softer due to her overall appearance. This was not the typical look for a ball, she guessed, based off the large gowns others were wearing, but she didn’t see the point in those types of garments. She would wear her outfit again at a ceremony back home. Her money was not wasted.
Aria thought that the owls had made it to their destination points. The owls were what had delayed her. She wanted to make sure the recipients were down in the hall before the owls got to their beds. Wendy had been behind, so Aria was kept back. Her eyes wandered over to her young friend. Aria was disappointed in her choice of date, but that was more of a personal feeling as she disliked Rupert and all his grandeur. She thought he was selfish and thoughtless to other people’s feelings. He had no idea how the world worked and now he was pulling Wendy into it for his own egotistical gain. What was his thinking? Wendy wasn’t a toy for him to play with. What if she fell for him, what would he do? Aria doubted he would turn away from his family and she knew his family would never accept Wendy unless they wanted shame in the Pureblood world. Aria only hoped that Wendy was brighter than that and kept herself safe.
Her final gift to Wendy was a handmade and painted Unicorn and fowl scent holder. It was rather heavy being made of solid clay, minus the center that had a small hallow center for the scents to go, and a good six inches in height. It took her awhile to get the portions right and again the paint, but she was happy with the outcome of it. She thought Wendy would appreciate the effort. There was also a note included with it.
Dear Wendy, I have enjoyed being able to get to know you over the course of these last couple of years. You are an amazing person who knows who she is and demands the freedom that comes with it. I hope you are able to find the things you love and enjoy life after Sonora. If you are ever in my area, please come and see me. I think you’d really love my home. Good luck to you and may your heart always remain true and free. Thank you for being a part of my life.
The other gift was to James, who was currently dancing with a younger student. She had hand crafted a Chinese Dragon for a piggy bank. The head, neck, and top half served for the actual bank portion while the remaining tail was of solid clay to keep it sturdy. She had enjoyed herself with painting it, but getting the brilliant red and gold flakes had been painstaking. Aria didn’t know what James did with her gifts, whether he kept them, used them, or threw them away, but she hoped he appreciated the time and effort she took to complete the work. His gift also had a letter.
Dear James, Thank you for being so kind to me over these years. You have always been so patient with me and it’s something that I have always appreciated. I know that once we graduate we will likely never see each other again and that is incredibly sad for me to acknowledge. Perhaps things could have been different if we were from different families or if this world was more accepting we could have had a stronger relationship. I wish you the best in this world and the gift of happiness. Please know that you will always be welcomed in my life. I hope you never change, James. Thank you for being in my life.
They would likely get the gifts long after she had gone to bed and tomorrow they would all be too busy to acknowledge them. She was okay with this. She was okay with staying in the back, unnoticed and slip away forever before anyone ever looked in her direction. Taking a yearbook, Aria grabbed a little food and took a seat. She wasn’t going to stay long, maybe another song or two, but then she would be off to say farewell to the Prairie Elves and go to bed.
6Aria YaleWatching and saying goodbye.228Aria Yale05
Emrys had been nervous for the Ball. He considered to be Charlotte his best girl friend since Ava was a little too rambunctious and he tended to find some of her antics tiresome, and he was nervous to have their friendship change since he felt that they worked so well together. However, things had changed. He had a guy friend now (guys friends if he included Arnold which he felt as though sometimes he could seeing as Emery and he had invited their other roommate to dinner with them when he was in the area), and more than one girl friend so he was able to sort through his feelings. The past year had involved a lot of change. Not only had his grandfather, the strict patriarch of the Lucan family died, but his feelings towards his first friend at Sonora had changed. He had realized, around Christmas break (with the aid of Caelia of course) that he was beginning to like Charlotte. Like, like-like Charlotte. And that was scary.
So, the night of the Ball, before he and Emery went down to the common room to meet Ava so the three could walk together to the Ball, Emrys checked, checked, and re-checked himself in the mirror to make sure he looked presentable. He had worn black dress robes for his grandfather’s funeral but, after learning a fire charm from a library book, Emrys had burned the offending set of robes so he wouldn’t have to remember that day. Due to this infraction, Emrys had needed a new set of robes but, furious that he had ruined a perfectly good set his parents had told him he would need to earn money over the summer in order to pay them back. Wesley, upon hearing this, immediately sent Emrys money to re-pay his parents, insisting that all he needed in return was one, small favor. Emrys cautiously accepted the offer though he knew that he would learn to regret it because he had plans for the summer. Next year he was set to take the CATS, and Emrys had wanted to spend his summer getting a leg up so that he would be able to pass all his classes with Os, sort of a last present to Grandfather.
The new dress robes had arrived yesterday, a dark grey color that Emrys thought would look better with the green Charlotte had told him her dress was in the MARS room that day so, as it turned out, burning his funeral robes had been for the best. However, there was one particular curl of light brown hair that was frustrating him to no end. It wouldn’t stay in place but he felt as though it looked odd, springing forth in the manner it did. Emrys made a face at himself in the mirror before realizing that Emery was ready to go and left with his best guy friend for the common room.
Ava was late and Emrys found himself thinking that Charlotte would never be late but then he mentally slapped himself for comparing his two girl friends. “Hi,” he replied to her greeting. “You look…nice, too.” He hoped that she didn’t catch his hesitation, but he knew that she was probably too excited to notice anyway. When she turned, showing that not only was there paint on her shoes and a little on the side of her face but also the tip of her dress, Emrys hid a grin. She was too happy about having something that wasn’t ruined with paint that he didn’t feel as though he ought to be the one to bring her down. The hat she was wearing, however, confused him. He was sure that no one wore hats to Balls and if they did the hats were considerably smaller, but that was one of the reasons why he preferred Charlotte. She wasn’t as loud and whereas Ava painted and made messes, Charlotte made music and as a musician himself, Emrys could appreciate that.
As they arrived at Cascade Hall, Emrys saw Charlotte entering the hallway from the other end and he hurried to a less crowded area for Charlotte to find him. “Were you waiting long?” she asked when she found him. He noticed that she was fiddling with her hands and he felt slightly reassured that she appeared to be as nervous as he was.
“No,” he said, smiling in a rather shy way, suddenly feeling really exposed. His heart was beating loudly and his blood rushed in his ears. “You look lovely,” he said. And he meant it too. “I have this for you.” From his pocket, he produced a light cream colored rose. He had a similar one in his lapel button hole and he figured that Charlotte could put this one in her hair or perhaps somewhere else. He personally wasn’t a fan of corsages, finding them to be weirdly mimicking of lacy collars and cuffs on old fashioned dresses, a fashion trend that even Emrys in his 15-year-old unfashionable boy mind disliked.
“Would you, um, would you like to go in?” He asked after giving her the rose. He didn’t know the meanings behind flowers, really, but when Wesley asked him what color he wanted, he’d thought the cream one would look nicest with the mint-green color Charlotte had picked. Wesley mocked him, saying white symbolized marriage, but Caelia was quick to put that to ease when he wrote her in desperation. According to Grandmother, Caelia had said, white can also be for new beginnings. He was feeling kind of weird about the whole situation, however, though he had no reason to. This was Charlotte and they’d been friends for a while. But perhaps, just perhaps, his heart was cream colored like the rose.
Lena wasn’t unhappy to hear this, not at all. She herself was way too interested in discovering things about herself which seemed to happen more frequently at Sonora than in Wales. In Wales she was stagnant, here she was pushed and challenged and even morally tested. Other people? They didn’t register- well, not often. Tobias seemed nice enough but when she wasn’t even interested in friends how was she supposed to show interest in him as anything more?
‘Is he worried? I’m not that unappealing, am I? Not that I care exactly. . . That would be a bit of a downer, though. No, what am I thinking, he asked me to the ball.’ But Lena realized this wasn’t true as soon as she thought it. ‘Maybe he didn’t even want to ask me. .’ Lena couldn’t possibly have known whether that were true or not but the thought occurred and it was not expelled immediately.
Now she really wished Olivier and she had kept their plans. Was this even considered a date? Two people meeting for the first time officially. She should really shake it off but she couldn’t, the thought of someone disliking her made her mildly sick. Liac seemed a bit of a player, though Lena really had no reference for such things, and although Tobias seemed amiable enough- he certainly was polite- she sensed no real interest. Her theory was solidifying in her mind. The evening had gone from pleasant enough thoughts of her gown and the somewhat pleasant one of seeing Olivier with a girl to one of displeasure at possibly being less desirable than she had originally been led to believe by Liac.
Thank God there was a buffet. Lena was famished, which led her to say “Are you hungry yet?” She couldn't wait to engage in something, even -heaven forbid- conversation so long as she could lose this somewhat unhappy train of thought. As she waited for his answer, she dropped eye contact and began to look over Tobias' shoulder for Olivier. Who had he asked? Even though she expected to need a physical distraction to dislodge the suspicion that Tobias had maybe been as interested as she in their date it turned out not to be the case at all as soon as she started worrying about her brother.
The ball had put Amity in a rather foul mood all year and the closer it got, the worse she felt. It wasn't that she disliked parties in general but ones where she'd stand around alone all night, where nobody would talk to her, and nobody would ask her to dance. The Aladren tried to put on a happy face in public-or at least not a morose one-but when she was alone, she couldn't help but cry at times.
Tonight, she was dressed in floor length deep purple dress with long draping sleeve. Since it wouldn't do to wear black, she choose another dark color. It was a lovely gown but the sixth year didn't even know why she was bothering to go in the first place. Her best friend and sister both had dates. Though she loathed herself for it, in a way she was just a tiny bit jealous of Effie, who could end up having a magical night with Anthony and end up falling in love and betrothed. She personally would never have that happen, she'd end up forced to marry someone she didn't even know. Whether or not she'd met her future husband at a ball outside school or would, it still didn't give her much chance to get to know him and build any sort of relationship. Worse, she could end up in a relationship with someone totally unreasonable who mistreated their children, the way her father had ended up with her mother.
Amity didn't even have anyone to enter the ball with. She had no friends in Aladren or even family-unless one counted Oliver Ferguson, that second year twit-to walk with her. She was alone and she'd never been more so in her life. This whole thing couldn't be more humiliating and the moment she entered the ball, she just wanted to flee. What people must be thinking of her? That she was a loser who had almost no friends surely. It killed her inside to be one of the few left on her own.
She sighed as the Headmaster gave his customary few words. Professor Valson was leaving and the Head Students weren't being announced. Neither mattered to her, both Professor Skies and Professor Olivers were pretty consistent in attendence and she hadn't been on the ballot anyway. If it wasn't for the fact that Amity didn't want to be Head Girl, she would have been deeply hurt and offended by being left off.
Yearbooks were handed out and Amity sighed, opening hers. She skipped quickly to one particular section, Criminal, sighing with relief not to see her name underneath it. The sixth went back to scan through the previous awards, noting she'd gotten Brain and Bookworm. Aladren awards. Of course, Savannnah and Serena were Teppenpaws who'd gotten both plus Logical. She also noted that Chaslyn had won Well-Behaved, Serious, and Bashful, two of which Araceli Arbon had also gotten. Maybe the two would get on well. The Aladren kept going down to find out that not only had she and Effie made Best Friends but had won it and suddenly felt a bit better.
Amity headed to the buffet table, she still wasn't sure there was much point in her sticking around but at least she felt a little less upset so she could at least have a bit to eat before heading up, putting on her nightgown, doing her facial care rituals and curling up with a good book. Even though it would be a shame to waste a pretty dress. Amity looked over the buffet, making sure to take care not to pick anything that her sleeves might end up in.
That's when the last thing happened that she expected to. Someone spoke to her.
"So do people think Annette is going to be a criminal because we did the Quidditch thing before we were allowed to, or just because nobody in our year seems criminally inclined and they needed a name and hers is attached to a violent sport?"
She blinked, quickly deducing that the Pierce twin in front of her was Annabelle, given both that she had said Annette rather then herself and that Annette was going to the ball with Adam Spencer. The hurt in the other girl's voice was apparent and Amity could instantly relate. "I...don't know why she got it. I mean, I didn't vote for her-or you either. But I do know how bad it feels." She looked down at her plate. "I got it fourth year. For no discenerable reason whatsoever, not even the one you suspect for Annette as I don't play Quidditch. I just assumed most people didn't like me or consider me respectable." It had really done a number on her self-esteem-which with a mother like hers wasn't exactly that great in the first place. And this had been at a time when there had been more respectable people around-people Amity considered her peers. It had felt like the ultimate rejection and since then, she'd had the worst time trusting any of her classmates aside from Effie. After that yearbook had been handed out, she'd done what she'd done all this year, refusing to let her mother's criticism get to her-she didn't care what that woman thought, all she cared about was saving Chaslyn from her-and going home and crying like she'd never cried before.
Jay chuckled at Francesca’s request for female cousins of his to mold in her image. “They could do far worse,” he said, “but my branch, at least, is nearly out of cousins.” His aunts and uncle had all stopped having children long before his parents had. “I’ve got a brother and a sister left, but you’ll be gone, too, before they get here.”
He knew Francesca had a big family, too, and wondered if she also felt distant from the siblings furthest from her age. He thought she was one of the middle children, though, so it was probably different either way. Maybe it was just because he had hardly ever been around them – he had been at school when Peter was born; he’d always thought that had something to do with why Theresa had had her disastrous affair with Princeton – but he felt differently about Cecilia and Peter even than he did about Diana, who was enough younger to be a different case than Theresa and Henry....Though, admittedly, it was possible Henry and Theresa being in a special category had less to do with birth order than it could have.
“Oh, two simultaneously,” he joked about scarves. The Defense exam had been rigorous, but not outrageous. Jay didn’t think of himself as the kind of person who had a gift for that kind of magic, nor did he really enjoy it, but it was useful and he had become competent. “While fighting eight assassins. And using the needles defensively, of course – creativity and speed, you know.”
He was interested in what she’d said about her long-term plans, and a little envious that she seemed to have more specific ones than he did even though she was two years younger than him. “Which might be a little like law. We had to learn a lot of laws for the written portion.” There were some things which were just illegal, but more where it seemed to depend on the circumstances or the degree. "Do you already know what - type of law, I guess you'd call it, that you want to focus on?"
He knew there were different ones; the class who dealt with Dark Arts charges were not much like the kind Jay saw most, ones like his father's old business lawyer, who they were on first-name terms with. Jay had been sorry when Reggie's second heart attack had forced him to retire not long before Jay started school. Reggie had pretty much given it up by then, but to Jay, he'd always be the guy who'd given him and Theresa candy when he'd come to the house to consult with their father when they were little. Jay had never seen, as far as he knew, the other kind, but he had the mental image of them as people who wore very dark robes and answered only to Mr. or Ms. So-and-So. They were serious people doing a serious job no one wanted, whether that was attempting to prosecute or attempting to defend. Since Francesca didn't want to take Defense again, though, he thought she was safe from that job.
Charlotte knew Emrys was friends with his house-mates. Clearly he would want to spend time with them, but watching them walk down to Cascade Hall together still made her feel a little sad. Perhaps he preferred Ava Fletcher over her. And if that were the case, then she would be left with no one. In a trio with one witch, one of the two wizards would eventually fall for her. That was only natural. She didn’t know how much time Emrys spent with the other two, but she imagined they saw each other quite often. It wasn’t quite jealousy that Charlotte felt, but something else. Competition, perhaps, that she wasn’t prepared for. She didn’t want to want to commandeer Emrys’s time, but a small part of her did anyway.
When she approached him, his two friends gone from his side, she wondered how he really felt about this. She wanted to know what he thought of Ava Fletcher and his room-mate, or how he’d react if he discovered Ava fancied him. She smiled, her cheeks flushing as he handed her a rose.
“Thank you, Emrys. It’s lovely,” she replied. It was lovely, but Charlotte wasn’t certain where to put it. If she only had a clip, she could have pinned it to her hair. After checking for thorns, she put it behind her ear and smiled at him. “How does it look?” The colour he’d chosen went well with her dress, and she was looking forward to the appreciative glances from her school-mates.
There was a part of her that wondered if he had given Ava Fletcher a rose as well, but Charlotte tried not to compare herself to Ava. People like Adam and Emrys who were popular and well-liked by their peers could easily make new friends and didn’t seem particularly threatened by anyone. Charlotte, however, had hardly any friends. There was Serena Brockert, a lovely witch who had appeared at the most opportune time in Charms class, but Emrys was Charlotte’s best friend and a wizard. She didn’t want to give him up to anyone, and she knew that was wrong. Emrys was a lad who could make his own choices and decide who he wanted to spend time with, and Charlotte didn’t want to hinder him in any way. But her desire for security and friendship outside of her family made her jealous. It was not a pretty sight.
Charlotte tried to smile as Emrys suggested they go in. She needed to expel these awful thoughts from her mind and try to enjoy her time with him. He was her best friend, and she wanted to act like the perfect friend in return. If she wasn’t perfect, then he might run off and leave her alone. Charlotte only hoped that this night would be everything he'd hoped for. When they entered Cascade, she appraised everyone’s apparel. Her cousin had arrived with a muggle-born at his side. Odd and worrisome, knowing the rumours that surrounded the two. Adam had brought Annette who, in Charlotte’s opinion, was not a bad choice. Despite her tomboy-ish antics, Annette looked like a proper date to the ball. The dress robes were lovely, but Charlotte found Ava Fletcher to be a bit obnoxious in her attire as well as Wendy Canterbury. She wasn’t certain what pure-blood wizards saw in these sorts of girls.
0CharlotteI'll keep my fingers crossed.0Charlotte05
After the obnoxious Reinhardt had asked his beloved sister to the ball, Olivier had been forced to intimidate the quiet Reinhardt into treating his sister well. His next order of business, of course, had been to decide upon a date to the ball. The girls in his year, it seemed, were altogether too chatty save for Brockert, but the obnoxious Reinhardt had gotten to her before Olivier could. He knew he didn’t want to go older mainly because he didn’t want to be associated with the Reinhardts who had both asked out older girls, but also because he found the girls in the third year particularly annoying and any girl over that just was not appropriate. So he settled on scanning the first year class for potential dates. After much deliberation he selected his target—Araceli Arbon, proper, pretty and most importantly quiet. A perfect, appropriate combination sure to not only make himself look good to the rest of the school but also to keep himself from going insane. There would be no silly ramblings over who wore which dress best and did he care for some punch, because Arbon Jr. was not, in Olivier’s careful research, that type of girl. She would look nice on his arm and she would acquiesce to his demands, perhaps they would indulge in a few dances and that would be that. After she requested to go back to the dorms, he would take her back and then meet up with Lena to spend some much needed twin time in the gardens.
All would go according to plan. He waited in the common room night after night until finally a night arrived where Arbon Jr. came home to a relatively empty common room. If he was to be rejected, he did not want anyone around to see. However, what Olivier had not counted on was Arbon Jr.’s shyness. It was worse than Lena’s because at least his twin had been able to muster up the courage to say a few words to the obnoxious Reinhardt. Always quick on his feet—a trait Olivier loved to compliment himself on, he flashed what he knew to be his “sweet” smile at Arbon Jr. “It’s alright if you don’t say anything now,” he had said making sure that his voice sounded reassuring. “I know this is probably out of the blue and rather surprising. However, I do hope you will consider my offer seriously. I’ll wait in the Crotalus common room until ten minutes after the ball starts if you would like to walk down together. I promise I don’t bite.” He had then given her a wink and another smile before casually walking away.
Now, he sat in one of the chairs in the common room, bound to his words of what had, at the time, seemed quite clever. However he was beginning to wonder if that actually was the smart way to go. Perhaps he should have just cut his losses? He should have known that Arbon Jr. would be a waste of time. He should have sucked it up and asked one of the bubblier girls out instead, one of the silly girls who would have talked his ear off but who also would have at least made it less awkward when he arrived at the ball for his sole purpose of being there—watching Lena. A noise behind him interrupted his thoughts and he nearly snapped at whoever it was, but instead he held it in. He was still at Sonora, he had to watch himself—he did not know who was watching, it could have been anyone. The phrase “the walls have ears” (or was it eyes?) had never quite phased him before the scandal during which his sister had agreed to go to the ball with a first year, but it now had a whole new meaning to it. The whole ordeal had been orchestrated by the Reinhardts to steal Lena from him for their own nefarious purposes, he just knew it! And now one of their henchmen was here to stop him and-! He cut himself off. You’re being ridiculous, Westley, he said. Do not let those maggots get to you like that. Do not let them get in your head. Soon enough this whole event will be over and you will be with Lena again and you will have the gardens and the whole night and then the whole summer with no one to ruin it for you!
So, with that in mind, Olivier stood and turned to face the intruder on his personal thoughts, face smiling but mind cursing their very existence. It was probably just some scum not worth his time but he still needed to be kind and courteous—he had a lot to make up for after his slip with the quiet Reinhardt a few days ago. “Hello,” he said his voice a little more pleasant as usual, a new tone in it, one that he had been working on in the privacy of his bedroom for a few weeks now. A new tone that implied he was genuinely happy to see them. “How are you this evening?”
10Olivier WestleyTrying to keep sane.282Olivier Westley05
How did it look? Emrys tried to contain his blush but he was sure that some of it escaped him as he began to feel his face heat up. She was the best looking witch he’d seen all night and even though he had only been down there for a short while and had not yet seen the school in its entirety, he was certain that she would still come out on top. Thinking that and saying so, however, were two totally different things and instead he went with a “Very nice,” and another shy smile as she accepted his offer to go inside—he knew she would as the whole point of going to a Ball was to actually…go to the Ball, but he still felt oddly surprised. Perhaps this wasn’t the right word for it, but he couldn’t come up with another. Surprised was the way he had been feeling about a lot of things lately. Most of all he was feeling surprised at the way he was feeling towards his best friend and even more surprise that she had chosen him out of all the other boys at the school to be friends with.
Once they walked into the ball Emrys grinned at the sight of Ava gorging herself on pastries and shook his head. She was nuts. However, Ava wasn’t his responsibility that night, Charlotte was and he was glad he had gotten up the courage to ask her. “It looks really nice in here,” he said lamely, trying to get back his spunk so they could return to their previously easy way of talking. It was almost as if he didn’t know how to act around Charlotte anymore now that they were in a formal setting and she was his, for lack of better terms, date. “I suppose dancing together would be the next order of business, or we could mingle,” Emrys offered next in a rather Wesley-like manner, cringing even as he said it. Normally he didn’t behave like his cousin but he wanted to see what dancing with Charlotte would be like and he didn’t know how to ask her. He’d asked witches to dance before, but this was different, and this was Charlotte and—he brain was beginning to hurt with all his excuses. When it came down to it even though she’d agreed, he still felt that perhaps he wasn’t enough and she would come to her senses and say that she’d rather go with Wesley, even though his cousin didn’t even attend Sonora and most definitely wasn’t at the ball.
Comparing himself to Wesley, though, seemed to do the trick and he snapped out of whatever it was that was making him act like this. It was completely illogical to think that Wesley could take Charlotte from him. Wesley didn’t even know her really (other than that one meeting at the concert their second year) and besides, he was rambunctious, at times rather rude, and an ocean away. The night was far from over and Emrys decided that he was going to make sure Charlotte had a good time, he might have been behaving awkwardly before but he wasn’t going to be weird anymore. He turned his full attention to Charlotte and smiled at her in the relaxed way his face was accustomed to. “This song does sound like it would be fun to dance to though,” he said, nodding his head toward the band. The tune was jovial and not too fast nor too slow so he figured it would be an easy one to waltz to. “I’d like to learn it,” he commented, “perhaps jazz it up a little and play it for my Grandmother’s birthday in June. She likes jazz. She never told my Grandfather that because she thought he would disapprove, but somehow he still knew and at every Ball they ever went to together, even though he didn’t like jazz, he would still ask her to dance with him whenever a jazz song came on.” Emrys’ eyes crinkled up a little bit as he smiled. His grandparents, despite their hardness, had harbored such love and care for each other and they had been best friends up until the end.
Charlie had been the busiest of little bees in preparation for the ball. He had started getting reading almost straight after lunch, as he had to be ready in time to get Julian ready. He styled himself up in the comfort of his own room, rather than transporting the entire contents of his dressing table down to MARS. His hair had taken quite some time to perfect. He had chosen to go for the bedhead look but on the first run, it had been way too styled looking. The second time, it definitely looked like he’d just rolled out of bed, but only if he’d spent the night sleeping in a hedge, upside-down. He cursed his choice as he began it for the third and fourth times, finding himself thinking that the first had probably been the best, and wishing (and wondering) whether there was a spell to just go a stage back in your hair or make-up preparations. It would be useful, for those times when you were working a complex style and made a mistake halfway through. However, it wasn’t going to help him now. After the best part of a very frustrating hour in front of the mirror, his hair was as close as it was going to get to looking perfectly like he had made no effort whatsoever. He had a daily make-up routine for flawless looking skin - a miraculous combinations of toners, concealers and virtually every other thing going - which he had tarted up slightly for the occasion with clear lip-gloss, a slight smoky effect from light amounts of eyeshadow and eyeliner, and very bright nail varnish.
His own preparations had overrun slightly, and so he was late to meet Julian in the MARS room. He was already wearing the shocking pink, form-fitting t-shirt and black skinny jeans that formed the base of his outfit, though his robe was in a suit-carrier, as he wanted to minimise the risk of make-up stains on his outfit. He had brought a towel to protect Julian’s gown, along with half the contents of his dresser in case his own look needed last minute touch ups. Her hair had been first, and he had transformed her curls into sleek, straight strands, which he had twisted and twirled into a complex knot on the side of her head. He had tempered his own desire for drama and sparkle when it came to make up, though had delved into the more shimmery shades of pink and silver for her beautifully blended eye-shadow.
While Charlie worked his magic (and she still did find some of it as mysterious as the Advanced Transfiguration book she had dared to look at while considering what RATS to begin next year, though she really did think she had made progress in the past few months) Julian had made sure to sit very still and been quieter than usual. Part of it was just not wanting to distract Charlie, and part of it was because of her nerves, which she thought were really about the whole event – she, the girl who had forgotten the simple Teppenpaw entrance jig a few times as a second year, was going to lead dancing, in front of everyone, in heels - but which seemed to have become focused on her dress.
The dress was not, she was sure, as elaborate as many that would be on display in the Cascade Hall. It was made of silky, flowy, floaty fabrics, but the skirt was not the huge thing she pictured when she thought of ballgowns, and though it was longer than the handful of other dresses she owned, it didn’t reach all the way to the floor. At the top, the neckline – part of a v-shaped piece of cloth which went up and over her shoulders to make a small bit of sleeve over the top of each arm – was a bit lower than those she usually wore and decorated with a few golden sparkles, but overall, by the standards of her peers, she was sure her dress was still fairly plain and simple. To her, though, it was both the prettiest, girliest thing she had worn since she was a toddler and possibly the single most expensive item of any kind that she had ever been the sole owner of in her life and she was terrified of tripping over or spilling something onto it.
“Well,” Charlie smiled, as he stepped back, “It feels a little like I’m complimenting myself here, but aren’t you just a picture? Let me just put my robe on and we’ll be on our way.”
Luckily Julian’s look was something he had practised and erred on the simpler side of his repertoire, meaning he had made up their lost time, even though his hands had been oddly shaky and unco-operative. Resisting the temptation to touch up his own hair and make-up (well, mostly), he pulled on the last element of his outfit. The robe was closely cut, sitting more like a very long jacket than anything else, open at the front and affording a view of the clothes underneath. It had shining gold buttons and military detailing in a pale pink to match Julian’s dress and to compliment the more vibrant shade of his t-shirt and nail-polish. The robe featured gaudy epaulettes to rival the decoration any of the girls was sporting. For him, the purpose of an occasion like this was to dress up, and that meant being simply as fashionable and fabulous as possible, and he couldn’t understand why people insisted on sticking to some pre-conceived and narrow notion of what the right clothes were. What was the point wearing something that would have been considered stylish when your grandfather was attending dances? With that, he was ready for his starring role as a fake straight boy for the evening (though between the make up and the jeans, he wasn’t sure he’d be fooling any body).
“Right,” he smiled, turning, the robe giving only the slightest of swishes owing to its close cut, “Shall we head off and show the rest of the world how it’s done?”
Once her hair and make-up were finished, she fussed gingerly with the folds of her skirt while Charlie got his own robe. Julian surprised herself a little by kind of liking the pseudo-military-ish look on him, even though it did strengthen her feeling that they were really just playing dress-up for fun. Of course, she guessed in a way, they were, and thinking of it as dress-up seemed to help a little with the nerves, so….
Her smile was still a little nervous, though, when Charlie asked if she was ready to go. You are just going to have fun and it doesn’t matter if you get the dancing or manners or whatever wrong, she told herself firmly, and saluted, badly, to make the point to herself. “Ready when you are, Captain,” she said cheerily, without the slightest idea if that was the rank his shoulder-thingies (she made a mental note to try to start learning more precise clothes words once she got a better grip on the make-up ones) were really supposed to signify.
“Just one more thing,” he remembered, unpacking the delicate pink corsage from amongst his hair and make-up supplies. He had charmed the edges with a dusting of gold so that it echoed her dress completely. Even if he was just a pseudo-date, he still believed in doing things properly. He tied the corsage around Julian’s wrist, and took her arm, almost feeling like a real boy as they set off towards the Cascade Hall.
OOC - jointly written by the two authors, and to be resumed in the CH by whichever them feels they have something to say or the time to say it.
13Charlie and JulianNot what the names suggest...252Charlie and Julian05
Of all the people preparing for their dates, Jake imagined he was probably one of the calmest. He honestly didn’t feel nervous at all. Most people with dates were, he imagined, either in relationships and trying to maintain them or hoping to get into relationships or something like that. The thing was, however, that Jake was twelve and not terribly much into that kind of thing yet. As far as he was concerned, it was just an opportunity to get to know Diana better as a new friend.
She was going to be wearing mint green, so the Teppenpaw had picked out his outfit accordingly. He wore a suit instead of dress robes out of personal preference; he found them particularly more dapper looking. His jacket and pants were mint green, his shirt white, and his bow tie pale pink. He preferred bow ties to regular neck ties mostly because they stayed out of his way and didn’t flop about like regular ties, but also partially because they just felt more festive.
Because they were in different Houses, he had suggested meeting up just outside the Cascade Hall, so that was where he waited. Everyone passing by looked lovely, and though he half worried people would think he was staring, Jake was genuinely interested in the extravagant outfits. He happened to enjoy getting dressed up; formal attires were his favorite part of events like these.
When he spied Diana, the budding voice of teenhood told him quietly, I made a great decision. She was stunning, and as a result, a crooked grin found itself on his face. “Hey,” he greeted cheerily. “You look wonderful.” Jake offered his arm. “Ready to go in?”
12Jake MangerCool, calm, and collected [Diana]280Jake Manger05
There were certain comments that got past people’s defences. The most common type to come to mind was the insult, the kind that cut to the quick. Another was when one put one’s foot in it. On both occasions, you could see your remark had hit a nerve, intentionally or not, and the result was written in the person’s face. Rarer, but nicer, was the compliment that did the same. That disarmed the usual, gracefully taught way to respond to such things, and quite clearly struck the person somewhere deep inside the core of their being, hitting their ideal self-image to a tee. This was the effect of Jay’s comment that his cousins could do far worse than follow in Francesca’s footsteps. Although he had never given her a lot of cause to doubt, he had never given her much cause to feel that he took her side, and the absence of the latter often led to feelings of the former, for all that it could quite simply be neutrality. But she felt that comment erased the doubt. It wasn’t something he had to say, like telling her she looked pretty for the dance. It was something he meant and that meant a lot to her. Her head dipped, not managing to meet his eyes as she gave a soft ‘thank you’ the tops of her ears turning red. When she looked back at him, her face had the warmest smile she might ever have worn in all her years at Sonora.
And then they were back to joking and giggling about the exams.
“I hope you didn’t get too much blood on the scarves - I hear you lose points for that,” she laughed.
“I want to specialise in human rights,” she replied promptly, when Jay asked about her plans in more detail, glad he was taking her seriously. Glad his response wasn’t chauvinistic horror at the notion of her having a career. Her mother had often noted how the notion of WAIL was only a generation or so old. Everyone living under it had had a mother or grandmother who had flown, and should thus be ready to believe in it being possible. The career thing, and the idea of women as pretty little ornaments until they became baby machines, had had an insidious little following that had found strength in WAIL’s ideas, so whilst one was not really the same as the other, there was a large overlap in terms of each ideal’s followers, but therefore there was always hope than anyone who was willing to be rational about one might be likely to be so about the other too. “When you told me about Arthur seeing the world, it made me a little envious… But I don’t want to delay going to law school. So, I’m choosing a branch of law that will let me travel - have a career, see the world and save it at the same time,” she nodded, determinedly, “Though perhaps Defence Against the Dark Arts would be useful for that… I hadn’t really thought much about the theory side of things, seeing as law is an entire academic field to itself. I was planning to ask Barna-eek!” she gasped, as her heel - placed, as ever, with care - suddenly didn’t have the grip she expected, and she was pitched off balance.
OOC - tying in with Jamie’s post above
13FrancescaI'm willing to rule out 'bad'250Francesca05
Araceli had been having mixed emotions about the ball. On the one hand, it was a lot of pressure in terms of social expectations, ones which which she was quite sure she would fail miserably to meet. It made her anxious and she could not wait for it to be over. On the other hand, it was the final fence that stood between her and father’s anger and disappointment. She believed very little in the idea that she could do anything to redeem herself on this occasion but the hope, slim that it was, existed. Also, if the ball could just simply go on forever and ever, she wouldn’t have to face father ever again, and so she wanted the night to never end. It had become even more complicated when, quite unexpectedly, Olivier Westley had asked her. She wanted of course to go with him very much but she wanted to live up to his expectations of what a young lady should be. Those undoubtedly included speaking. He had been kind enough to excuse her upon the occasion of his asking her, and she wondered whether that was just his manner in general, or whether he knew about her and was making exceptions. It had been sweet of him either way but she couldn’t see how they would get through a whole evening like that. She would inevitably be horrifically embarrassed by her problems, which made staying locked up in her room seem safe and tempting. But a date… a real date, and to have turned that down… Father would be furious either way - if she had the date and it was a disaster, thus bringing shame upon her family name, or if she snubbed Mr. Westley’s invitation. She hadn’t dared mention the invitation to Effie, sure that her sister wouldn’t understand her fear that she couldn’t do it. They had both been taught how to do it - how to follow the script, and her sister had had no difficulty in applying this and having a numeraled Carey land at her feet as a result.
It was a sense of duty that propelled her down the stairs on the night of the ball. She knew she would be allowed to keep nothing to herself when she got home. She had only one option, which was to hope for some sort of divine intervention to make her date go well. She wished that Tobi had asked her instead, but she had heard that he was going with a girl from second year that his cousin had asked for him. She was a little hurt. She liked Tobi, and he was one of the closest things to an almost friend she had. Even though he hadn’t done the asking himself, his cousin had obviously not registered her existence, as he had gone searching in the year above. It seemed that all her wishing to be invisible had come true and, for his part, Tobi must never have mentioned her. Olivier was better, on paper. He wasn’t in trade and didn’t openly consort with his half-blood cousin. But she thought she might not have messed up so badly if she had been with Tobi. She might have stood something resembling a chance at getting through the evening in a way that pleased father, even if the person she was succeeding with pleased him less.
Her robes were simple, though the fabric was fine, in a shade of blue that closely resembled the school waterfalls, a subconscious expression of her desire to blend into the background. The neck had a little cowling around it, and the cut fitted her well, but apart from that they were plain. Effie had twisted her hair up into an elaborate coronet which made her feel that her sister was part of their mother’s scheme to keep her from fiddling with her hair in public, and which had seen her forced into tight French plaits for her sorting. Around her neck, she wore a chain with her Arbon tree pendant, and the glass pendant Makenzie had given her for Christmas.
Even though Olivier had said he would wait, she was prompt to appear. Being punctual was at least something she could do. She was accustomed to moving noiselessly but as she approached Olivier, her feet felt leaden and clumsy - a great omen for the possible dancing ahead of her - and she knocked a side table as she approached. Perhaps it was a good thing, she reasoned, as he turned at the noise. Who knew how long she would have stood there unable to attract his attention otherwise?
How was she? How was she? It was such a simple question, especially as he doubtless didn’t want the real answer. All he wanted was for her to say that she was fine, thank you. The right response was readily available in her mind but her mouth was dry and empty. She felt all the other people bustling about the common room, aware of the growing silence between them and feeling that it must be noticeable to everyone around them. She took the edge of her skirt and curtseyed awkwardly in greeting, even though that was not really a response. If anything, it took their conversation back a step, onto ‘hello’ and its equivalents. She was not only failing to speak now, it seemed, she was somehow actively undoing all conversation that had taken place. She braced herself for Olivier’s disgust.
13Araceli ArbonIt takes an awful lot of effort290Araceli Arbon05
At home, Anthony would have had more help than any one human could need to get ready for almost any ball he might attend, but because self-sufficiency was one of the family values, he did not think his appearance suffered much for the lack of it at Sonora. The main difference was that there were no tiny last-minute adjustments being made to the fit of his robes, something he had always thought was a little ridiculous considering just how little he was usually likely to grow between when dress robes were ordered and when he was supposed to wear them, especially now that he was older. When he was about thirteen, some of them might have really made his clothes fit better, but at seventeen, he thought he was past the worst of getting taller. It didn’t really show that much beside most people, but he was already taller than was really average in his family, taking back after his mother in both height and coloring instead of after the Careys, though he did think he was still shorter than Arthur.
Vanity was not one of his major faults, but once he was fully dressed, Anthony did take a moment to admire his reflection in the mirror. Dress robes were a bother from start to finish, but they did make him look less gangly than usual, and more dignified in general. Like someone who could open a ball, be interesting company for a whole evening, and live up to the overly-long numeral at the end of his name. Feeling more confident than he had yet, Anthony collected Effie’s corsage and went to the prearranged meeting place.
He felt a little bad about being the second to arrive when he saw her there ahead of him, looking momentarily less than happy, though her usual smile snapped back into place before he could really analyze the bit of expression he saw as he approached. “Good evening,” he said, offering her the little flower arrangement. “I’m sorry I kept you waiting. You look very nice.”
Pleasantries Anthony could do, though he didn’t have the assertive personality for the really elaborate ones. After them, though, came the part that might be harder: the actual Ball. Anthony had known how to dance most of his life, of course, but his most common partner had been his first cousin – Theresa was admitted by almost all to be an excellent dancer, as she had no excuse not to be after having to practice with all of them growing up, as there had been no other girls of learning age around for him or his brothers or the oldest of her brothers to work with. Other than that, there had been some dances with people he didn’t really know that well at events in the past few years, but even that was different than being on an actual date, which he’d asked to go on and where he’d dance with the same person all night without being totally sure what the relationship involved was or might end up as. He’d never done that before and while he didn’t think it did so in a necessarily bad way, it did make him a little nervous.
He was happy when the headmaster didn’t keep them listening – or standing still and worrying about the important dance to come – very long. Dancing, aside from figuring out the specific gentlemanly placement of his hands with a specific girl, was enough muscle memory that Anthony thought he would mostly just have to divide his attention between Effie and making sure they didn’t hit anyone who didn’t know how to dance, which he thought was a good amount of attention to use up at one time.
“It’s a disappointing night for announcements,” he observed. “No results and we’re losing another teacher.” Officially, at least, Professor Valson hadn’t been their teacher, but he had liked her. “I'm sure the rest of the evening will be better, though, and the Feast next year,” he added, automatically trying to find something good to say so their evening didn't start off on too low of a note. "Do you have many plans this summer?"
0Anthony Carey VIIII have arrived!234Anthony Carey VIII05
As the student body gathered, boys and girls meeting inside and outside the Hall and entering it singly and in groups, there were many questions going around. Which couples were going to dance? Were there going to be any major break-ups or get-togethers before the end of the night? What music was going to play? What food was going to be served? Who was going to get which awards in the yearbook? Would all the finery survive the night, or would mishaps, malice, or some combination of both doom some of the girls (or even some of the boys) to ending the year on a note of shame and humiliation?
John knew about these questions because he had heard his sister ask them, repeatedly, over the past few weeks. It would, he thought, have gotten really boring over that much time if the questions had even been answerable, which they were not, which was why he also didn’t see the point of them at all. He, for his part, was absorbed with another question as the evening began: were his classmates more than a little reminiscent of peafowl tonight, or did they remind of him more of mandarin ducks?
As he sat at the table he had chosen, in a chair which put his back as close as possible to a wall and would allow him see anyone who approached him coming from a distance (he didn't think it was likely that anyone would approach him, but he felt bad about reading things that weren’t useful and such tricks were about all the mystery and spy novels he couldn’t help enjoying had to offer), and watched the procession of gowns and dress robes, though, it occurred to him that there was a problem with either analogy. Both species had males and females which were very easy to distinguish from each other, but in both their cases, and even in less dramatic ones like cardinals, the males were usually the colorful, showy, conventionally attractive ones. Humans, or at least most American teenage humans, had it…backward, sort of. The guys – even John, in plain dark blue – were mostly turned out better than usual, but it was the females who, if everyone hadn’t been people and too young for that kind of thing, John would have said were making courtship displays, showing off the fact that they had the resources to waste on such elaborate plumage.
People were different, he knew there were reasons why, but his hobby still made the dresses amusing to him. Except, of course, when he saw Julian’s. Other people probably thought his sister looked pretty in her fancy dress and with her hair different and all, but to him, she just looked…wrong. Like a fake Julian, and he wanted her to go away and let the real one come back. It helped a little that she looked a lot more like herself than he thought she would have if she hadn’t come to the Ball with Charlie (a guy John had strongly associated with one of those tropical pigeons, the vivid surviving relatives of the dodo, even before he laid eyes on his formalwear and wanted very much to interview, even though he knew he would only ever get to do so over his sister's cold dead corpse and possibly not even then), but it did not help all that much.
Since he was sure the real one, who didn’t do her hair and actually said something interesting a lot more often than data collected just in the past month would have suggested she did, would be back after the event, though, he just made a point of looking somewhere else every time he noticed Julian’s situation. Better to find the others, in his comfortable distance from them, kind of funny than to find his own sister a little disturbing.
Headmaster Brockert gave him something else to look at for a minute, but only that long. Since John regarded dancing as a gift as remote from his skill set as brevity was, he ignored the beginning of the music to go look at the food offerings. He wasn't really in the mood to focus on a meal today, would have rather eaten finger foods and focused on taking notes on his schoolmates' behavior and then amusing himself by pretending they were serious if anyone noticed, but since this was kind of a feast and he knew at least one of his friends might have given an IQ point or two to get to attend something actually called a feast, he wandered the buffet with a plate in hand, looking for the gems…and the macaroni and cheese for a side, because there was a reason the classics were classics and that was one thing that was always available and tasted good year-round. Then he went back to his chair to eat and skim through the yearbook, a little curious to see who had gotten the awards despite the mini-essays he had written for his own entertainment in the answer blanks for several questions he hadn’t liked.
Through the first set of them, his main reaction (he was more preoccupied with an unexpectedly good turnip dish, which he was pretty sure had saffron – something his mom adored but which they usually only had on very special occasions because of the price – in it) was the occasional blink of surprise when he discovered that certain people were or weren’t in his year, since he was even worse at keeping track of who was a first or second year than he was at picking up on people’s names. Near the end, though, he paused and looked between the title of the page and his picture at the bottom of it a few times.
"Huh," he said, and winced a little as multiple lines of thought started jostling for attention at once: the question of why his classmates might think he was a future criminal (the best he could come up with was that a lot of them were anchored in the late seventeenth century in some ways, including ones that let them believe things like 'women are basically property' and 'wanting to know how things work makes you evil'), the problem of kind of already being one (sub-divided into thoughts on codes, force fields, privacy rights, money, international spies, and the end of the world as they knew it), and the multiple definitions of the word 'become' and whether or not he could use any of them to twist the title into something else, or at least into the punch line of a sarcastic remark.
Everything about tonight's been nice so far.
Neeka felt a dopey grin playing on her lips at the boy’s response. A mystery it would be, then. “There is some fun in that, isn’t there?” She nodded in agreement, an unrestrained, somewhat goofy-looking nod of surprising but unfelt force as her sense of self was somewhat compromised.
“Did you happen to have any of the punch? It’s lovely stuff, much better than I expect the school would allow. They never want to allow us any real fun.”
Despite a valiant effort, the Pecari was unable to stifle a laugh at the comment. “You’re welcome,” she giggled as he spun her, coming back into him with a playful crooked smile. “I thought this stupid ball could use a little bit of life, so I whipped a little something up. But shh,” she added. “It’s a secret.”
Her mystery wizard bumped into someone, and as he apologized, she again struggled to remain neutral. Everything seemed a lot funnier tonight, which she assumed was a part of the concoctions effects (at least for her). She rather enjoyed it; not caring about anything was rather liberating. Who cared that this boy was probably a pureblood who would hate her halfbloodedness on principle, considering her inferior scum? Whatever, man.
He spoke quite a string of statement and concluded with a question, and Neeka struggled to recall what all he had said. “Afraid I’m not a great one to ask,” she replied honestly. “I don’t do a whole lot here. Frankly, I’ve spent most of my time alone. Not studying--I’m also not a fan--but just loafing around.”
“I suppose that’s why you haven’t seen me much,” she went on. “That and the fact that I think we’re most likely in different classes. I’d remember a face like that otherwise.” As if the message wasn’t clear on its own, Neeka felt compelled, most likely by the potion in her bloodstream, to add a wink, just for good measure.
0Neeka Everything about tonight's been nice so far.0Neeka 05
Agreed. This isn't awkward at <em>all</em>.
His heart was beating what felt like a thousand times a minute, pumping nervous warmth throughout his entire body. Arnold could feel his pulse in every inch of him, particularly the way it throbbed in his throat and pounded in his ears. The way her dark hair framed her face, the tiara on top, and Merlin, those eyes… He felt like he could drown in them without really minding. They were two dark oceans only the privileged could even see.
But, he reminded himself to no real end, they were just friends, so the adrenaline and affection were unwarranted, and he needed to stay casual. So as she offered her wrist for the corsage, the Aladren very calmly slid it over her hand. “There,” he smiled. “Perfect. I think it matches okay, right?”
“Oh, and speaking of matching,” Arnold added, “do you think this tie is okay?” He pulled the black tie from his pocket and held it near his neck, to provide some idea what it would be like if he took off the purple-ish one. “I wanted to match you, but I don’t know if it goes with the red. Which one would you prefer I wear?” He liked the idea of matching--just a little--but if Ji-Eun thought the contrast was too much, he would switch in an instant; the last thing he wanted to do was embarrass her.
Once the tie thing was addressed, he felt slightly more at ease, although at least twenty-seven scenarios in which this went horribly wrong still flashed through his head. At least it was down from the prior twenty-eight. Arnold ran a still somewhat-nervous hand through his red curls, though a smile grew on his face as he glanced between Ji-Eun and the entrance to the Cascade Hall. He offered his arm and mustered all of the confidence he possessed. “So, uh, shall we?”
12ArnoldAgreed. This isn't awkward at <em>all</em>.261Arnold05
Nathan Xavier was on his second cup of punch. He wasn't quite sure why, but he was feeling bolder than usual. Rather than hanging out near the outskirts of the Hall, where he could quietly chaperone without interfering with any of the students, he was instead mingling. As the groundskeeper, he did not often have much interaction with most of the school's population, but he was Head of Teppenpaw House, so he did at least recognize those students, even if he wasn't particularly close to any of them.
So, enjoying his punch, he wandered about the Hall, telling the younger Teppenpaws and those he did not recognize to have a wonderful summer. The graduating Teppenpaws he took a little more time with, wishing them the best in their future lives and asking what their plans were and telling them if they ever needed a character reference for a job or college application, they were more than welcome to use his name. He wasn't sure any of them would take him up on it since he hadn't been an actual professor for any of them, but he wanted to at least make the offer.
He spotted Aria Yale as he was making these rounds and found himself smiling fondly as he approached her as she quietly ate dinner on the sidelines. "Good evening, Miss Yale," he greeted her pleasantly. She was perhaps his favorite of the Teppenpaws and he would be sad to lose her this year, but not nearly as much as his cat who had almost adopted her as a second Human since the half year that Aria had looked after her in his absence. Whenever she ran away from him while he was in his Teppenpaw office, he often found her curled up on the back of one of the couches, somewhere near to Miss Yale. "I believe Alice will miss you horribly next year. You are her favorite student. Thank you again for looking after her that term."
1Nathan XavierFarewell and best wishes to your future28Nathan Xavier05
She thought she hid it behind a bright smile and many laughing comments to her roommates as they got ready, but Diana was a little nervous about the Ball. At home, she had never, despite being more than eleven, been allowed to attend one before, and there was a part of her which still thought she should be wearing old clothes and sneaking behind the drinks table with Brandon, the better to set off fireworks in mid-event and scare all the old fuddy-duddy boring adults to death. Times when they had done things like that at family occasions - Diana knew better than to let Brandon do it when they had real guests; there was a difference between having fun and shaming the family in front of people - were, after all, the reason she had never been allowed to attend a ball before. She and Brandon were the bad kids, the ones who usually weren't allowed out in public.
Things had changed, though. Theresa - Daddy's favorite all their lives, the pretty one, the sister Diana had once loved tormenting more than anything because she wanted to be like her - was now the worst child of all seven of them. Henry, Mother's favorite, was an embarrassment they didn't know what they were going to do with. Bran had changed somehow, in some way Diana didn't understand, and they didn't just fall together into everything the way they had their whole lives anymore. Only Jay was still himself, dull and dependable as a rock; she'd never admit it, but Diana felt safer with her oldest brother than she thought she did with anyone else in the world, just because he always acted the same and the way he always was wasn't crazy. She didn't even trust herself as much, because she didn't feel like herself anymore, either.
Seeing herself in her mint green dress reinforced that. Diana had started to take an interest in fashion after Bran left for school, watching their cousin Arnold's young, pretty wife and her dresses and spending more time with Aunt Emma, who was both fashionable and close enough to Diana in coloring for Diana to emulate better than she could Fae, who was fair and sweet and generally very much Not-Carey in her appearance. Aunt Emma had stood up for her about not wearing something watery and pale to look modest, pointing out that the color Diana had on brought out her eyes and didn't wash out her complexion and that Carey girls - everyone had avoided looking at Theresa - were meant to stand out. Diana didn't know if anyone else, including her date, would agree, but for maybe the first time in her life - all she remembered about being dressed up for Arnold and Fae's wedding was a feeling of annoyance with the inconvenience - she thought she might look really nice. Pretty. Like a real girl.
Jake Manger's smile and comment when she found him did nothing to convince her she was wrong. "Thank you," she said. His suit looked a little funny to her - she was used to boys wearing robes on occasions more formal than just a normal day at home, and one of her cousins usually wore them even then - but did think it had been sweet of him to match her, though she did wonder what he would have done if Mother had succeeded in dressing her in pale pink. She spotted, a second later, at the sight of an older couple who were both wearing some pink and was glad she and Jake were in green. "I am - let's go," she said, beaming as she took his arm.
Inside, the Hall looked good to her. Headmaster Brockert looked less good, but Diana never paid much attention to him anyway. As the prefects - including the pink couple, she saw, and her brother, though Jay and Francesca looked as dull and reliable as ever; she waved merrily to them but don't think they noticed - started to dance, she leaned a little closer to Jake. "When they've...lead, or whatever, do you want to dance?" she asked, hoping he did. She wanted the whole first-ball experience, including dancing with someone who wasn't one of her brothers.
0Diana CareyI'm cheery and excited294Diana Carey05
It seemed as though Charlotte would have to do with ‘very nice.’ Wizards were never very extensive in their vocabulary when it came to compliments, so Charlotte assumed, and stayed by Emrys’s side as they walked in together. She nodded in agreement to his statement; it was lovely inside, and Charlotte took a moment to appreciate the décor instead of examining the rest of the bodies in the room. Mingling had never been a favourite past-time of Charlotte’s, so she replied, “Dancing sounds lovely.” She hadn’t missed Emrys’s grin when they’d entered Cascade, a grin that was directed towards Ava Fletcher. Whilst a part of her burned up inside with jealousy, another smaller bit of her was sad. Alas, it wouldn’t do to dwell on such melancholy feelings at a ball. They were supposed to be having fun.
Charlotte didn’t know much about Emrys’s family, but he made his grandparents sound lovely. Her parents weren’t exactly affectionate towards each other, though she knew they loved each other. Her maternal grandparents hardly spent a few hours together except at mealtimes, the result of an arranged marriage, and her paternal grandfather had died before she was born. Charlotte didn’t know what to expect from a partner as they aged together, but she certainly had no expectations of passion or affection. As long as she lived comfortably, she wouldn’t mind if she and her husband hardly saw each other. Though, if she were being completely honest with herself, she hoped that she would be lucky enough to find love.
Jazz had too much dissonance for Charlotte’s taste. She didn’t hate it, exactly, but she certainly did not prefer it over classical. Wizard rock she could stomach only because Adam played it incessantly, but not jazz. However, in relaying the story Emrys hadn’t admitted to enjoying the genre himself, and Charlotte smiled at him. “Your grandparents sound lovely. How old will your grandmother be?” Charlotte knew only a bit of Emrys and his relationship with his grandfather, but she had never imagined he would think of him so fondly. It was almost odd, seeing Emrys like this, but perhaps death makes the heart grow fonder. Charlotte wondered if she would feel the same if her hard-nosed grandfather died, but she doubted it. She had never been very close with that side of the family.
“Let’s dance, then,” she said, smiling at him and waiting for him to offer his hand. “It’s an easy enough song to dance to and very pleasant on the ears.” Though she did listen to loads of emotional and somewhat melancholy classical music, the amiable and light-hearted songs were what she preferred to dance to. Those tunes carried her along the floor and she was looking forward to having a good time.
The judgemental side of her was something that Cassie had instilled in her, and at times Charlotte wished she could smother that nasty little voice in her head and simply enjoy herself. Whilst she had difficulty speaking her thoughts and making conversation with strangers, Charlotte had a very active mind and keen eyes which she normally preferred to use in creating art. It was only when she was alone, however, that she hardly noticed herself weighing those around her as worthy or unworthy or comparing herself to her peers.
0CharlotteThis is the time to enjoy ourselves.0Charlotte05
Emrys smiled when Charlotte accepted his offer to dance and he held out on hand so that she might take it. When she did, he put the other very lightly on her hip like his Grandfather had taught him to do. Emrys tried to ignore the blood rushing in his ears and the proximity of being with Charlotte, and began to dance. Albeit a little bit slower than the music but once he had picked up on Charlotte’s rhythm, he took the lead and sped their dance up to the beat of the song. Feeling less likely to make a mistake now that he had something monotonous to do, Emrys answered Charlotte’s earlier question about his grandparents. “They can be lovely,” he admitted. “Grandmother perhaps more so than Grandfather but she’s always been delightful.” He laughed. “I don’t know if she’d want me giving away her age though, she’s never given me a straight answer anyhow.” He leaned in a little bit as if to whisper something confidential. “Personally, I think she’s about seventy but anytime I guess she just says she’s ‘old enough to be able to tell [me] what to do.’”
With a wink, Emrys leaned back again, the movement causing fresh air to pass over his face and he realized that suddenly he was quite warm—more so than he had originally anticipated. He discreetly took in a slow breath to calm his nerves and looked down to his feet. “I hope I’m not crushing your toes,” he said politely though he knew he wasn’t. It was a stall tactic, something for him to say while deciding what he should say next. The mention reminded him of when his parents took him and his sister around the living room when they were younger, his mother bending over to reach his height, his father letting Caelia stand on his feet while he took them around the room much quicker than Emrys and Morgana.
Talking and thinking about his family had made him realize how little he and Charlotte knew about each other outside of Sonora. Sure he had mentioned a few things about his family, enough that Charlotte knew he doted on his little sister. He’d probably mentioned somewhere along the way that Caelia was more like their father and he more like his mother. And he knew she knew somewhat about the tensions between him and his grandfather and she had met Wesley so she had seen them interact. But that wasn't much and he was realizing that he probably knew just as much about her. “So, Miss Spencer,” Emrys said, a playful grin on his face. “I feel as though we don’t know each other as much as we should. Let’s see…” He pretended to think, hoping Charlotte would realize he was showing her that he liked to talk with her just as much as he liked to play music and do homework with her*. “You are an artist, a musician, a lovely friend to have and,” he added as he turned them with the music. “Quite a delightful dance partner but perhaps I’m biased since we’re such good friends. But, I don’t know other things. Like, for example, where in the whole world would you most want to go to if your family surprised you with a vacation?”
*OOC: In their first or second year they made plans to work on homework together in the library, so I’m guessing this is something they’ve probably done more than once if Charlotte sees Emrys as her closest friend and Emrys sees Charlotte as his closest girl friend.
10EmrysAnd get to know each other better.260Emrys05
OOC: Confirmed with Adam that he was escorting her to the Hall and dancing with her for the Prefect dance. Adam, if I took too many other liberties and assumptions in those actions, I apologize, and feel free to retcon as necessary. BIC:
Annette wore flats. This was the one contribution she had made to her appearance today. Though perhaps the better word would have been 'ultimatum'. Annabelle had tried to convince her to wear heels but Annette refused point-blank and would not be swayed on the subject. She had let her sister handle her make-up, her hair, and her dress however she liked, but Annette put her foot down (heh) on footwear.
So tonight she was the shorter twin by nearly two inches.
She did not care. She would far prefer the ability to walk over the false appearance of being taller.
Still, she did feel oddly shorter than normal as Annabelle in two inch heels walked her down to the Common Room and dropped her off with Adam. How her sister was as steady in those death traps as Annette was in her flats was a mystery she would never understand.
She put the thought aside by smiling warmly at Adam and hoped her teammate could recognize her beneath Annabelle's handiwork. To be fair, the make-up was fairly minimal, just enough to give her some more color and sparkle (the blush had trace amounts of glitter in it much to Annette's horror). Her hair was, admittedly, quite gorgeously done. Annabelle had outdone herself with the twisting up-do that nicely framed her face in lovely curls, and Annette was grudgingly willing to accept that the excruciating hours of her sister practicing it over the last few months might have been worth it.
The dress was something out of a fairy tale. It was purple, one of Annette's favorite shades, so she couldn't complain about it too much, but really, this was a school ball with a friend, not the president's inauguration or something. Annette was half convinced Annabelle had chosen a gown so full and long solely to hide the fact that Annette even had feet never mind was wearing flats on them. She had hardly been able to get past all the frills and ruffles to even put them on. She could have gone barefoot and nobody would have known.
"This was all Annabelle's doing," she told Adam, slightly self-consciously. "She's the crazy fashion-obsessed one, not me. I just hope I don't trip over all these skirts." Given the choice, and if it hadn't meant Annabelle would stop speaking to her for the rest of her life, Annette would have been perfectly happy wearing her school robes to the ruddy thing.
Adam escorted her from there to the Cascade Hall, somehow managing to get close enough despite the dress to gallantly hook arms with her as was proper for an escort.
"Oh, come on," she protested aloud when Headmaster Brockert said they would not be revealing the winners of the Head Student votes tonight. To Adam, in a lower voice, she complained, "Why'd he have to do that the year Annabelle and I are up for Head Girl? Now she's going to be biting her nails all summer over it and Mother is going to make her wear nasty tasty nail polish to make her stop and ..." She trailed off in part because she realized she was tirading pointlessly and in part because Brockert finished talking and they were up for the Prefect dance. "Sorry," she apologized as they stepped out onto the dance floor.
The first few bars of music went fine. Annette was a good dancer, Mother had made sure of that, and the dress was not as annoying as she had feared. But not terribly long after they started, her foot slipped out from under her like the floor had no traction at all.
She slipped and grabbed into Adam much closer and tighter than she had been in an attempt to keep from ending up on the floor. "Sorry," she said again, flushing in embarrassment. "I think I stepped on my dress."
Wendy’s enthusiastic reaction to Rupert’s outfit made all of it worth it. No matter what anyone else thought of his ensemble, Wendy liked it. He gave a mock bow. “Thank you. Your opinion matters to me over everyone else’s.” He wasn’t sure if he was brave, necessarily, but he offered her his arm and they went on to Cascade. She stayed close, holding on to him in a way that made Rupert want to lean his head against hers, but he didn’t.
As they danced and Rupert approached the topic of the song, he was unsure what had triggered Wendy’s verbose response, but he was glad to hear her voice. It was difficult to keep up with what she was going on about, but he caught classical music and her partiality towards Muggle pop songs. Rup had never listened to Muggle pop or any Muggle music, for that matter, but her invitation to show him ‘sometime’ gave promise for a future rendezvous. “I’d like that,” he replied.
As she talked about high schools, he was reminded that she had a life outside of Sonora. She lived in a world he had never experienced and was most likely popular among her Muggle friends. She could have a secret Muggle boyfriend and no one at Sonora would know or care to ask. He’d simply assumed everyone, Muggles and pure-bloods alike, only experienced life within the magical world when that was not the case. At times, Rupert realised how narrow-minded he was, but it the result of being raised in such an exclusive estate with hardly any experience with the Muggle world. He was suddenly afraid that his interest in Wendy was solely because of her blood, and wasn’t that a sort of prejudice in itself? Rupert began to search himself internally, inspecting his emotional reactions towards her to test if they were based solely on his attraction to her or to her upbringing.
“I do,” replied Rupert, now feeling sorry for asking a question about ‘her’ world. He had been asking her quite a bit about the Muggle world whenever he met with her. If he never mentioned it, would he still find things to talk about? “It’s part of the culture, and my parents are mad for it. They’re part of the socialites of Western Europe, meaning they attend loads of balls and have met almost every important European family worth knowing. I’m always impressed when I see them make their way around the room.”
Rupert really wanted to ask how Muggles danced at balls then, if high schools often had dances like these, but he refrained. He wanted to get know Wendy, not only her Muggle world. “Do you sing often at home, or do you find time to practise here?” he asked, returning to their previous conversation. “Do you take vocal lessons?” He remembered her saying that her mum was a baker as well as a songwriter, but he wasn’t quite certain.
The analysis, for the most part formed of bitching, started as soon as they reached the hall.
I suppose that’s nice but it’s not exactly a ball dress. Gosh, they clash hideously - though I heard she turned him down first time so maybe he’s doing it to punish her. Hmm, working the retro look there, though I do admire someone who goes for the colourful tux…
A steady stream of muttered comments as they made their way through to take their places for the dance. His greatest venom, however, was unleashed when, scurrying in late and behind them, Wendy arrived with Rupert. Charlie could only splutter for a moment as he tried to take in the hideous assortment that looked like it had been collected by running blindfolded through a yard sale.
“He has eyes,” he eventually muttered, “Why would you do that when you have eyes” he huffed, as the dance began and they set off round the floor. Charlie had been a regular attendee of the dance club so, even though neither was his favourite pass-time, he was capable both of waltzing and leading. He wanted to glare at the back of Rupert’s head over Julian’s shoulder but thought Wendy might catch his eye and think he was scowling at her. “He’s positively ruining all my hard work by even being in the same room as her looking like that, let alone dancing with her!” he complained. Perhaps, after the dance was over, the fashion crimes of her partner could be a legitimate excuse for rescuing Wendy and having a girl on either arm. Hers and Julians looks clashed a little, with Wendy’s being so much more modern, but they all had pink going for them, and he thought he could bridge the distance and make them a coherent looking threesome… Much nicer than leaving her with the walking wardrobe malfunction all evening.
“Honestly, he looks-” but just quite what new and creative adjectives Charlie would have come up with, they were cut short. His foot hit something slippery. He stumbled a few paces but recovered, giving Julian a rather baffled look. Whilst unfortunate, the little slip could have been worse, and it did distract him enough from Rupert’s outfit to redirect his focus to Julian, and remind him that he was supposed to be being an attentive gentleman.
“Sorry,” he smiled sheepishly, “You may have my undivided attention,” he smiled down at her. “And I have nothing but good things to say about you.” They were so close. He could lean in ever so slightly and his nose would touch her nose. Her head could snuggle onto his shoulder. She was in his arms and he found his eyes lingering on her lips, thinking about how it wasn’t just their noses that were close enough to touch… If he wanted to, he could kiss her. Except, he thought, straightening his back slightly, drawing his posture up, he didn’t want to do that. He glanced back at her lips. He didn’t. Of course he didn’t. He wished he had a free hand to run under his collar. It suddenly seemed awfully warm in the hall...
Emery stood in the common room with Emrys waiting for Ava to arrive. Emrys seemed nervous, but Emery guessed that was because of his date with Charlotte. Emery had to wonder if their relationship had finally changed from something of friends to something more, but he wasn’t one to pry and so had not asked Emrys yet. He figured Emrys would tell him when he was ready. This however, would not be said for his relationship with Ava. They were still only friends despite his hoping for something more. Not that he has ever suggested that to Ava. Emery was too nervous of saying anything and ruining their friendship and Ava was oblivious to just about everything in her life, which she proved when he met up with her for the ball and she seemed clueless to the paint that decorated her attire. “You look lovely.” Emery complimented.
It wasn’t a standard ball outfit, but it suited Ava just fine. He wished he could be more relaxed in his outfit, but his mother had bought him proper dress robes in a navy blue for house pride. His brown curls where styled in a more refined manner, which tied in the whole ‘ball’ look together. He was rather grateful that males didn’t have much to do to get ready.
As they walked, Ava chatted happily away. He didn’t understand how she never ran out of things to say. His sister was like that too, although less so lately. He knew that she was a little put out by the ball seeing how most of their friends save for himself, Ava, and Chloe managed to find dates. Emery didn’t really mind since Ava was free to dance with, but that would leave Chloe alone for some of it. Chloe had insisted to him that he would need to dance with Ava often throughout the night but Emery knew that he would somewhat guilty for leaving Chloe alone at the table (assuming their friends danced with their dates just as often). He hoped someone would at least sit and chat with her whenever she was alone.
Emrys left them and went in search of Charlotte while he and Ava met with Chloe by the Hall. “Oh, thank you!” Chloe stated with a grin when Ava complimented her dress, which was a royal blue a-line chiffon dress with a wrap ruffle v-neck top and spaghetti straps that fell to her toes. She hadn’t been sure of the color at first but after a while she could see that it had her eyes popping out even more. “You look very chic.” Chloe stated, meaning it as a genuine compliment. Ava’s outfit wasn’t the grandest, but it suited her perfectly. She had her own style of elegance that a giant ball gown wasn’t necessary.
Ava led them to the refreshments table and Emery watched in fascination as she piled on the desserts onto her plate. He opted for just water for the time being. He was too nervous to eat and his mouth felt dry so water seemed like the better choice than punch. Chloe, however, grabbed an equal amount of dessert as well as a cup of punch. At the table, Chloe laughed, “Only for tonight? I’m a glutton every night.” She joked.
6Emery and Chloe JareauFinally made it!0Emery and Chloe Jareau05
Julian barely noticed what her classmates were wearing or what Charlie had to mutter about it as she entered the Hall. She made the occasional noise of agreement, but most of her attention instead on a steady chant in her head: Do not fall. Do not fall. Do not fall.
She had practiced walking in these shoes pretty much every time she had been alone for weeks. She had even practiced dancing in them – and that was a good thing, because the first time she’d tried, she’d gone over without the first hint of ceremony and hopped, her hip griping about her movements, for the rest of the day after picking herself and half the dresser’s contents up off the dormitory floor. Now, though, she was in public, which meant it was the most likely time of all for her to make a fool of herself, and she realized with a sinking feeling that she had forgotten to accommodate for this dress being longer than anything she had worn since she was a toddler in her practices, assuming just dancing around in the virtually unkillable knee-length skirts she’d already owned would do the trick. Now, though, in public, this dress was heavy, and it brushed against her lower legs and she kept expecting it to somehow catch on her stay-ups….
She tried to take a deep breath, but then remembered she was wearing a tight, leotard-like thing underneath her dress to give her body more shape than usual – or at least, since it always had a shape, just one which was thicker through the waist than was considered attractive, a more desirable shape. The effect, she’d thought when she’d finally gotten that and all the other complicated undergarments she’d been given for tonight on and put the dress over them, was good, but uncomfortable, and she was glad she had gotten as much exercise this year learning to dance as she had, as she thought she might have really suffered if she had tried to wear all this at her original size.
Charlie’s sudden lapse into incoherence as they began to dance caught her attention again. ”He has eyes,” he said, and she followed his gaze to what she imagined was the source of his indignation. She blinked, pretty sure she would have called that one as ‘not fashionable’ even without Charlie’s help. “Maybe he’s colorblind?” she asked.
Men’s clothing was, if anything, almost more mysterious than women’s once it got past the usual black, white, blue, and earth tones, she thought – but only briefly. Charlie stumbled and she stumbled with him, grabbing his arms tightly to steady herself. As they steadied, she smiled apologetically at her friend. "Sorry," she said. "I don't know what happened there."
It felt wrong, self-centered, to think so, but such moments were ones when it was a bit of a relief to be sure there was basically no chance Charlie was attracted to her. Dancing - all this closeness and touching and everything - would have, she was sure, made her excruciatingly self-conscious with a guy she thought liked girls at all. This way, though, she didn't have to worry about Expectations or about it being...personal that he didn't want her, since he wouldn't want any of the other girls, the pretty ones or sexy ones or whatever, either.
"You shouldn't have anything bad to say about me, since I'm all your fault," she laughed when he apologized."Well, mostly your fault. The dress isn't your fault," she acknowledged. Mom and Sallie were behind that. More Sallie than Mom, she suspected, but she saw Mom's hand in the neckline and probably the skirt not being too huge. "Though 'fault' probably isn't the right word. I think you did great - and with Wendy, too," she added. "The next Ball is going to be much worse made-up without you."
16Julian UmlandWe live for novelty.254Julian Umland05
For the first time, Willow could look forward to the ball. She could feel happy without underlying guilt. Autumn had come home in March and for the first time in over two years, the Teppenpaw would see her sister. She was excited for that too but just a little bit nervous as well. Willow knew in her heart that this would not last, that Autumn would get sick again, that she'd relapse and it would probably be a lot worse, it always seemed to be worse.
However, for now, she was just going to try and be happy. To relax and feel like a normal teenage girl. Autumn's illness hadn't just taken her own adolescence, but Willow's too. She had been sick since Willow was eight, almost nine. Not that she'd known it until several months after or the extent of it until last summer. At least the extent she herself felt she could handle. Willow had seen her sister's skeletal form once, the day she'd gotten her Sonora letter, what should have been a wonderful day, a milestone in any young witch's or wizard's life, tainted by that awful image. It was bad enough to see it in her nightmares and she never wanted to see it in person again.
But tonight, Willow was not going to focus on it. She was going to focus on her date with Keme, it wouldn't be fair to the Aladren if she didn't and it wasn't like she had reason to feel sad right now anyway. In fact, she only had reason to feel happy tonight. The Teppenpaw was attending the ball with the person she was closest to at Sonora. The one true friend she really had here. She was really rather excited, she needed this night, needed to seize the moments when everything was okay-and maybe better than okay. Maybe.
She met Keme outside the Hall. He looked good and she blushed slightly, which only deepened when he said she looked beautiful. Willow had never thought of herself as such really,always feeling she was rather ordinary looking, cute when she was a child maybe, but at sixteen she had long outgrown cute. "Thank you." She murmered,suddenly feeling shy, as Keme gave her a corsage. "Y-you look nice too." Willow managed to look back up at her friend with bashful smile. "And white's fine. Shall we go in?"
Really, she was slightly embarrassed about her reactions. Lately she was seemingly on an emotional roller coaster. A different sort than usual. A roller coaster that was for once, about her.
OOC-Sorry it took so long for the reply.
11Willow CollinsNot always so easy huh?253Willow Collins05
“Oh, not at all - I only just got here,” Effie lied politely when Anthony apologised. Anyway, it wasn’t really his fault. Anthony, she suspected, was exactly punctual (she didn’t have a watch on to check). She had predicted having to do some adjusting and chaperoning duties for her sister, making sure she was happy and settled before Anthony arrived. Araceli taking that responsibility away had made her early.
“Thank you,” she smiled, when he complimented her appearance, “As do you.” She was glad he had chosen a gender-neutral adjective, so she could simply echo it back rather than having to come up with something herself. She was exceptionally unused to giving compliments to boys and thought a word like ‘handsome’ would have fallen very awkwardly from her lips, even if it was true.
They took their places for the dance and, even though it was all somewhat familiar, she felt a little thrill of excitement. She knew that the Sonora school dance wasn’t the social event of the century but it still felt special to be a prefect opening a ball with Anthony Carey. Father was bound to be pleased with her. But of course thinking of father brought her thoughts back round to her sister, whom she instantly felt guilty for forgetting for all of thirty seconds, and the anxiety briefly flickered in her eyes once more. She tried to scan the crowd subtly over Anthony’s shoulder, not wanting to seem like she wasn’t paying attention to him but wanting to be reassured about her sister’s whereabouts…
“Yes, it’s a shame,” she replied to Anthony, returning her gaze to him, even though it longed to be elsewhere. “I hope they manage to replace Professor Valson and not just have… Well, I know she was a substitute but she still took the class full time. I don’t want a different professor every week when I’m trying to study for my RATS.
“Not many,” she said, when he asked about her summer plans, “Well, not official ones anyway. We’ll go to parties if invited, maybe even throw one but summer tends to be quieter with everyone on vacation. I like it better than Christmas for that… Not that I don’t enjoy the parties but sometimes it feels like I hardly have time to be with my family. Whilst everyone’s at their summer homes, I plan to walk and swim and be with my sisters,” again, her eyes flicked past his shoulder, scanning the section of the room behind, “How about you?” she asked.
13EffieWell, that's one thing checked off238Effie05
“Yes, it’s lovely,” she nodded, when he tied the white roses around her wrist, trying not to smile too much over the fact that he was worrying that a little corsage might not go with her lilac dress whilst he stood next to it in a burgundy suit. She had to bite her lip as he proceeded to ask about the ties.
“I like the purple,” she decided, her eyes laughing even though she suppressed the grin. Perhaps his suit would have looked more coherent with the black one but it was sweet and she didn’t want to make him doubt his choices any more than he clearly already did. Besides, the logical conclusion of suggesting that his tie didn’t go with his suit was that her dress didn’t either. For all that it was true, she didn’t want to put that idea into his head. She wanted him to be happy and for them to have fun.
She smiled up at him as she took his arm. It was said that if one was feeling blue, one should try smiling as the association in the brain worked both ways - that smiling was the natural reaction to being happy was well known, but also feeling happy was a natural reaction when you smiled. After the amusement Arnold’s outfit dilemmas had given her, she was feeling far more relaxed about the situation.
“Why all the worry over colour?” she asked, curious and finally having found a way to express what she was wondering which didn’t imply he had made a mistake, “As a painter, I thought you would have a natural eye for that kind of thing.”
13Ji-EunWell, it can only get better from here268Ji-Eun05
I don't know, I think it might be the undoing of me....
“If he was colourblind he would know about it and surely seek help,” he commented grumpily, “He’s fashionblind, which is a much more serious condition as the sufferer is often unaware and other people are too damn polite to point it out, and then things like this happen!
“I don’t think it was you,” he reassured her, when she apologised for the stumble, “It felt like the floor was slippy…” He shrugged. The floor looked just the same there as it did anywhere else so perhaps one of them had just misplaced their footing and he was imagining it to be the floor’s fault…
“Very much the wrong word. You are my triumph, my pièce de résistance, my… You’re you. And, as you say, I don’t think I can take full credit. There’s the beautiful dress, and there’s what’s inside it,” he commented, giving Julian an appraising look (or best he could, when they were holding each other close). He had noticed the different shape of her body when she first walked into MARS and thought it must have more to it than the cut of her dress. He was curious to know what she was hiding underneath it…. The first image that sprung to mind was something black and lacey, obviously doing some kind of body sculpting thing, tucking her waist in, making more of her chest…. But that, he reasoned, would show through her dress. More likely it was neutral and flesh-tone, rather dull apart from the interesting effect on her shape. There was still the possibility though that it was white lace…. That wouldn’t show through. The only way to find out, of course, would be to find some private little space, where he could run his hands over her waist, explore this curious, newly shaped Julian and where his hands could find their way to the fastenings on her dress and investigate what was hiding underneath….
He leant away from her a little, feeling his face growing hot and very glad that Julian was not, as far as he was aware, a master of legilimency. She was his best friend. She was a girl. He was not supposed to have thoughts about smuggling girls off to bathrooms and undressing them. That was… gross. It was what other boys thought about but not him. But, disturbing though it was, it was a difficult picture to get out of his mind, and legilimency or not, Julian was going to be able to tell he was thinking dirty things if he wasn’t very careful…. He had to think about something that was the mental equivalent of a cold shower. But he was supposed to find girls to be that… Rupert Princeton. Rupert Princeton and his vile mismatched suit. Luckily he could picture that pretty easily, as it was right behind him, the view only slightly obscured by Wendy Cantebury’s goddamn backside, which was swaying rhythmically with the music…. Mismatched suit. Mismatched suit…. Not fantasies about swooping in and saving Wendy and her cute little bottom. Rupert’s suit, and the red suit that made a mockery of the pretty pastel purple dress it was with…. He found he was able to breathe a little more steadily as he pictured the worst dressed Sonora had to offer. Still, he couldn’t wait for the dance to be over and to go out and get some fresh air. Something weird was definitely going on here.
13CharlieI don't know, I think it might be the undoing of me....252Charlie05
The ball had occupied more of Theodore’s thoughts than he would have liked. It was a silly school dance which didn’t matter and was bound to be exhausting and tedious unless he could find a way to avoid spending the entire evening engaged in irritating small talk. This was why it had occupied so much of his mental energy, as he tried to devise ways of putting off Sonora’s witch population that didn’t involve a loss of his dignity or decorum. When his mind was being unco-operative in strategising, it tended to lapse into worrying about how painful the whole experience was going to be. It wasn’t that he disliked people, or even social gatherings, per se, but he found they took up a lot of his energy. If he was going to have his reserves drained by being around other people, he would have rather used them on stimulating conversation and company, not discussing the details of everyone’s frocks.
He had been relieved to hear that Liliana was going with Atlas. As a Quidditch playing female, it would be rotten if she was left alone, given most people’s moronic inability to distinguish correlation from causation. He would have been obliged to dance with her at least once just to make a point. He believed one of the Anns was potentially in a similar position but he didn’t think he could help there. Even though they were so very small and he was rather tall, the age gap was significant enough to make them an amusing pairing even if their heights were not. There were bound to be plenty of other unattended females, of course, but he felt no moral duty to help them out. In fact, he was keen to avoid their attention as much as possible…
He slid into the ball, hoping he looked unobtrusive. He had never had much patience for choosing clothes and had opted for a classic cut in black. With all the riot of colour going on, he thought his very unobtrusiveness might make him more conspicuous, which was irritating but he had no idea what else he would have worn and he would rather be noticeable for being staid and drab than for looking ridiculous, which he felt some people did.
He watched the first dance dutifully, glad that Jay wasn’t a real date. If he was then it would have been Theodore’s moral duty to inform him that he would hex him to a bloody pulp if he hurt his sister and he thought that might seem a tad ridiculous coming from a third year Keeper to a seventh year Beater. He turned towards the buffet just before the first dance finished, determined to have his hands conveniently full as the dancefloor opened up to everyone else. He helped himself to a glass of punch whilst he perused the offerings, taking two salmon vol-au-vents because any more than two items of one kind of finger food looked improper, rather than because he only wanted two. He filled the rest of his plate with a range of other items, including a token amount of healthy things like cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes.
He topped up his punch glass, already feeling cheerier about the whole scenario, and scanned the room for somewhere to sit, and caught sight of John Umland alone at a table. Perfect. Although it perhaps wasn’t strictly kosher for him to seek out the boy’s company, their shared status of Quidditch players gave him enough of an excuse, especially in the slightly more relaxed social world of Sonora. However, John was still improper enough that he might act as a suitable woman repellent for the evening. Being deeply engaged in conversation was a good barrier in itself (and John, he thought, could probably do a decent job of holding up his end of an interesting chat) and if you added to that the fact that the person being spoken deeply with was someone that the ladies in question didn’t want to acknowledge… Yes, John was a good bet.
“That’s usually my reaction,” he offered, as he heard John’s ‘huh’ in response to the yearbook. He took a few sips of his punch, enjoying the warm, content feeling that… something was giving him. “Followed by eye rolling and closing the silly thing,” he explained, taking a seat next to John, and thumbing idly through his own book. “Tonight though, I feel I might find it endlessly fascinating,” he added, propping it open in front of him and slouching slightly in his chair. “I’m hiding you see,” he added, in a dramatic whisper. Normally, he was a man of few words and would have let his actions imply his motivations, however there was this little… feeling in his head, prompting him to go on. It seemed to be making him think that it might be funny if he did, and that being funny was good. “From the girls. And I might steal all the salmon vol-au-vents too.”
13Theodore WolseithcrafteShhh! They'll know it's a conspiracy.270Theodore Wolseithcrafte05
Act natural, but my cover might already be blown...
by John Umland
There was noise. A person talking. John tuned into a few words and jumped when he realized the person was talking to him. Absorbed in his thoughts, he hadn’t even noticed Theodore Wolseithcrafte's approach. Some spy he was turning out to be.
Now that Theodore was here, though, there was a new question to consider, which was why he was here. And why was he talking so much? John was pretty sure he had never heard Theodore say this much together to anyone, much less speak so much to him, someone who was really only on the furthest fringes, like a lunatic kept around because he was their kind of weirdo and there were three other types of people around to dislike more, of Theodore’s tribe at Sonora and not part of his real one at all -
“I don’t think you have to steal the food,” he said, latching onto that part as the easiest to respond to when Theodore stopped talking, looking up to make sure Theodore wasn't about to dump a gravy boat on his head or something. That kind of thing didn't seem to happen much around here, but he didn't trust them anyway. “There's plenty. If you eat them all, they’ll probably just bring out some more.” Limits never seemed to be much of a problem for the kitchens here, after all. He was more or less used to it, now, but every now and then, it still struck him just how much money there was in this place. If he had just as much money as he guessed had gone into the food for tonight…John’s hands felt shaky and his mouth dry at the very thought of what he could do with that much money.
Looking down to the table again, he shoved his fork back into his turnip dish to try to distract himself from the visions of microscopes dancing in his head. He didn’t have the money and he never would have the money, so he might as well enjoy the gifts given to him by the people who did have the money. Sometimes he felt bad about it, but Mom said enjoying good things was only bad when it was done in the wrong way. In this case, he thought that meant he should enjoy his turnips, little seafood salad and lemon chicken things, handfuls of raisins and honeycrisp apple slices, and macaroni and cheese and then go back and have some of that blackberry-ginger trifle he’d spotted for dessert and then just be extra-strict with himself on Friday. Eating the food would prevent it from going to waste anyway, he reasoned, and that was a good thing. Especially since he actually was hungry and had nothing else to do right now that he could do without drawing attention to himself, which he kind of didn't really want to do at the moment.
“If you’re really trying to hide, though, looking at the book for too long might make them notice you more,” he added. “People always look at me funny when I want to read at parties, and my books are a lot better than that one.”
That was his least-favorite part of going to see Dad’s parents. He liked their house, even liked them most of the time, but he got overwhelmed by all the energy of so many people together after a while and needed to disconnect from it, which was hard to do when Grandpa always made jokes about John’s attempts to retreat into corners with books after a while. It was even worse when someone tried to take his books away from him first, both depriving him of the book and, by drawing attention to him, still subjecting him to teasing. It was better at home, but even there, Mom and Dad made him eat supper with the family and without anything else to focus on every night whether he felt like it or not, unless the reason he didn’t feel like it was a fever. He had surprised himself by almost missing that, sometimes, here this year, though he had been able to distract himself well enough with the work that no-one here (except Julian, and she only cared one day a week, when she insisted they eat together on Sundays) cared if he did at the table or not.
He hadn’t, despite his lack of attention to his food, gotten much work done this year, but he had taken a lot of notes. Filled multiple little books with ideas, questions, and speculations. Maybe next year, now that he had a firm grasp on the basics, would be better. If he didn't succumb to complete paranoia and start thinking the teachers were watching him too closely or something. That might slow him down almost as much as the things he didn't know, he thought glumly, taking a swallow of his drink. He was glad Theodore thought the thing was as stupid as John had been prepared to. Theodore had reason to lie, since they thought his sister was a potential felon too, but maybe everyone felt that way.
16John UmlandAct natural, but my cover might already be blown...285John Umland05
“I'm guessing you'd tell me if I was about to do something like that,” said Julian, knowing she was pretty fashion-blind despite his many efforts to treat the condition. Maybe not that much, and she was improving, but a respectable enough case nevertheless, especially since she was a girl. Living with Charlie all these years had broadened her views a little, but fashion still just registered on a basic level as a mainly female discipline to her. “If you wouldn't, do anyway.”
Not that she thought it would happen. Mom didn’t approve of being up-to-the-minute fashionable, but she did make sure colors went together. Julian suspected this was part of why John’s school clothes were extremely plain; left to his own devices, he probably wouldn’t bother checking that the shirt and trousers he put together in the morning actually went together, which ruled out letting him wear a lot of colors and patterns when he was responsible for dressing himself. After this year, she thought that might be at least a little unfair to her brother, who'd evidently picked up on taking care of himself as quickly as any other first year, but it was probably better safe than sorry.
Julian flushed as Charlie started talking about her as though she was a work of art, irrationally pleased even though it was actually his work which was really being praised. “It’s more like what synthetic fabrics are on what’s inside it,” she said. “It would be great if I could just go off breathing,” she joked. “Though it’s really not as bad as I expected.”
She didn’t have much firsthand experience of such things, but since the ladies who ran robe shops and all their assistants had to know how to sew, at least with the aid of magic, Julian thought the pureblood girls might be even more unfortunate than she was. They probably were using much more old-fashioned methods and did not enjoy the benefits of nylon…or whatever they made these things from these days, she really didn’t even know. The word ‘lycra’ was ringing a bell, but she wasn’t sure if it was the right one, or if that was just some fancy undergarments and others were still nylons. She added that to the list of things to try to learn over the summer; it seemed a little weird to think that her guy friend, however far from conventionally masculine he might be, could probably discuss the undergarments she was wearing far more intelligently than she could.
At the moment, though, he looked a little red in the face for intelligent discussion. “You look more like I thought I would, actually,” she said. “Just another minute or two and we can go sit down, get something to drink….” Her feet were beginning to hurt, so the idea didn’t sound all that bad to her, either. It was sort of unexpectedly fun, feeling pretty in front of everybody, but maybe they could just have that fun every other song or something, assuming Charlie wasn’t wearing a much worse girdle than she was tonight...she didn't think he was, definitely didn't think he needed one, but it was a possibility.
16JulianMaybe everything in moderation?254Julian05
He had meant it as a compliment, but Jay was still a little surprised by the effect his comment seemed to have. Francesca seemed moved by the offhand statement, and he couldn’t help but think, again, about how difficult her position must sometimes be. Most of their social class, after all, wouldn’t really want their little sisters and cousins to be too much like Francesca; her positions were too controversial. Jay wanted his sisters to stay out of politics, too, as the family had enough issues with reputation even now without Ceci and Diana doing anything at all controversial, but guessed he would rather see them get involved in them than both turn out complete idiots. The most basic history book showed that what was popular in politics could turn around in one season, under the right circumstances, but idiots caused problems no matter what was going on around them.
“You’re welcome,” he said with a smile, hoping she wasn’t reading far more into it than he had really meant to put there.
“Some, but it wasn’t mine, so they didn’t take as many points as they might have,” he continued the joke about scarves. “I guess that’s why they hire assassins instead of just using the examiners….”
Human rights law was not a subject Jay knew much about, since no one in the family really cared that much about things outside it – even Uncle Adam, a Healer, had become one for the family’s good, so they could patch up botched duels and things without involving the authorities back when that kind of thing had been more common. Morgaine, the other family Healer, worked in public, too, which Grandfather and his generation complained about, but Jay thought she was basically on call for the family at all times, too. Seeing the world and saving it too, though, sounded like an admirable pair of goals, so he nodded as Francesca spoke. With her asking after Arthur, he’d wondered, at times, if Francesca harbored interests that way, but he wasn’t sure how well Arthur and a human rights lawyer would do together even if Arthur liked women and the family would let him have one, since Jay didn’t think his cousin aimed to be a modern sort of wizard at all. He’d always had grand, dramatic ideas, like something out of a history book –
"Eek," Francesca suddenly exclaimed, and Jay tried to catch her around the waist, moving from having his hand at her back to an arm around her, as she slipped. Then his foot his a slick spot, too. “For – “ he managed, trying to catch his own balance at the same time, cursing his formal shoes for not having as much traction as his regular ones did. He staggered and hoped she had her feet back under her enough to keep them from both going down in a heap on the floor.
Anthony had not really thought about the possibility of a different teacher every week. It was something that could easily happen when a teacher left – teaching wasn’t exactly a well-paying, easy, or even very respected, depending on where the teacher came from, job, so he guessed it should have been less surprising that it was that there were shortages, though there always did seem to be enough private tutors to go around. Maybe it paid better, or was easier to get the knowledge and skills to do than school teaching was – but since he had never really had to deal with it, he hadn’t thought of it.
“It doesn’t sound appealing,” he admitted.
Effie’s summer plans brought up the brief mental image of her in a bathing suit, which Anthony put firmly back in the little mental cupboard it had come out of as quickly as he could. He didn’t plan to be his oldest brother, who had gotten so bad about feeling guilty for noticing that his future wife was attractive before they got married that their other brother had been muttering about making increasingly drastic interventions by the time the wedding had finally happened and allowed, under what Anthony and Arthur had deduced was their brother’s own idiosyncratic code of honor, Arnold to view Fae however he pleased, but it was one thing to be okay with thinking about girls and another thing to think about them while he was dancing with one at a formal occasion. At a formal occasion, he, as the family heir, needed to put Arnold to shame when it came to being a gentleman, and while he wasn’t as competitive as either of his brothers, Anthony didn’t like it when he failed to meet a standard.
“Mine probably won’t be much different,” he said. “I may have to attend some family occasions, but mostly, I’ll study, play Quidditch with my brothers and cousins, and listen to my brothers talk about what they’ve been doing this year.” Arnold could still relate everything about every game he played in in a lot of detail whether he won or lost, and he was sure Arthur would have more stories about being abroad than he had the last time Anthony had seen him. He had only just begun trying to get himself killed among enchanted South American ruins when Sonora had become encased in clouds and the family had called him home, pulling everyone in close in the face of a crisis.
"It doesn't seem like it's going to be our last summer vacation," he mused, thinking of how the real world would begin just about this time next year. "Congratulations on being nominated for Head Girl, by the way," he said, following the thought of siblings and summer to the thought of their last Welcoming Feast, where they would find out if they had won. He wasn't betting on either of them, but he knew his family would just be proud he'd been nominated. It could mean people were beginning to think of them as more respectable, responsible people.
Your name is John and you are A Perfectly Ordinary Bloke
“True,” Theodore mused, when John stated that there was probably a near infinite supply of salmon vol-au-vents (wondeful thought!), “True,” he repeated the word a couple more times as he mused. Whilst John’s observation was undeniably accurate he felt it didn’t address the crux of the matter - that the matter had a crux which was being unaddressed, “But!” he declared authoritatively, “Can I take them? There’s all these little rules and how-do-you-dos that must be followed and I’m fairly sure that puts me in violation of the code of how one does these things. It’s like…” he searched for a good analogy, taking a sip of his punch as he did so. “Chess!” he exclaimed. Everyone liked a good chess analogy. Or at least, anyone smart and worth using one on did, “And how a bishop can only move diagonally. It can take as many pieces as it wants or is able to but it can only do it in a certain way,” he nodded, pleased with how much sense that had made, as he definitely hadn’t had all of that in mind when he’d started the sentence, which was rather unlike him.
“They do do that,” he nodded sympathetically, when John mentioned books being frowned upon at parties. John was making some good points, though he was still fairly sure that he - Theodore - had it right. But it was what he had hoped for, some challenge, some intellectual stimulation. John was a good egg for going along. Now, why was the book was a good defence…. “But if they can’t see who’s reading it,” he remembered, being sure to sink a little lower in his chair, “Then they won’t know it’s me. Especially as I’m talking to you. They won’t think I’d do that. You’re a disguise too,” he winked, and then wondered whether he should have let John in seeing as that was a secret. John was part of the secret though, so maybe that made it ok for him to know. Or maybe it made it worse because he might act all unsecretive now that he knew he was supposed to be being so. People were funny like that. “Shhh, forget I told you that,” he tried to wave it off, deciding it had been the subterfuge equivalent of saying ‘just look natural’ to someone as you pointed a camera at them. It was bound to result in an awkward stance with a goofy smile and rabbit in the headlights kind of a look.
13TheodoreYour name is John and you are A Perfectly Ordinary Bloke270Theodore05
I'm not sure there's a moderate version of what I'm thinking
“I solemnly swear,” Charlie nodded, when Julian asked to be called out on any fashionblindness. “Friends tell friends. Truthfully though, you seem to be managing without my help most of the time,” Sure, Julian’s tastes verged on the safe side - had he had free reign to dress her up (he tried hastily to suppress the more explicit elements of that thought) there would have been far more experimentation with patterns and embellishments - but, left to her own devices, she turned herself out very presentably, which he certainly could appreciate. “Don’t think it’s gone unnoticed - I’m becoming terribly anxious that I will soon be made redundant,” he teased, though it did make a little knot twist up in his stomach. He was a useful best friend for fashion advice but if Julian could manage that herself, what would she see in him? Perhaps with her new found confidence in make -up she’d find herself a highly unsuitable cad of young man whom she could spend her evenings complaining to him about. The thought didn’t exactly fill him with joy…
He gave a weak, strangled ‘ha’ to her comment about the synthetics and the not being able to breathe. Whilst she wasn’t exactly making it sound riotously sexy, she was talking about her underwear. And that was fine. That was supposed to be fine. He would have picked it out for her if she’d asked, waving away any embarrassment with ‘it’s me - it’s not like it counts.’ He was supposed to be able to talk to her about underwear and boys and all those sorts of things but one made his face light up like a tomato and the thought of the other made him miserable.
“What do you mean? How do I look?" he asked a little jumpily, when she said he looked she expected him to... That had to be good, right? It meant he looked... Charlie-like. Like someone who wasn't considering ripping off her ball dress and pressing her against a wall and-
"That sounds good,” he nodded, when she mentioned going to get a drink after the dance. That or turning and fleeing for his life...
13CharlieI'm not sure there's a moderate version of what I'm thinking252Charlie05
As are you. Definitely. Nothing interesting to see here....
by John Umland
John frowned suspiciously when Theodore repeated the word ‘true’ a few times, sure he was being mocked, but his eyebrows lifted a little in interest and surprise when the Keeper launched into a chess analogy. Strange that he would choose to talk about the exact chess piece John associated him, or at least his position on the Quidditch Pitch, with….
“Just move like this, then,” he said, using his finger to draw out moves on an imaginary chessboard between them. “From here – “ he pictured a white bishop’s starting position at c1 – “to here – “ he moved his finger along a short diagonal, toward where he imagined b2 was – “and then up to here – like you were capturing the rook,” he added, tapping the far-away imaginary corner of Theodore’s side of the imaginary board . “Go to the table for something else, then run – as soon as you get the other thing, whatever that is, then you run over to the other tray and capture the vol-au-vents while nobody’s looking and then get out of there before the queen sees you and captures you back,” he finished with a momentary smile, mixing his metaphors but hopefully conveying a reasonably clear message. It was weird, even half-joking with someone here other than Julian; not necessarily a bad weird, but weird enough that he felt vaguely, mildly nervous about doing it. Talking in multiple sentences usually didn’t work so well with new people, after all, even though he thought that one had actually all been pretty good, continuing from what the other person had said first and then almost, sort of, getting in a…something, since ‘queen’ was a female title and it was girls Theodore wanted to avoid.
“Though that's assuming all the right everything elses have already been moved or not moved, anyway,” he added. “And if it were a game, you might want to, uh, set up a distraction a few moves ahead of time…but it’s not a real game,” he concluded, remembering that other people got bored or irritated with extended metaphors. He liked them, usually, but he also liked puns and playing on literal definitions of words, both of which also seemed to irritate most people. “It’s vol-au-vents you have to grab like a bishop...for some reason.”
His expression lost some of its unaccustomed general pleasantness, though, when Theodore – ridiculously cheery; what was so funny? – explained John’s new ‘role’ to him. He took another swallow of his drink.
“Exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up,” he said against the rim of his glass, not in his friendliest or more sincere tone. “But anyway - they’ll find out who you are if any of them decide to come see who you are just ‘cause you’re the only one still looking at the yearbook in an hour,” he argued back as he put the cup back down, very carefully. Argument for argument’s sake was a habit, and one he was not inclined to break. It was fun and he was, after all, usually right. Being right always made everything seem just a little bit better. “Or...sitting there hiding behind it or whatever. Why are you hiding, again? It must be pretty bad, to rather...talk to me.” He was pretty sure he had lost a word somewhere in there. It didn’t bother him much, as it also suddenly seemed very funny, the whole spectacle: Mr. Pureblood hiding out, hoping not to be seen but more willing to talk to - be seen talking to, even; the horror! - the likes of John than to deal with the females of his own tribe….He couldn’t help chuckling at his own remark, even though he remembered being a little offended not long before.
16John UmlandAs are you. Definitely. Nothing interesting to see here....285John Umland05
For a split second, it seemed like they were going to be alright. She felt Jay’s arm around her back, steadying her. She had almost recovered her balance when Jay lost his. Francesca liked to think she was quite a strong person. Sure, she didn’t do weights or any of the more hardcore, Beater training type work outs, but she exercised a lot. She had good muscle tone and core strength. Apparently, these things were not enough when a seventh year boy got thrown towards you. She made a valiant effort to catch Jay’s arm, and there was nothing wrong with her aim, just the laws of physics were not on her side when it came to things like weight and momentum and she lost what footing she’d regained. The more awkward aspects of physical proximity returned to haunt her, this time in the form of feet becoming tangled together, and arms being wrapped around each other, trying to help and support rather than bracing for the fall, even as they toppled over.
The floor of the Cascade Hall was never something she had given much thought to. It was the walls that were the show stealer, and then your eyes were drawn upwards by the chandeliers. The floor, she realised, as she made contact with it, bumping her head as she did so, was something she was glad to have not had a close acquaintance with until now (and, indeed, would have been quite happy to go through all of her days at Sonora without knowing in much detail) - it was hard. Very, very hard. The several stone of seventh year that would probably land on top of her was not likely to help, unless having the top side of her body equally bruised and bashed, for a nice, even balance, was considered helpful.
Had it been a play, some witty piece with sharp social commentary, there would have been jokes to be made about that not being how one waltzed, or perhaps about this being rather forward for a first date. Francesca blinked and managed a muffled ‘ow.’
“That sounds pleasant,” she smiled,as he described his summer. Family occasions perhaps had a slightly ominous ring to it, or like it was something done with a sense of duty rather than true enjoyment. That was always the case when it came to family though - one or two such elements but she didn’t find they outweighed the more pleasant aspects. Although given how shaken Araceli had seemed throughout their Christmas vacation, it depended how heavy handed Father was with her. She supposed that had the potential to taint the rest of her summer but she tried to believe that it wouldn’t.
“I hadn’t really thought of it like that,” she mused, when he stated that it would be their last summer vacation, “I suppose I’ve been thinking of our last year beginning in September but of course you’re right…” She wondered how different things would be this time next year, what the wide world would have in store for her, and whether she might possibly just be allowed to spend one more summer swimming off the island with her sisters before she was expected to be a real grown up.
“And you on being nominated for Head Boy,” she smiled. She was tempted to ask what he thought of their chances but that had the potential to get awfully political and she didn’t think that was appropriate. She hadn’t thought school badges would matter to her much but she had been so pleased to be made a prefect - to know that her teachers had some regard for her. To receive the same endorsement from her peers would be delightful, especially if Anthony got Head Boy.
As they continued to twirl, a familiar shade of blue caught her eye, and she turned her head sharply to follow it, rather out of keeping with the dance. Her gaze returned to Anthony, perhaps a little more anxious than she would have thought. She had wanted her sister to be being sociable, and to be happy…. She had considered a pleasant evening with a nice little friend, like Chaslyn Brockert, as the ideal solution to this. She had not expected that. She thought she ought to be pleased but her over-protective streak couldn’t help but kick in…
“You have a cousin in the beginners class, don’t you?” she asked, “Has she mentioned the Westley boy? Is he nice? Only he seems to have brought my sister.”
Joella had originally intended on wearing a sweet royal blue dress but over the Christmas break she had changed her mind. Whilst she still liked the colour blue greatly, she decided she could not wear the Aladren colours to the Midsummer Ball. And now that Pecari had lost both their matches to Aladren... Joella felt rather relieved that she was not to wear the original garment. Whilst she liked many students in that particular house, she saw Aladren as Pecari's rival for they were the only other house with a Quidditch team. She only hoped next year the other houses might return to the pitch - it would be fun to play against an entirely new team.
In the end, Joella had chosen a dress she was completely happy with. It was rather more sophisticated than the sort she had always been attired in when she attended balls with her family but was still youthful enough that her child-like face and figure didn't look ridiculous. To help her get over the difficult decision of whether to go full length or knee length, Joella's oldest sister Franki had suggested she go for a high low dress. To this Joella had agreed. All members of her immediate family (perhaps with the exception of her father) had an eye for fashion and whilst everyone had their different tastes, Joella trusted and valued their judgements and opinions.
The skirt of the dress was black and of a delicate, flowy material. Its front stopped at her knees whilst the rest worked its way to the ground, meaning only the front of her skinny legs were visible. The upper section of the dress was white with a neat neckline reaching the base of Joella's neck. The join between black and white material was covered by a bright gold sash which collected the dress in to fit her slim figure nicely and, paired with the small black polka dots on the white of her dress, made the whole outfit young and much more suited to an eleven year old than it would otherwise look.
Joella had completed the look with a pair of sparkly gold flats to match the elastic belt. The temptation of heels had been there but her mother said she wasn't old enough yet. And whilst Tess Curtis never needed to know, Joella knew that she couldn't walk in them properly anyway.
Hair and make-up had been the final challenging decision she'd had to make regarding the ball. She was capable of applying the basics but having two older sisters and a mother who were all rather expert (or so Joella thought) in that area, she had never really had to make herself up for special occasions. Most days Joella didn't wear makeup, save a little mascara or lip gloss or nail polish every now again but this was infrequent and very little. She did have plenty of makeup though. And she enjoyed wearing it. But she just didn't have that knowledge of what went with what and what should be for what. Joella wanted to make an effort for the occasion. After all, the ball was a perfect excuse to dress up, and paint up. However, after an experiment with some volumizing mascara, red lipstick and gold eyeshadow, Joella had concluded that she needed help else she'd rock up to the Midsummer Ball looking like a drag queen or a girl under the illusion that it was still Halloween.
And so Joella had made an appointment for 'Charlie's Midsummer Ball Services'. The older student proved a great help and Joella requested that her makeup not be so bold but still appear as though effort had been put into her look. Although she didn't know Charlie well, she knew of him well enough to understand that taking things down a notch was not really his trademark. And perhaps this was why she had found the idea of asking him for help slightly nerving. Nevertheless, Charlie had pulled out trumps and done as Joella had requested, creating a simple but pretty look that let the outfit do the talking.
So with her meeting with Charlie in mind, Joella got to work on her makeup. She applied only a light layer of mascara on her lashes, enough to accentuate her blue eyes but not so much that it became clumpy or too obvious. Her hair was transformed and set into youthful, bouncy curls using the spells that Charlie had taught her and her nails were painted white with a little gold shimmer coating to match the rest of her outfit. Finally, she added a scarce amount of gloss to her lips. She smiled at herself in the looking glass before standing up and taking a spin in front of the full length mirror. She was satisfied with the look and thought Charlie Boxton-Fox-Reynolds to be a style genius.
"You ready to go?" she grinned over at Scarlett. It was a shame that Diana had left already to meet her date but at least the three girls had been able to get ready together. It was the fun kind of thing that Joella thought was part of being a roommate by default. Joella was glad to have Scarlett to walk down with because for some reason she found the idea of entering Cascade by herself a little daunting.
As she chatted merrily with her roommate on the way to the Hall, Joella looked about her and was intrigued to see what everyone else was wearing. She loved fashion and was always interested in the clothes of others on grand occasions. But perhaps more so for this particular ball because many of the students were people she knew only in their school robes or casual wear and not acquaintances of her parents who did not choose so much to express themselves through their clothes but merely to express their wealth or their place in society or their stick for tradition - or whatever it was that made it possible to predict what they would wear even when they seemed to think wearing the same dress twice to be offensive.
"Doesn't everyone look so different!?" Joella marvelled to Scarlett as they entered Cascade Hall. She was amazed particularly by the variation of colour, the male population included in much of the brightness. It did all look rather splendid, she thought.
It was her initial plan to make base at one of the tables and watch the Prefects dance but then she registered the yearbooks which seemed a considerably more entertaining prospect. "They've got the yearbooks over there," she pointed. "Come on, let's go have a look!" She wasn't sure if Scarlett would rather go off and mingle or not. She did, after all, have a twin, Joella knew. But then her roommate had agreed to accompany her to the ball so surely she couldn't find Joella particularly dull... And she just had to be curious to see the yearbook too.
8Joella CurtisBetter late than never (tag Scarlett)295Joella Curtis05
Chaslyn took a deep breath. She couldn't help but be anxious. The second year thought she might be doing something wrong and it ate her up, the gnawing guilt. The Reinhardts were not a society family and Mother would be furious with her for going to the ball with someone not a member of proper society-and Mother was bound to know, or find out somehow. Amity would never tell, she knew, because Amity had said that would involve talking to her and she wasn't about to do that. More than that, they were sisters.
Still, Mother would find out somehow, she knew that even if nobody told her, Chaslyn herself would somehow give it away.
But the Crotalus really liked Liac. He was so kind to her and she felt something like comfortable with him, more than she did anyone aside from Amity. Whom, come to think of it, Mother also didn't seem to want her to associate with. Her older sister was considered a bad influence now, despite her having proper friends. The Aladren was still lazy and, according to Mother, would never amount to anything. Still, Chaslyn just couldn't turn away from her sister either.
To make matters worse, her dress had no longer fit when she put it on. It had fit perfectly when she'd gotten it over midterm, but now it was too big. She'd almost started crying, she didn't want people to see her like that. Instead Chaslyn had quickly went to Effie, who'd resized it for her much to her relief. She wouldn't have been able to leave Crotalus like that to go and find her sister or one of her older cousins-and here, Tristan was a boy and Carrie would only mock her. Staying off the seventh year's radar was very important to Chaslyn and trying to do so only added stress to her life. She was so glad her cousin was graduating.
The dress itself was pale pink,she tended to favor lighter colors and pastels. It had a modest bodice, age appropriate, with short sleeves and a full skirt. After Effie got it to fit again, Chaslyn had met Serena in one of the bathrooms for help putting on make-up. She personally only wore enough to look appropriate and not overdone for someone her age but she didn't think she was capable of doing her own at the moment, afraid her hands would shake and she'd only mess up.
Now Chaslyn was outside the Hall, waiting for Liac. Anxiety deepening, she felt more than a bit relieved when he came over to her. If she was honest with herself, the fact that he wasn't a member of proper society kind of took the pressure off her a little bit in one way. At least she didn't have to worry quite so much about offending him and Mother being furious with her for that . Of course, Liac didn't seem easily offended to begin with.
“You look wonderful Chaslyn!”
"Thank you." She replied, taking the flower, her face flushing. Her cheeks only got redder at what Liac said next. "You're welcome. I-I'm glad you asked me." She took his arm. For someone not part of her social circle, he had really nice manners. "Yes, let's."
OOC-Permission to move Effie granted by her author
Chic. It was a term that she had come across a few times in her research but had never really thought to further explore past the few times it was mentioned. A flip through the dictionary had shown her that it meant stylish or smart (here Ava assumed the dictionary meant ‘smart’ in a dapper sort of way rather than intelligence level), but she hadn’t been too sure if in actual fashion magazines the word was used the same way. In addition, she didn’t have a lot of allowance money and the times she had seen it in various articles were never accompanied with pictures and since she had seen other words she had once thought she knew used with entirely new meanings during her stint with the magazines, wasn’t particularly inclined to take the definition at face value. However, Chloe was a nice girl and Ava had never remembered having a bad altercation with her so she smiled in response. “Thank you,” she said, blushing a little. She liked the feeling of being complemented: first Emrys and Emery and then Chloe, perhaps, Ava thought, she ought to put more effort into keeping her clothes clean.
She laughed at Chloe’s comment. “I suppose I could be considered that too but tonight I feel especially glutton-y. Probably because it’s a party of sorts so I can have all the chocolates I want without any guilt for not eating my vegetables.” She turned to Emery, noticing that all he had was water. “This fudge is delicious, especially when I eat it with raspberries on top, would you like to try?” Ava held out a piece that she hadn’t yet bitten, carefully to keep the three raspberries on the top of it from falling off.
“You know,” she said turning back to Chloe, smiling. “I think it’s great that none of us got dates, I like this group atmosphere a lot. It’s not one I’ve ever really had before and it’s nice.” She put her plate down on her lap and, balancing it on her knees, grabbed both of their hands. “Thanks so much, guys!” Ava laughed a little. “You know it’s weird because walking through that door as a first year I was terrified of making friends. And Alicia Bauer was the first person I ever talked to and she said the boys of Aladren were a good place to start making friends and she was right.” Ava smiled wider, glad that two of her three friends fit into the category the older girl had recommended to her. “And I was nervous because I’d never gotten along with many girls before but I get along with you, Chloe and I love that!” Ava’s smile went away a little and she bit her lip, her forehead slightly puckered. “I’m sorry, I think I may have gotten a little carried away.” She smiled again, sheepishly this time.
As she sat there munching on brownies and cake, she wondered what Chloe and Emery would do if she were to lean back in her chair and pull her hat over her face like grandfather did when he ate too much at a picnic and wanted to “have a little shut eye”. The food was so rich and delicious and Ava was starting to feel a little sleepy despite it not being too late and wanted desperately to have a nap. Instead, however, she began punctuated her items with water before scooting back on her chair a little bit, trying to avoid crushing her hat which she had earlier placed on the chair backing. Her eyes wandered the room a little bit, taking in the couples who were twirling around the floor. She noticed a few slip but they all seemed to regain their balance. Everyone looks like they had come out of a painting. That thought though made her a little bit sad as she didn’t think she would have much time to paint whilst accompanying her mother around over the summer. “I’ll definitely write you guys while I’m gone,” she said, unaware that because they weren’t in her head they probably had no idea what she was talking about. “And Emrys too, probably.” She thought about it for a second. “And I’ll keep a food log so you can see evidence of my trying new foods.” That last bit was directed towards Emery. Ava didn’t know how serious she was about it but she thought it would be funny if she did seeing as he was more adventurous in the food department than herself.
OOC: I apologize that this post is basically word vomit. I've been writing and rewriting it for a couple days now and I was getting tired of never really being able to make it what I wanted to I finally just decided to heck with it, I'll just post it so I can get to some other posts for a change.
“Never,” assured Julian. “Though thank you for the compliment. I put up with a lot of jokes from my older brothers about murdering unsuitable suitors to get this spring’s wardrobe.” Among other things, but it had been fun, looking at the dummies in stores and pictures in magazines and figuring out how to maximize the usual secondhand shops she actually bought most of her clothes from.
Her brothers were beginning to annoy her a little, though. For one thing, the jokes just reminded her that no boys, suitable or otherwise, wanted to be her suitors and that she was going to end up growing old with only John and whatever Frankenstein’s monsters he came up with for company on a farm somewhere in Nova Scotia. This inevitably led to the thought that there probably would have been at least some candidates for...whoever she would’ve been if her biological parents had been a tad less pragmatic, which just made her grumpy with how stupid and shallow people were. Beyond that, though, lay the feeling that it all would have been unfair under any circumstances. Steve and Paul were probably the closest pair in the family, but they weren’t that way about each other’s girlfriends and potential girlfriends. She would be happy to be proven wrong when John and Joe got old enough to worry about, but Julian couldn’t help but think she might be different just because she was a girl. That the boys trusted each other not to have nervous breakdowns or undesired children or whatever but might not believe, on some deep level, that she was competent enough to take care of herself in the same ways….
“I was pretty tempted to forget the whole thing a few times with all that,” she admitted. “They’d kind of started it already, though, before I started dressing up, so I figured….” she shrugged. “Okay, they’ve all noticed I’m a girl, they’re not going to let me use the name to blend in anymore, so why not, right?"
Charlie's inquiry sounded a little more alarmed than Julian would have expected, but then, she guessed looking like she normally would was not really a pleasing thought. “Like you’ve been exercising a lot more energetically than we really have," she answered. "Or at least like your underwear and footwear were devised by an even nastier corner of the Inquisition than mine.” She made a face. “Sallie and Mom have this idea that there’s a way of being uncomfortable in nice clothes that feels good emotionally or whatever. I think they’re crazy,” she informed him. “The looking pretty part is fun, but I don’t like the rest. It’s just...temporarily not all that important,” she rambled on. “I would’ve thought you were more used to it, though - skinny jeans a little too skinny?” she theorized.
OOC: For the record, Julian's mothers get their ideas about being uncomfortable in nice clothes from...somewhere (probably the old ‘80s version of Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior) in the writings of Miss Manners.
Sometimes, when it was obvious something at least a little painful, embarrassing, or both was about to happen, Jay found that his mind sometimes observed the event very dispassionately even as the rest of him either froze or continued to flounder around trying to prevent it. His body continued to try to right itself on the inexplicably slick floor it became obvious he and Francesca were going to fall, but his brain sat back, offering for comment only a subdued oh, hell.
He nearly echoed it aloud as he actually did go down, but was more occupied with trying to disentangle himself from Francesca. For one thing, he had no interest in either of them injuring the other with elbows or knees or shoes or just odd angles and weight distribution, and for another, their position was not remotely proper. Jay might have owed his own existence to a certain family tendency toward ending up in improper positions after dances – his parents’ marriage had happened, he’d heard, after Grandfather Macomber announced his intention to kill Father and use the law enforcement agency then at his disposal to raid every Carey household he could find the slightest excuse to raid if a wedding did not happen very quickly – but he did not want to carry on that part of family tradition, or even put up with his cousin and brothers talking about him doing so….
“For the – love of – are you all right?” he asked Francesca, rubbing his wrist and trying to ignore a number of other aches and pains from his graceless descent to earth and almost equally clumsy untangling process - robes were not the ideal garments for that process, it turned out - wondering why it hadn't occurred to him to try to go backward on purpose himself, or pull them both sideways, or - something better, whatever that would have been - when he realized they were going over. That would have been a lot more useful than what he had actually thought. He looked up and waved Henry and Brandon, who seemed to be debating about whether or not to come check on him, back toward the wall. The last thing he needed was even more attention landing on this fiasco, he thought sourly, very gingerly feeling the floor with his hands for a safe spot, one he might be able to stay standing on if he got up with his feet on it.
Do you think we can manage it between us, then?
“I imagine it will be,” Anthony agreed about his summer. There would be stresses and irritations, of course, but he thought there were some of those in everything that existed. He only knew about the ones that came with spending a lot of time with a large family, but he thought they sounded better than the ones he’d heard came with not having a large and prosperous family. Family connections were the most durable, and therefore the most useful.
“You could be as well,” he offered when she admitted she hadn’t thought of this as the last summer. “I suppose it depends on what you do after school, and when you’d be expected to start doing it.” A person who just went straight to another school would most likely have one more summer off – or at least the chance for one, if you could afford it and the time wouldn’t be really better spent doing something else.
Anthony decided to leave it up to Effie to talk more about her future plans or not. He would most likely go straight for more education – something the Fourth disliked, saying the need for it just meant the schools had lowered their standards to accommodate Muggleborns and poor people who didn’t have good tutors before they started the regular seven years, but accepted as necessary for someone who wanted to be respected in the modern world – but he knew it could be political, and therefore impolite, to ask a girl if she was going to. If his family was pressed, he didn’t think they would have much of a choice but to support witches continuing their educations if they wanted to and were suited to it - it would be hard to logically justify it as being improper for witches in general after they’d accepted Morgaine as one of the family leaders; the only way would be to admit that they only left her alone because they thought she would kill them all if they ever tried to discuss how much longer than expected she had hung onto power, and he didn’t really see anyone being willing to admit that in public – but it wasn’t something any of them felt strongly about. Blood and land were what the branch heads were concerned about, and while educated girls would be of more use in fights over those things, those who were not college material weren’t pushed toward it. Mother, Father, and Aunt Catherine had all gone, both Father and Aunt Catherine mostly after marrying for at least the first time, while Aunt Gigi, Uncle Donnie, and Aunt Emma hadn’t. Effie’s answer wasn’t likely to change his opinion of her much, but he didn’t want to put her on the defensive by mistake if she was uncomfortable with the topic.
“Thank you,” he responded to her congratulations, smiling.
It was tempting to let it go to his head – he was a rising seventh year, a Head Boy nominee, soon to be one of the more important people in this school no matter how Head Boy went, and dancing around, more competently than some, with a very pretty and almost equally accomplished girl in his arms. It was hard, really, not to be a tiny bit impressed with himself when he thought of it all that way. He was saved, though, from getting too smug and self-satisfied by Effie’s question about first years, which reminded him of his current limitations. He might have been the heir, but Jay had been the one in charge at Sonora this year and therefore – along with being her brother – the one in charge of making sure Diana was settling in well and staying on track.
“I haven’t heard her mention him, but I think Diana’s spent most of her time with her roommates, really,” he made up. “There is a beginner Westley in my House, though – his sister, I think – and I’ve never heard anything bad about her.” She was a lot younger than him and not on the Quidditch team, so he didn’t really know her at all, but he hadn't heard of any outrageous scandals and he was pretty sure she had a position in the library. "I'm sure they'll be all right."
0AnthonyDo you think we can manage it between us, then?0Anthony05
“Tsunage” Uzu cast on the silver obi eyeing her from the bed. In no time the fawn material bound itself around the young witch, forming a tight knot on her back. As she inspected her work in the mirror, a deep sigh escaped her lips. She turned to the side, examining the profile of her figure (or lackof) in the sky-blue furisode. It wasn’t that she didn’t like it; on the contrary, she loved the large sakura flowers that dotted the fabric. However, she really wanted to try wear a western dress and had even attempted a tailoring spell on one of her less fancy kimonos, however her skills weren’t nearly high enough to pull off the feat, resulting in an asymmetrical mess of a dress. Straitening out any remaining creases in her kimono, Uzu accepted that there was nothing she could do to change her outfit now, and headed down to Cascade Hall.
Uzu cracked a smile at the sight of Park-kun. With the exception of the slight scorching on his sleeve, he cleaned up quite well for such a rowdy boy. However, as the two walked into the hall, her smile was quickly followed by a stink-eye as Uzu noticed the sappy look on his face. She still harbored a bit of a grudge for Park-kun after he had tricked her into relinquishing her title of prank leader. Originally, Uzume thought she had mastered the menial task that was speaking English however the idiot boy had actually managed to outwit her. Even now she felt the bitter embarrassment of that moment creeping back into her consciousness, her cheeks reddening at the thought of being such an overconfident fool. Not only had she been swindled out of her rightful place as leader, but it had also taken her a whole 120 seconds for her to realize her misspeak. Looking to Park-kun now, she wanted so badly to slap, blast, or poof away his annoying look, but Uzu restrained herself when she remembered that they were supposed to be working together. She would just have to take out her frustrations on the rest of the school instead.
As the two took their place to watch the opening dance, Uzume occupied her time by fiddling with the sea glass pendant her roommate had given her. They only had to feign innocence for a little while, but western dance could barely be considered entertainment to Japanese dancer. As Uzume rubbed the soft stone, she moved her eyes up from the pendant, giving her partner a sidewise glance. She imagined what it would be like to dance with him in such a ridiculous manner. As she tried to picture him leading her on the dance floor she let out a soft giggle. The idea was simply preposterous. She wasn't sure there would be anyone worthy enough to lead her, in a dance or otherwise.
However her giggles quickly seized when she noticed the careful aim of Park-kun's wand at the dance floor. The real fun was beginning, and Uzu was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the show. She watched intently as he cast a spell, resulting in a slimy spot in one of the high traffic areas of the dance floor.
“Not bad,” she said as she silently pondered why he hadn’t gone ‘all out’. She thought that Americans would want their pranks to be as loud and obnoxious as they were, but if he was going for subtleness she figured she ought do the same. No reason to embarrass the boy by showing him up right away.
“But watch this,” she added as she pulled her wand from her sleeve. She tapped her wand to her chin as she scanned the room for a suitable victim. She noticed an open chair and took aim. If she succeeded, the chair legs would become spongy and bouncy, causing anyone trying to rest their feet to fall right off of it and onto the floor. “Spongify," Uzu incanted as she moved her wand in an S shape, causing a soft pink light to shoot from the end. The first year charm was nothing for Uzu, although with her target being so far away, she couldn't guarantee that she had gotten all four chair legs.
She smirked at Park-kun, before turning her attention back to the room. “Now we wait I suppose.”
Clearly this witch had had quite a bit of punch as well if her reaction was of any indication. But her next statement made him look at her through new eyes. If he’d been looking for a fellow mischief-maker, he’d found her. “That was brilliant,” he said, his eyes bright. “I couldn’t have done it better myself. Bien fait! I mean, well done. You’ll find a comrade in me.” He chuckled, imagining his peers stumbling over each other and the entire dance turning into chaos. Leo would have to refrain from partaking in any more of the stuff if he wanted to enjoy the show properly. He wanted to slip a bit into the drinks of the professors – seeing Headmaster Brockert stumbling about or laughing hysterically or attempting to dance with one of the other stiff-lipped professors would be ridiculous in the best way.
He was finding this mystery witch to be a comrade of his in more than one way. He knew exactly how it felt to be spending an awful lot of time alone, not studying, but wasting time because there was nothing else to do with it. It bordered on the brink of melancholy, but she ended her honest answer with a flirtatious wink and Leo grinned. “You’re quite the charmer, you are,” he said, twirling her again. “I’m sure I’ll remember you now. Brilliant, charming – you’ve got loads going for you.” He wanted to ask her name, but he didn’t want to spoil the moment or the mystery.
“I’ve spent loads of time on my own as well,” he said. “It’s difficult to make friends here. People are so cliquish.” Leo remembered Cepheus’s clique very well; a snobbish group, in his opinion. Theresa had never stood a chance. “I’ve got enough friends back home anyway,” continued Leo, daring to stretch the truth. It wasn’t as though anyone really knew him here except for Rupert. “I’m looking forward to going back to England for the summer.”
As they danced over one particular spot on the floor, Leo’s foot twisted wrong and slid out from under him. “Ouch!” he exclaimed, but he regained his footing before he could fall. His ankle was throbbing now from that slippery spot, but he tried to make it look like it was nothing. “I don’t know what that was. You didn’t make the floor slippery as well, did you?” Continually dancing was beginning to aggravate his swelling ankle, and Leo needed to take a break. “Do you mind if we sit for a bit?” he asked, wincing as he stepped on his right foot. “I think that close-call did me some injury.”
There was something very pleasant about dancing with another person like this. Ballroom had class and style to it and required two people to dance together. If one person didn't care about the dance, then both people would suffer and visa versa. Dancing back home wasn't the same. Nobody she knew had taken ballroom lessons, and Wendy was pretty sure she never would have known herself if she hadn't discovered her magical heritage. If there was a ball going on all the time, however, she wasn't sure she'd like it as much as she did right now.
Rupert's parents sounded pretty cool. He didn't talk about them very much to her, but she imagined them to be cool pureblood parents to have a son like him. From what Wendy knew of him, Rupert was pretty open-minded and didn't really care what other people thought. She liked telling him about her non-magical upbringing just like she enjoyed hearing about his magical upbringing. Being a muggle-born was something she could be proud of. After all, in her opinion she lived the best of both worlds and was able to keep both magical and non-magical friends close.
As they danced, she caught a glimpse of a friendly face over Rupert's shoulder. Aria was standing there and Wendy wished that she could spend more time with her friend before she left. Wendy wanted very much to visit Aria's compound in the near future and see what life for her was like. There was always something very beautiful to be found in different cultures, especially when a culture was as natural as Aria's seemed to be. A heaviness settled over Wendy's heart at the thought of the friends she would eventually have to part from. She would really miss everyone when she graduated.
The conversation went from their cultures to singing, and Wendy shook her head. "I don't practice that much here," she said, "and I don't take vocal lessons at home. I just like singing with my mom. I don't want to make a career out of it or any--whoa!" There was an especially slippery piece of floor and Wendy slipped forward right into Rupert's arms. She really hoped he didn't slip backwards himself, but the piece of what felt like ice had come out of nowhere. Rupert smelled really nice.
She quickly pulled her face away from his chest, cheeks pink, a little rumpled but otherwise unhurt. There weren't any makeup marks left on his pretty shirt, thank goodness. "Sorry, that was weird. The floor just got really slippery all of a sudden." Wendy raised her eyebrows at Rupert and shrugged.
The waltz soon ended and Wendy was surprised to find that she didn't want to step away from Rupert. Did that mean she liked him or just the warmth of his body? She smiled at him and stepped back, feeling just a very tiny bit awkward. "Thanks for dancing with me," she said. "It was a lot of fun. Do you want to get punch first before dancing again? I always like trying the snacks that they set up for these events. The prairie elves work so hard."
“I am - let’s go.” She took his arm, and just like that, the evening was alive. With her touch, the ball became all the more real, solidified and irrefutable. And as the world became more solid, Jake became a bit more.. gelatinous. All of that confidence simply melted away as he began to comprehend the implications of his actions--and their results. Without truly understanding what he was doing, his twelve-year-old foolhardiness had gotten him a date with a girl. (A Carey girl!) He didn’t care about Diana romantically, but the situation made him nonetheless a lot more nervous than he would have expected. It was, essentially, his first opportunity to screw things up.
“Cool,” he returned with a crooked grin, sudden nerves and onsetting puberty cracking his voice. However annoying, it wasn’t something the Teppenpaw could rectify, so he simply went on as if he had not noticed the disruptance. He led Diana into the Hall, pausing once inside to admire its beauty. Whomever was in charged of the decorations had, in his opinion, done a fantastic job. The prefects and Head Students were already dancing, and he noticed Diana wave to one of the couples (the Head Boy and his date, who was a prefect, if Jake wasn’t mistaken). When the Head Girl twirled by with her date, Jake’s cousin, he offered his own little wave.
“When they’ve… lead, or whatever, do you want to dance?”
Bright blue eyes turned to the mint-clad first year beside him, closer than he had expected to find her. He felt vaguely like his face would glow red anytime now, but Jake tried to present as calm as possible. In his appearance he succeeded, but his speech exposed him. “I, uh, yeah,” he fumbled. “As soon as they’re done, we can definitely… Yeah.” He thought (or maybe hoped) that she seemed a bit nervous as well, so with that in common, he at least felt a little better.
When the introductory dance concluded, Jake almost forgot to move. “Okay,” he said with a smile a moment later, trying to regain his prior zen calmness. For politeness and for laughs, he stepped before he and inquired, “Miss Carey, may I have this dance?”
Atlas sat on one of the plush couches looking at the dim fire that had been lit hours earlier. It wasn’t that warm today, so he guessed the fire was just for looks, maybe a little ambience for an upperclassman couple after the ball? He looked over his shoulder at the clock; it was five minutes past the time Liliana was supposed to meet him. Feeling a little anxious, he straitened out the imaginary wrinkles in his new black dress robes. The past owner had only worn them once before they had outgrown them, so the robes were still in great condition. There was only one spot that Atlas had to stitch up and it was in an inconspicuous spot near the bottom of the pant leg. Besides, everyone would be looking at Liliana anyways. He heard someone approaching, and turned just in time to see Liliana enter the room.
“Hi,” she said, smiling and giving a little twirl. He knew it was a silly and cheesy thought, but for that moment he honestly believed the room had grown a little brighter.
“What do you think?” she asked him as she held out her hand. He could feel his face beginning to burn, at the sight of Liliana in her cream dress. Everything about her screamed poise and class, a perfect match for her. Atlas quickly stood up and greeted her with a smile “You look great Lil-iana,” he said stumbling over his words a little, as he decided mid sentence to say her full name rather than a casual nickname.
“Ready to go?” she asked.
“Yep!” he said quickly, linking arms with her. They had done this action a few times before a Quidditch practice, so Atlas didn’t feel too awkward repeating it now. Holding her hand all of a sudden would have been too much for him, plus he didn’t want her to know just how sweaty his hands were.
When they entered the hall, Liliana tugged Atlas over to get their yearbooks. "Before we do anything I want to look at these!" She exclaimed. "I want to see if the people I voted for won in their categories!"
“Sure,” Atlas agreed as Liliana moved him to the tables. He didn’t talk to that many people besides Liliana, but he did have a few people he always voted for in his grade like Theodore and Leonidas. They weren’t the best of friends, but Atlas figured that was probably his fault. The past year had been somewhat of an off year for him, but he resolved to become more social. Perhaps he could invite them to join the baking club, Merlin knows he could use some more members. The short roster of people in the Baking club was pretty depressing, and compared to the rest of the clubs in the yearbook it only helped to pound the point home. He turned the page, hoping the awards would be entertaining enough to distract him from his shortcomings. Most of the winners weren’t too much of a surprise, however it wasn’t until he had gotten to “Best Couple” that he noticed two names that shouldn’t have been there, not yet anyways. Liliana Bannister and Atlas Primred.
Something about it seemed so wrong. He didn’t like the idea of the school deciding when he and Liliana were couple. It was none of their business. So dumb” he mumbled silently to himself in reference to the Best Couple category. He immediately regretted all the names he had voted for years prior. Imagine how many people felt the same way he did right now. Atlas looked over all the categories again and again, giving his eyes something to do as his brain churned. However he continually landed on the best friend category, another one he had felt a little guilty about since the start of the year. Between figuring out his own feelings, and dealing with Liliana’s for Wesley, he hadn’t been much of a friend to her this year. Even before Wesley came into the picture he had let his own selfish interests almost destroy their friendship, but the worst part was that he knew Liliana didn’t feel the same way about him, and no category in the yearbook, agreement from their peers, or date to a dance was going to change that.
Atlas set his yearbook down, rubbing his temples as he tried his best to quell an oncoming headache. “I’m going to get a drink, he finally announced. Want me to get you anything?” he asked casually as he stood up from the table.
0Atlas PrimredAnd the captain always goes down with his ship.276Atlas Primred05
Atlas and her had been a little bit weird this year, Liliana wasn’t thick enough to not notice that. However, so far the evening had gone pleasantly well and she was glad that there had been no cause for a fight or spat as their meetings oftentimes dissolved into. Well, pleasantly well for all ten minutes it had been. Naturally, though, in the soap opera that was her and Atlas’ friendship, something had to stir things up and that something tonight seemed to be the rest of the school. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Atlas’ lips move, the sound muffled yet she thought she could make out “so dumb.” What that referred to she didn’t know but given she was upset about a category in the yearbook herself, she figured she had a pretty good idea. Atlas put his yearbook down and left to get a drink acting as if he had a headache. “No, I’m fine, thanks,” she replied. Her mouth was a little dry and in all honesty she probably could have used something to drink but she didn’t want to be in danger of throwing up all over him when he looked so nice.
After he walked away, she leaned over to see what page he had been looking at. It was, of course, the only page that could ever cause controversy in a yearbook—the awards page. Liliana settled back down in her seat and let her eyes scan the room while she waited for Atlas to come back. A good number of students seemed to be on the dance floor. They looked rather graceful save for the awkward tumble here and there and were not such a sight for sore eyes save for a few horrendous match-ups in clothing. However, people watching seemed to be a fine use of her time and one she was quite accustomed too since from an early age Liliana had spent time watching the older witches and wizards dance at her grandmother’s balls from the stairwell.
She tapped her toes in time with the music, even humming a little which was incredibly uncharacteristic of her. Just this past winter she had been at a Ball listening to music and sitting alone, quite like she was right now, because those she had come with had ditched her. Granted, Atlas had only left to get something to drink and her cousins had left her in pursuit of something to drink and the promise of girls with developed bodies, but she was alone nonetheless, at a Ball, listening to what seemed like the very same song. But the difference here is, she thought to herself last time I was saved by a miraculous wizard. She giggled and blushed a little despite probably looking like a complete idiot laughing to herself and so she pursed her lips in an attempt suppress the steadily rising giddy feeling. By the time Atlas came back she no longer cared if dancing with him made things awkward. She needed something, anything to do, and dancing seemed to be the order of the day. “Here,” she said, looking at his cup. “Finish that quickly or let me finish it and then let’s dance. I don’t think I can stand not doing something active for another minute. I know it was my idea to sit and it was a horrible one so I’m sorry.”
She held out her hand, either for the drink or his hand so she could haul him to the floor—whichever one it was, she didn’t care.
10Liliana BannisterGood thing I'll always be here to throw you a life preserver274Liliana Bannister05
Adam was determined to have a fantastic evening. He’d heard that Ginny was not attending, but he wasn’t going to care tonight. After all that had happened with her still refusing to talk to him, Adam decided he wasn’t going to try to follow after her grovelling like a dog. At least not tonight. Tonight it was going to be him and Annette having a lovely time together.
Now that exams were finished and his CATS had passed, Adam was actually looking forward to the ball. Annette would be a lovely date, he was certain. He hadn’t been very creative with his dress robes. He wore navy blue, so dark it almost looked black in dim lighting. It was a colour he hoped would match whatever Annette wore. He met the twins in the common room and for a moment Adam was struck dumb. He hadn’t imagined the witches could clean up so well. He only ever saw them sweaty or dishevelled on the Quidditch pitch or in classes wearing the standard uniform. He smiled at them, his mouth slightly open in an attempt to find words to say. “You both look beautiful,” he said finally. Tonight they both looked very different from each other and for that Adam was glad. Once Annabelle had gone ahead, Annette was quick to put the blame for her appearance on her sister. “She did an excellent job,” he said, smiling at her as he offered his elbow. “And the dress is lovely, really. I’ll catch you if you stumble.”
The hall was fantastically decorated and Adam hadn’t expected anything less. He spotted Francesca with Jay Carey, a somewhat odd couple in his opinion. He’d ask her about it later. Headmaster Brockert revealed that he was not going to disclose the winners of the Head Student vote until the following school year, and Annette seemed rather exasperated about it.
Adam hummed sympathetically. He’d be annoyed if he had been up for Head Boy as well. “It’s all right,” he said, finding this side of Annette to be rather amusing. “With both of you on the ballot I didn’t know who to vote for, but I hope one of you get it.” He wasn’t about to tell her who he had ended up voting for, but the decision had been rather difficult with two of his team-mates on the ballot.
He led her to the dance floor to join the other Prefects and was pleasantly surprised as soon as the music began. Adam hadn’t doubted Annette’s dancing skills, but he hadn’t expected it to go so flawlessly. Just as he opened his mouth to compliment her dancing, she slipped and Adam’s arms stiffened to support her as she fell into him. He was more concerned of a twisted ankle than their proximity, but nevertheless the scent of her hair made his head go a little fuzzy. “Are you all right? Is your dress all right?” Once he was satisfied that Annette didn’t have any broken bones and her dress had survived the ordeal without any tears, he added, “It is rather long, but don’t worry about it.” He smiled pleasantly at her, proud that he’d been able to carry out what he’d promised. “I told you I’d catch you if you stumbled.”
Rupert was just thinking that he’d like to hear Wendy sing for him sometime in the near future when she fell forward. Falling forward meant she fell right into him, which meant her face was in his shirt and her hair was in his face. His heart went careening against his chest, beating rapidly as his pale cheeks flushed. He wasn’t embarrassed, or perhaps he was; he couldn’t decide whether he was embarrassed or pleased or nervous. He wanted to hold her, but she pulled away much too quickly. He cleared his throat, embarrassment creeping over him as she apologised. “No need to be sorry,” he said, taking her back into his arms and finishing the waltz.
When the dance ended, there was a moment where Rupert lingered in her presence before she stepped away from him. Part of him hoped desperately that she felt the same way about him, but he couldn’t tell from her actions. She was a very nice witch, nice to everyone. Just because she had agreed to attend the ball with him and had dressed up so didn’t mean that she fancied him.
He wanted to dance another, but Wendy seemed to want a drink. Her reasoning was so kind-hearted Rupert felt like a selfish buffoon next to her. “They do, those prairie elves. Let’s try the snacks,” he said warmly, daring to hold out his hand for her to take. “Just so we don’t lose each other in the crowd,” he coughed, averting his eyes for a moment before tentatively glancing at her. He didn’t want to be presumptuous and take her hand without permission, after all.
Whether she had taken his hand or not, he made his way through the crowd to the table of refreshments. He poured a glass of punch for himself and for Wendy. When he looked up, he spotted Leo sitting alone at a table and he hoped his brother would find a partner to dance with. Sometimes he worried about him, but Rup knew better than to meddle in Leo’s life. “Here, for you,” he said, handing the glass to his date. “Cheers!” The punch tasted lovely, but as he finished the glass he found the world to be a bit more pleasant and relaxed. Whatever the prairie elves had put into the punch was very nice. “They did a good job,” he said, picking up a cauldron cake and breaking off a piece. “Would you like a piece?"
“Yes, I’m fine,” Francesca said, her tone of voice and the tentative hand to the back of her head suggesting that this might be something of a lie. She pushed herself back a little, so that she was more on the edge of the dancefloor as she tried to collect her thoughts and check her limb functioning so that she was less of a trip hazard for other couples.
“I don’t see stars, I know my name and you’re not holding up any fingers,” she clarified, getting gingerly back to her feet, happy to take any assistive hand that was offered in the process. Things definitely hurt though, mostly her head and her right elbow. It was pain she would have and could have ignored for the sake of Quidditch but she found that an opening dance at a school ball, one in which she had just been humiliated, was something she cared considerably less about bringing the values of determination and gritting-of-teeth too. It went with Quidditch - it was part of the territory and having that kind of attitude was part of being a good player. It was not usually a requisite part of ballroom dancing and the fact that someone had set out to make it so didn’t rile her up and bring out her competitive spirit, it made her just want to sod the lot of them and leave.
“Though I wouldn’t object to sitting the rest of it out. Unless you have some family motto of perseverance in the face of adversity.”
13FrancescaI think it's just bruised...250Francesca05
“It’s not really decided yet,” Effie nodded, when Anthony kindly suggested that she might also be right. For all that they had been home-schooled for years, as a family, this was not out of any inherent belief that girls needed only a limited education. Indeed, her father was very keen for all his children to prove their worth and prowess as good Pureblood citizens. It had only been Arbon tradition to do this in the comfort of their own home since schools had started accommodating other sorts. She could perhaps study further, if she wished. She liked her classes well enough though no one in particular stood out as a burning passion that she was driven to take further. She wanted to get married, of course, but she was happy for that to develop in its own time. She would like to leave school feeling like she was in a relationship that headed in that direction, as the reason father had given in to public schooling was the over-abundance of daughter’s he had been given, but Effie was happier with the idea of friendship, relationship, love then marriage as a series of logical steps.
“I suppose I’ll see what happens. Perhaps, if nothing else is fixed on, I can help Delphine study for her RATS,” she mused. Whilst studying together perhaps was not the most thrilling of pass-times, the excuse to spend an extended period of time with her sister was a pleasing one. She was looking forward to the summer but those always ran out so quickly.
“Oh, no, I’m sure they’re quite proper,” she nodded, as he mentioned the girl Westley being generically good. “It’s just….” she hesitated, choosing her words with care. “Araceli takes time to feel comfortable with people. Sometimes people aren’t very understanding about that sort of thing, or they don’t have the patience. I….. I’m sure you know-” she began. She felt like Anthony might just be able to understand, or even to help. Henry wasn’t the same as Araceli but he was someone who had struggled and Anthony had done his best to help him through that. He might have answers and she had been hoping for a chance to tactfully bring this into a conversation with him, in a way that slighted neither his cousin nor reflected negatively on her sister. She was cut off though by the sight of Jay Carey and his partner losing their footing. One of the other couples had stumbled earlier, she had noticed, but had chalked it up to them being those kinds of people and having no idea how to dance properly. Careys did not just fall. Nor, she suspected, did Wolseithcraftes, but that was by the by. She was almost sure it had happened in a similar spot.
“One moment,” she said, sliding her right hand out of Anthony’s. No self-respecting witch was caught without her wand on any occasion, and hers hung from a chatelaine at her waist. She aimed it under their arms at the point roughly where she thought the slips had occurred.
“Finite incantatem,” she uttered. “I would still proceed with caution,” she advised. “Now, where were we?”
13EffieI was hoping for your help, actually238Effie05
Arnold felt himself relax a bit. She liked the purple? Good. He smiled and, with a short nod, returned the black tie to his pocket. Admittedly, he still wasn’t entirely convinced his clothes matched that well, but he matched Ji-Eun, and that, to him, was a lot more important--as long as she was okay with it. He felt like he was teetering on a frustrating balance between his feelings and their friendship, and while he knew obviously their friendship came first, it was a bit difficult to simply ignore how he felt about her. The fact that he continued to worry about these things in this more relaxed state attested to his rather high-strung nature.
Much to his happiness, she accepted the offered arm, a smile on her lips. His free hand quickly brushed through his red curls, both out of lingering nerves and attempted style. Arnold had the unfortunate affliction of dorkhood, an air about him that simply suggested a boyish awkwardness that hung over his intelligence. He was a smart boy--as evidenced by his Sorting into Aladren and suggested by being related to someone as clever as Sally--but it was not necessarily his predominant feature. Unlike his sister, he did have a more artistic side, but even beyond that, Arnold was… a dork.
Although pertaining to that artistic side, Ji-Eun had an interesting comment. “Why all the worry over colour? As a painter, I thought you would have a natural eye for that kind of thing.” The fourteen year old thought about it for a moment before responding, digging through his verbal repertoire almost visually before him, carefully choosing how he wanted to color his sentence.
“The advantageous thing about being labeled a painter,” he replied cheekily, “is that people tend to assume you know what you’re doing. If the colors clash, it’s a statement. If the colors match, it means something. But I’ll let you in on a little artists’ secret: sometimes, the color scheme is just a matter of which colors I happen to have on-hand or what I like using that day.” Arnold boasted a crooked grin. That was the thing about art, really. People liked to look at famous paintings and wonder why every part of it was the way it was. People did that with literature, too. But sometimes, the curtains were not blue because it represented sorrow and hopelessness; sometimes, the curtains were just blue.
Arnold glanced around the Hall, noting its decorations but not particularly caring about them. He did notice the prefects’ and Head Students’ dance beginning, and with mild amusement he registered his cousin’s improvement in that field; Marcus was a notoriously horrible dancer, but he seemed to be twirling the Head Girl with relative ease. As the dance concluded and the floor became available to everyone, Arnold saw his brother and Diana Carey heading out to dance. He still was amazed Jake had not only asked her but had been accepted.
In an act of one-third brotherly competition, one-third sincere desire, and one-third friendly consideration, the Aladren turned to Ji-Eun and smiled, “Would you like to dance?”
Wendy hadn't really come into contact with the prairie elves at Sonora, but they did so much behind the scenes. It was only right to enjoy the work that they did and thank them for it when she saw them. Maybe in the future Wendy would think about doing something with prairie elf rights, but the whole legal issue was something she wasn't all that interested in. She mostly just wanted to get to know them as friends.
Rupert was a good sport and held out a hand for her to take. Wendy didn't know what he meant by it, but she had promised herself to simply go with her emotions and not think too much about any of it. So she put her warm hand into his and smiled at him. "Of course," she replied and let him lead her through the crowd to the refreshments. Everything looked so nice and pretty, but it had been made to be eaten. She took the glass of punch that Rupert handed her. "Cheers!" she said, smiling as she clinked her glass against his. But with one little sip she knew she didn't really like it. She took another small sip before mournfully putting the glass down. She wanted to like it, but her taste buds weren't for it.
"Yeah, they did," she said, ignoring the glass she had put on the table. Maybe Rupert wouldn't notice if she never picked it up again. Hopefully he wouldn't. "Sure," she said, thinking a piece of cake would be better than juice. It was nice and chocolatey, just how Wendy liked it. "Yum, this is really good." She dusted her fingers off before picking up a cookie. "Here, try this too," she said, breaking it in half and handing the half to him.
“Okay,” Atlas shrugged in response. Before he took his leave to the punch bowl. It had gotten some traffic earlier, but luckily there was still plenty to go around. With the tingling in his head starting to feel worse, he hoped the water in the punch would be able to give him a little relief. He hadn’t drunk much all day, and figured he was probably just a little dehydrated. He poured himself a cupful, chugging it at the punchbowl, before pouring himself a second. The next cup he sipped a little slower while he watched the couples dance. They were really good, except for a few that had tripped, but what was to be expected with such frilly dresses. He studied the dances for a while; trying to figure out the rhythm and the steps the best he could from the safety of the punchbowl.
Dancing was never his strong suit as a boy. Muggle schools often required them to learn a few dances in gym class, but he hardly considered line dancing appropriate for a ball, not that he could do it very well anyways. His eyes couldn’t help but wander over to Liliana. He could see her feet clad in golden shoes tapping away to the rhythm of a song he had never heard, most likely mentally dancing to a song he didn’t know the steps to. He looked down at his cup, tracing its rim with an index finger pondering what he ought to do now. If she likes someone else, is it still okay for me to ask her to dance? he pondered, she did say ‘yes’ to being my date after all, but what if it makes her uncomfortable? . He furrowed his brow a bit as he looked over to her again. She was giggling to herself now… for some reason. That action on its own was so her. Atlas couldn’t help but smile and giggle a little himself. He missed the carefree days where things were easy. Now there was so much distance between them, both figuratively and literally. He let out a low sigh as he topped off his glass of punch, before making his way back to the table.
As he walked, he noticed that the pain in his head had been replaced by an air-like quality. He felt a lot less tense than he had only moments earlier. The feeling of lightness only helped to reassure him that he was making the right decision. If he wanted their friendship back, he would have to start treating her like a friend, not a girl he likes, not a pureblood, just a friend. As he sat down next to Liliana he noticed that the light feeling had gotten more intense. It felt like he was there, but on a different level. If this was what all balls were like, he could understand why magic folk liked them so much.
By the time Liliana started talking to Atlas, the effects of the potion were already in full effect. He could hear Liliana talking, but he was unable to fully concentrate on the girl’s words. The only phrases he managed to pick up was “Let me finish it and then let’s dance” and something about her being ‘sorry’. She then held out her hand, to which Atlas responded by passing her the drink still full to the brim.
“I knew you would be thirsty,” he stated without thinking, overcome by the rainbows and butterflies of the punch. “And Liliana you don’t need to be sorry for anything,” he continued although a little dazed, “If anyone should be apologizing it should be me!” The boy quickly looked around, making sure no one was around to hear his secret. He then gestured for Liliana to come close so he could whisper in her ear. “I don’t know how to dance,” he said with an apologetic look.
0Atlas PrimredStop blowing holes in me ship! Aarrr!276Atlas Primred05
Scarlett was looking forward to the ball. Not quite as much as she would have if it were full of exciting people she'd never met, with wild stories of travel and adventures (and misadventures), but still, it would be...practice for when she did go to those kinds of parties. Even better would be hosting such an interesting gathering and even having some amazing stories to tell herself. Maybe Scarlett would be like her cousin Arabella, who was doing some travelling now. She was quite frankly dying to corner the Pecari alumna and ask her for tales.
Not that Sonora was full of boring people either necessarily. It was just that they didn't have the interesting experiences that adults had yet.
Another thing about balls at Sonora that made them a good place to practice for the real thing, was that people were less likely to be fussed about propriety. Some of the students were not that sort, some not even purebloods, so Scarlett's missteps would be less noticeable. There were so many rules in society, and it was hard to remember them all. With her tendency to get easily bored, she had a tendency to tune out when something didn't keep her engaged and long instructions on etiquette did not.
At least Scarlett would be hanging out with Joella, who'd never seemed bothered by such things either. Less so, even than she herself was. With her, she knew that she would need that stuff, but it just got so...dull hearing about it. And this was probably, the Pecari reflected, the only year of school where she wasn't going to hear her cousin Kelsey being all mortified by any little screw-up she made.
"Doesn't everyone look so different!?"
"Indeed." Scarlett responded, gazing around briefly at her schoolmates, spotting various people she recognized. The first year had not gotten the exact dress she wanted, her mother had thought it was too old for her but the one she had gotten, a bright fuchsia gown, was quite lovely, bolder and brighter than the outfits her twin and cousins were wearing.
"Oooh!" She exclaimed at the mention of the yearbook. Scarlett had looked over her cousins' yearbooks in the past and now was excited to see where she would be voted. Until they were able to dance themselves, it definitely sounded like the most fun activity available. She scurried off to the pile and scanned through the awards. "Yes! Class clown!" Scarlett grinned triumphantly, then looked for Savannah in the yearbook, pleased to note that her sister had gotten Brain, Logical and Bookworm, as she deserved.
11Scarlett BrockertGlad you feel that way.293Scarlett Brockert05
Jay was not sure he found Francesca’s claim that she was okay convincing, but the elaboration at least made it seem like she hadn’t taken really serious damage. He was sure he had seen her needing a medic worse than she did right now and she’d survived. “That’s good,” he said.
He still offered her assistance in getting up, though, both because her shoes and dress were even less practical for dealing with slick floors than his formal garments were and because she had hit her head. To be such an important body part, the head was surprisingly delicate; an amount of pain that would barely bother the rest of the body would prevent all concentration if it was in the head, and the smallest cut could seem like it was never going to stop bleeding. The only way it could get worse was if they went down again; he was pretty sure the whole ballroom would start laughing then, and while he wouldn’t exactly mind hexing people right now, it would look bad, and since Francesca would be back in the fall, she might get in trouble if she decided she wanted to follow suit.
“We probably do,” he said, “but we also believe in knowing when to cut our losses, and...frankly, at the moment, I wouldn't care if we didn’t,” he said, not feeling up to cleverness at the moment. “Let’s go sit down….” Jay remembered an important fact - that they were keeping company for one dance - but decided to ignore it for the moment. At least one of Francesca’s friends was still on the dance floor, and technically, the allotted time wasn’t up. “If you’re sure you don’t want the medic, or to go back to the House or anything,” he added. Leaving didn’t sound like the worst idea to him, though he wasn’t sure if it would really do much to alleviate the remarks about being as graceful as cows on frozen lakes in the long run. Jay was sure he’d hear as many of those as Francesca; he wouldn’t be here to hear about it after tomorrow, but he had Brandon for that.
He squinted across the floor at his brother, remembering seeing Di waving at him and Francesca earlier. If Brandon and Diana had had anything to do with this, he was going to make them wish they had never been born before September.
“That would be kind of you,” Anthony said. “I think I’m going to be the first in the family for...several years who won’t have someone to coach through CATS next year.” He would have Henry, of course, but it was habit not to mention Hen, even to someone else who knew him. Henry liked Effie, or at least seemed to have gotten used to her - one of the reasons Anthony had first thought well of her was because of that; either she hadn’t assumed that Henry’s mannerisms meant he was mentally deficient enough to mock without fear of him understanding or she was just kind enough not to mock him anyway - so she had to know, but…. “It really only started with my brother Arthur, but it’s become a bit of a family tradition, I almost feel left out,” he joked.
Though that wasn’t the only way his time as the oldest of those at the school would be different from the others. Arthur, then Alexandra, then Jay, and next year, him - the first of all of them who’d assumed a sort of leadership over the Careys at the school who was ever likely to have any real authority within the family. Mal would follow him, he guessed, though poor Mal - his position was a joke at best even if Morgaine decided one day to let him have it. His whole branch was composed of three widows and two siblings and they had very little money, very little territory, and very little reputation. He and his brother might somehow, with a lot of effort and a little luck and substantial support from their sister, rebuild their branch, but Anthony didn’t envy them their position for the next fifty or sixty years at all. He would have taken being Arthur or Jay, who were not in line to inherit position but were in a strong part of the family, any day.
As Effie began to speak in more detail about why she worried for her sister, Anthony hesitated, guessing at the reason for her hesitation - and was then distracted by Jay and Francesca staggering and then going down in a heap. Anthony winced as he watched his cousin trying to sort himself out and get up. “Oh, dear,” he muttered.
He smiled slightly, impressed by her swift thinking while he was still surprised and sympathetic about the problem, when Effie decided to try cancelling any spell that might be on that part of the floor and responsible for Jay and Francesca’s atypical clumsiness, but was quickly reminded of the topic they had been on before that. “Your sister,” said Anthony, and considered his words very carefully. “I...do understand being concerned about...a situation like that,” he admitted. He had worried a lot about Henry when the Midsummer Event had involved mandatory teamwork a few times. “But...well, people can surprise you, do better than you’d expect when they have to.” Henry had dealt with the team challenges, after all. The worst that had come of them was him developing a massive, irrational, hopeless crush on Alicia Bauer, and since he had been almost unable to speak during the few times he was around her because of it, he hadn’t had a chance to make that a real problem.
It was difficult to give advice when he didn’t know much about either of the people he was talking about or why Araceli Arbon was not comfortable with people - he refused to picture a scenario in which someone did anything like what had happened to Henry to a little girl, not least because he still felt a little sick even remembering what really had happened; he had never even told Henry or his parents, but Anthony had overheard most of it and still wished that he hadn’t - but he did his best. “If it were me,” he said, “I’d...speak to her later, if she wanted to talk about it, and then only...speak to Mr. Westley, or hex him into a caterpillar, or anything if it’s necessary.” He shrugged. “Henry - well, you know he’s...slow to warm up to people, too, but he hates it when he thinks his brother and I are meddling too much,” he said. “And since they’re in classes together and an invitation was made and accepted, I’m sure they knew a bit about each other from the start.” Admittedly, Diana was here with a boy she had barely known from Merlin's cat before he asked her out, but Pecaris were like that. Crotali were usually more sensible.
Diana quirked an eyebrow at Jake’s stammering, but smiled when it ended in accepting her offer. “Good,” she said enthusiastically, sitting back a little again. “I promise I won’t step on your feet - it’s all been with my brothers, but I’ve had lots of practice,” she informed him.
With Bran, really. Theresa was the one Henry and Jay had learned - well, really, Jay had learned, though Henry could at least not completely disgrace himself, she guessed - to dance with. Three girls and four boys in the family almost balanced out well, she thought, though she was, admittedly, one of the two who would only have to suffer through one brother’s lessons. Cecilia would be the other, she assumed, learning with Peter, which would be funny because Ceci was still years older than Peter. They might have to bring in cousins from somewhere else to learn to dance with poor Peter.
She looked around for Brandon, wondering if he was sitting with some other girl, but instead saw her oldest brother and his date fall down. “Oh, dear!” she exclaimed, putting her fingers over her mouth. “Oh - what’s wrong with them?”
After that, she wasn’t actually sure going on the dance floor was such a good idea, but since she had proposed it, she didn’t feel she could honorably back out of going through with it. She smiled when Jake made a show of asking. “The honor would be mine, Mr. Manger,” she said, taking his hand and letting him lead them out onto the floor. “Just - step carefully,” she added in a more normal, less formal tone, eyeing the floor beneath them warily. Whatever was wrong with it, she didn’t want to be the next to go sprawling.
“Thank you,” she smiled, as Jay helped her up. She almost felt more self-conscious now they were back on their feet. When she had been in a tangled heap on the floor, it had been allowable for her priorities to be getting out of that, and working out how much she had hurt herself. Now that those were dealt with, she had to worry quite what everyone else might be thinking of them. She had entered school very well practised at not really caring about such things. Or at least, theoretically prepared to, though it was a skill she had found very little use for. People, generally, did not seem to direct enough ill-will, whispered comments as she passed them by, or infantile sniggering for it to have been necessary to brush an awfully lot off. She searched deep down now, for the part of her that had been taught to let them think what they want, and to not care.
“Very pragmatic,” she nodded at Jay’s comments, “I like a family with a motto to suit every occasion. It makes doing the right thing so much more flexible. And no, I don’t think that’s necessary,” she reassured him, when he offered to take her to the medic or back to the Aladren Commons. She wasn’t quite sure why she refused the latter, other than some vague notion of duty in being here. Between Ginny’s refusal to come and the floor’s attempts at murdering them, she was starting to feel like the ball might be jinxed as far as she was concerned. Curling up with a good book and some hot chocolate sounded delightful. But balls were fun and magical and special and you had to be at them.
She headed for the seating, not meeting the eyes of anyone in the crowd who might be looking at her, but not in a cowed way, with her eyes on the floor. She tilted her chin a little into the air and walked purposefully, as if she didn’t care what they thought. And, she found, she very little did. She was embarrassed, certainly, but that would fade like her headache. And Jay seemed to be with her on this. She didn’t really need anyone’s approval but it was nice to have his, and more than enough for now.
13FrancescaEspecially if we ignore it250Francesca05
Arnold never seemed quite comfortable being himself. He was always fumbling with his hair, or stumbling over words or… even if it wasn’t any of those things, or anything she could put her finger on, he just seemed awkward. She knew that boys were supposed to be suave and cool to impress girls but she found herself finding the way he was rather endearing. She hated arrogance in people, having grown up with that personified in the form of a spoilt younger brother. Being around someone who didn’t think they were perfect, who didn’t think she should fall down to worship the ground they walked on, was nice.
“I thought some of it must be lies,” she nodded, laughing at his explanations of the inner workings of painters, “We went to this art gallery once with all these modern paintings and it was talking about the symbolism and the meaning, and it was all just a bunch of scribbles as far as I could see.” She felt glad to confess this to Arnold. Being good at something, like he was at art, she had always worried he would like her less if she found out that she didn’t always get it. “I like proper paintings, though” she added, “Like yours.
“People do it with K-Pop too,” she told him, “If you read the fan letter pages in the magazines, they’re all analysing the deep and symbolic meaning of every outfit choice or backdrop in a photoshoot. Sometimes I see what they mean, and I can see that it was a deliberate choice and quite clever, but some of it just seems a bit mad.
“Uh, are you sure it’s safe?” she asked, when he asked her if she wanted to dance. “You saw the prefects, right?” she added, in case he hadn’t somehow noticed the fair amount of stumbling that had been going on, and at least one pair getting taken out completely. She quite liked the idea of doing some dancing, as they were here - when was she going to be at a formal ball again, ever in her life? - and didn’t want him to think she was making strange excuses, but it definitely seemed like something was up.
“It would be nice,” she explained, when he said it would be good of her to tutor her sister, “I’ve had so many fewer opportunities to spend time with her since being at school.” She was still close to Delphine, something which she treasured, but she wondered how much more their bond could have been if they had been together every day, the way they had been until she had turned eleven. Letters could only do so much. She was sure there were parts of her sister that she didn’t really know. Sometimes, she surprised her - something Effie was sure would never have been able to happen before.
“Poor you,” she sympathised, a smile on her lips, when he mentioned being the first not to have a younger relative to prep for exams, “With only a Quidditch team to run, your own exams to sit and, potentially, Head Boy duties, it really sounds like you will be at quite the loose end. And family always needs looking out for, one way or another,” she added, in a more serious tone. She didn’t like her sisters to be in need of help but she liked to fulfil that role for them when they did. It would be strange, she thought, to see everyone around you helping out each other and to not feel needed in that.
“I do hope they’re alright,” she added to Anthony’s ‘oh dear,’ as Jay and his partner picked themselves up. She was glad he returned the subject to where she’d left it, and she nodded as he spoke.
“I suppose she already is,” she admitted, when he said that people had a habit of surprising one when the situation became necessary. Whilst Araceli probably had little control over whether someone asked her to the ball, it showed that one of her year-mates held her in positive regard. Perhaps that was due to her making progress in giving a positive impression to them. Even if not, it was positive evidence in and of itself.
“You’re right,” she nodded, visibly relaxing, a natural smile crossing her face. She couldn’t storm in and…. do anything. She didn’t even know there was anything she needed to do, and he had spent a year in classes with her sister. Even if he hadn’t noticed her at all that in itself would have told him something. She would still keep an eye on them, she thought. She wasn’t sure she could help but do that… “I will only turn him into a caterpillar if I am assured that he deserves it,” she promised. “I’d just rather be able to know whether it will be or not now. Perhaps it’s not Mr. Westley whose patience should be under scrutiny,” she admitted a little bashfully.
Jamie kept his focus, and his innocent look up, as Shino giggled beside him. Really, it was not very subtle of her. He hadn’t been doubting that he deserved to be leader, with her as sidekick, as Jamie really didn’t experience self-doubt over a lot of things - he had been brought up always being right and always entitled to what he wanted, so long as he played reasonable well within his parents’ rules and expectations. These were theoretically somewhat strict but they were easy enough to fake adherence to whilst doing what he wanted. But besides his inherent self-assurance, he was older than Shinohara, and probably had better ideas than her, and now she was giggling.
The way she talked about their respective targets seemed to suggest she thought her own idea was much better. There were no guarantees that anyone would even sit in that chair, or that anyone would see them slip out of it again if they did. He had victims and an audience all lined up.
“Yes,” he nodded, when she said they would now have to wait, “Though I don’t suppose we’ll have to wait as long to see the effects of mine. It has a guaranteed target, after all,” he explained. “See,” he added, with a little smirk (before quickly re-arranging his features) as the first pair stumbled. Sadly they found their footing again but surely it was only a matter of time...
I'm John Umland?!?! We can't both be John Umland. It's silly
Could he take the vol-au-vents, all of them, if he just sidled up to them diagonally? It seemed like it shouldn’t work but he was almost convinced it would. And, if had trouble with any of the queens, if they asked him to explain himself he could do just that and that would stop them right in their tracks. They’d be still trying to figure it all out whilst he got away. It was all perfect, apart from one little detail. One mistake John had clearly made….
“No no, these are the rooks. Look,” he explained, tapping the little crimped edges of the vol-au-vent. “I have be pretending to be after something else, like hummus - except not that cos it doesn’t have a shape - but really I want the rooks. Of course, in a real chess game, you don’t get twenty rooks on one space but I think we can overlook that, or just stack them all up so they count as one.” The main thing, as John said, was that he ran up diagonally and stole the vol-au-vents. On some level, he knew this was all very silly. It didn’t make sense and was…. silly. But there was a louder part of his brain that was giggling and shouting ‘shh, SHHHH!’ at that part because it was spoiling the fun.
“A distraction is a good idea though,” he nodded, wondering what role John should take. Most things had been handed out except pawn, king and knight… John was more than a pawn, he was a co-conspirator. The king tended to hang back, being all timid and woeful about the possibility of being captured - he was something of a prima donna, whilst being functionally useless. “You’re a knight,” he decided, “You do your little hippity-hoppity moves, then I’ll go get the rooks. If you get captured, I will do my best to avenge you,” he assured him.
Perhaps John wouldn’t want to be a distraction though, even if he got to be a knight. He didn’t seem very pleased about being a disguise, though he picked the conversation back up before Theodore could say… something. Like that he was a good disguise, though he didn’t think that necessarily hit the reassuring note he wanted it to.
“They’re just so…” he searched for some words as to what the girls of Sonora were. But he wouldn’t exactly put Portia Dobson in the same group as Liliana Bannister, little as he wanted to be drawn into a long conversation with either - that, in fact, was the feature they had most strongly in common. That and they were that age now where they were starting to have expectations. “They have this way of looking at you, I’m sure they get secret lessons, that makes you feel bad for not asking them to dance. But I don’t want to dance. And most of the ones around my age are overly talkative but never about anything interesting. That’s what makes you an even better disguise. I don’t just get to avoid them but talking to you is actually fun. But they’re…” the thought of an evening hearing all about everyone’s fashion choices floated through his mind, “their brains are all full of shoes. They’re not,” he noted, finding what it was that bothered him so, “smart like us. Now, shall we get those rooks? I think our plan is a good one.”
13TheodoreI'm John Umland?!?! We can't both be John Umland. It's silly270Theodore05
“Ah,” Anthony said when Effie explained more about helping her sister. “That does sound nice.” He had always thought of academics as something that separated siblings, since he’d spent a lot of time wanting desperately to do things with his older brothers and not getting to when he was younger, both because Arnold and Arthur were twins for all their differences and there was often a subtle feeling of intruding on something when he was with them both at the same time and just because Anthony had been kept a lot busier than they were when they were all growing up. Arthur had clamored for as much to do, but he could do it faster - in terms of academic ability, Arthur easily outclassed Anthony, achieving with ease what Anthony had to work for, though Anthony consoled himself that he had a much better personality. Magical and intellectual agility were not all a guy needed to be successful, and Anthony had enough of them, too. "I hope to spend more time with my brothers after school as well."
He smiled at her teasing about becoming a loose end. “They do,” he agreed about family always needing some looking after. “I don’t know what they’d do without us.”
Anthony was relieved to see Jay and Francesca get up without any spilled blood, violent confrontations, urgent staggering toward the staff table, or anything else dramatic. “It looks like it,” he muttered. “Goodness.”
Anthony smiled again as Effie admitted she really just wanted to know what was going on with her sister right now. “Between us,” he said, “my cousins and I all had to talk to ourselves - and each other - a little about why we shouldn't corner Diana’s date and terrify him into good behavior before tonight, and Diana’s not someone we usually worry about very much.” Well, they did worry about her breaking her own neck, or they had, but they worried more about what she was going to do to her environment. She was...high-spirited, though she had settled down a lot after Brandon left for school, just as Bran seemed to have settled down at school. They brought out the wild in each other, which was why he knew Jay had been a little worried about them both being at a formal event tonight. “It’s natural to be a little overprotective, I guess, but I imagine most of us know what constitutes a caterpillarization-worthy offense before we ever get here.” A family who let eleven and twelve-year-olds go out in public without some basic guidelines was not likely to be successful in society for very long. From the minute they started school or attending parties, whichever came first, they were expected to represent their families with, at worst, very few big mistakes.
Twenty vol-au-vents? That had to be gluttony. And a sure sign of a diseased mind. John didn’t care that much for seafood anyway - it could be really good, but to him, its regular appearance meant it was probably Lent, so it wasn’t that often that he just wanted some - but why would anyone, even a fan, want that much of it? They were small, but….
“Just pretend they're bricks,” he said, dismissing the issue. “Each one can be like a brick in the tower.” He didn’t know the exact origins of the name and had seen several different stories when he’d read three or four books about chess while he first learned to play, but he was sure at least one had talked about towers. Since chess was supposed to be a battle, the ‘war chariots’ theory made more sense to John, but the actual pieces looked a lot more like towers. He’d seen one set once - fancy, Transfigured for wizard’s chess - where the rook looked like a castle tower with half a defender sticking out of the top of it, presumably planning to fight on top of the wall of the castle that didn’t exist.
A bigger problem than what the rook represented, though, since he thought he could sort of see chess as like an attempt to take a castle if he looked at it the right way, was that a rook was also a bird - a European corvid which did not look much like a tower or a war chariot, or even something that would pull a war chariot. Maybe the names had gotten mixed together because of castling and the old saying...something about ravens and the Tower of London? But rooks weren’t ravens, and anyway, chess terms were from all over the place - Persian, German -
He realized he’d started to hum ‘London Bridge is falling down’ and stopped.
He brightened a bit at his promotion to knight. In Quidditch, he was one of the pawns, and he had assumed people thought of him as one in general, too. Maybe he was too hard on his classmates sometimes, maybe they were basically all right. Theodore had even said he would avenge him if he were captured. Getting vengeance for things was, of course, Wrong - enemies could only be decapitated on the field in a fight, in self-defense, and only then when the enemy was the one who'd brought swords into the conflict in the first place - but it was the thought that counted....
He smiled again when Theodore said he was fun to talk to. Yes, he probably was basically a good fellow, and John had been wrong to assume he was a snobby bigot just 'cause he had a sister and dressed okay. John also had a sister, and since he was reasonably sure (his-book-hadn't-once-become-stuck-to-the-ceiling-by-itself sure, since he knew that one hadn't been his own work) Joe was a wizard, too, it didn't matter....
Something didn't matter. Something about siblings - having magic - magic in the blood, that was it. Nothing wrong with it as long as one knew it didn't matter. Theodore was possibly smart enough to use good data. Which indicated it didn’t matter. Right...
He nodded sympathetically at the description of the problem. "Yeah. Yeah, sure. Got to...capture the rooks and avoid the queens ‘cause their dresses match their shoes. Even my sister’s been on about shoes,” he complained, though his tone dissolved into bewilderment as he added, “I don’t understand why.” There had to be a reason, after all. Everything happened for a reason. Julian had a reason, and that was why he’d forgive her when she went back to normal. He bit his lip, suddenly sad. “She gave me her bear. Anyway. Yeah. I’m a knight now.” That cheered him up a little again. Knights got cool moves on the board; learning all the different ways to make an ‘L’ had been one of the things it had taken him the longest to do in chess. “I’ll cut off the view when I go ‘L’, cut in front of you, then I’ll distract people with chicken while you run for th’rooky vol-au-vents….” He frowned a little as he rose from his chair. “Too bad it’s not duck. I did a lot of research on those last year.”
Still, chicken was what he had to work with. He’d walk parallel to the buffet, then turn sharply and walk toward the chicken, just like a knight moving on a board. Then, if there was anyone nearby, he would recite all the facts he could remember about chickens - he had a feeling there was something wrong with his source on them, something that meant he should only use it for his tangent about dodo feet earlier in the year and not talk to people about it, but he couldn’t figure out what it was that was bothering him - until he determined Theodore had slipped past him and secured the vol-au-vents...or ran out of facts about chickens, he really did not know that much about them. Then he would very hastily jump any pieces which got between him and returning to his seat. Yeah. Good plan….
OOC: Permission granted, if desired, to assume John did as he planned to in the last paragraph in pursuit of Mission: Capture Vol-Au-Vents.
16JohnAnd we're such very sensible fellows.285John05
This was it, Melanie's last major event at Sonora, where she'd lead the dance as Head Girl, with Marcus by her side. She knew she had a lot to look forward to yet in life, but she couldn't help feeling sort of sentimental and sad. It was just that she'd spent the last seven years of her life here and it had been a pretty good time. Though the only person here that Melanie was truly close to was Marcus, whom she'd always be with, she still would miss people in general. She'd been around them for several years and now they...just wouldn't be there.
She managed to walk gracefully down the stairs in her long blue dress and heels. At one time, Melanie wouldn't have been able to, but she'd had practice over the years. When she saw Marcus, she felt the usual thrill, the usual feelings of overwhelming love, both for and from him.
Nor did he ever fail to compliment her. She remembered the very first time they'd spoken, and he'd told her she was pretty. What Marcus actually said right now wasn't...technically very put together but to her, it made it all the more charming and adorable and genuine. Her fiance was nothing if not sincere. It was one of the many things Melanie loved about him. "Thank you, you look very handsome yourself." She took his offered arm as they walked down.
She gestured toward the seat she wanted, and the yearbooks were handed out. The seventh year class wasn't very big so both of the Teppenpaws had gotten quite a few awards, including some that Melanie doubted either of them would have gotten had there been more people.
“Haha, we won!”
The seventh year grinned as Marcus jabbed her arm. They'd never gotten Best Couple before, but it was definitely a nice thing to win. "We don't need a yearbook award to tell us we're a great couple." Melanie replied, smiling and taking his hands. The important thing was how much they loved each other.
The first dance was announced and they got up. She knew Marcus was not a good dancer, so she very much appreciated that he was willing to do this with her. Melanie couldn't imagine dancing with anyone else, she wouldn't feel right about it or enjoy it as much. Being with Marcus mattered more to her than having a partner who was skilled at dancing.
“You’ve been such a great Head Girl.”
At this she nearly cried. "Thank you." Melanie replied shyly. It had been a little surprising to her that she'd gotten the badge in the first place but it was an accomplishment that she was proud of nevertheless.
When they started out the dance, she found herself pleasantly surprised. Marcus seemed oddly light on his feet and all she could do was nod in response to his speech and will tears not to well up in her eyes. Their time at Sonora was coming to an end, but their life together was about to truly begin.
11Melanie LennoxThe first of many.226Melanie Lennox05
Jay was mildly disappointed by Francesca’s resolution to stay in the room at least, but acknowledged it was probably for the best. For one thing, in a case like this, trying to hide might make it all worse, not least because the things they could imagine everyone saying were sure to be worse than the things other people might really say about their predicament. For another, too, when a girl and boy left a dance abruptly, people...could get the wrong idea, and while it was unfair, people thinking they had slipped off for that would be far worse for Francesca’s reputation than his. His sister had demonstrated that very well.
He pulled out a chair for her once they were near the seating. “I suspect my younger brother of having something to do with this,” he informed her. “Brandon, that is.” Francesca had been in a group with Henry once, so Jay assumed she knew well enough that it had almost certainly not been Henry, but he imagined Henry was who she thought of when she heard about his younger brother. “I’ll make him be your personal elf next year if I find out he did this summer. So. I believe we were discussing…” Jay tried to remember. Falling flat on his face in front of the whole school was kind of a distraction. “You wanting to travel as a lawyer?” he said, feeling somehow that not even letting the incident interrupt their conversation was a little victory over whoever was responsible.
“Just what I was saying,” he nodded, when John suggested each vol-au-vent could be a brick. He had said that one had to stack them, which you did to make it work and make them look like one complete rook, but he thought that their brick-like-ness had been implicit in his sentiment. John was not, it seemed, keeping up entirely. But then, he was very small. He also appeared to be humming but stopped before Theodore could identify the tune.
“And it’s not like you can even see them!” he exclaimed, regarding the pesky subject of female footwear, “They may as well go barefoot, as they’re all hidden under their flouncy dresses. Maybe that’s why they feel the need to talk about them so much!” he realised, understanding dawning with absolute clarity. But just because girls might have some reason to be talking a lot about shoes didn’t make him want to listen to it. “I bet half their shoes are just made up,” he muttered.
“That sounds rough,” he sympathised, as John bemoaned that even his sister had fallen victim to this disease. He didn’t really know anything about the girl but it was a bad sign, nonetheless. “Francesca wasn’t too bad about it,” he said, feeling the need to defend her reputation against being one those kinds of girls, “She was keen to dismiss the idea that she had a date date and then didn’t say much else about it,” he glanced around, looking for his sister. Now that the first dance was over, she was supposedly free. She seemed, however, to be sitting continuing her tete-a-tete with one Mr James Carey. “Hmph, ‘not a date’,” he mumbled, “I may be supposed to hit Jay later but I think that’s going to be complicated and we should work out a strategy after we’ve captured the rooks. The rook. The tower of bricks to make the rook.
“Let’s go,” he nodded, after John summarised the plan. He stood, doing his best to look nonchalant, and taking a few steps towards one end of the buffet table. He then pretended to have had his attention seized by something at the other end, and changed tack, repeating this process several times, for all the world seeming merely indecisive and not at all like a criminal mastermind with his target well within his sights.
“Cucumber sticks, that’s the thing,” he exclaimed decisively, making his last leg directly towards them, trying to keep pace so as John could block him from view as described, and be in position to distract the other pieces as Theodore made a run for it. It was a bit of a problem with their analogy, he supposed. Once you got your piece in chess, that was it. You punched it off the board and stayed where it had been but he didn’t want to overthrow the vol-au-vents and take their place. He wasn’t a snack. Still, metaphors were rarely perfect, and it had helped them come up with a good plan… As he got within a pace, he turned and seized the vol-au-vent platter that sat next to the cucumber, before briskly striding in a straight diagonal line back to his and John’s table, setting his yearbook back up and looking around to check for his partner’s whereabouts.
OOC - I more assumed than described, but thank you. Feel free to wibbly what I wrote about a bit to make it fit with what John was doing if necessary.
“Eh, technically you said stacking a lot of rooks together would make them count as one,” said John. “Whole different idea, that. At least, I think you did….” He shrugged. “Anyway. We agree.”
John laughed, covering his mouth with his wrist when it became harder than usual to stop, at the idea of the girls having imaginary shoes. Julian’s weren’t, he knew - her dress was short enough to show them, and they made her taller besides. He thought they looked really uncomfortable and that her dress and hairdo made her look stupid at best - like one of those round-faced china dolls Grandmother Russell kept - but those things were not relevant to the point. Nor was his confusion about why wearing things that looked painful and things that just looked stupid was supposed to appeal to breeding males. He guessed he might get it when he was older, though he wasn’t sure he wanted to. Theodore was already older and also seemed clueless about what was supposed to be so attractive, so maybe there was hope.
“Maybe some of the girls,” he agreed. Agreeing was fun. He wondered why he didn’t do it more often. “Not Julian. You can see all her shoes. She’s just gone crazy.”
He nodded to Francesca’s claims that she wasn’t on a real date, since his sister wasn’t, either. Charlie was just her friend - kind of like him and Joanie, except that instead of becoming international criminals in the name of science, they...apparently played dress-up. Which was, he guessed, no more likely to lead them to do bad things than his interests and goals were - John didn’t feel bad about the laws he’d...chosen to regard as guidelines, they had little to nothing to do with Right and Wrong and he would have had to do something Wrong to follow them, but he was worried about now having to lie to even more people than he had before; he tried to pick words carefully to technically avoid lying to anyone about anything, but sometimes, he really couldn't do what was Right and just had to try to figure out which option was Least Wrong, and he did not like it - but it felt like it was. At least he was trying to accomplish something. What Julian and Charlie did, it didn’t accomplish anything; they enjoyed looking at themselves and that was it. Of course, all he did when he read a mystery novel or watched his birds was enjoy himself, so...but…
”I may be supposed to hit Jay later but I think that’s going to be complicated and we should work out a strategy after we’ve captured the rooks. The rook. The tower of bricks to make the rook,” said Theodore, pulling John back out of the tangle of his thoughts.
“Right,” he said, not sure why they wanted to hit Jay, who appeared to be doing nothing more alarming than talking to Francesca, but writing it off as something to deal with later.
He racked his brains for everything he could remember about chickens while helping himself to a more-than-healthy portion of the blackberry-ginger trifle and, when he saw Theodore moving toward what he thought were the vol-au-vents, he hurried away from the table to make his walk-along and his sharp ‘L’ turn and looked at the lemon-pepper chicken pieces as though they were amazing, though an outside observer might have been forgiven for thinking his expression was just deranged.
“It’s amazing,” he said, grinning like a maniac at no particular person. “Chickens are the most common bird in the world, but practically everybody eats them! You’d think they’d die out, especially since we eat most of their eggs, too.” He assumed this wasn’t true, chickens being around meant a lot of eggs didn’t turn into delicious foods, they’d have to use a larger number of eggs to make chickens than the number of chickens they even needed to keep up the population just to account for the baby chicken mortality rate and all, but he was just talking to distract now. “Their - uh - group noun is a ‘run of chickens,’ and their technical name is gallus gallus domesticus! I think. I don’t know if ‘gallus’ has anything to do ‘Gallia’, though. I don’t think chickens are French. French people do cook them, though, my mom has a cookbook…..” Now he knew he was scraping the bottom of the barrel and glanced over his shoulder to assess Theodore’s position. He was deeply pleased to see the back of him.
“Goodbye,” he said brightly, and left quickly.
“I really need to read up on chickens this summer,” he muttered as he rejoined Theodore at their table. “I can barely remember anything about them. I’ll do that as soon as I finish with the cryptography.” He noticed the platter now at the table and his eyebrows raised at the sight. “You really do like those,” he observed, but then shrugged. “That’s cool. More trifle for me.” He took a bite of his trifle. “Or are you planning to throw some of those at Jay?"