You seem like you need some attention. [Tag Nathaniel Mordue]
by Eliza Kingston
OOC: This scene happening with the permission of Nathaniel's author.
CW mentions of adult beverages BIC:
Eliza wore as tight-fitted a dress as she dared to the club that night. While she frequented various night spots for young Pureblood adults to make good impressions on each other - either for the night or for their life - she didn't always limit herself to the especially upperclass ones. She certainly was upperclass though and as the sole heir(ess) to her entire family's fortune after her parents' untimely deaths, nineteen was feeling good so far; she'd decided that her birthday was as good a day as any to go out, especially since she'd spent her previous birthday within the walls of Ilvermorny. Thus, dressed in a glittering royal purple gown that was snugly form-fitted to her knees with a dangerously attractive slit from her knee to halfway up her thigh and as much skin as she thought she could get away with showing in the low V-neck and bare arms, Eliza was ready. She'd pinned her dark brown hair up in a braided bun, with half of it still cascading down her back. Silver-set diamonds gleamed at her throat, on her wrists, on her ears, and in her hair, decidedly opposite the slick matte black heels she wore. Her lips were painted with a dusky rose that suited the rest of her rather conservative makeup, all designed to make her green eyes standout in her pale face.
The club she'd chosen for the night was the sort of place that everyone who was anyone liked to pretend to be someone; young adults who'd been to every Quidditch camp their parents could afford pranced and preened like stars, folks who had had so many private painting lessons and sculpting tutors fancied themselves the next artist to get a piece in the louvre, and photographers and models competed to see who had a greater eye for the other half of their particular hobby. Eliza fell into the latter category of the last group and she'd been modeling for fun (not that she wasn't above accepting money for her likeness) since graduation. It made up for the stagnancy of all the portraits she'd sat for growing up and she loved seeing the way different photographers saw her. Her picture had once been meant to say more about her family than it did about her and now she liked to think it said more about whomever was taking it. There was no one more invisible than the wealthy pureblood subject of a photo or portrait.
She strutted past the bouncer, giving him a salacious smile before making her way inside and straight to the bar. The whole place was old fashioned, with crystal and chandeliers covering every inch of space above the tiled floor, and it resonated with importance despite the band playing much more youthful music than one might expect based on the architecture of the place alone. The fact that there were obviously charms in place to keep down unwanted reverberation was evidenced by the fact that the music carried, the voices hummed, and Eliza's heels hardly made a noise as she crossed to the bar and the bartender in his vest and button up. This wasn't the moment to order a drink though; this was the moment to see whether she could get someone else to buy one for her. Just because everyone here could buy their own weight in liquid gold if they wanted didn't mean any of them were above showing it off, nor above acting impressed when someone else showed off. The benefit of being a woman was that she was the swoonee, not the swooner, and it made it all the more fun for her.
A young man she'd never seen before was standing nearby looking every bit as uncomfortable for being there as the slightly older young man beside him seemed comfortable. It was always fun to see such things but especially when it might be beneficial to Eliza's own enjoyment that evening and she approached the pair with an evocative smile, all eyes for the honey-haired boy with the soft face.
"Eliza Kingston of the Washington Kingstons," she said, echoing the same stupid introduction kissing every pair of lips in a place like this. "Please tell me you're at least half as interesting as you are good looking?" she said, eyeing him up not so subtly before looking to the older boy who she could only hope was his wingman and not his caretaker.
22Eliza KingstonYou seem like you need some attention. [Tag Nathaniel Mordue]0Eliza Kingston15
I suppose that depends on how you define 'need' and 'attention'.
by Nathaniel Mordue
Nathaniel was acutely uncomfortable, and he was fairly sure that it was obvious to anyone who happened to observe him. This had added an extra clause to his best-case scenario, which annoyed him. It was bad enough that it already depended on another person’s behavior – worse that that person was Simon.
Once upon a time, Nathaniel would have thought it faintly absurd to consider the prospect of his cousin getting drunk in public, or causing a scandal with a girl of good family, or inflicting an illegitimate child on the family. For one thing, he hadn’t thought Simon had the imagination, frankly. Maybe then, of course, Simon hadn’t possessed it, but for the past couple of years, Simon had been an adult, allowed to do as he pleased to some extent, and he seemed to have decided he ought to experience a wider sample of life than they were officially taught was proper for a gentleman to have.
At least Simon had enough sense not to have caused a scandal, though; Nathaniel expected it would happen eventually, but he knew he was overly gloomy sometimes. Simon was a Crotalus - this by default meant he at least had some vague impulses toward being smarter than, say, Nathaniel's father. Maybe he could follow through on those impulses. Or maybe Nathaniel was just too uptight. Jeremy had had a point about Nathaniel’s incompetence at being a fake adult, after all, and Nathaniel had yet to find a thing he’d been taught as a child about the world which had turned out to be true. But he was uncomfortable just the same, and suspected he would have been in a large group no matter what his cousin did, and therefore could only hope that nobody was observing him when his cousin badgered him into going out, apparently under the impression he was doing Nathaniel a service by so doing.
“This place is excellent,” Simon said. “Really.”
“The music’s terrible,” Nathaniel rejoined.
Simon sighed and shook his head. “One day, you’ll get a life,” he predicted. “I’ve made it a mission to get you to live a little.”
“Good luck with that,” said Nathaniel.
Simon saw the girl first, and briefly considered her. Beautiful, but she looked enough like his sister that he wasn’t sure she was his type. Luckily, it turned out she was interested in Nathaniel. Unluckily, it also turned out that said interest was conditional upon Nathaniel being interesting….
“I’d like to think so,” said Nathaniel, flushing slightly but defaulting to the more useful bits of his childhood training. “Though I’m sure no one would ever accuse me of being half as much of either as you, Miss Kingston.” That was what one did, one turned a compliment back on the originator. Simon looked vaguely approving, though, which made him suspect he’d just somehow done something morally ambiguous. Well, more than he did every day by default simply by not falling out of society and trying to destroy it, anyway. “Nathaniel Mordue, of the Oregon Mordues, and my cousin, Simon.”
“Also Mordue,” Simon added – right. People could be cousins and not share a name; family, but not part of the same family. He felt like there was a joke in there somewhere. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Kingston.”
16Nathaniel MordueI suppose that depends on how you define 'need' and 'attention'.141205
Eliza practically purred with approval when the younger man, Nathaniel Mordue, complimented her. He did it in that self-dismissive way fancy people did but Eliza found it surprisingly endearing in this case; he really seemed to mean it.
"I'm very interesting," she promised, not finding it necessary to point out that she was clearly also gorgeous. "So I think you'll be good company even if you're only a quarter as much. Would you like that, Mr Mordue? Keeping me company?"
She turned her attention to the older of the two before Nathaniel could answer, not wanting him to think she was too convinced of him just yet. "Pleasure to meet you, Simon. Call me Eliza. Or Lizzy, or Liza, or El. Whatever suits your fancy. You seem comfortable here," she smiled at him. "And you seem like you need someone to show you a good time," she added to Nathaniel again. "Is your cousin doing that?" Her eyes went back to Simon. It was a game and she was going to play them both; it was the best way to show off how good she was at this particular set of rules. "Or is that job open for someone else?" she asked Simon. "I'd be happy to take him off your hands." Another appreciative once over for Nathaniel and smile for them both before her eyes flicked suggestively to where other people were dancing, drinks in their hands, sweat and desperation on their skin.
You almost certainly wouldn't really want me to, Nathaniel thought when Miss Kingston, without the slightest trace of embarrassment or hesitation, asked how he'd feel about keeping her company. For one thing, he was only interesting in the way that watching people carrying up mangled bodies from a horrific accident was interesting - it was revolting, it would give the unwary viewer nightmares if the details were observed, but it was odd, how difficult it could be to look away from a total disaster. And for another thing, beyond even him personally being a disaster...someone in a dress with such an...interesting (he hoped he'd been more subtle about evaluating her appearance than she had been about his, but he was not, to his eternal regret, actually a sentient stone and thus had not been quite able, he thought, to help noticing)...cut was already someone pushing certain boundaries. Associating too closely with someone whose parents were notorious debauchees, and in a place like this, would not do her reputation any favors.
Naturally, he did not attempt to provide these warnings, instead smiling blandly and preparing a remark about being at her service. Before he could deliver it, though, she abruptly started being even more familiar with Simon, leaving him abruptly standing on the verge of speech, confused and suspecting he had a rather foolish look on his face before he flushed, torn between annoyance and embarrassment.
Simon, meanwhile, was apparently having a simple marvelous time. His cousin laughed at the offer to be relieved of the burden of Nathaniel's company. "By all means," he said. "Though I have to warn you - I'm not sure he knew what having a good time was even before they made him a Head Boy," he added teasingly. Nathaniel reminded himself that it would be very gauche to hex his cousin in public. He then had to briefly debate with himself about how important it was to him to not behave in a gauche fashion when Simon followed this remark up with, "Ah, there's someone I know - you kids have fun, or whatever your equivalent is, Nathaniel. If you'll excuse me...."
"One day," Nathaniel remarked as his cousin retreated. "I am going to Switch his hands with the most absurd pair of socks I can find and send the photographic evidence to everyone either of us has ever met." This, he thought, would be the least Simon deserved for this act of base treachery. Not that Nathaniel had been particularly looking forward to extended amounts of Simon's company, of course - it was more the principle of the matter. If not for Simon, Nathaniel would have been...attending to his correspondence, or brooding over old albums, or reading, or maybe just asleep already. Fun times... "Ah - would you like a drink, then, Miss Eliza?" he asked. "If I may also take the liberty of choosing from your many names," he added, with the closest thing he generally got to spontaneous humor that didn't involve a lot of careful rehearsing ahead of time.
16Nathaniel MordueBut can I trust your intentions?141205
My intention is to give you enough attention to get some attention myself.
by Eliza Kingston
Eliza gave Simon a grin to reward him for being a very good boy indeed. Keeping her more inappropriate comments about Nathaniel being Head Boy to herself, she smiled a bit more demurely at him than she'd done his cousin. "Don't worry a bit," she told him, sincerely hoping to assuage some of his anxiety if it was as severe as the older Mordue seemed to think. "I am very good at having a good time and I'm always happy to have an apprentice."
Simon walked away then and Nathaniel commented on changing his hands into socks, eliciting a gleeful laugh from Eliza who loved the idea of such wantonly inappropriate uses of magic by upper crust society members. "Oh, make them mismatch too," she told him. "Do you like to send photographs of all your handiwork to the people you've met?" she asked, stepping pointedly within his personal bubble, although only so far as to share a little bit of air and not actually touch just yet. She looked at him from nearly eye level and searched his eyes to see if she could find out just who was on the inside. "You may," she said when he chose a name. "But only if you drop the 'miss'. I don't mind the intimacy of first names by themselves," she purred again. "A drink sounds nice; impress me, Nathaniel Mordue."
22Eliza KingstonMy intention is to give you enough attention to get some attention myself. 0Eliza Kingston05
It had occurred to him, a second after he said it, that he ought to have properly kept that thought to himself, so Nathaniel was surprised when Eliza began to laugh at his remarks about Simon. He was surprised enough, in fact, that his guard came down ever so slightly, enough to permit a genuine smile when she suggested another detail to add to the plan.
"Good idea," he said, grinning at the mental image. "I like how you think."
He was less sure what to make of her question, particularly paired as it was with a pointed move into what he thought anyone in their shared culture would regard as personal space, but he couldn't think of anything too unusual which could be made of the true answer.... "Not really," he admitted. "Photography's...sometimes I give things to the family, and some of the albums are for embarrassing my cousins and my brother in front of their grandchildren someday, but photography's mostly always been the thing I do for myself." Why, he wondered, was he telling anyone about this...? "I can keep what I see, and develop the parts that mattered - I know it was really there, you know? You probably don't, actually, I don't even really know what I mean by that," he acknowledged with an embarrassed chuckle. "It's just a thing, a habit I guess - I don't even remember when I picked it up. I've had a camera for as long as I can remember." His mother said that he'd tried to take hers away from her on Christmases and birthdays when he was about three; as evidence, she'd offered up a very out of focus snapshot of what looked like a corner of the chimney, apparently his attempt at taking a picture on Jeremy's first birthday. That, however, was a touch personal, and mentioning his mother was only a fractionally better idea to do in a social setting than starting to talk about equipment and possibly boring his companion to actual death.
"All right, then, Eliza," he said, sensing a challenge possibly beyond just the words and surprising himself by wanting to meet it.
Of course, he really knew very little about what impressed bold girls in not-quite-appropriate settings.; he took refuge in audacity and just asked the bartender for 'whatever ladies here find impressive,' swallowing both his pride and his anxiety despite their mutual screeching about how the look the man gave him was a good enough reason to try out memory charming. Trying not to look too dubious about the concoction the request produced, he took it to Eliza and, picking the conversation back up where it had left off, added, "Just Nathaniel will do, by the way, if we're going to be on - intimate - terms."
16Nathaniel Mordue...I'm not sure how to reply to that.141205
Eliza smiled, surprised to find herself stumbling upon an actual photographer. An actual photographer with a nice smile. He was boyish in a way that Eliza rarely found herself appreciating. She had, after all, spent so much time appreciating herself that the ability to genuinely appreciate anyone else had been mostly lost on her. Whether or not she was trying to make up for the fact that no one else seemed to appreciate her was not something she wanted to consider.
She hadn't realized he'd been serious in choosing pictures as his medium for getting revenge on his cousin. She waited for the question that always came but it didn't this time and it almost made her miss it. She followed him to the bar, accepted the drink - it must've been one of the most expensive things on the menu, if it was on the menu at all - and grinned at Nathaniel's new comment.
"I'd like that best," she told him of intimacy, glad that bold also served to inform the inexperienced in the ways of flirting. He didn't quite seem like a man who'd never seen a girl before, but he might not have seen so much of one before. Eliza was happy to be an educator in such matters. "Most photographers ask to take my picture," she said, sipping on her drink as she considered her companion. "I enjoy modeling but the ones who ask me rarely make it fun. I don't think I'd mind if you wanted too, by the way," she added with a devilish smirk. "How about you, Nathaniel? Would you let me take your picture? You'd make a very . . . " She looked him over again. "Handsome subject." Her tone suggested handsome was the most polite of the adjectives she could have chosen.
22Eliza Kingston"Yes, and" is usually a good choice. 0Eliza Kingston05
Nathaniel had, truthfully, never considered asking someone for permission to take their picture, unless occasionally asking his mother or Sylvia to stand still a moment counted. He had never really had an interest in portrait photography. It wasn't his speciality.
Nor was hastily trying to assure someone that he hadn't meant to offer any offense, which he supposed made it...almost convenient that Eliza didn't give him much of a chance to try to stumble through doing so. He stopped short at 'almost,' though, because everything else she said made him blush, despite the feeling that surely she must be making fun of him at least a little bit. Objectively, he could see that there was nothing objectionable about the form or arrangement of his features, but they were too like his father's for him to quite grasp regarding them as particularly pleasing, especially combined as they were with his mother's general lack of spirit and, especially in recent years, melancholy tendencies. His memories of his father were hazy on the edges, sometimes, but he did remember the man having a sort of superficial charisma - a sort of self-centered confidence evident, to some degree, in Simon and Sylvia, and made up for by anger in Jeremy....
"You don't seem to have a camera handy," he pointed out, ducking the subject of his own attractiveness. "And I know I don't have any of mine with me." Which never did feel quite right, though that was a very minor part of why he was always slightly uncomfortable in public. "Which makes me wonder if you're really particularly interested in portrait photography, or if you're just hinting that you might like to see me somewhere else another time?"