(2530-06-20) Do I Hear A Waltz?
Summary: The start of the Midsummer Ball of 2530.
RL Date: 19 Jun 2020
Related: 2530-06-20-the-social-whirl
2530-06-20-the-persephone-polka
2530-06-20-ballroom-blitz
celeste jude gideon skyler madder marcus lukas vel 

Scene run by Celeste. NPCs run by Valentin, Gideon, and Celeste.

Ballroom, Eavesdown

The Langdon-Davenport ballroom is a lavish affair. It is a huge room, with plenty of space for everyone who attends their yearly Mid-Summer Ball. The entranceway is manned by several servants ready to take any jackets or bags, as well as more discreet security guards who keep an eye on arrivals. Everyone is scanned with advanced weapon detectors, and any weapons taken from their owners. On first arriving, guests are announced to the room.

At the opposite end to the entrance, a small band provides live music. The middle of the room is dominated by the dancefloor, where couples and groups perform the appropriate steps. Huge ceiling-to-floor windows provide a view of the gardens outside, with doors that open to let the summer breeze in, or provide egress to the attendees. The final wall holds a buffet table with cold food from all over the 'Verse, and tables and chairs to seat the weary dancer. There is, of course, a floating chandelier.

It is a spring day. The weather is warm and fair.

The Langdon-Davenport Mid-Summer Ball is the event of the season. Everyone who is everyone on Persephone is invited, and to /not/ receive an invitation is a sure sign that the social elite have fallen out with you. The party is just beginning at this hour, early in the evening. The sun still shines outside, the large windows letting in the slanted rays and adding a soft warmth to the decorations. The band is playing a quiet tune, not yet beginning the dance numbers. Servants stand ready to fetch drinks. The hosts are not present yet, as they will, of course, arrive at the most fashionable hour.


Celeste has been waiting for this for /weeks/ and her excitement is about as high as it gets. One of the family cars dropped her and Jude off outside, and now they wait in a small queue of people to speak to the announcer and enter the ballroom proper. Anyone arriving will have to do the same.

Jude's expression is a mix of blind panic and child before christmas, all round-eyed excitement, as he watches people arrive in their gladrags. He feels as out of place as can be and yet he is enjoying himself.

Gideon checked in with Celeste and Jude, back when they were getting ready to go, just to make sure he'd tied and buttoned things properly, but then he disappeared off, again, to do whatever Gideon does off-camera. (Hopefully not tinkering with any engines in his nice clothes!)

"We're next!" Celly tells Jude, needlessly. She tucks her arm into his. Her invitation is ready to hand over. She's been to plenty of these balls, enough that the announcer will know who she is, although Jude will be a mystery. Oooh. A mysterious newcomer. She can't /wait/ for people to see her on his arm. "You look so great," she whispers to him.

Jude is actually looking around for Gideon and Skyler. He was promised more scruffs from the shoddy end of Eavesdown so he wouldn't stand out -too- much on his own. But then he's dragged on by Celeste and he gets that deer-in-headlights look briefly as he hears his name announced and steps into the brightly lit ballroom. Then he does his very best to look cool and suave as if he totally belongs here.

Skyler is not there yet, as she coming with Lukas, who is probably making himself pretty.

Not only is everyone who's anyone on Persephone invited, some semi-elite outworlders have even been imported to add a little variety to the mix. One such, a Doctor Phyllida Madder, present and accounted for in bespoke hand-painted silk and a remarkable pair of pellucid six-inch heels to bump her five-two a five-eight, with her dark curls piled into a mane sparkling with studded diamond pins on the side to get her closer to six feet than not. She's here earlier than fashionable, but, then, she's here to work, not for the society— though the two aspects, of course, may blend. She marks each entrant with her eyes and takes a shark's casual turn of the place, 'happening' into the correct personages at the correct moments.

Gideon comes walking up, hastily, toward the ballroom. He doesn't want to be late, but he also doesn't want to muss up his suit, his hair, or start to smell bad. Eyeing the ballroom and the building itself, he studies it and the crowd, trying to figure out how he might slip in without having to be announced to the whole gorram room. Then, he takes out his invitation, squinting at it, like he might be considering altering his name. Dideon Oones? Gideon Joones? O'Gideon McJones. Hm.

One of the waiters comes up to Jude and Celeste, with a tray of glasses. They hold a pinkish drink, a gin mixture that's popular at the summer parties. Another approaches Dr Madder, with the same.

A valet outside notices Gideon squinting at the invitation, and steps over to cheerfully offer, "the main event's right inside, sir. You're at the right address." As if there was any other in Eavesdown, this evening. "Step this way into line."

Celeste takes one of the glasses and smiles at the waiter. She's very much at home at the party, and she's already tapping one high-heel along to the music as she looks around. "Oh, look," she tells Jude, "Margerite is already here. I don't recognise her escort, though. And that's Robert and Francis." The names obviously mean something to /her/.

Booze, bless. Social lubrication and something to do with her hands. Madder nods absently to the waiter, neither completely ignoring him nor showing more recognition of his personhood than would be appropriate for the general climate of affluence, and then she has a stem in her hand and the rim at her lower lip, taking a quick swallow and leaving the rest to sip as she continues her rounds.

Gideon gives the valet a quick assessment, then offers out his arm, like he either wants to escort the valet or would like the valet to escort him inside. "O'Gideon McJones," he introduces himself with a cheerful tone in his voice and a friendly wink.

<OOC> Celeste says, "ambience music! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7gtAMCf9yw"

Marcus of course received an invitation, being a relatively unknown recent arrival with a sterling military reputation and a command level rank. He arrives on the arm of a young lady, who once he has slipped through the security process promptly peels off for the desert table, leaving him unescorted and alone to face the creame of Persephone society.

The valet, though female and perhaps around the right age for Gideon to invite inside, gives him a shake of the head. "I'm working here, Mr. McJones. The door staff will help you through." She clearly isn't catching on to his attempt at a stealth entry.

None of the names mean anything to Jude, but it's not like he's properly listening to Celeste anyway. He's too busy taking it all in - the glitzy ballroom, the finery, the music, the fancy overwhelming perfumes. Ah, booze. It may not be a good idea but he feels it's useful, so he grabs a drink and knocks it back.

"You're supposed to sip it," Celeste says to Jude, not sure if she's horrified or amused. She holds his arm still, her free hand bringing her own drink up to /sip/ from the glass. Then she's distracted by an older man saying hello, who she greets with a smile and some cheek-kisses.

Sighing, Gideon, who is dawdling at the entrance, not at all wanting to be part of what he believes to be a 'parade' into the ball, finally relents. He nods at the valet, then joins the line, then immediately starts chatting up the couple waiting in front of him. "That's a /really/ cool waistcoat," he compliments, conversing about the only ball-related topic he knows. "I like it. Summer colors, yeah? For a summer ball? Very stylish." Pausing, he should really leave it there, but keeps chattering on unless they run away. "Pretty good place to stash a knife, right? I mean, I ain't carryin' one, but you can never be too careful. Not just for people, too, you know? I mean like - what if you need to cut some rope or something?"

Oh, oops. Jude eyes his empty glass. He'll remember it next time. Maybe. While Celese is distracted by the old guy, he looks around the ballroom and with great relief notices Gideon's arrival. "Yo! Giddy! Here!", he shouts and lifts an arm to get him to notice him.

Jude gets Celly's attention with /that/. She quickly takes his arm again, her cheeks flushing beneath the make-up. "What are you doing?" she hisses to him. She looks over and spots Gideon, too, but she tells Jude, "He needs to be announced and scanned before he can come in. And - well… people don't… /shout/ at balls. I mean, unless they're announcing something."

A young woman in a fluffy yellow dress approaches Marcus. She smiles shyly at him, and holds out her dance card. "Would you like to..?" she asks. "Once the dancing starts, of course." Behind her are a few of her friends, giggling.

Madder has found one of her targets for the evening, a gentleman around twice her age with a wife about half her age. Not an unusual combination, in this level of the crust, and what can you do? You exchange niceties, you weave in a few of your assigned talking points when they'll fit in— all three of you will stop and turn to stare at the guy yelling 'Yo!' in the middle of the ball. The wife gets one of those mean-girl sneers to her, the husband just sort of harrumphs. Madder narrows her eyes a little bit— is that that kid from the bar? The one with the guitar? Huh.

Marcus bows graciously and takes the card, filling his name in on it, and returning it to her, "It would be my honor young lady" He smiles in the direction of her friends.

The man with the summery waistcoat turns slightly, looking incredulous at Gideon even just for being addressed without an introduction… and then downright bothered by the commentary about knives. "You would do well to leave your weapons at home, Mr." he growls, and turns his back on Gideon again, clearly done with the conversation. Weapons of course get checked at the door anyway. The growler and his lovely lady step forward and are announced as "Mr. Robert Cartwright and the lovely Jasmine Cole." A local companion. The greeter reaches for Gideon's invitation…

Jude starts to look like he's getting hot under the (tight) collar by the second reprimand in short succession. Luckily the waiter is circulating with the drinks again and he swaps his empty glass for a full one. And only takes one gulp, leaving it half full. "How else am I supposed to get his attention?", he asks sulkily.

Gideon passes over the invitation, having been so distracted by his waistcoat talk that he forgot to alter his invitation.

"Mr. Gideon Jones," the greeter announces, and Gideon stands still for a few beats, stunned, then starts to walk and wave at the crowd like he's on a float in a parade.

The girl in the yellow dress beams at Marcus and scurries off with her card, looking delighted. There's more giggling from the group of young ladies. He's very likely to get approached by more of them, soon. The next person to go to him is a waiter with a glass of pink gin mixer.

Lukas walks confidently into the ballroom. This is his home turf, finally. His elbow is at his side, escorting a beautiful young woman that may or may not be Sky! As they walk in, they are announced as, "Lord Lukas Jenner Farmington III, son of the Honorable Lukas Jenner Farmington II MP, with the lovely Skylandia Danvers!" Lukas nods at the introduction, his response serious and noble, and he then leads Sky into the ballroom.

"You wait until he comes in," Celeste tells Jude, "And then you go over to him. Look - he's here now." She's only taken a few sips of her own drink. She does her best to be nice about things, but she's still a little flushed. Oh well, at least now Gideon is here as an ally for Jude. And then Lukas (and Sky) also arrive, and she nudges Jude. "Oh, look!"

Skyler whispers something to Lukas as he drags her.. or floats her, more accurately.. into the ballroom. "Are you sure you should use your real name? Won't someone tell your father?"

The band begins playing a new song. Not yet a dancing track, however. Those with the right education will recognise it, appropriately, as Summer from Vivaldi's Four Seasons.
<OOC> Celeste says, "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY1p-FmjT1M"

Jude is about to approach when Lukas is announced with… Skylandia? Good thing he isn't drinking right now, because he would have spit his drink everywhere. "Bloody hell, Skyler.", he mutters under his breath. "Did you buy that dress with her?"

Marcus takes the pink fizzy drink, sipping very lightly on it, and proceeds to sign any other offered cards. He pauses when he hears Lukas's name, turning and recognizing both the pilot, and his date. He actually looks a little shocked when he sees Enola standing there in a dress.

Spotting Jude and Celeste, Gideon starts to make his way quickly over toward them. He may well not realize that 'Skylandia' is his very best buddy, Skyler. But, he does that sort of fake-fast walk, meaning to be proper (insofar as Gideon understands propriety) while also getting to Jude as soon as possible.

The arrivals keep coming. Fairly soon the couple presented is: "Mr. Gabriel Griffins-Falkenstein, son of Lord Benjamin Griffins, and Miss Emeline Brinshaw." He's in a bespoke, charcoal suit with accents that match his date's lovely green gown. He looks about the room with pleasure, recognizing several people already, and leans in to Emeline to whisper something, nodding discretely at a couple seated in the corner. [These NPCs played by Valentin.]

Lukas nods, quietly telling Sky, "It's okay. I sent Mother a wave letting her know I was coming with a girl I met at the university who was from here. A ball like this is good press for Father. He wouldn't care that I took a weekend to attend an offworld galla like this." He looks about the room and notices a few familiar faces. "Would you like to say hello to them," he asks, nodding toward Celeste and the others. If she does, he can saunter them that direction.

"Yes," Celeste answers Jude, looking pleased as anything, and proud. "Doesn't she look /amazing/." She gives a subdued little wiggle of her fingers towards Lukas when he looks their way, and smiles at Gideon. The newest announcement makes her brighten, too. "Oh, there's Gabe and Lina."

Madder gets mark one settled down again after the blip in their conversation with a few dry comments meant to elicit, if not a laugh, at least an arrogant smile. She swaps the stem of her drink into her other hand and reaches out with her right to press palms with the gentleman, giving him a firm shake, then turning and lifting her hand to rest just briefly, breezily, over the bared shoulder of his wife, parting with both of them with just a few friendly words.

"Sure," Skyler tells Lukas. She's adopted a more confident mien, all fancied up as she is. "I don't understand music that don't have words. Are you supposed to make them up in your head? Oh, there's Gids. Jude looks like he's about to bust out of that suit with embarrassment. I don't look all nervous like that, do I? Oh, THAT must be Celeste's brother. They got the same 1000 last names. WITH A HYPHEN."

Once Madder leaves the couple, she's approached by a dapper middle-aged gent in a fine dark blue suit. He's one of the local lower-ranking nobles, known for his honourable dealings, but sneered at by some of the wealthier types. He bows politely, "M'lady, I couldn't help but notice you from across the room. Gerald Simmings, at your service. Might I impose on you for your dance card?"

"She does.", Jude confirms, trying and failing to connect this new Skylandia with the Skyler he knows. And then there's Gideon and he immediately looks happier and more confident. "Yo, hey, good to see you, man. You look spiffin'", he declares, heavens knows where he picked that one up. "Who are Gabe and Lina?", he asks Celeste a little distractly.

Lukas smirks at Skyler, "You definitely do not look like Jude. Somehow, I believe you could look like you belonged anywhere you went. As for the music?" He chuckles, "I do. It helps me on the songs that have set dances we had to learn. This song is all about balogna." He rolls his eyes a little, "I was young." Then he leads her to Celeste and the others. He bows to Celeste, "Lady Griffins-Falkenstein. You look lovely this evening." He nods at the others there.

Marcus approaches Skyler, making his way across the room, as he does he sketches a slight bow, before adressing her, "Miss Danvers, do you have some space left on your dance card?"

"You look - spiffin' too," Gideon declares Jude, after making an honest assessment of his friend's get up. "And you look real beautiful, Celeste," he adds, shooting Jude a look, so it's clear that he's being nice in a friendly way rather than making a play for his date. "That dress is like," he pauses, like he probably memorized this turn of phrase before coming in. "Summertime perfection, yeah?" He turns as Lukas and Skyler approach, lips parting, like he means to greet them or say something, but he's lost the words.

Skyler side-whispers to Lukas, "What's a dance card, and do I have space on it?"

"My brother and his fiancee," Celeste explains to Jude. "He's the one who arranged my passage to Kerry." When Lukas and Sky join them, she drops into a curtsey to answer Lukas' bow. "Master Farmington," she greets him with a smile. "You look wonderful yourself." Sky gets a warm smile. She doesn't compliment her, since she saw her only an hour or so ago, but she's definitely greeted. Gideon gets a kiss on the cheek and a heartfelt, "Thank you," for his compliment.

The music from the band changes, and an announcement is given: "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your partners for the first dance of the evening, the Persephone Waltz."
<OOC> Celeste says, "https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_5i1e8s6co"

"Oh, I see." Jude remembers now. Too many names for one brain. "I would love to meet them." He smiles at Gideon, reassuring him that it's all fine. Then the dance card is mentioned and he remembers. Vel gave him instructions. But this can wait. "Lukas. Skyler. Hi.", he greets them both, "You do look great.", he compliments Skyler. He might have more to say but then the Waltz is announced. That's the one he can do! Forget about people and dance cards and drinks! His drink is deposited on a convenient mantelpiece quickly and he offers a deep bow to Celeste. "May I have the honour of your first dance, Mylady?"

Gabriel spots Celeste, sending her a warm smile and nod in greeting across the room. Then he and Emeline begin to slowly work their way around. He's introducing his date (his betrothed, in fact) to people that he knows. As the first dance is announced, they step clear of the floor with several other people, as the room shifts.

Madder wasn't expecting the approach; she was calculating her way to casually encounter her next mark when she comes up short, confronted by a gentleman in blue with whhom her own pale blue accents don't exactly clash. "Doctor," she corrects him, first, chin up, "Phyllida Madder. I'm not ennobled," is as much a boast as a deference; to allow him to assume she was titled would be an arrogance unasked for, but to lay claim to her own refinement is an arrogance welcomed. "Gerald Simmings, was it?" feeling the name for familiarity. And they're announcing a waltz. At least a waltz is easy enough. Three steps, and if he can lead with half a competence, she can probably get through it. "Do you waltz?" she sideways offers him this one.

Skyler follows Celeste's lead and curtsies to the gentlemen, Marcus included. "Very nice to see you, Mr. Jude and Mr. Gideon. And you, General." Because what else could all that flashy stuff on Marcus' uniform mean. Supreme Commander? "I sorta think since Lukas asked me here I should dance with him first? But then maybe I can dance with you?"

Gideon remembers to bow at Skyler and Lukas, finally. Then, he winks at them, says, "I ah, gotta find my dance partner," likely fibbing, and then disappears off into the crowd.

"I certainly do," Gerald tells Madder. "Although I can't say I've ever waltzed with a doctor before." He smiles at her from beneath his greying moustache. He takes her arm, and leads her to the floor. When they begin, it's obvious that he's competent, although not wonderfully.

Celeste gives Jude a surprised look, and she quickly puts her own glass down, too. "You're going to dance?" she says, breathlessly. "Of course I will! I mean - of course you can. I mean - yes!" Smiling like the world is a wonderful place, she holds out her arm to him.

Marcus respectifully accepts Skylers answer with a bow, not correcting her on the incorrect rank, he then finds the young lady in yellow who he signed up for as his first dance.

Lukas looks at Marcus with a bit of disdain. He tells Skyler, "He just means to ask if you'd dance with him later." He doesn't answer for her, however. And when she says he gets the first dance, he smiles at Marcus a little proudly. "Do you waltz?" he asks Sky. "It's the easiest, if you'd like to learn."

Skyler is a street kid who spent her early years swindling people in casinos and card parlors. She has a rough idea of how to can can, pole dance, and mosh, but waltzing sounds like something you squirt from a can onto crackers. "Um… I can … learn?"

"I think I might want a spot on your dance card, too.", Jude tells Skyler with a smile, but then his whole attention is on Celeste, glad that his surprise is getting the reaction he had hoped for (and suffered for). He takes her arm and leads her into the throng of the dance floor, ready to waltz her around when the music starts.

The girl in the yellow dress turns out to be named Jasmine Van Holt, and she's amongst her friends. When Marcus approaches, she leaves them to join him for the dance, beaming at him.

Madder finds an excuse to swallow the end of her drink and find an obliging soul with a tray to carry the resulting empty off for her. Then, situating herself in against Gerald, she has the grace at least to position herself well, to minimize the extent of her steps and confine their somewhat subpar dancing skills to a rather cozy little back-side-step triangle. "I'm better in a lab than on the dance floor," she admits. "Though if it's close and easy, I don't mind it. What business are you in, Gerald?" she'll get down to his brass tacks and see if there's anything worth cultivating, here, since her hand is at his shoulder and his around her waist.

Lukas glances at Jude, whose dance request gets a friendly nod, since he knows he's here with Celeste. To Sky, he smiles, "Challenge accepted, my lady," he says playfully to her. Before they step to the floor, he offers, "It's only six steps at it's most basic. It'll go," and he shows her here off the dance floor by himself, "Forward left, Right side, Left to right, Back right, Back sideways Left, return to start."

Celeste settles into Jude's arms, smiling up at him with the sort of expression that suggests all faults are forgotten, because he's /dancing/ with her, after he said he'd never dance. She puts one hand on his shoulder and the other at his waist, ready to begin.

The band begins to play the Persephone waltz, and those on the dancefloor start to take up the movements. It's a standard dance for these balls, so just about all of the nobles can manage the basics, with some of them more skilled than others.

Does Lukas show Skyler HER part, or his? Because, she's totally going to do exactly what he shows her, which might mean running right into him the first step she takes. Also, long dress isn't something she's used to managing, so she nearly kills them both by stepping on her own skirt. Still, she doesn't seem embarrassed by it so much as light-hearted and happy. "I bet that Cinderella knew how to dance, which is pretty stupid since she spent most of her life in a fireplace."

"Pharmaceuticals," Gerald tells Madder, "Which is ironic, is it not? Although I didn't ask what /sort/ of doctor you are." He keeps his hands in the proper places, and maintains the appropriate distance.

Another arrival: "Lord Dashington Fentimore Kipling IV" is announced. 'Dash', is a tall, striking young man in his mid-twenties, with a cocky, too-privileged-for-his-own good air about him. Dateless, he saunters into the room, studying those already assembled. [This NPC is played by Gideon.]

And Jude dances like a boss! Well, perhaps not. But he has clearly been practising hard for this, steering Celeste nimbly across the room. He even manages to keep eye contact with her and not stare at his feet half the time, gets the turns right and even knows when to make her twirl around.Feet suffered for this! Vel's mostly, and Donna's.

Lukas laughs a bit with Skyler, "Cinderella couldn't even keep her shoes on. You're already better off than her." He laughs a bit, "So, it's what I did, but like, the other foot. Sorry." He then counts a little with the music, "It's like, 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1." Then he smirks, showing her again as he shares, "I used to sing, 'I like cows, I like cows, I like cows, and milk…."

Gabriel and Emeline watch the dancers take to the floor, and then scan the sides of the room for more people that he might know. They make their way over to Robert Cartwright (and his Companion!) where they chit chat.

To be fair, Jude could be the worst dancer ever and Celeste would still be deliriously happy. When he turns out to actually be able to dance, she's over the moon. "You're great!" she tells him, meaning it. And the thing about Celeste is that dancing is one of her passions, and she's practised it religiously since she was a child, and so she has that ability to not only be able to dance well, but to make her partner look even better, too. She's a wonderfully graceful swirl of skirts and smile.

Skyler nearly has a heart attack at the arrival of Lord Dashington McPickMyPocketRightNowAndBeSetForLife. She gives her head a little shake and focuses on the dancing lesson at hand. Or at foot. "Good thing I got laces, then, on my shoes! They ain't goin' anywhere. Hey. You didn't tell me you had a weird thing for cows. Do you knit them little sweaters? Did you know they sell shoes for DOGS?"

Marcus takes Jasmine for a spin around the dance floor, doing his best to treat her with all the formal manners he learned in the Alliance military. He doesn't do horrible on the dancing part either, making at least a passable turn at the Waltz.

Madder's twist of a smile slips to something a little more suspect, and she loses count of the ones and the threes and almost draws both herself and Gerald to a halt in the middle of the dancing. Fortunately they had staked out their little bit of space already, so people are unlikely to come wheeling into them. "You didn't," she narrows her eyes at him. "So why do I feel like you already know?"

Jasmine is a competent if not spectacular dancer, and she spends a lot of the time giggling in delight. Her friends are watching from the side, and whispering amongst themselves about this mysterious Alliance officer.

Lukas follows her gaze at Lord Dashington, "That guy? Really?" He grins at Sky, "You know I'm WAY cooler than him." He nods as she begins to get the dance a bit. "Okay, you're good enough, let's move to the floor and perfect all this. And no, I didn't like the cows THAT much, it just… That's what fit the beat. I was nine. Cut me a little slack." He laughs, and then leads her to the edge of the dance floor.

Well, this is the second-best time for Jude to hear that he's great, so he smiles, glad that she's happy and relieved that they aren't crashing into anyone or anything. "Guess what, I learned another dance too.", he tells Celeste quietly.

Dash catches Skyler's gaze, gives her a quick, assessing once over, then smiles a broad and easy grin. He inclines his head toward her, indicating his intent to make her acquaintance once the dance has ended.

Well, Lukas asked for it, so while he's trying to guide Sky into moving her feet, she removes his billfold, or whatever he carries around his money in, and holds it up proudly for him. "You ARE cooler." Her grin goes from ear to ear.

"I don't," Gerald assures Madder. "Did I say something wrong? I merely thought it was ironic that we're in the same field, if you're a medical doctor." He attempts to get them moving again.

Lukas furrows his brow, "Hey, that's my-" His head tilts to the side, "Wait… Did you-?" He's not sure if he's impressed or embarassed, so he takes it back and returns it to his pocket. "You're incorrigible, Miss Danvers."

"Really?" Celeste asks Jude. Thankfully, her mind is entirely innocent, so she assumes he means an actual dance and not something else. She stops showing off a little (and she /was/ showing off, having been ecstatic at being able to dance with Jude) so that they can talk. "Which one?"

Skyler does a dastardly dog sort of snicker, and says, "I will never steal from you for real, Lord Farmington. Hey. With a name like Farmington, of course you like cows. It's in your destiny."

"You'll see.", Jude promises Celeste vaguely. And no, it's not that, y'all get your minds out of the gutter. He just forgotten what it's called, but he's confident that he will recognize the name or the melody when it starts. "Miz Velda has been teaching me and Donna practised wth me.", he tells her quietly, "I wanted to surprise you."

Dash meanders over toward Celeste and Jude, bowing to them both. He doesn't seem to be terribly concerned that he might be interrupting a private moment, despite his debonair: "Pardon my intrusion - my lady - you look " and then he presses his left hand to his chest. "There are no words."

Lukas laughs, "Thank you. And I promise, you'll never need to." He rolls his eyes a bit about his last name, "Yeah yeah yeah." He glances at their feet, noting, "I think you've got this." He looks at her, "You know, I haven't really had a chance to say this, but…" He shrugs a little, "I am really glad you agreed to accompany me here. I want you to know, I do know this is kind of a lot of weird for you. Thank you."

"You did surprise me," Celeste says to Jude, "I love it. Thank you." She squeezes his hand, and the way she looks up at him is a certainty beyond words that she appreciates his efforts. But then! Then they're interrupted! There's a flicker of annoyance in her expression, but she smooths it over quickly with a polite smile as she turns her head. "Good evening, Lord Fentimore Kipling IV," she greets, with an ease that shows she knows him, rather than having an amazing memory from the announcement (which she didn't actually hear, because she was too excited about dancing with Jude.)

Madder is remarkably solid on those six-inch heels, and she draws back a short way. "Ironic's the word for it, I suppose. I'm not a medical doctor, no," she re-engages with him, if only to carry on the conversation more closely. "My doctorate is in pharmacology." She waits a beat, if only to catch the dance over again at a one instead of a two or a three, and continues her taut, reserved version of the waltz.

The way Celeste looks up at him, Jude was about to lean in and kiss her. In public! But instead they're interrupted and so Dashing Dash gets a frown from him, which he probably doesn't notice since he's focusing on Celeste.

Skyler steps back and curtsies to Lukas, "It is my honor and privilege, Squire." She saw that on the Cortex movie she was watching about a princess that got zapped from StoryBook Land to Osiris and had to learn to cope with real people and technology. She kept calling the lead guy's mode of conveyance an Iron Dragon.

"That /is/ quite the coincidence. I see now why you were so surprised," Gerald tells Madder. He resumes waltzing with her. "I assure you, I was ignorant. I'm just a little cog in the big machine - no doctorate."

"Good evening, m'lady," Dash replies to Celeste - maybe /he/ doesn't remember her name, just her pretty face. But he smiles, covering up for any gaff. "And who is this - charming - escort of yours?" he asks her about Jude, as if Jude's a pet who can't respond for himself.

Lukas laughs, "Look at you!" He smiles widely, and bows in response to her curtsy. "Thank you, my Lady." He laughs again, and continues to waltz wither her once more.

Marcus will make quiet conversation with his dance partner, asking her a few questions about herself, while attempting some light casual flirting during the dance.

"This is Jude," Celeste says. She's doing her best to be polite and cool, but he /interrupted/ her /first ever dance/ with Jude, and her annoyance is showing through in a most unusual way. "And we have a waltz to finish. I suppose I can give you my card, if you wish to dance later."

The music is drawing to a close, those who are familiar with the dance will know there's only a minute or so left. (AKA: another round of poses.)

Waltzing, schmaltzing. Skylandia Danvers has this dancing thing DOWN! Sort of. The waltz isn't that terribly hard, the way Lukas is teaching her. "Wait til Chandra gets here," she tells Lukas. "Her dress is almost all see-thru. It's gold, so she looks like a angel in it, but you can definitely see stuff. Only, you ain't allowed to gawk at her cause you're here with me. It's only proper."

Jasmine is more than happy to flirt with the handsome Alliance officer. He might well be a good match. She mentions that all of her friends will want to dance with him too. If Marcus accepts, he may well be doomed to an evening dominated by giggly young women.

Jude manages to keep his temper and offers Dash a cool smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Sir.", he says stiffly, like someone reciting a foreign language, "If you would excuse us now?" He gives Dash a moment to write into Cel's dance card if he so wishes, but then leads her off into the final rounds of the Waltz.

"I would," Dash says, extending his hand to take said card. He remains calm and smooth, annoyingly so, of course. He wanders off, winking at Marcus's group of giggling girls on his way.

Lukas laughs a little with Sky about Chandra, and when she tells him he can't gawk, he nods, more serious. "I know what it took for me to have the honor of you on my arm this evening. I would not for a moment squander it for a glance at another, no matter how her dress may sparkle." He smirks, "But then you can't enjoy your dance with the Lt. Commander or Lord Dashy Pants too much, either."

"Am I allowed to go for his wallet?" Skyler asks for Dashypants. "Cause, he looks real rich. What's a Lt. Commander do? Is that like a General? I know him from some place, on the docks or something. Ain't he with the Angel?"

Celeste tucks her dance card away into her clutch and sighs. "I'd forgotten what the men at these balls are like," she admits to Jude. "You can see why I like spending time with you and the others so much…" Still, she's dancing, and she's happy about it. She looks around for Gabriel and Lina as the dance winds down, and tries to steer Jude over in their direction.

One of the giggling girls lets out a particularly high-pitched squeal of delight and fans herself as Dash winks.

Madder is still not quite sure she believes that. Now with a moment or several to piece things together, she thinks she's heard of him, small cog though he might be… her cog is slightly to moderately more significant… if they were to whip out and compare cog size, that is. But she wouldn't blame him, lying. It's a smooth enough move— it put her off her guard, at least, and she can appreciate that. From his perspective. "I think our dance is almost up, Gerald," she tells him, voice low and a little dusky. "But maybe we'll see each other again."

Lukas nods, "It's lower than a general. His name's Marcus. He's the Angel's pilot. Kind of… slow on the uptake. He thought I got Abigail pregnant." He rolls his eyes, "So weird." Then he giggles a little, "I'd probably not take Lord Dash's money clip. He'd prolly prosecute."

Gabe has by now moved on to introduce Lina to an older gentleman seated at a table, a close business associate of Gabe and Celly's father. The conversation seems slow but pleasant.

"I do hope so, Doctor," Gerald tells Madder. As the dance ends, he bows politely to her, and will kiss the back of her hand, if allowed. His eyes shine with what might be simple pleasure after their waltz and her company, or it might be something more sinister. It's difficult to tell. He escorts her to the side of the dancefloor, and then heads off towards the buffet.

Marcus bows to Jasmine as the dance ends, letting her know that if she has a free spot on her card later, he would not mind another turn, and releasing her back to her friends.

All the best ones do," Skyler tells Lukas, with a sad shake of her head. "I won't go with him at all though. He gives me the creeps, like maybe I seen him somewhere before. Like, maybe I DID try to lift his wallet one day, or something. Or maybe he just got that kind of face. You know what they say? All marks look alike. So, this dance card thing? That mean I gotta find that Lt. Commander, since I told him I'd dance? Or do we get to eat and stuff?"

Jude isn't aware that Celeste is trying to steer him towards her brother. "How about some fresh air?", he suggests - the dance, the tux, the stuffy perfumed air and the excitement all combine to make him feel rather warm. "I'd quite like to see the garden… I think I saw a fire there?" Maybe he'll also just want some privacy to finally kiss her, goshdarnit. Knowing that she knows the way around, he'll let her guide her.

"If you like!" Celeste takes Jude's hand, and they head for the doors. "Wait until you see the hedges. There's one that's cut like a horse. It's lovely. I wanted us to have one like that but father wouldn't let me. He said it was pointless. I tried to explain that if it was a /unicorn/ then it would have a point but I don't think he understood that…" She keeps up that sort of chatter as they head out.

Lukas shakes his head, "Ultimately, if you don't want to dance with someone, you don't have to. They can't make you. I mean, if they were the host of the ball, they might ask you to leave if you refused, but those guys? Nah." He shrugs, looking off at Dash. "He does look like noble snobbery, though." Returning his gaze to Sky, "As for the Lt. Commander, it might be the genial thing to do to let him know you've elected to kindly pass on his offer, but I don't think you HAVE to." He grins, "This song's about done. Yes. Let's go get some finger food." There's a table of hors d'ouvres or some such about, right?

Skyler nods to Lukas, "I don't mind dancing with the Lt. Commander if it don't make you jealous." As a passing waiter offers her some sort of meat and cheese roll on a toothpick, she very politely says, "No thanks. Those smell like farts." She smiles genially at the penguin servant and goes to follow Lukas to the less dire-smelling foodstuffs.

The sun begins to set. For a moment, the ballroom is cast into darkening shadow, but before it can become /too/ dark, the floating chandelier above flares to life, shining brightly and illuminating the entire room with its warm glow. The band strikes up one of the local group dances, and the dancefloor is awash with swirling colour.

Lukas begins to reach for a meat and cheese roll on a toothpick, but as Sky dismisses them over the smell, he quietly lowers his hand and waves the servant off. Instead, he leads her to the giant table of food. He takes two of the small glass plates and says, "Help yourself," as he hands one to her. "Just… We can come back for more, so there's no need to make a crazy pile of stuff on your plate."

Jasmine has returned to the gigly group of girls. Another of them, in a lavender dress, peels off next to approach Marcus, coming up sort of to one side, smirking with mischief as she waits to be noticed.

Dash finds a chair to recline in, leaning back with a smug expression on his face. He seems to regard the others as if they are all here for solely his entertainment.

Skyler accepts the plate from Lukas, pausing a moment to stare in awe at the chandelier, the 'candle flames' reflected like glitter in her eyes. She likes to think she's seen just about everything but, truth be told, she's missed out on a lot of the wondrous things there are to behold in the 'Verse. Like a circle of floating lights. She turns back to the table, ready to take as much as she can fit on her plate and in her tiny white clutch, but at Lukas' caution, she realizes that would be rude and only places a single fruit skewer onto the circle of glass. "These plates are so pretty."

Madder will let Gerald takes to the buffet; she herself is going to put herself into the path of one of those waiters serving the Pink, so as not to appear too eager for one— look at with what disinterest she plucks one from the offered tray, as if she 'may as well.' Meanwhile she's regrouping. Recalculating. Gerald's here for a reason. Things like that don't just happen. She has work yet to do, but she's going to give it a moment. At least to the bottom of the next glass.

Lukas looks up as Sky does, but he just smiles - this isn't new to him, but it's still very pretty and fun. He looks over at her then, and marvels at her as she watches it in wonder. When she comments on the plate, he snaps out of it, "Who? Oh, heh, yea." He nods, face flushing a little as he looks at the plate. "They're quite nice." He reaches out and takes one of the fruit skewers and puts it on her plate with the other, and just smiles as he does. "A few is okay. Just, no pile."

And thus, of course, at that very moment, one Gideon Jones wanders past with a plate /covered/ in food. He looks like he's on a mission, too, with said plate, quickly disappearing once more.

Another of the girls from Jasmine's group, this one in a rather bright orange dress, leaves the pack and approaches Lukas and Skyler. "Hello," she says, quite obviously to Lukas and not to his companion. "Did I hear the announcement right? Are you Lord Farmington's son?"

When Madder lingers, for the pink drink, Dash spots her. After a few moments of thoughtful assessment, he slowly rises to his feet, crossing the room toward her. "Good evening," he greets her, with a polite bow.

To the girl who just spoke to her date, Skyler says, in a haughty voice, "You really need to specify which Lord Farmington. They have numbers for a reason. They began with a prototype and then improved each one as they went. Thank you, Lord Farmington, the THIRD." For the fruit skewer.

<OOC> Celeste says, "More music! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkQzq5fOEK4"

Lukas opens his mouth to comment about Gideon, then just closes it, and looks back at Sky. Shrug. When the young lady approaches, his brow lifts at Sky's protectiveness, and he smiles. To the young lady, he responds, "My Father is the Honorable Lord Farmington, yes," though he stresses the 'honorable' because the man is in Parliament and this girl should know better.

The young lady in the orange dress gives Skyler a withering look, then she snaps open a fan and wafts herself with it as Lukas speaks. "Forgive me," she simpers. "The Honourable Lord Farmington. My father is Lord Darius Winsworth. My name is Lillian." She offers her dance card to Lukas.

Marcus retrieves another drink, having abandoned his previous one when he took Jasmine around the room. He sips his drink and scans the room for a second, quickly notices Miss Lavender and smiles, bowing to her, "How may I be of service M'lady?"

Skyler sooo wants to ask, 'but is he honorable?' but she doesn't want to push her luck and get clocked by a fan. Instead, she sets about the task of figuring out how one eats skewered fruit. Do you pull it off and eat it with your fingers, or approach it more like corn on the cob? You can't go at it headlong or you'll end up with 6" of wooden spike in your throat.

Madder gathers herself, then, turning, makes as though to move along, only to draw gently to a halt at Dash's approach. She draws back one toe of those pellucid stilettos and dips into a bob of a curtsey. "A fine evening, yes, my Lord." she addresses him respectfully but without fawning, rising up once more.

Miss Lavender curtsies promptly in response to Marcus' bow, gliggling a bit and flushing. "Good evening sir. My friends and I were wondering…" she begins. It's possible that she's a little tipsy, and she's also forcing herself to go through with this, as challenged. It's not appropriate behavior of course, but she asks, "are you marraigeable? …eligible, which one was right?" she mutters to herself, then looks back at him again, looking like an animal in a trap that wants nothing more than to be back in her den.

"Madame," Dash replies to Madder, inclining his head, then lofts an eyebrow, as if he's expecting her to further introduce herself. Heaven forbid he come on time to hear introductions or remember names when he's told them!

Lukas lifts his chin just a bit. Crap. Daddy's friend. Don't be an ass to her… "Ah yes," he offers, and bows as he makes her acquaintance. He introduces the young lady on his arm, "This is Miss Danvers." He tells Sky, "Lord Winsworth has been quite influential in some of my father's policies regarding interplanetary trade. The Lord oversees distribution of boat parts coming out of Persphone." He doesn't notice he said boat and not starship - he's been in Eavesdown too long. He accepts the card from her, "Should I have the opportunity, it would be an honor," and he bows once more.

"Madder," she answers the unspoken question. "Doctor Phyllida Madder," she lowers her glass to about the level of her waist, taking a half-step toward him and reaching out with her right hand to greet him with a handshake, if he'll have it.

Marcus shakes his head sadly, his eyes whistful, "Oh that I were, a smile like yours would have trapped me in a moment, but I am afraid I am already engaged, so barring great and dire misfortune, I am merely here tonight to dance, and flirt, and take in the beautiful sights, like yourself, and dream."

Lillian Winsworth positively beams at Lukas when he takes her card. "I can't wait," she says. "Just come and find me the moment you're free." She clearly expects that to be soon. She flutters her fan a little more, and looks down her nose at Sky. "And what an… interesting companion you have. I can't say I've heard of the Danvers family. Are they from the country?"

"That's Skylandia Danvers," Sky tells the lovely Miss Winsworth, "…of the Bernadette Danvers, NOT the Osiris Danvers. We do not entertain the idea that the two families are related."

Dash will have the handshake - he seems to think it's charmingly quaint, that a woman would rather shake his hand than have him kiss hers. "Call me Dash," he offers, but has to add: "Lord Dash."

Lukas has an instant of panic as the Winsworth bitch turns on Sky, but it's immediately replaced by a smug grin as she holds her own. He adds to Lillian, "And one would be wise to not forget it. Excuse us." And he leads Sky away from her. The moment they are out of earshot, he snickers, "You're fantastic!"

Said Winsworth bitch looks terribly insulted. She huffs a little and flounces back to the group of girls from whence she came. They immediately start gossiping amongst themselves. One of them points towards Sky's feet and they all laugh.

Lavender turns Beet Red, and something catches in her throat. Erk, "not for… me," she forces out, under the full force of Marcus' flattery. The group still in the corner breaks out in a raucous giggle, and Reddish-Lavender might just now be realizing that the joke here is on HER, not on Jasmine. Ah, the cruelty of girls. "We were thinking, well, okay… already engaged. My compliments, then," she makes another little curtsey, and turns to flee!

They can laugh all they want. Sky's feet are comfortable, and their toes are all going to end up ingrown and twisted, with BUNIONS. Skyler beams at Lukas, "This is fun. They ain't that different than dealin' with gangs and stuff. I'm gonna go ask that guy to dance now and get it over with. You wanna dance with us?" People in clubs dance in groups all the time!

There is an announcement! "The next dance will be the Persephone Promenade." It's a group dance, the sort where the men stand in one line, the women in another and partners get swapped. Despite being named for the planet, it's a very common, simple one.

Lukas laughs, "Nobles are actually EXACTLY the same as gangs. Just… with LOTS of money." He rolls his eyes, "No no. You're on your own, it wouldn't be proper for the three of us." He smiles reassuring her, "It's alright. I'll…" he lifts the dance card from Winsworth unenthusiastically, "I'll go do the diligence to keep my Father in good standing." He reaches his hand out, and if she allows, he caresses the side of her cheek. "You're the prettiest one here." He smiles warmly, and then gestures for her to go find the Lt. Commander. "Let's get this over with…"

Gabriel and Emeline decide to join in on this one, taking their places in the line.

Most of the girls from the giggling group join in with this one too. Lillian will happily join Lukas for it, but the nature of the dance means she won't actually be dancing /with/ him for very much of the time.

Marcus watches Lavender peel off shaking his head and making his way toward the buffet table.

"Lord Dashington Fentimore Kipling… the Fourth," Madder answers back with a keen slice of a smile. She may have been a little bit otherwise engaged when he was announced, but she's done her homework. It was a long transport largely spent with her holo-flash deck. Then, softening, "Lord Dash," she accepts his preferred truncation. Her handshake— maybe quaint, but firm, bold, unyielding but not overwhelming. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance."

As Lavender peels off Marcus, Skyler peels onto him. "Ready for that dance yet?" She's still holding her plate with uneaten fruit skewers on it, but she smiles cheerfully enough. "Though, I only know the waltz one. I'm not sure about this one they're doing."

"Yours as well, Doctor," Dash agrees, shaking her hand. He glances at the next dance offered, then wrinkles his nose. Boring! So he returns his attention to Madder, his hand still in her own, then offers her a Cheshire-cat slow smile. "What, pray tell, are you a doctor of, my dear?"

Marcus smiles softly, as he is interupted on his attempt to interrogate the suspicious looking buffet. "Miss Enola, I would love to" He whispers just loud enough for Sky to hear, careful his voice doesn't carry. He offers her his hand and leads her toward the forming lines.

Skyler takes Marcus' hand and tells him, "Oh, I ain't Enola anymore. Now I'm Skyler. Tonight, or any time that The Operative is around, I'm Skylandia Danvers. She's a noble girl from Bernadette. She lives in a red brick castle there. Don't you dare confuse her with the Osiris Danvers. They're a snarky lot of no good wannabes."

Madder is very glad Lord Dash finds the piece dull; she wouldn't have a notion where to start with it, much less where it ended. She retrieves her hand in order to exchange her drink into it. "Pharmacology. I'm in research and development," she describes her vocation thus, then, adding with an impish twist, "I'm tempted to abscond with a flute of the… Pink, here, and run it through for analysis. It's certainly a unique beverage. Is it a commonplace on Persephone? This is my first time groundside here. But your family distilleries' reputation… well, I didn't have to come all the way here to hear of that." She lifts the glass, tapping at it with a baby-blue painted pinky nail. "One of yours?"

Marcus nods, " A long way from the clinic, Don't worry I have no reason to rat you out to the authorities, despite my outfit, I am not completely in the good graces of the present administration."

"What about the clinic?" Skyler asks Marcus, with a wrinkle of her nose. "Donna knows. She's the one suggested I get a new name that wasn't so sad. She thought Enola was a lonely name." Dropping her voice, she asks, "What am I supposed to do now? If I step on you, I'm sorry. This is my first real dance, like this."

"Indeed," Dash says, puffing up a bit - he expects to be recognized, but to be recognized by an off-worlder, non-noble? Well! That's quite famous, now, isn't it? Clearing his throat, he smiles, all the more impressed (with himself). "Persephone is an ideal planet for our product - as I'm sure you've read."

"It is," Madder agrees, laying it on that last syllable a little bit, but still hanging aloof in countenance, as not to be utterly obsequious in flattery. "And ideal for production, as well. The running costs are about a quarter what they'd be even on Ariopolis, once you factor in the sectoring taxes. Real estate is tight, there, and the fuelling regulations here are almost as lax," she admires.

Marcus smiles and nods, "You just follow my lead, do what I do, and I will give you signs of what else to do. Honestly I haven't done a lot of dances, but the Navy made us learn them for formal events."

"Indeed." Dash is totally pleased by this conversation, even showing signs of being a real human, in his pride in the family business. "We actually own a small parcel of land on Osiris," he explains. "Sent some of our best to work there. Product is terrible and comes at twice the cost," he shakes his head at Madder. "Utterly fascinating. Lovely case study, as well. We can't be duplicated."

"What does the Navy care about dancin?" Skyler asks, taking his lead in this unknown dance. "I thought flyin' around and stuff was the important thing for them? Ain't like you're gonna storm a planet and then be all waltzin' around while you're beatin' citizens over the head with big guns." Or whatever the Navy does with its big guns.

The servant of the house clears his throat and then calls out, "Baroness Velda Cronstedt."

It is then that Vel gracefully makes an entrance into the ballroom. Her long black tresses masterfully swept into an Edwardian updo and pinned into her hair are fresh white roses with multifaceted black jewels on the petals. Her gown is also from the same period as her updo. It long and made of white silk that has been decorated with onyx beads and freshwater pearls that form in an intricate pattern of flowering vines across the dress and continue to the small train. The dress itself is sleeveless, and long white elbow-length gloves grace her arms. The gloves are also covered with the beaded in the same manner as the dress just above the elbow. Around her throat, she wears a simple black silk ribbon. A dance card hangs off her wrist. A soft, quiet smile touches her lips, as she makes her way into the main ballroom.

Marcus chuckles lightly and shakes his head, "The Navy doesn't beat anyone over the head with big guns, thats what the Marines are for. The Navy explores space, ships Marines where they are needed, stops smugglers, drugrunners, slavers and pirates from operating in patroled space, and generally does all the things your average interplanetary taxi service is needed for. But we do need money to do those things, and that means dressing up nice and going to parties with nobles so that they will fix our broken ships"

From somewhere off to the side, maybe due to having heard a name he recognizes, Gideon appears. Spotting Vel, he grins and approaches her. "Hey teach," he greets, clearly not having caught the crash course on proper introductions at the ball.

Skyler, or Skylandia Danvers, as she was introduced, is currently having a dance with Lt. Commander Marcus Kincaid. She says to him, "Huh. It seems to me that everything about parties and nobles is the same as everything on the street, only wrapped up in a prettier package." Her head turns when Vel is announce, "Oh. I know her." She puts on her haughty voice again, "She's my private tutor, don't you know?" She can't help but stop her dancing steps to stare in Vel's direction. "Oh my god. She's actually pretty. Quick, someone bring the VERY SERIOUS WICKED TEACHER back, before the 'verse explodes."

Madder opens out her free palm, spreading her fingers and shaking her head, half-closing her eyes, "It's a perfect storm, really. If you were amenable I'd love to take a tour of your facilities on-world before I leave it again," she feels comfortable enough in the conversation at least to make the ask.

"Mr. Jones, it is a pleasure to meet you." Vel offers him a slight curtsy. "I hope you are enjoying the festivities?" Her blue eyes scan the room looking to see who is there and who is not. She sees Skyler and her quiet smile brightens. "I see Skyler is here, I hope she is having fun."

Marcus shakes his head as Sky gets distracted from the dance by the new arrival, "Do you wish to go overand say Hi? I won't mind, the dance is coming to an end anyway."

"I would be," Lord Dash, an tall, handsome but obnoxious, noble NPC agrees, then smiles at Madder. "I would be delighted to take you on a tour," he clarifies. "Do you have a card of some sort?"

Gideon grins at Vel. "I think we've met already," he notes, then nods. "Yeah. I hope she is too. That guy Lukas seems okay," he shrugs, noncommittally.

Skyler spins around, still grinning at Marcus, "Nope. I'm dancin'. It's a ball, and I have a beautiful dress. All these snooty girls can just bite my butt if they don't like me or my dress. And I'll talk to Dr. C. when we're done." She nyah to that! She's being a princess, damnit!

"Aww, she has a beau." Vel eyes sparkle with delight. "Aye we have met many time over the past few months. The question is are you enjoying the ball?" She asks him. Another looks is cast in Skyler's direction. "She is dancing and she looks to be enjoying herself. That is a good thing. Do you waltz?" She asks him.

"Waltz? No, I prefer the three-step," Gideon replies, although whether that's a made up dance or not remains to be determined. "And, yeah, I'm enjoyin' it pretty good, you know? I just got a plate of food and was hangin' out with a few folks I know," he explains. "Did you just get here?"

Marcus smiles and continues to dance with Ms Danvers, making a point of twirling her, and even dipping her once. Giving her the full princess experience before the dance comes to an end.

There's a little hesitation on Skyler's part at being dipped, because she swore nobody would be able to see her shoes, and dipping makes them visible. So, to cover the really awkward moment when Marcus tries to dip her and she resists, she faux-swoons into his arms. Or, not into his arms. Depending on how he responds.

Marcus does not go for the dip once he realizes she is heistant/resistant, without knowing why he pulls her back up immediatly catching the swoon against him.

Lukas notices Skyler's discomfort at the dip, so he meanders out to her and Marcus. "Okay, okay," he says, "That's good, Lt. Commander." He offers his hand to Skyler, "May I cut in?"

Madder's dark eyes gleam with a devilish tint of humor. "No pockets," she excuses her lack of a place to keep a card in that bespoke, hand-painted silk gown that hugs her like a second skin to mid-thigh. "When I get my purse from the check I'll send your people my credentials and contact information via cortex," she offers, instead.

"I did; I was running late due to a few things at work." Vel says softly. "That and Astrid needed to be soothed, she is teething and her ears hurt. She was tugging at them. I had the pediatrician check them out to make sure she does not have an ear infection. She is just teething; her ears are clear." Vel explains to Gideon. "Shame on the waltz."

"Mhm," Lord Dash says, as he scans Madder's outfit, then smiles. "Of course. Please do," he says, then dips his head. "I will bid you adieu for now," he adds.

Skyler throws the back of her hand to her forehead and declares, "Oh my. I do believe I have a case of the vapors." She pops back upright again and asks, "Anybody know what the vapors are? Hey Lukas. Wanna come talk to Dr. C. with me? She's the one teaching me all the school stuff."

Gideon wrinkles up his nose, sympathetic at the notion of a teething baby. "For sure. And - yeah, I'm sorry. I'd probably break your foot or rip your dress," he explains.

Marcus releases Skylar to Lukas with a small bow and slips back in the direction of his original target, that suspicious looking buffet table.

Lukas offers a bow back to Marcus, and he offers his elbow to Sky. "It would be an honor to meet the doctor." He smiles, and as they walk away from the dance floor, he asks, quietly, "Was he nice, or do I need to go have words with him?"

"Have a good evening, Lord Dash," Madder answers, executing another short dip of a curtsey in deference to his entitlement, and waits until he's made his way off to lift her serving of Pink to her lips again and take a long sip.

"She will be okay; it is a phase. It is up there with the purple crying." Another soft smile from Vel. "It will pass; she is just miserable. "The dress can be repaired as can my toes." She laughs softly

Smiling back, Gideon nods. Then, he casts a nervous glance, just past Vel, and his eyes go wide, like he's suddenly recognized someone who he would prefer not recognize him. "I'm gonna go to the bathroom," he declares, then darts off.

"Dude, he has a whole Navy. Which, apparently, don't do much except move stuff, BUT, they move Marines. He could drop a whole ship of Marines on your head. Besides, he was real nice. Somehow, seems guys here are nicer than girls. Girls here got a serious case of the ass. Except Celeste. Celeste is beautiful." She leads Lukas across to where Gideon and Vel were chatting, "Hey Dr. C. Did you seem me dancing? Did I look like a professional princess? I'm not, you know? I'm just like, a temp. Hired for the one night to charm the pants off Lukas then disappear and make him search the whole Gorram 'Verse for me!" Skyler has it ALL planned out.

Lukas notes, "Well, he's a pilot on a smuggler's ship now. So, maybe he HAD a navy." He follows her over to meet the others. He laughs with her, "I would happily search everywhere for you, Sky." He bows to Vel, "Good evening, Dr. um… C." He smiles, "I'm Lord Lukas Farmington III." He doesn't know if he should be that formal, but better safe than shunned here.

"I will see you later, Mr. Jones." When he disappears, she turns her attention to Lucas and Skyler when they come towards her. Another smile is offered in greeting. "Good evening, here it is Baroness or Lady Cronstedt." She says this warmly as she offers him a deep curtsy. "A pleasure to meet you, Lord Farmington." Her manner is formal. She looks to Skyler as she rises from her curtsy. "You look lovely my dear, you did well dancing."

"Cool," Skyler replies, to any of the things Vel might have said. "I'm onna go find Gideon. He never really goes to the bathroom when he does that. It always means he's hiding from someone, and I don't want him to get murdered while everyone thinks he's takin' a pee. Last time he did this, he hid in a rose bush and got all scratched up. Rose bushes make terrible hiding places. Lukas, be nice to Dr.. Baroness cause if you don't she'll give me extra work. She's like that." And off she flits to make sure that Gideon isn't being murdered in the conservatory, with a pipe.

Lukas repeats respectfully, "Lady Cronstedt. It's a pleasure to meet you." He smiles dumbly as he watches Sky head off, clearly smitten. Once she's out of sight, he sighs wistfully, and then looks back at Vel. "She speaks quite highly of you."

"It is kind of you to say that." Vel responds back to Lucas with smile. "Are you enjoying the ball? Where is your family from?" She asks him. "I can see you are smitten with her. How long have you been dating her?"

Lukas nods, "This is probably the best time I've had at a ball in a very long time. My father's a Member of Parliament, so I grew up on Londinium." When she notes he's smitten, his cheeks flush, and he looks away, shoving his nervous hands in his pockets. "Oh, um… Sky? We're not… I mean, I don't THINK anyway… This is kind of maybe… our first um… date?" He looks uncertain and terribly nervous about all that.

[continued…]

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