Since Grayson couldn’t count on his skills of recognition to help him out in this case, he simply stopped looking at faces and instead started visualising the notes of the songs being played throughout the night. He swayed this way and that, sometimes with his eyes closed when he could count on himself not to bump into anyone, so this didn’t happen as long or as often as he would’ve liked.
He swayed through the dance floor, which was littered here and there by paired off strangers who seemed to be having the time of their lives, and hummed as he surveyed the general atmosphere of the ball. There were people snogging underneath the tree, and another few in the corners of the rooms. The flowers also did their share of the work in creating beautiful little nooks where these strangers could enjoy somewhat of a private conversation. Not that anyone needed to fear about being overheard. He could probably say he was Anthony McLaggen and that he felt like he was ready to settle down, and nobody would pay him any mind. He was under the impression that nobody was taking anyone else seriously, especially since the student body was given the opportunity to reinvent themselves for a night. It sounded like a cheesy Cinderella allegory, he mused.
He downed yet another helping of lemonade, grinning like an idiot as he made his way to the bin to get rid of his empty cup, and nearly missed the opening. He didn’t, though, and he considered that quite an accomplishment. He turned around abruptly, triumphant and willing to celebrate such a happy feat with the world, but really, only one person was just asking to be harassed. The person just happened to be right in front of him [unluckily, maybe?] when he’d turned around, and without thinking, he reached forward and grabbed the face of that person, their lips meeting not even a second later.
She was lounging in one of many chairs situated around the hall, her legs crossed in a way that made her short dress rise a little higher to reveal even more of her endless legs. It got her plenty of attention in the form of wondering eyes and shameless ogling, all of which she largely ignored. Well, unless they happened to catch her eye as well. One in particular she quite liked looking at and she bit her bottom lip and winked at him over the shoulder of his current dance partner. Another one she smirked at and made a little bit of a show checking her out.
It did get a little boring after a while, watching the same mysterious couples twirl round and round in front of her. Already in her mind, the music they danced to had become the tinkering of a music box. So Ace got up, leaving her sliver clutch purse behind, and made her rounds of the room. It was astounding how people acted when they knew no one was aware of their true identities. People made out in corners, stealing kisses and moments from who knows who, they danced with whoever struck their fancy. Anonymity was fun but it took a bit of it out for her - she couldn’t go around and watch the aftermath - or maybe she could. Something ridiculous she could write and no one would be able to refute her. But whatever, she didn’t give a fuck about that right now. The music had finally went back to normal by time she reached the stage tucked against the wall. She gave a little wave to the wizard on the cello - barely in his twenties, probably just finished school himself - and moved along. It was a simple thing to forget this was the Great Hall and not the garden it was all dressed up to be.
As much as Ace was content to just walk around right then, it seemed as though the universe wasn’t having it. From the left, someone (not violently, but not overtly gentle) grabbed her. Not that she was protesting - it would been nicer that when their lips met, she didn’t have to duck down as much as she did. One of her arms snaked around their shoulders - from their slight build, she wasn’t very sure if it was a guy or a girl but didn’t really care - and her other hand cupped the side of their face, angling it up just a bit and to the side as she returned the kiss.
Chris straightened his mask and doubled checked his clothing, making sure his dress robes weren’t tucked into his pants. One of the few times he would ever need to check and make sure. Why he actually decided to follow dress code and where the damn things he still wasn’t sure. He patted his flask of firewhiskey and grinned. Making his way into the Great Hall, he watched people as they danced and tried to dance in time with the music. Wow. Some of his fellow students were rather, well, spastic with their dancing. He grinned and maneuvered his way through the groups of people spread out across the hall and found himself next to the food table.
He checked to make sure there were no professors near him as he pulled out his flask. Taking a swig he stuck it back in his pants. Everyone looked so excellent. A few of the masks rather extravagant compared to the others. He tapped his foot in time with the music and found the urge to strong. He made his way out into the crowd of dancers and started jumping around.
Ace drifted apart from the crowd, not quite far enough to be included but just close enough for her to be considered among the clusters of dancing. Her dress was short, heels were high and really, she had managed to get through an astounding amount of lemonade and still on her feet. This wasn’t to say she was plastered, but she had consumed enough to have made her feel warm. She waltzed through the room, her hips swaying not to the music but to her own tune, and when her glass ended up empty when she tried a sip, gravitated back towards the refreshment’s table for a refill.
Or rather, she eyed the punch and the bit of fruit beneath it. Plucking up a blueberry, she rolled it between her thumb and index finger before popping it until her mouth and chewing. It was getting close to time for the buffet to be laid out, wasn’t it? But an excessive pounding - sounding like someone was jumping - caught her attention and she turned around to see a guy flailing about madly. She rose an eyebrow from behind her mask. “I hope you know of other ways to dance than just…that, darlin’, else I pity your partner.”
Okay, so maybe she underestimated addiction. It was a powerful thing and while the withdraw of her precious cigarettes wasn’t driving her to the brink of insanity, it nagged and nagged at her from the deepest corners of her mind.
In short, addiction was a powerful thing.
It also blew.
She couldn’t stand it - all the tittering and twittering of everyone. Not now. Usually it amused her and made her just laugh, laugh, laugh at how truthfully stupid some people where but no, she didn’t have the tolerance currently. Mummy needs her alone time, go play outside kiddies.
Ace walked with her eyes closed. Where she walked, she didn’t know. People kept well the fuck out of her path because, even a little frizzled, this was still Ace Pruitt. You don’t fucking mess with Ace Pruitt unless you were signing your own death warrant.
Her feet took her to the courtyard, her ears to the fountain. For a moment, she was able to block everything out the moment she walked up to that fountain. It was just the water and her and it was calming. But then she smelt the burning tobacco and her eyes opened. Well, fuck. She about faced and walked away. Malfoy’s dare denied her even the simple scent. That rat bastard. At least, she figured, she could try (with no mighty chance of succeeding) to ruin it for Nicole - not that it was going to work. “Thank you, babe, for the lung cancer. Suck a little harder for me.”
After Ace’s comment, Nicole simply raised an eyebrow. She languidly brought her cigarette to her mouth, taking a slow drag, and then blowing it out of the side of her mouth, away from Ace. “You quit?” she asked, flicking her cigarette, ash falling slowly to the ground. She crossed a leg over the other, and leaned back on her hand, turning to face the other Slytherin girl.
“Can’t imagine why you would,” she mused to herself, inclining her head to the left. “I assume its not your own personal choice, but if it is, kudos.” Nicole had always thought it wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be unnecessarily hard. It would be an added stress on her life which she really didn’t need, at all.
She stopped, swivelling back around so she again faced Nicole. Her eyes didn’t follow the cigarette but she eyed with smoke. The wind took it even further away from her, which was a relief because this dumbass dare was going to prove something to Malfoy that she wasn’t as dependant as he assumed on her smokes. Ace Pruitt wasn’t dependant on anything. She lazily shrugged a shoulder. “You could say I did,” but just for a week. It had already been three days, just four more to go then she’d be homefree.
“Believe me, it’s not. Malfoy just think he’s absolutely hilarious,” For once, she didn’t know the origin of something. This being the origin of that dumb truth-or-dare game. But if she had, they would have already been hexed to the moon and back for such a stupid idea. She pulled a face, walking back to the fountain where she took a seat on the edge, propping herself up with an arm. She took in the seventh year before her.
Was this good nuff for you, poppet?
Poppy smirked as Ace’s lips turned into a frown. She had touched some emotion at least, even though Poppy sometimes felt like Ace had none of them. “Has anyone ever called your column stupid?” she retorted. It was true that Poppy didn’t find Ace’s column utterly revolting. She pried into people’s lives and wrote about their issues, which made Poppy feel sick to her stomach.
“Fine,” Poppy told her as she flipped her hair and walked out of the room in an angry huff. She didn’t want to be around Ace anymore, even though they shared it a room. Her job at this school just made Poppy dislike her even more. Even being in Malfoy’s gang, Ace still bugged her and she could never find a reason why. She was supposed to be safe, almost untouchable yet Ace manages to touch her, and tear her insides out. Poppy hated that as well.
If Poppy honestly thought her simple comment had done something to her, other than make her basically raise her eyebrows, she was sorely mistaken. But this wasn’t the first time Till would have been wrong; she made many a questionable choice in her life. For example, giving in and joining Malfoy’s gang. Another one was to think she was intimidating, that act wasn’t fooling anyone any time soon.
In fact, Ace wondered if she was even fooling herself any more with what, clinging onto the soft Deacon McLaggen and agreeing to go on a date with Grayson Wood.
“Very original of your, poppet,” Ace smiled, patronisingly. What she did was far from a column, it was just a couple things sown together. Sometimes she pulled it from her hat, sometimes it was true. It amused her to see people try to figure out what was fake and what wasn’t.
With her dramatic hair flip, Ace turned away, laughing at her. It was just a heavy, overdone move, and Poppy probably thought she was being original - just like with her comeback. People liker her were just so predictable, so…utterly boring. It was people like her that made her wonder if her game was sometimes worth even playing if it mention dealing with them.
“I won’t Candice,” Poppy hissed. She was really letting her horrible mood get the best of her. Poppy knew that it wasn’t a good thing to do, especially with Ace around. She wrote a gossip column after all, and who wonders what she would say about Poppy in it just because of this meeting. She glared at her as she flipped her fiery red hair over her shoulder.
“Well, if you don’t need anything from me, I’ll be on my way,” she told Ace flatly as another barn owl landed on her shoulder. This barn owl didn’t seem to want anything else but a perch, and Poppy didn’t mind letting it sit there so that’s what it did. She then impatiently waited for Ace to say something that would piss her off even more. The fact that she was even waiting for Ace to speak was a mystery in itself. Why did she want to be subjected to Ace and her annoying remarks? Nevertheless, she continued to wait.
The usage of her first name made her quirk her eyebrow at Poppy. Even though it was obvious her nickname “Ace” was derived from “Candice”, she never confirmed. Even Robert Nott and Scorpius Malfoy respected that, addressing her by her last name. And as far as anyone could have known, it was a play on her own ego. The corner of her lip turned down - from anger? from disgust? More likely disgust than anything else; yeah, it was definitely disgust. “Has anyone ever accused you of stalking?”
“Go on, you did say you weren’t going to allow me to keep you,” Ace had nothing more she wanted to say to Poppy. If there had been, then she would have already known - they did share a dorm, after all. It wasn’t very hard for her to get in contact. It was just the girl was honestly that disinteresting. Ace couldn’t even do anything to her that would upset Malfoy, because she knew how little he cared about his minions. They were just a means to an end. But when she continued to stand there, the lackwitted child, Ace turned her head back to her. “Have you forgotten to walk, dearie?”
William ground his teeth together, sick of trying to reach out to her when obviously any and all of his efforts were futile. “Nothing, I-” he paused, sighing, finally collecting all his things to move back to his dorm. “Nevermind.” With his feet on the ground, he looked back at Ace and attempted a small smile, but couldn’t make it reach his eyes as much as he tried. There was something wrong, but maybe it wasn’t his place to try and fix it, as much as he wanted it to be.
He raised a hand to his chest to wave a quick, subtle goodbye as he turned on his heel and made his way back to the corridor. Nice going, Piper. He groaned, hitching his bag higher on his shoulder with one hand and rubbing his face with the other. Nice going.
Ex-act-ly. Clever, clever, oh how very clever clever you are, Mister Piper. Let’s mosey in when she’s out of sorts and see how much we can fuck up her head by stating that the decisions that formed the basis of her life shouldn’t influence her any longer, not when she already built a pedestal so high up for herself, that a badger isn’t as different from a snake and an eagle isn’t as different as a lion. Let’s be rational when the last thing on earth she needed to deal with was someone’s stupid rationality.
“Ta,” She kept her expression as bland as she could, a twinge of exasperation thrown in for good measure as William departed. She had had the same intentions, but seeing as the bench was no longer taken, decided it would be a waste. Ace kept standing, tilting her head out of politeness - he had waved first - and remained as she was until he was out of sight.
Then she returned to the bench, dug out her carton again and this time dragged out her own wand to light. But when she exhaled, it was more of a sigh than anything else.
Quite finished, darling?
Her voice rang in his ear, completely snapping him out of the (rather odd) trance he found himself in and looked at her. He had his books carried with one arm while his other was buried inside his pocket, fiddling nervously with the coin inside it. He let out a small chuckle as he shifted a little as he stood trying to look for a more comfortable ground to stand.
He shook his head as he looked at the ground and smiled before looking back again. Of course. She would make it seem as though she had did those fourth years a favour, twisting her deeds to something less ghastly than it actually was. He tilted his head to the side and looked at her curiously. Landon remained quiet for a moment as he thought about he was going to say next, choosing his words carefully.
“You taught one a life lesson?” he asked her. “And what would that be? I’m curious…” He really was genuinely quite intrigued. He wondered what sending out a very personal and private letter to the rest of the school taught a couple of fourteen year olds. That there were to be more careful with what they share with other people?
“Come on, Pruitt,” he said, egging her on. “Tell me. I really am quite interested in what you’ve taught those fourth years.”
She drummed her fingers, her nails clacking against the stone. It was just of those days she felt anxious - the need to do something without exactly being aware of what needed to be done. It was funny, since she had just finished her latest dose of chaos. Maybe it was the deeply seated disappointment that no one else realised what she had done, maybe it wasn’t as fun as it typically was, maybe this, maybe that; maybe could bite me. Whatever it was, it was driving her around the bend.
A part of her itched for another cigarette, but she was going through those like candy. After and some-what during that encounter with Piper, she nearly polished off an entire carton by herself. Not to mention she was one of the main supplier’s of Krissi’s, so no. Ace had to converse what remained until she was able to purchase some more.
Ace hmm’ed. She didn’t intend to answer, no. Not because she couldn’t but because she didn’t expect him to understand. She didn’t like wasting her breath, you see. No one would understand where she was coming from - preaching about trust and whatnot. A few might argue that she had betrayed Sierra’s trust in here, a few might just outright laugh. She didn’t know which one Landon was but she was betting on the former than the latter.
“Fourth year,” She corrected, because it had only been one - Sierra. Actually, no, two. She showed the other one, the Creevey, what kind of person McLaggen was. But that didn’t have much of a fairytale morale, did it?