The Day


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Scene Title The Day
Synopsis All at once
Everything looks different
Now that I see you
Date June 2, 2021

Williamsburg: Ace and Odessa's Brownstone

It's a morning, just like any other morning. Except this morning when the soft buzz of the vibrating alarm on the nightstand rouses Ace, he doesn't let himself slip free from the sheets immediately. He rests back on his elbows and looks back to Odessa at his side, tracing her shape with his eyes, watching the covers shift with her breath. His eyes half-lid while he watches her sleep on, in denial about the knot that comes into his throat.

He studies the sharpness of her features softened slightly by sleep. The curl of her hand by her side. Thinks of all the ways she refuses to leave his mind, how she's taken root in him the same way she's taken root in her own skin. The ways they've grown together— and around each other.

He would take apart the world together with her.

The brush of the backs of his knuckles to her cheek is so involuntary an act he doesn't note it until that barest touch connects. His brow furrows sharply at himself, like he's brushed a hot stove rather than the soft surface of her skin. He turns his hand over to cup her face properly, thumb sweeping to call her toward awakeness. "O," he murmurs, expression gentling. The green-grey of his eyes cool.

"Today's the day."

Odessa hums softly first, the barest flinch of her under the brush of his knuckles turns into a smile at the cup of his hand. “I’m sensing impatience,” she teases without opening her eyes. “You haven’t been like this since Christmas. It’s almost like you’ve got something big planned.”

One blue eye opens a crack, her mouth pulls into a sliver of a grin.

Up again go brows with a quirk of his head to one side. "Me?" he answers, voice thick with a flat innocence. Ace's expression shifts, the corner of his mouth hooking back in the beginning of a knifelike grin of his own. "I might have a plan or two," he concedes in a purr, leaning closer to her.

"But like all good plans do, I recall having a co-conspirator…" he chides her.

Tch! goes the tip of Odessa’s tongue off the back of her teeth. Her eyes both open now as she considers who that might be. “That dastardly Cleo,” she scoffs with a shake of her head. “I just don’t know what to do about her.”

Propping herself upon one elbow, she reaches out and rests a hand on his shoulder. “Oh, god… It’s the day for real, isn’t it?” She laughs, breathy and excited. “Do I still smell like smoke?”

Ace has broken into an unexpected, unrestrained breath of laughter at the mention of the other woman in his life. "Cleo, for all her wonderful qualities, isn't a planner," he informs, the other side of him breaking into a grin as well. His hand falls from her face, knuckles resting against her chest.

Mention of the fire crumples his look, sending it falling in an upward break. "I should hope not," he laughs again, fingers reaching, curling around the side of her neck. "Not with how I turned over every inch of you looking for so much as a scratch." His eyes start to roam again like maybe he missed something, but he steps on the fear. Smothers it quickly.

There were other things to focus on today.

"You have all your good luck charms ready?" he asks in an attempt to reclaim smoothness to this moment, peering at her scrutinously like he doesn't already know the answer.

“And I was just fine, wasn’t I?” Odessa brushes her thumb over the curve where bicep starts to reach for neck. They both know there was a very real chance she wouldn’t be. But she’s also been incautious since the end of April. Not necessarily without care for her physical well being, but perhaps with more care for others. The world’s on its way to ending. Some things just don’t matter anymore.

And some things do.

“I d—” Odessa catches herself and smiles with a shake of her head. That comes later. “Yeah. I’ve got them. All except the blue. Counting on you to come through for me on that.” Her nose wrinkles when she flashes another smile at that thought. “I’ve got my ride to the venue all sorted. You just need to go on ahead of me to make sure everything’s up to our exacting standards,” she means his, “and I’ll make sure I’m beautiful enough to be seen standing next to you in our contrasting tuxes.”

Odessa’s eyes roll ceilingward as she considers the image. “My shirt will be just this side of tastefully open, as always.” She frowns thoughtfully before bringing her focus back to Ace and grinning. Ah, the enduring running joke of Ourania’s disdain for dress codes.

Poor her. Ace demonstrates his sympathy with a trivial kiss to her brow before at last leaning back, hand to mattress to climb free of the bed without cheating in doing so. "Hopefully not a shirt too sheer," he demures with a knowing glint in his eye. He can run with the joke, too, however serious a topic it might be. "It's not going to be a light blue."

He flashes a bit of fang before patting the covers. "Come on, then. Let's have our last breakfast living in sin before we have to bid each other farewell for the day." Already heading for the bathroom, he says over his shoulder, "I have a busy day of making sure our venue is properly prepared for you, I, and your closest relatives to be spending any significant amount of time in, after all."

There’s a flash in Odessa’s eyes in response to Ace’s own. An appreciation for his audacity that sees her rolling her jaw from one side to the other while the tip of her tongue toys with one canine.

While he gets up, she flops back onto the bed with a groan. “Damn it!” Her head hits the pillow with an audible fwoomp! “Now I wanna sin.

"Oh, there's surely not enough time for that," Ace balks from afar, jesting mostly, but also not. "Propriety this side of scandalous is the name of the day."

With a beleaguered and dramatic sigh, Odessa throws the covers aside and rolls out of bed.


“Ace!” Odessa’s voice carries up the stairwell from the open doors of her study. “Darling, I need your tie!” With her hair pinned up in fat rollers, a fluffy yellow bathrobe cinched around her body, she’s leaning in toward her vanity mirror, dabbing foundation onto her face with a damp blender sponge.

At her feet, the wolfhound puppy lifts his head and tilts it curiously, wondering what his mother has to yell about. He licks the arch of her foot where it’s crossed over the back of the other ankle tucked under her seat, in his supportive way. It’s the mistress who yelps and not the pet. “Rex!” she laughs and chides as though he understands. “You can’t do that. Mom’s ticklish. But ankles are fair game.” Leaning to one side and giving the pup’s head a few scratches does wonders for her nerves.

"My tie?" Ace calls down from upstairs, vaguely bewildered. Perplexed as he might be, though, he makes his way downstairs one by one, a trio of silks in hand. Whatever this is, he suspects perhaps there's a last-minute change potentially involved. There's a flicker of surprise in him as always when Rex rises from his position at Odessa's feet and comes to greet him at the bottom of the stairs with a faintly wagging tail.

"Rex," he greets the dog cordially and low, then brushes right past him for the open study door. He lifts his voice to an actual conversational level. "Take your pick?" Ace asks, an eyebrow arched as he holds up the three to select from. Silver, blue of that shade, and white.

My pick?” she echoes his inflection when he presents her with choices. Odessa eyes the options on offer, then lifts that gaze to Ace. “I’m not questioning. I’m trying to match some part of my make-up!” Her soft laughter is not at his expense, but from a place of endearment. “Which one do you want to wear?” She eyes the blue one again for a moment, then raises a brow to him.


Ace presses a sigh through his nose as he turns his eyes to the ties. He considers her judgment at his audacity, but it's the blue tie he ends up slinging over his shoulder. "This or the grey," he answers, dithering. His eyes take him away from here, mentally examining the softer shades of flowers being brought to the site. He smirches his tongue off the back of his teeth. "Perhaps the grey is better," he says, reconsidering.

Coming back to the present, to her, he remarks, "But that's a very boring color to match your make-up to. Hence the conundrum." Heaven protect them from beginning the rest of their lives together adorned in drab color. So he picks up the blue once more, brows raising in an attempt to seek buy-in.

"I actually like the grey," Odessa is forced to admit after her own moment of dithering. "I think it will better suit overall. Plus, it gives me an excuse to wear my silver eyeliner. My god, you're handsome." The last sentence comes non sequitur, but it should be nothing he isn't used to by now where it comes to her praise. "I ought to marry you before some pretty thing snatches you up."

The bride-to-very-soon-be grins up at her impending groom. "You better kiss me before I put on my lipstick."

Ace leans forward, but only to place his lips to her brow. "Have to build up some kind of anticipation for later," he excuses himself as he stands upright again. The cheekiness hooking the corner of his mouth back in a grin fades as he looks from Odessa down to the leggy pup meandering his way closer to them, seeking attention of his own.

"Grey it is," he answers belatedly. "I should hurry up with this, get Rex off to the sitter." In other words, prepare to part ways for now. "Anything else before I go?" he asks.

And he can see that it works, from the tightness in her frame that he knows how to inspire so well. Odessa looks up at Ace with her lips pressed together, head shaking with exasperation. “Setting me up to get used to disappointment this early?” she teases.

Odessa bends forward and presses a kiss to the top of her darling dog’s head. “You’re going to be very good for the boys, alright?” Bringing Rex with on her weekly tutoring sessions has been a great hit, allowing both dog and teenagers to get acclimated to each other. It makes them an incredibly convenient option for petsitting. And they do it for next to nothing, too.

Looking up at Ace again, she pauses to consider if she does need anything else. “No, I don’t think so.” Rex’s ears are ruffled again before she releases him to go obediently follow Ace. “Go on, then. Maman has a big day to prepare for.”

A flicker of nerves shows in her eyes, but it’s gone as quickly as it comes. She rises to her feet and ushers man and dog from the study, shutting the door behind them.

Arts and Entertainment District: Duologue

“Everything looks wonderful,” Odessa coos in her fiancé-for-not-much-longer’s ear, her hands folded together over his shoulder as she rests her chin against the backs of her fingers. “I’m really quite impressed.” Dropping the air she’s put on of someone who’s used to such things, her voice pitches down, but full of wonder. “Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so splendid in my whole life.”

The way her throat tightens can be heard in her next words. “And it’s for us.” The flowers, the soft light, the bunting and the centerpieces… All for them. Odessa sighs happily and nudges her forehead gently against Ace’s temple. A moment later, she lets out a soft curse. “Shit. It’s too early to be crying.” Pulling back swiftly, she dabs under her eye with the pad of her finger.

Withdrawing, staring up at the ceiling and blinking rapidly, as though that will force any other errant tears to go back into their wells. “Do I look alright?” she asks, turning her face back to him.

The edges of her stone-colored eyeshadow are still as perfectly smudged as they were when she stepped away from her vanity. The wings of her black liner remain sharp and the metallic silver eyeliner at the inner corners remains the spark that brings life to the otherwise monochromatic palette of her eyes.

It’s the white waistcoat with its scooped neckline (sans shirt, naturally) and the wide-legged trousers that really command the attention, of course. Having her hair pulled up in a high ponytail at the back of her head, it falls in loose waves that look effortless, but Ace knows she spent all morning and a good portion of the afternoon putting in the work to make it look effortless.

And that hair is accented with a small cluster of dog roses. “Well?”

Ace doesn't need to advise Odessa not to cry. She's well-ahead of him on that front. It leaves him to merely examine the results of her gathering of composure, one hand lifting with fingers curled under jaw without actually touching. They curve up in a touchless caress of her jaw, one corner of his mouth hooking back in the beginnings of a smile. "Beautiful enough to be getting married, I think," he pronounces softly, arm coming back down to his side.

For him, his appearance isn't much of a costume change from his usual day-to-day. But the fabric of the tux is less lived-in, stiffer and deeper black, the tie carrying a sheen he wouldn't consider on a more normal day. The single dog-rose framed by baby's breath is pinned to his breast pocket as artfully as hers are to her hair.

"What do you say?" Ace wonders gamely. "Should we give this a shot?"

“Mister Callahan!” Odessa gasps with mock surprise, a hand fluttering to her chest, settling above the surprisingly modest peek of cleavage and the gold pearls around her throat. “Don’t you think it’s a little premature to be asking me to stroll down the aisle with you? We’ve still got—”

The bride checks her green-strapped watch and frowns. “A full hour!” It reminds her she’s forgotten to take the out-of-place item off. Not that she’d be upset to be photographed with her beloved watch, but the singular pop of emerald color feels incongruent against their tasteful black, white, and silver palette.

“Say… You haven’t seen Jacelyn anywhere, have you? I don’t think she’s here yet, and I’m feeling like I should go check on her.” And by check on, Odessa definitely means retrieve and escort to the venue. Her niece has a very important role to play, given the conspicuous absence of her brother on her big day. “Keys, please?” Palm open and out, she waits patiently for access to the Porsche.

Ace arches both brows at once. Is she serious?

Of course she's serious.

With a sigh of only thinly-tempered patience, he accepts this change in fate quickly enough. "Hurry back," he asks of her in a demure voice. "And call her to make sure she's ready. Between traffic and that…" Only one eyebrow remains quirked as he implores, "Don't be late, my muse." He pulls out the fob and places it in her palm, leaving his over it longer than necessary to brush his thumb along the side of her hand.

"I'll do my best to play the gracious host for any early arrivals, get the last touches in place here," Ace promises, then slips his hand free with a nod toward the door. "Go."

Odessa’s other hand closes around Ace’s wrist, her thumb over his pulse. “I’ll be back before you know I’m gone,” she promises. “I have a very important engagement, after all.” Her heart leaps into her throat, but only because it wants to be heard on her every word. It wants to sing her love to him.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

One Conspiracy Later…

Everything is set as it should be. Ace has been assured by the young woman who’s soon to officially be his niece that his bride is, in fact, on premises, but is in the bathroom, touching up her make-up for the final time and wanting some illusion of the groom not seeing the bride before she makes her grand entrance down the aisle.

And something about how if she sees him now, she’ll just hold him and not let go and it would be unbecoming. And, yes, she specifically said that the word unbecoming had to be used. Begrudging acceptance is expected at the minimum — also Odessa’s words. Verbatim.

At least Jac gives him his keys back. And Odessa’s watch, for safekeeping.

It's slipped into his pocket while he considers the situation. Ace only reacts in the form of giving direction, turning Jac back around whence she came with instructions to tell Odessa she has a matter of minutes before the show is to go on, and that she should listen for the music. They can't wait forever, after all.

His desire to not be in the limbo of waiting for this moment might carry over the emotional murmur of the others, should she be listening for it.

But minutes past. One, then a second. A polite third. Harry lets the guests know Ourania will soon be joining them, so if they could have a seat. And with so few guests, that takes such little time at all. Compelled, less than five minutes later, he offers a nod to the man hired to manage music and lighting for the evening.

And a song begins to play through the speakers, soft enough to still be background noise, but with enough presence to bring things to a hush. Ace glances askance in the direction of a gasping child when they recognize the tune, taking his eyes off the doorway as one of their parents hushes them. The tune proceeds instrumental only, but he recalls where exactly it is in it's progression.

Standing here, it's all so clear

And as he turns his eyes back to the doorway into the other half of the gallery and sees her, all he can do is blink.

I'm where I'm meant to be

She looks beautiful, and so different than when she last saw him.

And at last I see the light

No longer in her pants and vest, she stands instead in a beaded floor-length gown of ivory. The bodice and the back are surprisingly modest — both for her tastes, and given her earlier styling — without being prudish. The overlay covers the space from her decolletage to her clavicle with shimmering beadwork. The draped blouson waistline only accentuates the way the rest of the dress fits her like a glove. While the flare of the short train is visible, the congregation won’t see the row of delicate fabric buttons down her back until she makes her approach. Even her hair is different, her curls tucked into a playfully messy chignon. Rather than a simple pin and flower, she wears an entire vine of dog roses.

And it's like the fog has lifted

Odessa’s so used to wanting attention, going unnoticed, and then finding that it’s a bad thing when all eyes are finally on her. When the first head turns and the tides follow, her stomach does a flip-flop. Her grip around her small bouquet and on her niece’s arm tightens. She looks to the teenager with wide eyes, wondering if she’ll do the impulsive thing and feed the beast of anxiety within the bride and suggest they make a run for it. Instead, the redhead murmurs something with an encouraging little smile and tilts her head just slightly toward the waiting aisle.

And at last I see the light

He’s waiting for you.

Whether or not it’s what Jacelyn really said or not, it’s not hard for Ace to infer it, based on the way Odessa’s head lifts and suddenly her eyes find his across the gallery.

And it's like the sky is new

In what must be some divine boon, Odessa feels time stop for her as it once did. Just for her. It’s an eternity she’s been granted to clutch this moment to her heart and to behold that man who’s about to speak his secret vows of love to her in front of witnesses.

And it's warm and real and bright

The nudge from Jac reminds her she knows one indelible thing: Time’s greatest desire is to move ever forward. Not even for all her years of mastery over it has Odessa’s desire managed to overcome it.

And the world has somehow shifted

Startled, the music clues her in to the fact that there was no cessation at all, only her being spellbound in the moment.

All at once everything looks different

The girl at the end of the aisle whispers something and a single nervous bubble of laughter escapes Odessa’s lips, audible only to Jacelyn’s ears, though evident in the smile she gives when she turns her head suddenly to look at her. Whatever hex kept her feet frozen to the floor has been countered.

Now that I see you

Odessa locks eyes on Ace, smiles, and begins to walk.

Such a long distance to travel, those few steps, and such a sweetly brief and endless pulse of a moment it takes for those steps to happen. Ace at the altar made simply out of the end of the walkway between chairs awaits Odessa without moving, eyes locked on the all of her. He presses a small smile when he's sure she's close enough to see it, nods once to Jac as he reaches for Odessa's hand, lifting it to press a chaste kiss to the back of it.

It's cheating, maybe. But he can't help himself. "You changed," he marvels in a whisper to Odessa as he lowers their hands. There's a spark of amusement in the lukewarmth of his cool eyes.

So well do they match and oppose: shining silver and beadwork shimmer; muted black in contrast to the white of her gown. Dogwood rose upon his heart, and gracing her crown. Yes, Ace thinks to himself. This unexpected change has taken something wonderful and escalated it to something perfect.

Odessa merely smiles her happiness when she’s handed off to Ace, so to speak, and her transformation noted. Jac helps settle the dress’ train in this new configuration and the bride shuffles her feet, making sure she’s standing just so. There’s a whole kaleidoscope of butterflies in her stomach and in her chest and fluttering around her heart, and not all of it is unpleasant.

Facing each other at the makeshift altar, Odessa’s expression takes a turn for the excited, brows lifting briefly. She meets his eyes, looks down, looks back up at him, then down again. In her positioning, her feet are peeking out from beneath the hem of her dress. Each white shoe has lettering printed on it, not for her benefit. The left is stamped in black, while the right is pink. They read:


It's very poorly that Ace attempts to conceal his smirk, mouth pressed into a thin line when he glances back up. She can feel the song in his torso, the glint in his eye. "Let's begin," he murmurs unnecessarily as he turns his head slightly to the officiant to indicate he should begin offering all the gracious thanks for the company the bride and groom are surrounded by that they themselves are too otherwise enamored to give presently.

The short ceremony with its only-passing religious tones consists of only a short sermon before an exchanging of vows. To be patient is both excruciating and all too easy during that period, at least for one of them.

She feels it so keenly in her breast as well, wanting what he wants. It takes effort not to tap her index finger restlessly around the bouquet in her hands before she passes it off to Jacelyn.

"I pledge to you my loyalty," Ace speaks softly what feels like an eternity later, when it is at last his turn to. "I promise to hold fast to you in our brightest celebrations and our darkest nights, to be yours so long as you'll be mine, and to always hold your wellbeing paramount… Now, and forever."

There’s a moment of hesitation, and Ace can see it’s in the way her gaze starts to drift to the people gathered to see them. He doesn’t need to do so much as squeeze her hand to call her back to him — his heart finds her and reminds her of where she means to be. Once her eyes find his again, the traces of clouds are banished by the sun of the love they share.

“I promise to surprise you,” Odessa vows with strength in her voice, “to amaze you, to draw out your smiles, and support you in your endeavors.” Taking a deep breath as her eyes dance between his, she continues, “I will stand with you in our winnings and our injuries. I promise to inspire you as long as you will continue to look to me for it, and I will always hold your heart close to mine… For all time.”

And maybe that's enough.

For Ace, it must be. Because he produces a ring— a familiar and novel thing. The imperfect coloration of is best seen to those two who are already familiar with its beauty, those who've looked over the way the errant growth of blue sapphire bleeds green in the yellow more times than could be counted.

"With this ring," he promises as he slides it onto Odessa's slender finger with the confidence he did when she first laid eyes on it almost six months ago. "You carry my heart with you."

Her heart sings to look at the ring now just as it did when he’d proposed to her. Perfection cannot be improved upon, and so she eschewed any notion of a wedding band to go with it. Exchanging the title of engagement for wedding when referring to the ring would suffice.

Odessa’s breath hitches. It can be seen by him, the officiant, Jacelyn standing by, in the way that her shoulders lift fractionally and she holds so still, until the ring is in place. Only then does she breathe out, a pleased smile upon her lips. Her dutiful attendant holds a tiny box out to her and the two exchange a silent titter of excitement as she collects the contents.

“With this ring…” Odessa takes a moment to admire it. The band of wood laid within the metal, two rings sandwiching the smooth band of crushed green opal that shows like fire when the light hits it. This, too, is merely changing designations. Apparently, Ace believes she can supply perfection as well as he can.

Blue eyes settle on green-grey as she slides the ring onto his finger. “I give you my heart.” But before the ceremony can move on, she draws in a breath and continues. “From this day forward, you’ll never have to walk alone. My heart shall be your shelter, and my arms will be your home.” It wasn’t in their script, but there it is. This declaration of her love for him, a desperate plea from her heart for him to understand how much he means to her.

Ace arches both brows as she goes on, his hand curling around hers after the ring is set in place. He's worn it before, to acclimate in anticipation of this moment. It fits well, like it's already part of him. Her additional words serve to seal its meaningfulness, and bring a touch of a smile to his lips.

When the beat is allowed to pass, signaling no further surprise intended from the bride, the officiant wraps a length of rope around Ace’s wrist, twining it around their joined hands and finally looping around Odessa’s, symbolizing their union, their binding to one another.

The rope whispers against their skin as the loose coil is drawn back and their hands are once again separate. Or could be. She continues to hold to him, and to watch his eyes, showing her heart in her own, barely registering the officiant’s words.

“I present to you, Harry and Ourania Stoltz.”

Only her name draws her from her pleasant daydreams of what married life could be like. (But won’t be. Their honeymoon period passed last summer.) Her lips part slightly, eyes widening in a way that makes her look softer, more vulnerable. Anticipating what comes next.

“You may now kiss.”

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