Winslow Crawford Academy Gala


alister_icon.gif cooper_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif emily_icon.gif eve_icon.gif gwen_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif jim_icon.gif jonathan_icon.giflene_icon.gifluther_icon.gifmarlowe_icon.gif megan_icon.gif nicole_icon.giforwell_icon.gif oscar_icon.gifpeyton_icon.gif richard_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif tibby_icon.gif zain_icon.gif

Scene Title Winslow-Crawford Academy Gala
Synopsis A fundraising gala for the new Winslow-Crawford Academy is not without its conflicts, but nothing explodes. For once.
Date September 7, 2018

Red Hook

The Liberty Warehouse is an unassuming brick rectangle of a building that sits at the edge of Red Hook, looking out at the remnants of Lady Liberty across the water. This evening, as the sun sets, the russet hue is dramatically juxtaposed by ominous gray clouds, and the promise of a lightning bolt now and then — those who live in New York can sense the thunderclaps coming, as they make their way inside the inauspicious looking building.

Inside, however, it’s clear why the former warehouse is a favorite venue for weddings, fundraisers, art showings and anything other event that requires a lot of people in a dramatic space. Rich hardwood floors and tall ceilings bedecked with golden fairy lights give the space an enchanting glow and huge windows give visitors an eyeful of sky and sea. Outside, a patio promises fresh air — or as fresh as one can get in Red Hook, redolent of a mix of Hudson River and Atlantic Ocean water on the cool breeze.

Inside, the guests gravitate toward the bar and the small cocktails set up, either inside the Harbor Room or outside on the patio to sit and talk. Bartenders in black tie make the most of their limited supply of alcohol to meet the needs of the myriad of drinks ordered. The catering staff circulates with trays of appetizers, and a table of desserts is laid out as well. There are ways around food shortages for those with money, and for those with connections in other countries, of course. Still, there’s a lot of Canadian alcohol stocking the bar, and not all of it’s top shelf.

Peyton Whitney stands close to the entry doors, dressed in a russet gown, the iridescent fabric picking up and reflecting the golds of the twinkling fairy lights above. Her hair is pulled up into a roll of sorts, allowing those behind her to see the peacock feather tattoo inked onto the nape of her neck. She greets the guests with smiles, handshakes, and sometimes a hug or a kiss on the cheek for those she knows well; those she doesn’t are greeted with a question or two, and a thank you for coming.

Maybe it's odd, but parties like this make things feel normal. For a time, life was measured by the days between social events for Nicole Varlane. Embracing Peyton and dropping a kiss on her cheek on the way in, she gives the hostess a warm, genuine smile. "It's so good to see you. I'm glad we have you back for the foreseeable future." Her smile grows. "Pippa's excited too." Their children are thick as thieves when they get together. It's the cutest thing. In Nicole's opinion.

Her dress is blush pink with a deep vee neckline and low draped back. The skirt flares out at her hips, the light layers flowing easily as she moves. "I won't keep you," Nicole assures, nudging Peyton's arm lightly with one elbow, "but signal me if you need an escape." She gives her a wink. "Or something from the bar." Which is where she's headed next, if no one waylays her.

Jim arrives, having cleaned up quite well for the occasion, if his player does say so himself. And indeed he does. Nothing fancy, but every man should own at least one suit, right? Weddings and funerals, and apparently galas as well.

He looks around as he comes inside, spotting Peyton pretty quickly, since she’s an amazing hostess. He smiles, starting over that way after Nicole moves toward the bar so that he can say hello. “Thanks for telling me about this,” he says when he gets close enough. “I haven’t been out for something this fancy in a while.” Or ever, but shh. Don’t tell. He doesn’t look uncomfortable at least, but as calm as ever, not necessarily like he belongs here, but certainly not like he thinks he doesn’t. He’s here, and that’s basically all it takes, right? “No Jonah tonight?” Though his lips pull a little upward at that, indicating that he’s joking. Probably. Jonah is pretty cool.

It's not usually her scene, she's far more comfortable in her ER where there's stitches and blood and people she only has to talk to about medical foo. But Megan has been convinced that she really needs to stop being a recluse. At least once in a while. So… she brings out the one nice dress she has managed to actually find and keep in good shape, a lovely sapphire-blue cocktail dress that is easy to clean. With her silver-streaked copper hair caught up in a loose knot with curls free to play about her neck, she feels… well, let's just be honest. She feels far too girly. She's a woman used to scrubs and tactical pants with combat boots after all these years. She looks vaguely uncomfortable as she enters the main doors, but a faint smile eases that sensation when she at least spots a familiar face or two. She pauses at the entry, greeting Peyton with a smile. "It's looks beautiful," she compliments.

The bar is definitely on her agenda, though she offers merely a nod of greeting to Nicole and Jim when she stops a little way down the counter so as not to interrupt their conversation.

Gillian Childs was invited to this event, had a ticket, maybe even would have gone. Instead, Jolene Chevalier is here in her place, coming up to the doors of the event. She pauses, sleek back dress neither casual nor particularly expensive or fancy, flats looking a little out of place but not much accessories with crutches. With her back to the building she looks out the the horizon and the river, to the concrete smudge on the water with a jagged piece of broken green metal rising up off of it. Her lips press together in a thin line. This wasn't how she imagined retirement from heroics.

Ruefully turning back toward the warehouse, Jolene enters the event alone, feigning a smile as best as she can, with her hair merely brushed well enough and not terribly styled. Glasses rest on the bridge of her nose, and a mixture of regret and doubt all she wears for makeup.

Catching up with Peyton(and Jonah) had been a boon; on finding out about the news that a school like this was being brought to the Safe Zone, Delilah very nearly wanted to open a window and scream. Thankfully, she didn't. Not while she was visiting, anyway- - Walter got an embarrassing eyeful of his mother skidding around the kitchen in her socks before she made him join in. Dancing in the kitchen with the radio loud is suitable celebratory practice in the Trafford house.

When the evening finally comes around, and she leaves a moaning little boy with a sitter(he wanted to go!), Delilah's energy is palpable when she arrives at the warehouse. There is such a mixture of people that any thoughts of being out of place nearly dissipate entirely. Her long red hair is let completely down for once, a cascade of copper, curled loose over a shoulder; it contrasts with the cream and ivory of her dress, a simple sleeveless shape that fits snugly, peonies embroidered along skirt and chest.

"Peyton! Look at you, cutie!" When it's her turn for a greeting, Dee is not at all shy about hugs and kisses.

Megan may be feeling as nervous as all get out, but perhaps that makes it easier for Huruma to find her. Just follow the red hair and the trail of uncertainty!

Huruma was one of the first here, though for a reason; she may have slipped Peyton a check for school purposes. Don’t tell anyone, but she’s got soft spots. Imagine that, right? No way.

“I wondered if you had decided not to come.” The bar beside where Megan settles is soon taken up by the ever familiar height and frame of her friend, in a pinstripe jumpsuit, the top mimicking a double-breasted vest. “I know how you feel- -” A pause, “But you do look very lovely.”

Peyton’s dark eyes shine with a bit of excitement and maybe nervousness — this isn’t the first time she’s been the center of attention, nor is it the first time she’s hosted a gala, but it is the first time in this city, for this reason, with these people — and let’s face it, she has some anxiety about seeing some folks in New York for the first time in many years.

“Jonah’s excited too,” she says to Nicole, squeezing the woman’s hand as she comes by to see her. “And it’s my home. I think it’ll be his, too. Toronto was just… you know. A long business trip.” She smiles at her friend, letting her move off toward the bar. “Definitely will need that. A pinot noir in about twenty minute sounds about right,” she quips, before turning to greet the next person.

Jim earns a bright smile. “So glad you could come. No, this isn’t really Jonah’s cup of tea. He’s at home, probably eating his dinosaur nuggets right about now.” Because of course that would be his favorite meal. “You look wonderful.”

Megan’s kind words earn her a smile, and she nods toward Jim. “I think you two are coworkers? Keeping the Safe Zone safe. Let me know if you know anyone in need of a school nurse job, still looking to fill that,” she says lightly, before she’s hugged by Delilah. The facade of posh professional fades a little, and Peyton wraps her arms around the redhead, closing her eyes with a small sigh that sounds something like gratitude.

“Glad you could make it, Dee,” she says softly. “Walter ready for school?” Her eyes catch sight of Lene, and she smiles in the young woman’s direction, though doesn’t call out just yet.

“Peyton,” comes the familiar and ever enthusiastic voice of Jonathan Smith, when he is finally able to greet the hostess for the event. “Oh my gosh, look at you.” He might have patiently waited his turn, engaging anyone who would listen to him in some conversation or another. Moving to offer her a quick hug, he looks a bit like a proud father the way he is smiling at the younger woman. “I can’t even begin to say how happy I was to hear that you were bringing the school here,” he says while fingers push black rimmed glasses back up on his nose. He’d never admit it, but he might have advocated heavily in her favor. Biased much? “It will be a great addition to the Safe Zone.”

Dressed in a simple blue-gray suit, Jonathan lives on a teacher’s salary; but… “I would not have missed this evening for anything.” There is history between the two obviously. He doesn’t keep her from her other guests and moves further in, looking a bit owlishly at the decor. “Wow, he says softly to himself.

As a member of the Safe Zone’s Citizen’s Watch, he might be a recognizable face to people. He greets everyone that he passes with a smile and a hello.

Ordering a scotch and soda from the bartender, Megan rests her elbows on the bar. The school is important. It needs to be here. And she's bound and determined to support that effort as well as the local gardening efforts — the years just prior to and through the war years taught her far more than she'd realized about gardening. Or perhaps that was just her companions teaching her that. The voice of her best friend brings the redhead around to smile in relief. "I almost did," she admits. "It's stupid as hell, but I feel totally out of my element." She reaches up a hand to push back a piece of the wider pure white lock that curves dramatically above her eyebrow back into place from where it escaped her hairpin. "Thanks. You look pretty nice yourself."

She looks around and comments, "Think the thunderstorm will knock out the power before the night's over?" Because it would just figure in Megan's mind. As her drink is set in front of her, she offers, "Scotch and soda? Or something else?"

Robyn Quinn hasn't been to see many people since she arrived a short time ago. Rather predictably, her first stop of the night has been the sort that involves minimal interaction with others - the bar, because it's not a night out for her without a tumbler or a wine glass in hand.

As her second glass sets down in front of her, she raises it in cheers to the bartender, and turns back to face the crowd. She's come tonight in a bright white-and-yellow dress. At least, she's told it was yellow, and therefor she's putting a lot of trust into whomever helped her pick it out. The black eyepatch band she wears runs contrast to the rest of her outfit, but some things rarely change.

She takes a moment to scan the crowd there that evening, spotting familiar faces throughout. Her first inclination is to make her way over to Nicole and Peyton, but it's when her gaze lands on Jolene that a fond smile crosses her face. She knows she would want to seem like she's checking up on the younger woman - nor does she need it. Still, she can't help but at least say hello before she makes her way to others in the room.

"Hey, kiddo," she offers as she approaches Jolene, offered in a low voice. "Glad to see you out and on the town."

On her way toward the patio already after having loitered for a few minutes by herself, Jolene’s turns to Robyn is a slow and awkward one. “Mom thought I should go out,” is a hushed explanation, eyes averted to her feet. “Ingrid… couldn't make it so— so I…” She looks to the patio doors, then back down to her feet. “I’d picked out this dress so… so…”

Closing her eyes, Jolene rakes her good hand through her hair and stays focused down on the ground. “She's spending the night in with Sofia,” Lene explains with a weary smile, then looks around the warehouse with a never-diminishing slouch to her posture. “You look nice,” she says to Robyn with a vacant stare, eyes unfocused and not really even looking at her.

Huruma leans into the brace of the countertop, quietly watching past Megan towards the rest of the bar and beyond. Faces at these events seem to touch on several main intersections— and there is always a gaggle of familiar minds coasting to and fro. But for now, her business was taken care of and Megan's question brings the rest back.

"Ah, same." Huruma responds, half to the bartender as she settles in. "If it does, at least it will be exciting." There is a low laugh, just for Megan, "With this crowd, anyhow. We do know how to salvage things, hm?"

"Me too, love." Delilah closes in on Peyton's hug with her own, a happy sound coming with the light squeeze. She leans back, hands on Peyton's when she gives the other woman another look. Very cute. The redhead steps aside to allow the hostess to continue her greeting, lingering closeby. "I don't know about him, but I definitely am."

“Dinosaur nuggets sound pretty good,” Jim has to admit. “I really hope you have the fancy version of those for us here.” What would the fancy version of dinosaur nuggets be? All velociraptors, clearly. They are the most clever, after all. He looks over toward Megan when Peyton points her out, and there’s recognition there, of course, as he nods to her. “Hey,” he says, “good to see you.”

He doesn’t interrupt too much, though, and instead moves toward the bar to get a drink, taking the glass of wine and taking a sip from it as he turns to scan the room. He nods to a few people he recognizes, but doesn’t venture away from the bar again just yet. Time enough for that when he’s drunker.

“Jonah just wants to know if we’ll have pygmy goats like up in Toronto,” Peyton says with a laugh to Delilah. “But he’s a big fan of Walter’s, so he’ll be excited to see him there. I’m so happy you’ll be a part of our little school family.”

Jonathan is hugged warmly, and Peyton adds a quick kiss on the teacher’s cheek. “We wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t been there for us back in the day. Full circle, right? Maybe I’m just stalking you,” she teases, since Jonathan had come back to New York before she had.

Jim’s comment about fancy version of dinosaur nuggets broadens her smile, but she shakes her head and rolls her eyes a little. “God, I’ve eaten way too many of those things than I’d like to admit, and not because they’re my favorite. Delilah, Jonathan, this is Jim, if you haven’t met. He’s been helping out at the garden and also the school, all in his free time from being an ER nurse. Making the rest of us look bad,” she says, making the introductions. “Not that either of you could ever look bad.” She doesn’t put herself in that company, for sure.

A few other guests stop by to greet the hostess, so she steps aside for a moment to shake hands, her gaze caught over their shoulders by Lene and Robyn, worry for the younger of the two in her eyes, but she doesn’t move forward to interrupt.

“I can’t imagine a better person to be stalked by,” Jonathan teases affectionately. “I’ll be checking in from time to time. If you need anything, you know where to find me. I can’t guarantee anything, but I’m willing to be your voice with the council.” The schools were his area anyhow.

A greeting is given to his fellow council member, “Delilah. You look absolutely lovely tonight.”

When introduced, Jonathan turns a bright smile that creased the corners of his eyes in Jim’s direction. A hand is offered without hesitation to the other man, “Hello, a pleasure to meet you. Jonathan Smith. Citizen’s Watch and elementary school teacher.” He shakes his head, pushing up glasses on his nose with a free hand. “Not sure how you can do all that, but I commend you on that. Pretty impressive really. ER nurse? Respectable job that.”

"You look fantastic your self, Jolene," Robyn remarks softly, reaching up and ruffling the younger woman's hair, undoing any hope of straightening it that she may have just attempted. "Well. That's Ingrid's loss," is the best she can come with upon seeing Jolene's consternation, shaking her head.

She reaches down, attempting to place a finger under Jolene's chin and tip her gaze back up whenever she looks down. Grey eyes stares back at Jolene for a moment, before she laughs. "Lots of good people here. I think you'll have fun." There's an unspoken if you want to at the end, but Robyn doesn't dare voice it.

"I'll leave you to the patio, if you'd rather," she remarks in a low voice, with a fond smile. "Just promise to stop by before you leave, assuming I haven't wandered off."

Robyn’s reassurance seems to fall on deaf ears, and Jolene’s smile is a half-formed thing that never really has a chance to find itself. She closes her eyes and nods once. “I… don't think she's losing out on much, really.” Then, she's leaning forward on her crutches and starting away.

“Um, yeah, I'll… I'll come back through.” Lene admits in an afterthought, not remembering to say goodbye as she ambles out toward the back patio.

“Darling darling!” The familiar rasp of a pale woman can be heard in the entrance as the figure in a loose flowing, backless blood red dress can be seen making her way inside. Wearing a large black hat and ankle boots of the same color she swings her head to the sound of music or the music in her head and taps her pale, long fingers on her thigh as she makes her way by, pausing to barrel into Peyton and kiss her cheek, “Sister Seer, congrats congrats! Wonderful, iconic, outstanding,” the brim of Eve’s hat may knock some of the passerby as she engages with Peyton, “I must say I am.. just.. so excited for the kids to have a place like that. If I did, I wouldn't have been smoking joints on the roof while dreaming!” A bark of laughter at a joke that isn't exactly all that funny.

“Brother Seer!! Oh my days, this is just the best party yet!” Going in to hug Jim but her hat knocks into his chest first, “Whoops, sorry gotta stay fresh for my Sister Seer,” lowering her voice to a whisper, “Got this from an old witch that lives in an alleyway in Park Slope, go check her out.” As if imparting a very deep secret to the pair with a wink wink.

The deer's brown eyes take in the crowd seeing many familiar faces but the one of her niece calls to her and Eve notices that she's leaving for the patio, a curious look before Eve is laying a hand on her fellow seer’s arm and leaning in, “Speaking of which..” she begins to move off with a mischievous look on her face, “I'm kidding!” With a hoot of laughter and while batting people with her hat, Eve makes her way out to the patio in search of Chicken.

He’s a smidge late, but better late than never. Unlike the dark and somber suits of his fellow man, Zain is bedecked in a slim fitting lavender tux with paisley lapel. His crisp white shirt is buttoned right to the top and finished with a white silk bow tie. For all of his difference, he doesn’t seem the least bit out of place, especially when eying the fashion choices of some of the others. A tsk here and a tut there, it’s rare that anyone of the other guests receive the slight smile of approval.

They’re poor, war ravaged things, Syed, remember that and be polite.

It’s like a mantra that he has to keep repeating to himself as he glides from the bar, whiskey sour in hand, toward the hostess. He greets her with a winning smile and the uptick of a chin before offering an open palm to take her hand. “Miss Whitney, beautiful event and for such a good cause. I thank you for the opportunity to attend, I do hope that your fundraising efforts exceed your expectations.” Though, something in his expression says otherwise as he passes a glance toward some of the other guests.

Peyton’s only met Eve in person once, and she still has nightmares of that day — as does Jonah — so her eyes widen just a touch when she sees the woman coming her way. Still she manages to smile, reaching out to pat the precognitive’s hand.

“Thank you so much for coming. And I won’t tell if you don’t tell,” she says with a laugh. “Just don’t give any to anyone underage.” There’s not many people underage, but a couple teenagers here and there among the guests.

She turns to see Zain, smiling at his posh attire and demeanor — if she notices his skeptical look, her own expression remains pleasant and positive. “Thank you for coming, mister….?” The words lilt upward into a question, since she hasn’t met the man before. “It’s both a fundraiser and a bit of a celebration, so as long as we come out a little bit on top, it’s a win-win. We are here for the community, after all.”

Delilah is grinning ear to ear as other guests file in, giving Jon a short embrace and a laugh for his compliment. “You look dapper yourself.” When Peyton introduces Jim, the redhead turns his way and lets the hostess handle more of her guests.

“It's lovely to meet you. We'd be up a creek without our ER teams in Elmhurst.” Dee extends her hand in offer to Jim after Jonathan, brown eyes bright. “Delilah Trafford. I'm with Jon on the council… but only a teacher in the life sense.” There's a playful wink next. “If you ever need new scrubs, I'm your girl.”

What had started as a routine check-in on everyone’s favorite seer, ended up with Thomas Cooper wearing a tux and looking a little lost. It felt rather restrictive being in such fancy duds… and damn did he felt naked without all that facial hair. Of course, Raquelle about fainted when the SESA agent walked into his salon looking like a homeless man.

Having arrived with Eve, he had turned around from locking his car….

Where the f’ did she go?

Now he was peering threw the crowd asking this person and that, which brings him to the people at the bar. “Hey, Hi… Uh… Have you see a woman about yea high.” The hand held about his height, “who looks like she is trying to bring goth amish into style? She’s a quick little thing. Can’t exactly turn your back on that one.” Not sure how anyone could miss her though. “That hat is a bit like the flying nun and an amish man had a baby… Can’t miss it.“

Meanwhile, Jonathan is nodding in agreement to Delilah, “She’s not wrong. Great as what she does. I have her take in my suits and pants and such all the time.” He might be biased there too, but whatcha gonna do. “I highly recommend her.”

The sight of another late arrival, RayTech Security Chief Luther Bellamy, in a black suit, white shirt, and black tie isn't the eyecatching thing about him. Rather, it's that one arm is not slipped through the sleeve of his suit jacket, but instead held in place close to his mid torso with a black cloth arm sling, the arm itself in a cast, white shirt sleeve folded up to the elbow. His first stop is the evening's hostess, waiting his turn behind other guests before approaching and offering a warm smile, one-armed hug, a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Evening, Peyton. Wonderful gala and nice turnout. And you look radiant." Blinking as a catering tray approaches, Luther reaches over to snag an hors d'oeuvre resembling a miniature quiche off of it with a quick nod of thanks to the server when he's passed an accompanying napkin.

Another solo flyer of the evening is Marlowe Terrell, looking like a burst of color comparatively to the black tie formality. Her one-strap, bright green dress with a shimmering alligator-scale patterned, metallic textured bust, catches the golden fairy lights. Light brown hair is pulled in a half-up, half-down style, showing off big hoop earrings that sparkle as she twists and turns her head to catch all the activities going on. Already, she's enjoying herself immensely at seeing the bustling group of people. And already, she makes her way through the crowd towards the open bar to grab a drink.

Spotting Jonathan and Delilah as some familiar faces, Marlowe strides up to greet them both. "Hey, you! You don't call, you don't write, what's up with that, hmmm?" A mock accusatory tone used when she addresses Jonathan, Marlowe doesn't keep it up for long. She cracks a smile to show she's not serious, and turns to Delilah as well. "I remember you too - Raytech barbecue, right?" And to Jim standing nearby, she also extends a greeting, "Hello there! Marlowe. I work with Yamagato, civil engineering division."

When he gets introduced, Jim turns that way, toward Jonathan first. He takes the offered hand with a smile, shaking it firmly, though by no means attempting to out-shake him. Just the right amount of shaking, yes sir. “Nice to meet you,” he says. “And I could say the same thing about you. I’ve met elementary school kids and I’d rather be in the ER any day.” There’s a hint of humor in his tone, though he’s not completely joking.

He can’t fail to hear Eve, though, and when he turns to see her his smile widens just a bit, despite the knock of the hat. Or maybe partly because of it! “Good to see you,” he says warmly as he returns the hug, the lower-pitched words getting a nod. “Will do,” he confirms as he pulls back, turning to Delilah as Eve moves toward the patio and shaking her hand as well. “Good to meet you, too. I’ll take you up on that — been meaning to put some more fun ones into the rotation.” Especially considering the recommendation that comes a moment later from Jonathan.

He lifts a hand to Luther when he sees the man, though Marlowe’s arrival distracts him from any further greeting. “Hi,” he says in reply, “Jim Clarke. Nice to meet you.” He extends his hand to her then, too.

"Syan," Zain replies taking Peyton's hand and giving it a light kiss in gentleman's fashion before letting it go, "I manage a small auction house." He doesn't embellish much and once Peyton's attention is elsewhere, he doesn't linger.

Back at the bar, he takes a sip from his whiskey sour and survey's the area. There are many friends, none of them his… or typically the type he mingles with. He does keep an eye out for one lady in particular and as his eyes drift to Megan, his expression falters and then falls before he turns away. That woman is not her. So the search continues.

A few complimentary tips are offered to the security guards as Richard navigates the checkpoint — he does have a history in security on both sides, after all — and then he’s adjusting the cuffs of his jacket as he walks into the gala. He’s dressed in an immaculate black suit, the shirt beneath it a silken scarlet, a black tie cutting down its front. Cuff-links in the shape of small, gleaming birds. He may prefer to dress like a slob attempting to hijack a river boat in Guatemala, but he can dress up when the situation calls for.

And as the CEO of Raytech Industries, that’s way more often than he’d like.

He pauses once just inside the main room, looking over the crowd, searching for and noting a few familiar faces with an easy smile. Then he’s heading to fetch a drink.

Jim earns a nod from Dee, who sees plenty of people wanting to spice things up. She lifts a look to the door past the nurse, beaming a little more when Marlowe makes her way over.

“Mhm, That's where you've seen me,” Delilah's smile quirks to the side, “Less one child, today. I remember you, too.” Marlowe is unique, it would be difficult to forget her either. Plus, the other woman's job is smack dab in the interests of the Safe Zone. Hard to avoid. “I've read about the projects Yamagato wants to bring out to test… things you're into, right? Personally I look forward to getting better communication going…”

So far, Gwen Baudin has not arrived at any social or business engagement (or charitable one, which in her experience pretends to straddle the line but tends to be ultimately one or the other) alone. In deference to the occasion, she has just one security blanket—sorry, Russian—and he is, per the wanding, unarmed. It wouldn't be impossible to mistake him for her date, but it would require a really interesting take on who she probably is as a person.

(Interesting, but it must be noted: not unfair.)

The tuxedo is a Le Smoking update and the body-suit beneath it plunging; the heels are high and do absolutely nothing to disguise how petite she is, leaving her still slighter than the impassive shadow currently serving as a mobile coathook for her crossbody clutch. (He has a ticket of his own; Gwen disinclined to either walk into a room full of strangers alone or start something by throwing her weight around and expecting her security to be considered gratis.) She takes a moment to view the room; recognises no one, which is more or less what she expected, and therefore makes a beeline for the friendliest face she can see:

The bartender's.

Megan leans back on the bar, people-watching with the best of them. She deals with people all day long, so just watching them rush to and fro without her having to stitch up, tape up, cast, or intubate anyone? Or better yet… not having to give the Evil Eye to some doctor who is doing it wrong? It's a luxury. She murmurs to Huruma, "Coming here is insanity. Except that it's a great cause, and we need this school." She grins slightly, spotting another of the ER staff in the crowd, making his social self visible. The redhead lifts her chin toward Jim in silent greeting, though he'd be forgiven for not recognizing her at first — the context is all wrong! She's intrigued to simply listen to the ebb and flow of the conversation around her just now… Yamagato, auction houses, who knew New York was still thriving at this level?

"I didn't know we actually had a scrubs outlet going on around here," she observes with a grin at Delilah. And here she's been making do with the ones from Detroit. Bleah! Local is better. Quirking one brow at Jim, she asks, "Do I dare wonder what you'd consider 'fun' ones?"

"Get a look at this." Emily murmurs to herself after rolling through the security checkpoint, alone. The abundant fairy lighting brightening the warehouse gives the Red Hook Marketplace a run for its money, and does it with a touch more class. Or a lot. It's not like the other warehouse/factory setup has chandeliers.

On the first survey of the room, she immediately sees Peyton and does her best to make her way around others, for once deliberately attempting to insert herself into the crowd. And she's dressed well — in a silvery-grey chiffon gown with a a silvery spiderweb of beads across her torso and trails branching past bodice's end that continue to cascade down her arms. Sat beside her in her chair is a clutch of a similar design, with a matching strip of of pinkish silver similar in sheen to the ribbon belt of the gown. Her earlobes are cupped by simple silver clasps, no real earrings worn, and no makeup adorns her face. Her hair is worn back in a smooth but loose bun, and she holds herself confidently.

Emily lifts a hand up to wave at the host, as if somehow she wouldn't be seen by the lights that glimmer off her sleeve as she waves. In her defense, she didn't know there would be fucking fairy lights everywhere. "Peyton." she greets shortly with a quick smile, one hand still on the wheel of her chair to maneuver herself easily. "Evening." For all the friendliness and fullness of her greeting, she doesn't stick around long. A glance to her important-looking company is had before she decides to not bother the host further, rotating on a dime and rolling toward in the direction of the bar and the live music, but not quite entering the growing crowd by the bar. Once theoretically out of eyeshot of her potential employer, the clutch is unsnapped and a pair of blue-silver aviators fished from within to be slid quickly over her eyes.

Because holy shit. She was hoping to make a good impression here, but sometimes you just needed to feel a little more comfortable in a room full of strangers.

“Enchante,” says Peyton in a very authentic sounding accent as Zain/Syan slips away from her and toward the bar. Her eyes catch sight of Richard and she looks like she’s about to move in his direction, but then he moves toward the bar, and she frowns just a touch, but stands in her spot, just in time to get a drive-by greeting from Emily.

“Emily! You look beautiful!” she says, dark eyes beaming at the young woman who’s already on her way away from her. Alone for a moment, she sighs, and takes a shaky little breath to refill her lungs.

At least no one’s called in a bomb threat or hurled pejoratives at her.

One of her staff takes the mic as the music decrescendoes and comes to a pause.

“On behalf of the Winslow-Crawford Academy, we’d like to welcome you to our hopefully annual fundraising gala! Please make yourselves comfortable and enjoy the fine spirits and hors d'oeuvres — much of which was donated to us from our partners up in Toronto. The goat cheese is from our own little pygmy goat farm at the academy there. In a few minutes, we’ll be announcing our first raffle winner!”

The music begins again, warm-sounding stringed music that’s never too abrasive or sharp, serving as a pleasant backdrop to hopefully pleasant conversation.

Drink: Acquired.

Richard takes a sip of the beverage (whatever it is, he doesn’t actually ask) that he’s acquired, turning as the music pauses and the staffer offers that announcement. A smile crooks up at the corner of his lips, and he turns to make his way through the crowd at a casual stroll in the direction of the hostess. Trying to avoid the thicker crowd, it means that he almost walks into Emily’s chair.

“Oh— “ A lift of his free hand, a wry smile, “Sorry about that, was looking up when I should’ve been paying more attention. I should know better, really.”

There is a bit of owlish surprise as Marlowe addresses Jonathan as such, looking all the world confused and a bit deer in the headlights… at least until she smiles and he realizes she is joking. Yeah, he fell for it. Then there is a smile in echo of hers. “Miss Terrell,” Jonathan greets now that he knows that he is out of the woods. He offers a hand out to her, “A pleasure to see you again, you are looking like quite nice tonight.” He brushes a hand over his own rather simple suit, straightening the tie; it’s not a tux like so many are wearing, but looking more like the teacher he is. “Make a man feel underdressed.”

The teacher turns towards the stage enough to hear the announcement, with interest. “Oh.. she brought some of the cheese.” A look to those with him. “You should give it a taste.”

Beyond him, Cooper stands with hands on hips trying to decide where Eve has gotten off, too. Eyes glance at each hat that passes, but none are half as impressive in size as the one he is watching for. “Why is she so hard to find. I mean… how hard is it to find one giant emo sombrero?” Then he spots it through a doorway.

“Ah ha!” Cooper declares softly with a grin and the agent makes his way through the crowd towards the patio.

“It is absolutely a great cause. After everything…” Huruma drapes against the bar beside Megan, testing the drink in her fingers and mimicking her friend's people watching. It is a little deeper a look for her, pale eyes travelling from point to point in her study of the space. She observes the small movements Megan makes, the subtle greetings and more overt additions.

Huruma studies Jim first, a tall shadow behind the redhead in blue. He looks familiar, in the way coworkers do, but her stare does not linger. Her ability stretches out to its full size, unfurling like a massive bloom, sinking its weight over the party without mass or sound. One, two, three, habit has her counting friendlies, then unknowns.

The bar is always the place to be, just for this. The inevitable social orbit.

Huruma lets her drink linger against her lower lip, following the course of unfamiliar bargoers such as Gwen and Emily. Naturally, the latter gets a pinch of brow. Not for the glasses, but for the uncanny similarity to certain twins.

At the other end of things, Delilah is measuring Jim in her head, and soon Megan as well. “I can get my paws on some fun patterns if you ask! We all need a little more fun around, Yea?”

Before Emily can even let out a relaxed sigh at getting a touch more comfortable, she notices someone come dangerously close to barreling into her, his eyes on where he's going rather than the path he's traveling. For the sake of the aforementioned impression she hopes to make, her immediate response ISN'T to advise the man to 'mind where he's fucking going', but she doesn't get out a polite alternative to it.

She looks up to him as he stops just in time and apologizes, relief flickering in her masked eyes before she nods in the direction of the string-players. "Had my eyes on the music." she lies. "Didn't even notice you. No harm done." She snaps her clutch shut again, fingertips brushing over the beads on its surface.

Jim catches the nod from Megan, and he returns it as he takes another sip of wine. “Hey,” he says once he’s swallowed, “you clean up good.” As for fun scrubs, well. “I’m thinking tuxedo scrubs next,” he replies with a wider grin. “If I had those I wouldn’t’ve even had to change before I came here. Would’ve been a lot easier, and I wouldn’t be late next time.” Not that one has to be precisely on time for these things, but suspend your disbelief, okay?

He catches Emily’s arrival and gives her a wave when he catches her eye — always assuming he does, of course. He might have said something to her, though Huruma’s arrival distracts him…again. It’s that kind of night, it seems. There’s a nod for her as well — one more and he’s going to start looking like a bobblehead. But a friendly bobblehead, at least! “Definitely a tuxedo,” is what he said instead as his gaze finds Delilah again. “I have enough ironic superhero scrubs to last a lifetime.”

"My sister'd kill me, all the same," Richard admits with a soft chuckle, taking a safer step away to ensure that she has room, "After all the times she ran over my foot to prove a point, you'd think I'd know by now."

A sip of whatever he's drinking, and then he draws the glass away and considers it critically. A shrug of one shoulder, apparently considering it acceptable, and then he looks down at Emily with a spark of curiosity behind hazel eyes, "You look familiar— did I see you at— that's right, Yamagato. You were with Julie, weren't you?"

Emily's DEFINITELY glad she didn't wear the same dress twice now. Even if she hated having to dig into her funds to buy a second dress she'd probably only wear once, it just paid for itself. It figures that some of the people at this gala were at the Yamagato celebration. She raises an eyebrow at the comment about his sister giving him grief in the form of rolling over his foot, a twinge of a smirk touching her lips.

"Yes, with Julie, and her doctor friend from the hospital." Maybe if Emily refers to him as only a friend long enough, the universe will listen and ensure they remain just friends. "Do you know her?"

Her chin lifts as she considers the man, a glint from her aviators as she tries to remember if she'd seen him at the previous gala. Not a single bell. she realizes. Having my head down the whole night didn't help, I'm sure.

It wasn't like she was going to make a plan of going to events like this and need to know these people, but she remembers Julie's encouragement to look for networking opportunities, if she was going to bother to show up. A lot of chiding about not hiding in a corner, and especially not yelling at people.

All right, all right. Emily thinks in a grumble to herself, as if there was a miniature Julie on her shoulder right then shouting all of that well-meaning encouragement at her.

Smiling flawlessly, she nods at Richard with a polite tilt of her head. "I can't say I saw you last time, but there was a crowd then, too. I'm Emily." No lifting of her hand for a customary shake.

Of the many interchangeable black suits in the room is one belonging a man solidly in his mid-30s, somewhat tall, broad-shouldered, blonde hair swept back with firm comb rakes still defined in the wave. His tie is a dull silver, tucked neatly against white shirt. Oscar Nyström had, along with the rest, politely golf clapped in the after-whine of microphone announcement, existing as a slightly late arriving, unobtrusive, observational shadow up until this point. Now, he makes his way through the crowd, an easy amble of someone well used to navigating these environments.

No press pass. He's here as a private, ticket-paying citizen. But that doesn't mean that Peyton Whitney won't be the first person he talks to.

"Ms Whitney," he says, sidling into her periphery. One drink in hand, no pen and paper, and his empty palm, offered out to take. He switches on his smile prior to catching her attention. "I wanted to wish you a happy homecoming. My name is Oscar, Oscar Nyström."

The handsome man in the tux with the microphone comes back and the music diminishes again. “Welcome to the gala, those of you just coming in! If you can take a look at the raffle ticket that came with your invitation, it’s time for our first drawing.”

A young woman comes forward, holding an envelope, which she holds up as if it were a golden ticket — of course no one knows what’s inside.

“Our first raffle was so graciously and generously donated from Delilah Trafford! Let’s get a huge round of applause for Miss Trafford for her generosity!” He waits, dramatically, somehow, for that to occur, and most people accommodate him, a few craning their necks to see Delilah.

Meanwhile, Peyton turns her head as she feels the presence of Oscar looming, a smile on her face as she prepares to meet another stranger. She doesn’t know his face, as he’s a radio entity for the most part, but when he introduces himself, there’s a small nod of her head in recognition. There’s no verbal ah but a visible one in the subtle shift in expression.

She takes the hand offered to her, her own slim manicured hand closing on his. “How nice to see a face to go with your voice, Mr. Nyström,” she says. “Thank you for your kind words and of course, coming to our little event. I’m very back to be home.”

The first violinist picks up a bowl of raffle tickets nearby, looking very unhappy with this side gig, and holds it out for the emcee to rummage through. He pulls out a ticket. “Number 173! Who is lucky number 173?”

If Jonathan’s paying any attention, he’ll find that is the number that matches his.

“Come forward to get your prize — a certificate good for a bespoke suit or gown made by Miss Trafford!”

Robyn takes a deep breath as she watches Jolene leave, the concern clear in expression. She lingers for a moment, before shaking her head and turning back to face the party at hand. Sometimes, it's difficult wanting to help someone while also recognising when they need their space, and for the moment she settles on the latter.

With a shake of her head, she turns her attention back to the party and to the growing crowd that has made their way inside. A glance is give down to her tumbler, and with an egregiously long sip, she narrows her eyes and looks around, trying to pick out familiar faces.

“I can absolutely make you tux scrubs. Harken back to the days of t-shirt tuxedos.” Delilah sets a hand against Jim's elbow in a gesture of warmth. “And avoid more superheroes, plus as many pockets as you need.” Everyone loves pockets!

The announcement of the start of the raffle has Dee perking right up. She waves gamely up at the man at the mic, drawing attention to herself even from those who don't try to find her over shoulders. “You're welcome!” comes the chime. Hands clasp as she waits out the raffle pick. It was as much as she could offer, given her talent tree.

Huruma's watch from the bar continues, gaze fixing on any which find hers. The exchange between Richard and Emily does not go unnoticed, nor the slinking presence that edges back into her metaphorical field of vision— Huruma recalls that face of Oscar's well enough. Mneh. The rest of her drink goes down quickly, and her tall frame leans away from having to look at him.

“Megan,” instead, Huruma deters herself. “Do you know that young lady speaking to Richard?” Curiosity wins. “She looks so much like Julie…”

"There was," admits Richard, "And then there was that business with John, and the ambulances, and, well— " He gestures with his glass, his tone wry, "— I try to blend in when I'm around crowds, admittedly. Bad habit of mine from when I was a cat burglar."

Then he's offered the young woman an easy smile, brows lifting a bit, "Emily? Hm." A flicker of something there. Recognition? "A pleasure to meet you properly, then. Richard Ray, Raytech Industries."

CEO and, apparently, former cat burglar.

"I didn't realise you were a listener."

Delivered, from Oscar, with that twist of wry self-awareness, making that practiced smile crooked. He withdraws his hand and tucks both into jacket pockets, one of those people who stand maybe an inch or two too close for comfort. "I'm sure New York's glad to have you back — it's cleaned up pretty nice, in the last few years. What inspired you to make your pilgrimage back home?"

And if he is conscious of conducting conversations like a journalist, it seems to be without irony, his focus on Peyton comfortably conversation but intent.

The comment makes Peyton smirk, just a little, and she tips her head; she manages not to step backward, despite finding herself face to face with a close-talker. Heels bring her natural height up a few inches, so she is just shy of matching his 6’1” frame.

“Oh, I don’t, but I’ve heard bits of your interviews on other programs,” she says, teeth flashing in a smile that’s pleasant and polite — if not sincere.

The question isn’t as swiftly met with a reply, and Peyton stands quiet for a moment as she considers her words carefully. “It’s my home,” she says. “I was born here. Once it was safe to return and well on its way to being a viable place to live for myself and my son, I returned. Now that we’re here, I want to give back to the community, as I wasn’t here to do so directly after the war.”

She glances toward the bar, perhaps a little longingly, before looking back at him. “Are you local? I’m afraid I don’t know your background, Mr. Nyström.”

'Cat… burglar…' is almost visible in subtitles above her head as her brow ticks slowly upward. Emily would laugh it off as a joke, but who goes out of their way to throw a reference as obscure and specific as 'back when I was a cat burglar' in the middle of an introduction?

She remembered seeing the flash of lights from the ambulance pulling around the building, but that was right when she had used the shifting attention to slip off into one of the cordoned-off exhibits. Something she doesn't plan on mentioning, so she smiles coolly through his commentary.

Ray. Raytech. Oh, of course she's run into a CEO on her first chance encounter of the evening. She'd want to slink down into her chair, if not for one small detail he'd conveniently neglected to answer to.

"And… how's it you know Julie, again?"

Suddenly, there’s a brilliant flash of white in the large windows as lightning illuminates the now black sky. Several seconds later, the rumble of thunder can be heard in the distance.

Since arriving, Gwen hasn't moved far from the bar (or out of arm's reach of her shadow); she should be doing what she ostensibly came to do, build on her father's plans, move his foundation into relevance. The money part is easy, and she's plans to make a private donation—the raffle is very quaint, she probably should not say out loud to anyone—but she's never thrived in this kind of environment.

Schmoozing, god forbid. So it's entirely inadvertent when she makes eye contact with their hostess's wistful look towards anywhere-but-beside-this-tool-probably, and what a very familiar expression that is. In France, where the only events like this she attended without a very persuasive date were the kind she ran, it would be a relatively straightforward matter to handle the situation discreetly: there would be someone else to do it. Maybe someone else will do it.

It's probably fine.

…she's keeping an eye on it. It's not as if she was doing anything else.

Oscar nods along to Peyton's words — with a bland smile to learn she is, shockingly, not a dedicated listener — and maybe paying them altogether too much attention than a casual introductory conversation set to light music in the background ought to warrant, eyes sharp over the wine glass he lifts to sip from. But his manner and conduct is nothing Peyton hasn't handled before.

Especially as it seems to ignore her slightly wistful glance for the bar as he responds. "Oh, yeah. Jersey, originally. Went to Columbia, before it was reduced to rubble." An eyebrow raise, a rueful shrug. What can you do? "I'm a strong supporter of getting new education programmes off the ground, especially in New York. We've already lost so much, so something like this would be terrific if it wasn't political. I recall seeing a comment in the papers that — unlike its Canadian counterpart — the Winslow-Crawford Academy would be open to any and all students from families who held specifically positive views towards Evo individuals.

"That seems like an oddly specific requirement, don't you think?"

Once again, the emcee is up at the mic, eyes widening dramatically. “Some weather… looks like we might need to find more candles if there’s another blackout,” he says. “Rest assured, Raytech has you covered! The winner of this raffle item will be the happy owner of a Raytech Apollo II Solar Battery, which can keep the average house running for twelve hours — handy the next time your scheduled brownout lasts a bit longer than it’s meant to, eh?”

He must be one of the Canadians.
Once again, the violinist gets up, sweeping black gown out of the way so she can pick up the raffle bowl and hold it with a disdainful expression for the emcee to select a ticket.

“The raffle winner is number 149. You can collect your battery at the end of the night at the bar!” he calls out.

Those matching their numbers will find they did not win — unless they are a certain Nicole Varlane.

Peyton lifts her brows at Oscar’s question. “I’m not sure why it’s oddly specific. Our academy up north is mostly open to SLC-E individuals, though there are students there who are not SLC-E. Mostly siblings of other students who are, of course, but there are a few who come from families who are supportive of our philosophies and the need for a safe place — at that time — for those students to learn without fear of being ostracized or bullied in more mainstream campuses,” she says, glancing around to ensure all is well among her guests, or perhaps to catch the eye of one of her helpers, like Gwen might have done.

“You understand that it’s a private school, yes?” Peyton asks, but it’s a rhetorical question it seems, as she doesn’t wait for him to answer. “I’d like to say anyone is welcome, but all students in my care need to feel safe and welcome, and so that is why we have that specific requirement. I can’t ensure that all of my students will be tolerant, compassionate and open-minded human beings, but I can signal through my requirements that intolerance and a lack of compassion won’t be tolerated.”

The flash of lightning and rumble of thunder have Zain frowning toward the windows. He didn't bring an umbrella… just his luck. He is also not counting on a limousine ride at the end of the night to get him home with his tuxedo unscathed. Oh well… like some of the dresses here, it might be better if he didn't wear it twice.

Zain's ticket is discretely held in his hand. There isn't a lick of disappointment displayed when the battery doesn't end up in his possession, generators are stolen every day… why not a battery. He takes another sip from his drink before putting the glass down on the bar and tapping it as a signal to the bartender. He passes another glance toward Megan and then Huruma, who earns a very telling lift of his eyebrows. She's certainly a tall drink of water.

"I don't… know her very well," admits Richard, turning his head to look across the room, lips twitching slightly in a wider smile as he sees Peyton facing off with someone. He looks back to Emily, then, gesturing with his glass, "I'm more familiar with her family. I knew her sister better, so, well— "

A slight shrug of his shoulders says it all— awkward.

"Passing acquaintanceship, I guess, with her at least," he allows, before pausing— and inquiring suddenly, "Random question, I know, but do you know a guy by the name of Devon?"

That empty hand splays — a gesture of defense, surrender, despite that little else about Oscar gives such signals, including glittery focus — as Peyton speaks, his finer instincts presenting him from interruption even if he gives the distinct impression of someone Waiting Their Turn to speak. "I understand," he says, when it is, "that it's a private institute, and you can regulate your student body as you see fit, in accordance with what you want that school to be. But with the state of our infrastructure being what it is, can you afford to be political in your preferences?

"Because, Ms Whitney, you may exclusively only want students who are tolerant, compassionate and open-minded, but don't you think that that's your job, as an educator, to ensure they leave as open-minded, compassionate citizens?"

He starts to bring his wine to his mouth, lowers it, and adds, "But then again, I guess if your only exposure to institution beyond high school was rehab, you might not have that formative experience to build from."

No one seems to actually be doing anything about the bourgeois Swedish meatball.

A sidelong glance at her clutchpurse-handler immediately dismisses that option: few things are less subtle than helicoptering in Russians. A glance around the bar and the gala proper reveals no more familiar faces than the first one did, meaning there are probably any number of other people who could be handling this and somehow are not, but she doesn't know who the fuck any of them are to draw their eye.

All right. New plan.

Gwen drains her glass and sets it down. Pats probably-Anatoli on the arm, “I'm not going far,” and makes a beeline directly for Peyton and Oscar. It's not even attempting to look like an accident; no one trips or turns her, and the only moment where she changes her course at all perceptibly is to better ensure that when she collides with him, his drink spills on his own suit and not hers. It's an adroit bit of footwork in those stilettos.

“How, ah, what is the English word,” this bit of charming second language by-play would sell better if she made any remote effort to make it sound convincing, but her English, while accented, is audibly, flawlessly fluent and there's no hint of either playfulness or apology in her tone, “how clumsy. Why don't you fuck off and get someone to help you with that?”

There’s a commotion from the side door that leads out into the patio and Eve comes striding back in with a wide eyed stare, “Keep up donut!” she says over her shoulder before her heels click and she does a spin while looking over at the bar.. And then the stage with the emcee holding a mic. Tapping her chin the former terrorist makes to tiptoe in her backless dress over closer to the stage. “Mama, just killed a man.. No no.” Shaking her head to herself while a pale hand goes to hold the large black hat sitting on her head she tetters from side to side as she runs through something in her head, tapping her toe and using her free hand to snap, snap in her mind there’s a disco ball that lowers from the ceiling and she snorts at the thought, “Ah, Ah Ah Ah stayin alive, stayin alive.” Not really paying attention to the wine throwing or the fact that the foul mouthed guy who was also kinda cute actually was in the room.

“Psst. Psssst. Buddy!” She stage whispers to the man with the mic, looking this way and that way, “Mi scusi, signore.” Eve does her best to put on the face of a woman who has never caused any sort of mischief in her life, ever. “Ah Ah Ah Ah, stayin— I’ve got an announcement to make, it’s completely relative to the cause. You know for the children. I’m a friend of dear Peyton, doesn’t she look stunning? Right? /RIGHT!” Eve reaches for the mic and hops over next to the man, “Why hello there!”

Emily's not very good at playing off not buying Richard's explanation. When his head turns away, hers turns slightly to keep her eyes right on his, even though he's not looking at her. Something feels off.

Richard is spared the continued staredown as the next raffle is announced, and it's an item that genuinely takes her by surprise. Her attention snaps to the jovial emcee, aviators glinting in the light. Before the winner is even announced, the clutch is snapped open again so she can take a furtive look at her number, glancing back with hope … and then resignation as the winner is called. Fuck. That would have been … amazing. She looks somewhat back toward their conversation, the only sign of her disappointment being her slightly furrowed brow as she puts herself back together.

"Passing acquaintanceship, I guess." she echoes his own response back at him disinterestedly, her attention traveling toward what had distracted him earlier: Peyton's conversation with … whoever the hell that guy is. And Emily tunes in at just the wrong moment, her jaw dropping as she tunes in just in the minute Oscar decides to let loose a spray of venom.

Oh holy shit. All her suspicion of Richard and his ties to her cousin are momentarily put aside. The fact that she was hoping to make a good impression to work for Peyton aside, she feels compelled to intervene because that was just entirely uncalled for.

Before she has the opportunity to go run over that asshole's foot, someone thankfully accomplishes essentially the same thing with a glass of wine. Emily's gaze shifts to Gwen almost reverently, the unknown woman earning a giant +1 on her scorecard for that saintly behavior, as far as Emily is concerned. "Get fucking wrecked." she whispers under her breath approvingly, and finally is content enough to look back to Richard and retune into their conversation.

Richard is once again spared. Because now some crazy woman, probably drunk, has picked an accidentally perfect moment to draw all attention to herself. "Who's that?" she asks out loud, brow furrowed as she looks the pale woman over. She's dressed like a classy icon, but the way she's acting…

The vitriol that comes from Oscar isn’t anything Peyton hasn’t heard, but it’s still a barb, and one that makes her finally step back, her eyes widening and mouth parting in a hurt expression. It’s good timing on her part, as that’s when Gwen comes to knock into her verbal combatant, and so she avoids most of the splash of red wine that lands on Oscar. Those eyes slide to her rescuer, and she can’t help but laugh a little breathlessly at her words, before looking back to Oscar.

“I’m well aware of my own educational failings as well as the mistakes I made in my youth, Mr. Nyström,” she says coolly. “You will note that I do not call myself a teacher but an administrator, and the students in Toronto have enjoyed tremendous success thanks to the brilliant teachers I’ve had the good fortune to hire.” She glances at his wet crotch, and her eyes slide toward the restroom. “I’ll leave you to get cleaned up.”

She steps away, eager to put some distance between herself and the man, though she murmurs a quick “Thank you,” to Gwen as she heads toward the bar.

At the mic, the emcee grasps for the microphone again. “I have raffles to give!” he protests, looking around for the plain clothes security around the room, a pair of them stepping forward when they realize this was not on the itinerary.

The number first number that had been called had been recognized, but the teacher’s attention was on the conversation between Peyton and Oscar. Huh. He head tilts a little in their direction half listening, while standing with the small group.

Jonathan murmurs, “One moment…” to the group and starts to move to intercede on Peyton’s behalf when someone trips and spills the not so nice guy’s drink. Well… Instead, he shifts over to touch a hand to Peyton’s elbow when she arrives at the bar, to get her attention. There is a touch of concern for the young woman, even though he is smiling. “Everything, alright?” he asks softly, leaning down to add a soft, “Well spoken though.” Approval. “Don’t let him under your skin. He is but one… in a roomful of people. Which is an amazing feat, by the way.”

Looking all the world amused, Cooper is hot on the heels of the seer. “Right as the light show was getting cool, too. What the heck is so important anyhow?” He glances over his shoulder back out the door… “By the way who—” He turns back in time to see her at the stage. Uh oh… this can’t be good.

When Eve starts asking for the mic, Cooper looks uncertain, “Uh.. Eve… I don’t think…” He starts, but then she succeeds on getting on the stages and he all he can do is murmur,,, “Oookay… she’s on the stage. What now, Cooper?” His head wobbles a bit, “I mean… no harm right?” Right?? Shit… he better try something. Stepping close to the stage, noting the security, he whispers loudly motioning at her to get off the stage. “Eve, honey. Please, don’t make Gillian kill me. I just got back.”

In Peyton's wake—with something that at least resembles an encouraging smile for her, not making an attempt to hold onto her when she's clearly got a destination in mind—and in a stunning show of maturity and European sophistication, Gwen pokes her tongue out at Oscar before returning to the bar and Anatoli, who wordlessly offers her a refilled glass.

Smells watered down. Fortune has favored the bold, this evening, but discretion is occasionally the better part of valor; she offers no protest, but takes in the rest of the floorshow.

"Nyström." Richard, it seems, has also become distracted by the conversation not happening too far away, and although others step in first— it seems he was tempted to do the same, from the icy tone of the voice growled past his teeth.

That tensed jaw gives way as there's a splash of wine, and he lets out a bark of laughter, suddenly grinning at the situation. "Well, if anyone ever deserved that, it's that racist bastard," he mutters, though audible from Emily's range. And then— and then there's Eve

He brings a hand up to rub over his face with a groan, explaining to Emily, "Eve Mas. That's… that's Eve Mas." Of 'The Horse Is A Metaphor' memery fame. "She's supposed to be taking me— no, she probably is, I can't say this isn't anything she wouldn't do when on her meds, this is normal for her."

So a lot just happened.

To Oscar, personally.

He may have the sleaze of a rich douchebag but currently he is processing that there is red wine in his very expensive suit, stained into white shirt and dark in his slacks, and he doesn't have a lot of those. There is a distinctly pink warming to his ears as well at the backdrop bark of laughter from — yep, that sure is the CEO of Raytech, and Oscar fixes a glacial stare towards Gwen. Whatever Peyton is saying in rebuttal falls upon heavy distraction, uncomfortably setting his now emptied wine glass aside and brushing off excess liquid from his front.

This is fine and he is fine. "We'll do this again sometime," he tosses to Ms Whitney's back, all forced manners, and then he utters, "Excuse me," at no one in particular, as Gwen makes her exit too, leaving him stranded. Snatching a serviette off a nearby serving table, he starts dabbing at the worst of it as he makes his way for the men's room.

“Thank you, thank you! Ladies and Gentlewarts, I stand here today to extend the biggest applause ever to the radiant MS. PEYTON, PEYPEY IF YA NASTY!” Raising her arms to get the people in the room to applaud the socialite turned academic scholarly scholarly. “When I had my first dream.. I think I would have really loved a place like the Academy to feel safe and not like a freak,” waving her hand at that old memory, “And we all fo—” Eve coughs off of the mic and clears her throat before continuing. “We all endured many many struggles, many bad fruits in order to give the next generation,” is that.. A sob? “A fighting chance, amiright? Ooh Donut, I’ve got the feels.”

Eve sways in her spot before she starts waving her hand in the air, face so concentrated you could cut the tension with a knife, “This is something new, the casper slide part 2 featuring the platman band,” Eve shimmies her shoulders, “And this time!!!!” A epic pause before she stomps her foot, “We’re gonna get funky… FUNKY.” A manic look in her eyes as she does a half rotation out towards the crowd of people and then oh no, there goes security, “Walk with me! Everybody clap your hands,” leaping away from the emcee and the soon to be approaching security guards, the wild woman dives into the crowd, “Clap, clap clap your hands. Alright we’re gonna do the basic steps,” Snaking her way under the arms of a couple before moving, “To the left, take it back now y’all,” Closing her eyes she dances in between people an added, “Yeaaaa” thrown in as she waves her hands at Robyn, “RED! JOIN ME!”

Peyton gives Jonathan a grateful look, reaching to squeeze his hand, then looking to Gwen to offer a smile her way. There’s a very faint shimmer reflecting the glow of a thousand twinkling fairy lights that suggests Oscar’s words stung more than she’d like to show, but to her credit, the woman is holding them back well.

“Peyton Whitney,” she says, offering a hand to Gwen. “Thank you. That was something. I’d say I’d buy you a drink, but you paid for it already,” she says lightly, a nod for the man holding Gwen’s purse.

The security guards move toward Eve, but once it’s clear she’s now giving up the public speech and debate part of the evening for leading a dance revolution, they glance at each other and chuckle. “Ma’am, can we just have the mic back? There’s some more raffles to give out,” they say, glancing in the direction of their boss, who doesn’t look too worried about Eve’s commandeering of the stage and microphone. They give a nod to the violinist, who looks like she’s very tired of this entire evening, to begin to play again, so she lifts her bow and counts off for the rest of the quartet — the better to drown out the strange prophet as she tries to get the crowd dancing.

THAT'S Eve Mas? Emily knows the meme. Of course she knows the meme. But the woman on doesn't seem at first to … oh. Oh yeah, actually, on second thought…

"She's drunk." is Emily's brain-to-mouth observation, eyes glued to the scene. "She has to be drunk."

Then, almost before she knows she's even doing it, her phone is out of the clutch, the camera is swiped on and is set to record just before the woman on stage gets to 'When I had my first dream…'. The kids are quick with these things.

The longer she observes the mania that is Eve Mas, Emily contemplates where the hell she's going to find a solid enough internet connection for this. She is compelled to ensure this sees the light of day. She can't be the only under-20 that witnesses this amazing catastrophe. The woman is juking security by performing a dance where she announces her moves, after all.

She lets out a snort of laughter before she can cut herself off as Eve leaps off the stage, the surreptitiously held phone turning angles to try and catch glimpses of her as she dances her way through the crowd.

Who gives a fuck why she's doing it? Eve just became the best thing about this gala. This is already WAY better than the Yamagato event, as far as Emily's concerned.

"Gwenaëlle Baudin," she says, trading the introduction back and shaking hands; she feels a little cool to the touch, even after at least two drinks in a room warm with other people's nerves. "Some men just have a face that says 'I get slapped in bars', and who am I to stand in the way of nature?"

Not that she slapped him.

The night's still young.

"But I've got a cheque for you and some proposals to send over regarding scholarships, so why don't we just thank him for the serendipitous introduction? I'm sure he'd love it."

Marlowe exchanges a short handshake with Jim, offering a bright smile for the introductions exchanged. "Pretty nice party isn't it?" she comments to both Jim and Delilah, the latter's mention of Yamagato's projects getting a more serious nod. "We're working on it. And you're right, communications is one of the key cornerstones. Rebuilding from the ground up, but everything needs to be done right or else it'll come crumbling back down again." Infrastructure, she means. But possibly everything else too.

With an ear bent to the announcement of the raffle, Marlowe then excuses herself and nudges Jonathan's elbow as she takes note of the teacher's numbered ticket. "That's you," she says encouragingly, and watches him head off, though she doesn't follow. The flash of lightning and rumble of thunder following it gets a short look towards the patio. From her position, she sees the wine spillage too and hand-to-mouth bites off a gasp of surprise. Oh snap. After acquiring her own drink, she's about to slip off when Peyton is headed towards the bar and for a moment, Marlowe reconsiders her path. She waits, as the hostess and Gwen-the-rescuer (with Tuxedo No-mask) close in.

Gwen gets a knowing look from Marlowe. And short approving nod, a toast with her cocktail. Good job, Gwen.

Luther does what he does best at a gala like this. Stand, observe, and take advantage of the catering service. He somehow spots Jim's wave in it, and returns the salutations with his own salute of a cheese-on-cracker affair. He's back to observing - height to his advantage - with an eye catching his boss to one end, and the invisibly protective overseeing umbrella of the man's gaze falling on Peyton's route amongst her guests.

Until Eve pops up on stage. Then it's Eve who has Luther's attention, hat, stomp, clapping and everything else. Hooboy. He shakes his head slowly, edging along until he's within approachable distance to get into eye contact with Eve and her donut-loving shadow. Just long enough that he snakes his head a little bit side to side like he's game to dance if Robyn's not. After all, with the seer, anything can happen. Including line dancing to a string quartet at a formal gala. Hey, it's 2018.

The look on Zain's face is one of true horror as he spies Eve coming toward him doing what he can only imagine is some sort of dance to summon the rains. He emits a little squeal of fright as he dodges the incoming dancer and pirouettes out of her way. Embarrassingly enough, it may look to some as though he partook in the atrocious display.

"Excuse me," he murmurs as he places his half finished drink between Huruma and Megan. Then, without a glance backward, he makes a beeline for safety. The only place he knows that the terrifying woman can't follow. The Men's room.

The emcee is searching for another mic and finds one, regardless of what Eve is doing, and waits for the music to diminish once again. He’s nothing if not diligent. But the violinist ignores him. By god she will play this piece for its full, if short, length — it’s only a minuet. But artistry shouldn’t be short changed.

“That’s a lovely name,” Peyton says, and her smile grows broader at the rest of it. “In German, there’s a word for it — a face in need of a slap, I believe it means. Backpfeifengesicht.” Her German isn’t great, but it’s a single word she’s memorized for the sheer amusement of it. “I think I finally understand what it’s getting at.”

The bartender hands her a glass of red wine, no doubt being told her preference earlier on, and she takes a sip of it. “I’d certainly love to talk more about any sort of assistance you would offer the academy. Do you know Jonathan? He was one of our teachers up in Toronto,” she says, touching the man’s arm lightly.

"No," Gwen says, turning her attention to Jonathan—even her friendliest smile has the air about it of a small, persistent shark, but the edges don't make it cold. "It's a pleasure. I'm actually taking charge of my late father's projects—well, the foundation as a whole, but of course he was working on several things here that I'm now playing catch up on. The arts in education was his particular focus, so presently it's also mine."

There's not really a not awkward way to drop that into a conversation, particularly an essentially introductory one, but she tries to gloss past it quickly; no need to get into the gory details, or exactly how recent the death is, or why she's handling it by breathing in on these matters before her father had even finished breathing out the last time.

Sharks die if they stop moving, after all.

"He had some program proposals in the works that I think are promising."

Finally the song comes to a culminating chord and once the bows are lowered again, the emcee brings the mic to his mouth. “This raffle was generously donated by Robyn Quinn and the winner will get a signed copy of the vinyl LP Glass Wonderland!” His female helper hurries up to hold up a copy of the album for all to see.

“So ladies and gents, check your raffle numbers, and see if you’re the lucky winner. There are only a few of these left.” He waits for a moment, then looks to the violinist who isn’t paying attention until he covers the mic to ahem at her until she looks his way. Heaving another sigh, she simply reaches down and pulls out one of the tickets to hold out to him, rather than bringing him the entire bowl.

“That’s not… fine,” he mutters off mic, before holding the mic up once again. “This one goes to number 208,” he says. “That’s 208. Who’s the lucky winner?”
Number 208 is in the bathroom. Oscar just won the album.

“Ooooh dear…” Cooper murmurs out watching Eve, though he does still have that looks of amusement. Still the agent doesn’t interfere with her antics, especially, since security seem alright with it. No harm no fowl. “Welp…” he declares after a moment. “I need to piss.” Keepin’ it classy there. With that he turns rather sharply on his heels and moves towards the bathrooms.

“Miss Baudin,” Jonathan offers in greeting. Where her smile has airs about it, his is a bright smile without an ounce of snootiness to it. “Nice to meet you and welcome to the Safe Zone. And while I was one of her teachers, now I’m part of the council here.” He turns to the bartender when the wine is brought. “Can I get a water, thank you?”

A brief hand to Peyton’s shoulder, Jonathan says, “I’ll leave you to your conversation. If you need me, I’ll be around.” Looking to Gwen with a touch of amusement, “Thank you for tripping.” What she did wasn’t lost on him. When the water arrives the man, salutes them with it and heads back into the crowd.

Megan's answer to Huruma is slow — she takes a long few moments to study the you woman speaking with Richard Cardin— no, wait, he's Richard Ray now. A frown draws her brows down, and her scrutiny is intent. Because the girl does look like Julie. Finally she says quietly, "No." her emotions as she studies the young woman are uncomfortable as she wonders if the intel was wrong — did Liette survive? But the age doesn't seem right. She takes a long swallow of her drink, pushing those thoughts away. "I've never seen her." She slants a smile at her friend. "Of course, not exactly a surprise, I guess." She keeps a very low profile around the Safe Zone, doing her own version of charity work among the ones who need it.

The massive Charlie Foxtrot that started to unfold near Peyton draws her eyes and then there's… wine in a guy's crotch. She can only assume he deserved that, though she is far enough away not to hear what was said. The bark of laughter from the CEO of RayTech and the various reactions of people around the scene do seem to confirm that the guy must have deserved it. And then there's Eve Mas. "Oh God," The redhead breathes, lifting her glass to down the entire drink and motion to the bartender for a refill. This is apparently going to be one of those nights. Flashing an understanding look at Zain — if you don't know Eve, you really should run away — Megan still can't help the chuckle that erupts.

As Gwen and Peyton join the bar-leaning set, she leans around to compliment Gwen. "Beautiful pitching arm you've got." She happens to catch Marlowe's eyes and simply nods slightly with a smile because they haven't been introduced. Megan's tall, dark companion gets an amused glance from the redhead — because hey, the entertainment is getting good!

When it comes to shenanigans, Delilah isn’t proud to say she’s used to it- - she’s seen some real party crashing before, but Eve getting up on stage to steal the limelight temporarily is really low on her scale of ‘awful’. It’s easy to see that not everyone thinks the same, but at least Peyton’s security seems to take cues. And as for Peyton herself, Delilah can’t hear the altercation between the hostess and a man who looks terribly familiar, though she sees the results of it. Between Oscar getting sideswiped and underhanded, Delilah takes her own cues from others. If Richard Ray is laughing at someone’s expense, it does sound like he deserved it.

Eve’s takeover of the floor and deft avoidance of security attempting to coax her into calm gets a long-suffering look; the woman’s attempts to get people to join in are hard to miss, and the nickname leads Delilah to skim the bemused crowd for its owner. Ah. Yes.

“Well, I think I need some air until this blows over.” Delilah tries not to grimace. Much. The storm outside is worth a check out of habit, and plus if the power goes out she is not likely to get her feet stepped on. “Excuuuse meee…” The redhead slides her way into a backstep and angles away in a pivot. She can check back when she stops hearing shouting! Washing her hands of even remotely dealing.

“Hm.” Megan’s answer doesn’t come as much of a surprise, it’s true. Still, if Julie had another sister, surely the orbit takes her close? Huruma’s brow knits, and then even further as she hears the familiar voice over the speaker system. The tall woman doesn’t look behind her, instead simply miming Megan near perfectly when the other woman polishes off the long draw of her glass. It’s not a race, but they both know they might need it. Bless Eve, but she’s… Eve.

Huruma’s eyes move down to the slip of a man who angles in to rest his drink on the bar, feeling the sheer weight of how much he wants to get out of there on his aura. White irises shadow in a catlike blink, relaxed as she watches him dart away to the little boy’s room.

“Some people just cannot deal, I suppose.”

Peyton caps Jonathan’s hand on her shoulder with her own before he slips off, giving him another smile of the personal and sincere variety, before looking back to Gwen.

“Arts education sounds amazing. Our kids are small, but we want to give them a wide scope of knowledge and a foundation in every subject, arts included, before sending them on. Of course our hope is some might choose to go to Toronto for our academy there, but we know many would choose to stay here in the Safe Zone. If the elementary goes well, we might expand to a secondary academy down here as well,” she says, much more at ease talking about the school than she was while on the defensive with Oscar.

The emcee steps up again, this time carrying a picnic basket, a pair of slim bottles of wine poking out on either end. Once the music fades, he speaks into the mic. “Our penultimate raffle prize is a picnic basket of amazing cheeses, fruit, crackers, and two bottles of Inniskillin Cabernet Ice Wine, all courtesy of our Canadian neighbors, eh?”

He simply holds out his hand for a raffle ticket, having quite given up on the violinist to put on any sort of show. When she places the raffle ticket in his hand, he announces, “The lucky winner of this amazing pic-a-nic basket,” yes, there’s a Yogi Bear impersonation, “is number 079. We’ll hold your basket at the bar for you!”

Number 079 belongs to Lene. Luckily they can hear out on the patio as well.

“No.” Richard brings the glass up to his lips to take a long swallow of the liquor, clearing his throat as he lowers the near-emptied glass, “No, she’s not drunk, she’s just Eve… and I think she’s actually on her meds right now, because as hard as it might be to believe, this is pretty tame for her.” One can only imagine what would happen if she was off them. Probably a fire.

He offers a wry smile over to Emily, and then moves to step past, “A pleasure. I should go talk to the hostess, for now— “

The mystery of the man who knows Julie is left unanswered, at least to her satisfaction, before he’s heading across the room and over in Peyton’s direction to make sure he pays his respects to the woman of the hour.

“Well that went amazing, try to get the crowd jumping for the kiddies. I should have went with Beyonce.” Muttering to herself as she's relieved of the mic and left in the crowd. It didn't work so well, Eve trying to bring the party to the party has a success rate of 50%. Clearly everyone wasn't drunk enough. The pale woman is left wishing she had brought a batch of her special cookies, “Really get this mother swingi— Oh I’m sorry!” As she bumps into a man in a suit before she’s squinting her eyes and searching for her date, “Where did that Donut go..” scratching the back of her head she hikes up the sides of her dress and moves through the crowd, “Pardon me, sorry, excuse me. No your grandmother did not leave you her inheritance!” Eavesdropping on a woman in hushed discussion with her girlfriend.

Circling around the room until she finds her way at the bar. The kooky woman settles for a tequila, sipping while leaning heavily against the bar.

A tiny woman slinks in alongside a group of.. curious looking individuals. Dressed in a light yellow dress of gossamer make, Tibby Naidu has her hair coiled and piled on high atop of her head, back up straight and strides purposeful, the absence of her feline friends is felt but they are just beyond the building, hiding underneath. This wicked storm, a small hand stays placed on her date’s arm. She tried to make him swear no funny business.

Arriving with an entourage of other various shady rich people is Alister Black. He's wearing an entirely velvet crimson suit, with a shiny black silk cape that dramatically flows when he walks. He's even got on some fancy black boots with golden clasps.

He marches in and starts shaking hands and saying hello to people. "Excuse me, I have to use the men's room."

When Richard approaches, Peyton touches Gwen’s arm lightly. “Excuse me a moment,” she murmurs, before turning to smile at her former boss-slash-business-partner. Unlike most people here, he knows her well enough to see the strain behind the polished facade.

“Chatting up the young blondes?” she teases, lightly, before moving forward to give him a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek. She’s about to say something else when she sees Alister’s entrance, brows lifting in surprise at the elaborate outfit. “Isn’t that-” she begins, tipping her head curiously, before looking back to Richard for confirmation.

From the entrance next steps a shaggy blond man, speaking of blondes, wearing a classic suit, though no tie, and Converse sneakers, and carrying a brown-paper-wrapped rectangle that’s probably a painting. Peyton catches his eye as he looks around. “Oh, that’s the last raffle prize,” she says. “Orwell!” she calls, summoning the man over.

It's all too soon when Eve disappears into the crowd and Emily can't get a decent shot, so she ends the recording and slides her phone back into her clutch. A contented sigh escapes her, followed by a faint chuckle. All right, I should probably… she starts to think to herself, preparing to move in Peyton's direction to properly greet her, but Richard's already heading off in that direction.

Peyton greets him fondly, and it makes her wonder if they know each other. Or how well. The faint grin on her face from before is still present, but uncertainty swirls inside her. It's focused on Richard in particular and the unexplained comments and ties, but it isn't reserved only for him.

She angles away from the bar but otherwise doesn't move, her eyes scanning the room as she tries to not focus on being aware of how alone, or at least uninformed, she is. Get it together. she encourages herself, resisting the urge to hide her face in her phone and ride out the evening quietly. Sure, all these movers and shakers knew each other, but if she kept her eyes open and listened to what was going on around her, maybe she'd know a bit more about them, too.

Her posture is straight as her legs cross beneath her gown, aviators hiding her eyes as they wander the room. Taking stock helps soothe her unease, even if it doesn't get rid of the unanswered questions she has. There's a veritable flood of men all rushing toward the restroom, plenty of women socializing by the bar, the opened patio doors let in the scent of ozone as the storms in the distance flash. See? Doing great.. she thinks to herself, a peptalk attempt to keep her nerves down. She'd rather be off in a corner, but if she's off in the corner, she'll not be able to see the people at the bar as clearly, including the hostess she's unofficially in line to see. Just wait your turn, say hi to Peyton, and then you can catch a ride before the storms get here. Emily's hand twitches over her clutch as she resists the urge to go for her phone again, and face tilts up toward the ceiling, appearing to admire the lighting.

Only a few moments after getting a less strong fill of her drink, Huruma takes one more look up and down the bar, leaning in to Megan, one hand fixing that ever escaping streak of hair, casual as can be.

“It is going to bother me if I do not find out.” Is all the explanation that the tall woman offers before she steps away from her seat at the bar. There’s even a slight ‘watch out’ gesture for Megan as Eve goes sidling up to get a drink. She’s a big girl, she can handle Eve. Probably. Huruma probably heard about the hospital and the tuba.

The unseen coat of energy coming from Huruma focuses more inward again, circling her vicinity rather than listening to the bustling whole of the party. Another step pulls her into a gliding sidestep, silent despite her size; Emily may not even notice she has a stalker until she speaks up, slinking closer on the young woman’s nine o'clock with that smoky voice practically in her ear. Huruma only has to bend slightly at the waist for this, enough that her earrings dangle against the lean lines of her jaw.

“You seem tense.”

“You know me, terrible as always,” Richard replies with a broad grin to Peyton’s tease, stepping in to return that light embrace and to brush a kiss back against her cheek before disengaging a step, “It’s— “

He, too, is drawn to look over. At the sight of the cape he rolls his eyes, “It is. He’s going by Alister Black now, in what Times Magazine has rated the sixth worst concealed identity this decade. He’s trying to take over Staten Island, but he’s not seeing a lot of success so far.”

“It looks like your gala here’s a success, at least,” he allows affably, looking to watch the man carrying the parcel over with a lingering fall of his attention on the painting-sized object, “So that’s good for the school— so what’s the last item?”

Megan glances at Huruma as the tall woman leaves the bar, shaking her head in vague amusement. She gives a nod of thanks to the bartender, who slid both of the drinks in front of Megan just before Eve arrived. "Go follow to the string, kitty," she teases Hooms in a murmur. She has nothing against the seer… it's just Eve. Kind of … distracting and always sort of 'out there' and making bits of trouble. But the redhead does step a bit more sideways to make room for the crazy hat that's taking up space at the bar. It brings her into closer proximity to Marlowe, Gwen, and Jim on the opposite side of Peyton, so she finally gets a little social, offering, "Hello … I hope you don't mind extra company." The hat needs a seat of its own.

“Would you believe another battery?” Peyton says with a smirk in Richard’s direction, because clearly, it isn’t. She smiles at those coming closer, a nod for Megan and then for Eve. “Of course not. That’s what this is about — well, and fundraising,” she says. Because let’s be honest, that’s her goal.

The man holding the parcel turns sideways, giving his ‘exuse me, pardon me’s’ along the way, but manages not to hit anyone with the awkward package he’s carrying. “Miss Whitney! So sorry I’m late. The inspiration hit me a little late this afternoon, and I had to let it dry before I could bring it over. It looks like the evening’s going swimmingly, though? Oh, God, there’s a lot of people here, I need a drink.” He turns, pale eyes seeking the bartender’s. “Barman! A whiskey, neat, if you’d be so kind, and like, stat. Please. Just… Whoa, so many people.”

Peyton laughs, summoning the emcee over to take the parcel from the frenetic man before he drops it on someone. “Orwell, thank you for coming. I was afraid we’d have to go without your presence,” she says warmly, before turning to those still nearby. “This is Orwell Gidding — you might have heard about his paintings in the news. He surprised me just this past week with a kind offer to give us a new work for the raffle.”

She turns to glance at the parcel being carried toward the stage area, and looks at Orwell as he grasps for the glass the bartender has so kindly poured for him. “I certainly hope it’s nothing too scandalous, since I haven’t seen it,” she says — mostly wryly but there might be some concern behind that smirk.

After a swallow that empties half the whiskey in the glass, Orwell turns to look at the faces nearby. “You can call me O.G. Orwell sounds so stodgy,” he says, one hand reaching up to straighten his tie — that he isn’t wearing. “Oh, shit.”

Tense? If Emily's stalker thought she was tense before, it leaps up into into a whole new T E N S E category at the voice in her ear. Surprise, validated paranoia, anger, the desire to physically lash out at the unexpected earworm… her heart is pounding. She turns toward the speaker with a jerk of her head, the tension overflowing into an exasperated "Jesus Christ, what's the matter with you?" as she eyes the dark woman over the top of her sunglasses. Her shoulders flatten back against her wheelchair, her breath escaping her in a short exhale. She hadn't realized she'd need to have eyes on the back of her head tonight, too.

"No. Seriously— that's your opener?" she asks, voice flat and notably still laced with the aforementioned ~tension~. It's one step off from open irritation, accompanied by a glare.

Naturally, this is precisely what Huruma was going for. Full lips curl up in a closed, secret smile down at the young woman, brows arching higher as Emily decides to rebuke her. Anger sure is a tactic.

“I could tell you the list of things ‘the matter’ with me, but then you would probably wheel away at speed.” Huruma’s answer comes a little less deeply than her first words, alight with the notes of a laugh. Her arms move behind, hands clasping at her back. The glaring and bristling seems to do absolutely nothing. “I needed to think of one on my way over. Very tight time frame, you see.” And as for why she’s even here, Huruma gets to the point, tone skirted with a coo of interest. “You are so familiar… and yet you are a stranger.” Cryptic, just a bit. “Do you have sisters…?”

Her interaction with Richard Ray earlier likely comes back to mind, but this time it has a different feel.

“Well, OG, it’s a pleasure…” The warm greeting trails off briefly as something strikes Richard suddenly, nd he slants a look over to Peyton before he moves to step past her and over towards the socially awkward artist, offering with a chuckle, “I know the feeling. These crowds drive me nuts as well— Richard Ray, good to meet you.” His name is probably a little more famous, much to his dislike at times.

One hand claps to the man’s shoulder in an affable manner, admitting, “I’m a bit of an art collector myself, I’ve heard… good things about your work, actually. I’d love to get a chance to take a look at it myself— ” The glass he’s holding, empty, is set on the bar as he orders, “Jim Beam, Old Fashioned, thanks.”

Marlowe, upon catching an eye from Megan, lifts her cocktail in a short, silent hello. Upon the other woman's approach closer to their unofficial section of bar, she sidles a few scant paces to give way. "Come on over," she encourages, head tipping to the slot. "Some party, huh? Got to admit, I was looking to get that solar battery." Raffles and dancing and wine spilling all inclusive. A moment's pause taken when she spots Richard Ray, but she's content to watch the ongoings of conversation from her possibly prized positioning. "I'm Marlowe, engineer at Yamagato Industries," she introduces to Megan. That'd explain the interest with the battery, perhaps.

Meanwhile, Luther's polishing off his N-th appetizer to the point he's stepping around gala goers and excusing himself to head to the men's room for some washing up.

The well-spoken and very direct response to the rhetorical interjection that she'd let out has Emily disturbed more than before. She was a little too startled a moment ago to fully formulate the thought, but the dark woman lingering by her side is putting off a distinct predatory vibe. The woman's calm, if not proud acknowledgement that there's a lot wrong with her nudges Emily to quietly harbor the suspicion, not for the first time recently, that she's in the close vicinity of a murderer.

She has a feeling that unlike with Richard, this woman's not going to be so easily shaken off. "You first, lady - who are you?" Because if she's going to sit here with her skin crawling, she'd rather have a name to direct her swearing to.

For all Emily's bravado, the unease is back and worse than before. First Richard Ray, claiming to know Julie's family, asking about her familiarity with a Wolfhound agent… now this woman. God, she thought the worst thing she was going to have to put up with tonight were a couple of fobs complaining about the lack of curated golf courses or the price of oil, but no, she's getting a lot more than she bargained for this evening. She was paying the price now for the high that was Eve Mas earlier. And the chill running down her spine makes her want to lie to this woman, so unless she's someone worth telling the truth to…

Megan joins Marlowe with her two-fists of drinks, leaving one on the bar at Marlowe's elbow while she waits for Huruma to stop playing stalk-and-pounce on the girl who resembles Julie. "Hey. Nice to meet you. Megan Young … Nurse Ratched of Elmhurst," she snickers. "At least if you ask the incompetent ones." She gestures to the assemblage. "Some party doesn't exactly seem to adequately cover it," she chuckles, sipping from her glass of scotch. "There's wine, Eve Mas, and from what I can see, a mass exodus of men to the head. I can't decide whether those of us left should be afraid or laughing our asses off." Her blue eyes are lit with amusement, though. All the guys running away has tweaked her funny bone.

Huruma is mostly behaved these days— the only murder she does anymore is on the clock.

“Oh, I like you.” That’s not a name, but one comes straight after. “Huruma.” A look over her shoulder to briefly check the entourage at the bar, and then she tilts a more personable smile down to Emily. She has her hands to herself, and doesn’t look like she wants to bite- - maybe it’s fine. “You look remarkably like a young lady who works at Elmhurst. That is why I am interested.” There is an elaboration for Emily next, unprompted, possibly welcome. Huruma shifts, hands remaining at her back and frame easing from one heel to the other. Her eyes stay on the girl, watchful of her moods. “I knew some of her family, a long time ago.” It is this that she chooses not to elaborate on.

The seer sips her drink politely and calmly a fun front for the woman, nothing to see here. Tapping her fingers in the bar, she winks at Megan, “Looking good gal.” But something is being said right next to her and she blinks before wheeling around and leaning into the group to peer at Orwell’s face. “My goddess…Brother Seer” she breathes and comes further into the group her eyes traveling Orwell’s face and his body. “I went to the house.. that family is precious. The Padilla’s. Just to see the sheet..” Eve blinks as she trails off and her eyes darken because she remembers what she saw on that sheet. “Eve.. Or you can call me Sister Seer, I love you work.”

A light twinkles in Eve’s eyes and a few hairs stand up on her arms, finding another seer and during this time, it excites her. “The one of the Dark and the White.. facing off. I have thoughts about it, things close to what I've seen. Can we have tea?” Eyeing where Jim is standing, “There is another like us, he should maybe come along with.”

Eve’s eyes widen and she takes in that there are other friends there, “Ahhh I’m sorry, Richard.” Eve’s face breaks out into a wide smile as she leans forward to yank her friend's hand forward as she shakes it, “You look snazzy.” Taking a deep drink from her tequila, eyes looking over the rim.

There's an involuntary skeptical tilt of her head at Huruma as she clarifies she, too, knew Julie's family. By extension, that's her family too, after all. The pit of unease in her stomach is blossoming out, threatening to grow tendrils that take over her whole form — that’ll make her spit out an excuse for leaving and spur her arms into action to get her gone. It's becoming quietly obvious that the walls of privacy between her and Julie mean that there's been something pretty big that's been left unmentioned. She's run into too many acquaintances lately. That's going to be an uncomfortable conversation when she gets back home.

It's not like she doesn't trust Julie… but she also wants to head into that conversation a little more armed than throwing out names of suspicious acquaintances. Her lips purse together before she carefully introduces herself, the discomfort at revealing information about herself plain in her voice. "Huruma, who in my family did you know?" she asks slowly, then concedes, "You can call me Emily."

Seers. More than one. Standing at the bar. Next to Megan… who knows a lot more about what Richard Ray used to do than he might realize —
he came a long way from Chicago Air when she briefly worked there sort of with his crowd. Megan downs her own drink and then picks up Huruma's, really ill at ease suddenly and unable to honestly articulate why. Maybe chalk it up to several years in the trenches with Huruma and Benjamin Ryans. And now Eve's …. oh God. Whatever is brewing, the nurse really wants no part of. If it's seers of the future, nothing good has ever come of that lot, in her opinion.

The redhead makes a pointed effort to merely greet Eve with a small smile — cuz bless her heart — and focus her attention on Marlowe. Men doing gang-toidy is a much easier conversation for her.

Huruma’s eyes track the small movements of the teenager in silence, her senses examining the dangerous creep of uncomfortable feelings down Emily’s back. Wordlessly, the empath’s stature softens, her stare doing the same, and her ability reaching out to cozily drape across her radius, including Emily in its trickling aura of calm. More laughter around them, more smiles, less straight backs, subtle things.

So she is definitely related to Julie, by her own admission- - which Huruma seems pleased about- - and the gift of her name is by itself an attempt to build some sort of bridge. It’s a wobbly one.

“Julie. Her sister. Her parents. Jensen, more than Lorraine…” Huruma’s voice is low, spoken solely for Emily and with a sense of reverence. Two are dead, one is… lost. For once in this exchange, she allows herself to glance away from the girl in the chair and back again. Perhaps a moment of silence. “…It is good to know that she has someone after all.”

Peyton looks amused as Richard and then Eve descend upon poor O.G., lifting her own glass for a sip. “Farewell anonymity. You’ll probably regret this night,” she says lightly. “Thank you for the donation, though. I should go say hello to some people I see that I haven’t spoken to,” she says, leaving her glass behind and moving away, a hand patting Richard’s shoulder as she passes him. “Go easy on ‘em,” she says. Truly, there’s something rabbity about the tense man, like he might just spring away like a march hare.

Orwell, or OG, takes the offered hands, blue eyes darting from Richard to Eve. “Oh, yeah, this has been a bit of a crazy ride. I didn’t know what I was, you know, and then suddenly the Padillas found my stuff, and I guess they think it’s prophetic. I don’t think all of it is but who knows what is and what isn’t, right, when you see something in your mind and then you paint it? You probably know, Miss Mas. Can you tell when it’s something from your mind or a vision? I can’t promise this painting is anything but just a painting, but I guess it’s good no one’s spending money on it.”

He finally takes a breath, followed by another swallow of whiskey, draining the glass and turning to the bartender for another. “You can see this one,” he tells Richard, waving to the emcee to unwrap the thing, since it’s about to be raffled off anyway. The wave of his hand shows he’s still got some paint, some green smudged on his thumb, a little blue on the palm near the wrist.

The emcee begins to unwrap it carefully, before realizing several pairs of eyes are on them anyway, so he gestures for the microphone and his assistant, who holds it up to his mouth, since his hands are full. “Ladies and Gents, our final raffle of the evening,” the emcee intones dramatically, “is a painting by the prophet painter known as OG, Orwell Gidding, painted just this afternoon. Who knows what future it will tell?”

As he begins to unwrap the work, Peyton glances over her shoulder from across the room, looking a little nervous. Hopefully it’s nothing that will shock the partygoers. A little shock and awe goes a long way of course.

"You wound me," Richard quips as Peyton asks that he goes easy on the painter, a laugh in his eyes if not on his lips, and then he looks back to Orwell and Eve— the latter's arrival earning her an easy nod, a wry note to his voice as he notes, "You're going to be on the internet again as soon as some teenagers reach the library, Eve, I hope you realize. And th— " His hand's grabbed, and he returns the firm shake, "Thank you. You look like you're doing… better, still. Good." You must be taking your medication isn't spoken, but it's pretty firmly implied there.

The skittish painter's words are met with a sympathetic look. "I wouldn't know myself," he admits, "But once there's a prediction, well… it's usually not a one and done sort of thing. Your life's likely to change from this point, assuredly. I'd offer some advice on how to handle it, but Ms. Mas here would probably be able to give better than I ever could… and I'd like to meet your friend, too, Eve." Hazel eyes sweep the room as he takes a sip of the drink, looking for whoever she was indicating earlier - and then the painting is being unwrapped, and his full focus snaps in that direction.

“There’s a meddling kid here to expose my goodwill onto the interwebs..?” Eve barks out laughter, “I’m in!” Clapping her hands with delight before she frowns, “Ah maybe not, show me to this child I will seek her out later and delete the footage.” She says in a low voice before turning to look more closely at Orwell. “Sometimes, it's like an old friend just popping in to say hello, except she almost always leaves news of some dire situation. Some end of the world. Some coming of the Gods.” Eve waves her hand dismissively, it's always something with the future.

“Maybe we can have a sit down then, you should meet Jim and our sister seer Tamara, she's a peach. A real curious nugget. How about, your place? If you're having trouble knowing which windows are pointing forward I bet we can take a look at the other works you have done.” A sly smile crosses wine colored lips, “I can bring a few of mine to show.” Show and tell it is then. “Oh Richard you must come along then and meet Jim he's a sweet man. You'd get along.” As the painting of the precog Eve and Richard are engaged in conversation with begins to be unwrapped the pale woman becomes silent, shaking the ice in her glass with a soft clink.

The tiny form of Tibby pads softly to the bar near Huruma and orders a double of whiskey, snatching the drink off the bar surface with a nod at the bartender she takes a sip, tilting her head as she listens to the women speak, her half lidded gaze facing forward as if she wasn't paying attention to much at all but Huruma, Tibby finds herself not being able to resist the urge to stare at the tall woman. The South African woman smiles softly despite of herself, she can't help but want to lean in and ask a question but she doesn't find the moment and instead sips her drink, content with standing near for the moment.

She doesn't know what it is, maybe it's the softening of Huruma's posture and the way her voice drops — taken to mean she DOESN'T have ulterior motives towards Julie or her family. Emily's gaze unfocuses for a moment as relief hits her in a slow wave, a breath she didn't know she was holding escaping her. The unease she has subsides back to a dull roar, and she fidgets with the clutch in her lap — hands no longer navigating to be in a position to help spirit her away from the conversation.

When the woman gently says she's glad Julie isn't alone, Emily's head turns back up to her. "She's strong. I'm glad to have her in return." she finds herself saying in return, voice just as soft as Huruma's. She's too relaxed, too keyed on her current conversation overhear Richard's outing comment at the bar, or Eve's response to it.

The uncertainty about everything still sits inside her, coiled, but less loud. She finds herself shaking her head, continuing the conversation on impulse without knowing exactly why. "H-how did you know them?"

With the majority of her attention focused on Emily, the presence on Huruma’s seven is out of sight but noticeable to her ability and her inner notetaking. Tibby does not say a word, and instead gives away a building sense of anticipation and pure interest. Mm.

Hands back to herself and away from her wheels, a fidget rather than a boiling discomfort- - it may be as good a mood as Huruma will get without actively impressing something onto Emily. Stalker qualities aside, the dark woman is intent in her listening and her considering of the right words.

“The Ferrymen. Special Activities. We were the ones with the guns, most of the time.” And with it, a quick, tiny wink.

Eventually the paper is pulled away to reveal the oil panting beneath. At a glance, it looks like it was painted from this very room, looking out at the Statue of Liberty — only it seems intact.

Only it isn’t the Statue of Liberty — at least not the one well known and adored and mourned. Instead, Lady Liberty holds aloft a lightning bolt instead of a torch; the hand that should be gripping a tablet is held out, cupping a flame. Huge wings sprout from her back, and she hovers over the pedestal, as if she were levitating. Her lips are curved into a benevolent smile.

The city buildings that overlook the water are whole and vibrant, seeming to glow with electricity and the vibrance of business and commerce.

“Isn’t that something, ladies and gents,” says the emcee, turning to look for the violinist, who begrudgingly carries the bowl over for him to rattle around with his hand, as he balances the painting on a lifted knee.

OG turns to look at the crowd, his breath held for a moment as his eyes dart from person to person to take in their reactions, before turning to look at Eve and Richard again. “I don’t know… I’m… no one should really come to my place. It’s a mess. Like, it smells like old pizza and paint fumes one hundred percent of the time, but… I mean, that’s really nice of you to ask.” He reaches for his refilled whiskey, taking a swallow and reaching up to wipe his mouth with the cuff of his suit.

“The winner of this fine piece is… Number 103. Number 103, you can claim your beautiful Orwell Gidding original artwork at the bar when you are ready to leave. Be sure to bring up your raffle ticket to reclaim your prize,” the emcee says, looking around at those checking their numbers. “Ladies and gentlemen, that’s our final raffle prize; however, please stay and enjoy the refreshments, music, and of course, one another’s excellent company. We thank you for coming!”

The winning raffle number belongs to Huruma.

“Eve’s got a rather nice place for sitting down to talk as well,” Richard observes, reaching into his jacket and pulling out a business card holder - offering one out to OG with a crooked smile, “I’d love to take a look at any work you’ve produced, honestly, when you have the time. Like I said, I’m a bit of a collector — and Eve, go ahead and set that up if you can, you know how to get in touch with me.”

Not wanting to crowd the poor, overcrowded man, he steps away with the glass in his hand, looking over the painting on display thoughtfully. “Hm. Well that’s… promising?” He seems dubious. Maybe because he’s never seen a possibly-prophetic painting that wasn’t doomsaying before. He pulls his phone out all the same, tapping the camera app - taking a picture of the painting for later use.

There's an initial roil of surprise visible in Emily's masked eyes. Julie?… she starts to think to herself, followed by calm as she logically deduces that Huruma's likely talking about Jensen. She has to be, right? There's a faint breath of laughter that escapes her, a remnant of the initial surprise. It makes sense, at least enough for now. She's somewhat able to forgive Huruma's imposing presence, but is careful to remind herself that yes, she most definitely is talking with a war veteran.

"Thank you for your service." she relates, genuine in that. Without the efforts of the Ferry and their allies, they'd all be living in a very different world after all. Emily might be young, and (until recently) sheltered, but even she knows just how important that war was.

This is the point where conversations normally shift, and some ebb goes with the flow to keep things going back and forth. The only thing she can think to offer up in return is something she'd not normally consider — but she's already been pointed out as having family resemblance, and confessed it herself. The only thing it really does is shade in what's already outlined. "It's Epstein." she says, eyes on Huruma intently now. "Emily Epstein."

Huruma sucks lightly on her teeth with a ‘tch’ of sound. No comment on the gratitude. Emily’s admission is enough to coax her closer. The tall woman leans down to straighten those sunglasses on the teen’s face, a surprising care taken in the delicate gesture. They are her shield, and now her uncanny bridge.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, miss Emily Epstein,” she purrs, only leaning away again when she hears the number being called. Huruma straightens out, posture all the more languid as she looks to the painting for the first time. She untucks her ticket from the flush pocket of her pinstripes, flashing it to her current cohort. “A lovely piece, but I’ve nowhere special to put it. Interested…?”

"A pleasure, Nurse Young," Marlowe replies around a new sip of her drink. "If any of my boys wind up in your care, I'll be sure to let them know to treat you the way they'd like to be treated." Spoken as if the engineering teams operating out in the Safe Zone fall under her purview. Speaking of boys, she eases a smile around her drink, noting the movement of the gala's menfolk described. "Should find out what they've been drinking and make sure to avoid it," she jokes lightly. But, noting the other woman's sudden unease are the gathering of the prophets near their section of the bar, she levels a questioning look to the woman, arching a shaped brow up. "Met your coworker Jim over there, but I get the impression you're here on your own tonight, too?"

Casual conversation on one hand, curiosity shifting to the painting of Levitating Lady Liberty on the other. At the announcement of the raffle number she checks her ticket too, expression quirking with the faintest disappointment and an 'ah well' shrug of a shoulder. It's also impossible to miss the interaction between Huruma and Emily, just by sheer difference of physical appearances. "Wonder what's going on over there," murmurs Marlowe in an aside to her newest acquaintance.

Megan grins a bit at Marlowe. "Well, if you're referring to a date, I'm definitely on my own. I figure it's a good idea to make sure to support things like this. It's what so many of us fought for." Her gaze is thoughtful as she watches the emcee unwrap the painting and she pulls in a slow breath. What in the hell is that one predicting?

And then it belongs to none other than her best friend. It means she'll at least get to look it over —she flashes an amused smile at Huruma as the woman flashes the ticket.

Marlowe's observation of Huruma and the young woman pulls her focus again and Megan considers. "Not sure yet… she just looks like someone we know," the redhead replies. "Huruma went to see if she was any relation." Her eyes come back to Marlowe. "Are you new to New York? I feel like now that you've seen some of what happens at these things — and this is pretty tame, all in all — maybe I better warn you or something," she chuckles.

Huruma's closeness as she reaches down disrupts the relaxed state that Emily had entered into, a bit of surprise visible in her eyes as the woman adjusts her sunglasses. An eyebrow raises as she starts to strongly inform Huruma she'd not given her permission to touch her, but the announcement causes her to turn and take in the sight of the painting. The painted subject of Lady Liberty causes her to remember, fondly, the other night with Julie, so she doesn't look too deeply into the imagery. She's about to file this one away under the growing pile of 'guess what happened at the gala?' stories for later when she sees the winning ticket stub out of the corner of her eye.

"I mean…" she starts to say, looking back to the painting. It'd be nice to have something to decorate the walls with at home, even if it was a potentially prophetic painting. "That's generous. Sure, why not? Besides, worst case scenario is Julie hates it and we donate it to an art gallery somewhere."

“Find me later, then.” Presumably when she is planning to leave. Huruma tucks away her amusement at Emily's offense, deciding that the brief invasion of space was worth it. “I am sure you would find it a home, hm? I'll keep a photo for posterity… you know, because… Oracles.” The tall woman gives a vague wave in the direction of Eve, Peyton, the artist of the piece. Somehow she assumes Emily will just know what she means by it.

“Are you old enough for me to get you a drink?” Huruma is so giving tonight, apparently. But if this one is an Epstein, she treads that legality a wee bit more cautiously. Not that she's afraid of Avi. Quite the reverse. But, standards of behavior, blah blah…

Orwell’s gaze follows Huruma as she offers her painting prize to Emily, then downs another glassful of whiskey. It doesn’t seem to do much to dampen that harelike energy he has, as he turns to take Richard’s business card, peering at it, then sliding it into his jacket pocket. “If you’re a collector, I’m sure we can arrange something, Mr. Ray,” he says, suddenly smiling. “I might have a showing soon. I’ll be sure to give you first dibs.”

He turns to grab a couple of appetizers from one of the circulating waiters, popping one into his mouth and chewing as he turns to look around at the rest of the party. The music swells again, and perhaps it’s something about the melody or just feels like it’s that time of night, but a few people begin to dance near the stage, gowns twirling in time to the waltz the stringed musicians play.

"I wouldn't dare presume," Marlowe replies to Megan with a reflecting smile. "But there's at least a few others flying solo out here." Herself included, even as she casts a glance out over the bar and gala proper. Turning back to the raffle when the painting is revealed and winner of it chosen, she tilts her head at the subject of the painting and can't help the soft laugh that comes out for Megan's expression. "Not your style?" she ventures, "I could imagine the title being like, Wings of Liberty. Freedom Rising. Something… hopeful."

Her mock-pretentious titles trail off with a blink at the woman with her question about being new to New York. "Oh, I've been here a while," she replies with a coy smile curling the edges of her lips, "But good to know that I still carry that 'fresh off the boat' flavor if I need it." Polishing off the rest of her drink in a final gulp, she sets the cocktail glass down and relinquishes her position at the bar, bidding Megan a short farewell. "Enjoy the rest of your evening, Nurse Young." As she walks away, there is purpose to her movement in slipping around gala goers until she finds her target in reaching for Jonathan's elbow. "Mr. Smith, if you'd care to join me for some air?"

Megan grins a little at the commentary on the art. "Let's just say that finding out it's prophetic? That always sends something of a chill up my spine," she admits to Marlowe. "Seems to me that prophecy and seeing the future never really bodes well for anyone…" Blue eyes study the painting a long moment. "Not sure how to feel about that one. I really have never heard of a positive prophetic painting, as awful as that probably sounds."

The redhead smiles though as the other woman takes her leave. "It's been a pleasure, Marlowe. I hope you enjoy the evening."

When Marlow finds Jonathan he has recently received his golden ticket for the custom suit, from one the stage helpers and is engaging him in a quiet conversation on merits of using local crafters than mass produced. He is looking at the ticket with amusement and possibly a touch of pleasure. It’s the simple things really. “Miss Terrell,” he greets her brightly. “Sorry about earlier… I was going to return, but this gentleman and I started to talk—”

The question catches Jonathan by surprise and brows lift, with a glance towards the patio and the fresh smell of rain drifting through. “Why not…” He holds his arm out for her in a rather gentlemanly manner and an awkward smile; though not till he pushed those black frames back up on his nose. “I imagine there is quite the light show going on out there as well.”

As he directs her outside, Jonathan murmurs softly and conversationally, “Peyton has done an amazing job. Do you know? I worked for her up in Canada during the war?” Marlowe will definitely hear about it.

Emily's gaze follows the nonchalant wave in the direction of Eve and Peyton and the artist, and then it cycles back to Huruma. She keeps a poker face, but definitely has no idea what she's getting at.

"Could definitely use a drink after all this." she says, more to herself than to the woman offering to get her one. It's not like she makes a habit of drinking, but some occasions call for it. Acting adult at a gala is a more valid situation than wanting take the edge off her nerves, but both could be achieved, here.

“Then I’ll be back.” Technically it’s not a confirmation, but Huruma doesn’t care enough to seek it out. She gives a smile down to Emily, holding up a hand in a gesture of ‘just a minute’. Chances are that it won’t be strong, if just because Huruma doesn’t want to get in as much trouble if someone calls her out. It’ll be fine. Not long after Marlowe wanders away from Megan, Huruma reappears at her side with a low pitched chuckle, an eye on her friend as she leans over the bar to coax something light off of the bartender.

“So,” Huruma begins, looking back over her bare shoulder to where she left the young lady last, a brow raised when she looks back to Megan, and an answer in a hushed tone. “Emily Epstein. Related to Julie and her parents. Somehow I am surprised at such an obvious intersection.”

Blink. Megan stares at Huruma. "You're fucking kidding me, right?" She's kind of flabbergasted. She had no idea Shades had kids. Hell, she has to wonder if Shades knows Shades has a kid. "Six degrees of separation my lily-white ass." It's about the only thing she can think to say. She doesn't think she could have been more surprised if you'd told her Emily was a Ryans. "That's going to make your trip back up to Rochester amusing as hell," she murmurs, sipping the drink in her hand. "I'm starting to feel rather like a fossil, just so you know."

It is a strange sight as men are suddenly pouring out of the bathroom, but one in particular suddenly splits off from the herd and starts to pick up his pace. Cooper watches Sylvester's progress, while dodging and sidestepping other guests. He doesn’t run, but walks a lot faster than his co-worker. Almost bumping into several of the folks in attendance.

For a moment, he does disappear in the crowd and there might be some gasping… but a fast as Cooper falls, he pops up again straightening his suit. He pats down his hair and points to the floor behind him. “Careful, I think someone spilled their drink.” That may or may not be true… but he doesn’t stay still long.. Thomas had a goal.

Eventually, he arrives at his destination…

“Eve…” Cooper starts, though a little winded from his power walk… and fall, so her name is gasped out. He really needed to get back on his regime. His voice drops and he leans closer, “People are complaining… and one of my fellow agents is here. I think he plans to escort you out. We should probably g- ” Whatever he was going to say trails off, watching Sylvester in the crowd.

After a moment of consideration, he turns back to the woman, “You know what, Eve…” There is a mischievous turn of his expression and he steps back. Tucking a hand behind his back, he suddenly bows a little and offers the other one to the seer. “My dear lady,” he starts … doing the worst impression of snotty rich person, “Would you care to dance?”

“OG, I got you baybay. I'll come find you, or you come find me. Cat’s Cradle baby and don't mind the smoke it's medicinal.” She swears about to go further and then her date is sliding up and laying a hand on her arm, “I have only been escorted out of ten galas, this will not be my eleventh!” Or will it? Downing her drink Eve slams it on the bar surface and lets out a, “WAAOOOO!”

Wheeling around to look down at Cooper’s offered hand with a wide eyed gasp, “Charmed! I'm just charmed, thrilled. Absolutely!” Taking Cooper’s hand with an dramatic dip of her waist her eyes grow crazed and she snorts as she draws Cooper in close before she is now leading him to the dance floor, that devilish smiling so wide it must hurt (it doesn't). Coming to the middle of the floor Eve smacks Cooper’s ass and then starts to move, “Alright Donut! I've been trying to learn the new dances to keep up, Chicken would say I'm still behind BUT I'm trying.” Eyes screwed up in concentration.

“Let's twerk my darling.”

Slapping both hands on her thighs the pale woman bends over and kicks her long dress off from her heels, she wiggles her body as she gyrates and flaps her butt up and down. “Come on!”

“Oh my God.” Richard brings one hand up to rub over his face, “Sorry you had to see that, OG…” He looks at the drink in his hand for a long moment, and declares, “I think I need something stronger, excuse me…”

He steps along over to the bar, shaking his head. Maybe he should’ve brought a date to rescue him from this… everything!

“I may save this knowledge for a more opportune time,” Huruma taps her temple at Megan. “Because as amusing as asking him about her sounds… I do have a sense of decency. Sometimes.” The taller woman drapes an arm down over the redhead’s shoulders, picking up the drink— probably something lame and safe— for Emily in her other hand. “Fossil? Oh, no. Go with coal. Enough pressure for long enough, you become diamond, hm?” Megan will never get away with the self-deprecation. “If you want, you could always come meet her.” Huruma takes a step back, fingers trailing affectionate over the loose part of her friend’s hair. She has a drink to deliver.

Her return to Emily’s side comes with the lazy passing of the drink in hand, dangled in offer to the teenager. No sooner does she deliver it, the emotions bubbling up from both Cooper, Eve, and people acting as onlookers draws her attention at full. Whatever passive expression she had before is replaced silently by a flattening of her mouth and a glaze of her eyes. She should have gotten another one for herself.

“Eve, please, you are much too white for that.”

While Huruma is gone, Emily's eyes roam the floor and note that some people have started dancing, so she's sure to nudge herself firmly away from that with a lazy roll of her hand. She's not interested in being in flailing distance of the graceful dancers, nerves already frazzled enough for the evening. Though as she rolls inadvertently closer to the bar, it's hard to not overhear the conversation that's ongoing. Namely Eve, in all her vibrance.

The roll she'd taken forward is halfway reversed to make sure she's out of the way of the two, and she floats her hand to the other wheel to help her spin to watch them go. She's not sure what to make of it, but luckily Huruma's back with the drink. Emily looks up to politely thank her, glass in one hand, when she sees the tall woman's face harden, and sees where her eyes go.

When her gaze follows and sees what highly-out-of-place dance style is occurring on the floor, the glass in her hand is lowered to a suitable drinking heighth, and she takes a much larger gulp of the moscato than she would otherwise.

It's quite possible that every other moment around Eve is a memeable moment. Twerking to Mozart? It's all too high energy for her, though, and the one scene already would have been good enough. Huruma's expressed displeasure with the woman makes her wince visibly, quickly looking down into her glass to have another sip. Oh man. Maybe it was time to see herself out.

There is absolutely no surprise when Eve goes wild, Cooper know the woman enough that when she starts up to just go with it. When his ass gets slapped, he give her a mock incredulous look, “You cheeky thing, what would Gillian say?” To be fair, probably nothing.

Where he draws the line it Twerking… Cooper doesn’t twerk. Sorry! “Eve-Babe, you are too good, my moves would pale in comparison.” He bops in a rhythm of music that really isn’t there. He is pretty content at the moment to let her do her thing, she’s not hurting anyone, even if people twirl around them and stare with confused looks. The ones Cooper notices get a smile and a ‘What’sup?’ nod of his head.

Then an idea occurs to him. “Eve! Hey Eve.” Cooper sounds a touch excited about the idea, though he tries to avoid getting backed up on by the enthusiastic twerker. “Beauty and the Beast.” He whispers loudly with a bright grin and holding his arms out in position. “Come on, I know you’ve seen it. Let’s dance like that… Come on… you know you want too.” His brows lift high as if waiting for her answer.

One would wonder how Thomas Cooper knows of this movie. Then he starts singing, badly… under his breath, “Tale as old as time… “ He might have had to watch it. “True as it can be.” A lot… “Barely Even Friends… Come on, Eve. You’ve gotta know these words.” Probably lost count of how many time, because… He’s a dad.

That’s it. The violinist has had enough. She simply stops playing and starts packing up — the other three chamber musicians continue without her while giving each other wild eyed looks to question what they should do. Luckily the emcee is on it, and he knows when to give up the posh and go with the popular sentiment, so he heads to the musicians and thanks them quietly, handing them their check for a gig well done… well, begrudgingly done. Luckily there’s a sound system set up so he simply pulls out his Iphone and hooks it up. Unfortunately, the first synthesized chords in B minor that come up are instantly familiar.

Peyton looks over from wherever she’s chatting, eyes narrowing at the change in music as Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” come over the speakers. Rick rolling isn’t exactly the vibe she was going for, but it’s late, and, well, the emcee’s music taste runs toward terrible. She can roll with it.

So to speak.

The red-headed nurse grins wickedly as Hooms trails away, winking when her friend plays with her hair. "I like being a diamond. Everyone loves the sparkle," she teases back with a dramatic widening of her eyes. She shakes her head a little, though, at the invitation to meet Emily Epstein. "Another time. She looks rather overwhelmed as it is," she points outs.

If Megan managed to not choke on her drink when Eve began twerking, the effort is ruined when Huruma tells the seer she's too white for that. Meg was mid-swallow when those words happened, and she is suddenly wheezing, her laugh interspersed with a coughing fit. There are literally tears of laughter on her face while she cough. The change in music just makes it worse.

OMG, the things that happen around here.

At Richard's elbow, Nicole sputters as the music comes on. "Oh no," she groans, turning and sweeping her gaze across the floor a little blearily — this is not her first dirty gin martini. "This was my jam in first grade." She giggles quietly and turns her attention to the familiar face at her side. "Kids these days just don't understand," lamented to him, as though he would be on the same wavelength.

She knows he isn't, and it really doesn't matter. "I won this magnificent battery from Raytech," which is sitting on the floor between her feet and the bar for the moment, "and I'm afraid someone's going to mug me for it on the way home."

That's not entirely facetious.

Nicole lifts her brows and slants a grin. "Do you wanna get out of here?"

“Did you just turn a Will Smith song around on me, Nicole?” A grin tugs up at Richard’s lips as he looks over to Nicole past his own drink, pausing for a moment to take a swig of whatever it is. He hasn’t really been too picky about what he drinks tonight — probably a good thing that he’s spent more than a few years building up a tolerance by drinking to forget.

It never works.

Then he laughs, offering his arm, “Sure— I came alone, I might as well escort you home with that lovely prize of yours. We can catch up.”

Perhaps the most unlikely pair to be leaving together (okay, no, Eve is here somewhere and God Alone Knows who she’d drag out with her), they head for the door, the battery carried along with them.

Emerging from the men's room hot on Cooper's heels, Luther has the sense to slow down before he reaches the rectangular edges of the dance floor. And upon seeing Eve's enthusiastic gyrations… he holds back his confusion in favor of an indulging smile and shake of his head. Oh Ducky.

His vantage once more gives him a decent spot to observe the gala, and as he finally spots his boss and Nicole, too, and Luther shifts position, moving around the crowd to intersect paths with them just enough to send the RayTech CEO a short nod of acknowledgment, but not to interrupt his conversation.

Seeing the quartet pack up, Luther heads to the bar for at least a drink or two more before the night is over.

As each guest leaves, they are handed small gift bags, royal blue with a gold Winslow-Crawford seal; inside is some swag — pen, keychain, notepad all bearing the same WC logo — along with a handwritten thank you note from a few of the new students of the school.

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