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Old 01-29-2011 at 03:38 AM
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Lucian Michaud

The sound of his voice, however quiet, seemed to echo through the cavern. Lucian would have sworn he could hear it bouncing off the cave walls and repeating over and over again. It was true—possibly the truest thing he’d said in a long time—and it was so utterly taboo. He needed to set his broken and battered heart on someone else. Almost anyone else would have been more appropriate. But nobody else but Ashton made Lucian look forward to the sun coming up in the morning. Natalie had, once. But that had been so long ago. Lucian could remember how he felt, back then. Every day was a new adventure, even the most menial of days. Lucian wondered if it was an inherent flaw in him. That the days stopped being exciting because he’d raised his expectations for passion too high. Maybe the only reason Ashton brightened his world was because this taboo thing he felt for her was drenched in thrill. She was so vibrant, so in-lust with life that Lucian couldn’t help but feed from her passion. Maybe that was all it was.

Maybe.

Or maybe that was just a fraction of what he felt. Or maybe it was a way for Lucian to dismiss the other, budding and dangerous ideas bubbling beneath his mind’s surface. All he knew was that when Ashton smiled, he felt warmth swell in his chest. When their eyes met, Lucian lost the cloudiness for a moment of sweet clarity.

“I feel quite the same way as well, Lucian.”

And when Ashton said that, Lucian couldn’t ignore the surge of happiness in his veins. In the dim torchlight, she shone. It bathed her in whitish-yellow light and soft blue reflected on her gold hair. This beautiful, bright young woman genuinely enjoyed his company. His son’s fiancée enjoyed his company. Lucian’s smile softened and faded altogether as Damien’s face swam into his imagination. His only child. His pride and joy. The one person Lucian had always loved more than himself. What was Lucian doing to Damien with all this? Suddenly, his happiness hurt. He walked a razor-thin line where Ashton was concerned and any little misstep nicked him just a bit.

“Here,” Ashton said, taking hold of Lucian’s hand.


At her touch, Lucian inhaled a little sharply and tiny goose-pimples sprouted on his arm. They felt like tiny pin-pricks. Just as Lucian convinced himself he could handle Ashton’s touch—her embraces, her grabbing his hand—he’d swear her off. And then, right after that she’d reach for him again and he couldn’t help his reaction. Lucian clenched his jaw for a moment and exhaled slowly through his nose as e and Ashton crouched down, hand in hand. She dipped his hand into the water. Little, squishy fish-mouths kissed Lucian’s fingertips, hungrily mistaking them for worms. He tried to ignore Ashton’s eyes and smile on him again, but Lucian could still feel them and a lopsided, half-smile tugged at one side of his mouth. He could ignore her gaze. He could ignore her smile. But Ashton was still holding his hand.

“Who takes care of them I wonder…” Ashton mused quietly.

Lucian knew the answer to that. He stared at the fat fish swimming around in search for food.

“The opera employees,” he said with a small shrug. “Ballerinas, stage hands… They come down here and feed their left-over lunches to the fish.”

He paused and looked over at Ashton. His cock-eyed, half-smile was still in place.

“You know, I brought some bread if you wanted to feed them.” He jerked his head towards the briefcase lying not-quite-forgotten on the ground behind them. “If you’d like…”
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Old 01-29-2011 at 05:47 AM
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Ashton Greene

Something was right. Ashton held Lucian’s hand in hers, and he held hers in his. Her hand felt so small in comparison, but her fingers interlocked with his in a way they hadn’t before. From beneath the soft rippling of the water, Ashton could feel a pulse in between the hands. She didn’t know who’s it was, but it was definitely there.

There was no engagement looming over their head. There was no divorce paper to be signed. There was only her, Lucian, some fish, and a beautiful cavern. There was no Henry Greene. There was no awkwardness. Something was right.

“The opera employees. Ballerinas, stage hands… They come down here and feed their left-over lunches to the fish.”

Ashton smiled. It was nice to know that the fish weren’t starving. But Ashton always wondered if every fish in the lake got food.

“You know, I brought some bread if you wanted to feed them. If you’d like…”

“If I’d like?” Ashton asked, allowing his hand to slip from hers, but not wanting it to. She wanted it to remain there for longer. “Of course I’d like.”

She wondered how it was Lucian, who had only known her for several months, knew her so well. He was proactive in guess what she’d like. He was kind in the proper ways. He said the things that only Ashton would appreciate. It was too good to be true.

And it wasn’t.

Because at the end of the day, he was still Damien’s father. He was still older than her, a piece of the world kept embodied in him that she would never, in any amount of time, fully grasp. But the one thing she could grasp was his hand. They both understood that.


If I can't hear the music, and the audience is gone,

I'll dance here on my own.


Banners by Rose, my sister, and me.
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Old 01-30-2011 at 01:25 AM
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 Post [53] »


Lucian Michaud

Ashton was smiling again. The reflected and dancing light from the top of the lake sparkled in her hair. Lucian was thankful for his accidental discovery of one of the Populaire’s worst-kept secrets. But the moment passed at the mention of feeding the fish. Ashton released Lucian’s hand and left it cold and alone in the water.

“If I’d like?” she echoed. “Of course I’d like.”

Lucian pushed off the ground and wandered to his briefcase. He opened it and the metallic click bounced around the echoing cave. He pulled out a Ziploc bag with a couple slices of bread in it and offered it to Ashton when he returned.

“Have at it,” he said, going back down on his haunches. “There’s plenty.”

He’d grabbed the leftover bread in the house, actually. He’d have to restock the kitchen anyways and the bread would just go mouldy if left alone on top of the refrigerator much longer. It was perfect fish-food. Lucian would know. Years of parenting had taught him what food was best for feeding the ducks and fish and pigeons Damien had once found fascination with. Back then, he never once thought he’d need that information for going to the opera with a lady. He smiled at the thought and plucked a few crumbs of bread from the bag to sprinkle them across the top of the lake.
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Old 01-30-2011 at 03:42 AM
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 Post [54] »


Ashton Greene

Ashton’s heart felt heavy when Lucian walked away. What felt like an eternity was really only a few seconds, but it was long enough for Ashton’s smile to fade, and for her anticipation to rise to extraordinary levels.

“Have at it. There’s plenty.”

Ashton smiled and took a piece of bread, rough and hard in her hands, and broke up into pieces just big enough for the fishes’ mouths.

There was silence as the fish ate. But the silence almost slipped past, unnoticed. It wasn’t heavy, it wasn’t stiff. The void was filled with the running water in the lake and bread plopping lightly for the fish to devour, flopping over each other in constant competition for a bread crumb.

Ashton wanted a fish, a pet one, this time. Not because fish were her favourite animal, but because she had a need to take care of something, some one, some living thing that involved energy and effort and affection.

She had Lucian.

And somehow, Lucian had her, too.

“Next weekend,” she said, breaking the silence, “I’m doing a solo at the Rouge. It would mean the world to me if you came…”

There would be no chair shimmying this time, no leg kicks, no showing off bits she wanted to keep closed off to the public eye. Just her, on a stage, with a piano and a back-up band, singing to her heart’s content a song that was incredibly fun and passionate. It epitomized performing.

But she didn’t want him to feel obligated, tied down.

“That is, if you want to. Don’t let me force anything…”

She glanced down at her lap and after a moment, back up.

“Do you want to?”


If I can't hear the music, and the audience is gone,

I'll dance here on my own.


Banners by Rose, my sister, and me.
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Old 01-30-2011 at 04:39 AM
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Lucian Michaud

A silence stretched between the mismatched pair. Lucian, couldn’t help but to feel an ounce of tension. Ashton’s face had taken on a rosy glow as she happily fed the fish. A strand of golden hair had fallen into her hazel eyes and Lucian had the urge to reach over and brush it away or to tuck it neatly behind her ear. If he did that, he would be able to feel the fluttery pulse in her neck. He swallowed. What would it be like, if Lucian reached over and kissed her? No one would know except for him and Ashton. They were alone, after all, in a relatively deserted place. They may have lived together and been alone together in the Bois or at a bistro, but this aloneness felt oddly electrifying. There was the off-chance that they’d get caught, but honestly... That chance was beyond slim. There was also the chance that she would panic. If he kissed her now—even as an experiment or in something like platonic curiosity—she could easily see him as trying to take advantage of her. He could never. He would never. But she had to know what her presence did to his senses. After all, she knew that the last woman to have kissed him had been a drunken blind date of whom Lucian thought little. She knew that Natalie had cheated on him and kicked him out of the bedroom. Ashton had to know that Lucian was a man. A lonely man. She had to know that she was beautiful. She was. She exuded grace and confidence and charisma. She had to know the draw she had for Lucian. She had to. He’d told her mildly how he felt, only moments ago. But maybe, just maybe, she’d mistaken his words for those of a friend. Maybe that was why she agreed to enjoying his company. Maybe that was why she was so willing to go with him somewhere this secluded. He was safe. He was no threat to her engagement—he was her fiancée’s father, after all. She trusted him. She trusted him not to abuse their friendship. She trusted him to keep his hands to himself.

He couldn’t break that trust.

Lucian ripped a chunk of bread in his hands.

“Next weekend,” Ashton said. Lucian jumped at the sound of her voice and dropped his bread chunk into the water. “I’m doing a solo at the Rouge. It would mean the world to me if you came…”

He smiled, the frustrated crease between his brows disappeared. It would mean the world to her?

“That is, if you want to. Don’t let me force anything…” She glanced down at her lap and after a moment, back up. “Do you want to?”

“My dear,” he said, meeting her gaze as steadily as he could. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
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Old 01-30-2011 at 05:20 AM
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Ashton Greene

““My dear, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”


There was something in the way he said it, as there was in most things he said. It wasn’t parental, and it skating on the edge of platonic. At least, Ashton hoped it did.

She held tightly to the sliver of hope for her and Lucian. They were both unhappy with everything but each other. It seemed dangerously natural to want to reach out and touch his face, pull it softly towards hers and achieve what wasn’t achieved in the study that night. She wanted to know what it felt like to have his lips to hers. She certainly knew that it was hell to be teased by them. And she hoped that Damien’s would feel half as good as she imagined Lucian’s being.

That was what made this dangerous.

Reciprocated feelings from Lucian meant they could both re-establish their own happinesses on their own terms. No one controlled the strings; no one determined how they felt but themselves. Reciprocated feelings from Lucian meant he could heal from Natalie and she could find the desire and romance she would be missing for the rest of her life.

But unreciprocated feelings could do so much damage. It might hurt Damien. It could cause a tension, awkwardness too unbearable to avoid. It would mean estrangement from him and humiliation. He would see her as an immature, stupid slut who wanted in his pants and to hurt his son in vengeful rage.

Or she could be over-reacting.

She felt herself moving closer, her heart beating faster, through her dress. She felt her hand twitch, inching towards him.

She laid it down gently on his.

“It’s a date.”


If I can't hear the music, and the audience is gone,

I'll dance here on my own.


Banners by Rose, my sister, and me.
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Old 07-17-2011 at 05:16 AM
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OOC: For Dorian and Chianna! BIC:

Chianna Mimieux


Summer was muggy. It stuck her clothes against her body. Made her feel filthy. She was filthy, but she didn’t like feeling filthy, at least not now. The opera house had air conditioning, but all the bodies kept the air warm and sticky. Chianna didn’t like it. She hated people. People hated her. It was a social contract. She hated the other people in her chorus, especially the girls and women. They made her sick. She felt sick around them. It made her sick not being able to yell at them or push them or throw them to the ground and spit on their glass faces. She hated them. The men she hated a little less only because she knew what they had to offer. Business was pleasure.

Chianna ran her finger along the ground. It was cold and the dirt and the dust stuck to her moist hand. She cocked her head and drew a clumsy circle. What was it? She didn’t know yet. Her finger was the artist as well as the paintbrush. It made a few lines around the outside, a few dots here and there, a squiggle to accent the rest. Then she brushed it all away with her dirty palm.

She closed her eyes and smelled the air. It was damp, but it was cold, so it was nice. Not like upstairs where the air smelled like other people – people she hated. This smelled old and was heavy in her nose in a good way. “La la la!” She yelled off key and hoarsely across the water. When the sound came back, she giggled and stretched her arms up way over her head. That was a good sound. Not like the music upstairs. Those stupid chorus girls. She couldn’t stand them. Why was she employed here? Only her other self knew.

Chianna continued singing as she wrapped her hair up in a messy bun and took off her blue blouse and black pants, leaving her in her undershirt and underclothes. As she leapt into the lake, she kept singing. When her body hit the surface, she stopped at the cold shock. Her voice restarted its nonsense tune again as she resurfaced and lay back, letting her warm body cool down as she floated on the surface of the lake. She kept singing. If you could call it singing.


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Old 07-17-2011 at 09:50 AM
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Dorian Grayson

Free! He was freed from mops and buckets and drudgery and boredom for the day, with two blessed days off ahead of him. Blessed? Just where had that come from?! The closest he'd come to anything blessed would be the "poor boxes" he'd raid in his guttersnipe days. After all, wasn't he one of the poor who were supposed to be helped? Was he to stand around till someone decided to give handouts to him? As his often-absent mother had advised him, "Nothin' ever comes to anyone who just waits around for it. Y'gotta grab what you want and not let go." Or something like that... It wasn't as if he'd committed every tarnished-brass word to memory, if it was even worth that. Tin-plated didn't seem quite right. He had headed "downstairs" to check out the tossed-out props, thinking he might find something to add to his new home. Home: It was a foreign concept to him, but he had one for however long it would be left in his possession. When he had received the message, it had been almost beyond belief: The Kensingtons' kerala houseboat was his and would be for some time to come. Yes, there were decorations, carpets and the like, but he admitted to himself that he wanted to add his own touches, something to show that he had been there, mixing his findings among the rest. Unfortunately, everything was so unwieldy that he had walked away sweaty, dirty and empty-handed. The shower at home (home!) was a very long way off, and if he dirtied the shower in the dorm bathroom, he'd end up having to do more cleanup. So, where else was there to go but the lake, deep beneath the building, in the cavernous underground?

As he neared the place, listening to the lapping of water against rocks, he paused as he heard sounds of splashing, not something usual for this rather forbidding place. Besides that, there was singing, a girl's voice ringing out though he couldn't quite make out the words and didn't recognize the song. She certainly couldn't be a chorus girl judging from her voice, not because it was particularly bad but mainly because most singers babied their voices as if they were irreplaceable treasures.

Curious, he finally was in the open, standing on the shore, and he smiled as he watched her floating in the water like some mercreature. Or, was she a siren luring him there? It would take a most unusual song to capture him after he was so often inundated by the sounds of perfect sopranos of all types. She was like a wren among the warblers, and he always had considered wrens charming birds~wrens and sparrows, pigeons and... What else was there? A dove was just a fancier pigeon, or so it seemed to him. A mental shake tossed away those thoughts as he began peeling out of his shirt while simultaneously using one foot then the other, toe-to-heel, to remove his shoes. Then, jeans cast aside, clad only in white briefs, shocking against his dusky skin, he dove into the chill waters, certain he made a much-larger splash than she must have, careful to enter well away from her. There was no way not to startle her, for even an ahem would have echoed loudly down here. Perhaps a "How's the water?" might have been sensible, but it was too late now as he tread water several feet away from her. No need to look as if he was about to pounce.

OOC: I do hope he didn't frighten her out of her wits! BIC:

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Old 07-21-2011 at 12:28 AM
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 Post [59] »


Chianna Mimieux

This was good. It was relaxing. But it wasn't nearly as fun as the one time she jumped into the Seine and a handsome young officer pulled her out. If he had been much older and stricter she would never have gotten away with batting her eyes and laughing it off with him. It had been so easy to manipulate him. The jump in the Seine had been very freeing. It was surrounded by people, people she didn't know. But she knew they were always watching her. She couldn't so much as yawn without them looking at her, judging her with black green blue brown yellow eyes. People were always looking at her, sometimes even following her. Why? She would never know. All she knew was that people were looking. So she had jumped into the river. Not to kill herself, just to wash off the eyes on her body, to wipe away the stares everyone had been giving her. It worked. For a moment, she thought she understood baptism and religion. But only for a moment.

So here, Chianna yelled to her heart's content, floating in the water, far away from staring eyes. No one came down here. It was lovely.

Splash.

Chianna spluttered and went under, flailing her arms and legs as the shock of the sound shot through her. What was that? Qu'est-ce que c'était? It seemed forever, but she finally shot her head above the water, struggling to stay up. She waved her arms in the water side to side, treading it clumsily in her panic. Her feet kicked, trying to keep her chin above the surface. Her eyes darted wildly about until she saw him.

Who are you? Her mind was venomous. It spinned and turned and curled and spat. Chianna's eyes narrowed and she pushed her arms and legs through the water, backing away. "Qu'est-ce que tu fais ici, Intrus?" She continued swimming backwards, her eyes firmly locked on the stranger, the intruder of her free time. He had crushed her moment. It was good. Now, it was bad. Like that. In an instant, it changed. Her hair floated in the water around her face, quickly trailing her as she swam slowly and warily away.


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Old 07-21-2011 at 04:47 AM
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Dorian Grayson

As soon as he saw the girl's response to his intrusion, Dorian regretted his impulsiveness. He had entered in a sense of fun, and this obviously was not playing out as he expected. What was worse was that he did not understand what she was saying! Treading water, he did not pursue her. She must see that this was no attack.

"Excuse moi!" he called out, desperate for any words that might soothe and thinking back to his mentors' attempts to drum languages into his dense, stubborn head. He knew a few French words but not necessarily how to arrange them. "Please, little one, I did not mean any harm!" Please let her know English! She was like a little wild animal he had frightened, and he understood, having been a feral child. Though rarely frightened, he had responded with fight or flight. "Menina, do not be afraid of me. I work here~at the Opera House." It was one of the few times when he had admitted it on first meeting. "A janitor. That is all I am, not some fearsome beast. Only Dorian..." And not even that, came the silent admission.

"Please, Menina, I shall go and leave you alone." Dorian hated what his rashness had caused. This was not the first time he had erred in judgment, giving into impulses. With strong strokes, he made his way to shore, a distance from where she would be should she also decide to leave. Rarely had he been so conscious of his near-nakedness as now, seeing himself for the threat he looked now that nature had made a man of him, not that he had not given nature help with perhaps too much pride in his face and form. But, obviously, to this girl, he was frightening, a monster, a man who meant to do her harm. His wet flesh gave him some trouble with dressing, but he always had been among the fastest dressers (and undressers) in the world, at least by his reckoning. Picking up his shoes, he stood undecided about his next move.

"I am leaving now. Forgive me for interrupting." At least he was refreshed though his spirits were low at this moment. When he returned home... Home! Didn't that have a ring to it? His magnificent houseboat... His! It soothed the ache of bringing fear to this girl, destroying her peace. Near where he had entered, he turned to look toward her. Placing his right hand flat upon his chest, he said, "I apologize. I was rude and unthinking." He was man enough to speak the truth on occasion.

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