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Mirrored Perception

Finger Wiggles and the Scot

a part of Mirrored Perception, by Scar.-.

Petra & Ross

Scar.- holds sovereignty over Finger Wiggles and the Scot, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Finger Wiggles and the Scot is a part of Descendant Academy.

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Ross probably spent the better part of a half an hour pacing back and forth in front of her door. His hands feverously twisted the hem of his shirt. Every minute or so he'd stop before the door, balling his fist and prepared to knock. But just before his knuckles would hit the surface, he'd step back and keep pacing. Occasionally another descendant would make their way down the hall. Ross would try his best attempt to stay calm, leaning back against the wall or pretending to walk down the hall in the opposite direction to avoid questions or whispers... Although that probably still happened.

Finally, he stepped forward and knocked on Petra's door before he could chicken out. It seemed that the second the sound echoed through the hall he regretted his decision. His hand hovered in the air like he was going to knock again, but in reality he was frozen in shock at his own actions. In that long moment standing there in the hall he contemplated running away, disappearing down the hall and pretending like he never showed up there in the first place. But it was too late. He could hear the shuffling on the other side of the door. He felt like he was suffocating, struggling to breathe as he waited for the door to open.

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The scene inside the apartment was no less strange. Petra sat on the floor in front of one of her many bookshelves, surrounded by piles of books. A number of books floated in midair, buoyed by her glowing crimson energy, and occasionally with the wave of a hand a book would settle itself onto a pile, or another would tug itself free of the bookshelf to wait for its rightful place. With nothing better to do, Petra was sorting her books, and it was a very dusty, very complicated affair.

A sneeze threatened her, and she suppressed it with a sniff. So great was her concentration on the task at hand, that when the knock came at the door it startled her into dropping all the books with a muffled thump. So much for a little order. Pushing herself to her feet, she went to the door, yanking it open.

Ross stood there, his hand still raised to shoulder height. Petra had to swallow a giggle. It wasn't like she looked much better at that moment - her hair pulled haphazardly into a loose ponytail, dust coating her sweater - and exactly at that moment, the sneeze won. "Achoo! Sorry. Can I help you?" She peered up at Ross, an expectant smile gracing her lips.

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Most people would have lowered their hand, maybe stepped back when she opened the door. But he was still frozen. When she masked a giggle at the sight of him, he blushed slightly and dropped his hand to his side. In that moment, he thought she never looked prettier. There was something about seeing Petra in her natural state, unkept but true to who she is. It was stunning. No makeup with her hair half falling out of a ponytail into her face. The dust that covered her could be confused for snow for all he knew, but he hardly paid attention to it, for her face was always the most spectacular part.

Ross no doubt had a dumb goofy smile plastered on his face until it was interrupted by a sneeze. "Achoo! Sorry. Can I help you?" She looked up at him with a gentle smile waiting expectantly for his purpose for bothering her in the middle of the dust.

"Bless ya," he said in response to the sneeze. Ross' hand dug into his pocket, pulling out a handkerchief and held it out to Petra incase she needed it. "Ah, ya... right." His hand raised up to scratch his head, ruffling and messing up his hair without him noticing. Then this hand rubbed the back of his neck as he avoided eye contact. Why in the hell was he so nervous? He'd asked out girls plenty of times before the academy. But now, standing before Petra he was terrified. His palms were clammy and he wouldn't be surprised if she could hear his heart pounding.

"Aye uh... Had a question for ya. O' course, if ya don wanna, aye completely understand. There's no pressure 'er anythin'." He twiddled his fingers and twisted the hem of his shirt, avoiding eye contact as he struggled for words, instead talking in circles never getting to the point. Ross sighed, rustling his hair more, causing half of it to stand on end in every direction. "Aye was wonderin' if ya'd like ta go out with me... Like on a date?"

He paused for a moment to look up and meet her gaze. After taking a deep breath, Ross started rambling again. "Or, we could just hang out... Er, ya don't have to. It's whatever ya want. Aye don' want to make ya do somethin' you done wanna. But, aye would like to take ya out... ya know, on a date. But only if ya wanna.... Aye, uh... yeah," his voice trailed off, still too nervous to look up, scared of her rejection.

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Having ducked her head to avoid spraying her germs anywhere, Petra was pleasantly surprised when a hand thrust a handkerchief towards her. "Thank you." She accepted it, taking a moment to appreciate the soft fabric, warm from being carried in his pocket, then pressed it to her nose. While he hesitated, trying to find the words, she discreetly blew her nose, then - with no pockets of her own to carry it in - she folded it up again, holding it behind her back. She would return it later when she'd had the chance to clean it.

"Aye uh... Had a question for ya. O' course, if ya don wanna, aye completely understand. There's no pressure 'er anythin'." She couldn't help noticing how his hands tried to busy themselves, clasping together and then releasing, tugging at his shirt. He was clearly nervous about whatever he wanted to say, and being patient might help him calm down. So she waited quietly, settling a shoulder against the doorframe. She would never admit it out loud, but to see the usually confident Ross at a loss for words was an oddly endearing sight. His rumpled hair only served to complement the image, presenting a side of him she wasn't familiar with. She thought she liked this a lot better than the old Ross she'd never bothered to get to know, the one that was known for getting into scrapes and fights more often than he changed his socks.

"Aye was wonderin' if ya'd like ta go out with me... Like on a date?"

The offer hit Petra like a ton of bricks. Her brain shorted out for a moment, trying to process the question. A... date. No wonder he'd been so nervous. She'd been asked on a number of first dates before, but usually by boys she had little interest in, and which she'd only agreed to to get them off her back. Those boys never called back a second time, put off by her cold demeanour and general lack of response to any inane conversation topic they brought up just to fill the silence. After coming to the Academy her social life became worse - it wasn't long before the moniker "Scarlet Bitch" was whispered after her in hallways, no doubt started by one of the various students who thought her coldness a personal affront. It didn't matter, she shrugged it all off. They meant nothing to her.

But Ross was different. Ever since the simulation she'd realised how warm he was, goofy yet sincere - it set him aside from all the other boys before. None of them had ever been so nice to her before, and none had ever actually made her want to go on the date with them. She took a deep breath, and reached out with her free hand to touch his, just a gentle brush of her fingers against the back of his hand really. "Ross?" She waited until he was looking at her. "I would love to go on a date with you. How does tomorrow evening sound?"

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Petra was quiet... For a long while. As each second ticked by he grew more and more nervous. Maybe he should just walk away now and save her the trouble of finding the words to let him down gently. Ross could just break the silence, say he understands with a nod of his head then scurry down the hall before she could chase after him and make it worse. But as much as part of him wanted to run away quickly... without looking back, his feet were cemented in place. He found himself chewing at his bottom lip as he waited for an answer. It was funny, for how much he towered over her, in that moment he felt sheepish.

A soft touch brushed the back of his hand, causing Ross to slowly look up to meet her gaze. "Ross?" she finally said, breaking the silence. "I would love to go on a date with you. How does tomorrow evening sound?"

Ross let out a deep breath, only then realizing that he was holding his breath, waiting for her answer. He couldn't fight the cheesy grin that crossed his face from ear to ear. "Really?!" Was that really the first thing that came out of his dumb mouth? "Aye mean... Yeah, yeah. Tomorrow is great! Aye can come get ya at 7?... Ok? Ok." He nodded his head, still trying to let the reality that she said yes sink in.

After a moment of nodding his head, his grin grew, if that was even possible. "So, tomorrow. Yeah?" Ross opened his arms and half leaned in to give her a hug but froze at his own awkwardness. "Uh..." He laughed awkwardly as his nerves returned a bit. He then quickly leaned in, placing a soft gentle kiss upon her right cheek. "See ya tomorrow," he said still near her face in a hushed tone. He pulled back just enough to smile toward her and then made his way back to his penthouse to figure out a god damn plan.

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"Really?!" Ross's excited expression had her smiling back, his enthusiasm infectious. "Really," she assured him. "7 is fine."

She stiffened briefly when he stretched his arms out, unsure if she was supposed to hug him back. Knowing Ross, he probably had some experience with girls, at least... but she had very little idea how to respond. She would have turned around and slammed the door in his face, if only to save herself the embarrassment, but just before she really went through with that idea he leaned down and kissed her cheek. His lips were warm where they met her skin, and it took all her willpower not to flush as he pulled away. "See you tomorrow," she managed to echo before he walked away and she shut the door, leaning against it to take a moment to store the memory of his smile as he left.

Oh gods. A date. She was so out of practice, she hardly remembered what people did on dates anymore. She hadn't even thought to ask where Ross wanted to go. How was she supposed to dress if she didn't know what they were doing?

Someone else might know. Grabbing her phone off the coffee table, she texted Tobias.

To: Tobias

Ross just asked me on a date. Help.


After sending the text, she stared at it a moment longer, then fired off another one.

To: Tobias

I mean what do I do. What do I wear.


That hardly began to cover her questions, but it would do for now. Hopefully he'd have some answers for her - she did not want to have to turn to the internet for help. Petra settled back down on the floor by her books, trying to occupy herself while awaiting the return texts, but her mind was no longer with the task at hand. Her eyes would slide to her phone, sitting on the floor by her crossed legs, and she'd forget what she intended to do with the book in her hand. Eventually she gave up, tossing it onto a random pile, and picked up her phone again, staring at it like she could mentally will Tobias to text back faster.

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Ross quickly returned to his penthouse, where he sat down in a bean bag chair trying to wrap his mind around everything. Part of him felt like it was all a dream, that he'd wake up to the reality that she rejected him or he never asked. Before he realized he was doing it, he pinched himself in the arm just to double check. Nope. Not a dream.

Then the truth sunk in even more... He had no plan. Ross spent the better part of an hour pacing around his room, trying to think of a perfect date. He thought about texting Tobias to ask what she likes. But then again, he wanted to think of something spectacular on his own. So, if she loved it... it was all him. In the end, she was on a date with him. And if he failed, it was being himself.

Ross didn't like the sound of that either, but it was the truth. As he walked around, he caught a brief glance out the window which instantly sparked an idea. He sprinted across his room in search for his phone and quickly dialed a number he never thought he would call.

"Ay, Happy? Aye need ta speak t' Mr. Stark."


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Tobias relaxed on a large chaise in his penthouse with the doors to his balcony wide open letting the fresh breeze off the bay blow into the room. Off to the far side of his room a turn table played Symphonie fantastique 5th Movement while he read one of his favorite books, Pride and Prejudice. The books cover tattered and worn, held together with multiple pieces of tape. Those were his favorite moments to himself when he could enjoy a good book and classic music in his pajamas.

But even for a social outcast like himself, those moments always seem to be cut short. Tobias probably wouldn't have noticed his phone buzz if it weren't for a temporary lull in the song and him turning the page in the book. Not in the mood to get up or end his relaxation, he ignored it. Then not 30 seconds later it went off again. He sighed, finally setting down his book and getting to his feet. Tobias trudged over to the table where he kept his phone and illuminated the screen.

From: Petra
Ross just asked me on a date. Help.

From: Petra
I mean what do I do. What do I wear.

Tobias sighed, although a smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. About time he asked her out. He leaned back against the grand piano that lived in the center of the room, staring at his phone not knowing how to reply. He was by no means a dating expert. Looking back on it, he couldn't think if he'd ever been on a date. Period. So, she had more experience than him.

To: Petra
It's a date. Not the end of the world.

To: Petra
I have no idea... I've never been on a date.

He understood that he was the closest person Petra had at the academy. Neither one of them had much in the realm of friends nor experience socially when it came to other people besides their family. After a moment or two, he slowly wondered back over to his chair and took a seat. Even though it'd piss Petra off, Tobias decided to shoot Ross a text to attempt to diffuse some of her anxiety... And also, potentially, get her off his back about advice. Because, he didn't have any.

To: Ross
This is probably more awkward than it needs to be.
But since I have no experience in the matter... Would you mind
letting me know how Petra should dress for your date?

He waited for a handful of minutes. But when he didn't receive a text back immediately, he decided to return to what he was doing until otherwise notified. It was at least an hour before he got a response.

From: Ross
Oh... uh... Just tell her to dress however she feels comfortable. It's not formal.

From: Ross
No high heels!


Tobias chuckled as the second text came in quickly after the first. Then proceeded to share the information with Petra to hopefully calm her down.

To: Petra
Per Ross... Dress however you want, but no high heels.


After he sent the message, as a precautionary measure, Tobias got up and walked over to the entry door for his penthouse. He made sure to lock both the handle and deadbolt. Knowing Petra, she'd be less than thrilled that he contacted Ross. Anxiety and nerves wouldn't help that either. So, instead of dealing with her raging, only to quickly figure out she's being ridiculous and is secretly thankful he asked, Tobias opted to just avoid the situation all together. He put his phone on silent, setting it far out of reach. Then turned up his music and continued his reading.

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Tobias's return text could not have come fast enough. Petra's phone buzzed, and she clicked the text open immediately.

From: Tobias

It's a date. Not the end of the world.

From: Tobias

I have no idea... I've never been on a date.


She was sunk. She knew he'd never been a social person, like herself, but to never have been on a date, ever? He would be of no help whatsoever. Dropping the phone, she ran her hands through her hair, frustrated. She'd just have to figure it out herself.

So sitting in front of the shelves became sitting on the bed, shuffling through the various items in her closet to try to pull something together that would look appropriate. Knowing Ross, it wouldn't be anywhere too fancy, but then again she wasn't known for her ability to dress casual.

From: Tobias

Per Ross... Dress however you want, but no high heels.


Petra gave the text a cursory scan. No high heels, that was a place to start. Wait a moment... "per Ross"?! A flush of embarrassment swept through her, and her grip on the phone tightened. Why Tobias would do such a thing was hardly the question - rather, what Ross now knew was a bigger concern. She was sorely tempted to go kick Tobias's door down and confront him, but a smaller, more logical part of her mind insisted that she could better spend her time now figuring out her plan. You can kick his door down later when he's off his guard, it insisted. And it was right, as she usually was when she followed her logic. So she took a deep breath, squished her panic down, and focused her energy on herself, even as her stomach churned with nerves.

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Ross was ready way too early and he was barely able to sleep the night before. Sure part of his evening and nearly the entire day was making sure everything was in order... Then quadruple checking it until it was close enough for him to get ready. At one point the day before he considered a very formal first date but they had already seen each other at about as formal as you could get. And Ross didn't feel the need to put on airs. He wanted to feel authentic, probably not the brightest idea he's ever had. Generally his authenticity tends to do him more harm than good... But he couldn't be himself in a tuxedo at a restaurant with food he couldn't pronounce and seven different forks.

He probably stared at his closet for an hour. Finally opting for something nicer than casual, but not super formal or uptight. In the end he need to be comfortable, with ample movement but, of course, he still wanted to look nice. Before getting dress though, Ross showered, coiffed his hair and even shaved away his normal stubble that covered his jaw. Once he put on his outfit he stood in front of the mirror, sizing himself up. Nothing felt right. He felt over dressed and under dressed. He regretted shaving but then again was glad he did. And all the while his stomach twisted in knots.

Ross checked himself in the mirror one last time before finally heading out of his room and toward the elevators. He tried to keep his breathing steady as he pressed the button for Petra's floor, riding in silence until the doors opened again. He waited so long without moving that the doors threatened to close him in again, his hand stopping them just before then did. He slowly walked down the hall adjusting his jacket and running a hand back through his hair.

He came to a stop before the door and cleared his throat as he prepared to knock. Ross fixed his hair one last time then finally knocked on her door. He waited patiently, chewing on his bottom lip slightly as he waited.

The second the door opened, although the nerves didn't disappeared they did subside. Ross' face instantly began to beam with happiness as his ear to ear grin returned. "Hey." He then instantly held out the bouquet of calla lilies he had hidden behind his back. "Aye uh... Thought roses 'er kinda corny. Thought aye'd get ya somethin' more unique and beautiful, like you."

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Petra had made the right choices. She'd definitely kept on the right side of 'cute and not too formal' while ensuring that she'd be ready for any scenario Ross could cook up. So her nerves could go damn themselves, she looked good and she knew it.

In the hour leading up to the time Ross said he would pick her up, she'd done her makeup, trying to keep it light, and pinned her hair back. Nothing on the same level of what she did for that disastrous gala - everything was so complicated and formal - she knew she could take it easy with Ross. There wasn't any pressure on her to be all dolled up. With that all done, and still a few good minutes to go, she appraised her dress one last time in the mirror, making sure that everything was nice and neat and presentable.

She was expecting the knock at the door, but it still made her jump. She took a moment to press her hand to her chest, calming her racing heartbeat, before answering the door. "Hi."

"Hey." Gods, but she loved his smile. It was becoming clear, the reason for his reputation with girls. Did they all feel this way - taken off guard, but completely fine with it? It was a strange, foreign feeling, but definitely not unwelcome. The flowers were a lovely touch too, and Petra accepted them gratefully. "You needn't have, Ross," she said, trying to hide her smile behind the bouquet as she turned away. "Just a moment, please, I want to put these in water."

She didn't want to keep him waiting by the door, so she hurried into her kitchen area, summoning a glass from where they were stacked and filling it with tap water. The flowers were set by the kitchen window, to soak up the setting sun. Petra returned quickly to the door, holding something out to Ross. "I've got something for you too - it's clean now. Thank you." It was his handkerchief, washed and ironed and now neatly folded in her palm. Slinging her purse across her body, she pulled the door shut behind them. "So, where are we going?"

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Petra accepted the flowers, her gentle fingers brushing the back of his hand as she took them. "You needn't have, Ross," she said. And for a moment, he thought he could see glimpses of her smile hidden behind the white flowers causing his own grin to only grow.

"No, aye didn't. But, aye wanted too."

"Just a moment, please, I want to put these in water."

"O' course," Ross replied, motioning his hand toward her penthouse. As he waited out in the hall, he leaned his left shoulder against the doorframe with his hands cupped before him, trying to keep from constantly adjusting his appearance.

"I've got something for you too." Ross quirked a brow, pushing off the wall with his shoulder to look toward her. Then his gaze fell to the handkerchief extended in her hand, causing him to chuckle slightly. "It's clean now. Thank you."

Ross slowly extended his hand, taking back the small piece of fabric. Was it ironed? He smirked slightly at the lengths went to give him back a handkerchief. "Ya could have kept et. But, thanks." His left hand opened the side of his jacket, allowing him to slide the folded material into the breast pocket.

Once Petra had grabbed her purse and closed the door, she looked over at him with the question he expected. "So, where are we going?"

His grin quickly returned as Ross moved to stand beside her, offering the red head his right arm. "It's a surprise." He was in no rush to get anywhere, deciding to walk at a casual pace to the elevator. Ross just wanted to enjoy every moment of the evening, each movement and smile of hers committed to memory. His free hand pressed the button to call the lift and when it arrived, he guided her in. After pressing the button for the ground level, Ross looked her over. Seeing her dressed not in training clothes or a gown that probably cost more than his car was nice. Even her simple came off elegant and regal. And god did he love her fiery hair.

Ross lowered his head down next to hers slightly. "Ya look absolutely stunnin'," he said in a gentle, hushed tone, almost like he didn't want anyone else to hear. Like that quiet moment in the elevator could be ruined by talking too loud. He didn't let his gaze shift from her until the doors opened, revealing them to the quiet lobby of the Descendant Tower.

Instead of leading Petra to the garage, like what was probably expected, he guided her out the back entrance of the tower that opened up to the gardens and fountains. Ross weaved them through the foliage, heading toward the still waters of Long Island Sound. On the edge of the gardens was a private beach and a small pier that stretched out into the water. This tended to be empty more often then not, but on that evening a single sailboat was tied to the far right dock.

As Ross walked with Petra up onto the pier and down the long dock, he let his gaze shift up to the sky. The timing was perfect. The sun was getting low and would be setting within the next hour. He was glad things seemed to be going according to plan. All he wanted was for this to be perfect for her... and Petra to be happy.

He finally stopped when they stood on the dock beside the sailboat. Up close it was quite large, bigger than a bus. It was a pristine white with a navy blue stripe around the hull and a red bottom. Windows from the quarters beneath could be seen on the sides while the deck was massive. Ross gently slipped his arm from Petra's hold with a smile. He crouched down and pulled on one of the tethers, drawing the boat in closer to the dock. When it was close enough he hopped over onto the deck. "Hold on," he said toward Petra, holding up an index finger.

Ross walked around the helm and found the wooden ramp, leaning against one of the boat's railings. He lifted it up and carried it to the side that faced the dock. The soft breeze off the water rustled his hair as he slowly lowered the ramp, securing the hooks on the side of the boat. Ross then placed his right foot on the makeshift bridge, steadying it as much as possible against the tide as he offered his hand toward Petra. "Aye hope ya aren't afraid of water," he said toward her with a gentle smile that said she was safe with him and he'd let nothing happen to her.

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"A surprise," Petra echoed faintly, slipping her hand around Ross's proffered arm. She let him lead them towards the elevator, though she was so lost in her thoughts that she didn't realise that Ross's face was right next to hers until he whispered, "Ya look absolutely stunnin'."

"Thank you. You look great too," she returned, taking a moment to notice and appreciate that he had shaved, and that he smelled really nice. She touched the fabric of her dress selfconsciously. There was no need to worry about the way she was dressed after all, if he liked it. Though she lowered her gaze, she remained acutely aware of his eyes on her the rest of the way down, until the lift dinged and the door slid open again. If the other students could see her now, this meek and peaceful version of her, they might not even recognise her, she thought.

To her surprise, he led her out the back entrance, towards the garden. A lovely spot, and one where she liked to spend her time when she wasn't cooped up in her apartment, just appreciating the peace - as opposed to inside the Tower, where someone was always bound to be yelling or throwing weapons. They didn't stop in the garden, though, continuing on through the worn path until her oxfords sank into soft sand. She glanced up, and the view slowed her footsteps for a moment. Though it wasn't yet sunset, the clouds were already stained a pale orange, the sun dipping lower in the sky. Ross's arm slipped a little in her grip, jerking her back to the present, and she continued following him, all the way down to the dock by the sailboat.

Petra watched as Ross brought the boat closer, then fetched the ramp for her to cross over on. "Aye hope ya aren't afraid of water."

"Not at all," she assured him. Still, she reached for his hand, holding it tightly as she stepped onto the ramp and into the boat. The water created a gentle rocking motion beneath her feet, just enough to throw her off balance, and she stumbled a little, her grip on Ross's hand tightening. "Sorry. I'm fine." She smiled at him, grateful. "I just need to find my sea legs." She moved to the front of the boat, staring out over the water that stretched out into the distance. Nothing stunning, but the quiet, broken only by water lapping against the side of the boat, and the company made it all worthwhile.

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"Not at all," Petra reassured him as she took his hand. Ross gave her a gentle smile as his fingers gently wrapped around her small hand, helping her forward as she came across the ramp and onto the boat.

As the water gently caused the boat to sway, Petra was thrown off balance. Instantly, Ross tightened his grip on her hand as hers did. His left hand moved her waist to help steady her. "Woah." He gave a soft, nervous chuckle as he helped her gain her balance.

"Sorry. I'm fine," Petra said with a smile. "I just need to find my sea legs."

Ross was hesitant to let go, worried she may misstep yet again. But once she seemed ok, he slowly released her waist and hand, allowing her to explain the boat and wonder up to the bow. He smiled to himself as he removed his sports jacket, laying it along the top of a nearby platform. He then unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled up his sleeves to the bend in his arm, occasionally sneaking glances over at Petra while her attention was elsewhere.

He let her enjoy the view as Ross got to work with getting the boat ready. Although it'd seem strange to others, he was happy that there wasn't much wind that day because it would ruin some of the things he already had planned and set up. Plus, the sailboat did have an engine which would suffice for what he needed. Ross walked over to the side of the boat and untied the tethers. Ross then slowly walked up behind Petra, gently alerting her to his presence with a hand brushing the middle of her back. "Aye'm 'bout ta push off. Ya may hold onta somethin'." His thumb gently stroked her back for a moment as he smiled to her before walking back over to the side of the boat. When Petra seemed prepared, he reached over the edge and pushed off the dock, causing the sailboat to slowly float away from the pier.

Ross moved behind the helm and grasped the key. Before he started it, he looked over toward his red headed company. "Would ya want ta learn?" With his left hand on the wheel, he motioned his free hand out in a welcoming manner. Of course, if she didn't want to, she could sit back and relax as he got them to where they needed to go. It was entirely up to her as to what she wanted and was comfortable with.

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Petra felt the presence behind her before Ross's hand actually made contact with her back, but she was content to let him rest his hand there briefly as he warned her. "Aye'm 'bout ta push off. Ya may hold onta somethin'."

"Oh. Got it." Instead of moving back from the bow, she leaned on the railing, holding on tightly. She let her body move with the swaying of the boat as Ross pushed away, which prevented her from stumbling as she had initially. Turning her back to the railing, she watched Ross with a fond smile. Already this was proving to be more than she'd expected of him - not that she'd expected the date to go any one way, but it was definitely a pleasant surprise from the get-go.

"Would ya want ta learn?" Petra raised her gaze to Ross's, surprised. Her eyes moved from his face to his extended hand, and she made her decision. Nodding, she moved to stand by him, examining the steering mechanism. "I'd... love to. Please."

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Petra nodded and moved to stand by him. "I'd... love to. Please."

Ross slowly and gently took her hand, and guided her so that she stood between himself and the helm, with her back gently pressed against his chest. "Alright, since there is no wind, we'll start the engine." He reached his right hand around her, taking hold of the key and turning it in the ignition. The motor beneath them began to hum softly, causing the boat to gently rumble. Then he guided her hands to a general 10 and 2 placement on the large wheel. As their hands gently rested there, Ross' nerves made him tremble slightly. He cleared his throat trying to shake it off, hoping Petra didn't notice.

"The rest is pretty easy. We er just goin' out father inta the water for a good view of the sunset." He glanced back over his shoulder at the academy. "But we may want ta keep the tower in view. Aye don' have the best navigational skills," he chuckled. It wasn't rocket science steering a boat straight, but Ross still found himself staring down at her. He slowly let his hands slip from hers on the wheel, taking a step or two back to lean against the railing, watching her drive the boat. Occasionally he'd glance over his shoulder to see how far out they were getting.

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Once the engine started up, the rocking of the boat evened out a little, making it easier for Petra to stand without swaying. All the same, she leaned backwards slightly into Ross's hold, comforted by his warmth and solidity of his body at her back. His hands moved hers to the wheel, and though he tried to hide it she was aware of his hands briefly trembling as he held hers lightly. Since he couldn't really see her face, standing as they were, she smiled to herself. Of all the boys she could make feel nervous, she hadn't expected Ross McCulloch to be one of them, but it was exhilarating all the same.

"We er just goin' out father inta the water for a good view of the sunset. But we may want ta keep the tower in view. Aye don' have the best navigational skills."

"Okay." Petra kept the wheel steady, her touch light, and guided the boat out further on the water. When Ross moved away from her, leaning back, she sensed his absence, and turned back for a moment to look at him, for unspoken confirmation that she was doing fine.

It wasn't long before they were well out on the water, though the academy remained visible behind them. Judging it safe enough to take her eyes off the boat for a moment, she glanced upwards, squinting against the glare of the setting sun.

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"Okay," Petra replied then remained quiet. Ross rested his hands on the railing behind him, crossing his right foot over his left. He caught her gaze briefly when she looked over her shoulder toward him. As she did so, he gave her a reassuring smile and a nod of his head.

As they traveled out farther into the water, Ross occasionally glanced up at the sky, his watch or over his shoulder at the shrinking Descendant Tower. When it seemed far enough that only the feint outline of the tower was visible and the waters were still he pushed off the railing. Ross then walked up behind Petra, gently resting his hand on her left shoulder. "This should be good 'nough." His right arm reached around her and slowly pulled back on the throttle until the engine was idling and the boat was no longer moving. He then switched off the engine and took a step back. "The waters should be calm, but ya may want to stay away from the railin' as aye drop the anchor."

Ross' hand gently brushed her back as he walked around her to the side of the boat. He checked the tether for the anchor making sure the knot was taut. He then lifted the anchor, definitely heavier than it looked but manageable for him with the vigorously training schedule at the academy. After walking over to the edge, he let it loose and watched it sink down in the water until it hit the bottom. Ross dusted his hands off as he walked back over to Petra and offered her his hand. He quietly lead her to the bow of the boat, picking up a blanket he hand prepared in his free hand. "If ya feel like yer gonna fall, just grab onta meh or somethin'," he said with a chuckle toward her.

Making sure Petra was steady, he gently released her hand but kept himself close to her incase she needed him for support. Ross took the blanket and laid it out on the flat part of the deck at the bow. It was the best spot on the boat, leaving the full view to be just the open water and the sun setting. He then took Petra's hand once more, helping her take a seat. "Make yerself comfortable. Kick off yer shoes," he said with a smile. "Aye'll be right back."

Ross headed downstairs in the boat, grabbing a prepared picnic basket, two glasses and the bottle of champagne. Before heading back up, he made his way to the electric panel. As he flipped the switch, up on board of the boat string lights wrapped around the railings, the mast and sails lit up, giving it a soft ambiance. He wanted candles but after some thought, being on a swaying... wooden boat with fire may not be the best course of action. Before returning to the deck, he also turned on the stereo that connected to speakers throughout the boat, causing soft jazz music to accompany the lights.

With everything in hand, Ross returned to Petra and took a seat on the blanket beside her. He poured them both a glass of champagne, then proceeded to open the basket. As he rifled through it, his gaze occasionally looked up to meet hers. "Sadly, Aye'm not much of a cook. So, aye hope ya like sandwiches," he chuckled as he pulled out 2 sandwiches. They might have only been sandwiches, but Ross still spiffied them up and made them look as gourmet as he could. "We have turkey, ham or veggie."

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Ross's touch on her shoulder was soft, and instinctively Petra turned towards him, her grip on the wheel loosening. "This should be good 'nough." His other arm reached around her for the throttle, stilling the boat in the water. "The waters should be calm, but ya may want to stay away from the railin' as aye drop the anchor." She nodded, keeping close to the wheel as she watched Ross heft the anchor into the ocean, her gaze skimming his backlit figure.

When he returned with his hand proffered, she accepted it, following him around to the bow. "If ya feel like yer gonna fall, just grab onta meh or somethin'." In response she squeezed his hand, letting go as he pulled away to arrange a blanket nicely on the deck. "I'm steady. Thanks."

He took her hand all the same, helping her into a sitting position on the blanket. "Make yerself comfortable. Kick off yer shoes. Aye'll be right back."

Maybe he sensed that she didn't really know what to do or say; maybe he was just making a kind suggestion. Whichever it was, Petra appreciated that he didn't seem to need her to respond with anything, instead leaving her on the deck while he retrieved something. She toed off her oxfords, placing them safely behind her, and folded her legs up underneath her, smoothing her skirt down with both hands. Out on the water the air was fresh, and a light breeze cooled her skin while she sat waiting for Ross to return. Sighing, she leaned back, tipping her head up and closing her eyes as she just breathed it all in. She couldn't remember the last time she'd felt this relaxed.

When she opened her eyes again, she realised that little lights strung around the boat had been lit up, glowing gently. It made for a beautiful sight, though she supposed they would look even lovelier later when it was darker. Soft music wafted through the air, piped through hidden speakers, and she smiled to herself. Ross really had gone all out.

Footsteps signalled Ross's return to the deck. He settled beside her on the blanket, passing her a glass of champagne, then started pulling food out of the basket he'd brought back with him. "Sadly, aye'm not much of a cook. So, aye hope ya like sandwiches. We have turkey, ham or veggie."

Petra shook her head. It genuinely didn't matter to her this time. "Either is fine. I don't mind much." After taking the sandwich he passed to her, she tilted her champagne glass forward, producing a muted clink as it tapped against Ross's glass. She thought briefly of the champagne she'd had at the gala, and Ross's nervousness when he'd asked her for a dance, and couldn't help grinning at the memory. "Thank you for asking me out. I didn't expect this, but it's lovely."

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Petra shook her head at his offer before replying. "Either is fine. I don't mind much." Ross reached in and grabbed the first sandwich, handing it over to her. He didn’t much care which one was left for him and honestly, part of him wondered if he would be able to eat at all with how much his stomach was in knots. The night was perfect though, at least in his opinion. The setting sun cast a warm orange glow over the still waters and the breeze was gentle, yet cool, rustling their hair and gently rocking the boat.

The soft clink of Petra’s glass against his own brought Ross’ gaze back to the gorgeous red head across from him. He couldn’t help his cheeky grin that commandeered his face and never seemed to let go. As he brought the champagne flute to his lips, he couldn’t help but notice the soft grin that seemed to cross her own lips. It was small, but something so subtle made his heart calm in his chest, if for a moment… Before it started to race yet again, more out of happiness or maybe excitement rather than nervousness.

"Thank you for asking me out. I didn't expect this, but it's lovely.”

Of course she seemed to say something the moment Ross had his mouth full, in a less than attractive manner. He chuckled as he brought his hand up to cover his mouth while he finished chewing. ”Aye was actually kinda terrified,” he admitted, causing his cheeks to flush slightly. ”Aye just had ta try… Worst aye could get was a no.”

Ross gave a coy smile as he picked up the champagne glass. His finger tips lightly tapped it before he brought it to his lips and took a drink. ”…Just wanted ta give y’a night as special as you.” He held her gaze for a long moment, smiling a soft and genuine grin, happy in the moment.