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Evee Howell

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." [ Adopted | Not my writing ]

0 · 671 views · located in Cirque Regalis

a character in “Cirque Regalis”, originally authored by Cloud, as played by Dumisa

Description

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“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
― Albert Einstein




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Full Name:
Yvonne Georgina Howell

Nicknames and Aliases:
Evee {Preferred}, Eve {Common}, Junior {Not Always Welcome},
Pip {Reserved For Her Mother}

Gender:
Female

Age:
Sixteen

Ethnicity/Race:
Caucasian/ French

Sexual Orientation:
Heterosexual

Occupation or Act:
Acrobat-in-training
"Please, will someone tell Mama I'm ready to perform?"




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Hair Color:
Dark Brown

Eye Color:
Light Brown

Height:
5'5"

Weight:
115lbs

Tattoos:
None.

Piercings:
Evee has both ears pierced, that is the limit of her body art.

Scars:
None, despite several accidents when she was younger. Her mother swears she should be covered in scars given the number of times she's gotten under foot at the circus and ended up injured.

Description:
Standing not much shorter than her mother and unlikely to grow any taller, Hailee's dreams of being a towering, 6 foot giant have come to an end. The young girl has passed the awkward adolescent stage, much to her relief. Yet, her slim figure has yet to fully blossom and her face betrays her age as little more than a child. A smile can usually be found on the girl's face with her eyes crinkled in jest.




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Personality:

{Enthusiastic, Inquisitive, Dreamer, Impatient, Stubborn, Perceptive, Fast-Learner}

Excitable, overly-curious, and something of a dreamer, Evee can usually be found exploring the circus or giggling at an amusing joke. She is a happy spirit, rarely angered and usually seen with a wide grin on her face. With a seemingly constant curiosity and willingness to stick her nose in other people's business, it isn't rare to find her popping up throughout the circus. Much to her mother's embarrassment Evee has little to no filter when questioning strangers. Her curiosity propels her to seek answers. As a child, half the time she was greeted with a kind smile, the other half a smack around the head was enough to see her toddle happily away in search of a friendlier welcome. Besides a minor amount of childhood disappointment and a small amount of moping, Evee usually managed to bounce back from such rejections with her usual smile. Depending on the situation her stubborn streak and curiosity usually guaranteed that she'd be back, a mischievous little smile on her face as she wormed her way into the person's good books or received an answer to her original question.

A natural performer, Evee has no problems speaking in front of crowds of strangers. She dreams of the day her mother will let her perform in one of her acts, rather than watch from the sidelines. She knows how to read her audience and the people around her. She's not deceitful or particularly manipulative, but she is able to sense the best ways to persuade information out of a person, or the right cues to settle an anxious crowd. When it comes to a goal she has set her heart on, such as performing in front of a real crowd, Evee digs in her heels and uses her stubborn streak to work at it until she's accomplished her goal. Any skill that might at first have seemed beyond her was usually conquered in the same way. Of course, impatience is also a prominent characteristic of the young girl. While she usually does work hard to achieve a goal, that doesn't stop her from wanting it to be completed as fast as possible. She's been known to rush into things without properly preparing for it or understanding everything that is involved. Her impatience is usually what sees her ending up with a broken bone and a lecture from her mother about the virtue of patience. Yet, even such a set back as that rarely gets the girl down.

Like her mother Evee is usually slow to anger. She is rather protective of her loved ones and would do anything to make her mother happy (although she is generally the cause of her mother's stress). Her way of dealing with anyone who might insult her or her mother still echoes a child's response, she's more likely to retort with an insult of her own or pull a face. Yet, maturity in how she deals with prejudices and judgmental comments is slowly developing. While she may not have mastered her mother's calm stare, in time her childish responses should all but disappear.

Hobbies:
Bugging Jack Connolly \\ Horse Riding \\ Acrobatics \\ Dancing

Habits:
When she's asking her Mother for a favour she'll bat her eyelashes and pout her lips \\ Usually says the first thing that pops into her head \\

Oddities:
Like her mother, Evee has a mild nut allergy. She has a fear of large dogs, and is never quite comfortable around large fires. Besides that she has not yet acquired any addictions or other oddities, unless you count a seemingly supernatural ability to get underfoot.

Likes/Loves:
Watching The Acts \\ Horse Riding
Speaking French \\ Her Mother
Circus Food \\ Elephants
Dancing \\ Music
Dressing Up \\ Shoes
Being Treated Like An Adult
Dislikes/Hates:
Age Restrictions \\ Waiting
Not Knowing Her Father \\ War
Big Dogs \\ Fire
Broken Bones \\ Bullies
Being Insulted \\ Goats
Having Her Hair Ruffled




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Place Of Origin:
New York, New York
"I was born there, but I wouldn't consider it the place I came from."

Birth Date:
31st July, 1932

Family:
Ana Howell | Mother | 33

History:
Yvonne Georgina Howell was born to the young widow Ana Howell in a poor, cheap area of New York. Her first memories come from the multi-cultural neigbourhood where she spent the first few years of her life. A meshing of foreign cultures made the district what it was. Walking through the streets, many could easily have forgotten that it was American soil they walked on. For Evee's mother the support of a neighbouring German family and an elderly Irish couple across the way were a god send during Evee's first few years. They helped the teenage mother while she searched for work. Evee only has the vaguest memory of these times; the nostalgic feeling she gets whenever she hears German spoken, or hears Irish slang.

When she was four Evee's mother found work in a circus as an acrobat. The circus offered a home to mother and daughter, and a regular income. The other performers became family. For Evee, an inquisitive young girl, the excitements of living with the circus never ceased to amaze her. Exploration of the circus was a daily adventure for the girl. The number of times she's got under foot, or ended up where she shouldn't be is uncountable. Accidental injuries weren't unheard of, though thankfully she's managed to stay free of any serious scars. Ana used to joke that she should put Evee on a leash to stop her irritating the other performers. Her mother would scold her and attempt to punish her, but even after a strict lecture a smile would pull at Ana's lips and Evee would break into an exaggerated tale of what she'd done that day.

Ana Howell rarely talked about her own childhood, only giving Evee enough information to ease her curiosity about her grandparents. Compared with Ana's strict upbringing, Evee's childhood was an easy-going affair. Her mother enforced rules when she thought they were needed, but most of the time she just wanted to see her daughter happy. Evee's education has never been the most conventional. Home schooling was the only option. Her mother taught her French from the crib. Other lessons have come in irregular bursts from circus performers, passing instructors or the second hand books her mother buys. While Evee's theoretical education might be the stuff of nightmares for any traditional parent, her practical education is years ahead of others her age. Evee has learnt a variety of circus tricks and everyday skills from her time in Cirque Regalis. Jack Connolly taught her to horse ride, a hobby she has come to love almost as much as acrobatics. Some mischievous soul taught her to pickpockets, a skill she's careful to never let her mother see, while another gave her lessons in cartwheeling.

On her tenth birthday, after years of pleading, Evee's mother finally caved in and began to teach her acrobatic tricks. The girl took to it quickly, she'd been watching he mother perform for years after all. While she's eager to perform, her mother has said she isn't allowed to until Ana says so. On this matter her mother has put her foot down, a rarity in itself. While Evee waits for her time in the spotlight she can't help but notice the certain inequalities in the circus. She isn't so sure she agrees with her mother's loyalty to management, yet she isn't about to outright rebel against them either.

Happiest Memory:
Evee must have been eight or nine. She had just watched her mother performing her act and afterwards the two were relaxing in their room. Evee was reading a children's book of French fairy tales while her mother gently combed out her hair. The memory is simple, but one that Evee has always treasured.

Saddest Memory:
The day she discovered her mother crying over an old photograph of her deceased father remains Evee's saddest memory, despite the ten years that have passed since. Even as a six year old Evee understood the pain in her mother's eyes.




Face Claim: Hailee Steinfeld

Font Color: #7f4aa3

So begins...

Evee Howell's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ana Howell Character Portrait: Evee Howell
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#, as written by Cloud


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The young girl sat dejectedly outside the main tent, her view of the final act restricted to the half open tent flap in front of her. Evee could have taken a seat at the back of the audience seats, but she didn't think her disappointed pout would fit in with the amazed expressions of the crowd. Many might have wondered what a girl of sixteen had to be upset about, especially when she lived with the circus. But life wasn't all candyfloss and Ferris wheels when you lived in Cirque Regalis, especially when you had a protective mother. Evee had been dreaming of performing with the other acrobats ever since she learned to do her first cartwheel, but her mother was determined the keep her securely on the ground until she deemed her ready for the big leagues.

However, her disappointed pout didn't last long. As the excited cheer exploded from the tent, Evee felt her frown evaporate away to be replaced by an excited smile. She bounced to her feet as the acts began to exit the tent, standing on her tiptoes to peer over the sudden crowd. She spotted her mother chatting with another acrobat.
"Pardon, excusez-moi" The girl chirped as she dodged and dived through the brightly dressed acts. She was light on her feet and rather adept at making her way through thick crowds, even so she almost tripped over someone's trailing costume. She would have face planted had it not been for a steadying hand grabbing her shoulder.
"Watch yourself kid." Jack Connolly said as he let her go. 'Kid' was Jack's pet-name for Evee. Evee gave him a cheeky grin, before pushing her way back into the crowd, shouting a cheerful, "Thanks Jack!" back over her shoulder.

By the time she reached her mother, Ana Howell was saying goodbye to the other acrobat, a young Russian man who insisted on ruffling Evee's hair whenever she was around. Now was no exception and Evee had to quickly duck to avoid having her hair messed up. She poked her tongue out at him as he walked away with a chuckle. Then Evee turned to her mother, who was waiting patiently for her daughter to behave.
"You were fabulous, Mama. I can't wait until I'm up there too." Evee said by way of greeting. Ana smiled at her daughter before wrapping an arm around her shoulders.
"Thank you, Pip." Ana murmured into her daughter's hair as she planted a kiss on her head, "What's that saying... 'A watched pot never bubbles'? You'll get there in time."
Evee giggled at her mother and wrapped an arm around her waist, "It's 'boils', Mama. 'A watched pot never boils'."
"Ah, silly English sayings." Ana Howell said, waving her free hand as if to dismiss the saying completely. "Come on, let's go get you fed."



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The mother-daughter duo wondered off towards their train car. It was smaller than some of the others, but the pair did have it to themselves. The privacy had been particularly important to Ana as Evee grew. Ana was also glad that none of the acts had to deal with Evee's constant energy. Ana loved her daughter to the ends of the earth and back, yet even she sometimes grew tired of Evee's sometimes non-stop questions.

Evee and Ana entered their small home. Bright costumes fought for space with books. Evee's collection of keepsakes lined one a ledge, although her keepsakes usually took the form of a glittering rock, or some other item Evee hadn't been able to let go of. Once the door was closed behind them Ana began to undress, stripping the tight acrobats' costume off and replacing it with a pair of comfortable slacks and a blouse. Ana wiped her makeup off as Evee, sitting cross-legged in the middle of her bed, began to chat with her mother.

"Jack let me have a ride on Rocky today. I rode bare back and he said he'd take me out for a day ride next time. And he's going to show me how to..." Evee stopped abruptly, and Ana turned to find her daughter trying to cover a guilty expression on her face.
"What is it?" Ana pressed, already disapproving. She liked Jack Connolly. Ana thought he had a steadying effect on Evee. She could only hope that any bad habits belonging to the older man weren't rubbing off on her impressionable daughter.
"It's just a card trick Mama." Evee assured her, an innocent smile on her face.
Ana frowned. Experience told her not to trust that 'innocent' expression on her daughter's face. "Maybe I should have a word with Jack." She said, tying her hair in a bun as she watched Evee's face closely.

Rather than risk being pressed into revealing that the trick was actually a sleight of hand useful when cheating in cards, Evee decided it was best to evacuate. Hopping off the bed she gave her mother a peck on the cheek before going for the door,
"It's just a little trick, Mama." Evee assured Ana as she paused in the doorway, "I'll be back before late." She added with a smile before jumping outside. Evee had nowhere in particular she wanted to be, but she was certain some adventure would appear.

Ana let Evee go with a sigh. She trusted her daughter, but that didn't mean that she didn't worry. Sitting down on her bed Ana stretched out her limbs, getting the kinks out before resting back on her elbows. Picking up the book tucked under her pillow, Ana flicked through the chapters until she'd reached the book-marked page. Pushing herself down the bed until her back was resting against the train wall, Ana let herself sink into the words.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Jack Connolly Character Portrait: Belle
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#, as written by Cloud


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Jack's arrival at the bonfire did not go unnoticed. Both Evelyn and Clayton greeted him in return, and one of the circus' youngest members ran by with a shouted 'Hi Jack!'. Jack wasn't one to frequent the social gatherings after performances, he generally preferred sitting quietly with a book or heading down to the pub alone. It's not that he disliked any of the other acts, he merely preferred his own company and the peace that went with it. He wasn't someone who needed to interact with people. He'd honestly be perfectly happy to spend the whole day out riding a horse, or reading in the shade of a tree. Yet here he was, waiting for his roommate to finish up with his two conquests of the night. He hoped Joshua wouldn't be long, but if worst came to worst Jack could bunker down in the stables for the night, it wouldn't be the first time. Even so, the company here wasn't all that bad and the fire was pleasantly warm.

"How are you, Jack?" Clayton's voice pulled Jack out of his thoughts. The horseman glanced up from his book towards the other man. Jack wasn't much of a talker, but his mother had taught him to be polite around decent people. He may not have been best friends with the Human pin-cushion, or Evelyn, but he hardly disliked either of them. Therefore a reply was in order and, as was customary with Jack the reply was short and simple.
"Alright. Yourself?"

Jack took a swig from his bottle before holding it up by the neck towards the other two performers. It was a clear invitation for either to have a sip if they so desired. The whiskey wasn't a particularly decent brand, but it sent a warm shiver down his spine. He didn't plan on getting drunk tonight, but a few sips never hurt anyone.




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Evee made her way through the collection of circus folk and visitors, feeling herself lucky to have escaped her mother's questioning. She would have to warn Jack not to tell her mother the card trick he was teaching her, or the fact that he was also teaching her how to cheat in poker. Both of which were not things Ana Howell deemed appropriate for her 16 year old daughter to know. Evee liked to keep her mother happy and lived by the saying 'What she doesn't know, can't hurt her'. Of course, she'd never do anything seriously harmful. The card tricks were just a little fun, no harm ever came out of them.

When Evee reached the stables (She had decided to warn Jack then and there), she found them disappointingly empty. Jack had obviously already finished with the horses. Evee stayed long enough to pat some of them on the noses before heading off again. She could have tried his car, but knew from past experiences that his roommate tended to bring home partners most nights. Evee may have been an innocent naive girl in her mother's eyes, but she knew how sex worked. She was 16 after all. So, having no wish to walk in on Joshua and his night's partner, Evee set her feet towards the big tent.

Her path took her through many of the circus' cars, and around groups of other performers relaxing for the night. She passed Conner and Kieran with little Sugar. Evee felt her cheeks flush and, ducking her head, she quickly rushed by. The girl was quite taken with the twins, both for their looks and their constant humour. They were some of the few people that she didn't badger with questions, mainly because she grew uncommonly shy and flustered around them. Making a quick exit Evee ducked under a tent rope and into the big top.

Much to her surprise the large tent was still occupied, not with cleaners but with one of the newer members of the circus, Belle. "How do you do that?" Evee asked, voice hushed in awe. She had seen Belle's act before, but never this close up. Evee could do amazing acrobatic tricks, but this type of movement was beyond her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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#, as written by Vix
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For beginners, her moves could easily become tiring with less than an hour; Especially the more advanced movements and positions. However, Belle had been at her trade all day every day for twenty-six years. She lived and breathed movement, constantly finding new ways to push her limits and awe the people around her. As someone who'd been performing nearly her entire life she knew well enough that it did no good to do the same thing over and over. Joining Dmitri's roaming circus gave her the opportunity to get even more creative. She'd been working with Zenobia and Rozella over the past three months to teach them her movements while they trained their animals to perform with her. They had yet to approach any of the managers to inform them of their secret training, feeling it'd more appropriate to simply surprise them. Wouldn't they be ever so pleased when they brought in more patrons than they've ever had under the tent before? They'd certainly need more seats to accommodate! And a bigger tent, naturally. She would perfect the way the Silver Sisters moved their hips with a bit more...private lessons. Soon they'd be center stage, performing with the cats and snakes in ways not seen before!

She smiled with content, placing the fingertips of her right hand against the center of her chest, the fingertips of her left hand resting lightly against her abdomen just under her navel. Knees bent, she felt her movement as she isolated the muscles in her chest and hips. With little effort she popped her chest out and then back again, repeating to an imaginary beat. She moved to her hips, tracing a figure eight. Hip swaying was easy. Getting just one's hips to move while all other body parts remained still took great skill. She moved into a shimmy, one of the real attractions to her routines. It was no secret that men lusted for a woman who could move her rump. She lowered her body to the ground, her arms out to the side, moving in a wave-like, serpentine way. She rolled her hips to emphasize on her ass only to find herself being watched. She ceased movement and rose up slowly, her brow lifting at the look of awe in Evee's features.

While Belle was intent on learning all she could about her fellow performers, she had to admit that between practicing and playing with the animals, she hadn't had much time to gather too much information on everyone. What she did know was that Evee was the daughter of Anna, they were French, Anna was an acrobat, Evee hadn't performed yet because she was still training, and Evee spent quite some time around Jack and took a shine to Conner and Kieran. The Arabian offered Evee a kindly smile and moved towards her, standing a distance that most people found uncomfortably close, just inches away from brushing against her. “Ah, العزلة العضلات. ثني ركبتيك. التفاني. كل شيء في الوركين، طفل جميل. هل تريد أن تتعلم؟ أنا دائما يمكن استخدام عدد قليل من أكثر السيدات جميلة في الرقص معي.” The Arabic words rolled from her tongue, adding more mystery to her as her brown eyes gazed down at the teenager, her fingers dancing, playing with Evee's chocolate colored curls. Obviously the young girl had no clue what the dancer had said. A light giggle bubbled past her lips as she moved her hands to position the young girl. “Muscle isolation. Bent knees. Dedication. It's all in the hips, beautiful child. Do you want to learn? I could always use a few more lovely ladies to dance with me.”

“Do not frighten the child, silly Bells.” Sebastian emerged, chuckling as he moved to stand a bit behind Belle, placing a hand on her shoulder. The older woman gave another giggle, releasing Evee and placing her hand against Sebastian's. “Do not be silly; I am not frightening to anyone. Am I frightening you, little acrobat?”





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“нет. пробути, Звездочка.” She couldn't help but to smile just a little wider, biting down on her lip to keep from appearing too excited as he praised her and kissed her upon her brow. It truly was just a bit funny that she would be so giddy for a simple acceptance of company and a short kiss to her forehead when the man had explored so much more of her. She, for the life of her, could not find just what it was of the man that drew her to him like a moth to a flame. His power and money? She'd been without it her entire life and it never really appealed to her. Perhaps it was his unique charisma. She couldn't say she'd ever met a man quite like him before. He could be violent and unpredictable, sure. But he hadn't directed much anger towards her since she began having relations with him only a month ago. If anything, she liked to think that she cheered him up immensely with her presence and favors. Obviously it probably wasn't as true as she believed it to be, but it settled well in her mind. She was being useful.

Her fingers curled against his hand gently as she allowed him to guide her to his lap, her eyes bright with flagrant infatuation for the older ring master. From the outside looking in they had quite the resemblance of a stern father and his loving daughter. That only made it appear all the more strange and just downright wrong when the young woman with all the youthful appearance of a teen let her head drop, careful to avoid being burnt by his cigar, allowing her lips to brush against his just ever so gently, lingering there for moments before she pulled back enough for them to hover inches apart. There was a certain sort of high she got from being with him. Maybe that's what she loved so much about him. He didn't make her feel like a child as many others did. She had even bothered to acclimate to the thick smoke produced by the cigars he constantly had lit. She had tried to smoke one once but he had reprimanded her and told her that it wasn't attractive for a lady to smoke. She was able to actually be around him when he smoked now without dissolving into a coughing fit.

The wordless woman put down her pencil and notepad, occupying her hands by slipping one to rest against the back of his neck and the other to rest upon his cheek, her thumb brushing gently against his skin as his had done previously. She wasn't the most competent when it came to using her almost nonexistent feminine charms, having gone so far as being coached by Belle in a game of charades and simply taking direction from Dmitri. Unlike many of the other women working for Cirque Regalis, Svetlana didn't have much of her own will. That's not to say that she had no sense of purpose without others to guide her. Lana simply didn't know how to turn others down and would always act in favor of someone else over her own intentions. She was extremely pliable.

A sigh escaped her as she massaged the back of his neck, sitting in silence. There was almost always such a silence between them in these moments but that was bound to happen when there was a mute involved in a conversation. It wasn't so much that she couldn't speak; Her vocal chords worked quite perfectly, that much Dmitri could certainly substantiate. She would even mutter a word or two here or there though the people who managed to hear assumed they had heard the wind. She herself wasn't sure why she never did talk. After seeing her mother gunned down by Nazi soldiers she simply stopped speaking. Maybe she just never knew how to express the gut wrenching sorrow she felt, diving into her music to shut out those feelings. Sometimes she was afraid that she'd burst into tears if she tried to talk. The last time she'd truly spoken was to tell her mother that she loved her. But she shut all of that out for years. Performing for the cirque and spending time with Dmitri helped keep her mind from such depressing things. It provided her with a perpetual smile. That very same kind and timid smile that she wore now as her eyes sung praises for the ring master.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Hazel Middleton Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Belle
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#, as written by Felilla
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With her typical smile plastered on her face, Hazel made her way over to the bonfire. She had stripped off her flamboyant costume of silk and mesh, trading it for a more conservative dress. There was a slight bounce in her step as she wandered over. Evelyn was as close to Clay as possible. They were all acting like normal people instead of circus freaks. That was something Hazel still found interesting. When the curtains fell, everyone became just like everyone else. Even Hazel became a new person. If she had been walking down the street at that moment, no one would've given her a second glance. With a small content sigh, Hazel continued to the bonfire.
She tucked a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, offering Evelyn and Clay a small smile and scratching behind Argos' ear. Then, she made her way over to the big tent. Inside were Evee and Belle, talking. Hazel walked up to them. "Hello, Belle," she paused here.
Like everyone else at the circus, she knew that it was not her real name. The only thing Hazel could really figure out about her was that she was Arabian. The fire eater couldn't help but be curious about the exotic dancer. She was new, not well acquainted with the acts. It made her interesting and Hazel wasn't really sure what to think of her. So, she decided that tonight she'd drag "Belle" out of the circus grounds to see how she did around other people, whether the Arabian dancer wanted it or not. However, Hazel was not one to push things on people, so she acted as if her greeting was just that. A simple greeting. Hazel turned to Evee, "What have you been up to?"
It was one of Hazel's favorite pastimes to tease the younger girl. She was just so naive. Hazel briefly wondered what her mother was doing. She loved watching Ana's act. She could do simple things on the floor, but nothing like what the Parisian Princess could accomplish. At the last moment, Hazel ruffled Evee's hair. She turned towards where the bonfire was, a distant and thoughtful look on her face. She thought back to when her stepfather had first taught her fire breathing. Who knew she would end up doing it for a living? With a small chuckle, she turned back to Belle, "How about a night on the town? Just us?" she questioned, leaning forward slightly. "I'm dying for some better vodka and I need to get some stuff for my act. I could use the company."
Hazel smiled widely as if to show that she was friendly. Curiosity destroyed the cat's social life, she thought as she waited anxiously for Belle's answer. The Arabian continued to move, her skin glowing in the firelight. With her smile still on her face, Hazel ran a hand through her long blonde hair. This was the make or break it moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Jack Connolly Character Portrait: Belle
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#, as written by Vix
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{In collaboration with Cloud}




Evee nodded quickly as Belle offered to teach her. Evee was always curious to know everything there was to know. She would love to add belly-dancing and contortion to her growing list of little talents.

"Oui s'il vous plaît" She replied in French, giggling simply because Belle had been too. As Sebastian appeared, calling Evee a child, the girl crossed her arms and jutted out a hip, the spitting image of a obstinate young woman.

"I am 16, Sebastian, I'm not a child. And of course I'm not frightened." She replied. She'd been telling her mother as much for the past three years. In Evee's mind 16 was more than old enough to perform with the other acts, yet in the mind of those older than her she really was little more than a child.

Sebastian did his best to contain himself, keeping his usual amused smile on his face as he looked at Evee. He cleared his throat and moved from the Arabian to the Frenchwoman, taking one of Evee's petite hands into his own and bringing it to his lips to kiss it softly. “Ah, I did not mean to offend. Couldn't you ever forgive me?” He flashed his best smile, the one that won hearts and minds all over. Belle rolled her eyes slightly but smiled all the same. Evee was a very sweet girl and rather headstrong, as most young women tended to be at that age. “Very well. You may practice with myself and the Silver Sisters. But tell no one. It would ruin the surprise, yes?”

This was probably the most conversation she'd had with any of the other performers. She normally saved conversation that wasn't cryptic in nature for business discussions with one of the managers or instruction with the other performers wanting to join her act. While she knew that being a solo act performing in ways others couldn't was what kept her audience wanting more, she also knew that adding others would be a surprise and allow for more possibilities.

Evee's face remained firm for a moment, but finally as Sebastian tickled the back of her hand with his lips a smile illuminated the girl's face and she broke into a giggle. A moment later her face lost the smile as she became mock serious, although the usual playfulness in her eyes remained.
"Fine. You are forgiven." She says to the man.

Then, turning to Belle, the smile returns. "Thank you! I'm sure it will help my acrobatic act too."

In response to Belle's order not to tell anyone, Evee nods eagerly. She can keep a secret when needed, although it's no secret that she can be a bit of a chatterbox too. However, the surprise that she knows she'll see on her mother's face when she reveals her new skill is incentive enough to keep quiet.

Thinking of secrets to keep from her mother Evee remembers that she was going to warn Jack about the card tricks. Evee had had no luck looking for him at the stables, and had been pleasantly distracted by Belle and Sebastian. However, the though occurred to her that one of these two might have seen him, "I don't suppose either of you have seen Jack Connolly around." She asked hopefully. She hoped the horseman hadn't gone down the road to a bar.

Oh, this was turning out just perfectly. Belle flashed Evee another dazzling smile as Sebastian turned, leading the two out of the big tent. Just in time, because the cleaners were on their way in. There was a whistle on his lips as he swung his arms in a carefree manner, waving to those that they passed by. Belle walked on by him, taking the lead and approaching the fire first. She didn't bother speaking a greeting to those present, giving her trademark mysterious smile instead. She watched them all for a few moments before popping her left hip and settling her hand there. “Not interrupting, are we? ...I don't suppose you would mind too much if we joined.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Hazel Middleton Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Jack Connolly Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Sugar
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Her giggle came as a surprise to the Pin Cushion not because he hadn't heard her laugh, but because it was so light and childlike. He'd almost forgotten Evelyn was only seventeen. He looked down at the girl, nuzzling into the fluffy dog. How many times had he also turned to the large dog for comfort? Clayton looked back to the fire and squinted slightly as he tried to discern the faces of the others to no avail. Evelyn's response might have missed him, but he managed to hear the whispered "thank you" as he focused back on the two figures to his side. Clay matched her smile with one of his own, causing the tattoos higher on his cheeks to dance.

"If you say so," he replied, adding a nod of the head and a shrug of his shoulders as he settled back on to the overturned bucket. He was never skilled at reading emotions, but even a man as dense as he could tell that it was more than that bugging the young woman. Clay shifted on the bucket and turned slightly so that he faced her while she looked into the fire. "You can tell me if you want, kid. I won't bite." When Evelyn didn't take the beer bottle, he finished off the rest of it and set it by the bucket.

Looking to Jack now, he crossed his arms on his lap to support himself more, for he was leaning over quite awkwardly. When Jack looked up, he waved again, smile still broad on his lips. It wasn't a mocking wave; it was simply overly-enthusiastic. That was typical for Clayton though. Clay looked at the out-stretched arm of Jack's that held the bottle and took it carefully. After downing a sip of the austere liquor.

"I'm good," Clay said, holding the bottle out to Evelyn for her so take a sip before he passed it to Jack again. "Thanks, by the way...d'you want me to grab you a beer?" Before Jack replied, he heard a high pitched voice call out to the assembled carnies. Pivoting on the bucket, Clay turned and noticed Sugar, to whom he offered a quick child-like wave by opening and closing his hand. He was, perhaps, overwhelmingly cheerful right then, but he could not have cared less, for he enjoyed being cheerful. The cheerfulness was his way of pushing down other emotions or dark thoughts. It was an alcoholic's alcohol to him-- necessary for survival, necessary to keep the darkness away.

He didn't see when Belle first appeared, but he heard her accented voice clear as day and turned to face her. "Nah, you ain't interrupting," he replied, taking charge of the situation. "The more, the merrier, right?"

Setting

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Character Portrait: Ana Howell Character Portrait: Evee Howell
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"No, no! Vous n'écoutez pas, Pip." Ana Howell sighed in frustration as she watched her daughter swinging above her on the trapeze. "I said keep it simple to start."
"Désolé mama, but it's so boring just swinging. I can do more." Evee replied with a pout. Ana felt her own lips purse together. Her hands folded over her chest and even from the heights of the acrobats top stand Evee could tell that arguing with her mother would not get her anywhere.
"Again, this time as I told you." Ana said a moment later, when she was sure her daughter would listen.

Her eyes followed Evee's actions as the young girl jumped into the air, her hands wrapped around the swinging bar. Halfway across Evee swung herself up in one smooth movement until she was resting on the top bar, hands either side and still gripping tightly. At the height of her swing she pushed herself forward on the bar. Legs straight and toes pointed she let herself fall forward and over the bar, swinging around and eventually lifting herself into her previous position. As the bar swung back to her beginning platform Evee again pushed herself over the bar and as she swung back a pair of strong arms belonging to Danil Boykov caught her around the waist, pulling her back onto the platform.

Danil patted Evee on the back as the girl got her footing, congratulating her on her performance and muttering in a voice he thought wouldn't carry down to Evee's mother, "I liked the flip better too."
"I heard that!" Ana called to him, hiding a smile as the young Russian winked back down at her.
If she were honest Ana would have to admit that the simple exercises she had her daughter doing were too easy for the girl. But Ana was determined to drill her daughter in them until she was completely confident in Evee's abilities. She had finally agreed to let Evee take part in a real performance, mainly because all the acts were being forced to rejig their performances. Evee was small and had no fear of heights. She was an ideal size to be thrown through the air between the other members, and was eager to prove herself too. Still, before she let her daughter practice the harder exercises she was going to make her perfect in the simple ones.

"Good, now do it again." Ana said. Up above Evee's shoulders slumped. Ana knew the repetition was eating at her daughter and so, taking pity on the young girl added, "If you do this one well I'll let you do a flying trapeze with Danil as the catcher." At this suggestion Evee's face lit up, a grin spreading across her face. With much more enthusiasm she took the trapeze bar in her hand and leaped into the exercise. Ana smiled at her daughter's delight and, feeling restless herself, raised her hands above her head and stretched up, raising onto her toes to further the stretch.

Evee completed the simple swing with ease and then, still not quite able to believe that her mother was letting her do something actually exciting, glanced back down to Ana for confirmation.
"Try a forward over" Ana shouted up, selecting a fun trick would hopefully appease her young daughter. "If that's alright with you Danil?" Ana asked up to the other man. Evee glanced quickly at Danil, her eyes large and pleading as the man appeared to mull over the question. Eventually he relented and agreed, receiving an enthusiastic hug from Evee for his troubles.

Ten minutes later, having completed the trick Evee climbed down from the top platform followed by Danil. With a wide grin and a happy skip in her step she flew across the tent floor until she could wrap her arms around her mother.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you." She trilled, obviously pleased.
"Ah, Pip, you did well." Ana replied, patting her daughter on the head.
Danil came up more sedately, a wicked look in his eye as he said jokingly, "Perhaps next time you can do it without the net."
Ana's eyes narrowed into a warning glare over her daughter's head, conveying to the young Russian that such a suggestion was not appreciated.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Ana Howell Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Sugar
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#, as written by Vix
{In partial collaboration with Scarlet Loup}

{Outfits}


While quite a few of the performers were grumbling through the entire week about the upcoming changes, Belle had absolutely no problem with switching up her routine. She had promised Robert and Dmitri to deliver performances that would have the audience begging for more even more than they already were. Over the course of the next seven days, The Desert Rose had devoted every ounce of her time when she wasn't sleeping to training and practicing. Sebastian and Svetlana were getting better and Evee was off to a good start. Zenobia and Rozella were also fairing well and their darling creatures were working well with Belle's cues. She enjoyed working with Orion and had even gotten him to prance around while she bent herself into strange positions and balanced upon his back all the while. He truly was a magnificent creature. His mate didn't care too much for her but that was alright. She hadn't had much time to herself but that was alright as well – The better her performance went the more money she was paid.

Rides on the train were never boring. Sugar regaled her with stories of her trouble making days in Lynchburg – But then she'd ask for one of them to escort her to the car where the twins were so she could ask for another balloon animal. When the twins said they'd make her a whole zoo, they certainly seemed to mean it. Svetlana and Belle both thought that it was simply adorable the way she was so infatuated with the two boys. Of course, Sebastian wasn't quite sure what to say on the matter so he'd often chuckle and nod nervously when Sugar got to chatting about them. Svetlana had been pining something awful, Belle had noticed had been going on for at least a month when they hit the road. She knew that Svetlana would sometimes make trips to Dmitri's car and stay for an hour, sometimes three or four, but she never showed signs of knowing anything. The poor girl seemed to be going through withdrawals though it didn't show much to those who weren't so observant. She didn't talk and always looked timid and frightened either way. Besides being away from Dmitri, she hadn't yet had to chance to play her game of blackmail and charades with Robert. She actually hadn't seen him since he made the announcement of changing up the performances. Everyone seemed to swarm him with questions and protests and ideas after - The poor girl couldn't make it through the crowd of folk.

Sebastian, however, was having far more luck in bedding others than his sister – As was Belle. The two were often absent from the train car through the ride as they found their way towards their usual partners. Belle, taking her turn with the Silver Sisters, Sebastian having his fun with a particularly talented Sword Swallower named Marissa. Svetlana had the pleasure of being Sugar's human doll while the small, dark skinned girl practiced putting makeup on her and doing her hair. They were all ever so pleased to get off of the train and get some fresh air though. Sugar was the first to burst forth, barreling out as though she'd been launched from the cannon as she shot off to search for the twins, calling out their names. “Kieran! Connuh!” She felt extra pretty since Belle and Lana had straightened her hair, bearing the fading burn marks on her ears from the bumps and shakes encountered while riding. She had no shoes on, mud squishing under her small feet, her little red dress and ribbons fluttering behind her.

Belle slunk out of the train car next, wearing (as usual) next to nothing. Pittsburgh was so dirty and ugly. The connoisseur of all things beautiful let her nose wrinkle before heaving a sigh and stepping onto the ground, letting her toes curl into the bit of grass that was there. She let her gaze flicker, watching everyone else as they filed out, stretching and basking in the sun. She stretched out as well, arms extending to the sun. That stretch became a bend as her feet came together and her head slowly went behind her back until her hands were against the ground. Oh. That felt great. Smiling and well stretched, she took off at an easy pace, giving her fingers a little waggle as a wave to those in passing. A few winks were thrown her way and returned with a brow lift that implied a “maybe later”. She had no time for any dillying or dallying at the moment. She had set out to find Evee though she could see that the young girl's mother was watching her like a hawk. As much as she'd love to have the teen as part of her act, how was she supposed to do that when she knew for a fact that Ana would outright say no? It was absolutely tragic. She sighed wistfully and headed away from the acrobats to find someone else to bother.

Clay.

Now there was a decent target.

The man was always so happy and Belle found his talent quite interesting, to say the least. She looked about for him, wondering whether or not he had exited the train yet. ... Oh, there he was. She spotted Clay sitting on a barrel nearby, sliding safety pins into his forearms. With a sway in her walk, Belle didn't take too long to reach his side, standing as close as she usually stood to people, just close enough that the slightest movement might cause them to brush against one another. “I've had a question I've been meaning to ask. You wouldn't mind if I bothered you a moment, hm?” She gave him her best smile, a gleam of mischief in her dark brown eyes as she pushed her blonde locks over her shoulders. Clay studied his arm as he wove a safety pin in and out of the soft skin of his underarm. Argos, curled at his feet, was the first to notice Belle's arrival. Still, he did not look up until she came to a stop and hovered beside him. With a quick movement, Clayton's head turned upward and the pin he currently held ripped through the skin.

"Hey," he greeted, nodding his head toward her. He met her smile with one of his own. It was a familiar smile, one that always appeared in the company of others. He turned on the bench, holding his thumb over the wound. "I don't mind. Whaddya need?" Belle took a moment to appear deep in thought, as though searching her mind for the question she meant to ask. “You do not feel pain. At first I thought it might be certain points of your body that you use to avoid it. Like the acupuncture they do in India. But I watch you and there is no precision...Technique. You simply jam things into your body without a care and without flinching. If you do not feel pain, do you feel other things?” Whether she meant physically or emotionally, she didn't let on. She simply smiled, bending down so that she was at his feet with Argos, petting the large dog's back and looking to Clay for an answer.

Clayton's brow knit, and he leaned forward slightly to wind his fingers in Argos's thick coat. Everyone knew what he did for his act, yet it was different when he tried to explain it. It was as if he were disclosing something personal. Then again, it didn't matter. He wasn't the kind of person to keep secrets. "Well, I can't feel heat..." he started. He knew what she meant, though. He was naive, but he wasn't stupid. He looked up and met her gaze which was almost level with his as he leaned further down. "I can feel things, of course...and I can feel...pleasure." She remained calm as she spoke, but Clayton' face turned a soft, pinkish color as he spoke. The flirting thing really had never been his strong suit. There was a strong possibility that Belle was taking quite a bit of pleasure out of this conversation, feeling rather satisfied as Clay's face began to flush with pink. It was so cute to see a tattooed man blush. She retained her nonchalant position and tone, tilting her head some. “I hadn't meant that, per se.” She gave a light giggle and shook her head, looking down before looking back at him, placing a hand on his thigh.

“But... Thank you. For letting me know that. I'll have to keep it in mind.” There was a playful tone in her voice now as she toyed with him though it was obvious she held no malicious intent.

Well, shit." Don't assume. It makes an ass out of you and me. That saying came back to him just as quickly as the blush spread and darkened. She wasn't angry at him at all, of course, yet he could not ignore the embarrassment. His jaw moved soundlessly as if he meant to speak but couldn't formulate words. The tattoos on his chin danced up and down slowly, pointlessly. "S-sorry," he said finally and opened his mouth to speak again. He cut himself off as she rested a hand on his upper thigh. Oh yes, he could certainly feel that. "Right...you're welcome."

The smile appeared again, for it had wavered at the thought of that blunder. Clay tried to look at her hand as nonchalantly as possible, and he looked down at the dog quickly before meeting her gaze again. What the hell was he supposed to say now, damn it? “For a man so handsome, I assumed that you might be a bit more...smooth,” she teased, giving him a wink and giving his thigh a squeeze. “You act as though you aren't so used to female attention -” She leaned closer so that she was quite directly in his face, the tip of her nose against his. “- or affection.” His breath caught instinctively as she squeezed his leg, and Clay hardly had time to react before she was closer than before, his nose touching hers as he wavered slightly with an exhale. "Well - ah -," he murmured, fighting to make his voice quieter because she was so close. "Driving a skewer through your cheek doesn't really turn people on." He tried to give a soft laugh but stopped as he remembered how close they were. He might have reciprocated the touch, but he still wasn't sure if this was merely Belle being Belle or...something more.

“On the contrary -” The Arabian's features softened as there was a sort of feeling of pity for the man. Clay was indeed handsome and quite friendly. It was a shame that he didn't receive more attention from women. Belle thought that he was quite charming, basing from the relatively few conversations they'd had. Again, not the smoothest pebble in the river, but he was a good man. She would have to remedy his ailment. “I find you quite attractive.” Her hand moved to his cheek, his skin just as warm as it was red. “I think those other women don't know what they're missing out on. Don't you agree, Clayton?” He pushed his cheek into her hand without thinking, savoring the feeling of her palm. "I...guess," he said softly, thoughtfully, as if he hadn't thought so before. Hell, he really hadn't even thought of it before. "I find you attractive, too. You're real gorgeous." Clayton bit his lip softly as his gray eyes met her brown ones again. From closer up, it was probably quite easy to see the numerous puncture wounds on his cheeks, but now he certainly didn't care about them, for she had told him she didn't care. Hesitantly, he reached upward and rested a hand just barely on her cheek. Rather, it hovered just above her cheek as if he were afraid to touch her.

He was so shy and that was something that Belle had yet to encounter in a man. All the men who dared to approach her were very bold and confident in themselves and their ability to woo a woman. Clay seemed so hesitant, almost as though he were frightened he may say something to anger her or make her run away. Such a sweet southern man. Being around him might make one fear that he'd give you a cavity with his personality alone. She let her eyes wander over his features, taking them in. There were a lifetime's worth of scars from various things he put under his flesh but it didn't mar the beauty of him. It only added intrigue and gave an air of danger. Belle thought it was quite a turn on - the scars, not his habit of poking himself with sharp things - and knowing how sweet he was and his poor luck with women only made her feel a bit more pity. But perhaps pity wasn't the right word. Empathy. Ah, there was the word. Her head turned a little more to the side, resting firmly against his rough hand as her own hand moved to brush some hair blown into his face by the wind. “You are quite kind, Clayton. Maybe you should come spend time with me more often.” She leaned in closer than she already was, pressing a soft kiss against his lips before pulling away. “I'm good company to keep. Or so I've been told.”

He looked up at her, dumbfounded, as she pulled away. The blush still colored his cheeks, but the smile had fallen into a look of pure child-like confusion. "T-thank you," he replied, still whispering as if she were close. Clayton cleared his throat to raise his volume as he continued. "I - ah - might have to take you up on that offer." He pushed a hand through the messy, dark hair on his head. "Nice talking to you, Belle." Clayton nodded at her again and forced the smile back across his lips. It wasn't that he was upset, he was merely too overwhelmed. The smile came quite naturally afterwards.

Belle stroked his cheek gently with her thumb before rising up and moving away. An interesting man, indeed.

Svetlana was sore from head to toe but at the same time she had never felt so great in her life. Belle had talked her and the other two into doing yoga with her, assuring them that it was great practice for easing into contortion. And it was true – She found her flexibility and ability to hold poses for extended amounts of time greatly increasing, something she was sure would please Dmitri. She watched Belle stretching for a moment, again wondering (as she had many times) if Belle did such things to show off or she just simply did everything she did because it pleased herself. She wished she was more like Belle. Well, there weren't many women that she'd met so far that she didn't wish she was more like. Ana was so smart and caring, even though Evee often said her mother was overbearing. She could relate – Sebastian was the same way. Frances was a woman who knew what she wanted and how to get it and she knew how to bend people to her will. Evelyn was so pretty and exotic. They were about the same age but Lana never could find much time to approach her and when she did she never really knew what to do but stand there and feel awkward. That tended to happen when you tried to get a shy girl and a mute girl to communicate with one another.

She adjusted the green silk dress that Belle insisted that she wear. They had bought it before leaving New York City and her dear friend insisted that the tailor make sure it hugged what little form that Lana did have. She had a jacket that went with it because she didn't like the idea of the top of her breasts being flashed to every passing Tom, Dick, and Harry. Belle told her that she was being silly and far too self-conscious when she noticed while Lana had been trying it on she was trying to shield her clevage from exposure. There was a moment when Lana wanted to ask Belle if she knew what it meant to be faithful to someone that you loved. But she never did ask. Because Belle didn't speak Ukrainian and Lana didn't speak. Much.

Sebastian walked on by her, sporting his new outfit as well. No doubt he was off to see what Sugar was up to. Lana smiled to herself as her elder brother took long strides, following the sound his daughter's voice. It was cute, to see him unsure of how to deal with Sugar's infatuations. He knew that he wouldn't find her smooching up to any of the boys she gushed about any time soon - she was eight - But he still wasn't quite sure how to quite deal with it. He didn't want to encourage it. She was so young and didn't fully understand such things. But he couldn't tell her that it would never be. It would crush her. He was very much like a lost puppy. Lana shook her head and went on her way, clutching, as always, her violin to her chest. She wanted to find Dmitri. She knew she'd need to communicate with Robert eventually. As far as she could tell, the other man hadn't said anything to anyone about what he saw. Which was a good thing.

Playing softly, she offered a smile to those passing by, pausing every now and then to play a request before both parties moved along with their previous objective. Moonlight Sonata. There was a beautiful piece of music that she could simply never tire of hearing. Chin well placed, her right hand moved fluidly with the bow, the fingers of her left caressing the strings as she brought forth the haunting, yet beautiful and soothing melody. She did so absent of mind, zoning out as she heard other melodies in her head. She could almost see the music notes floating out in front of her. She had yet to take pen to paper for such melodies, unsure of how the audience would react to the new music. Sure, new styles were coming out every other day. But she didn't want to face criticism or rejection.

There was a light sigh that left her as she zoned in and out of her mind, doing her best not to bump into those bustling about to set up and practice and talk with the managers. She hadn't even noticed that Belle, who had left Clayton to silently pursue the mute from afar, was watching her with a curious smile. She did notice Dmitri though. It wasn't just Dmitri she had noticed, but Dmitri offering a blushing and smiling Evelyn a cigar. Her music hit a wrong chord as her arm jerked in light surprise and a bit of frustration. It seemed almost immediately that her stomach clenched into a knot and her breath caught in her throat. Was he flirting with her? Why wouldn't he? She was young and pretty and exotic. She was certainly more gorgeous than the plain violinist. A small pout formed on her lips as the foreign emotion of jealousy confused her. She certainly wouldn't wish harm to Evelyn but she didn't understand what was going on.

It wasn't as though she could march over and ask. Nor would she dare to ask Dmitri later in private. Dmitri told her many times before that he loved her and she had told him that she loved him. There couldn't be anything going on. Besides. Evelyn didn't even like Dmitri. Right? Lana had never seen the two interact amicably before so she wouldn't know. Then again, she and Dmitri didn't act quite like lovers in public either. Her head was starting to hurt as much as her heart the more she thought about it. She eventually concluded that she was being foolish and delusional. She chided herself mentally for doubting Dmitri. How dare she question him after all he had done for her? Still pouting, mostly upset with herself at this point, she made herself scarce and attempted to disappear into the crowd, careful not to drag her feet and dirty her green shoes.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Jack Connolly
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The spotlight hit the back of the tent where Jack waited. Dressed in a dapper black outfit, Jack was considerably tidier than how one would normally find him. Yet, he itched in the decadent suit and longed to back in his casual slacks. Just as he was dressed up so too were his charges, the horses and ponies that made up the first circus act. The usual array of headdresses and tail decorations made an appearance, but with the need to up the anti the powers-that-be had decided on adding more gimmicks. That was why Jack found himself seated on a magnificent white horse who was shuffling restlessly on his hooves thanks to the uncomfortable set of wings attached onto his back. Jack had opted to forgo a saddle, both to enhance the 'Pegasus' look and to attempt to reduce the horses discomfort.

Jack nudged the horse into action. 'Pegasus' leaped forward, the glitter sprinkled across his body caught the spotlight, making the horse's body shine and glitter as he moved. The crowd cheered as Jack pushed the horse once around the arena before reigning up in the centre. With practiced ease he pulled on the reigns and 'Pegasus' reared with Jack balanced on his back. As Jack brought the horse back to all fours a set of coloured spotlights lit various openings to the arena. In each opening a pony, dressed similarly to Pegasus albeit with different coloured wings, waited. Joshua Stokes, Jack's roommate and occasional helper, helped lead the ponies into the centre.

Once inside Jack again lead the charge on his white Pegasus, this time followed by the set of coloured, well-trained ponies. The audience responded 'Ohs' and 'Uhs', while some of the younger children were loudly giggling at the adorable little ponies. As he rounded another curve Jack pushed himself to his feet, standing on the bare back of Pegasus as the horse continued to run. A cheer went up throughout the crowd and Jack waved his hands for more applause, to which the audience readily responded.

Once Pegasus had stopped Jack dismounted effortlessly, bowing as the audience applauded him again. Then, receiving a special horse whip from Joshua, he quickly coerced the horse and ponies into a line. He raised his arms and clicked his tongue, the signal for his four-legged friends to jump up onto their hind legs, front hooves raised in balance. It was like a puppet show, they the puppets and he the puppeteer. It was not the favourite of Jack's acts, he preferred the trick riding and such to this, but he needed diversity in his act and the audience certainly seemed to adore it.

As the lights dimmed once more Jack quickly ushered the ponies out of the ring, handing them over to Joshua to get them out of the tent. Once the ring was cleared bright spotlights hit the centre of the ring where Jack now stood with several brightly coloured hoops and a set of juggling pins. The spotlight split, one going to each of the openings behind Jack and a third staying focused on him in the centre. Into the two other spotlights came two new horses, each bearing a brightly costumed acrobat. Danil Boykov stood on one while the young, and very excited, Evee stood on the other. Both acrobats entered to a round of applause from the audience. More cheering met the act as both acrobats carefully replaced feet with hands until they were balanced on the racing horses with their feet in the air. Jack watched both horses and riders, making sure to keep the horses in line should they diverge from their path. Evee wobbled slightly and Jack made her horse, the spirited Rocky, slow slightly to allow the young girl to regain control.

Once both riders were back on their feet Jack held up a hoop, turning to allow the audience to see it. Then, with a practiced throw, he sent it flying towards Evee. A round of applause sounded as the girl caught the hoop and began to twirl it around her waist. Jack threw the juggling pins to Danil Boykov one at a time, allowing the acrobat to catch each in turn and begin juggling them. Turning back to Evee as she circled on Rocky Jack threw the remaining two more hoops in quick succession. The two hoops were caught by alternate hands. While the hoop around her waist continued to spin Evee managed to lift one leg and hook a hoop onto it before placing around the remaining hoop around her neck.

As the acrobats rode, juggled, and hula-hooped, Jack began to carefully slow the horses. When he judged the time was right he brought the two beasts to a halt. Evee stopped moving the hoops while Danil caught the juggling pins. As the crowd cheered the two acrobats jumped down from their horses and bowed or curtsied to the crowd. Jack similarly bowed, before elegantly casting an arm towards the horses, indicating for the crowd to cheer for them too. The crowd obliged and, which a satisfied feeling, Jack took another bow. The spotlights turned off and Jack was able to make his exit.

Out the back he patted the horses that remained, muttering compliments to them quietly. Next he searched for his human helpers and found Evee and Danil slightly to one side. Evee had a wide grin on her face and seemed to be bouncing in the spot. Danil, who had performed with Jack before, listened to her attentively as she gushed about the show.
"You did good, kid." Jack said as he joined the pair. Evee grinned up at him,
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" The young girl exclaimed, wrapping both arms around Jack in a hug, "That was so much fun." She added as sh drew back, "But next time you should give me more hoops."
Jack laughed quietly, "Three hoops is enough for now." He simply replied. Ana Howell had only just let Evee perform with three. Jack hated to think what bribes he would have to offer to get Ana to allow Evee to use more. But, that was for another day. Now he had several horses that deserved a good rub down and some tasty treats.