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Misguided Ghosts: A Promise

The Masquerade Ball


a part of Misguided Ghosts: A Promise, by Lovely VonSchultz.


Lovely VonSchultz holds sovereignty over The Masquerade Ball, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

419 readers have been here.


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The Masquerade Ball is a part of Misguided Ghosts: A Promise.

18 Characters Here

Jetta Miracle Constantine [7] "I dare ya"
Donovan Petrov [0] "Every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep..."
Dexter "Dex" Estrama Ashcroft [0] "Ello, chaps. Isn't this party real smashing?"
Mischa Persephone Hawthorne [0] And in the crush of the dark, I'll be your light in the mist.
Sansa Kealoha [0] Little mice, little men, get 'em all excited; all invited.
Gunnar Marcail Macphee [0] I'm a crow, I'm the most with the least to gain.
Viviannah Azalea Georgia Constantine [0] :This Place That is Now Shattering Apart... Will Still Remain Ever Beautiful:
Mariella Augusta Miller [0] Get over your hill and see what you find there. With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.
Michaelis "Mike" Loren Miller [0] He a muthafuckin trip, trip, sailor of the ship, ship. When he make it drip, drip kiss him on the lip, lip.

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It is common to react with wide eyes, open mouth, and tense muscles when something beautiful approaches. When something strange, unknown, mysterious and mythical shows itself. When all the colors in the world converge into a single space and then explode into yours, all you can do is stand there. That is the normal thing, for normal people, to do. It’s like the autonomous action of blinking when something’s in your eye. Your body is moved emotionally, or physically, to whatever it sees and can’t help but express it outwardly somehow. The universal sign being wide, doe-eyes.

Mariella is completely abstract and definitely abnormal. When he came walking through the open doors, the curtains rustling at their ends from his breeze, she saw something white, a hint of silver, and a rainbow of different colors. Not that he was trailing a rainbow like some unicorn, mind you. No, it wasn’t all fantasy and faeire-like. What she saw was the negative, floating in the clear liquids. Red, then yellow, then more colors layering ontop of more colors until all she saw was that image. Still. Perfect. Angular and yet totally loose. All limbs and then grace. How he easily lifted his body over the railing and onto the ground just on the other side. Ella felt herself envying his pants and sensible shoes. Perhaps she could have come here dressed as a man. Would she have gotten away with it? Perhaps. But of course, a woman going to a masquerade as a man was just unheard of.

As he stood there, Mariella did the abnormal thing and just watched him for the seconds before he turned and noticed her. He watched the moon and she studied how it shined off his hair, off the edge of his glasses, and how the shadow under his jaw was sharp and distinct. Without thinking, her hands came up, index fingers and thumbs creating a box around his visage.

Don’t move. Let me get my camera. That would have been a normal reaction for her. The lighting was splendid and the specimen was more than superb. She wanted that picture, that moment trapped in her world for eternity.

But he noticed her. He turned and the moment, not lost, had been missed. She really should have brought her camera.

“No apologies needed. I’m sorry, actually,” she started, realizing that she was about to keep talking before thinking it over, “I wanted to take your picture just now and I do not have my camera.” And the award for creepiest guest goes to…! Her cheeks blushed rapidly and she shook her head. “I mean! Just… It’s that… Well, you looked very contemplative and you have a great body… I mean!” Oh God… this was just irritatingly wrong. Everything that came out of her mouth was idiotic. It was no wonder to herself that she hated speaking with people. Just point and click. Those were her words to the world. She cleared her throat and looked away from him, suddenly unable to meet his dark eyes.

“What I mean to say is, the moment was perfect and it deserved a photograph. That’s all.” No, that wasn’t all, but that’s all she felt right saying anymore. Mariella really wished she was the girl from that song. Glue her lips together. Stop talking because it obviously did her no good.

Mike couldn’t help but watch her go. She danced when she walked, even. It wasn’t that he was instantly falling in love, though he wouldn’t have minded really, especially if she were game, just that he could appreciate a woman in all aspects. He was still male and he still loved their bodies. A few people got caught between them and he lost sight of her figure swaying to a seat for a small break. Too bad she didn’t want something to eat. No worries. Mike would grab a quick bite, get a fresh drink and be right back at her side for the next dance. Tango. She was fiery. He liked that.

He’d turned on his heel made only a few steps then slowed. Something was coming toward him. Mike was by no means a psychic. He couldn’t feel presences of the dead or the living. His little brothers and sisters could sneak up on him the easiest. Michaelis was pretty much oblivious to his surroundings and being on a constant buzz from alcohol never really helped.

But this was different. It was a force that would not be ignored. It was hot and angry and it burned at his shoulders. A hand, strong, forceful, filled with intentions Mike didn’t want to know about, grabbed his shoulder and spun him around. The connection was explosive. The taste of blood was instant and he felt the left side of his head go numb. The hearing was blocked for a moment and he inhaled some of the blood that seeped from the cheek that had busted against his molars.

At first, Mike only cared about the pain, not the gasping guests or the wide eyes behind masques. All he could do was gingerly touched the cheek where he’d been clocked. Swelling would be almost instantaneous, bruising well on its heels. He couldn't close his mouth because the inside was so tender when his teeth brushed the flesh he groaned in pain. Finally, he looked up and saw the face of his assaulter. Those eyes were harboring some kind of hatred, a pain he’d only seen as an outside observer. Mike had made sure to never be on the receiving end of this kind of anger. It looked like all his caution had not paid off.

Who in the hell was this asshole? Now Mike was starting to get a little angry. No matter that the way the assailant looked like he could kill Mike at any given moment, he had no right punching him in the jaw like that!

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Mike mumbled, straightening up and meeting the stranger’s eyes. He wouldn’t hit back. Mostly because he wanted to know what the fight was about before they continued on with this foray. His father may have been a drunken loser for the first crucial years of a young boy’s life, but at least he’d taught him how to fight before he got into high school.

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For a moment past the mangled apology and the strange silence that followed, Ian remained frozen, as though he really had been stilled to a photograph. In truth, he did not find any of what had been said all that strange; he had never been one to take the possible entendre for anything but the artistic connotation, and frankly he was slightly flattered. He had never known many artists, nor had he thought his extension to be particularly worth note. It was, to him, just what it was, which was rather odd for him. But then, if the world had color, Ian was the shades of grey. His magnificent impressions were always of the external, never of himself.

The perfect lack of motion was interrupted only after that, when his lips curled upwards into the slightest of smiles. She was serene colors, this girl, blues and violets and indigos. It was quiet, a nocturne for the evening drifting tunefully from the tensed strings of a mellow instrument. “Think nothing of it,” he replied, turning around properly this time. “I quite often say things that don’t come out as they should.”

Ian looked up at the house. From where he was standing, it was still a marvel of architecture, that much was certain. Exhaling softly, he turned his attention back to his fellow quiet-seeker, for in his mind this was the most likely reason for coming out here in the first place. Shame, then, that he felt nearly compelled to speak. “You might not make such a bad photograph yourself, you know. I have little knowledge of such things, but… the composition is interesting.” He thought that was the word anyway, even if it did feel a bit strange on his tongue in this context. It was, truly; the greatgrand house, the veranda framing an off-center bench occupied by a solitary individual. The proportions and equations that drifted through his head were harmonious, a natural balance, counterpoint in concert.

The woman herself, he supposed, was not terribly extraordinary-looking in terms of the sorts of things people looked for; a sweep of flesh, a delicate feature or assemblage of them. But these were not what he saw, and so instead, it seemed to him that the image was quite divine. What better hues for an evening than the duskycalm ones?

Running a hand through goldsilver hair, the manwhosawmath looked down at his own feet, suddenly certain that there was nothing more to say. Which was strange, for he had neither asked for her name nor given his own. He knew nothing of her, nor she of him, and he was for once content with nothing. The number zero was not merely emptiness, but infinite possibility, contained neatly in nonexistent multitudes played on the edges of mindscapes, teasing the attentive with what might be beyond that which was fully comprehensible. It was a world in which he dwelled more frequently than he should- in possibility, reality is not yet manifest, but reality was for those who knew certitude. Ian was no such soul. He knew only sometimes, maybe, perhaps, probability, sense-data, subjectivity, number. Nothing was certain, only alive. And in the difference, there was beauty, he was almost positive.

Behaving more bravely than he felt, he looked back up, tilting his head to one side in the manner of some kind of ephemeral bird. “Perhaps… your mind might care to take the photos of the garden?” In his own way, he supposed, he was inviting her to walk with him, but the question was laced with genuine curiosity. What made an image worth a picture, or that mass quantity of words people were given to assign such things? He did not know, but she might.

Mischa, overall, was thoroughly enjoying herself. Her profession was much more stressful than most people would guess, and to say that her personal life had been without difficulty would be a mistake most grave indeed. But something about this place made it terribly easy to forget that and lose yourself in the moment, something that she had always striven for but rarely truly enjoyed. The company was delightful, the atmosphere light, the music heavenly in her ears. Life was good to her tonight.

Or at least she would have thought so. Golden eyes passed by the entranceway smoothly, at least until they hitched on the last sight she had ever expected to see again. Or, more properly, something she had never thought she’d see when awake. The pleasant warmth in her blood ran cold, and Mischa froze, eyes wide and unblinking.

It was truly unfair, the way her heart still pulled at the sight of him. It was something in the way he carried himself; it always had been. Mischa couldn’t talk- words were of little consequence. Carriage, body language, walking the walk: these were the things which could seize her. Everything about that predatory stalk screamed danger, a barely-contained explosion just waiting for an excuse to send everything around him to hell. It was the tread of someone who spat in the face of the devil himself, and it had agonizingly retained its enrapturing quality. He was painful hard edges and she was a masochist, addicted and fraught with not one iota of shame for any of it. He was fangs and she claws, he was the sting of a lash on tender skin.

She had loved even this. Or perhaps especially this; that she was the person who could endure the blows until she’d found that soft, unprotected place beneath the razor edges of despicable rage. She’d seen him cry, and pressed his forehead to hers and stroked his hair. She’d watched all the thunder and lighting of the storm abate and leave nothing but melancholy rain when it was worn down beyond a moment’s repair. She knew this man, and she’d thought she’d left him behind, with his poisonous tongue and flaring temper. She’d conditioned herself to bear his tempestuousness, until the lashes met nothing but steel, glancing off as nothing.

How foolish, to presume that she’d never be forced to prove it. She didn’t feel her body again until after his fist had met with Mike’s face, and this was all her fault. It was always her fault. She made him angry, she was to blame, and this was her burden to bear. So many times, so very many moments had been consumed with nothing but this thought- that she was the one at fault for his indiscretions. For how could she think otherwise? This man needed nobody, was attached to nobody, and so had no reason to become upset.

She had realized the flaw in her own logic too late. By then, she’d been so in love with that tiny spark of softness that she may well have invented that she’d devised any excuse to lay the blame anywhere but with him. No longer.

Mischa stood and crossed the ballroom in swift strides, interposing herself between the two men, facing him with flashing, angry eyes, flinty-hard and bound not to make it apparent that she was not so steely as she needed to be. His behavior was inexcusable, and it was not her fault. She was allowed to have a life without him, just as he was allowed to live after her. It was not her fault, not her responsibility. Skin on skin, toxic kisses. No. Not her fault.

She was trying to convince herself. She knew this. What she did not know was whether or not she was succeeding.

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He who angers you conquers you; he that would be angry and sin not, must not be angry with anything but sin; never contend with a man who has nothing to lose, for he'll tear you apart; no man can think clearly when his fists are clenched; anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before - it takes something from him. It leaves him with nothing.

Those were all sayings and mottoes and half-heard speeches given to Gunnar by his drunken father whilst he rattled him around the living room, smashing things in his wake like a thundering tsunami. Small beating fists were ineffectual when a towering beast was hissing hotly in your direction, snapping out like a viper whenever you tried to flee. He was never quick enough; never. Either way, he'd acquired his fathers' anger and his mother's fierce impatience, he couldn't fathom sitting by while that boiling, tawdry animosity smoldered in his belly. He was a maze full of dead-ends and wrong turns, and he wasn't feeling sorry for cracking his fist across Mike's open jaw. Unforgivably callous, he would hurl stones and curse words and fists if he had the chance. There was only a short open window, and only so many fists that could be thrown between now and the time that the servants intervened.

It was surprising that they hadn't rushed around them. Everyone seemed frozen, gawking. Or else, that's what it seemed like. Gunnar wouldn't have been surprised if the couples continued dancing or snacking on the refreshments strewn out across the tables. There was a knot in his stomach, pulling tighter within his gut. The beats, getting heavier, getting faster with every minute; a pantomime puppet being manipulated by some higher, mightier, and crueler being. White-knuckled fingers were still curled tightly, fingernails digging into his palms. Sure to bleed, sure to cut. It's a sickness, that hate; the dark growth inside him was always festering. Liquid streaming anger spilled over, licking hotly against his neck.

There was no hesitation in his actions. No wondering whether or not this was the right thing to do. No blinking when the battered target pressed his fingers gingerly to his cheek, wondering what he'd done to deserve such foul treatment. His fingers found Mike's collar, pulling him bodily forward. Gunnar's eyes spun like wildfire, sparks and ashes and unflinching. Blood spattered from Mike's mouth, speckling the freshly waxed floor and looking eerily like a homicide scene – and it drove him on, beckoning with wicked subconscious. Like an open wound, nagging and throbbing, swelling and destroying. As soon as Gunnar's hand snapped back behind his head, he stumbled forward, hand still tightly gripping the injured party, as Mike sidled backwards. He was holding him aggressively, opposing hand clenched and edging just behind his hairline; ready to explode into an array of reds.

Immediately, Gunnar wished that Mike would've struck him back. He found it strange that the bushwhacker hadn't automatically flailed out in defence. Instead, he met his eyes and stared at him as if he hadn't understood what this entire situation was about. The injustice – the entire fucking situation – curdled in his stomach. Clearly masochistic and suffering from untreated anger problems, Gunnar was always used to excruciating retribution. This silence, this nonviolent confrontation, didn't feel right. It was always an eye-for-an-eye, right? Sharp, acute breaths stab little holes into his lungs, shortening his breath and catching like tiny fishhooks in his throat. Maybe he was feeling shittier than Mike was. It felt like something both scalding hot and icy cold wrapping around your stomach, and splashes up over his insides, as if unrest is twisting in him into something pathetic. And suddenly he was deflating. His anger was unjust and he felt ridiculous.

Fuck you,” Gunnar hissed, his drawling Australian accent audible. Ignoring his sensible question, the curly-haired man's fingers tightened around his crisp collar, drawing him near until his flinty eyes locked onto Mike's – strong, violent, aggressive, promising future agony if he wasn't listening close enough. His next words came out heated and breathy, as if it was taking all his power to resist the urge to pummel him into the ground. To destroy that pretty face and spoil the beautiful masquerade. He didn't care. Every muscle in his panther-tense body wanted to move, to shiver and bounce and snap back all at once, jerking him in several directions for no reason other than to be moving. The stillness was making them ache, sizzle with the kinetic energy that his frenzied emotions were feeding them, no way to release it other than to eat themselves from the middle and deteriorate. “Don't touch her, y'hear me? Don't touch her.” It was a threat, more than it was a command. A hiss rather than a hounds' growl.

And there she was. Flaccid fingers turn staunch. And eyes turn from storm to something different, something hard to put your finger on. Building up higher and higher; closer and closer to the surface just ready to burst out at him and engulf him in all the hidden pain and anguish he's inflicted on himself. His ice freezes the water. His spear pierces your heart. Her intentions come out smoothly like water; unable to be parched of wisdom. Heart so pure she only speaks the truth, and he knows that by the end of the night he'll be left empty-handed. What had he expected, anyhow? A sombre expression doused his livid features, though the stray muscle still jumped like a jellybean across his temple and jawline. He'd made a mistake coming here. But that damned letter...

Her small feet carried her across the floors like maddened swan, fluttering her great wings to completely consume him. Teach him the folly of his ways. That was unlikely. Even without words, Gunnar understood her body language and narrowed his eyes, brows' knitting tightly together. They'd been together long enough that words were no longer required, and still, still she made his insides dance in frenetic circles. He wasn't even sure what he wanted to do right now. Suddenly, the roaring creature hunkered in his chest was subdued, gravely deadpan and humourless. An edgy laugh gurgled from his throat, simply because he hadn't planned to see Mischa so soon. Perhaps he'd only come to set things straight, punch someone, and disappear into the night.

No, it was never like that. It wasn't enough.

“Mischa; him?” Gunnar spat, gesturing wide with his hands. What else could he say? Chills rippled across his arms as he met her stormy gaze. He wanted to tip her chin and kiss her; toxic as it was poisonous. He wanted to draw her up into his arms and carry her away, some place only they knew. These things were impossible.