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Old 12-17-2015, 06:49 AM
  #61
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OOC: Reserving Adrienne for Cadence. Rick and Phil are open. Maybe Phil could tag Liz or vise versa? Whitney won’t come in until the end of the skip unless someone is super inclined to tag her. If so, feel free. Lynette post to come.
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Old 12-17-2015, 08:10 AM
  #62
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OOC: Yaaaaasss. So Lucrezia will be up more than likely today or early tomorrow. Jonathon is also open for a tag, although his post will probably come after the weekend. Got some Star Wars and Christmas party biz to handle.

**ETA: Okay so no double posts here thx.



Lucrezia Moretti
No one would be surprised to see Lucrezia Moretti at any generically uppity or well-to-do function anywhere on the map. True enough, Virginia was no close neighbor to her lavish estate in Essex Falls, but when someone like Elizabeth Donahue put on an event, you made a point of moving heaven, earth, and possibly a few other planets in the Solar System to show up. It was more or less Luca's job to be the public face of her father's empire, to make sure her network stayed connected to those people worthy of connections, and the family Donahue definitely qualified as those choice few people. Besides, she was used to traveling all over to wherever for whatever, and she was really looking for an excuse to wear her fancy new dress somewhere obvious without having to sift through her mountain of invitations for the week. Or rather listen and be incredibly super so bored while someone read her the mountain of invitations for the week.

While ordinarily attending so many gatherings meant going through the headache of always needing to find and plan for a date, Luca never really had that problem. Enter: Alex Levitsky. Ever her loyal and overjoyed manslave, he was always primed to do whatever she needed doing, and that evening she needed him doing the escort dance. Preferably while crashing tiny cymbals together with a Fez and bowtie on and nothing else.

"You were just so sweet to tag along with me tonight. I'm feeling it, I'm feeling the love." Currently enjoying their chauffeured car ride from the Jefferson Hotel, she smirked over at a seething Alex while she touched up her lipstick and briefly checked her face for flawlessness. He was, of course, ignoring her and had been for the past hour or so, but she didn't see what the big deal was. Yeah maybe he was under the impression that he had the day off. Possibly he had to take her father's private jet to Richmond last minute just so he could make it there in time. He might have had to wait two hours for her to get ready. Honestly, what was there to complain about?

Luckily, he wouldn't be able to choke her out in the back seat just yet, both of them having arrived at their destination fashionably late. The Donahue mansion looked every bit the decadent stereotype it always had, except this time she was showing up sober. "Oh don't worry about it, Vin," she told their driver through the partition window, "Alexei will walk over and help me out. Shall we?" Dimpled grin pleasant as pie, it must've given him a toothache just looking at it.
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Last edited by sumiregusa; 12-18-2015 at 09:28 AM
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Old 12-17-2015, 01:32 PM
  #63
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Lynette Donahue
Lynette hugged her clipboard closely, imagining the oak-stained square to be a life preserve. She had made her list and checked it twice (good tip, Saint Nicolas). Order existed within these papers. All that was left to do was smile, smile until the auction commenced and concluded seamlessly. Elizabeth expected perfection. Lynette would deliver nothing less. Her grandmother’s trust was a sacred gift she shan’t squander. “You over there,” she huffed, lines forming across her nose. The perfect slope crinkled in irritation. “Yes, Quasimodo, I’m addressing you. When has it ever been acceptable to slouch?” The boy, barely past puberty, reddened whilst rectifying his form. “Better. You may go.”

The Hunchback of Notre Dame scurried into the foyer to attend to guests. His tray was lined with cocktail shrimp and jalapeno poppers. Famished, Lynette subtly licked her bottom lip. Self-gratification would come later. She’d have to settle for mocha-flavored lipstick until midnight. However, hostesses were allowed liquid courage. Her hazel eyes locked upon the refreshment bar. Sydney Jordan stood between her and a Moscato. “Lord, give me strength.” Lynette sashayed across the dance floor, politely declining suitors. The Donahue patriarch would’ve clucked her disapproval. Thank goodness Elizabeth was immersed in conversation. What was so riveting about Christian Jenkins, she couldn't say. He charmed her cousin Eden for two long years, hinting toward redeeming qualities, but Lynette noted none. Eden was most likely an easy conquest. The rumor mill suspected all Jordan sisters spread their legs freely.

And Sydney, with her doe eyes and smug smile, is probably the biggest tart of all. Lynette smirked at such imagery. Her expression fell into an unreadable state as cousin dearest opened with a compliment. She looked nice, as if that weren’t obvious. “Vera Wang doesn’t disappoint. But thank you.” Friend or foe, Lynette’s manners remained intact. For now. “Grandmother put me in charge of the auction…set up, sign ups, and everything in between. I conveniently drew a line through my name.” The look on Sydney’s face told her reprieve wouldn’t be so easy. “And you are…” Lynette signaled for a wine glass. “Serving?”
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:15 PM
  #64
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Liz Delongpre
She had yet to be enlisted by her grandmother for some menial task; for once, her generosity had paid off when she had been the only one of Elizabeth Donahue's grandchildren to willingly volunteer themselves for the auction and had been waved off gratefully by her grandmother to help her greet guests in place of receiving some monotonous function to perform. Originally, Liz had been on the hunt for one of her sisters or her brother to assist, yet the search had proved futile in turning up either a Donahue or Delongpre with whom to align herself with for the evening. She had ventured as far as the guest wing in her quest and had stopped off in one of the many ornate rooms set aside for her family to visit with her father briefly after giving up the search for her usual talk, "I-expect-only-the-best-behavior-Elizabeth-make-me-proud" as if he had taken to reading from cue cards, before she found a suitable perch at the end of the hall at a window overlooking the lawn and the completed set up for dinner. She could make out her grandmother and a smattering of family friends below but still not a one of her siblings could be seen.

She didn't fret - her extended family as vast as it was, she was bound to find Adrienne or Cadence at some point, if not Ford or one of her many cousins, though she knew it was the wish of both of her parents that she associate long and proudly and well with their many influential friends, and that she would, but events as such had difficult for her in ways she imagined her family did not understand. The former Liz Delongpre would already have been drunk, drunker than drunk, three sheets to the wind and stumbling about the manse with whomever she had managed to hook for the evening in search of a secluded nook.The current Liz Delongpre was more concerned with her appearance, that her dress and makeup were just so, to make a decent first impression on those she hadn't met and to reverse any judgment held previously. It was different now; she had done her best to make her penance but it seemed no matter what she tried in her father's eyes that it would never be enough. And it certainly didn't help that she was dying for a drink right then..

"Finally," she said when a shadow came upon the window, expecting at first one of her sisters, though Liz found herself changing her initial impression as it became more clear that the figure behind her was male, her brother Ford or even dishwater-dull Jonathon, it still came as a surprise to her when she turned that she was face-to-face with Phillip Sinclaire. To say he was the last person she expected to see would be a lie, because for better or worse, Cadence had accepted a proposal from Prescott and now their two families were once again connected but she imagined her sister would be less-than-thrilled that her ex-husband was out and about in her grandmother's home, or invited at all for that matter.

As for Liz, whose 'live and let live' philosophy made it difficult for her to pass judgment on someone else when she was bound and determined to not be pigeon-holed by her previous mistakes, it was hard for her to be quite as spiteful as Adrienne would react when she saw him. "Oh, hi Phillip," she said coolly, smiling not in a fake way but in a "I'm-still-not-sure-how-to-act" way due to both not expecting to find him behind her but also their changed relationship since his acrimonious divorce from his sister. Liz stood a little higher on her heels, looking over his shoulder to see if they would soon be joined by his brother but saw no one. Good. While she had tried to remain impartial on the subject of Phillip, his younger brother was beginning to wear on her nerves as she had gotten her fill of his antics back at Dartmouth, long before he was infiltrating the family line. Turning back to cast one last glance at the beginnings of the party, her smile didn't dim, but she didn't turn back to face him at first. "Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, I thought you were Adrienne, or Cady, or Ford... I think all three have somehow managed to escape and left me as the sacrificial lamb for the evening since I'm the only one who thought my grandmother's auction idea was just great, just grand."
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Old 12-17-2015, 03:53 PM
  #65
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Alex Levitsky
The Donahues had meant little to him, just as the Delongpres and the Gallaghers meant little to him, the extent of his knowledge being limited to the occasional appearance of one of the younger daughters appearing opposite Kristin Cavellari in one of those trashy supermarket magazine columns for Who wore it best? Hint: it wasn't Mia Gallagher. Not that he generally made a habit of scouring the fashion critique sections of campy tabloids for his own entertainment or anything. He could honestly care less what type of collar style best fit an hour glass shaped figure (classic Lapels and Chelsea cuts - thank you very much for that useless bit of information, Lucrezia Moretti.) Yet somehow his line of work had evolved to include a large number of things he cared little for that were suddenly necessary for him to care for. Had he read the fine print and realized the little asterisk next to additional responsibilities may include off the clock work meant that he'd become a glorified babysitter, he might have reconsider his career options.

Alex had been looking forward to an evening off, having obtained tickets to a Knicks game when his phone lit up to reveal Luca's number in the caller ID. To think he could be two rows back from the home team's bench, two beers already in and a third in hand. Instead he was sitting in a limo staring idly up at a large porch lined with several Grecian styled columns all wrapped in green garlands. He had changed in the private jet on the way over, thankfully only once perhaps because Luca was too preoccupied with prettifying herself to make him endure the usual multiple wardrobe changes.

He had been patient the whole time, mostly, until the fifth dress change had made him snap and tell her she looked good in that dress (she did - it wasn't a lie). That dress. Not any others. The one she had on now. It was fine. It was perfect. And if she didn't sit her petite pretty little self down in that instant she would risk having to find another escort for having driven her present one to seek solace on the opposite end of one of the side emergency exits, 30,000 feet in the air. That had settled the matter, at least at the time. He knew it wouldn't be long before the torture session resumed itself. Oh, don't worry about it Vin. Alexei will walk over and help me out. Shall we? Case in point.

"Of course I will," he said through gritted teeth. Alex wasted little more time, all too eager to stretch his legs. When he finally got to the opposite side of the car, he made a point to sweep his arm in a grand flourish while the other hand held the door open for her. "After you, princess."

Sydney
Long lashes dipped with minimal effort to take in the whole of Lynette's ensemble before flitting back up meet her in the eye. The perfunctory smile that took shape on her lips had been her only acknowledgment of the famed designer responsible for Lynette's dress as if to say Oh, that's nice. Subtle, her cousin was. Very subtle. Lynette didn't bother to return the compliment, not that she was the least bit surprised. Instead Lynette revealed that she had been charged with organizing the singles auction that was to take place later in the evening, which explained the clipboard cradled against her chest. Sydney looked after Lynette doubtfully when she said she had crossed a line through her own name, suggesting that had somehow absolved her participation, but conveniently kept silent on the matter in the hopes it might be dropped before the subject of her own involvement could be broached.

Fortunately Lynette changed the subject without any prompting from Sydney's end.

And you are ... serving? Sydney stared after Lynette impassively as she gestured for someone to bring her a wine glass. She glanced from Lynette, to the bartender who had his back presently turned to them, and back again before finally saying, "No." If she were of a more spiteful and petty disposition, she might have left it at that, sipping away at her own glass of wine in a grotesque display of mockery. Sydney was of course not of that sort and being that it was almost Christmas, she decided to be accommodating. "Julian and I have been tasked with taking inventory for the bar and making sure everything is replenished as needed, but I would be more than happy to share my bottle of wine with you all the same," she said affably before pausing, smiling mischievously. "But you'll have to ask nicely." She took a gingerly sip from her own glass, the sweetness of the Moscato complimenting the bitterness of Lynette's tongue almost too perfectly.

"And you'll have to say, please," she teased after a beat.
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Old 12-18-2015, 07:27 AM
  #66
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Lynette Donahue
Of course Sydney wouldn’t appreciate a Vera Wang masterpiece. She’d grown up wearing tube tops and God only knows what other atrocities in California. Her cousin’s dress was probably from a department store. Perhaps it was passable in New York, but how grandmother consented to that mess here was perplexing. Sydney’s saving grace was her cheeks. People paid good money to mimic that bone structure. Of course, Lynette would auction herself off twice before admitting this. “It’s an original.” The fellow brunette looked on dispassionately. She had to be one of few women not enthralled with custom beadwork. The Donahue bloodline was wasted on her. Lynette distinctly remembered a childhood lesson on fashion designers. She was nine, disinterested, until her sister explained the wonders of the ‘right’ outfit. Rebecca would’ve liked the dress. “Earth to Sydney, are you serving or not?” Her cousin’s eyes narrowed into slits. She supposed that was a no. A verbal confirmation soon followed. Julian and Sydney had found themselves tasked with alcohol inventory.

“Oh, that’s rich. My brother’s not exactly keen on conserving booze. You probably have that in common.” Lynette flashed a not-so-innocent smile, hand frozen in mid-air. The bartender or Sydney would attend to her needs. Whose common sense kicked in first, well, the jury was out. Prima ballerina eventually came to the rescue (annoyingly so). Sharing ones Moscato required a please and thank you. “I’m always nice.” A raised eyebrow greeted her in return. Honestly, how old were they? Sydney’s brain seemed stuck in grade school. “Fine. Would you please be so kind as to pour me a glass? I’d appreciate it ever so much.” Laying it on thick did come naturally to Lynette. A drink was given, and her lips remained glued to the flute until inspiration struck. “I was so self-absorbed earlier, forgive me. I forgot to mention you’re up first for auction. Your drafty city apartment simply can’t be empty this time of year. A nice man will bring some holiday cheer."

Cadence Delongpre
The lake was beautiful this time of night. The way the moonlight skipped across its ripples reminded Cadence of hop scotch and her youth. How many summers had she spent here? All of them seemed likely. Memories of chasing after Adrienne, Liz, and Ford flooded her mind. She’d trailed Lynette too, before she soured. Cadence was forever catching up, always a follower…never a leader. It used to be her relaxed demeanor made life easier. Conflict was (mostly) nonexistent. Liz’s free spirit landed her in the hospital, while Adrienne’s wrath saw her thrice divorced. Calling 911 on account of a hostile senior citizen was Cadence’s only bout of ‘excitement’ until Prescott proposed. Now opposition flooded her.

It was foreign, to be on the receiving end of such criticism. Being the nice girl apparently made one naïve. Such assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. Cadence knew the lion’s den she was walking into. She knew it well. And what’s funny is, she wasn’t frightened. Family and friends could be scared for her, but Cadence trusted the diamond she spun. Her cobalt eyes admired its sharp, bright edges. Prescott was a cad. He passed beggars on the street and eyed women hungrily. His self-serving mantra was the antithesis of all Cadence stood for. It’s why she had to marry him. The youngest Delongpre loved Prescott in spite of himself. Maybe it wasn’t a soulmate love, but that could change. Her fiancé was immature and needed guidance. Taking care of people was where Cadence excelled.

This match will mend fences between two stubborn families. It’s what Cadence told her parents and grandmother to receive blessings. Never mind what it might do to her. “Moon river, wider than a mile. I’m crossing you in style some day.” Her voice nearly drowned out approaching footsteps. “Prescott?” The wind assaulted Cadence’s hair as she turned. It wasn’t him. Adrienne stared in amusement while her sister blushed. “Don’t say it. We both know I’m not Barbra Streisand or Adele, hence singing alone.” Why was she alone? The question needn’t leave Adrienne’s lips. Cadence sensed her curiosity. “It’s sensory overload inside. I’m supposed to help Jonathan collect checks but this lake…it’s a bit like a siren’s song.” Finding a moment’s peace at a Donahue function was vital. Calm nerves meant surviving. “Besides, I can’t dance until Prescott graces me with his presence.” Cadence forced a smile, nudging Adrienne lovingly. “How are you doing?” Concern was obvious. Tonight’s ball benefited The Fisher House Foundation. Military hero Phil Sinclaire was a guest of honor.

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Old 12-18-2015, 09:26 AM
  #67
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Lucrezia
Luca knew he was being miserably sarcastic and she was enjoying every second of it. Yes she was the princess. Yes Alex was the obedient underling, bound to her will. Yes yes yes, all the way yes. Not budging an inch until he offered his hand as leverage, she made sure her dress skirt had cleared edge of the car before letting him close the door behind her and ready the crook of his elbow for gentlemanly support. However surly he was about being her pretty arm candy, he sure enough performed the role extremely well. "Don't forget to smile and pretend you love your job," she muttered as they walked up the grand staircase and inside to the party.

The decor on the interior and heading out back to the open table setting was surprisingly authentic, despite the unseasonably warm weather in stark contrast to it. Lucrezia did her typical pleasant waves and dazzling smiles for the random people sprinkled around that she was supposed to know (and didn't necessarily remember). Every now and then some of them would walk up to her for an official greeting and she would subtly lean toward Alex to get a name hint. No air kissing though. Never okay.

She shuffled him around with her until they tracked down their assigned dinner seating for the night, though she didn't feel like sitting down and looking bored again. At least not yet. "The invitation said something about an auction. Maybe if you fake having a good time well enough I'll actually bid on you." His look indicated he had no intention of participating and she immediately adopted her best whiny but convincing body posture. "Oh come on, Levitsky, don't be such a Communist. It's for charity. Here, I'll even go with you to get us drinks and then we can have a poke around. You know you're curious."
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:38 PM
  #68
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Phillip Sinclaire
What was he doing here? Phillip didn’t belong in this crowd of people. They whispered and mocked, each thinking themselves better than the next. He used to be one of the elite, and he still was in name, but not in spirit. Friday evenings were meant for cold beers and boxing. Prescott claimed he’d lost his mojo and maybe he had. All Phil knew was this existence felt hollow. Iraq changed everything. Ignoring the truths he’d garnered there meant spitting on his men. He’d die first. And that was why he was at Donahue plantation, he reminded himself. This shallow event had one redeeming quality. Proceeds benefited the Fisher House.

It felt good, knowing his inheritance would provide free air travel and hotels for military families (among other blessings). Elizabeth had gone as far as to name him guest of honor. Apparently, that meant moderating tonight’s auction and fielding inappropriate questions from her bridge friends. The Daughters of the American Revolution were just as bad. Already, Philip was asked to show his war scars and recount how it felt to disarm a bomb. He’d unashamedly cited ‘bathroom needs’ to escape the madness. The guest wing was larger than he remembered. Phil imagined that had to do with his and Adrienne’s time spent in closets. Paintings of Donahues and Delongpres past lined the walls.

“Because that’s not unnerving at all,” he mumbled, avoiding the portrait’s eyes. Phil was in and out of the wash room in ten but favored lingering. It would be a good half hour before anyone missed him, if they could summon the energy. Something told him Elizabeth would have no trouble. He moved to a nearby window overlooking the lake. There stood Adrienne Sinclaire Ryder Grant Delongpre. Were the God’s mocking him? Phil recalled their last conversation with a grimace. More yelling than talking took place. Time turned Adrienne into a shark. She’d no use for apologies. Her bitterness repelled him, temporarily. One day Phil would speak his peace. Approaching the grand stairwell, he spotted the Delongpre daughter who didn’t care to wield a hatchet ‘round his face. Cadence tolerated him, for Prescott, but even her kind eyes held disdain. Liz’s past made her the least assuming of the bunch.

Phil opened his mouth, and then quickly shut it. If Liz was spotted alone with him, what would the gossip rags write? He couldn’t do that to her. But then she turned and uttered the word ”Finally.” The last time someone was glad to see him, he couldn’t remember. Only, it was a case of mistaken identity. Phil snickered at his mistake. “Hi, yourself, Liz.” The pair stared awkwardly. There was a day they’d have been cracking jokes. Liz knew how to have a good time. He’d always appreciated that, along with her other assets. “It takes more than that to offend me, Liz. And I’d have likened you to Rapunzel before a sacrificial lamb. What’s so interesting about this view of yours?” He peered over her shoulder curiously. “Funny, they don’t look as intimidating from up here.” Phillip wasn’t the only one with something to prove. Liz felt the pressure too. “I’ll put in a good word for you at the auction. I’m tonight’s Bob Barker.”
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Old 12-18-2015, 02:25 PM
  #69
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Adrienne Delongpre
"Oh there has never been a doubt in my mind you would be entering the auction. An attractive single man such as yourself would have no reason not to." Adrienne Delongpre had the blue-green eyes of a hawk that never missed a thing and they flitted from Edward Livingston to a buxom brunette surrounded by a troupe of hedgefunders twenty feet off. Edward was an offshoot of the Bush family, a cousin once or twice removed. And he was fucking the Governor of Virginia's wife. When her gaze returned, Adrienne smiled politely. "It would certainly go a long way in quelling the baseless rumors of a certain Virginian socialite's infidelity." It took him a moment to catch her meaning but when he did Edward's expression soured. She knew she had him. Where do I sign up? "My cousin Lynette has the sign-up sheet. I believe I just spotted her near the bar." Adrienne smiled gratefully before taking her leave of him though not before reminding him it was all in the name of a good cause. Lynette had been charged with the details of the auction but it had fallen to Adrienne to actually strong arm people into participating, including Lynette herself if it came to that, which her grandmother seemed to think it would. Her younger cousins were hilariously of a mind that they had a choice in the matter. They didn't. Not even Adrienne herself had been exempt, having been released from the bonds of matrimony two weeks ago for the third time. In retrospect she realized she had timed the settlement poorly. Had she waited three more weeks to finalize the divorce she would have been absolved of the responsibility. She'd have to remember that for next time. Assuming there would even be a next time.

Left to her own devices, Adrienne found herself scanning the ever growing crowd for the faces of her younger sisters. Her efforts to pin one of them down had her greeting colleagues of her father and beloved longtime friends of her grandmother, but neither Elizabeth or Cadence had turned up. When she was certain she had exhausted every last square inch of the granite porch that hosted the majority of the party, she carefully lifted the skirts of her dress so as to avoid tripping over the fabric as she made her way up the expansive stairwell. It was Cadence she found first, her melodic voice acting as a beacon that led Adrienne to a study overlooking the lake. She smiled in spite of herself, clearing her throat to alert Cadence to her presence so as not to accidentally startle her.

"Barbra Streisand has nothing on you, kid," she said in her best nasally Barbra Streisand impersonation. Her sister made a lovely silhouette against the window, angelic in her white dress. It seemed a crime for such a creature to be alone. Cadence must have sensed her curiosity for she offered an explanation for an unspoken question she already knew the answer to. Adrienne moved forward, securing the golden strand of hair that had loosened itself from Cadence's up-do as she explained her fascination with the lake. She did not share her sister's sentiment, preferring the chaos of the party taking place outside to solitude where her thoughts could get the better of her. Adrienne kept silent on the matter though, letting her younger sister get lost in her siren's call as she stared out over the lake.

Yet when the subject of Prescott came up she found she could no longer hold her tongue. "That is absurd. You don't need Prescott's permission to dance. Don't let that be an excuse for shutting yourself off from the people who love you or letting yourself have a good time." Sometimes it felt like she was talking to a younger version of herself whenever she talked to Cadence about her upcoming nuptials. She could see Cadence rationalizing his absences the way she had once done with Phillip and deluding herself into believing she could change the man she had committed herself to. It was a fool's dream. A man could no more change his nature any more than a fish could learn to breathe out of water. But for however accommodating and doting Cadence could be where her family was concerned, she could be as equally stubborn. Adrienne knew the last thing her sister wanted right then was a lecture, so she found herself letting out a heavy sigh and glancing toward the lake.

How was she doing? Well, she had yet to stab Philip Sinclaire in the eye with a fork, so she supposed that meant she was doing good. "I'm doing perfectly fine, Cadence." And she would remain as such so long as the fates saw fit to intercede and keep Phillip far away from her that evening. "You don't need to worry about me," Adrienne added while taking her sister's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.
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Old 12-18-2015, 03:32 PM
  #70
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Christian Jenkins
It seemed like a hour, maybe more, since he had last laid eyes on Sydney. The two had arrived separately, as not to arouse suspicion, and he had turned down the generous offer of Elizabeth Donahue to stay at her house in favor of visiting with his mother two doors down. He had arrived early in the afternoon to assist with party set up because his lack of Donahue blood hardly meant he was immune from being handed down an assignment or two to ensure the Christmas Charity Ball would occur flawlessly. He had helped direct florists and musicians, carried out the wishes of the elder Donahue when she saw fit to turn away a few members of the wait staff, but he had spent any spare moment looking for her. His efforts had been rewarded with a brief smile when she had spotted him but the moment was short lived as he turned to lower himself into a chair near the woman of the evening, Elizabeth herself, as she checked the dinner tables for every last detail.

Sydney had been less than emphatic about their return to Richmond but knew as well as he that they were expected and no excuses would fly with her grandmother. The two of them, long caught in a game of 'should we or shouldn't we?', had been working toward a more solid relationship. Previously, it was always short-lived, as sooner or later one of them was bound to pull back the minute anything approaching commitment appeared on the horizon. It had always been that way between the two of them. Even in the beginning, when she was just sixteen and the differences in their ages had given him pause, or the fact that such a connection was frowned upon by Elizabeth who was trying to build a relationship with her granddaughters... but something had changed, maybe it was because they were older and more sure of what they both wanted, but it had been working well for many months. At receiving their respective invitations to the Christmas ball, Christian suggested that they tell her grandmother, but Sydney had resisted the idea given his previous entanglement with Eden and how deeply Elizabeth disapproved of the idea of them in the past.

While he had acquiesced to her wishes, it did not mean that Christian was not above having a little fun at her expense. He could only imagine the look on her face as he approached Elizabeth, the building suspense of whether or not he would say something to her, but stayed back when he realized she was in fine form for the evening. She had been a close friend of his grandmother's, even was named godmother to his own mother, but the rapport between them was difficult for others to understand. He had tried time and time again to explain it to Sydney but always found it hard to tell her how welcoming the older woman had been when her reception of the sisters Jordan had been remarkably changed. Still, when Elizabeth turned her attention on him, it was like coming home to his own grandmother and finding his footing in Richmond once more, as if nothing had moved but the date on the calendar.

She had been surprisingly kind to him in ways she hadn't to her own grandchildren, he knew, and it was hardly the same sense of duty that bound Lynette Donahue and Michelle Jackson to the family home that brought him back ... it was the way she had been welcoming when he had moved from California, barely twelve and not coping with his parent's divorce of the deaths of his grandparents, and how she had done her best to assimilate him into Richmond society as if he were one of her own. "From a fiscal point of view, it would make more sense, but I imagine your guests would be less than appreciative if they were denied the Queen of Virginia herself for an evening. Unfortunately, I think you'll have to keep this vagrant lot, at least for tonight..."

The significant look she shot in Sydney's direction wasn't lost on him, but if Elizabeth intended on saying something, he was not meant to hear it yet because she remained surprisingly mum. As if the moment never happened, she was back to her normal self, unable to resist a jab at the Sinclaire family's expense as she even went so far as to joke of her need for a finger of whiskey. "The Sinclaires are coming? And here I was wondering why you chose the Couzon service instead of the Ercuis," he said with a laugh, lifting a fish fork and spinning it around in his hand, before placing it back just so as not to earn himself one of the sharp looks she had been throwing at the evening's catering staff. He and Elizabeth both would benefit from alcohol at that moment, he supposed. The slightly out-of-character jest did catch him off-guard; neither of them were above the whispers and hushed snipes directed toward her dinner guests but probably the first time that she seemed to espouse alcohol as a solution for one's woes. Threats of ruination and the sharing of damning secrets was more her style. "Perhaps you should wait out the Gallaghers? I believe it must be a part of their rearing to show up to these things with a bottle in hand, ready to pour."

Liz
Fortunately for her, it seemed Phillip too was on his best behavior for the evening and allowed the fleeting mention of his former wife to pass without comment. Not that Elizabeth expected that kind of reaction out of him but it was practically guaranteed that no reference to Phillip Sinclaire would be spoken in the presence of any other Delongpre family member without some slight being uttered against him. Liz, on the other hand, had tried to keep her feelings on he and her sister's acrimonious divorce to herself though she had consoled Adrienne often enough and perhaps had been known to level an insult or two at the elder Sinclaire from time to time in private conversation. But he seemed different now, changed. His time in the service had ultimately done him a favor, but although she was sooner than most to forgive his past mistakes, Liz knew from her own experiences that people could change, but how much?

The silence between them was stilted, a little awkward to be sure, but still, it was a throwback to days past when she was a teenager and he was still her brother-in-law and the two of them could joke and laugh freely. At his mention that he would have sooner likened her to Rapunzel, she couldn't stop herself from rolling her eyes at him as a hand flew to her recently shorn locks to confirm her former hairstyle's absence, and dropped her hand with a small sigh. "I don't know," she responded to his remark that it would taken something a bit weightier to achieve actual offense. "I've been told on more than one occasion I can be decently insulting if I have the mind and the reason. All the better for you that I have neither at the moment." Liz teased him from behind a toothy grin, as if everything was fine and nothing had changed, when everything clearly had. She looked back at him as he came to join her at the window, closer than she expected, and for the briefest of seconds, she had to wonder if she was making a huge mistake in being the proverbial Switzerland of her family and had been too nice and welcoming to Phillip when perhaps she shouldn't have been.

Either way, it was not in her nature to be actively rude, not when there wasn't a reason to be. "I don't know if I should thank you for that or damn you to the eighth circle of Hell," Liz laughed, stepping away from the sill, as if she intended to rejoin the party below. "Or maybe you're already there - I don't think Grandmother mentioned what your duties would entail when you were named the guest of honor."

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Old 12-20-2015, 02:52 PM
  #71
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Elizabeth
I imagine your guests would be less than appreciative if they were denied the Queen of Virginia herself for an evening. Would they though? Elizabeth was not nearly so self-involved that she did not notice the petulant sighs of exasperation or the meticulously timed eye rolls whenever she set one of her many grandchildren off to a new task. She expected the world of them all, it was true, but that was because she knew deep down, when all was said and done, they would rise to the challenge and be the better for it in the end with the one exception maybe being her very own namesake. Elizabeth counted it a small victory in and of itself during any occasion for which Liz Delongpre managed to show up sober. She wondered how they would all fare when she was gone from the world. No single one appeared to be of a constitution to juggle the unending responsibilities she had inherited over the years but perhaps in combination they would all succeed her where she left off. Only time would tell.

"Yes, I suppose you're right," she remarked idly as a waiter happened to pass them both by, tray full of glassware balanced precariously overhead. There was a slight hiccup in his gait and Elizabeth watched with baited breath as man and tray both swayed hazardously. His recovery was swift with naught but a flush in his cheeks to suggest anything had been amiss, and then he was on his way once more. Vagrant lot indeed, though it was just as useful a description for some of her guests as it had been for her useless wait-staff. The Sinclaires were pilfering brigands and it appeared as though the Delongpres and by extension, the Donahues, were stuck with them yet again thanks to her granddaughter's inexplicable decision to marry the youngest Sinclaire boy. She had lobbied firmly against the union, of course, unwilling to let a single Donahue penny slip through the cracks and make lesser men rich. But Cadence was for whatever reason determined to ignore her grandmother's sage advice. It was a trait shared by them all who seemed to think they knew better than she who had seen seventy-one successful years on this planet. Only Christian seemed to willingly heed her advice, who was not even of her own blood, and even then he tended to cherry pick where it suited him best.

"Not that I'd expect them to know the difference between an Ercuis or a Couzon but at least if any of it goes missing ..." Elizabeth paused, her eyes narrowing as she watched Christian twirl the fish fork capriciously in hand. Only when he returned the lone piece of cutlery to its proper place did she resume, "... it will be counted as no great loss on my part." Elizabeth's leather lips curled in the upper right corner at his comment regarding the Gallaghers. It was the closest thing resembling a smile she would permit to in mixed company. "I probably could have hired the oldest son of theirs to staff the bar and it would have been cheaper," she whispered while casually bringing the back of her hand to her lips, obscuring the movements they made as she glanced in the direction of where two of her granddaughters now stood chatting at the bar. "But then we'd probably be stuck with bottom of the shelf spirits. I could never abide even my worst enemy suffering the likes of Frank Gallagher, not even the Sinclaires."

Alex
In addition to playing the over payed babysitter and occasional dress-up doll for Luca's amusement, Alex's duties sometimes made him feel like a glorified accessory hanging off the youngest Moretti daughter's arm. This must have been what a trophy wife felt like. Alex shuffled where he was directed, smiled on cue whenever a sharp elbow to the ribs told him to do so and occasionally provided necessary details about wives and children of associates Luca would be expected to know but other than that he seldomly spoke. His talents were wasted in this environment and maybe Alex would have been able to cope better if he had just been allowed to disappear into his own headspace but Luca never left him alone long enough to pass the tedium of time.

Exhibit A: it was not enough to relegate Alex to Housewives of Insert Ludicrously Wealthy County Here status, she now endeavored to humiliate him in one of the most demeaning ways possible. Sometimes Alex suspected Luca was secretly a sadist, the sort who enjoyed wearing leather and carrying whips and floggers. With her back temporarily turned to him it was easy to let his mind wander, the cut of her dress revealing nearly everything above her waist from behind. Hypothetical scenarios could easily turn into unwanted fantasies where he inserted himself in the role of submissive. "I'm not a communist," he reminded her gruffly under his breath, his tone suggesting he was neither amused nor moved by her suggestion that he enter himself in the auction. "If you consider charity to be such a virtue, why don't you just volunteer yourself. I myself have no intention of subjecting myself to the tacky amusements of your so-called friends." Alex was equally unmoved by her petulant posture, the act doing more to strengthen his resolve than to alter it. "I'd sooner just write them a check and be done with it."
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Old 12-20-2015, 06:57 PM
  #72
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Christian
Her movements were nimble but not quick enough to hide the quirk of her upper lip as it disappeared behind her upraised hand. As if she were looking for any other witnesses to her misstep, Elizabeth looked to the bar where Sydney and Lynette were engaged in conversation - though Christian paused in labeling it as such, likening their usual interactions to something akin to warfare - before eyeing him once more. "I could never abide even my worst enemy suffering the likes of Frank Gallagher..." had barely passed her lips before Christian was snorting, eyeing the growing crowd for the sight of either a Gallagher or Sinclaire, and then recovering just as gracefully as she had as if nothing unusual had been said in that moment.

Sydney, who often commented on the unusual nature of the friendship between he and her grandmother, said it best; the two of them were hardly better than catty high school girls when they were together, and it seemed tonight would be no exception, particularly when the number of potential targets had grown in number. Elizabeth Donahue's feelings on the Sinclaires were no secret to Christian; actually, he had his doubts about whether or not the Sinclaires were in the dark about them, but that was a thought for another time and place. Selecting Philip Sinclaire as the guest of honor for the evening had surprised Christian most of all. She barely tolerated the Sinclaires as it were, mostly for the sake of Cadence who had recently become engaged to the younger son, but the history between the Delongpres and Sinclaires had grown complicated in the years since Adrienne and Phillip's divorce.

To add insult to injury, the Sinclaires were also nouveau-riche and impossibly tacky about that fact, which seemed to agitate Elizabeth to no end. "Really," he deadpanned, leaving the chair he had been occupying to join her standing, and slid it carefully back under the table as he rose to his full height. "I seem to recall that it wasn't that long ago that you, forgive me for repeating this bit of crassness, said you'd sooner let the Sinclaires burn than pour a glass of water on them and now you're protecting them from that swill the Gallaghers call whiskey? The holiday season is turning you soft."
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Old 12-20-2015, 11:27 PM
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Sydney
The way Lynette had her hand suspended in the air reminded Sydney of Lady Liberty and her torch in the New York Harbor. She wondered if her cousin had any idea how utterly absurd she looked. How long would she be able to hold her hand up like that without it tiring? The veiled insult that followed was not lost on Sydney though she refused to rise to the bait. My brother's not exactly keen on conserving alcohol. It wasn't a lie. Julian was probably right now at this very moment claiming one of the wine bottles she had sent him to retrieve for his very own. You probably have that in common. "We do, indeed," Sydney agreed with a grave nod, taking a long sip of her wine. Unlike her cousin, Sydney could appreciate a good joke even when it was made at her own expense. She didn't take herself too seriously. Life was simply too short. Now Lynette on the other hand. "You are as astute as ever," she added in mock praise of Lynette's 'perceptiveness.'

With her fingers wrapped around the neck of the wine bottle, Sydney waited with open curiosity for her cousin to respond to the condition she had put forth. Imagine her surprise when Lynette actually answered. Her commitment to authenticity was impressive, Sydney had to grant her that much at least. "See, that wasn't so hard was it?" Sydney flashed her cousin a bright smile as she retrieved a wine glass from under the bar and placed it in front of the sneering brunette opposite her. After tending to Lynette's drink, she topped her own off and then clinked the rim of her cousin's glass with her kindred to commemorate the moment. She took her victories, both great and humble as was the case with this one, where she could. "Cheers."

Yet the moment was short lived, her sweet victory quickly souring. Sydney's smile slowly fell away. First? Of course she would be selected first for the auction. Wasn't that just so very convenient? Sydney took a good hearty swig from her wine glass. Her expression must have betrayed her exasperation because Lynette was smiling smugly now. She was doing her best to be polite and civil but damned if Lynette wasn't making the task near impossible. Sydney had no intention of begging her cousin to absolve her of her obligation, however. That battle had been already lost with Elizabeth earlier in the evening. "Why, Lynette, I had no idea you cared so much about my love life. You're concern is touching." Only her apartment wasn't empty and her bed had been far from lonely as of late. Sydney couldn't help but glance over to where Christian now stood next to her grandmother in deep conversation, their last intimate moments together still fresh in her mind. "I don't know that I necessarily need a nice man to liven up my apartment, but I will of course do whatever I can to help raise money for a worthy cause." Lynette was the last person she'd want learning of her relationship and so it once again became necessary to play the dutiful granddaughter. Someone had to bear the burden with her Delongpre cousin.

She of course had hoped for a later draw if only because it would make slipping away for a convenient bathroom run that much easier. Sydney feigned a guileless smile. "What time will the auction start?"
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Old 12-21-2015, 11:01 AM
  #74
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Elizabeth
"You must be misremembering what you heard." Elizabeth lowered her voice, tilting her head ever so slightly toward Christian once he joined her standing while continuing to stare after two of her granddaughters at the bar. "I believe what was said was that if I ever saw Phillip, Preston or that tacky father of theirs stranded and bleeding on the side of the road, I would tell the driver to keep going and not stop for them." To the casual observer the two of them might have been engaged in any number of monotonous topics, one never being able to guess malignant subject manner from the dispassionate expression she wore. Elizabeth smiled politely and nodded any time she made eye contact with one of her many friends, never missing a beat even when a fellow DAR member stopped by briefly to congratulate her on the success of her event. As soon as Eleanor Livingston was out of earshot, she turned her attention back to Christian.

"Though I suppose if any of them managed to set themselves on fire, that swill of a whiskey would make for sufficient kindling. So I suppose Jack Gallagher is good for something after all." Elizabeth wasn't normally so crude but the Sinclaires managed to bring the worst out in her. That she was forced to suffer her granddaughter's despicable ex-husband as the guest of honor didn't help matters, but where money was involved Elizabeth often had to set her personal feelings aside. He was the most decorated war hero in their circle and his presence would garner the kind of sympathy and pride that encouraged people to be generous with their checkbooks. Otherwise she would have gladly seen him sent back to the Middle East where the odds were far greater that he might step on a land mine. How was that for soft?

Having already expelled more energy and thought on the subject of the Sinclaires in one sitting than she would have cared to, Elizabeth suddenly switched gears and turned a shrew eye on Christian. "It never ceases to amaze me to find one such as yourself unattached at one of these events but I suppose some other girl's loss is our gain." He was no more absolved of the responsibility of doing his part where the Fischer Foundation was concerned than any of her blood would be, and her expression suggested as much. Elizabeth studied his eyes closely behind veiled curiously to see which direction they might flit towards, if any at all. His decision to move to New York had long been a subject of bafflement to her and she always had her suspicions as to the motives behind his current choice of employment. "I hope this means we can count on you to enter the auction later this evening?" Elizabeth had posed it as a question but her smile brokered no argument. She already knew what his answer would be.
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Old 12-21-2015, 12:41 PM
  #75
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Cadence Delongpre
Despite the formality of tonight’s event, a raucous belly laugh sounded. Adrienne played to her sense of humor perfectly. Cadence’s sisters had tested her poised exterior since childhood, lovingly so. “You sound more like Cher than Barbara,” the youngest Delongpre jested. “But thank you, all the same.” Cadence would’ve likened her singing voice to a bullfrog. It felt nice to hear differently. A grateful smile formed as Adrienne lassoed a runaway curl. She’d been known to catch sliding bra straps and makeup smudges too. “What would I do without you, hmm?” In many ways, Adrienne acted as a surrogate mother. The woman who bore Cadence was always hard-pressed for time. Being the wife of a politician left little room for one’s own interests, let alone others. The family’s mock abandonment was taken in stride for no other choice existed. What did grandmother (unapologetically) preach? Sacrifices must be made. Cadence respectfully disagreed. Her family with Prescott would break the mold. She considered future lineage thoughtfully ‘till tones were raised. Something was amiss.

“Would you like a protest sign to wave around?” Adrienne’s crusade against Prescott was in top form. She hadn’t asked for an explanation before assuming the worst. “I wasn’t implying that I needed permission. It’s just customary that my first dance be with my fiancée.” Cadence drew forth a tired breath. Were they really meant to do this, tonight of all nights? Adrienne hesitated briefly before realigning focus…to herself. She was fine and dandy, fit as a fiddle, and so forth and so on. Her expression seemed to read, Phillip who? Cadence squeezed her sister’s hand tightly. There was much left unsaid. “Telling me not to worry is akin to telling a bird not to fly. I care about you. Please let me.” Adrienne’s strength doubled as her weakness. “Or, if you don’t want to talk, let me run interference. I’ll make certain the DAR holds he-who-shall-not-be-named in their orbit indefinitely.”
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