Logs:Festive Exchange 2016

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Festive Exchange 2016
Dramatis Personae

Ambroise, Black, Calliope, Clarine, Eleanor, Evens, Hesper, Milo

18 December, 2016



Hyacinth Ridge Country Club

The country club is a haven of elegant, festive glory. There's an enormous, real fir tree in the front entry that sparkles and emits a delicious, Christmasy scent. But the ballroom itself has been transformed into Santa's workshop. The staff are dressed as (classy and somewhat formal) elves. And there's a professional Santa in a chair on a dais in one corner. Many of the regular Club members have brought their children for the earlier hours of the event, so they can get presents from the Big Man himself before their nannies rush them home to bed. As the dinner portion of the evening has concluded, there's a lineup to see Santa. Christmas music is playing softly for the moment, while the kiddies get their gifts.

There is spiced eggnog on trays that one can help oneself to. The alcoholic version is in clear, glass mugs, while the children's version is in cute little theme mugs. Staff are very careful who gets what type, as well. Other beverages, both booze and otherwise, are available at the cash (or credit) bar in one of the adjoining meeting rooms. The buffet is set up with finger foods ranging from healthy to Holiday Treats in another adjoining room.

In the entrance area there are rows of tables, manned (elved?) by staff for collecting unwrapped gifts and cash donations. There was a tree in the lobby for all of December with little gift tags on it. Each tag had a gender, an age, and a suggested few items, so that the rich would know what to purchase for the poor, if they felt so inclined.

Calliope is mingling, dressed in red Zuhair Murad (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/571323902711892628/) with diamond accessories. She keeps glancing at the Santa line anxiously. Some may believe the hostess is concerned that the children all get a turn. But those who know her best may realize she's wishing the endless line of brats would dwindle down so she could get in line and get her picture with Santa. Because Calliope, that's why.

Ambroise arrives with Clarine, his right arm extended to her with her hand resting on his elbow. In his left hand he holds several bags containing a mixture of toys and gift certificates that match tags he had taken from the Christmas tree while Clarine likewise has several bags in her right. The two of them stop at the donations table to drop them off before moving to join the rest of the early arrivers.

Clarine looks nervous as she enters with Ambroise, but smiles around politely as she drops off gifts at the table. Then she leans in and whispers to her date, before straightening and looking around for real. She slows as the Christmas wonderland fills her senses. "Wow," she says.

Ambroise smiles and gives Clarine's hand a reassuring pat as he leans over to murmur something to her.

And right behind the next couple, steps in Hesper with her gloved hand lightly resting on Milo's arm. The pair pause before the donation table and she leaves a silver envelope with a donation of funds for the charity. And once that task is completed she glances up at Milo to see where to go next as this is her first charity event out in public.

Eleanor arrived just a bit after some others. She stopped at the side of the main entrance and gazed around, crystal blue eyes surveying the scene as she debated on who was there and who she was interested in for that matter.

Tonight her dark hair was in a loose bun at the nape of her neck a few dark strands around her face tucked behind her ears. Those full lips in a dark red color, sharp dark liner coated her top lashes perfectly. As per Eleanor's Usual attire. She was dressed in a black long sleeve dress with delicate lace panneling that showcased her trim figure. ( You can find the dress here https://marklipinskisblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/screen-shot-2014-02-08-at-6-17-17-pm.png) Jewelry tonight kept simple simple black diamond and ruby hoops that sparkled between the strands that fell around her face. A small red clutch in her hand, her way of being festive for the evening.

Andrew her ever present driver made his way in behind her dressed in a simple black suit. He casually surveyed the area before taking a stand near the entrance keeping Eleanor in view at all times.

Clarine leans briefly into Ambroise but doesn't say anything. Then she smiles softly at the kids in line. "Adorable," she says brightly. Her eyes sweep the area and she keeps her head high, showing off that pearl choker.

"Eleanor!" This proclamation of joy comes from Calliope, who has actually been distracted from giving kids dirty looks. She rushes over to her friend to offer a big hug and cheek kisses. "You look ravishing! I'm so glad you could make it. I had hoped Autumn would be here too so you could meet him, but it looks like he got held up at work." These things happen when you're dating the CEO of an international company. "How have you been? When did you get back in town? I've been writing like a fiend, so I'm sorry if I've been ignoring you. I had a story idea I really wanted to write but my editor is only giving me until February, then he wants to see chapters roll in for the next Godless book. He's a tyrant. Just because I signed a five book contract! Anyhow, you were about to tell me how you've been?" As if poor Eleanor had a chance to interject her thoughts anywhere in the excited girl's ramble.

Ambroise nods in agreement of Clarine's assessment of the children and spends a few minutes lingering with her as they watch them each tell Santa their Christmas wishes. Eventually the two of them turn from the children and just start to make their way toward Calliope when she abruptly spots Eleanor. Rather than interrupt their meeting he alters course, steering the two of them toward Milo and Hesper, greeting Milo with an extended hand. "Mr. Cavanaugh," he says with a smile. "Good to see you again."

Clarine smiles politely, quietly, the librarian's shy tendencies coming to the fore in the crowd. It's all she can do not to cling to Ambroise's arm, really. Until she's introduced, she's silent, pretty but not beautiful. Someone feels like the ugly duckling.

Milo takes Ambroise's hand and gives it a good firm shake. "Mr. Dubois, it is a pleasure to meet you again. Let me introduce you to my guest, Hesper. I hope you have been well, and that your students are not giving you too much trouble." Milo smiles.

And then there was a hug.. at least Eleanor was semi prepared for the onslaught of affection from Ms.King. She didnt quite hug and kiss back but she held firm. "My Darling Ms.King I flew in last night, Autumn, you mentioned him in the last few emails?" She clicked through the emails in her head as she tought about it. "I am sure we can arrange something now that I am back in town. Hopefully for good this time. A five book deal is very impressive.. You must have left that out of your last email." A warmth in her eyes as she spoke to Calliope. "Why are there so many children here this evening." She said softly her hand moving subconciously to her own stomach before stopping she clutched her hand tightly as she took a deep breath. "You must catch me up, Tuesday at 3pm I have an opening."

Hesper sweeps her gaze away from the line of children and she smiles back to Clarine almost immediately, and then also at Ambroise. She bows her head slightly in a greeting and warms to Clarine. Milo really should be introducing her first, but she does greet them. "Oh hello," her french accent apparent in her speech. To Clarine she senses the shyness, "This is my first social charity event. Isn't everything beautiful? I am pleased to meet you both." She is unable to resist a small curtsey to both as a formality that is done gracefully.

Clarine smiles in relief as Hesper speaks to her, relaxing a little--her shoulders visibly unlock, and all. "Hello," she says in a smoky alto. "It's mine, too. Everything's just gorgeous," she says. And she returns the curtsey. "I'm Clarine Skinner. The pleasure is mine," she says to Hesper.

Ambroise nods to Milo and smiles as the two gentlemen exchange grips. "Nothing too serious or unexpected," he says, referring to the students mentioned. He turns to Hesper and greets her as well after she makes her introductions to Clarice. "A pleasure to meet you as well," he says. "This is my first time at one of these events in Fallcoast as well."

"Tuesday at 3? You'll have to email me." Calliope has taken one of Eleanor's hands in an affectionate grasp and hasn't yet returned it. This is her BFF who's been away for stupid work for so long! Calli's more than a little giddy. She's even forgotten entirely that she wanted to get in line for her Santa picture. "Well, it's a Christmas event, even if it's for charity. So there's bound to be children. But they'll be leaving soon." They're specifically not invited to the 'ball' part of the evening, after all. "Between your schedule and Autumn's schedule, I'm not sure the two of you will ever meet. But we'll try." She grins, then lets out a reluctant sigh. "I suppose I shouldn't neglect the other guests. I'm so glad you're back, though. I missed you." As if she didn't say that in every single email she sent.

Hesper smiles to the couple with a polite nod to Ambroise to acknowledge him. "Perhaps we all could be seated together if there are open table arrangements." The suggestion is warm and she smiles back to Clarine. "Such a beautiful name you have. I think I shall remember it, and promise not to forget. And I am also very happy to be here this evening."

"I will have Mr. Harris email you in regrads to Tuesday. " Eleanor squeezed Calliope's hand gently in her own. "Well we will just include Mr.Autumn in an email and we will correspond through that." She nods "I am going to get a drink and mingle. Several new faces around.. Or just that maybe I am the new face and they are all old.." She shrugged her shoulders and let her friends hand go.

"I would really enjoy that, Hesper," Clarine says with warmth. And then she blushes. "Thank you. Your name is also beautiful--is it French?" She smiles shyly.

Milo smiles, and nods at what Hesper suggests. "Indeed, let's see if we can find seats. Calliope it is very good to see you again. I enjoyed your new novel immensely. Clarine, it is a pleasure to meet you."

Black had taken his time to put on his best winter colors, which is a sleek black suit, with cobalt hues that decorate it. The slacks which he has on are covered over with the doublet that has been set upon his waist with a belt. The first thing he does when he arrived, is to put some money donation in, and a few gifts, and then he finds Hesper. He slides up next to her and reaches for her hand, out of the white, without interrupting anyone.

Calliope reluctantly releases Eleanor's hand, but it must be done. She's the hostess. She has duties. So she goes back to mingling through the crowd, and checking on the Santa line to see if it's getting any shorter. Damn kids. The little rodents think they own the place. And poor Santa is probably suffering a great deal of abuse at the hands of all the wretched little rich brats.

Ambroise nods to Hesper at the suggestion of the two pairs sitting together. "That would be a wonderful idea," he says to her, "though I'm afraid I have no idea what the seating arrangements are."

Solo - that's how Evens is arriving tonight. He's dressed elegantly, tailored suit immaculately set upon his frame. He's got a candy cane in his breast pocket for a bit of color. He pauses upon entering, glancing around the affair.

Hesper replies to Clarine, "It is very old." There's a hint of some mischief when she explains the name, "Oui, it is french. IT is also up there with some of the older names that are long forgotten and no one remembers. Although I am hearing such names are becoming more popular over time. Vintage, or so they call it." And then she peers over as someone takes up her gloved hand, and she eye spies Black. "Marquess," she dips down in another formal curtsey again as she greets him. "I did not think you would be coming this evening." She smiles. "Good evening. Shall I introduce you to everyone?"

"Monsieur Fortier!" Calliope says, looking behind him like she did last time. As though she expects Oksana to be standing there shyly if only Calli leans far enough to the side. But alas, it appears that Evens' fiancee isn't in attendance this evening. This results in a disappointed pout from Calliope, but it's quickly banished in favour of a big smile for Evens. She's rather fond of him as well, so at least he came! "Good evening and how are you?"

Clarine smiles at Hesper. "I see. I like it," she declares softly. "Yes, vintage." Then someone comes up behind Hesper and she retreats back into silence, her hand tightening on Ambroise's elbow. But at least she smiles at Milo.

Black seems to be his usual quiet and non-talkative self when he is at events such as this. He looks to Milo, and dips a nod, recognizing the man, then he offers a small smile to Hesper after a moment, his gaze flitted towards Clarine and company. "Yes, please do if you would, Lady Honeywood," he murmurs. He pulls up the hand to kiss, as he half bows to the woman, then stands back up. "Feel free to introduce me in full," he offers up, something in his words happier than usual about that prospect.

Evens chuckles at the galloped greeting, nodding to Calliope. The pout is expected, the man knowing how well his fiancee had been received. "I am doing well, Madmoiselle King. How are you?" He wonders, eyes mirthful. "Oksana is resting... she is a bundle of nerves, with us flying out tomorrow." The man explains. "I cannot wait to show her the rings, she is excited to show me her dress."

Eleanor quietly made her way through the room, keeping a wide space between her and the line of children waiting for Santa or just being children it was all the same to her. As a waiter passed she slipped a glass from the tray and took a small sip. Clutch in hand resting on a slender waist accented by the lace and sating bodice of her gown. She turned her eyes to the entrance eyes scrolling over the masses of unfamilar faces that were coming in and out.

Ambroise stands with Clarine, offering her hand a reassuring pat as he waits for Hesper to make the introductions.

Milo smiles at Black. "Marquess, it is good to see you again. Yes, Hesper is much better at being social than I am I'm afraid.", turning to her and smiling, he says "Darling, the Marquess and I know each other from a few encounters before, but I think you introducing him to the crowd here is a splendid idea." With this he gives a friendly smile at Black.

Hesper gives a little pause as Black places a kiss to her gloved hand. She tries to make this less formal for Clarine's sake. "He's such a fox sweeping in like this." And then she lets out a soft laugh, "Well? May I please introduce our very own Marquess Merek Von Black." She then side whispers to Clarine, "He really doesn't bite. Yet, I didn't think he'd show up in such a large crowd this evening." And then she introduces the other couple, "And Monsieur Ambroise and his lovely companion this evening, Lady Clarine."

Hesper nudges in, "And you remember Monsieur Milo Cavanaugh?"

Clarine gives Black a little curtsey, all too formal and yet somehow endearing. "A pleasure," she says softly. She's a bit overwhelmed. A real Marquess, oh my gosh.

Ambroise smiles and nods to Black, extending a hand to the man as he is introduced by Hesper. "Marquees von Black," he says. "Pleased to make your acquaintance."

Another slightly disappointed pout from Calliope, who had hoped she'd be invited to Evens and Oksana's wedding. Yet again, though, it passes quickly. "Well, you will just have to dance with me later, hmm? My date is also absent. Though he's not a bundle of nerves. I think he just got called in to work or something..." She wrinkles her nose cutely. "But you know Ms. Chadwick, don't you? Perhaps you can dance with her as well? Please excuse me for now. I see some other faces I'd like to greet." She flashes him another smile and, if allowed to do so, offers him a hug and a kiss on the cheek before sweeping off in Milo's direction.

Black looks to Hesper for a moment, and seems to consider her, while he takes a small breath in, and exhales, with a smile on his face. "You look glorious today," he offers. The smallest nod to her, unspoken in thought, "I remember Monsieur Cavanaugh," he then admits, "He is a well-mannered friend," he states. He still has his hand in Hesper's, holding it tenderly, subtle, but still, it's there for people to see. That has to be longer than is usual! He then looks to Clarine, and then to Ambroise, "Monsieur, and my Lady, it is a pleasure to meet you both." He takes his free hand, offered to Ambroise's with some amusement at the gesture, his shake firm, not soft, a man's handshake. Yes. "I hope the evening finds all of you well."

Evens cants his head, grinning to Calliope. "Well, she was hoping you might help her with her dress?" He comments, reaching into his jacket and presenting the young woman with a pretty envelope. "We'd love to see you and your date there, if you have time before the holidays?" A wry grin. "Travel and such is of course included..." And then she's offering dances and scampering away after a hug and a kiss to his cheek. "All right. Do let us know!" A glance over to Eleanor.

Wait, what? Calli all but screeches to a halt in her departure from Evens because... Invitation! She spins around and there's a squeal of delight that's probably becoming all too familiar to the poor man. "OF COURSE I'LL HELP HER!" She takes the envelope with an excited little dance and holds it to her breast with both hands for a moment before tucking it away in her clutch. "I will probably be going alone, unless Ms. Chadwick would like to come. Mr. Strand generally requires more notice than this." And even if he did have free time... Warden. Can't travel. "Okay, have fun! Go say hi to Eleanor!" Then she's traipsing off again towards Milo once more.

Milo looks somewhat grim all of a sudden. "Marquess, are you feeling well? Perhaps we should talk after this. For now, we will let you go find a seat, while we go to our table. Good evening." He will move somewhat closer to Hesper, and reach for her hand, the one being held by Black.

Eleanor was unaware of her dance card being filled up in her absence. She continued to sip at the drink she held. When someone familiar came up to her to greet her engaging her into a minor conversation before heading off to retrieve their child from Santa's lap. She made her way towards Evens a semi familar face.

Ambroise looks to Black with slight concern as Milo addresses him.

Clarine blinks. "Is everything all right?" she asks, tilting her head as she looks between Black and Milo.

Hesper will gently be guided by Milo as her gloved hand is withdrawn to her side again. "Marquess, I will see to it that Dr. Abernathy receives a message to speak with you. Perhaps he can still offer some assistance with what you need." A soft smile is reflected back at him. "I am certain everything will be alright in time."

Milo will nod to Clarine "Yes, of course...no worries.". He then turns to Black, saying "Yes, and I do want to speak with you later my friend. I think we have much to discuss.". He then continues escorting Hesper away and to a table.

Completely oblivious to the potential problem, Calliope sweeps in on the gathering around Black. "Hello," she announces cheerfully. "Merek, Milo." They each get a nod in greeting. Then she turns to the respective dates. "I'm Calliope King," she informs Hesper and Clarine, offering her hand out to first one, then the other. "Don't you both look glorious this evening? I'm so pleased you could make it. With all the great fortune we lot receive each year, it's so important to share it with those less fortunate. Especially during this season." Okay, yes, she's a bit flighty. But it's endearing. She's an author. They tend to be on the weird side anyhow.

Evens grins as he was heading towards Eleanor. "Good evening, Madmoiselle Chadwick. A pleasure to see you again." The man offers, his accent still as Parisian as ever. "How are the holidays finding you?"

Clarine smiles and shakes Calliope's hand. "I agree," she says, blue eyes a little bit dark. She seems uncomfortable, but only mildly so--easily overlooked. "I'm Clarine Skinner," she adds. The pleasure is mine," she says.

"... I've not been sleeping well, but we can talk later perhaps," Black tells Milo. When the hand is moved for, and he pulls his away, he allows that, and nods, but he seems to just shake his head, and smiles to Hesper, "Yes... I'll speak with him when he's available, he hasn't been for a bit," he admits, sadly. He then adds, for Milo and Ambroise's benefit, "I am well enough, just not had a great month," he admits. Pause, he then seems thoughtful a moment. He looks to Clarine and Ambroise, "Oh, dear me! I didn't... Recognize you two, you are from the university?" He however waits for Calliope to finish her greetings, as he flashes a winning smile to that woman as well, in respect, and inclines.

Ambroise turns to greet Calliope as she swoops in on the group. "Miss King," he says, "it's good to see you again."

"I work at the university, yes," Clarine adds, looking to Black with a warmer smile, now. "I'm one of the librarians there." She looks him over curiously, as if she's trying to place him.

Ambroise nods to Black and smiles. "Yes," he says to the gentleman. "I'm a professor at the University. It is how Clarine and I met."

Calliope blinks a few times at Ambroise before it dawns on her, "Oh yes! Mr. Dubois. You helped at the Thanksgiving dinner." He gets a beaming smile. Truth be told, it's a minor miracle that she actually remembered his name. But the whole panic around making sure he signed the proper paperwork is what cemented him in her memory. Others are generally far less fortunate.

"I am a student, actually... I am practicing law and computer sciences," Black mentions Clarine after a moment. "I take some of my courses online, but you can catch me around often enough," he adds.

"Evening Monsieur Evens, It is a pleasure to see you again as well. It has been a while." She sipped her drink before responding. "It has found me back in Fallcoast, we shall see how that turns out. How is your Holiday Season?"

Hesper smiles back to Calliope as she approaches the group. "Good evening and it is also a pleasure to meet you." Her gaze moves to Clarine as she mentions the library and she smiles even more. "I will most certainly have to visit as nothing electronic is as good as the weight of a good, heavy book in one's hands."

Clarine nods. "Dual major," she says, impressed. "Well, good for you, Marquess." She smiles warmly. "If you need help with research, let me know any time, and I will happily assist you if I am able." Then she smiles to Calliope again and nods, leaning briefly into Ambroise. Her smile to Hesper is warmer than seen yet this evening. "I agree. Oh, I have a Kindle, but there's nothing like the feel, and smell, of a real book," she says to the French woman cheerily.

Ambroise nods to Calliope. "Yes," he says to her. "Again, I apologize for signing up at the last minute, but coming here to Fallcoast was a rather abrupt thing and I had only just arrived." He turns his attention back to Black and says with a smile, "Well, perhaps I will have you in one of my classes at some point."

Evens mms, nodding to Eleanor. "It goes well. I fly out tomorrow for France, getting married on the solstice." A grin. "I hope your travels were for pleasure, non?" A glance around. "Miss King suggested that you might be looking for a dance partner this evening?"

Black takes a moment to nod to Clarine and Ambroise, "Of course," he states, while he offers a small little smile upon his lips. "If you will excuse me," he then adds, and inclines. He will then find seating afterwards, seeming to be quite deep in his thoughts for the time being.

Milo notes Evens mention of his pending marriage and says "Congratulations! And such a wonderfully romantic locale and time. I've always found the most beauty to come from France."

Hesper suddenly grins at Milo and lifts a brow. It doesn't last too long but she does nod to Evens to acknowledge him. "Oui, congratulations to you and your happiness."

Eleanor says, "My travels were work related, Monsieur Fortier. Oh I am sure the wedding on the Solistice will be very nice." She laughed a bit "Its possible my dance card is empty this evening."

Calliope is also enamored of books. "It's true. Books are an experience. The scent, the weight, the delight of physically turning a page to expose the secrets it contains." She can geek out with the nerd girls just as easily as she can schmooze with the hoity toity upper class. She closes her eyes and clasps her hands together as if dreaming about reading. She lets out a content sigh as her eyes open again. "Of course I don't have that much time for reading right now. But tell me, who are your favourite authors?" To some it may sound like she's fishing, but in reality she's genuinely curious. She's always looking for new books to read.

Ambroise remain quiet for now, smiling slightly as Clarine gets to discuss books with Hester and Calliope.

"Right now I'm reading a lot of non-fiction," Clarine says with a smile. "While dense, the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow is readable, and there's a lighter, if still deeply informative, book by Gail Collins on the history of American women called America's Women." She beams at Calliope, relaxing more fully.

Evens offers a wave and a smile to Milo's comment. "Merci. I have always found it to be a wonderful place." A glance to Eleanor. "Well, I might be available to offer you a dance - if you're amiable to such, of course?" A grin, his hand extended towards Eleanor.

Hesper is mentally distracted for a moment yet drawn back in with the mention of books and authors, "I'm currently reading a book of poetry by Hood. A rare edition with only a few published copies within New York. It is quite fantastical."

"America's Women! A perfect title," Calliope says to Clarine with a laugh. "That does sound interesting. Does it focus on any specific area, or the nation as a whole? I've always found the history of daily life to be fascinating. But dates about wars and generals and blah blah blah just goes in one ear and out the other." Then to Hesper, "Ooh, that sounds interesting. Would you recommend it? What is the title?" She's already shopping for it in her head. Because one can never have too many books. Especially rare ones! "I must confess that I'm generally most interested in fantasy novels. I think Gaiman's American Gods is one of my all time favourites."

Eleanor slips her hand into his arm as she steps in closer to Evens. "I am ambiable, Mons. Fortier." She turned to Milo and gave a small nod to the other group, finishing the drink in her hand as a waiter swung around she placed her empty glass on the tray.

"Oh, fantasy," Clarine says with a sigh, leaning back into Ambroise for a moment as she swoons slightly. Neeeerrrdddd. "It covers day to day life all over America, so far," she adds once she's recovered, smiling at Calliope.

Black stands up, and looks around, until he has found a drink which might have been left around. Once he has one, he returns to being settled in alone, and just watching the on-going event, for the time being.

Milo smiles at Hesper, "Sounds fascinating. Calliope is an accomplished author. She has a good book coming out next year, Strength of God. I won an advance copy in a charity auction last month, and found it a fascinating read." To Calliope he says, "Yes, American Gods was amazing, especially the ending. I believe he has subsequent novels in that world as well."

Milo looks a bit concerned, and then says "Ah, my leg is bothering me a bit. Hesper darling, would you mind if we take a seat, perhaps a bit away from the crowd?"

Ambroise smiles to Clarine as she leans up against him, returning her lean with a slight pressure of his own. He is all too happy to remain quiet and listen as the three ladies talk about their literary preferences.

Hesper has her gaze on Black for awhile as he holds his drink and then she looks back to the girl book talk and the mention of titles. "I would like to read it if you would lend your won copy, Monsieur Cavanaugh? Although Hood, is simply as plainly titled as it is. There is no other title, yet I believe it may have been a play to disguise the contents of the book itself. A series of prose and poetry to play the senses and the imagination. I would lend the book to you if you like when finished with it?" She offers to Calliope.

Evens leads Eleanor to the dance floor, moving smoothly in time to the music when they arrive. "I am hoping the business travel was worthwhile, then?" He asks, waltzing with the woman in his arms.

Hesper nods to Milo.

Milo nods to Hesper "Of course you may borrow it. And let's go find that seat.", with that he offers Hesper his arm and will lead her to a seat set a ways away from he crowd.

"Oh," Calliope says to Hesper, "Yes, that would be lovely. Thank you! I can get you copies of the other two in my series if you'd like. Milo won the 3rd in the series, and there may be a bit of confusion if you started there, though I do try to make it at least somewhat interesting if one hasn't read the previous novels." But then Milo is asking to sit and she says, "I'll get your information before you leave." Both of them get a smile and she turns back to Clarine.

Hesper graciously excuses herself from the social grouping, and follows Milo over to take up a seat with him as he rests his leg. "Are you alright now?" She will find them drinks to be brought over to the table.

Eleanor's poise was perfect as she began to move across the floor in Evens arms. "Yes business travel was worthwhile. We had some major adjustments in our London office that needed our hands.. And as I am still getting the lay of the land in the company. I decided it would be in my best interest to attend to it personally."

Milo will node to Hesper, "Yes, much, thank you."

Clarine smiles at Calliope. "So what genre do you write?" she asks. "From the title, I'd guess urban fantasy."

Evens nods to Eleanor as they move about the dance floor easily. "Oui, hands on is often the best way to handle business." He smiles, eyes on hers. "I'm still a bit leery about leaving for so long over the holidays, but I am sure it will go well."

Eleanor nods as they continued to move around the dance floor. "Mnsr Fortier, I am sure that your business will continue to flourish in your absence. You can work from any destination remotely. Though that is not always a comfortable feeling."

"More of the Historical Fantasy genre," Calliope tells Clarine. "The titles are quite misleading, apparently. And Christians hate me. I believe there's actually a website devoted to having me shut down as an author. Apparently some people purchased the first book based solely on the title and was aghast to find that it was not at all biblical." She seems unconcerned by this confession, though. Whatever. Some people will like her writing, others will call her a demon. She mostly just writes because she loves it.

Clarine laughs a little. "That's hilarious, though," she says. She falls firmly in the nonreligious camp, it seems. "Haven't they heard the adage, 'don't judge a book by its cover'?" She shakes her head. "Do you have ebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks? All of the above? I've toyed with writing something, but I'm afraid I don't have the life experiences to write anything interesting."

Evens nods, spinning Eleanor and chuckling. "I know it will. Remote work is not as ... enjoyable. I like working with the pieces themselves, so..." A slight shrug. "All the paperwork and such really amounts to the boring part of work."

Ambroise smiles to Clarine as she claims her inexperience. "Oh, I don't think that's true at all," he says to her. "I think you simply undervalue the experiences you have."

Eleanor says, "I enjoy the paperwork aspect. The quiet calmness of checking the figures and others work.. Maybe its just because I just simply enjoy the control of the process from beginning to end." She gave a small nod as the song slipped into the end of its number and a secondary song faded in."

Calliope laughs and shakes her head, "You don't need life experience! You need Google and a good library. Trust me, I knew absolutely nothing about medieval Catholicism when I started out. Truth be told, I still don't really, I just researched the bits that were relevant to my story. If you want to write, you should try!" Easy for her to say. She hasn't yet encountered any serious form of writers block. "Hope of God is available in all three of those formats. Peace of God is still only in hardcover, but I believe there's an e-book version. And Strength of God isn't available just yet. You may want to hit Milo up since even I don't really know how to get another copy of it right now. My editor's mad at me so he probably won't cooperate if I ask for another."

Clarine nods. "I'll look for them. Thank you," she says to Calliope with a warm smile. "And who knows, maybe we have them at the library." She nods thoughtfully at the other part, and Ambroise. "Maybe I've a novel in me yet."

Black takes a moment to finish his drink, then he stands up and moves towards the exit, as quiet as he arrived, but still as noticable as often he is. His glide is slow, although he doesn't leave the area completely.

Ambroise chuckles a little and says to Clarine, "And depending upon the format you may not even need to Google all that much. I could almost certainly help you out with any historical aspects you might be interested in."

Calliope grins at Clarine. "You do. I know you do. Everyone does, I think. But you have something even more important. The will to get it out of you to share with the world." She glances around and realizes that all the children seem to have gone home. Yay! "Ooh, if you'll excuse me, it looks like Santa's available!"

"I'll try," Clarine promises Calliope, before smiling to Ambroise and leaning in to ghost a kiss to his cheek. Her lipstick doesn't transfer because the touch is featherlight. "Thank you," she murmurs very quietly.

Hesper will look to the time as she rises from the table. "I suppose you are right," she tells Milo. "It would be a good idea entirely to follow that advice." She waits for him to escort her out. "Until next time?"

Evens gives a pause, to see if Eleanor will still wish to dance. Seeing her not run in terror, he continues on into the second song. "Control... control to me is making the item yourself." A grin.

With Calliope's departure Ambroise turns his full attention back to Clarine. "Would you care to dance," he says to her as he prepares to lead her out to the dance floor.

Milo will escort Hesper out, helping her into his sedan and then driving off.

Clarine's eyes go wide briefly. "I've never," she says quietly, "but I'll try, for you."