2010-01-24: FB: Déjà Vu



Date Set: February 24, 2009


History always repeats itself.

One Year Ago…

"Déjà Vu"

New Orleans

The Hotel St. Marie, New Orleans, the ideal place to be for Mardi Gras. Reservations are made nearly years in advance, this reservation was made every decade by the same family. The family is old money from France, presumably royalty, not that it means anything anymore. You can't get into a cab in that country without meeting a prince or a princess from some royal line or another. But this family in particular has ties all over the world and every decade they congregate together for a week of festivities that begin and end with the dates of Mardi Gras.

Fat Tuesday's parade was something else, the best since the city's faltering recovery from the many hurricanes that continue to devastate the poorer population. This, of course, is nothing to the hosts of the party. They are there for one reason and one reason only, to reconnect with their long long relatives and friends that have dispersed over the years.

Hallis Van Cortlandt's raison d'etre just so happens to be the party itself. New Orleans is the place to be for Mardi Gras, being invited to the party of the decade was really just a perk of being her fabulous self. That evening's scheduled activity just so happens to be a masquerade. The appropriate dress? As much or as little as the guest wishes, as long as it is in good taste and includes a mask. To this end, the young woman has chosen a costume that vaguely resembles a historical ballgown and of course, her green and purple mask.

In some way, Adam Monroe almost pities these folks who go out of their way to make these reservations at the finest hotels for this particular celebration. Now, that's not to say he doesn't understand them, since he was once in their same place, where the need for status drives one to make these elaborate plans and put on airs, all for the express purposes of trying to be highbrow at a festival that praises and promotes drunken debauchery. In his old age though, he's given up the highbrow side of it; he just comes for the boobs now.

Lifetimes of living give one a lot of knowledge; Adam can destroy folks at Trivial Pursuit, but moreso than that…he knows how to sneak in to places like this, quite uninvited. Mardi Gras, for it's part, is virtually unchanged over the decades, and he comes prepared. A mask, coupled with a tux (tails and all) will pretty much get him into any party in the city. Tonight, however, he's decided to crash the Valois party. As he recalls (and his memory's likely to be faulty in his old age), he hasn't been to this particular party in years.

Years, decades, a century, whatever the case… The invitation to the Valois event never made its way around the world to find Adam's doorstep, thus the need to crash. For Hallis, her invitation came as the sole heiress of her grandmother, Lizette Valois Van Cortlandt. Before stepping out onto the balcony, the young woman check the mirror. Her powder white wig is styled exactly right to suit the time period of the dress, her lips painted a beautiful shade of blush and the beauty mark penciled in just below the mask on her cheek. Perfect.

The snug fit of the dress spills out what little cleavage she has, unfortunate, really. She never has this much in a normal dress. But when she is finally satisfied with the vision in the glass, she opens the door and steps out. Ready to throw beads out into the street and drink as much as she possibly can before the sun comes up.

In the downstairs of the hotel, the real bulk of this highbrow 'party' (read: drinking) is going on. That being the case, it's no big shock that that's where Adam is. The masks are a good idea…for about 5 minutes. Then they just become a bother. That, and the wigs, the overdone makeup…it's all bothersome when you're just there to crash a party, get some booze, and check out the sights, as it were.

He drifts around at the bar down in the ballroom of the hotel, splitting his time drinking and waltzing with stodgy old broads in poofy dresses that only just barely hide their own natural poofiness. Every dance makes his mask droop a little lower, the wig gets a little more crooked, as he really starts to tire of the formality of it all. Of course, he wasn't always like that…

Versailles - 1782

The string quartet played feverishly in the heat of the evening. Their fingers flying over the strings and their heads swaying slightly as the young white haired conductor urged them on with graceful flicks of his fingers and slight waves of his arms. It was by special invitation of the King himself to this ball in Versailles that had Frederica smiling ever so sweetly to the music. Hoping to catch the eye of an eligible young suitor, rather than some old prospect chosen for her, the young woman watched one of the musicians with great interest.

As the music swelled so did her breath and then her eyes lifted to see a man across the room. Someone not in the quartet, but interesting nonetheless.

The year was 1782, and Adam Monroe was known to those individuals in Paris France as Jaques De'Lefluer, a new but somewhat celebrated officer in the French military. His fervent, fearless service in several battles against his birth country's army and navy (including some surviving mates from his time serving IN those forces), Adam had earned him an invitation to the night's festivities.

This version of Adam Monroe was far less jaded. With actual enjoyment, he paraded around in the fashions of the day, powdered wig secured with a ribbon and bow at the back, maroon tuxedo with frilly lace lapels, buckle shoes…the whole shebang. Compared to the rest of the crowd, he was downright young (ironic, ain't it?), and his 20-something exuberance was infectious.

It's true, the guest list had an extraordinary amount of older people on it and only a few of the younger. This was a factor that worked very much in Frederica's favor. As Jacques was the crowd pleaser for the gents, Frederica was the belle of the ball. Only when her dance card was completely full did she rise from her chair, her hand delicately placed in one of the officer's, they made their way out onto the dance floor…

** * * * **

The stairs were a rather difficult proposal when all by oneself, but Hallis is up to the task. Lifting the delicate fabric of the dress, she runs down the stairs, the rest of it billowing behind her. The door to the main party was open from the courtyard and it is through this that she parades, smiling softly to any that should happen to catch her eye.

When someone like Hallis enters through the sweeping double doors at the party, people tend to stop and notice. Particularly in that dress with that cleavage. Fortunately for Adam, they're in the inter-dance shuffle, as the frumpy crowd mixes around and finds new partners for the next waltz. It's not much of Adam's concern that he leaves some old bat frowning as she quite clearly takes an interest in the much younger (and prettier) Hallis. He doesn't go over to introduce himself quite yet, but he does stare.

** * * * **

When Frederica rose from her chair to take the first officer's hand, Adam could only watch. He wasn't near important enough to get his name on one of those cards. He was only on a few cards, at that…but right then and there he swore he'd spend time with that woman that night, if only to introduce himself. She positively glowed, afterall, young and full of health, even as she slowly and unknowingly was killing herself.

Though not as fashionable as the Waltz, the Minuet still allowed for more social interaction. The young soldier was in a square just one down from Frederica, but she couldn't help but notice him as he danced with the woman at his side. As it came time for her and the woman she was walking with to make their parade, she cast him a quick glance, trying to catch his eye. Then a small smile, not enough to be noticed if one wasn't looking for it, but if he was, he would certainly see it there. Once the walk was done, the two women returned to their own square, curtsying low to one another and then twirling to a stop beside their partners.

** * * * **

Ugh, a waltz, but lucky for Hallis it isn't the dance that brought her down, rather the love of bourbon, lively people, and the promise of a good time. As she prances up to the bar, she gives off a light laugh when one of the men there nearly falls off his chair to offer it to her. Politely, she declines and turns her masked face toward the bartender. Speaking is useless in a place so crowded and loud, so she merely lifts one finger, indicating that she'll take one of whatever he's pouring. It suits her just fine that it ends up being a short glass of an amber liquid. Taking it delicately in one hand, she turns to face the room before taking a sip. It's a good thing she's well practiced, because the liquor burns all the way down her throat. Soothing her sobriety and making way for a really good night.

Conveniently, the bar is Adam's favorite place as well. When she makes her way over to the counter, he makes sure to slide up a lengths down. When she drinks, he drinks, far past the point where he would sip, he just gulps the stuff down. His drink of choice, like Hallis, is one (and sometimes two) of whatever the bartender happens to be pouring. It really doesn't matter much, since he can't really get drunk. For the moment, he's content to just lean on the bar and rather lewdly eye her up, hidden behind that mask.

** * * * **

Had it been anyone else that night, they probably wouldn't have caught that look. Fortunately though, Adam WAS looking and he DID see it. When he caught sight of it, he felt his heart jump a little in his chest, smiling back at her, and quickly feeling for a seat before his weak legs gave him away. For the entirety of the dance, he sat and watched, and then ever after, quite smitten with the woman.

When the dance was over, Frederica was escorted back to a cushioned seat near the balcony. The soldier she had been dancing with quickly took leave to gather two small glasses of cordial for the pair to toast, leaving the young woman alone for a moment. Turning her head slightly to the side, her eyes find Jacques' and she touched her fan to a spot just below her right eye. The small sign was all she could manage before the other man was back at her side and passing her the tiny glass of liquid. Raising the tiny crystal glass, her eyes stray from the man standing in front of her for just a moment to find the young soldier again as the toast is made.

** * * * **

Oh the room is hot, the humidity of New Orleans is frightful at any time of year. In an effort to avoid perspiring, Hallis flicks out her fan with ease and begins wafting the air against her face lightly. The glow on her skin glints against the dim lights of the room, highlighting every breath she takes. Her lips curve into a small smile as her eyes sweep around the room. Half of the fun of these parties is not knowing who anyone is, though telltale features can usually divulge a bit more and unmask the guest. On Hallis, there is nothing to distinguish her from anyone else, aside from her stature and the confident way she carries herself.

Like the other guests, he's not missing out on the perspiration and the heat of the New Orleans evening. In contradiction to some of the others, however, she's allowed himself a small degree of comfort, in that his bowtie is untied and dangling around his shoulders, and the top button of his ruffled tuxedo shirt is undone to let what paltry breeze there is cool him some. It's that stylishly unkempt look he's so notorious for.

** * * * **

Adam's response was in keeping with the habits of the day. From his pocket he procured his own folding fan, and leaning against the bar, opened it wide. He used a practiced, strong flick of the wrist to spread the paper fan nice and wide, making sure that she saw the gesture clearly. A wistful little grin played over his face as he set the fan back on the bar and turned back to his drinks, having established a time frame for meeting her…

The time frame is was little too vague for the young woman whose face marred slightly with a frown at the answer. Nonetheless she turned her attention back to the soldier standing in front of her, only to smile politely and laugh whenever appropriate at his boorish jokes. Approximately ten minutes later another man interrupted the pair and offered her his hand. A hand which she accepted with a much brighter smile. Along the way to the dance floor to partake in a Waltz, another glance was cast in the direction of the young soldier that had captured her attention earlier.

** * * * **

Hallis raises her chin toward the patio doors which lead to the decorated courtyard. With a small thrill, she spies someone that she might recognize and actually be excited to see. With one drink in her hand and her fan and a corner of her long gown in the other, she whisks away toward the doors. Once there, she leans against the frame and waves the fan in front of her face a little too flirtatiously while grinning toward a dark haired man in a tuxedo.

Oh…these fans. These cursed fans and their hidden language. It was a bore back then, and it still remains a bore to this day. Sure, the woman that goes scampering out to the balcony has his eye, but he hardly knows who she is…and it's pretty clear that the erratic fan-waving isn't intended to communicate anything to him at all. One more drink, which he tosses down, shaking his head at her, behind her back of course!

** * * * **

Every time he seems to get her attention, some other officer, suitor, or downright trollish married landowner seems to take it away. When he finally does catch her attention, his heart does a little hop in his chest. Screw the fan code! He doesn't have the time to be so imprecise when he's only got seconds! This time, he holds his hands up, palms up, signaling ten, then points to a veranda outside the ballroom.

When the hand was raised, Frederica was in the middle of a lively dance, being twirled around in a circle by yet another man. When the music stopped, she smiled and shook her head, indicating that it might just be the last dance for her for the evening. It was a hard task, but the young woman finally was able to slip away from the crowd and make her way onto the balcony where she stared out at the city lights, admiring them. She was alone, hidden against the wall beside the door. Fearful that someone might find her and drag her away again.

** * * * **

It doesn't occur to the young woman that perhaps she doesn't know the dark haired man, that is, until he finds another lady and removes his mask with a smile. It is then that Hallis' face falters a little and the smile fades. Eyebrows that are hidden by the mask, furrow together in disappointment before she turns back to the overheated room. The party is completely packed and even though there has to be someone there that she knows, the masks hide it all.

Adam can't quite keep from chuckling a little when her exuberance turns to disappoint…a sad, inevitable, and slightly hilarious outcome of the masquerade part of the ball. He's not a totally, emotionally stoic individual, however. Reluctantly, as if it were a chore, he pushes away from the bar, finally. First time all night, really. He's making for the balcony, adjusting his mask a bit on his face as goes, prepared to offer Hallis a dance so she doesn't break down and tantrum or something. That sort of thing has happened before - he's seen it!

** * * * **

Luckily for Frederica, her little reprieve to the balcony is noticed only by one man…the one that called her out there! He arrives after her, so as not to give anyone else who might potentially have seen her go out first the idea of hanky-panky happening. Behind him, he even manages to yank the doors closed a little, gently, as if the breeze did it. The man races out a few steps, right into the middle of the veranda, looking around at the railing for her…before turning and finding her against the wall. A smile appears on his face, and he starts to open his mouth to speak…

** * * * **

Hallis has just turned away from the balcony and as she gazes about the room, her eyes are not in front of her. This is what causes the near collision of two perfect strangers in masks. Looking up, the young socialite spies the charmingly unkempt frame in front of her and gives him a delighted smile. She's lucky that the drink in her hand hasn't spilled, actually and she lifts it up in a small toast. The skin around her shoulders and her chest glistens just a little as she has stopped fanning herself. After taking a small sip of her drink, she licks her lips and offers the glass up to the blond in front of her, a blond who is conveniently without a drink.

When alcohol is presented by a lovely lady, Adam is not the sort to turn it down! He leans down, pressing his lips to the presented glass and takes a reasonable, civil sip of the booze. Sure, he understands that maybe that wasn't the objective of her toasting like that…but, come on! What an icebreaker! He raises his eyebrows and smirks behind the mask as he samples from the glass. By the time he stands back up straight, he's smirking, offering an innocent little shrug to the woman. Booze-free, he lifts his right hand and arm, offering. "Care to dance?" he asks, not knowing her name?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License