Mardi Gras at Flare


Flare advertises itself as fine dining in an elegant atmosphere, and it's not false advertising. The foyer, the dining room and even the bar are done in creams and neutrals, teak woods and ash, with the occasional dark panel for contrast. Etched glass panels hang from the ceiling and disappear into the taupe carpeted floor; some separate the tables, some are merely decorative, reflecting the white recessed lights that shine through them from the ceiling. There are splashes of Egyptian blue color throughout to break up the possibility of monotony: sprinkled in the carpet, accenting the wood panels, decorating the tables as glass candle holders.

The foyer has an elaborate mosaic pattern of dark and light browns highlighted with blacks and darker blues swirled into the floor tiles. The seats are eggshell white leather. The accent wall has a vertical waterfall, the water streaming down etched panes of glass into the marble pool to be recycled and begin the cycle anew.

The bar holds the motif, but fetches in more colors to the palette. The recessed lights behind the bar are a mixture of blue and red, white and yellow. Colorful bottles line the bar shelf, and a huge mirror hangs at angle over the bar, reflecting the marbleized bar top and the bar area, depending on where one stands to look into the mirror. There is seating here too, and starters as well as drinks are provided in the bar.

The wait staff dresses formally: servers in crisp white shirts with Egyptian blue bow ties, and slacks (or skirts) to match. Flare does not require reservations, but they are suggested to avoid long wait times. However, given its location, clients without reservations are as common as though with and the staff is able to juggle both magnificently.


ds01.jpg aidanboyle08.jpg lc02.jpg mb01.jpg kimdae.jpg
Corrie Aidan Celia (npc) Connor (npc) Kim (npc)

Flare has been transformed.

No longer does it look like the typical upscale restaurant that it is. The tables are luminescent, glowing either green or purple depending on where they've been set up. A large Mardi Gras style float is in the center of the room filled with the latest novel by Celia Collins.

The decorations are somewhat classy, the center pieces not to large or in-your-face. It's very much stylized like a party in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, without being over-the-top or tacky.

People have started to arrive, some staying outside at the few bistro tables that have been set up. Signing in, showing their tickets, receiving masks if they've forgotten theirs, and a string of beads in various colors are being handed out as they step through the door.

Corrie fusses with her own costume once more and then takes a deep breath. "You're positive the kitchen is going to be on time? That Celia is attending?" Another deep breath. "I can't sit at the head table. I need to be running around to ensure things are running perfectly."


Aidan is quietly impressed. He has no qualms with admitting when something is done well, and this is quite well done. For all the challenges, annoyances and unpredictability of the little witchling, she has pulled this off rather successfully - at least so far as it appears at this time. He gives her a speculative glance, lifting one eyebrow.

"The kitchen is always on time, though I can double check with them if you would prefer." Flare is no stranger to hosting lavish events - or catering them - and he knows that he can rely on Owen, Neal and Jules to pull through without a hitch.

Another sweeping glance is given around the room, seeking - but not finding - Celeste. Not that the vampire is surprised; the woman will make an entrance when she feels fit to do so. Never too early, never too late. She's rather schooled at fashionable. "Celia will be here, she's quite looking forward to it."


"Wander as you require, but even you have to eat at some time, Kavanaugh."


"No, no. If you say they'll be on time, I trust you." In that at least. Corrie fidgets with the dress, then sets her hands to the mask and readjusts that as well.


Of all the things to forget to put out, the pens for signing at the signing table? Probably the stupidest thing.

Rushing toward it, she crouches down and pulls out standard black sharpies, as well as purple and green ones and sets them in a jester-shaped vase atop the table.

Glancing back at Aidan with a sheepish grin, she laughs. Then she glances around the room and moves to the entry, just to peek outside and ensure everything is smooth. Her hand dips into the basket of beads, and she grins. The gold ones are set over her neck, and she moves back toward the vampire, offering him a strand of blue beads.

"Right. I think I can calm down for a few moments. Everyone knows what I'm wearing in case there's a crisis."


"Only for a few moments?" Aidan echoes as she approaches him with the beads. "If you keep on like you are, you're likely to wear yourself out before the night is half over." The beads are accepted without any sarcasm, snark or leering remarks, and he pulls them over his head.

"With any luck, tonight will be crisis free." A light touch to her arm, and Aidan turns again to survey the crowd. "It's certainly a good turn out."


"You have no idea what I do to pull off these events do you?" Corrie bites her lip to keep from laughing, and gives him a crooked smile. "I generally run around like a beheaded chicken for the first half of the event, grab a glass of wine, a few dances, and then start working clean up."

Really, she's very much a one-woman-show on this type of thing. It's why she's never seriously gone into business for herself. She'd work herself into an early grave.

Still, if she can pull tonight off without too many crises, she'll reconsider.

Reaching up to adjust his beads so that they sit beneath the collar of his suit jacket, she idly asks, "What do the beads stand for anyhow?"


"Absolutely no idea," Aidan admits without missing a beat. He's never been the one responsible for the set up or break down; he's always hired someone to handle that aspect, and his true domain has always been the kitchen. "But I imagine that it's a great deal of work for a one woman show."

The grooming action earns Corrie a curious lift of brows, quickly banished and replaced with a half-smile of frank bemusement as his eyes assess her a moment before sharing what he can recall of the tradition. "The colors have meaning, at least the basic colors. The purple ones represent justice, the green ones symbolize faith, and the gold," Aidan lifts a hand to tug gently on the strand around Corrie's neck, eyes twinkling behind his mask, "Power."


"Well just don't mind if I disappear for half the evening. You will have Celia to keep you company, so I know you'll be in good hands." Corrie bites her lip at that, a flicker of something teasing at the edges of her memory, but not quite coming to the fore.

"What? It looks better tucked under the collar than scratching at your neck over it." Blinking down at her beads, she laughs. "Appropriate then. What color, do you figure, stands for control?"


"I'll try not to take it too personally," Aidan promises deadpan, were it not for the smile teasing at the corners of his lips.

Her question makes the smirk bloom near in full to a smile, as he indicates his beads with a touch of his hand. "That's easy. Blue, of course."

Activity at the entrance catches his eyes and Aidan turns that way expectantly. On some level he is wholly unsurprised to see Celia entering, and his smile widens into one of fond affection. "Looks as though the guest of honor has arrived."


"Liar," Corrie says with a laugh. "I think that blue means calming or some such, but I'm not really up on color meanings." It's not something she thought to look at when she was purchasing a box of beaded necklaces.

"Go on," Corrie says with a little nudge. "Escort her in then. After all, it's your night as much as hers." She glances toward the entrance as well to see if Connor's come with Celia. When she spots him, she decides it'll be best to take his arm and allow the host, and the author to wander to the center of the room together.


"I suppose that if you really wanted a color that symbolizes control, red would likely be the best." Aidan gives a soft chuckle. "It represents action and courage, perhaps as close as one can get to control, as there isn't a color that subscribes to that notion. Where is blue is in actuality more symbolic of spirituality and truth." Yes, when you have centuries to explore and learn, one can become a font of interesting - or useless - trivia, depending on whom you ask.

"So generous of you," Aidan remarks, though he does give Corrie an inclination of his head as he makes his way toward his child.

''Trthnna mo bhean bidheach," Aidan greets Celeste with a warm, friendly smile, leaning in to press a chaste kiss to her cheek. It's appropriate for the venue, and suggests nothing at all, though there is a flicker of something in his eyes, a touch of heat in his voice. "You are quite lovely this evening."

Celeste laughs, batting her eyes at him as she presents her cheek, "And you, as always, are the flatterer."


"Celia, you look absolutely gorgeous!" Corrie leans in to do the whole double cheek kiss thing once Aidan's moved to the side, and then steps away to take Connor's arm.

"You came?" She holds back a giggle, and reaches up to fix his green beads as well. "I really didn't think you'd come to a book signing. Let alone one for a romance novelist."

Connor laughs and pokes at the witch's ribs. "Honestly, Cor'. She's bloody well worth it."

"You're so smitten. Just don't forget she's heading home soon."


There is the flash of cameras as Aidan steps forward with Celeste on his arm. He's turned just slightly enough that his face falls in shadow each time, the action subtle enough to not be detected as intentional. It's another of those skills of which he's had years to perfect. One or two pictures will catch his features, but the images are always few enough and inbetween so that Aidan continues to blend in without his lack of aging standing out.

"Apparently, you have lucked out this evening, Cel," Aidan tells her with a bit of a smile, "As Kavanaugh must run about like a headless chicken for half the night, according to her, you'll have to suffer through my company as well."

"You know that your company is never anything so horrid," Celeste pats his arm and gives it an affectionate squeeze. Her gaze swings around the room as they walk, and she gives a gasp of awe. "This is really amazing. The place has been transformed."


"Perhaps you should put her on a leash and keep her." The words are low, barely more than a puff of air past her lips, but Aidan's supernatural hearing picks them up, no doubt as the woman at his side intended, while the rest of the room, even those nearest to them, will hear nothing.


There's a frown when Corrie notices that her friend doesn't have a mask on, and she sighs. "Really, Connor. You come in costume with green lapels, and you can't even be bothered with a mask?" Grabbing one from the table she holds it out to him and waits for him to put it on before taking his arm.

"It looks great, Cor'. Better than anything you did for us."

"Tosh. It does not," she replies with a blush.

"As good then."

"That one I'll take," she says with a laugh, leading him toward the head table. Once there she looks around again, and then checks to ensure the podium is set in between the two main tables and that the place settings are correct.

"You should hire a party planner."

"Connor, luv, if I ever start making real money, I will."


"This is absolutely unbelievable, Corrie," Celia compliments as the group reaches the head table. "I'm awed. You did a fantastic job!" There is true sincerity in her voice; while she can deliver a false compliment as easily as a real one, there's nothing false in her praise. Credit where credit is due, and the witch has managed to surprise her tonight, too. "And the music … it's perfect, cherie. Absolutely perfect."

With that, Celeste turns a mischievious smile on her Maker. "I hope that the food lives up to its reputation."

Aidan looses a low, amused laugh. Lifting her hand, he presses his lips to the back of it, "I think that you will be suitably impressed."


Blushing again, she dips her head. "Thank you." The sincerity of the compliment just leaves Corrie in awe. Really. It's hard not to feel a bit light-headed when one's favorite author is praising her. "It'll get better once the tables are cleared. I've got a bit of a surprise." A look is given to Aidan, and she smiles. He's the only other one privy to the surprise really.

"Celia and Connor, you'll be here on the right." There are a few others — the contest winners — that get to sit with them. "Aidan and I will be to the left of the podium. But feel free to mingle for a little if you'd like. Dinner should be in…" Glancing down at the watch she's pinned inside the arm of the dress she calculates. "At least another twenty minutes, but hors d'ouveres and cocktails will be brought around soon enough."

Waiters dressed as harlequins with name tags come out of the kitchen with trays filled with traditional canapes, shrimp, etc. Another comes out bearing Hurricanes and champagne.


Celeste's brows rise and her eyes sparkle. "Really? I can't wait. I love surprises." She's also the sort who is patient enough to wait, though her gaze does flicker briefly to Aidan who looks as innocent as he has never likely been since he was a human boy of no more than five years. If he was innocent then.

Turning to Connor, Celeste beams up at her date, winding her arm through his. "C'mon, let's wander around so I can show you off." Her smile is absolutely infectious.


"As you wish," he says in a good natured manner. "Don't go getting yourself in trouble, Duck."

Rolling her eyes, Corrie takes a deep breath and glances out at the restaurant. She looks… happy. Proud almost. "I'm glad she likes it," she murmurs quietly. "I was worried she'd find it… tacky…"

More people come into the restaurant now, all having given in their tickets, and it looks like it's a full house. Spotting the contest winners, she offers them a cheerful nod and then turns to Aidan.

"This will be phenomenal publicity." Beat. "Have you considered matching the charitable donation from the tickets?"

Yes, sometimes it always is work with Corrie.


"Yes, she likes it," Aidan falls back on his lazy, slow drawl, though it's more amused than bored. He reaches out a hand to give her elbow a squeeze and drops back again. "Celia isn't easily impressed, either." It is easy to be jaded after all, and Aidan could at least sense that his child truly likes the outcome.

Aidan gives a tilt of his head at the question. "No, I haven't," he answers easily enough; not rudely, not snidely, he simply answers, because truly he hasn't considered such a thing. "Are you making a professional suggestion, Miss Kavanaugh?"


"It would look very good for the proprietor to perhaps, make that announcement at some point during dinner, yes." Corrie smiles brightly and then sets her hand to his arm as though she's about to loop it through his and walk around. "Plus it would be a write-off come next year." Beat. "You could say that in honor of your dear friend Miss Collins, and her continued contributions to the literary world, ensuring that others could enjoy her works through the literacy programs is something that you are very pleased to be a part of." A quick spin of words off the top of her head and she glances at him.

"Something like that, perhaps. The restaurant is fairly profitable. It can handle matching the donation."


"Are you peeking at my books?" Aidan inquires lightly, laying his hand atop of hers. "Having clandestine meetings with my accountant?" She's right though, Flare is profitable; it would have to be in order to serve its ultimate purpose of providing him cash assets for the future survival.

"I'll consider it," Aidan says, making no promises. The restuarant has been known to donate to charity, not because of any alturistic streak in the vampire, but rather exactly for the publicity and the tax incentive. However, Aidan doesn't have any desire to put his public persona out front for open scrutiny. He plays the game and walks the line, and it's a fine one to not shine too much and garner too much attention.

Highly likely that if he does take Corrie's advice, it will be Kim making the announcement.


"I really don't need to, to know that the restaurant is profitable." Beat. "Although I have had lunch with Jordan to ensure that I wasn't going over budget on this soiree." A grin. "I highly doubt the back table is all that clandestine since Miss Dae was hovering." Which means Aidan is probably quite aware of the 'meeting'.

"Please do," Corrie says lightly. "No pressure, it's just simply a good opportunity, and I'd be a horrid PR agent if I didn't point it out to you."

When the waiters stop by them with the tray of drinks, she takes two glasses of champagne — even though she'd rather have one of the fruitier beverages. Handing one off to the vampire, she smiles and holds her glass up a little.

"I should get ready to give the introduction."


Aidan chuckles lightly. "Did you expect her not to do so?" Kim is there to look out for his best interests when he can't, and the woman has her own criteria for how she does that and what she considers worth watching. It's worked out well for him over the years and Aidan has no complaints. "She's merely looking after me, believe it or not." And that's enough explanation of that for now. Perhaps for a good long time … or forever.

He accepts the glass with a gracious smile and lightly tips his against hers, the crystal singing out a clear twinkling chime. "To a successful night." Licking his lips, Aidan takes a drink and his gaze wanders out across the gathering. "Should I fetch Celia back?"


"I really think she was looking after your money," Corrie replies with a shrug of her shoulders. It's not as though she'd be running off with Aidan's money. It's just not really her MO. She can make due with smaller amounts, and clothing from consignment and second hand shops to look the part of super successful business woman.

Her head cocks to the side, and she gives it a small shake.

"Perhaps just herd her toward the center of the room, near the signing table." She can fire off a few autographs while the waiters are still bringing around crudities and drinks, since dinner is still at least twenty minutes out according to her schedule.


"Your wish is my command," Aidan says lightly, taking another sip of the champagne. "Try not to miss me too much." A wink is given from behind the mask, and then he departs. He weaves his way through the crowd with grace, nodding hellos and acknowledgements, pausing at times long enough to shake a hand or exchange small talk as decorum dictates before moving on. To even the casual observer, it is plainly clear that the young business man and playboy, as he is so represented to London society, is no stranger to this sort of interaction, and his charming persona is well received.

Aidan siddles up to Celeste's other side, not to dislodge Connor as her escort, and informs her in low tones, "Corrie would like to move on with the introduction. I'm to encourage you to move toward the signing table."

"You're so predictable when a pretty face is ordering you around," Celeste teases quietly. "Lead on, Mr. Boyle."


Meanwhile, up by the head table, Corrie does one last check of the microphone. She's not so crass as to say 'check check' or 'testing'. She simply turns it on to see if it cuts the music to a lower volume, and when it does she smiles.

Afterward, she takes a deep breath and spins to face the room. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Mardi Gras at Flare!"

There's a beat while she waits to get most everyone's attention before she continues.

"First, I'd like to thank you all for coming. With your help, we've raised five thousand dollars for the National Literacy Trust." Smiling out at the guests, she adds, "We'll also be auctioning a basket of books, along with a signed manuscript later this evening, with all proceeds going to the charity."

Motioning with her hand toward the signing table, the basket can be seen sitting in the dead center of it, surrounded by Celia's new book.

"We're in for a bloody brilliant treat tonight." A smile graces her lips, and Corrie turns her attention to where Celia is standing in the center of the room. "Our guest of honor is a woman who has been getting us all lost in her stories for the last ten years. She is the person who brings us right into the time periods in which her books take place, allowing us to feel as though we're there alongside the heroine or hero of every novel. The one who's stories let us see the challenges, hardships, and little known secrets of the past." Pause. "Not only that, but she will happily be signing copies of her newest novel for anyone who wishes it." Beat. "Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to Miss Celia Collins!"


Somehow Celeste manages to look both sweetly coy and humbled while basking in Corrie's praise and the attentive hand clapping. Aidan smiles, a low chuffle hidden beneath it, admiring her technique; he's certain that he never taught her that.

"I'll leave you to your fans," Aidan tells her, giving her arm an affectionate squeeze before turning to make his way away from the hulabaloo. To Connor he nods, "Good luck, mate."

He winds his way back through the crowd, again stopping as required to talk and network. The way back takes a bit longer than the way there, and Aidan manages to swipe out his finished glass of champagne for a new one en route. He also promises a dance to a regular, a three time divorcee who has set her sights on the vampire for her newest boy toy, and a young socialite whom is doing everything but forcing his face into her cleavage.

Reaching Corrie, Aidan presses a hand gently to the small of her back, "Very good speech. Celia was beaming." Beat. "I'm going to go check on the kitchen."


Connor glances at Aidan and chuckles. "I'm not the one that needs the luck." Winking at the restaurateur, he moves toward the book signing table to take Celia's chair and pull it out for her. He won't stray too far, in case his date needs something.

Corrie watches the reactions with a satisfied smile. Public speaking is her least favorite part of these things, and now that it's done she looks a great deal more relaxed.

Stepping down from the podium, she notes Aidan's journey toward her and has to bite her lip to keep from laughing aloud at the antics of the women. When he finally reaches her, she leans back against his hand a little.

"Thank you," she says quietly, in an almost demure manner. Her head tilts up to gaze at him briefly. For a second it looks like she's about to say or do something, but then she simply nods. "Let me know if there's anything else I can do. I'll go divert some of the traffic toward the photo spot."


Aidan is not at all oblivious to the fact that the witch is an oddly cooperative and … dare he say, subtly friendly mood. He's not certain how much of it has to do with tonight's promotional event going off so well, how much is Celeste's influence, and how much is a subconscious left over, but whatever the case, he has no intention of going back on his words to her. If she comes to him, it will be under her own auspices.

That is not to say that he is going to ignore the signals she's sending, and his hand lingers a moment at her back, fingers flexing briefly before his hand drops away. "Diverting traffic is a splendid idea. The food will be ready before you know it." Really, checking on the kitchen staff is just a preliminary. No doubt they are right on schedule - he'd have heard about it otherwise.

Skirting around behind her, Aidan gives her elbow a light squeeze and then he's gone, nodding to Kim as she falls into step with him halfway there.

"I'll admit it. I'm impressed," Kim takes a sip from her own flute of champagne, dark eyes peering from behind a crimson red and black mask that matches her dress. "Kavanaugh pulled this off." Beat. "You look quite dashing."

"I think that I'm offended that the compliment was an after thought," Aidan mock pouts at the petite woman. "However, on that note, you look quite lovely this evening, Miss Dae. Red is truly your color."

"It's taken you how many years to figure that out?"

They enter the kitchen together, and it's just as Aidan thought: everything is right on schedule.


"Don't rush it. We've somewhere between a hundred and fifty to two hundred people here this evening, clamoring to get an autograph." When he wanders off, she stands there for a moment before braving the crowd.

She stops to chat with some of the guests, playfully flirt with one, stave off flirtations from another. Each time she stops to talk, she diverts a few people toward the photographing area. Mainly couples who could have fun with it. Groups of women there together. The odd single man, whom she promises to pose with.

Which is what she winds up doing. Standing to the side of the faux wrought-iron balcony, and posing when requested to. It's not as though she's anyone important, but it works for a filler.

It has her making a mental note that if she attempts to do this sort of party again, she have a few women dressed as Mardi Gras jesters to step into the photos.


Owen chases them out of the kitchen, telling them to go and mingle and that everything is under control. Aidan doesn't argue with him, making note that despite the fact that the man is a werewolf, he's still the smart pick for running Flare's kitchen.

Back out on the floor, Aidan makes another circuit, Kim at his side briefly. She's a good deflection shield, and keeps away the overzealous flirtations that Aidan would rather not dodge tonight. She understands his need to keep a bit of that persona away from the restuarant; he truly has no desire to pick prey - for either of his appetites - from the clientel. Most nights, any way.

"We should take a picture together," Kim suggests, her arm linked through Aidan's. "For professional and promotional purposes."


As they draw nearer, Corrie rolls her eyes. Really, she won't argue it. It is good promotional sense, and she can always snag Connor and Celia for a picture later.

"Excuse me," she says to the guests that are stepping up. Skirting in front of the camera, she tosses a smile over her shoulder. Then she makes her way toward the pair.

"Aidan, Miss Dae. Surely you'll want a photo before it gets too busy? It will be a lovely addition to the new website." The mask will also keep Aidan's age from showing too much.

With a grin, she whisks out her cellular from her little handbag she's left at the photo area, and motions for them to step toward the balcony.

"I'll take one and add it to the social media feeds as well."


"See there, luv, even Miss Kavanaugh thinks it's a good idea," Kim tells Aidan with a smug smile. She gives Aidan's arm a light tug, leading the vampire up onto the balcony. Truly Aidan isn't that resistant to Kim's lead, and he follows easily enough without argument. He can't argue with the professional merits of the picture.

The pose is simple and professional, despite Kim's low teasing threat to kiss him on the cheek the moment the picture is snapped. She doesn't naturally, because Kim is the picture of professionalism in these settings.

"Why don't I take one of you and Aidan, Miss Kavanaugh?" Kim asks after. "For posterity." Beat. "Besides, it's certainly fitting that you and your escort should have at least one photograph together."


The professional photo is snapped, and Corrie asks the photographer to set it aside. Her own is snapped, and she uploads it after a few moments to the media feeds with a caption in regards to the event.

Dropping her phone back into the purse, she sets it under the table and then blinks.



"Oh, yes. Please? If you don't mind?"


"Interesting," Kim says quietly, her words for Aidan's ears only as she slides past the vampire. "I do so hope that you know what you're doing this one." It's been a few years since she's had to be accustomed to Aidan keeping one of his trinkets around, and Kavanaugh is not as young and wide-eyed as his more-than-temporary toys usually are. She's also not glamoured, and Aidan is just as likely to piss off the witch and her coven as he is to play nicely, because he is whom he is and what he is, and even some days Kim wants to throttle him.

Aidan graces Kim with a brief frown, then turns his attention to Corrie, "You're going to have to come up here."



Blinking, she laughs. "Yes, of course. Sorry." Excusing herself past the guests, she makes her way toward the balcony, and clears her throat. "Sorry," Corrie says again, leaning in to whisper to him. "It just honestly took me by surprise that she'd offer." With a sly little grin, she lifts the gold beads from her neck, then waits. When she's certain the picture is about to be snapped, she 'gives' Aidan her beads by slipping them over his neck, and placing a girlishly chaste kiss upon his cheek.

A cute, playful pose, that makes it not feel like an awful American prom.


"She's not an ogre," Aidan whispers back. A beat. "And she's also right. It only makes sense." He gives the witch a wink.

Aidan really can't help but chuckle with mirth at Corrie's antics. Part of him is still wondering what exactly is going on in the witch's head, and the other part just keeps telling him to go with it. It's really not so hard to listen to the latter part, as that is typically what Aidan does in most situations anyway.

"Cute," Aidan remarks after the picture has been snapped. It's not snarky or sarcastic and the twinkle in his eyes speaks for his amusement. He gaze lingers for a moment before he offers her his arm, "We should vacate and give others the opportunity for a photograph. I might even give these beads back to you."


Oh, but Corrie's going to ham it up now. She blows a kiss off the balcony, toward one of the men she promised a picture with. "Sorry, lads. Perhaps you can cajole Miss Dae into standing with you."

Taking Aidan's arm, she leans in against him like a happy teen and then laughs. "You don't have to." Beat. "Power suits you." Her voice is light, teasing, exactly what one would expect from a date of his. "Though," she murmurs under her breath, "I likely should've kissed you proper." Beat. "You've been such a wonderfully understanding and gracious escort. I appreciate the help, though you really should be relaxing more and not worrying about me."


It's a fair guess that most of the men will have no issue with standing besides Kim. She's attractive - again, Aidan does have an eye for the pretty ones - and she will play it up for all that it's worth, if only for the sake of the restuarant.

"No arguments here," Aidan agrees, briefly resting his hand atop hers where it's tucked into his arm. "Though I do suppose that leaves the question of what color suits you, Miss Kavanaugh?"

The comment about kissing earns a quirk of a brow and a lower, softer chuckle. "Perhaps later, if you're still in the mood. I'd hate to offend one of your suitors." His smile is slow, corners of his mouth rising in a teasing lift.

"Truly, it's not a problem, Corrie. I asked you, remember?" Aidan glances over at the woman on his arm again, "I am fairly relaxed. I was beginning to think that you were going to come apart at the seams, you were so tightly wound for a bit there."

The servers are now moving among the crowds, and people are beginning to drift toward the tables. "I think that dinner might be ready." Beat. "And I'm reserving a dance after dinner. Before I'm off to meet my fate with Mrs. Narcell and Sharona." The divorcee and socialite respectively. Not that another time and another place, either of the women wouldn't be fair marks; it's that whole lack of hunting at his place of business rule that he has again.


"What was the color you mentioned earlier for control?" Corrie's words are still light, and still very teasing.

"I generally am, until the events get underway. I'm not quite a perfectionist, but I generally need to flit around a room like a honeybee to flowers to ensure things are running smoothly." Beat. "It's a credit to your staff that I've not needed to do it at all this evening. I'm really rather impressed by each and every one of them." She makes a note to thank them afterward.

"Of course." It's only right that she dance with her escort at least once.

Once they make their way to the head table, she slides toward the podium and announces dinner, and that Miss Collins will finish the signing as the tables are cleared for the remainder of the evening.

"That would be red," Aidan points out, his voice equally teasing. Ironically, it's the color that Kim is wearing, which says a good deal about his personal assistant.

He doesn't sit until Corrie has made her announcement, and then, calling forth the gentleman of old, he holds out her chair and slides it in once she's seated. After, Aidan takes his seat and turns his attention again to his date. "Credit where due, Corrie. You did the planning and organizing, my staff is simply very good at following directives."

As the drink tray passes again, Aidan motions to the server and claims two glasses of champagne, and hands one to Corrie. He holds his up toward her, "To a job well done."


"Pity I look far better in gold." Extremely pale skin tones, as Corrie well knows, look awful in the majority of the 'warmer' colors. Washes them out, or makes them look blotchy.

As he slides her chair in for her, she laughs a little and then smiles. "You truly are a gentleman sometimes. Thank you." But the witch gives her head a shake. "Tosh. Everyone has helped, I can't take all the credit, nor do I deserve it." The whole party planning portion is new to her — she's only taken care of a few events of this magnitude. Eventually, she'll hire a party planner, but until she's able to…

Gently tinking the glass to his, she adds, "To a bloody brilliant client who was nice enough to provide a locale at the last minute."

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