Lights! Camera! Gala!

The Canardian Museum of Art Benefit Gala was at the tippy top echelon of all  the city’s socialites calendar. Anyone who was anyone was there. Movie stars, millionaires, entrepreneurs, artists of all mediums were drifting through the rooftop venue. The tall white columns were awash in purple colored floodlights, the ceiling glittered with extravagant chandeliers that sent prisms glimmering across the floor with the dancers.  Tables were piled with exotic flowers and crystal cut glassware that seemed to twinkle all on their own.  Banquet tables boasted the finest food cooked by the staff of the celebrity chefs in attendance.  Gordon Rammzee was even there, laughing at a well told joke no less.  Everything glittered, everything sparkled, most of all the glamorous beauties in attendance. Every dress out did the next. Sequins and glitter.  Diamonds and pearls. Precious jewels paraded around like peacock feathers.  The violin quartet was humming a waltz that seemed to fill the room with romance and delight.  Everyone was enjoying themselves, commenting on how much better it was this year than previous years, trading stock tips, playing a game of who has the biggest boat by flashing cell phone pictures and raising their voices. You know, rich people stuff.

 

The fact the gala was being held on the elite roof of the museum itself made for an interesting waiting area.  The attendees would gain entrance only after a strict security team had cleared them. Walk the red carpet as photographers abused them with directions and questions then they were ushered off by overly kind and helpful staff wearing stunning tuxedos. They would lead them to the glass elevators that would shuttle them through the floors of the museum at a leisurely pace, allowing glimpses of the exhibits as the floors passed.  There seemed to be a lot of penguin exhibitons this year. Seating was not strictly assigned but each pass had been registered under a name.  Gladstone had been dumbstruck when the waiter had asked if he was interested in waiting for the rest of his party before ordering a drink.

Rest of his- he had only won this ticket two days ago by pulling a number out of hat outside. Wait- hadn’t he had two more at one point? He eyed the empty chairs beside him.  Huh. Well... guess he could stretch out his legs? The table sat six and it currently held three, an attractive couple were whispering sweet nothings to each other directly across from him. The woman kept eyeing him and he self consciously shielded his face.  Of all the times to have a stupid black eye...

Out of all the things that had happened to him since he came to St. Canard... that was the worst. His spirits were low.  Was it poor taste to dine and dash at one of these things?

    • Gladstone Gander
      Gladstone Gander

      Neptunia eyed the two people who addressed her a little skeptically. 

      "Well Hal wasn't very happy about being clobbered by this thing." She prodded the statue. "But I guess there's no harm done... if you're a fan. And I suppose it could make a nice hat rack?  Not quite my style but I think I could make it work."  She climbed back onto Hal's waiting tentacle. "And hey,  no worries. That's what the Justice-" she rolled her eyes. "'Ducks' are for right? Saving people?  You want an autograph or something kid?  Only we were kinda on our way somewhere.  You were lucky we were in the area at all, had to take the longway due to water current detours."

       

      Gladstone stared at the creature, then eyed the Octopus when it came into view.  He suddenly felt very, very tired. He rubbed his eyes with his finger tips before letting the tension out of his shoulders. He could tell by the pleasant conversation that whatever this was... it wasn't likely to end in an other impromptu attack. With a long calming exhale he returned his attention to Lilly. 

      "This is all very-" he squinted as if trying to find the right word on a teleprompter just out of focusing distance. "-you know what? No."  He shook his head and closed his eyes wearily. When he reopened them he let out a small laugh. "Who am I to judge?  I mean... look at me?  What the heck did I just do out there?" he motioned vaguely to where the air crafts had been.  "Not to mention when I told you about my luck, you barely batted an eye.  So, yeah, no.  No this is fine. This is perfect-" suddenly he felt drunk on his own acceptance of the universe's plan for him and his damp hands cupped her face tenderly. "- I wouldn't want to be anywhere than right here. With you. Soaking wet, with a black eye and covered in bruises. Would it be okay if I kissed you?  Because... I'd really really like to."

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        "Oh gosh-" Oz patted his pockets and his face fell as he failed to produce a pen and paper from the soaked material. "I've got nothing for you to sign, or I would definitely have liked your autograph. But we don't want to keep you, you really must be in a rush-"

        If Oz said anything else, or anything at all, Lilly didn't hear it. With the ensuing heat coming off of her face, they'll probably be dry within a minute. She wanted very much not to spoil the moment, to say something appropriate in just the right way, just like he had, but she was worried if she opened her mouth she'd only squeak.

        She tried anyway, and what came out was even worse. It was a slightly awkward "Uh- I mean. Yes? Yes. I'd like that?"

        • Gladstone Gander
          Gladstone Gander

          Aw she was so cute. His eyebrows rose in amusement and he chuckled under his breath.

          "You know... a guy could get pretty full of himself the way you blush and stutter." This was whispered to her breathily, hoping that no one would hear. The time couldn't have been better, Oz was distracted, the clouds drifted away from the full moon so that the bay was practically a twin image of the twinkling stars above.  The two of them, unnoticed except to one another holding each other in a tense embrace. As he moved in to kiss her he smiled, his eyes closing in anticipation.

          That was until a  blaring boat horn sent a tremor through him. A floodlight fell on the pair of them and a booming amplified voice rang out over the water and seemed to echo to the city and back.

           

          "GANDER! YOU OLD DEVIL! YOU DID IT!  YOU GOT THE GOODS!" McNair called through his megaphone from the Probable Cause. Gladstone let an irritated sigh rattle out of his nostrils, ruffling Lilly's hair slightly. His eyes opened in a dead eyed stare. Seriously?! "WE'VE  SNAGGED THE CROOK! HE'S NOT HAPPY LET ME TELL YOU."

           

          "Can you just-" Gladstone reluctantly released Lilly. "-hold that thought. For like... two minutes?" He took her hand and kissed her knuckles lightly. "This shouldn't take long." 

           

          He turned to address the police chef and recoiled slightly to see a mass of cameras aimed at him.  What... no... he sheildled his bruised face.  Don't put me in TV or your papers looking like this!  

          "I shouldn't expect he is!" Gladstone shouted back trying to block Lilly once again from the lime light. "Good job Chief.  Is there something else I can help you with?" NO? GOOD. GET LOST. 

           

          "WE WERE HOPING YOU'D MAKE A STATEMENT FOR THE NEWS! EVERYONE'S GOING TO WANT TO HEAR WHAT HAPPENED! IS THAT NEPTUNIA?!"  The fish in question put her hands on her hips. "GANDER DON'T TELL ME... ARE YOU JOINING THE RANKS OF THE JUSTICE DUCKS?!"  There was a blinding wave of dozens of flash bulbs at this tantalizing idea. "ARE YOU THROWING YOUR HAT IN THE RING AS ANOTHER PROTECTOR OF SAINT CANARD?"

           

          "NO!" his voice cracked in his passionately panicked reply and he tried to save face by coughing into his hand. "No... I just..." He sent an antagonized look at Oz.  Maybe he'd want some media attention?  What was it he did again?  

           

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            Oz caught the look. You know, that's a lot of media attention and excitement. They seem pretty focused on  you.

            You'd have to be incredibly lucky to find, at this point in time, someone loud, attention grabbing, and aggressive about the spotlight enough that they'd be able to rip it away from Gladstone.

            Gosh, who even has that kind of luck?

            The quetzal winked before standing up very straight and slicking his hair back. A few careful flicks of his sleeves to get rid of the worst of the drips, and he snapped his fingers in the face of the nearest reporter.

            "Justice Ducks? The Justice Ducks don't need anyone else with someone like Neptunia around," he said loudly. "Did you SEE what she just did? Of course you didn't. None of you did. Media, always late to the party, and shouting loudly to make up for the fact."

            Practiced sneer. Cameras and microphones started rotating slowly towards this black hole of attention.

            Cupping his hands, he directed some statements at the helicopter at the top of his voice. "Don't be so modest McNair! That driving? That speed at jumping to action? I got chills, CHILLS." Back to the reporters. "Chills. That man? That's a real chief of police. WHAT a man. Look at him dangling the criminal right in plain sight and still not trying to take the credit."

            There was still a few cameras trying to get at Gladstone, and he took a step forwards, practically throwing people out of his way. "Ex-CUSE me did someone say they needed a statement because I demand to be HEARD I am a VICTIM of this debacle WHAT might have happened to me if Neptunia and darling McNair hadn't come to the rescue- I mean the clubs can't function without me, can they?"

            "Sir, are you really-"

            "Yes I AM, it's a pleasure to recognise me, isn't it?"

            Lilly did her best to stifle giggles as she linked her fingers with Gladstone's. "You've made him so happy."

            • Gladstone Gander
              Gladstone Gander

              Gladstone watched with a small amount of horror how quickly Oz seized all of the attention onto himself.  Was he THAT easily forgotten?  Someone should appreciate the madness he just orchestrated! Gladstone, sweetheart, don’t be jealous… he’s helping you.  He felt the hand coil around his.  Someone did appreciate the madness he just orchestrated remember?  The flames of ego were smothered and he grinned at Oz.  He blew him a kiss before placing his hand on the small of Lilly’s back and calmly lead her away. No one even noticed them as the media loves a handsome, well spoken and sassy subject and what a jackpot they hit with OZ.  He was about to become a media darling, there’d probably be tribute videos and a few auto tune songs of him on the internet before morning.  Gladstone herded Lilly below deck quietly.  The first floor of the ship consisted of two  rows of cabins and a long hallway that ended in an open lounge space.  A small patch of wooded floor was pointedly set in the center.  He swept her toward it, although it was probably more like “sloshed” her toward it, his fancy ensemble dripped all over the finery but he seemed as if he hadn’t  a care in the world.  It was very quiet, the sounds of Oz’s moment of glory couldn’t be heard here.  It was just to the two of them, and the dripping sound .  Gladstone, now convinced of their safety, suddenly allowed the laughter he’d been pushing down in their stealthy retreat explode out of him.

              “I think I’m in love with your friend.” He managed and had to slide a few soggy locks of hair back out of his face  that had fallen into his eyes in the heat of the laughter.  “I hope you don’t mind-“ He chuckled reigning in the mirth and pulling her close once again. “-I’m sure you understand.”

               

              What he did next was probably not what she expected. His hands glided gently along her body until they landed in… dance position.

              “I think I promised to ask you for a dance?  Better late than never right? May I have the honor of dancing with you Ms. Lilly? “ She wasn’t given much time to refuse.  He hummed lightly before he started …singing?

               

              I could dance nightly, just holding you tightly my sweet. I could keep right on because you're so light on your feet.” He rocked her back and forth his feet finding the rhythm in this impromptu serenade and dance session. “You’re easy to dance with~”

               He could carry a tune  in a pleasant timbre but not professional by any means, but not bad for an amateur. Someone more classically trained could stop him dead in his tracks if she felt so ambitious.

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                Ambition and Lilly were not words that normally went together. Unless they were connected in a sentence by aggressive friends, like Oz. And she definitely didn't feel like interrupting anything he was doing. Honestly she was far busier trying not to regress into feeling like an overawed schoolgirl dazzled by a sophisticated and confident older man. How did all of the chaos and the terror and near mortification segue so smoothly into... this?

                I guess that's something only the luckiest gander in the world can pull off without a hitch.

                "Mr Gander, is every moment of your life like a movie? You'll full of surprises," she murmured with a smile. The tune was an old one, familiar entirely by chance. She remembered it as a favourite of her grandmother's she had been encouraged to practice to make her happy. Not always the most pleasant memory, when it's homework.

                But it was familiar, and warm, and all of this felt familiar and warm and... good, despite being soaked, an utter mess, and bruised all over. She found herself humming quietly along as they rocked back and forth, a quiet, contented sound. Now she was glad they were practically cheek to cheek. She wasn't sure she could have trusted her voice to even hum if she'd had to look him in the eyes. Not right now. Even when she lost herself and started singing, it was soft, as if she was afraid of breaking the peace they hadn't had more than five minutes of together since they'd met.

                "Let's dance forever, come on say we'll never be through. It's so easy to dance with you~"

                • Gladstone Gander
                  Gladstone Gander

                  Sweet and slow.  Warm and fuzzy.  That was the feeling he was currently coasting on. Let whatever was happening topside keep happening, this was where the night should have started.  Could they just reset?  He shook his head as the night’s events tried to replay in his mind, no sorry.  Not thinking about anything other than the occupants in this room at the moment, and the words to this song.  He always liked this song.  It reminded him of his grandmother, the musicals she’d force him to watch with her even though he never truly minded.  It was an audible memory, but he could almost smell the hay in the barn, his grandmother’s perfume, and  hear the laughter of his mother as he did his best impression of the fleet footed actor on screen.  The clover in Lilly's hair caught his eye and he quickly looked away.  Getting too deep in memories was a good way to forget the lyrics to the song you’re trying to charm a beautiful woman with.  He had to chuckle mid note at her comment about his cinematic life and felt his chest tighten when her voice joined his.  So quiet, but so melodic, so… much better than his. 

                  “Well,” he commented lightly, abandoning the song leaving her the sole carrier of the tune. “Now who’s surprising whom?  I think I like this part of the movie the best so far,  the rest of it has been a mess of genres.   But I see potential for sequels here…” He grimaced lightly. “Okay, I’m going to stop that now, I’m reminding myself too much of that Tuskernini  guy. “ He gave her a little spin. “But I guess my life is very… unusual.  I forget that sometimes, because…” he shrugged lightly. “…I’ve never been any other way.  Not sure how ‘normal’ works.”  He laughed again, it was incredibly easy to do at the moment. “Not that I have to tell you that.  I mean… how many nights end like this for you?  If you say every Tuesday I’ll be insulted.”  

                  Footsteps sounded near the stairs and Gladstone felt the easy calm start to slip.  This was not going to happen again.  No more interruptions.  There wasn’t time for dramatics but there had been more than enough of those already.  Instead  of dipping her or performing a complicated tap routine he locked eyes with her, one hand lifting her face to his, and kissed her.  Sweet and slow.  Warm and fuzzy.

                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                    "You'd be surprised how much stranger my life has gotten since I've met you," she laughed. Sure, St. Canard was a crazy city, but you could usually avoid the madness unless you were unlucky. Or a magnet for excitement, like Gladstone.

                    Speaking of magnetism.

                    Normally she would be a bit startled, but it wasn't sudden. It was just such a warm, perfect moment that who would object? And he'd asked, after all.

                    It was definitely warm and fuzzy, and she felt very happy as she put her arms around his neck. Even after it ended she didn't really pull away, resting her forehead against his and bubbling up with quiet, happy laughs.

                    Then somebody knocked, possibly even came right in without regard for manners. Were they talking? Something about how he could offer them a ride back since he brought them all the way here.

                    God DAMN it McNair.

                    • Gladstone Gander
                      Gladstone Gander

                      Gladstone smiled, her laugh tickled him like tiny champagne bubbles. And he was feeling drunk, not the way he had been earlier but happy and hazy. McNair could talk at them a little longer because Gladstone was not ready to listen. He liked kissing her so he did it again.

                      If the last one was warm and fuzzy this one could only be described as hot and smooth. His hand rested on the back of her head fingers looping through tangles of her hair. The other pressed against the small of her back bringing her as close to him as physically possible. Heat was radiating off him even through the cold wet clothes, even McNair stopped talking with a blush, not that Gladstone had noticed. Greedy though he might be with affection he still attempted to reign himself in, he was supposed to be a bit of a gentleman after all.

                      With considerable internal wrangling he broke the kiss before placing several smaller, quicker ones on her forehead and cheek. A long breath quietly streamed out of him like the steam out of a kettle. Easy boy, easy, cool down. And how nice, he moved his hold on her so that she could easily bury her no doubt cherry red face in his shoulder. Greenhorne would have been shocked at the level of canoodling going on. Finally able to find his voice and focus on something other than his lovely captive, those arms weren’t budging she was stuck, he looked at the stunned blushing McNair.

                      “Chief, are you a married man?”

                      “Wh-what? Oh... no. No.”

                      Why am I not surprised”. Gladstone whispered softly to Lilly. He spoke up again to the unmarried McNair who had no concept of ‘having a moment’. “We would like a ride to shore yes thank you. The StarCatcher is out of gas anyway.”

                      “Very good. Mr. Ozymandias has made quite an impression on the news, it seems there’s a group of admirers lining the dock awaiting our arrival.” McNair shifted uncertainty. “He’s completely twisted events to glamorize my role, as well as Neptina’s, and his own. But... you were-“

                      Gladstone shook his head with a laugh.

                      “It’s fine. I’d rather not have my part in this broadcast-“ people might expect repeats of such terrifying stunts. Noooo thanks. His finger tips slid through Lilly’s hair so that they brushed her scalp. “Although Lilly may want some credit, she’s the reason we’re all still here.” And he sincerely believed it. “Starting at the gala all the way through piloting this beast” he looked around at the yacht for emphasis before returning his smiling attention to her. “What do you say Ms. Teal? Ready to address your public?”

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        She laughed into his shoulder, tightening her grip on his clothes as she shook her head slightly. "Oz is a hard act to follow and I'm exhausted." Well... mostly. The kissing's gotten me a little wound up. "And they might expect me to be brave again and that need comes up too much in St. Canard to be safe. Can we just smile and wave at people a little and then quickly get away from them?"

                        If she was right, they could probably get away with that too. Oz never got tired of being in the limelight. The only thing he liked almost as much was putting his friends in the limelight. Not if they expected him to shield them, of course. Once you asked him to do that, you probably couldn't out-diva him even if you wanted.

                        And once he wanted you in that spotlight, you were in, and there's not a lot you can do about it McNair. Enjoy it, you're finally getting some credit that isn't being taken by superheroes who show up before you do.

                        • Gladstone Gander
                          Gladstone Gander

                          Can we just smile and wave at people a little and then quickly get away from them?

                          “Sneak away from everyone...” He liked the sound of that. “Sounds like a perfect plan to me. I just wish we were dryer..”

                          “Oh! Well, I thought you knew,” McNair opened one of the cabins and entered, he returned with an arm full of fluffy towels. “Sipperstein always keeps it stocked in case any guests are unable to get home...safely . There’s probably clothes in there that would fit you both.” How would they know that McNair?!

                          Gladstone reluctantly removed his arm from Lilly to accept the towels.

                          “Thanks. Sounds like you’re speaking from experience?”

                          “Let’s just say I’ve some fuzzy wonderful memories of this boat.” He winked. “It seems to have that effect on some people. Now change and I’ll get one of these to Ozymandias.” He patted the lone towel he held and started back up the stairs. “I’ll let you know when we’re departing.”

                          Gladstone tilted his head to rest against hers.

                          “Rich people are so weird.” He sighed, completely oblivious to the irony. “So... Want to go play dress up in rich peoples clothes and then find something to eat at whatever’s still open? I’m starving.”

                           

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            She couldn't stop smiling. At this rate her face was going to get stuck that way.

                            "We never did get to eat at the gala, did we?" Taking the clover from her hair, she tucked it back into his pocket and gave him a kiss on the cheek of her own. "That sounds perfect."

                            As long as this doesn't turn into another one of those things we never want to do again. Let's just... not have more adventures.

                            But hey, what are the chances of that?

                            • Gladstone Gander
                              Gladstone Gander

                              Luck works in strange ways.  After all of the spectacular displays of it throughout the night it seemed it had worn out it’s dramatic flair.  Then again, eating late night take out on the side walk in borrowed clothes with the current object of your affection with no interruptions was pretty lucky too.  

                               

                              The streak would probably end at daybreak but for now it was just perfect.  

                               

                               

                              ((Ooc: end of thread unless any one wants to add anything))