Echo and Bear thought it was time for Ace to ‘get back out there’ after months of ‘moping around his apartment’. He’d like to add, that:

  • He was never ‘in there,’ at least, not exclusively.
  • He doesn’t mope. Not for anyone, or anything, and especially not over what he’s learned to regard as a prolonged one-night stand.

So, here he is, lingering by the snack table, clad in a silver masquerade mask with a black suit to match. Their gazes meet once, twice, three times over a punchbowl, and he’s not nearly as annoyed as he should be.

“S’impolite to stare, y’know.”

She’s not even sure how she got invited to this party, except being plus-one to someone who doesn’t date has unexpected benefits sometimes. It’s nice enough, though she doesn’t know anyone except the friend she came with, and her loose hair keeps catching on the butterfly filigree mask she’s wearing. She’d decided to wear her favourite green corset with a black handkerchief skirt and tell anyone who asked that she was Madame Butterfly.

So far no one had asked.

Her gaze keeps catching on the tall, elegant lad, hovering like herself near the snacks, until he finally speaks.

“I thought staring was the point of wearing masks? Anyway you’re worth staring at,” she replies boldly. There is something liberating, after all, about being unidentifiable.

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