The house they stood in front of was large and the sort Olivia's father would have loved to own for a film or two. Lysander and Olivia couldn't help but wonder why they had been invited to a place like this. They'd smartened up, yes, but they weren't on the same level as Emma's friends would be. Olivia tugged the dress she's borrowed from the theatre and tried not to wince.
Olivia glanced at the man she had come to regard as her best friend and squared her shoulders. Life's a stage and all that. She could play this part for her friend. It was only a few nights after all and she wasn't suffering as he was. They could do this. Oh bugger. Max would be there. She was that stage hussy. Buggeration.
Lysander glanced his friend and managed a ghost of a smile. God knows how he deserved her but she was a star. He could do this for her. A dip into the life she could have had would be nice for her. He'd just stick to the walls and hope he'd blend in with the background, stare at Tancred from afar. Oh damn, this was going to be hell.
"Toto I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." Olivia's dry voice came from beside him enriched with a deep sense of calm. Lysander relaxed slightly.
They could do this. Couldn't they?
Despite the pair's best efforts, everyone in the room noticed Lysander and Olivia's entrance. Emma frowned slightly as she noticed this; she didn't want the limelight stolen on her night. Straightening her back she noted that this Fae Meyer's heels meant that she was taller than Emma. She would be dealt with…acting all tarty in front of Tancred's parents.
"Hi! Welcome to our house! You both look amazing. Us gals are over there, do come join us Fae!" Emma's voice had a sense of over friendliness and Olivia knew she could beat Emma at this game. This had been her life for 18 years. Emma had no idea what she was letting herself in for. Emma had no idea what the rules where and she was cheating so badly.
It was totally obvious how fake she was. That was the secret to losing. It was also totally obvious that the marriage was for show. Olivia knew her type and she knew how to win. She basically just had to sleep with Max. Ew. Maybe she'd find another way.
"You have a wonderful house. We're very flattered to have been invited." In contrast to Emma, Olivia exuded poise and dignity. It was a look Emma tended to achieve at work and glances were given sideways to this intruder. Emma looked like a pauper (in spite of the evidently designer dress-mistake number two, you must never conform) next to Livvy.
Tancred chuckled as he came up next to his fiancée to welcome Lysander and he jerked his head towards a bunch of burly guys gathered in a corner. Lysander gave a fleeting smile and left Olivia to her fate. She could handle Emma. He couldn't. However, if she looked at all bothered by that guy Max, he still did boxing, he just wasn't eating enough to look like he did.
Tancred shoved through the huddle, followed closely by Lysander, with a bright smile.
"Guys! This is Adin, he's a friend of ours. Adin, I'd introduce everyone but it'd be a waste of time. For now, You There will do us fine. However, if one or other of my parents come over, remembering their names would be good." Lysander's eyebrows went up. This was not the sort of party he'd put up with for 18 years. Well, the sort of party he'd used to escape with Tancred.
The group grinned at him as he leant against the wall. He was a hell of a lot thinner than all of them but Tancred was the only one taller than him. Leaning against the wall didn't really take much from his height but it did mean he looked more relaxed. That was a good thing, he considered, the rules from high society parties returning to him once more. You just never looked like you needed help.
"Who's the woman you came with? She was hawt!" Lysander didn't drop his smile but he did raise an eyebrow slightly menacingly. It seemed to have the intended effect as the man hastened to apologise.
"Sorry. I've been in charge of keeping Max busy so he couldn't do anything stupid. He's rubbing off on me. If I end up spending an hour on my hair, you must kill me and then torture Tancred for doing this to me!"
"Hey! She lives with you though, doesn't she? Are you guys…I think that's what Em-ma was expecting when she said to bring someone."
" She's Fae Meyers, the next Marilyn Monroe. She's been my friend for a long time, living with her for that long kind of killed any possibility of a relationship. I believe your friend Max is …fond of her." Lysander's voice was quiet but the mockery of Max was quite clear. A couple of the faces looked friendlier.
"That doesn't surprise us. Max is "fond" of anything with tits. I'm glad I have no significant other or I'd never be able to see him for fear. Don't know how you do it Tancred. He's so immature." This came from a large heavy set guy with dreadlocks similar to ones Lysander had sported at school.
"When Jack says he has no significant other, he means he's gay." Tancred's voice was brighter with these guys, more lively but Lysander didn't miss the slight stance change that suggested that if Lysander had a problem, he would be made to regret it. Lysander didn't bother to comment, not wanting to make a bigger deal of it by going on about gay pride or whatever but glanced over at Olivia who was looking irritated. A few guys followed his gaze.
"She is gorgeous. Some of the more gossipy women will be attempting to tear her apart. Jealousy does strange things to a person. And no offence but is she single? I've been celibate for too long." Another large heavy set man.
"Ask her yourself. She'll be fine with jealous people. She gets past them." Lysander couldn't help but look slightly worried.
"How the heck did you manage to become an older brother to a girl who looks like that?" An incredulous voice, another guy.
"Who's an older brother?" There was a cheer as this voice entered the conversation and as the body pushed himself into the throng of people.
"Adin here. You saw the sex goddess- hi Mrs Torsson!" A woman had joined the mass of people now and there were good natured shoves given to the man that had spoken.
"Adin? You must be the new guy. And if I've told you once, I've told-"
"You a million times, it's Ms Conrad!" The guys joined in causing Ms Conrad to blush. Lysander groaned inwardly as Tancred's parents turned to look at him.
Olivia had consumed a hell of a lot of alcohol. Emma's friends were neither intellectually stimulating (putting it kindly) or at all nice. The thinly veiled barbs were getting to her. It was so basic, she couldn't even utilise the power plays she'd used to occupy herself with. Emma sucked at High Society.
At first the conversation had been boring: giggles over Lysander and compliments dealt with, introductions etc. Then there had been the quizzing of Lysander's lifestyle until he had been proclaimed good for a one night stand or flirting but rather too distant for a long term thing. Olivia had downed a lot of drink here, beginning to hit the alcohol, though not letting it show.
Then there had been the quizzing of her. The "So what do you do?", the "Single, looking like you?!"; the little phrases designed to dig a little deeper than was necessary. The various versions of "An actress? How…exciting." Followed by the queries about Max's interest in her. When she'd been younger, she'd have revelled in this part, knowing she could win but now she didn't even care. Max could look wherever he fucking liked, she had nothing to be ashamed of-he ought to be able to control himself. Ok. It was possible she was a little tipsy. But only in her head. She was her mother's daughter, she could handle her drink.
This had been one of the many reasons she had moved to live with Lysander after Bloors. It had all been too much then and she had had no plans on revisiting it. Some things never go the way you want she had told herself at the start of the conversation but now she was simply forming plausible excuses to disappear.
The conversation had turned to Emma's wedding and then to guests from the past. It was really time to leave but Olivia couldn't help but hang around for Emma's response.
"Well, Tancred and I were at school together so there are quite a few people that I'm making sure are staying away. You know the kind of girls I mean; a girl who totally thought I was her best friend, I know she wouldn't be able to control herself around these men. She's probably some sort of porn star now. Not the kind of girl I want at my wedding, thank you!" There were giggles.
"Any guys you don't want round? Ex-boyfriends, that sort?" One over painted woman asked.
"No. I was such a good little girl back then. Anyway, Livvy had all the boys wrapped round her little finger. I was lucky to escape with Tancred. There is one guy I was really careful not to invite. Tancred's old friend…not the sort you want round your men, if you know what I mean."
Olivia considered slapping her. Everyone knows what you mean, honeybunch, me in particular. I will ruin your life now.
"However there were a couple of people from our group that are coming. Guy called Fidelio is coming to help with the music- he's a professional, you know,. I had to invite one of Tancred's friends. A Gabriel but believe me he's no angel."
Polite giggles, a few lewd winks. Olivia took a large gulp of her drink.
"There's Billy who I hope's grown up since we last met (maybe a possibility for the singles amongst us but he wasn't that cute-Albino) and… Charlie." The name had just the right amount of emphasis to draw people's attention and there were a few snorts.
"Enjoy it while you can."
Right, time to leave.
Lysander almost breathed a sigh of relief when Olivia began to make her way over to the group. However, he still had to respond to that last statement.
"Beg pardon, it's just you're the spit of a guy Tanc used to know." Mr Torsson hadn't changed much, Lysander noted ruefully. He wondered how he was meant to respond but was saved by Ms Conrad elbowing her husband.
"Don't worry about it. We just haven't seen that boy for a long time. Still maybe he'll come for the wedding. That'd be nice. Well I'd better go talk to Dolly over there." She smiled at Lysander and dragged her husband away but there was a sadness in her eyes. Lysander was very thankful that Olivia had just arrived, despite the amorous looks sent her way.
"Hey Adin, Jesus you lot are tall. The heels don't even make a difference here." Olivia's voice was bright as she unbuckled her shoes, any former sadness hidden from Lysander in a matter of seconds. He noticed the way she swayed a little though.
There was laughter at her words and Lysander grinned at the ease at which Livvy slid herself into any group, despite how drunk she was.
"So, how many of you guys have wives over there?" She smiled but there was a definite undercurrent to her statement- how many of you do I have to worry about insulting?
Tancred grinned, evidently hearing the undercurrent. "Most of those women aren't people we know, just friends of Emma's and the few that are partners to them have slid elsewhere. I take it you didn't get along with them."
Olivia grinned guiltily and the group began talking again, some sharing teasing smiles. Lysander couldn't help but feel slightly worried when he noticed Max entering and the fact that some of Tancred and Livvy's words were slurring. Just a little. But enough.
I was going to continue but I don't know how to in just one chapter so the rest of the evening will be continued next chapter.