Nicole was a little flummoxed by Cordelia's dancing at first. She'd always been fantastic on her feet, sure, but her expertise in that area came from years of floundering in mosh pits or bouncing up and down, working up a sweat beneath the disorienting strobes of Hasta's club scene. They were different beasts than something as elegant as this waltz, and girls like their new teammate weren't usually the kind of guys or girls Nicole was pressed up against in the writhing throngs of partiers at home. The social aspects of this whole affair - helping all the girls look their fashionable, neomilitaristic best, helping them with what to say to mingle, maybe some winks at the fellas and some compliments for the girls - she could nail. But like at a club, there was always the anxiety that she could roll an ankle and completely eat shit while trying to look sophisticated.
Cordelia's whispering might have gone a long way in that regard, but she felt the noble-born girl taking the lead in their dance and decided to cede control to her for the first phase of their dance. Her words made Nicole think of Astrelle again with a twinge - it was hard to believe that her roommate had disappeared in the night the way she had, or been reassigned away from them. Had her family pulled some strings at her own insistence to get her pulled out? Was that even possible at this point? Had she struck someone a little too closely for comfort with her conspiratorial mindset?
“But that won’t happen with me. I’m here to stay. Please count on me.”
"Ha." The storm cloud over Nicole's head broke, and the redhead grinned impishly at the new girl's oath of loyalty. "Alright, roomie. I've got your back, you got mine. Score."
The waltz brought them closer together; she felt the gems inset in their navels touch like the tines of forks, sending a tingle through her body that sent her teeth burrowing into her lip.
“Would you like to try taking the lead, darling?”
Nicole laughed aloud and decided to give the second phase of their dance a whirl; thankfully, the song was a bit livelier, and as with many casual applications Nicole found herself more graceful and fearless when performing precise movements. It was as though she was now permanently in her element, fleet-footed and incapable of falling. It felt fantastic. After a while, even waltzing did too. She was about to ask Cordelia if she was into a drink when someone tapped her new teammate on the shoulder and offered to take her - Nicole Cognoscenti, perennially friendzoned just a month ago - off Cordelia's hands. She looked the girl offering to trade out Cordelia's place in their waltz - exotic-looking, with eyes that twinkled and hair that drank in the light around them. Nicole looked over to her own partner and felt her heart lurch slightly at his appearance - golden-skinned, amber-eyed, serious and surly, so like her own childhood best friend she had seen off with a knuckle touch. For a second she was tempted to run over to him and double-check it wasn't him in disguise, trying to fuck with her a little; she wanted to quiz him about weapons, music, or mocking passers-by based on their appearance, all favorite pastimes of his. She remembered the last time she had seen him, in the soft shadows, hazy lights, and pouring rain at the top of the White Tower. Jericho's hair had been plastered over his face, the color of dark chocolate with midnight streaks, and a single streak of crimson that he so carefully and regularly dyed. He chewed on the soaking-wet ends as he wished her goodbye.
She searched this cadet's hair; there was not a single trace of red. She felt bad for sizing him up like a replacement puppy. He was handsome, incredibly so, but he wasn't quite material for bumping fists in the courtyard.
She giggled, both out of amusement that she was being so heavily courted and from imagining how her torch song would be reacting to her attitude right now.
Goddamn it, Nicole. All the girls in the world who are capable of saving it, and the gods pick the one that thinks every boy from Osca looks alike. You're a danger to yourself and humanity in this shape. If I could go back in time ten years I would throw you from the monkey bars and save us all.
Ohhhh, yeah, she could hear him loud as day. That probably just proved her subconscious point - which meant it was worth taking under advisory. She grinned at the girl so gallantly offering to take her off Cordelia's hands, and outstretched her own to the almond-eyed cadet.
"I'd love to, babe," she said amiably, with a similar twinkle to her own partner's in her eye. "Nicole Cognoscenti - Hasta Vice."