Between the Witching Hours P. 2

Shevchenko relished in the belief that she looked far more stunning in her sweeping burgundy tulle ballgown. She had intended to wear it during the season in Dorsea, but the induction ball was just as good of an occasion. She could feel the piercing eyes of fellow female cadets swarm her, and arrogantly tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. It was impolite to smirk, so she deliberately kept a stoic glare. Roudan nudged Yoshida to reveal his admiration. Yoshida, however, was indifferent to her presence. To end the annoying insistence, he abruptly pushed Roudan directly in front of Shevchenko.
She gasped in surprise and disappointment that Yoshida clearly did not want to speak to her.
Roudan cleared his throat to assert confidence and said, “Lilya, you look breathtaking.”
Shevchenko crinkled her nose with disapproval.
“Are we on a first name basis now, Roudan?” she asked.
Farouk tried to conceal his laughter, Yoshida snickered loudly.
Roudan smiled and calmly replied, “Well, I figured since we are all Alpha squad, we should be less formal.”
“I disagree,” Shevchenko scoffed.
Suddenly, a group of male cadets from Bravo squad approached.
“Roudan, is that challenge to beat me at cards still on?” one of them asked.
Roudan never resisted the urge to take a bet and loved to gamble. He figured since he was not scoring any points with Shevchenko, he may as well try his luck at the card table.
“Lead the way,” he nodded, and walked with them to the lower room.
Yoshida had grown tired of Shevchenko’s insipid mood and the murmurs from the other female cadets who were smitten with him. He casually walked away to the other side of the room. Farouk was not attached to Shevchenko either, so he quick-stepped to follow.
Shevchenko stood alone at the bottom of the stairs. She couldn’t help but remember how lonely she felt at all the debutante balls, when none of the gentlemen would ask her to dance. Then, the lights dimmed to a frosty blue disco color. She watched haplessly as Yoshida spurned the other female cadets, who were brave enough to ask for a dance.
Savoi entered the ballroom at the top of the stairs. Her turquoise sequin gown shimmered with the lights. Everyone took notice of her unique dress. Her mother was a renowned seamstress, and talented. She wore a small diamond tiara, and had taken her cornrow braids down. The coils of her tresses made her appear like royalty. Not once did she shy away from the room full of star struck gazes.
Yoshida and Farouk hurried back to the bottom of the stairs to greet her with a smile. Shevchenko became infused with wrath, as she had received a colder greeting from the lot.
“Savoi, why are you late? The dance started a while ago. Were you too busy gawking at yourself in the mirror? Or perhaps your merit coin was too heavy to carry? I don’t know how we are battle buddies when you are so thoughtless,” she scolded.
Savoi frowned for a moment, then revealed, “My apologies to you all. I stopped by the infirmary to pick up another pain medicine. The graze on my side from the lazar hasn’t stopped throbbing.”
Shevchenko shuddered as she felt Yoshida and Farouk’s disapproval scowl at her. The orchestra switched from classical baroque to an up-tempo swing waltz. Farouk bent on one knee apologetically and said, “I apologize for my part in your injury during the entrance exam. If I had been strong enough to fight off those bastards, you wouldn’t have had to step in.”
Yoshida snickered in agreement, but Savoi looked at him sternly.
“Hatsuharu Yoshida, it is you who should apologize!” she exclaimed.
Yoshida was stunned that she would call him by his whole name, and even more bothered that she blamed him for what happened.
“What did I do wrong?” he asked.
Savoi softened her disposition and replied, “You were supposed to cover me.”
“I tried, but I was distracted by that damn Roudan. He was practically useless with a lazar pistol,” Yoshida protested.
Without another word, Savoi took Yoshida by the arm and dragged him into the center of the dancefloor.
“You can make it up to me with a dance,” she said.
At first, he protested by dancing stiffly. His mood change once she pressed the fullness of her body against him as they swayed. With her eyes shut tight and a beaming smile, they glided around. The tempo picked up, and they worked themselves into a sweaty frenzy. Once the music stopped, they received a standing ovation from the crowd.

~The Waring Robins~

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