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The Masquerade

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“The Masquerade is finally in place!” Lucio beamed and said excitedly. “It’s all thanks to you, Y/N, for bringing me back! This party will be dedicated to you!”

 

You glance at Lucio, your emotions betraying you and displaying your small half-grin. You’re blushing now, turning as red as a rose. “Lucio, you really didn’t have to do thi-“

 

Lucio cuts you off before you could finish your humble sentence. “Oh please, of course I had to do this. You discovered me, and you went through literal hell to bring me back! Plus, you’re just so cute. I’d be doing a disservice to Vesuvia by not honoring you.”

 

You stare at the leaves on the trees of the gardens. The sunset could only faintly be seen beyond the thicket of trees, but it was still visible, and for that you smiled. It was beautiful, standing in the palace gardens, watching the sunset, standing there with the man that you had more than a crush on; it was peaceful, like it was only you two in the world, like it was back when you were trying to get Lucio’s body back.

 

A small breeze passed through the shrubbery as Lucio watched you, staring at the sky. “It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? I used to come out here all the time, and sit by the edge of the fountain, staring at the sunset or the stars. It would always clear my head and give me perspective. But right now, I’m staring at the only thing giving me perspective right now.”

 

You look back at him and notice he’s watching you, and your blushing resumes.

 

“C’mon, let’s go get you ready for the Masquerade,” he says as he grabs your hand and tugs you toward him, but not before stealing a kiss from your soft lips. “It’s just as beautiful as you,” he whispers in your ear.

 

--

 

“Your dress is SO cute!” Portia practically squeals out of delight! “It suits you so well and it’s your perfect color and AHHHH!”

 

You look at yourself in the mirror, sizing up how wearing such a silly thing feels. It drapes across your skin ever so elegantly, fitting in all the right places. You can’t help but think how Lucio will react when he sees you. The thought of him seeing you in such a beautiful gown makes your body flush with warmth. “It’s perfect,” you say, looking back at Portia.

 

“AND the Masquerade is dedicated to you! You’re going to be the center of attention tonight and this dress is perfect for that! I know you usually don’t like wearing such feminine clothing but tonight must be the exception to the rule!” She claps her hands together. “Now let’s get your hair and makeup done.”

 

Sometime later, after tugging and twisting, and patting and puffing, your hair and makeup is finally done. Portia leaves you alone, but not without another squeal of excitement. You walk to the balcony, and stare outside at the stars, and hear the faint hum of soft music playing downstairs beneath you. Lucio was right, you think, the stars really do clear my mind. I hope he comes up to escort me soon, or do I walk down by myself? I’ve never done anything like this before, it’s all so new to me. A faint breeze chills you slightly, but the air still remains cool and comfortable. What are my expectations for tonight? Am I to dance, sing, perform some sort of magic trick? Can I just eat and leave and go lie down after?

 

Your thoughts get cut off as someone knocks on your door. You were hoping it was the Count, but it was just Portia telling you that they’re expecting you downstairs. You hear her footsteps fade away and decide it’s time to begin your descent.

 

You open the door and walk out of your bed chamber. Your footsteps echo through the halls as you walk silently and alone down to the party. Your dress is flowing as you walk, and you can’t wait until the beautiful lights hit your dress at just the right angles and sparkle. It’ll be the first time in your life when you feel like a princess. But… being a magician isn’t half bad either. You silently chuckle, no, it isn’t that bad.

 

You reach the big doors separating you from everyone else at the party, and hear soft music playing before you push them open. The rumble loudly and you peer inside. The dancing and drinking momentarily stops as everyone looks to see who’s entering. They stop and clap while you walk to the front of the room, where Lucio meets you. The guests resume their chattering, dancing, and drinking, and you sigh of relief.

 

“You look amazing, Y/N. Absolutely astonishingly beautiful. Here, have a drink,” Lucio gestures at the table of glistening liquid and you pick up a glass full. “Please, enjoy yourself, we’re all here for you tonight.”

 

He takes your hand, and leads you to the front of the room, on top of a stage. “I’d like to dedicate this night and this party to a person very near and dear to my heart – the woman who brought me back and saved me, and showed me there was still something to live for, Y/N!” Everyone stopped to look at you and clapped and cheered, and many looked grateful to have their Count back – all because of you.

--

 

The warm lights bounce off the diamonds on your dress. You dance the night away with Asra, Julian, Lucio, even Nadia. They’re wonderful dance partners and they make you feel like you actually know what you’re doing – even though you don’t. Dancing is not exactly your forte, but you know enough to make it work.

 

The live band is making literal music to your ears, and its sound drips and flows like water. It makes dancing ever so easy, like you’re the one flowing in the water. You make eye contact with Lucio from across the room while you’re dancing with Asra, and you lock eyes for more than a few seconds. Your heart begins to pound, your cheeks start flushing, and your body warms at just the sight of him.

 

He makes his way over to you, swaying with confidence and a hint of arrogance. You can’t help but feel like he is a lion stalking his prey – you. It makes your heart beat a thousand miles a minute, and makes time slow down. Finally, he reaches you and asks for your hand to dance. Naturally, you oblige, and you two instantly sync up in a way you thought was not possible.

Holding his hands while you two dance makes your body flush, and you look up at him to see a cocky grin. He knows exactly what he’s doing to you. He knows how he makes you feel. He knows. That’s the part that gets you, the fact that he knows exactly what makes your world go round.

 

You two continue your cavort, ever so elegantly and without a word. You wish this moment would last forever, an eternity dancing to beautiful music, while wearing a gorgeous gown. Looking into the Count’s eyes, you see a history of pain and it hurts you to see it. You wish you could make his pain go away, but you know you can’t. Continuing to look, you see some of the happiest moments of his life – and some of them were with you. Your heart can’t help but skip a beat. You wish he could see into your eyes, like you are with his, to see the beautiful moments with him that you cherish.

 

The music picks up and plays a much more lively beat, one that you can really shake it to. Lucio twirls you around, like you’re a beautiful princess making her way in the ballroom. You two laugh and dance, moving so energetically that there could be a charge between you two. Lucio leans in to kiss you, moving the air between you so much that it sucks the air out of your lungs when your lips finally meet.

 

Time slowed down around you two, as you both look up at each other and smile. Lucio takes your hand and mumbles something about ‘being hungry’ and leads you to the table where all your friends are sitting at. You all feast the night away and drink so much that you can’t even see in front of you.