Chapter Sixteen: A very Different Kind of Battlefield
He'd caught the briefest glimpse of her as she entered into the banquet hall, the lift doors sliding open to reveal her some masterful centrepiece, but before he could get any real look she was gone. Disappeared into the crowd like a chameleon against foliage. Silas couldn't blame her. He'd been panicking about seeing her. Vigil had actually shouted at him, a thing Silas didn't think possible from one so mild mannered, because he had been jumping about on his spot during his fitting making the stylist stick pins accidentally into his side. He didn't know what he'd say. How he'd react. Even if he would be able to look at her. It was all too confusing. And maybe...it was better this way? This way, nobody got hurt. Sitting back onto his stool a figure clad in white and gray stepped beside him. Or maybe not. 'How you doin' twinkle toes.' Silas chirped at this, Aeon Neil. Scanning him up and down he resentfully felt slightly impressed, the boy had put on a lot of weight in such a little amount of time, but no matter. Any weight he had put on so had Silas.
'Are you hoping to pick me up at the bar too, stud, or are you just hoping to get closer to my date?' said Aeon locking a hard gaze onto Silas, he smiled, the comeback already passing across his tongue.
'I could, but I really don’t think you’re worth the effort,' Silas grinned. A shard of anger flashed across Aeon's face which he ceased upon with gusto. 'Answer me this: did she think that, in dancing with and kissing you, you would turn into a handsome prince? Because it really didn't work!' sipping from his whiskey Silas enjoyed watching the man squirm beneath his fine grey suit. But a laugh soon cut across his lips.
'At least I don't turn into a scarecrow at midnight.' the boy smirked as he locked eyes with Silas before moving off through the crowds with two flutes of champagne in his hands.
'That the best you got sunshine?' Silas called after him with a laugh...Scarecrow...I don't look like a scarecrow...he thought looking down at his clothes. If he said so himself Vigil had done another fine job, a white silk dress shirt with the top few buttons undone and pair of lightweight dress trousers, he'd tied his hair back once again and Eliza had even sent him something through the male. A small strip of blue cloth from one of her favourite dresses, which was now tied into the right side just over his ear.
'Enjoying your little pissing contest?' Fox asked as she materialised from nowhere. Wearing a dress the same colour as her tattoos and the same mournful expression across her face.
'Enjoying being a miserable old crone?' Silas smiled as Fox shot him a murderous glance. He couldn't deal with her today. Not now. Not with her here. Walking through the crowds Silas found himself a seat by a window and watched the rain lash down against he pale milk-glass. That black cadaver of a cloud had hung over Capitol for days, he missed the sun. But rain had its own kind of beauty, the patterns it made as it ran down the windows, the sound it caused, the deep rumble of thunder and the brief existence of lightning. It was strangely beautiful. The sharp ding ding ding of a silver fork strike a champagne flute rung through the air and all conversation stopped dead, the leader of the event, a pale man with white hair and silver coloured eyes, stood at the head of the table.
'Competitors of the 47th Hunger Games Competition. Welcome. This is your press banquet, a final chance to charm sponsors amongst Capitol, give you reasons for wishing to win for the public, and have a general relaxing time before you enter the arena in the very near future.' he said with a prim, clipped accent. 'Now today two interviews will be talking place, one as a group, located here on the banquet table. The second will be individual one on one interviews over there in the far corner, everything from the moment you entered has been recorded and we will now begin streaming live across Pangaea. Good luck.' the cameras above their heads whirred into life and began flying over them as another man in a silver suit stepped up and said with a soft voice,
'Will Ballus Trinsdale please make his way over to the individual interview area, the remainder of you will you please seat yourself on the left side of the table. You may sit where you wish.’ We may what? Nearly dropping his whisky Silas's hunter’s eyes found Rory in a heartbeat. She was sitting near the end. Aeon was near the very top with a huge crowd to cut through. Taking his change Silas practically jogged over to the empty seat beside Rory, looking up at the top of the table he saw Aeon looking horrified. Then Silas realised why, the only empty seat was beside Fox at the very end of the table. Smiling a sh*t eating grin Silas gave him a thumbs up and an over exaggerated wink before pulling out the finely crafted wooden chair and seating himself on Rory's right. She looked up towards her partner, seemingly oblivious to who had sat beside her, Silas took the chance to run his eyes over her. Drinking in the curves of her body beneath the rust coloured dress, the way her curls had been oiled into place and pinned to fall across her shoulder. Lost in the beauty of her for a moment Silas snapped himself out of it before leaning towards her.
'Good afternoon Miss Savage.'
Rory nearly shot from her skin. Jumping from her slightly as she spun to face him. All charm and protective wit dissolved by her face Silas openly stared at her. Black lashes embossed with minute diamonds, the azure gems of her eyes offset by a small brushing of red makeup around her eyes. Her lips...glossy and red. 'You look absolutely beautiful.' the words had fell from his mouth before he'd even known he'd said them. There was no charm anymore. No razor sharp wit to hide behind. For the first time in his life he'd spoken without thinking. The moment of silence between them seemed to last an eternity, before finally, she smiled briefly.
'Thank you.' turning back up to look up the table she blanked him out for several seconds. Do something.
'I can dance too you know.' he whispered again.
'What?' she hissed looking over the gentle arc of her shoulder at him.
'Sure, just because I'm from Thirteen doesn't mean I can't dance. I can do Lambada better than anyone you've ever seen,' her laugh erupted through the polite conversation that buzzed across the table. She slapped a hand to her mouth to suppress the rest of the sound but it was still enough to turn a few heads. And probably a few camera lenses too. Smiling at the sound of her laughter Silas leaned onto the table so he was able to see more of her face. And if that allowed her a better look at his chest through his opened shirt...how was he to know? 'You have a beautiful laugh.'
'Again...thank you.' she said glancing a look at him. Her sapphire eyes drifting down his face and onto his chest before flicking away speedily.
'You're boyfriends staring holes into the top of my head isn't he?'
'So he is your boyfriend?'
'What...no! I mean...erm...'
'Are you flustered?' Silas joked, smiling as she fidgeted in her seat.
'Of course not!'
'You're blushing Miss Savage.' Rory looked to him then. Even turned in her seat a little to face him. Smiling Silas held her cerulean gaze, it wasn't hard or piercing...it was almost...curious.
'That's new.' she said after a length pause, pointing to the strip of cloth in his hair. 'What is it?' Her question took him off guard, he faltered briefly under her beautiful face. He'd never told anyone what any of his trinkets meant or the reasons behind them...they were his life, his memories. But not wanting to kill the conversation he sat back into his chair and breathed deep.
'A gift from my sister.'
'Do you miss her?' Rory asked spinning to look at him. Turning her back on Aeon.
'Everyday.' he said taking a quick swig of whiskey. Liquid courage as Titan used to say. 'Can I ask you something?' he whispered, wicked spark dancing back into his heart.
'I suppose.' she grinned sharply taking a small draft from her champagne.
'Do you think your partners name sounds like a brand of light fitting or is that just me?' Another laugh racked her body mid drink and she came dangerously close to spraying her drink over herself as she laughed. 'I can see the commercials, fifty percent off all Aeon Bulbs for one day only!' he smiled as she giggled into her hand. Silas smiled as he watched her laugh. It was such a nice sound. A reporter suddenly rounded on them, answering his questions quickly Silas felt Rory's eyes crawling across his face as he joked and charmed his way to make the reporter turn from them and leave them back together.
'How do you do that?'
'Do what?' he asked her.
'Answer questions on camera so easily? It terrifies me.'
'The same reason I'm so good at talking to you,' she squinted curiously at him. With an easy smile Silas leaned closer to her. 'I'm from District Thirteen. Very used to speaking with Savages.' A gorgeous smile crawled across her face, revealing her pearly white teeth, her eyes sparkling with humour and enjoyment.
'Be honest,' she whispered leaning closer. Their faces inches apart, azure eyes boring into his very soul. 'How long have you been thinking up that line?'
'About four weeks.' another glorious laugh escaped her lips. He could listen to that forever if he could, like the sound of rainwater hitting crystal. 'I thought it was a good line personally.'
'It was a very good line.' she smiled as their laughing subsided. What was this? Why were they so comfortable around each other? It baffled Silas. But as they sat beside each other, staring into each other eyes he didn't give a damn what it was. He only cared, and thanked the Siblings, that it was happening. 'You are quite the charmer Silas.'
'First name basis now are we?' grinned Silas.
'A special treat for being funny.' Rory grinned back. A wicked glint behind her own eyes now.
'Remind me to buy a joke book the next time we meet.' as she moved her leg her hand fell against his. Her touch was like nothing he'd ever known. Fire and ice. Static and smooth. Ivory flesh as warm as a freshly made fire and as pure as gold. Silas daren’t move unless she moved her hand as well. But she didn't. She left it there. Her fingers seeming to search for him. Looking up to her Silas was about to lace his fingers with hers when a voice called, 'Silas Alberec!' wincing at the sound Rory shot away from him as the camera's spun around to locate him.