A Night to Remember

Jasper's night of glam and glitz is cut short when he runs into a woman who doesn't seem to be quite all there.

The Ritz-Carlton, Upper Chicago


The Ritz-Carlton Chicago sparkles tonight, and not just because the staff spent most of the day polishing the chandeliers. While the crystals on the ceiling sheen, the ones that drip off of the guests of the latest advertisement unveiling rival even the most magnificent chandeliers in the room. The fountain, in all of its marbeled glory, even envies the many diamonds that shine among the party-goers. Yet such unveilings, for such prestigious clients, require a modicum of over-the-top-ness. The diamond seller had loved the campaign pitched to them.

And the launch was to be no different. Every woman in diamonds. Signed out diamonds— on loan, only. But diamonds nonetheless.

Some might think this would leave most of the men in want. But wearing his tailored black Armani suit, Jasper Goode hardly seems in want. His own diamond cufflinks (that he owns, thank you very much) make him seem like he belongs at this party. But he more than belongs. He owns it. And every movement, every sway of his stance, conveys as much. His fingers grasp around a flute of champagne as he steals a single moment to stare at his handiwork. Sure, he has a team that work under him, but at the end of the day, he made this happen. His eyebrows draw together with a modicum of good humour, the finishing touches brought in by his assistant are more than he expected— namely the jewelry chosen. He'll have to get her a present later. Or have herself get herself one.

He shoots the crowded room a half smirk and downs the champagne in one gulp. After swallowing, he shoots the crowd a large toothy grin. Bring on the night. The work is over, now it's all about enjoying himself and having a good time.

The daughter of a prestigious banking official, the slender brunette figure of June Holly wears both diamonds and party well; her experienced tagging of a champagne glass off a moving tray telling of expertise while the slight sway afterward assures that she has, already, been having a good time. Rocking on heels balanced precariously on some of those very same diamonds other women must turn in when the night ends, like gold-digging Cinderellas, June is elevated above the normal crowds not because she's better than them but because she's an ungainly height for a woman.

"Pardon me," she stops the next server as he begins to pass by. As he waits, one of her slender hands on his shoulders, she knocks back the glass even faster than Jasper. If it weren't for her not seeing him, her stance across the way combined with the action might be viewed as a challenge. But, unaware, she thunks the glass back down on a tray and sashays a hand through her hair as the serving man leaves.

While he may be below her notice, June is hardly above Jasper's. His eyes narrow and his lips curl conspicuously. A single hand shoves into his pocket as he watches her down her glass while his free hand returns his now empty flute to one of the trays. He slides beside her, and without actually looking at her, manages, "Is that a challenge?" There's a subtle shift of his eyes as he watches her in his periphery, all the while playing nice with the rest of the room. Everyone is a potential client, after all.

"Ah— hrrmm?" That noise of semi-intelligence emits from June's throat as she processes his coming over with a firm double-take with a less firm gaze. Up close, she smells a tinge like the alcohol she must be consuming at a firm pace: it's in direct conflict with the sweet up-do of her brown hair, the flattering cut of her one-of-a-kind designer dress, and those diamond-cut heels. So unnecessarily flashy, all of it, and here she is, so down-to-earth drunk like she belongs on the lower levels. "Oh, trust me, buddy, you don't want to get in on this." Eyes scout with unprecedented precision for the next approaching waiter.

A lopsided smirk follows her comment. The waiter passes by with another tray, prompting him to pluck the flute of champagne from its surface, and downing it with another gulp only to return it back to the tray in question. "You'd be surprised what I want to get in on." His hands turn to his pockets while he turns to face her, and his eyes finally give her the once over. "I'm Jasper Goode." He clears his throat and draws his eyebrows together, "I don't think we've met— "

"Umm. June Holly— " a familiar name, from a less familiar face, and the hand that June starts to extend before realizing he's not doing the same. Awkwardly, she twists to grab a flute from the retreating waiter at the last second. This one's not downed so fast; she grips it like a lifeline with delicate fingers while eyeballing the rest of the mingling crowd. "Are these come-ons, Jasper Goode? Because they're better hawked elsewhere."

There's another crack of a smile, slow and sly, and all too aware of the woman's inebriated state. "If I was coming onto you, June Holly, you wouldn't be asking." Once more Jasper's gaze turns about the room, which he shoots the most charming, presumably easy, smile he can manage. "And if I were," he tacks on, "you'd be surprised how persuasive I can be when motivated." There's no shred of doubt in his words, just egotistical confidence that he's found in his successes. And then, more casually, he asks, "Enjoying the party?"

"No." A stop and sniff. "You're kind of slimy." Her explanation is followed by a casual kick-back of that champagne; how anymore can continue to affect June Holly seems unlikely but she takes it all nonetheless. "Or maybe that's the champagne," she allows him, not too graciously since it's matter-of-fact. "God, I hope it's the champagne." Twisting it in her grip, she stares with drunk hope at the empty flute, less for his sake — who is he, again? — than for her own.

"I'm in advertising," Jasper corrects with a renewed smirk. "We spend our lives convincing people they want things." It's matter-of-fact. "And I'm particularly good with the hard sell." Unlike June, he's temporarily cutting himself off. He'll get wasted yet. But not in front of potential clients. Not until he's convinced them to part with their pocketbooks. "What do you do, June?"

"I'm searching…" A murmur before she seems to know he's asked a question. As her head finally turns to acknowledge him, despite her answer, June appears wholly lost for a moment, her eyebrows drawing intricate pictures of concentration as she studies him. In a second: it's gone. "Oh, me? I don't do anything," she admits readily, glancing forward again. "I spend my father's money sometimes when it pleases me." It doesn't sound like it has for a while. "You want to sell me something? It won't even be hard."

"Searching?" Jasper quirks an eyebrow skeptically. "You're not really in much of a condition to be searching— " for anything. His lips purse in confusion under her gaze while his eyebrows draw together. He hopes she has a driver. All he needs is some debutante to get in an accident following his party. "I always want to peddle my wares. What does your father do? Maybe he could use our services— "

"I don't know," in that same distant murmur before she adds carelessly, "Owns every bank in the city? Something like that." June's bitterness might have more bite if she weren't inebriated past caring. A sway even as she stands there. The flute looks slippery in her hand and she glances up; where did all the servers go? "I don't…"

Skeptically, Jasper narrows his eyes. "Riiiiight." He issues her his most charming smile before reaching towards her empty flute, explaining, "A lady shouldn't have to hold her own glass." His lips twitch to the side as he studies her for a moment, "You have a driver?'

Thoughtlessly, her hand extends to hand over the glass, "I have— " while the other sweeps up to her forehead as she squints her brown-eyed gaze mostly shut, "a headache— " and her hand brushes his as they orchestrate the giving of the flute to Jasper.


The music. It's tune trill and haunting shifts from melody to melody, one after another like some ill-time ill-constructed overture.

The pale moonlight floods the mountain pass, giving sight to what can only be done in secret. Haunting shadows line the long passageway, bidding the travelers on further. The dust of the mountain air threatens to suffocate his lungs. His green hued suit marches onward with his company behind him.

There's little warning when the ground changes. The tread is different. Soft. Smushy.

Bodies. Many many bodies speaking of a battle lost— nearly unseeable in the dead of night.



Now there's children following him in a haze. But one looks up with clear blue eyes amongst delicately curled blonde ringlets. She accuses.


It vibrates in him like an undeniable truth; rattling his teeth and burning his gums, lighting his brain, and firing up all of his muscles like he's preparing to run for a mile— two— more.

He's in the party.

Find Alice.

Next to him, someone's thrown up on the floor.

Heart pounding in his chest, Jasper's breath catches in his throat. The air burns in his lungs like he's been out for a long run in the heat of the summer. One question burns in his mind: Who the fuck is Alice? His eyes widen only to cinch shut. Ew. Vomit. Pale face, he slides away, waving towards one of the many party workers, "Clean-up in aisle 5."

Wincing unprofessionally just a second, the server steps up to Jasper's side, offering a hand out to the man's shoulder that fails to reach but hovers incase. "Sir, are you— feeling alright?"




Nowhere in sight: June Holly, except as a wisp of her brown hair as she staggers through the crowd like Cinderella, disappearing through curious faces wondering at Jasper, who's beginning to recognize the taste on his dry lips. It's not a nice taste, but it's still not as strong as the words that feel as though they've been etched straight into his bones.

Find Alice.

Go ask Alice.

"I'm— " Jasper pinches the bridge of his nose and then glances around, covering with the most charming smile he can muster given the circumstances. "— a stitch under the weather." He clears his throat and treads back towards the door. "Gonna call it a night." And try to figure out who Alice is. Whatever that means.

Going, he eventually picks up on the feeling of being watched, and the last thing he sees when he's being pulled out of the front drive of the hotel is June Holly's face staring at him from the doorway until she, again, vanishes, and he leaves into the night.

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