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With the holidays around the corner; Evermore was buzzing with celebrations already. People organising pre-Halloween parties, decorations all over the city. The costume shops were sold out pretty quickly, when it came to getting prepared for the holiday that always seemed to be a big deal around the City. Even the Celestial, had been prepared early for the holiday. Having picked out her Halloween costume, a week prior.
The Celestial had been taking care of something at the art gallery; where she had her work displayed. Checking up with the boss of the art gallery; as he wanted to know of any updates for her latest projects. Since her work had been displayed at the art gallery; she found herself more busy with different projects for the gallery, as well as different side-jobs as a photographer. Looks like her chasing her dreams and taking up people’s tips of submitting her work to an art gallery has paid off in the long run. Even if it was a lot of pressure on her. But she was doing what she loved, so it was definitely worth it. As she left the art gallery; the autumn breeze ruffled through her hair. The Celestial, grabbed her head-band from her purse, pulling her hair up into a slight messy bun, to keep it from swaying into her eyes too much, in the evening breeze.
Since she had the rest of the day free; she decided to head to her favorite coffee shop. Opting for a latte with some spices, to help warm her up. The Celestial paid via her card; before taking the take-away cup with her. On her outing that afternoon, Artemis ran into an old friend Astoria. Before Artemitra came to Evermore, with her kind. She had met Astoria on the road. The two girls had quickly bonded and got to know each other, back then. After the pair got talking again, on their reunion at the coffee house. Artemitra had been invited to a party at the Dhampir Compound, to photograph the event for Astoria. Apparently, it sounded like a big deal. Artemis of course, appreciated the job offer and was more than glad to help out a friend in need. Besides, meeting more people would be fun; even if on a job.
It had taken a few days preparation, before the evening of the party had arrived. The Celestial had spent a few hours preparing. Making sure that her camera had enough battery and space for lots of photos. Packing a spare battery in her camera bag. Dressed for the event; the Celestial was wearing one of her dresses. Going with Red. Since according to Phe, red was her color. After she was fully ready; the Celestial got into her car, driving towards the address that Astoria had given her. By the looks of it, it was a big get-together, as the Celestial saw many cars out front. “Okay, deep breaths. You can do this.” she told herself. As usual, giving herself a bit of a pep talk before a job. Knowing that nerves always got to her. Artemitra could hear the music already, coming from inside. It seemed to be rather up-beat. The sort of music, that made you feel good and wanna dance. Luckily, she wasn’t the only one that was arriving at the party. Entering in, with some other new-comers. The Celestial looked around, looking for Astoria so she could greet her friend. Her heels clicked against the floor of the big house, where the party was taking place.
“Hey Tori.” The fallen star, finally greeted when she spotted her, in the near distance. “The Party already sounds good.” She praised with a warm smile. Giving her a hug, in greeting. The Camera bag, hanging over her shoulder, for safekeeping. ”Are there any specific things you want me to focus on?” The Celestial asked, wondering about Astoria’s vision, with these photographs. Not wanting to disappoint. So she thought, to ask...what she wanted her to focus on, if anything. Unless she was giving her free reign.
It wasn't a stretch to say that Astoria wasn't the greatest social person around. She barely tolerated parties at work or the obligatory gatherings and Lake and her, hardly were the hosting types. The dhampir prefered her own space and some peace and quiet, choosing to stay at home rather than go out and meet and greet. However, as Lake kept reminding her, with her new position, she couldn't simply cower away in the comfort of their temporary homes. She had to go out, meet people, get noticed at the new ambassador and gain allies. She couldn't refute her sister's logic as a small party at their home turf would be the perfect opportunity to understand the other members and watch out for those who seemed trouble.
It was why Astoria didn't protest much when Lake first suggested the idea to her and the preparations began. The location was at a nice club that they had pre-booked and not only had all the dhampirs had been invited, but Astoria has also extended the invitations to the other faction ambassadors and members as well. Although she wasn't sure how well they could be trusted and had hired some security measures accordingly, it felt like the proper thing to do.
They had spent days planning for food, decorations, music and other things that were usually necessary at these events. It wasn't until Lake had mentioned creating a photo collage as a memory that Tori remembered an important component they had overlooked- a photographer. On any other occasion, she or her sister would have clicked the pictures themselves, but since they both would be extremely busy socializing, she'd need to hire a professional.
She had been contemplating this particular problem one day when she bumped into an old friend- Artemitra. It had been a pleasant surprise to see a familiar face and luckily when Tori had asked her if she would be able to cover the event, Mitra had readily agreed. Having already seen her work, Astoria was completely confident that the event would be well-documented.
The d-day came with a lot of chaos and last-minute panic, but when she now stood, sipping on her glass of cocktail, surveying the room filling up with people, Astoria couldn't help but feel excited. She had been in the process of checking up with the caterers when Mitra's familiar form greeted her. "I'm so glad you are here! I couldn't have asked for a better photographer," she stated in the way of a greeting. "I'd like you to cover the other ambassadors mingling, you know the usual obligatory important people's shot, but the rest is up to you. Click people talking, dancing, eating, getting drunk...but leave the puking and kissing out. Too cliche for my taste" Astoria cheekily grinned as she took a glass of cocktail from a passing server and offered it to Mitra. "Cheers! After this whole shenanigans, we really need to catch up. I can't believe of all the places, we found each other here."
Everything was all so crazy for him at the moment. Finding himself in a whirlwind of different emotions with everything all happening at once. Barely having any time to process what was going on. Still part of him felt that he was going crazy, still it was not all coming so real. How this time a year or more ago he would have thought he was crazy. Yet who wouldn’t if they had seen someone who they thought was dead. A ghost of the past back and alive in the flesh. Anyone would go crazy if it happened to them. The whole way the supernatural world was still new to him. How was not even yet a proper Dhampir. Not yet started his training. Something that other Dhampir started from a young age. Whilst for him it was all different. Having lived most of his life thinking he was normal and human to find out he’s a dhampir. All of it was strange for him. There was a part of him that didn’t want to activate his Dhampir side, prerfering to stick to all he’s known. Not ready to give it all up just yet. Still he didn’t want to let everyone down, that's all he ever does lately. How he was only 20 and didn’t have much to his name. All of his inheritance was blown before he was even able to touch it. He’s never had a real job before how he knew that he wouldn’t be able to have a part time job whilst at school then just about he was going to start college Cornelia had died. Or so he had thought. Then after her death he skipped going to college only now he was starting back taking online classes.
Jem always felt that he’s never had the chance to be a proper teenager. Not being able to have the same upbringing as others, missing out on a lot. Only feeling he’s just able to feel sort of normal for once aside from all of the craziness happening right now. One thing that always helped him get through his tough times was for his love of music. Always being his own way of escapism. Able to put his emotions into music, writing and playing songs. He was so happy on his birthday when Clarissa gifted him a new electric guitar. How she knew it would cheer him up and get him out the rut he was in which it did. He’d enough been able to find himself a band to join and score their first gig. Jem could remember a few weeks back when he had first met the new Dhampir Ambassdor who had seen how he was struggling with starting his Dhmampir training and offered her own help. Too in that time they had struck up a few different conversations. Too it came up how she was organsing a party with all Dhampirs invited and other ambassadors and members. That she had yet to organise music for it. Jem had shown her a few demos that he and his new band made. It seemed to work out that Astoria loved it, wanting for them to play there. It’ll be his first paycheck hoping that soon he wouldn’t have to keep relying on his pocket money to keep him a float for much longer.
Now the day has come. He’d spent the morning with his band praticising their songs along with a new one he’d been working on that he thought was rubbish at first but now it wasn’t sounding too bad with a few alterations. Jem left the apartment that he was scared of with Clarissa. Now he wasn’t too sure whose place he should be living or whether to move back with Cornelia. Yet they hadn’t gotten around to deciding how both him and Rissa were still trying to get used to her being back and it’s that happened to think about whose living where. Jem met his band at the venue where they set it all up, checking everything all works. Choosing to start playing the music as more people were coming in and floating around. One of the first songs they played was Bright. The song started out slowly with the female vocolist was playing the piano till him and his band came in. “In times that I doubted myself. I felt like I needed somе help. Stuck in my head with nothing left. I feel somеthing around me now. So unclear, lifting me out. I found the ground I'm marching on” He began to sing looking out at the crowd. “Life is a risk, but we will take it. Close my eyes and jump. Together, I think that we can make it. C'mon let's run” His fellow bandmate came over to join him, sharing the same mike. People in the room now were all eyes on them, and started to cheer for them. “And rise through the night, you and I. We will fight to shine together, bright forever. And rise through the night, you and I. We will fight to shine together, bright forever” As he was singing, Jem looked across the room to see a familiar face talking to someone. How the mysterious girl caught his eyes straight away noticing how it was almost like she was shining. Brighter than everyone else. He shook his head knowing he was just seeing things that it’s just the lights that were all in the room, lighting up the party. As he looked back up, finding his eyes caught the attention of the mysterious brunette, shooting her a bright smile her way hoping to catch her attention as he continued to play.
The Celestial smiled, as Astoria thanked her. “You’re welcome, always glad to help a friend out with an event.” She wasn’t sure if she would call herself the best photographer around. Far from it. But still, she was fluttered. Nodding at what Tori wanted her to focus on, laughing lightly as she mentioned what to avoid. “I don’t do puking and making out, photos either.” Artemis was more taste-full than that, when it came to her work. When she got handed a cocktail, the Celestial lightly clinged her glass against Astoria’s smiling. “Cheers.” Taking a sip of the beverage. She nodded, in agreement. “Of course we should. I think since being in Evermore, I’ve been running into old friends, from all over the place.” It seemed like Evermore had a thing for bringing people together like that. But she was looking forward to catching up with Tori, officially. Probably had plenty to catch up on. So it didn’t really surprise her that she had run into Astoria in the city the other day. She was glad to have a few more connections in the city. It always made it feel more like home.
Getting her camera set up, Artemitra smiled at Tori “Speaking of Ambassadors...give me your best smile.” Starting with taking a few photos of Astoria herself; since she was the Dhampir Ambassador and leading lady of this party.
For a few moments, she could feel eyes on her. Glancing over her shoulder; to see where those eyes were coming from. She briefly glanced towards the stage where the band was playing. They sure did sound good. She had to admit, the male lead, looked rather cute. A beanie with his cute, scruffy hair. It suited his look. Artemis didn’t recall seeing the handsome stranger, around the city before. But maybe, because she didn’t venture to the Dhampir quarters much. The Celestial knew she had work to do. Taking another sip of her cocktail. “If you need me, you know where to find me...I am the one with the camera.” she joked, as she spoke to Tori. With that, she started to mingle among the crowd; taking photos of the event. Taking some snaps of the decorations, focusing on the Ambassadors first; since they were the important head-figures of the city. Feeling a little relieved, that she knew a few faces around the party, besides from Astoria. As few fellow Celestials were mingling at the party too.
Being in a good mood, the Ethereal like glow, had been visible around her. Even with all the party lights and flashes. As she worked, slightly swaying in tune to the song, that the band was playing. As Jem’s band-mates were rocking out with him on stage, the drummer Alex noticed how Jem was staring into the crowd at a certain brunette. It made him smile. From the corner of his eyes, he saw their other band-mate smirking. Most likely already gathering up ideas in his mind, to tease him later on.
There came that feeling, like she was being watched. As she turned around with her camera to take a few photos of the band. Artemis realised that the cutie with the beanie was the one looking at her. As she lowered her camera, she caught his bright smile. Her cheeks turned a bit pink, looking flushed. And the glow around her growing a bit stronger. For a split moment, the Celestial didn’t have her emotions in her check. ‘Such an adorable smile.’ She thought to herself. He definitely caught her attention, not just his smile, but his voice. Whomever he was, he was a rather talented musician. Slowly becoming distracted, from her work. The Celestial found herself smiling back in his direction. The smile warm and bright.
Astoria laughed as Mitra snagged a couple of pictures of her. Although the dhampir wasn't super keen on getting pictures of herself taken, she understood the importance of maintaining an appearance and hence, gave her best 'I am so professional...look at me' pose. She was glad to have found some semblance of familiarity in Evermore. Astoria wasn't opposed to change but given how change was the only constant in her life while she had been living at the club, she welcomed any feeling of familiarity in this new territory. It made her wonder if there were others living here, who she had known in the past. Maybe she could convince her sister to ditch the organization and spend the day outside exploring places.
As Mitra walked away to do her thing, Astoria made her way to Lake, both the sisters surveying everyone around while casually sipping on their drinks. The party had been a success and as they had mingled, most people seemed rather welcoming. It was too soon to say if their interactions were sincere but Tori decided to reserve her judgements for later. She had learnt long ago to not place stalk in people's words, knowing most just didn't mean anything they stated or used their speech as a way to manipulate others. She was content in placing her belief in their intention and actions, preferring to observe for a while before deciding if they could be trusted.
Lake commented to the band and Tori turned her attention towards them, happy to see them giving a great performance. She had met Jem a while back when she had just settled in and had noticed him struggling. From their conversations, it was pretty evident that the dhampir hadn't had a weapon training ceremony for him. Tori wanted to train with him for a bit before hosting one. Jem seemed like a reserved, quiet sort of guy, maybe even hesitant at first but as she stood watching the performance, she couldn't help but notice the slow change in his expression from slightly nervous to serious to shy smiles to a full-blown grin. Wondering what had caught his attention, she followed his line of sight, surprised for a moment to see it completely rest on Mitra, who was, in turn, returning his smile and glances.
Understanding just what was happening, she playfully approached her celestial friend. "I guess someone caught you eye. Or maybe you caught someone's eye? Or.." she teasingly drawled, "it definitely seems like both. He's cute, I'll give you that but as a way to stop you from giving me an entire album of his pictures, you are certainly going to do more than just stand here and smile the night away."Saying thus, Tori grabbed Mitra's hand and began making her way to the front of the band who were just finishing up their song.
For a long time he’d been stuck on what to do with his life. Never being someone who had it all planned out and set in stone. For him it felt that he was constantly taking a few steps forward and then a few steps back when it came to planning out his future. With his life being turned upside down. Only now was he finally able to feel that it was going upwards. Able to get his life back on track. His adoptive mother was alive and back in his life, he’d moved back in with her. Things were starting to go back to the way they once were but Jem knew it was going to take time. Able to see for Cornelia it was going to be a long and slow process to her recovering but he was ready to be there at her side helping her. Since he had more free time having no actual job but had started to take online college courses. One of the many detours of his life. Jem hadn’t seen himself joining a band but it sort of all fell into place. That just happened. Luckily it was all going well. Finding himself already formed a bond with his other bandmates. Spending countless hours practising and writing different songs. Finding his love for music once again, feeling alive again. With his new bandmates inspiring him, as they make more music.
He was even starting to consider that maybe in the future it could be his career rather than something that they do on the side to earn extra cash. It was every songwriters and musicians dream that only one could hope could come true. They just had to make a name for themselves hoping that starting off with gigs like these could help to book more than could take them to further places. Jem was lucky that he’d managed to score this one. He could remember how excited both Reggie and Alex were when he told them. They’ve been looking forward to it ever since. When they were playing all of them were smiling, singing along to the music. Plus he had more of a reason to smile catching someones attention in the crowd. Seeing that it all worked out how the person in the crowd smiled back at him. To his right he had noticed Reggie had a bandmate on bass shoot him a teasing smile and Alex on the drums joined in too. Whilst he pretended not to know what they were on about yet he knew he had been caught out.
Soon they were finishing up the song, Jem had looked back into the crowd to see if could see the brunette but she had disappeared. Making him frown a little. Not noticing that they were coming through the crowd and to the stage. Just as he put his guitar off and it’s stand, Jem turned around noticing Tori and the girl in the crowd there. “Hey Tori!” He greeted her, knowing how she was soon going to start to be his mentor soon for Dhampir training. Jem started to feel a little bit nervous not knowing how to say hello to the girl he couldn’t take his eyes off singing. It seems like Reggie had caught it that he was a bit nervous with his bandmate coming in. Feeling Reggie put his arm on his shoulder for him taking the lead. “Hey, I’m Reggie and this is a cd of our demo and a t-shirt on behalf of Jem for size-beautiful” Jem turned to watching Reggie give his signature smirk, dropping him in it. Whilst he stayed silent seeing how his bandmates were trying to be his wingmen but Jem knew he had to speak up. “I’m Jem by the way” He smiled softly introducing himself, pulling his shoulder out from under Reggie before he would continue flirting and speaking up for him.
Artemis was a little lost in the moment; as she was watching the band perform. Or more rather, her chocolate hues were still locked with the cute stranger. When Astoria interrupted the moment, Artemis glanced back towards Tori. “I...urg...I was just….you know…” she started to babble, a bit nervously. Did she really catch his eye? I mean...for all she knew, he could have just been politely smiling at her. Not wanting to read too much into it. Or was Astoria reading a little bit into the fact, that they had exchanged a few smiles. “Yeah, he’s cute.” The Celestial found herself agreeing. “Great voice too.” Realising she was gushing a bit, about a totally random person, her cheeks flared up with a pink tint. The Celestial wasn’t sure, what was coming over her. She wasn’t usually like this. Of course, Tori had to tease her. Shaking her head, as the blush across her cheeks grew brighter. Much like her glow. “He would make a fine subject for an album, but I have a job to do. It’s not like I’d focus just on him.” Even if she was a bit distracted by him. Artemitra would have included the full band-in the photos for the final album.
Before she even fully realised what was happening. She felt Tori dragging her over towards the stage. “Woah...Tori…” she gasped slightly, almost tripping over her own feet. “Wh...what are you doing?” Her eyes wide, as she was looking towards her friend, in a slight panic.
Was she seriously, being dragged towards the stage. “I...urgh...Tori. I….I don’t think…..this...is a smart idea...They’re in the middle of a…” Artemis was a bubbling, ball of nerves. Only when they came to a halt, she realised...that they were in front of the stage and they probably heard her nervous rambling. “Urgh...hi.” Her words had trailed off, into a nervous greeting. Mentally face-palming herself, for such a lame and awkward greeting. Wishing, she had some smart comment, to make. Not sure that it would save her. Feeling eyes on her, the Celestial somehow came out with “I heard the acoustics, sound better up close.” Yep. That sounded a lot better, inside of her head. ‘Sheesh girl...you’re so bad at this.’ she thought to herself. Letting her dark hair fall over her face slightly, to shield the emmbrassed blush, that was spreading across her face.
When one of Jem’s band-mates started to talk to her. Artemis was taken by surprise, with the flirty comment and gifts. Her cheeks flushed. “Thanks, I’ll make sure no one wipes down the tables with this.” Artemis cracked a lame joke, about using the t-shirt as a table wipe. But briefly glanced down at the Cd cover, to check out the band’s name. Now her hands were really full, a camera around her neck. A cd and t-shirt in her grip. Before she could ask, what earth a ‘Jem’ was, the cutie with the beanie had introduced himself. So he was Jem? Not a name, she had been expecting.
“Yeah, you wouldn’t want to do that.” Alex spoke up. “It gets all weird, when it gets wet. It shrinks.” Trying to put her a bit more at ease, as she made that joke about the t-shirt. As Jem finally introduced himself. Alex thought to himself, ‘Finally.’
Smiling at Jem, a little nervously. Artemis held out a free hand to shake his. “Artemis.....Nice to meet you Jem.” Opting to go with her most popular nickname, rather than her full name; which always confused everyone. Knowing how a few people had butchered the name Artemitra before. It was amusing. “Great song, by the way.” The Celestial complimented about the tune, that they had just finished singing a few moments ago.