All The World's a Stage Part 2

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Grace was planning to kick the feet out from under Nate and give him hell. She was planning on using the night to firmly establish just who was boss, what was allowed and maybe even hook her aunt and Colby up once and for all. Grace had everything in place and wasn’t going to let anything get in her way or distract her. And then she saw what Nate had decided to show up in.

Nate had decided to go as Prince Eric and that meant he’d basically shown up as a pirate. Without the hat. But with the rest of the outfit down pat. That. Just. Wasn’t. FAIR. And she wasn’t the only one to be blatantly staring at him for it either. Grace could see several rubber neckers trying to oogle him as they trotted on by. It was amusing to see the dates of those women scowling at Nate’s back, but Grace almost felt like snarling at them all to get their eyes back on their own damn men and leave hers alone. Admittedly, he did strike a rather dashing figure in the dark blue almost-tights and the knee high black leather boots with over turned cuffs. And the white pirate shirt open at the neck managed to not look at all feminine even with the blowy sleeves. Maybe it was the fake saber around his waist that added that attitude that pulled it off but Grace suspected that the masculine air Nate always had helped the most.

Pride made Grace look away from her best friend before he caught her staring at him, but she was glad nonetheless for her father’s Cuban heritage because it meant that the blush she felt didn’t show on her honeyed skin. Her aunt Ophelia dropped her arm from Colby’s grip and stepped back to take Grace’s hand and the two James women faced off against Nate together. Grace smiled softly as she wondered if he was starting to feel a little outnumbered yet.

“Why am I not surprised that you’d have a pirate costume just hanging around for your convenience?” Colby scoffed at Nate and Grace felt her smile grow broader.

“Actually I didn’t. But interestingly enough, I did have various pieces from costumes in the past available and was able to cobble this together from that.” Nate replied with an easy, off hand air.

Grace frowned a little and looked closer at what he was wearing, ignoring how it looked on him to try and recognize the pieces. She started to laugh when her memory finally filled in the blanks of where he’d gotten them all from. “You’re a hodgepodge pirate!” she snorted as everyone turned to look at her as she laughed. His shirt wasn’t actually his; it was hers from when she had gone as a medieval bar wench. The pants were from his costume at that time (a court dandy), only they had been grey not blue so he must have dyed them. The sword was from another costume entirely but the boots were entirely new to her.

Nate gave her a sardonic grin at her laughter and shrugged, accepting the dubious title of being hodgepodge. She’d called him worse things in his day, and to be fair, he really was a mishmash of clothing. Still, it looked good on him. “What I was originally going to wear was reclaimed so I had to go with what I had at short notice. It was either this or me arriving naked and wrapped in a fish net. Somehow I think that they wouldn’t have let me in if I’d gone that second route.”

It was hard not to imagine what that would have looked like and Grace did her best to ignore the mental image her memory presented her with. “Well it’s good to see that your ego is undeflated as always.” Colby retorted.

Grace wasn’t sure what exactly had happened the night Nate had gone to Colby’s apartment, but it seemed that they had settled something. The insults were still flying with deadly accuracy, but there was just a lot less brooding venom in them. Made it a lot more fun to stand back and watch the fur fly.

“Ladies, if you two are done trying to claw each other’s eyes out, I’d like to actually dance at the Ball.” Grace interjected and walked in past the two men with her aunt still holding her hand. It must have been a hell of a sight, Ursula and Ariel from The Little Mermaid walking into a Ball, hand in hand.

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