- soon-to-be collab with @nessazura 

13- Aveline's end of holiday party!

"You don't look very Mary Antoinette-ish," came the greeting comment from my date as I walked into the living room after spending hours getting ready for the party this evening. 

With a slight smirk, I replied, "I'll take that as a compliment, Julian." I studied his own outfit - a dark-colored tailcoat with matching vest and pants though the only thing that was missing was a wig. I bit back my tongue from saying what I had in mind.

"Why is there a carriage right outside the street?" Mom suddenly interfered as she appeared from the elevator. She strutted down the room with one of our housekeepers - Matilda? Martha? There're too many of them to keep up with - popping up from the hallway to grab the bags she'd brought home.

"You two are all dressed up," Mom finally realized as she studied us with a smile. "Some kind of a costume party?"

"Aveline's party," I explained as Julian simply walked past the both of us towards the elevator.

"Come on Cinderella, your pumpkin's already waiting," he said sarcastically, while Mom simply rolled her eyes. 

"Get Cinderella home before the clock strikes 12," she told him as the two of us entered the waiting elevator. Julian just flashed her a forced smile as the door closed with a soft ding. Instantly the smile faded into a frown.

"Can't you at least pretend to like her?" I asked, leaning against the wall with my arms crossed as I stared at my stepbrother. 

"I am," he replied curtly. Suddenly the gap between the two of us felt much wider than it was. 

It had been a year since the marriage happened. A year since I became a Bradshaw. And a year since Julian and I became family - yet we could never shake off this awkward air between us. 

Ding. 

"Tell me they're not sending us back home in that thing, are they?" Julian gestured towards the carriage, which was in full view outside the building as we walked out of the elevator. 

"Oh come on, I thought you dig the whole romantic thing," I nudged him playfully. He glanced down at me with a raised eyebrow. 

"I'd dig it if it was any other girl I was riding it with."

I scoffed. He smirked. But we both ended up getting on the carriage, where we'd begin our fantasy journey through the Upper East Side towards the party. 

//

Leave it to Aveline to throw one fancy party. It's probably in her blood though.

"Pretend we're not related," Julian smirked before walking off and disappearing into the crowd. I simply rolled my eyes and made my way towards a group of girls gathered nearby. 

These familiar faces that had made life in this city a whole lot better. They were daughters of elites. They were the bunch of girls I had tried to avoid when I arrived at Constance. We would have nothing in common, I thought.

Yet now we're friends. 
Yet now we're always having kick-ass fun together. 

"Good evening, gorgeous girls," I interrupted as I slipped between Staz and Tabs - she hated it when I called her that in public. The girls greeted me with smiles and air kisses, which we would usually do in jest. 

"You cleaned up well tonight," Staz teased, giving me a once over. "But welcome to the we-don't-care-about-dresscode club."

I realized that both her and Tabs weren't exactly Marie Antoinette appropriate either, but I quickly added with a grin, "You won't see me in all that Versailles frou frou even if you throw a bag of cash at me. Never."

"Oh, I think you might wanna check out three o'clock," Annabelle suddenly chirped in. She was staring at something by the bar area, and I followed her gaze only to find Aveline looking terribly horrified as she was talking to ... Julian?

"Oh God," I sighed, almost shaking my head. "Please excuse me while I go exterminate the big bad wolf."

"Boo, party pooper," Fallon sneered while the rest giggled. "Just leave those two alone. Aveline's old enough to take care of herself."

"Please," I rolled my eyes. "The last thing I want tonight is having him brag about how he scores with one of my best friends. Oh, the horror!" I quickly made a beeline towards those two. 

Aveline spotted me and I spotted a relieved smile on her face. 

"There you are," I spoke aloud, wrapping an arm around Julian's shoulder. I could imagine his face turning into a frown - and I felt good, somehow. 

"Do I know you?" he turned towards me, his teeth clenched. 

"You should. I think we share the same last name."

Julian's expression was somewhere between amused and frustration as he peeled my arm off himself. "How I wish that part never happened," he muttered before turning back to Aveline. "As I was saying, lovely party. And I hope to see you around more."

"Just go, Jules."

He threw me a hard stare before finally leaving. Aveline let out a chuckle as I turned towards her.

"What would I do without you, Alice," she smiled as we linked arms. "But you have to admit he does pull off the whole 1700 look pretty good."

I scoffed, "I didn't know you dig men in wigs! Damn, Princess, you have a very weird taste..."

She playfully slapped my arms before straightening herself again. "Speaking of taste, I was just about to go get the cakes."

"Finally, real food."

One thing I discovered about these fancy parties - they serve these tiny bits of snacks that could never make you full no matter how many you eat. Then again, I'm more of a beer and burger kind of girl, so maybe I still haven't gotten used to it all.

Not yet.
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