Previous Next

Dance the night away

Posted on Thu Feb 9th, 2023 @ 9:46 by Claire Cavendish & Otis Jackson

Chapter: Prologue: Dawn of Avalon
Location: Auditorium, Avalon Institute
Timeline: After open mic night
1476 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

Following the final performance of the night the sound system was run by a rotation cast of faculty spinning records to keep the tone and mood light and allow for dancing as well as mingling with the others in attendance. Claire had gotten back into a more representative outfit and was making her way through the crowd talking with new and old faces alike. As the drinks kept flowing she was able to let go of some of the stiffness and constraint that she felt was befitting a woman of her position.

"Hey, Otis right?" She finished her glass of whisky and put it on the table next to a fresh face to the staff. She hadn't had time to properly meet him since he had arrived with all the prep for the open mic night, and she made a mental note to follow up on a more professional setting. "From what I understand you're quite the dancer." She offered a dainty purple hand to the man that seemed a bit like a rabbit caught in the headlights by her sudden appearance at his table.

"Headmistress," Otis said, somewhat formally. He had seen her around the building over the past few days but this was the first time he was getting any face-to-face time with the striking woman. It was hard to miss her as she glided down the corridors of the institute with her bright purple hair and skin but after tonight, after that dance performance, Otis had to admit he was in awe. "I'm not quite sure I can match your skill or level," he smiled.

He placed his drink on the table and gracefully took the outstretched purple hand. They moved to the dance floor and Otis wrapped his arm around her waist, loosely so as to not make it too uncomfortable for either of them. "It's a wonderful thing you have done here," he said into her ear as they moved to the rhythm of the music.

"It's not just me, it's everyone." Claire looked around a bit as she allowed herself to be led around the dancefloor. The music was not the ball room type, but both of them were adept enough dancers to make it work. Though it was always a bit difficult for her to allow the man to lead, to the great chagrin of her dance instructors. "And I'm sure you'll be contributing to that as well." She leaned in to speak over the music without having to yell. "I've heard great things about your community work."

"I did what I could," he said earnestly. "People like us, well we can't always blend into the background like some of the others, can we?" He wondered how Claire found living with a visible mutation and if it was better or worse than the constant onslaught of racism he had had to face in his life. Either way, their experiences had brought them both to this place where they clearly wanted to make a difference in the world. Making it better for the next generation of mutants and people of colour in any way they could. "I'm glad none of us chose to sit on the sidelines, that's what makes this place special."

"Actually... I could." Claire shimmered a bit, allowing herself to be slightly translucent. "Though it doesn't overly help my case usually." She returned to be fully visible mid twirl. "I've been on the sidelines for too long." She had always felt that she had wasted too much of her life afraid of the repercussions of standing for what she believed in. "Any plans for big productions?"

Otis stepped back a little; part in surprise, part to admire the beauty of her translucent form. As she twirled, he closed the gap, supporting her weight so that she wouldn't lose balance and fall. It was in vain of course, she was a pro, a true performer who had full control of her body and her actions. He was again in awe of her. "Now that would be telling," he smirked. "Let's just say, it going to get very interesting around here. Honestly though, my real aim is to help these kids with their confidence more than anything else. It's a cruel world out there, if I can do anything to build their character then I will have achieved my goal."

"Man after my own heart." Claire pulled him in closer as she heard the song change up to a slower paced follow-up. "How are you settling in so far? Are the accommodations to your liking?" The old castle could get quite cold and windy during the winter months, but it was still a beautiful aesthetic with the large flagstones and the warm brown brick.

Otis laughed. "I spent most of my late teens on a mattress on the floor with no room to call my own. This castle is a paradise compared to that." He twirled her slowly and then fell back into step still holding her. "You're clearly an accomplished dancer who can literally dance rings around me, so how about we change this up a little? You game?"

"Always." Claire never really shied away from a challenge. It was a personality trait she'd had to develop in defiance if her father. "What do you have in mind?"

Otis gave her a mysterious look, "you'll see." He moved them in the direction of the DJ and requested a song, quietly so that Claire couldn't hear. "I am a good dancer but as you can tell I'm not classically trained," he said as the DJ queued the song he had requested. "Most of what I know is from the streets, in fact, that goes for everything in my life. You let a street rat into your castle, it's time to get a bit dirty." As though on queue the first few bars of Poison by Bell Biv DeVoe boomed over the speakers. Everyone turned to the DJ, confused by the change of tone but Otis' eyes were locked on Claire's. "You willing to get dirty with me?"

The rhythm started to tap away and the R&B sounds started to fill the room. Quite a few of the people present didn't quite know what to do with this, Claire was among them. Her formal dance education had been focused on ballroom and ballet. Neither of them could be applied to this music. On top of that, most of her informal music education had focused on protest songs. "I'm willing, just not sure if I'm able." She admitted to Otis with a smile.

"You'll pick it up," Otis said, returning the smile. He moved his body in time with the music, slowly at first, picking up as he felt the bassline move through him. By the time the first chorus hit he was fully in his element, using his legs to bounce from side to side and crisscross when he was feeling somewhat daring. He mouthed along to the words, not allowing his volume to be heard over the beat of the music. "You're doing great," he said encouragingly.

When it came to rhythm like this the closest thing Claire had danced to was disco, although it was doing a huge disservice to both genres to equate the two. Last time she actually let go and moved to the rhythm of any music she had some experience enhancing substances to take away some of the nerves and self conscious voice in the back of her head telling her she was making a fool out of herself in front of her staff. She swayed to the music, she had shown earlier that night that she could do at least one breakdance move, but unfortunately for her it was the only one she had. So instead she decided to just mimic Otis a bit, hoping that he actually did have an idea of what he was doing. Soon enough she was feeling it, but as things go with songs, they always end too soon. "Thank you. Thanks. That was cool." She put a hand on his shoulder to emphasise she was winded, overplaying it a bit perhaps even. "I think I need another drink." She gave a wink; "Welcome to Avalon."

Otis smiled a true smile that could light up the room. "Thank you for having me, I'm looking forward to this new chapter in my life." He meant that too, he had spent too many years in the shadows, hiding one part of himself, whilst letting the other parts take dominance. Now, finally, he was ready to let all of him out at once, to be the full version of Otis Jackson: Bulwark, and he couldn't be more excited. "Now, did you say something about a drink?"


Previous Next

RSS Feed