The Ball

"I can't wear this!" Phi protested.

"Why not? You look stunning" Jade insisted, holding the woman out at arms length to look over her.

"It's... It's..." She squirmed out from Jade's grip and fumbled with the hidden zip.

"You're hopeless." Jade shook her head and sighed.

"Can't we swap? yours is much more..." Phi made a small gesture.

"Symmetrical?" Jade offered.

"No, adjustable. I feel like I'm being crammed into a skin one size too small." Phi blushed.

"Why not, this one is too big on me anyway." Jade began the dance that only women in gowns can do, the 'I need to undo this zip without ripping anything or knocking myself out' dance. After a short period of time Jade gave up trying to extricate herself from the shimmering black dress and asked Phi for help. Phi who was having similar issues agreed.

"Just let me out of this nightmare!" She pleaded. Jade obliged and Phi practically leapt across the room. The two women switched dresses, Phi letting out the corsetry on the black gown and slipping into it much easier, although it was a tad shorter than standard ball gown length on the taller woman. Jade likewise squirmed into the long pale green dress.

"Now that looks good!" Jade said, turning and looking in the mirrors. Contorting into the pose that women use to look and ask the mental question 'does my bum look big in this'.

"Is yous readys?" Came a small voice from outside the changing room. Jade looked over to Phi who was grinning.

"Yes. I think these two are perfect." Jade replied to the furry merchant. "I think we'll take them."

"Do you do laundry facilities? I'd like to wash this before I wear it?" Phi asked as they bought the dresses.

"I's no. But I's have cousin who does." The rodent finished serving Jade and then walked with Phi down the promenade, presumably to the laundrette. Jade moved off in the other direction, off to meet Kat for lunch.


The evening rolled around and Jade turned up to the ball. She was dressed in an asymmetrical jade green dress it was fitted and accentuating all the right curves. She had on a similarly coloured mask shaped like a butterfly. She hadn't seen Solvay on the way and wondered if he would actually show up. As she entered, a rodent stopped her.

"Pleases for scannings." He didn't giver her a choice and ran a small hand held gizmo over her head. "Thanking you." He nodded and let her pass into the main promenade.

Buffet tables lined the walls with a myriad of cheeses, seeds and vegetables. There was a large dance floor erected and a stage at one end, currently being set up for a band. Several serving rodents handed out glasses of alcohol. wine? Champagne? And each time the server was treated with a kiss from the drinker. There were several large hamster balls around the area, various rodents in various drunken states inside them. The room was decorated with many odd things. Whatever Whiskermas was, it obviously involved drinking, dancing and eating.

"Hi!" There was a male dwarfer in a mask. Sounded a lot like Jamie, he handed her a glass of wine.

"Oh! Thanks!" She smiled and in the spirit of the event gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Have you seen Alex?"

"Nope, not yet. He said he was coming. I think Phi and Seymour are over here..." He lead Jade away to a corner of the promenade area.

It wasn't long before a rotund rodent jumped up on stage.

"Welcome to the annual Whiskermas ball!" There was a huge cheer and the crowds went wild. "As is our tradition, we start with the subconscious karaoke. Whiskermas is a time to share what you feel. So what better way than with music!" The crowds cheered again. "Those who fail to sing will be put in...." He paused for dramatic effect as something was lowered from the ceiling. "The Dark Ball." The crowds oohed, the dwarfers looked bemused.

"What do you think is in there?" Someone asked Jade

"Who cares? I'd rather sing my soul out than find out." She said, shaking her head and spending any time in the darkened, closed, ball.

"After that we will have the dancing. The partying and the whiskering!" He shouted happily.

"What the heck is whiskering?" It was difficult to tell who was who with the masks.

"Who knows?" Said another anonymous dwarfer.

"Ok, our first singer is one of the humans! Come up here Jade!"

"Ah..." she said, as two burly gerbils escorted her to the stage. Singing in a corridor alone was one thing, this was totally different.

"So. Are you going to sing of your love for..."

"Shut up!" She said instinctively, before becoming aware of all the eyes on her.

"So you with to spend the next three minutes in the ball?" The host asked, if she could tell, she would have seen an evil grin on his face.

"No! No! I.... I'll do it." she closed her eyes and refused to open them.

"The screen is there, lyrics will appear." The host said.

"But which song is it?" She asked, nerves causing her to tremble.

'It's this or go into the dark place. Dark places are worse than anything that can come onto that screen'

"When you were scanned, one was picked from your mind. One that refelected your thoughts and feelings about someone or something at the time." Jade began to rapidly think about what she had been thinking about when she walked in and was scanned.

'Oh no...'

"Are you ready?" He gestured to the auto cue and music.

'Oh Gods.... No, please... I don't want anyone to know....'

"I..." She panicked.

The music began to play.

'I was wrong.'

She missed the first beat.

"Toss her in!" Came the chants of the jeering crowd.

"No! Please no! I... I wasn't ready!" She begged.

"Fine. One last chance." The music began to play again. Jade knew the words, she didn't need to see them. She closed her eyes and hoped that everyone suddenly becem oblivious or wouldn't work it out.

"When the rain is blowing in your face, And the whole world is on your case, I could offer you a warm embrace, To make you feel my love." Some of the rodents were singing along, a few held odd torches in the air and swayed from side to side. Jade's throat went tight as she looked across at the other dwarfers. "When the evening shadows and the stars appear, And there is no one there to dry your tears, I could hold you for a million years, To make you feel my love." He stood there, obviously him. Long hair, fag, drink. She hoped that he wasn't listening. Or that he wasn't paying enough attention. "The storms are raging on the rolling sea, And on the highway of regret. The winds of change are blowing wild and free, You ain't seen nothing like me yet."

'Kill me now... Please this can't get any worse' She thought as the song came to it's conclusion.

"I could make you happy, make your dreams come true. Nothing that I wouldn't do.
Go to the ends of the Earth for you, To make you feel my love, To make you feel my love"

The song over, the crowd erupted into applause. Jade fled the stage, too embarrassed to stay.


OOC - What embarrassing songs do people sing?! What is Whiskering?!

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