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E - Everyone

The Fire Underneath of Things - 31

by fortis


~1390 words

Grey… then Ivy.

Well, she hadn’t reacted negatively. She was pretty quiet, but Grey chalked that up to surprise and… maybe wonder at his machine? It worked perfectly. The long, nimble spindle-fingers had felt like an extension of his own. But now they were inside. This is where the fun began. He tugged on Ivy’s arm. “Alright,” he whispered. “I’m not sure where exactly the thing I’m looking for is, but we’ll find it, and I’ll know it when I see it. C’mon, let’s check over here first.”

They walked through decadent rooms filled with fancy furniture, packed with a plethora of portraits, and choked with countless chandeliers. It was mostly lost on Grey. This was the sort of posturing he’d hated so much while he had lived with his parents. The opulence of the rooms mostly just made him sick, and he found himself trying to hurry Ivy along. She was staring open-mouthed at every little trinket. She said things like, “Is this the third library?” and “Do they really have a room just for playing billiards? They really don’t do anything else in this room?” and “What did you say this room was for again?”

“It’s a panic room,” Grey explained. They were looking into a room Grey had been rather hopeful about. The door looked thick and indestructible, and it was set in a remote location of the house. When the door had swung easily open at his touch, however, he knew it couldn’t be right. The room itself was small, almost cramped, and its only furniture was a cluster of comfortable-looking chairs and a well-stocked cupboard.

“What’s a panic room?” Ivy asked, in awe of the house even when faced with a glorified closet. “Is it where they go when they panic about which room to visit next?”

Grey snorted. “That’s something folks like these would do, but it’s not the intended purpose of the room. This is where they would go for safety if someone broke into their house.”

“Like right now?” Ivy’s voice was very, very quiet.

“No, because nobody’s home, and we’re not threatening anyone. It would be used if amurderer broke in. We’re not here to hurt anyone. See this door?” Grey pointed at the inside of the door where there were twelve locks of varying types. “This is a room for keeping people out. That’s why it’s so heavy, too. I think under this wood covering it might be solid stone.”

“Wow,” Ivy whispered.

“But it’s not what we’re looking for, so come on.”

They continued through the house, Grey growing increasingly irritated that they weren’t finding what he was looking for. He knew it wasn’t going to be in the conservatory, but when Ivy begged him to let her see the plants, he relented. It was a date after all. She should be entitled to see some flowers.

--

The “conservatory” as Grey called it was beautiful. Ivy had never seen so many exotic flowers in one place. It was obvious someone here really cared for plants. When she’d asked Grey about it, he’d shrugged and said, “Eh, probably they pay a gardener to keep things looking decent.” But Ivy could tell these plants were more than a job. Someone cared about them deeply. It was nice to see. Although it looked like they had gone a couple days untended-to.

She took a moment to catch her breath when she was behind some trees and out of Grey’s sight. She didn’t like that he had broken into this house, but it didn’t seem like he was trying to do any harm, and she had honestly really enjoyed looking at all the lavish rooms. She didn’t know what he was planning or what he was looking for, but it could be anything. It was probably something sweet, Ivy convinced herself. And she had promised to at least try to like the idea. Ivy set aside her fears, took one last look at the bamboo orchids she was hiding behind, and went back to Grey, ready to continue with their strange house tour.

They passed through a dining room and a music room with the most beautiful piano Ivy had ever seen, but Grey still wasn’t satisfied. “We could check down there,” Ivy suggested, pointing to a staircase.

“No, no. It wouldn’t be downstairs. That’s where the servants would sleep. And upstairs probably is just bedrooms. No, there’s one more wing we haven’t checked yet, and I’d bet anything it’ll be there.”

They passed through the “grand foyer” for the third time, its many stairs and balconies still entrancing Ivy, and the great chandelier, even darkened, dizzied her.

“No time to waste admiring this room again,” Grey said, tugging on her arm. “The final wing is through these big doors.”

They were the doors that they had faced while coming in. They were the largest doors in the building, with ornate, gold-leafed carvings on them. But Grey had insisted they check the left and right wings first. He had thought it more likely that whatever he was looking for would be there. Now he hefted the doors open.

The room was dark, as Grey had extinguished his lightbox while he had been struggling with the heavy doors, so at first, Ivy couldn’t see anything to tell what kind of room it was. Their first steps into the room, while Grey fumbled to switch the lightbox back on, reminded Ivy of the Workshop when she had first entered it. It had been dark as well, and, just like this room, it had been filled with echoes.

“Grey?” Ivy whispered. From the corners of the room came a whispery chorus of “Grey? Grey? Grey?”

“Yeah?”

“What room is this?”

Finally, with a click, the lightbox hummed to life. Grey lifted the lighted rod and shone it around the room. “The ballroom of course. If there was a real ball going on, there would be tapestries and cloth decorations, plush furniture and many, many people here to dampen the echoes.” A funny look crept over Grey’s face, and he looked intensely at Ivy.

“What?” she asked, flushing under his sudden scrutiny.

He bowed stiffly. “Would you do me the pleasure of giving me this next dance?” He said this with such ceremony and cordiality that Ivy would never have known it was him except he was the only other person in the room.

“I… alright?” Ivy said, unsure what the correct response was supposed to be.

“Wonderful,” he said, and instead of grabbing her hand and dragging her along as he’d been doing all night, he placed his arm under hers and gently led her to the center of the dance floor.

“I must admit that I don’t know one step of dancing,” said Ivy.

“Don’t worry,” Grey said with a small, amused smile. “I’ll lead.”

And so he did. Ivy stumbled a lot at first, unsure where her body was supposed to be going, but soon she found the rhythm of Grey’s movements, and began to trust him enough to where he nudged her one way and she would flow like a river in that direction. It was strange to be dancing in near-dark with no music and no one else in the room, but Grey made it feel natural. He held her quite close to him, and this, combined with the many spins the dance required, began to make Ivy a little dizzy. Soon she began to stumble again, and Grey laughed quietly and stopped their dance.

“Sorry, I don’t know what came over me,” he said, rubbing the back of his neck. “I suppose this big fancy place is getting to me.”

Swaying on her feet from being stopped so suddenly, Ivy smiled and said, “Well I enjoyed it immensely. Was this what you wanted to show me?”

Grey looked thoughtful for a moment. “You really liked it that much?”

“Yes! I’ve always wanted to go to a fancy ball in a fancy house, but I never have.”

“Hmm. Well, I’m sure you’ll like the next thing I have to show you even more. Come on, there are several doors leading out of this room. I’m sure it’ll be behind one of them.”

--

Note to self for next chapter: He pulled his hand out, and for a moment, it looked to Ivy as if he had just extricated a bloody heart from the dark chest of the house.


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Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:17 pm
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ExOmelas wrote a review...



Almost there...

“Like right now?” Ivy’s voice was very, very quiet.

Something about this sentence is just right. That's nice and subtle, but also tells me exactly how Ivy is feeling.

It would be used if amurderer broke in.

Missed space

It was probably something sweet, Ivy convinced herself.

I like the detail of her having to convince herself of this.

Overall:

I think I might have been slightly too harsh last chapter. I stand by everything I said about Ivy's sudden change in heart towards Grey, but I'm worried I sounded too confrontational. I have made similar mistakes in writing socially awkward male characters before, and they can be quite tempting traps to fall into.

That being said, I think a result of this sudden change in heart is that Ivy suddenly becomes a lot less strong than she had been before. She knew when Grey was being weird and stopped it. She'd just not go to the workshop, or be quiet. Now she's just sort of going along with it, and I'm just not sure about that.

Because like, it's bloody weird. This is a strange thing to do on a date. And Grey's not even asking. He can even see she's uncomfortable with it, yet he's going ahead with it. Grey can be a little odd, sure, but I think he's considerate enough that he'd not force Ivy to do this.

What you do brilliantly in this chapter though is show Ivy's fascination and thereby her class situation without explicitly telling me. The bit with the plants in particular was spectacular. Some of the things she said eg "Is this the third library?" or something to that effect were also really funny.

All in all, mixed reactions to this chapter,
Biscuits :)




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Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:12 am
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Que wrote a review...



Hi!!

This was honestly a really sweet chapter- I mean, if I was Ivy, I wouldn't hardly be able to check out all the rooms because we just broke into a house. So, uh, I'm glad she got over it for a minute so she could have a cute dance with Grey. XD This (if we ignore the breaking and entering) is probably the best I've seen Grey- not creepy, just a nice person, dancing with Ivy like she's secretly wanted. That was all too wonderful. <3

Other than that, man it was one big house. I feel like Ivy should have been in one of these two situations: either she was anxious for the first little bit because they broke into a house but then relaxed as she was overcome by the grandeur and beauty of the house, or she was dazzled at first, but grew more worried as they spent longer and longer in the house. Ivy was kind of neither of those, and since she's such a good person, I felt like she should be a little more worried about that, but maybe she will be later on.

Anyway, I was just pleased and happy until that decidedly ominous note to self- thanks a lot! XD But this was just very enjoyable to read~ And I'm so worried for them. I've grown too attached. <3

-Q




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Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:23 pm
zaminami wrote a review...



Heya, foris! Kara Stevens here for a (hopefully) quick review!

Give me your soul

Okay, I have never read the other chapters before, but here we go:

STOP! It's Grammar time!



amurderer


Probably a typo, but I'll point it out to you.

They continued through the house, Grey growing increasingly irritated that they weren’t finding what he was looking for.


The comma should be replaced by a period or a semicolon to fix the comma splice.

The “conservatory” as Grey called it was beautiful.


Just a small nitpick, but this seems a little bit awkward. I would make it into:

The "conservatory" - as Grey called it - was beautiful.

Instead of what you have there :D

untended-to.


There doesn't need to be a dash.

Otherwise, your grammar is good! Most of it was just nitpicks, but whatever, I point out the nitpicks too.

Other thoughts:



“Is it where they go when they panic about which room to visit next?”


I like Ivy already XD she reminds me so much of myself I swear.

Overall:



This is very good. I really enjoyed it, even though I didn't have a very good idea of what was going on since I haven't read the other chapters. The detail is exquisite, and your grammar is amazing, other than the occasional nitpick and typo. But even I make those types of mistakes sometimes! Also, can you tag me when the next chapter comes out? Thanks! I would love to review that too :D

Give me your soul already! --

Kara




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Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:23 am
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BluesClues wrote a review...



Maaaaaaaaaan, but I don't even know what he's looking for yet!

This is where the fun began.


Oh, Grey. Oh, Grey. Oh, Grey. Grey. My man. My dude. My guy. You're lucky Ivy (for some reason) likes you so much, because if this was a date you'd asked me on, I would have long since noped the heck out.

(That note to self though. What iiiiiiiiiis it???)

(But don't actually tell me.)

(I'll just wait)

*totally knew they were going to dance from the moment that last room turned out to be a ballroom*

*impressed Ivy trusts Grey enough to follow in dance when literally their date is him breaking into someone's house*

Honestly, this has probably been my favorite part of Grey's character so far. Not the breaking-into-a-house-on-a-date part, but seeing his thoughts on the house because he grew up in that lifestyle. I just enjoyed seeing how disdainful he was of it, like, "Who even needs all this crap? Why do people have all this when there are other people with nothing?" Sometimes I forget he actually came from a well-to-do family, but here I remembered and I like seeing how he feels about it. He could be one of those people like, "If these lowly peasants knew who I was..." but instead he just kind of hides it and lives a life of poverty.

Like a monk!

Okay, not like a monk. But still. I don't think Ivy even knows this about him yet! I'm curious to see what she'll think of it. I hope it'll come up sometime soon. Like maybe she's all, "How does he know what all these different rooms are, he has less money than I do" or something.

For now

She didn’t know what he was planning or what he was looking for, but it could be anything. It was probably something sweet, Ivy convinced herself. And she had promised to at least try to like the idea.


dang, she's got it bad.

Image





I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.
— Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest