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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Roots & Branches: The Problem of Auden
The dance with Cassius ended far sooner than she wanted to admit, but three dances seemed pushing it on luck. She had promised Gideon a dance and she didn’t wish to leave the half-Bajoran waiting for much longer. After saying their farewells and wishing the trader a pleasant journey, she turned in search of the security chief. She caught her father’s eye, however, and she silently groaned to herself. ‘Be pleasant. Just be pleasant for one night, Ellie. You promised you’d be pleasant for one night.’ Marielle took a breath as she made her way towards her father. When she neared, she paused briefly at the sight of Auden Cortland Blake standing beside him. She could not bite back the audible whine of complaint. The researcher had hoped with all her might that the insufferable tool of a man wouldn’t have made it to the gala that evening, but apparently luck was not on her side because there he was. She turned her head towards the direction where she had left her escort and seriously contemplated making her way back to him. Deciding that it was probably best to just get the whole experience out of the way so she could enjoy the evening with Gideon, the diminutive woman made her way towards the pair. Dread filled every fiber of her being as she caught her father shaking hands with Auden.
Renard grinned cheekily as he appeared from the crowd that surrounded Gideon and the two Italian ambassadors from the Claudian system. “Si sta tentando di rubare l’amante di Mariëlle, Signora Gianna? (Are you trying to steal Marielle’s lover?)” he teased lightly.
The remark had Alessandro bristling, though he laughed brightly as his wife stammered beside him. “Questo giovane avrebbe rotto l’anca! (This young man would have broken his hip!)” His glee only increased when his wife smacked him on the back of his head.
Gideon raised his hands in innocence. “Sei bella, signora, ma non ho occhi solo per Marielle. (You’re beautiful, ma’am, but I only have yes for Marielle.)” He laughed lightly though his cheeks colored as he looked toward Renard with a shake of his head. The security chief glanced toward the two ambassadors. “Si prega di scusarci. I miei migliori auguri per il vostro figlio. (Please excuse us. My best wishes for your son.)”
The eldest of the Deniaud siblings laughed as he patted Gideon lightly on the shoulder. With a motion of his chin, he indicated towards the orchestra as Marielle made her way out of the crowd and towards their father and the tall young man by his side. “I’m starting to wonder about you. You didn’t interrupt her dance. No matter. The problem is Auden Cortland Blake,” he muttered. “Come on.” Renard led the way through the crowd.
“I would have stepped on her toes,” he murmured. He traced Renard’s gaze as they walked, immediately sizing up the man with Marielle’s father. Gideon nodded in understanding as he watched quietly. His hands slid into his pockets as he stretched his fingers.
“Papa,” the researcher kept her eyes on her father, purposefully ignoring Auden as he stared at her. She did not like the smug look on his face and chose to believe that the expression was simply how the Indirian looked every second of the day. “It seems as if your gala is quite the success.” She watched as her mother stepped out of the crowd to join her father. The feeling of dread only increased in the pit of her stomach.
Aubert glanced down at his daughter, his near bony fingers reaching out for his daughter’s hand when she neared. He pulled her closer towards the orchestra. “Mariëlle. Auden has graciously decided to assist you in removing the dishonour you’ve been carrying since that horrid display with that Stevenson boy.”
Marielle blinked, the world coming to a standstill as she tried to comprehend what her father was revealing to her. “I- Excuse- Wait. What?”
Auden, tall and athletic with a defined chin, ran his fingers through the thick strands of his black and red hair. His gold and red irises focused on the engineer, a lewd twinkle sparking through his expression. “Speechless, for once. It’s a good quality in a wife, and one I hope you will continue to have once we’ve married.”
Gideon hummed softly as he approached with Renard. “What’s going on?” he asked quietly, his gaze remaining on the Indirian.
The eldest Deniaud sibling frowned, his lips forming a thin line as he replied to Gideon’s question in a hushed tone, “Papa has agreed to Auden’s request to marry my sister.” His eyes moved over the unsuspecting crowd. “He’ll be making the announcement soon. Just enough time to make sure Chaos knows and can’t make a scene.”
She stared at Auden, her head shaking furiously in short motions. “No. I refuse.” Her gaze turned to her parents, finding both of them staring at her impatiently. “No. You can’t be serious. He’s the very definition of a boneheaded fraktwit.”
The half-Bajoran felt his heart stutter in his chest and he groaned softly as his step hiccuped. Gideon panted softly as he looked toward Renard. He pushed faster through the crowd.
Renard raised a brow and began pushing Gideon closer towards the stage. “Something’s not right,” he muttered. “Papa doesn’t look happy.”
“Mariëlle!” hissed Aubert quietly, his tone dangerous as his eyes darted around the ballroom. “This is not the time nor the place. Apologize to your-”
“I will not,” the researcher pulled away from the three, her step stuttering slightly against the floor.
“Do not embarrass me, Mariëlle,” Auden warned as he approached the the diminutive woman. His smile strained as his eyes glanced at the people that were nearest to the orchestra. Thankfully, no one had noticed. The guests were busy enjoying their wine, but he was sure the distraction would be short lived. He reached out, gripping Marielle tightly by her upper arm when he reached her.
Marielle glared at Auden as he gripped her tightly. Her hand came up as she twisted away, turning just as Gideon had shown her in their self-defense classes. The sound of her slap against Auden’s cheek was loud enough to cause the orchestra to falter a note. The sting in her hand moved through her arm, her eyes widening as she caught the look of surprise and anger flashing in her supposed fiance’s face. She turned to look at her parents, and she cringed at the rage that flared in her father’s eyes. Shaking her head, she stepped away. Her heels stuttered on the floor. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she muttered. The researcher turned to glance at the crowd and she winced at seeing the shocked faces of those that had witnessed the incident. When she caught sight of Gideon and Renard making their way towards her, it had been enough and she dashed towards one of the open doors that led to the garden.
It was happening so quickly, but Gideon reacted as he darted away from Renard and pushed through several groups of people without apology. He watched as Auden coiled, his fist clenching to strike. His momentum was halted when Marielle’s brother caught up to him.
Renard grabbed Gideon by the arm just before he reached the edge of the group. “Come,” he urged, leading the security chief to the side, towards the doors that led to the garden. His sharp green eyes lingered on his father and mother, watching as he surrounded Auden and fussed over his cheek. Shaking his head, he continued to lead the way.