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The Launch Party ((Radiance))
Ezvin waited in the lobby of the stylish Radiance Hotel. Tonight, it was the epicenter of the city's artistic scene, hosting the launch party for a new album by one of the CCD’s up and coming – a project that Ezvin had poured his heart into as a producer.

Dressed in a sharp ensemble that struck the perfect balance between elegant and artistic flair, Ezvin's attention occasionally swept over the entrance. He was waiting for Jensen, feeling a mix of excitement and a slight nervous anticipation. The party, set in one of the hotel’s event spaces, promised to be a vibrant affair, teeming with artists, musicians, and various creatives from the industry. For Ezvin, such events were familiar territory, but tonight felt different with the anticipation of such an intriguing date.

The lobby around him buzzed with activity. Guests arrived in groups, laughter and conversation flowing freely. Others filed into the Radiance’s lounge bar, teeming with life already.

Ezvin checked his Wallet casually, ensuring he hadn’t missed a message from Jensen.
The Marveet Family
Sage was excited about getting out of the mansion. He was happy to hang around and do nothing with or without Aiden. They might live together but they didn't do everything together. It took Sage a bit to get used to the idea of living the life of money when he had it himself. He still preferred to stay in his office just off the server room in Aiden's basement. It was the coolest place in the house for the server room, and offered the most protection. If say a bomb were to hit. Sage sank alot of money into reinventing his server system. He missed his place in Alexandria and only half heartedly wished he hadn't let the CCD take it all away. He'd been sick then so it h adn't really registered. Now well he missed it. But he was still here. Unlike Grim -- the bastard.

He had a new love, and he had a new friend. His entire world had changed because he had gotten sick with that gross thing in his head. Now it was new. Now it was protected by nanobots. And then some. They really shouldn't have put proprietary bots inside the body of a hacker. s4/7 access to those things? Sage had already extracted several vials and reprogrammed them for various purposes. His current project was making a neural interface for prosthetics. He didn't need the tech -- he only cared about one. I just needed to figure out how to connect Nox's brain to the already existing arm, and then oh the things he could do.

Cruz had gone awol on him. Their joint venture in Cruz's project on hold while Cruz discovered how to be a rebel. It was fine. Sage had more than enough to keep him busy -- specially now that he was also working in tandem with the Atharim. Not really with them, but keep Jaxen off their radar was most fun. And all the other goodies he found. So much information he was data mining. Nox's database would be so much better than theirs. Nox should make a job of it. He wouldn't. He could be like the Ghostbusters! But his friend was not into it and he had his own issues. Dark issues to deal with.

Sage's mind flit from one thing to the next thing while he was supposed to be getting ready. He still wasn't going to dress how Aiden would prefer -- like himself. But he at least was presentable in a tailored coat and a sweater underneath. He'd still never get over the idea that it was called a jumper outside the US. It made him giggle a little. This gig wasn't something Sage would normally go to. But when you dated a rock star you did rock star things. And how else would he find new friends if he didn't go out with Aiden. Not that he didn't already follow these people. Or couldn't do so if he wanted to. But he was too busy doing all the things with Nox to have much time for doing the old boring stuff of following celebs. It was more fun finding dirt on people in the shadowy places. He was supposed to be hunting for monsters -- but hey wants a little snooping while you are protecting the world.

Sage was downstairs in the foyer waiting on Aiden -- even in all his misadventures in his head he still managed to get ready before the rockstar.

[[ooc: Aiden you can roll us on over to the Radiance in your post, if you like. ]]

convert binary | biography
Jensen stepped into the Radiance Hotel with a mix of trepidation and determination. The grandeur of the lobby immediately made him feel out of his element. His gaze swept over the expansive space, taking in the eclectic blend of styles – a stark contrast to his own choice of attire. He had opted for a stylish, slightly formal look, a well-fitted suit with an open collar shirt that now seemed a tad too conventional for the vibrant, creative atmosphere of the event.

As he moved through the lobby, Jensen's Wallet buzzed in his pocket, reminders of the CCD obligations he was intentionally ignoring tonight. Each vibration was a tug of responsibility, a reminder of the life he was momentarily stepping away from, and the lives of people out there who were suffering while he was choosing to ignore them. The decision to come tonight hadn't been an easy one. Most of him felt it was a bad idea, an enormous deviation from the nights wandering the city is Iáson. He had come to depend on those acts of selflessness to counter the guilty conscious that otherwise plagued him. Yet, something about Ezvin, about the possibility of exploring feelings he had long suppressed nearly his entire life, compelled him to take this step. Even if every step of the way hurt. He told himself he would attend to his responsibilities later. Even if it was delayed, he would only stay for an hour or two.

Just inside the main entrance, Jensen's eyes searched the lobby, looking for Ezvin. 

Then, he saw him. Ezvin’s demeanor was a blend of elegance and an effortless cool that seemed to be a natural extension of his personality. Seeing Ezvin there, waiting for him, brought a rush of conflicting emotions. There was a sudden surge of excitement and a flicker that made all his doubts and apprehensions seem trivial.

As their eyes met, Jensen felt a grounding sense of reassurance. He nodded in that way of offering a distant greeting. Ezvin's presence, his easy confidence, and the warm smile he offered as Jensen approached, made him feel welcome despite the unsettling feeling brewing inside. In that moment, the noise of the lobby, the buzz of the guests, and the weight of his own hesitations seemed to fade into the background.

Jensen took a deep breath, steadying himself as he approached.

“Hello, again.”
One of the people who joined the party was Spectra Lin.

She was invited to the launch party on account of her social standing and massive online following as a way to help elevate the awareness of the night. As soon as she exited the car out front, flashes of lights captured her picture from people on the street. She stopped to answer questions about her dress and shoes, and she posed for several minutes for additional pictures underneath the hotel’s signage before going inside. A party planner met her just inside, having been on the lookout for her arrival. These were people who worked behind the scenes to organize socialites and manage the celebrities in attendance, making sure they were comfortable and given the recompense for their time as appropriate.

Spectra found the hotel lobby quite beautiful, and was surprised she’d not been on site before now. She inquired about the venue just to learn the lay of the land a little, and was escorted to the party a few minutes later. She passed by several individuals that caught her eye on the way to the elevator, and was sure to see them upstairs later.
Ezvin purposefully remained in place to let Jensen come to him. The view emptied every thought from his head but one, and he appreciated every second of it.

He never doubted Jensen wouldn’t come. Not after the way he looked at him in the coffee shop. How long he would stay was another matter, but Ezvin wasn’t the sort to give up when the chemistry was this strong.

Moscow in the 40s was a very different place than decades before. Once, their mutual attraction would have necessitated discretion, dancing a fine line of subtle gestures and unspoken words. He would have had to step into Jensen’s shadow on the effort to adjust his collar or straighten his tie in order to allow his hands graze the side of Jensen's throat. Maybe tug a little extra harder on the knot to feel the weight of his body shift with the momentum. But now, thanks to a modern world and a more tolerant government, he could do as much without fear of reprisal. Now, it was the kind of world where as Ezvin pressed near enough to feel Jensen’s body heat, and when he fixed the open line of his collar around the edges of his jacket, he could openly glance down the line of skin beneath his neck and imagine what hinted beneath the shirt. “I’ve been thinking about you all day,” Ezvin confessed, flirting openly. He lingered just long enough to ensure his intentions were clear but not overwhelming, then stepped back, gesturing towards the elevators.

“The party is upstairs.” He nodded toward them.

They reached the elevator alongside Spectra, but she wouldn’t know him in return. He gestured that Spectra could take the elevator first, and they filed in behind.

Music met them the moment the doors parted and the space was shadowed with party lights. The dance floor was alive with movement, while others mingled near the floor-to-ceiling windows, silhouetted against the city's night skyline. But it was to the bar that Ezvin guided Jensen. “What are you drinking?” he leaned in close enough to be heard over the music.
The Marveet Family
Jensen was rushed with conflicting emotions while Ezvin adjusted his collar. The proximity was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, stirring a blend of nervous excitement and anticipation within him. It was a rare kind of intimacy that Jensen wasn’t used to, but he submitted to the adjustment to his clothes without looking away. He was acutely aware of every slight touch, the warmth of Ezvin's fingers brushing against his skin. It wasn't until Ezvin mentioned heading to the elevators that Jensen remembered to breathe, inhaling deeply as if coming up for air. Jensen glanced around them as reality crashed back around them, half-expecting curious onlookers but there were none.

As Jensen followed Ezvin into the heart of the party, he was immediately struck by the vibrant, almost electric atmosphere of the event. The space was alive with energy; music pulsated through the air, lights flickered in rhythm with the beat, and the crowd mingled in various groupings, laughing and having fun. For a moment, Jensen felt as though he had stepped into another world, one far removed from his regular life.

The lively scene was a stark contrast to the social environments he remembered. Parties back in Texas were always grand affairs: galas or fundraisers or family gatherings; formal and elegant. Here, surrounded by artists, musicians, and various creatives, Jensen felt a sense of awe. The way people interacted, the freedom and expressiveness in their movements, and the overall sense of cool sophistication – it was all so different, so exhilarating. He couldn't help but feel like he was someone else in this setting, as if he had momentarily shed his regular persona and stepped into a more adventurous, uninhibited version of himself. It was almost frightening.

At the bar, faced with the decision of what to drink, Jensen's mind raced to match what this version of him might order. As Ezvin leaned in to ask what he would like, Jensen's immediate thought was to order something simple, like water, to maintain a sense of control in this unfamiliar territory. But as he looked around, taking in the party atmosphere and Ezvin's expectant smile, he reconsidered.

He next considered whiskey, the spirit he was nursing the night he met Tony, a night when he was at his lowest, but he quickly remembered he didn’t enjoy its taste. In a split-second decision, Jensen settled on white wine.

"White wine,” he said, a sense of newfound confidence in his voice. As he spoke, he glanced at Ezvin to gauge his reaction then thanked him when it was offered.
With a vodka tonic in hand – a clear, crisp drink with a twist of citrus – Ezvin joined Jensen and they mixed with the crowd.

"Ezvin!" a colleague called out and waved them over, and Ezvin responded by approaching.

"Jensen, meet some of the talented people I work with," he said, gesturing towards a group of stylishly dressed individuals. He turned towards Jensen, his hand resting briefly on his back, guiding him into the circle.

With each introduction, Ezvin's charm was on display. He spoke in a way that made each person feel like the center of attention, a skill that also helped ease Jensen into the conversation. His anecdotes were peppered with humor, his comments insightful, and his demeanor inclusive, always making sure his date felt like part of the group.

Ezvin's flirtation remained near constant, but it was more subtle – a quick glance at Jensen, a light touch on the arm, a private smile that lingered just a moment longer. He would often catch Jensen's eye mid-conversation or make a playful comment that was meant just for Jensen, amidst the general talk.
The Marveet Family
Jensen was gradually drawn into the conversations around him, thanks in no small part to Ezvin’s effortless introductions. With each new face and story, his initial apprehension began to dissolve, replaced by a sense of belonging he hadn’t anticipated feeling in such a setting.

The combination of the wine and the energy of the party worked a sort of disinhibition magic on him. The usual barriers he put up, the constant reminders of responsibilities and his self-imposed restraint began to fade into the background. It was as if the party, coupled with Ezvin's charisma, coaxed out a more relaxed, open version of himself. He could almost close his eyes and feel the man he once was, someone familiar and nearly forgotten. In doing so, Jensen found himself laughing more freely and engaging in conversations with a newfound ease. His comments were thoughtful, his jokes corny, but the more he interacted, the more the reasons for his initial nervousness seemed distant and unimportant.

Jensen began to recognize a shift in his own behavior. In one such moment, as Ezvin shared a story about a recording session gone awry, Jensen found himself genuinely amused. A story had formed in his mind of Ezvin’s part in this world, but he wasn’t certain. He leaned in closer, his smile curious and genuine. “What exactly is it that you do?” he asked, his tone playful.
Alistair had not been accustomed to car services, spending time with the elites at upscale parties, or being led around by a high-class escort who claimed to be "part of the family." His quick ascension within the Family had seemed abrupt, like a dream from which he might awaken at any moment. He often thought he would suddenly wake and find himself back in a cheap hotel on the road in some small southern town, next to a rat he had met after a match.

When the door of the Rolls opened, the chauffeur stood by, and Nadya exited. Alistair waited for a few moments, his gaze fixed through Nadya to the front of the hotel. He paused briefly.

"Alistair, are you coming? Don't worry, they don't bite. But I'll kick your ass if you don't get out; I'm freezing!" Nadya playfully chided in a thick Russian accent, standing in a skimpy party dress in the autumn cold. "Why don't you evaluate your current life situation when you aren't making me wait here, freezing my tits off. I've never known you to not come quickly." With these playful jabs, Nadya attempted to ease his nerves with her punchy humor.

Taking a deep breath and letting his shoulders relax, Alistair took her hand and rose from the car. He was dressed in a black suit and button-up white shirt.

Mr. P's goal for the event was not to showcase Alistair but to subtly blend him into the social milieu. The plan was to quietly weave him into the social fabric while building an aura around him, introducing him to key people, influencers, businessmen, media tycoons, and socialites who shaped reality.

Arm in arm, they entered the buzzing lobby. Large posters of the album cover hung from the ceiling; music echoed in the distance; the lighting, tailored for the atmosphere, was vibrant. Everyone was dressed for an upscale yet fun night of dancing and frivolity. The mood was set for enjoyment.

"Well, little sparrow, the first lesson about these events is that you get a drink first—number one rule. Get a drink as soon as you step in. It's practical; you can loosen up and survey the room. But the bar is also where people meet. Everyone there is waiting for a drink, already drinking, or positioned to interact. Come with me," she instructed in a thick Russian accent, turning to the bartender.

"I'll have some champagne. He'll take a Manhattan," Nadya ordered, choosing Alistair's drink without asking.

"Oh, how did you know?" Alistair quipped with a smile, fully aware of her tactics.

As they waited at the bar, Nadya surveyed the room like a sniper scoping out targets, quickly identifying whom she would introduce Alistair to.

"Thank you," Alistair said, nodding as he took his Manhattan from the female bartender, who replied in a soft, flirty voice, "You're very welcome." "Now what, Nadya? Are you going to parade me around like a piece of meat for these elite assholes?" Alistair was about to learn the game he needed to play.
Ezvin casually draped an arm around Jensen’s shoulder and steered him around to face one of the prominent banners showcasing the album cover. “See that, Jensen? I’m a producer that helped get this album finished.” He fixed him with a charmingly confident grin awaiting what was sure to be an impressed reaction.

But Jensen’s attention was immediately stolen by the same colleague that summoned Ezvin to their group. His name was Darya, a sound engineer with whom Ezvin had a history, but it was all water under the bridge.

Darya interrupted. “He’s as smooth a liar as they come, Jensen. Ignore every single thing this slick asshole says. You hear that? Ezvin fucking Marveet wrote this song.” His words were followed by an exhuberant whoop-whoop, a triumphant howl of admiration as loud as it was affectionate. Darya playfully tapped his fingers against Ezvin’s chest with enough force to nudge him back a step, his actions a mix of jest and genuine appreciation. The banter was met with good-natured head shaking on Ezvin’s part, but as Darya swung his drink through the air in an impromptu toast, his inebriation was obvious.

“It is such a damn good song,” Ezvin boasted, using the perfect opportunity to get away. “Come dance,” he insisted.
The Marveet Family

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