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 Where was it that we last left off?, tagged: noemi!
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
His father loved these sort of events and once upon a time, Apollo had too. A night filled with dancing and schmoozing, rubbing elbows with Manhattan's finest. It used to be a great time, putting these sorts of things on, smiling at the guests without a care in the world. These days however, expectation had been heaped upon his shoulders. Apollo was expected to spend the evening standing about with a bunch of old men, discussing politics and business practices. While he had gleaned the knowledge necessary for such endeavors he had little interest in actually doing so. Business interested him little, most especially when his father was standing so close, a hand on his shoulder and looking much like a hawk or other bird of prey. No no, Apollo had no desire to have that be his evening and so when his father had insisted he attend with his new assistant, Noemi, Apollo had jumped at the chance. Granted, he didn't much think she was going to a ball of fun, but any excuse to get out of standing around with a bunch of stuffy old business men was good enough for him.

He knew his father would have enticed Noemi to accompany him tonight. The young woman all but loathed Apollo and he knew it, been feeding off of it for a few weeks now. When she was around he did his best to grate her nerves, trying diligently to make her just go away. She was a stubborn one though, he had to give her credit where credit was due. Whatever reasons she had for sticking to this, they must have been incredible because she'd yet to abandon ship with him. She'd lost her mind once or twice and on several occasions Apollo had seen fire in her eyes, saw her fingers twitch as she contemplated beating his face in with the nearest inanimate object, but she hadn't. No, Noemi Vidal was a picture perfect assistant and if he'd have been someone else, she'd have been his best asset. At the moment though, she was little more than a reminder of what a huge failure he was, not only in his position, but as a person as well. There was no way he'd have been able to deal with all he'd tossed at her had their roles been reversed. Noemi had a stamina he didn't possess, didn't know if he ever could possess. She pushed on, every day arriving early and sometimes even staying late. She did all that he asked, so long as she deemed it necessary, and was quick to try and put him in his place. It didn't always work, often times he'd needle her and drive her mad, but she never let him roll her over. Well, not really anyway. They had both had their wins over the past weeks.

Apollo was actually looking forward to the evening, in truth. He'd yet to see his assistant in anything more than her work attire, all prim and proper with her glasses on her face and stern look on her features. She was beautiful in those moments he caught her not glaring at him, when she was working on something without any thought as to who else was in the room. There was something about her that made made his heart quicken, though he'd pushed it aside so far. Noemi had no interest in him, that much he'd gathered about her. He was smart, but she was brilliant. Where he was spoiled and laid back, she was strict and dutiful. They would make a terrible pair, he was sure but that didn't stop him from thinking about it. He hadn't mentioned it to anyone, not even Shaw. Noemi would be out of his life just as soon as he could convince her to drop him and then that would be that. She'd go on to do whatever it was her heart desired and he'd continue on doing what he did. What was it he was doing, anyway? Again, he pushed the thought away. The future wasn't something he liked to think about. Not anymore.

He'd been instructed to pick Noemi up at her apartment, something he was more than pleased to do if only because he knew it was going to irritate her. He didn't much care, Apollo knew his father had paid her a pretty penny to accompany him tonight, so if she was put out that she had to show up to the gala on the arm of a rich and gorgeous man, so be it. Apollo was going to be more than pleased with her on his arm, even more so because he knew she was going to be glaring daggers at him. He couldn't wait to see what sort of trouble he could stir up in her this evening. He didn't have anything particular planned, but realistically, just being himself grated her so he didn't think he was going to have to work to hard. Still, he intended to stay alongside her most of the night, or at least until she tried to choke him to death.

Apollo slid out of the car, adjusting his jacket. He was dressed in mostly gold and black, two of his favorite colors. He ran a hand through his hair before heading for Noemi's apartment. She'd been instructed to be ready by 5pm. It was 4:50.

He came up to her apartment door, knocking three times. He doubted she expected him to collect her personally, but he was intent upon surprising her. A little bit of it was because he wanted to irritate her for the maximum amount of time, but he'd not admit that he wanted to have her to himself for just a few moments. He wanted to see her, to really see her before the whole shindig started, before people's eyes were on them and he had to put on a show. He still had a show to put on of course, Noemi thought him a certain sort of person and he had to keep up the act, but he'd be a liar if he didn't say he wanted her to see some facet of his true personality. What of his true personality that was showing through was anyone's best guess, but Apollo put on a charismatic grin and waited for Noemi to open the door.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
BELLE
TWENTY THREE
MOLECULAR IMMOBILIZATION
N/A
HETEROSEXUAL
SHE/HER

played by TEEJAY30 posts • prefers SHE/HER pronouns
with my feelings on
fire guess i'm a
bad liar
There was one very important lesson that Noemi had learned since she had moved to New York. It was expensive. Not just a little bit expensive but really, really expensive. The small studio apartment she had rented in a not so nice neighborhood in Manhattan was over a thousand dollars a month in rent and that didn’t include utilities. She still had to pay for water, garbage, and electricity all separately. Not to mention her internet bill and cell phone bill. To top it all off, there was only so much that her student loans would pay for. College books were ridiculously pricey and sometimes she felt like America just didn’t want its people to be educated. It was mind boggling to think that in order to make her dream come true she had to put out so much money that she would spend all of her life repaying. Noemi didn’t think it was very fair but she also knew that it was life. This was the reality of it and she couldn’t change it. Not unless she wanted to move back to Miami and get a pointless job that she would resent later on. No, she didn’t want to be one of those people that gave up on what she wanted and fifty years down the road regretted it. She had fought too hard and come too far for that. She was going to see this through to the end.

So when Adonis Prince had called her to meet with him in his office a few days ago with an offer she couldn’t quite refuse, Noemi found herself smack dab in the middle of a moral dilemma. Mr. Prince was offering her a on thousand dollar bonus if she would accompany Apollo to the upcoming charity gala that Epsilon International was hosting. Noemi had been so taken aback by the offer that she had laughed. A short burst of laughter that was wildly inappropriate but she hadn’t been able to help it. This man was going to pay her extra money just to be his son’s date. There had been desperation in the man’s eyes and Noemi had to wonder as to what Apollo had done in the past to put his father in such a position. Was Adonis Prince really so concerned that his son was going to embarrass him with the date he brought that he was using her as insurance? Apparently so. Noemi had opened her mouth to decline his offer and explain that she didn’t feel right about accepting such a large sum of money for something like this but something stopped her. Suddenly, a reminder of all the money she didn’t have reared it’s head and she hesitated. It had been a long time since she had actually gone grocery shopping, save a few small trips to the bodega down the street, and then there was her cell phone bill which she was behind on but refused to ask for help from her family. A thousand dollars to someone who was broke was a lot of money. It could really help her out.

Her silence had apparently worried Adonis Prince and he offered not only the money for being Apollo’s date but an extra five hundred dollars to buy a dress, shoes, and jewelry. Noemi finally agreed and accepted the check handed to her for $500.00. The first part of her bonus with the second coming after the evening was over. Adonis wanted to ensure that Noemi stayed with Apollo the entire night so he didn’t do something stupid. Adonis informed her that one of his assistants would be in touch with her soon to take her shopping for her dress and accessories. Noemi left his office a few moments later with a rather icky feeling in the pit of her stomach. It wasn’t right to do this but part of her just couldn’t deny the fact she really needed it. Surely if she was in such need than it would be okay, right? God wouldn’t condemn her for it...right? Noemi sure hoped he had a sense of humor.

Two days later, Noemi met with Adonis Prince’s assistant at a store that was way beyond her budget. It was a store that she would never have dreamed of walking into on her own. She would have been stared at or laughed out of it like Julia Roberts was in Pretty Woman. The assistant, Alison, was not much older than Noemi and clearly way more fashion forward than she could ever hope to be. It wasn’t clear to her whether this woman wanted to be here and doing this but she wore a smile nonetheless. A strange thought occurred to her then. Had Apollo slept with this woman? Noemi couldn’t explain the odd feeling that took over her. Something altogether unpleasant. Something that she wouldn’t admit was akin to jealousy. No, she refused to entertain such an idea. There was nothing--absolutely nothing--about Apollo Prince that she was even remotely interested in. So why did the idea of him rolling in the sheets with this beautifully voluptuous blonde make her feel so ill at ease. Alison pulled many dresses from the rack and had Noemi try them all on with different shoes. It took hours but finally they found a dress and pair of shoes they both agreed to. The dress was a long evening gown that was gold at the top and faded into black. It was a beautiful dress and Noemi felt like a movie star in it. Everything she needed to go with the dress was paid for and would be delivered to her apartment before the day of the gala, pressed and ready to go.

That day came all too quickly and Noemi spent most of the morning studying since she knew it would be a late evening and there was the possibility she would sleep late the following day. It was the weekend and that’s normally when she studied most. The check that Adonis Prince had given her remained on her desk, taunting her. Even though she had taken it, Noemi had not yet deposited it into her account. Something was holding her back from doing so though she wasn’t sure what. Come late afternoon, Noemi began to get ready. She was efficient enough that she could apply her own makeup suited to her preference and she’d asked a friend from class to help her with her hair and to get into her dress. Said friend who teased her about how lucky she was to be going to the gala with Apollo Prince. Noemi was sure to advise her friend that this was strictly business and that Apollo was not some Prince Charming but someone who was rage inducing. Even so, there was a twinge of excitement in her belly. Noemi had never been to something like this before. She would have to be sure to take lots of pictures to send to her mother.

As far as she had been told, Noemi would be picked up at her apartment by a driver and she was to meet Apollo there. So when the knock came to her door she assumed it was the driver. She picked up the small wristlet that held her ID, lipstick, cell phone, and a bit of cash and headed to the door. She stopped only once to check her makeup before answering the door.

And when Noemi saw who it was on the other side, her eyes widened in surprised and her mouth fell open. Apollo Prince himself stood before her and suddenly the world didn’t make any damn sense once more. Had he really come to the slums to pick her up himself? That was an awful lot of effort for someone he so clearly didn’t like or care about.

Realizing she was gaping at him like a fish out of water, Noemi drew in a breath. ”What...are you doing here?” she asked, her voice tight. Why? Why did he have to do these things? Why did he have to change plans and just be so all around annoying? And why, goddammit, did he have to look so incredibly handsome in that suit. Noemi felt her heart quicken and her breath catch as she looked at him. Apollo was the vision of a golden god of old in that moment and suddenly she felt weak at the knees. This was a terrible idea. She had made a huge mistake in agreeing to be his date.

APOLLO A. PRINCE
quote
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
Noemi's expression when she'd opened the door, when she'd turned her face up to see just who was standing behind it, was intensely satisfying. Her eyes had widened in surprised, her mouth open as she apparently searched for words for this moment. Apollo couldn't have been more pleased. Well, that was a lie. Had she decided that in this moment she could no longer hide her deep seated feelings for him and flung her arms about his neck, he was sure he'd have found more pleasure in that. But alas, he took what he could. She drew in a breath then and asked him what he was doing here. At least he had the common sense to look crestfallen. He brought a hand to his heart as if she'd wounded him, eyebrows knitted together. "I thought it might be nice to come collect you myself." He was about to tack on something else along the lines of what, aren't you pleased to see me? but he knew better. That would be inviting her ire much too early. He had all night to do that.

Apollo took a step back taking a sweeping look at her. His eyes didn't linger and though it was obviously he was taking her in, it wasn't uncouth. He brought his gaze back to her face, of which was devoid of glasses. She wore gold, of which he knew only because the assistant that had taken Noemi shopping had told him. He'd made sure to give the woman a bit of incentive, her taste in dresses of course mirroring his own. Gold was his favorite color and while he hadn't be positive Noemi would end up in gold, he'd been hopeful. Of course he'd have worn a different color had he needed to; his intention was to match her because he absolutely knew it would drive her crazy. His grin had already returned, Apollo unable to keep it off of his face for very long. Not to mention seeing such a beautiful sight would bring anyone joy, even if said sight probably wanted to beat him. It was fine, he'd let her manhandle him with those perfectly manicured fingers if she so wished. "You look stunning." He said genuinely.

She absolutely did look stunning. She dressed up well, not that she wasn't easy on the eyes any other day. Still, Noemi didn't often dress to draw the eye. She was sensible and refined, a real lady in so many aspects of the word. More than once Apollo had entertained little fantasies about her, though in truth he thought he probably had a better chance at being killed by her than sleeping with her. She was so no nonsense and some days he wondered if she had any inclination of fun in her. He'd gleaned from Cosette that Noemi was more than work hard, study hard, though getting any real information from her had been difficult. Cosette liked to try and make him see things from a different perspective. She'd insisted he ask Noemi things about her himself, to really try and make a connection with the woman. Cosette was goodhearted and Apollo was glad his father had never hired her to be his assistant and chase him down. Cosette and Noemi were of a similar sort and when he looked at Noemi he often felt that strange pang of guilt. Guilt that he pushed her to such anger, that he said such offhandedly stupid and rude things to her. He squashed the thought now as he always did. When Noemi finally quit maybe he'd go to his father and tell the man no more of this. It was a grand thought, but would he really do it? Hm.

He gave a little bend of his waist before offering Noemi his arm. If she took it, it'd be a miracle but he was going to give it a shot. "Allow me to escort you to the car then? It'd be my pleasure." he said with a wink and a grin.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
BELLE
TWENTY THREE
MOLECULAR IMMOBILIZATION
N/A
HETEROSEXUAL
SHE/HER

played by TEEJAY30 posts • prefers SHE/HER pronouns
with my feelings on
fire guess i'm a
bad liar
There was something quite surreal about this moment. Suddenly, Noemi didn’t feel like an adult woman paving the path to a promising career. Instead she felt like a teenager again. Like one of the unpopular girls who was being asked to the prom by the most popular guy in school only to find out it was a prank. It was the most ridiculous insecurity she could possibly have but it was there nonetheless, settled in the center of her chest. There had never been even a moment before now where Apollo could have made her feel this way so why was it happening? She couldn’t begin to truly understand it. Even if she did having some form of attraction to him surely this wasn’t a sign of that. Attraction and affections weren’t supposed to make you feel less like yourself or play on insecurities you had believed you had overcome a long time ago. What was this guy playing at? Perhaps he was going to accompany her to the gala and then publicly humiliate her in some way. That seemed like something he might do. Alas, she was being paid to be his date and nothing more. Even if he did ditch her before the night was over it was only going to result in easy money. Noemi could handle that.

That was what she told herself at least as she steeled herself against the possibility this night could end in disaster. But then he told her she looked stunning and once more she was taken aback. Only this time, Noemi could feel the heat rush to her cheeks and a small smile tug at her lips in spite of herself. It didn’t go unnoticed by her that they matched. Both of them in gold. That was no coincidence she was sure. Apollo probably whispered in the ear of the woman who had taken her shopping. Oh well. It was such a small thing she didn’t even have it in her to be upset about it. ”Thank you. You look quite good yourself,” she replied. Noemi knew this was quite a different look for her compared to her normally modest business wear but she felt...beautiful, almost glamorous. She assumed that’s what was meant to happen when you wore a dress that cost hundreds of dollars by a big name designer. It was the only dress of this caliber she knew she’d ever wear. Hell, maybe after this even she would sell it on Ebay or Facebook to try and make a bit of money from it. Surely enough she could pay for a few more of her school expenses.

”Let’s go,” she agreed as she closed the door to her apartment and locked it before she took his arm. Noemi followed him down to the car and wasn’t at all surprised to find it was a fancy limousine. It wasn’t like she’d forgotten who she was with or how much money the Princes had to burn on things like this. She’d never ridden in a limo before and when he opened the door for her, she slid onto the leather upholstered back seat and shook her head for a moment. This was like something out of a movie and there was a small sense of giddiness that had risen up inside of her. The insecurities she’d had earlier seemed to melt away. Even if going as Apollo’s date hadn’t been ideal at all perhaps the entire night wouldn’t be a bust. Perhaps she could turn to Cosette to entertain her for a little while though she suspected her friend was going to be busy with Shaw. Hell, maybe she would run into Levant. Noemi couldn’t begin to think who he was bringing to the gala. ”This is...something…” She spoke more to herself than to Apollo.

A bottle of champagne and glasses were located on one side of the limo and Noemi had half a mind to pop that open and take the edge off. She wasn’t much of a drinker but she had a feeling she might make an exception tonight even if it wasn’t going to mix very well with the medications she was taking daily for her illness. Having such a compromised immune system meant a lifetime of having to maintain a regiment so she wouldn’t fall ill.

APOLLO A. PRINCE
quote
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
Color had risen in Noemi's cheeks and Apollo silently congratulated himself as a smile tugged at her lips. So the ice could be chiseled off of the cold heart. He was pleased with himself, but didn't let it show. She was beautiful, gorgeous even and if she was going to cooperate he wasn't going to give her a reason to squall in his face. Well, not yet at least.

By some miracle she thanked him for his compliment, even handing him his own. He grinned at her with a self satisfied sort of look. He knew he looked good, but it was always a treat to hear. It was especially pleasing to her it from her of all people. In the entire time they'd known each other which, granted, hadn't been all that long, typically she was gritting her teeth and trying her best not to smother him. He knew he had that affect on most people, he strove for it usually. So far she'd been able to counter him at every turn though, her wit and ability to not reach out and choke him to death commendable. He was starting to be glad he hadn't actually made a bet with Shaw over how long Noemi would last. He was beginning to think he might actually have lost.

Let's go. Apollo continued to grin and she took his arm not a moment later. He had to admit, the two of them looked right proper together, matching and all. To anyone who didn't know any better Noemi looked absolutely like she belonged at his side, though of course Apollo knew better. He wasn't a fool, he knew his father had paid her to be his date, knew he'd done it just to be a pain, too. Apollo would have absolutely taken someone else, a few names already springing to mind, none of them women his father would have been the least bit impressed to see. Apollo did these sorts of things on purpose, deliberately irritating the elder Prince if only because in the grand scheme of things who he brought to some gala or event didn't really matter, did it? It was the annoyance of the night, something he could grin smugly about later while his father glared at him across a desk and told him he had to grow up and take responsibility. Responsibility. If what Adonis Prince had was responsibility, Apollo wanted no part of it. The man was wealthy beyond comprehension yet the last time he'd done more than go out to dinner was years ago. He worked hard to work harder and that wasn't the life Apollo saw for himself and it never had been. Once upon a time that had been fine. These days it wasn't so fine any more.

Apollo opened the door of the car for her, allowing Noemi to slide in first. He got in afterwards of course, sliding in beside her and shutting the door. A moment later and they were off. Noemi looked around the inside of the limousine as if she'd never been inside one before. Apollo reached over and grabbed two glasses, pouring champagne in each. Idly he reminded himself that not everyone grew up carted about in a car worth your average person's yearly salary. He'd never quite grasped humility, but he knew he lived in a world few others did and enjoyed luxuries that most didn't. Noemi had more humility in her little finger than he had in his entire being, something he absolutely knew for a fact. She was also far more intelligent and now that he had a look at her past her typical professionalism, he was starting to think she might even have one over him in the looks department as well, try as she might to downplay all that natural beauty. All in all, she was the whole package, wasn't she? Something about that struck him strangely as he leaned back into his seat, moving to hand her a glass. He'd never thought of any one woman, any one person, as being the real deal, all of them were just a little too this or not enough that. He'd made it a point not to date, to keep his heart out of his casual encounters. The only real relationship he'd forged in years was with Shaw and that hardly counted seeing as they'd been friends since they were kids. Shaw was pretty well preprogrammed into his DNA, but others? Apollo feared rejection on a level he couldn't even begin to explain. It was easier to push everyone away than to let anyone in, especially when it came to relationships. Love was a joke, he'd told himself that for years. Lust was real and tangible, but love? How could he trust someone to love him? How could he trust himself?

He'd been lost in his own thoughts only a moment, letting Noemi take the glass from his hand then. "I'd have picked you up in the Maserati, but father insisted on a driver." He gave a little shrug of his shoulders. Apollo liked to drive, actually but apparently totaling one little car had put the cap on that. He drove very little these days, but knew better than to fight with his father over it. He knew a losing battle when he saw one and he picked and chose where to fight them, thank you. "Looking forward to this evening? These events are always either tragically boring or the highlight of the year, there's no real in between." He gave a little chuckle, taking a sip from the glass as he crossed his legs. He beside her, though there was space between them, Apollo situated so that he could look at her without having to turn his head. She was a vision and the scenery outside held no interest for him with her in his gaze. They'd be to the hotel in twenty, thirty minutes tops and Apollo intended to fill that time with conversation if she allowed it.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
BELLE
TWENTY THREE
MOLECULAR IMMOBILIZATION
N/A
HETEROSEXUAL
SHE/HER

played by TEEJAY30 posts • prefers SHE/HER pronouns
with my feelings on
fire guess i'm a
bad liar
Noemi had to hold back a derisive snort that threatened to leave her as Apollo explained the choice of transportation. He wasn’t being patronizing in any way and she wasn’t going to sink to such a level to be so herself. So instead she gave a light smile and a nod before focusing on the drink in her hand. She was well aware of how long the ride was going to take and well aware that Apollo didn’t intend to spend it in silence. Though she really had no idea what they would talk about. They had nothing in common. Furthermore, anything Noemi loved he was sure to find boring. Not that she believed he was interested in getting to know her. Likely he would want to talk about himself. That’s how spoiled people operated.

”I suppose. It’s quite an opportunity. I’ve never been to such an event,” she answered. It was true. The most formal event Noemi had ever been to was the homecoming themed dance the nurses at the children’s hospital had put together for the teenagers when she had still been ill. It had been fun despite the dreary circumstances and Noemi had appreciated the effort of the nurses. They had become something of a surrogate family for the patients who spent weeks and months at a time there. ”Probably a good thing your father had someone assist me with the shopping.” Noemi never would have dreamed of spending this much money on a dress. She’d nearly passed out when she saw the price tag on it but the woman who had accompanied her had insisted they buy it. If left to her own devices, Noemi would have found a dress at a consignment shop or perhaps even a thrift store. It wouldn’t have been designer like the one she was wearing. Michael Kors was not a name she was familiar with. ”Too bad you got stuck with me as your date. I’m sure that’s the last thing you wanted.” She grinned sardonically. She was sure that given the choice Apollo would have chosen some brainless girl he would end up bedding at the end of the night.

Though she didn’t discourage him from conversation, Noemi spent the next half an hour mostly listening. She didn’t feel it was necessary to really offer anything up to him about herself. It wouldn’t matter to Apollo that she was in college, that she wanted to be a book editor, or that she hoped that one day she would publish her own work. Their lives were so vastly different and Noemi found herself going back to the conversation she’d had with Cosette just a couple weeks ago. Cosette seemed confident that Noemi was the one person who could guide Apollo in the right direction but she still couldn’t see how. That was the job of a relative or a lover. Not the hired help.

When they reached the Plaza Hotel, the driver came to open the door for her and Noemi slid out, taking his hand to help her. The streets were busy per usual but there was a crowd of people flowing into the lobby of the hotel. She waited for Apollo to join her before taking his arm like was expected and followed the other guests. The security at the door didn’t even bother to check their invitations. They merely greeted Apollo with a professional smile and allowed them to enter. Noemi had been inside the Plaza Hotel before with Levant so she didn’t look around in amazement like she had the first time. She had seen it and appreciated the beauty of it a few times by now. Apollo didn’t yet know she knew Levant or the nature of their relationship. There hadn’t quite been an opening for her to brag about it.

Granted, Noemi had not seen the ballroom of the hotel and when they entered she felt her heart skip a beat. It was truly like something out of a fairytale. Though she had never been the type of little girl who dreamt about being a princess, she couldn’t help the small feeling inside of her that had her thinking this was a time to pretend for a moment she wasn’t simply ordinary. Even if the man on her arm was hardly Prince Charming. ”There’s your father,” she pointed out as her eyes landed on the elder Prince who had also taken note of them. He was waving them over and Noemi figured it was going to be an awkward conversation to witness.

APOLLO A. PRINCE
quote
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
Noemi was doing her best to given him as little to work with as possible. After baiting him in reference to being stuck with her as a date, to which he'd replied like a gentleman thank you, their conversation hadn't gone too far. Apollo felt he'd given her plenty of opportunity to interject into the conversation, but of course Noemi hadn't done so. He'd spoken of trivial things, never one to give out overly personal information. Well, that was a bit of a lie, he was an oversharer at times, but not about things that mattered. Apollo didn't tell people about his hopes and dreams, about how difficult it was for him in school, how glad he was to never have to look at a textbook again. The reality of his life was far glamorous and he lived behind a facade of himself. Apollo had made himself into this person, this man he'd thought he was supposed to be and then a few years ago his father had all but told him he'd turned himself into a failure. To say that Apollo was bitter about the revelation was an understatement, but still there were things he just couldn't do. He couldn't resign, couldn't see that look of utter disappointment on his father's face should he turn his back on the empire the man had built. Apollo knew there were people better suited for this job, for the work he did, but his father was convinced that one day he'd grown into this. He doubted it. He and his father weren't anything alike, Apollo took mainly after his mother. There was no dreams of corporate succession or power in Apollo's head. He'd have been much happier just singing in front of the local bar crowd. That, of course, was a pipe dream. Aside from not wanting to be a total disappointment, he also wasn't sure if he even had it in him to start from the ground up and actually work for something. His life, while not what he dreamed or wanted, was quite comfortable. Leaving it would be one of the craziest things he could do and Apollo had done some awfully crazy things.

After thirty minutes of virtually making idle chit chat, they'd finally arrived to The Plaza. At least here he had the opportunity to talk about what was going on, introduce her to people and the like. Apollo had found that being stuck in a car with Noemi for thirty minutes had actually been a bit more nerve wracking than he'd originally anticipated. Usually he quite loved to talk about himself, but she wasn't exactly the sort of women who hung off his every word. She was polite, nodding when she was supposed to and acknowledging certain things, but she was decidedly different than anyone else he'd had to entertain for any length of time. He supposed he could have tried to pull a little more information about her out of her, but then again he wasn't all together sure he wanted all of that. The more he knew about her the more likely he was to become attached to her as ridiculous as the notion was. Apollo made it a point to know very little about most people save what they did for a living and where they liked to party. He was particularly invested in only a handful of people, Shaw at the top of that list. The more people you let into your life the easier it was to get hurt. Apollo wasn't a man who went out of his way to hurt others, but neither did he want his delicate feelings roughed up and oh, his feelings could be quite delicate.

Apollo had exited the car, offering Noemi his arm afterwards as he was supposed to. He wore a brilliant smile as they walked through, nodding and greeting people as they went. Surprisingly she didn't seem overly impressed with the grandour of the hotel, but then again who knew how long she'd been in the city. Perhaps she'd seen it before. The ballroom, however had impressed her that much he'd taken note of. Her grip on his arm had tightened ever so subtly, her eyes scanning the room as they took the stairs down. She was beautiful, especially when she didn't think anyone was looking. Of course, she had excellent timing in ruining moments. There's your father. Apollo looked down at the petite woman on his arm as she turned her eyes up to him, obviously knowing that she'd pointed out exactly who he had no desire to schmooze with at the moment. "Fabulous." He said with an edge of sarcasm to his voice, his grin never failing.

They made their way to his father then, Apollo greeting the man with a handshake. He hadn't hugged his father since his was young, perhaps since his mother's funeral as dark as that sounded. The elder Prince had never been one for public displays of affection, quite unlike Apollo. Adonis took Noemi's hand as well, giving it a small shake as well before turning to introduce both his son and her to the small crowd he'd been standing with. Apollo know half of them and the other half he didn't care to know. All businessmen, most either much older than himself or far more ambitious. Two of them were sons of others corporate moguls, men he'd partied with and watched do a great deal of questionable things. Apollo wasn't above blackmail and the two men both greeted him with tight smiles. They were good at what they did, too but unlike himself they had no problem stepping on people on their way to the top. Neither would ever get there if Apollo had anything to say about it, but for now at least they kept their faces out of his business if only because they didn't want him to air their dirty laundry.

Apollo let the conversation in the group run for about ten minutes which honestly was quite a bit longer than usual. He was on his best behavior this evening, though of course it wasn't for anyone's benefit but his own. "As much as we'd love to stay and discuss current state of affairs, I do believe there's a party going on?" Apollo stated with a grin. A man beside him laugh heartily, clapping him on the back even as his father narrowed his eyes at him. Right he is! the man, someone who had almost as much wealth and power as his own father, said as he adjusted his jacket. The crowd agreed, most dispersing in order to dance, find a drink, or to hide out until they could escape. Adonis had turned, but took Apollo's arm in his hand, leaning in close. Stay out of trouble and don't act a fool. His words were spoken low and Apollo turned to look at his father. He gave a little bow of his head, not letting the man's words affect his smile. He pulled his arm from Adonis' fingers. "Words to live by." He said sardonically. With that exchange he'd reoriented himself and escorted Noemi towards the bar. He thought about getting completely trashed, but shelved the idea. For now, anyway. "Anything for you?" he asked Noemi before getting himself a double shot of vodka. He knocked it back as soon as it was set before him, flipping the shot glass and sliding it back with a irritated little sigh, the only suggestion that he was irritated at all. His smile was already back and he'd declined a second drink before returning his attention to Noemi. "Quite the business mogul, my father. To answer your question, yes. He's always been that warm and loving." He said with a little chuckle, knowing she most likely hadn't been itching to ask said question, nor did she probably even care. Apollo was a fat pay check to her, not that he didn't think that was the best way to think of the whole situation, but at least it made it so she had to pretend to at least remotely care for a few hours.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
BELLE
TWENTY THREE
MOLECULAR IMMOBILIZATION
N/A
HETEROSEXUAL
SHE/HER

played by TEEJAY30 posts • prefers SHE/HER pronouns
with my feelings on
fire guess i'm a
bad liar
Apollo was trying and she had to give him an A for his effort. The problem was that Noemi had no idea what she could possibly talk to him about. They were from vastly different worlds. She didn’t think there was anything about herself he would find even remotely interesting. He didn’t strike her as someone who enjoyed reading while that was her one passion. So she was glad when they had come into the event and she didn’t have to worry about the small talk. Everything Apollo had said to her was nothing of consequence or anything she didn’t already know about him. Clearly he was just as hesitant to share things about himself with her as she was with him. That was probably for the better because getting to know him would only make things harder. Noemi was already struggling with the fact she was attracted to him and she didn’t need to be concerned with any kind of emotions that could come from learning about him. Emotions were messy and this was just a job. He was her employer and that was it.

The small group that had gathered around Adonis Prince were mostly people Noemi had never seen before. There were a few vaguely familiar faces but only because she had seen them in passing. They spoke of the company and work and she only had an idea of what they were talking about because of how often she had gone to meetings for Apollo. She had learned things she had never wanted to. Software wasn’t really her forte and she didn’t think she was ever going to put the knowledge to use but here she was, able to nod along with the conversation. Fascinating. It hadn’t gone unnoticed to her that Adonis and Apollo had merely shaken hands. While she didn’t find it odd so to speak she did find it sad. Noemi was from a family that was very affectionate. Hugs and kisses upon greetings and goodbyes. I love yous before bed. Her parents had never been afraid to show their children affection. Noemi wondered if that played a large factor in Apollo’s armor. If there was a chink in said armor she had yet to find it. Yet Cosette was so sure that she could be someone to put Apollo on the right path. It was still ludicrous in her opinion. You couldn’t guide someone that didn’t want to be guided.

Once Apollo had had enough of the casual conversation she came to realize she was glad for it. While she might know what they were speaking of within the group it didn’t mean she found it anything less than boring. Noemi pressed her lips into a line when Adonis caught hold of his son, warning him not to act the fool. It was all she could do not to wince for her date. Despite Apollo being well...Apollo, Noemi thought it still must hurt to hear such harsh words from your parent. She almost said something but decided it against it as she allowed her date to lead her to the bar.

”Club soda,” she told the bartender. Noemi didn’t drink. She was on too many medications that could cause her trouble when mixed with alcohol. Not to mention she wanted to have a clear head the entire night. Apollo spoke, answering a question that hadn’t been asked and Noemi offered him a sympathetic smile. ”I’m sorry, Apollo. It can’t be easy to deal with that.” She wouldn’t pretend she had any idea what it was like to have a parent that was so stand offish. She made a mental note to call her parents tomorrow when she woke up just to tell them she loved them. So often throughout her life she had taken them for granted. Noemi wouldn’t do that again because she could have had it much, much worse. Her parents could have treated her like a burden like Adonis did his son.

But she also didn’t want to give Apollo the chance to stay at the bar and get rip roaring drunk either. If she could distract him for the night then perhaps they could get through it together unscathed. The event was the fancy sort that skipped over a DJ, at least for now, and offered instrumental music instead. The musicians were seated at one corner of the ballroom as they played and Noemi slipped from the stool she’d perched herself on. The club soda she had ordered was only half drank and left forgotten on the bar. She drew in a deep breath and held her hand out to Apollo. ”Come dance with me?” she asked, offering a soft smile if not a bit of a shy one. ”I haven’t danced in a long time.”

Maybe just for tonight the two of them could put their differences aside. Noemi didn’t know anyone here and Apollo didn’t seem too keen to spend it with his father and the other moguls in the industry. They would have to lean on each other for the next few hours and there was no point in making it unpleasant.

APOLLO A. PRINCE
quote
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
Noemi's reply sounded so sincere that he almost ordered himself another drink. Apollo found himself silent for a moment, any witty retort he'd had already dead on his tongue. Why did she have to seem so genuine? The assistants before her, while not necessarily terrible people, he'd been able to find enough fault in them that he'd not felt particularly guilty upon their demise. Was it their fault they had seen him as an opportunity? Not in the least, but it did make it easier to ruin them in the end. Apollo had no desire to cultivate any more friendships than he already had, it was too dangerous. He already knew that the people he tended to surround himself with wouldn't be particularly bothered if something terrible were to befall him tomorrow. The only one who'd mourn his death would be Shaw and while it was a hard pill to swallow, Apollo wasn't quite sure how to change that. Peeling himself away from his father's company would probably help, but the terror that such an idea induced was very real. The idea that he could be the CMO for Epsilon International for the majority of his life though, that was a reality that was steadily encroaching upon him. His fingers itched to pull that shot glass back to him but Noemi's words interrupted his anxious thoughts.

Surprise colored Apollo's face before he could wipe it off. Noemi's hand was extended towards him and she'd asked him to dance with her, for what reason he had absolutely no clue. What was the catch in this? He knew she wasn't the sort to bend to public humiliation, especially if she was at his side. No, Noemi was far too cunning for that. She was the sort to ensure he was wide awake at the ass crack of dawn for a meeting after a night of binge drinking just because it was what his job entailed. The woman had no mercy when it came to the job and though he'd spent a great deal of time in the first few weeks shirking her, he found that she'd succeeded in training him at least mildly so. The realization that he wasn't doing any of what he usually did had come a while ago, but the reason why hadn't until just now. He was doing it for her, but why?

Apollo regained his bearings not a heartbeat later, his typical grin coming across his face. "Prepare to be dazzled, then." He said as he took her hand, pulling her easily into his side as he escorted her to the dance floor. When it came to music, Apollo was extraordinarily gifted. Music, song, dance, anything with a beat or a pulse, he fed off of it. Most people weren't well aware of just how talented he was. He could sing, most knew that of course, but he was an accomplished pianist as well, not to mention a plethora of other instruments. Despite what many would think of him, he was well versed in classical music and the band playing at the event tonight had been suggested by him, personally. They were magnificent, he'd gone to hear them perform on several occasions, though typically alone or with Shaw when the other man had the time and inclination. Dancing was also something he thoroughly enjoyed, though he didn't often have the opportunity to showcase any real skill in the area. Dancing at the club didn't exactly count.

Once on the floor amidst the other dancing couples Apollo spun Noemi easily, her dress billowing around her. He did so love to dress up, loved the elegance of black tie events even if they could be incredibly boring if allowed. The dress Noemi wore he doubted he could have chosen better if he'd have been there himself. She matched him flawlessly and it would be a lie if he said he hadn't imagined it on his bedroom floor already. Before this evening he'd been sure Noemi would have preferred to choke him rather than take his hand, but apparently his father had paid her particularly well as she almost seemed to enjoy it as he swept her across the dance floor. Apollo reminded himself that his father did in fact pay her to be beside him tonight, despite her earlier words. He had no doubt that she could be genuineness, yet still be in it for the money. He knew better than to let himself grow attached, even if he was finding it particularly difficult with her. He didn't like the look of disappointment when it crossed her face, even if that was usually what he strove for.

Apollo's hand settled at her hip, exactly where it was supposed to be an not an inch lower. He may have been a cad, but he had no desire for her to bruise his face. Noemi was a petite thing, but he knew she had some real power behind her even if she didn't. Besides, the sweet look on her face in this moment was intoxicating. The grin that was usually plastered across his face had softened as he led her across the floor. The dance was slowing, Apollo slowing with the music as well. "You're an exquisite dancer. Lessons or self taught?" The question was out of his mouth before he could reel it in and Apollo found he was genuinely curious to the answer. His voice was low, spoken just between the two of them. He was going to have to tread carefully lest he find himself more invested than he'd already become.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
BELLE
TWENTY THREE
MOLECULAR IMMOBILIZATION
N/A
HETEROSEXUAL
SHE/HER

played by TEEJAY30 posts • prefers SHE/HER pronouns
with my feelings on
fire guess i'm a
bad liar
For a moment Noemi didn’t think Apollo was going to accept her offer so when he finally took her hand the smile she gave him was genuine. He led her onto the dance floor and immediately swept her into a dance, his hand resting at her waist and staying right there. Noemi didn’t pretend to be oblivious as to why. He didn’t want to get decked in the face but she wasn’t quite sure she would have done that. The space between them while small seemed large and she also found she wouldn’t have been upset had he pulled her closer. She found herself laughing as he guided her around the dance floor, spinning her occasionally and tugging her back in. It had been so long since she’d felt this free. Noemi felt as though they were floating across the dance floor. People were watching them but she didn’t notice them. The only thing in her line of vision in that moment was Apollo. The nagging voice in her head which usually scolded her for the attraction she felt had been silenced. It was the first time she’d stopped worrying about that attraction in days. And when the song began to slow and them with it they were closer than ever. Noemi’s arms found their way around his neck and her body was pressed lightly to his.

”Mmm...self-taught. I watched a lot of Dancing with the Stars when I was younger,” she laughed. Which was true. Noemi had always had a love of ballroom dancing and she’d learned the steps in her hospital room with her roommate, another young girl who had been ill alongside her for a long time. They would dance themselves into a frenzy and fall into one of their bed in a fit of breathless giggles. She had died during one of the rare weeks where Noemi had been strong enough to leave the hospital for a time. It was painful to think of her now and it clouded her eyes for a just a moment before she shook her head slightly and banished it away. Hopefully Apollo had not seen it in her eyes. ”There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.” She said so lightly and with a hint of amusement so Apollo wouldn’t think she was being mean. He hadn’t taken the time to get to know her and she suspected it was the same with all of his former assistants. Cosette had told her Apollo didn’t have many real friends and that he spent most of his time pushing people away. She believed that. It was easier than being disappointed by them when even the one person who was meant to love you the most only had harsh things to say about you.

Without realizing it, Noemi’s fingers had begun to play with the hair at the nape of Apollo’s neck and dark eyes had locked onto his. ”Am I right to assume that you’ve had lessons?” she asked. That seemed appropriate for someone of his social standing. Ballroom lessons, extraordinary galas like this, vacations to the Hamptons. Noemi had always wondered what the Hamptons were really like and if they were as fancy as they appeared to be on Gossip Girl. She was sure she would never find out considering she wasn’t from a wealthy family that owned estates and pied a terres. It suddenly felt very warm to Noemi and she realized that her cheeks were flushed. She told herself it was from the dancing and that was normal. The speed of her heart had increased which she told herself was from the dancing as well. There was no room in her life for someone like Apollo. Someone who needed to be guided and shown the way. Noemi had dreams to chase and things to accomplish. She couldn’t be involved with someone who was content to live in his own jaded world. It didn’t take a psychic to know that Apollo wasn’t happy with his life nor his career and yet he didn’t put forth the effort to change it. That was ultimately what scared Noemi the most if she followed Cosette’s words; that she would lose her autonomy.

”I think I may need a drink,” she murmured quietly and stepped away from him. Noemi had to force down the want to flee in that moment and took even steps toward the bar once more. This time she simply ordered a bottle of water. She drank half of it before leaving it on the bar. Apollo was next to her and she almost didn’t want to look up at him. Noemi had never been very good a hiding her thoughts and emotions. There was no reason to think she would start now. She really, really didn’t want Apollo to see the confusion in her eyes. It would only complicate things between them. She’d only been his assistant for a few months and had several more to go. Noemi didn’t want to be fired because he could drive her out and she didn’t want to be a notch in his bedpost either.

APOLLO A. PRINCE
quote
The Beast
twenty-six
Superhuman Strength
CMO of Epsilon International
Heterosexual
He/ him

played by Kimilicious18 posts • prefers She/ her pronouns
I'm taking back the crown
Apollo moved easily across the dance floor, Noemi keeping perfect time with him. She was a natural and their movements flowed together well. He hadn't actually danced with anyone who's had any idea what they were doing in a long time and it was nice to lose himself for a few moments simply doing something he loved with someone who could keep pace with him. It helped greatly of course that Noemi seemed to actually be enjoying herself. She was beautiful, there was no question there, though Apollo doubted she saw in herself what others saw. Her every day attire and makeup didn't lend her any glamour, but it also didn't hide the natural beauty she had. He still remembered the first time he'd seen her, caramel skin covered by a dress suit, dark hair twisted up into a smart hairstyle and those gorgeous dark eyes hidden behind glasses that spoke of sense rather than style. He was vain, something his mother had frowned upon when he was a child, but that his father had instilled in him none the less. He wasn't always a prick, but when in the company of others he had to put on a show and the vanity had just come along with it. He'd almost dismissed Noemi entirely, but before he could some of her hot temper had leaked out, peaking his interest. It had taken very little time for him to find joy in tormenting her, just the smallest digs or annoyances bringing up that beautifully irritated look on her face. He'd spent the past few weeks being about as infuriating as he could, but somehow she'd just pressed on. He couldn't lie, her dogged determination was admirable and when his father had informed him she'd be his date for tonight's event, he'd put up only a minor fuss. Apollo had been very interested to see how his bookish little assistant dressed up and he hadn't been disappointed in the least. The oddest part of it though, the part that gave him some measure of pause, was that it wasn't her face or her hair or her body that he'd found himself entranced by. It was her smile, it was how her eyes sparkled when he'd made her laugh as he'd spun her across the dance floor. Apollo couldn't remember the last time someone's laugh had genuinely made him feel good. He could make just about anyone laugh given his antics, but with Noemi it was somehow different.

When she answered his question he found himself laughing along with her. He could absolutely see her dancing in front of a television set in a cozy living room, perhaps dancing with one of her parents or a sibling. He realized then, even before she spoke again, that he actually knew very little about her. He did it unconsciously, never allowing anyone to get too close to him and thus, never getting close to anyone himself. His gaze had settled upon her as her laughter had subsided and he watched as a memory crossed her mind. It was something happy, but her eyes darkened for just a split second, her smile dulling before she could shake it off. She titled her eyes back up to him, informing him of exactly what he'd just come to realize himself. Apollo quirked a grin, pushing away the desire to ask her what she'd been thinking of previously. Too personal, much too personal. He doubted she'd have shared with him anyway, they weren't exactly friends. Friendly at the moment, perhaps but circumstances what they were he decided that she was trying to make the best of it. Apollo, too had decided to give the evening roughly the same go. He could pretend, at least for a few hours, that he wasn't a pompous and self entitled brat.

Noemi's fingers had slipped into the hair at the back of his head, her attention fully focused on him. He'd be a liar to say he wasn't absolutely reveling in this moment. As she spoke he could almost tell himself that she was actually interested in what he might say, that she was making conversation not because she was obligated to, but for the small pleasure of speaking to someone whose company you enjoyed. Apollo found himself smiling, the look on his face not the typical smug look he carried but something more sincere. "My mother taught me," he answered easily. "She loved to dance. My father used to take her out all the time when they were young, paid for her to take lessons after they were married. I think I was dancing before I was walking, she always had music playing," His memories of learning to dance in their Manhattan loft were bittersweet. He hadn't actually thought about it in years and the memories brought a hint of melancholy to his voice. Apollo had never shared quite so much information about his mother in one go to anyone and he quickly realized that he'd given out far more than he'd anticipated. He blinked, trying to regain his usual demeanor, the two of them slowing to a stop. Noemi was still in his arms and he saw the warmth creep across her cheeks. He didn't have it in him to say something witty, seeing some sort of emotion cascade through her as she pulled away from him, insisting that she needed a drink. Noemi slipped out of his arms, heading for the bar and he lingered on the dance floor for a moment longer, his heart beating rapidly in his chest.

Get a hold of yourself. He straightened his jacket before heading to the bar himself, coming up beside her just as she'd set a half empty water bottle down. Her face was still flushed and when he'd leaned against the bar beside her she didn't pull her gaze up to meet his. He felt the tension, actually quite observant despite what most people thought of him. He chewed the inside of his cheek, debating on what exactly he should say to her. The last twenty minutes had been a little daydream, but even as he looked down at her he knew that he was kidding himself if he thought this brilliant woman was going to come tumbling down to his level. He might have been all high society, but his net worth counted for little in the great scheme of the world. Noemi was actually going to do something with her life, she had hopes and dreams and the motivation and ambition to get them. He didn't have any of that.

He blew out a sigh then, turning to face the bar as he ordered a double shot of vodka. He was in front of him a moment later and he knocked it back, giving him the little bit of extra he needed to properly ruin the mood. "These galas are all the same, a waste of time and money. You can only parade so many sick kids around before it loses its appeal." He didn't turn to look at her just yet, instead flipping the shot glass over and sliding it back towards the bartender. He shrugged his shoulders, the movement seemingly nonchalant though he'd had to force it out of himself. He wasn't such a callous person, not usually, but he'd gotten far too close tonight, his heart still hammering in his chest despite his casual stance. "People only toss cash at this stuff out of guilt. It's not like anyone here actually cares." He said dryly. Apollo was, first and foremost, a man who could make people believe the worst of him. His attitude had changed from just moments ago and he'd channeled that spoiled rich kid persona that he knew Noemi hated. He finally turned his head, his features schooled into casual indifference as his eyes met hers once more and when he did, his carefully constructed facade finally began to crack.

NOEMI C. VIDAL
thanks evvie!
quote
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