Despite Nic’s warning, Cassidy had actually managed to be one of the first to arrive at the ballroom. His date had been ready when and waiting, and they made their way while everyone else in the castle was apparently doing some last-minute primping. When Rose told him of the meeting place, he’d been curious, though not even the least bit nervous. His capacity for worry was already taxed… he had no real concern for the “date.” It was, after all, merely a means to an end.
Which is why it surprised Cass so much that he’d been enjoying himself. Rose definitely knew him better than even he’d expected, and she’d found him an intellectually-challenging, interesting, and entertaining girl… and someone he’d never had chosen for himself. Of course, he wasn’t feeling any particularly romantic notions, but at least the conversation was stimulating. He feared, however, that his date might have more intimate designs on the evening, which could potentially put her in as much danger as MacFoozle.
Orlando was, after all, the real reason he’d come to the ball. He had no interest in dancing and partying tonight; he hadn’t been in that kind of mood for months. But there was a classmate in danger, and Cassidy was determined to prevent it. Tom had told him that “Fooze” wasn’t acting depressed, and that MacFoozle just didn’t seem to be behaving in a way that would imply suicidal thoughts. That was a good thing, of course, but it meant that if the dream was true — if the boy was going to leap from the castle walls — there would be a far more nefarious reason… and that thought made Cass shudder.
Noticing his sudden preoccupation, his date excused herself to go greet some friends. Cass watched her go, smiling as he nodded, and told her he looked forward to her return. He didn’t know why he added that last bit… but it seemed both reasonable and agreeable. While he certainly didn’t need the distraction, at least it was a pleasant one. He noticed her make a quick stop-over at a table of sweet-meats on her way to a small copse of girls that seemed to have congregated to discuss their evenings and show off their dates at a distance.
Looking away, still in a state of passive thought, Cassidy noticed Shawn, Rose, Belinda… it seemed everyone had come out to the event, and the costumes ranged from amusing to stunning. Rose, of course, seemed to be the light of the room. No matter what she wore, she was stunning. It was a bit annoying really, but her temperament and personality prevented anyone from holding that notion for long. Others seemed to be admiring Shawn’s costume in passing… several, at least, seemed to “get” his attire. Cass was certain he’d be pleased by their recognition. Then, finally, he noticed MacFoozle. Still uncertain what he was going to say, he got to his feet and started a slow weave through the room, hoping to find an opportunity to speak with the boy.