Parties were never really Fabian's thing. There hadn't been a history of many celebrations at Anubis House, so it wasn't something he could have gotten used to, either. Out of the four boys, he was the most introverted and studious, and no matter how much he wanted to be like his best friend and roommate Mick, he just couldn't. At times, Fabian felt hopeless, like he was destined to always be shut alone in his room studying while everyone else grew as a person. Most days, he wished he wasn't such a pushover.
The one thing that gave him the slightest bit of confidence about going to this particular party was the girl in which it was thrown for, but as she had been gone for about ten minutes now, and he figured she must have ditched it. He almost felt hurt; was he too boring of a person for her to consider hanging out with? Or was she as introverted as he was, needing to escape a room full of people that she wasn't comfortable with? She could have been honest about her feelings, at least, instead of abandoning him. He would have understood her perfectly. Except, she didn't have any sort of obligation to him - they were only friends, after all. Maybe it was best for him to leave her alone.
Joy's presence helped him to break out of his shell. When the music was turned up, signaling that it was time for everyone to dance, Joy made sure to drag him into the center of the room. His hands were at her waist and hers rested on his neck. The two rocked back and forth, and Fabian spotted Patricia dancing with Jerome of all people. Alfie's partner was Trudy, who looked happy to be there.
Mara was the only one without a partner, and Fabian followed her eyes to the couple in the center. Mick's head rested on Amber's shoulder, with her hands caressing his hair. They looked more in love than they have in recent weeks, as Mick had unintentionally caused friction between Amber and Mara by asking the latter to tutor him in biology, dubbing her the "biology babe." Either way, Fabian was glad to see that they were on good terms again. No matter what happened between them, they made each other extremely happy.
Jerome had spun Patricia around once more before sauntering over to Mara, who rolled her eyes and had her arms crossed as he held out a hand to her. "Fancy a dance, Jaffray?"
When she didn't say anything, he grabbed her hand and pulled her along. "Oh come on, you look so sad standing there all alone, whilst Mick isn't even acknowledging your existence."
She snatched her hand away. "What do you mean? What's Mick got to do with this?"
Fabian was glad that the music was loud enough to the point where you had to be in a very close range to hear anything anyone else was saying, otherwise Mick and Amber, who were a good few feet away, would hear. The peaceful atmosphere would change immediately.
Jerome took a step forward, causing Mara to take one backwards.
"Dance with me, or I'll go tell Mick that you've been stalking him all night. I'm sure Amber would love to know that she was right about you."
"He's a real piece of work," Joy scoffed, revealing her to have been eavesdropping just like her dance partner. She removed her hands from Fabian and made her way towards the commotion. "I'll dance with you. Leave Mara alone, you creep."
Jerome smiled and let out a laugh. "That's kind of you, Mercer, but I believe that the deal I made was for Jaffray, not you."
"It's alright, Joy, it's just a dance." Mara interrupted, placing a hand on the other girl's shoulder. Her glare at Jerome continued as she spoke again. "I'll be fine."
Reluctantly, Joy returned to Fabian, but her gaze never left the two. Once they began to dance, her attention was back on him. "Want to dance again? I promise I won't leave again."
Shaking his head, Fabian explained that he was no longer in a dancing kind of mood. His thoughts went back to Nina, and he wondered whether he should go upstairs and make sure that she was okay. He would have done it without hesitation if it weren't for his fear of rejection. She obviously didn't want to see anyone if she lied about where she was going.
Trudy had stopped dancing with Alfie in order to get the cake ready, and thus the music had to be turned down. Slowly, everyone had gathered around just outside of the kitchen, desperate for a taste of the desert. Their eyes followed it as it was placed down on the counter.
"I guess our guest of honor ditched. Has anyone seen her?" Joy questioned as Trudy began cutting the cake up. When no one responded, she took that as a no.
"That's quite a shame," Trudy commented. "Since this party was supposed to be for her."
"Did she even say thank you?" Patricia took her plate from her housemother. She glanced at Amber and Mara. "You two planned this for her, aren't you like, even a little upset?"
Mara shrugged. "We're still having fun, aren't we? Maybe we're pushing too hard. She'll come down when she's ready."
Fabian hoped that she was right, but it seemed like the party was nearing its end, and there was still no sign of the new girl.
The temperature dropped significantly once Nina reached the top of the stairs. Another door temporarily blocked her way, and she was shocked to learn that it was unlocked. Her heart was beating faster and she looked around to see if there was a place where she could hide if someone discovered her up there. The room wasn't very big. It had a round shape to it, and the walls were almost covered with the amount of old furniture and other dated knick-knacks that were thrown up there.
There was little light available, even with her phone's flashlight on. She looked near the door as she shut it so see if there was a lightswitch, but she didn't see one.
A sudden creak that came from behind the door made her jump. Hoping that it was only her imagination combined with her anxiety that produced the sound, she quickly moved away from the door. She was absolutely done for if that was Victor returning from wherever he went. She had nowhere to go.
It was a bad idea from the start. Maybe her intuition had been wrong; there wasn't anything special or worth keeping a secret up here. Maybe Victor was protecting his old things from being tampered with. But it didn't feel that innocent.
She was about to give up and go back down to the party when she heard yet another creaking of the staircase. Her fear of what was behind the door kept her frozen in place. Despite how terrified she was to be up in the attic, it was the first time that her fear didn't come from how someone else was viewing her. There was no worrying about whether her housemates or teachers liked her, it was only her.
Except, she couldn't remain there forever. She was still meant to be down at the party, and her disappearance would most likely have been noticed by now. Convincing herself that leaving was the right thing to do, Nina walked to the door and carefully opened it. Her flashlight didn't show her anything but the staircase. No one was there.
So her mind had been playing tricks on her.
Doing her best to lock the attic door behind her with her small hair clip, Nina relaxed her tense shoulders for the first time that night. She hoped that it wasn't too late for her to walk back into the common room without attracting too much attention, otherwise she'd have to come up with some kind of excuse for where she had been.
And if Nina Martin was one thing, she was an absolutely awful liar.