The next morning has the entire estate buzzing in preparation for the ball. Eliot cannot help but be hyperaware of the various security teams doing their advanced work at the estate. The nagging sensation never seems to dissipate despite the fact that Hardison has cleared their reputations so many times. Most of his personal narrative has been cast off into the bowels of the darkest corners of the dark web. To find his history, you would have to already know it but that is still idle comfort with this many security teams circling. The day moves at a gentle pace for the guests of the Cavendish family, the women are off getting properly coiffed as the men take to staying out of the way. Eliot and Hardison are engaged in their own surveillance simply out of habit before the time to ready themselves.
Parker was never one to understand or enjoy the process associated with the rituals of womanhood. Sophie and her sisters guide Parker through the Mani/Pedi, hair and makeup that are expected in these particular circles of the Inferno. Sophie is surprised at Parker's patience with all of the "touching" involved in the preparation. Sophie is also quite surprised at the jewelry that her father had sent to accompany the family tiaras, he had even picked a lovely diamond necklace for Parker to don to compliment the simple bandeau tiara. Before Sophie can even say a word, Parker again assures Sophie that there is no challenge so therefore no fun. She is going to simply enjoy her spin in the circles of Royalty. Sophie shares with Parker the details of the evening, the who's who and the what not to do. Sophie shares that the best part of the balls is the afterparty that lingers on. Sophie realizes that she will also have to teach Parker how to curtsey and who you curtsey to and what everyone is called. Parker will draw much less attention if she blends. With a mental note, Sophie reminds herself that she will have to chat with Eliot and Hardison. Sophie acknowledges the fact that they are all Americans which, to her relief, will likely mean far less scrutiny.
With their hair set to have the tiara's placed, the ladies head off to don their gowns as the hours to the ball wind down to the hours of magic. Sophie adores her deep burgundy gown that her father had made to measure for her with a flowing skirt It was her mother's favorite color and style. Sophie resembles her father with dark hair and dark eyes. Teddy, resembled her mother with bright grey eyes but no one quite knows where the ginger hair manifested from. Teddy favors blue having chosen a deep indigo gown with a high lace crewneck and flowing tulle skirt. The pair of younger Cavendish sisters also bore the raven hair of their father with the lighter eyes of their mother. The younger sisters favored lighter hues that matched their Tiaras with Georgie dressed in a light purple and Frankie in light blue to coordinate with the Amethysts and Aquamarines that are the highlights of their headdresses. The gowns are more fitted than those of their older sisters which is a traditional reflection of their age.
Sophie had chosen a deep green velvet gown for Parker complete with room to move and a slightly varied hemline to allow for Parker to be able to move freely. Eliot had long ago shared the stories of Parker and the fashion shows along with the tales of what doesn't work for her. Sophie has quite enjoyed dollying Parker up for the ball. It reminds Sophie of getting Teddy ready for her first ball, as she strokes a final whisp of blush upon Parker's cheeks. They need to head to Threeski's dressing room to have the Tiara's secured into place.
Parker marvels as the dressers pin the Tiaras in place, securing them so that even an errant look down will not shake them free. She is astounded by the beauty of Sophie in her element, the elegance simply radiates off of her dear friend. The only word that comes to mind as a descriptor is regal. Sophie is true to the manor born. The diamonds of her tiara capture the light casting Sophie a glow. As the dressers secure the bandeau tiara in place along with the necklace and earrings on Parker, Sophie is shocked to see Parker wipe away a tear. From the expression on Parker's face, Sophie knows this is from a place of joy only Sophie is not quite sure what is running through Parker's head.
With the headwear in place and the escorts waiting, it is time for the family to proceed to the ball to greet their guests and await the arrival of the Queen. All of the men are lined up to escort their "lady" to the ball. The Duke pairs with Threeski, Both Georgie and Frankie pair with their husbands. Sophie pairs with Eliot with Connie pairing with Teddy. Eliot is almost relieved to realize that Teddy is going to the ball stag. In all of the time here, he had never bothered to find out if Teddy was taken. It never occurred to him.
Parker and Hardison are escorted into the ball before the family descends the staircase. Sophie is quite glad to have Eliot by her side. Eliot is dressed in the proper white tie and tails, looking the part of a proper escort. This is not something she wished to do alone or with a fill-in cousin or friend. The last time she descended this staircase, she was escorted by William. Eliot cannot help but admire Teddy from his vantage point behind her. The glint of the sapphires in her lotus tiara and her vivid red hair in an updo is a look that he has never seen. Dressed like this, Teddy looks nothing like Anna Sun. Compared to the others, Teddy's look is more minimalist. She does not wear a necklace, simply allowing the ornate embroidery of her dress to shine, with a subtle sexiness that netting provides. She dons simple diamond and sapphire earrings that match her Tiara. Eliot notices that by contrast Sophie is decked out in what Eliot assumes is the family jewels.
Sophie's father had provided her with her mother's diamonds. From the Cavendish Tiara to the earrings and necklace that were gifted to her mother for her wedding day. With the exception of Teddy, each of the sisters had donned this tiara, necklace, and earrings on their wedding day. It was their tradition. Teddy and Connie are the only two who have never been married. It has been a very long time since she has taken her place in the line up, being the eldest and now the heir, Sophie is feeling the weight upon her shoulders.
As she gazes from the balcony, Sophie noticed the twirl of her gown as Parker showed off her look to Hardison. The look of love on Hardison's face was worth every moment spent coaxing Parker into the rituals of perparation.