[[ For Elizabeth | Jo ]]Every so often, Mihail found he grew bored with all that Farrow Academy had to offer outside of classes. He had been at the school for many long years now, and, every so often, he discovered himself overcome with an intense urge to find something to do other than hide away in the library or spread meaningless gossip with Oriana. The winter weather had somehow managed to steal away his common interests too and, shocking though it might have sounded, shopping was growing dull. Too many days had been wasted drifting from store to store, flicking through those pretty silks on the racks and asking to see what they had in the back room. Balenciaga was boring, Prada was growing pedestrian and Louboutin, his lovely, beloved Louboutin, seemed somehow and inexplicably lacklustre. It was tedium in a manner Mihail had not experienced in a while, and his mind was practically bursting with the desire to do anything else. As a result of this overwhelming lack of desire for any of his usually favoured activities, he had found himself walking the streets in a more casual nature than he had ever done before when classes were not in session (weekends were such a thrill). That wasn't to say Mihail didn't care for walks: truth be told, he had always enjoyed the solitude of an early morning promenade. For the majority of his schooling years thus far, he had opted to wake far earlier than schedule necessitated, and stroll through the dimly-lit grounds of the Academy. Dawn was his preferred hour for such walks: there was a satisfaction to the silence of the first minutes of a new day that no other time seemed to possess, but he had now come to realize there was an appeal to the middle of the day. That succulent silence of sunrise was a pure delight, but the constant chattering of countless voices as other students too made the best use of their free hours provided a more than comfortable background noise to his thoughtful wanderings. On this particular day, his purposeless stroll had led him out of the school itself. His route had led him to the Stardust Café by pure coincidence, a cigarette hanging unlit between his lips, and Mihail paused momentarily as he considered the place. The prestige of holding a significantly costlier coffee cup was an opportunity he often enjoyed (though the store was often frequented by his classmates, a fact which lowered its apparent prestige everywhere but Instagram). He pushed the door open, deciding the break in his ramble was acceptable, given the circumstance."Good morning," he sang at the barista, skipping past the few people standing in line at the counter. He already knew the drink he desired and, so far as Mihail was concerned, if they were only standing in a queue without yet having ordered, or without showing any interest in any specific product, then he had perfect right to ignore them. Besides, the majority were random students from the Academy, and Princess held a certain degree of power there. He tapped those gold-tinted nails on the edge of the woodgrained counter, the tip of his tongue flickering over his light pink lip as he glanced over the chalkboard menu, not having chosen just yet himself but not caring about the hypocrisy of the action. "I'll have...a macchiato. Venti; skinny; hazelnut and caramel; sugar-free syrup and no whipped cream on top. I don't wanna have some kinda break-out just because you added sugar to my drink when I told you otherwise." It seemed a fair enough warning for the man behind the bar, as if he wasn't capable of making a drink without some error. His drink barely took long, although he continued to drum his fingers on the dark wood as he waited to one side, gaze running inquisitively over the rest of the customers with his standard expression of disinterest, his spare hand resting on his waist, the white silk of his shirt crumpling under his painted fingertips. "Thanks, babe," he winked at the man as the hot drink finally appeared beside him, swivelling on his sanguine heels to scan the room for a seat. Perhaps this was due to be a lucky day for the youngest Toussaint, for most places in the cafe had been claimed save for a single private booth: the navy blue curtains pulled aside to indicate its availability, its globe-shaped light glowing brightly, the table where it sat still bearing the empty paper cup of a past occupant. Mihail flicked the trash from the table, the cup rolling almost dramatically across the floor as the final dregs of drink within seeped out and into the flooring. He had neglected to bring any entertainment with him save for his phone - which now teetered dangerously on a 5% which indicated little chance for music on the return journey - for the walk itself had been intended as the main pastime, and, as such, people-watching was now the only alternative he had. Not that he minded in the slightest: there was an added interest in attempting to discover the innermost secrets of others which he had always enjoyed (besides, it added plentiful opportunity for later gossip-mongering) and the dull prattling of the other customers served as a surprisingly helpful theme to his musings. He liked to see who else would grace the cafe that day and, more importantly, who might dare to bother him.
He had been enjoying his people-watching. Coffee shops were, typically, the ideal place for such activities, for people seemed to share all their troubles with one another as if none were watching them. In that way, they were almost better than bars, for where some love-lorn individual might share the intricate details of some failed date or unsuccessful business endeavour with a suitably attractive and somehow trustworthy bartender, it was nothing compared to what they would tell a genuinely faithful friend. Thus, it decreased the need to make unsupported assumptions, something which Mihail believed often failed the credibility of whichever gossip he might later attempt to spread. Engrossed as he had been in the activity of intruding upon the private lives of others, he had almost failed to notice the girl who approached him with the reckless abandon of one who did not think he could pose them any danger. It was often the case: the youngest Toussaint did not believe his outward appearance was all that menacing, despite how maleficent he was privately capable of acting, and that kinder façade often acted in his favour. She was young and traditionally pretty, and his half-interested judgement of others had yet to return to the queue in which she too had not stood.Of course, he knew her. It was impossible to be a student at Farrow Academy and not know the names of particular students, and Elizabeth happened to be one of the few who was never unknown. She was not quite the blank slate upon which Mihail could impress any version of himself that he desired, for she likely knew him as well (they shared some degree of their schedule by virtue of her being a Head of House and the Deputy Head Girl), but he could handle her. He often prided himself on the way he could manage most."That is not how we ask for things," he answered, slowly shifting his gaze away from her again and towards the drink settled before him on the table. He referred to the way she had neglected to say 'please' in her request to sit for, although he did not always use the word himself, he preferred reverence in others. Despite the words, however, Mihail was still attempting to decide how he wished to handle the situation and, after a long moment, decided he might as well portray some degree of friendliness, for it would likely benefit him in the long run."Mihail Toussaint," he introduced himself, his lips curling upwards and parting slightly into the type of smile which most would classify as simultaneously friendly and sinister, though he intended it to be the former on this particular occasion. It was not something he often thought the case, but at present, his interactions had no need for underlying threat, for most already marked him as somewhat 'scary' on first meeting, and his reputation for harsh rule as a Head Student tended to precede him. He stuck a hand out, gold-tipped fingers pointed downwards in the typical manner he favoured, as if expecting her to kiss it, then added: "You can call me Mimi, or Princess, if you prefer it. I am far from fussy." That last comment was not quite the truth, for Mihail was arguably one of the most fastidious people he could think of, but given that this was their first formal meeting, he doubted Elizabeth would be able to refute the statement. Deciding he had waited long enough before making a decision, Mihail crossed one leg over the other and tugged his coffee a few imperceptible inches closer to him, as if to make space on the otherwise empty table. She could sit opposite him in the booth, if she so desired, for he was keen on the possibility of conversation.It was strange what he was doing. Despite the cliché of the comparison, he had always considered himself a lone wolf, opting to spend his time immersed in the fascinating universe of his own mind rather than fall prey to the tedium of everyday life (that long-lasting and cliquey friendship with Oriana and once Leonard always having been the exception). There were those rare moments, of course, when even Mihail could not maintain his penchant for solitude, and found himself sidling up to some individual at a bar or club on his weekends free from the academy with a flirtatious smile on his painted lips and a desire to drag them back to his room and bed, and even let that thought-trivial relationship last for days and weeks longer than he would initially expect. This appeared to be one of those moments, for the boredom of filling his days had wholly overtaken him. He was willing to make the vaguest degree of effort to interact with an outside party. As if the unspoken gesture had not been enough, he tilted his head to the spaces across from him. "Sit," he told Elizabeth, the command spoken with a tone that implied politeness but actually stemmed from a lack of desire to crane his neck upwards to talk with her for the duration of a potential conversation. "I could do with a little companionship, else I am sure this day will melt into one as dull as all my recent ones have been and, urgh, I sincerely don't desire that." He sipped the macchiato thoughtfully, the blend of caramel and hazelnut soft on his tongue. "Liza Farrow. My condolences. I imagine this time must be inconceivably difficult for you." He used her nickname mockingly, the rest of his words bearing a similar tone, as if he did not quite believe that condolences were deserved, for Mihail was as yet unsure of the relationship between the two sisters and, without comment directly from Elizabeth, was forced to assume from gossip and rumour. He needed more. "Is it not?"
"I will call you Elizabeth," Mihail responded, though he had only just addressed her by one of her nicknames. He was not typically a fan of diminutives (save for his own), and had only used hers with mocking intent, knowing that she was often less receptive to the names when they came from those outside her questionable friendship group. Their only interactions to date had been in more formal settings, and he had always addressed her by full name then, as he expected she do for him. Now, she seemed nonplussed in the way he had called her 'Liza', but he had noted the way her body tensed in response to his following query, and relished the discomfort he had caused her, for as much had been his intention.The words were not unexpected. She missed her sister, and she adored her sister, and she would not forget the moment in which her sister had passed. She was providing him with no new information, and he loathed it. Mihail's fingers had naturally begun to drum impatiently on the tabletop as he watched a tear fall from her eye, and attempted to find a note of fabrication in her words. But there was nothing he could use, and little he could take back to his two friends to share over a bottle of cheap wine.He nodded, as if understanding. "Mother passed when I was six." There was no need for much further comment on the statement, for he had not felt much when she had died, and it was barely a similar moment, but he had said it solely to claim some vague degree of relatability. "She was shot." This likely removed all semblance of similarity between the pair of them, but Mihail imagined that Elizabeth - like most - was aware of his family's livelihood, and that such things were nothing more than a risk of the business (though it had not been in her case).In the momentary silence which followed, the dark-haired man reached into the pocket of his jacket to pull out both his little case of cigarettes and his silver lighter, embossed with his initials. There were plenty of laws against smoking indoors, but he had no time to check whether or not such rules applied to this particular building, and fines were hardly problematic. He lit it up and leaned back, glad to have a chance to smoke now that they were outside of the strict confines of the school, where one had to be irritably careful about such matters, staring thoughtfully at the girl across from him."I have been reading about you," he decided eventually, referring to the comments most recently made on the Ghost's blog, and taking a long drag on his cigarette as he spoke. It was always a subject of much excitement among the students at the school, and Mihail supposed he kept up with it solely to see where his knowledge matched with that of the writer. There was no point in claiming the rumour mill for his own if he could not be sure his information was of equal or better value than that which was pumped out for the mass market. "Not that drivel about your new friend - I have had the displeasure of her company already - but something far juicier. I hear you are having particular difficulties with your boyfriend, hm? Now, I cannot judge too hard, for it is sad for those who struggle to maintain steady relationships, but I suspect there is something more afoot, no? I do love a little gossip, if you should be so kind as to offer it in return for my letting you share my booth."
The girl really was overcompensating with the amount of sympathy in her tone. Mihail watched the way her hand had begun to creep towards his own, and almost instinctively pulled his own an inch closer, moving his coffee cup as he did so for fear of her coming too close to him. It was not so much a fear of possible intimacy, but a dislike for those who were not already close to him, and Elizabeth was far from a close friend. They had only met in those meetings for Head Students, and passed each other in the hallways at school where she was always surrounded by that inane group of friends, but seeing the girl outside of her natural habitat was something different, and Mihail did not wish to make the idiotic error of appearing friendly (and hence gullible) too early on."She fucked my uncle," he answered matter-of-factly, as if this was the usual reason why anybody was shot, and there was nothing strange or concerning behind the words. "And he left his gun out. Someone had to stop her, hm? You need not worry, though. Uncle Cosimo went to prison, and none of us has heard a word from him since." That was the truth, really, although with the more substantial details left ignored, for Mihail was not one to share his darkest secrets with those he had only just met. Not even Oriana was privy to such information, and she was likely his closest friend in the world. "Toussaints do not get robbed."There was little else to say on the subject before he began revealing family secrets, and the look in the man's eyes made it evident that he did not plan to discuss the matter further. He sipped his coffee, muttered something which sounded a little like "the bitch deserved it", and then took another drag on that illicit cigarette, lips curving into an amused expression at the suggestion that he should give her a story for a story. Very well. His altercation in the hallway was nothing to be kept secret, after all."Your friend Myfanwy, yes. We had - quite literally - a little run-in the other day. She caused damage to property and, thus, as appropriate, I assigned her detention. It is not my fault that she failed to return a call to her guardian, nor is it my fault that she inexplicably fears you, as so many apparently do. As for your hair..." Mihail let his gaze rise to examine her haircut, stifled a scoff at the suggestion that she could not do it herself, then continued: "Myfanwy's detention shall finish at eight-thirty. The party does not begin until nine-thirty. If you so require her aid, then I see no reason why she cannot provide it. However, it is my duty to ensure the rules of this school are followed, and if that requires handing out detention to those who deserve it, then I shall." He shrugged, not entirely bothered by the story, and unsure what there was in the tale that Elizabeth could not already have gathered. "Now, about Lucas?"
Mihail liked power, and one thing he always found filled him with feelings as such was when others realised just what a Toussaint could do to them if they so desired. He did not keep his family's line of work a secret, and had never seen any reason to do so: they had friends in all the right places to ensure that revelation would never be an issue. Most had heard the name somewhere throughout their lives, and would be well aware of the family's influence in particular circles but, every so often, someone would come along who had no idea, or who did not believe the tales they had heard. Surprisingly enough, Elizabeth was one of those, and her current expression of shock filled him with satisfaction."I do not like you, Elizabeth, but I have no reason to hurt you. I would never be so stupid," he informed her, in case she was not aware. It was the kind of comment which could have been taken as either threatening or kind, which was just the way Mihail liked things. Uncertainty in others was always entertaining, and tended to give one the upper hand. Moreover, the man knew how to pick his battles, and this was not one that would have been wise to fight. Toussaints had gotten where they were in life by knowing who to keep as an enemy and who to keep in their back pocket, and he was no exception to that rule.Instead of attacking her as she seemed so convinced he would do, the man sipped his coffee slowly, setting it down with an amused expression as she spoke again - or muttered, rather. "Yes, I suppose it is, rather. I could not say. Still, Father took plenty of precautions regardless of our position. I assure you, one shall not find a more secure home than the Toussaint." It was true. The home itself had ample security, and Father had gone to the trouble of purchasing the buildings surrounding the townhouse to secure against snipers. Every detail had been carefully considered there and in any other family property.Finally, it seemed that Elizabeth was ready to look him in the eye once more, and Mihail raised an eyebrow as the story began, already thinking it was not set to be as impressive as he had hoped. "Nudes and underwear?" he queried, expression implying he did not think this all that fascinating in the slightest. "Have we not all sent someone something cute at some point or another? Darling. Monoamory is over. Your boyfriend's actions are hardly surprising. If Toto and I gave up every time we cheated on one another, well, we would have been over years ago." He shrugged, not entirely understanding her panic, although her over-exaggerated shudder implied something more was afoot. "What else?"
[[ boop? ]]
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