Mona's room could be posh. It could. In some ways, it is, but not so much as it was likely meant to be. A full 2/3 of it is given over to work space for her various bits of costumery, with an embroidery machine, serger, press, sewing machine, and a few dressmaker's dummies crowding up the space. Her actual living area is reduced to some copious closets, a bed under a small loft level that's long since been filled with racks of clothes and costumes for her portfolio in garment bags. Once upon a time, the bed was up there, and much of the room was socializing space. That ended when she was about... six? And the fabric, trimmings, mannequins, and machinery have been encroaching steadily ever since. Between the two large walk-in closets is the entrance to the bathroom area, but it's like walking a gauntlet of hangers to even get in there.
There are costume libraries with less clothing in them than this. It passed the point of ridiculous by the time she was fourteen. There is probably art on the walls, under the hangers. Probably. There is a bank of windows to let in the light, and they lead out to the room's connection to the balcony over the pool.
Needless to say, when Mona wants to hide something from the casually curious -- like costume sketches or prom designs -- it's fairly trivial. Tuck it in a pocket of something, or behind this or that, and the odds of someone finding the needle in the haystack are minimal, and that's if they can even manage to suss what it is.
The mini-trio are always here, rarely leaving the room. They are eternally behind on shedding on everything, a mission they take quite seriously. Mona has given up in some respects, and they are lounging in a sunbeam on a pile of what was once very expensive black silk velvet by the window.
"So, I was thinking," she says as she leads into the room, chattering on about the prom plan ahead of the party, "people expect, you know, all the posh fancy elegant, and yeah, yeah, there's that, but that's so done, and everybody's going to be trying to look like a total adult and not like, you know, we actually are, and that seems... " She glances toward the hall, as if suspicious someone might overhear her. These plans are top secret, of course! "...like it's missing the mark? Like, in some ways, it's our official last night of being idiot teenagers before graduation, which doesn't involve crazy clothes or anything especially fancy, like prom does. And... why not, I dunno, celebrate that, instead?"
It's a busy, crowded room, which means there's not that many places for them to hang out in there. And that means over the years Zane's developed a frequent habit for which today is no exception: once they're in the room, he zooms like a dart toward the bed, with only a moment of assessment along the way given to be sure there's nothing a cat might be hiding under in the area he's about to throw himself onto. There is not, as they're all busy ruining expensive fabric in the sun, and he lands with the usual bounce of the mattress at the end of his leap-and-flop. He's probably been doing that since she was six and the bed came down from the loft, though at that point it was less a matter of finding a spot and more to do with the fun of bouncing.
He stretches out across it, finding a comfortable and otherwise useless position to sprawl in, and cocks his head a bit as he watches her. "So you wanna look like... fancy not-adults?" he asks, parsing this, "Like, putting off the adult thing instead of running right at it?" From the tone, he's thinking it over, but probably doesn't object. He rarely ever has to her presentational plans. "You said you have two ideas, right?"
Naturally, the door opening draws the attention of the floufs. Diva yawns broadly, and Spook buries her fluffy head under a fold of velvet. Prance, however, perks up, and bounds over toward Zane like a giant fluffy cat-puppy, barreling onto the bed with a graceless skid to land in a rumple of sheets right at his side, wearing the required 'totally meant to do that' expression as he looks up with a trill of greeting.
"Well, the other idea is basically just beating everybody at their own game and being so incredibly elegant that my parents get off my ass for a few weeks, which I might actually do, too, and then just switch over to the other outfits after they get the group photo by the pool like usual," she explains as she crosses her arms over her chest, tapping a fingertip to her lower lip as she considers this option. It's doubly sneaky, too, which has its own unique appeal, even if it means making yet another dress. But since when has that ever stopped her?
"I mean, classic is super easy. Super fucking classy classic is-" She raises her shoulders in a casual shrug, ambling toward the bed with a look toward Prance, grinning in spite of herself. "-a little harder? But if I'm thinking in terms of 'can pull a quick change in a limo', that helps narrow it down a lot."
And then there's a pause, and as she drops her backside down onto the bed, giant fluffball between them, as the grin just spreads. "...or we could do a quick change right there." Uh-oh, that gleam in her eyes is dangerous -- but in theater, it's not like they haven't pulled that of any number of times without incident in any given month. "I mean, if we're going for 'wow', that could nail it."
Cat-puppy! Zane loves those cats, but The Prince is possibly his favourite of them, for just this reason, and he reaches over to roll the cat closer and give him some affection and petting. There's an answering greeting trill right back, though it's, well, a human trying to do a cat trill. It's the thought that counts?
Zane rolls further onto his back, inviting Prance to climb onto his chest for snuggles if so inclined, and pets him whether the invitation's take or not. So soft. "Why would we ever not go for wow?" he asks, giving her a grin. "Like, if you're not aiming at, like, not being noticed, why bother stopping before everyone's gotta?" Notice, presumably, not stop. "When you say 'right there', like, just plain at the prom, or actually right in front of everyone?" He's done enough quick changes not to assume it'd necessarily leave them unduly exposed at any point, depending what she designs, but everything's still extremely nebulous in his head. The only thing he's certain of just yet is that he trusts her on this.
The cat barrels right into a headbonk, and climbs -- oof! -- up to perch on Zane's chest, knocking his fuzzy head right into Zane's chin with noisy purring snurfle sounds. He clearly missed his calling as a teddy bear, and Mona grins at the perky furball helplessly. There's no ignoring His Highness when he's intent on doling out the cuddles.
"I mean, depends? I hadn't thought of how to pull that particular trick off yet, but I'm betting we could do it right in front of everyone if I work the styles just right. I mean... " The grin she wears is so full of conspiracy it makes her sparkle, and she stretches out alongside the pair of cat and teen for a moment to reach down between the bed and the wall, rooting around for a bit -- the super super secret hiding place -- before she feels the edge of the sketch book tucked away down there.
It's another moment or so before she can manage to get enough of a hold on it to pull it up. It's dog-eared and full of stapled and taped swatches of fabric, and trails enough bits of trim, ribbon, and lace to utterly hypnotize Prance with the dizzying array of things he could possibly chase, gnaw, swat, or mangle, and the sheer volume of them has him craning upward a fraction before he barrels over backward in a sprawl atop Zane with a mrrrroof noise. The look he gives him is pure, 'look at all the things I could destroy! Mommy loves me so much!' as if it's Cat Christmas.
She flips through the book, propping herself up on an elbow, as the feline watches, wide-eyed, head blipping back and forth as pages turn and ribbons fly through the air, and when she stops, one paw finally snaps forward to thwap at the leather swatch on the page, pinning it down. There, that one he could catch!
"This is what I was thinking... " And the designs are not, at a glance, huge. They aren't erupting with feathers or chased by trains of flower petals. They are devilishly clever and subversive, all the same. The dress is an eruption of a ballerina skirt from a pair of cutoff jeans, a bustier, and an elaborately studded and embroidered biker jacket -- with fishnets and classic black Chuck Taylors. It is teenage rebellion from the last fifty years in a single glance in luxe, couture form. The suit to match is stylish to a fault, the classic tux jacket replaced by a biker jacket in leather with tails, in a dashingly formal style. It's a culture clash. It's funny. It's nothing at all like anything anyone else would consider even if they did think of it. It would, after the initial shock, probably even impress her parents after they stopped being horrified. "...and, well, it's... different? And people are probably going to yell, so maybe the alternate versions would come in handy in case they wanna throw us out, but-"
Zane wraps his arms around the cat for a serious snuggle, nuzzling the creature's big fuzzy head for a moment, then loosens the hold to let Prance settle however he likes. His attention goes more to Mona as she fishes down beside the bed, but that look on Prance's face when the book and its tails come out makes the blond grin, and he gives the cat another ruffle before lifting a hand like he's considering trying to catch a bit of that lace and trim. He doesn't, of course; that's a mistake he hasn't made in years, probably since the first time he accidentally pulled something off, or worse, gave a page a tear.
Instead, she shifts a bit to peer at the pages while they're turned. Some he's seen before, of course, but he's always curious what might be new in there. Currently there's a specific goal, though, and he studies the pages more closely when she gets to the designs in question. "...that's pretty cool," he decides, head slightly tilted again. "That's like.. tulle and leather?" His focus shifts over to the suit, adding, "And that jacket rocks. What's the rest made of? And if we go for the change thing, what'd we wear over 'em? I mean, I can see how that skirt'd hide really well pretending to be, like, a whatsit. Um. Petticoat! The jackets seem kinda harder though." But he does not doubt her plans.
"We'd need an accomplice to help swap out the jackets, I think," Mona says with a sudden gleam of conspiracy brightening her expression. "We could drop them off with the limo service to keep them ready for us inside, without my folks ever being the wiser." She holds up the book, and flops down beside him, holding it up so they can both look up at it, which dangles the swatches down to Prance. Poor creature! He bites at the leather, which has Mona immediately giggling. "You get it, master hunter," she teases, stretching out a single fingertip to scritch behind one of the fluffball's chocolate brown ears. The king of hunting cats gnaws on the strip of leather, cheerfully oblivious and purring like a fiend.
"Was thinking silk pinstripes for the pants and the vest, though I want to maybe embroider the vest with something -- maybe some tribal patterns, almost like tattoos? Though under a classic tux jacket -- that'd all blend pretty well either direction -- it would just look like pretty swirly bits, with what little'd show. Shirt, silk, of course, and-" She leans up, bobbing in place for a moment to peer over the edge of the book toward the room at large, as though trying to remember where she put something. How can she even tell?! "I found these amazing little skull cufflinks with diamond eyes? I mean, that would be beyond perfect, and like... super snazzy. Nobody even wears cufflinks any more, you know? So double up on the irony and the style points."
"Thinking pocket watch chain and wallet chain, and-" Of course! "-the boots. Super shined up, naturally."
"We'll need pictures of both," Zane muses as she mentions using the limo service to aid and abet them; this is probably not going to be one of the trickier parts of the plan, given how much photography is likely to go on both before and during the dance itself. He shifts a little nearer to get a better look at the book, careful not to dislodge the cat, which only encourages the mighty hunting happening from his chest. It makes him grin again, giving some more scritches while the poor swatch get mauled.
"Silk's awesome," he says, "and so's pinstripes. Those won't, like, get in the way of the embroidery though? Or is it kinda one or the other?" Either way, the cufflinks get a brilliant smile, even if he hasn't seen them like. "I like that, though. Diamond-eyed skulls. It's like, skull stuff is all... I dunno, like punk and goth and pirates and all, but then it's diamond and cufflinks and those are all classy." He considers briefly. "They're not real diamonds though, right? 'cause remember when we did Hello Dolly and I lost one of my cufflinks?" It was several years ago, to be fair. It might not even have been quite to the wrong side of ridiculous in here yet.
"Oh, we so need pictures of both, absolutely," Mona agrees with an eager nod. Her grin is positively enormous; it always is when they're 'up to something'. "I mean, especially because proving we got away with it is proof of your acting chops, too, right?" She curls in a little nearer, in part to continue rumpling Prance's ear as the giant ragdoll gnaws at the leather swatch like he aims to do it in for good. "Depends on the pinstripes, kinda? I'm thinking of subtle ones for the vest, so they'll be there but, you know, sedate. Something stronger for the pants, classic suiting silk. I think--you remember that 'work suit' I did for career day sophomore year? That stuff, that they said was 'too fancy' for the office." Her eyes roll predictably at the criticism. "Pretty sure that's the day I decided I wasn't ever going to work in an office."
"Annnnnd it's funny you mention pirates, 'cause... the costume thing is kinda that. We should get started soon, but I wanna hash this out, first, I mean-" Pausing briefly, she tilts her head so she can look over at him, even if it means straining her eyes all the way to the side. "-you don't think this will be too crazy? It'll definitely draw a hell of a lot more attention than any 'just pretty' dress would, or even anything that might be a little bit on the slinky side. Besides, pretty sure I couldn't pull off 'slinky', I usually leave that to Thea. She's the graceful, sexy one, and I can almost predict she's going to ask for 'something to make all the guys miss me when they go off to college' and, well, that's gotta be something sexy as hell, right?"
Sexy as hell. Rather like... oh. That smile. Which might be what gives her a moment's pause before she clears her throat and quietly insists, "Nah, I don't think they're real diamonds, anyway. Probably some good swarovski and sterling, if the price is any indication. Like, they're reasonable, so it isn't likely they're anything like Uncle Vincent's ruby ones were." Odds are high Uncle Vincent still hasn't even noticed they're missing, or would care half so much as the teens do.
Look, that cat needs his ear rumpled, there's just no two ways about it. And Zane's busy considering the designs and being delighted by the fierce attempt at leather-murder. Mona has no choice but to pick up the rumpling slack! Zane rolls his eyes a little as well, shaking his head. "That was so stupid. I mean, offices are totally where people wear pinstripe suits. Like, look at any show with like a bank or stockbrokers or whatever in it, they're all over the place, right?" She'd know better than he would, of course, but he's absolutely going to back her up regardless.
Likewise, if she thinks embroidery will work find on the pinstripes? Well, he's not going to gainsay that. And while the pirate thing gets an interested lift of a brow, her question brings him right back, and he shakes his head. "Nah. I mean, there's probably gonna be a bunch of girls going for slinky and, like... small." Which he's not exactly going to complain about, mind, but, "So it's like, if you want a director to notice you, you don't do the same line-readings everyone else does, right? This is like, something different that still makes sense, you know? It's an original take but it's still the same show."
He nods, satisfied with this analogy, and considers her with that other claim. "You could totally pull off slinky, though," he says, and there's a beat while he gives imagining that a go, intending to say something more about it, but whatever comes to mind heads that off, leaving him giving the cat another ruffle instead. "If you wanted to," is all he ends up with. "Still wish I could've figured out where that missing one went, though. The cufflink." Bit late now. "But these sound good."
"Oh my god, that is like, exactly it," Mona insists with a sudden nod. "Like, you can only race to take off so much, and honestly, I need more room for expression here than I'd get with some bikini special-ordered from Brazil." Her nose wrinkles visibly. "Besides, could you just picture my father's face? He would quite possibly explode and send me to a convent, away from the blast crater that'd take out half the town." She can't entirely help it, picturing the look on her father's face has her giggling, and turning to bury the giggle in his shoulder.
That has the book coming down precariously close to Prance, now convinced his prey is well and truly captured! ...which, naturally, means he loses all interest in it, and flops around to burrow his nose under Zane's chin, snorfling all the while. It's almost distraction enough to cover the one eye of Mona's opening as she considers the words, before her brow furrows, and she asks, "You think so?" No, she may not be a beanpole in reality any more, but in her brain, she is a beanpole for eternity. It's a life sentence, bring in the orange jumpsuit.
"Maybe I should try it for a party some time." That's so painfully non-committal; anyone accustomed to reading her tone would be sure it means 'somewhere near the tenth of never'. "Like, Jade and Thea totally take after Mom, you know? They can slink like champs. But I think I have the glowering like Dad down to a science." No, she really doesn't. She may be able to put the fear in people, but not like her father surely does. "And I'm not sure if I wanna be 'that scary slinky girl' because that's... you neeeeeeeeed... " She'd be wheeling a hand in the air were she not still holding the sketchbook.
"Oomph," she decides aloud. "And I am not sure I have that special sort of oomph required. Possibly even a dash of 'va-va-voom'."
Okay, Zane can't help being pleased with his interpretation of things being deemed accurate, and imagining Robert Marchant's face if one of his daughters went 110% unsubtle with that sort of thing is amusing enough to get a laugh, easy with the giggle-burying that's happened untold times before. It just makes him laugh a little more when Prance gets in on the act with the snorfling. He is not imagining any Brazilian bikinis, but when she asks if he thinks so -- well, then he actually has to think about it again. Not the bikini... or at least, not the theoretical one. There's an unbidden mental image of the not-bikini from last week, though; hard not to be, when she's asking whether he thinks she can pull off slinky-sexy. And then she's talking about what she'd need to do it, and he's silent for a moment or two, petting Prance. Not actually looking uncomfortable, which is probably a testament to his acting abilities, but there might be just a hint of extra pink across his cheekbones when he says slowly, "I dunno if you'd have to be scary or not but I think probably you could-- find some, um, oomph. If you wanted. Or some va-va-voom. I mean. If anyone knows where to find that," he lifts a hand, gesturing vaguely to the proliferation of clothing in the room, "it'd be you." A tiny pause, and certainly not at all changing the subject, it just follows, right? he notes, "Silver's asked me twice now about the masquerade costume thing."
She's still grinning through the blush -- and odds are very high she doesn't have even the barest inkling as to its cause. "Well, unfortunately for me, neither of those things can be put on a hanger or found on a rack, even at the most exclusive little shops or obscure estate sales, or I'd have some by now." She sighs melodramatically, trying to sound as though this doesn't disappoint her at all. And for the most part, she doesn't have to pretend at all, because it troubles her very little. "Jade definitely got all the oomph. Thea, the va-va-voom." Her nose wrinkles again, and she closes the sketchbook, tossing it to her side as though it wasn't her most precious treasure, at least so far as objects go.
The observation has her brows puzzling, and she purses her lips, thoughtful. "Well, yours is rarely any sort of secret anything, but things have been so crazy I just kinda forgot to mention what it was while I was experimenting with the options, this time around. Mine's always a surprise-" She pauses, and then the grin rises mischievously at the corners. "-and then probably a total let-down when it's yet another 'blend into the scenery' sort of nothing, I guess. Which is probably no different for me this time around, either, but, well." Her shoulders rise and fall in a simple shrug, nudging him in the process. "You sparkle and such, so. You're always hella fun to come up with something for, 'cause I know you'll work it like nobody else."
Still, she hasn't mentioned what she's doing! ...or even what she's doing for him, yet, either, and she's likely to start any moment. "I wish she'd let me do something for her some time. I would love to do something for all three of them, sometime, I mean, Star's like... my dearest friend in the world next to you, but she doesn't like me fussing at her." The grin returns, and she props herself up on an elbow to look at him, finally giving the other hand over to a full head-rumple for poor, neglected, long-suffering Prance. From the look on the cat's face, he was surely about to die if she didn't -- and didn't end up bumping her hand to his in the process, which sparks another quick chuckle and a tiny duck of her chin. "Spoiled little brat," she murmurs to the preening feline, before she leans over and drops a smooch atop the cat's head.
"Totally going with 'opposites world pirate', and it's way cooler than it sounds, Mister Swim Team, 'cause all our spring parties end up in the pool, anyway, and thennnnnnnnnn we gotta call Cassidy to pull all the feathers out of the drains." Augh. So there will be more fending off Cassidy, huh?
Zane hesitates when Mona claims the other two got all the oomph and va-va-voom, giving her a sidelong look. He's pretty sure at this point that her claim's inaccurate. But he's a lot less sure how much or how deeply he wants to be thinking about it, right now. So what comes out is, "I dunno, I've seen what some of the costumes you've made people've done." along with a little shrug. He shifts position slightly, enough to roll just a bit more toward her, but not so much as to dislodge a comfortable cat. Gods forbid!
The matter of this next costume, though, that's more comfortable, not to mention intriguing. "Sparkle," he echoes, part dubious and part amused, but also partly pleased. "Give 'em the old razzle-dazzle, razzle-dazzle 'em," he sings to Prance, who looks somewhat confused but pretty game for this kind of attention too. Another grin to Mona. "I'll do my best, anyway." But what's she got in mind? This is The Big Question, and he watches her, waiting, until she gets to what she's got in mind. Broadly what she's got in mind. His brow furrows a bit, questioning, but he gets a bit derailed by that very last bit, nose wrinkling. "If he's getting called in you should come hang out with me," he says, "...is there gonna be feathers? What's an opposites world pirate, anyway? 'cause it kinda sounds like... someone who stays on land and gives people money and, like, has extra legs and hands and eyes?" A blink, and his eyes widen, "Or does he have the feathers instead of the parrot?" Feathers! It all makes sense! ...kinda. Or not.
She can't help but grin as she rolls onto her side to face him fully, effectively trapping one floufy Prance between them contentedly. It's like a box, but made of people scritching him! How awesome is that? The singing only gets the grin going all the more broad, and her eyes are positively gleaming -- more so the more the options are rattled off, and she's shaking her head while giggling all the more. "No, no, it's actually... it's actually really cool, 'cause... you know how there's the whole thing about like, mermaids saving pirates and sailors -- or sometimes dragging them down into the sea to make them mermaids?" Pause. "Mermen." Pause. "Mer-people? Merfolk. Merthings, whatever. It's kinda like that? But backwards, because... it would be sneaky-cool, and that's how the makeup works better."
Regaining the smallest shred of her seriousness to explain, she says, "Know that fake tattoo stuff we tinkered with when you did that song from West Side Story for the Jets tat?" The grin starts to spread again. "The waterproof stuff that'd last a few days, wiped off with rubbing alcohol, but could hold up under the shower for a couple days if it had to?" Her brows shoot up slightly. "So I made these ragged 'stranded sailor' pants out of bathing suit material -- which is like, harder than it sounds 'cause it doesn't take normal dye and oh my god distressing those things is serious portfolio piece work, no lie -- but I was thinking... I'm going to do a bunch of sailor tattoos all over."
"But!" Here's the catch, because there's always some kind of trick to it all. "I got out the airbrush, and set up some stencils and whatnot. Gonna paint you up like a mer...person. And I have these little fin bits to tack on made from gelatin and sugar that'll also dissolve in the water?" The grin just keeps getting bigger. "So, like, you'd go into the water a mermaid-" Minor flail! "-merman! And then come out again a pirate, once the normal makeup washes off, and the fins fall off and dissolve."
It is the most awesome. Four hands and all that warmth! What more could a cat ask? Except that all four hands be tending to his petting needs, which, alas, they are not. Zane's only using one, for example. The cad. He's more focused on Mona and her explanation right now, eyes narrowing slightly as she goes into the thing about mermaids and pirates and sailors, though the adjustment from mermaids to mermen to merfolk to merthings makes him grin right back. "If you make them sing Gypsy they could be Ethel Mermen," he jokes, which is probably about as good as his puns get, so enjoy that.
"So I'm like... a sailor the mermaids threw back, kinda. But that's gotta look really cool, switching from one thing to the other just from going into the water. Which a merman oughta or he'd, like, dry out and die probably, right?" He considers this a moment longer. "Do I start out with a tail? 'cause that'd be awesome but kinda hard to walk around, probably. And seems like a lot to try and dissolve in the pool." But he's pretty confident if she did intend to do that it'd clearly be fine. She knows these things, after all.
At the mention of Ethel Mermen, she can't help it: more giggling, and she nearly collapses over the fluffball, near-missing a collision with Zane's head in the process. "You could totally do that! Oh, man, you so should! That would be amazing!" It's how this goes: one of them has an idea, then it bounces back and forth until it becomes something completely different and twenty times more fun than where it started. It's little wonder they've been doing this for years now!
Mona shakes her head a little at the mention of the tail, and says, "Most mer-dudes got two tails, more like finny legs, so I think you're good with feet. I seriously thought about doing a mermaid after the other day and going around in a wheelchair or something but, like, there is no topping Queen Bette on that one, for real, she nailed it." She raises a shoulder and lets it fall. "I could paint up a pair of swim flippers for that, but I think you're probably in the clear just going with bare feet. I'd freak out if trying to walk around in those things, something happened, you know? I think nobody's gonna be looking much at feet anyway, no matter what Jade thinks about finding the perfect shoes." Rolling her eyes just a fraction, she shakes her head again. "His outfit is so fabulous, it was a super cool idea. He helped so much with it, too, he did amazing. Came up with the idea for the mask and it totally blew me away."
"My dress is over on the mannequin, if I can't come up with anything else. Just going to throw it on over a suit and let the makeup carry it, I think." She stretches out a hand to point to one of the dressed mannequins, and... it doesn't really look dressed. That's... finished? Over a bathing suit it would surely be decent and proper, but still. "I may need your help getting my back covered without it being a splotchy mess."
Zane laughs. "If I did that it probably oughta be There's No Business Like Show Business," he says, "Or just, like... snippets of various of 'em..." He doesn't seem that concerned whether people would get it -- doesn't everyone know which songs ought to bring to mind the First Lady of musical theatre? -- but he's still mulling over how it'd work, performancewise. "I kinda feel like I oughta wear a wig if I was doing that but I'd definitely lose that in the water if I tried." And the chlorine would probably not do it any good. The image is definitely getting somewhat sillier than the original, there, also, not that he's ever been shy about silly if they aim for it.
The answer on tails makes his brow furrow. "Mer-dudes get finny legs? Man, mermaids get ripped off, then. That's weird. Like, how do they..." He trails off, head tilting a bit, as he idly tries to sort out the inner workings here, as though there were some genuine answer to be found. He does not find it, certainly not before he's distracted by the idea of Jade's costume. "What's he gonna be? I guess I need a mask too, huh?"
This is an important question, and one he barely remembers to listen to the answer of after he follows her gesture toward the mannequin and the dress there, which makes him blink. the question of covering her back can wait while he's processing the matter of the fabric. He does not ask where the rest of it is. He does ask, "...what are you gonna be in it?" before adding, "That's a lot of beading." It is! And yet.
"Would that make it a... " She waits for it, letting the tension build for a moment as she struggles desperately to keep a straight face. "...mer-medley?" No matter how much she might be blushing all of a sudden, or equally suddenly aware of just how near they are -- after this being normal for so long, even! -- there's an inner little kid in Mona that won't let go of the giggling over wordplay, at least initially, and it keeps the smile in place and the awkwardness from overtaking her just yet. Considering the question, she pauses, and her brows furrow. "You know, I never thought about that?" Her head cants to one side, and she bites at her lip, thoughtful, brows puzzling together. "Like, all these stories about mermaids seducing sailors and sirens being all sexy sexy and luring poor men to their doom, and they don't even have... " But there's really no not laughing again, because somehow, that seems to be just the kind of irony that makes her laugh more than anything else. "That must be a real disappointment! Imagine the poor jerk who jumps in the water looking for a girlfriend, already willing to put up with the fact that she's gotta live in the water, and then... she doesn't have any girlybits."
"Well, I guess she'd have boobs. I thought about being a mermaid, I did! But I didn't want to have to figure out what to do with my boobs and seashell bras pinch something fierce." She has done 'mermaid' before for a summer pool party, but she was ten years old at the time. That shell bikini must have made one hell of an impression, because she tucks a hand against her chest and rubs idly as if the memory itself conjured that horror afresh.
"I'm gonna be a 'silent film actor'. Gonna paint myself all white and do black and grey makeup, bathing suit's black, so it'd kinda be like a slip." She spreads her hands in a tiny little half-hearted shrug of a gesture. "I have this little chalk board in a fancy picture frame to write on for all the things I'd 'say', decorated up like one of those title cards from the super old movies? I think it'd be fun, and pretty funny. Other than the chalkboard, it's all waterproof, too, unless somebody smudges the makeup too badly."
"Well, we always do mask or makeup, soooooooo... I was thinking you could have the makeup for before the pool, and I totally made an eyepatch with a mask bit for the other eye if you wanna use that, can keep it in a pocket until it's time," she says with a tiny grin. Yep, she even made pockets in the magic sailor pants; she is on point on this one! "You think you're ready to start getting doodled on?"
Zane's a good audience for that sort of thing. She has his attention in the pause, head tilted a little as he watches her and Waits For It, and he can't help a giggle at 'mer-medley', either. A pause, and then quite suddenly his face lights up farther and he exclaims, "They'd sing scales!" which sends him off into a few more seconds of giggling, deeply pleased with himself for that one.
It turns into more of a snicker as she gets into the downsides of mermaid seduction, as he does in fact imagine that poor sailor, and his expression on making this particular discovery. "Maybe they could still make it work if they really tried? I mean if he's already okay with relocating underwater. They could-- I mean, I guess she's still got hands and-- stuff--" Okay, now he's blushing a little again, though that slight pinkening in a conversation like this is at least not new. Is it worse than usual? Hard to be sure, but it's not enough that his train of thought doesn't continue right on its way, "But I mean probably so do most of the other sailors? Unless they're pirates and then I guess maybe there might be a lot of pointy hooks and stuff..." And that makes him wince as well as blush. Visually following the movement of her hand doesn't really help, and he shifts focus to Prance, giving him some good thorough scritching.
"Could be like... starfish? Or seaweed maybe," he suggests, but the answer on what she's going to actually go with is a welcome shift. The explanation gets a couple nods, but the chalkboard part makes him grin along with the nod it gets. "I like that. You won't be able to talk in the pool though, that part might kinda suck." Apparently either the idea she'd break character or the fact that she can technically still talk has not occurred to him; let's be charitable and assume it's the former.
Her question gets a blink, but then a second of consideration, and a nod. "Yeah, okay. Otherwise you're gonna be stuck doing that all day before the party. And it might not dry right before we had to do the airbrushing. It's all gonna be where I can hide it pretty easy until then, right?" Okay, he'll probably need long sleeves, but there's got to be a lightweight shirt with 'em somewhere.
Scales! That does it, she's absolutely in stitches -- just not the usual kind involving actual stitching. Grinning enormously, she ducks her head right into the pile of kitty fluff, burying her laughter in a baffled cat. To be fair, Prance is usually baffled, so that part's not particularly new. Prance has learned a thing: mommy can pet him with her face! Yay!
Though when she looks up, it's with a thoughtful sort of puzzlement. "Yeah, I mean, I guess they do have hands, and-" She can't even help it. She has to say it. "...well, I guess they can't look for flashlights but we all know hands can, uh-" Why are these things out of her mouth before she actual thinks about them? Because she's not used to thinking with a filter, and suddenly her cheeks are practically scarlet. "Well, yeah, hands work!" That laughter hasn't stopped, though. Giggle about it, totally covers it! Nope.
"I kinda figure I don't talk much at the parties anyway, so, it isn't a huge deal, you know? It's more fun to mostly people-watch."
"Ooooh, I bet mermaids lay eggs like fish!" she suddenly realizes, as if this makes everything better and not somehow hilariously more awkward. "Probably why there aren't mermaids any more," she decides aloud, "because that's probably super boring." Heaving a sigh, she shakes her head slowly, scattering her hair on the blankets beneath her. "Though as for things that are not boring, I made Prince Prance a totally adorable little pirate outfit, so he can be your not-actually-a-parrot, if you like."
"I was thinking about being a parrot, but Jade's going as a-" She almost lets the secret out, and snaps her mouth shut again. "-well, not a parrot but close enough that if I did anything with feathers he'd be super down about it, even if he'd never ever say." She props herself up as Prance protests with a plaintive yowl of 'half my human box has abandoned me, I am now hopelessly adrift in life!' before she burrows a hand into his belly for a proper ruffling. There, much better.
"Long sleeved shirt we can do. Aaaaaaactually-" There's another glance across the room, and she purses her lips thoughtfully. "The stuff we ordered from Gaultier's spring collection finally showed up, and I did pick out a really kickass shirt for you. Was gonna give it to you after the party, but it's got long sleeves? We've only gotta hide it until later, though, so-" Pausing, she considers the options as she rolls up to her feet. "Could always just stay here tonight, too, it's not like half the folks coming aren't going to as it is, if I know Jade and Thea. We could do movie night and order pizza?"
Zane looks even more pleased with himself when the joke results in cat-buried laughter, though it's his own turn to look baffled when she starts in on the matter of mermaid hands. "...look for flashlights?" He probably shouldn't ask. Too late for that, though! The talking thing he's not entirely sure about, but then there's the matter of eggs, and he gives it some consideration. "Mermaid eggs. But they've still gotta-- I mean, somehow the mer-dude's gotta..." Someone was not paying attention the day fish reproduction was covered in science, apparently. Or possibly more than usual the day snakes were. "Kinda starting to sound easier to sell your voice to a sea-witch." Which was an idea he found horrifying five years ago and probably hasn't stopped. Even for love!
Outfits for cats, though? That's not horrifying at all. "Pirate Prince Prance!" he exclaims, breaking into a grin again, and looks to the cat, giving him a scritch. "Whatcha think, wanna be my little buddy?" he asks, "Can you say 'pieces of eight'? Wait, that'd be actual parrot, not pirate. 'Arrrr'?" The scritching gets an answer of 'purrrrrr', which Zane deems "Good enough!"
The question of Jade's costume is interesting, and he gives Mona a pouty look when she fails to fully give it away -- though there's enough of a light going on there to suggest he might have at least some kind of suspicion, even so. "You still don't gotta give me stuff," he says, though in the end, he rarely objects to letting Mona dress him somewhat. "But I like that plan, I mean, it's not like I've got anything I gotta do at home today. And, pizza." He never objects to pizza. "Do we have anything good to watch? We could go hit Blockbuster..."
"He is gonna be so cute, it's got a little fake peg-leg and everything," Mona insists as she rumples the giant, affable feline. "Oh, the flashlight thing is, uh... so you know how Alyssa keeps insisting, uh... " She rolls her eyes as she goes full magenta, shaking her head. "So I dropped the flashlight while we were sprawled out on a towel on the beach at camp, right? And I went looking for it because it was, you know, dark?" There's a level of exasperation to it all that carries the tragic ring of truth to everything. "And so I'm like fumbling around in the dark for the flashlight, and I think I dropped it in one spot so I shove my hand there and, uh-"
She clears her throat, and stares very pointedly at the two white cats still lounging in the sunbeams by the window. "-it went right down the front of Alyssa's bikini bottoms instead."
"BECAUSE IT WAS DARK, I SWEAR!" She's laughing a little, but the pained look on her face explains one hell of a lot about why her parents have doubled down on trying to set her up with some poor preppy sap since that particular summer's session of drama camp.
Sighing deeply, she just falls right back over, and looks at him, still burning red from her collarbones to her ears, utterly sheepish. "She still teases me about that allllllll the fucking time, and much as I don't actually hate her, so help me, if she calls me her girlfriend one more time I'm gonna make her prom dress entirely out of something full of magnets to catch on things and seam it up the sides with velcro that tears off once she walks through the metal detectors, so help me god."
"I mean, I guess I get why they think it, but. I have nothing against guys and I'd totally date a guy or kiss a guy or--I just don't see what the big deal is?" Her head shakes as she grows at least a fraction more serious, and some of the blush starts to fade. "Most guys are either jerks, scared of me, or don't know I exist. Kinda complicates things, though. Like, I've never even kissed a guy outside of the times everybody was playing spin the bottle at one of the parties, or that really awkward scene I did with what's-his-face from drama camp." Pause. "Other than the time Cassidy tried to kiss me and I just kinda reflexively swung my purse at his head-" Gee, Mona, do you think that might have something to do with it? "...which I kinda feel bad about because he still has that little scar from the studs." Oops.
Prance is going to be so cute! He already is, really, though that's not enough to keep Zane's attention when Mona starts to explain the flashlight thing. He knows what Alyssa keeps insisting, more or less, and he knows broadly what happened at ba-- drama camp, but it is a 'broadly' that does not include anything about flashlights. Kissing, yes. General making-out, probably. Flashlights, no. His eyes widen a bit when she gets to where her hand went, and apparently she's managed to blush so hard he has to help out with it too.
"Oh, man," he says, sympathetic but also laughing, which doesn't help that any, and it only gets worse when she talks about the potential dress, and again when she mentions the Cassidy incident. That one makes him snicker, in fact, even if he maybe ought to have more empathy for the wounded. But hey, he's quite firmly of the opinion no one should be kissing Mona unless she wants them to! Any girl, really, but his best friend particularly. He might've hit Cassidy with the purse too if he'd been there.
It does somewhat explain better why there've been so very many parentally-arranged blind dates he has ended up there for, helping to save her from the poor preppy saps, but to be fair, he's never really questioned it beyond 'somehow found out about the Alyssa-kissing' before. Now he does have questions: "So what'd you do? And she do? I mean, um." The blush contagion increases. "When that happened." A pause. "Did you find the flashlight?" There's nothing lewd about that inquiry. If anything, it's a reach for 'normal'. He's definitely kissed a few people, and while he hasn't really gone into detail about where anything might have gone, 'somewhat farther' is probably accurate here and there, at least. But not, presumably, by accident, or that'd almost certainly be spilling out now.
She can't entirely help the giggling, but there is rather a lot of it all of a sudden, even if she's covering her face with her hands, and peering out at him from between two spread fingers as she laughs. "Oh, mannnnnnnnnnnn, well... " There's a gulp, and a little clearing of her throat as she tries to stop laughing long enough to actually explain.
"Well, she kinda... " And there is where the blush really kicks into high gear, despite the way she's trying to fight the laughter again. "Wellllllllllllll," she sing-songs, equal parts amused and plaintive, "she made this noise, and-" Her cringe is full body, and she's halfway to drawing her knees up to her chest and her forehead down atop them, but the whole effort is stalled out by the laughing and the already precarious position she's in. No kneeing Prince Prance, after all!
"-and it was... " She clears her throat. "It was really, really a gooooooooooooood kind of noise." The look is quite telling, and with the look comes a long pause.
"But it was also a really loud noise and that's why the counselors came running out to the beach and, well, they had a flashlight annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd-" She spreads her hands, helpless entirely. The war with another round of laughter commences. Mona valiantly attempts to keep a straight face as she looks at him, but when the cat promptly stares in confusion between the two of them, she can't really manage it any more. Through tiny giggles she manages, "So they got there and my hand is all the way through the bottom of her bikini and around to the other side of her hip and I swear to god I really did find the flashlight but I was trying to pull it out through the bikini hole and I guess it looked like I was about to do something completely different and probably totally inappropriate and uncomfortable with the flashlight because that's why they called Mom."
Sucking in a breath, she stares pointedly at the ceiling. "And if you think that is bad, just think about the lecture I got from Mom about what to actually use for that that isn't a flashlight the whole ride home."