She could believe he just... left. Walked right out of the gala without saying another word to her. Ivy hadn't even gotten out of the big ballgown yet, sitting on her bed and ugly crying while her sister delicately took the pins out of her hair and started brushing the updo out.

"Why was Violetta talking to you, anyways?" Ginny asked quietly. "She hardly even talks to me."

"I don't know," Ivy said between sobs. "She came over with purpose, like she had a lot to say. She spotted him in the crowd."

"But maybe it was all a lie?" she suggested.

"Then why would he confess?" Ivy said.

She bent over to put her head between her knees and let out a groan of frustration into the layers of fabric of her skirt. Ginny sighed and walked to the closet. She took out a comfortable nightgown for Ivy to change into, but noticed Flynn's jacket also hanging there. She paused for a moment, then slammed the door shut and returned to Ivy.

"Come on, let's get you out of this dress."

Ivy sniffed and stood up so Ginny could untie the gown and corset. She shimmied out of the dress and left it in a pile of fabric on the floor before pulling the nightgown over her head and dropping face first back onto the bed. Ginny sat down beside her and stroked her hair.

"That's enough," Ginny said. "Wipe those tears. No man is worth crying over."

"I'm not crying over a man," Ivy sniffed. "I'm crying over the man. The only one who ever made me feel like a person. And now I know that he lied to me because he thought I'd be too shallow to accept him as is."

"I'm sure there's more to it than that."

"Well he didn't say much more," Ivy said. "He seemed pretty eager to run away from me."

"I know," Ginny sighed. "I just mean that maybe he was overwhelmed with all those people around you. It wasn't the right setting."

"Are you defending him right now?" Ivy questioned. "You, of all people. You are defending Flynn. You didn't even like him. You thought he was suspicious from the start."

"I still don't like him very much," Ginny admitted. "And that may just be because I don't think anyone is good enough for my little sister. And I made a promise to Mother that I would protect you, no matter what antics you got yourself into."

"You did?"

"I did," she said with a nod. "Now, nothing will excuse the lies. That wasn't alright. But we all know that his 'social status' matters little to you. And we all see how happy you are when you're with him. Maybe you just need a minute to talk to him about it and see what happens."

Ivy was quiet. She looked down at her feet, kicking them lightly.

"And if he tries to pull something like this again, I'll deal with him personally," Ginny added. "Deal?"

"Alright," Ivy mumbled.

"I wonder how he even knows Violetta," Ginny mused. "She's not his type in the least, as far as I can tell. I don't think she's anyone's type."

Ivy thought for a moment, then perked up slightly.

"I think I know someone who might have more information.

She hardly slept that night, but the next morning she enlisted Ginny's help as they made their way to the dress shop in town. Ivy wasn't even trying to look casual, going straight to the back of the store until she found the head of blonde hair she was looking for.


Penny spun around with her hands up, this time seeming a little less nervous and more defensive around Ivy. Ginny hurried back too, looking around.

"Ivy, are we allowed back here?" she asked.

"It's fine," Penny said. "What is it? Another secret mission?"

"I need to find Flynn," Ivy told her.

"Oh, I'm sure he's just recovering after all that gala excitement," Penny said. "He'll find you."

"I know he's from Seahollow," Ivy blurted. "And I think you know that too, don't you?"

Penny shifted uncomfortably, then set down the work she was doing with a sigh.

"I told him you'd figure it out," she said quietly.

"He ran away before we could talk about it," Ivy said. "I need to talk to him, Penny. I know he's your friend and you'll probably take his side, but-"

"Let me just tell my father I'm going out," Penny interrupted. "I might know where he is. You deserve your answers."

Ivy beamed as Penny left for a few moments, returning with her purse and wrap. She gave Ginny a look and a slight nod before heading out to lead the way. Ivy linked her arms with Ginny and Penny, much less subtle about her acknowledgement to the two of them. Both blondes seemed surprised.

"This is great," she said. "Just some ladies supporting other ladies, instead of tearing each other down."

"Alright, calm down," Penny said, moving away slightly. "We've got a ways to go before we start drinking wine and having tea parties together."

Ginny stayed close to Ivy as they ventured into the neighborhoods they were unfamiliar with, where most of the working class lived. Penny went up to a door and knocked on it. A man opened the door, and it took Ivy a few moments before she recognized him.

"This little bird is looking for Flynn," Penny told him.

The man looked past Penny at Ginny and Ivy, and Ivy pushed forward a little.

"I remember you," she said. "You're the one who was calling out bids for my name at the pageant."

"'Harvey' will do just fine," he said. "Flynn isn't here. Sorry."

"I just need to talk to him," Ivy said. "Please? Do you know where he is?"

"Genuinely sorry to disappoint you, but he never came back last night," Harvey shrugged. "If I was going to be honest, I thought he'd be with you."

"You don't think he up and left, do you?" Penny asked.

"No, he wouldn't," Ginny said. "Where would he go?"

Ivy started to tune them out at they talked about it, eventually just waving her hand to pause the conversation.

"Forget it," she sighed. "He's avoiding me. That much is clear."

"Ivy...," Ginny started.

"Sorry to make you walk home alone, Ginny," Ivy said. "I just need to take a walk to clear my mind."

She didn't give them an opportunity to protest as she started walking away.