The Hogansteins were a strange couple. Anyone who met them for the first time, or even the second time, thought or felt that there was something not quite right about them. Truth being, they knew themselves how odd they were, but instead of screaming hysterically about this fact, they embraced it and then later forgot about it. This was simply because they couldn’t give a damn what other people thought of them, sort of.
It was at a rather formal dinner party that they’re oddest become more apparent to their friends, acquaintances and enemies. This was about the time they started to argue quite a bit, in private and in public. They seemed to be able to have a furious argument in a crowded room and bring hardly any attention to themselves, but when they separated from each other and talked to others in the room, the arguements seemed to be more obvious. It was the way they talked about each other that gave them away.
Boris Hoganstein was a gentleman by nature, but his darker side was always waiting in the shadows. At any weak moment it could take over and either ruin or save everything. People tended to like Boris more so that his wife, mainly because there was something strangely attractive about his being. He often smoked a pipe but at dinner parties, made his wife hold it when he was talking. He sometimes wore a monocle as well, but this was only so he didn’t have to wear proper glasses, as it was a little known fact that Boris was in fact quite short sighted. He was of average height and tended to wear shirts and waistcoats, his favourite being a beige waistcoat with a patterned silk back. His wife had bought this for him on their fifth wedding anniversary at a time when they were very much a couple, if you understand what I mean.
Now Barbara Hoganstein was quite different from her husband. Yes, she was tall, elegant, and picturesque, her face was perfect, not a blemish in sight but her manner was something else. She could drink like a fish; finish a bottle of Rose wine (her favourite) without even some much as blinking her eyes. She had the ability to consume glass after glass and it not even affect her. Despite her talent for drinking, she could be rather a bore at parties, swaning around the room not speaking to anyone, just giving certain people disdainful glances, especially her husband. Most people weren’t too keen on Barbara, for the most obvious reason, she was a bitch. When she did talk to people, she had a habit of insulting them, but in an underhanded way. When Boris first met Barbara he thought it was a talent but later agreed with others that it spiteful.
These were the Hogansteins, married for eight years, happy on and off for five. The people who travelled in the same circles as the couple and who considered themselves as 'close friends' often commented on how changed they were. They were always a topic of conversation at any party or gathering, even when they didn't attend. Especially when they didn't attend.
I suppose you could say the gossip and tales really began at the most famous party of the season, the Halloween Ball held annually at Cherry Hall, an old theatre that had been converted into a grand hall, converted for such occasions as this one. It was always a grand affair and usually drama was included at some point during the evening. Surprisingly enough Boris and Barbara had never quite taken centre stage in these dramatic events. They arrived together every time, always dressed in the most exquisite costumes and then separated for an hour to talk to others and of course find out where the drinks were being served, then continue the evening together. But it was at last year's ball when tradition was broken. The Hogansteins arrived separately. Boris first, then Barbara ten minutes later. For any other couple to arrive separately it was normal, it didn't matter, but for these two, it was strange. In the history of their marriage and in fact their engagement too, Boris and Barbara had never attended a party, gathering or event apart. When Barbara finally arrived, it was as if the King had just died, the room was silent. Being odd, the couple didn't notice this and continued their routine, as if nothing was new. It was later brought to light why this had happened, but that tale is for another day.
But I can tell you this, it definitely involves a deathly scandal of some sort.