Stuck In The Middle

She looked around the grand room as he carefully spun her around. They were slower than the time of the music and each step he took was nervous; he had obviously not done a lot of dancing.

"Charles, please may we stop now. I'm feeling rather tired and I would very much like a drink."

As she spoke she broke away from his grip and started to walk away. He grasped for her hand as she did so and she whirled around and looked at him sharply. He released her hand and looked somewhat crest-fallen.

"Lizzie, I have asked you before, please call me Charlie."

She looked up at him. His dark blue eyes were wide and pleading. His mother had obviously tried to flatten out the cows lick at the front of his dark hair but it seemed to be winning the battle.

"Ok...Charlie. Please...call me Beth."

She offered him a polite smile that seemed to satisfy him. He smiled back at her with his slightly bucktoothed grin and went off to get a drink for her, leaving her stood there alone.

She retreated backwards to the wall and rested against it lightly. She smoothed down the ruffles on the front of her dress. She hated ruffles and bows. They seemed so overly fussy to her. Generally, she hated her dress anyway. She had wanted to wear blue but she couldn't be seen wearing the same colour as her sister so she had been lumbered with the green one instead. At one time, green had been her favourite colour but now she had decided she hated it.

She looked over at her youngest sister and sighed. The girl was so beautiful. She wished she could have beauty even half of that of her sister but she knew that she was plain. She was not ugly, not ugly by any standards at all but sometimes she thought that being plain was worse than being ugly. If she was ugly then at least she might be noticed a bit more.

She twirled her finger through her mousey brown hair in an attempt to stop her curl from falling out. She had spent the night sleeping with her hair tied in rags to try and get curls into her poker-straight hair but they already seemed to be growing loose. She absently rubbed the side of her nose as if she were trying to rid herself of the sprinkling of freckles that sat there. Her deep brown eyes scanned the room and saw Margaret talking with Edward.

Now if only she could be like Margaret. While she did not have the striking beauty of her younger sister, she was tall, lean and seemed to be good at everything she tried. While clearly not stupid, Elizabeth only ever managed to be average in her lessons. It seemed she was destined to be average in everything.

She tried to straighten the silly bow that held her hair back as she went back to watching Margaret. She wondered what they were talking about, perhaps they were coming up with some plan to get her married off to this 'Charlie'. He seemed like a nice young man but she couldn't help feel disappointed. He had a strange way of grinning that seemed to show too many of his teeth and one at the front was chipped (he told her that this had happened during a minor riding accident). She could not help but stare at that chipped tooth all the time but yes, a nice boy all the same. Without the beauty or the brains maybe he was all she had to hope for.

He returned with a drink for her and she smiled at him as a thank you. He smiled back with his odd, toothy grin and she fancied that his big blue eyes were like that of a cow.

" You look very pretty today Miss Lizzie", he turned slightly pink as he spoke to her.

She glared at him, "It's Beth."

The End

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