Am I dreaming? Is this actually happening?, I thought to myself as I twirled around in the middle of the grand hall. Around me were several other dancing couples, some married while others in various stages of wooing. But tonight I had eyes only for a certain gentleman. The one with whom I was feeling utterly feminine and cherished for the very first time, Mr. William Griffin. He was a businessman from the Colonies in the West. I knew little about his place of residence, but I did know that he seemed very knowledgeable. It had been nearly half an hour since he had asked me to dance with him, but we hardly seemed to be noticing it.
My eyes were caught in his striking blue gaze as he swept me across the floor. Idle chit-chat and gossip were not my cup of tea, and thankfully he appeared to have an aversion to the same. So we began talking about me and about how I had come to attend my first function of the ton in such long a period of time. He told me that he had attended countless of these galas in the three months that he had spent in England. And that he had just about had enough, until tonight.
He was making me blush, and I was surprised at the heat flaming my cheeks because I never blushed. Or I never had, until I had met him. He seemed like an intense, serious sort of person one instant, and then he would throw his head back and laugh loudly, completely botching up my initial assessment of him. In truth, I was enjoying his company so much that I was unable to keep my wits from scrambling.
As the sounds of the orchestra faded into silence, Mr. Griffin escorted me away from the middle of the room to the place where I had been standing when he had asked me to dance. "Miss Finch, can I get you something to drink? I think I may have exhausted you slightly, keeping you on your toes for more than two tunes."
His smile and the twinkle in his eyes belied his remorseful tone, and I barely managed to keep my laughter from brimming to the fore. "I would very much appreciate a drink, Mr. Griffin. You are too kind."
He executed a perfect bow and then turned to head to the drinks counter. I glanced around the room and saw Marianne standing some way off with Mr. McConnely. She had a resigned and bored expression on her face which I found to be very puzzling because I thought that she would enjoy the attentions of society's most eligible bachelor. I tried to catch her gaze, but she seemed to be glaring at someone else in the crowd. I tried to follow her line of sight but could not make out the person who was responsible for Marianne's ire.
As I turned and stretched my neck out to look for Margaret and Beth, I again felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I turned and nearly bumped into two tumblers of punch. "Do you always turn around in this startling fashion, Miss Finch?", came the humoured query from Mr. Griffin. Taking one of the tumblers from his grasp, I shot him a smile and started staring down into my tumbler, feeling immensely embarrassed.