I certainly didn't fancy Rebecca, but I knew that I couldn't avoid her completely; so, invite her to dance I did. For once she was useful. We had not been moving in step for very long before it was obvious she wanted to spill her guts.
She was breathing hard, her cheeks red. At one point she gripped my shoulder, which she had never done before. But, it wasn't the type of affectionate grip you received sometimes while dancing with one of the ladies of the court. No, her squeeze wasn't about me at all.
"Rebecca," I stated flat toned. "There is obviously something you want to say."
Her eyes darted to and fro. "Not here," she intoned, barely above a whisper, a raised inflection on the word 'here.' Surprisingly, she was able to make it through the end of the dance. Thankfully, it was just a simple waltz that didn't require much concentration.
I made sure to make eye contact with Eliza as Rebecca and I left the company of the party. I lead her off the dance floor, and we made our way to an adjoining room. I acted like I was closing the door, but I left it ajar, hoping Eliza got my subtle hint.
Rebecca could not contain herself anymore. "This war is almost over," she exclaimed, both of her hands shaking excitedly. It was my job as an officer of the Handrin army to keep my composure.
"Dear Rebecca," I said with as much false affection as I could muster, "I believe I would have heard about some major turn of events in this war."
"Dear James," she replied, a teasing quality in her voice, "you are merely a member of the Queen's Escort, her personal body guards. You know nothing of what's truly going on."
She paused to make a dramatic gesture of looking in both directions to make sure no one was around. When she looked back at me, a slight smile was pasted on her features.
"I hear things," she declared.
"I'm sure," I quickly replied, laughing a little to let my jab sting that much more.
She frowned and continued, choosing to ignore my comment. "The army is about to unleash a new weapon, and I hear that it is suppose to be soon."
"A new weapon?" I asked, one cheek bone raised slightly higher than the other one. "I'm privy to what the Queen knows, and I have not heard of this."
Waving a hand to and fro in my face, she laughed. "You really think the King would allow his spiteful, Iberan wife to know something like this? You are truly naive."
I decided to change the subject slightly, mostly because Rebecca was right. It would be naive of me to think that there weren't secrets even in the highest positions of the kingdom.
"Weapon, you say. What kind?"
"Oh, I don't know that. I can only learn so much from ... " She stopped, and I realized that she was about to reveal more about herself than she wanted to. I smiled inwardly, laughing at the mere prospect of courting her. It would never happen!
My thoughts quickly turned to Eliza and her little masquerade. I didn't want to risk lives, but a new weapon would do that with or without my help. Perhaps it was time to up my game.