I watched as the delicate Rose rushed out of the ballroom, her flowing gown trailing noiselessly behind her. I walked to the window just in time to watch her run toward the stables. I wondered why did she displayed such a behaviour, it felt uncommon of her. She was so vulnerable in my arms.
She must be expecting me, I thought, my heart skipping several beats as I walked toward the exit of the vivid ballroom.
A light tap on my shoulder halt me from moving forward, I turned around and found Isabelle, a smile lighted her face.
“You danced with her!” she squeaked excitedly.
I smiled with mirth, Isabelle was a strange creature yet friendly and easy-going. She was the only one whom I did not wish to flirt with not because she was not pretty-- she was a beauty-- but because I did not feel like playing with her and toying around with her like I did with many ladies. Was this friendship? I wondered.
And there was Rose, whom I enjoy pursuing and making her blush was a great joy of mine, but a tear in her face was like a spear in my heart. Whenever I see her with other gentlemen -especially Charles-- my blood would boil and the only thing I can think of doing is hurting her, as she hurt me the moment she went to somebody else’s arms.
“You two look so adorable!” she complimented, “Every eyes were locked on both of you. It was a real shame when she went out of the room, where did she go?”
Every eyes were locked on Rose and me out of sheer apprehension and disapproval. Somehow, I felt that falling for Rose was wrong and highly condemned by this society.
“I am after her right now,” I said, taking few steps toward the door. “I do hope you have a nice time, I am pretty sure a throng of gentlemen are waiting for you to waltz with them.” I gave her a warm smile, but she only bent her head down, looking at the floor with grim sadness and shyness.
My heart constricted with shame, had I said the wrong thing? My thumb lifted her chin up so I could have a clear view of her face, I was half expecting Rose’s beautiful dark blue eyes with streaks of silver, but Isabelle’s crystal blue eyes met mine. This gesture was common between Rose and me, it was like gazing at a star from above.
“Is there anything wrong?” I asked in a soft voice.
She shook her head and returned me a half-smile, concealing her true feelings.
“Come on, tell me,” I encouraged, “aren’t we friends?”
She stared at me blankly for some minutes, a clear reverie on her head, then she gave me a dazzling smile. My heart warmed up.
She tiptoed up to my ear, I watched around me, people were glancing at us and whispering among themselves. I was intrigued by their actions, what kind of life did I lead in this place to get so many loathsome stares?
“I feel like I know that gentleman at the far right corner of the ballroom,” she confided, “I am not sure about it, but our eyes have met for brief seconds and I think I should approach him and nobody else.”
I gave her a quizzical look but answered, “I think I understand what you are saying.”
“You do?” she asked relieved, “thanks. Can you please...?”
“Introduce you?” I finished for her. She gave a nod.
“I don’t know him,” I said, then added, “well, I don’t think I know him. But I shall try, let’s go,” I lend her an arm, which she took gracefully as I lead her toward the slender gentleman with dark hair and bright blue eyes. He was talking to a charming young lady with auburn hair.
Isabelle unwrapped her hands from my arm as we approached the couple.
“Good evening,” I greeted shaking his hand and taking her hand, placing a light kiss on her knuckles. “My name is William Ashbrook and my friend here is Miss Isabelle Haynes,” I introduced Isabelle, she gave an enchanting smile.
“Jaque Landry,” he said, shaking my hands with a firm grasp.
“Emerald Lewis,” she gave us an innocent, shy smile, “but you can call me Em.”
“Em, can you grant me the honour of a dance?” I asked casually, presenting my arm.
She looked down at my arm as if it were something foreign, then she took it, “I would love to.” She wasn’t drooling at me, she was being polite and courteous, something I was grateful for.
I led her into the dancing area, violins provided us the sweet rhythm. Before leaving I saw Isabelle mouthing a thank you.
Emerald’s foot stepped on mine, I hide a flinch. “I am sorry,” she gasped, turning crimson. “I should be more conscious of where I am stepping.”
I looked down upon her dreamy hazel eyes, “It is okay,” I said.
“The night sky is a beauty,” she whispered as we spin close to a window, my eyes fell upon the stables. A sudden pang in my heart, and exasperation invaded my heart.
Was Rose still waiting?
“Indeed it is,” I said, then I excused myself, leaving her in the arms of another gentleman. I stride out of the ballroom into the stables and look around me. Where was Rose?
And then I found her, her legs were bended toward her body, her face was buried in her skirt, her shoulders were slightly shaking. I hid behind the stable door, my heart pounced hard in my chest. I dare not step toward Rose, but I also refused to go back to the manor. I wanted to stay here and watch Rose from the distance, yearning her as I always had done, in fear of rejection.