I looked down at my lap, wondering what on earth this man was doing sitting down next to me. Men normally took no notice of me, as most people normally behaved around me. This was decidedly abnormal behavior. I wasn’t quite sure how to react.
He sat tapping his toe in beat with the music, watching the dancing. I stole a glance and noticed he had pleasant features, though his nose was a bit prominent. But his strong brow and deep-set eyes more than made up for that. There was something foreign about him. He didn’t look like most of the men in Devonshire. All of a sudden he swiveled his eyes towards me, a questioning look writ upon his face. I blushed furiously and looked away again.
“I couldn’t help noticing that your fan needs repair,” he said and I realized that I’d moved the fan back into my hands, forgetting I’d snapped the sticks just moments before.
I laughed nervously. “These things are so dreadfully delicate. They break so easily.”
He took it from my hands and examined it. “I think I can fix this.”
We bent our heads over my fan, discussing the best way to go about fixing it. Unaware of our surroundings. The abrupt sound of de Grave clearing his throat burst the bubble. I realized to my chagrin that I had moved my chair closer to the man, so that our legs were almost touching, and then there was the more embarrassing realization that I didn’t even know this man’s name. How would I introduce him to Isabelle and de Grave now?!
As luck would have it, de Grave was already acquainted with him.
“Geof, old boy! How long has it been? What – four, five years? I haven’t seen you since Oxford!”
There was much hand-shaking and back-slapping. Isabelle raised her perfectly groomed eyebrows over this exchange and smiled at me. I smiled back, relieved that I didn’t have to reveal my lack of social skills.
Finally, the men turned back to face us. De Grave said, “Geoffrey, allow me to introduce Miss Isabelle Montgomery and her cousin Miss Samantha Delacourt. Ladies, may I present the Honorable Lord Geoffrey Windham.”
I stood on unsteady legs, marveling that this rather nondescript man was not a mere mister but a lord, and an honorable one at that. My curtsy left much to be desired, whereas Isabelle’s was graceful and elegant, as always. I saw Lord Windham’s eyes light up with interest as he regarded my cousin. I had become a wallflower again.