I followed Viscount Dubois onto the ballroom floor, wishing it was eleven already so the mindless dancing could cease and we could eat dinner and not have to dance anymore.

It was a minuet, quite an old-fashioned dance that normally wasn’t featured in balls today, but the Chestertons were a family renown for their love of esoteric dance styles.

The minuet was a dance composed of small, almost mincing steps and it required one’s constant attention. Much as I did not really appreciate the art of dance, I knew I wasn’t half bad. My poise was good, and my steps lively.

I found myself enjoying it despite myself. But perhaps this had something to do with the fact that the viscount didn’t speak once during the dance.

The hour slipped away from me. Suddenly it was nine o’clock and the minuet was ending. The viscount and I bowed to each other, and when I straightened back up, Lord Windham was standing behind the viscount.

Seeing the expression on my face, the viscount turned around and saw Lord Windham.

“Windham, old chap, how do you do?” The viscount clapped Lord Windham hard on the shoulder.

Lord Windham smiled at him, but his eyes were dangerously devoid of any light.

“Splendid, now that my dance with Miss Delacourt can begin.”

“Very well, very well. Miss Delacourt, will you do me the great pleasure of allowing me to escort you into dinner?”

Before I could think of a viable excuse, Lord Windham opened his mouth. “Actually, I’m afraid that great pleasure is already promised to me. Isn’t that right, Miss Delacourt?” He turned towards me and winked, his mouth tugging at the corner in that distracting way of his.

“Yes, it’s true,” I lied through my teeth.

The viscount had the good grace not to look too put out.

The End

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