The Waltz

Lord Windham and I exchanged pleasantries as we waited for the band to strike up the next tune.

“Have you been enjoying yourself, Miss Delacourt? You appear much restored since I saw you last.”

How I longed to claw his eyes out after hearing that remark. ‘Tis a wonder I was able to restore myself after you mauled me, sir! I longed to cry. But I simply smiled and delivered a picture-perfect curtsy. The band began playing then, as if on cue.

It was a waltz. I’d never danced the waltz with anyone except my cousin, let alone a man.

I froze mid-curtsy. Lord Windham’s curious stare shook me out of my shock.

He took my hand in his, and his other hand came to rest at my waist. It felt as though it was burning clean through my gown, the heat spreading out towards my legs.

“You took so long to get back up from your curtsy, I thought your petticoats came loose. It happened to my sister, once,” he said coolly. But there was a twitch at his lips, as though he wanted to laugh.

I “accidentally” trod on his foot.

Lord Windham muttered a low oath and looked down at his boots. I endeavored to conceal the ear-to-ear grin on my face by coughing.

“Oh, I’m so dreadfully sorry. I must have lost my balance. Are you quite all right?”

I blinked a few times for good measure and hoped my face looked innocent. His face wasn’t quite so easy to read. I looked for the tell-tale twitch at his lips, but they were pulled tight in a grim line.

“Oh, I am perfectly fine. Just fine. Now, where were we?” He placed his hand on my waist again, and again I felt that disconcerting warmth spread through me. I braved a glance and saw that his mouth was still tight. I averted my eyes quickly, wondering if I’d upset him in some way. I hoped he couldn’t feel my hand trembling in his.

We continued dancing, but he didn’t speak again. I focused on the music, allowing my mind to drift.

He apologized for kissing me. But if he was truly sorry, then why did he tell the viscount he was going to sit with me at dinner? Why is he even here with me now?

The End

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