I’ll admit that Colin Firth isn’t really what I see in my mind when I think of either of my characters in this story. But he’s good-looking and dressed in regency clothes, so I thought I’d put him up. 🙂 Here’s the next installment of The Ball.
The Ball (c) 2006 T.A. Chase.
Here I am again. Another ball on another night. But where I had been dragged to the others, this one I am willing to make an appearance at. My uncle, the Earl, is bringing his oldest daughter out and as her cousin, I must show support. Besides my uncle is the only one of my family I feel remotely comfortable around. Maybe it’s because he cares for nothing other than his horses.
I swing the young lady I am waltzing with around and a shot of heat runs down my spine. Lifting my gaze from the blank face of the girl, I feel lust burn through me as my eyes land on him. He enters the room as if he owns it. This time there are no shadows to hide me and he meets my stare with a nod. I stumble.
The lady protests and I mumble my abject apology. I am a complete failure at many things, but I pride myself on being a marvelous dancer. Here is my chance to find out my mysterious lover’s name. When I ask my dance partner to tell me who he is, she looks at me like I’m an idiot. I get the feeling she is wondering what rock I’ve been hiding under. She tells me and shock strikes me dumb.
We finish our dance in silence and I return her to her mother. I manage to leave the ballroom without running into anyone or making a bigger fool of myself. No more gardens for me. I find there is no longer any comfort for me in the darkness of crumbling ruins. I lost my heart in a garden and haven’t been able to find it again.
The library offers the solace I’m seeking. I slip into the dark room and make my way to the window. Staring out, I study the couples wandering in my uncle’s garden. They are bathed with silver moonlight. A pretty world I can’t be a part of.
How did he know I would accept his touch? What told him I’d willingly give my lips to him without protest? I rub my chest. My face is reflected in the window and I search for the brand that marks me. There must be something somewhere on my face that tells people of the horrors I hide inside. Some symbol letting those who would hate or mock me know I am a helpless scapegoat for their cruelty.
My breath fogs the window as I sigh. Yet there was no cruelty in his lips and no hatred in his touch. I can still feel his skin warming my chilled body. In my dreams, I relive the moment his mouth gave me my first kiss.
The snick of the door shutting causes me to whirl around. There he stands with his golden hair glinting in the darkness like the stars in the night sky. My voice gets stuck in my throat as he moves towards me. He shouldn’t want me. He shouldn’t sully his hands by touching me.
He is Lord Greyson, Duke of Northhamptonshire. He’s the confidant of kings, princes and prime ministers. He’s the prize every gold-digging mother and fortune hunting father look for. To me, he is a god and as such, is as out of reach as God is to a fallen angel.
He is perfection. I am a monster.
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