Ch. 11 (PG): The Kimball Ball, Part 2: Presumption

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Then our waltz ends and Lord Christian and I walk toward my Grandmama Lady Knott and his sister Lady Lizzie sitting on the sidelines. Then we notice Viscount Lord Duncan Lindsay walking toward us, him striding audaciously across the ballroom on an intercepting course. The dancers and guests part like the Red Sea. Well, he is heir to a Dukedom, so one presumes that Lord Duncan is the male marital prize present this evening. The two men greet each other like the old school friends they are--with firm handshakes, hands clapped on shoulders, and warm smiles.

Lord Christian: "Duncan!"

Lord Duncan: "Christian!"

Lord Christian: "It has been too long."

Lord Duncan: "It has, indeed." Then I turn to the lovely young lady at my friend's side. "And I was unaware that you had married. My felicitations. Your bride is enchanting." I state sincerely. Why does everyone seem to have all the luck? I need to find myself a lady who is a rough diamond, overlooked by others, but a lady who will become a glittering jewel with time and attention.

Lord Christian: I race to clarify the nature of my and Lady Madeline's relationship, for the blushing Lady Madeline's benefit. "Oh no, Duncan! Lady Madeline Sinclair and I are just friendly acquaintances." Yet, Lady Madeline means so much more to me than as merely an acquaintance, I have to bite my tongue from claiming her as mine. And I cannot help but admire her loveliness this evening [(2) right]. But I cannot declare my intentions without first approaching Lady Madeline. "Our grandmothers are acquainted as longtime friends, and Lady Madeline is friends with my sister. You remember my sister Lady Elizabeth, do you not? Her presentation ball is next Friday. We hope that you will join us." I gesture toward Lizzie, while missing seeing Lady Madeline's stunned and slightly hurt look. However, Lizzie's cheeks pinken and she yearningly looks at Lord Duncan. Then I remember my manners—somewhat—and introduce Lord Duncan to Lady Madeline. "And Lady Madeline, this is Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay.

Lady Knott smiles warmly at Lord Duncan, viewing him having distinct possibilities for her granddaughter Lady Madeline. Yet Lady Madeline curtly nods at him—the man her Grandmama wants to promote to her for a husband. So Lady Madeline is silently livid as she looks between Lord Christian and Lord Duncan. I understand that Lord Christian wants to clarify his friend Viscount Lindsay's misinterpretation, that Lord Christian and I are not married. Yet, the alacrity with which Lord Christian leapt to clear up the misunderstanding, leaves me with the impression that Lord Christian has no feelings for me at all--and that he was embarrassed to have my name linked with his. It is all I can do, not to run and find a corner to cry in.

Lord Duncan: "Better and better! Two lovely ladies!" I smile cordially from one lady to the other. And while Lady Elizabeth smiles at me warmly, Lady Madeline's smile is forced--as if she is distressed. And I wonder about the source of her distress.

Lady Lizzie: "Hello, Lord Duncan." I offer him my hand and he lifts it to his lips for kiss.

Lord Duncan: "Enchante, My Lady. Lizzie, is it not, enfamille?" She nods charmingly shyly. "My how you've grown! You were only this high when I saw you last, it must be eight years on." My hand raises to just above at my chest in describing her childhood height. In truth, the young lady is still petite now, such that the top of her head does not reach past my shoulders.

Lord Christian: "Just so." Feeling awkward and wanting to complete the introductions, I bow to Lady Madeline's Grandmama. "And Lady Knott, may I present my old school friend, Lord Duncan the Viscount Lindsay? Lord Duncan, this is Lady Lucretia Beckham Knott, Lady Madeline's Grandmama."

"Encouragement" (Book 1), A Regency Love Story, by Gratiana Lovelace, 2016Read this story for FREE!