Chapter 4

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Kat arrived at the much anticipated garden party when it was already in full swing. Her mother had made sure to leave a little bit late to make sure everyone in attendance got a glimpse of her single youngest daughter who stood behind the small party that consisted of Katherine's family. The plan seemed to have worked well because as soon as they were led out to the large decorated garden, Kats mother pushed Adelaide to the front so that she led the way and immediately there were whispers from all over the garden about the youngest daughter.

Kat wandered away from her group, strolling towards the various party games to observe. She watched as the youths played a round of bowls and exclaimed loudly with everyone else as someone won, although Kat didn't quite get the game. She decided that if  she was to be stuck in the past that she could get used to garden parties. She liked the atmosphere of people chattering away and the string quartet playing lively tunes and she soon found an empty table in the corner of the garden from where she could observe the festivities. She was served tea and cakes and soon people began dancing together on the grass in the middle of the garden together.  Adelaide was being encouraged to dance with a young gentleman who, Kat chuckled at, was also being pushed to dance by his own social climbing mother.

Kat noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a young man making his way towards her and started to panic. She didn't know how to dance and she couldn't ruin her reputation of being a good dancer, or rather Lady Katherine's reputation. When he held out his hand and offered her a dance she felt her heart race ten times faster. She calmed herself down mentally and simply said
"I apologize good sir but I am not feeling well and I have resigned to remain seated."
She hoped she had used fancy enough language to tell him and she relaxed when he simply nodded and walked away.

"You are not much of a dancer I see?"

She jumped in fright and turned to see Eric, taking a seat at her table.  She wished he would go away for she had no patience for banter today.
"Yes I guess so."
She replied, making sure to let him know of her annoyance in his presence with a loud sigh.

"That's rather peculiar, I recall you being a rather talented and jolly dancer. "
He replied,  a cheeky grin on his smug face. Kat glared in response as he tapped his chin and pretended to be in deep thought.
"Or perhaps your memory loss means you no longer know how to dance? "
He threw his head back and laughed at her gritting her teeth.
"I do appreciate your mockery of my serious condition."
She took a sip of her tea and turned away from him to watch the dancing again but he seemed to not like being ignored.

"I'm not making fun of your condition, but I definitely think you should dance."
He chuckled and stood up,  holding out his hand. Kat rolled her eyes and turned back to watching the dance.
"You just want to watch me be humiliated that is all."
She squinted her eyes at him in n intimidating way and he raised one brow with his mouth twisted into his ever present smirk.

Kat watched the dance waiting for a reason to escape the conversation but she couldn't find one. Instead she pretended to look over the crowd and see someone and wave.
"Oh dear it seems my mother needs me and I must leave."
She stood up.Eric saw that she was leaving and stood up too.

"It has been an interesting conversation and I shall see you another time."
She curtsied and he bowed before she scurried away with a blush on her cheeks and her heart pounding. She hadn't realised that she had pent up nerves until she had walked away.  She breathed out.
"No I do not have a crush."
She scolded herself under her breath.

"What did you crush?"
Kat turned to see her sister who was out of breath and bet cheeks were red from the many dances she had participated in.

"Oh... Uh... I... D-d"
Kat stuttered. She was stuck in an awkward situation
"I-wh I crushed the grass beneath my feet?"

Adelaide gave her a strange expression and giggled.
"Of course!"
She turned on her heel and headed towards the refreshment table. Kat felt quite awkward and uncomfortable but when she turned she saw Eric. He was talking with a girl who was clearly flirting with him and she felt her stomach twist in a familiar feeling. She cursed under her breath and scolded herself again.
~~~
"Baroness please pass me the salt if you can."
Kats mother regarded her brothers wife who complied, passing the salt shaker down the long dining table.

Her mother, who never seemed to stop talking, decided to start up another conversation.

"It is a shame, Adelaide that the younger Mr Johnston is not titled or wealthy. He seemed a pleasant fellow when you danced with him. His mother however..."
Lady Abigail scoffed.
"I saw her title hungry eyes. There is no way that my daughter will ever be Mrs Johnston. Ha! "
She laughed and placed a piece of chicken in her mouth as everyone looked awkwardly around the table.

"If you would not have me marry Mr Johnston jr, then why did you push me to dance with him so much."
Adelaide snapped.
Everyone turned their heads to her in surprise. When she noticed this, her face went beet red and she looked down at her lap as she mumbled underneath her breath:
"It is not as if it matters anyway I just wanted to know..."

Lady Abigail ignored her daughters obvious embarrassment at defending the young man and continued on.
"Why I thought it was obvious! We get you to dance with a man of some fortune and then as you are paraded around all the richer men notice you!"

Adelaide hurumphed and took a sip of her wine with her brows crossed.

Lady Abigail noticed and tutted.
"Well my plan worked did it not? You danced with Lord Dwendon and Sir Braithwat afterwards, plus many other eligible bachelors. Oh and how could I forget! Lord Richmond. Now there's a perfect match!"

Adelaide gasped.
"But he is 20 years my senior!"

Lady Abigail was cross now.
"And he would still be a better match than Mr Johnston!"
She exclaimed crossly.

Adelaide stood up with a start.
"I would much rather marry a man with no title than a man old enough to be my father!"
She shouted and stormed out of the room.

"Well I never! What a rude child. And I thought she would be happy! "

Kat looked over to her brother and sister in law who were whispering about the debacle that had just happened and they looked just as confused as herself.

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