Chapter 8

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The day of the ball was finally here, and after 3 weeks of preparation Kat was still panicking. Lady Abigail waved her off when she expressed her concern for dancing, saying:

“You have been dancing ever since you came out of the womb, you will be fine. Memory loss will not affect you.”

This just made Kat panic even more, and she had to sit down on her bed to calm down.

The maids had come into her bedroom  mid- morning, she had slept in late, starting the routine of getting her ready. They stripped her to her shift, and she was placed in a warm bath that smelled of lavender and rose. It was weird that she was still dressed as she bathed, but she didn't question it, maybe it was an etiquette thing.

They then applied an assortment of creams and lotions to her face, and placed her hair in curlers after curling her hair with hot irons, heated on the fire. She worried about the health of her hair as the metal curling tongs were applied and smoke rose from it, but once they were cooling off around curlers she calmed down. 

Her undergarments were changed from the usual cotton ones, to more luxurious silky feeling ones. A beautiful empire line gown in a bronzy rose colour was put on her, and she sat down at her boudoir as the maids applied a rogue lightly onto her cheeks and lips, before her hair was taken out of curlers and placed into a pile of curls on top of her head.

She looked ready, but she did not feel ready and even as the carriage pulled up to the front of an impressive mansion, she still felt unready. She was going to embarrass herself, and her stomach was in knots as she dreaded dancing. She was introduced to the hosts of the ball, Mr and Mrs Birkenhead who were very glamorous even in their middle age. 

She was lead to some familiar faces, her brother Baron Johnathon Ainsworth, and his wife, Baroness Eleanor Ainsworth. She had been worried to be stuck with Lady Abigail and Adelaide, they would not help her. But she found her brother and his wife extremely kind and helped her. Although Kat didn't mind Adelaide, she was acting very suspicious and quieter than usual. She often took to staring out the window wistfully. Kat started to spend time with Baroness Eleanor.

She had told Kat hat the father of this family had died just the year before, and her brother had been made baron recently. She was glad, she was worried she would get too attached to a father figure in the place of her modern absent father, and wouldnt want to leave the past.

She was greeted by her brother and sister-in law fondly, who thankfully told her irritating mother and sister to go away and enjoy themselves, taking Kat under their wing and explaining every aspect of a ball. This made her a bit more comfortable, but they did not tell her about dances and every time someone made their way over to her, she thought that they would ask her to dance. Thankfully no one had yet, because the dances had not started as the hosts waited for all their guests. 

She was given a small booklet with a pencil attached to a string, and she looked at her companions with confusion.

“That is a dance card, it has all the dances that we are doing this evening, and a space beside it to write down your partners name.” The baroness explained.

Kat opened the booklet and looked at the first dance listed, “the duchess of devonshire reel.” For some reason the name sounded oddly familiar, even though she knew she had never heard of it at all in her entire life. 

Suddenly the moment she had been dreading happened. The conductor for the mini string orchestra stood up and announced the first dance, and Kat looked across the room to see Lord Eric Hartford striding towards her with a very serious look on his face. She did not want her first dance to be with him, she knew he would take delight in her failure to dance well, and she wanted to spite him, but she couldn't. 

He bowed curtly in front of her, offering his hand. “Will you do me the honour of being my partner for this dance.”

She gritted her teeth and nodded, before placing her hand in his. She was lead to the dance. Two lines were formed, one of the men, and one of the women.

“I must apologise sir, I still do not remember anything, and dances are included, I am going to humiliate myself.”

An annoying smile split on his face. “I am counting on it.”

The music began and Kat looked at the women next to her as everyone began to move, weaving in and out of each other, and surprisingly some memories of dancing was coming into her mind. It was as if Lady Katherine had practiced dancing so much that her body had muscle memory and Kat, in Lady Katherine's place was just fine. She was right, except for the occasional step where she would step to the left instead of right but she would realise her mistake quickly and correct it.

The rest of the dance was fine, and she looked at Lord Eric with a haughty look, as his own melted off his face. She laughed and raised her eyebrows at him and he glared back. She decided she enjoyed tormenting her fiance, and he seemed to, as well.

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