Chapter Nineteen

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As I pulled the horse and buggy up in front of Clay's Cottage, a proud smile spread across my face. I was also a little surprised I had made it there in one piece.

Robbie had been giving me lessons since we got back from Hobart less than a week ago, and I must say, it was easier to learn than learning to drive a car.

Apart from that, I had asked Isabella to teach me the basic steps to Waltz, so I wouldn't look like a fool in front of Nicholas, or the whole charity ball, for that matter.

I should have just been honest with Nicholas when he asked me to teach him back in Hobart, but my mouth had already blurted out yes before my brain could catch up.

"Well, well, well. Look at you!" Nicholas called out from the pathway.

I stepped down from the buggy, then made my way towards him.

"Are you impressed?" I asked him, smug expression on my face.

"Very," he replied. "What's brought this on?"

I shrugged. "Nothing. I just don't want to have to rely on Robbie to take me everywhere. He's quite busy at the moment getting the barn ready for the ball."

Seeing as I drive myself in 2019, why can't I drive myself in 1869?, I thought to myself.

"I see you have Ruby, the placid horse," he commented, glancing over my shoulder.

"Well, of course!" I giggled.

"I'll just take her around the back. You're welcome to go inside," he suggested, as he walked towards the horse and buggy.

"Sure," I replied.

I made my way inside, down the hall and to the living room. At first glance I thought he had redecorated, noticing the sofas pushed aside, but soon realised he had simply made room for us to dance.

I chuckled to myself, thinking that he was going to a lot of trouble.

I glanced around the room and found the wall space above the fireplace bare. He mustn't have completed any other paintings just yet.

Choosing a sofa to sit on, I waited for Nicholas to return, but it wasn't long before he was bursting through the back door.

"It's not everyday Ace gets a female friend to talk to," he said, stepping into the living room.

"Aww, you should get him a friend," I suggested, as I got to my feet.

"And have another mouth to feed? No, thank you."

I laughed. "So, do you have your dancing shoes on?"

He looked down at his feet in confusion. "No. Just my boots."

I rolled my eyes. "Never mind." Without thinking, I said, "Okay, we need music," then stupidly glanced around the room expecting to find a stereo or CD player.

"Oh, the band's waiting outside. Should I go get them?" Nicholas joked, holding back a smile.

"Well, look who's turned all comedian on me. So how much do you know about the Waltz, anyway?"

"I know how to Waltz... sort of."

"You do? Then why am I here?"

He shrugged. "Well, it has been over fifteen years since I've danced. I'm a little rusty and it's hard to practise on your own."

"Oh. So you probably know more than me, then."

"You don't know how to Waltz?" he asked.

"Only what Isabella has taught me over the past few days."

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