Part 22: Weeks 16 - 21 - Part 3
With that in mind, you approach the Duchess of Ursul. You admit to yourself that you were hoping such an outrageous act would cause her to lose some of her composure, but she remains unruffled. At least the chorus of shocked whispers around you as you take your place on the floor is gratifying. Dancing with a real partner feels quite different from dancing with your father. You knew him, knew his steps like a part of you. Now every move is a mystery.
Unfortunately, you lose track of which steps you're supposed to do when, and trip over your own feet. Oops! Between the dances, there is time for the guests to mingle, chat, and sample tiny bites of exquisite food.
During a lull in the music, Banion, the duke of Maree, taps an elegant fingernail against a wineglass, letting the clear note ring out through the room.
If I might have your attention? I believe we should offer our compliments to our lovely hostess. Her bravery and courage keep our borders defended.
Everyone applauds politely. As the gala continues, you take the opportunity to observe nobles that you rarely see. There's Gwenelle, for instance - the Young Lady of Sudbury, only months older than you and due to finally inherit control of her duchy soon. Or Adele, the youngest daughter of the Duchess of Lillah and a fierce sportswoman. She was a few years ahead of you at school and the absolute terror of the ballfields. No Briony - she had said her parents were leaving her stuck at school this season. Her parents are here, dancing together - the Duke-Consort clutching his Duchess possessively tight. Strange that there's no sign of your cousins, though. Shouldn't they be here? Your aunt and uncle are here, of course. It would be scandalous if they hadn't come, Merva being so close by.
It's nice to be able to enjoy time with friends and family, isn't it?
You're moving with such enthusiasm that you don't realise your father isn't alone until it's too late to avoid him and his... companion.
Countess Sirin. Not a member of your circles - she's a bit more than a decade your senior, far too old to have ever been your friend. And yet, not at all old, as noblewomen go. She has two minor titles, no husband, and your father's arm in her grasp.
How dare she make a move on your father?
For once, you are not going to vote on classes for next week. The next update (and perhaps the one after it) will be fairly short.