(This is a fun scene I wrote last night inspired by a facebook post )
Lord Glass-Half-Full leaned against the pillar. The cold of the marble seeping through his navy frock coat provided a welcome contrast to the moist heat of the ballroom. Amidst the bustle of a ballroom full of people dancing, chattering, laughing or simply observing, an unusual motion caught the corner of his eye.
He searched but didn’t see it again. A young girl he had never seen before stood against the far wall. An older woman, presumably her mother, stood beside her. Although ‘beside’ was almost a misnomer, he mused. The woman was short, slight and had to resort to jumping every so often when people blocked her view of the crowd jostling for elbow space in the room. Even as the thought crossed his mind and made him smile, the woman’s face appeared above the frilled, pale shoulder of Lady Gossip for a split second, giving the impression of two heads. How appropriate. He chuckled.
Lord Pessimist scowled. ‘Pray tell me what amuses you so. I see nothing to imbue this tedious evening with a hint of promise.’
‘Ah, that is where you may be wrong.’ Lord Glass-Half-Full nodded towards the young woman. ‘Who is she?’
‘Does it matter?’ Sir Pessimist shrugged. ‘She’s bound to be like all the other simpering, foolish chits. Besides, there is nothing about her form or face to intrigue me.’
Viscount Glass-Half-Empty nudged him. ‘Some of those simpering, foolish chits have wealthy fathers, unlike mine.’
Glass-Half-Full took a sip from his still cold champagne. The liquid slid down his throat, the bubbles popping delightfully on their way down. Just as well, if he were to dance, he did not want those making an unseemly reappearance. ‘Maybe she is one of those chits. Even though she is plain of face, she may be beautiful of mind.’
‘Ha!’ Pessimist shook his head. ‘You think any of these has a mind?’
Glass-Half-Empty fiddled with his snowy cravat. ‘If only I had a sister to secure a wealthy husband that I may live out my years in peace. I would pay a deal to avoid the suffocating strictures of a society sensible only of self.’
A chuckle broke from Glass-Half-Full. ‘My friend, I would gladly give you a portion of my inheritance, but I confess a certain amusement in seeing you suffer on these occasions.’ He leaned over to a matron stood near him. ‘Lady Eavesdrop, are you acquainted with that young girl over there?’
Lady Eavesdrop fanned herself vigorously as she spoke, sharing her cloying lavender perfume as freely as her words. ‘My dear Lord Glass-Half-Full, I consider it my duty to ingest every morsel of knowledge dropped inside this ballroom. That young lady there is the daughter of a Mr Magnus Magnate. Rosemary, or Rosalind, forgive me, I seem not to remember her name.’
‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’ Lord Glass-Half-Full swirled his remaining champagne, then downed it in a single swallow.
Pessimist plucked the glass from his friend’s fingers and set it on the tray of a passing waiter. ‘If you think her a rose, why not introduce yourself? She certainly has the complexion of an obnoxiously pink rose, but I daresay the rest of her is a nest of thorns designed to draw every last drop of blood from a man.’
‘Well, look at that!’ Glass-Half-Empty marveled. ‘Lord Opportunist has asked her to dance. What has he seen that the rest of us haven’t?’
‘Her smile!’ Glass-Half-Full stood straighter and moved forward to see the dancing couple better. ‘From an uninteresting pink face blooms the most incredible smile. The girl is beautiful.’ He grinned back at his companions. ‘And she has a large dowry.’
‘I knew I should have spoken to her, asked her to dance. And now it’s too late.’
Pessimist checked his pocket watch. ‘My dear Glass-Half-Empty, she may possess a rare smile, and an even rarer fortune, but consider Magnus for a father-in-law. I cannot imagine a duller dinner than having to listen to talk of trains and steam and dirt.’
Glass-Half-Full rubbed his hands together. ‘You two gentleman may remain here and debate the dullness of dinners, but I am off to secure the next dance. I may not need a fortune, but my curiosity needs sating.’
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