They made a strange couple. She was ravishing, a voice of honey. She was pure, without artifice. She seemed to float, her tiny feet never touching the ground. A heart-shaped face and arrestingly sapphire eyes.
He was taciturn. A scofflaw. Drawn to the seedier parts of town. He would repair the relationship with a large bouquet of flowers, a gift of jewelry, a sentimental note, followed by a passionate plea for forgiveness.
They would arrive at a ball with her hand on his arm. But by circuitous means, he managed to always be dancing with the richest, most beautiful woman in the room.
She felt the exclusion. The rock-hard eyes of the matrons. The gossiping behind fans. The titled gentlemen castigating him for bringing her into high society.
She sighed, watching him smile and bow, then take the woman up into his arms. No one asked her to dance.
One evening, at yet another ball, she wore pearl drop earrings and pearl necklace; his gifts of the night in exchange for her watching from the outside ring of dancers.
She was startled when the man approached her. “May I have this dance?,” he asked. He was new to this circle, and perhaps didn’t understand. She glanced at her partner seducing yet another high-born lady with a dance.
“Yes,” she said. “I love to dance.”