Notes: After sitting on this for more than a few months, I have decided to post it. I'm not exactly happy with the dialogue, but I suppose that's what I get for trying to stick a couple of twenty-first century teenagers into the eighteenth century.
The Lady Janeeta Singh was having a party. "Mother," young April MacLean knelt at her mother's side, "We are going to the Singh ball, aren't we?"
Jacqueline MacLean looked fondly into her daughter's eyes. "Is it something that you wish to do?"
"You keep telling me that I need to socialize, Mother," April reminded her.
"Then I daresay that you shall need a dress," Jacqueline said, her eyes twinkling. "Why don't you go on to your bedchamber?"
April looked at her mother curiously. "Mother?"
"Don't ask questions. Go." Jacqueline ushered her daughter into her chambers, where the most beautiful golden dress hung on the wardrobe.
"Oh, Mother it's beautiful. But how could -"
"Try it on."
April hurriedly disrobed, marvelling at the dress. It was white, a simple style, with beautifully crocheted flowers adorning it.
"Mother," April smiled, almost wistfully.
"Be certain to tell them that you represent the House of MacLean," Jacqueline instructed her.
"Yes, Mother. Are not you attending?"
"Being carried into a masquerade because you can not walk is hardly the sort of entrance one wishes to make, April," Jacqueline said primly.
"Of course, Mother."
"If only you had spent less time in your music lessons and more learning how to dance," Jacqueline fretted. April smiled warmly, practicing her curtsey. When she'd done so three times that had been approved by her mother, April turned to make her way to the coach. "And don't forget to dance!" Jacqueline called after the disappearing coach.
Though April typically enjoyed dancing, tonight's ball was put on by the Singh family, whom had come over to England in service to the king. Master Singh was a renowned surgeon, and rumour was that he had been called upon by His Majesty to repair the King's ghastly smile. The ball was being given to honour the King's new teeth and was, so she had heard, mixing elements from the Singhs' native India with the English tradition.
April applauded the King's entrance with the rest of the guests, pretending to ooh over the King's teeth (which, if she was honest – and she usually was – were difficult to discern from his previous set of teeth.) Looking around the ballroom, the King and Queen had started the opening dance. They were soon joined by Master Singh and his wife and various lords and ladies.
"Might I have the honour of the next dance, milady?" A young man was at her side.
"Of course, my lord." The man seemed familiar to April, though she could not remember when she had seen him. She settled her hand on his shoulder, trying not to react when she felt him touch her waist.
"Is this agreeable, milady?" Slowly, he began to circle, keeping perfect time.
"Y-yes my lord." April looked down at her feet, trying to keep up with the steps.
The man slowly led her to an enclosed balcony. The music was muted, and the pale moonlight soft.
"You're the Master's son," April realized with whom she was dancing.
"Right now, I am dancing with a beautiful woman."
"Are you not engaged to the lady Chapman?" April could not help but ask. He did not answer. Lady Rachel Chapman had suddenly become quite ill and it was the talk of the land whether she would survive.
After a pained silence, the young lord nodded. "But I believe you should notice that I have chosen you to be my dance partner tonight, if you should allow it."
April smiled. "But of course, Master Singh." April looked into his warm brown eyes and imagined that he loved her. She had known him her entire life- though a member of the Singh family would never, nay could never associate with someone of her status.
They circled, their movements slowing, both pretending not to recognize the under beneath their masks. "Lady MacLean," Master Singh looked into her eyes and April felt her body shudder.
"Yes, my lord." She whispered, afraid to speak too loudly and break the spell they'd fallen under.
"My lady, duty calls. I must attend to the other guests." April wondered if she imagined the regret in his voice.
"Of course," April curtsied, and took her leave. She spent the rest of the night watching Master Singh, wondering he had felt that same inexplicable spark as she had when they had danced.