By Mrs. James Norrington

Pairing: Slight Frank/"Ich"
Point of View: Frank
Universe: Actually, this is really more book-based than musical-based, but there's no book category and it fits the musical more than the movie.

Set during the ball at Manderley [bookverse].

"You look lovely."

She does not believe him; he can see it in her eyes when she thanks him, her voice soft and hollow. She thinks he is merely being polite, making the best of a miserable situation. He wishes briefly that he did not always know the proper thing to say, so that it might count for something when he actually means it.

It is true that she is not beautiful…not as Rebecca was…but beauty in that sense has always struck him as empty—especially seeing as the majority of women who possess it seem concerned with little else. She is pretty, he concludes at last, guilelessly, unobtrusively pretty. He wonders if anyone has ever told her so and thinks someone ought to.

Someone other than himself, of course. The thought has run through his head a hundred—no, at least a thousand times, but he can never quite put a voice to it.

In a corner of his mind, he is an odd sort of Cyrano de Bergerac, telling Maxim all the things that ought to be said to her. It is a ridiculous fantasy—for who is he to assume that Maxim never says them?

Someone who knows Maxim better than most, argues that same vexing corner. He ignores it as best as possible.

"Would you…care to dance? With me?" he asks abruptly, stumbling over the words. "Unless…"

Unless what? What is she doing but hovering near the wall looking miserable? And now he has started a sentence he most certainly will not be able to finish. Somehow, she has that effect on him.

The ghost of a smile tugs at her lips (the first smile he has seen that night).

"Yes…Alright, Frank. Why not?"