#Twitchy is a work in progress. It will not be a serial novel, like TRATR, but a novel. There are some familiar characters, as Ender is friend’s with our Perry. It will be illustrated and is expected to be complete in 2013
Amelia stood. It was the simplest explanation really; she did nothing else. Her back was straight, her hands held gently —not too tight— just below her waist. Her reticule dangled from one wrist, resting just behind her hands. Her skirt did not sway as she did not twitch. She blinked. The room was full. Nobody looked her way.
She corrected the angle of her chin. It had been too severe. She lowered it slightly, and tilted her head gently to the left to balance the flowers in her hair because her girl had put them slightly to the right.
She smiled gently. There was that word again. She shook her head. Gently, she thought. Gentlygentlygently. Her shoulders drooped and she lifted and rolled them back gently —no— unnoticeably. There, I rolled them unnoticeably, not gently. Well gently as well, but more unnoticeably than gently. Or perhaps so gently as to be unnoticed? Perhaps that was it. She twitched.
“Amelia.” he said quietly.
He should not be using my common name. I am not common. He is not common. It is not done. What if…what if someone heard him?
“You.” she whispered back, her eyes darting to and fro to ensure their conversation was private as he reached for her hand. “My Lord Endsleigh,” she said just a bit louder to deflect any complaints that she had not responded to his greeting. That would be improper, unheard of. A terrible cut.
She looked down. He had her hand and she felt her heart skip a beat and her breath increase as if to make up for it. It was her right hand that he held, as is proper, and her reticule hung straight down and did not catch on her gloved hand or her gown. She remembered to bring that one because once she had chosen a reticule with cute little baubles and shiny beads all over it and it had snagged her gown and-
“Might I have the honor of this dance, my lady?” he interrupted.
She shook her head quickly to bring her back to the ballroom, to the man, to the hand on her hand— certainly for an inappropriate amount of time by now, but it was warm and she could…breathe.
He waited… more patiently than he ought. Regal in his black and white, his broad shoulders only enhanced by the dark color. She breathed. Cinnamon and rich cigar, perhaps a hint of brandy. She looked up to the all too familiar whiskey colored eyes and forced a smile.
“Yes, my Lord, yes. The honor.” Her hand slipped from his, and her breath caught. Her eyes drifted as she checked the ballroom to see who was watching— but the answer was more simple than that. The answer was everyone, and she knew it before she looked as well as she knew the chill on her skin was caused by the trickle of sweat rolling slowly down her spine. She looked around him to see that their eyes were on her, but were not yet narrowed.
Ender took her hand, this time her left, which was good because it was rather cold and the other was rather warm now. She felt the warmth of his hand on her hand; or rather my hand in his warm hand.
“Bollocks.” Her eyes went wide as she heard the word come from her mouth so softly she could only hope it made it just as far as her own ears; but when she heard him clear his throat rather more loudly than is seemly she knew it was not to be.
He smiled at her then— gently, yes gently it had to be gently— as he turned her and rested his hand, his other hand —that first warm hand— on her back. Very low on her back. Breathe.
She knew she was not cold because the room was brimming with bodies. Bodies with eyes and opinions and all of them on me. Breathe. Damn it, she thought, then twitched and sent it from her head. She glanced up from below her eyelashes to see if he had noticed. He had. Of course he had, how could he not after all— his hands are on me- they are on me. Breathe. Damn me!
She twitched again and felt his fingers tense as his hands relaxed, odd that- that his hand could attempt to let go as his fingers tensed to…to what? She looked up again and her eyes went wide as they caught his. Then his narrowed. Oh…oh no.
Ender knew without doubt she was preparing to bolt like a spring lamb, awkwardly and without proper balance, yet he was not prepared to let her get out of this as easily as an awkward and well-placed twitch. She was not going to run from the room. For one, he was bigger than her.
He relaxed incrementally, lulling her, letting her believe he was unaware of her intention. Damn. His grip tightened and he pulled her toward him through the corner, a warning of sorts.
“Amelia…” he managed through a clenched jaw. What he wished to say was ‘Do not make me regret this.’ They sailed down the far side of the ballroom, his arms so tense he knew they would cramp that night. He worked toward relaxing his features- at the very least. Were this to be effective, he had to appear happy to be pulling her through the turns.
Damn me. Why. He watched the emotions fade and pulse across her features like so many birds flocking away from a predator.
Damn me twofold.
God in Heaven.
The song ended.
Praise be. He tightened his hand on hers, then turned them toward the balcony bordering the ballroom over the gardens. He shook his head. He moved her hand to his elbow, but did not release the grip he held.
“You have no idea the effect you have, do you?” she said nearly without a voice, her smile solidly in place. “You have no idea the power you wield so easily.”
He grunted, then checked to make sure it was not so loud as to draw more attention, and politely raised his hand to clear his throat. Again.
If only to satisfy her, he kicked up a smile on one side of his face and knew the minute she saw it, because she twitched.
The strange thing was that no thought had come before it. She felt his hand tighten on hers as he handed her through the narrow doorway to the balcony, then followed without letting go. If she could just breathe. Damn me twice. But his hands are on me. On me, touching me, on me.
She twitched again and managed to dislodge him, then turned, her eyes wide. This was her chance to run. She shifted left only to find the outside wall of the ballroom, and when she looked right the high balustrade blocked her, the rest of the space was taken by that giant ominous beast of a man who insisted on rescuing her.
Damn him. She huffed and stomped her foot.
“Must you be so pervasive? Must you be so insistent? And why?” she whispered viciously to the floor as her eyes shifted around the balcony.
Damn him twice.
She turned toward the gardens, watching the moonlight paint the ground with patterns from the oldest trees in the county. She had no idea how long she stood there before she felt the air shift behind her and his hand brushed her neck.
She closed her eyes. “Hugh.” But it sounded more like ‘you’ on a breath. She absorbed the calming effect of his very presence. Why had she fought this?
“Yes, Amelia mine, none other than I.” She felt his breath as he spoke, then the absence of heat as he stepped back. When she turned he was gone, as though he were never there to begin with. Perhaps just a memory.
“Dearest!” her mother shrilled. “You should not be out here alone.” Amelia turned to see her over bright mother traipsing toward her with air air of grace and intent of mastery.
“Yes, mother.” Improper, improper, how many noticed, how many wondered, how many remarked that he left me here.
“Back inside now, they are all waiting for you to return. Where is that smile?” her mother sing-songed as if to be cheerful. Amelia looked down, and pulled from the depths of her toes the most brilliant smile possible then strode lightly back toward the ballroom.
He watched as she stepped through the narrow door, and her very skin reacted as though she had walked through a cloud.
He saw her joints stiffen slightly, her fingers curl around her reticule, her chin raise just a touch. His head moved back and forth, not enough for a shake but plenty enough to show discontent.
He watched as her awareness of him eased her; relaxed the muscles between the blades of her shoulders. She dropped them slightly, and allowed herself to float across the room to the man who would be her husband.
Damn me forever.
Ender turned and left.