Carrington Ball: A Narrative Fiction

8696 Words35 Pages
That evening at the Carrington ball, Dominic escorted the three ladies into the ballroom. The night was chilly, and although Lady Seavers and Clarissa had been on their best behavior so far, Lilly had a terrible feeling. She nodded to acquaintances and smiled at Olivia, who stood with her mother across the dance floor.
Dominic excused himself to the card room after claiming a dance with Lilly. Lilly was following Lady Seavers toward a group of matrons seated on a chaise. Noticing that some of the women were more dragon than lady, Lilly quickly excused herself and made her way through a sea of gowns to Olivia.
“Lady Chandler has a bee in her bonnet tonight. She already told Sissy Caldwell that her hair was the color of a dirty potato. Poor girl
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She bolted down the terrace steps, knowing he was right behind her.
“Lady Lillian!” he hissed angrily as he pursued her.
She looked back but never lost pace until her slipper slid on a pebble as she rounded a hedge, and she fell forward onto her stomach, knocking the breath from her.
Nevil landed on top of her and subdued her arms, then he covered her mouth and hauled her to her feet. She tried to struggle, but he wrapped his arm around her like a steel band.
“Shhh, this is supposed to look like a lovers’ tryst, not rape. Try to play along.”
Lilly squealed in anger. He tried to pull her toward the terrace, but she struggled as hard as she could. He changed directions and pulled her into a topiary garden, which was walled with ivy-covered stone. In the center was a gravel courtyard, shaded by a large willow overhanging a stone bench.
He carried her forward, cursing and grumbling until he dropped her before the bench.
“Why are you doing this?” Lilly cried.
“I told you. I will be paid very handsomely. Although our scenery has changed, I have every hope of collecting. However, permanent damage must be done first.”
“No.” Lilly’s eyes widened. “You can’t mean
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Lilly could almost pretend the nightmare of the past few weeks never happened, and Lilly had met Dominic here under the glittering chandeliers and elegant attire of high society. She was back. Dancing, laughing, and floating as Dominic led her through the dance. All too soon, it was over and Lilly’s hand was claimed by Chance. The evening moved quickly as Lilly danced and danced, until finally her aching feet could take no more. Begging forgiveness from another dance partner, she retreated to the edge of the floor where Dominic was waiting with a glass of chilled champagne.
“You read my mind.” She sighed and took a large gulp.
“Careful—His Highness is here, and you don’t want to swoon at his feet. Soon this will all be over.”
“I hope so. This night can’t end soon enough.” Lilly looked out over the crush of guests. The ball was a roaring success, and she could finally be herself again after tonight. No more lies, no more hiding—but deep down she did not care if she ever went to another ball again.
“Haven’t you had a good time?” Dominic looked disappointed.
“Yes, but it has been all I can think about for so long, I just want to be done with it.”
“You cut me to the quick, my lady. Have I not been a suitable
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