Chapter Sixteen – continued
“Adrian, can we spin by the desserts? I’m starving.”
“Ah, yes, sorry, Gail.” He stopped and Abigail watched in fascination as a light blush stained his cheeks. “Sorry. Abigail.”
She grinned up at him. “It’s fine, Adrian. You grew up calling me Gail.” She tilted her head slightly. “I’m surprised you didn’t started telling me about the Gail you had grown up with.”
“Yes, well.” He cleared his throat. “Come. We’ll probably find our sisters by the desserts. Hiding. My parents expect Andalissa to choose a partner, but she clearly doesn’t agree with them.”
Abigail smiled as Adrian spun her around the dance floor, making a haphazard beeline for the side. But the crowd parted easily around them, many heads nodding and faces smiling as they slipped by. She wondered how many of them remembered when they had been children, dancing with little rhythm around their fellow dancers but somehow perfectly in step with each other.
Abigail had to admit Adrian had aimed well, though. Much better than when they’d danced that first time and nearly run into one of the pillars. The crowded dance floor disgorged them right near where Camille and Andalissa were sampling every dessert while whispering and staring at where James and the handmaiden were standing apart but close enough for James to speak to her and her to react with smiles and blushes.
“It’s the weirdest thing,” Camille whispered as Abigail and Adrian joined them, waving a delicate pastry around. “He does all the talking, but seems to find it charming. She doesn’t say a word. Maybe the interest is one-sided.”
“I can only hope,” Adrian said softly. “Excuse me, Abigail. I think I need to have a word with my cousin.”
Abigail nodded, easily folded in with Camille and Andalissa, who closed in tighter as they caught sight of Madeline lurking.
“Has Madeline been following you around all evening?” Camille whispered as she piled a plate with desserts for Abigail and replenished her own at the same time.
Without looking in Madeline’s direction, Abigail nodded. “She’s been there everywhere Adrian turned me.”
Camille shook her head. “I told you there’s something weird about Madeline.”
Abigail sighed, tilting a tired head to one side. “She must be hurt. I did tell her I would help her marry Adrian.”
“Well,” Andalissa said, as decisive as ever. “It’s not her choice.”
“I don’t want to be the one to tell her that. But maybe you two should make the choice to stop gorging on the desserts. Your faces are looking a bit pained with every bite.”
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