There was a strange excitement between the two of them. It was not a feeling that Jane was used to. They let go quickly of each other’s hands. All of this meeting unraveled her, especially as she had already been in quite an emotional and confused state due to the party in the hall. All that attention, all those eyes watching her!
"If you do not mind me saying, Ms. Austen, you seem much more sensible than I might have imagined. I first met a Mrs. Catherine de Bourgh, and she presented someone quite different."
"I am sure I was compared more to a piece of fine art to be purchased by the highest bidder rather than flesh and blood. No, unfortunately, I talk; a sin I should try to overcome."
Mr. Lefroy studied her and then leaned forward and spoke in a playful whisper. "You are wicked, Ms. Austen."
"I am sure I have been called worse," she said, and bowed her head. She liked how he called her ‘wicked.’ There was a second pause in the conversation as both seemed to study the other. Jane was the first to blush. "Why do you look at me that way, sir?"
"I am sorry," he said, and quickly looked away, "you look different closer than you did when I escaped from that line."
"You are smiling more," he said playfully.
"I was smiling then."
"Yes, but it was not a real smile. It was, dare I say, scandalously fake."
She liked his use of words. "Do you think anyone else noticed?"
"The smarter of the attending men."
"So about two then?" Jane said, before she realized the rudeness of it.
"Yes, about two," Lefroy said. He was obviously holding back a laugh, "and not including my friend I came with, I am sure."
"Who is your friend? All this gossip about him, I should know his name properly to continue."
"Fowles. We share a first name so it is easier to think of him by his last. Tom Fowles. If you do not mind me saying, he looked quite taken by your sister from the start. I believe he had already danced with her once."
"Yes, he has but more than once now. Typically, I would not ask such a question for all the world," Jane said, choosing her words carefully, "but is he a good man?"
"I would only want the best for my sister."
"A fine answer," Mr. Lefroy said and nodded. Outside the room, the orchestra had begun a new piece. Lefroy looked to Jane. "Do you dare reenter the fray?"
"I do not know," Jane said. It was a very honest answer and, after the stress and strain of the weeks building to the gathering this moment, this quiet moment away felt wonderful.
"Maybe you will return if I was to ask for the next dance? We can talk further on the floor."
"I see it now, you will say something about the number of couples and I will discuss the size of the room."
"Yes,” he laughed, “that sounds adequate. One must speak a little."
He offered her his hand. Jane looked to him as he rose from his seat, his hand out to her. She paused, but for only a second before taking his arm and rising from her seat. As they began walking to the door she began to fumble around her pockets.
"Wait, Mr. Lefroy, I am not sure I can. I have a dance card that as you may imagine is quite… " she found it and thumbed through it quickly, "it looks like I might be available after three dances with…"
Mr. Lefroy interrupted her comment by taking the book from her and throwing it into a nearby bin. “I think we have had enough of that." Jane laughed and they left to join the next dance together.
Scott D. Southard, the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, swears he is not obsessed with Jane Austen. He is, however, also the author of the award-winning novels, My Problem With Doors, Megan, and 3 Days in Rome. His eclectic writing has also found its way into radio, being the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog "The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard" where he writes on topics ranging from writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site (currently creating a novel in "real time" with one fresh chapter a week; it is entitled Permanent Spring Showers). Currently, Scott resides in Michigan with his very understanding wife, his patient two children, and a very opinionated dog named Bronte. A Jane Austen Daydream is available from Amazon.com in both print and Kindle formats. Click here to read A Review of A Jane Austen Daydream All copyrights to this interview are of the Jane Austen Centre Forum ( Jane Austen Centre) and the Author any copies will have to be approved by the Forum, Centre and the Author