This story was written for the Red Dress Club‘s prompt “Write about someone you can’t stand.”  One of the requirements was to do it from the first person, another requirement was to come in under 600 words.  It is set on Kingdom Come, but is independent from all the other stories.  Actually, these characters are the ones I started writing about long ago in the beginning.  It’s been nice to revisit them.

Bonus points if you can figure out whose arms those are!  To fit the story, they should be in formal wear, but the pose really portrayed the right attitude for the story.

Charity’s Ball

by AmyBeth Inverness

Charity smiled graciously and continued shaking hands with  Senators.  I watched my  wife, knowing her tells.  She could fool the politicians, all three of our husbands, and two of our three wives.

She could not fool me.

All was not right in the world.

Royal was also watching Charity out of the corner of her eye.  As a White Duchess, Royal had extensive psychological training.  She was the one wife Charity couldn’t fool.  I made my way over to her.  She was part of a group that was carrying on a conversation with little need of her input.  It was just like Royal, to be the observer.  “The bastard is here.  That’s what’s wrong.” she said sweetly as I approached, gleaning my question before I even reached her.  I joined the group, half listening to the political discussion and scanning the crowd.  Royal handed me her empty glass.  “Grey, darling, would you please bring me another?”

“Of course…” I answered, taking the glass and heading for the bar.  I spotted the bastard sitting there, talking to a large pair of breasts and pretending to listen to the woman attached to them.  I signaled the bartender for two more glasses of champagne, and waited.

The breasts grew tired of being ogled, and left.  The bastard turned around, and did a double take when he saw me.  “Your Highness!” he exclaimed.  I knew the man would recognize me.  It is one of the perks of being a Duke.  But I was also married to the man’s ex-lover.

I listened to him gush for a minute before he changed the conversation to his own political agenda.  It’s what  was done at these parties; elected officials, nobility, all kinds of politicians rubbing elbows with whomever could wrangle an invitation.

“What did you say your name was?”  I asked smoothly.

“Roger Daniels.”

“Daniels… I knew a family by the name of Daniels back in Fallcastle.  Any relation?”  The bastard blanched for a moment.  He obviously didn’t realize that, like Charity, I am from Fallcastle, almost half a world away.

“I’m from Fallcastle…” the bastard remarked cautiously, knowing that it was odd for him to be playing politics so far from home.

“Really?”  I answered, looking the bastard up and down, reducing him to an object instead of a person.  “You’re quite far from home.”  He had no reply.

I looked up to see Charity, her back to us, watching as couples gathered on the dance floor.  I smiled the smile of a fortunate man and said “If you will excuse me please, I have a very beautiful wife who seems to be lacking a dance partner.”

I kissed the tips of my beautiful wife’s fingers, grateful that she was mine, though incensed at the horrible way she had been treated before our arranged marriage.  We spun onto the dance floor, and she seemed relieved to be in my strong embrace, and even laughed once as I spun us more quickly than necessary through a turn.  I hoped that she would forget the bastard was even there, although I wondered why he was so far from home; coincidentally in a far off Duchy where his old girlfriend happened to be a Duchess.

Before the music stopped, I crushed her to me, claiming her lips in a searing, and very public kiss.  I glanced back at the bar to see if anything needed to be done about the lingering bastard, but I saw that he was in the subtle clutches of Royal, our wife, the White Duchess.

I smiled.

The bastard was doomed.

P.S.  The Red Dress club’s prompt was to write the story AS IF you ARE the annoying person!!  I completely missed that part.  Oops!