The ballroom was teeming with people. The air was so thick with perfume and sweat that the balcony was unbearably tempting. I headed that way and was only detained by one family friend who chatted relentlessly about nothing and yet everything all at the same time. I nodded my regards and scooted away when it wasn’t seemingly rude.
I opened the balcony door wide enough for me to step through and closed it quickly before anyone could notice my departure. Though the night wasn’t cool it felt magnificent compared to the stuffiness of the overcrowded hall. The women were relentless this night just like any other, and the men were acting as if they were pawns in this game of love.
A frustrated chuckle escaped me. Love, what a joke, what a foolish charade these men were entangling themselves into. Did not the males of my realm desire to be bound to someone who cared what they believed and not just how much they earned? Even this night several fair ladies were dropping their hankies or pretending to be demure. It put a man with a mind in a severe mood.
I didn’t even understand why I had come, ah, yes, Sharon. Sharon had bamboozled me into this engagement. The nerve of her to make me feel guilty over missing her birthday party! Then she practically twisted my arm to come to this dreadful affair, the audacity. I shook my head over this realization.
The door opened quietly and closed just the same. I breathed out calmly but was only praying that it wasn’t another woman with her wanton ways.
“Freddy don’t you think it quite rude to abandon a party?”
I sighed heavily in relief; it was only my pest, my bamboozler. “You are the only person I allow to call me Freddy, so tread lightly my dear.”
The stars from heaven danced in Sharon’s eyes as she slowly approached me. “That bad is it?”
“Several women are in there that are not ladies I hope you know.”
Sharon’s sigh mimicked my own. “I know exactly what you mean. I fear I will be receiving several bouquets declaring loves devotion again. I am so tired of this charade.”
Frederick turned to look at Sharon to see if she was indeed mocking him, but there wasn’t a sign of play on her face.
“How old are you now?” At the moment I couldn’t recall her age, though I have practically known the woman her entire life.
“Oh Freddy you are an old bachelor. Am I of such little importance to you that you cannot even remember my age?”
For the first time I didn’t see her as the pesky little girl of my boyhood, but now she was a gentle, fun-loving woman. I had missed more than her birthday. I had missed an obvious whisper from God.
“You are two and twenty and two days, and seven hours if you truly want to be exact.”
Sharon’s smile peeked through her rose colored lips, “You are incorrigible when you want to be Frederick.”
“What happened to Freddy?” I couldn’t hide my disappointment.
“I thought you hated Freddy?” Her voice held hope.
“I find I rather like it very much.” My voice grew soft as I moved closer to where Sharon stood.
Sharon remained still, but she turned her head to look at me. “I always found you an astute man Frederick, but I have to say it has taken you a long time to get close to me.”
“I am a fool, because I only just realized.”
Sharon’s smile came to full bloom. “Can I call you Freddy?” Her voice was playful again.
“As long as you promise to call me that for eternity.”
“Why Freddy, I thought you hated this charade called love?”
I reached out to gently move Sharon; I wanted to see her eyes. “I always believed I was too old for you, that you would see me as a brother or uncle. I have always loved you Sharon.”
“Well then, I guess the game is over my dear.”
Frederick’s smile deepened. “Oh no love, it has just begun.”
“About time. Now, let us go and tell our parent’s. They will be biting their nails with anticipation.”
“They knew?” I asked in utter surprise.
“Oh Freddy,” was all Sharon said as she took my hand and pulled me towards the door.
The charade was over, but I knew I would soon hear of who had set the rules.
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