The prince and Cinderella danced until midnight, the striking of the clock making her flee like the strike of a blow. She left her shoe, so focused was she on leaving, and the love struck prince had only the blue pump left to gaze upon.
At least, that’s what everyone else saw.
Francis saw differently, twirling the small black straw through his drink. He saw his cousin, his introverted, oh so rational cousin, meet someone astounding in that she was as shy as him. After a fortifying drink and a pep talk from Francis, his cousin Frederick had worked up the nerve to approach her, only to find her shrinking away from another man’s flirtations. She had got rid of the man with her naive splutterings and unattractively embarrassed face, but Frederick could not find the confidence to believe that he would be welcome where another had not.
So he stood by her, trying and failing to be unostentatious has he watched her. And she noticed him. And smiled. He saw the smile from where he stood, and it was only another half hour more before he approached to ask her for a dance. She did not reply, but her smile did what her words could not.
Two hours later, they still stood in the corner, pumping their arms awkwardly when the music was particularly boisterous, but otherwise just standing together. She had taken off her blue pumps, uncomfortable in their newness.
Francis noticed that Frederick’s expression as he looked at the shoe was not adoring, but perplexed. He choked on his drink when he realized it was likely his cousin had forgot to ask for the girl’s name as they stood silently together.
Breathing hard after his choking, Francis smirked. This was going to be fun.