Montague house was a stunning sight to see even on the most mundane, fog filled morn, but lit up with bright lights and decorations, it was a sight to behold. Clearly, Lady Felicia and her niece had spared no expense when it came to the party. The crowd that spilled out onto the perfectly manicured garden was a surprising mix of upperclass and those who were simply too dear to be ignored; no matter how much their attendance seemed to ire some of Monty’s work associates. But, somehow, it worked. Like a display of the two stunning hostesses themselves shown in their eccentric guest list.
There were only a handful you had met before, some of Bunty’s friends that she got up to all sorts of mischief with, but you certainly didn’t know them well enough to spend the evening at their side, so you opted to stay to the side, nursing a glass of champagne as you watched the festivities, waiting until Bunty was freed of her duties and able to spend some time with you. You would have been perfectly content to simply wait, to listen to the music, watch people dance, and simply embrace the atmosphere, but a woman alone at a party was bound to be interrupted of her solitude at some point.
Perhaps you should have considered yourself lucky that it was Sidney Carter, and not one of Monty’s pompous friends, that decided to interrupt your solitude. With a cheeky grin and an incredible confidence in the way he leant against the wall at your side, he was certainly amusing, and he wasted no time in delving into stories of mysteries and murders that he had been a part of solving. Sure, he seemed to be talking himself up more than a bit, and you knew that look in his gaze far too well, but he was Bunty’s friend, and, so long as he wasn’t getting the wrong idea, you could cope with that.
A glance across the room, to the exact place said friend was still trapped in her duties had you catching her eye, a soft smile dancing on your lips as you watched her quirk a brow at your situation, amused be the way Sid was taking in your tailored dress for the umpteenth time, not quite as subtle as he hoped to be. Pursing your lips in an effort not to laugh, you offered her a small shrug, returning your attention to the man before you and his tale of heroics against the infamous thief, Hercule Flambeau.
Another song began and ended, and still Sid spoke of the exploits he and the Father, often alongside Bunty and her aunt, got up to. It seemed there was a near endless supply of heroics he could speak of, and more than a few laws being broken along the way. In truth, they were fascinating, albeit overly embellished, and you knew you’d have to ask Bunty about more than one of his tales to decipher just what had truly occurred. But in the middle of a party, and on a nearly endless array of stories, one after another, they somewhat lost their impact.
“Do you ever stop talking?” Bunty’s voice called from over your shoulder, instantly pulling your attention away from the chauffeur’s tale. A beaming smile reached your lips at the sound of her voice, only strengthening as you turned to see her standing there. She looked glamorous as ever, dressed in the latest fashion, perfectly tailored to fit, and with her signature red lipstick that was sure to leave its impression on more than just the glass in her hand.
Without even bothering to look at her friend in greeting, she handed you a second glass of champagne, a twinkle of mischief in her eye as she did so.
“Just keeping your friend here company,” Sid shrugged, throwing you a quick wink that had you shaking your head in amusement. “Not good for a girl to be here alone, is it? Who knows what sort might try to steal her away.”
A scoff of laughter came from both Bunty and yourself in near harmony, but, as you decided to hold your tongue, taking a sip of the fresh glass of champagne, it seemed Bunty had no such intentions.
“Like you?” she offered with a raised brow, her lips quirked into a hint of a smile, one that threatened far more mischief than you were prepared for.
Glancing about the packed ballroom warily, you gave her a warning glance, your tone low as you spoke her name, trying to remind her of your situation, and of just how furious her aunt would be if she were to make a scene. But all you received in response was a quick smile before your warning was dismissed with a roll of her eyes.
“And for your information, she’s not alone, she’s with me,” Bunty spoke with a harsh undertone, that softness she had been showing so many of the guests long gone as she watched Sid carefully.
“Well, yeah, we know she’s your guest-” he began, straightening himself up in an effort to defend himself.
“Actually,” she started, glancing back at you almost as if seeking permission, although you rather doubted anything could have held her back at this point. With a resigned sigh, you threw back the remnants of your champagne, suddenly wishing it was something stronger, and gave her a small nod of encouragement. “She’s my date.”