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these foolish insecurities

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Catherine kept her eyes down as she quickly made her way out of the room. She need only get away from this crush of people and she was sure she would start to feel better. Twas nothing but the heat of the room that made her react so to such an innocent display.

It surely must be innocent.

Anything else was unthinkable. Henry would not – he could not have tired of her so soon after their marriage. She was secure in his love. She must be.

She bit back a sob and slipped into the welcome darkness of the hallway.

 

As he escorted his dance partner back to her chaperone, Henry searched the room in vain for Catherine. She dearly loved these parties and was undoubtedly enjoying some fresh entertainment nearby. Still, he wished to rid himself of his singularly insipid partner and return to the pleasure of Catherine’s company. A party such as this held little pleasure for him otherwise.

Nothing could compare to her.

He smiled as he walked away, determined to dance another set with his wife regardless of the dictates of propriety.

Still unable to locate her in the main room, Henry stepped into the hallway.

 

Catherine stood facing away from him, her form outlined in the dim light of an open window.

“Catherine?”

She stiffened.

“Pray, leave me, Henry.”

He approached cautiously, reaching out a hand to touch her. Her posture relaxed slightly, and she turned to bury her face in his chest.

“What has happened?”

“I have been foolish.”

“Oh?” Henry smiled. “Is that all?”

“Do not tease me!”

“I fear I must, my love, for there is no-one I would rather tease or cajole or—”

“Dance with?”

Understanding lit his eyes as he tilted her chin up.

“Only you, Catherine.”

“Indeed?”

“Only you.”