“No Context” is a purposeless, sometimes whimsical, often cut short, and unpredictable addition to the blog feed of Charming Undómiel. This unique content is published once every other month.
Please voice your thoughts below in the comments after reading the November edition of “No Context“ in which…
“A drink?” A servant, balancing a tray of glasses tilted the beverages towards her.
“Thank you,” Snow took one eagerly, not realizing how thirsty she’d been till she saw the refreshments. Sipping luxuriously, she turned back to the doorway of the ballroom, surveying the frolicking multitudes, hoping to spot a brotherly face.
“My lady Snow White!” An unmistakable (and not in the least brotherly) voice exclaimed behind her, echoing off the stone floors and causing several people to look in her direction. Snow closed her eyes in supplication. Please, God, not him. Reluctantly, but mindful of no place to hide, she turned to face the duke of Seaunder.
“There you are!” He said delightedly as he bowed and took a step closer. “I didn’t forget that I owe you another dance.” He said as he offered his arm to her. Snow groaned inwardly. She knew that he was harmless, but that did not change the fact that he was a horrible dancer (as in crushing-one’s-toes horrible), and just a mite too interested in her.
“Shall we?” he said, gesturing towards the ball room expectantly.
“Oh yes, lets.” She replied less enthusiastically. As she turned once more to enter the ballroom, oh joy! There were James and Calvin, her brothers, standing amongst a group of colleagues not too far away, laughing as if enjoying themselves, but scanning the room anxiously, as if searching for someone. Searching for me. She thought with a pang of guilt.
“Now, which dance shall we cut in on?” The duke said, clasping and rubbing his hands together excitedly beside her.
“I don’t know,” Snow snapped distractedly, desperately hoping that one of her brothers would look her way. Just as the wish crossed her mind, James’s eyes suddenly found hers, and his shoulders sagged with relief.
“Help me!” She mouthed urgently. James had nudged Calvin and nodded towards Snow. Calvin’s face lit up and he waved to her enthusiastically. James excused himself from the group and Calvin followed a bit more elegantly, kissing the lady’s hands and sweeping bows to the gentry (socializing was his thing).
“Is something wrong?” The duke cut into her line of vision, his arm still crooked out to receive her hand.
“No, no nothing’s wrong.” Snow responded, striving to keep the exasperation out of her voice. Resignedly she took his arm.
“Let us cut in here, eh?” He turned to lead her into the ballroom and walked straight into Calvin’s waistcoat.
“I beg your pardon,” the duke said absently, moving as if to go around him.
“Don’t, it makes you look poor.” Calvin retorted with a wink to his sister. James elbowed his brother in the gut while smiling apologetically towards the duke, who was just realizing what Calvin had said was offensive.
“What did you just say young man?” The duke spluttered, staring with angry shock at the younger prince.
“Merely a jest, sire, a joke, you know what a joke is, right?” Calvin looked aghast at his own thought.
“Calvin” James hissed under his breath, “we are not trying to make enemies” Calvin grinned incorrigibly at his brother (He was having the time of his life), then composing his face, he turned back to the duke and bowed gravely.
“My most profound apology, sire.” The duke forced a smile.
“Of course. Now if you’ll excuse us,” He smiled at Snow, then bowed in turn–and what happened next took place in a matter of seconds.
James looked at Snow, nodded to the bowing duke and raised his eyebrows. She shook her head almost imperceptibly as her detested partner straightened and made as if to enter the ballroom. Snow glanced back at her brothers, her eyes imploring them to intervene.
“I say, sire,” James subtly shifted back into their way again as time returned to its normal rate. “As a token of our goodwill, I propose we toast to each other’s countries.” The duke looked noticeably irked at this point, but he politely agreed. Snow glanced at James as he called for a waiter to bring over some glasses. What on earth is he going to do?
As the waiter brought his tray around, Calvin promptly stepped in his way to take up a goblet. James grabbed his hand just as he lifted the glass from the tray.
“Of your courtesy, allow me.” He said, giving Calvin a meaningful look. Snow’s eyebrows went up in curiosity, but Calvin seemed to understand the subplot perfectly.
“By all means, my royal sibling,” He bent his head in acknowledgment with a grand sweep. Snow was so completely engrossed with the scene unfolding before her she barely heard the duke’s whispered apology for “being delayed by these incompetent princelings.” He clearly didn’t know they were her brothers.
“For you, brother mine.” James selected a cup and presented it to Calvin with an exaggerated flourish. Calvin bowed gallantly over the goblet, thoroughly enjoying his part in the ploy (He truly was having the time of his life). The duke cleared his throat impatiently, and looked over the two prince’s shoulders to the ballroom.
“A refill, my most gracious lady,” James took her empty glass almost reverently and replaced it with a full one, drawing out his movements as the duke grew more intolerant by the second.
“I thank you most kind sir.” Snow took a cue from Calvin and bent her head gracefully as she received it. The duke coughed with irritation.
“Here is one for myself,” James had his back towards them as he turned to the tray.
“And this one,” He selected a goblet from the platter,
“Is for you.” Pivoting a little too quickly from the tray, James lost his balance and neatly deposited the contents of the glass onto the duke’s waistcoat.
“Blimey!!” the duke ejaculated as he dropped Snow’s arm and clutched his soaked vest in shock. Several guests looked their way in dignified horror at the profane utterance.
“Oh, my goodness gracious I am truly deeply sorry!” James exclaimed, his face the perfect mixture of shame and apology.
“Blimey!” was all the duke stammered out. Snow met James’s look and clenched her teeth. She must not laugh. She must not laugh!!
“Oh, for shame, brother,” Calvin tisked, shaking his dark head. “That will be simply awful to clean up, you better hurry and try to wipe it off before it dries.” He added, looking at the ruined waistcoat admiringly.
“No worries though, we will be more than happy to take this young lady off your hands.” As Calvin spoke, he took his sister’s goblet from her hand and placed it into the right hand of the stupefied duke. Then, sliding her arm into his, he led her away.
“You like how we pulled that off?” He grinned as Snow collapsed against him in a fit of laughter.
“That was pure genius,” She wiped her eyes with his offered handkerchief.
“Speaking of genius,” Calvin muttered, and then called over his shoulder. “Come, my clumsy brother, let his nobleness tidy up, you’ve done more than enough damage today.”
“I am really, very sorry, it was a complete and total accident.” James was saying. Snow glanced back to see James bowing to the duke while placing his goblet into the duke’s other hand, then coming after his siblings as neatly as you please.