William's eyes roamed the crowd of London's upper-class citizens, searching for a single mahogany-haired beauty. Cecily was the object of his fondest affection, the centerpiece for his dedicated lines of poetry. To William, she was the single ray of light amidst an otherwise gloomy society, the only being not part of his family who held any interest for him.

When numerous passes of the rather small group before him exposed the same tired faces he had grown accustomed to ignoring, the poet wondered if his attempts were futile. Perhaps Cecily had decided against leaving the house for this evening's vulgar party. For people who had all the money they could contend with, these hosts had a poor reputation of actually being able to entertain their guests.

William the Bloody sighed in a partial form of depression. Despite his mother's failing health, he had insisted on dressing in his best robes this evening, scrubbing his teeth, and combing his hair to the utmost perfection. All of his efforts, including taking a bath, the third in his lifetime, had been for the sake of a woman who didn't seem to be present.

Making it a casual motion, the poet turned on his heel, politely greeting a passer-by in the meanwhile. As his eyes floated over the chattering crowd, he couldn't help feeling as if he were trapped amidst a horde of insects. These people, no matter how cultured or educated, were all exactly the same as one another. They all spoke with the same monotone voice, seeming to be composed of nothing more than flesh, bone, and a drone-like mind in which the same tired responses had been programmed after years of arduous practise. Of course, Cecily was the one exception to such a rule.

When some far-off beacon was triggered in the back of his mind, William realised he was still standing in the front entrance of what was a rather massive home. Suddenly feeling swarmed by the stuffy robots he rather disliked, the poet decided to try his luck manoeuvring about within the home. Perhaps he could get a seat next to the small assembly of instrumentalists and simply spend the night admiring their musical form of poetry. That is, if he could find the orchestra.

"Pardon me," he said politely, shuffling away from the door as it opened once again, pulling in a few more inherently rich socialites who didn't glance twice at him. Moving alongside a grand staircase that had surely put many carpenters to a lot of under-paid grief, William listened carefully for the sorrowful cries of the cello, the dancing call of the flute, or perhaps the always-elegant reverberations created by a harp. Hopefully he had not read the invitation wrong, and therefore spent over an hour preparing himself for a party that would take up only a half-hour of his time.

Creeping along the almost deserted hallway, William wondered how he had been invited to such a luxurious party in the first place. Never had he spoken with Mr. Abbey or any of his family members; the lowly poet had only heard their revered surname spoken at various social events and from the hostile mouths of ready-to-rebel employees. Of course, due to Abbey's poor reputation among the middle and lower-class citizens of London, William had kept his attending of such a party quite secretive.

Stopping abruptly, his feet glued to the floor in a reflexive way, it took the poet a moment to realise what his body was reacting to. Tuning in to the frequency of his own ears, William finally heard the sweet sound of salvation. In the distance, ahead and to the right he guessed, the beautiful harmony of a violin and its cello counterpart could be heard echoing off the home's many walls, the reverberations immediately commanding his limbs to move.

Five strides into his search however, William's efforts were deadened. Looking to his left and right, all he could see were various paintings decorating what space was left between countless doorways. With so many choices, the wooden prisms seeming to mock him without voices, the poet didn't know how he would ever navigate his way through such an elaborate labyrinth.

Veering suddenly away from his usual string of not-so-good luck, William was somewhat startled by the appearance of a voice at his rear. Obviously male and of an aged nature, every word was strung together in a polite yet monotone fashion. "Excuse me sir. I must inform you that Mr. Abbey would appreciate it if all guests remained in or nearby the ballroom" he said, not waiting for the poet to turn around before speaking.

Directing his eyesight to the Heavens momentarily, thanking God for an escape route, William offered the butler a polite smile and respective nod. "Thank you sir. I was actually on my way there and got somewhat turned around. Would you be kind enough to guide me in the right direction?" receiving a slightly odd glance from the older man, William simply gave an embarrassed smile, waiting for a reply.

"Certainly…" the senior citizen gave a polite bow before turning around, not another word muttered on the subject. Polished black shoes whisked over an equally buffed hardwood floor, easily navigating through furniture and a few migrating guests. William hurriedly followed his leader, meanwhile noticing that the echoes from his beloved string instruments were steadily growing stronger.

Rounding yet another sharp corner as he bit at the butler's heels, William was given a swift slap in the face. Having spun into a moderately lit room with an extremely elevated ceiling, the poet was bombarded by wonderful tunes emanating from Mr. Abbey's personal orchestra. Needing to catch a breath that had been stripped from him, William simply gazed around the room, azure orbs drinking in the dazzling sight.

Multiple chandeliers were suspended above him, their intricate strings of glass beads creating a unique lighting effect within the ballroom. Various landscape portraits decorated otherwise bland walls, medium-sized lanterns separating the massive paintings. Every square inch of the floor was constructed from flawlessly stained wood, timber panelling also reaching halfway up the towering walls.

In the far right corner was the orchestra, made up of various string and woodwind instruments. Tactfully, Mr. Abbey had decided against allowing the brass section to join his private concert band. Many of the excessively cultured guests would surely not enjoy such a harsh addition to their frequently enjoyed musical numbers.

"Enjoy your evening, sir" the elder man bowed in completion of his polite salutation, wondering if the boy had heard him in the first place.

"Pardon? Oh, yes… Thank you…" the poet stumbled into whatever conscious state he required to return the man's words, still lost in his admiration of such architectural beauty. William was perplexed as to how merciless, arrogant men such as Mr. Abbey could come to create such stunning grandeur. No doubt a problem that would puzzle mankind until the end of eternity.

Footsteps were taken in no particular direction, the poet simply conjuring movement so as to avoid constantly migrating guests. Hands clasped neatly behind his back, William appeared the perfect, well brought-up gentleman as he strode through the crowd, the only thing pointing him out being a slight slouch in posture. Unlike many of the stuffy, older men surrounding him, the poet walked with an all but stilted spine, his movements fluent rather than rigid.

Azure orbs still swirling about the scenery, constantly changing their altitude, William was left with very little chance to watch his every step. Assuming that others would simply clear out of his way, used to stepping from the path of blokes such as himself, the poet saw no problem in doing so. Nevertheless, his opinion changed rather quickly, wandering movements sending him on a direct collision course with another partygoer.

"Oh! Uh, pardon me, madam" he said hurriedly, needing only a fraction of a second to determine his victim's gender.

Startled gaze flowing over her accidental aggressor, youthful vixen attempted to pass off the incident as a simple mistake, though she was hardly given the chance, voice cut off before it could activate. Beside her, a man in his mid-twenties decided to offer his opinion, laughing pompously as he did so. "Do try to watch where you're going, boy! We don't want you killing off any of the lady guests" although his wit was of the driest nature, the other men and their flitting wives laughed at such cynical comments, obviously the type who relished in the embarrassment of others.

Jaw clenching, ivory daggers biting back the comments he never actually said aloud, William gave the required smile of humiliation, head nodding in accordance. "Again, I apologize, sir… I'll have to watch my step from now on" his voice nearly quivered, blue eyes doing their best to remain confident. Instead of receiving an understanding grunt or a passive nod from his accusers, the poet got nothing more than a boastful grin encompassing the circle of socialites. Of course, quickly following such glances was the required chitchat, eyeballs rolling after periodical glances at the poetic intruder.

"It's really not a problem… After all, we have chosen a rather awkward place to situate ourselves" although the sound was soft and sweet to one's ear, such a voice had enough power to command and receive total silence amongst the group. Every mocking word, each arrogant glance was instantly severed, all attention being thrown to the keeper of such a daring voice.

Blinking back the astounded fissure running through his eyes, William took it upon himself to glance down at the woman, not expecting yet another earthquake of amazement to shudder through him. Molecules of oxygen flooded his lungs, the poet drinking in such amounts of air to avoid the surely embarrassing act of fainting… but, oh goddess… Was it possible that he had ever witnessed such unflawed beauty? Even Cecily had not been able to capture his awe with such simplicity.

William was offered a split second to appreciate the cream-coloured gown she was wrapped in, its burgundy trim and dyed-on blossoms exquisitely complimenting her shapely figure. After that though, the poet fell victim to a pair of emerald oceans, the apparently harmless pools striking him like tidal waves. Oh, but how he would adore drowning in such conditions.

Reluctantly blinking, William was forced out of his state of amazement, returning to the real world within seconds. "Well, I… I, um…" he nearly whispered, groping for the correct words with which to respond.

Having only just recently recovered from their state of shock, the other group members felt the undying need to jump in at that moment, taking advantage of William's speechlessness. "You, you, you what? For God's sake, spit it out, boy… We're not all going to live forever" the man smirked with such comments, a chorus of hushed snickering quickly following.

"Yes" the musical voice broke in once again, swiftly rescuing the dirty-blonde stranger. Eyes were pinned to the woman for a second time, William of course having no problem with being required to do so.

"Pardon me?" another random voice spoke up, words reflecting everyone's thoughts.

"I said, yes…" the younger woman repeated in a rather blunt tone, pivoting then so that her crystal green eyes met William's. "Yes, I would love to dance" she said softly, a most dainty smile unfolding across exquisite features.

"You must be joking" finally, a woman speaker… though her words were hardly positive in nature.

"No, actually, I'm quite serious" the blonde beauty answered, hardly bothering to toss a glance at the woman. Stepping away from her social circle's possessive embrace, the girl brushed past William as well. Hovering toward the main dancing area, she paused only when it became apparent that her partner was not following. Turning, emerald orbs challenged the poet's sparkling blue spheres, though a smile dangled from beneath such a daring gaze.

Quite clearly becoming aware of her intent, William attempted to perform movement, but a single thought severed his intents. What about Cecliy? Some anonymous, pessimistic voice whispered, knowing just how to snag the poet's attention. Was this girl worth betraying everything he had lived for and been devoted to for what felt like an eternity? It's a dance… A simple dance… Nothing more has to come of it… his alter ego answered, obviously listening to what his senses were screaming about the mysterious woman.

Before his consciousness could command otherwise, the poet's lower appendages had initiated movement. Although his movements were stiff and hardly calculated, William somehow came to rest before the blossom-showered woman, eyes running a marathon over her beautifully crafted form.

"Glad to see that you decided to join me" she laughed softly, rose-hued cheeks lifting the corners of her ruby lips.

"I… I can't" William answered, sapphire eyes darting upward to meet hers. Nervously, he surveyed their surroundings, gaze meeting the gossiping group he had only recently left.

"Can't? Because of them?" head swivelling so that she faced a rather shocked set of onlookers, the woman laughed again. "Don't be silly… They don't matter in the least to me… Some associates of my father who think they're incredibly wise for attempting to gain my approval" eyes rolling, she turned back to the still awkwardly poised form of her dance partner.

Glad to at least hear a negative opinion on the mocking partygoers, William nodded, still refusing to commence the act of dancing. "No… It isn't that" cheeks flushing then, the poet took comfort in meeting her gaze. "I'm afraid… I can't dance," he said bluntly, giving an evident glance to his poorly manoeuvrable feet.

"Oh… Well, it's really quite simple…" her words were gentle, though obviously insisting that he learn at least a step or two. Pleased when the violin and cello began pushing off legato notes, husbands and wives taking an intimate hold on each other, the still-maturing woman gave her companion a suggestive glance, cleansing her lungs with a deep breath.

"Now…" she began, heart pounding with anticipation of even her own movements. Something about this man, in spite of his place on the social chain, had caused her soul to ignite with rolling flames of excitement, completely captured by the depth in his eyes. "You simply take my hand like this…" she instructed, attempting to prepare herself for that moment of…

Electrical contact. Both entities felt it, man and woman shocked to life by the simple condition of physical touch. Her hands were like silk, the petite workings of a master craftsman. His were only slightly coarse, hints of a civilized yet hard-earned lifestyle announced by the texture of his palm. Emerald locked with cerulean as William and his enchanting angel exchanged glances yet again, completely intrigued by the impact that such simple contact could create.

Craving more of his touch though temporarily rendered incapable of speech, the girl reached toward his static arm, guiding it to the small of her back. "Like this" she choked out, right hand reaching up to rest contentedly on his shoulder.

"What… comes now?" choppy, anything but poetic dialogue was forced through William's lips, barely making it past the thundering rhythm of his heartbeat. The only thing keeping his dizzy head from spinning of its axis was his dance partner's steady gaze, her emerald jewels splashing about within his oceanic tides.

"Now… All we have to do is dance," she said matter-of-factly, casual voice betraying her inner turmoil. William gave a short, comprehensive nod before beginning to move, hoping that he would be able to instinctively guide himself, and that she would follow him through every step.

¤+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+¤

Minutes floated by, such periods going unnoticed by the seemingly solitary pair of dancers. For William and his beautiful comrade, all of London's upper-class scenery had simply fallen away in the bliss of their graceful locomotion. Boastful businessman, rude housekeepers, and sadistic glares were unwanted figments of their imaginations. Only the beautiful house and its majestic orchestra were considered real by the dancing pair, their movements hardly suggesting that the male half of such a couple was incapable of dancing.

Intoxicated by the floral scent vibrating from her tantalizing flesh, William had requested without sound or even thought to close the already miniscule gap separating them. Snaking his hungry palm even farther around the maiden's petite waist, his actions were all but hindered in return. Jade eyes catching his for a brief moment, the girl gave a sigh as her head fell to the steadfast surface of his chest, fingers seeking out his accented hairline.

Their movements were calmly frantic. Clumsy limbs searched for a place to rest, slightly confused but blissful minds made excellent attempts to coordinate such movements. When all was said and done though, William and his blonde beauty were pressed against each other, her head in his chest, his chin resting delicately atop her cranium, conjoined palms nestled against the pair of joined bodies.  

Shivering as the girl's fingers twitched against the back of his neck, a rather important realisation poured into the conscious half of Williams mind. Not really knowing how to introduce the subject, he decided to simply speak up. "You never told me your name" the poet's voice floated outward after his chin had been removed from the woman's skull. Surprisingly, the sound was anything but shaky.

Tipping her head upward, still shocked by the depth of his azure eyes, the young woman pulled her rose lips into a smile. "Anne… Anne Summerset" her response was soft and controlled, though it took a moment to remember her own name.

"Anne…" his mouth curled around the word, testing out its incredibly sweet taste. "Anne, I'm William Morgan" his grip on her palm tightened for a second, as if to substitute for the traditional shaking of hands.

"Very pleased to meet you, William," she returned with a smile, and again the poet's soul was shocked with ecstasy. Allowing their gazes to linger with each other for a brief moment, Anne slid her head against William's cushioned chest once again, breathing a contented sigh.

I think I'm falling in love with… but what about Cecily? The poet made an attempt at identifying his blossoming feelings for Anne, but thoughts of his previous love infected such a notion. William needed time to think; time to properly organize his racing emotions and contagious kicks of hormones. What did he truly feel for Cecily? And, just what would he be losing if he chose to neglect his emotion for this blonde-haired woman?

"William?" all thought processes stopped as Anne's voice penetrated his sense of hearing, her angelic voice perfecting his name.

"Mm?" he answered wordlessly, too content at the moment to form proper terms. Oh God… she felt so… perfect. Resting against him, her warm body pressed against his… Everything about their situation seemed Heavenly to the poet.

"Take me home" her voice dripped against William's chest, cheek still nestled lovingly against his firm set of pectoral muscles.

Frowning after her speech, William had to pause before responding, thinking for some reason that his mind was playing tricks on him. "Take you home?" he repeated her statement, head lifted now so that he could look upon the blonde woman with pure curiosity.

"Yes…" she sighed softly, emerald eyes lifting to lock with his azure pools. "I would like nothing more than to escape this rather boring party… But I will not go if you can't join me" her voice was delicate, verging on a trembling nature, as if she were petrified of rejection.

William could only give a blank stare at first, his mind racing to catch up with her rather simple suggestion. It appeared as if he wouldn't be granted the needed time to think about Cecily and whatever relationship he had with her. "You mean," he stumbled into the response, nearly choking on the words. "You want…?" his voice was steadier this time, though his parched throat created a rather raspy sound.

"More than anything" she confirmed, emerald eyes unwavering as the words trickled from her now partially curved lips.

Staring down at the woman's supernaturally illuminated visage, William could find nothing but soul-filled sincerity. Anne's lips curved with a type of desire that originated in one's heart, every form of love that a person could offer. For William, that alone was enough to forget everything about Cecily. Wanting and desiring was one thing… Being wanted and being desired was a completely different sensation altogether. 

"Right…" he breathed, matching her quivering smile. "Let's go then… No sense in keeping a woman waiting" he said, eyes sparkling with a new sense of adventure. Further exiting the embrace of their dance, William paused only a moment before offering his arm to the lady.

Threading her hand through the small space provided, Anne could hear a portion of her mind questioning her rather significant choice of action. Not a half-hour had passed by since her first sighting of the man, and already she was eagerly giving herself to him. The act itself was hardly traditional; practically whorish by her family's standards. But, how could she defy such a strong attraction? Everything she was feeling for William originated in the deepest catacombs of her soul, branching through every other portion of her essence. Was it possible for her soul to be wrong in such a situation? Time and time again, her heart continued to spit out the same, simple answer to such a question. No. No. This, whatever it was, felt right. It didn't matter who William was or where he came from… What mattered was the fact that their souls seemed bound together… A line that once tied was nearly impossible to break.

Happily caught in each other's arms, William and Anne strode out of the Abbey residence with a single purpose in mind, the condition itself functioning on many levels in the human world.

Love