Across the candle-glitter ballroom of the Duke of Vessalius, she stares at the man with a puppet swaying in place with his feet planted firmly together; a faraway smile; cradling a glass of almond-colored champagne between his oversized sleeves.

When a noblewoman in a midnight blue robe à la française approaches him, tittering and fluttering, summoning the courage to touch his wrist lightly (flirtatiously)— Sharon Rainsworth lets out a half-infuriated, half-pleased exhale when Break bows to the other woman looking miffed as he gives away his glass and draws away from her. By her expression, she would not assume that the noblewoman approved of his apologies.

"Should we not be on our way then?" Her mother's manservant asks, walking up to her and sweeping into a low bow as he had to the now livid woman in blue, casting them ugly looks from her husband's side— Break grins mischievously at Sharon as she narrows her eyes at him. "You are not of proper age to attend this ceremony."

"I am well aware of that!" Sharon snaps, clearing her throat and straightening when some of the guests glare in their direction (frowning disapprovingly at their closeness without the proper female attendant, raking their eyes up and down the soles of Break's high-laced, girlish boots to his mussed silver hair). She continues with a cooler tone, ignoring the other bejeweled guests, "It is dull here anyway."

"Is it now?" Break, on the other hand, has no trouble meeting the other nobles scrutinizing; several of them blush darkly and go back immediately to their conversations with each other; one or two continue frowning unaffected.

"The unavoidable will come soon enough for Master Oz Vessalius," Sharon says, watching unconcernedly as the white-coated boy across the ballroom gestures to his uncle, glancing around quickly at his surroundings as if something valuable had gone missing ("Where did Gil go…?!")— "We shouldn't linger for much longer, Break……what the devil is that in your hands?"

She stares at him as he turns over the tunnel-shaped item, curiously examining the orange and white diamond paper on it, "I came across it in the drawing room we were visiting with Master Oz. I believe it is called a 'finger-trap'." Break slowly smiles after a moment, sticking one of his index fingers into one open end and then hers in the other.

"Well, put it away! I don't want to be accused of stealing anything from this house." Sharon bats him away, pulling with her finger trapped. She tries again.

And again.

"Oh my…" His breathy, sly comment only makes one of her eyebrows twitch. "We seem to be fastened together, Milady. Perhaps we should request assistance…"

With a very unladylike growl, Sharon leads her servant forcibly out of the crowded and stuffy atmosphere of the Vessalius ballroom, marching to her empty carriage. For the rest of the trip back home, sitting beside an exceptionally cheery-looking Break, she frowns moodily out the rain-splattered carriage window.

As they enter the Rainsworth estate (slightly dampened by the thriving storm and still firmly attached), Sharon lets out a cry of surprise when he makes a sharp left veer for the broom closet down the corridor, "Break, where do you think you are taking me…?"

"I would not think of 'taking' Milady anywhere without her permission, of course," she bites her lower lip hard at his insufferable but striking grin, "but you understand, I have much urgent business in that broom closet… my plans simply cannot be altered…"

It is a rather tight fit for the both of them (Sharon has no choice but to follow him inside or risk shutting her delicate finger on the closet door); and she tries to ignores the further heating of her cheeks as the silvery-haired man sets his chin on her head kindly after a minute or so, her heaving chest pressing to his chest, her heartbeat pounding against his…


Her auburn eyes widen in horror. A gloved hand shifts to caress her face affectionately, bringing her attention back up to him as Break whispers into her forehead, "…yes, I do not have a heartbeat. I haven't had one for a very long time."


His expression hardens at the fear, the pity in her voice. "Do not think ill of me, Sharon…" She gasps loudly, that returning blush crawling up to the roots of her golden curls when the hand tilt her face upwards, when he purposely and faintly kisses her. Break smiles with his lips ghosting against her parted mouth, his single eye half lidded when a shaking, feminine hand hovers into his hair, when she kisses back timidly. Sharon mumbles a meaningless protest when she feels him leave her.


Her grinning manservant stood in a torch lit hallway from just outside the interior of the broom closet.


Break remarks calmly at her obvious confusion, "Your Lady Mother has granted me usage of these private passageways in our home for my own secret bedchambers. Three knocks on the right wall does the trick. And presently, I feel as if a nap is in order." He emphasizes this with a clearly fake yawn, stretching his arms over his head. Sharon then stares at the crumpled up 'finger-trap' floating to the ground, her mind whirling with wonder and exasperation. "You are free to do as you wish with this knowledge."

His red eye crinkles in amusement when she hurries over to his side, clutching his arm and looking away bashfully, but addressing him sternly, "It is only expected for the next Head of the Rainsworth household to know this of her servants, correct?"

"Indeed, Milady."




Ah. You got the setting. :D And you don't need me telling you I don't own PH. Or this would be considered 'original work'. You can never have enough of jealous!Sharon, right Vanilla? Absolute credit goes to her for the Chinese finger trap idea. (So much fun to write. YOUR QUEEN WAS HAPPY TO DO THIS. And I want to thank you again for being so kind to me and letting ME have a request! :DD) And chibiaries...you got your closet scene! YAY! The mood in the piece jumps occasionally but I think I was trying to make that happen on purpose…. Reviews?! Why I'd be delighted!

robe à la française = sack-back gown. Commonly worn in the eighteenth century by richer and fashionable women.