I quickly kissed the cheeks of all the other men and gave a warm hug to Georgette. I gave a last thanks for their hospitality before I left and then turned away from them, holding in an ocean of tears, because I knew that it would be the last time I ever saw them.
I told the carriage driver that he could return to the estate; that I would leave with my own family. It was a lie, but I didn’t want the Dautry’s to worry about me. Stepping up the grand entrance, it occurred to me that I was rather late, but I steeled myself for a graceful entrance nevertheless. The announcer had already gone by the time I made it to the top of the stairs that led to the ballroom. I stood there awkwardly for what seemed like a lifetime, but must have been only minutes—maybe seconds—and I studied the ballroom. The Charmant’s were famous for it, I knew, and seeing it in person—I could immediately see why.