“Leave it be, Selina, please. He has no want for me,” Charles murmurs, trying not to let the ache he feels with the burden of that knowledge to color his words. Selina remains disbelieving, her fine, handsome features conveying her thoughts quite acutely. She peers over Charles’ shoulder as he leads them into a turn, surveilling the crowd of spectators. Her gaze alights on one figure in particular.
She makes a most unladylike sound.
“Well then, if he claims not to want you,” Selina says, “then he should have no objections for anyone who may wish to take you.” A flash of a sly grin and then suddenly her expression shifts, eyes taking on a doe-like quality, her features turning soft as she exudes an innocence she most certainly doesn’t possess. Then she turns those doe eyes on Charles and for all the world she looks like she’s in love, enamored by his very presence - and Charles can only laugh, amused and wise to her ways, continuing their steps like nothing’s changed. Only now, putting his heart aside, he joins her game.
He’s going to lose, he always does, acting is not amongst his repertoire of skills and accomplishments and a grin slips through here and there while Selina remains perfectly in character - as obvious as her mirth is too him when overhearing some chatter from the crowd, some ladies already starting to gossip. For that he tangles their fingers, almost sure it will get them an affronted tut.
And then the next step comes and Selina is leaning close, whispering in hushed tones “If you could see his face right now,” and without quite meaning to he casts his gaze out, heart hammering in his chest, and there is Erik, a statue amongst a sea of moving bodies, jaw clenched, eyes hard, and an expression of ill contained fury at the sight of their joined hands.
Charles quickly averts his eyes, confused if not a bit satisfied, and instead concentrates on leading he and Selina into a twirl. When he finally looks up again, Erik is on the move, long determined strides heading towards the entrance doors.
The dance finishes soon after, and it is his friend, his confidante who says “Go get him,” with a mischievous wink.
“Go steal something,” he replies, grinning, kisses her once on the back of her hand before taking his leave, a skip in his step that hadn’t been there before.
Because Erik wants him. He wants him.