The corset strings were pulled tighter and tighter, restraining your air supply.
"That's enough," you huffed, trying to breathe, "That's enough Mother. Mummy!"
The tugging stopped, letting you breathe freely.
"How much tighter does it have to be? Do you want to kill me?"
"I don't want to kill you, but you must look presentable." explained your mum.
"If a dead daughter is presentable then I wonder what a dead son is. This fashion is ridiculous!" you exclaimed, pulling at your dress for emphasis.
"Other girls beg for their corsets to be tightet and you want it looser. Why must you always be cross about everything?" she sighed, leaving the room.
You weren't cross about everything, you just weren't like the other girls your age. Or what your parents expectations of you were. While other girls started learning how to sew, you started learning how to ride a horse---like a man, not "a lady". When others took dance lessons, you took sword lessons from your friends' brothers and sparred with them. As other girls started dressing fashionably, you experimented with mens' trousers.
Of course you knew how to sew, dance, and dress appropriately, but they weren't your favourite things. Only your family and close friends knew of your other hobbies.
Someone knocked on the door, the maid. "Miss (Name), it's time for the guest to arrive. Please come downstairs."
Looking into the mirror one last time, you left the room. Your flaming red dress rustled as you gracefully walked down the stairs and entered the ballroom. Taking a deep breath you straightened your posture as you saw the first guests arrive.
"Welcome to the (L.Name)'s. We appreciate your coming greatly." You repeated these lines multiple times to different guests.
Then you saw him. That bothersome bastard that always tried to court you. Lewis Macken. Forcefully, you repeated your lines. That's what you got for being the daughter of a rich businessman in Great Britain. As soon as most of the guests arrived you joined your friends, trying to avoid him.
"Well, you're looking ravishing." remarked your friend. "Just smashing. Is this real silk?" She fingered the cloth.
Noticing you were uneasy she implored, "Are you feeling ill?"
"Capital. My corset is just a bit tight." It wasn't really a lie, bits and pieces of truth were mixed in.
Lewis was making his way toward you.
"Hide me!" you whispered, looking around for cover.
Your friend was startled. "What! Where? Shove you under a table? You do know you are quite noticeable in that dress, right?"
Too late. He appeared in front of you.
"(Name), what a pleasure to see you." greeted Lewis.
"Likewise." you answered bowing your head a bit.
Lewis had sandy brown hair and transparent blue eyes. They were a bit scary, like you could see right through him. He was tall, lanky, and you believed he was underweight. If your parents expected you to marry him, they must be mad.
"Would you like to dance?" he inquired, holding out his hand.
No! No! No! you screamed in your head, but on the outside, all was calm.
"Naturally." you seethed.
Lewis pulled you onto to the dancefloor. Placing your left hand on his shoulder, you entwined your fingers with his with your right hand. They were wet and clammy. Disgusting. Going throught the steps you feigned focus on the dance. It was quiet between you two, except for the few times Lewis tripped over his own feet and the one time you stepped on his foot (Deliberately). You couldn't handle this much longer. He hands made you feel nauseous and he was beginning to move closer toward you.
"May I borrow your partner for a moment?" cut in a voice.
"Of course." said Lewis, stepping to the side while reluctantly letting go of your hands.
Once the man was out of earshot you spat out,
"Took your bloody time didn't you?"