Prince Rupert was teaching his wife how to dance. He also taught her archery but he was the first to admit that the thing both sets of lessons had in common was that he got to put his arms around her and show her what to do. Not so much with the archery, now she was getting the hang of it, but dancing practically required it. He considered it one of the unexpected benefits of being married.
“And again,” The two of them stepped forward in time to the music, side by side and with a measured tread, her elbows bent so her hands were level with her shoulders, his near hand reaching behind her shoulders to grasp her far hand and his far hand reaching across his body to hold her near one. “Step, step and step. Let go with your far hand and we turn to face each other. You curtsey while I bow.” Jonna swept the floor with her skirts as she made her obeisance. “Now, step together, step back, step together and we turn around each other until we’re back where we started.”
“Then side by side and hands back to where they were,” she chimed in, suiting her actions to her words.
“Step, step and step,” carried on Prince Rupert, taking them through the piece again. This time they not only made it all the way through the music, they were on the right steps when the music ended.
“We did it!” Jonna was triumphant. This particular combination of steps had been eluding her for a while. “Once I realised the music was telling me how deep that curtsey needs to be, it was much easier.”
“I think we deserve a kiss for that,” declared her husband.
“Yes,” Jonna was displaying dimples as she smiled up at him, “I think we do.”
The musician busied himself with making sure his tuning was still good but the interruption came instead from a newcomer. “Prince Rupert, you lucky dog! Has Lord Addew relaxed his rules? Perhaps I could have a kiss from your little friend too?”
The young couple broke apart.
“I don’t think so,” replied Jonna in a quelling tone.
“Sir Toby,” Prince Rupert acknowledged the older man, a hale-and-well-met sort of minor noble man, “this is my wife, the Lady Jonna. Jonna, this is Sir Toby Belfroes. He’s a good fellow but he can get a little carried away.”
“Sir Toby,” Jonna curtsied as she’d been taught, secretly hoping she got the depth of it right.
“Lady Jonna, my apologies.” Sir Toby bowed gracefully. “Your Highness, I thought we were friends. Am I so out of favour that I was not invited to your wedding?”
“Ah, about that,” Prince Rupert looked a little uncomfortable.
“Please don’t feel left out,” Jonna stepped in unconcernedly. “We weren’t invited to the wedding either.”
Sir Toby’s glance went from Prince Rupert to Jonna and back again. “Now that sounds like a tale you can tell me over dinner tonight.”