In her imagination, Sophie saw Jonathan place his well-polished boot on the step of the gazebo.
“Oh, you’re alone,” he said. “I was hoping to find you with the kitchen maid so we could speak.” He pivoted to go.
“Please stay, Jonathan.” Sophie rose from her seat and took a step toward Jonathan.
“I couldn’t. Your reputation.”
“I don’t give a fig about my reputation!” Sophie felt an odd jolt as she said those words. If she was a real person in the early 1800s wouldn’t she care desperately about her reputation? What was Jane doing to her?
“That is,” she began again. “No one can see us here. Surely we are safe to exchange a few words.”
Jonathan frowned and stayed where he was, just outside the gazebo.
“But you’ll need to come inside.” Sophie waved her hand and stepped back. It wouldn’t do to be found by Aunt Beatrice.
Jonathan hesitated, but eventually took a step into the structure, staying in the entryway.
“I wanted to let you know about a dance at the American Embassy on Friday. I will be there, escorting my sisters.” He looked at the floor. “I was hoping to see you there.”
Sophie remembered seeing an invitation to the dance on her aunt’s desk. Perhaps there was a chance she could convince Aunt Beatrice to go.
“I can try to persuade my aunt to attend. It would be lovely to dance with you.” She took a step closer. Somehow, she needed to convince him to kiss her now. For a figure she was conjuring in her imagination, he was being quite difficult.
Jonathan smiled. “I hope you will save a dance…or several…for me.” He tipped his hat. “Until then, dear lady.”
“No. Wait!” Sophie put a hand on his arm. “You can’t leave. Not until we kiss. You see…we’re not real. Well,” she looked at him, standing firm.. “You’re really a figment of my imagination inside a story someone else is making up.”
He raised his eyebrows.
Sophie shook her head. This was all so confusing.
“Will you kiss me then?” she asked, tilting her face up.
He looked at her for a long moment.
“No,” he said, then put his hat on and left.
At least, that’s what she imagined he would do.
Sophie leaned against the gazebo wall. “Sorry, Jane,” she whispered. “I simply couldn’t go against the ton. Even for you.”