Heather linked arms with Merida, clearly nervous about the ball. The redhead patted her sister’s arm, “Don’t worry about a thing, Heather, everything will be alright. Unless Ruffnut and Tuffnut do something.”
“But wouldn’t that just add to the fun?”
“Yeah, but, tonight, you’re trying to catch someone’s eye. I’ll try to keep them at bay.”
“Thanks Mer,” Heather smiled. The two stopped, they had reached the back of the line, right behind their parents, Elinor chatting away with another lady in the line as it slowly progressed forward.
“I just hope the triplets don’t give Maudie a heart attack while we’re gone,” mumbled Merida.
Heather giggled, “Well, maybe we should start telling them if they want to come to a party, they have to behave with Maudie.”
“What? Those three in the same room with the twins? That’s a disaster waiting to happen!”
“Well thanks for the vote of confidence,” quipped Ruffnut, surprising the two.
“What? They know us pretty well . . . ow!” Ruffnut hit his shoulder. Before the two could get into another brawl, a gasp emitted from the crowd. Everyone glanced up, a magnificent airship was parked in the sky and a black being glided to the ground. The person undid the straps attaching him to the machine before taking off his helmet and combing his fingers through his auburn hair. Merida was a bit taken back, not just by the strangeness of his entrance, but also by the intent gaze of his green eyes.
“Haddock! You made it!” exclaimed a robust blond as he burst from the house, passing Heather and Merida on the way out.
“Yes, I made it, sorry I’m late, Ingerman, hit some wild turbulence on the way over here.”
“Oh that’s alright, we’re just getting started.” Ingerman led his friend to the end of the line which was finally getting to the door. “Oh, look, and these are the people I was telling you about, Miss Heather Dunbroch and her sister Merida, and the twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut.”
“How do you do?” the Dunbrochs gave a little curtsy as they spoke.
“Hiya, handsome, got a dancing partner tonight?” crooned Ruffnut.
“Well, I’m not exactly ready . . .”
“Well, when you are ready, let me know, alright?”
“Bleh,” was all Tuffnut said before grabbing his sister’s arm and whisking her away to find some mischief.
“Uh . . .”
“Oh, they’re off to make things interesting.”
Haddock rolled his eyes, “Of course.”
“Oh, before I go back to welcoming people . . .”
“Wait, you left Astrid to welcome people by herself?”
“Oh, yeah, I did, she is so going to kill me.”
“That she will.”
“But I haven’t seen you in years! Guess I got a little excited.”
“To see me, or my machines?”
Ingerson shot him a sheepish grin before turning back to the girls, “Right, uh, Heather, would you be my dancing partner tonight?”
“Yes! I-I mean, I’d love to, uh,” Heather glanced at her snickering sister for help.
“Just hurry it up and finish your hosting duties before anyone starts attemtping to sweep her off her feet.”
“Oh? And what would happen if someone tried to sweep her off her feet?”
“I’d have to get the twins to help fend them off, and you remember what happened last time, don’t you, Mr. Ingerman?”
Ingerman let out some air in an attempt to keep from laughing, “Boy do I.” The three of them burst out laughing as each remembered the scene Merida was referring to.
“Did I just land in uncivilization? Never mind, forget it, I’m going to change, Ingerman, I might reemerge for the ball,” muttered Haddock as he walked away.
“Does Mr. Haddock act like that all the time, Mr. Ingerman?”
Ingerman shook his head, “No, only when he doesn’t understand something. We should have told him about the twins’ antics so he would know why it’s so funny. Ah well, give him a few minutes, he’ll be back.” Merida glanced down the path that Haddock had taken before joining everyone in the ballroom, the three of them not realizing that what Haddock didn’t understand was how a pair of sky blue eyes had made his heart flutter.