Weekly Writing Challenge: Characters That Haunt You

From here:

To be honest, this has been on my computer for years.  I just needed an excuse to share it.

It was the first time she had ever danced. She had thought about it often, imagined it. She twirled around in the fields in a rhythmic sway when her stepmother wasn’t looking. She had never seen a picture or really had it described to her. Her body did, however, have a natural rhythm when it came to hearing a tune. She always swayed alone in her dreams but music was a rare thing in her experience. However, in these mental machinations, she never imagined that dancing included touching.

The only things she ever touched were dirt, pigs, chickens, and trees. Touching things was not a pleasant experience for her. Very rarely, did she experience the touch of a person.  Mostly to shove her out of the way.  She did not even experience a human’s touch when she was disciplined. When she disobeyed, she got a switch put to her backside that she cut for herself so her stepmother wouldn’t have to dirty her hands or risk injury.

Tonight, right now, she felt the warm hand at her back. He rested there. He was not pushing her. She felt the other hand clasped in hers, covering and caressing her hand. She was grateful the gloves covered her calloused hands.  Her other hand wearily reached for his shoulder as she had seen the other couples do.

His eyes alone made her want to run and take cover. She could not stand to have his eyes on her. No one had ever gazed upon her. Gazed was the only word she could think of at the moment. His eyes were at once sapphire and gold. It felt like beams of high noon sunlight mixed with a cool breeze. She wondered if she had been set ablaze. She had only ever endured the cold, distant glares of her stepmother. However, his eyes actually wanted to rest where they were and see what they were seeing.

In that moment, she felt so afraid. She felt in her heart how unworthy she was. She was scared for the moment when the prince would find out that he had been fooled. That somebody dared bring a servant girl to a royal event in the hopes that he would mistakenly choose her. She felt both the fire of his eyes and the fire of her guilty heart all at once. It was a battle for her very soul in those few moments. Would her heart yield to the prince’s wondrous gaze? Or, would her heart yield to the years of guilt that her step-mother put upon her?