She didn't look at him.
She never did. Never could.
If she met his eyes then she would dissolve into giggles, and the charade would be over. They'd both be cast out - or maybe just him - and that would be the end of everything.
He played his part so well, that was why it was funny. He would happily sit there and spout such rot, and these sychophantic ghouls would nod and revere him.
They didn't know he was just staff in her father's suit.
He was an orator, a charmer - he could spin a yarn, and they could believe him. They would believe him; they'd be desperate too. He simply had to be a lord, anyone lowlier couldn't possibly speak this well.
She coughed, excusing herself briefly, not meeting his eyes - she couldn't cope much more.
He joined her outside in seconds. "They think I'm going to get some more port. I can't believe we've pulled it off."
"You've pulled it off, it's all you." She grinned, allowing herself to laugh now, supporting herself on his shoulders. "My clever, clever suitor." She placed a hand on his cheek, releasing a breath.
"I couldn't have done it without you." He met her eyes seriously, removing her hand. "You're a wonder."
"I am nothing of the sort." She composed herself. "Now. What's next?"
"I'm going to get them to decry the aristocracy, and possibly coerce them into selling their titles."
She bit her lip to stop her giggles. "You are a wicked, wicked man."
"Only for you." He winked. "Or I may slip into the night, never to be seen again."
She watched him disappear.