JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 20 – “Miss Austen, Will You Dance?”
More aware of Laura Starr — damn her, sometimes — than of the hum of chatter and the fizz and crackle of the lights, of the plastic sheen of the canteen hardware and utilities, the fuzzy crackle of the intercom updates — more aware of her than of stars and galaxies and God sometimes, these last months. Still, he dutifully stuck his hand out, as he turned.
And he blinked, just a little, at the face that appeared before him. It was a face he knew. For a moment, his neurons scrambled to make sense of the unexpected data. And then, he had it.
Damn it, of course he knew that face. Anyone would have known that face, anyone who cared about language and the human heart, anyone who had a heart –.
Oh. And he was still standing, still with his hand stuck out, and still staring. Staring at a delicate-featured, dark-haired woman, a little under average height, and wearing a tea-gown. Not that Jon knew a lot about Old Terra fashions. But he suspected that that tea-gown was Terran, and Terra eighteenth century. Regency, they’d called it, hadn’t they? She was a little over forty years old, and looked well on it — plump, and prim, and pleased with herself.
“Miss Austen,” he said, inclining his head, bowing a little over her hand, even. It was just a little in advance of the prompt from Laura, as she arrived by his side with her clip-board list of passengers.
He felt Laura’s slight start of surprise.