The Penitence of Loving You (c.b.)
SYNOPSIS: Colin Bridgerton was a wandering man wondering why love has been was nothing but a woe.
REQUESTED: yes but i tweaked the details slightly
WARNINGS: Colin Bridgerton not getting over Marina, original male character (character names are COMPLETELY coincidental i was looking for random names and came up with something that sounded nice), angst angst angst, possible book spoilers
PAIRING/S: Colin Bridgerton x Reader, friendships with Eloise Bridgerton
(WORD COUNT: more than 7,500)
helpful links: navigation | master lists | rules and guidelines | tag list | fic recs
note: This was set after Book 2 (or Season 2, hence the mention of Kate) BUT it is set before Book 4 (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton). This is like a sequel after Season 1 Colin and Marina and Book 4 Colin.
(gif not mine but if you do know who owns this or if you own it, please message me so i can credit them properly!)
“Mama, do I really have to go to another ball?” you asked, slouching on your chair. This was your second season and it hasn’t been easy. You debuted last year with your sister, who married a monarch from France. Now, all eyes were on you to follow the footsteps of your sister. It wasn’t as if you never had suitors--you just pushed them away because you’ve never found someone worth talking to. Your own doings have made your mother look at you even more. She dragged you to countless balls and social events. It was quite tiring and to be quite honest, looking for a husband became a chore.
“Of course, darling!” she replied. “Maybe this is the ball you finally find someone you fancy,”
“You say that every ball but I find that hard to believe, mama,” you groaned, rolling your eyes. “Can’t I just sit this season out and travel?”
“No, dear. It’s only your second season. Maybe on your third,” she replied. “Now, go on. I bought new dresses for you. Wear a new one at the ball, hm? God forbid Lady Cowper sees you in used dresses,”
You stood up and prepared for the ball. Arguing with your mother was like arguing with a wall. You knew that she meant well but you were tired of looking for a husband. The men who courted you last season were rejects of your sister. The men who courted you this season were old men who needed to be married fast to sire an heir.
The ball was held by some ambitious mama who wished to pair her daughter with an eligible bachelor. You didn’t know what her name was nor who her daughter was. During the duration of the ball, you were just trailing behind your mother like a child. You were feeling out of place without your sister to accompany you. You used to dance and laugh with her at balls and she was off to France. She has never sent you a letter nor visited your family since.
You were with your mother when a gentleman approached you. He held a smile and a certain grace about himself.
“Good evening, ladies,” he greeted before looking at you. “I am Stefano Bianchi and I would like to ask you for a dance. That is, if there are any more dances that has not been reserved yet,”
“Oh, uh--” you extended your dance card towards him. “I have no dance, my lord,”
Stefano smiled at you.
“May I have this dance, then?” he asked. “Miss…?”
“Y/LN,” you replied. “And of course, my lord. We can dance now,”
You were a blubbering mess. Still, you allowed Stafano Bianchi to lead you to the dancefloor.
“Thank you for accepting my invitation to dance,” he said once the waltz started.
“It’s my pleasure,” you replied. “If anything, thank you for asking me. Tell me, is this your first season? I have not seen you in the previous year,”
“It is. I come from Italy,” he replied. “Have you ever been there?”
“I haven’t but they said that Italy is such a wonder,” you replied.
“It is. You could visit Italy someday and I would gladly show you around,”
“Thank you, my lord. I really wish to travel but my mother forbids it,” you replied.
“Oh, why is that?” he asked.
“She wants me to finish my second season first before allowing me to do so. She believes that if I do not marry this year, I am to be a spinster for the rest of my life,” you laughed.
Stefano laughed too.
“Surely being a spinster is better than marrying someone you do not love?” he asked.
“That is true. I do not wish to marry for fortune or for anything else,” you replied. “But to look for love in an English society is quite the task,”
Stafano nodded and soon enough, the dance ended. He was whisked away by mamas and their daughters before you both had the chance to speak to each other.
You were walking towards your mother when a group of debutantes approached you. You smiled at them, hoping to create a friendly atmosphere with them but they just sneered.
“We saw you dancing with Stefano Bianchi,” a girl said, making you halt in your footsteps. “Oh, I do wonder how he saw you. Isn’t this your second season? You must be that personless to even have a bachelor court you,” she snickered. You knew it wasn’t true but you couldn’t help but crumble at her words. “My mother said that your sister was far more beautiful than you...and that all of her scraps went to you,”
Tears clouded your eyesight. Who was this nameless debutante and her mean posse? Why were you letting their words affect you that much? You ran when you heard them laugh. You felt so small underneath her gaze. You entered an empty room to clear your thoughts. You knew that she was right. Your sister was far more beautiful, far more accomplished, and far more popular than you ever will be. You knew that and you knew you were hurt because it was the first time somebody ever said it in front of your face. You were staring at the fire, collecting your thoughts. How would you ever face that girl again? She saw you cry! You let her words have power over you…
“Is this room occupied?” a voice asked, breaking you from your trance. You deliberately wiped the tears from your eyes and looked at the person. A man.
“I’m sorry, my Lord! I just wanted to be alone for quite some time but if you need this room, I will gladly leave,” you rambled, standing up and fixing your dress.
“Oh no! Please, stay. You were here first,” he replied. He entered the room and bowed at you slightly. “I’m Colin Bridgerton,”
“Good evening, Mr. Bridgerton,” you greeted. “I’m Y/N Y/L/N,”
“Good evening, Ms. Y/L/N,” he greeted. Colin was dumbfounded at your beauty. Your face was slightly illuminated by the crackling fire. Your voice was sweet and gentle. Your dress clung on to you beautifully and your eyes were the most beautiful he has ever seen. Before he could stop himself he found himself asking, “Would you care for a dance?”
“In this room?” you asked. “But we are unchaperoned,”
“I know and I apologize for asking but the music outside is relatively upbeat. We don’t have to touch each other if you do not want to,” he replied.
You smiled widely at him and it took his breath away.
“Alright,” you replied. He smiled too and you both bowed at each other from a distance. You heard the music start from where it stopped and watched as Colin danced. You mirrored his actions, jumping and twirling on the expensive carpet. Soon, enough, your movements found you both at a much clearer space inside the room. You laughed as you landed right in front of him. He turned and held his hands for you to take. You took them of course and laughed at each other making messes and tripping over each other’s feet.
“You dance well!” you breathed.
“You too, Miss Y/LN,” Colin Bridgerton replied. “How come I have never seen you before? Have you just debuted this year?”
“I debuted last year, my lord but I haven’t had any luck in the Marriage Mart,” you replied. “To be quite honest, I do not wish to take part in this year’s social season but mother fears a spinster for a daughter,”
“Ah, the dreaded spinster. My mother too is worried for my dear sister, Eloise. I keep on telling her that Eloise is still young but she told me that I haven't a clue on marriage,”
“I’m afraid your mother is correct, Mr. Bridgerton,” you agreed. “Ladies have it harder than gentlemen! We are sold to the highest bidder and...sometimes, we’re made to believe that they’re the only one who are willing to take us. They treat us women like livestock while men are allowed to wait and do whatever they please. They are always in the right and they are always absolute,”
Colin nodded. He understood your sentiments but could not relate to it entirely because he was a man. You were correct, he was never reprimanded by society for his actions. He can escape into the night and go to his mistress and not worry about anything.
You looked at the clock above you and smiled.
“Mr. Bridgerton, I’m afraid I have to leave,” you told him. “It was nice meeting you,”
“Of course! It was my pleasure,” he replied. You bowed slightly and excused yourself. He watched you disappear into the corridors and went home thinking about the greatest dance of his life.
The most handsome gentlemen and the most beautiful women gathered tonight at the grand ball held in Grosvenor Square. In attendance were the recognisable Mr. Colin Bridgerton, who I heard was looking for a match and Stefano Bianchi, a distant cousin of the Queen from Italy. Stefano Bianchi was seen dancing only with one bachelorette last night, Ms. Y/N Y/L/N, whose sister married a French monarch in the previous social season. Will she finally meet her match this social season?
-Lady Whistledown Society Papers
“Look! You’re on the front page of Lady Whistledown!” your younger sister, who was set to debut in the next two years, exclaimed. She came to you with the paper between her fingers.
“Lady Whistledown again, dear sister? Do you not have books?” you asked her.
“Of course, I do! But Lady Whistledown is incomparable,” she replied. “She’d the Diamond of all society papers and literature,”
You laughed at her entendre.
“Is Stefano Bianchi handsome?” she asked. You paused.
“He is,” you replied. “Very graceful too,”
“Do you think he will call on you?” she asked. Your smile fell a little bit--none of the bachelors in the previous season ever called on you after a dance with them. Not that you remember any. You were sure that the foreigner would not think about you again but...you were the only person he danced with last night. Is it too bad to hope?
“I do not know but I am not expecting anything,” you lied. Your younger sister nodded. She knew that it was a sensitive topic for you.
“Of course,” she replied. “Have you looked at the next page? Apparently some debutante swooned on Colin Bridgerton,”
“Colin Bridgerton?” you asked.
“Yes. Do you know him?”
“A little bit. I met him last night at the ball and talked to him,” you replied. Your sister’s eyes brightened.
“Did you dance?” she asked.
“No,” you lied once again. You did not know why but you had the need to keep your interaction a secret.
“What a waste! You could have presented yourself,” your sister chastised.
“Perhaps, next time,” you replied. “Where is mama?”
“She went to the Featherington’s for afternoon tea,” your sister replied. “She wanted for you to go but I know you could not stand Lady Featherington,”
“And this is why you are my favourite!” you exclaimed.
A knock interrupted your conversation with your sister. It was your footman, Michael.
“I’m so sorry for interrupting your conversation, miss. Stefano Bianchi is here to call upon Lady Y/N Y/L/N,” he announced.
“Bring him in!” your little sister announced. ”Don’t worry, I will be chaperoning you to make sure you don’t do anything,” she teased.
Michael bowed and opened the door wider for Stefano to come in.
You stood up from your chair and greeted him.
“My lord,” you bowed slightly.
“Lady Y/N,” he greeted. “I hope I am not interrupting valuable time with your sister,”
“Of course not, sir!” your little sister chimed in. “Come in, come in! I will just be nearby,” she said. She looked at you and widened her eyes before leaving. You chuckled at her antics and looked at the guest.
“Would you like anything?” you asked. “I can ask somebody to bring us sandwiches and tea. I apologize for being unprepared. We were not expecting guests today,”
“No, thank you. May I sit?” he asked. You nodded frantically and gestured to the furniture across where you were sitting minutes ago. You sat as he sat and waited for him to speak.
“I’m sorry if I came unannounced,” he started. “I wasn’t able to dance with you a second time at the ball last night,”
“It’s nothing to worry about. Balls could get quite suffocating sometimes,” you responded. “Besides, you didn’t have to,”
Stefano nodded and swallowed thickly.
“I wanted to, truth be told. I am here to call on you and be your suitor,” he dictated.
“Oh--” you stammered, “I, uh, that’s great,”
“That’s great?” he repeated.
“It is,” you replied. “I am a bit speechless but it’s great,”
Stefano nodded, a slow smile creeping on his face. You knew there was blood rushing on your cheeks because it suddenly felt warm inside the usually cold room.
“May I visit again tomorrow? I want to formally introduce myself to Lady Y/L/N,” he asked.
“Of course! She’s currently at the Featheringtons and my father’s at his club,” you replied, playing with the lace on your bodice with your fingertips. Stefano nodded and stood up.
“Oh, I actually brought something for you,” he said, showing you a box. “These are some Italian candies that I grew up loving. You told me you haven’t been there before and I decided that it would be nice to bring Italy to you,”
You smiled widely at the box in his hand. You took it gently from him.
“Thank you so much! I will try all of them and tell you about what I think of them tomorrow,” you replied.
“Very well. I will be leaving now,” he announced. “It was nice meeting you again,”
“Do you know anybody with the name Y/L/N?” Colin asked. Anthony raised his eyebrows as he drank the amber colored alcohol.
“Why?” Benedict asked. “I do remember a Y/L/N getting married to some Frenchman last social season,”
“I met Y/N Y/L/N last night at the ball,” Colin replied. “We had a chat and she seemed...nice,”
“Nice?” Anthony asked. “Are you finally ready to settle down?”
“Of course not! There’s still so many places that I need to visit before settling down,” Colin answered. “But still...it wouldn’t hurt to court her,”
Colin has always been the most romantic one out of all of them. It was great because he knew that he wasn’t as stoic as his older brothers but it has also been a bit of a curse especially when Marina was revealed to be impregnated by a soldier two seasons ago. It was embarrassing and Colin had to leave England many times to forget and escape the humiliation.
But you were somebody new. A fresh face probably meant a fresh start to him. He didn’t know but he was willing enough to take the leap and try at the very least.
“You have to be sure about this, Colin,” Anthony reprimanded. “Marriage is a very serious commitment and if you’re planning on leaving, do not do it,”
“Anthony’s right,” Benedict said. “You do not want to hurt an innocent lady just because you have nothing else to do,”
Colin was offended. He quite expected his brothers to be supportive about the prospect of courting somebody. Shouldn’t they be thrilled that he’s actively seeking for a companion after what happened with Marina?
“I’m telling you, if you want somebody to keep you company, look for a friend, not a wife,” Benedict advised.
As promised, Stefano came the following day bearing gifts for your parents and your little sister. They loved him, of course. Who wouldn’t? He was handsome, a cousin of the queen, and was your only suitor. If it was up to your father, he would have allowed you to marry him without your dowry. It was no surprise, then, that your family set an afternoon picnic at Hyde Park with the Italian gentleman.
So, there you were. Promenading with Stefano in Hyde Park, your gloved arms linked with his velvet covered one. Your mother and his governess were trailing behind you.
“What do you think of dogs?” you asked him.
“Dogs? Whatever is the question for?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I just like to gauge a person based on their preferences,” you answered.
“And that starts with a dog?” he asked.
“Yes,” you replied.
“I love dogs. I have a few back home in Italy,” he answered. “I think I like dogs more than I like cats,”
“I don’t like cats either. If I could, I would probably acquire a dog for me to take care of but mother says that they’re too much of a responsibility to be kept at home,” you shared. “Tell me more about your dogs,”
“Very well. I have a pug named Madame and a bloodhound named Lazy,” he replied.
“Madame?” you repeated. “And Lazy...what peculiar names for dogs!”
“I call her Madame because she’s very...pompous and spoiled and Lazy is...lazy,” he answered. “What would you name a dog if not their best qualities?”
“I suppose, if I acquire a dog, I would name it after food like Caramel or maybe a flower like Poppy,” you replied. “It makes it more sentimental,”
The Bridgertons decided to have a picnic with the Featheringtons the same afternoon that your family arranged a picnic with Stefano. Colin was talking to Penelope when he saw you promenading with Stefano. Colin watched as you laughed with what the Italian man was saying. What was he saying?
“Colin? Are you alright?” Penelope wondered. She followed where Colin’s eyes were and saw you.
“Excuse me for a moment, Penelope,” Colin said without looking at her. Penelope watched as he jogged towards you. She watched the surprise in your face when you saw Colin and the way you moved so gracefully when you bowed slightly before him. If she had the courage to come and interrupt your conversation with Colin, she would have. But alas, Eloise called her to talk about her theories on the real identity of Lady Whistledown.
“That’s her?” Penelope heard Benedict ask Anthony.
“I suppose so,” Anthony replied. He tilted his head towards where Colin was, telling Benedict to follow him. “Let us introduce ourselves,”
“Brother!” Anthony called, jogging towards where you were. He looked at you and you immediately curtsied.
“Viscount Bridgerton” you greeted, offering him a smile. You saw Benedict too and greeted him. “I’m Y/N Y/L/N. It is a pleasure to meet you,” you introduced.
“The pleasure is ours,” Anthony replied. “Lord Bianchi,” he greeted.
“How do you know Colin?” Benedict asked. “Forgive me for being straightforward but I don’t think we’ve ever met,”
“Mr. Bridgerton and I shared a conversation in the previous ball, my lord,” you replied.
“Yes, talked,” Colin repeated, his eyebrows raising slightly. “I decided to join in and say hi to Ms. Y/L/N. I apologize for intruding on your afternoon,” he told Stefano, who in return broadened his shoulders slightly.
“It’s alright,” Stefano replied. “The Lady and I were talking about dogs,”
“Dogs?” Benedict asked.
“Yes, my lord.” you replied. “Dogs,”
“She asked me if I had any and told her about the ones I have in Italy,” Stefano shared.
“Colin likes dogs too!” Anthony said.
“I do?” Colin asked.
“Of course, didn’t you take care of Kate’s dog the other day?” Benedict asked.
“Ah, yes but--”
“Anyways, it was great being introduced to you, Miss Y/N. We have to go back and scold our younger siblings,” Anthony interrupted, gesturing over his younger siblings fighting. “You understand,”
“Of course. It was nice meeting you too,” you replied. Pleasantries were exchanged between the gentlemen and Colin waved at you before he caught up with his brothers. You continued your promenade with Stefano, unaware of your mother, Colin’s mother, and Lady Whistledown watching.
“What the hell was that? I do not like dogs!” Colin asked his older brothers.
“That’s the girl you wish to marry?” Anthony asked.
“What? I told you, courting her wouldn’t hurt,” Colin replied, taking a small sandwich from the tray.
“Colin’s courting someone?” Violet asked, overhearing the conversation.
“No!” he replied. “Not yet, anyway. I’m still thinking about it,”
“I think Colin is going to court her,” Benedict said. “Didn’t you see how he left poor Penelope to jog towards Miss Y/L/N and Bianchi?”
Kate arrived a few moments later with Newton, her beloved dog. She was talking with other married women around Hyde Park.
“What did I miss?” she asked when she saw the distress that Colin was in.
“Colin is planning to court Miss Y/N,” Anthony replied. He scanned Kate’s body to check if she was alright, an instinct that he developed upon marrying.
“Y/L/N?” she asked. “She’s such a lovely girl. I shared some conversations with her during the previous social season and she was always the most curious little thing. Shame that her rotten sister married first,”
Kate knew. She experienced it last season--being second best, being overshadowed by a sister, she knew how frustrating it might be. Anthony immediately knew what Kate was talking about, it happened to her too.
“Rotten?” Benedict asked.
“Yes! She used to tell me how her sister would nag her if she didn’t get any calls for the day. Her sister is very beautiful but very rotten on the inside,” Kate answered. “Not that it’s any of my business,”
Miss Y/N Y/L/N seem to rise quicker than any debutante this year. My reliable sources told me that she was seen today in Hyde Park with Stefano Bianchi and that a few moments later, the Bridgertoon brood followed. The Lady is expected to be even more popular with her sister, who married a Frenchman in the previous sister.
She may not have been the diamond of the season but This Author certainly sees that she could be, if her current position doesn't crumble into ashes.
-Lady Whistledown Society Papers
The day after Lady Whistledown published her paper, you received many proposals from men you have never seen before. It scared you, of course. You have never received this amount of attention before. It thrilled your mother, of course. She was certain you were going to be a miser!
What shocked you that afternoon was the arrival for Colin Bridgerton.
“I’m here to formally announce my intention to court Miss Y/L/N,” he said. “If you would allow me, of course. I am not to tarnish her and promise that my intentions to court your daughter are pure and free of any malice,”
Your mother could not deny it. The Bridgertons had the best connections in the society and were notorious for their power and kindness. She accepted Colin immediately, no questions asked. She allowed some time for you and Colin by being in a distant part of the drawing room.
“Mr. Bridgerton,” you greeted. “I’m surprised,”
“I don’t think you should be,” he replied. “We did share a dance, after all,” he said lowly. “Surely, you enjoyed it?”
“Of course. I was just--” you stammered.
“I jest!” Colin laughed. “But a man doesn’t forget a secret dance that he shared with a beautiful woman,”
“It was a great evening,” you recalled. “Thank you for keeping me company,”
“It was no matter,” he replied. “I had a great time too. I do hope you know that I am serious in courting you. I know that you are well acquainted with Stefano Bianchi and that it will be harder for me now that you’ve gained popularity but I am no rake. I really do wish to court you,” he said seriously. You blushed slightly at his words.
“Of course, Mr. Bridgerton,” you replied.
“Please don’t call me Mr. Bridgerton. I would rather be called Colin. I am Colin, after all,” he requested.
“Only if you call me by my name,” you replied.
Colin nodded just when your mother introduced herself back to the atmosphere.
“Y/N,” Colin called gingerly. “I do hope you find the time tomorrow to spend an afternoon with me at the shops,”
“Of course. What time must we meet?” you asked.
“Will three be alright with you? I can send over a carriage for you and your abigail...or whoever it is you want to bring,” he replied.
“Of course,” you answered. “I have to ask my sister if she would like to join a afternoon with us,”
“Very well. I shall ask my sister Eloise to join us. Anyways, I better go. It was nice seeing you again, Y/N.”
Colin bid farewell to your mother and to your footman--which was something not done entirely before by other suitors. You smiled as he looked at you one more time before leaving.
“A Bridgerton!” your mother gushed. “My daughter is being courted by a Bridgerton. Annabeth tried so hard last year to be pursued by Benedict or Anthony but failed and you...my darling, is being sought after by Colin Bridgerton. It isn’t much better than being wed to Anthony but a Bridgerton nonetheless,”
“Mother...we can’t talk about a wedding yet if he just started,” you told her. “Besides, Stefano’s also courting me, remember?”
“A cousin of the queen no less,” she replied. She walked towards you and held your face between her hands. “What did I do to become such a lucky mother?”
“Nothing is bluer than the seas of Cyprus,” Colin recalled. Eloise and your younger sister, Josephine were in front of you. They were looking through the feathers--Josephine for her headdress and Eloise for a new pen. “I wish there was a way for me to remember it forever but...imagine blue skies and imagine it even bluer!”
“Have you always loved to travel?” you asked.
“I do,” he replied. “When I was younger, my father took my brothers and I to France. It was the first time I travelled outside of the country. I remembered all of the bonbons, the buildings, and everything else. It was one of the best moments of my life. After that, once I graduated, I decided to travel the world...write about them on my journals,”
“You must lead a very interesting life,” you replied. “I do wish to travel but my mother told me to wait until the end of my second season,”
“I understand,” he replied. “My mother was against my travels at first too but as long as I came back in one piece and a gift for her, she thought well of it,”
“You told me you wrote? If I may be so forward, will you let me read some of them? I do not know much about writing but I do love reading,” you asked shyly. Colin smiled.
“Of course. I will bring one of my journals to the next ball, assuming that my mother has already invited you to the ball in her home?” he asked.
“Ah, yes. My mother could not wait for it. She is more excited to attend balls than I do. My feet tend to hurt after the second dance but I suppose, with the right amount of libations, it can be forgotten,” you hinted.
“You drink?” Colin asked incredulously.
“Lemonade? Yes,” you teased. Colin laughed. “My father lets me have a glass of scotch every Christmas and I do enjoy a glass of champagne every now and then. He told us that it was better to try these things out at home under their supervision than someplace else,”
“What age did you first drink?”
“I’m not entirely sure...perhaps when I was 17?” you wondered. “My father is a little bit...liberal in that sense but my mother is something else entirely,”
“Ah,” Colin replied. “I--
“Colin! Do you have some shillings?” Eloise interrupted. “Josephine and I would like to get some gelato,”
Colin frowned pointedly at Eloise who raised her hands in surrender. Her older brother still gave her a few shillings for gelato and she ran to Josephine, who was protesting.
“I told you, Eloise! I have enough money for a cone,”
“I know but now that Colin is courting Y/N, I can say your name and get whatever I want from him,” Eloise chuckled mischievously. “Besides, would you say no to a cone? What flavor do you want?”
You watched as Eloise and Josephine entered the shop.
“Would you like a cone too?” Colin asked.
“I’m fine,” you replied. “I already indulged on some chocolates before I left,”
Colin had a hunch on who gave you the chocolates. Who, in their right mind, would give an Englishwoman some English chocolates anyway?
You waited for Josephine and Eloise who both carried a cone of flavored gelato in their hands.
“Thank you for this, Mr. Bridgerton,” Josephine said.
“Oh, it’s alright, Josephine,” Colin replied. “And please, call me Colin,”
She nodded and returned to her conversation with Eloise.
“It feels like we’re chaperoning them,” you commented. “It’s really nice for Jo to meet a new friend. She’s been quite lonely with how busy I am with the social season and with my sister gone to France,”
“I feel the same way for Eloise. Francesca is always up in Scotland with our aunt and with Daphne being the duchess, it has been harder. She has Penelope but I haven’t seen Penelope in a while. Have you met her?” Colin asked.
“I’m afraid I haven’t yet. I know of her,” you remarked.
“Well, it would be my pleasure to introduce you to my dearest friend,” Colin replied.
The Bridgertons’ ball was tonight and your mother, bless her heart, was stressing over the smallest details of your presentation. She somehow heard through the grapevine that both your top suitors--Colin and Stefano will be in attendance. Of course, it was still too early to conclude that either of them would propose but your mother always told you to be prepared.
You laughed at her, you have only danced with either of them once. You were sure that there will be no proposals your way, not for another year.
Meanwhile, at the Bridgerton household, Colin was going through his suits, rummaging to find the best one he could find.
“I have never seen Colin like this,” Benedict teased. “For a girl?”
“Shut up, Benedict!” Colin groaned. “Mother invited Stefano Bianchi to the ball and the way I see it, he’s going to propose to Y/N soon,”
“Have you thought about marrying her?” Benedict asked. Colin paused. Benedict sighed and shook his head. “I’m telling you right now, Colin. You can’t seriously court a woman with one foot out the door,”
“She’s lovely,” Colin remarked. “But thinking about marriage is too early,”
“For you. But women of London do not have the same privileges as you do,” Benedict scolded.
“Have you been spending time with Eloise? You’re starting to sound like her,” Colin asked pointedly. Benedict frowned slightly and went out of Colin’s bedchamber. The younger Bridgerton felt guilty about how he treated Benedict but he was asking invasive questions that he had not thought of yet.
It was a few hours later and the ballroom was, as usual, beautiful. Colin was waiting for you to come. He has already seen Stefano Bianchi talking to ambitious mamas, including Lady Featherington. Colin, who was beside the refreshments table, was lost in thought. He knew Benedict was right. He knew that he had to take the courtship more seriously but what happens if you turned out to be deceitful like Marina? He would have to leave again and search for something he does not know the answer to.
Kate walked up to him, a smile on her face.
“How are you?” Kate asked.
“Nervous,” Colin replied honestly. “Benedict has been going on and on about how I need to take the courtship more seriously,”
“Are you not?” Kate frowned.
“I am! It’s just...it’s too early to think of marriage right now when all I want is a companion,” Colin replied.
“Companionship?” Kate repeated. “Colin, I’m afraid it doesn't happen that way. She does not have the same liberties that you have,”
“I know!” Colin looked at Kate. “I know but...I don’t want her to be with somebody else,”
“So you’re threading her along until you decide that you are done with her?” Kate asked. “Maybe you should listen to Benedict a little bit more. Oh! Looks like she’s here,”
Colin followed where Kate was looking. You were shyly following behind your mother and he smiled slightly, until he saw Stefano Bianchi offer his arm for you to take. You took it of course, and Colin saw the relief on your face when you saw him.
“Thank god, you’re here!” you exclaimed in a low voice. “It’s my first time attending a Bridgerton Ball and I’m nervous,”
“I’m here to take care of you,” Stefano replied. “If you want, we can take turns around the room so you could calm down a little bit,”
“It’s alright,” you replied. “I should probably just breathe a little bit more,”
“By the way, you look beautiful tonight,”
“Just tonight?” you jested.
“Yes. Just tonight,” he replied. You both laughed at the exchange. “And since you are beautiful tonight, may I ask for two dances tonight?”
“Of course,” you replied, extending your card towards him. “Which would you take?”
“The first and the last, of course,” he said, writing down his name on the first and the last dotted line of your card. “Thank you,”
“Thank you,” you curtsied. Stefano was whisked away by a mama and even though he looked back at you for help, you laughed. You shooed him off so he could spend some more time with other people. It would be scandalous if he spent too much time with you. That was when Colin came.
“May I reserve a dance?” he asked.
“Of course,” you replied. You extended your card towards him, watching him as he wrote his name under Stefano Bianchi.
“Will I see you after our dance? I have my journal with me and I would like to dance another time, someplace else,” he asked.
“Of course. Where shall we meet?” you asked.
“When you exit through the left door of the ballroom, you will see a hallway leading to the drawing room. Go through it and then enter the second door to your right,” he instructed. You nodded and he took your hand, pressing his lips slightly before leaving.
The dances started and Stefano took you to the dancefloor. The lights made him look like a god and you were sure he was. The way he was looking at you...it seemed different to the other looks he gave you. Perhaps it was your intuition but you were sure that he was going to propose tomorrow. You smiled at him slightly as you danced in the middle of the Bridgerton ballroom. You were wondering why you weren’t overjoyed by your intuition. Shouldn’t you be happy that he was going to propose sooner?
“Are you alright?” Stefano whispered.
“Yes,” you replied. He nodded and smiled at you gingerly. For a moment, there were three people in a room full of strangers and onlookers. There was you, Stefano, and Colin. The dance ended and Stefano took you out of the dancefloor. Colin looked at you and tipped his head towards the left door. You immediately understood what he meant and told your mother that you were going to go out to get some air. Everybody was too involved with their dances to notice a few missing people. Even Stefano, whose eyes were on you almost all of the time, was too engrossed in a conversation with his friends somewhere outside the Bridgerton household.
You followed Colin’s instructions and waited for him inside your meeting place. He came in a few minutes after you, a notebook in his hands.
“Hi,” Colin whispered.
“Hi,” you whispered back, afraid to ruin the secrecy of your atmosphere.
“I have my journal...would you like to read it after we dance?” he asked. You nodded, and stood up to meet him. The music outside was muffled by the walls but it was enough for you both. It was a slow melody and Colin held you closer than society permits. But in this room, there was only you and him.
You swayed slightly to the music and realized why you were so unhappy. It was Colin whom you wanted to marry. Perhaps it was foolish to even think about it, given that you have not known each other that long, but it was Colin. You knew that it was Colin. Your mother and your sister did not have the luxury to marry the people that they loved and you were unsure if you loved Colin but you knew you wanted to be with him instead of the man waiting for you outside.
“I think...I think Stefano will propose to me soon,” you whispered. Colin stepped back and left his imprint on your dress.
“I think Stefano will propose to me soon,” you repeated.
“Will you accept his proposal?” he asked.
“No,” you replied. “I want somebody else to ask for my hand in marriage,” you smiled. Colin was crestfallen.
“Who?” he asked. “Who do you want to marry?”
You swallowed thickly before smiling again, trying to muster the courage to tell him about what you were feeling.
“It’s you, Colin,” you replied. “I want to marry you,”
“No,” he replied. “No, no, no,”
Colin watched your face fall. After his rejection, you could not even look him straight in the eye. He wanted you to look at him but understood. He wasn’t ready for what you were asking him for.
“I have to leave,” he announced. “I am so sorry for whatever impression you might have misinterpreted but our courtship ends here.”
Your back was turned to him now and he knew the tension on your back. He watched your shoulders trying to stop itself from its jerking movements. Still, you managed to muster a weak, wobbly sentence that was the most cruelest of all to Colin. He wished you hadn’t said it but you did.
Colin left in a hurry, forgetting his journal behind. Once he was out of the room, you sat on the floor, head hung low, cries leaving your body.
It was Eloise who found you at the end of the party with Kate.
“Oh, god,” Kate gasped in horror. “Eloise, please call Lady Y/L/N and Anthony,
Eloise nodded wordlessly. Colin was nowhere to be found and the guests were starting to disperse. Violet, Anthony, Benedict, and your mother came along with Eloise. You could not look at any of them.
“Did Colin…?” Anthony asked.
“No, nothing happened,” you replied, unable to look at him. “He simply allowed me to be in his room to break away from the crowd. I was feeling overwhelmed and he was kind enough to offer his old bedroom,”
Anthony knew you were lying.
“Mother, I would like to leave,” you said. You had Colin’s journal in your hand and your mother nodded, apologizing to the inconvenience that you caused.
It seems as though Colin Bridgerton is second to Stefano Bianchi. Yesterday, Lady Y/L/N was seen spending her time and her first dance with Stefano Bianchi while Colin Bridgerton was seen brooding outside the dancefloor, waiting for his dance. However, before he could even claim Lady Y/L/N’s second dance, the lady was nowhere to be seen.
You were right. The day after Colin left you in the dark room, Stefano came in the morning bearing gifts and his mother’s ring. He proposed and you accepted. You were set to be wed within two months. Your proposal came in a flash. It wasn’t as though you didn’t feel greatly about Stefano...you just hoped for somebody else. You were sure though, that in time, you would learn how to love him too.
Everybody knew about your engagement once they saw your hand. Eloise was overjoyed upon hearing the news from Josephine, who could not wait to go to Italy. You will be marrying in London but Stefano offered your family for a vacation in Italy and they could not be anymore thrilled.
“She’s engaged to Stefano Bianchi,” Anthony told Colin. The older Bridgertons found Colin wallowing in his apartment. When Colin realized the gravity of his mistakes, he came back only to hear your cries through the door. He left once again, like a coward and decided to drown himself in his self-pity. He knew you had his journal and he did not care anymore about bringing it back. He was too late.
“I know. She told me the night of the ball that he will propose to her soon...I just didn’t expect it to be that soon.”
“What happened?” Benedict asked.
“We were dancing inside my room and she told me that she would rather marry me. I left in haste and left her there. I said no many times…” Colin recalled, no emotion straining his voice. He was detached and his older brothers knew. “I should’ve listened but I didn’t know what I wanted yet...I didn’t know until I left,”
“We can arrange for a meeting with her if you wish,” Anthony proposed.
“There’s no use,” Colin replied. “She is spoken for somebody else and I am simply the fool who refused her,”
“Colin,” Benedict said softly. He was carefully walking on eggshells around Colin.
“I want to try, I really do. But maybe not now,” Colin said. He knew he looked like a blubbering fool taking back his words.
“She will marry in two months. You have two months, Colin,” Anthony said.
Colin dared not to show himself to you or your family for a month. You have not gotten over him yet but Stefano was making you happy. He liked to tell jokes and told you all about his life in Italy. When you were with him, you forgot about Colin. But when you were alone at night, you would read his entries...trying to imagine the life that he once had in the places he visited.
Three weeks are left before your wedding and Stefano’s parents and siblings were in London, trying to be acquainted with your family as much as possible. His family was lovely! They were genuine, kind, and had the same characteristics as your fiancé. You knew that they loved spending time with your family and that your family felt the same. You smiled. It was all coming up roses.
It wasn’t in Lady Danbury’s ball that you met Colin again. He had facial hair all over and he looked older. You tried to avoid him at all costs but he managed to catch up with you in the garden. He made sure to bring his older brothers with him as chaperones.
“Y/N,” he called. You whipped your head towards his coming figure.
“Lord Bridgerton,” you nodded. You saw Benedict and Anthony at a distance.
“Colin, please,” he asked.
“I’m afraid I cannot call you that anymore. It would be impolite towards Stefano to call you by your first name,” you said. “Why...are you here?”
“I wanted to apologize for my behaviour,” he started. “I know I was a coward that night and I shouldn’t have--”
“Please don’t say that,” you cut him off. “You can’t be serious,”
“The truth is, I love you and before you wanted to marry me, I have loved you,” Colin explained. Tears were pooling in your eyes and you walked away from him. He followed you like a dog.
“I can’t--you can’t say that now, Colin! I am to be married,” you exclaimed. “You were the one who left me alone when I told you it was you who I wanted to marry. You can’t take it back,”
“We can leave! We can ride a ship and never return to England. We can be happy somewhere. We can go to Cyprus or, or Greece!” he replied. “We can go now. My belongings are ready all you have to do is say yes,”
“It’s no use...we can’t be together anymore, Colin,” you replied. “I can’t say yes to you when all you have ever told me was no...I can’t leave England for you. Not anymore,” you cried. Colin was distressed.
“Do you have any idea what the Ton would gossip about my family if I left England and Stefano? I told you it was you who I wanted to marry and you said no…” you added. You were crying now.
“I rejected my suitors in hopes that you would propose to me...and I was too foolish to even think that you of all people would see that,”
“I’m so sorry,” Colin apologized. “I came back that night...and I heard you crying through the door and I was so ashamed of what I have made of you that I couldn’t--I didn’t--
“You left me twice that night, Colin. It was you...and I asked you to marry me because I figured you loved me, but you didn’t. You don’t. You’re here now because you’re remorseful, you regretted the way you acted. You came back to me in the worst possible way. The worst possible time!” you cried.
“Didn’t you want to marry for love and not for necessity? Didn’t you tell me that?” Colin asked. You were speechless. “I know you love me. So why can’t you marry me instead?”
“You never gave me the chance when the timing was right,” you replied, your voice lower now. You were both crying and you were thankful he brought his brothers alone to look around for people. “What you’re asking of me...I can’t give it to you anymore,”
“So that’s it?” Colin asked.
“Yes,” you replied. “I’m afraid it is,”
You walked away from him. He didn’t follow you this time and you paused.
“You know what, Colin?” you asked. Colin leaned into your direction, hopeful. “I knew what happened with you and Marina. I knew you were scared that I was just like her...that I will lie to you too...that I will deceive you. I didn’t. It was you who made a mess of all of this. It is your own doing. You have no one else to blame but yourself,”
You took a deep breath before continuing.
“I do hope you find somebody who you could show the world to. I hope you find somebody who will never let you think they’re deceitful because they are genuine and kind. I hope you find the love you’re looking for in your writings. It’s just unfortunate that that person could never be me.”
You swallowed thickly and laughed sadly at the situation.
“Goodbye, Mr. Bridgerton.”
NOTE: I will not be writing a sequel to this story because I think it ended perfectly. As usual, feedback, reblogs, and likes are much appreciated. Sorry for being absent!
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