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Bridgerton girls

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The Bridgertons were hosting the second ball of the season, in the Featherington house everything was a mess as usual, however the new guest had learned to ignore Lady Featherington while she walked around the house scolding everything that moved, most of them were in the living room waiting for her to announce they were late, without acknowledging she was the cause of the delay.

Meanwhile Erin was hanging with Penelope in her bedroom, trying to decide their course of action.

"Now tell me, how do you do it? Do you have spies? Do you blackmail people?"

"I do not do anything like that, the information just comes to me, I just have to stand in a corner very quietly."

"So Orla was right, you are psychic."

Penelope looked at her with a bit of annoyance.

"I am not, tho if I am being honest, if I have a special ability that would be invisibility."

Erin looked at her with confusion in her face.

"I do not mean that I can literally turn invisible." Penelope cleared. "What I mean is that usually I am considered… Unimportant, I am not particularly handsome or particularly ugly, I do not have any suitors and I do not belong to a prestigious family, so nobody really expects anything from me, therefore they just ignore me."

"That sounds terrible." Erin said. "And they are wrong, you are pretty cool."

Penelope smiled softly.

"Thank you, but as awful as it sounds, it does have its perks, one of them is that since nobody notices me they often say things that they consider secret when I am around, that's how I get my information."

"That is brilliant." Erin admitted. "Alright then, I'll help you."

Penelope's smile disappeared from her face.

"What?"

"I'll stand next to you all night long, we are going to be invisible together."

Penelope could not help being frightened, something told her that Erin was not the invisible kind of girl.

 

At the Bridgerton house everyone was ready for the ball just waiting for the guest to arrive, and for the first time in her life Eloise was looking forward to being in it, she knew Clare was going to be there, and she could not wait to see her again.

At the other side of the room Benedict and Colin seemed just as eager as her to see the Irish guest.

"Alright everybody, I expect everyone to be on their best behavior." Her mother called for their attention. "Last season was not the best for us," Elose wondered if she was talking about Anthony's and Kate's scandalous love story or her meetings with radicals. Maybe both. "So I do not want any controversy coming from us this season."

"Before the ball starts, I have a request." Colin said. "Eloise, I want you to stay away from Miss Devlin, mother do not let her approach her."

"WHAT?!"

"You heard me, last time you two met I could barely speak with her, because you would not leave her side."

"Are you not a little bit childish for asking our mother to keep me away from Miss Devlin?"

"He is childish." Her mother agreed. "But he is also right."

"What?"

"Eloise you are getting in the way of your brother's happiness, as his sister is your duty to support him, not to be an obstacle."

"I am not an obstacle, she is my friend."

"Well right now, the relationship your brother is interested in is the priority, you will have plenty of time to be her friend once she marries Colin."

Eloise felt sick, until that moment the idea of Clare marrying Colin did not felt like a real thing, but now that she could see her entire family plotting to make it happen she could not help but imagine Clare Devlin in a white dress walking down aisle towards Colin, looking at him with loving eyes.

She would have rather set all her books on fire.

 

 

Lady Danbury approached Lady Bridgerton as soon as she arrived at the ball, she was the only one who was not giving her those annoying pity eyes for what happened in her own ball.

Sure the fire was not great, but she had witnessed plenty of balls that had gone far worse without any fire involved, plus it was not like she had lost everything due the fire. There were only a few curtains, but people just loved drama.

No that she could critique them, she also lived for the drama.

"Lady Danbury!" Violet greeted her. "I am so glad you could come."

"Of course my dear, I would not miss a ball hosted by the Bridgertons for anything in the world, I must say, is flawless."

"I am just relieved that we have more guests than last year."

"Do not worry I am pretty sure the worst is behind us, by the way, I heard Benedict is after the diamond, it seems your family intends to collect as many diamonds as possible."

Lady Bridgerton laughed.

"Would that not be nice."

"And speaking of the diamond…"

"Oh, she is here, and she is an… interesting young lady."

"I do not doubt it, but seriously, What is she doing?

At the other side of the ball room there was the diamond, Orla McCool, accompanied by her suitors, in the middle of the dance floor, they were doing a rather strange activities with a box, those consisted on stepping up the box, stepping down, walking around, then stepping up again one leg, among other different movements. It did not seem like anything Lady Danbury had seen before.

"Oh that." Violet replied. "To my understanding that is a traditional Irish dance called…aerobics."

"Well… that is… something."

She could not find a better word to describe it.

 

On the dance floor all the diamond's suitors were trying to follow the movements Orla was teaching them, they were not doing it great, half of them kept crushing with the person who was next to them, and the other half were just exhausted, that kind of dance was more tiresome than it looked.

There was just one suitor who genuinely enjoyed doing the aerobics, Benedict, he was doing all the movements perfectly and even having a completely normal conversation while doing the choreography.

"This dance is so much fun, I could have never imagined all the different movements you can do with a box, and you my dear Orla move with such grace."

"Thank you, my instructor always said I could do it professionally, I even made a routine for a talent contest in school."

"You definitely must have won it."

"Nah, Jenny Joyce won, Erin says it was rigged cause she was also the only judge, but I think her performance was solid, I'd have chosen her as the winner too."

"It is a shame you did not win tho."

"It's alright, my friends liked it so much that they stepped up, and joined me."

"Perhaps, next time I could join you."

"I don't think you can, cause we don't go to the same school."

 

Michelle was in a corner, bored, she had already drunk her third glass of wine, and it did not improve anything, it didn't have enough alcohol, next to her she could hear the hot duke talking to a bunch of people.

"And the other one was laughing in such a devilish way, I could swear it came from hell."

Everyone was listening in silence with horror in their faces, meanwhile Michelle was thinking they were a bunch of dicks, getting scared just for two girls in the forest.

However she couldn't help to notice that the story took place the same night and at the same forest she and Orla had gotten rid of the corsets, apparently they weren't the only girls burning corsets that night.

"Miss Mallon." She heard a voice calling her, it was Kate Bridgerton.

"Hey." She happily greeted her.

Before they could say anything else, a young man approached them with two glasses of wine.

"I brought you another glass as you asked." He told Michelle.

"What did I say about talking?"

"Do not do it unless you get to make a believable accent from anywhere else but England."

"And what are you doing?"

"I am sorry."

"Don't speak."

"Who is this young gentleman?" Kate asked.

"His name is Edmund, he came to see me yesterday, he's a suitor. I was going to reject him, but then I remembered the advice the queen gave to Orla, and I realized I could use a servant."

"That is a smart way to use them."

"I used to have James for that, but lately he has been rebelling against my superiority. I'm telling you, these wee English are not reliable."

"I could not agree more, sometimes I just look at them and… Well it is pure hatred."

"I am standing right next to you." Anthony said. Michelle didn't even notice him until that moment.

"Oh my Lord, you know I love you." Kate said.

"I do not feel loved right now."

"Jesus Christ, you are such a cry baby." Michelle replied, annoyed.

"Indeed he is, and this is just the tip of the iceberg." Kate agreed.

"You two are horrible people."

 

 

James was staring at the dance floor in the distance with a glass of a red liquid he still hadn't dared to taste, he couldn't believe Orla actually was making her suitors do aerobics, it felt so weird to see all of those people doing that in those clothes.

Part of him wanted to laugh.

Those thoughts were interrupted by Lady Bridgerton who approached him, she was accompanied by the girl whom Clare had a crush on, she seemed upset.

"Mister Maguire, it is so good to see you here, I hope you are having a good time."

"I am, thank you."

"This is my daughter Eloise, you met her at our picnic, but I am afraid you did not get the chance to talk, so I think this would be a good chance for you to get to know each other. I will leave you to it."

"I don't understand, what's happening?" James asked while he finally dared to taste his glasses.

"My mother is determined to get us married." Eloise replied.

James spilled his drink, he wasn't sure if it was due the realization it was wine, or for the answer Eloise gave to him.

"What? But I don't want to get married, don't get me wrong, you seem nice, but I…"

"Calm yourself, I do not want to marry you either."

"Oh, Thank God… I'm sorry, I didn't mean…"

"I know what you mean."

"It's just, you seem upset."

Eloise took a deep breath.

"I am upset, but I am not upset with you."

She looked away, and James stood next to her, to follow her gaze.

She was looking at her brother who was chatting with Clare, actually Colin was the only one talking while Clare was just smiling politely.

"It must be hard to fancy the same girl your brother is interested in."

Eloise looked confused.

"What do you mean by that?" She asked

"What?"

"You said that as if I am in love with her, but I am not, we are girls, that is not possible… right?"

James wanted to kick himself, this was definitely not the time and place to talk about two girls in love, sure the 90s wasn't great either but at least there they wouldn't be burned alive for that… then he started to wonder if they still did the burning people alive thing at that time period, he really wished he had paid more attention in history class.

"I am talking to you, do not remain in silence." Eloise interrupted those thoughts.

He started to mumble trying to find the right words, right then Eloise seemed pretty upset and reminded him of Michelle, something that made him feel intimidated.

"It's not my place to tell you how you feel." He finally said.

Eloise looked at him annoyed, she opened her mouth several times, trying to find something she could use to contradict him, after a few seconds she gave up.

"This is the first time in my whole life that I have wanted to hit someone for being such a good guy."

James smiled shyly.

"I am just so confused." Eloise continued. "I was friends with Penelope for so many years but what I feel for Clare does not resemble any feeling of friendship I ever had with her, if I have to compare it with something I would say is more alike to what I felt for The…"

She shut her mouth suddenly.

"I need to take some breath."

She then walked away from him, James was about to follow her, but at that moment he noticed Penelope making an odd gesture with her eyes, looking at him and then back at Erin.

 

It was official, Erin was killing lady Whistledown.

At the beginning she stood in silence next to Penelope, and for a second the red haired one thought she may have misjudged her, but then they heard a servant telling a rather funny story to another servant, and when he delivered the punchline Erin laughed loudly, she tried to cover ir saying.

"Oh Penelope, that was so funny."

But clearly no one believed her.

Then she got into a fight with Cressida Cowper, to be fair Cressida started, she saw them together and then approached both saying.

"Well at least we know who is not getting married this season." Which Penelope found absurd and ironic, considering it was also her third season and she was still single.

But Erin could not let it go, she mocked her hair ornament, comparing it to a dead bird in her head, and Penelope could not help but admit she was not wrong, but then Cressida called her a vulgar ignorant fenian.

That is when Erin said this:

"I will destroy you."

"And how could a pitiful creature like you could destroy me?"

"I happen to be very good friends with lady Whistledown, and if I want to I could convince her to write horrible things about you."

Penelope dragged her away, trying to convince Cressida that she was teasing.

And for the rest of the night she was just starting there complaining about everything and making suggestions about what she should write in her next number.

"Again Erin, I can not write lies about people just because you do not like them, Lady Whistledown would not have gotten this far if I would have written lies."

"Nobody says it is a lie, maybe it's true but we just don't know it yet."

Penelope took a deep breath begging God to give her patience.

Then she noticed James, he was talking to Eloise, Penelope did not have time to think how that made her feel cause Eloise left the room in what seemed to be a hurry.

Penelope took her chance to try to call for James' attention.

"Is everything alright?" He asked.

"James you came at the right time, poor Erin is so bored, maybe you take her to the dance floor."

"I don't want to do aerobics." Erin contradicted her.

"Yeah, I don't really like to do that either." James agreed.

"Oh well, there are so many other things you could do on the dance floor."

Then Penelope gave James a look that could only be translated to 'get her away from me.'

Fortunately James understood the message.

"You know? She's right, we could dance whatever we want."

"We've already embarrassed ourselves in the last ball."

"Nobody is going to notice us with the whole aerobics thing." Then he got closer to her. "And I really, really want to dance with you tonight."

There was something in the way he looked at her, and in the way he said those words that made them realize he actually meant it.

Erin looked away blushing trying to hide a smile.

"Alright fine, one more embarrassment won't kill us."

He took her hand and they went to the dance floor, where they had another odd dance, one of his hands was on her hips, one of her hands was on his shoulder, their other hands her holding, and they just danced in circles. Looking at each other.

Penelope just stared at them feeling a bit jealous, she wanted to look and be looked at like that, but no matter how hard she tried it just never seemed to happen.

"Penelope." She heard a familiar voice, she hated how easily she could recognize that voice above the crowd. Colin.

"Mister Bridgerton, thank you for having me at your party."

"We need to talk."

"I do not think there is anything else to talk about sir."

"I do, please."

She despised her own weakness.

"Listen." He continued. "I do not recall ever talking about you in the manner you said, however I know you, and I know you are not a liar, what I try to say is that I am sorry, and you must know I do not believe you are unlovable, quite the opposite. So please do not deprive me of your friendship."

Penelope could not breathe, she was such a weak creature, just a few pretty words, and she felt her heart explode with love, but she could not let herself to have hope, she could not trust her heart on him so easily again.

She could however use this moment to accomplish her main goal.

"I suppose we could try again."

 

 

The night was going great. Clare was such a lovely girl, she showed so much interest to know about him, about his life, the things that made him happy, the things that made him sad, and he wanted to share everything with her.

"And that is how I ended up in Paris."

"That's so interesting, but I'm getting a little thirsty, can you bring me a glass of water?"

"Sure."

He was on his way to accomplish his beloved wish when he noticed Penelope, she was alone, lately she was always alone, and she was looking at Clare's friends, Erin and James, they were dancing, it made him wonder if they were secretly engagement, nevertheless, looking at Penelope looking at them, made him feel so sorry and so guilty to ever made her think she was not worthy of love.

And truth to be told he missed her, she was such a good friend also if he was going to marry Clare they would be family, he needed to apologize.

He talked as honestly as he could, and fortunately she seemed to be open to be friends again.

"I suppose we could try again."

They remained a moment in silence without knowing what to say, until she looked again at the dance floor.

"It is quite a peculiar dance, this aerobics." She said.

"Indeed."

"Benedict seems really excited about the diamond."

"He really is."

"Has he ever been shown this kind of interest before?"

"Not that I am aware of."

"I heard he left art school, why?"

Next twenty minutes of their conversation were focused on Benedict. Penelope wanted to know everything, his dreams, his aspirations, how many women he had been involved with before, whether he could be considered a serious suitor or just liked to play the field.

When Colin was done telling Penelope his brother's life story, she politely said goodbye and walked away, leaving Colin more confused than ever.

He started to wonder where all that sudden interest in his brother came from, then it hit him, she staring at the dance floor, her anger towards him, it all made sense. Penelope was in love… with Benedict.

The whole idea seemed so wrong, Penelope and Benedict. He loved his brother, he really did, but he was just not a good match for Penelope, she deserved so much better.

But did he know?, of course he had to know, Benedict was very perceptive, and yet he dared to come to her house and court another woman in front of her, despicable.

From that night on, Benedict became the worst of men in Colin's eyes.

 

 

The night was going terrible, second Clare entered in the Bridgerton s house Colin stuck with her and didn't leave her side, and the worst part was Eloise was ignoring her, Clare couldn't recall doing something that upset her, so why was she being so cold?

So there she was, listening to Colin telling her his whole life story, she had just asked him how he was doing out of politeness, she didn't need to know about his ex's pregnancy with another guy and how she tried tried to make him believe it was his.

"And that's how I ended up in Paris."

"That's so interesting, but I'm getting a little thirsty, can you bring me a glass of water?"

"Sure"

The second he turned his back she ran, she found Michelle talking with Eloise's sister in law, Kate.

She dragged Michelle with her the second she had her near her.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Michelle asked.

"You need to get me out of here, Colin won't leave me alone."

"Are you sure you don't want to wait for your crazy aunt's permission? She won't like it if we leave early."

"I don't care, I don't know how English marriage works but I'm afraid if I stay longer Colin is going to claim me as his wife."

"Fine, but we cannot be that obvious, go hide there."
She pointed at a pair of closed doors. "I'll look for you in a few minutes."

Clare looked at her skeptically.

"What are you waiting for? I promise I'll go for you."

"Last time you promised that I ended up alone in a train station with sister Michael."

"That happened ages ago, get over it."

"It was three months ago."

"Alright, is either that or staying here to become Mrs Colin Bridgerton."

Clare hated it to admit it but she really didn't have much of a choice. She went to hide behind the doors only to find Eloise at the other side.

 

 

Eloise needed to sort her feelings, she needed to be alone with her thoughts. Her confusion grow every day, she hated to feel that way, but what she hated the must was to be in the same room as Clare and not being able to talk to her, it was torture.

In that second, as if she had invoked her, Clare appeared.

The way her heart beat at the sight of her did not improve her situation.

"What are you doing here?" Eloise asked.

"Oh I was just… I am… I need some air."

She was clearly lying.

"I'm hiding from Colin." She admitted.

Eloise could not help laughing.

"Why are you avoiding me?"

She stopped laughing.

"I was asked to. Well, more like ordered to."

"Why?"

"Because I steal too much of your attention from Colin."

Eloise sighed.

"I am supposed to support my brother to get you to marry him, I am supposed to be happy for you two, for the idea of you two getting married, but I am not."

She walked closer to Clare.

"I am supposed to be happy with having you as a sister, but I am not."

She took her hands.

"I am supposed to share you with him, but I do not want to share you, I want you just for myself."

And just like that, the truth was out, in the second those words came out of her mouth she was terrified that Clare would be horrified and despise her, instead she smiled, and got closer.

"Good, because I want you just for myself too."

Eloise was not sure who initiated it, but before she could process those words, or say anything else, their lips were already touching.