This is my first extended fic but once I'd wrapped my head in lovely Benedict I had to carry on! Let me know who you'd love to see some more of :)
An Evening in the Clouds with Benedict Bridgerton
Having been allowed to spend your eighteenth year continuing your education in Bath, this would be your first season out in society. Thankfully, when your family descended on their townhouse your mother had immediately reintroduced her oldest friend, Lady Danbury, a fearsome force of a woman who had always had your best interests at heart. The two of them had taken you to the modiste for a fresh round of dresses to promenade, and dance, and entertain in before doing the rounds of the best tea parlours until she felt you suitably reintroduced to your surroundings. Thus, it was fitting that hers was the first ball of the season and that it was into relatively familiar territory you were escorted that first evening. Grateful for the confidence that the beautiful new y/f/c dress was giving you, you took the first steps with your father into the intricately decorated ballroom that was already filling with the families who had descended on the ton for the newest season. Some faces seemed familiar from your earlier teenage years, but most were more focused on the intrigue of you as the strange new arrival in their midst – prompting a few of the bravest gentlemen to step forward for a dance.
The night seemed to begin in a spin of extended favours, scrutinising mamas, and introductions to seemingly every eligible gentleman before you had to make your excuses and take a break for your poor feet. With a small drink cradled in hand, your dance card looped at the wrist, your eyes floated over the room and the rotating couples that filled its centre. An arm hooking itself around your elbow brought you back to the present as you were half dragged half guided by the lady attached to the demure smirk. Lady Danbury had, it seemed, taken the opportunity of seeing you alone at the side of the crowds to move through her matchmaking motions.
Seeing the glint in the eyes of your mother’s friend, you attempted to smooth out your dress and pat the few stray hairs that had managed to escape as you danced, before seeing that you had come to a stop in front of a small group in jovial conversation. You found yourself clinging to Lady Danbury to hold yourself up when the gentleman in front of you turned and smiled the most gleeful smile, brown hair flopping disobediently across his forehead as he bent in acknowledgement to your esteemed companion.
“Miss Y/F/N Y/L/N, I’d like to introduce you to Mr Benedict Bridgerton. The Y/L/N family are old friends of mine Mr Bridgerton and this fine gentleman here is the second of 8 children though I do believe he’s making his own mark on the art world.”
“A pleasure Mr Bridgerton”, you curtsied softly towards the newest acquaintance.
“I assure you, Miss Y/L/N, the pleasure is all mine. Lady Danbury is too kind of my achievements.”
Feeling your cheeks rouge slightly at the sincerity of his reply, you allowed yourself a subtle glance over the well-built god before you. The deep navy of his jacket sat perfectly beneath the chocolate curls that settled at the nape of his neck, his kind smile spread warmth across a face seemingly carved by Michelangelo himself and you couldn’t help but want to stay and listen to anything this man had to say.
Similarly, Benedict’s mind was currently dealing with how enraptured he had suddenly become by the vision that had been placed before him. The lights twinkling around the corners of the room illuminated into a halo around your delicately styled curls and the blush that had tinged your cheeks elevated the beauty of your sweet face, such that he wondered if he’d been visited by an angel out of nowhere. He longed to have you to himself and know everything there was to know of you, without the prying judgement of the ton that had been circling him since he had entered society.
Chancing a glance back to Lady Danbury exposed that she had by now retreated to your mother who was discreetly gesturing you forward with a small smile. Turning your attention back to the man in front of you, you saw him chuckling lightly at the scene in front of him.
“I do believe a dance is in order if you’d allow me to take this one?” A hand extended in invitation towards that which held your ornate card.
You took it lightly in your own and allowed him to lead you into the centre as a new melody filled the air with couples changing and moving. But to you, there was only Benedict and to him only you, as he held your hand in his with the other resting carefully on the hollow of your back. Moving together it was as if you had known him all your life, easily reflecting the steps of the other with his guiding you both around the floor space between the other couples.
The rest of the evening proceeded in a ray of bliss. You danced perhaps more than the appropriate number of dances with the taller Bridgerton, with some concessions to breaks and a few other suitors. Benedict had somehow managed to convince his surly older brother Anthony to offer his hand at least once so that he would be saved from having to watch you smile and prance with yet another eligible gentleman, an action that served to brighten you even further in his heart when the younger observed the slight smirk you managed to pry from the stoic Viscount that became a semi-discrete grin when engaged in jovial conversation.
The gentleman’s mother Violet had even joined Lady Danbury and Lady Y/L/N in observation of the couple, the Dowager Viscountess heartened at the sight of her second son finally enamoured by something other than his sketchbook and cigarettes. Not even the haughty looks of the more seasoned singletons, and indeed the other debutants, around the edges of the room, could come close to bursting the bubble that had blossomed around your being in the artist’s arms and the eye contact that had barely separated the whole evening.
With the last dance and the beginning of the many farewells to be had, a dwindling ballroom became the perfect excuse for Benedict to take you by the elbow once more and join the handful of couples still dancing. With the music seeming to fade to a hum around you, it is not long before you look up at him and realise that you are already completely done for. In one short evening, this tall brunette prince of a man had stolen your heart and you didn’t want him to ever give it back. When he looks back at you as if he would hang the stars and moon just for you every night from here to eternity you understand what your friends dreamed of, and your books so often enveloped you in.
“Thank you for this evening Miss Y/L/N,” Benedict whispers above your ear with another spin holding you close.
“The pleasure is all mine,” you reply with a giggle mirroring his statement from earlier, still relaxed against his shoulder but mindful of the few watchful glances of stragglers. Throwing you a cheeky smile in acknowledgement, you both realise that the music that had softened to a buzz was now sinking completely as the musicians finished to depart.
Parting as you should with a slight bow and curtsy, Benedict directed you toward the door and took your shawl from the steward to drape it gracefully across your shoulders against the chill night air. “Will you receive me tomorrow Miss Y/L/N?” As if cautious and worried for what he saw as the inevitable rejection, he seemed to hesitate; people had fun with the spare (as he’d been dubbed), but women seldom seemed to accept his advances further.
Casting a glance to your mothers in their own conversation in front of the carriages, you leaned towards the taller man. “I would hope you shall be the very first at the door Mr Bridgerton. I wonder if I will be graced by the chance to see some of your work too?” You almost beamed at the blush that was creeping its way up Benedict’s neck and cheeks from your suggestion and took that as unspoken confirmation that there would be no need for a long line of suitors through Grosvenor Square. There would only need to be Benedict Bridgerton with his misbehaving floppy hair, his charming smile, and his heart as big as the Queen’s hairpiece.
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