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Bridgerton–Colin and Penelope

By @Pigrabbit93

Chapter One

It’s been one whole week since Colin Bridgerton had arrived home from his trip to Italy. He was sitting on the couch in the drawing room, an alcoholic beverage in his hand, as he remained deep in thought for a while. Steps could be heard faintly approaching from behind, but Colin didn’t turn to see who it was, but instead kept focused on the drink in his hand.

“I thought I’d find you here.” The voice said matter of factually. With that, Colin briefly glanced up to see his brother and Viscount, Anthony taking a seat on the nearest chair, with an almost curious disposition.

“I was thinking..” Colin thought for a moment and then realized what he was holding, “And drinking,” he added, as he slowly took a sip of what appeared to be a rather strong Brandy.

Anthony was amused by this, since it was still early in the day and Colin was alone in the drawing room, so there wasn’t really any social excuse to prompt his day drinking. However Anthony kept this to himself, sensing that right now may not be the time to poke at Colin, no matter how tempting it was. The Bridgerton brothers, especially the elders, always enjoyed poking fun at one another, but some situations just didn’t call for it.. And this was one of those.

“Might I ask what is it that has you so..” He paused for a moment, “Pensive?” his elder brother asked him curiously. Colin didn’t look up at him when he replied, focused solely on the dark drink in his hand. “It’s Penelope.” He returned after about a minute of silence.

“Penelope?” Anthony asked. “What has she done that’s gotten you so out of sorts this morning?” Anthony reached for a biscuit on a nearby tray, having only just realized it was sitting there on the breakfast table. Of course food was always nearby, when Colin was around. He popped the small flaky morsel into his own mouth and waited patiently for Colin’s response.

“Well, it’s been one week since my arrival and she still refuses to speak to me.” He said this with pain and confusion clearly showing in his eyes, a surprise to Anthony and to even himself. Why on earth was Colin so concerned with Penelope not speaking to him? Yes, she has been his friend for some years now and they’ve always gotten on pretty well, so naturally her silence should be frustrating, but perhaps it shouldn’t bother him this much. While on his travels, he wrote a brief letter to Penelope, informing him of his arrival in Italy and casually describing his lodgings, or the view outside his window; just as he’s done before, on his other trips. She, in kind, would always write back, in such detail no less, of her desire to visit where he was and she would ask such inspiring questions of the places he had visited and the people he had met. Except during his recent trip, he received nothing from Penelope.. no response whatsoever for 2 whole months. He sent a letter every week and saw nothing in return.. Until one quiet evening, in the parlor of the inn he was staying, he was given one small letter… It couldn’t even be described as a letter really. It was a note, signed carefully in Penelope’s handwriting. It read as follows:

Dear Mr. Bridgerton,

 I thank you kindly for your letters that I have received from you. However I would thank you kindly to not send anymore, as I am no longer interested in receiving correspondence from anyone at this time.

– Penelope Featherington

What kind of a note was that?? A total of eight letters he sent to her, and this was her response? For the four following months of his trip, he received no more letters, except the ones from his mother or siblings..Which wasn’t very often. The day of his return was the day of his sister Francesca’s coming out into society. He had arrived on horseback, just in time to find his whole family gathered happily outside at the front of the house, eagerly desiring to leave in the few carriages that were waiting for them there. They were all somewhat surprised and of course happy to see Colin arrive when he did, and just in time for probably one of the most important days of his sister’s life.

He hugged them all enthusiastically, including his sister-in-law Kate, Anthony’s wife, whose gold overcoat suggested that she was in her sixth month of pregnancy. Colin congratulated her and his brother on such wonderful news. After their rather lengthy greetings among one another, one by one, each of them began to enter the carriages, ready to begin their short journey. Colin was already chosen to ride with Benedict and Gregory. Colin grabbed the frame of the open door, one foot already on the single step leading into the carriage, but for a brief moment he thought perhaps he saw someone looking at him from a window across the street..The Featherington home, to be precise. He squinted slightly, in case there was some bit of light causing him to see things that weren’t there, maybe a glare. No, there was definitely someone watching. Could it be Penelope? He was hoping he might be able to see her, on his return, to maybe get some answers from her on the note she sent to him. He wanted to know if she were angry, sad, indifferent.. Is she no longer his friend? Has he done something to anger her? All of these things he had pondered during his trip as well; not always of course. Colin couldn’t have enjoyed his trip, had he been thinking about anyone from home incessantly, especially if that someone were Penelope. Why would he be thinking of her constantly anyway? She was his friend, but nothing more than that. He had no obligation to her in any way, but why did her utter silence leave him feeling.. well.. utterly grotesque inside? He realized he had been thinking too long and hard at that very moment, that suddenly one of his brothers, urged him to get into the carriage, in a very impatient tone. Colin finally did so, shaking away whatever questions or concerns plagued his mind just now and instead focusing on their task at hand–going to present his sister to the queen.

It was a beautiful ceremony that day, the queen seemed rather impressed with Franny, that she was named the diamond of the season right then and there. It took their mother a lot of strength and energy to remain watching on in quiet admiration and joy, instead of embracing her daughter excitedly at that very moment and completely losing her sense of coolness and decorum before the Queen of England. However when all the family arrived home, there were no shortage of screams and raucous laughter coming from Violet and her daughters, knowing that this season could very well be Fran’s. Colin however didn’t stay to listen to them all, but instead announced quickly that he was going to go for a short walk. Violet, of course, had to say, “But you’ve only arrived.” Something she never failed to mention to any of her children, when they’ve been away for a while. It was almost as if she were trying to make them feel guilty for having left their poor old mother for so long, with only their younger siblings and maids to talk to.. As if that would somehow keep them from going away again. It never worked of course, but it was a **** good effort on her part, if he ever saw one. He kissed her lightly on the cheek and assured his return within the hour, and he was finally off.

After only fifteen minutes of walking to God knows where–he didn’t really have a destination in mind, just a need to walk–He came across Mrs. Portia Featherington and two of her three daughters, Prudence and also the married Phillipa Finch. They saw him of course, as they were all heading his direction, so he bowed his head in greeting, and they did a small curtsy in kind.

“Mr. Bridgerton” Portia said unenthusiastically. “I did not know you had arrived.”

This was something that was somewhat of a surprise to Colin, since they live just across the street and Portia was known to be somewhat of a busybody in these parts. It was a bit of a shock that she had no idea of his returning that day, when news traveled quite fast to her ears on more than one occasion.

“I only just arrived this morning.” He returned politely, noticing all too well that the youngest of the daughters was not in the vicinity. “Where is Miss Penelope?..Not ill I hope?” He asked in evident concern and curiosity.

“Not ill..” Portia said softly, “however she is also not in the presence of mind to be out and about today.” The barest hint of a smirk, not smile, crossed her lips.

“I see… Well I wonder if I might call on her this afternoon-” His voice was trailed by Portia’s quick interruption,

“She is not taking any callers at present.” This was said with the utmost vigor and strength a voice could muster, “You understand…. Come along ladies,” she said hastily to her other two daughters who were watching on in complete interest. With that, all three of them continued on, walking past him with a determination to be free of his presence.

The thing was, Colin didn’t understand.

Back in the drawing room, a week after these events occurred, Colin was now sitting on a slightly uncomfortable seat, with a drink in hand, and his brother eyeing him curiously from the other chair. He had realized he had been sitting in silence for quite a few minutes, before noticing that Anthony had in fact asked him a question.

“I said did you apologize to her?” Was Anthony’s question, having asked it two other times already, with no response from his younger brother. It was clear that Anthony was growing impatient with him and desiring a well-rounded conversation, meant to be done between two parties, rather than one-sided, which is apparently was this “conversation” was turning into. It was also clear that Colin was just not in the mood to converse with anyone, so Anthony decided not to push anymore. However, it didn’t matter, because Colin stood up quite suddenly, downing the last of his drink, which was sitting in the cup untouched for almost ten minutes.

“I’m going for a walk,” Colin said suddenly, making his way to the nearby door and down the hallway, with such haste, that Anthony wondered if his feet were on fire. Colin needed to clear his head of all thoughts of Penelope. Perhaps a simple walk is just what he needs.

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