"Ms. Laurent, the young master sends his immense gratitude to your attendance. He would like to summon you to the balcony, if you will take his request."
As if there was a choice; the older man was already shepherding her towards the throng of party-goers. There was a breathless moment of fear accompanied by a nervous tremble that shook the poor girl from head to toe. She flinched against the arm guiding her, throwing a look over her shoulder to the only people she recognized in this hell of loud noises and bright colours. Their proud smiles as they watched her fulfil her duty to them sickened the girl and her ears dropped from their alert position, swallowing a whine as they disappeared amongst the bodies.
why can't I be enough to please you? '
A ragged inhale parted her quivering lips, turning back and steeling herself for whatever was to come from this meeting with her betrothed.
Upon their re-emergence from the crowd, Ella found herself to be on the other side of the room, facing a pair of glass doors. She blinked in awe at the grand French doors leading to a large balcony, white frames decorated in delicate patterns and standing out beautifully against the navy sky. Ushered through without a word, the classical notes of the orchestra fell on a shorter note and she felt herself sigh in relief.
"Master Flinters? Miss Ella Laurent of Charles Laurent and Tia Roux." She jumped, looking up at her guide for the first time since he'd stolen her away from her parents' at the front entrance. Embarrassment curled in her stomach as she realized he wasn't addressing her but another and followed his gaze.
She missed a breath at the kind brown eyes that greeted them both, taking another too quickly and trying to right herself. Ears twitched towards their voices, catching the young man's before her and stilling as if hypnotized.
"Thank you, Benedict. You can go."
The man at Ella's side bowed before slipping back through the doors.
Turning his eyes to take in his guest, a smile curled upon the other's lips. Auburn hair sat close to his face, long enough she realized to be placed into ponytail if he so wished, and curled softly into little waves. The suit he wore was impeccably neat and fashionable, surprisingly casual compared to the rest of the purebreds that were dancing and exchanging nonsense within the building behind her.
Suddenly feeling much too self-conscious about the lack of familiar presence around them, the brunette shivered from steadily building anxiety that was coursing through her veins. 'Oh god, oh god, we're alone. Wh-What do I do? Oh god, Mom, what do I--?'
Stepping away from the railing, he took her hand gently, as if it were the most delicate thing in the world. Bangs fluttered in front of his eyes, curling slightly into his face, and brushed against the top of her hand as his lips touched her knuckles in a kiss.
It made her tremble.
"A pleasure to meet you, Miss Ella."
Her throat, she realized, was much too dry for her liking and tickled her almost into a cough as she attempted a reply, "L-Likewise, Master Flinters."
"Come now, Miss," he spoke lightly, a chuckle lacing his words and eyes as he straightened again, "If we're to be married, we might as well speak like it. No formalities, please? I've never been one for them, anyhow."
Ella's palm felt warm cradled within his larger hand. She licked her lips quickly, hoping that he couldn't feel the pulse that betrayed her nervous heart. A quick nod accompanied her whisper of, "Of c-course, Mister"
"Copper, Ella. Just Copper."
Why did he make her knees weak when he said that? Yes, he may have been handsome, but it was just his name after all; "O-Okay
Copper." She tried a smile; blushing softly and looking very much the delicate woman he'd been shown pictures of by his father.
"You really are enchanting when you smile"
He was interrupted by a burst of classical music, the swing of the doors behind the pair pulling their attention from each other. "Ah, there's the couple of the hour! Would you mind a photo for the Daily Dig?"
Opening her mouth in response, Ella found she was speechless. Pulling her bottom lip between her teeth in a nervous gesture, she looked up at the young man beside her, unaware of how he would respond. Her own father, while good with the newspapers and business ventures that came with a large enterprise, was famously against the paparazzi and their magazines that were 'nothing but dirty rags'.
To her immense surprise, however, the redhead beside her just grinned brightly to the man and nodded; "Of course, be my guest!" She watched as he listened intently to the reporter's directions, positioning them better in front of the balcony rail and complimenting on the model of camera. He laughed in kind, asking about the type of film and development methods the other man preferred, nodding and agreeing to how digital may have made photos so much easier to own and manipulate but that there was nothing compared to a glossy finish or the retro look that polaroids had given to the common picture.
Without a second thought, and much to the poor fluttering heartbeat of the girl herself, Copper draped his arm around a warm, thin waist. Glancing at him from the corner of her eye before staring at the waiting photographer, Ella relented and stiffly followed suit with her cheerful fiancé, winding an arm behind him as well. She dragged a smile up, cheeks dusted pink with her close proximity to this man she'd just met, and turned slightly away from the camera in a vague attempt to hide behind the other's dazzling smile.
There was a little tug at her hip, reassuring and sweet, but it was so sudden that it scared her for a moment and she made a move to escape it. Ella found herself falling into the body beside her, eyes wide as her hand reached out and landed upon Copper's chest to keep herself upright. The pink of her cheeks brightened, eyes full of surprise and worry that she'd done something wrong, but when she felt as much heard the laugh that left the redheaded man, she couldn't help but smile for her own embarrassment and relief.
The photo snapped with a quick shutter, capturing the moment between the new couple before the teen could even remember about what this news might do for her reputation among her peers.