Posted on: 2010-05-07
Elizabeth brushed a stray strand of curly dark hair from her face as she hurried into her flat.
"Jane!" Lizzy called to her sister as she stepped out of her shoes and rushed to her own room. "Jane, are you almost ready?"
"Almost, but I can see you aren't," Jane laughed as she stepped out of the bathroom, adjusting the straps of her dress. "What took you so long?"
"Oh that meeting just went on and on! Then there was a traffic jam all along plum street," Lizzy slipped into her dress and started pinning up her mane of curls in a haphazard manner.
When the sisters had finally finished getting ready, Lizzy wrapped a scarf around her neck and looked at Jane fully for the first time that evening.
"If you do not have half the men at dinner in love with you by the end of the evening, then I am no judge of beauty," Elizabeth remarked sincerely.
Jane only smiled gratefully. Elizabeth's beauty was different from Jane's. Jane's hair and complexion were both fair, and her eyes were grey. At five foot seven she was considered tall, and her figure was slim and somewhat boyish. Jane's beauty was the kind found in magazines.
Lizzy, on the other hand, was dark. From her brown hair to her olive-toned skin, she was quite the opposite of her sister. Some would call her plain, but she had a sweet playfulness about her, which caused her attractiveness only to increase with familiarity.
The charity dinner was sponsored in part by the organization the sisters worked for, and they were selected to attend as representatives. Elizabeth had the misfortune of being seated next to a ridiculous and empty-headed young man named Mr. Collins. Not only was his head completely devoid of any kind of sense, but he also presumed to ask for her phone number. When the meal ended, she was more than happy to excuse herself on the pretense of finding her sister. Lizzy made her way across the room at a leisurely pace, occasionally stopping to chat with acquaintances. She spotted Jane talking to a handsome young man. Smiling, she approached the pair.
"Lizzy, I was just about to come looking for you. Charles, this is Elizabeth, my sister. Lizzy, Charles," Jane made the introductions.
"Hullo Charles, nice to meet you," Lizzy smiled sweetly.
"You too," Charles returned her grin enthusiastically , "Jane was just telling me about the organization you two work for."
"I've been boring you to death I'm afraid."
"Oh not at all!" Charles assured her. A tall figure appeared behind Charles. Charles introduced him as William Darcy.
"William, this is Jane and Elizabeth," Charles gestured towards the ladies.
"Nice to meet you,"
"Likewise, I'm sure," William replied, though his voice indicated the opposite.
The foursome decided to go out for drinks once the charity dinner was over, so the sisters went to the ladies room to freshen up.
"Aren't you glad you've come Will? I'm sure I haven't seen so many pretty girls in my life," Charles stated happily.
"You have been talking to the only handsome girl in the room for the last half hour."
At this point Lizzy had already spotted William's dark head and was walking towards them, catching snippets of their conversation.
"She is the most beautiful creature I have ever beheld. But her sister Elizabeth is very agreeable?"
"Perfectly tolerable, I daresay, but not handsome enough to tempt me." William was in no mood for Charles' rapturous praise.
Elizabeth stopped in her tracks and coloured. Quite a disagreeable, arrogant sort of man. He seems to be above being pleased by anyone or anything. Gaining her composure, she caught their attention.
"Jane will be back in just a moment."
"Excellent," Charles said genuinely.
Much to Elizabeth's dismay, the only seats to be found at the café were in twos, and naturally Charles and Jane took one set, leaving herself and William to share one. After ordering a coffee, Lizzy felt in danger of passing the entire evening in silence. She joined into Charles' and Jane's conversation when she could, but they mostly talked softly to each other. Reluctantly, Elizabeth attempted to converse with this taciturn man.
"What do you do for a living sir?" Elizabeth sipped her coffee.
Darcy seemed surprised to be asked, but eventually responded curtly, "I manage my family business."
Lizzy acknowledged his answer with something that sounded vaguely like "interesting". She bit her lip to keep from laughing.
William ventured a glance at his companion, only to find that she seemed to be chuckling.
"Did I miss something?"
"Oh not at all sir. For, you see, I am a strange creature, so you needn't worry yourself over my trivial whims."
William was confused by this statement, but not curious enough to give it further thought. Returning his attention to the coffee cup in his hands, he did not notice the brilliant smile that lit up the features he had dismissed so easily.
Posted on: 2010-05-11
Lizzy stifled a yawn as she signed into her computer. There are few things more tiring than an evening in bad company. Before long, a familiar window popped up.
LizB: Lotte! Long time no chat ;)
LizB: I only just got home
CharlotteL: Yeah I've been busy
CharlotteL: Where from?
LizB: Charity dinner
LizB: Jane met someone….
LizB: Quite the charming young man, cant say the same for his friend tho. He certainly knows how to offend a girl lol
CharlotteL: What happened?
Elizabeth typed out the long explanation, with her added comments of course.
CharlotteL: Please tell me you are kidding
LizB: haha! Well im not
LizB: Tell me, why do all the rich, handsome men have to be jerks?
LizB: Anyhow. What have you been up to
CharlotteL: nm. Do you want to have lunch tmrw?
LizB: sure I would love to. Where at?
CharlotteL: Wong's Wok @ 12:30?
LizB: Sounds great =)
Charlottel: I have to go now so see you then!
LizB: alrite ttyl
Lizzy closed her laptop and sat at her dresser, scrutinizing the face in the mirror. Sweeping a stubborn curl away from her eyes,she sighed quietly. Perfectly tolerable.
Elizabeth groaned and groggily attempted to silence the nerve-wrecking sound, but succeeded only in rolling off the bed. Punching the snooze button she stood up, albeit slowly, slipped into her fuzzy slippers and shuffled out to the kitchen.
"Good morning Lizzy," Jane greeted cheerfully. Lizzy mumbled something unintelligible as she plopped down at the dining table. One cup of coffee later, she fully awoke from her trance.
"Welcome back to earth sunshine," Jane shook her head smiling.
You must've slept well," Lizzy observed grumpily. "Dreaming about Charles?"
Jane blushed behind the morning paper, thankful that her sister was too sleepy to notice.
Another cup of coffee in her hand, Lizzy finally sat behind the wheel. She yawned and raked her fingers through her hair. her phone rang, and she was dismayed to find Mr. Collins' number on her screen.
"Oh the odious man," she mumbled. "Hi, this is Lizzy," she spoke into the receiver in an entirely different tone.
"Hello Elizabeth," he greeted formally. "I was wondering if you are free for dinner tonight."
Doesn't waste any time for chit-chat does he? She smiled inwardly. Racking her brain for an excuse, she said out loud, "I will have to get back to you sir, I'm sorry but I am quite busy at the moment."
"Oh of course, I apologize for disturbing you at such an inconvenient time, believe me, I had no intention of interrupting your schedule. Far be it from me-"
"I am sorry but I really must go. I'll let you know at lunch time, bye," Lizzy cut his profuse apologies short and ended the call unceremoniously.
Elizabeth's blackberry beeped with a message from Jane;
Do you want to join Charles, Will and I at the Shakespeare performance tonight?
Relieved, Lizzy sent a reply;
You are a lifesaver! Mr Collins asked me out to dinner x_x thx!
Don't thank me. Thank William ;)
Lizzy paused. William got the tickets? Why ever did he buy four? She didn't appreciate what that wink implied. Making a mental note to tell Jane just how wrong she was, Lizzy texted;
Why did he buy four tickets?
For you obviously.
Anything to get away from that creepy little man...
Lizzy realized the time, and five minutes later was rushing into Wong's Wok.
"Charlotte!" Liz greeted her friend with a hug. "So sorry I'm late!"
"Busy morning?" Charlotte asked sympathetically as they seated themselves in a booth.
"Between work and fighting off Mr. Collins, it was rather hectic," Elizabeth confessed. "Though I must say, if he was not such a nuisance to myself I would find him rather amusing. At his expense that is," she added laughingly.
"Some lovesick suitor I assume?"
"Hardly. I'm not sure what he is. Perhaps an extra-terrestrial..."
"Oh Lizzy, he can hardly be that bad."
"I promise you, what I have said so far is a gross understatement," Lizzy assured her friend as they browsed the menu.
Charlotte only shook her head disbelievingly, though her face wore a grin.
"Indeed, if it had not been for the high and mighty Mr. Darcy, I should have been doomed to an evening of his company."
"Mr. Darcy? You must be joking!" Charlotte declared.
"I assure you dearest, I kid you not. why should I kid you about such a thing? He is the William I was telling you about," Lizzy stated, expecting that to be the end of it.
"You don't know who he is, do you?"
"Darcy Inc. doesn't ring a bell? Pemberly?"
"Just tell me."
"Goodness Lizzy, you really should read the news once in a while. William Darcy is one of the richest men in the country!"
Lizzy was surprised, but she recovered from her shock quick enough. "I call that celebrity gossip, hardly news. Anyways, all the money in the world wouldn't make him a jot more agreeable."
"That may be so," Charlotte agreed reluctantly, "but it will do you no good to make yourself distasteful in the eyes of such an influential man." she added.
Lizzy rolled her eyes. "What do you suggest Charlotte? Should I suck up to him like all the other fortune-hunting fakers?"
"No Liz, of course not. Lets talk about something else," she suggested wisely.
The rest of the meal passes relatively uneventfully. They discussed work, family, politics- just not Mr. Darcy.
Charles had insisted that they arrive early to the restaurant, so William sat at the table, tapping his fingers impatiently. When he looked up he saw Elizabeth, her long curly locks hanging loose down her back, and a mischievous smile on her lips as she watched Jane's reaction to Charles' enthusiastic waving.
Will was snapped out of his reverie by Charles. "Quit staring," he said, mistakenly thinking that it was his Jane who had William so captivated.
Jane and Charles were soon conversing pleasantly about music, and William took the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Lizzy.
"What kind of music do you listen to Elizabeth?"
Lizzy was surprised to be addressed by the brooding man and answered, "I listen to anything from heavy metal to country. I appreciate music in general," she smiled. "What about you?"
"The same," he replied simply.
She nodded. "I'm afraid I have not properly thanked you for inviting me this evening, I quite adore Shakespeare."
"Not at all, the pleasure is all mine."
Lizzy suppressed the urge to roll her eyes at what she took for a disingenuous statement. An awkward silence fell between them. Why did he invite me if he is just going to sit here mutely?
"Excuse me, I have to take this call," Lizzy, seeing the caller ID, walked out to the front of the restaurant.
"Lizzy, why isn't Jane answering her phone?" Mrs.Bennet demanded.
"She is busy right now, I - "
"Well you will have to tell her then. You two need to come up this weekend for your father's birthday party."
"I thought that was next weekend?"
"Obviously it has been changed, why else would I call?"
"When do we need to be there?"
"Friday night. You'll have to leave immediately after work."
"We can try, but we may not be able to come until Saturday morning Mum. Overtime on Fridays is not unusual."
"Just try to come okay? I have to go now," Mrs.Bennet hung up.
"Love you too Mum," Lizzy whispered to the night air.
William, usually an ardent lover of Shakespeare, found his attention captivated by a different subject. In vain did he try to follow the play. His eyes seemed drawn to the lovely face next to him, and the expressions that flitted across it. Lizzy was quite oblivious to the admiration she inspired, and enjoyed the play immensely.
The next day...
Elizabeth hung up her cellphone, and sat noiselessly in a state of shock. Suddenly a wide grin spread over her face and she hurriedly dialed Jane's number.
"Jane, you will never guess what happened!"
Posted on: 2010-05-20
The sisters sat in an old-fashioned diner half an hour later, and Jane wasted no time in getting to the point.
"So what's this all about Lizzy?"
Elizabeth's face was positively glowing with happiness as she blurted, "NASA!"
A blank stare was the only reaction she drew from her slightly confused sister.
"I didn't tell you, but last month I applied for the NASA astronaut training program." At this point Jane's mouth fell open. Elizabeth squirmed uncomfortably under her incredulous stare. "NASA has interested me for quite a while, you know," she offered by way of explanation.
"I most certainly did not know!" Jane exclaimed.
"I saw that I qualified, and figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot. So, I sent in my application. This morning I got a call saying I've been accepted!"
Jane's face had been expressionless as she listened, but once she absorbed the abundance of information so suddenly thrust upon her, she was quite as excited as her sister. "Oh Lizzy! You never breathed a word! This is so exciting! How long? When? Will you be far away?"
Lizzy was more than happy to answer the sudden onslaught of questions that followed Jane's realization, and beamed at the pleasant prospects ahead of her.
William inhaled the refreshingly frigid evening air as he jogged around the park, feeling his stress melt away. A good run was always sure to clear his head, and his dog, Kelly, very much appreciated the exercise. He had spent the time evaluating his…er… feelings for Elizabeth. He liked her, to be sure, and wanted to pursue her. Whether or not this was a wise notion was less certain. On first meeting her, he scarcely allowed her to be tolerable. But her playful and unaffected manner made her quite the prettiest girl of his rather large acquaintance. What he first dismissed as impertinence, he now admired as quick wit. He was hard pressed to find anyone, woman or otherwise who saw past his wealth and status. But, with everything going on with Georgiana, he doubted his readiness for a relationship. Not to mention his extended family's expectations. Jogging towards his customary park bench, he caught his breath; Seated on it was none other than the subject of his musings. Kelly, oblivious to her master's hesitation, rushed forward to greet the huge dog resting beside Elizabeth. Lizzy was leaning back, her face turned upwards, and wearing a radiant smile. Feeling her dog's tail swishing violently against her leg she sat up. Her surprise was evident as she took in his appearance. He was quite unrecognizable, with his usual suit and tie traded in for a hoodie and sweatpants.
"Hullo Elizabeth," William greeted breathlessly.
"William, I did not expect to see you here" How can he look so good after running?
"Nor I you."
"Please, sit," Elizabeth made room on the bench.
"Thank you," William sat, savoring the closeness.
"Our dogs seem to be enjoying themselves," Elizabeth remarked cheerfully. She was in such a good mood that William couldn't have ruined it had he tried.
"What's your dog's name?"William rubbed its ears.
"Do you often jog here?"
"When I have time, usually four times a week. I like to jog to clear my head."
Will nodded, completely understanding, and even daring to hope that he was the subject of at least some of her thoughts.
Jane rushed about the flat, flustered.
"I just know I've forgotten something," she muttered to herself.
"Janey, it's ok! Since when have you been so worried about a weekend at home? Come to think of it, you look like I usually do when I'm preparing for two days of fighting off Mum."
"Oh Lizzy, I know, it's just-"
"Charlie will be there, right?"
"Yes," Jane admitted with a sigh. "What will he think of our family?
"Listen Jane, if he is scared off by our family, then he isn't worth keeping anyway. For the record though, I don't think he will notice. He only has eyes for you," Lizzy said firmly. "As for his friend," she added with an annoyed frown.
"Lizzy, I already told you, Charles was planning to spend the weekend with William, it was only polite to extend the invitation to him as well. He is not nearly as bad as you make him out to be."
"Mum will fawn over him once she realizes who he is. I just hope this weekend passes quickly."
"Me too," Jane agreed quietly.
Elizabeth pulled into the driveway and took a deep breath. Jane looked uncharacteristically nervous as she opened the car door. Giving her sister a look of reassurance, Lizzy stepped out of the car to greet her family.
"Mum! They are here!" Lydia, the youngest Bennet sister stood at the window gaping at the handsome young men walking towards the house.
"So they are dear," Mrs. Bennet stood to get the door and smoothed her hair.
The door opened and many greetings were exchanged between the five sisters.
"Oh Jane dear! How good it is to see you! It has been much to long since you have been home. And Lizzy too, of course," Mrs. Bennet added, almost as an afterthought.
While Jane introduced the guests, Elizabeth and Mr. Bennet hugged.
"For once, I agree with your mother. It has been too long since you've been home."
"Happy birthday Old Man," Lizzy teased affectionately.
"You had best be careful Lizzy, if you keep calling me that it might come true."
"Oh I do not fear that, you couldn't get old if you wanted to. I swear you are more like a fifteen year old than a fifty year old," she laughed.