Posted on 2012-06-05
Ellie was perfectly happy. A Friday night with nothing to do other than read. No other responsibilities, so she had picked up her new library book, and was reading it quite happily. She laughed softly. Not a good night to read a mystery, she thought. It was rather windy, and every noise made her jump. She bent back over her book, determined not to let anything else disturb her. But then she heard a different noise. Music? And it got louder by the second. It still sounded far off, but there was no way that it was coming from the neighbors. It was almost the sort of music she would have expected in an old movie, or a ball, certainly not the rock music the neighbors were usually fond of that late at night. It wasn't coming from her CD player, although her momentary thought was just how much money she would pay for a CD of it. Then she heard voices. She pulled her blankets up a bit closer to her chin. Just a little bit frightening. She put her book down beside her. What a bad day to read a mystery. Her eyes widened as the voices grew closer, and her hand stole toward the lamp on her nightstand, and then froze. Now it was not just voices, but she could distinguish words.
"Of course, Miss Bennett, I totally agree with you. The ballroom is much too hot."
"Thank you, Mr. Bingley."
Her eyes widened. The voices were coming from.....her closet? Mr. Bingley? She pinched her arm, certain that she had to be dreaming. Ouch! No, she was definitely not dreaming, judging by the red mark on her arm.
"Mr. Bingley, your balcony......I would have thought." the female voice interjected, slightly confused.
Mr. Bingley was quite quick to answer, "Yes, indeed. I had thought I was familiar with all of Netherfield but this seems odd......"
Ellie stood, and went toward her closet. It was a large walk-in closet, with curtains instead of a door. She reached in and flipped the light on, and was rewarded with a female shriek, and male muttering which she guessed to be words best left unheard.
"Mr. Bingley, Miss Bennett, do come out, please."
She blushed as Mr. Bingley tripped, and almost fell out of her closet. Her bad habit of putting her clothes on the floor of her closet was catching up to her. The look of bewilderment, and sudden understanding, and utter horror as Mr. Bingley realized what he had tripped over was enough to make her embarrassment give way to amusement. She quickly picked the offending article up, and turned to put it away, and nearly ran into another person.
"Miss, pleased to meet you, right this way, if you don't mind." she said in polite greeting.
Ah, Elizabeth Bennett, if my guess is right, Ellie thought. What in the world?!? I was reading Sherlock Holmes, not Pride and Prejudice. The thought of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson coming into her room by the same route was just too much to bear.
Elizabeth moved to protest, but Ellie stopped her.
"Please? Just sit down and we will try to figure this out."
It was a rather bewildered group that was sitting around Ellie's room. Elizabeth was sitting on Ellie's bed, and Mr. Bingley and Jane had sat upon her window seat.
"Okay, I guess it is time for explanations. I am Ellie, nice to meet you. Any good ideas about why you are in my house?"
A slightly stunned silence followed, which was broken by a quiet groan from her closet. Ellie smacked the palm of her hand to her head and rolled her eyes.
"Of course," she muttered, "Geesh, how could I forget who we were missing. Ouch! This could be bad."
She stepped back into her closet and momentarily froze. She naturally had somewhat of an idea of what Mr. Darcy would look like, but the guy in her closet made her realize that she had been just a bit off. Tall? Check, but considerably taller than her original guesses. Dark? Uh, yeah. She had yet to see his eyes, but his hair was really, really dark, and so curly that if she did not have a decent idea of Mr. Darcy's mood in conjunction with anything social, she might have run her hands through. A mental picture of Lydia and her final consequences flashed through her mind, and she decided otherwise. Handsome? Well, other than the scowl he leveled at her as he turned around, yeah. Ouch! If looks could kill, she thought.
"Sir." she said coolly, intent on fighting fire with fire. "Please come sit down."
He glanced her over, and she realized that it had definitely not been a good night to wear shorts to bed. She affected complete nonchalance, and then offered him her desk chair. She closed her eyes for the briefest of moments in prayer. This was not going to be easy.
"All right!" she said, plastering on a fake smile, "Can we start with introductions?"
Elizabeth was the first to open her mouth, "I am Elizabeth Bennett of Longbourn."
Ellie wryly noted Mr. Bingley's eyebrows rise an inch. Mr. Darcy was as utterly impassive as ever.
"I am Miss Ellie Sommers. Pleased to meet you."
Introductions finished quickly, then came the question she didn't want.
"Excuse me for being so bold, but where are we, and exactly how did we come to be here?" Jane asked, still maintaining the slightly bewildered look.
Ellie sighed, "I have no clue! From what I heard you went out on a balcony, and found yourself in my closet?"
"Yes." Elizabeth answered. "Jane and Mr. Bingley left the ballroom for the balcony, and I followed, slightly concerned for Jane, and I can only presume Mr. Darcy followed me."
Well, if she was going to play MC, she had to take it all the way.
"Mr. Darcy, did you go out onto the balcony after Miss Elizabeth?"
"I did, but I was unaware anyone else was there." he answered guardedly.
Everyone remained in silence for a few moments. None of the guests had any idea of time travel, or even the idea. Ellie, personally, had always thought it was a cool idea for a book, but had never imagined that a balcony in Regency England could really transport someone to her 21st century American closet. She glanced around to see if anyone else in the room had the same idea. Not really. Mr. Bingley looked more befuddled than he had when he came in, if it were possible. At least there was some hope with Elizabeth. It looked rather like the idea was dawning, and she was not pleased. She glanced at Mr. Darcy to find him watching her quite keenly. Their gaze met for the briefest of moments before both looked away, rather embarrassed to be caught looking at each other. He was mortified. Utterly unused to a female in such revealing garb, he had been thinking about how comely her long legs were. Not a thought that he would admit to, and one he hoped to avoid in the future. She had caught his slight blush out of the corner of her eye, and retreated back into her closet, and put on her bathrobe, which seemed a bit more appropriate. Elizabeth noticed the change, and thought it rather amusing. She caught Ellie's glance, and they shared a look that communicated much without words.
"So," Ellie began, finally breaking the silence, "as far as I can tell, your balcony transported you to my closet. And, it also seems that for the time being, you are stranded here."
"Stranded? Here?" Mr. Bingley echoed.
"Yes, stranded. My closet currently looks like my closet. No doorways, or any such thing."
"Where is here?" Elizabeth questioned. "If I am to be trapped here, I would like to know where it is."
Oh brother. Another question that she didn't want to have to answer.
"This is Michigan. In the United States." she answered.
"The colonies?" Mr. Bingley questioned.
"No." she said firmly, "The United States. We have not been the colonies for some time now, sir."
"Not that long." he poked in.
"Only two-hundred some years." she said sarcastically.
Mr. Bingley's math was quick.
"Nineteen hundred seventy six?" he queried incredulously.
"Not exactly. It is more than two-hundred years. Quite a few more, but my math wasn't fast enough. It is two-thousand twelve. Welcome to the twenty-first century." she added wryly.
Jane's eyes widened and Elizabeth gasped. Mr. Darcy seemed as nonplussed as ever.
"Do you not even care?" Mr. Bingley exploded at him.
"Very much so. But there is a calendar here on the wall, so I knew when I came in." he replied, nodding in the direction of the bulletin board by Ellie's desk.
Mr. Bingley looked it over more closely. "Two thousand twelve." he muttered.
"What are we to do, then?" Jane asked, a shrill note to her voice making it quite apparent that the concept was frightening to her. Elizabeth moved to her sister's side comfortingly.
"I don't have the foggiest idea." Ellie admitted. "I can come up with no good reason why the....balcony.... sent you here and how to make it send you back to your home."
They fell into a rather depressing silence, until Ellie spoke again.
"Well, for now it seems that I need must act as hostess. If you will both excuse me for a moment, I had better speak to my parents."
They nodded their assent, and Ellie headed downstairs to speak to her parents. They were both in bed, her mother with a book, and her dad watching something on the laptop.
"Umm, Mom? Dad? I have a question." she ventured, rather nervously.
Her mom looked up from her book. "Yes?"
Ellie sat down on the end of the bed, and smacked her dad's foot.
"I think you both better listen to this."
She had finally gained both of their attention.
"We have guests. They are waiting upstairs in my bedroom."
"What?!?" her mom exclaimed. "How did anyone get in without us knowing?"
"Who is it?" her dad asked quickly.
Ellie laid back on the bed. "Well, you didn't hear them because they came through my closet." She rushed on to avoid the onslaught of questions. "Apparently my closet also functions as a time warp, or something. They came from 19th century England."
"And...." her mom asked, obviously thinking that this was some enormous joke that Ellie took delight in.
"And I know them, but they can't know that. Mom! It isn't funny! It is the four main characters from Pride and Prejudice. You know, Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bingley, and Jane."
"No, I didn't know." her dad answered.
"You don't believe me, do you." she said, in a manner that made it apparent that it was a statement, not a question.
"Nope." her dad drawled, taking great delight, as usual, in provoking his daughter.
In any other time, Ellie would have greatly enjoyed playing his game, but this time she was dead serious, and her parent's apathy was exasperating. So she stood up and walked away. She re-entered her room with a thin smile.
"There are plenty of guest bedrooms, but I want to introduce you to my parents first. They're downstairs."
As she led them down the stairs, she had the momentary thought of the reaction of both parties. Her mom was in her pajamas, and her dad never slept with a shirt on. Maybe this wasn't the best idea. A little late for that. Anyway, she thought, if her parents couldn't hear the whole group clomping down the stairs in time to prepare, then they kind of deserved whatever they got! As she escorted the group into her parents' bedroom, she noted with a smirk that her parents definitely had heard. Her mom had pulled on a sweatshirt over her pj's, and her dad had added a t-shirt.
"Mom, Dad, this is Mr. Bingley, Miss Bennett, Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Ladies and Gentlemen, these are my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sommers."
Her parents greeted them as amiably as possible, considering that they couldn't believe they existed. As she glanced at the laptop, she realized with satisfaction that her father had pulled up Wikipedia, and had been looking at Pride and Prejudice. From the slightly shocked expression on his face, she gathered that he had time to read some of it before they had entered. As it was, the awkward silence had descended again, and she quickly stepped into the void.
"Mom, I thought that perhaps Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley could stay in the rooms in the hall off the kitchen, and Miss Bennett and Miss Elizabeth could stay upstairs with me."
Her mom assented, and Ellie led them off.
"Mr. Darcy, here, and Mr. Bingley, here. Tomorrow, if you can't go back, we will see about clothes, but for now, my apologies, but you will have to make do."
Mr. Bingley bowed over her hand quite gallantly, and also bid Elizabeth good night. He kissed Jane's hand, and lingered a bit longer than seemed necessary, and Jane was blushing furiously when he released it. Mr. Darcy granted the entire company a short bow, then disappeared.
Ellie led the way up to the spare bedrooms. They were down the hall from her room, and across from each other.
"Here you are ladies. You know, if you want, we can head back to my bedroom and I think we could find some pj's that would fit you, to some degree."
The scheme was agreed upon, and they headed back to Ellie's room. Ellie disappeared into her closet for the pajamas, but kept up a steady stream of nervous chatter.
"I've never been afraid of my closet before, but today is definitely the exception. It will be quite interesting having all of you here, but if I was taken away to where you came from, I don't know what........"
She stepped out of the closet with her arms full of pajamas. She plopped the stack on the bed.
"Let's see....you're both a bit bigger than I am, but I wear my pajamas overly large anyway. Here, you can try this, Miss Bennett, and these should fit you, Miss Elizabeth."
"Thank you, Miss Sommers," Jane returned.
"Please, just call me Ellie. Another of the 21st centuries more striking features is the fact that first names are definitely in." she said cheerfully.
"Very well, but in that case, please call me Elizabeth, or Lizzy. If I am now part of the 21st century, I might as well sound like it." Lizzy replied.
"Please call me Jane, also." Jane said, a bit more hesitantly.
Lizzy and Jane removed their dresses, and put on the pajamas.
"You really wear these to bed?" Lizzy queried, "It is not very much covering you."
Ellie laughed at her way of saying it. "Well, usually once I put my pj's on, no one else sees me. It really is abnormal, even in this day and age, for unknown people to suddenly be in your bedroom."
Lizzy laughed outright, and Jane had her hand over her mouth to disguise her laughter. Any barriers were suddenly broken down, as all three realized that, regardless of time and place, girls are girls. Different tastes and styles, yes, but still a love to talk, and laugh together. They were quite quickly sitting altogether on Ellie's bed, giggling and sharing stories. Ellie gave her visitors insight into the very interesting customs of the 21st century, and in exchange, Ellie learned very much about Regency England in general, but in particular the lives of Jane and Lizzy. It was two in the morning before they realized that, in light of how interesting the next day was likely to be, they had better go to bed. They parted with hugs all around, and went to bed. Sleep did not come easily for any of them. Ellie's most pressing thoughts were wondering precisely why the characters from Pride and Prejudice were at her house. The only thing she could think of was that she was supposed to help the romance along. Perhaps with her interference, the couples would come together with significantly less strife. It was the only possible explanation she could think of. But how was she supposed to do that? She had a sudden idea, and then, finally, she was able to sleep.
Downstairs, sleep was coming no more easily. Mr. Bingley, as was his wont, took everything a bit more easily than one would imagine. Mr. Darcy, as one would expect, sat brooding over what precisely was going on far after the giggles from upstairs stopped. His thoughts were a rather bewildering jumble. It seemed rather astounding how he had ended up in a girl's closet. Speaking of her! He wasn't quite sure why, but she had seemed intent on disliking him, for some reason. And, despite his valiant attempts, his thoughts continued to flash back to her scandalous state of undress. And she had hardly had the grace to be properly sheepish. She couldn't have been much older than Georgiana. He would guess her to be maybe a year or two older. At least she had put something more on. But only after he had been staring at her. There was another thought that troubled him. He could state with some pride that he had never touched a woman inappropriately. In fact, as far as he could recollect, that was the first time he had even looked at one appreciatively. But, he mentally argued, it wasn't just her physical aspects that he appreciated. She had very graciously played hostess despite her bewilderment. Her manner of speech was a bit different, but 200 years made a large difference in customs and manners, he supposed. Her accent seemed a bit harsh, though. Very American. He had noticed though, that she seemed to unconsciously soften it as she spoke with them. It was rather amusing.
He finally lay down, intent upon sleeping for at least a little while.
Posted on 2012-07-23
Ellie's alarm went off a 6:30, as usual. She slapped the snooze button, then turned on the light to find the off switch. She did her usual morning devotions. Funny enough, but Biblical prophecy seemed rather appropriate at the moment. She had forgotten about her guests, but Lizzy had left her dress lying across Ellie's window seat, and the unexpected sight quickly brought back full memories about the previous night.....and morning. She shuddered, but cautiously entered her closet to find clothes for the day. Normally, she would have retained the Adidas shorts, and just added a different shirt than the oversized t-shirt she had slept in, but, mindful of her guests and of Mr. Bingley's, and especially Mr. Darcy's stares, she put on slightly baggier jeans, and a t-shirt. She brushed her teeth, and pulled her hair back, then stealthily headed downstairs. None of the visitors were up yet, but the light in the master bathroom was on. Dad was still asleep, as usual on Saturday mornings, so she crept through the bedroom, and into the bathroom where her Mom was adding make-up.
"Any brilliant ideas?" she asked by way of greeting.
Her mom's eyes widened, "I was hoping it was a dream."
"Nope! Prepare for an interesting.......however long until my closet lets them go back to where they came from."
Ellie's mom very well knew how...not neat Ellie's closet typically was.
"They came through your closet!" she asked incredulously.
Ellie stifled her laughter behind her hand. She nodded, almost dying in laughter. "The look....on Mr. Bingley's face" she gasped out. "He tripped on......tripped on my......undergarment." she lapsed into gales of laughter. Even her mom saw the humor in it and laughed.
Their combined laughter brought in Ellie's dad, clad in his t-shirt and shorts. He rather blearily questioned what was so funny. Ellie and her mom shared a glance, and shook their heads, bursting out in laughter again. When their giggling subsided, Dad interjected again.
"I had the weirdest dream last night..." he began. Both Ellie and her mom shook their heads.
"No dream!" Ellie almost shrieked. "Our guests are still in their rooms."
He moaned, and then rubbed his eyes. "You really mean........"
Ellie nodded solemnly, "I think we need to go shopping today. Lizzy and Jane kind of fit into my clothes, maybe, but Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy....... Mr. Bingley might fit your clothes, Dad. But Mr. Darcy is way taller, I think. No," she amended, "I know that he is taller."
Her mom sighed, "So let me get this straight. They 'time-traveled' through your closet from a book, into real life, in America, a couple hundred years later. And they can't go back to...to...wherever they came from."
Ellie nodded and sighed, "Yep, that pretty much covers it." She quickly changed the subject. "Neither of you have read Pride and Prejudice, right? So, basically, what happens is that after a lot of pain and drama, Mr. Bingley and Jane get married, and Mr. Darcy and Lizzy get married. They can't know that! The only good reason I think of them coming here is so that I and/or we can get them together with a minimum of strife. Not logical, really, I know, but, then, neither is anything else that has happened in the last twelve hours. What I really need, though, is for you two to not let them know that there is a famous book about them, and that they are supposed to end up married. Secondly, is it okay if I call Becca, and have her come over today, and spend the night? I think she might be able to help me. Besides, I bet she will think it is fun."
"Done and done." her mother said quickly. "You seem to have some sort of idea of what to do. I hope."
Ellie jumped up, "Eeeks! I had better go up into the kitchen. I need to be around when they wake up." She shuddered. "This could be quite interesting." She grinned broadly at her parents. "Did you know that in the time they come from, indoor plumbing was non-existent?" She grimaced again, "An explanation of toilet over chamber pot is not something I am looking forward to. I mean, it will be bad enough explaining it to Lizzy and Jane, but I might make Dad do it for Mr. Darcy and Mr. B."
She darted out, and back up to the kitchen with her mother's laugh, and her father's look of shock behind her. Once in the kitchen, she began getting things out for pancakes, and listening carefully for any sound of awakening upstairs. Once she had mixed the wet ingredients, and started the griddle, she glanced toward the clock. It wasn't yet 8:00, and she knew better than calling Becca yet, but she snatched up the phone anyway. The phone was answered by Mrs. Hawkins.
"Did I wake you up? Oh, good! May I please speak to Becca?"
She heard the unmistakable signs of Mrs. Hawkins waking Becca up, and giving her the phone.
"Hi, Becca?" she queried.
"What are you calling at this time for?" Becca questioned, slightly grumpy.
"Bec, we have guests, and I need you to come over today, and spend the night tonight." she flew through, in barely coherent phrases.
"Wait, wait. You want me to come over, but you have guests?"
"Yes!" Ellie exclaimed. "Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, Jane and Lizzy. They came last night, through my closet, like a time warp. And I need moral support."
There was a momentary stunned silence on the other end of the line before she heard Becca laugh.
"No, seriously, it isn't a joke! Honest." She was pleading and she knew it.
"Can you pick me up?" Becca asked, finally sobering.
"Yes, fine, I will send Dad over in like ten minutes. Don't bother with breakfast, I will have pancakes ready. Okay? And yes, if your mom asks, this classes as emergency status."
"Got it. And if this is a joke..." Becca said, threateningly.
"It isn't! Now you better be ready!"
Ellie set down the phone, and ran downstairs just as her dad emerged from his bedroom.
"Dad, can you please go pick up Becca? I woke her up for this, and promised her pancakes. I said you or mom would be coming over sometime soon."
Her dad agreed affably, after she promised him warm pancakes also, and went out to the car.
"Twenty minutes! Twenty minutes, and Becca will be here. Hallelujah, and don't I need the moral support." she muttered into the pancake batter.
Her mother joined her after a few minutes, and began pouring pancakes. Ellie got out plates and the butter, the peanut butter, and the syrup. As the house filled with the scent of fresh warm pancakes, Ellie heard stirring upstairs. She gave her mother a face, and headed to the top floor. As she peeked in the rooms at the end of the hall, she found Elizabeth partially awake, and as yet unaware of the time and place change. As her eyes opened and she took in her pj's and the room, her eyes closed again and she fell back on the pillow with a moan.
Ellie gently knocked on the edge of the door as she entered. "No joke!" she said, "And turn-about is fair play. I just about passed out when I saw your dress on my window seat. I had completely forgotten, and almost dropped when I saw your dress."
Elizabeth rolled over, "I hardly find that amusing." she stated haughtily, but her smile belied her words.
"Oh yeah, speaking of your dress, it could be very interesting to find you clothes. We might end up going into town today for some shopping." Ellie said.
Elizabeth sat up in bed, and finger combed her waist length hair. "I do hate to be a bother, but, you are right, I do need clothes. Although I think you may have some that would fit a little bit for the time being."
Ellie was already heading back toward her closet, "Oh this stupid closet."
Elizabeth, who had followed her, laughed. "Immensely interesting, is precisely how I would term it."
"Yeah, right." Ellie shot back as she emerged with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. "Oh, good grief, this should be fun."
It took the two of them ten minutes for Elizabeth to be dressed in the clothes. She found them rather uncomfortable, but did enjoy the freedom the pants afforded. Ellie passed over her brush, and then braided Elizabeth's hair. She wrapped the hair elastic around the end. She excused herself for the briefest moment and ran downstairs. She raced back with Becca in tow.
"Lizzy, this is Rebecca Hawkins, otherwise known as Becca. Becca, this is Elizabeth Bennett."
"Otherwise known as Lizzy." Elizabeth interjected mischievously.
Jane chose that moment to enter. With Becca's help, Jane was also clothed. In order to fit her, she was wearing sweatpants instead of jeans. Jane brushed her hair, then Ellie French-braided it. All the while, they chattered merrily. The talk naturally turned to the other guests, which, truth be told, is exactly what Ellie and Becca wanted to be discussed.
"Yes, Mr. Bingley is very nice." Jane said blushing.
"And quite attentive, too." Ellie added knowingly.
"Oh yes." Lizzy informed them, "Quite! Mama expects them engaged quite soon."
"Lizzy!" Jane chided, "You ought not tell everyone such things."
"I didn't really need to be told, Jane. It was quite obvious when he said good night, last night, that he was quite taken. And good for him!" Ellie said impishly.
She and Becca shared a glance, but were interrupted by a her mother's quiet call of "Breakfast!" from downstairs. As they started down, Ellie was taken aside by Jane.
"Is there a chamber pot in the bedroom?" she asked haltingly.
"One minute. Lizzy, could you come with Jane and me for a sec. Bec, go ahead and eat, we will be down in a couple minutes."
Once she had both Lizzy and Jane, she took them to the bathroom, and briefly explained running water, to the best of her ability. Then she somewhat explained the toilet, then left them to their own devices.
Once all four ladies had come down, it was a matter of moments before Mr. Darcy emerged from his bedroom, which was in the hall off the kitchen, and therefore right next to the dining room. He was dressed in the same clothes he had worn the night before. Ellie rose to greet him, and was asked the same question she had been asked by Jane. She, with much blushing, gave him a brief halting description of indoor plumbing, and explained as best she could that chamber pots were currently obsolete. She showed him the bathroom which was directly across from his room. When she returned to the table, she was brilliantly red, and couldn't bring herself to look at Becca, who was sharing a glance with Jane.
When Mr. Darcy returned, he was nearly as red as Ellie had been, something that all but Ellie noticed. She pulled him into the kitchen, and, as cheerfully as possible asked if he was familiar with pancakes.
"No, I don't believe so." he answered.
"Well then!" she said, her blush finally fading, "Let me introduce you to another of the most wonderful features of the here and now!"
She got a hot pancake, fresh off the griddle, and spread it liberally with peanut butter, poured warm syrup over it, and handed it to him.
"Not everyone likes them with peanut butter, but you have to try!" she smiled cheerfully. "Now, do come sit down." She continued on, speaking mostly to herself. "Why in the world is Mr. Bingley still asleep? We've been loud enough to wake the dead, for goodness' sake." She rolled her eyes, as she sat down.
"Miss Sommers?" Mr. Darcy addressed her.
"Umhm." she responded, with a mouth full of pancake.
"Given the opportunity, Mr. Bingley would sleep all day. And, indeed, it takes nothing short of an earthquake to awaken him from a sound sleep." He added the final sentence with the closest thing to a smile any of the company had ever witnessed of him.
Becca grinned in the direction of her dad, "Really? Well that seems strangely familiar. I know someone else who doesn't exactly wake up all that easily."
Her dad took her teasing good-naturedly, and smiled back at her. "You've got something in your hair." He told her.
Ellie put her hand to her head, feeling for something, but then saw the smiles that were spreading around the table and dropped her hand sheepishly. She gently kicked her dad under the table, but he ignored it, and got up to get more pancakes.
Mr. Bingley chose that moment to finally wake up, and wander out. Unlike Mr. Darcy, who had not exited his room until he was as reasonably neat as he could possibly be, Mr. Bingley was dressed, which had been a difficult process without a valet, but that was about all that could be said about him. His hair stuck nearly straight up, and he ran his hands through it, barely managing to neaten it at all.
"What is that smell?" he asked appreciatively.
"Pancakes!" Ellie told him cheerfully. She turned to the table in general. "Do you recommend with or without peanut butter?"
With peanut butter was the general consensus, so she fixed him a plate of pancakes, and they all sat back down. Ellie finished her last few bites, took a drink of milk, then cleared her throat.
"Okay, so, as far as I can tell, you are stuck here. My closet is....just my closet, and doesn't seem to want to eat anyone at the moment, so, well, I'm not really sure what to do. I have no clue about any of this, really, so for all I know, you could be stuck here indefinitely."
It was quite obvious that the prospect was not really well received. Mr. Bingley looked rather green, and Jane and Elizabeth looked rather distressed as well. Ellie didn't even bother looking at Mr. Darcy, thinking that he would be inscrutable as ever. Becca, who was across from Mr. Darcy, did glance his way, and found that he looked neither distressed nor pleased, but merely gazed at Ellie, or at least in Ellie's direction.
Ellie finally started again, "Regardless, I think that we need to go shopping today. If you are going to be stuck here for any length of time, it would be a good idea for all of you to have some clothes. Clothes that match the time period, I mean." she amended, with a glance at Bingley and Mr. Darcy.
"And fit properly." Lizzy teased.
"Yes, and fit properly, and, and, and, etcetera." Ellie shot back. "I have never been shopping before with people who are used to having their clothes specially made for them."
"You don't?" asked Jane in surprise.
Ellie sighed, and glared at Becca as Becca laughed at her unrepentantly.
"No. But please! Have a little mercy on me. Either wait until we get there, and we will figure it out, or ask Becca." Ellie said rather wickedly, laughing back at Becca.
Lizzy took her cue appropriately, and turned to Becca, took a deep breath..... and did a remarkable imitation of Caroline Bingley. "You Don't get your Clothes from a Modiste! Perhaps I could Introduce You to Mine." Jane elbowed her, reminding her that some of the present company did not know Caroline, and those that did would probably be offended. Lizzy looked up sheepishly, only to find Mr. Bingley convulsed in laughter. Ellie and Becca shared a glance, Mr. Bingley's reaction confirming their suspicion that she was imitating Caroline. Jane hurried to explain as best she could.
"Lizzy was imitating Mr. Bingley's sister, Caroline Bingley." Jane explained, slightly embarrassed.
"And rather well, too." Mr. Bingley added. "Now if you were to compliment Darcy ridiculously about how neatly he eats, or some such triviality, I would begin to think that the....whatever it is that sent us here, had either drastically changed your personality, or drastically changed my sister's appearance. Probably for the better." he added at the end, to everyone's slight shock and great amusement.
Once the laughter was exhausted, Ellie finally stood, and took her plate into the kitchen.
"Oh good grief, Mom!" she said in an undertone. "I am going to lose my mind!"
Becca entered a moment after her, "Oh, you had better not do that! It is better where it is."
"Thanks, Bec. But really! I think I must read too much." Ellie said woefully.
Her mom answered, "I think I didn't read enough. Do you know how many movies there are about this? Not this." she clarified, gesturing around. "But them."
"The wonders of YouTube and late nights." Ellie teased. "Did the two of you even sleep last night?"
"A little. But that's not the point. They are.... book characters!"
Ellie and Becca glanced at each other and groaned.
"Oh, crumb." Becca started.
"Gotcha again!" Ellie teased exultantly, "You never said that until I did."
"I know." Becca said, rather irritated. "But the problem at hand--we both had better come up with good excuses for Clare and Jen. We were supposed to have another movie night tonight."
"And watch Pride and Prejudice." Ellie said laughingly. She bent her head into her hands. "Yep! Definitely losing my mind."
Posted on 2013-01-30
Ellie almost groaned again, and stopped herself. Why did men always have to be so.....mechanical? They were supposed to have left an hour ago, but she had briefly attempted to explain how cars worked, and her attempts had satisfied Jane and Lizzy, and made both Becca and her mom laugh, but her dad had stepped in to explain, and the three men were all bent over the engine, with the hood up, as her dad described the inner workings of their minivan. After twenty minutes, all of the females had given up, and gone back inside, leaving the men in the garage. Ellie headed back upstairs.
"Nope. Still figuring every bit and piece out." she reported wearily.
"Not funny, Rebecca Anne!" Ellie scolded, but her rapidly descending mood was assisted a bit by her friend's levity.
"I don't know what I would do without you." she told Becca.
"I don't either. You probably wouldn't survive long."
Ellie flopped onto the far side of her bed. "So, Lizzy, what is your full name?"
"Elizabeth Francine Bennet. Francine after my mother, who goes by Fanny." Lizzy explained wryly.
Ellie twisted onto her stomach to look at Jane. "Jane?"
Jane decided to exhibit a bit of bravery and mischief heretofore unrevealed. "Only if you tell us yours first."
Ellie slumped down. "You've got to be kidding me! Becca, was this your idea? Fine, Eleanor Catherine Sommers." she announced ruefully. The Catherine was a sore point with her ever since she had read Pride and Prejudice. Between Kitty and Lady Catherine, she had always felt that she hadn't deserved it.
"Catherine?" Lizzy laughed. "One of our sisters, who we call Kitty, is named Catherine. Sadly, of anyone I could choose to share a name with, Kitty is only trumped by Lydia in lack of desire."
Becca was silently giggling again, and a glance at Ellie told her that they were both thinking of the same Catherine--Lady Catherine.
"Catherine is not necessarily a name I really like, either." Ellie admitted. "Eleanor is tolerable, but Catherine..." The tolerable slipped out without her thinking about it, but Elizabeth and Jane glanced at each other at it, and began laughing.
Lizzy began to explain, but Bingley poked his head in the open door, "Catherine? Darcy has an aunt by the name of Catherine. I met her once, and would suggest that you avoid her at all costs."
Becca began to laugh in earnest, and, to the bewilderment of poor Mr. Bingley, all four girls were suddenly laughing uproariously, for several separate reasons.
"So, we will start at the consignment shop, Mom?" Ellie requested.
"If I have coupons in my purse." her mom answered.
"I thought there was one in the paper last week." Ellie told her, spinning around to look in the back at Becca's laugh. She saw Lizzy's evident confusion, and curiousity, and imagined that it was mirrored by at least Jane.
"Oh brother. Okay, so first you should understand that there is nothing wrong with wearing previously used clothes, as long as they are washed, and not too worn. So a consignment shop is where you take slightly used clothing when you do not want it anymore, and they sell it, and you get some of the money. A coupon is a special slip of paper which means you don't have to pay as much as the tag says. Shop owners give them out because more people will come into their shop and spend money if they have a coupon." she finished.
Becca was watching her with undisguised amusement, and Lizzy looked only slightly less confused. Jane looked even more confused than she had before. Ellie dropped her head into her hands.
"Never mind! And it does sound rather ridiculous when it is explained. It makes lots more sense when you are doing it."
Lizzy only looked slightly convinced, and Jane had apparently given up on trying to figure it out. Ellie would have sworn that Mr. Bingley was silently laughing at her. And Mr. Darcy, to her surprise. She had plenty of reason to laugh back, though. Mr. Bingley had been pretty close to her father's size, and was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but Mr. Darcy was quite a bit taller, and broader, and had been coaxed and threatened into a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, neither of which fit ideally, and had inspired fits of laughter when he had originally appeared. Elizabeth and Jane had been rather embarrassed, but Bingley had taken ten minutes to recover from his fits of laughter. Ellie glanced at the dashboard clock. It was only 10:00 in the morning, and she was already exhausted.
When they finally made it to the consignment shop, Ellie and Becca jumped out quickly, but it took Lizzy and Jane a moment longer.
"Is it always so fast?" Lizzy asked rather breathlessly.
"Oh, no." Ellie replied teasingly. "Usually it is much faster."
Becca swatted her on the arm for being a pest, but Ellie's dad found it extremely amusing, leaving no doubt as to where Ellie had obtained her sense of humor.
Fortunately for them, the store was empty except for the cashier, leaving them to ramble through the aisles and paw through the racks to their hearts content. A good deal of guessing as to sizes, and though Mr. Bingley quickly had enough clothes to last him for some time, the other three had a bit more difficulty. Once Lizzy and Jane's sizes were figured out, it was much smoother, but Mr. Darcy had the most trouble, exiting the shop with only a couple things, but, much to his relief, a pair of jeans, and a shirt that fit much better.
Their next planned stop was the mall, where it was assumed they could finish their shopping. Ellie and Becca had a whispered conference, proposing explaining a bit about, well, the multiple things that would absolutely shock their guests--like all the females wearing very low-cut tank-tops, and short shorts. And the many advertisements that would be rather--frightening. But they ultimately decided against it.
"Not a good idea, Ellie!" Becca said in a low tone.
"Do you want to explain it?" Ellie hissed back. "If I knew of a reasonable way to explain it, I would, but I don't!"
"Just explain that things are......different." Becca attempted, then laughed. "Forget I said anything. I think it will just have to be self-explanatory."
Self-explanatory seemed like a good idea in the car, Ellie reflected, but as they walked into the mall, it seemed like it might have been a lapse in logic. She steadfastly refused to look at any of her guests or Becca as she followed her mom in JC Penney's. She heard slightly muffled gasps from behind her, and a stifled laugh from Becca, and a not-so-stifled laugh from her father. She closed her eyes for a split second, but realized something suddenly, thinking, well, if I have slightly embarrassing family, each of them have extremely embarrassing family members, so they can hardly point fingers. She hurried a bit to catch up with her mom.
"I'm not so sure this was a good idea." she confessed.
"I can see that." her mom answered, glancing back. Ellie still refused to.
"I guess I didn't really think about how much of a culture shock it would be. I mean, this would probably be worse than anything they imagined in their time." she said, gesturing subtly toward a bra ad hanging from the ceiling. "We think that it is bad, as Christians, but even the more...oh, what was the word...profligate people from their time would probably be at least slightly shocked."
"Profligate? What do you spend your time doing on the computer?" her mom asked.
"Reading Regency Era fiction, and browsing Wikipedia." Ellie explained wryly.
"For which reason we both should have known better." Becca interjected.
"Yeah. Definitely should have known better." Ellie said in a rather crestfallen manner. "Definitely."To Be Continued . . .