Chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Aliens

Chapter 2 – Pride and Prejudice and Aliens – JAFF Mr. Darcy Book

Rough first draft.

The carriage rattled down the lane as the Bennet sisters made their way toward Meryton for the local assembly. Mrs. Bennet could scarcely contain her excitement at the prospect of meeting the newly arrived Mr. Bingley and his party from Netherfield.

“I dare say Mr. Bingley will be utterly taken with you, Jane,” she declared. “With your fair looks and sweet disposition, what man could resist?”

Jane blushed at the compliment. “Oh, I hardly think we should assume so much, Mamma. We know nothing of Mr. Bingley’s character as of yet.”

“Nonsense!” cried Mrs. Bennet. “Mark my words, before the night is out you shall have a marriage proposal. Now where is your shawl? The evening air will be cool and we would not want you catching cold before your fateful encounter.”

Elizabeth hid a smile as she watched her mother fuss. Glancing out at the darkening sky, Elizabeth noted the first glittering stars and her thoughts turned momentarily toward the strange lights reported around the countryside. What mysteries lurked in the growing shadows?

Mrs. Bennet hurried into the Assembly rooms, craning her neck to catch sight of the newcomers. Her eyes narrowed as she spied Sir William Lucas and Mrs. Long deep in conversation with three fashionably dressed gentleman and two ladies.

“Oh, drat it all!” she exclaimed to her sister Mrs. Philips as she bustled over. “Just look at the Longs and Lucases fawning over the newcomers. No doubt pushing their daughters forward when it should be my Jane attracting the attention.”

Mrs. Philips clucked her tongue sympathetically. “Oh, I quite agree, my dear sister,” she exclaimed with an exaggerated sigh. “It’s simply unfair that they would be so forward as to monopolize the society’s newest members before you’ve had a chance to introduce your Jane.” She leaned in close, “She is far lovelier than the Lucas girl!” She gave Mrs. Bennet’s arm a reassuring pat. “We must find a way to redirect their attention to the true beauties of Hertfordshire society.”

“If only your brother were here, we might properly meet Mr. Bingley ourselves,” Mrs. Bennet continued with an aggravated sigh. “But no, he refuses to stir from the library and so we must wait for someone else to perform the offices. By then who knows what pretty picture those scheming mothers will have painted of their own daughters!”

“Now, now, do not despair,” counselled Mrs. Philips. “The night is still young. And your girls are far too lovely to be overlooked, introduction or no.”

Elizabeth, standing nearby with Jane, overheard her mother’s lamentations and bit back a smile. “I dare say Papa’s absence is less grievous than Mamma imagines,” she whispered. “The mystery of the new arrivals is preserved a little longer without being prejudiced by whatever well-meaning acquaintances might presume to recommend us.”

Jane agreed softly before adding, “Though I do hope we shall have the chance of a proper introduction before too long. I confess some curiosity about our new neighbours after all the speculation.”

The distant roll of thunder briefly rumbled through the Assembly hall, causing the chandeliers to shudder and guests to glance toward the windows. Though the night sky remained clear, the air held a charge, as though a storm brewed just over the horizon. The peculiar thunderclap faded as quickly as it arose, leaving an unsettled murmur in its wake.

“How very odd,” remarked Sir William Lucas to Lady Lucas. “Thunder with nary a cloud in sight.”

She nodded in agreement. “Quite unnatural. It gives one pause.”

Nearby, two ladies whispered to each other behind their fans. “What an ominous sign. It bodes ill fortune tonight.” Her friend shivered and clutched her shawl tighter.

Throughout the hall, murmurs and exclamations could be heard as the assembly members voiced their surprise and unease over the unexplained noise.

The buzz of conversation continued to fill the Assembly hall as Elizabeth pushed aside her puzzlement over the fleeting phenomenon. Whatever atmospheric event had produced the odd thunder, it seemed to have passed. She refocused her attention on the stirrings of society around her, determined not to let the peculiar occurrence distract from the evening’s more diverting potential.

Elizabeth found her gaze wandering back to the area where the newly arrived party stood conversing with Sir William Lucas. She watched as the smiling gentleman she presumed to be Mr. Bingley listened attentively while Sir William spoke. His handsome features and amiable countenance lent credence to the positive reports she had heard of the wealthy bachelor now occupying Netherfield.

Standing beside Mr. Bingley was a more serious looking gentleman with aristocratic features who surveyed the room with an air of detached reserve. Elizabeth found herself studying the pair curiously, wondering what brought two such dissimilar men into close companionship.

As she watched, the handsome stranger glanced around as if taking stock of the company. His eyes met Elizabeth’s briefly before dismissal flashed across his face. Affronted, she studied him more closely. Arrogance emanated from the man like a palpable force—in the set of his shoulders and lift of his chin.

Charlotte Lucas made her way through the crowded assembly rooms to join her friend Elizabeth Bennet. “Quite the stir this evening with the newcomers’ arrival,” Charlotte remarked.

Elizabeth nodded, a hint of amusement playing on her lips as she watched the serious-looking gentleman standing stiffly near Mr. Bingley. “Poor man seems rather out of his depth, does he not?” she commented lightly to Charlotte. “I dare say London society has not prepared him for our more intimate country assemblies where acquaintance is swiftly pressed upon even the most taciturn of strangers.”

She let out a soft laugh. “But come, I cannot dislike him too strongly for simply lacking Mr. Bingley’s open affability. Perhaps he shall warm to us in time, once the initial awkwardness of country hospitality has worn thin.” Elizabeth’s eyes glinted with humor as she added, “Until then, I shall have to content myself with wry observation from afar as he endures Sir William Lucas’s enthusiastic attentions.” She indicated the effusive gentleman still occupied in welcoming the newcomers. “Let us hope Mr. Bingley’s amiability balances his friend’s sterner mien, for all our sakes.”

Charlotte gave Elizabeth a wry smile in return. “Indeed. But take care your lively perceptions do not blind you to any goodness beneath that proud exterior. Even the most aloof of gentleman may surprise us in time.”

“Then for his sake, I hope company manners are not the full mark of the man,” Elizabeth replied lightly. Her eyes strayed once more to the proud stranger, a flicker of curiosity mingling with her irritation at his perceived conceit.

Over the next quarter hour, Elizabeth found her attention repeatedly drawn to the disagreeable Mr. Darcy. Despite his striking physique, his manners and behavior soon cured any initial admiration. He failed to engage with anyone beyond the small party around him.

When Sir William Lucas presented Mr. Bingley to the Bennets, Mr. Darcy remained aloof.

“Mr. Bingley, allow me to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their daughters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Catherine, and Lydia,” said Sir William Lucas cordially.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” replied Mr. Bingley with an eager smile. He bowed politely.

Mr. Darcy merely nodded, his gaze lingering on Jane and Elizabeth.

Elizabeth felt the gentleman’s eyes linger on her and her sister as Sir William made the introductions. She raised her chin, meeting that cool gray gaze with a spark of defiance.

Mr. Bingley, on the contrary, proved amiable and outgoing, clearly happy to make new acquaintances.

“Miss Bennet, would you do me the honor of dancing the next set with me?” he asked Jane with an engaging grin.

Jane smiled. “I would be delighted, Mr. Bingley.”

As the evening wore on, Mr. Darcy’s evident contempt toward the company grated on Elizabeth more and more. While taking refreshments with her friend Charlotte Lucas, she witnessed Mr. Darcy staring at her as he conversed with Mr. Bingley. When one of the latter’s sisters, Caroline, gestured towards Elizabeth in inquiry, Mr. Darcy replied in carrying tones, “She is tolerable I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me.”

Elizabeth felt her cheeks flush in anger at such callous assessment. Swallowing the sharp retort on her tongue, Elizabeth tilted her chin. So Mr. Darcy held himself above all here and disdained to feign manners or politesse? Let him then keep company with his equally arrogant and superficial friends. Her initial impression was confirmed beyond all doubt. Mr. Darcy was the proudest, most disagreeable man of her acquaintance.


The morning after the Meryton assembly brought crisp, clear skies, belying the strange events that had stirred the countryside. As the Bennet sisters walked the familiar road to Meryton, the fresh air and exercise soon had them chatting lightly among themselves. Even the usually silent Mary found herself engaged, offering pedantic remarks on Mr. Bingley’s character that were met with good-natured eye rolls from her sisters.

“Mr Bingley seems amiable enough,” observed Elizabeth. “He appears generous in his attentions, unlike some others of our acquaintance.”

Jane flushed delicately but replied, “Indeed, his manners are very pleasing. I found him quite agreeable.”

“No doubt Mama will have you married by Michaelmas if he continues to smile upon you so,” teased Elizabeth, earning a delighted giggle from Kitty, who clung to Lydia’s arm, looking around in anticipation for any sign of the officers.

Before Jane could respond to Elizabeth’s teasing remark, a chorus of familiar voices drew their attention. A group of officers from the —-shire militia had gathered outside the local haberdashery, their red coats a stark contrast against the grey stones of the building.

Among them was Mr. Wickham, who, much to Lydia’s thrill, spotted the Bennet sisters and excused himself from the conversation to approach them. Kitty couldn’t help but sidle up closer, eager to be included in the exchange with the charming officer.

“What a delightful surprise to grace this humble town with your presence,” said he, with a sparkle in his eye that made Kitty and Lydia twitter excitedly. “Fortune smiles upon me to find you here. May I have the honor of escorting you through the shops?”

The sisters replied with polite acceptance, and Mr. Wickham fell into step with them.

“It was a splendid affair, was it not?” Elizabeth replied animatedly. “The music and dancing were excellent. My sisters and I found much to enjoy.”

“Indeed, Miss Elizabeth,” said Mr. Wickham with a regretful tone. “I was occupied with duties and regretfully could not attend. I have heard much about the evening, however. Mr. Bingley has made quite the impression, or so it seems.”

“Mr. Bingley is very amiable,” Elizabeth agreed, “Mr. Bingley’s friend certainly… commanded attention. His reserve is… remarkable.”

“Aptly put, Miss Elizabeth.” Mr. Wickham’s expression grew more serious. “If you speak of Mr. Darcy, we have a rather extensive, if complicated, history. Our fathers were close, and I grew up on the grounds of Pemberley, his estate.”

Elizabeth’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “You are acquainted with Mr Darcy?”

“Indeed. We grew up together, for my father was the steward of Pemberley.”

“Truly?” cried Elizabeth. “But he seemed so…”

“Proud? Haughty? Taciturn?” Mr Wickham supplied helpfully. “Yes, I fear much of that sternness you observed owes to his current wealth and status. We were once the closest of friends, despite the difference in our stations.”

As he continued reminiscing, Elizabeth found herself captivated by Mr. Wickham’s easy charm and his apparent forthrightness. His tales painted Mr. Darcy as callous and condescending, qualities she had already perceived in the man. Elizabeth swelled with indignation upon hearing of Mr. Darcy’s supposed mistreatment of Wickham.

“How shocking for Mr Darcy to renege on his honorable father’s wishes in such a manner,” Elizabeth exclaimed.

“I appreciate your sympathy, my lady, but let us speak no more on such unpleasant matters. The morning is too fine for dwelling on the past!”

With a last smile and tip of his hat, Mr. Wickham excused himself from the Bennet sisters. “Duty calls, I’m afraid. It was a pleasure, ladies.” With that, he rejoined his fellow officers, leaving the sisters to continue their stroll through Meryton.

As they continued their walk after Mr. Wickham’s departure, Lydia pouted, clearly missing the excitement of his presence while Kitty absent-mindedly agreed with anything she said.

Engrossed by their engaging conversation with Mr. Wickham, the Bennet sisters were initially oblivious to the hush that lay over Meryton. As they moved deeper into town, the absence of the usual hustle and bustle became apparent, and a feeling of unease began to settle upon them. The streets, normally abuzz with activity, were eerily quiet, and even the familiar barking of dogs and chirping of birds was conspicuously absent. The sisters exchanged concerned glances, pondering the cause of this unexpected stillness.

Voices drifted towards them as a small crowd gathered outside the blacksmith’s shop. Drawing nearer, the sisters discerned snatches of conversation tinged with apprehension. Words like “omen” and “invasion” penetrated the murmurings before one man noticed their approach and hastily changed the subject.

“Good day, Mr. Jones,” Jane greeted the blacksmith warmly, while Lydia eagerly scanned the faces in the crowd, hoping to glean bits of gossip she could share later.

“Why, Miss Bennet!” He doffed his cap, relief smoothing the worry lines on his forehead. “A fine morning to you and your sisters.” His eyes slid briefly to Mr Wickham. “And the militia gentleman as well.”

“Might we inquire what has the townspeople so concerned today?” asked Jane gently.

Mr Jones shifted his weight. “Well now, just idle talk I’m sure, nothing to alarm such gentle ladies.” At Jane’s kind look, he rubbed his neck awkwardly. “Some claim more strange lights in the night skies, flashes of unnatural color. My missus swears she heard odd noises like thunder, but the air was clear as crystal.”

“How very odd,” murmured Jane. She hesitated. “You do not suppose there is cause for alarm?”

The blacksmith looked uneasy but smiled reassuringly. “I cannot speak to such fanciful notions, Miss Bennet. Likely just superstitious imaginings, not worth your worry.”

Jane nodded gracefully. “You are probably correct. I am sure there is some simple explanation.”

Elizabeth chimed in, “Surely such occurrences warrant some investigation, Mr. Jones. I find it hard to dismiss flashes and thunder on a clear night as mere trifles. Has no one looked into this odd phenomenon?”

Mr. Jones shifted uncomfortably under Elizabeth’s direct gaze, a sheen of sweat visible on his brow. “It is nothing, Miss. Just idle tongues and fanciful notions.” He bowed quickly and busied himself with work.

As they bid the townspeople good day and continued on, Elizabeth mulled over the blacksmith’s words. Glancing at Jane, she wondered if her sister was likewise troubled by this talk of celestial oddities and ill omens.

“Could this not be a sign from the heavens?” Mary queried, her voice solemn as she drew on her biblical knowledge. “There is often talk of celestial portents in the scriptures.”

Lydia’s response was immediate, a snort of derision escaping her lips. “Oh, do save us from your preachings, Mary!” she retorted with a roll of her eyes.

Mary sniffed, “Even scripture has its place in worldly affairs, Lydia.”

But before Lydia could retort, Elizabeth intervened, “Both of you, enough. This is neither the time nor the place for bickering.”

Nearing the milliner’s, Elizabeth spied Miss Bingley’s elegant figure as she exited, parcel in hand. Catching sight of the Bennet ladies, Caroline lifted her chin, coolly raking her gaze across their party. Lydia, always eyeing a potential ally in matters of fashion, straightened her posture, hoping to catch Miss Bingley’s approval, while Kitty fidgeted, feeling suddenly self-conscious of her own attire.

“Good day, Miss Bingley,” offered Jane politely as they came alongside. “I trust you are well.”

“Tolerably so,” replied Caroline, casting her eyes over Jane’s gown. “I had just concluded some trivial errands for my sister. You ladies appear to be similarly engaged.” She offered them the barest smile.

“We have been and are soon returning home,” supplied Elizabeth.

“Quite so.” Caroline’s gaze moved dismissively back to Jane. “Well, I shan’t detain you. Do give your mother my regards.” With a frosty nod, she departed towards her waiting carriage.

Elizabeth bristled at the veiled impertinence, but Jane’s serenity remained unruffled. “Good day, Miss Bingley,” Jane called after her, unfazed by the icy dismissal.

As Caroline’s carriage rolled away, Jane touched Elizabeth’s arm with a small shake of her head. Elizabeth huffed but put on a smile. “Come, let’s return home, we have shopped enough for the day.”

“Let us remember, ‘A penny saved is a penny earned’,” Mary intoned solemnly, as they prepared to depart.

Lydia rolled her eyes dramatically. “Oh Mary, must you be so somber? It’s a glorious morning for shopping, not for penny-pinching proverbs.”

At Lydia’s remark, Kitty couldn’t contain a sudden burst of laughter. It was a high, ringing sound that echoed around them.

“Kitty!” Elizabeth chided, her gaze reproving.

When the Netherfield party arrives to take up residence in the long-empty Netherfield Hall, rumors swirl that the estate is haunted. Skeptical Elizabeth Bennet laughs off the ghost stories, until a series of eerie events forces her and the aloof Mr. Darcy to confront the possibility of restless spirits stalking the halls.

As bizarre occurrences plague the old house, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are drawn together in the search for answers. Battling fears and prejudices, they forge an unlikely alliance that blossoms into mutual understanding and possibly something more. But not everyone is happy to welcome this connection.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy overcome the mysterious workings of Netherfield before their hopes for happiness are extinguished? Set during the Christmas season, Halloween JAFF puts a spooky twist on Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice characters in this suspenseful tale of ghostly happenings, romance, and the power of courage and love conquering all.

Pride and Prejudice and Phantasms is a slow burn romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet that is over 65,000 words and features hijinks, lighthearted spookiness, a flustered Caroline Bingley and happily ever after for ODC.