I have been working on my characterization and feelings. Let me know what you think!
“If only that man had not asked you to dance, you would have had two sets free to dance with one of the officers,” cried Mrs. Bennet. “I do not know why Mr. Bingley is friends with such an unfriendly man. What were you discussing during your dance, Lizzy? I could not imagine he had anything nice to say.”
As her mother continued her discourse without waiting for a reply, Elizabeth turned to look at the carriage window though it was full night and she could not see anything but the faint light from the carriage lanterns. She did not want to speak about her dances with Mr. Darcy as she did not want to inspect her feelings for him because anger was not the only or the strongest feeling she had for him.
“I think she should dance with him as much as he asks. I know I would if someone worth £10,000 asked me to dance.” Said Lydia. “Think of all the bonnets and carriages and dresses you would have if you married him!”
Elizabeth looked heavenwards with a sigh. All her youngest two sisters cared about were marrying handsome and rich husbands. Did they not understand the character of a man, that how he behaved was more important? A twinge in her chest proved that she had not been entirely truthful with herself. How she managed to feel tingles when his hands touched hers during their dances, or excited when he stared at her was beyond her comprehension. Traitorous body!
Elizabeth turned back to address her family. “I would never marry that man or have anything to do with him. How he treated Mr. Wickham is horrendous and not gentlemanly at all.”
She turned away to the carriage window again as her conscience vexed her again. She had doubts now about what Mr. Wickham had told her about Mr. Darcy’s dealings with him back in Derbyshire. But that was not all that her conscience was vexing her about for she had uttered a bold faced lie to her entire family. Elizabeth had not stopped thinking of Mr. Darcy and how she felt when they danced and conversed. He was intelligent, quite handsome and did not shy away from anything she brought up. She should not want anything to do with him as he had insulted her beauty and probably, possibly ruined Mr. Wickham’s life.
Back at Longbourn, the family except for Mr. Bennet, continued to discuss the dresses, food and everything about Lucas gathering for days after. Tired of the same topic of discussion Elizabeth readily agreed to accompany her two youngest sisters to Meryton. They wanted to call upon their aunt who often had the good gossip as she hosted several officers. During this visit the girls learned that Mrs. Phillips was hosting a supper party that night and had invited many of the officers. Lydia and Kitty were beside themselves with excitement but Elizabeth was more subdued. Had Mr. Wickham deceived her regarding Mr. Darcy?
Elizabeth did not have the maid fix her hair in an elaborate style or dress it up with pinned flowers. She had dressed for Mr. Wickham before and he had not shown. She had enough contrariness in her to refuse to dress up for a man that begged out from a gathering at the last minute.
She walked into her aunt’s parlor and smiled as she saw her friend Charlotte. They conversed and shared news of what had happened in their lives since they met last at Lucas Lodge. The arrival of someone standing close paused their conversation, and they turned to Mr. Wickham.
“And how are you this evening ladies?” Mr. Wickham smiled slyly to the both of them. His eyes danced but Elizabeth failed to feel the spark she had before. Damn that Mr. Darcy for putting doubts in her head about Mr. Wickham.
“We are doing quite well.” said Charlotte, “And how are you? We did not see you at our gathering?”
Elizabeth took a sip of her drink to hide her smile.
Mr. Wickham sheepishly looked down and then back up. “I found as time grew nearer, I feared it would be best not to go as there would surely have been a public scene. Of course I would do no such thing but Mr. Darcy… his anger and arrogance is well known. I would do nothing to upset the genial Sir Lucas.”
Elizabeth smiled at him; he was such a gentleman. Of course what Mr. Darcy had said now came unbidden to her mind. She knew only what Mr. Wickham had told her and he had an easy time of making friends but not keeping them. It left her with an uneasy feeling. Mr. Darcy was not the type, she was sure, to state things that were not true. Elizabeth stepped back mirroring her internal decision.
“Miss Elizabeth, are you shy tonight?” He chuckled with a look one would give to a woman in his confidence. She glanced away as he was too familiar by half. “You are looking fine this evening.” Elizabeth smiled though she struggled with what to say which angered her as Mr. Darcy was still in her thoughts.
“I am doing quite well. I am glad you are here for I missed you, I mean I miss talking to you. You are such a good conversationalist.” Elizabeth took a drink to hide her blush. That would reach Meryton society as a declaration of her feelings for Mr. Wickham. What a mess she was making.
Perversely Mr. Darcy rose forefront in her mind. What would he think if that did reach him? He would be quite angry she was sure. She shook her head. Elizabeth did not care about what Mr. Darcy thought of her. Not one bit. Truly, she did not.
Mr. Wickham’s raised eyebrow showed that he had caught what Elizabeth had said. He grinned and asked, “Let us find a table to play the games, Miss Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth smiled and accompanied him to a card table. She sat down and enjoyed herself greatly. She was indeed fond of Mr. Wickham but did not display her fondness like Lydia. She had more decorum than that.
Mr. Darcy rode over the fields and countryside of Hertfordshire trying to cool his ire before he dressed for the ball that evening being held at Netherfield. He had heard of Elizabeth’s behavior at the Phillips’ supper party and though time had passed, he found he could not think of anything else except what she had said regarding Wickham. That she had missed him.
No one, not even his friend Mr. Bingley, knew all the details of why he hated that man. No one would know what Wickham had done to his younger sister for he still hoped that Georgiana would marry Mr. Bingley. He was a kind gentleman and perfect for his shy sister. It would never happen though if anyone found out what had almost happened the year before with that scoundrel Wickham.
And now Elizabeth was fawning over Wickham. Damn and blast! He nudged his horse faster as they jumped over a large tree trunk and continued to gallop over the fields. He was being reckless but at the moment he did not care. He had to let something distract him so he could get a rest from imagining her brandy colored eyes, her full perfect mouth, her womanly figure. Every woman he saw he compared to Elizabeth.
Mr. Darcy slowed his horse to a canter and turned back to Netherfield. He would have time for a hot bath, a quick bite and then dress for the ball. How would Elizabeth greet him? Would she arch her eyebrow with an arrogant tilt to her head? He felt his breeches tighten as he imagined that very look upon her countenance. She was an opinionated, high spirited woman, and he loved it.
The ball had opened, and the Bingleys were in the receiving line. Mr. Darcy pretended to be calm and in complete control as he waited in the sitting room for the Bingleys to open the ball. He did not want to wait in the ballroom itself, he had little desire to be accosted by Sir Lucas. He heard the screeching voice of a woman and the left side of his lips tilted upward. That voice could only belong to Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth would soon be down the receiving line. He tried to not notice how he had sighed and relaxed fully into his chair. He had not been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a family so decidedly beneath him. Not at all.