Marriage Contracts and Other Headaches
Summery: What if old friends George Darcy and Thomas Bennet wrote marriage contract between their children?
Disclaimer: I don't own pride & prejudice. It's all Jane Austen's
Rated T just incase.
Thomas Bennet hated town.
The people, the noise, the people, the smell, the people...
This line of thought was definitely not helping his headache. He knew this was his last chance. The last time he'd be able to put aside enough money to invest in hopes of increasing his girls dowery before they were of marrying age.
The last time, and it failed. Just like all the others before. Thomas Bennet never thought of himself as a great business man but he had hoped that at least one of these ventures would make it. He was wrong.
As he sat there in the gentlemen's club nursing his scotch and scowling, a familiar voice rang out.
"Bennet old boy how have you been?"
The voice belonged to one George Darcy. Thomas' old friend from Cambridge. If one people could brighten his sprits it was George Darcy.
"Darcy my good man how are? How have you been?"
"Quite well my old friend, quite well" replied George.
But from the look of it George Darcy was anything but well. His skin had a gray tint to it and his eyes had lost most of the joyfulness they once held. He has been slowly dying since he lost his beloved wife Anne 10 years ago and it looked like he was nearing the end. But not wanting to draw attention to that fact, Thomas chose another line of questioning that he knew George would enjoy.
"How is that son of yours? Last time we spoke I believe he was just entering Cambridge."
"Finished! Top of his class. I tell you I couldn't be prouder of him. He'll make an excellent master of Pemberley" George continued his praise of his children. "And Georgiana could be more sweet. At 10 years old she already possess all of her mother's beauty. I tell you Bennet, she's bound to break many hearts"
"I can't believe it's been that long. It seems only yesterday we were discussing how Lydia and Georgiana had just learned how to make yarn dolls" chuckled Thomas.
"It does indeed. How are Fanny and the girl." George inquired
"Oh they're all as silly as ever, although my Lizzy does have a bit more sense about her then the rest" answered Thomas.
George Darcy laughed hardily at this and proceeded to ask Thomas what brought him to town with his intense dislike of it.
Thomas Bennet sadly smiled and explained his troubles to his good friend.
"My word Bennet. Is it really as bad as all that?"
"I'm afraid so" replied Thomas. "My estate is entail to some idiot cousin of mine which leaves my girls with 1,000 pounds a piece once their mother passes on."
Thomas Bennet was not a man to air his grievances to others but he always found an understand and reasonable ear in George Darcy.
"And you're sure this investment is a bust?" Asked George.
"Most assuredly." answered Thomas.
They sat in silence for several minutes before George Darcy's face lit up.
"Bennet old boy why don't I just give you 5,000 pound to invest?" beamed George.
Thomas sigh, "I appreciate your offer my friend but I can't accept. My pride won't allow it."
"Then we'll consider it a lone and you can pay me back!" tried George once again. And again Thomas answered in the negative.
"Sorry Darcy but I'd never be able to pay that sum back."
They once again lapsed into silence.
Suddenly George slam his hand down on the arm of his chair startling his companion.
"I've got it! A marriage contract!" said George.
Thomas' brow furrowed. "Sorry good friend but I just don't wish that for any of my daughters."
"Neither do I for my children old chum, despite what my sister-in-law says" murmured George.
Thomas went to say something when George cut him off. "Give me a chance to explain Bennet. We will write a marriage contact between my boy and your eldest with a clause that states anyone wishes to get out of the contract can present a buy out of 5,000 pounds."
"I still don't understand.." started Thomas but George raised his hand to stop his friend so he could continue.
"My son Fitzwilliam is already one of the most sought after bachelors of the ton. I mean why wouldn't he be? He has my good looks"
Thomas raised an eyebrow amusedly.
"Think about it Thomas," continued George, "with all these women throwing themselves at him I have no doubt he'll be married quite soon. We'll set the age for him to marry your daughter at 28. There's no way by that time Fitzwilliam won't be married. Then I quietly buy out the marriage contract and no one's the wiser!"
Thomas Bennet leaned back in his chair in deep contemplation.
"I'm not sure..." said Thomas still having scruples over the idea.
"Come now man. I want to do this for you and your girls." George sincerely said as he grabbed his friends arm.
Thomas looked at his friend for a moment while he contemplated the plan and finally smiling he said jokingly, "I can't wait to tell Fanny her grandchildren will be living at Pemberley, one of the finest homes in the country"
At this George Darcy threw back is head in laughter joking in a similar way about them being in-laws.
After a couple more drinks and stories to catch up, they agreed to meet the next day at Darcy's solicitor's office.
Next day at the solicitor's office George Darcy and Thomas Bennet set about the business of uniting their children even if only for a brief while.
"I'm having second thoughts" said Thomas
"Not this again Bennet" sighed George.
"No no. I'm still in agreement for the contract but I think it best to put in my Lizzie instead of Jane since it's not going to matter anyways" Thomas said hesitantly.
"Of course" replied George, "but do you mind if I ask why?"
"Most certainly my friend" started Thomas. "As you have heard me say often that my Fanny quite enjoys spending more then she ought. I fear if, for some unknown reason, she finds out and the money is given to Jane, well I'm afraid my Jane's sweet nature will cave into the demands of her mother for new dress and bonnets to catch a husband instead of a dowery. Where Lizzie will put her foot down, probably invest it. Make a fortune and help all her sisters."
"Sounds like a wise investment to me" George said smiling.
"Well I was bound to get one right sooner or later" joked Thomas.
"Let us shake on."
They did so unknowingly sealing the fates of their children.
SIX MONTHS LATER
Thomas Bennet sat in his study sadly reading the announcement in the paper:
GEORGE DARCY WAS LAID TO REST ON MONDAY FOLLOWING A LONG STANDING ILLNESS. HE IS PRECEDED IN DEATH BY HIS LOVING WIFE ANN DARCY. HE LEAVES BEHIND HIS SON, FITZWILLIAM DARCY, AND HIS DAUGHTER, GEORGIANA DARCY. GEORGE DARCY WAS KNOW FOR HIS KINDNESS AND CHARITY...
Thomas couldn't read any more. It hurt to much to think of one of the few people he thought well of was gone.
However a small part of him was relieved even in his grief. He always felt guilty about the marriage contract and was glad it would never come to light. He didn't want his friends money, now more so than ever. He just wanted his good friend back.
Thomas sighed folding up the contract with the newspaper and storing it in the back of his desk to be forgotten.
The only problem being; things like that rarely stay forgotten.
AN: Hey everyone. This is my first fanfiction story so please be gentle. I'm super nervous. I'm a huge fan of the book and mini series but not an expert on regency era or marriage contracts. Story is just for fun. The idea's been bouncing around my head forever so thought I might give it a shot. Hope you enjoy.