Visitors aren't often permitted to the manor in Pemberley, unless her brother welcomes them.
Georgiana hears it through a door before sunrise, as a cook and a steward arrange the linens and trays for her breakfast, that Fitzwilliam invited a common family over. By mid-afternoon, she comes down with a low, uncomfortable fever, burning, encouraged by her physician and brother to rest, remain out of sight.
There's so much noisy bustle across the manor.
Georgiana bites her lower lip, spiriting herself to one of the parlor-rooms without being caught. It's so dreary to have been left on her own.
She primly seats herself down, tucking her ankles and then untucking, focusing on the notes pouring out of the grand, elegant piano, as her fingers sway lightly across the black-and-white, polished keys.
It's more instinct than talent, and yet still, Georgiana hears a soft, eager clapping. She startles, turning to face another older girl.
Dark, shiny curls and a buttery-yellow, laced bonnet. There's a scatter of freckles on fair skin.
"You play so well, Miss Darcy," the girl trills out, fluttering her long, pretty eyelashes. "Forgive my boldness, but the finest musicians cannot hold a candle to the light of your accomplishments."
Georgiana's already flushed cheeks darken. She opens her mouth, in a timid, mortified silence, before uttering, "H-How very kind of you to say…"
"Catherine." The older girl's smile feels amiable and generous, and reveals her crooked, freshly scrubbed teeth. "Kitty, if it so pleases you. Only my friends may refer to me so affectionately."
Oh dear, how could anyone like her be so…
Honest-hearted? Enchanting upon first glance?
"They must be very fortunate indeed," Georgiana whispers, slipping on her gloves and folding her hands modestly to her dress. "I did not welcome you to my home personally. I do apologise for it. I was bid to… stay away."
Kitty nods, frowning and rising from her chair.
"Your fever," she says understandingly, coming forward and it feels like Georgiana's heart may race out of her chest, like a wild, untamed palfrey.
Kitty's hand lays upon her own breast gently, thoughtfully, expressing deeper meaning.
"My family and myself wish to see you in the highest of spirits and health as soon as it allows," she says, her dark eyes smiling and bright with unabashed liveliness. She bows her head politely.
Georgiana blinks and exhales softly in wonder, twisting her willowy, gloved fingers in her lap.
"You may… address me as Georgiana. When we are alone," she murmurs, wide-eyed at her own declaration. Fitzwilliam would be appalled by her behaviour, but… Kitty's smile blossoms like a wildflower.
"To be allowed such a privilege… 'tis no greater joy in my heart," Kitty tells her, gasping and pressing her hands to her mouth, laughing.
There's no cure for a fever, Georgiana realises, or a bewitching from a lovely, young girl.
Pride and Prejudice isn't mine. Oh my gosh I hope I got their voices down and I'm kind of in love with the ship now and ahhh any thoughts/comments appreciated!