Shine

By Luna

A truth universally acknowledged

AN: Rated T for drug related themes and some romantic fluffy bits


The inside of her eyelids were glowing red and the sun was so warm on her face as Beth floated on her inner-tube in the pool. She opened her eyes and tilted her head back to look up; the sky was so blue. It stretched endlessly, filling her whole field of vision. There were no clouds, and the sun beat down on her in steady rays. She could feel its heat on her skin, and she could smell the chlorine and the sunscreen. The cool water felt nice on her toes as she dipped them in. It was wonderful, and she should have been happy, yet she was bored, so terribly bored.

Beth had the vague idea that there should be something more to life. She wasn't unhappy, but she couldn't say she was particularly happy either. The monotony of the summer was killing her. She craved excitement and adventure, and unfortunately neither was particularly prevalent.

She had graduated from high school only a week earlier, and she had basked in the excitement of graduation parties and receiving news from the colleges she'd applied to, but after she was accepted to the college she wanted, the thrill had rapidly worn off.

She could still remember vividly walking out to the mailbox early one morning to find the letter, the one she had been waiting for from Pemberley University telling her she was accepted. Pemberley was one of the most prestigious schools on the East coast, right up there with Harvard and Yale, and Beth's fingers had shook as she ripped open the letter.

She smiled now, running her hands through the pool water. It still gave her a thrill of pleasure to know that she would be attending Pemberley, but she had three long months before her orientation days began. The summer stretched endlessly before her, and for once, she wasn't pleased by the idea.

Beth slid off the tube into the cool water, relishing the feel of it on her skin. She eyed her younger sister mischievously. Lydia was floating on another inner-tube a few feet away, asleep, and in Beth's opinion, she was just begging to be messed with.

Beth had never had a good relationship with Lydia. They had very little in common. As Lydia was so often irksome and annoying, Beth couldn't resist the opportunity she was presented with. She waded over quietly to where Lydia was floating and unceremoniously flipped her off the tube into the water.

Beth laughed as Lydia splashed around, sputtering.

"What the hell?" Lydia shrieked, wiping the water from her eyes. "I was totally having the best dream. I can't believe you."

"You have to admit, Lydia," Jane said calmly, swimming over. "That was pretty funny."

Beth smiled at her older sister lovingly. As always, Beth was struck by her beauty. Jane had delicate features: an oval face, a soft smile, a pointed chin. Her short blond hair shone like old gold in the sun. Jane caught Beth's gaze and smiled lightly, her dark blue eyes glinting in the sunlight, and Beth had to smile back. Jane had a goodness, a gentleness that radiated from her that Beth had never been able to resist.

Beth was very different from her sister both in temperament and coloring. They shared similar facial features, but Beth had the same coloring as her father. Her dark brown hair shimmered in the sunlight, and her eyes were only a shade lighter.

The only shadow hanging over Beth's arrival at Pemberley University was the fact that Jane was a sophomore at one of the local colleges. For the first time, Beth was going to be separated from her sister.

"Yeah, well," Lydia started, lamely in response to Jane. "How about this--" Mid-sentence she sent a huge wave of water flying at Beth and Jane, which started a full-fledged war of splashing.

The fight went on for some time, and only ended once Lydia, sopping wet, was cornered by her older sisters and conceded defeat. Tired from the action, the Bennet girls all climbed back onto their respective inner-tubes. Although the splashing had been a fun, distracting diversion, it really was too hot to do anything except float.

Spinning once again, staring up into the blue, Beth sighed. She felt so listless and trapped. To be sure, she lived a life of luxury, but anywhere is a prison if nothing ever happens. She only wanted some excitement; something or someone to sweep the boredom away.

Almost like an answer, a shadow appeared across her stomach. She shielded her eyes and looked up at the figure looming before her.

"Hey mamacita. You're blocking my sun."

Beth's mother, Fanny, gave a long, patient sigh. She always seemed to have to collect herself before she talked to her two youngest daughters. She placed her hands on her hips and gave her daughter a stern look. "Beth, I need a favor. You too, Jane. We have new neighbors moving in across the street today, and I would like for you both to go over to the Bingley's and introduce yourselves to them."

Beth snorted and pushed on the side of the pool with her foot so that her mother spun out of her view. "The Bingleys? As in the Bingleys?"

Beth had seen Mr. and Mrs. Bingley's picture on the cover of the magazines that her mother always seemed to be reading. She hadn't known that they were moving, especially not here. The Bennets lived in a nice, gated community in Maryland, but Beth had never expected that anyone famous would ever be their neighbors.

Fanny huffed in exasperation. "Why else would I send you over? They've got a son and a daughter around your age. Just make nice with them, and then hopefully the whole family will get invited to any parties they throw this summer."

Beth rolled her eyes as her mother's real motives became apparent. Fanny was nothing if not a social climber, and this was the perfect opportunity for her to move up a few rungs. She knew how much her mother would love to be able to drop the Bingley's name in conversation.

Instantly there was a large amount of splashing and pushing in the pool from Lydia.

"Mom, I want to go! How come Jane and Beth get to go? It's not fair. I should get to go, too. Please?" she asked, drawing out the E sound. Lydia was able to whine at a decibel unparalleled by anything.

"You're giving me a horrible headache. The answer is no Lydia; you'll simply have to wait until they throw a party. If we even get invited, and by the rate at which Beth and Jane are moving it looks like that's never going to happen!"

"I'm sorry, we're moving now. We'll get ready as fast as we can," said Jane, trying to appease their mother.

"If you'd have sent me," said Lydia, "I would have been there already." With that she sank indignantly back into the water. Life was so unfair.

Beth bit back on an uncouth response to her. She had a strange feeling that she was getting her wish.