nebula: thanks!

TriGemini: I'll be the first to admit that I don't write confrontational scenes well, so the fireworks might be a little disappointing. Sorry. I'll do my best, though, and any advice you have I'd like to hear.

meri24: Welcome to the story, and thanks! It's such a major compliment to know that I'm doing P&P justice.

Severus-Fan: I'm sorry! I'll try to do better from now on. Promise.

DISCLAIMER: Vans sponsored the Warped Tour, not me. I have no share of Celebration, Dave Matthews, Dido, or any of the above's songs. Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's. Sprite belongs to the Coca-Cola Company. I don't know if there's an I-12 in Massachusetts, and—as far as I know—there's no such band as Living Legend, and so they were definitely not on the Warped Tour.

CHAPTER 6

"The End of Summer A'Fair starts tomorrow morning at 10'o'clock on the main drag between Maple and First. MKW has the extreme honor of being the tune-provider for this big event, so I want to personally see every freaking one of you down there! Got it!"

Darcy rolled his eyes at the voice coming through the radio on his desk at 9:30 in the morning. Must she always be so damn forward and demanding? Ms. Bennet acted as if she owned the town just because she could invade their homes and cars from five AM to noon. He wondered just how excited she would be to know that it was he, with the help of Charlie and his sister, Caroline, who had haggled for days to get MKW to be able to DJ the festival in an attempt to get the station more publicity.

"So what do you think the big attraction this year's going to be?" the other woman on the radio asked. The producer. What was her name? Shirley? Charleen? Charlotte, that was it.

"I don't know. For those of you who didn't go last year (losers!) they had sky-divers land in on the lawn of Town Hall. Unfortunately, one of the guys got stuck in the big oak out front, so I don't think that's what they'll be doing this year."

Her laughter was a welcome sound after the acid Darcy'd encountered at her sister's coffee shop, which – in his opinion- he had not deserved.

"The big wigs who plan this stuff usually try to keep whatever they have planned a secret, so I guess that means that you'll have to come and see for yourself."

"You know, I've always meant to ask: why are you always so hyped about this thing, Lizzy?" the producer asked.

Darcy lifted his head from the report he'd been perusing to listen to the answer Ms. Bennet would give.

"First of all, I just love the festival. Simple as that." Darcy could almost see her shrug as she answered. "I love the fried food, and the games, and the face painting, and the rides they set up in the high school parking lot, and all the commotion. I just love it! And second of all, all of the money that the city makes gets put back into the city. A few years ago the proceeds went to building the new park on Lincoln. Two years ago they gave the city maintenance workers a raise. You know, those people who fix the pot holes, and put plants in the flowerboxes on top of the new light posts they put in (proceeds of last years festival), and the people who clean up the trash we leave for them after the festival. Yeah, those maintenance people. So, all of the money you spend this weekend gets used to make Merriton a cleaner, prettier place to live. And you have lots of fun. I mean, how many other things can you say that about?"

Wow. Good answer.

"Whoo! That was quite the speech I just gave! I hope it inspired some of you who weren't sure whether or not you were going to go to get up off your rears and come party with us. And now, just to put you in the party mood, here's Celebration."

The slow strains at the beginning of the rock ballad started, but Darcy was distracted by what he had heard just a moment before. He was still staring off into space when Caroline Bingly walked into his office with the final draft of the new logo for the radio station. Dave Matthews was just fading out of Gravedigger.

"Darcy?" No response. Caroline slid over to the big maple wood desk and knocked. "Darcy, darling, where is your mind wandering?"

He snapped back into his own body at her knocking, just in time to catch her use of the word "darling." It made the hairs on the back of his neck raise up. "Sorry, Caroline. What was it you needed?"

"I just came to get your approval of the new logo." She turned the poster-sized print around to reveal a lemon yellow diamond—with curved points—around an interior lime green diamond. The caps that read MKW 101.3 were the same yellow as the outer diamond. It looked electric, and was vaguely frightening. "Well, what do you think?"

"It's very bright."

Caroline's dark pink lipsticked mouth pursed, and she lifted one thin brow. "Well, Darcy, research shows that—"

He took a deep breath through his knows, unnoticed by the woman preaching at him. "Caroline, you didn't let me finish."

Caroline drew her words up short, still tweaked but trying not to show it.

"What I meant was that its brightness is sure to get it noticed. It will draw attention to itself, and to our station."

As Darcy spoke, Caroline's demeanor eased until she returned to her usual self-pleased attitude. "So I have your go-ahead on the release?"

"Of course."

"We were hoping to show the new logo at that thing this weekend. The Summer Fair, or something."

"End of Summer A'Fair," Darcy corrected, listening as Ms. Bennet's voice drifted out of his radio once again.

"Oh, god! You're not actually listening to it, are you!" Caroline screeched with intention of a teasing tone.

"I assumed that since I owned the station, I ought to listen to it," he answered. "If nothing else, it's one more number on the listener pole."

Both stopped talking to listen to the news Elizabeth Bennet shared with her audience. "…on I-12, so be careful if you're on the road. And speaking of being on the road, did anybody go to see the Warped Tour when it was in Boston? If you did, you heard these guys." A new song played in the background, heavy on the guitar and bass. "That's Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Living Legend, and they'll be coming to the area this fall. Maybe we'll be able to offer you guys some tickets. Maybe. Maybe maybe. Keep tuned in and find out. You're listening to Mornings with Lizzy Bennet, on MKW 101.3, and now here's Dido, with White Flag."

Caroline snorted. "You were so right. She's an ill-educated loudmouth. Such a shame she's so popular with the listeners. I really don't know why. If she wasn't, we could just fire her."

"Caroline, one of the reasons we got this station is because we promised the previous owner that we wouldn't fire anyone simply because we could," Darcy reminded her. "Not to mention, if we did fire her, we would be giving Ms. Bennet exactly the treatment she expected. How would that make us—your brother, in particular—look?"

Caroline looked down at the Persian carpet on the floor, but Darcy caught a glimpse of her mouth working in annoyance before she looked back up at him, her confident smile back in place. "Well, exactly, Darcy. That's what I meant. Really, you should know me better than that."

"Of course. Now, if you don't mind, I need to finish this report, and then we have a meeting at eleven."

"Alright. I'll see you later, then."

He didn't bother looking up when Caroline stalked out of the room on kitty heels and shut the door behind her with a petulant little snick.

&&&&

That evening, Mrs. Bennet invited her two oldest daughters home for a family dinner. "It's been so long since we were all together. Can't the two of you squeeze a little family time into your busy schedules before you go out to the clubs or whatever you do on Friday nights?" Patricia Bennet was mistress of the guilt trip, and so Lizzy and Jane had dinner with their folks. Which was probably a good thing, since it gave Lizzy the opportunity to share her disgust at the new MKW logo.

"It looks like someone ran electricity through Sprite! Lemon-lime mutation!"

"Lizzy, stop being so dramatic," her father told her.

"I'm not dramatic, Dad; I'm shocked and disturbed." Elizabeth stabbed a piece of grilled chicken with her fork. "It's like some weird YEILD sign. I liked the old logo."

Pat cleared her throat and turned to her youngest. "So, Lydia, how was your day?"

"I went down to where they're setting up for the festival—oh, and Kitty was there, too—and there were these guys there, and they were way cute, and one of them was in this so-tight T-shirt that said 'National Guard' on it, and you know how there's that National Guard barracks outside of town? Well, they said they were from there, and then they asked what was going on with the booths and stuff, so we told them and made them promise to come tomorrow! Isn't that great?"

"What were their names?" Jane asked, directing the question at the left out Kitty.

Before the other girl could get her mouth more than halfway open to answer, though, Lydia jumped in. "The one was named Dennis Palmer, and I asked if I could call him Denny, and he said he didn't mind, and the other one was…um…"

"George," Kitty leapt into the hanging space. "His name was George Wickham. He was older, in his late 'twenties, I think."

"Don't be such an attention hog, Kitty, I swear," Lydia snapped. "I would have thought of his name in a minute."

"Girls, I will not have you fighting at the table," Mrs. Bennet warned, but was, as usual, incapable of following through with.

"No you wouldn't have, Lydia. You were so into Denny you hardly noticed George was there at all."

"That's not true! I remember that he said I had cute sandles."

"Tsh! Whatever."

Lydia stuck her tongue out at her sister.

"How was your day, Jane?" Mr. Bennet moved the subject into safer waters.

"Mine was good." Jane smiled. "I was kind of busy today. I'm still trying to find some good recipes to make food for the party at Netherfield I'm catering next week."

Mrs. Bennet turned her head, her romance-radar homing in on her eldest's life. "That's right. You were talking to that guy Charlie that your sister scared away."

"Mom!"

"And, how are things going with him?" Patricia asked.

"Well," Jane colored slightly, "he was in the café today, and we talked. He said he planned on going to the festival tomorrow. I told him I hoped to see him there." She shrugged. "Maybe I will."

Four women at the table "Ooohed!" at Jane. The fifth was busy reading John Locke. Mr. Bennet turned to Mary. "How was your day?"

"Fine."

"Lovely," he returned. "I'm going to go to my office. Send me my dessert in there, if you please."

"Robert!"

Mr. Bennet ignored her, and reached for his glasses in his shirt pocket.

"I'll bring you in some icecream later, Dad," Elizabeth promised.

"Thank you, Lizzy. Oh!" Mr. Bennet turned around, his glasses in hand, nearly to his face. "I almost forgot. I told Colin about the End of Summer A'Fair, and he said he'd be there. He told me to tell you, Lizzy, that he can't wait to see you again."

"Dad!"

Mr. Bennet chuckled as he turned back to his office.

"Just how did he get my phone number, anyway? Dad! You can forget that icecream!"

"Elizabeth," her mother called her attention. "You didn't tell me you were seeing your father's business partner! Why don't you ever tell me these things? I swear, you would probably get married and not tell me until I forced you to come home for Christmas one year."

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

POST-A/N: I thought that was a good place to leave off. Again, sorry it took so long. I know, I know. I'm a horrible person. I feel your pain.