A Health and Relaxation Retreat
DISCLAIMER: I don't own, well, pretty much anything you read about in the chapter. Not even Pemberley, though I did convert it into something else :) That being said- I hope you enjoy my first attempt at Pride and Prejudice Fanfiction.
Elizabeth stepped out of the cab and, after pulling off her sunglasses, glanced around at her surroundings. The sun was so bright it was making her drowsy. It was a hot, humid day and the first thing she wanted to do on such a long trip was take a shower, pull out her shorts and tank top and go to sleep. In that order.
"That's twenty-two fifty." The cabbie called her out of her reverie. Elizabeth replaced her sunglasses and turned back to the driver.
"Keep the change." She handed him some bills and struggled to get her suitcase out of the car.
The cabbie, after glancing at the generous tip she had given him said, "Oh hey, you need help with that?"
Elizabeth smiled to herself and told him she had it. There were three reasons she had given him more tip than he deserved. One, because he didn't try and talk to her; Two, because he had taken one look at her torn jeans and Peal Jam t-shirt and assumed she couldn't give a good tip; and three because, well, he didn't recognize her, did he?
"Ms. Bennet?" an older woman opened the door before Lizzy had reached it.
"Hi- Mrs. Reynolds?" Lizzy asked with a smile, once again removing her sunglasses.
"That's me. Come on in out of that heat. Can I give you a hand with that?" she gestured towards Lizzys bag.
"I have it, thanks. It's not as heavy as it looks." Lizzy assured her.
"Well, I'll show you to your room." Mrs. Reynolds said pleasantly.
On the way she pointed out things like the dining area, the way to the entertainment room, the small movie theatre. As they passed it, Elizabeth asked what kinds of movies they played and the conversation led on to what they thought of this recent movie and how did the other one think that actor was. Lizzy instant took a liking to Mrs. Reynolds.
"Here we are. Now, here's a program off all the activities that are going on, if you feel so inclined. The television is here, or if you're in a social mood, you can go to the entertainment room to watch with the other guests. There's also pool, racquetball, and a gym. The beach is always available, but the lifeguard goes off duty at sunset." Mrs. Reynolds explained.
"Thanks you so much for your help." Lizzy said sincerely after listening avidly.
"Not at all. If you have any questions, just dial 123 on the phone and you'll get the front desk. You'll want to rest after such a long trip, so unless you need anything else, I'll leave you to it."
"Thank you again, Mrs. Reynolds." Lizzy said before the older woman stepped out, smiling and wondering how such a sweet girl could have such a wild reputation.
Lizzy was indeed exhausted, but, after shoving her oversized suitcase off her bed, she found she couldn't sit still long enough to rest. After sitting through the plane ride, then the long cab ride, she felt she had to move.
She sighed and decided to unpack her clothes. After putting them all away, she plugged her laptop in and turned it on. While she waited for it to boot up, she walked to the window to take in the view. Even in her semi-foul mood, Elizabeth couldn't help but admit it was breathtaking.
Her view, as requested, was mostly of the sea. She could see a small island about a mile out, as well as sail boats here and there. The water was calm today, barely a ripple, and it was a light green color. The sun was just starting to set, and Elizabeth knew that most people would be packing up to head back to the retreat.
On an impulse, she stripped her clothes off and changed into a simple blue one-piece she'd brought. While she plucked out a throw-over from her newly put away clothes, she glanced at her laptop and decided to check her mail before she left.
After skimming through her new messages, her eye caught a name she was looking for and opened it.
I miss you already. It's so quiet here without you and no, Lizzy, that's not a good thing. I never thought I'd miss your loud music, or how you would pace because you could never sit still, but here I am. It's sometimes so quiet at night that I go into your room and turn your CD player on just so I can get some sleep.
I hope your trip went okay, and that you arrived safely. Don't sulk in your room too much either, or I will tell the manager to pull you out and make you have fun. Though, if I know you, you're already swimming at the beach. And don't spend you whole time worrying about me, either. I'm doing so much better, and Charles is helping a lot.
Go have fun, Busy Lizzy, for me. I want to hear good things when I talk to you again. And try and get some sleep, okay?
Your loving big sister,
Elizabeth smiled as she read and reread the email Jane sent. Deciding to wait until she came back from swimming to answer, she shut down her laptop and headed out.
Just as she had guessed, the beach was practically deserted when Lizzy arrived. A ways down toward her right she could see a couple watching the sun set and closer to her left Lizzy saw a man who looked like he had fallen asleep on a lawn chair. While lying her towel out she idly wondered how long he had been there and suspected he would be sporting a killer sunburn when he finally woke up.
After discarding her throw over, she made her way into the water, taking notice to look for signs of sea lice or undertow. But, to her satisfaction there was no seaweed on the shore, and the sand didn't get steep anywhere on it's decent to meet the water.
Elizabeth sighed happily as she walked into the water. It wasn't warm, but being under the hot sun all day had taken the chill off and she was able to get right in without waiting to adjust. As she swam out until she couldn't touch she finally had to admit to herself Jane had been right to insist she come here.
Born a Florida baby, one of the places Lizzy felt the happiest was in the ocean. She never lived further then a ten-minute drive to the beach until she was eighteen, and Lizzy missed being able to take comfort in the sea. Her frequent fights with her mother as a teenager often drove her to need the calming effect going to the beach had on her.
"This is the life." Elizabeth murmured to herself with a sigh. Determined to sleep sound tonight, she swam up and down the beach until she finally felt she worked off all her excess energy. She didn't work herself into exhaustion, knowing that as soon as she stepped out of the water and gravity took over, she would find herself more tired than she felt in the water.
Feeling refreshed and ready for a long overdue nap, Lizzy collected her things and made her way back to the retreat. By now the sun had completely set and Lizzy took note that the only lights around, besides some scattered boats on the water, were the ones from the retreat.
As she concentrated on finding a path back to the retreat, and making a mental note to bring a flashlight next time, Lizzy didn't notice a man walked up from behind her until he said. "Evening."
After jumping a mile, Lizzy turned to see that Sun-Burn Guy was the guilty culprit.
"What's the matter with you?" She asked, heart still beating wildly.
"I'm sorry." He said, looking it. "I thought you saw me."
"Yeah, Sun-Burn Guy. I thought you'd left already." Lizzy replied as she took in his appearance. She saw that he wasn't, as she'd originally guessed, actually sun burned. He had a nice tan, in fact. It went well with his dark, slightly curly hair, which in turn matched his almost black eyes. He was also tall and muscled, but not overly so. 'Probably has ten personal trainers and nothing to do but lay around the beach all day.' Lizzy told herself with a mental smile.
"Sun burn guy?" he questioned, suppressing a smile. Lizzy couldn't help noticing that he had a nice voice to go along with his nice looks. It was soft and powerful at the same time, and had a kind of accent she couldn't place.
"Don't try and change the subject- you know, your not even supposed to be talking to me." Lizzy informed him as she continued back to the retreat. In respect to all of the guest's privacy, one of the rules of Pemberley Waters was that no one, outside of the social rooms, approaches anyone.
"I wasn't talking, I just said 'Evening.' I was being polite." He defended himself with that same small smile.
"Polite, huh? You nearly gave me a heart attack." She told him.
"I am sorry about that. I really didn't mean to scare you." He repeated.
"Ah, it's okay. I'm probably just a little jumpy, anyway." She said just as they reached the building.
"Well, I guess you're at the right place then." He replied, following her down the corridors.
"I guess." She said distractedly, wondering when he was going to leave her alone. She wasn't sure she liked the idea of him following her back to her room and thus knowing where she was staying. He seemed to get the hint and stopped at the edge of the grand staircase that would lead up to the suites.
"Did you have dinner yet?" He asked casually.
"No, I just arrived, actually. But all I'm thinking of is long, long nap." She said with a smile.
"A deserved one, at that. You must be exhausted from all that swimming." He said, returning her smile.
"A little." She paused. "So wait- you were watching me?" She asked, eyebrow raised.
"Er, no… I mean, yes but only because, with how much you were swimming, I was afraid I would have jump in soon to play lifeguard." He said, eyes twinkling.
"Ah, I see. So it was with pure intentions that you snuck up behind me and followed me back here- you wanted to make sure I wasn't going to faint?" she deadpanned, but he must have seen her hidden smile because he laughed.
"Exactly." He said as if she just caught on.
"And you asked me to dinner because… what? You didn't want me fainting from lack of food?" she asked keeping a straight face.
"Asked you to dinner? I didn't ask you to dinner- I just asked if you had eaten. You know, you might want to check your ego." He grinned at her when she conceded with a smile.
"But since you want to have dinner with me so badly, and since I haven't eaten since lunch, I guess I can accept." He said nonchalantly, but watched her closely for hear reply.
Lizzy hesitated. She really came here to be alone, away from everything and everyone. But he didn't give any indication that he knew who she was. Of course, spoiled rich kids were so not her cup of tea. Though, to be fair, he seemed nice enough. In the end, though, exhaustion won out.
"Sorry- I really am beat. All I can think of is my nice warm bed." She said with an apologetic smile.
"Of course. I've been so rude to keep you here when you're clearly tired. Maybe I'll see you around tomorrow?" he asked. He looked disappointed, but didn't seem to take it personally.
She smiled. "Probably." And started up the stairs.
"Hey wait- I never got your name." He called after her, but hadn't raised his voice.
Again she hesitated. "Elizabeth." She said finally, turning around.
"Elizabeth…?" he questioned and she smiled, not elaborating. "Well, Elizabeth. My name's Will."
"Will…?" She questioned back, smiling; and he, in turn said nothing. She nodded, satisfied. "Well, Will. Have a good night, then" She said with a smile.
"You, too. Elizabeth." He said, and then watched as she turned and continued up the stairs.