"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," Elizabeth read out loud solemnly as she stepped off the UC Santa Cruz bus. She then made a face and said, "What kind of crap is this?" As she walked, she began to flip through the book rapidly. She grimaced more, her greenish hazel eyes dashing back and forth across the pages. Her long, dark brown hair moved slightly in the warm summer breeze. She wore a light grey, spaghetti strapped tank-top with baggy, dark green cargoes. In contrast to her simple, rather raggedy outfit, the teenager wore black elegant, lace up boots that mostly hid under the pants and had the heels a couple inches high. Hanging from the arm that held the book in question was a plastic bag the proudly bore the UCSC name and a cartoony, yellow slug. The bag itself contained more literature books and textbooks.
"I thought you liked stories like that, with all the mushy lovey-dovey junk in it," Jane said as she stepped off the bus after her sister. Her fair, blonde shoulder-length hair was half down, the other half tied up in a pony-tail. She had cool, dark blue eyes that always seemed to be deeply in thought. A navy blue sundress with a tiny pink flower pattern trimming the skirt fit her form nicely and fell to the length of her knees. Matching sandals that were scruffy from use were strapped around her bare feet. She carried a matching bag to Elizabeth's, as they had just returned from the on-campus bookstore. After a second, she added, "Especially the ones set in the past, I mean Pride and Prejudice was written almost 200 years ago, that's pretty old."
Shaking her head, Elizabeth sighed. "Jane, there's a difference between a story being based in a past time period and it being written in that time period. I mean, listen to this: Affectation of candour is common enough; one meets with it everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design" She shook her head again, snapping the book shut and hastily threw it back into her bag. "I need an Oxford Dictionary just to stumble my way through that one line, think of how much fun the entire book will be. No one talks like that anymore. Besides, all these old books are just dripping with messed-up junk about gender roles, the men being testosterone-y and the women hiding behind fans, going 'tee-hee.'" Her tone was getting huffy and annoyed as she continued. "I like stories with more substance then that. Oh sure, the men can still be men, but the women have brains and there's more dialogue than 'My hero!' You know, they have conversations, they flirt, they have confrontations... witty banter..." She trailed off, her irritated demeanor having vanished and instead a small smile playing across her face as her mind went else where.
Jane rolled her eyes as she said, "I still can't see how you managed to be the romantic one of the two of us, Liz, and still have such a flighty temper."
"I don't have a temper," the brunette answered calmly as the two walked side by side, "I'm just passionate."
"Well, Miss Passionate, you have to read the book for your literature class anyway, so you at least should give it a try. Maybe it's not as bad as you think it will be. Not all books are the same you know, you could like it."
"Eh, I think I'll just buy the cliff notes. Maybe actually take notes in class, oh the horror. I'd prefer not to fail a class that's part of my major. Heaven forbid I actually do the work though," Elizabeth smirked. The path they had taken from the bus stop had now just led them to Porter College, one of the ten community dorms on campus. They walked through a quad surrounded by class buildings and decorated with several shoots of bamboo. In the middle sat a serene fountain with a pool filled with an array of koi fish swimming about. The girls paid little mind to the scene, as they had already taken it in when they had first arrived at the college a little under two hours ago. They had more preparation to do for the upcoming school days anyway, so they did not want to slow down. That little plaza was there last moment of quiet as they made they're way deeper into Porter.
The campus was alive and chaotic with students carrying boxes and parents emptying cars. There were some returning students who had volunteered to direct this Move-In Day dressed in orange and yellow vests, shouting at the top of their lungs and trying to bring order to the frenzy around them. One could only guess that they did not know what they were in for when they signed-up. Sophomores were yelling at freshmen and parents at the supervisors. Students ran free through the quad, laughing out loud, happy to finally be free of parental control. Others sat next to their windows inside their rooms, waiting for the opportunity to moon any unsuspecting newcomer that passed by too closely. Elizabeth and Jane walked quickly through the mess, dodging footballs and working their way around piles of bags and boxes.
They moved away from the dorm buildings towards the apartments, but unfortunately the pandemonium followed them. It was slightly lessened, however, for most of the students in the apartments were older and had already spent at least a year at the UC. They were still happy to be there, but the initial explosive delight had worn off long ago. They celebrated with a more laid-back attitude. The two finally found their building and quickly jogged up the steps to the second floor. Liz unlocked the door with her shiny, brand new key and let her sister in. "Man, I'm glad we managed to get an apartment. I'm not sure I could stand being among all that anarchy outside. Though it might have been fun..." Liz entertained a mischievous smile as she tucked a strand of hair thoughtfully behind her ear. "But no, I'm happy to be here. Get to hang out with the older kids, know all the 'hip' places to hang out without doing the research, heh."
"Don't get too excited yet, we may not end up with as many second or third years as you would hope," Jane responded as she tossed her slug bag on the floor next to the couch she comfortably slouched into. They had entered a nice, spacey living room that separated itself from the snug kitchen with nothing more than a counter. The dining all, about the same size as the kitchen, was a little further back and slowly led to a hall where the four rooms of the flat lay hidden. Two double rooms and two singles, adding up to a total of six people that could live there. The sisters were sharing a double, and were glad for it. The walls of the apartment, like their room, were yet undecorated. However, they had only moved in a couple hours ago. It was only a matter of time before colorful posters and the like filled all the blank space. As Elizabeth took a seat across from the blonde in a plush chair, Jane continued, "I wonder if any of them have even moved in yet. We were the first to arrive, place felt so empty."
As Liz opened her mouth to respond, a door banged open in the back of the apartment. The girls leaned over the arms of their chair to look down the hallway, but their curiosity was soon satisfied as a bustling, bubbly young woman came prancing out of one of the doors that led to a single room. She had curly red hair paired with a beaming set of brown eyes. She was slightly chubby, but still had a reasonably nice figure. Over her clothes she wore one of the orange and yellow vests they had seen outside. "Hi! Welcome to UC Santa Cruz! " she proclaimed cheerfully, looking the two of them over. "My name is Missy Longbourn, I'll be your R.A. for the year. I'm in charge of the entire building, but I'll actually be living in this apartment with you guys. I'm here to help out in anyway you freshmen need it, so if you're ever in a bind and need assistance, I'm the one to go to. If I'm not in my room, I'll either be in class or somewhere within Porter. You can come looking for me if you want, but usually if you just wait for a little bit, I'll be back in a short amount of time anyway." Taking in a quick breath after her introduction, she grinned widely and asked, "And what may I call you two?"
My my, lively little thing, isn't she? Elizabeth thought to herself. She exchanged an amused look with Jane that said as much before the latter responded, "Nice to meet you, Missy. I'm Jane, and this is Elizabeth."
"Liz for short. We're fraternal twin sisters and we're living in one of the doubles here," the brunette added.
"Oh, wow, fraternal twins? I knew you were related, same last name and all, but that's kind of cool! You two were lucky to get a room together, hope you don't drive each other crazy."
Elizabeth snickered, "Don't worry, we will." Jane nodded in agreement.
A grin played across Missy's lips. She then stepped closer to the two, still looking them up and down. "My, aren't you two a beautiful pair? Oh, I'm sure you'll be driving the boys here crazy in no time. I'll have to set you guys up with boyfriends, to lessen the tide of raging hormones."
"Oh, I'm not here to get a boyfriend," Jane said quickly, laughing nervously. "No, just here for an education, thank you very much. Plenty of time for boys later."
As Missy raised an eyebrow in humored disbelief, Liz remarked, "Yah yah, education is just dandy, but I won't mind if a few boys start chasing me. I plan on going to as many parties as I can handle, and Jane's coming to a few too, even if I have to drag her! It's a shame to keep beauties like us, as you put it, locked up." Jane rolled her eyes.
The R.A. let out a small giggle, "Oh, you'll find parties happening almost every second of the day here. In fact, I think there's one tonight, a college event just for the benefit of you freshmen. Maybe when I officially get off Move-In Day duty, we can head down there. Not sure exactly where it is, but my boyfriend should, he'll be coming over soon. I'm sure the other apartment mates will want to come too, so it'll be all fun and we can get to know each other!" She clapped happily.
Liz mock clapped with her, exchanging another look with her twin. "Sounds like fun. We'll be there!" Jane looked like she was going to say something, but Liz kept going without stopping. "Have the other people that are going to be living with us arrived yet? We got here a little while ago, but we didn't see anyone."
"Oh, yes, one is in her room right now. She's a freshmen too. In fact, this whole apartment is full of freshmen, you guys lucked out again! You'll get to live with people experiencing the same things as you well, except for me of course, but I'm sure you won't mind. And they're all girls, even better! But I got sidetracked, what was I... oh yah, like I said, one is here at the moment. Her name is Mary, she seems like the quiet type. Probably will keep to her room a lot with her guitar and ps2. We'll have to work on her." She nodded her head towards the back rooms, winking.
"I hope she's good with her guitar, looks like we get to look forward to hearing her practice," Jane said, her gaze following Missy's nod towards the hallway.
"And I look forward to borrowing her ps2 a lot," Liz smiled at the thought. "Mom wouldn't let me bring ours, seems studying is more important than playing video games. Such lies!"
"As for the other two girls, one of them is my boyfriend's younger sister," Missy continued, "she and the other girl will be sharing a double as well. They were here about half an hour ago, just met each other as they were moving in. They seem to really hit it off, I'm sure they'll be down for a bit of partying later."
"Sounds good, can't wait until tonight!" The brunette exclaimed. She looked over expectantly over her sister, who sighed and nodded. "Good, looks like we'll both be there."
There was a knock at the door, and Missy trotted over to it. She stood on tip-toe to look through the peephole, then let out a squeal before opening the door and throwing her arms around the guy who stepped inside. He was tall and skinny. Goofy, Liz thought, another good word to describe him. His hair was a blackish-brown mess of a fro compacted tightly to his head. His eyes were the same color and sat contently above a rather long, but thin nose. He wore an old pair of jeans, sneakers, and a tattered, green t-shirt that boasted of some forest campsite that guaranteed Big Foot sighted daily. After he greeted his apparent girlfriend, he grinned awkwardly over at the two other girls. Missy had just finished fussing over him and finally turned her gaze back to them as well. "Jane, Liz, this is my boyfriend, Luc Bennet."
"That's Mr. Bennet to you young'uns!" He waved a finger gravely at them. Missy swatted his arm.
"Ooooh, don't tease the freshmen Luc, it's not nice!"
"What teasing, I was serious! And do you young ladies know you have a curfew? Yes, 8 pm on the dot or you go to bed without supper!" Missy attempted to smack him again, but he stepped away quickly, saying hastily, "Alright, alright, geeze, I'm done for now. How you liking you're first moments of freedom?" He said breezily as he ambled over to the fridge and rummaged through what little was there.
Jane answered, "Oh, its been fun. Everyone is nice and UCSC is a beautiful college. We saw a lot of the forest and its wildlife as we walked over to the bookstore a little while ago. We just got back from there."
Luc pulled out a coke and popped it open. He raised the can towards them as he said, "You know, there's a party at the quad in front of that bookstore tonight. You should head down there, meet a few new faces."
"That's where the party is, I knew you would know," Missy piped up. "Oh, Luc we should go too! It'll be fun and the girls are new on campus, they don't know where anything is, we need to show them."
The gangling teenage boy snorted into his soda. "What do you mean, they don't know where it is? They just said they just came from there, I'm sure they'll be able to find they're way back just fine. I thought we'd just hang out tonight, I'm getting too slow to party in my old age."
"What old age, you silly man?" Missy made to hit him again, but then hugged him instead. "Please, can we go?"
"Oh, alright," he conceded and Missy clapped again, bouncing a little bit. He sighed heavily as if he were giving up the world, but then it was followed by a grin, showing he didn't mind at all. "Will it just be the four of us?"
"No, we're taking all the girls in this apartment, including your sister, Lydia."
He made a face, saying, "Oh, not that brat."
"Who you calling a brat, you creep?" Came a high pitched, musical voice from the doorway. Everyone turned to see two more girls enter the door. The one that had spoken had the same curly brown hair that Luc bore, only much longer and wrapped up into a tight pony tail. The other had short, crisply cut dirty-blond hair that barely made it past her ears. They were very similar in dress, both wearing baby-T's and brand-name jeans. The fairer haired of the two wore huge, gaudy loop earrings that swung constantly and platform sandals that Liz studied with interest. The one that Liz assumed went by Lydia wore the kind of sunglasses that hide half your face and dark green sneakers. That was were the big differences stopped. They both had an air about them that said, 'I'm adorable so worship me.' Liz liked them already. They tossed their slug emblazoned bags next to Jane's, making a nice small pile.
"Ah, if it isn't my lovely, darling little sister. How are you this fine day?"
Lydia rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. "Can it, loser. I came here to lead a normal college girl life, lots of dancing and boozing and as little studying as possible. I'm not about to let your weirdness get in the way. Oh, why was I cursed with such an idiot of an older brother?"
Luc threw himself into one of the dining table chairs and winked at his sibling. "You know you love me."
"Yah, sure, love you like I'd love a wart. Who are you people?" Lydia quickly and seamlessly turned her attention to Liz and Jane.
"Oh, silly me," Missy smacked her own forehead lightly. "These two are Jane and Liz. Jane, Liz, meet Kitty and Lydia," she said with a wave of her hand in the direction of the newcomers. The girls nodded at each other as each name was listed off. The red-head snatched the coke out of her boyfriend's hand as he was raising it to his mouth again and took a sip, then continued slyly, "We're planning on going to a party tonight, and I know you two are so there."
Kitty smiled widely as she plopped into one of the few remaining chairs and leaned forward.. "Oh, definitely. Bring on the music and boys! When is it? Not soon enough, I'll bet."
"Well yah, still got a few hours. I'm not even off duty yet, just on a break. Speaking of which, I need to get back out there."
"Of course you do! Those students won't yell at themselves, you know!" Luc teased as he poked playfully at Missy's shoulder.
She shoved the coke back into his hands while she said, "Oh, hush. Now you girls have a while before I'll be back, so unpack, get to know each other, whatever, no hurry. I mentioned the party to the other apartment mate, Mary, but she seemed reluctant to go. I expect you to work on her, she's not going to spend the entire year cooped up in that room!" She harrumphed as if the very idea was ridiculous. She then began to make her way towards the door, jingling the keys in her pocket to make sure she still had them.
"Have fun herding the masses! I'll keep these trouble makers in line in your absence," Luc called to her as she began to open the door. However, Missy immediately turned on her heel and marched back over him. She then grabbed his wrists and hauled him out of the chair onto his feet.
"Oh no, the only troublemaker here is you, sweetie. You're coming with me where I can keep a close eye on you!"
"Yes, take him please!" Lydia begged.
He was dragged forcibly to the door, moaning, "Awww, but I haven't established my regime yet. I need to lay down the law and rule this apartment with an iron fist!"
"Sorry, honey, you can play tyrant some other day," the R.A. told him in false sympathy as she got him out of the door and began to pull it close behind them.
"Can I play tyrant with you? I like-" the door shut completely, cutting off the last words of his laughing voice.
Lydia shuddered. "I'm very glad I did not hear the rest of that." Kitty giggled out loud, and Liz and Jane just smiled in agreement. "So, still got some unpacking to do and a whole other roommate to meet! What to do..."
As Liz rose from her chair, she said, "Let's go knocking at Mary's door and see if we can break her out of her isolation. We have time, unpacking can wait."
"Sounds like a plan," Kitty approved. She lent a hand to Jane to help her out of the cushioned couch, and the four set out towards the bedrooms, chatting and laughing.
A/N: Hi! Hope you liked my first chapter. I know its kind of short, I hate writing first chapters, I never know how to start. Not to fear though, the rest of the chapters will be longer. Mostly got a lot of introducing people out of the way here first. Darcy and Bingley will be making an appearance next chapter, so be patient and enjoy!