Author's Note: Thank you for the reviews. I have made the necessary changes and am currently working on the next installment. I am basing this more off the book but might use some scenes from the movie as well. When I come to parts that the book portrays I will change things a bit, like the quotes and things like that. Thanks again!!!
The carriage rolled noisily on the gravel road through the small village of Lambton. The brother and sister within had been silent the entire ride, each retreating into the recesses of their own mind. By the time they reached Lambton the sun was setting and the darkness within made it hard to distinguish the others features. It wasn't until they passed the last building of the small village that the silence was broken.
"We will not speak of this at all." The brother said in a firm voice. "It never happened."
The sister tried holding back the torrents of tears that had been threatening to break free since her brother took her away. The effort she used couldn't keep her from sniffling.
"I am not angry with you." The brother said hurriedly, hearing the sniff. "Please, Georgianna, believe me. I do not blame you."
"Oh, brother!" Georgianna flung herself into Fitzwilliam Darcy's arms and allowed herself the cry she had wanted to have long ago.
Darcy held his sister the rest of the ride to Pemberley, stroking her back and trying to calm her down. It would not do at all to set the servants tongues wagging and have the entire area talking by morning. Just when he could see the wood that preluded the house, Darcy was able to calm Georgianna enough for her to sit on her own.
"We will talk once we get inside, all right?" His voice was softer.
Georgianna nodded her head as she wiped at the tears with a handkerchief. The carriage came to the front of the house and a servant opened the door handing out Miss Darcy first, then allowing Mr. Darcy to step down. As they entered the house Darcy instructed the Housekeeper that dinner should be served right away. He went up to his rooms and began to change out of the clothes he had been in the entire day. It wasn't until he saw himself in the mirror that he felt the gravity of the situation that could have been his and his sisters downfall.
"If I hadn't thought to surprise her with a visit." Darcy thought. "If I had delayed a day longer."
The dark circles under his eyes were very prominent against his white skin.
"What I need is a good sleep...and some brandy."
When Darcy was finished with his clothes he went down to the informal dining room where Georgianna was already seated. They ate their dinner relatively silent. They were still within hearing distance of servants and it would not do to discuss the matter. Georgianna left the table after she ate and it wasn't until Darcy had a drink of brandy that he followed her into the sitting room where she had been reading.
Upon Darcy entering the room Georgianna looked up from her book, trying to read her brothers thoughts. She could tell he was trying to meld his thoughts together before he spoke as he paced back and forth in front of her. She knew he did not wish to hurt her with what he said and so he wanted to choose his words wisely.
"It is my fault for leaving you in Mrs. Young's care. I did not know the woman except that she frequented the school. I should have been more careful." Darcy started when he stopped in front of her.
"I should not have been so silly." Georgianna smiled. She had thought over and over in her head how much she had wanted her life to emulate the novels she read. The same novels her brother refused in the house and she practically devoured at the school whenever she could get her hands on them. Never again, she had thought, will I ever let my imagination run so wild.
"I love you, Georgi, and because of that love I have to impress upon you the danger that could have befallen you. There will be plenty of men out there who will be willing to pay you many pretty compliments and be able to turn your head but what they want is your dowry." Darcy was disturbed by his sisters sudden stooped shoulders. "There are also men out there who will find the true Georgianna. Let me guide you and all will be well."
Georgianna looked up at her brother and smiled. She knew she had done wrong, it was quite plain to her now. Making plans to run away with George Wickham without telling her brother, she realized, was a very stupid thing indeed for her to have thought of doing. Georgianna, however, was still ignorant on the part Mrs. Young had played in her would-be elopement. Darcy had paid her to keep her mouth shut about the entire fiasco. It wouldn't do for his sister to loose faith in all of human kind.
The two of them bid each other good night. Georgianna went to her room to prepare for bed while Darcy went over the letters he had received in his absence. There were a few bills, some letters from tenants, one from the butler at his town house and one from Charles Bingley, his newest acquaintance he met last year while hunting with Colonel Fitzwilliam. The two of them had hit it off quite nicely and he rather liked the fellow. Who couldn't like Bingley? Darcy wondered as he read over the letter.
The contents of the letter were to inform him of a small gathering of people he wished to be present at his open house in Hertfordshire, a place named Netherfield Park. Darcy sighed as he put the letter down. Of course he would not go. He absolutely could not leave his sister at a time like this.
Darcy took the letters up to his room and decided to return the correspondence tomorrow after breakfast. With that thought in mind he undressed then went to sleep.
Brother and sister spoke over breakfast the next day as if nothing disagreeable had happened at all the other night. Darcy had decided while dressing that morning that he would not send his sister back to the school. He really should have acquired a governess for his sister but she was much too old now and he felt she had had enough schooling and told her so.
"Then what am I to do?" Georgiann asked, bewildered. Though she loved her brother, and he her, they rarely spent so much as a month together in each others company. She would often visit her Aunt Lady Catherine De Bourgh during the summer or in London with her cousin Amy, Fitzwilliam's sister.
"I thought we could stay here together." Darcy smiled.
"Brother, what is it that you are hiding from me?" Georgianna looked very mischievously at Darcy.
"Nothing." He laughed. "And don't think you can tickle it out of me. We are no longer children."
"I do not wish to stay here all alone. May we invite some friends over?"
"Who would you wish to come?"
"The Bingley's!" Georgianna answered immediately. Charles and his sisters had been so nice to her last they met.
"I'm afraid they will be unable to attend. Bingley has just purchased a home and has invited friends to stay with him."
"Were you not also invited? How unkind of him."
Darcy laughed, "He did invite me, Georgi, but I prefer to stay with you. We can tromp about the woods and fish and pretend we were young again."
"Really, I'm too old for pretending." Georgianna said this rather grimly. Along with reading novels, Georgianna vowed that she would never use her imagination.
"Well then, we can visit Rosings. Aunt De Bourgh and Anne are always wanting us to visit them."
Georgianna made a sour face. "I was just there in Spring." Georgianna knew it wasn't proper to speak ill of her elders, so she didn't give her reasons why.
"Well," Darcy sighed. "I suppose you are stuck here with me then."
"No, you go to Bingley's, for I cannot. I will go to Amy's."
Darcy knew he couldn't take Georgianna to Bingley's. She wasn't yet out and she couldn't be received in society yet. He supposed he could hand her over to Amy. She was always level headed and it would be good for Georgianna to forget about the last week and what better way to do that than be with a friend?
"All right then, it's settled. You will off to London while I brave the wilds of Hertfordshire."
Darcy was quite pleased with Netherfield. It had a nice park and wide lawns. There was no lake, however, and the woods were small. Perhaps I'm just biased, he thought thinking of Pemberley. When he arrived he was surprised to see that the only guests Bingley had with him were is sisters, Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst and her husband, Mr. Hurst.
"They all turned me down." Bingley laughed when he explained to Darcy. "One thing or other got in their way and so here we are, a nice comfortable number."
Darcy laughed. Bingley's ability to always look on the bright side of things was one of the many reasons he liked the man. He reminded him very much of Georgianna. His sisters, however, were a little more well bred. Mrs. Hurst always wore a confident, victorious countenance and Darcy wondered if it was because she had married Mr. Hurst and was now congratulating herself on what a fine catch she had. Miss Bingley was always nice to Darcy and he had a suspicion that her feelings ran a little deeper for himself. But they were both very agreeable to him and he was not at all upset with their acquaintance with his sister.
"Can you believe this place?" Miss Bingley said to Darcy as they sat in the drawing room.
They were waiting for dinner to be served and Darcy had been seated on a chair going over the newspaper when Miss Bingley elegantly sat next to him.
"What of it?" Darcy wasn't quite sure which place she was referring to. The drawing room, the house, the Park or the county.
"You have only just arrived but Mrs. Hurst and I went to the village the other day. Meryton." Miss Bingley almost spat the name. "All eyes followed us everywhere we went and the shops' wares were practically outdated. I've always told Charles to forget about a place outside of London." She spoke of London as if it were the entire world.
"It's nice for a man to have a country place to retreat to when the London weather is too hot. Especially w hen he has a family."
At the mention of 'family', Miss Bingley sat up strait and cast her eyes demurely into her lap where her hands were resting. She sat thus, erect, as if waiting for more. When Darcy made it quite clear he had not seen her or cared nothing of the conversation, Miss Bingley continued.
"My sister and I have of course visited with the local gentry women." She laughed a nasally sound. "You would be surprised what country manners they have. So quaint and barbaric at the same time. They go on and on about their assemblies as if there were no London season at all."
Seeing that Darcy wasn't paying much attention to her, she tried to think of a subject that would bring his attention around to her.
"Your sister, of course," Miss Bingley started. At seeing Darcy look up she continued. "Your sister shall be the talk of the ton when her turn comes. What a lovely girl she is. I daresay I miss her something dreadful and wish she could be here now to keep me company."
Darcy smiled, "Georgianna is at present in London with family. She expressed a desire to see you as well."
"Oh, I do love her. Now she is exactly what a young lady ought to be. Posed and elegant. We must visit with each other soon." Miss Bingley's eyebrows rose.
"Yes, I shall have to arrange that."
Not caring that Darcy's attention was back on the printed page, Miss Bingley stood and walked away, smiling brilliantly. He all but promised to invite me to his home, she thought.
A fortnight had passed before the first assembly had taken place. Charles Bingley had met with practically every gentleman in the area and had agreed upon using Sir Lucas as his right hand man when meeting with the families. By the time the first dance came around Charles was quite confident in knowing the names of all the men and most of their wives. It was their daughters he was afraid of. He had only met Charlotte Lucas when he visited Lucas Lodge and she had been quite agreeable to him. He always was a bit shy, though, when it came to young ladies.
"Are they nearly ready?" Charles kept asking as he paced the floor of the foyer.
"Women take extra care in their toilette, Bingley." Darcy told him for the second time. "It would not do to rush them."
While Bingley paced and Darcy watched him and Mr. Hurst sat lazily on a bench, they had no idea that the women had been ready for a full ten minutes. They were up stairs, talking with each other about the vulgarities they would be forced to endure that night before they could retire home. If they were going to this assembly they were going to go in style and arrive fashionably late.
"I am most impatient at meeting..." Bingley stopped and blushed.
"At meeting who?" Darcy laughed seeing Bingley's blush darken.
"There is a family of girls, five to be exact. It is said they are all the most beautiful girls in the county. I went to their home, Longbourn, to visit with their Father, Mr. Bennet, but I couldn't get a peak at any of them."
"Beware Bingley," Darcy said. "A pretty face can bewitch a man. Do not let their charms rob you of your gold."
It wasn't until this moment that Darcy's mind returned to his own sister's mishap. Had not a well looking face bewitched her? Whatever he did he could not let what almost happened to his sister happen to his friend.
"We are ready." Mrs. Hurst called as the two ladies entered the foyer.