Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in Pride and Prejudice. Nor do I own pride and Prejudice. Happy? I'm not. :(
"Papa?" Elizabeth Bennet, the eldest daughter but one of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn in Hertfordshire, stepped into her father's library. Her eyes were wide as she took in those who occupied the room. Her beloved father sat behind his desk, eyes filled with guilt and sadness. Behind him stood Mr. Darcy who was smiling earnestly at her, his eyes the complete opposite of the former's. Her mother was absolutely beaming and ran to her, kissing her hand before fleeing the room in a flurry of excitement.
"Elizabeth." Mr. Darcy's smile grew upon hearing her Christian name. She frowned. "Mr. Darcy has made an offer I cannot refuse." She tilted her head, confusion clear on her countenance. Her father turned to the tall gentleman behind him.
"Mr. Darcy, you do not object to Elizabeth being informed in private?" The former smiled while the latter's brow furrowed in further confusion.
He bowed to Miss Elizabeth, lips curling up happily before swiftly quitting the room.
"Father?" She approached him.
"Come, Lizzie." She readily obeyed. "You are a very intelligent young woman, Elizabeth. Please know that I do not wish to undervalue your opinion in this matter, but I am sure you will understand my making the arrangements without your consent because as I said, I cannot refuse." Understanding finally dawned on her and the dread consumed her, horror cloaked her face.
"Father, you cannot be serious. He is the most—"
"Lizzie." His tone warned her she ought to tread carefully.
"How long has this been developing?" she inquired, voice trembling as she attempted to control the anger strong in her voice.
"About a month." He confessed sadly. "I wish only your happiness Lizzie." She opened her mouth to protest. "I know that I always said that you would have the absolute final say in your marriage, but I want you to realize that he is offering me ₤10,000 as a bride price. That would allow me to pay your sisters' dowry. Your younger sisters' chances of marrying well are low. They are as you know, very silly. But who would not marry them with a dowry such as this? Lizzie, think of your family and try to be content."
"Father, how did this come to be? Does not Mr. Darcy despise me? I cannot bear to think the bargain was opened on your end, but I cannot imagine it was opened on his." Her eyes were hard; dark and stormy. He sighed.
"Mr. Darcy did. I was reluctant up till the end. You must be able to see how it affects me. Even now, I wish it could be done any other way, but Elizabeth, you do not have any choice. You know that lawfully, I have the final word in this. I want you to be happy. You will know that all your family will be happy, safe. You will marry him." Mr. Bennet stated firmly. She blanched, shocked at his forcefulness, but recovered quickly enough. Mr. Bennet took her hand in his.
"He loves you. Is that any consolation? I can see it in his eyes when you are mentioned. I can tell it in his tone when he speaks of you." Elizabeth's eyes widened. "Impossible" she thought. "Yet, why go to such troubles to marry me if he did not?" She then resolved to leave it be and face her situation.
"Is that all then, Father?" He nodded, seeing the determination set on her face and knowing she was decided one way or another. "I am, I suppose, expected to go and speak to Mr. Darcy now? Accept his proposals?" He nodded grimly. It pained Mr. Bennet very much to put his favorite under such circumstances, but he would have been a great fool to have rejected such an offer for something most would consider such a trifle as a daughter; favorite or not. She then quit the room and he heard his wife overtake her. Her loud congratulations renewed the pain he felt and he allowed the guilt to overpower him.
After enduring her mother's congratulations for what seemed an eternity, she finally escaped; intent on searching for Jane before going to her intended. However, fate was not smiling down on her today because she stumbled upon Mr. Darcy first and therefore could not hope for any help sorting out her feelings before she was forced into yet another embarrassing situation with the man before her.
"Miss Elizabeth." He leapt from the bench he'd been resting on; secretly worrying she would not accept him, despite her father's assurances to him. Her eyes grew wide, but she calmed herself enough to swallow her confusion and curtsy to him.
"Mr. Darcy." He bowed and asked her to stroll the wilderness with him. They set out directly.
"I suppose that things being settled as they are make this proposal less serious to you, but I assure you, I am serious in asking if you will accept my hand." Elizabeth was shocked to see worry in the crease of his brow and fear in his eyes. She thought: "Ah. He asks in earnest. His pride does know an end! He sincerely wishes for my willingness to accept him." She smiled with this knowledge, but did not reply. His anxiousness grew with every moment that passed in silence. Finally, she spoke and his relief plain on his face, but alas, she did not respond, instead posing another question.
"Well, sir. Would that I could answer, but first I beg you answer my own inquiries?" His eyes were shocked, but genuine as he nodded.
"What is it? What can it be that prevents your answer madam?"
"Why sir, did you pick me above all my sisters? Above all women far better fixed for the arrangement?" His eyes grew hard. He turned to her. She could see he had no intention of answering. Now, he returned to his original purpose.
"Will you, madam, marry me?" Elizabeth tilted her chin in defiance. "Let him know it does not please me." She thought.
Then, with cold civility, answered. "I will. Good day, sir."
A/N: Okay, this is my first endeavor with P&P. It's a different world from the things you see on Twilight, a whole new standard. Anyway, I am terrible at writing long chapters, but be assured that I'm working on that. I hope this was an interesting enough beginning for you. Creative Criticism (very easily could have misspelled that) is welcome. I apologize for grammatical errors. I did scan it, but I always decide to update at terrible times and then I have no time. Thank you for reading!
P.S. And I hope it wasn't too fast paced. If it was I can easily edit and add stuff to slow the happenings of this chapter. If you think so tell me in a review and I'll work on it. Oh, and I have no idea if ₤10,000 would be an insane amount or what, but I had to put something. Nor do I know if the parents could literally force the daughter to marry a man, that could have ended by then. Anyway, just keep in mind, it probably won't be historically accurate all the time.