When It Rains by everymonday

Chapter One: Find Yourself a New Home

We'll say just forget about all of the things you can't save
Find some place you call your own, find yourself a new home
Where you're never alone
Go ahead, run away

- The Scene Aesthetic, We've Got The Rain On Our Side

It's days like this that make William Darcy think of her.

The sky is dark and the mood is gray. It's been raining all day. Water pours from low clouds, soaking his clothes and skin, as he makes his way to his car. He has no umbrella today, but he doesn't run to his destination the way people around him do. His shoes get wetter and wetter with every puddle his feet step in, and his shirt soon becomes so wet that the fabric clings to his chest. He doesn't mind the rain. It doesn't bother him. His clothes will eventually dry, the raindrops on his skin will evaporate, and tomorrow there will be no trace of rain on him.

William reaches his car, and just before opening the door, he takes a deep breath, taking in the smell of rain and earth and the mixture of the two. For a split second, he is miles away from here, with the girl that taught him to appreciate this weather.

It rains and it pours and he can think of nothing but Lizzy and the handprint she left on his heart.

William wonders if it's raining where she is. He wonders if she still loves the rain.

It rains on William's first official day in America.

Fitzwilliam Henry Darcy hates the rain. It's not supposed to rain in America. What kind of welcome is this?

The rain reminds him too much of England. It reminds him of familiar streets and people he's known all his life. It reminds him that this is not home, just some place that's pretending to be. It reminds him that his mother is dead and his father moved them away from home.

America is not home, despite the rain.

This house is much bigger than their home in London. It's emptier too, empty of cable television until next week, empty of friends until he actually makes some American ones, and empty of possessions until the staff finish unpacking everything. It's empty, and William feels empty.

That, he blames on the awful flight that caused him to vomit in the taxi, just minutes before arriving at house.

William presses his forehead to the cold window and stares at the droplets as they fall from dark clouds. His heavy breath creates a fog on the glass, and he uses his hand to wipe it away. He wishes he could wipe the rain away with just as little effort. He can hear the housekeeper singing to his sister, but he has no interest in pink teacups and tiny hands today. Today is his first day in America, and it's raining.

A slender girl in a floppy yellow hat, a spotted purple raincoat, and bright red rain boots comes into his vision. She seems too old to be wearing such frivolous clothing. The harsh colors invade his gray world of sadness, and he watches curiously as she jumps in every puddle she can find. She stops in front of his house, his window, and for a second he thinks that she sees him, but she doesn't. The girl doesn't acknowledge him at all. Instead, she starts spinning. Her arms are open, her eyes are closed, and the rest of her is wet. She's spinning and laughing until she finally collapses to the ground when one more spin becomes one spin too many.

The girl doesn't get up right away, and William wonders if he should go help her. After a few moments, she pulls her hat off of her head to reveal a head of messy, wet brown hair. The hat drops to the ground and she uses both hands to wring out the water in her hair. He doesn't understand why since it's still raining so her hair is absorbing as much water as she's wringing out. After three attempts, she succeeds at standing, and then she proceeds to do a few cartwheels in the road until a car drives up the street and honks at her for playing in the middle of the road in a rainstorm.

She walks to the sidewalk on his side of the street, and her eyes meet his when he doesn't think to look away quickly enough. She stares at him curiously, and under the shadow of clouds and raindrops, he can see the blush on her cheeks is nearly as bright as the red of her boots. He can't decide if it's from her earlier spinning or from being caught spinning. William's not sure how long they stare at each other, but eventually, she's the one that breaks eye contact and walk away.

One by one, their possessions are thrown away and replaced with new ones. He watches as his father admonishes the old servants over the phone for even shipping them here because they're useless. The new servants hesitantly remove vases and plates and toys and replace them with newer, shinier ones.

William doesn't know what happens to the old items because he doesn't ask. He doesn't ask, because he doubts he would like the answer. He tells himself they're just possessions, though he knows they were his mother's possessions, and somehow that means something entirely different.

When he is absolutely sure no one is looking, he furtively takes an old quilt from a box, and then quickly walks to his room, where he stashes it under his bed.

He orders the servants to never enter his room unless he specifically instructs them to.

Within minutes, there are whispers about his disposition among the staff. He, however, remains unaware until his father comments on it a few hours later at dinner.

"Mrs. Reynolds tell me you've ordered everyone to stay out of your room."

"Yes," William replies, staring intently at the flowers in the center of the table. The mixture of violet, red, and yellow reminds him of the Rainstorm Girl.

His father stops cutting his steak. "Any particular reason, William?"

"I'm allowed my privacy," William answers, meeting his father's eyes.

His father gives him a smile that might be classified as proud. Normally, William would be ecstatic to receive such a smile, but not today.

Today he has one proud father and no mother, and it's raining. It just doesn't seem fair.

William thinks that had he fought hard enough, he could have stayed in London.

It's been a week in America, and it still hasn't stopped raining.

He sits on the bed and listens to the persistent pitter-patter of rain, and wonders why he hadn't fought.

It doesn't take long to find the answers.

The seventeen year old in him would like to say he has his own mind and the ability to do as he pleased, but the Darcy in him knows that it would have been a disgrace to not be with his father and sister at this time. The Darcy in him is stronger than anything else he has inside of him, it always has been.

William could count on one hand the number of times he'd ever defied his father. It happened to be the same number of times he'd felt the sting of the back of his father's hand.

If he were to look deeper, to a place he denied existed, he'd find one very simple truth. One parent had left him, and he craved approval so much that he'd do anything to earn the other's affection.

If he's honest with himself, William knows that he would not have been able to stay in England without his mother and sister.

There is a sad kind of familiarity in his reflection. He looks in the mirror and sees someone he thinks he used to know. A person from another life, maybe. He has dark, unruly hair and a nose that connects him to a long line of men much greater than him. This person in the mirror has good bone structure and a strong jaw line. He has his mother's eyes, but it doesn't matter because he doesn't have a mother anymore.

William doesn't know who this person staring back at him is anymore.

William has trouble sleeping at night. He's too old to have nightmares. Nightmares are for children who have watched too many scary movies. Nightmares have monsters and aliens and clowns that chase you until you wake up screaming for your mother.

The dreams that keep William up at night are ones where he is doing the chasing. He's chasing something, and no matter how fast he runs, how badly his lungs burn, he can't catch up. His legs feel like they may fall off from all the exertion and his arms are stretched to their limit trying to reach out to the thing he's chasing, but it always gets away. It's dark and cold, and no one is there to help him. He wakes up in a cold sweat and has no one to call for. He's too old for this.

With a great sigh of defeat, William gets out of bed. His bare feet touch the quilt peeking out from under the bed. It brings him no comfort, and he is quick to move his feet to stop the contact.

As quietly as possible, he opens the door and walks down the hall to his sister's room.

William had wanted a brother, one that he could boss around the way his older cousin Richard bossed him around. He was given a sister instead.

He'd never admit this, but he really doesn't mind having a sister. Georgiana is a good kid, and she always smells nice.

His sister is sleeping soundly in her bed when he enters the room. He stares at her from his spot near the door. Georgiana had cried violently in his arms the day their mother died, and again on the day of the funeral. He sometimes hears her asking the servants to do things the way their mother did them.

William inhales deeply and tries desperately to hold onto something, what, he's not quite sure. What he is sure of, however, is that Georgiana smells vaguely like his mother and home. His sister is his last link to both.

American television numbs his brain in a way that nothing else could. He stares at it, taking in yellow sponges, girls in their bikinis, and American adults acting like utter fools. For brief moments, he's able to forget about the pain.

Mrs. Reynolds, their housekeeper, suggests that he go outside to get some fresh air, since it has finally stopped raining.

William is so sick of everyone's curious stares that he complies.

It's hot and humid outside, but William walks and walks until he reaches what looks like a park. It's a nice park, he decides after some surveying. The ratio of kids to swings isn't overwhelming, and there is no litter on the ground.

Under the shade of a large tree, he recognizes the girl he saw dancing in the rainstorm on his first day in America. She looks like she's packing up to leave, and William stands rooted to his spot, watching her.

When her ragged orange backpack is zipped up, she puts both straps on her shoulders and stands. Her hair is a deep chestnut color and looks a lot better than the wet mess he remembers.

She's the only one he knows here, he realizes, but even that isn't enough motivation to talk to her, and the Rainstorm Girl leaves before he can change his mind. Not that he would have. He doesn't really know her.

His father spends his day off visiting the family that lives across the street, and William is forced to go along.

According to his father, the Bingleys are a respectable family. His father begins talking about advertising and marketing efforts with Mr. Bingley, and William realizes this is a business visit.

"How do you like America?" Charles Bingley asks when their fathers leave to talk more privately. The boy is about his age, though he looks younger as he stuffs his hands in his pockets and avoids eye contact.

"It's different," William replies. He watches the boy's stance critically for a weakness, a character flaw, as he was taught to do.

"Have you met anyone else in the neighborhood yet?" Charles sits down on the couch. He looks a little less uncomfortable now.


"There's no one to meet really," the other boy confesses. "Most of the people around here are retired and their kids are old."

William remains standing and wonders if he's obligated to reply.

"There are a lot of people our age a few miles down the road from here, across from the river." Charles gestures to the chair across from him, and William feels rude if he does not sit, so he does.

"Do they go to our school?" he asks, remembering the earlier conversation when his father announced he'd be sending William to Charles' school.

"No," Charles answers, and before he can elaborate, a tall redheaded girl enters the room.

William stands politely.

"Charles!" she exclaims, though she is staring at William. "Who is your friend?"

"This is William Darcy." Charles shoots him an apologetic look. "This is my older sister Caroline."

William nods and shakes her hand politely. Caroline offers him a wide smile. If he wanted, he could probably count all of her white teeth. "Nice to meet you, William. Did you just move across the street?"

"Yes." He takes his seat as she sits down next to Charles.

"How do you like it?" She crosses her right leg over her left, causing her denim skirt to ride up and giving him a better view of her long, tanned legs.

"Fine." He takes his eyes away, uninterested. To be fair to her though, nothing really interests him these days.

"It's a positively beautiful house! I'm so happy to see someone's finally moved into it."

Caroline is a very pretty girl, and William has a feeling that she knows it. She shares Charles's dignified nose, sun-tanned skin, and green. Her features are softer and come together more delicately, though her eyes lack the easy warmth that is so abundant in her brother's.

"You have a sister, don't you?" Caroline continues. "I heard our fathers talking. Why didn't you bring her today?"

"She's seven."

"Oh, well, I love children!" She says this in a way that makes William feel like it's been rehearsed. Her voice is grating on his nerves. "There are hardly any in the neighborhood."

Charles looks like he wants to say something, but he refrains.

"There's no one else here our age," Caroline continues with a pout. "The summer's been so boring since I got back from Paris. Daddy wouldn't let me go anywhere because I had to take a bunch of SAT prep courses here, and he said I had already had enough fun for one summer. As if a girl could have ever enough fun! I could have totally done my classes online, but he didn't think that I would have been able to focus. Parents are so annoying, right?"

William does not respond.

"I'm applying to four different colleges. I'm sure I'll get into all of them because Daddy has connections," Caroline says proudly.

Again, he can't think of anything to say, so he just nods.

"How old are you, William?" Charles asks.

"I turn eighteen next month," he replies.

"Oh! You're older than Charles! We'll be in the same grade," Caroline exclaims, clapping her hands together excitedly.

"Lucky him," Charles mutters sarcastically.

Caroline ignores his obvious jab. "Do you plan on going straight into your father's business after you graduate, William?"

"No. I'll go to university first." It's what his mother had always told him to do.

"It's so wonderful to finally be interacting with people with futures," Caroline says importantly. "All summer, Charles has been hanging around trailer trash."

"They're not trailer trash, Caroline," Charles protests weakly.

"They're not our kind of people, Charles. Don't think I don't know about you and Jane Bennet." Caroline's sharp green eyes narrow when she looks at her brother.

Charles blushes. "There's nothing going on with Jane and I."

"Let's keep it that way." Suddenly, Caroline's phone rings, and she takes one look at the caller ID before rushing out of the room without another word or apology.

"Sorry about her," Charles mumbles.

William shrugs.

"Jane isn't really trailer trash," Charles tells him quietly. "Really."

The way he says it makes William uncomfortable. It's like Charles is pleading with him to believe that this Jane isn't trailer trash, as if he needs William to know this.

"I believe you," William says carefully.

Charles relaxes. "We can all hang out soon. She's wonderful."

"Does she go to our school?"

"No," Charles looks away. "Her sister does though."

William doesn't understand this, but he doesn't care enough to ask.

Eventually, Charles asks William if he wants to play video games, and though William is no good at video games, he's even worse at conversing, so he agrees.

It rains again the next day when William is walking home from the park. He's not sure what compelled him to leave the house in the first place, but he wishes he hadn't.

There's no possible way to walk in the rain with dignity, so William doesn't try. He runs as fast as his long legs can carry him, with his arms uselessly covering his head, and though it is only lightly showering, William feels as though his clothes are getting soaked.

The sound of rain suddenly changes, and he can't feel the drops on his skin anymore. With a harsh intake of breath, he realizes there's a girl beside him, and she's holding an umbrella over both of them.

The umbrella is pink, and not big enough to cover both of them successfully, so it's mostly her under it, not that one would even be able to tell because she's wetter than he is. William realizes quickly that it's Rainstorm Girl, and he is so shocked by her presence that he stops. She stops too, when she realizes that he has, a look of confusion on her face.

"What are you doing?" he demands, forgetting about the rain as he takes in her appearance.

Her features arrange themselves into a frown. "I figured you could use some help in the form of an umbrella."

"You could have said something."

"You looked like you were in a hurry." She shrugs and pushes some of her hair out of her face and tucks it behind her ear.


"So." She rolls her eyes and hands him her umbrella, still open. "I figured you might appreciate just having someone give you an umbrella. I was trying to hand it to you before you stopped."

He doesn't take it. It's useless to him now anyway; he's soaking wet. "You don't even know me."

"That doesn't change the fact that you seemed like you needed an umbrella, and I had one to spare." She says this slowly, as if he wouldn't understand it any other way. It offends him.

"Well, I don't need it. This is your only one anyway." William has no way of knowing this, of course.

"I don't need it." The girl uses the umbrella to gently poke his shoulder.

"It doesn't matter now." He pushes the umbrella back to her. There's no way he can be seen using a pink umbrella.

Now she looks offended, but shrugs again and closes the umbrella. "Fine."

William decides that she's not very pretty. Her face has too many freckles, and her ears are much too big. Her blue eyes are too light, especially against the dark of her eyelashes that are too long. He picks up his feet and begins to walk to his house.

Without encouragement, she falls in step with him. "Not in a rush to get home anymore?"

"I'm quite soaked now, so there's hardly any point in exerting effort to get home, now is there?"

"That's only because you refused my umbrella." She twirls said umbrella in front of them, forcing him to keep his steps timed with hers so that he doesn't get hit by it.

"It was unnecessary."

"You're unnecessary."

"I beg your pardon?" He spares her a sidelong glance.

She blushes. "Sorry. Habit comeback."

He has nothing to say to that, so they walk in silence until she breaks it.

"How old are you?" she asks.

"Why?" He suddenly wishes he had just taken her umbrella and gone home. Then he wouldn't have had to speak with her.

"Because I want to know."

He hates that answer. "Well, obviously. Why else would you have asked the question?"

"To annoy you, obviously."

William glances at her from the corner of his eye and sees that she's smirking. "It's working."

"I'm actually just wondering why you talk like you're from an old British movie."

"English," he corrects.

"Same difference."

"It's not, actually."

"Just answer the question, Will."

He stops. "What did you call me?"


He might have sputtered at her, judging from her laughing, but William knows a Darcy isn't capable of sputtering.

"Charlie told me he met you." She uses her free hand to push wet hair out of her face again as she briefly makes eye contact with him. "Which involved telling me your name."

It takes a moment to register that she means Charles Bingley. "How do you know Charles?"

"He hangs out with my sister sometimes."

"That's a very vague answer," he astutely observes as he begins walking again.

"Well, you still haven't told me how old you are."

"Seventeen," he says, mostly just with hope that she'll accept the answer and stop talking.

"Why do you talk like you're seventy?"

His mouth drops open. He's never been spoken to like this before. "I'm William Darcy."

The lack of recognition in her face surprises him. "I know. Charlie told me. Did you just miss that part?"

"Did he tell you that my dad owns Darcy Investment-"

"Oh," she smiles knowingly. "You're one of those people."

"Yes, that's right," he replies, happy that she's getting it through her head finally. "I'm a Darcy, and I think you should keep that in mind before you-"

"I meant," she cuts him off again. "That you're one of those people who defines themselves by their parents' accomplishments."

He frowns. "So?"

"So, nothing. I was just making an observation." She shrugs and speeds up her walking.

He catches up effortlessly. "I don't think I like the tone you're using."

"Do you expect me to change it for you?" She's smiling at him, but it's not in any way that could be considered friendly.

"Do you even know what Darcy In-"

"No," she replies. "I'm sure I couldn't afford it anyway."

"That's nothing to brag about!" Annoyance is quickly turning into exasperation.

"Are you getting bent out of shape because I said you talk like you're seventy or because I said I don't care what your dad does?"

William's jaw drops. "Both!"

She grins. "My apologies. You don't talk like you're seventy, and I'm sure you dad does very important things."

He's not appeased by her apology at all, but he knows that was not the purpose of it anyway. They are standing in front of his house now, but he's not ready to give her the last word.

"I don't need your apologies."

"Well, you seem so offended that I figured I had to offer you something." She bats her eyelashes at him and tosses her wet hair over one shoulder in a way that is not at all appealing.

"Stop it," he orders, glaring at her.

"Stop what?"

"Speaking to me like this."

She pulls a face. Her freckle-covered nose wrinkles, and her eyes narrow. "What are you? My father?"

"Are you always this disrespectful?"

"Only to people who really deserve it." Her blue eyes are wide with false innocence, and it's driving him crazy.

"Are you saying I deserve it?"

Her frown dissolves into a grin. "No, you're saying it."

William is at a loss for what to say. He can feel his mouth opening and closing repeatedly.

"Anyway," she says, looking entirely too satisfied with herself. "This is you, isn't it?" She nods her head towards his house. "I guess I'll see you around, Will."

She's gone before he thinks to tell her that he hates being called Will, and he's left feeling small and drenched.