As Elizabeth Bennett stood in the assembly room her eyes were immediately drawn by a small group of people who had only just arrived. She did a quick mental count. 'Only five after all' she thought 'and only two ladies'. She then examined the party more closely. The two women were obviously women of wealth and fashion. They were well dressed and reasonably handsome, but after closer examination Elizabeth saw that their manners and air showed them to be decidedly ill-favored. As for the men, she saw they were exceedingly different in both manners and appearance. The first to enter the room was only reasonably handsome, but with such exceedingly good manners and breeding to recommend him to anyone and everyone in the room. He literally bounced around greeting and meeting everyone. The next one was short and decidedly fat. He had nothing in his appearance to recommend him nor did his manners make him well thought of. He immediately set himself up in a chair where he remained the entire evening drinking or sleeping. No one took any notice of him. The last to enter the room was definitely the superior of the three as far as appearance. Many ladies whether eligible or not had their sights set on him from the moment he entered the room. His manners were soon found to be so disagreeable however that all attention was focused on the more amiable gentleman. Elizabeth let her gaze roam the room until she spotted her good friend, Charlotte Lucas. She quickly moved over to her friend's side.

"Lizzy!" Charlotte exclaimed, extending her arms to her friend. "It's so good to see you."

"I'm glad to see you too." After sharing a few more civilities Elizabeth asked a question that had been on her mind for a while.

"Your father visited Mr. Bingley did he not? Can you tell me more about his party?"

"Well that gentleman sitting over there" she pointed to the most unattractive member of the party and unequivocally the most drunk "is Mr. Hurst. He is married to Mr. Bingley's sister there. Mr. Bingley is the more amiable gentleman over by my father. Miss Bingley is the one in conversation with Mr. Darcy." Elizabeth looked over at the pair she indicated.

"Conversation?" Elizabeth scoffed "She would have an easier time of coxing a response out of a brick wall" Elizabeth laughed at the obvious distress on Mr. Darcy's face as Miss Bingley continued her attempts to engage him in conversation.

Elizabeth then took her leave to go find her sister, Jane. Jane and Elizabeth began conversing, but it wasn't long before Sir William Lucas came over to introduce Mr. Bingley to them. It was an even shorter time before Elizabeth found herself alone, as Bingley had asked Jane to dance. She smiled at the sight of them, wide smiles plain on their faces as they took their places across from each other in the line. She turned to Charlotte who had come to stand beside her and was about to start up a conversation when she heard a very distinctive and carrying voice.

"Are you enjoying the country Mr. Darcy? I personally find the country much more pleasant than town. I do hope you are planning to stay for some time." Elizabeth stiffened as she heard her mother's never ending monologue directed at Mr. Darcy. She never paused to let him insert a word or to take a breath. She was very capable and very willing to keep this up for hours. Elizabeth sighed and looked over at her mother and Mr. Darcy trying to decide whether she should go and rescue him. A few seconds after her eyes found them Mr. Darcy suddenly looked up and their eyes met. She gasped and stared into the beautiful green eyes.

Darcy sighed again as he listened to the endless prattling of the woman, Mrs. Bennet, before him. She didn't notice. He ground his teeth in frustration. He didn't even want to be here. Bingley was the one who insisted that he come to this 'ball'. Bingley was certainly having a good time. He looked over at his friend and saw him dancing with a woman who was reasonably handsome. This was what always happened. Bingley found a nice looking woman to dance with and was well liked by everyone. While Darcy on the other hand found himself talking to a vulgar woman with five unmarried daughters. 'Oh lord' he thought. He felt someone looking at him and turned away gladly to look at the person hoping they would come and liberate him. He found himself looking into a pair of the most stunning eyes he had ever seen. They were a striking purple with flecks of gold. He was lost and continued to stare like an idiot. She soon turned away and he was released. He began to internally argue with himself.
'You are an idiot! No one falls in love at first sight.'
'But how can I help it? She just has something, no she has everything. She makes my heart pound.'
'You don't know anything about her.'
'No, but I want to.'
'How can she have this effect on you? This is dangerous. You should just leave her alone and ignore her like everyone else.'
'But I don't want to! She is beautiful. Can't we at least talk to her before we decide? She could be perfect for us.'
'I doubt it, but you are right. I will find a way to get introduced.'

Having made up his mind he turned back toward the prattling woman before him. He listened as she sung the praises of her daughters. She pointed out the youngest, Kitty and Lydia, who were both dancing and giggling excessively. Next she pointed to the girl at the pianoforte, Mary. She said Jane, the eldest, was the one dancing with Bingley. The second eldest was named Elizabeth Bennet. Mrs. Bennet seem to frown as she mentioned this daughter and she failed to point her out. Not that he really cared. He looked back at the woman with the beautiful eyes. Mrs. Bennet, followed his gaze.

"Ah Charlotte Lucus. She is very amiable, though she is rather plain. She is such a friend to our girls. I do believe that that red dress does good things for her."

"And who pray tell is the other woman? The one in green?" Darcy felt his heart rate accelerate. He tried to calm himself and he almost missed the next sentence.

"Oh that's my Lizzy. She does look rather well though I tell her she is nothing to Jane." Mrs. Bennet looked at her daughter with a sour expression. "She has not the lively spirit of either Kitty or Lydia. Nor is she as accomplished as Mary."

"Oh." That was all Darcy could say. He felt attracted to Eliza- no Miss Bennet, but could he connect himself with her family? 'No I cannot do it. What would people say? She is nothing.' He felt the pain, but he told himself it would pass. After all he had only looked into her eyes once. All he knew of her was her name. He could never marry her. 'Why am I even having this conversation? Am I so weak that I fall apart when one woman looks at me?'
'Yes,'
He admitted to himself. 'You are falling hard and fast. Now what are you going to do about it?'


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