ROMEO AND ELIZABETH - by ChrstnWrtr
Side note: I don't own the characters to either Romeo and Juliet or Pride and Prejudice. This is just a short story by a fan of both literary works.
Romeo and Elizabeth
After the engagement of Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, there was a great deal of planning not only their wedding, but the wedding of Charles Bingley and Elizabeth's sister, Jane, as well. It was to be a double wedding with many guests in attendance that took a great deal of time to prepare. Prior to this great event, a ball was held at the Pemberley Estate to commemorate the two occasions. Nearly all family and acquaintances were in attendance except for Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who was angry with her nephew Darcy for his engagement to Elizabeth.
All five Bennet sisters arrived, including Lydia and her husband Col. Wickham. Upon arrival, the two of them received a few cold stares from some of the ball's attendees due to their elopement. There was joy, camaraderie, and of course, dancing. Elizabeth was in a surprisingly romantic mood as she danced with her fiancee. When they would meet face to face, she would stare into Darcy's eyes and he would smile back at her.
"Enjoying yourself, Elizabeth?" Darcy asked as they danced.
"Quite so, Mr. Darcy," she said with a wink.
"You know you may call me William now."
"Oh I know, Love. It's just that Mr. Darcy sounds so well."
After they stopped dancing, Darcy took Elizabeth's hand and kissed it. They walked together out into the courtyard at night, arm-in-arm in the moonlight. They talked about the ball, the upcoming wedding, as well as sweet nothings. The two of them came to a water fountain that shone in the moonlight.
"Oh William," sighed Elizabeth. "This is such a wonderful night."
"And it will be all ours come next month on our wedding day, my dear." He kissed her cheek and she blushed.
"It will be all ours, William. All ours until death parts us both. It will be home to us, our children, and our children's children, and..."
"Let's not get too far ahead, Lizzy," Darcy interrupted with a smile. "Let's just focus on the wedding."
"But I'm so excited," replied Elizabeth. "I have this sense of romance about me, William. Almost like Romeo and Juliet. I've been reading it lately."
"Well, I hope it doesn't end in tragedy, my love. At least our families approve of us."
"What about your aunt, William?"
"She'll get used to us in time. What made you read Romeo and Juliet in the first place?"
"Oh, I don't know William. I found it in my father's library. It's such a romantic play."
"That's quite unlike you, Lizzy. Normally you wouldn't find such tragedy to be romantic."
"That's true. But what if we were those star-crossed lovers that Shakespeare speaks of?"
Darcy chuckled. "I'd rather not think about it, my dear. I'd rather think about you." He took Elizabeth in his arms and kissed her and then put his arm back around her shoulders while she nestled her head next to his. They said nothing but smiled as they walked back to the ball.
That night, Elizabeth sat up in bed, reading the last of Romeo and Juliet. She sighed, put the book on her night stand, and went to bed, allowing the tragedy to seep into her petty, romantic unconscious mind. She had slept for quite some time until she woke up. However, the room she woke up in was no longer familiar to her. Her copy of Romeo and Juliet was no longer on her night stand. She got up to look for a dress to wear for the morning and to her horror, none of her clothes were in her closet. In fact, all the clothes in her closet resembled fashions that were worn a few centuries past. Elizabeth stepped away from the closet, thinking to herself, "this can't be. This isn't my room!" She ran to the window and looked outside to find a beautiful medieval Italian courtyard with servants making their way to their duties. She continued gazing out of her window until she heard a knock on her bedroom door.
"I'm coming!" Elizabeth called as she tried to find something to change into. The door opened and in came a woman about five and forty years of age, dressed in what Elizabeth thought was the most unfashionable attire she had ever seen. The woman looked as if she were a member of Queen Elizabeth's court; she certainly wasn't her mother or anyone she knew for that matter.
The woman then smiled and said, "come now Juliet. Your mother bade you come to see her!"
Elizabeth just stared at her. She cleared her throat and replied, "Madam, you must be mistaken. My name is Elizabeth Bennet. I am not Juliet. This isn't my room; this isn't even my home!"
A look of confusion replaced the woman's smile on her face. "What dost thou mean 'I am not Juliet?'" she asked. "Are you ill? Don't be silly, girl. Thou art Juliet and I am thy nurse!"
Before Elizabeth could figure out how she got to where she was, the nurse pulled some clothes from her closet and helped her get dressed. The next thing she knew, she was following the nurse down a hallway followed by some corridors and into what seemed like a drawing room. It was decorated with what looked like Renaissance artwork. Across the room was a woman about one and thirty with dark hair. The woman was busy writing something on her desk and then turned to face her visitors. Her face brightened as she got up and embraced a very confused Elizabeth.
"Juliet my love," the woman said to her. "How are thou this lovely morning?"
"Uh, fine, thank you," Elizabeth said, returning the embrace.
"My lady," said the nurse. "Juliet had some trouble recognizing me this morning as well as her own name. Why, she thought her name to be that of Elizabeth Bennet! My lady, I've never heard of such a name before!"
"Come, come Nurse," said the mother in question. "Juliet may not hath been fully awake when you came in to her chamber this morning. I'm sure there is nothing wrong with her."
Elizabeth quietly smiled to herself at the nurse's remark. It was rather unusual to have a nurse aide her in her morning routine as she never even had a governess while growing up. She also noticed that Jane, Mary, and Kitty were no where to be seen. She wasn't about to ask the nurse and her so-called mother of the whereabouts of her sisters, thus confusing the both of them. All three of them then sat down while Elizabeth's "mother" turned to face her. It finally dawned on her that her "mother's" last name was Capulet.
"Dearest Juliet, how old are you?" she asked with a smile.
"Um, twenty?" Elizabeth responded.
Lady Capulet laughed. "Silly girl, guess again!"
"Much better, dear Juliet. Let's not make you out to be an old maid."
"A woman of twenty is an old maid? My God these people are strange!" Elizabeth thought to herself.
The conversation then shifted from Elizabeth's alleged age to marriage. She decided to play along with the whole scenario and fielded questions such as "dost thou wish to be married" and "dost thou think Paris to be handsome?" Although Elizabeth had never met or even seen Paris, she managed to say that she thought he was a little too tall but otherwise marriageable. Lady Capulet then mentioned a masquerade was to take place that night.
"By and by, you shall see Paris tonight, Juliet," she said. "Then you shall know who thy husband will be."
Elizabeth gulped silently. What would Mr. Darcy think of this? What would her parents think of this? As she was dismissed from Lady Capulet's chambers, she had to devise a plan to get out of this rather precarious situation. She went back up to her room to find a gown suitable for that night's masquerade. She found a variety of clothing in her closet and discovered that some of her gowns would reveal part of her bosom if worn. "Mother would have a fit if I wore any of these to the Pemberley ball last night" Elizabeth thought to herself. Eventually, she found something quite modest, yet attractive and set it aside for the evening.
Evening came and the ballroom was decorated in grandeur. Garland hung from the walls, tables were lined with food, and the guests in attendance covered their faces in some of the most strange masks that Elizabeth had ever seen. She realized that it would be hard to find this Paris fellow that Lady Capulet mentioned. Not only did Elizabeth not know what he looked like, but he would be wearing a mask to conceal his identity. She followed Lady Capulet, her "father" Lord Capulet, some family acquaintances and the nurse onto the dance floor. After telling her "mother" all about Paris' looks, she knew better than to ask her what Paris looked like in the first place.
Elizabeth need not look further as a tall man of six and twenty approached her. He removed the white, smiling mask from his face. "How art thou, Juliet?" he asked her.
Elizabeth now found the Paris fellow that Lady Capulet had been talking about. Now what business would a man of six and twenty be having with a young girl of thirteen, Elizabeth wondered to herself as she replied, "I am quite well. And yourself?"
"I am very well," he replied. "Dost thou like to dance?"
Elizabeth had no intention of dancing with Paris but felt obliged to make her "mother" happy. The two of them danced what seemed to be all night. Elizabeth barely had any time to herself or to greet the other masquerade guests. Finally, the two stopped dancing and left Elizabeth to speak to the elder Capulets. She made her way to a dining table with food until she was stopped by a mask-wearing stranger. He was shorter than Paris and appeared to be younger than him as well.
"Excuse me sir," Elizabeth said. "May I come to the table to have something to eat?"
"Yes lady, you may," said the strange man. He removed his mask revealing to be a very handsome fellow of about fifteen. In fact, he looked like a much younger Mr. Darcy, which struck Elizabeth as quite odd. His eyes were fixed on her as she sampled some of the masquerade cuisine. He then motioned her to follow him to a far corner of the ballroom. Elizabeth couldn't help but find him incredibly attractive, even more so than the much older Paris.
"I had been watching you dance," he said to her. "Thy face is like a lantern in the dark, illuminating rays of beautiful light."
Elizabeth fought the urge to laugh at this young man's poor attempt at flirtation. If he wants to flirt, I'll flirt, she thought.
"Why thank you very much," Elizabeth said with a smile. "You don't look too bad yourself."
The young man was puzzled at Elizabeth's response but thanked her for it nonetheless. "Thy face is like an angel," he said, putting his hand on her cheek.
"Your face is like that of Adonis," replied Elizabeth. She smiled at him and he leaned in and kissed her. Immediately, Elizabeth felt blood rushing through her cheeks. Last night, she had reiterated her promise of herself to Mr. Darcy and now she had just kissed a total stranger, despite the fact that he looked exactly like her betrothed. Immediately, she saw the nurse fast approaching the two of them. Her heart and stomach felt heavy.
"My nurse is coming, you must leave," she said to the young man. He pulled the mask over his face and ran off.
"Are you enjoying thyself, Juliet?" asked the nurse.
"Why yes, I am," lied Elizabeth with a forced smile on her face. "Can you tell me who that young man is?" She pointed in the direction of the strange fellow with the mask that just kissed her.
"Oh, I'd be careful around him," said the nurse. "His name is Romeo and he's the son of your enemy."
"The Montagues, girl!" cried the nurse. "Surely you know that by now!"
Elizabeth felt even sicker than she did a minute ago. Not only had she caroused with a young man that was not Darcy but he was also a member of the Montagues, the Capulet's nemesis. She hastily left the party and went straight up to her room, locked the door, and laid face-up on her bed in tears.
"How did I get here to this horrible place?" Elizabeth sobbed. "I want to be home in Meryton with my parents, Jane, Mary, Kitty, and my Darcy! How could I possibly marry someone I hardly even know yet flirt with a complete stranger? How could these people expect a young girl to marry a much older man?" Then she thought of Lydia and Mr. Wickham eloping together. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. She decided that some fresh air would help her feel better so she walked out on her balcony, talking to herself.
"Now how do I get home? How did I even get here in the first place? It's horribly strange and the mannerisms are quite odd. And why does this Romeo fellow look like my Darcy? It is very strange indeed. Now, I wonder why the Montagues and the Capulets don't get along. Feuds are such silly things. Maybe if I continue to play along, I can find a way back home." While deep in her thoughts, she heard some rustling in the bushes below.
"Hello, my lady!" It was Romeo who had heard her speaking from the balcony.
"Good man, what are you doing here?" Elizabeth cried.
"Listening to your beautiful voice," Romeo replied.
"Well try to be quiet about it; let's not draw attention to ourselves." She disliked the aspect of hiding a romance from anyone, however, considering the alternative of Lord and Lady Capulet finding out about it, it was best to keep Romeo a secret. At least the nurse won't say anything about it, she thought.
The two would-be "lovers" conversed for what seemed like hours. Romeo would occasionally be caught up in Elizabeth's beauty, which often paused his conversation. Elizabeth maintained her character, hoping it would bide her time to find a way out of the situation. Just as they were talking about marriage, she heard footsteps coming to her room.
"Romeo, you must hide," Elizabeth said. "Someone is coming to my door."
Romeo complied and hid himself directly underneath the balcony, covered in vines.
"Juliet, your mother wishes to see you!" called the nurse.
"Just one moment, Nurse," Elizabeth called back. Romeo emerged from his hiding place and wiped his forehead.
"That was too close," he said.
"Oh, I don't think the nurse minds you," said Elizabeth. "My mother sure does, though."
"I'm quite aware of that."
They both made plans to marry the next day at about noon. Elizabeth prayed that it would give her enough time to escape and get back home to Meryton. The next day, Elizabeth managed to sneak out with the help of the nurse (with the nurse telling her parents that she was going to go to confession) and met up with Romeo at the church. Having never ventured into a Catholic church before, Elizabeth was fascinated by the stained glass windows but at the same time uncomfortable with the various statues attributed to various saints as well as to Christ and His mother, Mary. And the Reverend William Collins never wore a brown tunic sported by Friar Lawrence, the officiator of the marriage. In fact, he would probably denounce the whole thing as "papist."
"Dost thou Romeo Montague take Juliet Capulet as thy wife?" asked Fr. Lawrence.
"I do," replied Romeo.
"Dost thou Juliet Capulet take Romeo Montague as thy husband?"
Elizabeth gave a shaky "I do" just before the portly priest declared them legally wed. Romeo then took her in his arms and kissed her passionately, even more so than Darcy ever did (to her, Darcy was much more of a gentleman than Romeo). He then escorted her out of the church and let her walk back home, promising to be with her on their wedding night. This worried Elizabeth all the more. Not only has she wed someone other than Darcy, she would be bedding someone other than him. She ran back home up to her room to think. Frustrated, she threw herself on her bed face-down. The nurse knocked on the door and came in to find Elizabeth lying on her bed with tears of frustration in her cheeks.
"So you heard the news, too?" she asked Elizabeth.
"Romeo has slain Tybalt, your cousin!"
Elizabeth said nothing but put her hand over her mouth. She now realized that she had married a murderer and eventually the two of them would commit suicide in the end.
"NO!" Elizabeth screamed in fear and horror, pounding her bed. "No, no, no!"
There was a knock at the bedroom door. Elizabeth stopped screaming and pounding her bed. Sweat had poured from her forehead to her neck. She looked around her room. Everything was different. There was no balcony, no closet full of horrific clothing, and certainly no nurse in the room. Her copy of Romeo and Juliet sat perfectly on her night stand, unmoved from the night before. Elizabeth sighed and wiped the perspiration from her brow. "It was all a dream," she said to herself. It was morning and the sun's rays came in through her window, casting themselves into her room. Another knock came at the door.
"Lizzy, are you all right?" It was Jane, her older sister.
"I'm fine Jane. You may come in."
"Lizzy!" exclaimed Jane. "What on earth happened?"
Elizabeth got up from her bed and hugged her sister, sweat and tears streaming down her face. "Oh Jane, it was horrible, so horrible!"
"What was so horrible?"
Elizabeth sniffed and wiped her face. "The dream I had. It was awful. I never want to have another dream like that again!" She explained the whole nightmare about being transplanted in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, how she was to be betrothed to one man and then marry a completely different one, and the prospect of losing her life afterward.
"It's all right," Jane said, kissing her poor sister on the forehead. "It's just a dream."
That afternoon, Darcy paid a visit to the Bennet household to go for a walk with his beloved Elizabeth. The two of them walked arm in arm, enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Elizabeth carried a basket of food to be eaten after their walk. They walked for what seemed like half a mile and then the two of them settled beneath a tree and enjoyed the food that Elizabeth had brought. It was a relief for her to be back home with her family, her acquaintances, and most importantly, Darcy.
"Well, my dear Lizzy," Darcy said, holding an apple in his hand. "How have you been this lovely day?"
"Much better than I was this morning," she responded. "I had the most awful nightmare last night."
"I'm sorry to hear that." He sat next to her under the tree and put his arm around her. "Would you mind telling me what it was about?"
Elizabeth sighed with a faint smile on her face. "I'd rather not. Let's just say that I won't be comparing our relationship with Romeo and Juliet ever again.
Darcy smiled and kissed her cheek. "I think it's much better that we be ourselves and not others."
"I agree," said Elizabeth. "I love you, William."
"I love you too, Lizzy."