Charles Bingley was a man who was easily pleased with most situations in life. This trait had only become more prevalent after a certain delightful announcement. He had recently taken to smiling until his cheeks hurt and then he would look over at his beautiful, kind hearted, smiling fiancé and smile more. It was all too much, too wonderful to imagine. His life with the future Jane Bingley was looking very bright. That was until about a week before the wedding.
Everything on the day in question had gone swimmingly. He had escaped his sisters' pestering rather early and thus had time before dinner for a quick turn about the garden with his beloved, his best friend and his favorite new sister. Dinner was a lavish affair, with several of both his and Darcy's favored dishes on the table. The men adjourned to the library for a brandy, which was a fine vintage from Darcy's private stock, and when they rejoined the ladies in the sitting room, a game of charades was suggested.
Always one to be diverted, Charles and the others quickly agreed to the scheme. All, of course, except Darcy who professed a general dislike of such frivolities and commented that he had some business correspondence that needed his attention back at Netherfield. He was easily excused and Miss Elizabeth saw him to the door.
Upon returning, Elizabeth remarked that someone should make up the necessary slips of paper. Kitty commented that Jane always had the best ideas and would be the best choice. Jane, ever the peace maker, agreed to be the creator of the game and said she would go into the library and return in moments with the items needed.
Charles was disappointed to be without his beloved for even a moment and his eyes followed her to the door oblivious to all other surroundings.
That did not last long, however, as his thoughts were interrupted by Mrs. Bennett.
"Now then Mr. Bingley, as you know, I am excessively fond of you and find you to have all the makings of an exceedingly delightful son-in-law; however we feel there are some things you might wish to know before joining our family."
Mr. Bennett took up his wife's lead with less affection. "We find you, in general, to be the sort of man who could make our Jane very happy; however, you should know that if you do not fulfill this commission, it could become quite unpleasant for you."
"I have on many occasions noted your lightness of foot and handsome features," continued Kitty. "It would such a shame for an unfortunate accident to ruin that for you; but as you know, in this part of the country, accidents due befall even the most seasoned sportsman."
"Why just the other day, our cousin, the rector of Longbourn, lay to rest a man not five and twenty who was tragically injured during a freak hunting accident." Mary commented. Under her breath, she murmured loud enough for everyone to hear, "and by his own father in law…"
At this point, Charles had a surreal feeling about the entire exchange. He had always thought the Bennett family to be so kind and welcoming. Never, in his life, would he have imagined them all but threatening his very existence; but alas this was not over yet and his previously thought greatest ally was giving him a rather predatory glare.
"Mr. Bingley," Elizabeth began in a measured tone. "I would not wish you to feel uneasy about what has been said here tonight." The look in her eye however, gave him rather the opposite impression. "We only wish you to know that Jane's happiness is a greatest concern and we are not so easily forgiving of trespasses as my sister has been in the past."
"And we will be visiting frequently to ensure that Jane is best pleased with her situation." Mrs. Bennett continued in what Charles had previously thought of as her amiable tone. "Oh, and I am prodigiously looking forward to being a grandmother BEFORE I am old and gray." She finished with a smile that had only been seen on her face when consuming her favorite puddings.
Luckily, Jane took this moment to return with a basket of slips in hand.
"Who is ready for some diversion?" She asked happily.
Later that night-
Charles returned to Netherfield in a perplexed mood. How could a family be so amiable all the time and then, for one conversation, scare the living daylights out of him? He planned to head to bed early due to a frightful headache but as he passed the library he saw that Darcy was in fact on a chaise reading a book and enjoying a glass of his finest single malt.
Charles slumped into a chair across from his friend and sighed heavily. Darcy handed him a glass without a glance away from his book. Charles took several sips from his glass, before he felt steady enough to speak.
"I had a strange night." He commented vaguely.
"Oh?" Darcy questioned.
"The Bennetts, they, or rather we, had an odd conversation." Bingley still wasn't quite sure how to or even if he should discuss this with his friend.
"I can imagine." Darcy returned.
"I truly do not think that you can," Bingley shook his head, "I think that they threatened to kill me." He finally admitted.
"Oh, I am quite certain they did just that." Darcy chuckled finally closing his book and looking into the ashen face for his friend and future brother. "I had a very similar talk with them just yesterday."
"How can you be sure? Wait, they already got to you?" Bingley asked, all astonishment. Threatening Darcy was well beyond what he thought the Bennetts capable of.
"Yes, your precious angel was practically a valkyrie in defense of Elizabeth." Darcy commented with some mirth.
"Jane?" Bingley questioned, paling further. "Darcy, how can you laugh at this?"
"Think of it from their prospective. They are only trying to protect their daughters from an unhappy future. In fact, I am thinking of inviting them to come speak to any suitors that may arrive for Georgiana. They would most certainly chase away any undesirables." Darcy stated matter-of-factly.
"Well, in that case, you should know that your future wife is no slouch either when it comes to the art of intimidation." Bingley said, his heart finally lightening for the first time since the dreaded conversation had commenced.
"Yes, she really is something, is she not?" Darcy commented with a hint of pride and a twinkle in his eye.