A/N: Welcome to my first P&P. I don't own any of Jane Austen's amazing work, but I wish I did. Don't we all? Anyway, enjoy!
"Hey, pal, need some help there?" I asked, leaning against my doorframe. I rubbed my tired eyes, as it was only eight thirty in the morning. I had been woken by what sounded like boxes being moved in the hallway. My twin sister Jane was still sleeping.
I studied the two. The tall, dark-haired guy (he must've been six feet) and his reddish-brown-haired buddy turned at the sound of my voice. I wondered which one of them was moving into the on-campus apartment; who one was going to be my new neighbor? Mr. Red-and-Brown certainly had the friendlier face. Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious held more intrigue.
Mr. T, D, & M scowled and glared pointedly at his friend who said, "Yeah, actually, that'd be great, thanks." Red-and-Brown stuck a hand out at me. "Charles Bingley. But please, call me Charlie."
"Elizabeth Bennet, better known as Lizzie, or your new neighbor. Speaking of, to who do I owe the pleasure of being across the hall from?" I inquired.
Charlie grinned. "Both of us. We're kind of a package deal." He elbowed the tall guy in the ribs. "Come on, introduce yourself."
"Yeah, Mr. TDM. Who are you?" I teased.
He knit his eyebrows. "TDM?" he echoed doubtfully.
I smiled wickedly. "TDM as in Tall, Dark, and Mysterious." Charlie burst into laughter, telling me how accurate the nickname was. TDM frowned at us.
"Will Darcy," he finally muttered.
"Well, nice to meet you. Though TDM sounds a heck of a lot better than WD, I have to say." I leaned further out. Boxes lined the narrow hallway down their left. "And that looks like a lot of stuff. Will you still take me up on my offer of assistance?" I asked Charlie, who nodded eagerly. I called into the apartment over my shoulder. "Jane, come out and help!"
"Hmm?" my twin sister said, coming out of our shared apartment and out into the hallway. Thank goodness she was already dressed, even though her appearance wasn't as nice as she preferred it. She was wearing baggy sweats and a fitted t-shirt. Her blond hair with brown highlights was perfectly brushed, though. "Oh, hi!" she said nervously when she saw the two (good-looking) guys. "Jane Bennet, Lizzie's twin," she told them, sticking out a hand to shake. Charlie took it quickly and shook vigorously.
"Charlie Bingley, new kid on campus."
"Will Darcy," TDM said, not bothering to offer any other information. He turned away from the group and started to take more boxes into the apartment. Charlie ignored this, as if it was a constant occurrence. This set the tone for my sister and me to do the same.
"Well, Lizzie and Jane. Seeing as how summer vacation just started and Will and I are the newbies here, how about you let us escort you on a night on the town?" he requested, looking at Jane the whole time. I smiled to myself. "You girls will have your pick of restaurant, of course. But, be warned, I'm a complete junk food pig. In'N'Out might be out of the question. Or McDonalds, for that matter," he laughed, patting his fit stomach.
"Are you sure you don't want to get settled?" Jane asked, always considerate.
Charlie chuckled. "Nothing to settle, Jane! Personally, I'd rather get further acquainted with the Bay Area. And, more so, you two," he said genuinely. "We just got here this morning. I think we might've woken you girls up with our banging and clanging."
"We're early risers," I said. "I think we'll be waking you more often than the vice versa. And, as for your offer, I'd be more than happy to go. Jane?"
"I'd love to," she nearly gushed. Charlie's smile got even wider.
"Well, then, it's settled!" He rubbed his hands together. "Any place good around here?"
"You mean here in San Jose?" I asked.
"Anywhere at all. Preferably in this state," he said invitingly. I laughed. I was liking this guy more and more by the minute. I was positive Jane was feeling the same way. I could tell there was chemistry between them from the way they shyly made eye contact, blushed, smiled, and looked away.
As for Will Darcy? He was still bringing boxes into the apartment, glancing at Charlie occasionally, probably thinking: You're seriously still talking to them? I wasn't really sure what to make of him. Maybe he was just shy and didn't warm up to strangers very quickly. That was probably why he was such good friends with Charlie. Opposites attract, right? That was part of the reason Jane and I were so close—well, that and maybe sharing a womb for nine months.
"There's Maggiano's down at Santana Row…" I said thoughtfully. But then I remembered how expensive it was, and Jane voiced my thoughts.
"Lizzie!" she gasped.
I flushed. For a second I had only remembered the good food, blocking out the price. "Actually, you know what, Charlie? I take it back. It's kind of pricy…"
"Money's no object, Lizzie. You say it's good, Darcy and I'll be happy to take you. And, if you're that uncomfortable, we can go Dutch. Or quarters," he joked, sensing our apprehension.
Jane and I had a silent exchange, and I finally nodded. "Dutch/quarters it is, then, Charlie! You name when."
"As soon as possible. Say, six thirty tonight?" he suggested. We agreed and he said, "We'll knock on your door, then."
"Do you still need help?" Jane started to ask. But then we realized Will had already taken in the last box and was in the open apartment moving things around. "Oh. Are you sure Will's okay with it, Charlie?" she asked the auburn who turned bright red when she said his name.
"Of course. We're still trying to get accustomed with the area, Will more than myself. He's from England, you know." Aha! I thought I had detected a slight accent. But it was easily overlooked by the amount of talking he did (which was close to none).
"Ah. And where are you from, Charlie?" Jane asked, interested.
"New York," he told her. "Not as far away as England, but far enough. But California's pretty amazing. I think it's better than New York."
Jane smiled. "I don't think you mean that. Nothing can ever really compare to your hometown, if you know what I mean. That is, if you were born and raised in New York."
"I was." At this point, Will came out of the apartment and muttered, "Charlie."
"Oh, Will! We're taking the Bennet twins out to dinner tonight!" he announced jubilantly. "And don't worry about it, girls, I'll make reservations. He turned to Will. "Six thirty at Santana Row, okay, so dress nice." Jane and I looked at Will Darcy tentatively. He sighed, resigned.
"Sure, Charlie. Now could you help me?"
"Of course, man. Jane, Lizzie, a pleasure. We'll see you at six thirty." With that, Charlie Bingley tipped his imaginary hat and grinned at us. Will Darcy nodded brusquely and rushed Charlie inside, carelessly leaving the door cracked open and unknowingly abandoning one last, small moving box to the right of their door.
"Are you crazy, Charlie?" I exclaimed as soon as I shut the door behind us. "You literally met those girls five minutes ago, and you want to go on a double date with them?"
"Not a double date! Just four friends hanging out!" he protested.
I snorted. "Please, Charlie. Don't tell me you define a friendly conversation as actual friendship." I narrowed my eyes. "You just want to go out with the blond."
Charlie blushed but didn't argue. "They both seem very nice. They're very fun to talk to. Jane seems very nice. She's lovely, didn't you see her? Oh, and her sister Lizzie! She's witty and just as beautiful as her sister, though I do prefer Jane."
"Come on, Charlie! Can't you tell what Lizzie is? She suggested Maggiano's in Santana Row! I heard her! She's probably an opportunistic gold digger, as ugly as they come; do you know how expensive that place is? She was just egging you on! And her sister's probably just as bad," I ranted. I know it sounds illogical, considering I had barely talked to them myself. But I had observed and listened to them and I had known real gold diggers who came off just as innocent as the Bennet twins had.
"Don't feed me trash about how you can't afford to spend money, Will! You're the head of Pemberly realty!" Charlie yelled, finally getting in my face. I was just about to retort when someone knocked on the door. Our heads swiveled. I glared at Charlie and went to open the door when I realized it already was open. Lizzie Bennet stood there, a pleasant smile on her face. Her dark brown eyes were angry, though.
Loud enough so Charlie could hear, she said, "You guys left this box out here." She held in her hands the smallest moving box that we had, which I had apparently overlooked. I wondered if she would say something else. "Well, I'll see you later." Lizzie waved to Charlie and stared at me witheringly. She dropped her voice level. "Ugly, opportunistic gold digger, huh?" She shoved the box at me and stormed back to her apartment. Shocked, I turned back to mine.
"What was that all about?" Charlie asked me. "Did she cancel?"
"No, you idiot, didn't she just say 'See you later'?" I snapped. I put the box on the coffee table and turned to him. "Speaking of cancelling, maybe we should…"
"Don't be ridiculous, Darcy. We are not cancelling. Why would you even say that?" he demanded, studying me carefully. I looked away from his penetrating gaze.
"She…she heard me talking about her and her sister." I face palmed. "I should never have left the door open. Did you see how mad she was?"
Charlie's jaw dropped. "She heard you saying those nasty things? Then march over there and tell her you're sorry!"
I shook my head. "No! I meant what I said. I'm just sorry she heard it."
I slammed the door to the apartment and stomped in. That good for nothing Will Darcy, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and he gave me…insults and a lowered self esteem.
"Jane!" I yelled angrily. She hurried out of our bedroom and raised her eyebrows at me. I probably looked like a storm cloud. I certainly felt like one.
"What? What's wrong?" she asked worriedly.
"Will Darcy is what's wrong! That little…" My voice quieted as I muttered incoherent strings of words.
"Lizzie, sit down. Did something happen?" I let Jane steer me over to the couch and sit me down before I started ranting and raving.
"Yes, something most certainly happened! Will Darcy just called me an ugly, opportunistic gold digger!" I stood up and glanced at her. "He also said if I was one, you probably would be, too," I added apologetically. Though she never reacted violently, I fully expected her to get up and help me raid their apartment with pitchforks and torches.
"I'm sure you heard wrong, twin. Or maybe he was in a bad mood. Moving can be stressful, you know," she said quietly.
I didn't care what she said. Forget everything I said about giving Will Darcy the benefit of the doubt. He has the nerve to insult me? Game on.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed! That little Review button down below is ticklish. Click him and watch the fun begin!