To Guard and Be Guarded
This is the tale of Elise Bennet, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, who employs Fitzwilliam Darcy as a bodyguard for her. Darcy assumes her to be superficial and stupid, and she is repelled by his haughty demeanour. Will his role as her bodyguard enable them to let their guards down and let each other in? (Modern D&E)
Elise pulled her suitcase towards the exit, dodging hugging couples and runaway luggage trolleys. She finally navigated her way out the terminal and was immediately struck by the blinding Los Angeles sun.
"Well I'm certainly not in England anymore," she smirked to herself, remembering gloomy skies and the drizzle as she'd entered Heathrow Terminal 4 more than 12 hours ago.
"Little Miss Bennet," a familiar voice stated from just behind her. She swivelled around to face it. "Good grief girl! What happened to your tan?"
"HILL!" squealed Elise as she looked into the grinning familiar face of her family's long-standing chauffeur. She immediately launched into their secret handshake -– a fist bump, followed by an elbow bump, followed by a shoulder bump and concluded with a high-five.
"Did you miss me while you were on the other side of the pond, little girl?" Hill asked.
"No Hill. Have you forgotten? I've been your archnemesis ever since you hid my strawberry lipstick when I was 5 and told me a butterfly flew away with it."
"It was in your best interests! You didn't seem to be able to distinguish your lips from the rest of your face! Your whole chin was pink too!" he exclaimed. They both laughed at the memory as Hill reached for her Elise's worn out suitcase. It was covered in iron-on patches she'd collected from all the places she'd ever been to and then some.
"This is all you've got?" Hill asked. "I came to get Princess Alyssa when she came back from a 10 day trip to Florida and she had three of those Louis designer bags, and you, you go to a different continent for an entire year and this is all you come back with."
Elise smirked at the thought of her youngest stepsister and her antics. It wouldn't be too long until she was experiencing them first hand. She took a deep breath in a futile effort to clear her mind before exposing herself to the chaos that would be her family home.
Elise stepped on to the gravel driveway and turned towards the boot of the limo.
"Oh, no you don't!" Hill said as he gestured at for her to turn around. "I'll take this upstairs for you."
She rolled her eyes, knowing he would not be persuaded otherwise. She climbed the stairs and entered the house she'd been away from for the last year. She inhaled the flower potpourri smell in the hallway and decided to forgo taking the lift upstairs in favour of looking at all the family photographs going up the staircase.
She rolled her eyes as she noticed a new one of her three stepsisters, Marissa, Carissa and Alyssa, complete with Alyssa's Chihuahua, Baby Boy. Elise had never been a dog fan, always having feared them, but Baby Boy in particular gave her the creeps. He had this look in his eyes that made her think he secretly wanted to kill everyone in their sleep. In the new photo, Marissa sat on the ground between two deckchairs with her knees drawn to her chest and a pained expression on her face while the other two teenage girls were each occupying a deck chair by the pool dressed in bikinis and stilettos with faces caked in make up.
Her eyes scanned several photos of each of the girls and her stepmother and father. They finally rested on a photo of an extremely chubby version of herself sat sitting atop her fathers lap and holding onto the hand of her older sister Jenine. She, at age 3, looked all that was poised and elegant, sitting between her mother and father on the sofa. Elise sighed as she realised the short period in which their family of four had been happy before the illusion was shattered.
As she approached the top of the staircase, she heard the tell tale signs that her stepsisters were home in the forming screeching, stomping and swearing. She stepped onto the landing, only to be barged into with a pair of sharp elbows.
"Elise! You're back! Did you scope out any hot English boys for me? I'm like seriously in love with Tom Hiddleston right now… I mean, have you seen the tushy on that man?" Alyssa rambled.
"Yes, Aly, England was fine, and I had a really comfortable flight, thank you for asking. But yeah, I have seen the tushy on Hiddles and I do see where you're coming from." Elise smiled at her stepsister. Alyssa and Elise rarely saw eye on anything. They fought a lot and there were times when Elise wanted to chew her arm off just so she could throw it at the younger girl. But when it came down to it, they were a part of the same dysfunctional family and Elise was somewhat fond of her stepsister. To an extent.
"You bitch! That was MY sweater and how could you get tomato sauce on it! You didn't even ask if you could borrow it and jeez you have the same one in blue anyway!" The shouting was followed by a series of stomps as Carissa, older by a year to Alyssa, though just as immature, entered the hallway and tried to lunge at her sister.
"Oh, hey, Els…" she acknowledged as she turned her head to see the new arrival. Alyssa took this time to disappear and Carissa turned away from Elise to resume her chase.
"So in case you were worried, nothing's changed while you've been away," came the sardonic voice of Elise's third stepsister, Marissa, accompanied by her signature smirk.
Marissa was in many ways the odd one out. Where Alyssa and Carissa were short and petite with dishwater blond hair, Marissa was taller and broader than her sisters with darker hair. She was always proclaiming that when she stood next to them they made her look like a transvestite. Where the other two were frivolous and silly, Marissa was serious and sarcastic. While the other two were too young to remember their own father when he had died, Marissa could and she had never forgiven their mother for remarrying to Elise's father.
"Mars," Elise smiled, giving her a hug, "you've been awful at keeping in touch. Even Aly's been better. I've only managed to keep up to date on your life by reading the tabloids. Apparently you three have been giving the Kardashians a run for their money."
"Yeah, and Mom's been giving Bruce Jenner a run for his money. Don't be surprised if she doesn't look happy to see you back, her face is permanently this," she said as she pulled Francissa Bennet's signature duckface, which Elise couldn't help but snigger at.
"Where is Fran, anyway?" Elise asked.
"Out back with her personal trainer. Your dad is at work, as usual. Apparently he's had a back room added onto his office with a bed and stuff. He now stays the night there whenever Mom isn't dragging him to a function. You never know though, maybe he'll make an appearance now that you and Jen are home.
"Oh apparently Jen gets in from China at about 4 this afternoon. Ugh, I wish I could spend a year at an orphanage in China. To be honest I don't even care if it's not in China. Or not an orphanage. I just need to get out of this house!" She exclaimed, flustered. "Oh well, 13 days 'til I graduate!" she said with false cheer. "And I only applied to Switzerland, Sweden and Japan."
Elise gave her a sympathetic hug before being abruptly pushed away because Marissa was not a fan of physical contact or expressions of emotion.
"Oops, sorry! Ok, I'm going to go wash out the plane smell from me and take a long-ass nap until Jen gets in." Elise turned to head towards her old room.
"You do that." Marissa called over her shoulder. "Also you should probably make the most of that nap because Mom's dragging us out to some charity function hosted at the Lucas's."
Soo... this is my first ever story. And I'm a little uncertain. Just want to say a huge thank you to you for reading, and to my lovely beta Þórey who can be found as Kete(dot)Hlin :) And please do review! - N