Hola! Here is Chapter Four! Once again, small grammatical errors or spelling errors are ignorable, complete butchering of grammar or spelling then just let me know and I shall do some remodelling and editing :) Do enjoy:
Chapter Four: Flying Flubbernuggets, I found a Giraffe.
I was just stepping off the porch to find Amanda when the voices started increasing in volume. Rest assured, it wasn't Maggie May and I was not going insane. At least, I don't think I was going insane.
It seemed the party had moved from the parlour to the porch and before I could escape without their notice-
"Shit!" I whispered. I spun around to once again find Mr Darcy standing behind me, looming over and definitely trying to use his intimidation skills on me. Well it won't work! "Can I help you, sir?"
"Mr Bingley!" and here she is! I grabbed her wrist as she ran up to the congregation.
"Where the bloody hell have you been?" I whispered desperately in her ear. We were angled away from the group slightly; I didn't exactly want to expose myself as being the crass woman from the future. Amanda had already set sail that ship.
She just winked back.
No! No, no, winking is not an acceptable answer! It doesn't fix anything!
"Mr Bingley, will you take a turn with me around the garden? I find myself fantastically interested to see a vole."
"A vole." He looked sufficiently bemused. Eh, so did the rest of us.
"Miss Bennet," she turned to a demurely blushing Jane, "Mr Bingley and I are going to search for voles. Join us! Who knows what we might discover."
"Do say you will, Miss Bennet," Bingley pleaded. Way to be subtle. "I, myself, cannot navigate. Without guidance, I might easily find myself in the duck pond."
Way to save face. I politely laughed with everyone else but attention drifted away. As I was looking around, I spotted Wickham, still in the same position he had been while talking to Amanda. The rest of the party had now moved out to the gardens on their vole hunt. I managed to hang back and slip away unnoticed, still keeping an eye over my shoulder at the group.
"If you could be so kind, you share very similar knowledge of things unusual as Miss Price, do inform me of what this neon is?"
I spun around to face him but jumped back with a hand against my heart.
"Bloody hell, Wickham! Do you need to sneak up on people like that? Jesus!"
I took a deep breath and eyed him warily as he slowly moved forward again. I know I was no expert on regency customs but he definitely seemed to be standing in the circle of closeness that was generally reserved for intimately acquainted folks.
"Just step back a little," I mumbled as I pushed against his chest with one hand. He took a deliberate step closer.
This sounded way too familiar.
I sighed. "Look-"
"Miss Miranda!" is spun so fast I can safely say that yes, it is possible to get whiplash without the aid of a seatbelt or car accident.
Mr Bennet stopped in front of me and sent a warning look to Wickham. "Captain Wickham, I did not know you were so intimately acquainted with our guest as to spend time alone with her."
I laughed and turned to Mr Bennet again who, unsurprisingly was smiling smugly at the floundering Wickham. Serves him right.
"My dear, a package was just received and is addressed to you. It is in my library for when you wish to retrieve it. This letter was attached and looks most important," he finished with a wink as he handed me the expensive looking parchment and walked back into the house, most likely towards his library for the solace he so desired in his household.
My name was inscribed in impressive calligraphy on the front and as I turned it over to open it, I couldn't help but observe the crown in the wax seal. I was suddenly nervous. Sure, I was almost positive that the King and Queen Mr Bennet had spoken of were my parents (they had the same name, heritage and social standing as my world) but I couldn't help but feel nervous. What if it was coincidence? What if even by accidently claiming relation to these people, I had signed my own demise? All by forging an association with people I didn't actually know?
My mind was running a hundred miles per hour and by the time I had started hyperventilating, George had snapped out of his own flustered state and was now attending to mine.
"Whoa, just breathe. Who could have possibly sent you a letter that terrifies you to a point that you don't even need to open it to instil fear in you?"
By now he was attempting to pick me up. Even in the state I was in I was able to swipe and hit him until he backed off. "Piss-" gasp "-off," choke, "George!" swipe.
Things were slowly starting to become blurry. There was nowhere near enough oxygen reaching my lungs or my brain and I could feel it trying to shut down in defence. A dark shadow was closing in around my eyesight from the edges, making it unbelievably harder to make it to the wall.
By the time I did I was on my hands and knees. I pushed my back against the wall and tried to ignore Wickham's shouting for help and the cries of shock and terror from Amanda and Jane.
Before I could protest, strong arms had picked me up from the ground and were now carrying me in the direction of the house. I was mumbling weak defences, trying to be put down but it seems that men with superiority and chivalry complexes do not listen to women they perceive to be in distress.
Yeah, I wasn't too happy about that.
Oh well, they will certainly hear about this when I wake up, was the last thing through my mind as the black won over.
All I could see was a soft yellow. All I could hear were birds in the tree just outside my window. All I could smell was gunpowder and chalk.
I sat up straight with a gasp and instantly regretted it as I smacked my forehead against… well, I can't be sure what I hit. I squeezed my eyes closed as soon as it happened, you see.
"My sentiments exactly."
"George! This is all your fault!" I whined as I rolled onto my side, still clutching my head in both hands.
"Most people who appear to sleep like the dead, do not usually awaken so abruptly," he defended. I squinted up at him through my hands to see him rubbing his tender forehead and pouting like a toddler.
I burst out laughing. Slowly he removed his hands and started chuckling too.
"Just because I find this hilarious," I warned him, still giggling, "does not mean I am blaming you any less. It's still your fault."
"If it makes you feel better then of course. Though I do believe that after this little episode, you will need to speak to and properly thank the honourable Mr Darcy."
Good god, I don't sleep walk do I? What could I have possibly done other than tell him where to stick it? Oh Jesus, I'm screwed aren't I?
"Whoa, slow down, I can see the gears turning a mile a minute in that pretty little head of yours," flattery will not get you anywhere, "it was he who gallantly carried you up the stairs to your room after your episode."
With that he looked at me with unbidden concern in his eyes. No! You're not allowed to act like a good guy! I can't like you now! You're still arrogant! Urgh!
"Great," I mumbled back. Just what I needed, to be in debt to the prick who is not only meant to originally fall in love with Elizabeth, but who I need to ensure falls in love with Amanda but is being super difficult and trying to flirt with me.
"You never opened your letter," Wickham's voice broke through my reverie. I looked at him blankly until the reason behind yesterday's episode, as he called it, came back to mind. He silently picked it up and handed it to me, but not before he glimpsed the crest on the wax seal. "From the King?" his eyebrows were happily meeting and greeting his hairline and I don't think his eyes could have opened any wider.
I took the letter and took another look at the seal. It was the Italian Royal Family Crest.
"Get out," I pointed to the door but didn't look up from the letter. Had I of seen his face I would of noticed the hurt in his eyes and the arrogance that quickly hid it. Of course I didn't look up and didn't see anything but the letter in my palm.
I also missed the sly mischievous look he shot back at me as he closed the door.
I slipped my thumb under the seal and ripped it open in one tug. As I unfolded it I noticed barely one page was filled.
My dearest Miranda,
I know you must be confused but rest assured you are not losing your mind. I understand that I have much to explain, both your father and I are as excited as we are terrified of the prospect of you learning about the secrets that we have kept from you seemingly all your life. I promise you though, we only meant to do what we thought was the right thing by you. We did it in order to give you the power of choice when the time came.
Even though you might not have thought it in reverse, it is much easier for one to assimilate into this culture than it is for someone here to assimilate into the twenty first century.
We would like you to come stay with us at Reggia di Caserta in Italy. It would be beneficial to all if we could discuss this in person. As people have probably informed you, and I know that you are intelligent enough to put the pieces together, that in Modern Day England we are our equivalent of our status here.
You see, my dear, your father is the King of Italy and in turn I am Queen. We will further discuss your lineage when you arrive. You might be surprised to learn that your maternal Grandfather is the King of France and your cousins make up the English Monarchy.
Your father sends his best wishes but he is currently taking care of the business in MDE and will not be returning for yet a month.
Make haste, safe travel and all my love,
Queen Emmanuelle Lloyd de le Gallo of France
I want my damn package!
I was sandwiched between Mr Collins and the carriage wall. Why? Especially when only Lydia occupied the other bench seat, why was I trapped here? Because Mr Collins insisted.
He bloody well insisted.
I have no explanation.
I can only assume that given the fancy dress (mother clearly was not one for subtlety and was a clear demonstration of wealth), he decided to stay true to his social ladder climbing schemes and stick close to those who appeared to hold power.
I had managed to block out all the meaningless chatter which once again consisted of Mr Collins singing his praises for Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lydia babbling about the wonders of Amanda's lip gloss. Neither of them were aware that we were now pulling onto the laneway that lead to Netherfield.
"You could park a bloody jumbo!" Amanda whispered in awe. I couldn't have put it any better myself.
It was pretty impressive. The drive was lined with torches and the house itself seemed to emanate a glow that attracted all the guests like moths to a flame. A very impressive, expensive, luxurious flame.
"My dear, wait until you behold the clasping buttresses of Lady Catherine de Bourgh."
"I bet her buttresses are…" I had to make some attempt at conversation, "pretty hard core."
I couldn't help but smirk at Amanda who looked to be trying so hard not to laugh. I just laughed openly. I wasn't engaged to the trouser groper so why not?
I stepped out of the carriage, ignoring the most likely unwashed hand of Collins, and smoothed my hands over my dress. The package my mother had sent me consisted of four gowns and two pairs of shoes. Two of the gowns were designed for night time occasions (awfully handy, no?) and two for daytime while one pair of shoes were very clearly from this period and seeming as they were essentially combat boots, I could only guess they were the day time pair. The other pair was from my own wardrobe back home: a pair of platform heals that were black material and covered in flowers with a buckle that wrapped around the ankle.
Not only was it the second pair of 13 cm heeled shoes I now possessed in Georgian England, but the only pair I could find. Trust, the night of the ball I can't find one of my tan shoes.
For tonight I had chosen the black and white dress, after all, all the other women of the household had chosen white and I could remember in the series that all the women wore various shades from white, to cream, to light peach.
The neck line was demure and extended out into short, excessively ruffled sleeves that if unwound could probably clothe a small continent for a year. It was surprisingly risqué for the time period with its tight, silhouetted design that had no cinching and dropped to the floor in one long flow of material.
It was beautifully hand crafted lace over the top of black velvet with strips of satin that trailed from hemline to hemline in vertical spaced stripes.
It was long and flowed freely enough from my hips downwards that I could wear my newly acquired heels and not have to spend the night explaining them. I would have enough to do after my introduction.
"Miss Amanda Dawn Price. Mr William Zeal of the Lord Collins."
Lord of the Zeal? That explained so much…
As I stepped up next to the announcer, slipping on a pair of elbow length black silk gloves, his countenance changed immediately and his eyes widened as he looked at me. He stumbled through a bow and cleared his throat. "Crown Princess Miranda Gilbert Otes Lloyd de le Gallo of Italy."
I just heard a glass smash.
"God, I need a stiff drink," I found the table of refreshments but all they were serving was non-alcoholic punch and some type of flavourless carbonated crap. This was going to be a long night.
People had been giving me a wide berth all night and I was starting to feel almost out casted by what the general mass must have assumed to be respect. Not even any of the Bennet's had stumbled out of their Bingley shadowed corner and I was even more surprised that Mrs Bennet had been glaring when unnoticed by other people.
Her look of displeasure only served to contest Amanda's in relation to Collins. I could see her throughout the night, trying to escape the clutches of her most attentive fiancé, but was unable as he always caught her arm and scalded her lack of propriety. Cause he was just rolling in it.
I rolled my eyes before hunting down the nearest server. He was a young-ish man, probably around ate twenties to early thirties with dark hair, light skin and kind brown eyes. "If you could oblige me, I would be most grateful for a scotch on the rocks," I watched him from the corner of my eye as he gaped a little, bowed stoically and promised to return immediately.
Awesome, just get me a drink.
As he walked away, I spotted Mr Bingley chatting with his sister and Mr Darcy. Well, now was the chance to thank him.
Mr Bingley was the first to see me approach and promptly bowed almost to a right angle. This of course triggered the balefully low curtsy from Miss Bingley and Mr Darcy to simply turn around and look down at me with his trademark stoic expression.
"Miss Lloyd, it is such a pleasure to see you again. Are you enjoying yourself?" I couldn't help but smile that despite his new knowledge of my heritage and status, he still treated me as a friend. It was definitely a nice change of pace for the night.
"Of course, your home is absolutely splendid," I waved off his still partially bent stature as the server returned with my drink. "Grazie."
"Thank you, though I am sure it is nothing in comparison to yours."
"Miss Miranda," Darcy interrupted, "may I request a private audience with you? It is a matter of great import and must be remedied immediately."
I downed my drink, handed it to the nearest server and requested another one. "Oh, it's you again! What's your name?"
"Very well, Anderson, don't be surprised if I come to you specifically for a refill." With one last smile, which he surprisingly returned, I was off towards an empty porch. It turned out to be not as empty as I had originally thought and the two couples that had been mulling around quickly bowed deeply and retreated back into the ball room.
I sighed as I stood straight from my reciprocated curtsy and ventured further out until I was leaning against the concrete bannister. After waiting at least five minutes I turned around to see Mr Darcy hanging back, standing much more closely to the door way and heavy drapes than the balcony I was standing on.
With a quick apology and repetitious bow, Anderson handed me my drink before retreating inside, not before nodding respectfully to Darcy on his way back in.
"Miss Miranda, I believe the majority of the people in attendance tonight are under a heinous misconception. One which you, yourself, have failed to remedy. It is an appalling grievance and disservice to the Royal family for such, imposters, to traipse around claiming connections they clearly are not in possession of."
"Please, do reveal the imposter, I shall deal with it directly." I deadpanned.
"I did not believe you to be born of this cunning. Using such allusive arts to gain the favour of the good people here, the favour of myself! I put my trust in you and you wilfully misguided me. My good opinion-"
"-once lost is lost forever. Get a new catchphrase," I hissed back at him. "I came out here to offer my thanks for helping me in my time of need just the other day. I did not expect you to throw that in my face, soil my semi-good opinion of you and attempt to destroy my reputation all in one go!"
"I am not the wolf in sheep's clothing."
For the second time that night I found myself downing my drinking. I tossed the ice over the balcony and slammed the glass down so hard on the railing I was surprised it didn't shatter.
"Look here, Darcy," I walked forward, still retaining the respectable distance that propriety dictated, "If anyone is playing in the arts of disguise it is you. Before you get all high and mighty on me again, I understand that there are things in your past which have dictated your current disposition but don't worry, I will not force you into revealing such private circumstances. But just because you are a paranoid yuppie and not many things surprise you, does not mean that every time something does manage to surprise you that it must be fake!"
This time he took a step forward and got in my face.
"End this madness or I will."
With that he bowed curtly and walked back into the ballroom.
Opinion? Constructive criticism always welcome. Abuse? Not so much… I shall post a link to the website with the dress on my profile and please, any ideas or anything, just review! Until next time :)