Chapter Five: Bat caves, Man caves, Bear caves and a Fishmonger.
Darcy is a bastard.
A pompous, judgemental bastard.
And Wickham, oh, I will be more than happy to gift him with a new pair of concrete shoes right before I introduce him to my good friend Lake Super Deep.
And where the bloody hell is my god damn shoe!
I need a cup of tea. Or another scotch.
I watched as Darcy stalked over to a small dark corner to sulk. I caught his gaze and his stoic expression smoothly melted into a pretty impressive frown. I quickly looked away from that bundle of fun and scanned the room.
Wickham was leaning in towards the three youngest Bennet's in way too close proximity and from the way his eyes flickered between the girls and Amanda, I could only guess he had begun to weave his fishy tales.
His eyes flickered up and he came to an abrupt holt. I quickly checked over my shoulder and lo and behold I was still alone, the crowd still working to avoid me like the bloody plague. With barely a bow he was suddenly en route to my coordinates.
Why yes, I do think scotch is the answer. And no, I do not know the question.
The previous night was blotchy. Memories and details had fallen through the alcoholic sieve and only a feeling of regret and apprehension clouded my mind. A feeling I was only too familiar with in Modern Day England.
I hadn't even opened my eyes but if the pounding in my head and the abnormally loud screech of the curtains bursting open as Hill aired the house was anything to go by, well.
I rolled over in my warm and toasty bed only to feel the stomach wrenching clench of free fall and solidly face plant into the hardwood floors. Definitely not the best progress in relieving a hangover.
I groaned as I slowly pushed myself on to my knees but froze as a sudden blinding flash burned my light sensitive eyes.
There is an above average chance that the house actually shook as I screamed.
Amanda was the first person to come in and the look of urgent concern was quickly replaced with delighted cackles. That was not what I was expecting.
"Amanda," my voice quivered anxiously, "why am I wearing an obscene looking monstrosity and is its position significant?"
Apparently the alcohol hadn't completely worn off.
"Yeah, you're engaged."
My cries and sobs were drowned out once again by Amanda's joyful chuckling. My fiancé must have been just as bad or worse than hers for her to be so damn delighted. I couldn't help but gag at the thought of my very own Collins to have to manoeuvre around.
I righted myself and waited until the spinning in my head eased up before crawling back into bed and moaning miserably as Amanda came and got in with me.
"I can't remember a good half of last night," I whispered childishly. "At least." I couldn't help but laugh with her this time. I was plenty aware of how typical me it was and what a contradiction of the image I had tried so hard to present here.
Amanda began from when I stormed back in after my little chat with Darcy. Not only had I hit the alcohol hard but I became essentially a recluse for the night, hanging out in the corner of the room until it was time to leave. Yeah, I fell asleep in the carriage.
The general run down was:
Wickham had spread a tale – via the youngest Bennet sisters, of course – that Amanda's money was made via her successful fishmonger father but unfortunately had drank it all away. Upon hearing this, Collins decided he no longer needed to maintain his union with Amanda which was chiefly reinforced when her fathers 'apprentice' showed up and claimed an attachment to me.
Then Amanda kicked him in the balls, got escorted out and caused the entire Bennet clan – plus me and my fiancé – to leave the function early.
No Mrs Bennet was not a ray of sunshine, why yes Mr Bennet was awfully cheerful, Jane was a teary mess and I was passed out and drooling on Domino's shoulder.
"Who the hell is Domino?"
The wedding bells were chiming and the small crowd out the front of the church were throwing rice grains and flowers at the happy couple as they neared the carriage that would take them to Kent. Domino tucked my arm tighter into his as we headed forwards with the crowd. I had no doubt that Mr Darcy got a kick out of that one. After all, despite the truth in my name, the fact that I was engaged to a fishmonger did little to back up my claims and in turn made me look the fool Mr Darcy had thought I took him for.
I smacked Domino's hand away and continued on my own. As much as this was meant to be a happy day of joy and congratulations, it felt like a bad omen. Sure, things had turned out well for Amanda but for the Bennet's? Not so much.
Mrs Bennet was lamenting the future loss of Longbourne to Mr and Mrs Collins while the Lucas's celebrated the final goodbye to their single daughter – to life as a married woman as opposed to a missionary in Africa as she had originally planned.
I had to admit, I was revelling in my own victory. No doubt Collins had heeded my advice and offered for Charlotte despite her lack of a large dowry. I watched as they settled in the open top carriage and shared an awkward peck under the grey clouded sky before heading off, still showered in pink petals and rice.
Jane was clapping politely with the rest of the crowd and blushing demurely every time Bingley smiled at her but despite this, she still watched the carriage fade into the distance with palpable regret. She still felt as if she had let her family down and failed in her duty as the eldest to secure the family home for her mother and sisters.
From the corner of my eye I could see Domino approaching and quickly padded my way over to Jane as to escape his advances.
The guy couldn't take a hint.
Or a hit. Pussy.
I wrapped both my arms around Jane as the congregation thinned. She sighed heavily and I knew she was moments from tears.
"Sweetheart, you know this is for the best," I told her as I wiped a tear from her eye. "Amanda didn't get engaged to him to save you from nothing."
"Yes but-" she choked on a sob.
Before I could offer her further comfort I was tapped on the shoulder by Mr Bingley. I silently gave her a kiss on the forehead before leaving to find Amanda. I was more than surprised to see her talking almost calmly with Wickham. As far as I knew, she still saw him as a squandering salamander so I couldn't help but try and eaves drop.
Before I could get close enough-
I have to say I'm kind of proud of you. Here we go.
Well, Mags, what can I say? Certified genius, I am.
Certified, definitely, genius, bullshit.
Before I could get in a proper retort I was once again man handled by the Great Moron of the Deep.
"Domino! Will you stop?"
"Indeed, you have gone above and beyond your initial purpose. Trying to coerce royalty is low, even for someone who would accept money for such fishy schemes."
Wickham. If I had a shovel.
"Sure," Domino relented all too easily, "for another ten pounds."
"It only took two for you to play your role. You've gone above and beyond. That was your choice," Wickham didn't look happy at all. In fact, for once, I could see a small glimpse of he-minus-the-arrogance. Even though the situation was volatile for 19th century standards it was still nice to see.
"Yeah, and I landed myself a princess. You think I'm going to give that up that easy?"
I quickly took the audacious ring – that had to of been stolen – from the small pocket insert in the hem at the waist of my deep blue gown and held it out to Domino.
"I know you could never afford this. So in breaking this arrangement – which you clearly took advantage of seeing as I was sloshed – I will give this back, it is more than enough compensation. In return, I expect to never see you ever again nor hear your name or that you had anything to do with anyone I know." Deep breath. "Now scram!"
I turned around and tossed the ring down the road the carriage had just travelled and watched as he scampered after it, yelling obscenities as he went. I laughed loudly and started heading back towards Longbourne. The house was in convenient walking distance to nearly everything, I swear.
"Did you find my gift?"
And the rage returned.
"You mean to say," I looked at the ground and chuckled lightly, "that you stole my shoe?"
Yeah, I had found my tan shoe on the trunk at the foot of my bed after his last visit two days earlier. I hadn't even thought to make the connection between when it turned up and who had visited. I was losing my touch.
"Well, after so harsh a dismissal all those weeks ago, my ego was bruised."
Men and their egos, I swear.
I flipped him off and hurried down the road once again.
This is like Ground Hog day.
Jane was wrapped in my arms as we sat on her bed. There were probably thirteen handkerchiefs on the bed next to me, all soaked with Janes tears.
You should bottle it and sell it as Angel Tears. You'd make a killing.
Not now Maggie May.
Amanda had already briefed me on her visit with Darcy and it seemed that despite Jane's still single and free to become engaged status, Darcy had still warned Bingley off her. You can see that the conversation was bound to go downhill from there. Which it did.
Not only then did I have a tearful Jane to comfort but a pissed off Amanda ranting about what a huge disappointment Darcy was. As if I didn't see that for myself. Apparently he called her an abomination.
That had me going for a good hour or so but the look on Amanda's face kept me quiet.
Jane finally fell asleep again despite the fact it was only ten in the morning so I made my way downstairs to the breakfast parlour to grab some grub. Amanda came in from the garden at the same time and decided to join me for a meagre serving of tea and toast.
"Where the bloody hell did you find an axe?"
"You don't want to know," she brushed me off.
Ha ha, not gonna happen.
"No really, I do."
"I promise you, you don't."
"That's funny cause I really do."
"Miranda," she growled.
"Oh would you-"
"Miss Price, Miss Miranda," the curt voice of Mrs Bennet was not exactly the way I had wanted our conversation to end. Some things you just can't help.
"Yes, Mrs Bennet," Amanda began, "I was just breaking my fast." Way to be fancy. "We will be gone as soon as we gather our belongings."
"Upon request of Mr Bennet, Miss Miranda is to remain another three days. You, on the other hand, may leave." With that she spun on her heel and left to go harass her four single daughters.
"Crazy old bat."
"Forgot to mention your eviction?"
And I have to stay a whole three extra days.
"To the bat cave!"
I arrived at Mr Bennet's library within a minute and lightly tapped on the closed door. The lack of noise had me mildly concerned but it was the slight swinging of the partially open door which displayed the empty room that had me in almost fully fledged panic.
You can't have lost him. He's a whole person! Who loses a whole person?
Apparently I do.
I quickly made my way back down the stairs and out into the garden. Imagine my surprise when I ran into him just outside the doorway. Literally ran into him.
"My dear, are you quite alright?"
I looked up at him from the floor and the hand he was extending towards me. I gratefully took it and smiled ruefully.
"Sorry, I thought I had lost you." Probably not something I should admit. Don't want people thinking your irresponsible now.
"Indeed. Though I believe it would be truly difficult to misplace a human being, even one as reclusive as I."
"You'd be surprised," I mumbled.
"You needed something?"
"Oh, quite right. Mrs Bennet informed me that although Amanda is leaving today, I must wait three more days?"
"Ah yes, you see, we are expecting more" – he lightly shuddered, I smiled – "visitors today at noon and I have been instructed to detain you until their arrival." He finished with a wink and walked back towards his man cave despite my protests and questions.
"Well that was astoundingly vague."
Amanda and Mrs Bennet chose that moment to reappear; only Amanda was dressed in her modern clothes which looked wrinkled and musty. Spose she forgot to wash them.
Ignoring the Bennet matriarch – witch – she stopped to give me a hug.
"Keep in touch okay? I don't know how we will do it but just promise to keep in contact," she pleaded.
I slowly nodded my head.
"When you need me," I began hesitantly, "send a letter to Mr Bennet. I have a feeling he knows more than he is letting on and will be able to forward any letters to me or even give you my contact address before even I know it."
We both laughed though it was slightly awkward and bordered on tearful but our stubborn natures prevented any rogue salt water from appearing.
Enough said. Amanda hurried out the door with only a backward glance at me before heading down the drive to where? I couldn't tell you.
A/n: Hola readers :) First let me apologise for a few things:
How long it has taken to update. I'm in the middle of my final exams and the last few months have been mildly hectic.
How short this chapter is. I have a strict 3000 word minimum per chapter policy but given the events of the episode and the story and the direction, I just have to end it here which upsets me because it is basically 1000 words shorted than all the others.
If you like this story because it sticks to the television show, then I must apologise because from here it becomes very AU, it will join in with the events of the show but here is where Miranda will learn more about why she is where she is, how Mr Bennet seems to know so much and her family.
It will become a little more serious. Maggie May serves her purpose as Miranda's pesky yet logical conscience but she will become more of a guest star than a constant. Miranda's sassy nature will always be integral to her character but her light hearted, almost air headed insults may come off as bitchy, whinging and bitter in coming events. I'm sorry but it has to happen!
Well, exams finish in three weeks and I have a two week break but I'm also working on a couple of other things so we shall see how this goes. Reviews please :)