Set in Carter's bar, after the events of episodes 13, 14 and 15. Lydia says 'Darcy would have played with you' when Lizzie is talking about Just Dance, so I was wondering what Lydia would have overheard to think that.
Now, I have two essays in for Monday (new LBD will be my reward for finishing) so I need to STOP WRITING FANFICTION and GO TO THE LIBRARY!
bingliest to wmdarcy Change of plans - we're going to a bar in town. Carter's. Come and meet us.
that_caroline to wmdarcy Yes, please.
wmdarcy to bingliest Not sure I'd be the best company at the moment
that_caroline to wmdarcy I think you'd have a good time. Or at least find it amusing.
bingliest to wmdarcy C'mon, don't sit in the house alone all night. One drink
wmdarcy to bingliest that_caroline Fine. One drink. Send me the address
By the time he arrived at the bar the group had already divided up around a large table. Bing and Jane Bennet were sitting close together, deep in conversation; Caroline was talking to Lizzie and a girl he remembered being introduced to at the wedding, Charlotte Lu; and the youngest Bennet sibling was giggling loudly with an equally drunk looking young man.
He stood awkwardly next to the table, car keys still in hand, until Caroline noticed him.
"Darcy, hi!" she said, leaping to her feet and instantly threading her arm through his. "Come on, let's get you a drink."
"I'm driving," he reminded her as she steered him towards the bar.
"One won't hurt you, it's on me," she insisted, and ordered him a microbeer without asking what he wanted – he hated beer.
By the time they got back to the group Charlotte Lu had moved away to talk to some people at one table over, so Darcy slid in next to Lizzie, who had captured the attention of Bing and Jane in order to tell them an amusing story of some kind.
When she had finished she looked over at him and smiled – she seemed different than how she had appeared at the Gibson wedding, more relaxed. "What, no newsie hat tonight?" she asked in lieu of saying hello, the smallest bite of sarcasm in her voice.
"No," he said quickly, unable to think of a more eloquent response. His shyness was always quick to take over when confronted with confident, outgoing people … maybe he shouldn't have sat next to her, he thought, since he realised he would now have to make conversation.
He wracked his brain for a conversation starter, trying to think what they had talked about at the wedding … she had asked him if he enjoyed dancing, and if he liked the town so far.
"This is a nice bar," he said, gesturing with his bottle to the numerous young people in the venue – Fitz would be proud of him.
She seemed surprised that he had spoken to her, turning to face him once more. Her eyes really were an extraordinary blue, he noticed.
"Yeah, it's not bad. As a town, we are pretty proud of Carter's. Though -"
"Hmm," Caroline intruded instantly, swallowing her sip of wine. "Darcy, do you remember that little bar we found in San Francisco? That was simply amazing, they had the best prosecco I've tasted outside of Italy."
Lizzie had raised an eyebrow at Caroline's interruption. "Though it's more of a museum for vintage and modern video games," she carried on as if Caroline hadn't spoken.
Darcy glanced over to where she had pointed towards, noticing for the first time a collection of old arcade games and some people drunkenly playing on a Wii hooked up to a projector. Interesting idea; maybe they should get Wii's for Pemberley's break rooms since it was the sort of game people could play in short intervals.
"Speaking of which …" Lizzie continued. "Hey Lydia!"
"What?" Lydia said, pulling her attention away from the young man she was talking to.
"Want to play Just Dance with me?" Lizzie asked, grinning at her sister.
"Uh Lizzie, kinda busy here," she replied, tilting her head suggestively towards her 'friend.'
Lizzie rolled her eyes. "How about you guys?" she asked, turning to him and Caroline.
"What is it?" he questioned curiously, never having heard of Just Dance before.
"It's a dance video game," she explained. "It's really fun."
"Darcy isn't really the type," Caroline said with a saccharine smile. "And Jimmy Choo's are hardly sensible footwear for such activities," she added, crossing her legs so that her designer shoes were purposefully on display.
"Suit yourself," Lizzie said with a shrug, and then vanished from the table.
"There was no need for you to speak for me there, Caroline," Darcy said firmly, more than a little annoyed that she had taken control of the conversation when he had actually worked up the courage to talk to an almost stranger – and a pretty one at that.
Wait, where had that thought come from?
"Oh please, I was doing you a favour - you are far too responsible to want to play such a thing," Caroline said with a simper, holding the stem of her wineglass between two fingers. "I personally don't understand the purpose of playing video games. How can any self respecting adult waste their time in such childish activities?"
Darcy watched Lizzie on the game podium, moving and stamping her feet to the music. She already had a small crowd of people she apparently already knew around her, good-naturedly ribbing her for her lack of talent in the game.
"Well Caroline, I admit that it isn't particularly my cup of tea," he agreed, not liking the idea of potentially exposing himself to ridicule. "But such games do serve to heighten social interaction with others, particularly in a setting such as this."
He paused and took a sip of the beer, trying not to shudder at the taste. "Besides, one should always try new things."
"Are you saying you'd want to go up there and make a fool of yourself?" she demanded with a slight, cutting laugh.
He thought about it seriously for a moment, picturing himself up there on that little podium, stomping his feet like she was and laughing, not a care in the world. So what if her technique at the game needed work. She didn't seem to mind her lack of skills or what people thought of her. She looked happy and carefree, her dark hair flying into her face and a flush in her cheeks. It was simple, uncomplicated happiness.
He envied that.
"That is not what I said at all," he replied eventually. "Though that's not to say I would not be adverse to the idea." But perhaps another night, when the bar wasn't so full. "They certainly look like they are having fun."
"Fun?" Caroline repeated deprecatingly. "This pitiful little town is just so horribly depressing." She rested her hand on his shoulder, intruding upon his personal space as she often did. It was no secret that Caroline was attracted to him. "I can't imagine you and my brother are enjoying yourselves here."
"It's actually not that terrible," he said, still looking at Lizzie. Her eyes were remarkably bright, even from across the room.
"And the people in this town," she continued as if he hadn't spoken. "I went shopping earlier and I swear every single store was playing top-forty radio, and nowhere could I buy anything organic. So uncivilised."
"I disagree with you there," he said, surprising himself – before the Gibson wedding his opinion had been much the same as hers.
"You do?" she said, sounding shocked. Then she smiled and leaned in even closer as if she was sharing a secret. "And what makes you think well of any of these cretins?"
"I've been thinking of the pleasure a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow," he said honestly in the hopes that Caroline might finally take the hint that he wasn't interested in her, gazing directly at Lizzie Bennet as he spoke.
"And just whose eyes might those be?" she asked, leaning in and peeking up at him with her immaculately made up eyes.
Darcy tilted his head purposefully towards the Just Dance podium. Caroline followed his gaze, her head shaking as she looked several times between one and the other.
"You have got to be kidding," she said, smiling in a coaxing manner as if to prod him into admitting the joke.
"I assure you, I am not."
"Come on now Darcy, be serious," she said, her voice taking on a disapproving tone. "Can you imagine taking someone who dances like that to a charity ball? I swear she has two left feet," she added, looking dispraisingly over towards where Lizzie was dancing.
He had to agree that her dancing at the game was not first rate, though he wasn't about to let Caroline win the point. "What she lacks in technique she makes up for in enthusiasm. With practice I am sure she could actually be quite good." He thought about dancing with her at the wedding, she had been happy to let him lead and seemed to know what she was doing. "Besides, charity dinners are not known to include video games."
"Oh, I can see it now," Caroline said, laughing maliciously. "The youngest will take advantage of her sisters relationship with you to throw pool parties in Pemberley's campus pool, and the mother -"
"Now you are being ridiculous, Caroline," he interrupted. "You're mind has leapt from admiration to a relationship with frankly frightening rapidity."
Their conversation was bought to a halt by a loud giggle from Lydia, who had been sitting with her hand on the young mans thigh as he whispered in her ear. The young couple (were they a couple, or had they just met tonight? he wondered) stood up and Lydia dragged him over to a corner where there was a decrepit looking 'wack-a-mole' game.
Darcy took another sip of the rather disgusting beer, thinking of what Caroline had said. She had blown what was simply a compliment to a casual acquaintance completely out of proportion. Yes, Lizzie Bennet was pretty enough, with nice eyes and a light figure that he found pleasing, but he had never actually had a proper conversation with her – he didn't know her opinions on books or culture or music, or even if she was intelligent at all.
Yet he couldn't deny that he was intrigued.
After an hour or so the evening was bought to an abrupt end when the Bennet girls had to drag a drunk Lydia home before she embarrassed them or was arrested for underage drinking. Darcy couldn't help but disapprove of her being out at a bar in the first place, suspecting that she was underage. Jane and Charlotte were helping Lydia into her coat while Bing hovered eagerly along side, clearly unwilling to be parted from Jane, and Lizzie was at the bar, saying goodbye to some friends.
Darcy was startled when Lydia had sidled up to him, taking advantage of Jane and Charlottes distraction as they put on their coats. "Hey Darcy!" she said, grinning hugely at him. He took a reflexive step back. "Daaarrrcy, Darce! Did you know your name sounds like a dub-step DJ?" She made strange, dub-step noises at him and then dissolved into giggles.
"I beg your pardon?" he asked, a little disgusted.
"You know, you should have just played with her, no matter what she said," Lydia said, splaying her hands out over his chest and drunkenly focusing her eyes on where Caroline was standing – she didn't seem to notice that he immediately disentangled himself and took another step back. "It was just tragic seeing her playing single player mode – ha, single player, perpetually single, ha ha!"
He was utterly perplexed – was she talking about her sister? "What are you -?"
Lydia laughed at him. "But you would probably have been worse than she is, and that shit would have been funny to watch -"
"Sorry, she's wasted," Charlotte thankfully interrupted, putting an arm around Lydia's shoulders. "Come on, Lydia."
"But I don't want to come on …" the younger girl whined as she was lead away.
"Well, it appears I got my wish," Caroline said, startling him since he hadn't realised she had come up behind him. He raised one eyebrow at her, silently asking her to elaborate. "Did I not say on twitter that I would pay money to see you have a conversation with the youngest sister?" Her smile turned mocking. "So nice to see you getting along with the in-laws already."
"Just give it a rest, Caroline," he said, not quite in the mood to deal with her right now.
"Touché," she said with a smirk, and then glanced over his shoulder. "By the way, your little crush is coming this way …"
Darcy panicked, pulling out his phone and turning away.
"Are you fake texting?" she hissed, though the amusement was clear in her voice.
"It's super important," he muttered back, hyper-aware that Lizzie had just joined them.
"Liz, I had such a wonderful evening," Caroline simpered, making sure her voice was loud enough for him to hear. "We simply must do this again some time."
"It's Lizzie actually," she corrected, not missing a beat. "And maybe next time you could wear better shoes and join the rest of us in games."
Caroline seethed at implication that her $600,000 shoes could be bettered, making Darcy smile down at his phone.
"Lizzie, are you ready?" Jane called from by the door.
"Yep, I'm coming." She nodded her goodbye at them. "See you, Darcy."
"Hmm?" he said, looking up from his phone as if he had only just noticed her there.
"Never mind," Lizzie said with an eye-roll before heading towards the door without another word.
Darcy frowned as they watched the group leave, Bing eyeing the closing door wistfully. He had been hoping that Lizzie would repeat her goodbye to him, maybe reiterate the offer to play video games as she had with Caroline. He cursed his reflexive shyness. Maybe, like Caroline, he should have spoken too her as they left – but, damn it, he just wasn't good at this kind of thing.
"Has anyone ever told you that you need to work on your game?" Caroline asked sarcastically, echoing his thoughts.
Reviews are LOVE and make me want to write more :)