This is a repost; it is a, what if things went differently in Hunsford. Inspired by the 2005 movie. At the time I had tremendous help from Fost. Who BTW is still writing his great and very lengthy story Meet My Daughter Amy Jane. If you haven't read it, I think you should;). I wouldn't be surprised if he would publish the story someday. Please R & R. Hope you enjoy this.
Elizabeth Bennet was placed together with Colonel Fitzwilliam on a Hunsford church pew. Trying to pay attention to the long winded sermon her cousin Mr. Collins was torturing them with. The colonel was speaking to her softly about his cousin Darcy. Darcy did not confide in him, but the Colonel knew Darcy was in love with Miss Bennet. He had never seen his cousin and dear friend so tongue tied and discomposed in female company, in all the years he had known him. He was making an attempt to see what Miss Bennet thought of Darcy. For as far as he could perceive, she all but ignored Darcy. And never had he seen her instigate a conversation with his cousin, unless she was directly questioned.
"Miss Bennet?" He whispered.
Smiling at him, she whispered back. "Yes Colonel?"
"May I ask you an impertinent question?"
She smiled again, thinking how she was impertinent herself and wouldn't think about denying him the same courtesy. "You may, but whether I am inclined to answer, that is something else entirely."
"That will do." He returned her smile with a grin of his own.
"I know you've met Darcy in Hertfordshire, and I am curious to why you seem to dislike him so." He asked her with his brows raised and an impish smile to soften his rather rude question.
"Oh," she whispered embarrassed, "that is a long story Colonel."
It wouldn't do to let others hear how unkind he was about the clergyman, so close to her ear he whispered. "While we are all prisoners here, we have time. It cannot be longer than your cousins' sermon, and it will be fascinating in comparison to what he is saying."
"I am in agreement sir, but beforehand I apologise if my narration causes you pain. I can see you love your cousin." He nodded to her to continue and she did. ''Well sir, the first time I saw your cousin he did not want to dance with me and made a comment that injured my pride and vanity. From then every time I saw him, I am certain he only looked at me to find fault, even following me about the room to listen to my conversations with my friends. And I am sure he did that just to discompose me. You can rest assured that he dislikes me as much as I do him. Mr. Darcy, Miss Bingley nor Mrs. Hurst could not be bothered to show any respect. I do not know if he does this in society other than ours, but he never talked to anyone, standing looking out a nearby window all the time. It was perceived by all as his unwillingness to participate in company he thought beneath his station. He always appeared aloof and disagreeable, giving an arrogant answer or none at all, when addressed by someone he thinks beneath him. So, no Colonel, he did not make himself agreeable to anyone in my neighbourhood."
The Colonel wanted to say something, but Elizabeth did not notice, being deep in thought, so she resumed. "And then the militia came to Meryton and I made the acquaintance of a Mr. Wickham."
At this the Colonel gasped loud enough to gain her attention. "You mean Mr. George Wickham?" the Colonel hissed.
Taken aback, she nodded hesitantly "You know him?"
"Know him? I certainly do, that nefarious man, he is the worse of men, what tale did he serve you?" He whispered heatedly.
Tentatively, she replied, "He told me of the living that is denied him after Mr. Darcy's passing."
"Denied him!" Harrumph …. "The audacity of the man is beyond my understanding, he inherited one thousand pounds, and my cousin gave him three thousand more instead of the living, as he said he rather study the law. When he blew it all in less than three years, he asked for more, which was denied by Darcy. So he vowed revenge and almost succeeded last summer, but I'll say no more, as it involves the innocent."
Shocked, she replied, "But he sounded so honest and behaved so amiable"
"Yes, he makes friends easily, but they seldom stay so once he shows his true nature. You're not the first, nor the last to be taken in by his manners; I dare say Darcy's father didn't see it. But Wickham has made Darcy's life a living hell more times than I care for. So I must warn you about Wickham, he does not hesitate to take the virtue of a pretty young lady, and disappears before she knows it. He's a gamester, so racks up debt with no intention of repaying." He whispered urgently.
That made her think of Miss King and she felt sick. How I've deceived myself, foolish, foolish girl. Am I wrong about Mr. Darcy too?
"Thank you for telling me Colonel, I'll steer clear of him when back in Hertfordshire." She said gratefully.
"Did Darcy know he's in Hertfordshire?"
"Yes, I saw them meet once and noticed he disliked him then."
"Did he not warn you?"
"He tried, but I did not take heed." She whispered shamefully.
Suddenly she thought about Jane and Bingley, "Why did he advise Mr. Bingley away from the girl you told me about?"
The Colonel snickered, "Darcy's romantic, and he observed the lady did not have the same regard for his friend. That's the truth, as he told me when in his cups; I had a good laugh about how romantic he can be, at the time. Actually, he said, to be exact 'She's a lovely lady. She seems very suitable for him, but I could not detect she held any regard for him. I would so dislike to see him in a heartless marriage' "
"Oh," was all the response she could muster. It must be as Charlotte observed, others could not see beneath Jane's serene countenance.
"I must inform you, Darcy is a very private person and extremely shy," at this point Elizabeth looked astounded at the Colonel. "Indeed. He always has been, made worse by being pursued by society mamas or their daughters. It's his consequence and wealth they want, they do not care for his person. What you saw in Hertfordshire is the mask he hides behind, to guard himself from society at large; it is not the real Darcy. I know him to be honourable, generous, loving, dutiful and always kind. And one last thing I can tell you is... that Darcy does not dislike you. " Elizabeth was listening to him in disbelief, with her mouth open. He resumed. "Men do not follow women around to find fault, Miss Bennet." The Colonel said while looking her straight in the eye to emphasise his meaning.
At this point the congregation stood to sing the final hymn, then bowed their heads for the final prayer. The service concluded, everyone stood up and left the church. Before leaving Elizabeth thanked the Colonel.
Outside, she went to see Charlotte, told her she needed some time alone and that she had decided to walk to the folly, shaped like a little temple, she had seen in the Rosings Park grounds. It was quite a distance, so she had been walking for some time, with still some distance to go, when it started to rain heavily. Elizabeth ran to the temple but still arrived there soaking wet.
Standing out of the rain, she thought about of what the Colonel had told her. She was shocked. She who was so proud of how well she could read people, how could she be so deceived? Mr. Darcy, whom she hated without end, or so she thought, was not the man she perceived him to be. As was Mr. Wickham, she thought with shame. In an introspective mood, she wondered if she was prejudiced against him because he slighted her when they had first met. If she was honest with herself, she had to admit that when he came in the assembly hall and their eyes had met those first few seconds, she had thought him very handsome. Well, she did right up to the point that he said that 'she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me'. When she overhead that, she had felt her heart ripped out, but buried the feeling instantly and never thought of it again. But she had to acknowledge now, that she had never really known herself before.
Still catching her breath as she leaned on the temple wall, she closed her eyes to concentrate on what had been said. The most astounding thing was that the Colonel had said Mr. Darcy liked her. It seemed impossible, yet he was always looking at me… could that be because he liked me? 'Men do not follow women around to find fault' the Colonel had said. Well it does not matter, he would never act on it, or court me; I've no connections, no dowry, and my Mother and younger sisters are not to his liking, not sophisticated enough, and … Where did these thoughts come from, from liking to matrimony, she let out a chuckle and silently laughed at herself.
She suddenly started, as a movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention. Abruptly she jerked forward, there he was, the man of her musings, dripping wet and visibly nervous. His hair was plastered on his head and his always perfect attire was adorably dishevelled. He was playing anxiously with his gloves, looking at her with a great deal of uncertainty in his eyes. Not saying anything, they just stared at each other for a moment. Elizabeth realized that she now saw him in a different light, because of her knowledge from the Colonel. She saw the emotions in his eyes, the tense body language. Before, she had thought him indifferent, aloof and disagreeable. Now she saw the shy way he was trying to make contact with her. Oh Lord, how she had misread this man!
He then started to speak in a hurried manner. "Miss Elizabeth, in vain I have struggled. I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment; I came to Rosings with the singular object of seeing you. I must tell you how ardently I admire and love you …."
Elizabeth interrupted him. "Please Sir, do not do this. I don't know you as well as I should, so I'd have to decline if you proceed." With a small smile she added. "If you were going to ask what I think you were, that is."
Darcy stood rooted on the spot, his mouth left open in his confusion.
"Were you?" She asked kindly.
"What?" He asked dumbfounded.
Kindly she asked. "When you were declaring your love, were you about to ask for my hand
"Yes." He breathed, still unable to say more.
She looked him in the eye and said, "If you had, I'd have to refuse. I know you only a little. I will only enter the state of matrimony if I love and respect my intended. So if you want me as your wife, we need time to know each other better, and from that, I hope love and respect to grow." She said thoughtfully. "Now sir, if you were to ask permission to court me, to give us a chance to know each other that would be something entirely different."
It took him a few seconds to comprehend her meaning, but then Elizabeth was shocked to see he could smile. Not just a smile, but a happy wide one with beautiful dimples. She was thrown a bit off balance by how well it suited him. "You would make me the happiest of men, if you would be agreeable to it, Miss Bennet."
Blushing she replied. "Thank you, sir. Yes I would be most agreeable to a courtship."