A/N: I've always wanted to do a Pride and Prejudice modern fanfiction and this just sort of ... poured out. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognise.
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man, in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.' – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Elizabeth Bennett's life is not going as planned.
Yes, Lizzy has it all planned out – bags and bags of money raining down on her, a huge house, her dream car, a brilliant job –
And then reality turns around to give her a good kick.
First of all, her alarm clock decides that today, of all days, is the day to stop working.
As Lizzy is bounding around in a mad panic, pulling on a sock, brushing her hair and trying to yank on her blue shirt without tearing her arm off, she suddenly realises why her alarm clock hates her.
She'd thrown it out of the window.
Ah, yes. How, Lizzy thinks, almost falling over as she tugs on her trousers frantically, could she have forgotten that?
Unfortunately, for Lizzy, when she'd thrown her poor alarm clock out of the window, it had smashed her elderly neighbour's car window. And it didn't help her case any further, when she'd dropped down onto her floor and began using her stuffed elephant as a shield to stop Mrs Winters from trying to bang the door down.
'I will call your mother, Elizabeth Bennett!'
'You'll never catch me alive!'
Lizzy had had no idea where that had come from, but after a night of watching spy movies – and slowly but surely falling in love with Daniel Craig –, drinking her way through two boxes of RedBull, she'd been extremely hyper and exceedingly irritated at her alarm clock for actually having the nerve; for even daring to wake her up.
Unluckily, Mrs Winters had 'caught' her alive and threatened to call her mother; puh-lease, as if that threat ever worked anymore, which was why Lizzy had immediately offered to pay for the car window and apologised for having James Bond marathons without Mrs Winters, apologised for drinking RedBull without Mrs Winters and apologised on behalf of her alarm clock.
Lizzy thinks dejectedly on the huge hunk of money the window had demanded; her apparently Superman-like alarm clock has a huge vendetta against her.
Then reality kicks her again and she shouts into the empty house, 'Where are you, you little infuriatingly cute pair of heels?'
Fifteen minutes later, Lizzy is barrelling out of her house and careering into the car where Jane is patiently waiting.
'Drive, Jane, drive like the wind!' Lizzy yells, dramatically, getting carried away. 'Drive faster than the speed of light and don't stop 'till you get to the end of time and day!'
'Lizzy, honey, breathe,' Jane says, hiding a smile.
When Lizzy does as her sister says, she amends her previous statement. 'Actually, you don't have to drive faster than the speed of light – even though it'd help me a lot – and I don't particularly need to get to the end of time and day, wherever the hell that is, so I think work will be okay for me.'
Jane lets out a tinkle of laughter and Lizzy can practically hear the heavenly chorus and the flower petals drifting gracefully, like in the movies.
Jane Bennett is Lizzy's oldest sister and her favourite, although if asked, Lizzy would deny it to the end. Unless you offered her a bucket load of Ben and Jerry's, in which case, Lizzy would blurt out her innermost secrets without a care in the world.
Jane is the nicest human being in the planet. Lizzy has proof – in the form of dozens of dozens of people they have met. Everybody who meets Jane is sure to get along with her, because Jane is just that sort of person. She has auburn gold curls that she twists into different hairstyles every day – Lizzy is not jealous, nope, not at all, she's perfectly happy with her dull brown hair – and bright blue eyes that are so Bambi-like you just don't want to tell her that Bambi's mother dies.
Lizzy Bennett is second in the Bennett family. She is – if she's truthful, which she usually is – bold, impatient, quick to judge and holds grudges like she holds a particularly spellbinding book – and when a book is spellbinding, Lizzy isn't letting go, not even for Ben and Jerry's. She has brown hair that Jane insists is 'chestnut', whatever that means, and surprise, surprise, brown eyes – 'chocolate, Lizzy, sweetie! They look magical!' – that don't even go lighter in the sun's rays.
Then in dances Lydia Bennett. Light-hearted, easily pleased and young, Lydia is the most energetic person Lizzy knows. She's impatient, gets overexcited and lives in the moment; if being hyper was an Olympic sport, Lydia would not only win all the medals, but probably accidentally knock out every participant in the process. She has a short burst of red hair – that she dyed when she was fifteen to her sisters' horror and her mother's delight – and vibrant green eyes that sparkle with vigour.
Back to one of Lizzy's worst days ever.
As Lizzy sneaks into work two hours late, using a notice board as protection – she really has to invest in some sort of shield or something, notice boards and stuffed elephants rarely do much –, she hears a familiar shrieking and groans.
'Lizzy Bennett, is that you?'
Caroline Bingley, in her white designer dress, paired with a black belt and heels, stalks over to Lizzy, who is standing, sheepishly holding up the notice board.
A few words about Caroline Bingley.
She is a bitch. A cold-hearted, sneaky, frustrating bitch who just happens to have a brother who just happens to own the company Lizzy works in. With her fancy golden curls – puh-lease, as if Lizzy is jealous – and her slim as Lizzy's purse figure that Lizzy does not under any circumstances wishes she could have, Caroline looks like a freaking model straight off the catwalk. Oh, and to top it all off? Caroline also has an unyielding vendetta against Lizzy, ever since Lizzy accidentally (on purpose) stuffed a cupcake in her face.
It was an accident, so don't give her that judge-y look. And in case she forgot to mention:
Lizzy hates Caroline Bingley.
'Oh, wow, would you look at that, Lizzy?' Caroline sarcastically looks at the clock who seems to have befriended Lizzy's alarm clock and is practically screaming it's eleven o'clock, bitch! Get ready for the worst! at her. 'It's eleven o'clock!'
Lizzy resists the urge to snap that she does know how to tell the time, one of her many, many talents.
'And what time do you have to be here, Lizzy?'
'Nine o'clock,' Lizzy mumbles, going slightly pink with all the attention – everybody's watching like she's going to either break out into song or rip Caroline apart, limb from limb. Lizzy hopes she does the latter. She's not too good of a singer; her sisters can assure you of that.
'What was that?'
'Nine o'clock,' Caroline repeats, smirking like a Siamese cat. 'Two hours, Lizzy Bennett. You're two hours late. Why?'
'Well, it all started with my alarm clock, y'see, and I suppose, Daniel Craig, damn, that guy looks good, am I right? Anyway, my alarm clock rang last week so I threw it out of the window, because that night I'd had a James Bond marathon, and my neighbour – Mrs Winters – got a little annoyed because my alarm clock went and smashed her car window. Alarm clocks these days! Then I had to fork out for a new car window –,'
'Codswallop, Lizzy Bennett!' Caroline interrupts Lizzy's prattle, uh, she means, explanation. 'You're –,'
'Who the hell says codswallop? Welcome to the twenty first century, bitch,' Lizzy mutters under her breath, a blaze of annoyance streaming through her.
'What did you just say?' Caroline's eyes are flashing with anger and it is then Lizzy realises something.
Her voice hadn't been as quiet as she thought it had been.
And … she hadn't been muttering.
'A bitch?' Caroline repeats. 'You think I'm a bitch?'
Correction, Lizzy thinks. I know you're a bitch.
It seems like Caroline knows what Lizzy is thinking, as her mouth pursues and the girls stare each other down.
Lizzy, in her hastily thrown on pale blue silk shirt and black smart trousers – oh, crap, her shirt has a stain on it! –, her messy bun that has small twists of hair tumbling down and mismatched socks – one with Phineas Flynn saying, 'Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!' and the other with SpongeBob Squarepants grinning toothily.
Caroline, in her immaculate, pristine, stain-free snow-white chic dress, the black belt showing off her flawless curves, her hair curled to precision, falling prettily around her shoulders and her smooth white heels that look polished to utter perfection.
Both girls refuse to look away and the atmosphere in the office is edgy, tense. You could cut the tension with a … Lizzy would say knife, but she likes to think she's original, so you could cut the tension with a fork.
She takes on intimidating, menacing step forward, eyes smouldering – she only knows her eyes are 'smouldering' because the large windows reflect the brown-eyness –, trying to telepathically yell I'm not scared of you – and immediately trips.
Looking back on it, Lizzy is not entirely sure how she tripped, considering there were no wires, no carpets – it was a wooden, beautifully red, rich mahogany floor. The poor trees!, she thinks, the environmentalist in her coming out –, basically no nothing. Despite Jane's gentle suggestions that she may have simply tripped in her heels, Lizzy refuses to listen. She can walk perfectly in heels and anyone who says otherwise will see how perfectly she can throw heels, as well.
Anyway, Lizzy falls headfirst into Caroline, who gives an unattractive yelp of surprise and falls on her bottom, legs up – a little devil pops up with a 'poof!' on Lizzy's left shoulder lets out a surge of cackles and cheers, 'Go on, Lizzy! Give that bitch what she deserves!' while a little angel on the right, who looks slightly like Jane, whispers, 'Lizzy, sweetie, be the better woman.' Unfortunately, neither angel nor devil can help with Lizzy's newfound clumsiness, as her flailing hands knock over a bunch of paper, which are sent flying into the air.
And the crazy does not stop there.
Unbelievably, as Lizzy gets up, she grabs hold of the nearest thing closest to her so she can gain balance but ends up slipping yet again, as the object she has in her hands is a tray of teas, coffees and lattes.
As everyone begins squealing when the liquids spray over everyone, Caroline, still on the floor, yells that her dress is ruined and Lizzy looks extremely sheepish when the lights flicker fleetingly and the electricity goes out; the devil screeches with laughter. 'Oh, Lizzy, dearie, you are a riot!' he says, wiping a tear.
The screams increase even more when everything shuts down – crap, Lizzie, you just pulled the plug on your company, literally, she thinks, but the devil patiently reminds her, 'You were gonna get fired anyway, dearie. Best to go out with a bit of a bang, don't you think?' Lizzy almost agrees when the little Jane-angel shakes her head disappointedly, making Lizzy's heart sink. 'Oh, Lizzie, I thought you were better than this.' The devil threatens her with his trident, 'Be quiet, angel! I'm doing the talking!' Jane-angel looks aghast and says, 'You're always doing the talking!' – and Lizzie pulls herself out of the internal conversation to end up bumping into the desk next to her, which has wheels.
Before she can even begin to wonder why on earth a desk would have wheels, Lizzie tumbles over the discarded paper and spilt liquids, landing on the desk with a painful 'oof!'
With a panicked 'Out of the way!', Lizzy hurtles through the office, hitting several other desks along the way ('and maybe a couple of people,' the devil adds, with a wicked grin. Oh, you are evil, Lizzy thinks and she tries to banish the devil – she's called it Rumpelstiltskin, after Once Upon A Time, and 'dearie' – 'Begone, Rumpel!' but Rumpel cackles, 'Oh, no, dearie. I'm not going anywhere, without a reservation!').
'Lizzy Bennet, I will murder you!' Caroline screeches angrily, as Lizzy almost runs her over.
'Not if I get you first!' Lizzy calls over her shoulder, as Rumpel encourages her, 'Go on, dearie! You tell her!'
Little Jane-angel looks scandalised, after being squashed against the corner by Rumpel's pointy trident, and says, 'Lizzy, you're not capable of murder –,'
'I was joking, Jane-angel,' Lizzy supplies and Rumpel lets out a sigh of defeat, as Jane-angel looks satisfied.
Amidst the confusion, chaos and commotion, Jane steps in.
'What is going on?' she asks, hands grasping her cup of tea tightly.
Her voice is quiet, but everyone goes silent, even Caroline.
Except for Lizzy.
'Jane, watch out!'
Startled, Jane springs out of the way as Lizzy goes careering out of the office and into the street. The employees, Caroline and Jane hesitate, glancing at each other before rushing out of the door, hearing Lizzy before seeing her.
'Look out, people! Uncontrollable vehicle coming your way!' Lizzy yells, as Rumpel, seated comfortably on her shoulder, shouts with delight and Jane-angel lets out a squeal, hiding her eyes with her slim fingers.
By a pure stroke of luck, Lizzy makes it across the road without hurting anyone or herself, screeching to a stop as the desk wheels crash against the pavement. Hurtling forwards, Lizzy hears a scream – Jane, probably – as she, under the clear orders of Rumpel and Jane-angel, curls into a ball and shields her head.
Lizzy breathes in and out, in and out, in and out – holy freaking crap, she is alive.
She feels like singing Hallelujah and dancing with the stiff-looking guy in the fitted suit – yum, Lizzy's always loved guys in suits – getting out of the limo across the road over there.
Lizzy gets up, fully intending to break out into a chorus of Hallelujah despite what anyone may say about her singing, when Jane rushes across the road and envelopes her younger sister into a rib-choking hug. Jane is crying, Lizzy realises, slightly alarmed, and she hugs her sister back tightly.
'Don't you ever do that to me again, Lizzy,' Jane sniffs, lightly, sounding like their mother and Lizzy flinches.
'I – didn't mean to –,' she begins, but Jane interrupts.
'How do you get yourself into these kind of situations, Lizzy?' she asks, smiling through her tears, flicking her sister affectionately on the nose as she pulls away.
'I'm a magnet for trouble,' Lizzy shrugs, smiling.
Their happiness is short-lived when a shout alarms Lizzy and she breaks out into a karate pose, flicking her hair back. Bring it on, muchacho! Watch as she kicks your butt back to Arsehole Land!
'Lizzy Bennet?' Caroline shouts from across the road, as Lizzy looks sheepish, realising she does not have to defend Jane's honour from a potential attacker, and straightens self-consciously, brushing her hair with her fingers.
'Yeah?' Lizzy calls back, ignoring Rumpel's urging of, 'Get yourself across this road and punch her face, Lizzy! It'll make you feel better! I promise!' and Jane-angel's pleas of, 'Violence never solves anything!'
'You can't fire me!' Lizzy yells. 'Slaves have to be sold!'
Seeing Caroline's shocked face has never been so satisfying…
Just then, a car rushes past and a huge wave of dirty rainwater crashes down upon Lizzy.
Rumpel cackles, as Jane-angel wrings out her dress, 'Oh, dearie. I do feel sorry for you. There's a bucket load of trouble coming your way.'