Back by popular demand, this is a continuation of my previous Downton AU, "Falling" (per request of a few of my lovely readers! I'll include some of the flashback scenes from my earlier fic, but from a different perspective (but note that there will be some similar dialogue). Downton Abbey is the property of Julian Fellowes. Happy reading!
Matthew pulled his Volvo into the empty parking spot, rolling up his windows as he shifted into park. As he turned off the car he heard another driver obnoxiously honk their horn and shout muffled words at him. He slipped out of the car as she continued to yell.
"Hey, that's my spot!" the girl repeated angrily.
Matthew raised his eyebrows, looking at the shiny black Mercedes. Clearly her family had money and lots of it. That car probably cost more than his parents' house.
"I didn't realize spots were assigned," he replied truthfully, wrinkling his nose slightly.
"It says 'Reserved' on the placard. Can't you read?" she asked rudely. Matthew forced himself not to roll his eyes at this princess.
"How the hell do you get a reserved spot?" he asked with a laugh, running his hand through his hair.
"You pay for it," she said imperiously, raising her nose in the air. She flipped her dark brown hair over her shoulder, her brown eyes glinting in the sunlight.
In different circumstances, Matthew would have to admit that she was quite pretty. But, of course, she already knew that.
Matthew looked at the car, smirking as he replied, "Of course you do. My apologies, your highness, but I had no intention of offending you. Please, do forgive me for my horrid infraction. I believe I have committed a crime against nature and possibly humanity."
He bowed for dramatic affect, hoping the girl got the message.
"Oh, God, just park somewhere else," she replied, clearly angered by his behavior. He laughed and the girl rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"No need to be so cross, princess," Matthew told her as he walked back over to the Volvo's driver's side. "I'll move my piece of crap car out of your way."
He smiled pleasantly before letting himself into his car. Once inside, he glanced at her in his side-view mirror.
"What a brat," he said to himself.
He started the car and backed up, probably drawing closer to her car than necessary, but she looked startled and Matthew was satisfied.
After finding a parking spot miles away from his building, Matthew trekked across campus to meet up with his new roommate, Tom Branson, after he finished orientation for his on-campus job.
Tom nodded as Matthew approached, his mind still on the girl from the parking lot.
"Hey, mate. So, I hear they're hiring at the cafe in the Lewis building," Tom said.
"Oh, that'd be great. I'll look into it," Matthew said. "Ready?"
"Definitely. Bloody hell, this year's going to be fun," Tom said with a sigh.
"You can say that again," Matthew replied as they headed for their dorm.
"The girls here though are a lot better to look at than the girls from my village. And nicer too," he said.
"Not all of them," Matthew replied as they entered their building and began to climb the stairs.
"You already have a run-in with someone?" Tom asked with a chuckle. "We've been here for a day."
"I know, but some girl in the parking lot yelled at me for taking her spot. She was really rude about it, too, as though I should have known her spot was reserved," Matthew said.
Tom laughed. "Reserved? How do you get one of those?"
"Apparently you pay for them," Matthew replied, pushing open the door to their floor.
"So, she actually paid for a reserved parking spot?" Tom questioned as they walked down the corridor.
"Or her daddy did," he said. They both laughed heartily, passing an open door.
"Bloody hell! What a privileged little-"
They turned their heads, glancing in at a girl sitting on her bed with a magazine. Matthew's eyes grew wide in his head as his eyes met those of the girl he'd argued with in the parking lot. He felt his ears turn red with embarrassment, his stomach contracting nervously as she got to her feet.
"A privileged little what?" she asked, crossing her room to stand in the doorway. She crossed her arms and glared at them, although Matthew couldn't help but feel that the anger was mostly meant for him. Her brown eyes were sparkling with fire of their own now.
"Uh-oh," Tom said in a sing-song voice, obviously trying to be unhelpful. "Someone's in trouble."
"Stuff it, Tom," Matthew said quickly, aiming a swift jab with his elbow at Tom's ribs.
"I do hope I'm not interrupting," she said bitingly. "I would hate to spoil all the fun."
Matthew thought she looked like she would love to spoil his fun.
"I'd say you did that already," Tom replied playfully, to both Matthew and the girl's annoyance.
"Not helping," Matthew whispered quickly. He liked his roommate, but he wished Tom could shut his mouth for five seconds.
"What's your name, sweetheart?" Tom asked, leaning his elbow against the door frame.
The girl rolled her eyes. Matthew thought his friend's behavior was rather comical, but it would have been funnier in a different situation.
"Mary. Not that it's any of your business," she said haughtily.
"Well, Matthew here has just been telling me about your little meeting earlier. Now, did your father pay cash for that car or just barter for it with solid gold?" Tom questioned.
"Don't be an arse, Tom," Matthew said hastily. He could tell this girl already thought Tom was an idiot.
"No, I think that job's already taken by you," Mary said, her fiery eyes meeting Matthew's.
Matthew's mouth fell open, he was so startled by her rude comment. Tom laughed, apparently pleased with Mary's acerbic tongue.
"You're right, mate, she is a treat," he said with enjoyment. "I'm looking forward to getting to know you better, Mary."
Tom walked away and Mary rolled her eyes again.
"So, uh, you live on this floor?" he asked her.
Mary looked at him, obviously surprised he was still there. She raised her eyebrows.
"Yes," she said, as though the answer was obvious to anyone with half a brain. "Excuse me."
She was about to shut the door, but Matthew stopped it with his hand.
"Hey, wait," he said quickly. Mary's eyes widened with surprise as he stepped towards her, causing her to move back. "I, um, want to apologize for earlier."
"Is that why you were telling your friend about it?" she asked with irritation.
"Look, we got off on the wrong foot and I'm just trying to apologize. You don't have to be such a snob," Matthew said. He tried to dilute his words with a friendly laugh, but Mary wasn't amused by him.
"You don't have to be such an obnoxious jerk," she replied.
Matthew narrowed his eyes and she glared back at him.
"Sorry for trying to apologize," he said roughly.
"Is that what you were doing?" she asked, in mock surprise. "It's so difficult to tell."
They glared at one another for a few moments. Matthew couldn't tell if they annoyance he felt at the situation was simply due to her rudeness and unfeeling manner. Certainly she was that, but she was also interesting. He wanted to keep talking to her even though she said she wanted to be alone. He wanted her to see that he really wasn't an obnoxious arse, but that he was kind and considerate. And maybe even a little bit funny.
God, she's pretty, he thought to himself.
Matthew noticed Mary look down at his lips for a moment. He backed away and felt his ears burn with embarrassment. He'd been wondering what it'd be like to kiss her.
"Sorry to take up so much of your time," he said uncomfortably. He turned before she could respond and headed for his own room at the end of the hall.
When Matthew entered his room, he found Tom lying on the top bunk, throwing his football in the air as he hummed to himself. He sat up when Matthew opened the door.
"How'd it go?" Tom asked, resting his arm on top of the football.
"That girl is insufferable," Matthew said as he shut the door hard. "I tried to apologize and all she did was act like a snob."
Tom laughed loudly. "See she's got under your skin, hasn't she?"
"No," Matthew said, forcing a disinterested laugh. "No, of course not."
He crossed the room to sit on his own bed. He leaned back against the wall. Tom shifted, hanging his head over the side of his bunk to look at Matthew.
"You like her," he sang out. "Matthew Crawley likes a snobby posh girl."
"I do not," Matthew said crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes at Tom. His friend laughed in response.
"Whatever you say, mate."
Tom rolled out of sight again. He began tossing the football again and Matthew listened in silence, his thoughts drifting to the girl down the hall.
Mary looked over at the closed door, her thoughts straying to the obnoxious boy with blond hair and sparkling blue eyes. She was angry with herself for finding him cute, especially since he noticed her look at his lips. And that he'd apparently found it embarrassing for her to look at him.
She sat down on her bed again, picking up the magazine she'd thrown aside earlier. As she opened it, someone knocked on the door.
"Surely it's not him again," she muttered to herself as she got to her feet.
"Mary!" Anna Smith said happily when her friend opened the door. Her face fell when she saw Mary's furrowed brow.
"Oh, Anna, I thought you were someone else," Mary said, smoothing the harsh look on her face. "What's up?"
Anna walked in, leaving the door open as she set the bag she was carrying on Mary's desk.
"I thought I'd come down and help you decorate a bit. I brought pictures and some pretty ribbon," Anna explained, pulling the items out of her bag.
"You're very sweet," Mary said, smiling at her. "How have you been getting on? Is your new roommate going to replace me as your best friend?"
Anna laughed. "I think not," she said. "Sarah O'Brien doesn't much like me or John, I think. But it's only for the year."
"Well, if she gives you trouble let me know and I'll help you replace all of her cosmetics with glue or something," Mary said with a grin.
"That's probably not the best way to make friends," Anna replied, unraveling some of the ribbon.
"You know I've never been very good at making friends," she said shortly.
Anna looked at Mary who turned away quickly, feigning interest over where to hang a few photographs.
"What's happened? When I saw you earlier you were so pleased to be here," Anna said with concern.
"It's nothing," Mary replied. "Just a few idiots I ran into earlier. They were giving me a hard time about my family."
"About your father?" Anna asked with surprise. "How did they even know your father's the Earl of Grantham?"
"Not that, exactly," she explained. "Apparently it's not the thing to come from money these days."
"Is this about your 'reserved' spot?" Anna questioned, a look of amusement appearing on her face.
"How do you know about that?" Mary asked, raising her eyebrows.
"I heard some girls talking about it when I came down the stairs," she explained, pinning some of the ribbon to the wall. "Apparently you were rather loud when you yelled at that boy."
"I didn't yell at him," Mary said calmly.
"When you yelled at each other, then," Anna corrected, chuckling. "One of the girls mentioned that you could, oh what was it, 'cut the sexual tension with a knife' or something like that?"
Mary gaped at Anna. "Oh, God, you can't be serious," she said in disbelief. "Some stupid prick parks in my spot and some idiotic girls think it's funny to talk about it?"
"Oh, Mary, you're being too serious about this," Anna said. "Just don't let it both you and they'll stop talking about it soon enough. People just love a good bit of gossip, especially so early in the year. It makes things more interesting."
"Yes, well, I came here to get an education, not to find a boyfriend," Mary said more quietly as some people passed in the hall.
"Come on, Matthew!"
Mary turned her head, her eyes meeting Tom's as he passed her room.
"Mary, how wonderful to see you again," Tom said jovially. "And who have we got here?"
Mary narrowed her eyes at him, grinding her teeth as she glared.
"I'm Anna," she replied with a laugh, clearly amused by his behavior towards her friend.
"Get lost," Mary told him.
"Oh, I will," Tom said. "I'm just waiting for our friend Matthew. He's busy, well, primping. I think he's taken rather a fancy to you, Miss Mary."
"Is that supposed to be funny?" Mary demanded, although she felt her cheeks burn at Tom's words.
"No need to be testy," Tom said, grinning. "Ah, speak of the devil."
Matthew appeared looking rather out of breath, his ears turning red at the sight of Mary.
"Hello," Matthew said stiffly.
Mary didn't speak, instead inclining her head slightly. She noticed that Matthew had changed his clothes. He was no longer wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but had changed into a blue button-down and khakis. Mary couldn't help but think that he looked even cuter now. Damn.
"What are you all dressed up for?" Tom asked. "I thought we were just going to the pub for food."
Matthew's ears turned pink. "Oh, um, my shirt had some dirt on it from moving earlier," he said, coughing awkwardly. He dropped Mary's gaze, his eyes glancing toward Anna who covered her lips to hide a smile.
Damn Anna for being so perceptive, Mary thought to herself.
"So, what do you ladies have planned for this evening?" Tom asked.
"Nothing special," Anna replied, trying not to laugh.
"Well, uh, we're heading for the Red Lion if you'd like to join us," Tom suggested.
"No, thanks," Mary said automatically, eyeing Tom suspiciously.
"Oh, I dunno," Anna began carefully. "It could be fun. And I'm sure John would like to meet some new people."
"John?" Matthew asked, glancing at Mary.
"Anna's boyfriend," Mary replied.
Matthew nodded, but Mary couldn't help but think that he looked slightly relieved. Weird.
"And anyway, I think I'll pass," Mary said. "I have some things to do."
"Oh, yeah, I can see you'll be busy all through the night unpacking your belongings," Tom said as he looked around Mary's box-free room.
"Don't be an arse," Mary replied, narrowing her eyes at him.
"Come on, Tom," Matthew said. "It's obvious they have 'better things to do' than hang out with the likes of us."
Mary sensed a bit of anger in Matthew's voice, as though he was offended that she didn't want to hang out with him.
"You don't have to be such a baby," Mary said quickly.
Matthew swallowed, his jaw clenched as he looked at her. "Tom was just trying to be polite. You don't have to be so pretentious."
Mary's mouth fell open in shock. "How dare you!" she said angrily.
"Mary," Anna said, placing her hand on her friend's arm. "Thanks, guys, but we'll pass this time."
"Take a note from her," Tom told Mary. "Just try being nice to people."
Mary glowered at him and he backed away.
"Well, uh, see you," Tom said, moving out of view.
They heard him head down the stairs, leaving Matthew awkwardly in the doorway. He coughed uncomfortably.
"It was nice meeting you, Anna," he said. He smiled slightly, his eyes flicking towards Mary. "See you later, Mary."
He left, leaving Mary dumbfounded by the challenging look in his eyes.
"What an arse," she said, walking over to shut the door hard. She hoped Matthew could hear it from the stairwell.
"He certainly seems to enjoy giving you a hard time," Anna commented. "But he is cute."
"If you say so," Mary said, avoiding Anna's eye.
"Don't you think he's cute? His eyes are so blue and dreamy," Anna said, trying to bait Mary into agreeing with her.
"Be careful, Anna, or you'll make John jealous," Mary instructed, taping up a few of the pictures Anna had brought.
"Oh, he's not my type, but he does seem interesting," Anna replied, her eyes still on Mary.
"Whatever you're trying to do, it won't work. He's the last boy on campus I would ever consider dating. He called me pretentious. I'm sure he called me a lot worse when he was alone with his friend," Mary said, keeping her voice impassive. "What a pair of children."
Anna smiled, obviously not convinced by Mary's act.
"If you say so," she replied. "What's your first class on Monday?"
"Intro to economics at nine," Mary replied.
"It's too bad you don't drink coffee," Anna said.
Mary nodded and said, "It tastes like motor oil."
"I wonder if Matthew likes coffee."
Mary wrinkled her nose at her friend. "I swear, if you talk about him one more time, I'm going to lose it."
Anna laughed and Mary turned away, wondering why it bothered her so much that this Matthew seemed to hate her.
Thanks for reading! Not all the scenes will be this similar to the one from my previous fic. Hopefully I'll be able to update with the next chapter soon. Please review and let me know what you think!