Title: Odd Phrases
Fandom(s): Twilight Saga & Pride and Prejudice
Pairing(s): Bella/Darcy, (slight) Darcy/Elizabeth
Word Count: 1.6k
Prompt: Facacciobread: I particularly love your Twilight/Pride and Prejudice crossovers, but I can understand if you feel you’ve written enough of those already. If it interests you, it’d be really cool to see a Charlotte Lucas POV Pride and Prejudice fic (I love Colonel Fitzwilliam, but am open to any pairing that works).
Darcy thought his word would be final. To be perfectly plain, usually when he spoke, his opinion was the final say on any topic within the dictates of polite society.
However, it seemed that today—inexplicably—that was not the case.
“I beg your pardon?” he asked, turning from the window.
“I’m sorry,” his cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam told him quite plainly. “I had assumed you would simply postpone again. I’m not ready to leave Rosings.”
Taking in his cousin, who looked more like his brother in that they were both tall with dark, curling hair and the same green eyes, Darcy paused a moment. “What could possibly have your attention here? I agree that the company is more than unusually agreeable—” Darcy thought of Miss Bennet, how he had thought to propose to her, but then he had overheard her speaking to Miss Swan and how the young lady believed that it was the Colonel who struck the fine figure of a man.
Fitzwilliam was looking at him strangely. “You have raised expectations, Darcy.” His voice was firm, solid, and his words were baffling.
Darcy’s head moved upward. “Expectations?” His mind instantly returned to Miss Bennet. “I could not have—”
Fitzwilliam, however, was not listening to him. “Even our Cousin Anne has mentioned your marked attention to Miss Isabella Swan, your kind attentions to her when the other ladies display at the piano forte, how you fetched her shawl just last night. Remarkable, truly.”
Confused, Darcy’s mind whirled around the name given. Isabella Swan. The pretty little friend of Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Miss Mariah Lucas who had completed the party who had come to visit the new Mrs. Collins at Hunsford Parsonage.
She was a strange creature. Pretty, true, but with odd turns of phrase, and undeniably clumsy. She had tripped the first evening going into dinner and Darcy had caught her. In fact, Darcy had caught her multiple times and had often positioned himself close to her for her bodily safety.
Fitzwilliam and Cousin Anne could not have mistaken his kindness for actual attention?
“She’s clumsy,” he refuted.
For a moment, Fitzwilliam considered. “I will grant you, Miss Swan is unusually clumsy. I have often been glad our party did not have sufficient numbers to dance, for she would surely trip over her own feet and make a mess of the lines.” He chuckled to himself. “Did you not know Miss Swan in Hertfordshire with the Misses Bennet?” He turned to the sideboard and poured two glasses of brandy, which Darcy accepted as it seemed this would be a protracted conversation.
“She seemed to become a guest of the Bennet Household just before the Netherfield Ball,” he admitted. “Mrs. Bennet sent a note asking if she could be included in the party and I remember seeing her among the numbers, although I was never introduced.” He took a sip of his brandy and relished the burn it created in his throat. “If I remember, she did not dance.”
Fitzwilliam hummed. “You noticed her even then, man.” This was more of a comment to himself, and Darcy didn’t answer it because it was unfortunately true.
He remembered looking for Miss Elizabeth Bennet among the crowds of white and seeing the face of a young lady he was unacquainted with, arms linked with Miss Mary Bennet. Her dress was plainer than many of the other young ladies. She was not wearing feathers or ribbons in her hair, but she had been lovely in her simplicity.
He finished his glass of brandy and when he looked up, Darcy noticed that Fitzwilliam was observing him.
“Surely,” Fitzwilliam offered carefully, “you’ve noticed your own preference for the girl.”
Darcy, however, would and did deny it. “There is no preference.”
Fitzwilliam heaved a sigh. “Lady Catherine has even noted it.”
“She has not said a word to me about it. Surely she would be against the match, if there were to be such a match. However, in this matter, you are much mistaken, Fitzwilliam.”
His cousin looked at him strangely. “Anne is sickly. There would never be children,” he told him plainly. “Lady Catherine even knows that now.—No one knows Miss Swan’s worth. No one knows her family—”
“Exactly,” Darcy interrupted, but Fitzwilliam kept talking,
“Excepting the Swans of Powderham Estate, and they hold an Earldom. Surely the girl is connected to them and her natural modesty and sweetness prevents her from advertising her excellent connections.”
Darcy, despite himself, leaned forward slightly in interest, and he knew that Fitzwilliam noticed.
“Even if her fortune is middling, with such superior connections it would hardly matter.”
Fitzwilliam picked up the decanter and with four strides came across the room to Darcy and refilled his glass. “Miss Swan is all sweetness, as I said. She would never highlight her superior connections, unlike a certain vicar we all know, when staying with friends of lower circumstances. You notice how easily she moves about Rosings Hall when she’s not tripping over her own hem.” Fitzwilliam lifted his eyebrow in challenge to his cousin.
Musing for a moment, Darcy admitted, “She did compliment Lady Catherine on Rosings’ many modern conveniences her first night here.” He looked into his cousin’s eyes, the exact shade of his own gaze. “Are you certain expectations have been raised?”
“Undoubtedly,” Fitzwilliam swore. “Miss Swan is too modest to ever hold you to a timetable, but certainly she is expecting a call or a sign—”
Darcy turned toward the window again, away from his cousin, as was his custom when he wished to think. Miss Swan was a beautiful, though shy young woman of no more than eighteen or nineteen years old. Her hair was as dark as midnight, her eyes a deeper brown than Pemberley’s soil. Her skin was pale as milk and when she blushed, which was often, it would begin across her breast and then up her throat to her cheeks. It was enchanting. Miss Swan, as the poets would say, wore her heart on her sleeve, and when she was in his presence, she blushed, her eyes would sparkle when they weren’t demurely looking down, and she would often smile.
Where Miss Elizabeth Bennet would tease and flirt and expect, Miss Isabella Swan would demure and quote poetry and blush. Certainly, Miss Swan was the epitome of 19th-century modesty—and she would grow out of her clumsiness. Young ladies were still growing at her age, surely. He would hire her a dance master and she would be all elegance by the time their first child was a year old.
He set his glass down decidedly.
Turning back to his cousin, Darcy said, “I find I must call on the Parsonage.”
Fitzwilliam looked pleasantly surprised. He clasped Darcy on the arm. “I shall expect good news.”
It was the work of moments to walk out into the hall and take up his hat and walking stick.
The paved way out of the estate to the village was a familiar one, although he had spent the last six weeks on different paths, throughout the estate, searching for misguided moments alone with Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Within a half hour the parsonage came into view, and when he called in what was now mid-afternoon, he found all the ladies to be home and in the drawing room.
Looking between them, his eyes settled on Miss Bennet for a brief moment, who was looking at him archly, before settling on the lovely Miss Swan, who was wearing her pink muslin. “Mrs. Collins,” he asked, turning to the lady, “may I have a private audience with Miss Isabella Swan?”
The lady, looking far from surprised, smiled and curtseyed, before ushering out her younger sister and her friend, Miss Bennet, leaving a blushing Miss Swan behind.
“Surely,” she began carefully, “it’s not me you wish to speak to.”
“No, Miss Swan,” he assured her, stepping further into the room, “it is certainly you who are the object of my proposal this afternoon.”
Miss Swan had been turning slightly to sit down, but she stopped suddenly, her deep brown eyes suddenly lighting on him. “Proposal?” she squeaked, before quickly clearing her throat. Then, in a slightly querulous voice, she repeated, “You’re proposing to me?”
He took two steps forward and picked up her hand between both of his, and she glanced down at their joint hands. “I am, Miss Swan.”
She stared at their hands for another long moment. Then, she seemed to decide on, “My parents did not have a very happy marriage.”
This seemed to be an objection on her part, and Darcy carefully considered it. “I think our goal should not be to have a happy marriage, but to have a successful marriage. Happiness will surely follow.”
Her eyes flitted back up to his gaze, and he was caught by the fullness of the color. “How unromantic,” she murmured, but she smiled. Then she took a deep breath, but did not remove her hand from his. “I find myself with the Bennets—quite unexpectedly. My father,” she paused, searching for words, “disappeared. I’m afraid I bring little to the marriage, and I had thought despite our friendship you liked Elizabeth.”
Darcy found her phrasing odd, but let it pass. “You were misinformed,” he told her, although she had been correct until that very afternoon. The news of her father was strange, but she was still a Swan. “I require only you and your name.”
“Hmm,” she sighed. “Well, then.”
He waited, holding her gaze. “Miss Swan. Isabella—”
“Bella,” she corrected with a small smile.
“Bella,” he agreed. “You have yet to accept or reject my proposal of marriage, and I’m certain Mrs. Lucas would like her parlor returned to her.”
Realization flitted into Miss Swan’s eyes. “Oh,” she murmured with a laugh. “Yes. I meant to say, ‘yes,’ Mr. Darcy.”
And with that, Darcy leaned down and kissed his bride.