Title: Ashmoure
Author: ExcentrykeMuse

Fandom(s): Pride & Prejudice / Twilight Saga / Vampire Diaries
Pairing(s): Darcy/Bella, (past) Bella/Edward

Wordcount: 3.7k
Rating: PG

Warning(s): frostbite, Twilight vampires, Vampire Diaries vampires, open ending, Darcy never married Elizabeth
Prompt: for Rebecca is Cool who wanted Bella/Darcy where Darcy is a vampire and Bella meets him after the Cullens


Bella had lost track of how long Edward had been gone.  She had become passive concerning everything Edward Cullen.  He had left her in the forest in the back of her house and she had gotten lost.  She spent three days wandering, sleeping on the forest floor, and had almost died of hypothermia before she had been found.  She had lost three toes and could never wear sandals again—and her pride was in shatters.

A new drive overtook her.  In a heartwrenching moment she had written a story about a girl who had fallen in love with a vampire who had tried to murder her through means other than draining her to cover his tracks, and had won a trip with nineteen other American seniors to England—along with a scholarship to college.

It was Tuesday and they were visiting Pemberley Gardens.  Pemberley was in Derbyshire and the home of the Marquis of Ashmoure, a rather reclusive figure.  Bella was in the portrait gallery, staring up at a rather beautiful painting of a man in early nineteenth century clothing, when she realized the tour had moved on without her. 

However, she wasn’t alone.

“His name,” the rather stunning young man next to her stated, “was Fitzwilliam.”

“Fitzwilliam?” she asked, pensive.  “There must have been a story behind that.”

He turned to look at her.  He was wearing casual blue jeans, a button up white shirt, and had a mop of curls.  Bella couldn’t help but realize that although he didn’t have the ethereal beauty of the Cullens, he was better looking in a human kind of way.  Then she realized that he was taking her in just as much as she was looking at him.  A smile quirked his lips.

“There is,” he admitted.  “His mother was Lady Anne Fitzwilliam.”

“Romantic,” she murmured.  “Then again, I suppose he was somehow related to a Lord Ashmoure, if he wasn’t one himself.”

Looking at her for a long moment, she couldn’t help but gaze back at him in question.  “He was the first Lord Ashmoure.  He lost his first love, Elizabeth, when they were engaged, actually, and then married a woman of great wealth and was later recognized for services to the crown.”

“Sometimes,” Bella remarked.  “It is the woman behind the man.  Do you have that phrase on this side of the pond?”  She smirked a little to herself.

He laughed out loud.  It was a kind laugh, a good laugh.  The laugh of a person who was happy in life.  “We do,” he agreed.  “Perhaps Lady Isobel was the making of him.”

She smiled to herself at the name of his wife.  “Perhaps she was,” she agreed, looking around.  “It seems we lost our tour.”  Glancing up at the handsome man and wondering if he were really young enough to be a student, she asked, “What did you write your short story about?”

He shrugged. “You?”

“Vampires who want to kill you because you’re human and not because you’re food,” she answered succinctly, clearly surprising him.  “Do you want to find them?”  She began to walk toward the far end of the hall, but he grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the opposite end to a little hall, which was poorly lit.  Bella laughed despite herself.  “Where are we going?”

However, he didn’t quite answer.  “You have the most beautiful hands.  Do you play the piano—?”

She stopped in her shock.  Not even Edward knew that!  He’d sit there at his piano and she would listen, her fingers on the bench beside her, mimicking his movements.  Renee, despite being scatterbrained, had given her piano lessons and Bella had become quite advanced.  Charlie didn’t have a piano, but the school did and now that Edward was gone, she would use the school piano to play Brahms and Beethoven. 

“I,” she swallowed.  “No one listens,” she finally managed.

He looked over his shoulder at her.  “None of that,” he told her as he looked both ways, coming out of a hallway and pulling her through. 

Bella giggled slightly.  “Where are we going?  Have you been here before?”

Looking back at her, he smiled and then pulled her over a cordoned off section of paintings, causing her to gasp, and then through another set of doors.

“We’re breaking the rules!”

“Aren’t rules meant to be broken?” he asked in what she realized was a sexy British accent.  Bella didn’t think any British guys were on the tour or had won the contest, but then she couldn’t be sure.  She was friendly with one of the girls, but that was about it.  She had never made friends easily until Forks, and then she was suddenly Miss Popularity despite her best efforts. 

“Well,” she admitted, as he opened the door to a beautiful room done in creams with paintings of roses and castles on the walls, “no,” she admitted.  A large piano was one side of the room. 

He walked to the other side of the room, holding her hand the entire time, their fingers entwined, and sat them down on the bench.

“We’re going to get in so much trouble,” she worried as he let her hand go and looked at her expectantly.  “This house belongs to someone.  This piano belongs to someone.”

“I’ll take the blame,” he whispered into her ear.  “Also,” he promised, “I know Head of Security.  We’ll be fine.—Please, play for me.  It’s been so long since I heard anyone play anything good.”

Biting her lip again, Bella looked over at him.  “How do you like the Russian ballet?” she asked without expecting an answer.  Most would think she would play Swan Lake or perhaps Firebird, but Bella played Prokoviev’s Romeo and Juliet.  As she lost herself in the complicated dance of fingers, imagining the dancers on stage fighting back and forth in a swirl of capes, Bella didn’t realize the awed expression that was on his face or the smile that bloomed on his features.

When she finished, her fingers lingering over the keys, her eyes closed, she wasn’t expecting a tentative hand on her shoulder.  Glancing up, she looked up at the smiling face.

Startled, she quickly stood, and he stood with her.  “Hey,” he murmured.  “That was beautiful.”

“The tour—” she tried to explain.  “We’re not supposed to be in here.”

“I think,” he objected, “that this is exactly where we’re supposed to be.”  His blue eyes looked at her imploringly and after a moment, she shrugged out of her messenger bag and let it fall to the floor.

“You’re a bad influence,” she decided, “and I think you’re from a different tour.”

“Why would you say that?” he questioned as he tugged her back down.  “Pemberley is only open on Tuesdays.  We could easily be on the same tour.”

“I won a National Contest with nineteen other Americans,” she told him succinctly, putting her fingers down on the piano keys, prepared to begin playing again.  “You don’t sound American, now do you?”

The two stared at each other for a long moment, and then he grinned.  Turning back to the piano she began to play Gershwin and then she was surprised when a descant joined her, and her eyes cut to his, only to see him looking down at the piano with an intense look of concentration.  Bella smiled and spun her fingers downward as his skated upward.  Then her fingers twined toward his and jumped over his so that they were entwined with another and she was laughing with him.  Her skin brushed his and she realized that it was warm—so wonderfully human. 

When the impromptu duet came to a conclusion, Bella was breathless, and she looked up at this stranger.  They were unbearably close and her eyes flicked down to his moist lips just as his gaze moved toward hers.  “I think,” she whispered with some sort of desperation she couldn’t quite comprehend, “someone might have heard us.”

“Let them,” he decided, his eyes drifting to her brown eyes.  “They’ll get good music.”

For some reason, Bella found this funny and grasped his shoulder as she started shuddering with laughter.  Then he was searching the piano bench, which he had the audacity to open, for other duets.  His fingers skated over several pieces of music until he found one he wanted and he put it up for them.  Bella settled herself into the seat and hummed, “Troublemaker,” under her breath, only to see him quirk a smile.

“Ah,” Bella murmured.  “I want the descant,” she decided, crawling over him and settling on the right side of the bench.

“One, two,” he intoned, looking at her with his seductive voice.

In a more up tempo voice, she whispered, “A one, two, three, and—”

Then the two took off in quick pace, Bella delighting in the challenge she rarely got, her feet on the pedals, her eyes occasionally falling off the music to look down at his hands, which had long fingers suited for the piano.  Had those hands really been holding hers not half an hour ago?

She hadn’t even realized that they had been playing from natural sunlight until the light was flicked on, and she instantly froze.  Immediately, her partner in crime’s hand fell on hers in comfort, and they looked up to see a sort of gangly man with blond hair and blue eyes looking at them.  “Uncle Darcy,” he greeted.  “Just—er—checking.  One of the Americans has gone missing—”

“Right,” Bella stated, standing, “that’s me.  Are you Head of Security?”

The interloper looked at her, confused, and glanced over at ‘Uncle Darcy.’  At what seemed to be a silent message, he admitted, “That’s right.  Richard.  You know, I can radio in that we found you and you’re perfectly happy playing the piano.”

“This is a scholarship program,” she argued a little half-heartedly.  “I’d really hate to get in trouble or forfeit the $20,000 toward college.”

“Well, er—” Richard said, “I think they’re ready to leave.”

Bella meeped and headed for the door but Darcy grabbed her hand.

“They must be meaning to eat at a gastro pub.  Richard, find out where they’re staying and their curfew and we’ll return our little American to them in one piece.  I’m sure you can be very convincing.  Say that she won a personal tour with Lord Ashmoure, if you must.”

Blanching, Bella looked at him.  “Won’t he mind?”

It was Richard who interjected.  “He won’t know.”  His blue eyes sparkled.  “I promise you that.—I’ll just radio that in, eh, Darce?  She’ll get back safe and sound?”  It was like he was double checking the exact message.  Safe and sound.  As opposed to something else.

“Safe and sound,” he repeated firmly, his hand coming into Bella’s.  She glanced up at him, and he was staring down at her with those beautiful piercing blue eyes that were strangely like Richard’s except more present. 

Bella didn’t even realize Richard was gone until she murmured, “Your name is Darcy?”

“Something like that,” he admitted, pulling her down to sit on a comfortable looking sofa.  It had an elegant floral pattern that one would expect in such a great house but had a look to it that suggested it was part of the private house.  “Who are you, by the way?”

“Bella,” she answered.  “I’m thinking when I go to college, I should finally go by ‘Isabella.’  Do you think it sounds more mature?”

He looked at her for a long moment, cocking his head to the side.  “There’s more than what you’re saying.”

Naturally, she blushed.  Bella didn’t like remembering how Edward whispered her name, hated being called ‘Bells’ by her dad and the tribe down at the Reservation.  She wanted to get past all that. 

“Bad memories?” she whispered quietly, and he squeezed her hand. 

“Well, Isabella, we’ll just have to create better ones,” he decided for her.  “What do you fancy for dinner?  I’m sure I could get a British pizza in, or I could take you for fish and chips or steak pie.”

“No fish,” she begged, thinking of Charlie and his endless fish fries.  “Anything but that.”

He grinned at her enthusiasm against the dish.  “Steak pie, then.  We’ll try to avoid your tour.  Here, do you have a schedule?”  His hand was still entwined with hers and she looked up at him and wondered how old he was.  There was something timeless about his face.  She noticed, looking briefly at their hands, that he was wearing two rings.  One was a signet ring on his right pinkie and the other was on his index finger.  It was a beautiful lapus lazuli, a little feminine, and she wondered where it had come from.  Perhaps it was the gift from a past lover.  The idea didn’t set well with her.

Managing to wrench out the program of the tour, she handed it over.

Darcy opened it and scanned it.  “I know that pub.  We’ll go to the other in the village.  Then Matlock tomorrow, shopping Thursday, the peaks Friday.”  He hummed.  His blue eyes flashed toward her.  “I’m just going to have to convince you to keep me around and let me tag along.”

“Won’t your tour mind?” she teased, leaning closer, noticing his eyes were dipping to her lips again, never lower, which she appreciated.  “You must belong somewhere, to someone.”

His eyes looked into hers, and then slid down to look at her lips again.  “I haven’t belonged to anyone in a very long time, Isabella.”

And then he kissed her. 

Kissing Edward had been like kissing marble.  It had been unyielding and cold as stone.  She always wanted more, more than he could or was willing to give her.  Darcy was the exact opposite.  He was warm and pliant against her lips.  When she pushed forward, his lips responded.  They opened forward with a natural heat and she reveled in it.  Bella breathed out into the kiss, wondering at it, only to have him open his lips and suck in the breath.  It was so terribly intimate that when he breathed out and slid his tongue forward in the action, she couldn’t help but open her lips invitingly for the onslaught. 

Someone clearing their throat sounded, and Darcy reluctantly pulled away and Bella looked away from the door toward one of the paintings on the wall.

“Yes, Richard?”

“Cinderella needs to be home by eleven,” he told him with an obvious laugh in his voice.  “Isn’t she a little young for you, Uncle?”

Bella looked over at him in confusion.  Then she turned to Darcy.  “How old are you exactly?” she murmured.  “I honestly can’t seem to guess.”

This made Richard’s eyes twinkle. 

“Old enough,” he stated darkly, looking at Richard, “to take a beautiful young woman to dinner and buy her a shandy.”

“Shandy?” she asked.

“Oh, Isabella, you are missing an important cultural piece of Britain,” Darcy told her, helping her up and standing.  “Richard,” he added as they headed out of the room, “if you tell your cousin Georgiana, I’m sure I can get your pay docked.”

Bella’s eyebrows rose.  What sort of position did Darcy have at Pemberley that he could threaten such things?  Who was Georgiana?  She wasn’t his girlfriend, was she?  A surge of jealousy overtook her, but she quickly crushed it.  She was only in England for another three weeks.  This couldn’t go beyond that, she reminded herself, if it even lasted during her time in Derbyshire or past the day.

Darcy had a nice little fiat that was parked in the stables and they drove out of the estate and to the village of Lambton.  She let herself out of the car and looked around, knowing the town from having gotten in late last night.  Down the road she could see their tour bus.  Darcy came around and swung his arm around her waist before leading her down a back alley toward an out-of-the-way and slightly grubby pub.  “Trust me,” he murmured in her ear.  “It’s a gem.”

Everyone seemed to know him there, the barmaid flirting a little and asking if he wanted his “usual,” before he introduced Bella and ordering her a steak pie and a shandy, as promised.

“So,” he opened.  “This story competition.”

“Yes,” she agreed. 

“What inspired you?”

“My ex,” she answered honestly.  “He took me into the backwoods and left me there when he broke up with me.  I got hypothermia and frostbite.  I lost several toes and in trying to make sense of it, I came up with the idea of vampires and the supernatural.  It just kind of took form in my head.”

Darcy’s face clouded over.  “He did what?” he asked.

“Yes,” she answered a little self-consciously.  “It snows all year round in Washington State, and I wasn’t dressed for the weather and I got stuck on this mountain without camping gear.  I made a horrible girl scout—” she tried to reason. 

“Is he in prison?” Darcy asked solemnly.

“For what?” she asked.  “There’s nothing illegal for going hiking and breaking off into different groups.  No, I don’t even know where he went.  He just left the state.”

Darcy looked at her solemnly from across the table before he suddenly got up, scaring Bella.  However, he did not leave.  Instead, he made a sign that she should move over and he pressed into the booth next to her and wrapped an arm around her, brushing his hand through her hair.  Kissing her forehead, he murmured, “Well, he was a fool.”

This caused her to laugh a little.  “Well, it won me this award, so something good came of it,” she stated wryly.  “I just wear special shoes now.”

“That must be aggravating,” he wondered aloud.  “I know my niece Georgiana would hate not being able to go shoe shopping.”

Bella laughed a little.  “I hate shopping, so it’s no big deal, really.  It’s just I only have two pairs.  They’re not really that cheap—”  She suddenly felt self-conscious, but Darcy just kept on holding her. 

“I’m glad I caught you looking at Fitzwilliam’s portrait,” he murmured as if to himself.

“You know,” she realized, looking up at him.  “You two kind of look alike.  Isn’t that strange?”  Smiling, she pulled away and looked into his blue eyes.  “What are the odds of that?”

“You,” he noted, tapping her nose, “are far too observant.”  He leaned down and kissed her achingly slowly.  Her heart fluttered in her chest, and she didn’t want the feeling to stop.  Running her hand up his chest, she hooked it around the back of his neck and breathed in the scent of soap and spicy aftershave. 

He pulled away two moments before their dinners arrived.  She laughed as she ate her steak pie and drank her shandy.  Bella still couldn’t get over the fact that she could drink in England when she couldn’t back home.  She thought she would miss it.  She knew she would already miss him

But, oh, how she needed him.  Bella didn’t realize how much she had needed him.  He was handsome, charming, entertaining her with stories of the antics his nephew and niece got up to even though his nephew was older than he was, and he was so deliciously human that Bella could almost taste it on her tongue.

“You’re still not going to tell me your age,” she hummed over her third shandy.  They really were quite good.  “I mean, I know I’m eighteen, but—well—”

He took a deep breath.  “I’m twenty-eight, Isabella.”

She took a moment and stared at him.  “You don’t look twenty-eight.”

“I am fully aware of that fact,” he teased her. 

“But you—” she gestured between them “—and I—my dad would kill you!  He has a gun.”

“Yeah,” he admitted, “we don’t really have those over here.”

“He’s a cop!” she admitted loudly.  “Like an actual cop.  Do you know what that means?  He’ll come over here and hunt you down!”  Then she started laughing, moving her hand over her forehead.  “He hated Edward.  He will really hate you.”

Darcy took a deep breath in.  “Believe me, Isabella, I didn’t approach you because you were young.  I almost didn’t because I was afraid you might be younger than sixteen” (at her look, he added:) “sixteen is the age of consent here.  However, you were looking up at the portrait at Fitzwilliam with such an intensity, I just wanted to know what was going on in your head.  And then you turned out to be this beautiful, talented woman, and I don’t want to let you go—and I have the resources so I don’t have to unless you send me away.”  His eyes which should never show anything but happiness and that strange mischievousness were oddly solemn.

Bella sat there, silent and took another drink of her shandy.  “You’re not playing with me?” she begged.  “I can’t bear being played with.”

“No,” he answered, moving his hand into her hair.  “I’m going into this, knowing I’m going to get my heart broken.”  Then he leaned in and kissed her desperately as if he was going to lose her that very moment, and Bella realized that he might have if he hadn’t laid his heart bare to her.

She let him kiss her goodnight in front of the Inn and he whispered, “Matlock”, into her ear as he finally let her go.  Walking as sedately as she could up the stairs, she checked in, and then went into her room.  When she looked out the window, she saw him standing there, looking up at the front of the inn.  Catching his eye, she waved at him and he waved back.

“Who’s Mr. Gorgeous?” her roomie asked, a girl named Stephanie from Alabama.

“No one,” she admitted.  “Just some guy I met,” she admitted before moving away from the window and getting her pajamas to go change into. 

Still, she smiled to herself as she thought of Darcy and was glad that Edward was a world away.  She hoped, she thought to herself, that she’d see Darcy again.

The End (At Least for Now).

Published by excentrykemuse

Fanfiction artist and self critic.

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