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Daniellas Bureau; A Fanfic & Desktop Site

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.

Chapter 1: It Was A Kind Of So So Love....

I never knew you, you never knew me.

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, by David Gray.
From the album, White Ladder.

Saturday 19th June 2004.

William Darcy, British number one and champion of the Australian Open 2004, was driving to his London home depressed. This was not an emotional state he could afford to be in right now, with only an evening and a day to go before his first game at Wimbledon, but he had not entered into it willingly. Other factors beyond his control had caused it.

The main and most important one was sitting beside him at this very moment, fiddling with the guide to the CD that was playing on his car stereo. His beloved sister, Georgia. Out of the corner of his eye William glanced at her, taking in the startling comparison that existed between the girl she had been only a month ago and the woman she was now.

The latter state she had forced into, by a man who, if had not been for the harm to her reputation, William would have willingly strangled. A man who had no business being in the profession that he was. Well, at least he had been able to do him some damage in that respect, even though it was only a discreet written warning and not the sack, or the removal of his teaching certificate, a result William could not obtain because of the potential risk of the whole matter becoming public.

For once he was actually thankful that Wimbledon was in a day's time. Both he and his sister would- for the first time on her part, having qualified on a wild -play in the championship and already, thanks to his success at the Australian and French Grand Slams, he was counted as a favourite to win the title. If he actually achieved this dream, the entire country would rejoice, as no British player had won for over sixty years. The intense two weeks of afternoon matches would hopefully give the both of them the distraction they needed from this incident. Especially as he was about to set a scandal of his own in motion.

Technically, in his mind at least, it was not a scandal. It was an inevitable event that had been coming for quite some time. Ever since he had first heard the song that was playing now on his stereo.

It was a kind of so so love and
I'm gonna make sure it doesn't happen again
You and me had been
the standing joke of the year
You were a run around,
I, a lost and found,
and not for me I fear

A old song, recently covered by David Gray, on the debut album that was playing. The first time William had heard the words, he had been struck by the startling clarity that comes when one has an epiphany. For the lyrics represented perfectly the relationship he had with his present girlfriend.

Take your hands off me dear,
I don't belong to you, you see
Take a look at my face for the last time
I never knew you, you never knew me

Caroline Bingley was an established tennis player. Seeded fourth at Wimbledon, she had previously won the title and several others years before, but was now experiencing the pressure that comes when a new and rapidly rising star compatriot was over taking her. William had met her through a old college friend and fellow tennis player, Charles Bingley, her younger brother, while at the Australian Open earlier in the year. Almost immediately they had fallen into a relationship.

At first, due to his and her match commitments, he had failed to notice the unusually intense interest in them from the press and the rumours that started to surround the both of them almost instantly. Only after he had won the title had he been able to notice that his interviews and press conferences were centred more on his romantic life rather than his tennis.

Caroline had then fobbed him off, explaining that it was the novelty of them, and Darcy had believed her. That was until he had crashed out of the Semi finals at the French Open and had come across a local rag that had hinted less than subtly about an engagement and a wedding. The reporter had also claimed to have spoken with Miss Bingley himself.

Say hello goodbye
Say hello and wave goodbye

Enraged, William had confronted Caroline, only to have her break down in front of him, insisting that it was all the reporter's assumptions. She had placed a correction the following day. And that was how it had remained until this morning.

We tried to make it work,
You in a cocktail skirt and me in a suit,
But it just wasn't me
You're used to wearing less
And now you're life's a mess,
So insecure you see
Well I put up with all your scenes
But this is one scene,
That's going to be played my way

For today William had read the same rumour in another local newspaper. And by this afternoon, he had broken up with Caroline Bingley. Tomorrow, he would make it public in a press conference.

Take your hands off me dear,
I don't belong to you, you see

Said press conference had meant to be about his prospects at Wimbledon, as well as to announce his sister's entrance to the now family career, but Darcy knew now that hardly any of the reporters would focus on that. He was rather glad that they would not, given his sister's shyness, a habit which would only be increased due to recent events.

And take a look at my face for the last time
I never knew you, you never knew me
Say hello goodbye
Say hello and wave goodbye

Finally, they arrived at their home, a large rather imposing cream and white Queen Anne Mansion on the corner of one of London's richest streets. Darcy drove through the gateway, his sister getting out of the car as soon as the electric security gates had closed behind them and he had brought the vehicle to a stop. Darcy remained inside, key still in the ignition, listening to the end of the song.

Under the deep red light I can see
The makeup sliding down.
Well hey little girl you will always make up,
So take off that unbecoming frown.
As for me, well I've found someone
Who's not going cheap in the sales,
A nice little housewife who'll give me the steady life,
And not keep going off the rails

Here was where the song started to loose its similarity with his life. Darcy had yet to find anyone who had not tried to catch him for his reputation, looks, money, or all three. And he certainly did not need a housewife, just a soulmate. These days, however, he was beginning to wonder if it was too much to ask for.

Take your hands off me dear, I don't belong to you, you see
Take a look at my face for the last time
I never knew you, you never knew me
Say hello goodbye
Say hello and wave goodbye

Chapter 2: I should have known.....

Now baby come on
Don't claim that love you never let me feel
I should have known
'Cause you brought nothing real

I'm Outta Love, by Anastacia,
from the album Not That Kind.

Sunday 20th June 2004.

I'm outta love set me free
And let me outta this misery
Just show me the way
To give my life again you can handle me
Say my love can't you see
That baby you gotta set me free
I'm outta love

An appropriate song was Elizabeth's first thought as she woke to the sound of her clock radio alarm that morning. Her second was reaffirming her determination to never date tennis players ever again. She had thought that the similarity of their professions would at least give them something in common, when all other attempts had failed, but even this was a point which had set them at odds.

Denton Lucas- Denny to his friends -had been a childhood friend. Brother of her best friend Charlotte, Elizabeth had known him almost all her life, until the family had emigrated to Australia, only coming back to the country of their birth for vacations and tennis matches. Despite the distance however, she had kept up a regular correspondence with Charlotte, and called her at least once a week.

When they had all met up once more, first for the Australian Open and then the French Grand Slam, Elizabeth had been quite pleased to find Denny an attractive man, with a strong interest in her. If only he had had intelligence with it to recommend him. But she had soon discovered that he was obviously quite assured of his good looks, and knew how to use them amongst the ladies.

Disgusted, she would have dumped him there and then in France, if it had not been for Charlotte assuring her that his self-arrogance was just an act. Determined to break through it, Elizabeth had tried again to like him, and brought up a discussion about their common profession.

That had been the clincher. Unlike herself, who had entered into it in because she had a talent and a love for the sport, Denny had taken up tennis purely for the cash and sponsorship deals it carried. As soon as she had finished her part in the French Open, losing in the Semi Final to a French national, who promptly won and then announced her retirement, denying anyone the chance to contest her, Elizabeth had dumped Denton Lucas.

Now, she was back in her home country, and the London home of family's, a day before Wimbledon. Charlotte had accepted her decision to leave her brother, which meant Elizabeth would have no personal problems to affect her while she participated in the championship.

Elizabeth Bennet was the third child of what had just recently become known in tennis circles as the 'Bennet quartet.' Together with her elder siblings Toby and Jane, and their younger sister Kitty, they were the children of the famous Michael Bennet, who in his youth had amassed many of the Grand Slam titles over the years of his career.

Then, in a marvellous finishing stroke, he had fallen in love with and married Sara Gardiner, the American tennis champion of the seventies and eighties. Sadly, Sara had died last year, leaving six children, youngest of which was fifteen. Michael Bennet had begun then to coach all of his issue who showed an inclination for the sport which he had been active in, and now continued to train the Bennet quartet for Grand Slams.

Jane had just won the Australian Open, while Toby had taken the French, and Kitty was making her debut at Wimbledon on a wild. As for Elizabeth, the highest she had ever reached was the semi's in the Australian and the French, and was tipped to do the same in Wimbledon. Personally, she did not resent her elder siblings' present successes. She had entered the sport out of a love for tennis dating from her childhood, not for the fame or the winning. Her time would come, and she did not mind the wait.

Rising from her bed, Elizabeth washed and dressed in jeans and T-shirt, before making her way downstairs. When she entered the breakfast kitchen, she found Jane, Toby and her father already up, the latter handing her the newspaper preview of the matches for the first two days. Her first round opponent, Henrietta Musgrove, 1 seemed easy enough. Elizabeth then refolded the paper to view the back page, which held the sport headlines. "There," she remarked after reading the first few lines of the main story, "this has confirmed it. All male tennis players, our brother excepted, are jerks."

"Oh, you read that thing about William Darcy then," her brother responded, as she lay down the newspaper, making the headline concerning the summary of the press conference viewable for all. "Considering who he dumped, I don't blame him making it certain before the press. Especially after Roland Garros. 2"

"Still, its rather arrogant and cruel of him to dump her during a live press conference," Elizabeth insisted.

"That's only how it appears," her brother argued. "Knowing Darcy, I think he dumped her the day before, and then ensured the press wouldn't get the wrong idea. You know what Caroline Bingley's like."

"You have a point," Elizabeth conceded. Caroline Bingley was known to go after anything that wore trousers and had the fame, pedigree and wealth to go with it. And once she had ensnared them in her spider's web, she would report their engagement to any local reporter who would believe her.

"She cannot be that bad," Jane, who always saw the best in people, commented, "there must be a misunderstanding on both sides, which has not been helped by the speculation of the press."

"You think that, Jane," Michael Bennet replied, "if it gives you comfort." He then placed a finger next to one of the story's paragraphs, half way down the page. "He also announces the arrival of his sister to the sport. Georgia Darcy is rumoured to have great potential. At sixteen, she is one of the youngest to become professional."

"You saw their parents in action, didn't you, Dad?" Toby strove to confirm.

"Yes I did," Mr Bennet replied. "George Darcy was one of the greatest champion's that ever graced the tennis stage, I believe, though it was a great pity that he could never win Wimbledon for us. Anne Fitzwilliam was also a joy to watch. Not a muscular girl, but slender and graceful. She didn't make noises when she played, like most do these days. I'm glad you two and Kitty don't either." he paused to smile at them all. "Yes, they come from excellent sport pedigree, and I do believe that William and Georgia will become two of the greatest players. You lot will give them strong competition, of course."

They all chuckled, and Elizabeth returned to reading the article. After the disastrous relationship with Denton Lucas, she felt some sympathy for Caroline Bingley's situation. William Darcy had always seemed very arrogant to her. She had seen him win the Australian Open, against Detroit Morgan-Debourgh, his American cousin, and had felt that his subsequent crash out of the French Semis was taken in very bad grace. His talk to the press afterwards had been rather resentful at the slaughter defeat of three straight sets. Now he was dumping his girlfriend during a press conference. And his sister seemed equally proud, from the report in the sport section.

By the time her other sisters, Mary- the music scholar of the family -and Kitty- their youngest sister Lydia being at boarding school -had come downstairs, Elizabeth had formed her conclusions concerning the character of William Darcy. He was just like all the other jerks of tennis. And she was determined to date none of them ever again.

1. I've decided to make all their opponents names of Jane Austen's other characters. Henrietta Musgrove is from Persuasion. For the sake of equality between men and women characters, I've also given Anne (Dakota) de Bourgh- apart from the double barrel name -a twin brother, aged the eldest son of the Gardiner family, and of the Lucas family, done away with Mrs Bennet, added a brother to that family, and changed the nationality of some of the characters.

2. Roland Garros is the name of the French Open.

Chapter 3: The Beautiful Occupation.

For the beautiful occupation
The beautiful occupation
You don't need a invitation
To drop in upon a nation.

The Beautiful Occupation, by Travis.
From the album 12 Memories.

Monday 21st June. First Round.

There was something about Wimbledon for Darcy. Something that made it different from all the other Grand Slams in tennis. Maybe it was because he was British, because there was this certain feeling that one got when playing on one's home ground. Or maybe it was because of the way the press treated it like it was the first sport of the country for that fortnight.

Or maybe because no one from Great Britain had won the title in such a long time, yet still fancied their chances every time it came round. When Wimbledon was upon the country, Britain just seemed to focus all its energy upon it, in hope that this time, a Brit would win. Only when the England football team was playing, did it receive any kind of competition. And Darcy could not help but be caught up in the same fervour.

"William Darcy verses George Lesley. 1 First set, first game. Darcy to serve," announced the umpire from his high chair, bringing Darcy back to the present, of this, his first round match. Turning from the net, he caught three balls from one of the ball keepers at the end of his side of the court. Testing each one for its power and wear, Darcy selected his choice and shoved the other two in the pocket of his shorts. Leaning his head back, he threw the ball up into the air, his racket coming behind to send it flying across the court in a perfect ace.

"Fifteen, love."

He took out the second ball, threw it up into the air, sliced his racket, and watched it fly across the court once more. Unlike the first, it did not make an ace, his opponent managing to catch it and send it back. Darcy caught the return and hit it back, seeking out the blind spots of his opponent's ability. The ball flew back and forth between them for a little while, then William found the perfect spot. It landed and bounced out of Lesley's reach, hitting the back of the court.

"Thirty, love."

Darcy took the third ball out and served again. He allowed a smile to escape from his controlled mask of composure as it turned out to be another ace.

"Forty, love."

He turned back to collect another three balls, and served for the first game of the match. The ball whistled past the edge of Lesley's racket, leaving him too stunned to move. Darcy looked to the counter which held the speed. 135 mph. Not bad, he thought to himself.

"Game. Darcy leads by one game to love. Lesley to serve."

Darcy resumed the proper place to receive his opponent's first serve at the edge of the white lines of the court. He bent, the racket shifting in his hands as he watched Lesley throw the ball high into the air, and hit it across the court. Even before it had crossed the net, Darcy had seen the direction it was taking. He made no move.


Lesley served again, and managed to keep this ball in. Darcy darted across the back lines of the court and swung his racket out, neatly returning it. The ball flew over the net, bounced, then landed on the ground before his opponent could return it.

"Love, fifteen."

George Lesley seemed to send a plea to the heavens, then made his next serve. Darcy returned it deftly, not feeling at all sorry for his opponent. He was on a mission to win. The ball landed in the opposite side of the court, out of Lesley's reach, but definitely in.

"Love, thirty."

"Love, forty. Match point."

William watched Lesley make another appeal to the heavens and then throw the ball up into the air. Whatever deity his opponent believed in, he or she did not seem to be in a generous mood today, for the ball flew across the court, sailing directly on to the centre of his racket. The return was instinctive, and victorious.

"Game, set and match; William Darcy. 6-2, 6-0, 6-1."

Darcy walked towards the net and shook hands with his opponent, then with the umpire, who bent down from his high chair to take them. Then he turned to each side of the court, and bowed, thanking the audience for their support. 2 He then returned to his chair, packing his racket, towel and drink away. Slinging the bag over his shoulder, he walked to the edge of the court, down the path that led to the changing rooms. Halting near the end, he turned to sign the magazines and autograph books pressed out by eager fans in front of him. When everyone in the end area had been satisfied, Darcy sent out a final wave to the crowd, then went inside.

"Could you have slaughtered him more?" Was the comment of the first voice that greeted him when he entered his locker room.

"What? No congratulations for your brother?" William calmly replied, looking at her with puppy-dog eyes.

Georgia Darcy groaned, and then relented, jumping into his arms and hugging him. "Well done, big bro. You know I was only kidding."

"I do," He agreed, his arms closing around her small waist, as she hugged him. He released her, observing her as she landed back on the ground with all the graceful elegance of a woman. When had she grown up? It seemed like only yesterday that she was trailing behind him on the training courts, begging to learn the family talent from her big brother. Now she was sixteen years old and a pro herself, albeit in her first year.

"What is it?" She asked him abruptly, bringing him out of his daydream.

"Nothing," he replied, setting his bag on the wooden seat behind them.

Georgia was not satisfied. "You have a something face."

"Its just," he paused to gaze at her solemnly. "You look so much like our mother."

She blushed, and let him turn to unlock his locker.

Darcy turned back and looked at her with a smile. "A something face?" He queried, in a tone designed to make her forget her embarrassment. "Where on earth do you get your language, Georgia?"

She shook her head in bemusement and laughed, then walked away to talk to his coach, letting Darcy get dressed.

"Can I ask a big favour?" Georgia began later, when they were walking the paths between the courts of the Wimbledon complex.

"What sort of big favour?" Darcy returned, looking at her kindly, his arm rested comfortably around her young shoulders.

"Can we go watch Elizabeth Bennet's match? I've always been a fan of hers."

"Sure," Darcy replied, allowing her to lead the way.

The match had only just begun when they entered the court. Darcy found them some seats, then glanced across at the electric broad which gave the names of the players, and the scores of the current game, and sets. Miss E. Bennet verses Miss H. Musgrove. According to the board, Miss Bennet was leading by one game to love, and by one set to love; 6-1.

Georgia touched his shoulder and pointed out the woman she was a fan of. Darcy followed her finger, and settled on what was to him, a familiar sight. He had seen, but not spoken to, Elizabeth Bennet throughout the disastrous French Open. When he had crashed out of the semi-finals, he had ended up watching the end of her match, as she lost in a struggle to a now retired French national.

The fame of her parents was well known to him, not only because of his parents' history with the sport, but also because he was a close friend of Toby, her elder brother. Now he settled his eyes on her dark brown hair, and watched her serve with all the observation of a Grand Slam champion. He saw the ball fly up into the air, her racket connect, and followed its path across the court. Unlike most women players, he noticed, she made no grunts or sighs, but just played her game.

And well, he noted, as the match progressed. Henrietta Musgrove was only a beginner, but she displayed a good talent for her chosen profession, yet Elizabeth allowed her almost nothing of the chance to control during the match, not even in her service games. Barely an hour later, and the match was over, Elizabeth Bennet winning; 6-1, 6-3. Darcy moved his hands to applaud, then lost sight of her as his sister tugged on his arm.

"Can we go down to the front? I want to try and get her autograph."

He obliged her, rising from his seat in the stands, leading the way down to the front. They reached it just as Elizabeth came up to sign. Georgia thrust out her book. Her timing could not have been more perfect, it was the last Elizabeth signed. Georgia brought it up to her eyes in order to read. She practically squealed aloud. Then smiling, she handed it to her brother.

"She recognised me! Look!"

Darcy bent his head to read the page his sister had eagerly put before him. Good luck in your first match, Georgia. Elizabeth Bennet.

Georgia's courage high, she dragged her brother to the exit, his fame allowing them admittance inside. "Miss Bennet!" She called out. "Thank you!"

Elizabeth turned and smiled, as she caught sight of the young girl that was standing behind her. "Lizzy," she gently corrected. "And its my pleasure, Miss Darcy."

"Georgia, please," she requested shyly. "I didn't think you'd recognise me."

"My younger sister is here on a wild, and I know how nervous she is about her first match. I imagined you would be too."

"I am alittle," Georgia confessed, smiling, glad that her idol was so easy to talk to. She felt her brother hovering behind her, and brought him forward with her hand. "This is my brother, William."

"Hello," Darcy said in greeting.

"Hi," Elizabeth replied, noticing his good looks, not for the first time. She looked at his dark eyes, which appeared disapproving to her mind, and realised that her first impression of him had not altered. He still looked arrogant. She found herself wishing for an excuse to quickly exit, as her sensibilities raged instinctively to attack him for what he had done to a fellow female tennis player the day before. Even if her name was Caroline Bingley.

Fate was at hand. A tap on her shoulder came from her father and coach. "Jane," he reminded her quietly. Her sister had also played today; against Elfrida Falknor. 3

"I'm afraid I have to go," Elizabeth said, turning back to the Darcys. "My sister is waiting for us. It was nice meeting you, Georgia."

"You too," Georgia replied, and watched her go. When she was in the distance, she turned to watch her, then tugged on her brother's arm again. "Rich's match," she reminded him.

Darcy absently nodded at his sister, his mind and eyes still on the departing figure of Elizabeth Bennet. The last time he had been that close to her, he had scarcely allowed her to be pretty. But just then, he had found his first impression completely done away with, as he encountered the brilliancy of her fine, dark eyes.

Added to this, was the glow her body had acquired through the exercise provided by the match, along with the fashion for tight tennis dresses nowadays, which did nothing to hide her assets. Darcy had caught himself admiring every inch of her curves, from her ample bust to her slender arms and legs, and the gentle curls of her dark brown hair.

Georgia tugged at him again, and Darcy came back to earth with a mental bump. Shaking the image of Elizabeth Bennet out of his mind, he took his sister's hand, and walked with her to their cousin's match.

Elizabeth walked beside her father through the paths of Wimbledon to the court where her sister had probably finished her match. She had not noticed William Darcy's fascination at all. Her mind was on the contrast between the two Darcys. Georgia was everything her brother was not. Light and slender, opposite to his tall, dark and handsome looks. Shy, as oppose to his arrogance and self-confidence. Kind too.

"That was a good match, Lizzy," her father remarked now, bringing Elizabeth back to earth with a mental bump.

"Thanks Dad," she answered, noticing that they had reached her sister's court. "Do you know how Jane did?" She asked her father.

Michael Bennet pointed to the walkman strapped to the belt of his trousers. "She won in straight sets; 6-0, 6-2."

They came to the entrance, their eyes searching out Jane. Elizabeth found her almost immediately. She also found someone with her, and smiled a knowing smile at her father. In France, it had been an openly kept secret that Jane had met someone. Now her family were obviously about to meet him. She followed her father towards the two figures, and set about observing the man that was her sister's boyfriend. They turned at the sound of her father's greeting and she recognised him immediately.

Charles Bingley. Seeded number two, he had won the USA Open, the title of his home country last year, and was a serious competition to his close friends, Toby Bennet and William Darcy. His blond hair glowed in the afternoon summer sun, and his kind face smiled at them as he stood respectfully beside Jane, waiting for her to formally introduce them.

"Congratulations Jane," Elizabeth said now, pulling her into a hug. "For both the match and the catch, sis," she added in a whisper.

Jane blushed as she stepped back, then introduced her companion. "Dad, Lizzy, this is Charles Bingley. Charles, these are my father and my sister Lizzy."

"Pleased to meet you," Bingley answered in his American Savannah accent, softened by the international tours of his sport. He shook their hands eagerly.

"And you Charles," Michael Bennet replied as he regarded the boyfriend of his eldest daughter. Good manners and a talent in his sport were not the only requirements he wished for in a potential suitor to his daughters. They had to match Jane's intelligence and good humour, and compliment her gentle nature.

Elizabeth echoed her father's greeting and then chose to stay a silent observer, until the gentlemen had formed an agreement between them that Bingley would join the family for tea in one of the cafes. They took the tacit choice to lead the way, leaving Jane and Elizabeth to fall into step behind them.

"Well, Jane?" She began when there was enough distance for a private, sisterly chat.

"We have been dating since the second round of Garros," Jane replied, satisfying her sister's curiosity alittle. "I didn't tell you because things developed slowly between us, but my feelings were instantly recognisable. I didn't believe in love at first sight."

"Until Charles?" Elizabeth guessed.

"Until Charles," Jane echoed. "He confessed the same to me, just before the competition ended. He's been in England since. He played and won against John Yates today. 4"

"Wow," Elizabeth mused, smiling at her sister's happy mood. That meant that Charles had been a permanent fixture in her sister's life for nearly a month. Despite Jane's determination to see the good in everybody, boyfriends had received strict treatment, and, to her knowledge, Charles was the first to get past her defences. Elizabeth hoped he would not hurt or disappoint.

1. George Lesley is from Lesley Castle, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
2. I have borrowed this gesture from one of my favourite male players, Andre Agassi.
3. Elfrida Falknor is from Elfida and Frederic, a part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
4. John Yates is from Mansfield Park.

Chapter 4: I'm Just Looking.

I'm just looking, I'm not buying.

I'm Just Looking by The Stereophonics
From the album Performance & Cocktails

Tuesday, 22nd June 2004. Second day of the First Round.

Elizabeth ran into William Darcy again the morning of the next day, though she did not notice until she was in the middle of her training. The other two members of the Bennet quartet played today; Kitty against Charlotte Lutterell,1 Toby against William Mountague.2 While Jane and herself, had training for their second round matches tomorrow.

"That was good, Lizzy. Next time, just see if you can keep it up a little longer, that way you should be able to send it across the court with more speed," her father commented now. Elizabeth nodded and obeyed, throwing the ball upwards again, letting linger in the air, until it began to descend, then put her racket up to meet it. The ball flew across the court, and Michael Bennet let it go past him to hit the barrier behind. "Perfect," he replied.

Elizabeth smiled at her achievement, then walked to the chairs at the end of the net, where their sports bags were sitting. Taking out her water, she took a long drink, while her eyes glanced around at the rest of the courts. She spotted William Darcy almost immediately. In fact, it was unavoidable, for he was in the next court. He looked good, she was forced to admit; dressed in shorts and t-shirt, his short dark hair slightly wild because of the training session. But then of course, he knew that. He had to.

Every headline, every interview, every caption under a photograph, every story, claimed that he was England's sexiest tennis champion. His fans were not put off by the arrogance of his manner, or the cold, controlled composure of his face. Elizabeth gave one final glance, then put her drink away and returned to the court. She bent down, swinging racket between her legs, watching her father throw the ball high up in the air to serve, as they played a mini match before the end of her training session.

Despite having retired long ago, Michael Bennet was still one hell of a tennis player. He looked nowhere near his fifty years, with his hair still dark, slightly greying behind his ears, and toned body. Coach to all of his four children, he had been blessed so far with the scheduling of their matches often splitting the four in half, so he could easily train each pair on the days they were not playing, in the morning before the remaining two's matches started in the afternoon. Jane's training session had already been and gone, and she was somewhere about Wimbledon, with Charles Bingley, who was meeting her and Elizabeth for lunch.

Elizabeth made her way through the well matched games between father and daughter, finishing with one game between them both, fought so skilfully as to prevent them having time for a decider. She then threw her remaining balls to her father, who caught them and put them away, while she walked to her bag, put away her racket, and took out a towel to dry her face. She found herself glancing across to the next court again. Bypassing Darcy, she spotted his coach, and returned the wave. Edward Gardiner, also a retired tennis champion, had been her mother's brother, and was thus her uncle. He smiled at her, patted his player on the back, then made his way to the edge of the net between the courts.

"Hi, Lizzy," he greeted her, his arms reaching over to exchange a hug. "How was training?"

"Lizzy was brilliant as usual," Michael Bennet replied for her, coming over to greet his brother in law. "How are you doing, Edward?"

"Just fine, Mike, thanks. William here gives me very little trouble." He gestured to his protégé, who was standing at the other end of the court, taking a drink. "I see Toby and Kitty are playing this afternoon."

"Yes along with Leo. Henry Cecil3 took out Ed Bertram4 last year, didn't he?"

"Yes, he'll be tough to beat," Edward agreed, remembering. It had been a shock to all last year when the champion of two years standing, Edmund Bertram, had been knocked out by Cecil, who had entered on a wild, and was previously reckoned to be unremarkable. "Leo can take him though," he continued, with all the confidence and bias of a father.

Elizabeth bent down to zip up her bag. Upon rising up, she caught Darcy looking at her. His expression was, as always, unreadable, but Elizabeth assumed that he seemed impatient to go, annoyed at the interruption. She longed to give a cutting retort, but her manners intervened. Instead she turned to her father. "Dad, I'm gonna meet Jane and Charles now, okay?"

"Okay, Liz," Michael replied, taking her into his arms for a brief hug and kiss. Elizabeth leant over the fence to hug her uncle. "See you soon, Uncle Ed."

"See you soon, Lizzy."

Elizabeth slung her bag on her shoulder, then walked to the exit at the end of the court. She met her sister where they had agreed, in the carpark, by their Dad's car. "Ready when you are Jane, if you don't mind me staying in this," she said, taking her hair out of the ponytail she had put it in for training.

"Course not. You look fine Lizzy."

Her sister shook her head, but accepted the compliment. "Lets go."

Believe it or not, William had not chosen the training court because Elizabeth was playing in the one next door. He had only noticed that she was also training when he had entered the court, and put down his sports bag. Taking a chance to observe her without being spotted, he watched her listen and follow her father's instructions.

Gone was the tight tennis dress of yesterday's match, but William had no objection to the loose white t-shirt and tennis skit which had replaced it. The wide pleats of the skirt flowed about her tanned, toned thighs. William allowed himself to stare half a minute longer, then took out his racket and rose up to face his coach. It would not do for her uncle to catch him admiring his niece. William had a good relationship with his coach, but Ed Gardiner was protective of his favourite nieces, as he had learnt from Toby.

The training session was not too gruelling, despite the tempting distraction in the next court. William made his mind focus, and played with his usual manner, a shade lighter than the one he reserved for his matches.

The sport was not just a profit-making business to him. It would never be, even if he had none of the money the Darcy name afforded him, all the way back to the seventeenth century. William loved the sport, and played because he wanted to. He could give it up tomorrow, if he chose, but it would be like losing an dear friend, along with a part of himself. Tennis was the balm to his soul.

"That's enough for today," Ed Gardiner announced, catching the ball which William had just hit back to him. "Don't want to exhaust you before Georgia's match."

William nodded, even though he could have quite easily carried on playing. But his coach had been with him from the start of his professional career, and knew him better than he knew himself sometimes. Nodding, he walked back to his bag and put his racket away, taking out his water bottle. Turning round he put it to his lips, and spotted Elizabeth staring at him.

Only thanks to his long ingrained habit of control, did he not choke on the cool liquid that was sliding down his throat. Nor did he return the gaze, watching his coach instead. When he had taken enough water, he put the bottle away, and slung his bag on to his shoulder. Rising up, he finally allowed himself to stare at Elizabeth.

And meet her gaze, as it turned out. Uncertain of the expression on her face, he refrained from smiling at her fully. She kept her eyes on him for a moment, then turned back to her father. Darcy watched her hug the two men farewell then walk out of the court.

He found his eyes drifting downwards to the swish of her skirt. Shaking his head, he turned back to the rest of the court. It was too early to consider what he was not even considering right now. She was fine-looking woman, he could not deny that, but he had only just broken up with Caroline. He needed to get himself used to being untouchable again.

"Will," his coach called suddenly. "Come over here."

Dumping his bag back on the ground, William joined his coach at the barrier between courts.

"This is Michael Bennet, my brother in law and fellow tennis player. Mike, here's the face of Wimbledon two thousand and four."

William shook the proffered hand, shaking his head. "Only if I'm incredibly lucky, sir. Its an honour to meet you, Mr Bennet. I remember my father showing me your matches when I was little."

"I still don't know how I let the press catch them on tape," Mike Bennet replied, his eyes twinkling in amusement. "You're making quite a name for yourself, son. I remember your father being just the same."

"Thank you, sir," Will replied. His father had passed away five years ago, and he still mourned the loss keenly, along with Georgia. He felt the need to do well in this sport all the more, because of his parents.

"Your sister's playing today, isn't she?" Mr Bennet sought to confirm.

"Yes, against Amelia Webster.5"

"How old is she now?"

"Seventeen in August," Will replied, smiling. "I know she's a little young to be playing professionally so soon, but I couldn't prevent her if I tried. She adores the sport."

"I can well imagine," Mr Bennet said. "My Lizzy was just the same. She went pro at fourteen."

Darcy absorbed the information concerning Elizabeth with relish, though his mind denied that he had. Behind him he heard the gate unclip and turned his head to see that Charles was waiting for him. Signalling that he would there in a minute, Will turned back to his coach and Mr Bennet. "If you'll excuse me, sir, I'm meeting a friend for lunch. It was nice meeting you, Mr Bennet."

"You too, son," Mike Bennet said, shaking his hand. Will smiled at his coach and walked back to fetch his bag.

"You ready, Darce?" Charles asked as Will, with the bag slung on his shoulders, joined him by the exit.

"I'm ready. Do you want me to go and roll myself in the mud before we meet this girlfriend of yours? I wouldn't want to be accused of stealing her away."

Charles laughed as Will had intended, for the joke was a long standing one between them. "No, you'll do just fine. We're not meeting her alone anyway, her sister will be there. And you're presentable enough to hold a conversation."

"And give you a chance to talk with your girl alone, even though you've spent all morning with her?" William guessed with an easy smile.

"Not all morning," Charles protested, as they walked down to the carpark. "My breakfast time was taken up with trying to console Caroline before her training."

"How bad is she?" Will asked seriously.

"She'll get over you," Charles replied without any dislike. He understood perfectly why his friend would never be suited to his sister. "She's just frustrated with everything right now. The papers don't rate her chances well."

"She's a good player," Darcy allowed. "She's just having to deal with the urgency of impatient new competition."

"Like Charlotte Lucas and your American cousin." Charles said.

"Well, looking at the prospects, she won't meet them both this year," Darcy replied. "Dakota's in the opposite half. As for Charlotte Lucas, semi finals, at the earliest."

Dakota Morgan-Debourgh, was the daughter of his mother's elder sister, Catherine. Like her other two siblings, she had also turned professional, though her level was nowhere near that of his Uncle and late mother. After losing the finals of three Grand Slams twice in a row, Catherine had met and married American businessman, Lewis Morgan-Debourgh. Two years later, and the sport had another couple of tennis stars waiting in the wings; twin girl and boy, Dakota and Detroit. Both were currently the American favourites to win.

William dumped his bag in his car and walked with his friend to meet his new girlfriend and sister for lunch. As they walked, Will wondered about her identity. He had known in France that Charles had met someone; it was always easy to tell by his beaming face, and distracted manner. But this time, Will not learnt of her identity at all. Usually Charles would break and tell all, but this time he had kept remarkably silent.

Which meant only one thing to William. It was serious. He just hoped that she felt the same way.

Elizabeth could not help groaning when Jane told her who was joining them for lunch. Her sister had timed the revelation perfectly; too late for her to refuse or make an excuse.

"I'm sure he's a perfectly nice guy," Jane said as they waited in the cafe for her boyfriend and his friend to join them.

"And I'm sure he's not," Elizabeth replied. "I had to endure training next to him this morning, Jane! Uncle Edward's his coach, as you know, and he was staring at me all the while Uncle was talking to me and Dad. It was like we were being rude for daring to interrupt the end of his training session."

"Charles says he's a very private man. Very reserved. I can't say I blame him, with all the attention the press have on him. I would not enjoy that kind of pressure."

Elizabeth smiled. Jane was very modest, and never looked at the coverage of her and her competition, all the while cheering fiercely for her sisters. But Elizabeth was sure that her sister could win this year.

The bell at the door of the cafe rang, and Elizabeth looked up to see that Charles and his friend had arrived. Forcing her distaste behind a polite smile, she stood up with Jane to meet them.

"Will, meet Jane, my girlfriend, and her sister Elizabeth," Charles said after he had exchanged a long kiss with the elder Bennet, just to make sure his friend knew which was which.

William shook his head at the look he received. He had no difficulty in knowing which Bennet was his friend's new girlfriend. While Charles had kept quiet, he was at least predictable. A blond was always his first preference. Like all other parts of their friendship, they were opposites even in this. "Its nice to meet you, Jane," He now began, shaking her hand. "And you, Elizabeth. Toby talks about you both a lot."

"Just as he should," Elizabeth replied teasingly, her eyes twinkling, much like her father's had done earlier.

They all sat down, ordering their food and drink, Will keeping an eye on the time. His sister's match was one of the first of the afternoon, and he wanted to be there in full support for her. She needed his faith this fortnight, especially considering all that had occurred just a few days ago.

Conversation was surprisingly easily, though it was probably because Jane and Bingley took up the whole of it, Elizabeth concluded. Darcy seemed content to stay silent, observing Jane with what seemed to be an evaluating eye. Elizabeth could forgive him that, she would do the same in his place, it was part of being a good friend. He seemed to attract opposites. Charles Bingley was friendly, engaging, eager and positive. Elizabeth could not understand how someone like Darcy had become his friend. She saw him glance at his watch again, and her distaste increased. Impatient to get on with his own matters, she thought. How very selfish.

Will observed the interaction between Jane and Charles, and evaluated the former with all the care of a good friend. He had met Charles at Cambridge, before either of them had realised that they would soon meet in the tennis court. Will had liked Charles immediately, finding his jovial manner and outlook a good counterbalance to his often conflicted soul.

When his mother and father died, Charles had been there, helping him through it all, as he learnt how to be all to his young sister. Will had instantly returned the favour when his friend fell out with his father a year later, due to the common conflict of coach and parent. Now, he tried to determine if Jane felt the same way that Charles obviously did for her. She smiled often, but her manner was too reserved for William to settle on a final opinion.

He glanced at his watch, and saw the time had come. Reluctantly he politely caught Charles' attention. "I'm sorry, Charles, but I have to go. Georgia's match is soon." He stood up and inclined his head to both the Bennets. "It was nice to meet you, Jane. And you, Elizabeth." He allowed himself one long look at her, and then quitted their company.

Elizabeth managed to escape hearing about Darcy until late evening. All matches had nearly finished, and the lack of daylight would soon inhibit proper playing conditions. She had seen both her sister and brother win their matches, then waited with Jane for them to return with their father to the car.

"So, what do you think of William Darcy now, Lizzy?" Jane asked her. She had spent most of her afternoon with Charles, who wanted to support his sister, while Lizzy had gone to support Kitty and Toby.

"I still don't like him, Jane," she said frankly. "Did you see him at lunch? He kept glancing at his watch."

"He had to support his sister. She won, you know, and quite well."

"I know, I saw the score flash up during Toby's match."

"Saw what score?" Toby asked as he came up to them.

"Georgia Darcy's," Elizabeth answered him. Like her, he was dark haired, while Kitty and Jane were their mother's colouring.

"Oh yeah, I heard. I passed Darce on the way, looking very pleased. Just as he should, he adores that girl."

Elizabeth muttered a judging hum in reply. Jane shook her head. "Lizzy is determined to dislike him still," she said.

"Why on earth?" Toby queried. "Darce's fine. He's one of the cleverest people I've met, though you wouldn't know it to talk to him. Modest to a fault. He's just reserved."

"Arrogant more like."

Toby laughed in reply, his father and Kitty coming up in time to catch the end and asked to be let in on the joke. "Lizzy's determined to dislike William Darcy still."

"I can't think why," Mike Bennet mused, his eyes twinkling, holding secrets his daughter had yet to learn. "Edward introduced me and he was quite the gentleman. A very respectful, reserved and modest young man. He will make a great champion, if he's determined enough."

Elizabeth took in the information, but still remained fixed in her opinion. William Darcy may have been courteous to her brother and father, but they had not seen his expression when she had encountered him. Why should she try to like him, if he disliked her so much?

1. Charlotte Lutterell is from Lesley Castle, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
2. William Mountague is from Sir William Mountague, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
3. Henry Cecil is from Henry and Eliza, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
4. Edmund Bertram is from Mansfield Park.
5. Amelia Webster is from Amelia Webster, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.

Chapter 5: Falling deeper.

I am falling deeper, losing my control
Involved in a feeling

Caught In A Moment by the Sugababes.
From the album Three.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2004. Second Round.

Darcy sank down into the stall seat, alittle out of breath, but glad he had made the effort. Below him lay the green grass and white outlines of court No3, with the players of its next match just warning up. He had just run from his own finished match, against Frederic Falknor,1 on court No2, in order to get here. For a reason which he was now powerless to deny. He was smitten.

The figure of Elizabeth Bennet had occupied most of his dreams the night before, and the first thing he had done when he had got up, was to see when and where she was playing her second round match. His own match had turned out to be a race then, with his opponent not getting a single game in any of the three sets. While the commentators and his coach had mentioned their surprise over that, Darcy had just rushed through his shower and changing his clothes, before dashing outside to make the match he really wanted to savour.

"First set, Miss Bennet to serve," announced the umpire at that moment, bringing Darcy out of his thoughts. He gazed downwards to the scoreboard, reading the name of her opponent. Eleanor Tilney2 was another Wimbledon debut, so Darcy paid her no thought, turning immediately back to the dark haired head of the server.

He watched her send her ball high up into the air, and swing up her racket to connect. He clapped along with the crowd when it turned out to be the first ace of the match. Then he clasped his hands together, leaning himself forward so he could watch the rest of the game. He stared at her figure, small due to the distance from his seat to the ground, his mind admiring her grace and the technique in her game. She was still a silent player, no grunts or sighs as she served or returned.

Darcy watched her freely, following the score only by ear, when the points were announced. He could not tear his eyes away from her. His sister was at her training session, his friends were either playing their own matches or training themselves- at this point, Darcy cared not if they were actually doing neither -leaving him able to enjoy the first recognition of his feelings for her, and what he wanted to do about them.

A part of him, already knew the answer to that. He wanted to ask her out. He no longer gave a damn about how many days it had been since he had dumped Caroline, nor what the press would doubtless comment when they found out; all he wanted to do, was act with his heart. He felt it had been a part of him he had rarely used in the recent months, except out of a need to protect his sister. Mostly ignored, sometimes even forgotten, in favour of matches and a wish not to disappoint his best friend. Now he wanted to run with the feelings within it. He wanted to start a relationship he had not felt pressured into. Caroline had dropped many a hint before he had relented and asked her out. This time it would be all of his own devising.

If he could raise the courage to do so. That was his only stumbling block now. He did not know entirely why he was so nervous about it. He had asked girls out before. He may be reserved by nature, but it had not prevented him from asking for dates before. Yet, even contemplating asking Elizabeth out, awoke the nerves. Perhaps it was because he had never felt so struck before, never felt himself fall so deep so soon, before.

Or perhaps it was because, for the first time in his life, he had no idea what Elizabeth felt for him.

"Game, set and match, Miss Bennet. 6-2, 6-1."

Elizabeth walked up to the net, shook hands with her opponent and then walked to the end to shake the hand of the umpire. Walking back down the pitch, she thanked the crowd who had cheered for her, then she returned to where her bags were lying by the chair at the side of the court. She packed away her racket away, took a sip of water, then lifted the bags on to her shoulder and made her way to the changing rooms. She stopped near the end of the court and signed a few of the magazines and autograph books pressed through the netting as usual, then waved one last time before retiring to the changing rooms.

Darcy's eyes remained fixed on her figure until it disappeared into the darkness of the passage to the changing rooms. Then he rose from his seat and made his way out of the court, his mind back in reality. Making his way to one of the large television sets that were dotted around the complex for the fans who could not get on to courts, he caught up with the progress of his friends and relatives. Charles had just finished his match against James Morland,3 wining 6-2, 6-4, 6-3.

His cousin Richard Fitzwilliam, seeded third, Canadian by birth, British by virtue of emigration,4 was currently leading by two sets to love against Frederick Tilney,5 and his still American cousin, Jolian Fitzwilliam, was in the middle of his first set against Sam Watson.6

As he was struggling to remember where his sister was training and if Charles' had mentioned the notion of meeting Jane, he was brought relief on the latter matter as the women scores came up on the screen. Charles' location seemed to be certain. Jane was leading one set to love against Frederica Vernon,7 so it was Georgia that he should seek out first.

He found her easily as it turned out, despite his previous distraction. She was training with her new coach, Alice Annesley, in the court nearest to the entrance for those set aside for just such a purpose. Her session had just come to end when he arrived, and he halted outside the court, watching with careful eyes her new coach.

Alice Annesley had just replaced the disreputable Mrs Young, who had been the starting pistol to the Wickham incident, and due to the timing of his tennis schedule, William had been unable to judge her as properly as he would have liked. She was a good player, had a good reputation with the sport, but then so had Mrs Younge. Georgia seemed to be responding to her well however, which, considering all that had happened over the recent days, was a good sign.

"William!" She cried out suddenly, spotting him. She put away her racket and ran to meet him at the end of the court.

"Georgie," he replied, greeting her happily. "How was your training?"

"Good, good," she replied separating from him so they could talk while she packed up. "How did Elizabeth Bennet do?"

For a moment William panicked, thinking that she had guessed his attraction to her already, but then he remembered that Georgie was just a devoted fan. "She won in straight sets," he informed her, relaying the scores. "Ready for some lunch?" He added afterwards, trying to look as if he had only recalled the information for her.

"Yeah," Georgia replied. "Mrs Annesley, would you like to join us?"

"I would love to, Georgie, but I'm meeting my husband. I'll see you tomorrow for your pre-match warn up."

Georgia waved her goodbye, then turned to her brother with a smile as she saw him watch her coach exit the court. "You can relax, Will. She's great."

"Good, I'm glad you think so," William replied, though he was still unsure himself. He had hired Mrs Annesley so quickly, grateful to find someone on such short notice, but that fact alone was making him concerned.

"She's not at all like Mrs Younge," Georgia continued, as if she had read her brother's mind. "She doesn't make corrections sound like an order. And she doesn't yell at me either. She just teaches me to notice any error, so I can anticipate and then avoid it."

William refrained from commenting about Mrs Younge, knowing any reference to Georgie's time with her still had the ability to affect his sister. Instead he focused on what she was saying about Mrs Annesley, and watching her manner. She seemed much happier than she had been only a few days ago. He prayed that the Wickham incident would never affect her again.

"Darce? Are you listening?"

William jumped, causing his friend to chuckle, while he brought himself out of his daydreaming. Already he was getting distracted by Elizabeth Bennet too much for comfort. He had to ask her out. "I'm sorry, Charles, what is it you were saying?"

"I was asking if you were free tonight," Charles Bingley replied with unaffected affability.

"Bingley, I freely admit that I may be alittle distracted, but I'm not that far gone. Unless you're actually serious and you have gone to the other side." Darcy smiled at his friend, making the enquiry into wit.

"My heart is still with Jane, thank you very much," Charles replied, not affected by another of the long running jokes between them. "I was just wondering if Toby had invited you to that get-together the Lucases are having tonight."

"I think he did con me into such a thing, yes," William answered after a bit of thought upon the matter. It was becoming hard to think with Elizabeth so much on his mind. Suddenly a horrible thought occurred to him, making him sit up in his chair. "He didn't include your sister in this invite of his, did he?"

Charles' face displayed confirmation and commiseration before his voice did. "Sorry, Darce, he couldn't avoid doing so, she was with me at the time." He paused to take a sip of his drink. "I'm sure she won't bother you too much."

"I hope you were touching wood while you said that last sentence, Charles," Will replied, before finishing his own drink off. "Because I'm sure you just tempted fate by saying such a hope."

It was late afternoon, and his friend had long since watched his girlfriend pass into the third round. Now he was relaxing at Will's house, waiting for the rest of their friends to join them before going on to the Lucases.

"What has you so distracted anyway?" Charles now inquired.

"I was rather hoping you wouldn't ask," Will replied as he leaned back in his deckchair.

"Its rare that you're ever distracted, Darce. Best friends need to know about these things, in order to cover for friends when they are lost to the world."

"Or to use the opportunity to tease said friend."

"I would never," Charles protested innocently. "Now 'fess up. Who is she?"

Will pretended ignorance. "I do not know what you're referring to."

"Come on, Darce. I know my sister was your last, but I also know that she would never have survived long term with you. Now who is she?"

"In all seriousness, I'm not ready to tell yet, Charles." William rose up from his chair and set it back near the table. "We ought to get ready."

Charles, seeing that there was no use persisting, relented and rose also to follow his best friend inside.

Then evening at Lucas Lodge- which Mr Lucas had named the late Victorian London house he was renting out of pure affectation -turned out to be one of mixed emotions for all concerned. William entered the place with a mind already made up about whether he would enjoy the event or not. Caroline was following him, having met up with her brother when they got out of his car outside the place. Instantly she tried to latch on to him, but Will had been forewarned, and was able to escape her at least for a little while.

Now as he entered the room where the gathering was held however, he did not take that initial victory as a good omen for the outcome of the evening. Gazing around, he soon discovered the location of the woman he wanted to see, with the host's daughter, Charlotte Lucas. He would go and talk to her now, but he knew Caroline would try to join them immediately, and not take no for an answer. Instead he made his way over to her brother, Toby Bennet, who was hanging with the other tennis star of the host family, Denton, and his cousin Leo Gardiner.

"Hey Will," Toby greeted him when he had come up to them. William acknowledged the hello with a nod, while he glanced around the room still, breathing a sigh of relief when Caroline went off with her brother, having never liked men's conversation. "I see you've escaped her clutches for now."

"Yes, thank god," William replied, "though I pity Charles tonight. He's introducing your sister to her."

"So I see," Toby replied. "Well, there's an end of being able to say what I really think of her. By the end of this evening, Jane will pronounce her 'not so very bad.' But I'm drifting. How was your match, old boy?"

"A breeze," Darcy replied.

"More like a race, according to Dad," Leo commented. "He said you looked like a man on a mission, and it wasn't the end of the match."

"Falknor turned out not to be too much of a competition," Will replied.

"Really?" Toby mused, intrigued. "You usually let them win at least one game. What was on your mind?"


"Come on, Darce. You're among friends here. What was it?"

Darcy looked at him, and decided. He was her brother after all. Sooner or later he would get the usual 'what are your intentions towards my sister' chat. It might as well be on his own terms and before he fell in too deep. That is, if he had not already. "No it, a she. I meditating on the very great pleasure that a pair of fine eyes in the face of a petty woman can bestow."

"Really?" Toby cried, musing on the possibilities. "And who were the eyes that inspired such reflections?"

Darcy took a sip of his just picked up drink, then uttered carefully, "Your sister."

"Elizabeth," Toby guessed instantly, knowing his friend's preference for dark hair as well as Bingley's for blondes. "Well, you're going to have a hard time of that one. She thinks you were really cruel for dumping Caroline on national television."

"I did not dump Caroline on national television," Will replied. "Just made it official."

"I have told her that that was probably what you did, along with reminding her who Caroline is. But she's still determined to dislike you. Are you up for the challenge of changing her mind?"

Darcy said nothing to those words, but his mind silently answered that yes, he was.

1. Frederic Falknor is from Elfrida and Frederica, part of Jane Austen's juvenilia.
2, 3, & 5. Eleanor Tilney, James Morland, and Frederick Tilney are from Northanger Abbey.
4. Richard Fitzwilliam's split nationality is like that of Greg Rusedski.
6. Sam Watson is from one of Jane Austen's unfinished novels, The Watsons.
7. Frederica Vernon is from Jane Austen's epistolary novel; Lady Susan.

Go to Section Two.

© Danielle Harwood-Atkinson 20212001-2007.