A/N – Well, this is my first chapter. I'm hoping you like it, be sure to tell me what you think!
Disclaimer – I do not own the rights to Pride and Prejudice, though I do own the book. I'm still waiting for the DVD.
Victoria Bennet, twin sister of Elizabeth Bennet, was the first to awaken in the household, as usual. She and her sister were the second and third born of the Bennet daughters, of which there were six.
Victoria had been born first, and so took on the role of the older sister to all of her younger sisters, including her twin.
The sun had not yet risen, false dawn the only light as she darned her dressing gown and headed to the library, to do some reading and perhaps some drawing before her father awoke and took back his study.
It seemed like little time had passed before her Father entered the room, and smiled fondly at his daughter. "Good morning, Papa!" Victoria greeted with a wide smile as she stood.
"Good morning, Tori. I see you were up with the sun again. Anything new?" he asked, peering curiously at her sketch book.
"Nothing really" Victoria modestly replied. "I believe I should get dressed for the day" she stood to leave, her father watching as one of his favorite daughters ran away to play her role of a dotting daughter in search of a husband.
On the few sunny days there were, we would all be doing different things. Lizzie would be reading outside, Mary would be playing the piano. Jane would be doing something more becoming of a lady, and Lydia and Kitty would be doing something ridiculous and inappropriate.
This particular morning was no different. After I dressed for the day, all the others were wondering around, doing something-or-another. Lizzie was nowhere in the house, and I wasn't sure where to look next when I finally spotted her heading towards the house, brown book in hand.
"Lizzie! Back from your walk?" I asked, meeting my sister at the door, outside. "It is a lovely day. Or didn't you notice, with your nose stuck in a book?"
"The weather was lovely, the ground damp, and the book was fascinating, thank you very much Victoria" Lizzie replied with an indulgent smile.
Before I could reply, Mother's voice was heard. We both turned to the window looking into Father's study, where both our parents were. "My dear Mr. Bennet, have you heard?" Mother was asking. Netherfield Park is let at last. Do you not want to know who has taken it?"
Lizzie and I smiled at each other, knowing exactly what had gotten Mother so excited.
"As you wish to tell me, my dear, I doubt I have any choice in the matter" Father replied dryly.
Lizzie and I gigged quietly to each other before linking arms and heading further indoors. We were barely in the house when I heard girlish giggling that could only belong to two girls. I tugged Elizabeth towards the door to Father's study, where Lydia and Kitty were listening.
"Liddy, Kitty, what have I told you about listening at the door?" Lizzie scolded, attempting to pull them away.
"Shh, never mind that" Lydia brushed her off. "There's a Mr. Bingley arrived from the North. £5,000 a year!"
The girls were nearly squealing, and Lizzie was now listening as well. I stepped back and couldn't help but laugh at them. "He's single!" Lydia and Kitty squealed in unison.
I couldn't say I was not excited. Despite my scorning of my younger sisters antics, I did wish to be married. I was a bit more hesitant at throwing myself at available young men, though.
"Who's single?" Jane asked, stopping by our little cluster as she walked by.
"A Mr. Bingley, apparently. £5000 a year, too" I giggled as Jane turned her attention to our conversing parents as Kitty shushed us.
"And how can that possibly affect them?" Father asked, pacing.
"Oh, Mr. Bennet, how can you be so tiresome?" I snorted as Mother huffed. "You know he must marry one of them."
We all giggled again, so Father's retort was partially muffled. "Ah, so that is his design in settling here."
"You must go and visit him at once!" Mother demanded. The door shut, and then quickly opened. There Father stood, holding a potted orchid.
"Good heavens" Father smiled, "People." I couldn't help but giggles more at his smile, and we shared a look as he passed me. Father and I had always gotten along very well.
Mother quickly followed after him, and we all trailed behind, following Father through the house like ducklings.
"For we may not visit if you do not, as you well know, Mr. Bennet" Mother lectured on. "Aren't you listening? You never listen."
"You must, Papa" Kitty pleaded.
"At once!" Mother added.
"There's no need" Father stopped in the brightly lit parlor. "I already have" he admitted.
Kitty and Lydia gasped while Mother seemed angry at Father for teasing her. "Have? When? Oh, Mr. Bennet, how can you tease me so? Have you no compassion for my nerves?"
Lizzie and I sat on the couch while the others spread out in the room, watching the interaction with undivided attention.
"You mistake me, my dear. I have the highest respect for them," Father explained as he set the orchid on the window sill and sat in the chair next to it. "They've been my constant companions these 20 years."
Elizabeth, Jane, and I all laughed. It seems we three had our father's humor, while Mother, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia have none.
"Is he amiable?"
"Who?" Mary asked from the door. She must have just joined us.
"Is he handsome?"
"He's sure to be handsome" Lydia sang, skipping over to Kitty.
"With £5000 a year, it would not matter if he had warts and a leer" Lizzie laughed. Lizzie always was more cynical.
"Who's got warts?" Mary asked.
"A Mr. Bingley that has let Netherfield Park" I told her quickly, as to not interrupt the flow of the amusing conversation.
"I will give me hearty consent to his marrying whichever of the girls he chooses" Father said calmly. I could see the twinkle in his eye at the excitement of the girls, of all of us.
"So will he come to the ball tomorrow, Papa?" Lydia asked, kneeling in front of Father.
"I believe so" he replied quietly, in contrast to the shrieks the other girls gave at his answer.
Mother looked ready to cry from happiness as she hugged and kissed Father. Lizzie grimaced and turned to watch the girls as they danced around Lizzie and I, who were still sitting on the couch. "Can I wear your spotted muslin? Oh, please, Jane!" Kitty begged.
"No, I need it."
"Please Jane!" Kitty begged, grabbing Jane's shoulders. "I'll lend you my green slippers!"
"They were mine!" Jane reminded Kitty, who had the nasty habit of borrow things (sometimes without permission) and not returning them.
"Oh, were they?" Kitty asked hysterically. "Well, I'll do your mending for a week" Kitty continued to bargain. Lydia looked a bit put out at the lack of attention.
"I'll re-trim your new bonnet" Lydia bargained.
"Two weeks" Kitty tried.
"And I'll pay you myself, Jane" Lydia continued.
"Jane, look at me"
"But I want to wear it myself" Jane protested.
Lizzie and I laughed at the two younger girls spun Jane around, attempting to gain her favor.
I glanced back at Father, who was watching us with a fond little smile on his face. I smiled back as he opened his arms for a hug, which I hastily returned.