Pride and Prejudice with a steamy paranormal twist
Elizabeth Bennet was a happy, cheery girl. To the delight of her father, she loved to read and showed sign of intelligence. But to the dismay of her mother, she loved the countryside too much. She seemed always to be running about, playing with animals and climbing trees.
Her mischief often landed her sisters and friends in difficult situations. One of those circumstances occurred when she was ten years old.
It was a bright summer day. Elizabeth was playing, together with her neighbour Luke Lucas and her younger sister Kitty, near the main road to London.
“Let us play throw,” Elizabeth challenged Luke. He was the elder by two years but had only grown taller than she was in the past few months. His new vertical advantage was a fact she disliked a great deal.
She picked up a small piece of rock from the ground and pointed to the tall oak tree. “Whoever’s stone reaches a branch taller will be the victor.”
Kitty clapped her hands with delight and agreed to the game. Luke shook his head. “I do not want to play with girls,” he said and continued to kick the tree absently.
Elizabeth stepped closer. “What do you have against girls?”
“You make mischief and put the blame on me if we are found out.”
“I do no such thing!” Her hands were fisted on her hips. “You are only afraid that I can throw higher than you.”
“It is a stupid game anyway,” he replied and started towards his house.
Kitty looked at her sister with a frown and decided to follow Luke.
“Coward!” Elizabeth shouted after them. “Traitor!” She stalked off in the opposite direction. Bending down to pick up stones, she threw them aimlessly to vent her frustration for nearly quarter of an hour. She was nearer to the main road than she had realised and did not, in her temper, notice that a grand carriage was passing by.
Her last throw struck one of the horses.
The steed startled, reared up. The driver was unable to control the other horses, with the result that the carriage tipped to one side and crashed noisily to the roadway.
Screams and yells emanated from within it. Then within seconds, silence returned again.
With her hands over her mouth, Elizabeth stood frozen on the spot. Her first instinct was to run home and hide. She had killed an entire carriage of innocent people!
But then moans became audible. Elizabeth ran nearer to the source and saw that the sounds came from a young man sprawled in the roadway with one of his legs trapped beneath the top edge of the carriage. He was tall, she noted, with dark curly hair. His feature was very handsome and he was immaculately dressed.
“Are you well, sir?” Elizabeth asked in a trembling voice.
“How are my men?” he asked. She left him and ran to check on other men – four of them – strewn upon the roadway.
“They are unconscious but breathing,” she reported back to him.
“Help me get free then. I need to see to them.” He struggled to get his leg out but the carriage would not move. He gave a shout of pain and frustration, and then looked askance at Elizabeth’s form. “You are too small. Perhaps you had best run and ask for help.”
She shook her head. “I must help you. I accidentally startled your horse. I am truly sorry,” she admitted, with tears in her eyes.
She then put her small hands beneath the roof of the carriage. With a sudden surge of energy and a loud scream, she lifted the tip of the carriage up from the ground by several inches.
Both of them were flabbergasted by her strength. When the young man did not immediately move, she yelled, “Pull your leg out. I cannot hold it any longer.”
He moved back immediately and pulled his leg free, just before she gave out another scream and let the carriage drop back to the ground. Stunned, she sank down beside the young man, panting heavily.
“However did you summon such strength?” he asked, gazing at her in astonishment.
She shook her head. “I do not know.”
Before she could stand up and help him, she heard another carriage approaching. As soon as she glimpsed it, she knew that it bore Sir William Lucas, and she felt a thrill of panic. Surely he would tell her parents.
She said quickly to the young man, “I am truly sorry about this incident. I hope your servants will recover soon.” Then she scrambled away from him.
“Wait!” he called after her. “What is your name?”
She only shook her head and ran to hide in the bushes. Once concealed, she waited until Sir William and his servant had taken care of the young man and the men who had accompanied him before she turned, at last, and returned home. Her mother scolded her for making her dress such a mess and for coming home late.
Elizabeth later learned from local gossip that the young man was called Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, and that he was from Derbyshire. By the public account, he and his servants were well enough to take another carriage and continue their journey to London four days later. She was relieved to find that Mr. Darcy had made no mention of a young girl’s involvement in the accident.
At first, Elizabeth thought back upon that incident with shame and incredulity. She later tried lifting heavy objects, on several occasions, but the Herculean strength of that disastrous day never returned to her. Slowly, with the passage of time, she forgot about the whole debacle.
However, the accident immediately sprang back to her mind on the day, ten years later, when she encountered Mr. Darcy again – this time at the local Assembly. Evidently he had come to visit his friend Mr. Charles Bingley, who had recently rented Netherfield Park, which was located only three miles from her home.
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