[wip - modern/R]
The music swam through the air like an elegant swan upon the waters of a beautifully calm lake. Each note transcended heaven and transported the listeners to another plane where each was wrapped in perfect harmony. Hairs stood up on the back of necks, shivers ran down spines, eyes closed, breathing in synch with the movement of the music. Tears welled, smiles appeared, anguish felt; the melody dictated the mood of the room and everyone willed them to play on for eternity for this was perfection.
He listens intently, his eyes closed to the world around him as he absorbs the music into his very soul. He knows the notes, feels each and every sound. He can hear her, sense her heart and soul and she pours her love into the sounds she draws from her instrument. She stands out from the rest, passion flaring with each time her bow passes across the strings. His pulse quickens as the tempo increases as they reach the first crescendo. The sound almost deafening quietens almost immediately before beginning to rise again like a dangerous tide whipped by a swell. He takes a sharp breath as once again the music peaks. All he thinks is of her as she plays in perfect unison with the others around her.
The room becalms as the storm recedes and once again the sun appears, sounds of spring emerge and he smiles, his heart full to bursting as she dominates his mind once again, the music orchestrating the romance he feels for a woman he has yet to meet but still her music sings to him. He feels he knows her already for she has touched his very soul. The tempo increases again as they race towards the end of the first movement, his heart beating wildly. He is taken high before spiralling back towards Earth and with a crash the music stops.
She watches him recover, his eyes still closed. It is but a brief pause before they begin again but she sees him take a deep breath. That he is moved by the music is obvious, she has seen it many times before but he is different. He receives the music so readily that is sure he must also be a musician rather than just another observer. That he is also incredibly handsome she doesn't fail to notice either. Laughing to herself silently, she turns the page and readies herself to play again, he mind full of a darkly handsome stranger touched by music.
It ends all too soon and before she knows what is happening, her violin is strapped in its case and being carried away from the stage on her shoulder. It felt good to be home again. Playing the tour as she had been doing for months now was hard. More was to come but for now she felt like she could stay and relax for just a few days before the next venue appeared and she would be whisked away again.
Meryton was their hometown, the whole orchestra originated here and it was often said that it was quite amazing for such a small town to create such a unique and talented orchestra. There had been an orchestra in Meryton for over two hundred years and of all the violinists it supported, she was heralded to be the best. That is why at the tender age of twenty-one, she was made lead much to the amazement and pride of her parents.
As it was a homecoming for the players, a small gathering was being held after the performance for musicians and audience alike. She had waited until most of the others had gone before she walked from the stage. Looking back, she spotted the handsome stranger still there, eyes still closed, a look of peace and happiness suffusing his features. He was alone. He had been seated with her family, a friend of Jane's boyfriend she assumed but maybe she was wrong. Surely they wouldn't leave him.
"Lizzy, are you coming?" Charlotte Lucas appeared to drag her friend to the free drinks and nibbles arranged in the practice room.
Turning to face her, she smiled and followed. Maybe he would join them eventually. Upon entering the room, she noticed that in fact most of the audience had stayed for the refreshments of cheap wine and interesting conversation. True, the audience had consisted mainly of friends and family of the players but still, it was an impressive turn out. She noticed her family immediately for they were by far the noisiest.
"Oh Lizzy, you were fantastic! Thank goodness you can play the violin beautifully for if you could not heaven knows what you would have done. If only you were as pretty as your sister." Mrs. Bennet grabbed her youngest and gave her a hug.
"Thanks mum, I'm sure there was a compliment in there somewhere." Looking toward he father, she noticed him roll his eyes and smile. Breaking apart from her mother, she hugged her father and waved at Jane, her elder sister. Next to her stood two quite handsome gentleman, neither as nice as the man still sitting in the stalls.
"Well Jane, which one is Charles and who is the other one? A spare?" At once Jane and Elizabeth embraced as they laughed together.
"Lizzy, may I introduce Charles Bingley and his friend Richard Fitzwilliam. Gentlemen, this is my sister, Elizabeth Bennet." Hands were shaken, smiles shared, congratulations given.
Both men were tall, Charles fair and blond, Richard dark and resembling someone else she knew. Both were pleasant and it was easy for Elizabeth to tell why Jane and Charles were getting along quite famously. Richard kept looking at her silently and intently. Instead of being unnerved, his staring only made Elizabeth smile even more.
"So Richard, I've finally placed who you remind me of. You were sat next to someone else during the concert. You two brothers?"
"Yes actually. He's my younger brother, William." Elizabeth nodded.
"Where is he? I thought he would be here." Richard's smile waned.
"William doesn't tend to bother with anything like this. He told me I could but I suppose I should really go and collect him. He'll be wondering where I've gotten too. Nice to meet you Elizabeth Bennet."
With that he smiled and left and confused Lizzy behind. "Don't think too much on it, William doesn't really know how to act at these things." Charles' words caused quite the wrong impression.
"Well I suppose not everyone finds themselves capable of mixing with commoners such as musicians." And with that she left.
"Lizzy, what is wrong?" Jane had been trying to talk to her sister all the following morning. It was unusual for her to be so out of sorts but she had her suspicions as to the cause. "Charles felt that he came across badly last night when explaining about William and Richard. It's not that they believe it beneath themselves, really."
"Oh yeah, why did William sit and wait in the stalls then until big brother came to collect him? Richard himself said that he 'doesn't tend to bother with these things.' What I am to think?" Elizabeth stood and walked across the room to the window. It was a beautiful day for autumn. A cold sun shone brightly, leaves lay on the ground, hues of orange, red and brown warming the landscape outside. Jane joined her sister by the window.
"Charles says there are lots of reasons why William doesn't like to attend gatherings like last night or in fact any type. He won't tell me in detail as he wants his friend to tell you for himself but please Elizabeth, don't be too harsh on him. Anyway, you still haven't told me. Are you coming to the Lucas's tonight or are you going to sit and sulk in here all evening?"
"Will they be there?" Jane nodded and smiled. "Oh okay. But only to please you for you know I 'don't know how to behave' at that type of function and Charlotte will make me play the piano for she always does." Jane laughed and patted her sister on the back.
That evening, Elizabeth found herself once again in the company of Jane and Charles as they attempted to encourage her to talk and dance. It was obvious to all who saw her that she was out of spirits and when Charles and Jane took the floor to dance, Charlotte took over in trying to tease what was wrong from her friend.
"Come on, Liz, I can't exactly force you to play the piano when you are so melancholy. We simply don't have enough valium in the house to help all the guests get over the depression you would cause. You were fine last night. What's wrong?" Charlotte's concern coerced a small smile from Elizabeth. At least it was a small improvement.
"It is nothing. I'm being silly. Anyway, why is that man constantly staring at me?"
"Who? William?" Elizabeth nodded. Charlotte laughed, much to Elizabeth's annoyance.
"Thanks, some friend you are. I mean, what's wrong with me? Have I got my skirt tucked into my knickers or something?" At this her friend laughed even harder and even Elizabeth allowed herself a small chuckle.
"I think you've misunderstood him completely Miss Bennet." Neither had noticed the approach of Richard and so both stopped laughing quickly. Attempting to look composed, Charlotte left them to talk.
"So I have been told, Mr. Fitzwilliam." He smiled.
"Richard, please. Would you care to dance?" He held out his hand.
"What? Little bro letting you play?" Richard half-smiled.
"Something like that." Smiling, she took his hand and allowed him to lead her to the dance floor. Holding her hands gently, they proceeded to dance to the music. As they swayed to the rhythm, she was constantly aware that they were being watched.
"Tell me Richard, why does your brother not ask me to dance seen as he is so interested in watching us?" Richard's steps faltered momentarily at her question.
"Erm, would you care to join us after the dance? I know my brother would like to make your acquaintance." Not the answer she was expecting, she hesitated before nodding gingerly.
It wasn't long before the music ended and taking her hand, he led her over to where William was seated.
"Elizabeth, this is my brother William Darcy." William stood and held out his hand. Confused, she shook his hand before sitting opposite the brothers.
"You're probably wondering why we have different names." Richard chuckled at the confusion evident on her features. William answered her unspoken query.
"It's quite simple. It's because we have different parents." He smiled, not a shy, bashful smile, a real one that lit his entire face. Taking a sharp breath, she smiled at the men.
"That would explain that question but how can you be brothers if you have different parents?" Again William answered.
"That's easy too. We're cousins really. My parents died when I was ten and since then we were raised as brothers." Both men laughed at her silent response.
"I think some drinks are required. Usual, Will?" He nodded. "Lizzy?"
"Red wine please." Richard left, an uncomfortable silence remaining. Lizzy decided to break it. "So, you like music?" He nodded. "What did you think to last night then?" He smiled.
"It was wonderful. I love all things Rachmaninov but the second is perfect. I once remember listening the radio and Simon Bates once saying that the meaning of life was in that one symphony. He was so right. Every time it takes my breath away."
"I know what you mean. It's my favourite too." She looked around for Richard. Where can he have got to with those drinks?
"Elizabeth, I wish to apologise for last night. I don't really know how to behave around strangers. I always seem to come across as arrogant. It's really not me. I hope that you had a good time though." Stunned by the topic of conversation, she sat silent. Recalling herself, she responded.
"Yes, sort of."
"I have to say the lead violinist is quite exceptional. I found myself quite enchanted. You play incredibly well."
"Yeah right, so everyone keeps telling me. You don't have to flatter me for the sake of it Mr. Darcy."
"I wasn't. Tell me, do you often express opinions not your own or only when men attempt to demonstrate some feeling toward you?" Stunned she turned to look directly at the man before her.
As Richard returned, he saw dawning cross Elizabeth's face before she stood and walked away from the table. Shaking his head, he handed the drink to his brother and placed the now redundant wine on the table.
"I really need to practice how I give compliments." Richard nodded and patted his brother on the arm.
"Come on, let's take you home." Standing, they left the room. She stood to one side, watching as they made their way to the door.
"Lizzy, what's wrong now?" Charlotte appeared at her side once again. Noticing the direction of her gaze she remarked. "So, did he list all the faults he noticed about you?" Lizzy shook her head.
"I don't think he notices faults or perfection Charlotte. He's blind."
To be continued...
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