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I Saw Her Standing There

Chapter 13

"The Beatles?" Lizzy repeated blankly. She was still in a state of semi-shock that she didn't get the kiss she was expecting.

"Yes!" Will couldn't stop himself from grinning ear to ear. "You know, the Beatles, the group from England that all the girls scream over - you know who they are don't you?" Will had started that sentence teasingly but by the end he was suddenly afraid Elizabeth wasn't a Beatles fan.

"Yes, I know who they are." Lizzy said, slightly affronted. Everyone knew who the Beatles were! Getting back into the swing of things, she shifted her position in her seat and took a better look at the yellow tickets. They featured a photo of the four Beatles faces. It read:

SHEA STADIUM
FLUSHING, N.Y.

SID BERNSTEIN, Presents
"THE BEATLES"
SUNDAY
AUG.
15
1965
8 P.M.

An original field box ticket from the Beatles performance at Shea Stadium Aug. 15, 1965


As she looked the tickets over it started to sink in, and she looked up at him incredulously. "We're really going to see the Beatles?"

"Yes." He nodded. Still grinning, he added mischievously, "Unless if you'd rather not -"

"No, of course I'll go with you!"

"It's this coming Sunday. Do you think the Gardiners will give you the night off?"

"I'm sure it won't be a problem, but it's so far away - Shea Stadium. How will we get there and back?" It was a long drive all the way from New London where the ferry from Fishers Island docked.

"Don't worry about that," Will assured her. "I've got it covered."

She looked at him dubiously. "Okay, but it's not me you've got to convince. It's the Gardiners."

"I'm sure they'll be fine with the idea once I explain it to them."

By this time Lizzy was so excited about seeing the Beatles she could barely think of anything else! John, Paul, George, Ringo... George. She absolutely loved George! He was so brooding. All thoughts of Will and her hopes of a kiss had flown out the window.

"I can't wait, let's go ask them now!" she said impulsively, still studying the tickets in her hand, her head full of nothing but the four young mop tops.

She urged Will to start the car and take her back to the Gardiners, all the while talking non-stop about the concert. Will complied with her wishes, although in the back of his mind he had hoped they would have more time alone. He had expected her to be excited, but he hadn't counted on her wanting to return home right away to get permission.

As expected, the Gardiners were no problem whatsoever; they were more than happy to allow Lizzy to accompany Will to Shea Stadium. Who could object when faced with the high spirits and anticipation on the faces of the young couple? They did stipulate that Lizzy would have to call her parents and get their permission as well. Lizzy was nearly jumping out of her skin at the prospect of seeing the concert with Will.

The four of them sat in the Gardiner's living room a little while longer discussing it until the Gardiners began hinting that it was getting late. Excited at the prospect of going to the biggest event of the summer, Lizzy lost all track of time. The Gardiners accompanied Lizzy and Will outside to his car, with assurances that the Bennets would go along with the plan. They remained until Will got into the driver's seat. Will gave up on having any more private time with Lizzy that night and started the car. Sighing to himself, he waved goodbye and drove into the night.

***

That Sunday, Lizzy found herself at Elizabeth Field, the little airport on Fishers Island. She and Will were ready to fly to LaGuardia Airport on Long Island, only minutes away from Shea Stadium. She was nervous about flying in such a small airplane, but Will assured her they'd be fine in the private aircraft that belonged to his family's company. Family company? Airplane? Lizzy was floored, and he talked about it so nonchalantly, as if everyone had their own airplane. On board Darcy Pharmaceuticals' turboprop Beechcraft King Air 90 Lizzy was in awe. The plane had two seats in the cockpit and four reclining passenger seats facing each other in the cabin. The cabin was air conditioned and soundproofed, muffling the roar of the engines as they readied for take off.

Will greeted the two pilots and introduced Elizabeth. He led her to a seat and then went back to the cockpit, speaking with the pilots as if they were old friends. Lizzy overheard one named Frank ask Will, "You going to fly this baby yourself today?"

Will smiled ruefully and glanced over at Lizzy. At the suggestion of him flying the plane, her eyes widened with fear. Seeing her expression, he turned back to the pilot. "Not today, Frank, maybe some other time, although she is sweet." Will ran his hand appreciatively over one of the seats in the cockpit.

"Yeah, she handles great." The pilot was just as admiring of the plane.

"When did we get delivery?" Will asked.

"A couple months ago, brand new."

Will gave the cockpit a last lingering glance and went back into the main cabin and sat next to Elizabeth. As an excuse to be near her, he checked her seatbelt. Lizzy rolled her eyes and playfully smacked his hands away. "I know how to buckle a seatbelt." He smiled sheepishly and settled into his seat beside her.

"Are you okay?" Even though she had teased him, he could tell she was nervous about the flight.

"You fly airplanes too?" she asked, astounded. It seemed Will Darcy was more complex than she'd ever dreamed.

"A little," he said, shrugging, not wanting to brag. She shook her head. There was still a lot to learn about Will Darcy, she thought. Settling back into her seat, she braced herself for the inevitable ride before her. Will put his hand over hers on the armrest between them, and gave it a reassuring squeeze. As nervous as she felt at that moment, she liked the weight of his hand on hers and hoped he'd keep it there for the duration of the flight.

"You've got nothing to worry about, Elizabeth. We're going to have a great time tonight. Relax."

She took a deep breath, intertwining her fingers with his. She was in his hands now - and she kind of liked it.

***

"Wow!" Lizzy exclaimed as she entered Shea Stadium. Emerging into the balmy air of the enormous baseball field, she squinted up into the glare of the overhead lights. Blinded by them, she used her hands as a visor to look out onto the bright green baseball diamond before her. More than 2000 policemen lined the perimeter, dressed in their dark blue uniforms with gleaming badges that twinkled in the lights above. The stadium was packed with more than 55,000 hysterical, crying teenage girls. The noise was deafening, terrifying yet exciting at the same time. Will looked at Lizzy, just as amazed at their surroundings, and declared, "They're louder than God." 1.

She nodded in agreement. Will grabbed Lizzy's hand as they weaved their way through the undulating tide of female bodies to find their seats in the field box close to the 3rd baseline. Lizzy was finally able to get a good look at the stage erected in the center of the baseball field. Will told her that he'd heard this was the first time in history that a stadium was used for a rock 'n roll concert. The concert was officially set to start at 8:00 pm, but there would be a number of warm up bands performing before the Beatles. Before long, the full bill started with the King Curtis Band and then Cannibal and the Headhunters, Brenda Holloway, The Young Rascals and Sounds Incorporated.

The crowd, Lizzy included, grew restless waiting for the main act despite the other groups playing before them. Will didn't mind the wait, he was enjoying watching Elizabeth. He was fascinated by her. As the wind kicked up, her long dark hair began to lightly blow around her face. No matter how much she absentmindedly tried to control it, one particularly stubborn strand refused to behave, causing Lizzy to continually fiddle with it. She could use a ribbon for her hair at this moment. He smirked, remembering he didn't have her ribbon with him. Mrs. Reynolds had seen it and talked him in to letting her launder it. He had to admit, it was getting kind of ratty. Besides, he didn't need it as a reminder when he was with Elizabeth herself. He couldn't help smiling at the thought while she was unaware.

Glancing over at him, Lizzy caught such an endearing smile upon his face, there was such warmth in his eyes; it caused her insides to flutter. Without thinking, she reached out to stroke his cheek and then took his hand in hers, holding it tight. Will held his breath at Elizabeth's touch and then looked down at their interlocked hands with a sigh of contentment.

Just then, the Ed Sullivan walked on the bandstand. Will strained to hear Mr. Sullivan over the noise of the crowd as he spoke into the microphone:

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, honored by their country, decorated by their Queen, loved here in America, here are - The Beatles!"
Amidst the overwhelming roar of the crowd, Lizzy and Will watched as the Fab Four, wearing British tan military style jackets with high necked collars, rushed from the first base dugout to the stage located over the top of second base. Lizzy couldn't help herself; as soon as she saw them she had an uncontrollable urge to scream at the top of her lungs along with the rest of the Beatlemaniacs in the stadium. The howl of the crowd was infectious. The Beatles! Why wouldn't you shout?

At first Will was taken aback to hear Elizabeth join the deafening masses, but he had to admit the whole event was thrilling. He'd never seen anything so amazing in his life. It was definitely a first for him. Somehow he knew they were part of history in the making. He wasn't about to start screaming himself, but everyone else around him let it rip! The unbelievable excitement of the concert, adding to the mass hysteria of the fans, proved to be a fantastic and mind-boggling experience. A lovesick fan next to Will began to call feverishly to no one in particular, pointing toward the stage, "That's The Beatles out there!" She kept repeating it over and over and seemed on the verge of fainting. Lizzy was also awed by the sight, and with all the screaming, she felt like she was going to pass out as well! Will noticed she looked a little wobbly and put his arm around her, ready to catch her in case she actually did faint. Since the Beatles appeared on stage he'd seen dozens of girls collapse at the sight.

With an electric excitement that carried throughout the stadium, the opening chords rang out from the stage, barely heard over the din of the fans. They opened with a familiar song to both Will and Lizzy: Twist And Shout. Even though they could barely hear the music over the din, they looked at each other, remembering twisting together at the Holly Hop. Their eyes met and Lizzy couldn't help twisting to the music. She grinned at Will, daring him to join her. He nodded in acknowledgement, but he wasn't quite ready yet to start dancing amidst a stadium full of half-crazed girls. Besides, he much preferred to watch Elizabeth, particularly the hypnotic way her hips swayed and the daring look in her eyes as if she were dancing only for him.

The spell was broken when the Beatles launched into two new numbers Will and Lizzy hadn't heard before, She's A Woman and I Feel Fine. Will laughed when they sang Dizzy Miss Lizzie, as Lizzy smirked at him, dancing her heart out and singing along with it. Ticket To Ride from the Beatles' new movie, Help! was next and then Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby. After that, one of Lizzy's favorites, Can't Buy Me Love, started, and for some unexplainable reason, she really let loose at this one. Will was almost as enthralled by Elizabeth's reaction to the songs as he was by the Beatles themselves.

As the Beatles launched into what would be their final number, I'm Down, Will noticed that John Lennon suddenly started to go into an animated and crazy performance, playing the harmonium using his elbows - à la Jerry Lee Lewis. His antics were catching and George, the lead guitarist, began to laugh so much he was unable to play. Lizzy looked at Will and told him George was her favorite Beatle. "I like those dark, broody good looks of his," she explained with an impish smile. Will smirked as he pulled her to him possessively. Loving the feel of his arm around her she bit her lower lip and leaned into him.

As quickly as it had begun, it was over. When the Beatles finished their set, they immediately left the bandstand and were whisked into a white station wagon ambulance that took them across the field into a waiting Wells Fargo armored truck that sped off into the night. It was sheer pandemonium; the crowd was cheering, girls were either passing out or leaping over the barriers while policemen were trying their best to subdue the crowd and handle the wild Beatlemaniacs.

Slowly and determinedly, Will guided Elizabeth out of the mobbed stadium. Their ears ringing, they found the car and driver waiting to take them back to LaGuardia Airport where their private plane was ready to bring them back to Fishers Island. Lizzy was thankful for Will's strong presence. She was in a daze. What an unforgettable night; she would never forget it as long as she lived. Little did she know what was to come next. Years later, it wasn't really the concert that she'd remember the most, it was what happened afterwards.

***

When Lizzy and Will arrived at Elizabeth Field, they were too excited to go right home, even though it was terribly late. They got into his Jaguar and Will, who wasn't ready to take her home to the Gardiners' yet, asked if she'd like to come to his house.

Lizzy was caught off guard by the suggestion of going to his home. She hadn't seen it yet, but her Aunt Maddie had mentioned Pemberley more than once. She considered it the most beautiful home on the whole entire island. Lizzy remembered her description:

"High upon the bluffs overlooking the Sound, it has a quiet grace about it. The brown shingles and pointed roofs have a majesty that hearkens back to the Victorian era when the house was originally built."

"Elizabeth, do you want to go to my house?"

Lizzy had to shake herself, realizing she'd been lost in thought.

"Uh...yes," she said, absentmindedly.

"Are you sure?" he asked concerned. "If you're tired I'll take you back to the Gard-"

"No!" she cried, suddenly alert. "No, I'm not tired. I want to go to your house."

He smiled, happy that their evening wasn't over. He was still pumped from the concert and didn't want to say good night just yet.

They drove for a few miles, and Lizzy realized they were heading toward the eastern point of the island where she'd never been. This was the private area of the island near the country club, filled with stately homes and mansions, none of which could be seen from the road. Eventually, Will turned into a dirt road with a small wooden sign beside it that read Pemberley. They drove through dark woods on either side. It was nearly pitch black outside, except for the glow of the headlights on Will's car illuminating the twists and turns of the private drive. Elizabeth felt they had been going down his driveway forever, when after one final bend the silhouette of the sleeping giant rose before her. Will turned to her as she gasped aloud at the sight. In the dim moonlight, with a quiet elegance, stood a mammoth Victorian shingled structure bearing four enormous stone chimneys that towered over its steepled roofline. She continued to gape until Will stopped in front. So this is Pemberley.

Will parked in the circular drive and helped Lizzy out of the car. He led her up to the front porch, that wrapped around the house as far as Elizabeth could see, and guided her inside the beautifully appointed home. She looked around in awe. While definitely a summer home, it was meticulously maintained and well kept. Just a few lights were on, since it was well past midnight, but even in the dim light she could tell there was an ease and sense of casualness, not the austerity and pretentiousness of Rosings Park.

Will lead her through the house, his finger to his lips, ensuring she did not make any noise. They tiptoed through the dining room and past the swinging door into an open and airy kitchen. Lizzy briefly glanced at the massive chambered stove but had little time to look at anything else before Will guided her through the back door to a patio perched on the bluff that overlooked the water below. She could barely make out the water in the dark, but she could hear the ebb and flow of the gentle waves along the shoreline. As her eyes adjusted and she looked out at the dark expanse of water, Will motioned to her to follow him; he seemed to have a particular destination and purpose in mind.

"Let's go down here," he called out in a whisper, pointing out a partially hidden stairway that led down to the beach. Will clicked on an outside light and Lizzy's eyes settled on the comfortable looking patio furniture. Large jardinières filled with fragrant smelling flowers were interspersed and nearby was a large wicker basket that held towels and blankets. Beside it - surprisingly - a guitar case. Will pointed to the basket.

"Can you grab a blanket?" he asked as he removed the guitar from its case. He picked it up and held her hand, leading her to the steep stairway that criss-crossed the bluff leading to the beach.

She was bemused at this whole turn of events. This night is full of surprises. First I find out he has a company airplane - that he knows how to fly, and now he plays the guitar?

She gladly let Will take the lead as they descended the old weathered stairway. Never letting go of Lizzy, Will took extra care to insure she didn't trip or hurt herself on the way down. The sweet smell of honeysuckle permeated her senses as they reached the bottom and Will indicated for her to remove her sandals while he did the same. Just beyond them was a wide open beach. Will grabbed Lizzy's hand again and together they ran toward the water. The moon was high, casting a silvery reflection upon it; the sound of the waves lapping at the shore was the only sound in the darkness. They ran across the cool night sand in their bare feet, stopping before they got too close to the water, where the sand became wet. Breathless from the run, Lizzy unfurled the blanket in one big swoop and spread it out for them to sit upon. She could just see the expression on Will's face, illuminated by the moonlight; he had a shy grin on it.

"I've kind of been practicing something for you on the guitar..."

She blushed becomingly at the idea of Will practicing something for her. She let him know at once that she wanted to hear it by reaching over and squeezing his hand. He motioned for her to sit on the blanket while he settled himself across from her, sitting cross-legged as she remained up on her knees eagerly waiting for him to begin.

He gave her a mischievous grin just before he started. "I'm no George Harrison, but - here goes." Strumming the guitar in one long motion, he began to sing, Click here for Will's song

You'll never know how much I really love you

Another impressive strum of the guitar -

You'll never know how much I really care...

He looked lovingly into her eyes as he sang, and suddenly Lizzy felt shy and embarrassed. He was so serious all of a sudden and the lyrics so dramatic. Then, she saw the earnest look on his face change as he tried unsuccessfully to keep a straight face; his dimples were determined to peep out. A slow smile spread across Lizzy's face and widened as she recognized the next riff of notes as he continued to serenade her.

Listen, do you want to know a secret
Do you promise not to tell, whoa, whoa, whoa
Closer, let me whisper in your ear

Say the words you long to hear
I'm in love with you, oo

A thrill went through Lizzy's spine as he sang the words to her. She knew he was camping it up - an eyebrow lift here, a brooding stare there - but she couldn't help but understand the meaning of the words. Getting into the act, she pretended to swoon as he sang, joining in to sing the doo dah doos back to him teasingly.

Listen, (doo dah do)
Do you want to know a secret (doo dah do)
Do you promise not to tell, (doo dah do) whoa, whoa, whoa

He was getting into his performance, and liked the way she joined him. He leaned toward her.

Closer, (doo dah do)
Let me whisper in your ear (doo dah do)
Say the words you long to hear
I'm in love with you, oo

Lizzy couldn't help but giggle, she and Will were good together! The chord progression changed and Will looked at his fingers on the frets of the guitar, careful to get the notes right.

I've known a secret for a week or two
Nobody knows just we two...

His eyes met hers again as he continued, grinning and hamming it up. Laughing, she dramatically put her hands to her face as if overcome by the moment, like a true Beatlemaniac.

Listen, (doo dah do)
Do you want to know a secret (doo dah do)
Do you promise not to tell, whoa, whoa, whoa
Closer, (doo dah do)
Let me whisper in your ear (doo dah do)
Say the words you long to hear
I'm in love with you, oo, oo

As she and Will sang the end of the song together, their voices gradually faded out as did his guitar. They remained smiling at each other with nothing but the gentle sound of the water breaking upon the shore as their background music. As if by magic, their eyes focused solely on the other's, the lighthearted feeling between them moments before, now became serious.

Without taking his eyes from hers, Will gently set down his guitar and moved closer. He ran his hands along her shoulders, sending shivers through her. Drawing her to him gently, he cupped his hand behind her head, slowly bringing her lips to his. Delicious.

Lizzy closed her eyes and gave in to the feeling of his kiss, she knew instantly - it was perfect; meant to be. The kiss deepened and she responded, a gentle moan coming from deep inside as he pulled her closer. She willingly gave in to the sensation and desire she had kept bottled up, wrapping her arms around his neck, clinging to him, lost in the feel of his lips on hers. Unaware of how she got there, and not even caring, she was now sitting in his lap. Their kisses intensified, a give and take, deep and satisfying as they tasted and savored one another.

Will nibbled his way to the lobe of her ear, sending ripples of excitement through her. She gasped with delight as he placed tiny kisses down her neck. His touch was overwhelming; she could feel the passion and the tenderness from his lips. His fingers caressed her, burning a trail down her back, holding her waist, molding her body to his.

In one fluid motion he lifted her up and gently placed her on her back. Leaning over her as she put her arms around his neck, he continued his explorations. He was drowning in the taste of her, while still trying his best to rein himself in, knowing it would be fatal to rush her. She was an innocent and he wouldn't ruin this moment by taking advantage, no matter how responsive she was.

Intuitively, he let her set the pace. They continued their delightful pursuit, making up for lost time, until both needed to come up for air. Lizzy cuddled up to him and rested her head on his shoulder, running her hand over his chest. She could feel his breathing, heavy at first and then settling into a steady rhythm. It felt wonderfully good to be this close to him; she felt she could lie beside him forever. Feeling her sigh, he tightened his arms around her as they lay there quietly looking up at the stars in the inky sky above.

He bent his head to her and whispered in her ear, "I'm in love with you."

She nearly melted when she heard the words tickle her ear; she felt her heart would burst. Tears pricked her eyes and she thought she was going to cry. After all this time and the ups and downs they'd experienced, she now knew for sure how she felt about him. Hearing his momentous and heartfelt words was what she had wanted ever since she first saw him again at the Yacht Club. What a difference a few months made. She leaned up on her elbows and peered down at him in the dim light, searching for his eyes.

"I love you too." He closed his eyes when he heard her words, speechless. This was his dream come true and he needed to savor the moment. She bent down and kissed him softly on his lips and then wrapped her arms around him, snuggling into the crook of his shoulder. He reciprocated, enveloping her in his arms, ensuring she would not be leaving soon.

Laying there beside him, the moon shining on her, Lizzy's features were illuminated just enough for Will to see she was smiling. He was grateful for this time, for this second chance with her; it was the happiest moment of his life. He couldn't help but give up a silent prayer. Thank you.

*"Do You Want to Know A Secret" - performed by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (c) 1963 Northern Songs. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.


1I've taken the liberty to give Will this line, but it is an actual quote from John Lennon of the crowd at Shea Stadium.

Chapter 14

Lydia Bennet thought she was going to go crazy. Everyone had something fun to do for the summer, and she was stuck in Meryton with absolutely nothing. Jane had spent nearly the entire summer mooning over her rich boyfriend who was madly in love with her and Lydia had just found out that Jane wasn't the only one. Lizzy had a rich boyfriend now, one whom she met while working at her cushy babysitting job with the Gardiners on Fishers Island. Not only that, the crowning blow was that he was taking her to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium with him! She doesn't even have any of their records! It wasn't fair. I want a rich boyfriend too! Well, maybe he doesn't have to be rich, she thought, but good looking, at least - and fun! Only one possibility came to mind.

"Jane!" Lydia called upstairs, "I'm going to Korvettes, I want to get a new record."

"How are you going to get there?" her sister called back. Their parents were away for the weekend; Jane was in charge until they returned Monday night.

"Don't worry, I'll ride my bike."

***

"Hi George, remember me?" Lydia sidled up to George Wickham, the debonair salesman at Korvettes, giving him what she thought was her most alluring smile.

George had no time for teeny boppers; there was too much on his mind. His poker debts were out of control and he was wracking his brain trying to think of a way to get some quick cash. He did not want to face the loan sharks who were hounding him constantly. Every moment he was looking over his shoulder, fearful of one of the telltale goons, Larry the Loan Shark sent in his place.

George barely kept up the English accent as he spoke to her. "Yeah, I remember you, but I'm busy, kid. I can't really chat, you see?"

Lydia scowled. She couldn't believe it! She'd ridden her bike all the way out here to see George, and now he was blowing her off! She needed to let off some steam and here was her chosen means trying to ignore her.

"Oh, come on, George, please! I've been so bored lately. I'm so sad and lonely." She gave him her best puppy dog eyes. "Everyone in my family is ignoring me. My sister Jane has a rich boyfriend who spoils her and now my sister Lizzy is dating another rich guy - Will Darcy - who's taking her to see the Beatles at Shea Stadium tonight. Can you believe her luck?"

George wasn't paying much attention until he heard the name, Will Darcy.

"Will Darcy, you say?" He looked at her, now all ears.

"Yeah, he's some rich guy she met on Fishers Island. He must really be hung up on her to take her to see the Beatles." Lydia said dolefully, wishing she was seeing the Beatles, instead of Lizzy.

In the blink of an eye, George had his idea; one that would solve all his problems. He looked at Lydia with new found appreciation.

"Do you really want to see the Beatles?" he asked, stepping closer to her.

"More than anything in the world!"

"What would you say if I told you I know them?" he said wrapping his arm around her shoulder.

"You know them?" she cried incredulously.

"Of course, love." Laying the accent on thick now that it mattered to him, he added, "We go way back, old mates, you know."

Lydia took the bait: hook, line and sinker. She was speechless. She was actually talking to someone who was friends with the Beatles! With Lydia's mouth still gaping open, George continued, "I know where they're staying in New York. How would you like me to take you there to meet them?"

At this offer, Lydia's eyes were as wide as saucers. "Are you kidding? Of course I want to meet them! When? When can we go?" She was breathing heavily, dancing around in her place, antsy at the idea of meeting the Fab Four. "Can we see them tonight at Shea Stadium?"

"No, not the concert, security is too great there; we'd never be able to get in to see them. We can meet them at their hotel tomorrow, after the concert tonight." His mind was working at high speed. "How about we meet first thing in the morning and drive to New York to their hotel? We'll surprise them."

"Okay!" said Lydia. George looked at her appraisingly. Hmm, at least she's built. How can anyone be so gullible?

"Just to be on the safe side, better not tell anyone," George warned her. "I don't want word getting out I'm friends with them - we don't want the whole town coming with us."

Lydia didn't think twice about it. "Sure thing, this will be our big secret!" At last, something exciting is happening to me!

Click here for song.

Little child, little child
little child won't you dance with me
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

Little child, little child
little child won't you dance with me
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

Lydia was ready and waiting when George arrived at the crack of dawn the next morning in his maroon Chevy Corvair. She hadn't told anyone of their plan to drive up to New York, but she couldn't resist leaving a note for her sister Kitty. She would be green with envy when she found out that Lydia was off to see the Beatles!

Dear Kitty,

Ha-ha! You'll never guess where I am and what I'm doing! I'm off to New York with total hunk, George Wickham, whose friends with the Beatles! (Remember, the salesman I told you about at Korvettes?) We're going to their hotel to meet them. Wish me luck - I'll be sure to give Paul a kiss for you!

Lydia


Driving up to the city, George pondered his options. He had a few things in mind. First, he needed a place where he could hide and be alone with Lydia. Low on cash, he'd have to find a cheap motel.

"Lydia luv," his Liverpool accent in full force, "Do you have any money with you?"

She looked at him sideways, a quick look of annoyance on her face that vanished as soon as she saw him flash his teeth with that handsome smile of his.

"I brought a little just in case I saw something I wanted to buy... Why?"

"Just asking, always good to think of these things in the big city and all that." Hmm, I wonder how much she brought with her? He looked over at her thoughtfully as he drove, then patted the seat next to him invitingly. "Come over and sit next to me, luv. I won't bite." Lydia hesitated briefly before sliding across the seat until she was right up against him. He put his arm around her and pulled her close as she rested her head on his shoulder.

If you want someone to make you feel so fine
Then we'll have some fun when you're mine all mine
So come on, come on, come on

Little child, little child
little child won't you dance with me
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

By the time they got to New York it was mid-morning. The city was busy, bustling with Monday activity. Lydia couldn't sit still as she oohed and ahhed at the skyscrapers, pointing at everything.

"George, are we going straight to their hotel? I can't wait to meet Paul." She sighed aloud, thrilled at the thought of actually meeting her favorite Beatle. Won't everyone be jealous when I come back and tell them all about it. Maybe he'll fall in love with me and ask me to marry him! If George hadn't been right beside her, she would have forgotten all about him. George Wickham paled in comparison to a real Beatle.

George was concentrating so hard on traffic he had little time to think of a good excuse to keep Lydia away from the Beatles's hotel. He nearly cursed when she asked her next question. The girl just wouldn't quit!

"I heard the Beatles are staying at the Warwick Hotel on 54th - are we near it yet?" She made it a point to know everything about her boys. She had read in the newspaper they were at the Warwick this time, because the Plaza Hotel, where they had stayed the previous year on their first visit to the United States, didn't want them back. The fans had caused too much trouble and nearly wrecked the hotel's lobby.

"Yes, luv, as soon as I can find a parking space." This sounded perfectly reasonable to Lydia, so she didn't notice the strained sound of George's voice as he maneuvered in and out of the sea of yellow taxis and buses. Oblivious to George's real intentions, she blithely continued to look out the window at the sights of New York City.

Once they found a parking space, Lydia leapt out of the car, eager to meet the Beatles. She looked at the street sign - 9th Avenue. "9th Avenue? How far are we from the hotel?"

George had no intention of going to the Warwick. He could well imagine what a mad house it was, but soon realized Lydia would not go anywhere else with him unless he at least appeared to be taking her to see the famous foursome.

"Not far," he said as he steered her along toward 54th Street heading in the direction of 6th Avenue. Although Lydia was ecstatic; she was also nervous at the thought of meeting her idols. I know Paul will fall in love with me as soon as he meets me. As George draped his arm around her shoulders possessively, she thought of him as nothing more than a means to her goal. She wriggled out of his grasp, bent on only one target at this point - and it wasn't George Wickham!

When you're by my side you're the only one
Don't you run and hide just come on, come on
So come on, come on, come on

Little child, little child
little child won't you dance with me
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me

It became apparent as they neared the intersection of 54th Street and 6th Avenue that something big was happening outside the hotel. The streets were lined with policemen trying to hold back the crowds of screaming teenaged girls, hoping for a glimpse of the famous boys from Liverpool. Right away, Lydia picked up her the scent and started to run toward the hotel with George hot on her heels.

"Lydia, wait!" he called after her desperately. She looked behind her and waited for him to catch up. After all, without him, she couldn't get in to see the Beatles.

The Warwick Hotel was an old fashioned, stately building, unobtrusive in appearance, blending in with the surrounding buildings. Upon closer observation the detail and workmanship on the outside of the building revealed the quiet elegance that lay within. It was a haven for celebrities who could sometimes be seen peering over a balcony high above the cacophony of the streets of mid-town Manhattan.

As George caught up with Lydia she wasted no time. "George, come on! Let's go, I want to see them!" She started to pull George toward the entrance of the hotel. George realized he was in a bind and was going to be hard-pressed to deter Lydia from her mission; he had to think of something fast.

"Lydia, we'll have to call up first. They won't just let us in with this gaggle of teenagers around." Lydia saw the wisdom of George's explanation.

"Then, call them!"

George sighed in frustration, realizing this was not going to be as easy as he thought. How was he going to get Lydia upstairs into a hotel somewhere else, when she was so bent on seeing the Beatles at the Warwick? He hadn't thought this plan through very well, he'd been too determined to get out of Meryton and away from Larry and his crew. He saw that he'd have no choice. If he was going to get Lydia to go along with him, he'd have to get a room at the Warwick.

"I have an idea. We can get into the lobby and call up by checking in and getting a room." George reasoned. Lydia looked at him like he was crazy.


"Check in! Why would we want to do that?" The radar in her head was starting to go off - she didn't like the sound of this plan. Check in? A room? Together? Lydia may not have been the smartest girl in school, but she had 'street smarts' and she was having misgivings about George and his intentions. She was torn, one side of her wanted to see the Beatles badly, but the other side didn't feel right about checking into a hotel with a man she barely knew. She thought about it briefly and made her decision. The Beatles won out.

"Okay, let's do it!" George grinned and held her hand as they made their way to the main entrance of the hotel. Squeezing through the mob of teenage girls, they eventually came to the entrance where a policeman held up his hand and stopped them.

"Excuse me, folks, you can't come in. This is off limits," the policeman said.

"We're checking in to the hotel," said George. The policeman looked at Lydia and George doubtfully.

"Do you have some I.D.?" asked the policeman.

"What do I need to show you my I.D. for, officer?" As he spoke, George could feel the sweat dripping down his back in the hot August sun.

"I need to see some proof that you're here for some other reason than these groupies," he answered, referring to the mêlée of girls around them.

"Don't be absurd, do I look like a Beatlemaniac?" George asked, referring to the adoring masses standing behind him who were holding various signs that read, "Please, Please Me, George!" and "I Want to Marry You, Paul!"

"What about her?" the policeman pointed at Lydia.

"We're friends of the Beatles!" Lydia piped in, "We just want to get inside so we can call upstairs to them." The policeman scoffed at the two.

"So you can just call upstairs to them, eh?" Laughing, he shooed them back into the crowd. "Off you go, you two. Friends of the Beatles - that's a good one!" and he wouldn't let them pass.

George turned on Lydia, furious she had blown their cover. "Why did you have to go and say that?" he yelled at her. "Now we'll never get past that policeman." Now what was he supposed to do with her?

Lydia was really getting fed up with George. "George, it can't be that hard to find a telephone somewhere else."

George took hold of Lydia's arm roughly and began to drag her down the street away from the hotel.

"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" she yelled, trying her best to wriggle out of his grasp.

"What I should have done long ago. Come on, you're coming with me!"

"Oh no, I'm not!" Lydia answered, digging her heels in. "I want to see the Beatles!"

"You stupid girl," he spat at her. "Do you really think we're going to see the Beatles?" Lydia looked at him incredulously.

"Of course, that's the whole reason why we came!" She was still trying to get loose from his grasp.

"You're nothing more than a means to an end, as far as I'm concerned. Now come on!" George meant business and was willing to take her forcefully if need be.

Lydia was blazing mad! There was no way she was going to go along with him anywhere now. Not after the way he spoke to her and called her stupid!

"You're a big fat liar!" she yelled at him. With one final wrench of her arm she managed to break free from his grasp and kicked him in the shins for good measure. George, caught by surprise at her tenacity, rubbed his sore legs as he watched her take off back in the direction of the Warwick. He chased her, but soon lost her in the multitude of girls that were still packed around the hotel's entrance.

He searched to no avail. She seemed to have disappeared into thin air, and with her went all his hopes of a quick way to get some money out of Will Darcy. Dejected, he went into the hotel bar, alone and unencumbered, determined to get stinking drunk.

When you're by my side you're the only one
Don't you run and hide just come on, come on
So come on, come on, come on

Little child, little child
little child won't you dance with me
I'm so sad and lonely
Baby take a chance with me*

***

Monday on Fishers Island turned out to be a glorious day. The sun came pouring through the curtains of Lizzy's bedroom window as she lay in bed thinking about the previous night. She was surprised she wasn't more tired, considering how little sleep she'd gotten. Will had dropped her off at the Gardiners in the early hours of the morning, just before daybreak. They had spent nearly the whole night on the beach in each other's arms. She hugged herself at the thought, going over each moment, bit by bit, giddy at the memory of what it felt like to kiss Will - not once, but over and over again. She sighed at the memory. It felt like heaven. He loves me.

She glanced at her alarm clock and scrambled out of bed frantically. It was past eight o'clock! She had to get up and give the kids their breakfast. Just as she finished pulling her hair up into a pony tail, she heard Aunt Maddie calling her from downstairs.

"Lizzy!" Aunt Maddie sounded urgent. "Your sister Jane is on the phone, something has happened!"

Lizzy was instantly worried. She rushed downstairs and took the phone from Mrs. Gardiner.

"Hello?" Lizzy spoke with a concerned voice. "Jane, what's wrong?"

"Oh Lizzy! We don't know what to do! It's Lydia!"

"Lydia? What is it? Is she hurt?"

"No, she's run off to New York City with some salesman she met at Korvettes, George Wickham!"

Lizzy's mouth went completely dry. She sank into the nearby chair as Jane read the letter Lydia had left Kitty.

"What's being done?" Lizzy asked. "Has Dad gone after them?"

"Dad's not here. Remember? He and Mom went to the Philips's, they don't even know about it yet. They're supposed to get back tonight. I've been in charge this whole weekend." Lizzy could hear the catch in Jane's voice as she continued, "Oh Lizzy, I feel like this is my entire fault! If only I'd kept a closer eye on her none of this would have happened!"

"Jane, it's not your fault. How could you have known Lydia would pull a stunt like this?" Lizzy tried to reassure Jane that things would work out all right for Lydia, but she was worried. George Wickham! If only she had warned her sisters about him and what he was capable of! She could kick herself! There was only one person she could think of who knew enough about George Wickham to help them. Will. She felt it was best to keep George's history of kidnapping to herself for now, no point in worrying Jane even further.

"Jane, I have an idea. Will can probably help us. He knows George Wickham and what he's like, and maybe he can find them."

"Do you really think so?"

"If anyone can help, it's Will. I'll call him right now. I'll call you back when I have something to report."

Lizzy got off the phone with Jane and told the Gardiners the whole story, including her fears for Lydia because of Wickham's unsavory reputation. There was no doubt in her mind that George had lied to Lydia. Without giving too much detail, she explained that Will had a previous history with George and he might know where to find them. When Lizzy had finished, they encouraged her to call Will right away.

As she dialed the Darcy's home number that Georgie had given her, Lizzy reflected that this wasn't exactly how she envisaged speaking to Will so soon after their magical night together. But she had no choice, she needed his help, and time was of the essence. Who knew what George Wickham had in mind when he took Lydia to New York? He obviously didn't really know the Beatles. Will might even have an idea where they could be. She worried and waited for someone to answer, nervous that it was still too early to be calling; Will was probably still asleep.

"Hello, Darcy residence," a voice answered on the other end of the line.

Already nervous about calling, Lizzy was taken aback by the formality of whoever answered. "Hello...i-is Will there?" she asked hesitantly.

"Who may I say is calling?" asked the voice.

"This is Elizabeth Bennet, I'm a friend of his."

"Miss Bennet, of course!" The voice suddenly sounded warm and friendly. "If you'll hold on a moment, I'll get him for you." Lizzy waited what seemed like an eternity until she finally heard Will's voice on the phone.

"Elizabeth?" He sounded happily surprised to be hearing from her so soon after dropping her off earlier that morning, although he also still seemed a bit groggy from being woken up. "What a surprise! I didn't expect to hear from you so soon." His voice deepened as he whispered. "Have you recovered from last night? I sure haven't."

Lizzy relished the sound of his voice and wished she didn't have to bring up the dreadful subject of her sister and George Wickham, but she had to do it.

"Will, I need your help, something awful happened!"

Will instantly recognized the fear in Elizabeth's voice and woke sufficiently to realize something must be terribly wrong for her to be calling him so early.

"What happened, Elizabeth, tell me."

"It's my sister Lydia..." Lizzy paused. She didn't know what to say exactly. "She's run off...she's run off with...George Wickham." There was silence on the other end. Lizzy waited for Will to say something.

"I'll be right there. Don't do anything until I get there." She heard the click of the phone hanging up and, staring at the receiver in her hand Lizzy let out a sigh of relief. If anyone knew what to do, she was confident Will would be the one.

***

After Lizzy explained to Will everything she knew and about the letter Lydia had left behind, Will took over. Immediately, he asked, "Elizabeth, does Lydia know about you and me?"

"Probably. I'm sure my mother would have told her after I asked for permission to go to the concert." Will's suspicions were confirmed; Wickham was at it again.

He made a solemn promise to Elizabeth that he would find them if it was the last thing he did. Time was short. Will knew he had to find them before nightfall; who knew what would happen to Lydia if he didn't. He wouldn't put it past George Wickham to take advantage of a fifteen year old girl.

Lizzy walked Will out to his car, tears forming in her eyes at the thought of saying goodbye to him this way. He was going to New York to find her little sister, and she was totally helpless. There was nothing she could do but wait for him to call with news.

Will turned to her before he got into his car. "Goodbye. I'll find them, it'll be all right." He took her into his arms and held her for a moment before kissing her gently. This is not how I imagined our next kiss to be. "I'll call you as soon as I know something - I promise." He saw her nod, as she valiantly tried not to cry.

I don't want him to go! She was torn between her sister's safety and wanting to be with Will. Things had been so perfect before Jane's call! Lizzy watched him get in the car with one last lingering look. He said goodbye again and drove off. Lizzy stood in the driveway watching him drive away until she couldn't see his car any longer. She stamped her foot in frustration and anger. Stupid Lydia! How could you do this?

***

Will was intent on getting to New York as fast as possible. Once he found Lydia he would need his car to return her to her parents in Meryton, so there was no option other than driving. He estimated the drive would take about three hours, getting him into the city just after two o'clock in the afternoon. That would give him half the day to search. His first stop would be the Warwick Hotel, not that he really believed Wickham knew the Beatles, but it was a start at least. Judging by what Elizabeth had told him about her sister Lydia, a true Beatlemaniac if there ever was one, Wickham would have needed to fool her into believing he was taking her there first - at least Will hoped that was the case.

Arriving in the city, Will parked in a nearby garage, making his way toward the hotel which was being mobbed by young, hysterical girls. Will couldn't help but have flashbacks of the previous night at the concert at Shea. It was hard to believe that only the night before he had been with Elizabeth - his Elizabeth! He felt he could say that and really mean it, after last night. However, dwelling on that would only cloud his head. He had other matters to take care of now. He managed to get in with nary a problem, easily passing through the main doors, opened for him by the doorman, into a small lobby by luxury hotel standards. He walked to the front desk and inquired if they had recently checked in anyone that fit the description of Lydia and Wickham. No luck. He looked for something that might give him a clue as to whether they'd been there or not. Nothing.

Will was standing outside the entrance to the quiet and dimly lit hotel bar, just beginning to give up hope. As he briefly looked into the dark wood paneled and windowless room, he nearly missed a figure sitting at the bar, hunched over his drink. Surprised, Will recognized the familiar profile. Bingo. He wasted no time in striding over, his identity confirmed positively as he drew nearer. It was definitely Wickham - but where was Lydia?

George was oblivious to Will's presence until too late. He was grabbed from behind and forced to turn around.

"Where is she, Wickham?"

George, dazed from one too many Jack Daniels's, stared blankly up at Will, waiting for his eyes to focus.

"Darcy?" he let out a short laugh. George wasn't surprised to see Will Darcy show up - so noble and prince charming-like. He slurred his words as he expressed his sentiments. "What took you so long?" He didn't wait for Will's answer, turning to take another sip from his drink.

Will wasn't about to let Wickham turn his back on him. He grabbed him again by the shoulder and spun him around to face him. "I asked you a question. Where is she? Where is Lydia Bennet?"

Wickham knew he'd lost his chance with Lydia, but he could at least string Will along for the fun of it. "I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?" Will was incensed. He'd traveled all the way to New York City only to find his nemesis drunk and incoherent. George didn't feel like talking any longer, and tried to ignore Will. But Will wasn't letting him, pressing him further. "Tell me where she is!"

"I told you, I don't know. She ran off. I couldn't catch her."

"You mean she's somewhere lost in the city, and you have no idea where she is?"

"Yeah, that's about right, but I'd lay odds she's somewhere around here." He looked up and waved his arm drunkenly in the air.

"Here. Meaning the hotel?" asked Will, trying very hard to keep the composure that was being severely tested.

"Where else? She wants to meet The Beatles." He said this mockingly, imitating Lydia. At least Will knew she was no longer in Wickham's clutches and he had some idea where to start looking. Wickham eyed Will up and down, sick of listening to his noble hero routine. "She's probably up in their suite by now, giving them each a blow -"

Will cut him off, thoroughly disgusted with Wickham's drunken crassness. With a quick jab, Will flattened Wickham with one punch in the nose, knocking him off the barstool and onto the floor. Wickham was too drunk to even bother getting up, holding his now bleeding nose and moaning to no one who cared.

"I should have done that long ago." Flexing his now aching fingers, Will turned dispassionately from Wickham to the bartender, who had been watching the entire altercation with wonder.

"It would be a good idea to call the police and have this man arrested. He's wanted for kidnapping a minor, and crossing state lines." The bartender looked surprised at Will's revelation but quickly picked up the phone and dialed the police.

"Oh, and one more thing." Will took his wallet out of his pocket and asked, "Do you know how I can sneak into the Beatles' suite? There's 200 bucks in it for you if you can help me." The bartender's eyes widened as he looked at Wickham sprawled out on the floor - and then at Will who was now leaning over the bar eyeing him intently.

The bartender nodded his head furtively. Will smiled assuredly. "Good, then we have a deal?"

***

Lydia held her breath, waiting until she heard the waiter's footsteps fade away and the door close behind him before leaving the safety of her hiding place. She climbed out from beneath the rolling cart on which was a tablecloth that had hidden her from view. It was a miracle that she had managed to stow away in the hotel this way, but she was on a mission. Nothing was going to prevent her from achieving her goal. When she overheard the waiter mention where his order was going, she nearly fainted and dove under the linens of the room service cart.

Now, here she was in a large suite, seemingly alone. She looked about, noticing some clothes lying about. She picked up a dark pair of trousers and held them up before her. They undoubtedly belonged to a man, but which man was the question. She continued her examination stopping when she came upon a man's shirt carelessly draped over an ornate desk chair. She picked it up and held it to her nose, taking a deep breath, eyes closed, imagining her idol dressed in it. Next, her eyes espied a pair of black leather boots, haphazardly sprawled across the floor, looking as if they had been kicked off in a hurry. Her eyes moved past the boots and rested on a closed door. The movement she heard from the other side of the door was followed by sudden shock. She was not alone. The lurch in her stomach made her grab on to the nearest thing to her - a bass guitar. Grasping, she inadvertently knocked it from its upright resting place against the back of the settee. It fell over onto the carpeted floor with a muffled twang. She jumped, afraid of being discovered, never taking her eyes off the closed door before her.

If she was in shock before, it was nothing compared to the senseless euphoria that overcame her when she heard the unmistakable Liverpool accent of the voice on the other side of the door.

"Ye better not be messin' with me guitar, or I'll have yer head, I will!"

Lydia stood frozen in place; feet nailed to the floor. Her eyes widened and she stopped breathing altogether as the door slowly opened. Never even in her dreams could she have imagined such a moment.

Through the door emerged the man himself - albeit a little less formally attired. Toweling his dark floppy hair, presumably wet from a shower, he didn't appear to notice his uninvited visitor at first. Lydia's eyes were glued on the precariously wrapped white towel that hung around his slim waist, edging tantalizingly downward as he continued to walk into the room barefoot. She gulped at the sight, and let out a small squeak as he approached her, still seemingly oblivious to her presence.

"Paul!" she barely whispered, mesmerized by the sight of him.

Stopping just before her, he finished toweling his damp hair. Hearing Lydia's soft whisper he quickly looked up in surprise, getting a good look at who was before him. Without thinking, he let out a cry of horror. Lydia screamed as well, although she wasn't screaming out of fright, but the hysteria that had begun to build in her as soon as she had laid eyes on his half naked form.

Paul McCartney, Beatle extraordinaire, may have been used to the screaming teenagers that tried to get near him every living minute of the day, but he was not used to having one of his young female fans in the same hotel room with him - alone. Especially when he was standing in his bare feet, dripping wet, in nothing but a towel.

Lydia couldn't take her eyes off him. Speechless; she couldn't get over how magnificent he looked in person. Stunning. She couldn't stop herself from following him step by step as he slowly backed away from her, wary as if she might pounce on him like a tiger. Eventually, he found himself flush up against the wall. He stood, afraid to make a move for fear of what she might do next. One could never be too careful when it came to a half-crazed fan. Lydia couldn't help reaching out and running her hand caressingly across his bare chest. She closed her eyes in ecstasy.

Paul sucked in his stomach upon contact, clutching at his towel so it wouldn't fall. Just as he was about to make his escape, there was a knock on the door.

"Room Service!" called the voice from the hallway outside.

"In here! In here!" cried Paul frantically, clutching his towel as he dodged around Lydia and ran to the door, yanking it open with one hand while still holding the towel up with the other.

"Paul!" Lydia screamed, not about to let him go so easily.

"You've got to help me!" the Beatle cried out to the tall, handsome waiter with dark brown eyes who viewed the scene before him. "It's not what it looks like, I swear! The bird was in here and surprised me when I got out of the shower!"

The waiter hesitated slightly before further entering. He looked over at Lydia, studying her, as if trying to determine something.

"Lydia?" the waiter asked.

"How do you know my name?" Her eyes darted back and forth between Paul and the waiter.

"I'm Will Darcy. I'm a friend of your sister's. I've come to take you home."

"Oh, no you're not!" She began to back away. "I want to stay here with Paul!" Her voice began to get shrill and panicky.

"That's not possible." Will stayed calm, carefully closing in on her. "I'm afraid you'll have to come with me. I'm sorry I may not be as exciting as one of the Beatles, but it's either that or -" he looked over at Paul who was still standing behind him clutching his towel around his waist, "- or jail." Paul nodded decisively, confirming Will's estimation of the situation.

"But I want to stay with Paul!" Lydia's whining was now in full throttle.

"You have no choice." Will lunged forward and grabbed her before she could get away. Even fighting as much as she could, she was no match for Will's strength. Seeing no alternative, he picked her up and threw her bodily over his shoulder. As he made his way back toward the door, he turned to Paul. "I'm really sorry for all of this."

Lydia continued her hysterics as Will and Paul exchanged smirks. They spoke at the same time, "Girls."

Will shook his head and headed out the door with Lydia pounding him on the back and kicking her legs in frustration, demanding to be put down. Will turned around at the last minute, remembering something and called out to Paul who was still standing in the doorway,

"By the way, great concert last night!"

"You were there?" Paul asked him in surprise.

"Yes, I was there with my -" Will had to think for a second, "- my girlfriend." He grinned at the thought.

Paul's face lit up in silent understanding as he gave Will the thumbs up sign. Will nodded in response and turned with Lydia carelessly balanced over his shoulder. Paul watched, shaking his head as Will headed down the hallway with the young girl, who had never once ceased her caterwauling during the entire momentous episode.

*The Beatles, "Little Child" - performed by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (c) 1963 Northern Songs. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.

Chapter 15

Several hours following the episode at the Warwick Hotel, Will and Lydia arrived at the Bennet house in Meryton to much relieved and grateful parents who welcomed Will into their home. Mrs. Bennet took Lydia up to her room, amid scoldings and "How could you's", while Mr. Bennet invited Will to join him in his study.

The two men sat across from one another in comfortable leather club chairs on either side of the fireplace. Thomas Bennet got right to the point, asking Will how it was that he had been the one to retrieve Lydia. Will was honest with his answer. He explained his entire history with Wickham and how he felt partially responsible that Lydia had been lured to New York by him under false pretenses. He told Mr. Bennet of his belief that had he told Elizabeth about Wickham in the first place, she would have been able to warn her sisters of him. Mr. Bennet felt Will was being too hard on himself, but that didn't end the interrogation, as he had other questions for the young man sitting before him. He gave Will the once over before he continued.

"I understand it was you that took our Lizzy to see the Beatles last night, isn't that right?"

"Yes, sir, that's right." Will still found it difficult to believe it had been only the night before when he had held Elizabeth in his arms on the beach until nearly sunrise. Mr. Bennet noticed the slight flush and dreamy expression that spread over Will's face, and couldn't resist a little teasing, barely hiding his amusement.

"I take it the concert was all that you hoped it would be?"

Will, shaken out of his reverie by Mr. Bennet's voice, answered with a large smile. "Yes, it was amazing!"

"Did my Lizzy enjoy herself last night as well?" Mr. Bennet's eyes twinkled as he watched Will squirm; he'd seen that same look on Elizabeth's face. Now he knew where she got it from.

Remembering Lizzy's words of love, he answered in all seriousness, "Yes, very much so, I believe."

Mr. Bennet was taken aback by the earnestness in Will's voice and expression. To lighten the mood, he continued in what he thought was an obviously jesting manner. "Is there anything else you would like to tell me about Lizzy? Any news perhaps?"

"Uh..news?"

Mr. Bennet nodded encouragingly.

Will faltered at first, but making up his mind he squared his shoulders and met Mr. Bennet's eye, his voice growing progressively more confident. "Yes, I - I guess you could say I have some news. I love your daughter very much, sir, and I believe she feels the same way about me." He couldn't help but smile at hearing the words spoken aloud.

Mr. Bennet raised his eyebrows. He hadn't expected such a declaration - especially so soon. He wondered if this boy was the type to fall in love often, and more importantly, he would rather hear Lizzy's point of view first on whether or not this was as serious as this seemingly earnest young man inferred.

"You're convinced of your love for my daughter after one date? You are quite certain of yourself, aren't you?"

"Yes I am." Immediately Will realized how he must sound and added, "Sir, I've been in love with your daughter for over a year - ever since I first met her. I admit, we've had our differences and misunderstandings, but all of that has been cleared up - it's all in the past now." Will, convinced of the truth in his words, spoke firmly.

Mr. Bennet was surprised to hear that Will had a history with his daughter, but he was, at the same time, relieved to hear it. Based on this latest piece of information, Will seemed less impetuous somehow.

"I'm very happy for you." Mr. Bennet replied, eyes twinkling again after being reassured the young man wasn't rash in his decisions. "Am I to wish you 'joy' before long?"

Will, completely missing Mr. Bennet's dry wit, was surprised with the directness of the questions and answered him in all seriousness. "I hope so. With your permission, sir, I'd like to ask Elizabeth to marry me. If she accepts, I would like to get married after I graduate next year."

Mr. Bennet was taken aback, again, at Will's frank answer to what was meant to be a humorous question.

"Are you serious? "Why...the hurry?" Lizzy was far too young to think about marriage, as far as her father was concerned.

"I am most definitely serious, sir. I love your daughter. There is no question in my mind that I want to marry her. I think she feels the same way about me."

Mr. Bennet had to think for a moment. He saw Will's sincerity, and was reassured by it. Indeed, Lizzy could do much worse, and he seemed a good man with a promising future. Edward Gardiner had already filled him in on the particulars of the Darcy family and fortune, although he knew instinctively none of that would matter to his Lizzy.

"I hope you are right, my boy." Mr. Bennet stood up, signaling the impromptu interview was over, although he was not willing to give in completely. He turned to Will and put his hand on his shoulder as they walked toward the door of the study. "You have my permission." He turned and looked Will in the eye. "But I'm sure you are aware that Lizzy is still young, she is after all only nineteen years old." Will nodded. "All I ask is that you wait before marrying - until Lizzy graduates from college." Will visibly gulped at this request - that's three years away. Seeing the firm resolve in Mr. Bennet's eyes, Will agreed to his demand. Frankly, he was in no position to argue with Elizabeth's father. He had a right to impose this condition.

"I understand completely, sir. I would never do anything to rush her." Mr. Bennet exhaled in relief before shaking hands with Will and patting him on the back as they walked out of the study. Now that the matter of Lizzy was settled, another sobering reality hit him.

"Thank you again for bringing Lydia back to us, my family owes you a great deal." Mr. Bennet said quietly. Will looked slightly embarrassed before replying,

"I was only thinking of Elizabeth."

"I know." Mr. Bennet, with a sudden wistful realization, inwardly acknowledged that life was going to be very different in his household from therein.

***

After his conversation with Mr. Bennet, Will phoned Lizzy to let her know Lydia was safe. Then he called Charles to ask him for a place to stay in Bedminster for the night. He said goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, and Jane, who presented Will with her homemade Toll House cookies as a thank you for everything he had done to save Lydia. She invited him to pass on some of the treats - with her compliments - to Charles as well. Mrs. Bennet eagerly invited him back for dinner in the near future, asking what his favorite foods were. He smiled at the thought as he drove to Charles' house.

Charles, enthusiastic as ever, welcomed Will to Netherfield.

"How long are you staying?" Charles had been apprised of the Lydia situation by Jane, who had called him as soon as she had realized her youngest sister was missing.

"Just the one night, if you don't mind. I'd like to get back to Pemberley as soon as I can." Will felt a blush come over him and avoided Charles's eyes as he tried not to reveal too much of his desire to return to Elizabeth.

Charles recognized the telltale signs immediately. Plus, Jane had filled him in on the latest goings on between the pair. He couldn't resist teasing Will just a little bit.

"Oh, come on, stay here for a while. What could possibly be so interesting on Fishers Island?" Charles' blue eyes sparkled behind a façade of innocence.

Will smirked, immediately catching on to Charles's ploy. "Let's just say, there's a pressing matter I need to attend to." The look on his face left no room for argument and Charles nodded, only too well aware of how it felt to be in the throes of a new romance.

"That serious, huh?"

Will intended to fully confide in Charles eventually, but he was hot and tired after the long, dusty drive. "Yes, but I'll fill you in later." He looked around and noticed how quiet it was around the house. "Where is everyone? Are your parents here?"

"I believe they're around back at the pool." Charles hesitated a moment before adding, "I think you should know...Caroline's here. She knows you're coming too." Charles had a sympathetic look on his face when he saw Will's chagrined expression. "Speak of the devil..." Charles mumbled just at Caroline appeared in a filmy beach cover up of black fishnet that cleverly revealed a provocative new orange bikini. Images of Halloween popped into Will's head as Caroline, who never took her eyes off him, approached her prey - in for the kill.

"Will, darling! I was thrilled when Charles announced you were staying for the...night." Her voice took on a husky tone with the last word, letting her fingers crawl up Will's arm seductively, unmindful of her brother's obvious embarrassment at his sister's forward behavior.

Will flinched at Caroline's touch, loath to be in the same room with her, much less to have her lay a hand on him. His eyes were icy. "It's just for the one night, Caroline. Charles and I have a lot of catching up to do - alone."

Caroline ignored the obvious, that he wasn't interested in her, and continued to pursue him playfully. "Nonsense, I'd like to catch up with you too."

Charles had seen about all he could stand, and realized he had to rescue Will, "Give it up Caroline." He ignored the irritated look on her face and turned to his friend, "Will, come on, I'll show you what room you're in and then we can see my parents." Will gladly followed Charles upstairs, eager to get away from the irksome Caroline, not even giving her the courtesy of a goodbye. He had not forgotten about her interference in his best friend's love life, nor his own.

Caroline remained in the downstairs hallway, wheels turning in her head as she heard the fading voice of Will asking to borrow some of Charles's clothing and a toothbrush.

"I left in such a hurry."

"No problem, anything you want."

Yes, no problem, William, anything you want. Caroline had a plan.

***

It was late in the evening by the time they finished supper. The Bingleys were more than happy to have Will for the night. It had been many months since they had seen their son's old school chum. One of their favorites, they had known him since he was a teenager when he and Charles had first become friends playing soccer together as teammates at Andover. Motherless at such a young age, they had taken him under their wing; he always held a special place in their hearts. Charles's natural buoyancy was a perfect foil to Will's tendency toward reserve. When he lost his father while at Princeton, making him an orphan, it only enhanced the tender regard they always held for the handsome and quiet young man who in turn, came to look upon them as surrogate parents. They enjoyed hearing what he was up to, remembering how the two boys had grown up and matured together.

After they finished coffee and dessert on the back patio, poolside, the Bingleys said their good nights and went in for the night. Caroline remained behind with Will and Charles, unwilling to leave them alone.

"Caroline, don't you have something else to do?" Charles cleared his throat, trying to signal to her that he wanted her to get lost.

"No, Charles, I'm free as a bird tonight. No plans at all." She lay down on one of the chaises beside the pool and crossed bare legs, shown off by the new, daring, mini skirt she hoped would catch Will's eye. She continued to smile at him, oblivious to his inner thoughts, which were less than charitable. Caroline was under the delusion that she and Will were meant for each other and he only appeared standoffish as a front before her brother and parents. It wouldn't do for him to seduce his best friend's sister right under their very own roof! She admired him all the more for his reserve and tact. Little did she know it had taken a Herculean effort to eat his meal with Caroline simpering over him all evening; he had lost his appetite as soon as she sat down beside him.

"Caroline, Will and I have some things we'd like to discuss - alone. Do you mind?" he finally asked her pointedly.

"Oh, all right, I'll go," She got up from her seat and gave Will a knowing look over her shoulder.

"Good night, Will."

"Good night Caroline." Will's voice was polite, but, knowing it was now too dark for her to see him roll his eyes at her obvious play for his affections he did so, although he couldn't care less if she did see him. He hoped this would be the last of her he'd see before heading home.

Once Caroline was safely out of earshot, Charles looked at Will expectantly. "Well?"

"Well what?"

"What's going on between you and Lizzy?"

At first Will smirked at the idea of Charles being so interested in his love life, but on second thought, he realized his friend was entitled considering how much Will had interfered in Charles's life. So he smiled and asked, "How late were you planning on staying up tonight? Do you think you're up for the whole long story?"

Charles nodded while cracking open a can of beer and handing it to Will as they settled into their own respective Adirondack chairs by the pool.

"I've got all night." Charles grinned. He couldn't wait to hear Will confess all.

"Well, it's like this, remember last year when we went to that mixer at Longbourn..." Will's voice continued quietly into the balmy August evening as his best friend listened. The chirping of the crickets kept them company under the moon into the late evening and early morning. The friends quietly laughed and reminisced and explored the possibilities of the future, side by side, with the two women - sisters - that had managed to capture their hearts.

***

While it was still dark, in the early hours of the morning, Will stumbled upstairs, fatigue hitting him suddenly. He was thoroughly exhausted. It had been one long day. Not only that, but he'd had practically no sleep the night before - not that he minded staying up nearly all night with Elizabeth in his arms. After saying good night to Charles in the hallway, he found his way to his room. All he wanted to do was fall into bed, sleep like the dead and dream of Elizabeth, savoring every moment of their previous evening together. As he entered his room, he didn't even have the energy to firmly shut the door, and he certainly didn't notice the visitor awaiting him.

"Hello, Will. What took you so long?" Will's head jerked up at the sound of her voice.

Still a bit foggy from sleep-deprivation and a few beers, he reacted with a simple question. "Caroline, what are you doing here?"

"Isn't it perfectly obvious?" With a low voice, she rose to approach him from the chair where she had been waiting. She had fallen asleep some time ago, but woke, alert, when she heard him open the door. She was wearing a short, silky, hot pink kimono that tied at the waist with a long sash. If she was wearing anything underneath, it was undetectable. She stepped close to Will and slid her hands up his chest, clasping them behind his neck. "Come on, Will," she whispered breathily, "There's no one else. I'm the only one for you. Admit it, we were meant for each other - I'm your girl." She tried to kiss him, but he pushed her away, effectively forcing her back into the chair she had just been dozing in.

Will was hot, he was tired, and he was angry. This was the final straw with Caroline, and he didn't care who heard about it.

Click here to hear song

For I have got...another girl

You're making me say that I've got nobody but you
But as from today well I've got somebody that's new
I ain't no fool and I don't take what I don't want
For I have got another girl, another girl

"That's where you're wrong, Caroline. You're delusional! This may come as a shock," he began with disgust, "but, I have never wanted you, and I never will." He didn't care how cruel he sounded, he was fed up and it was high time she heard it. "I do have someone else - so give it up. No matter how much you try with your pathetic attempts at seduction, you're not what I want."

Caroline sat in shocked silence.

She's sweeter than all the girls and I've met quite a few
Nobody in all the world can do what she can do

"Do you think I don't know what you've been up to all these months?" Will fixed her with a venomous look. "I've got news for you - I'm onto you, and I know all about the horrific, nasty tricks you've been pulling ever since last year!" Will's voice was raised, but he hardly noticed in his anger. Caroline sat in mute astonishment, as he towered over her, continuing his diatribe.

"Yes, I found out about that little talk you had with Elizabeth in the ladies' lounge. I know what you told her." Will continued, unwilling to let her get a word in edgewise as she tried to protest. "All lies! Engaged? Are you crazy - we were never engaged!" Will was outraged as the memory enveloped him once again. "How dare you!" He was shouting now, remembering the uncomfortable look on Elizabeth's face when she told him what Caroline had said to her. "And then, more lies about Jane and Charles." His voice was steely as he continued, bending over her as she sat in her chair, nose to nose. "I could strangle you for what you did to your own brother - and for using me in your plot to break them up."

Caroline visibly gulped as she saw the glint in Will's eye as he said this last.

Stepping back, he carried on in the same vein. "I've only put up with you because you were Charles's sister. I've never cared for you - I can barely stand to be around you. You're an interfering, manipulative witch, who enjoys nothing more than making other people miserable." With a triumphant lilt in his voice, he dealt her the final blow. "You'll be glad to know all your efforts were wasted. I've got the girl I love now, and there's nothing you can do to change that."

Another girl who will love me till the end
Through thick and thin she will always be my friend

Will reached down to Caroline and firmly pulled her up out of her chair and maneuvered her over to the door, yanking it open. "On behalf of Elizabeth and myself, this is sayonara baby!"

He pushed her out of his room into the hallway, and slammed the door behind her.

For I have got another girl
Another girl
Another girl

Caroline turned and looked dumbly at the door, shocked that she had been kicked out of Will's room so unceremoniously.

"Another girl?" Caroline said aloud in disbelief. "Elizabeth?" It hit her full force, "Eliza Bennet!"

"Apparently so, Caroline."

Caroline jumped at the quiet voice of her father. She turned and saw both of her parents in their robes standing in the hallway, angry looks on their faces.

"I think you have some explaining to do, young lady,"

"Daddy, it's not what you think..." Caroline began, hoping she could wriggle out of this one.

"From what I've just heard, I sincerely doubt that," he said sternly. "It's about time we had a long discussion about your future." He ushered her from Will's door. "Now that you're a college graduate, you're going to have to get a job."

"But Daddy, you can't do that!" she whined as they continued down the hallway.

"Oh yes, I can, and I will, young lady!" he stormed. "You better start thinking about a career that can finance those expensive tastes of yours, because I'm not paying your bills any longer!"

Caroline kept quiet and listened to her father's tirade. When it came to Daddy, she had enough sense to know when to keep her mouth shut. As he chastised her, the wheels in her head began to turn. She may have lost this battle, but if she couldn't have Will, she would at least make sure that little twit, Eliza Bennet wouldn't either. Raising a calculating eyebrow, Caroline was confident a phone call to Will's aunt would be decidedly useful.

***

Under the bright, early morning sunshine, Will thanked the Bingleys for their gracious hospitality and said his goodbyes to Charles. Fortunately, there was no sign of Caroline, relieving Will of the necessity of having to face her after the night's embarrassing debacle. He felt free as a bird as he drove out of Netherfield's driveway in the direction of New York. As eager as he was to see Elizabeth and tell her of his love all over again, he had one important errand to run first.

In the city, he navigated toward a certain jewelry store on Fifth Avenue that had served his family for years. It wouldn't do for him to be unprepared. For this particular purpose, he wanted to pick something out himself, no family heirlooms this time. An hour later, after selecting a suitable ring with a perfect diamond solitaire, Will pocketed the small blue box with the white bow and resumed his route back to New London and the ferry to Fishers. As far as he could see, it was smooth sailing from thereon.

Upon arrival of the island, he headed straight for the Gardiners' house. Elizabeth was on his mind, and he couldn't wait one minute more to see her. As he approached, he saw a familiar car in the Gardiners' driveway - a chauffeur driven, black Rolls Royce. He recognized the driver who was waiting for his mistress: Catherine DeBourgh.

He gasped in alarm. No! It can't be! What is she doing here? He haphazardly parked his car and ran to the front door which was open, but for the screen door. He peered through the screen and couldn't see anything amiss, but he heard voices coming from around the house, toward the water. There was no doubt in his mind now; one of them was the stentorian voice of his Aunt Catherine and, judging by the sound of it, her temper was up. He closed his eyes briefly imagining the nightmare scenario that was taking place. How had she found out about Elizabeth? He couldn't think about that now, his first priority was Elizabeth and rescuing her from his domineering aunt. As he approached unseen, he could clearly hear what they were saying. The words stopped him in his tracks.

"Tell me, once and for all, are you engaged to him?"

"No, I am not."

"And will you promise me never to enter into such an engagement?"

*"Another Girl" - performed by The Beatles, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (c) 1965 Northern Songs. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured.

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