Chance Encounters Series #4

Chances End:
A Pride & Prejudice Reimagining

by Ney Mitch

Chances Come by Ney Mitch Lydia and Mr. Wickham have eloped, and Elizabeth and Darcy rush into the situation to solve the problem. However, while that is the first elopement, it is not the last. Also, Jane Bennet still must choose between her love for Mr. Bingley and Colonel Fitzwilliam, Kitty is writing her book and accepting that Sir Aleck prefers Elena to her, Longbourn still hangs in the balance, and Colonel Fitzwilliam suffers a tragedy that will change his life forever.

Here comes the conclusion of the Chance Encounter Series!

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Release Date: September 13, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance | Reimagining

A Pink Satin Romance


Chapter One

Pursuit of the Truth


Two hours had passed since Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam had left to overtake Mr. Wickham and my sister.

Too stunned to eat anything, Jane, Kitty, Georgiana and I sat in my room, each of us equally disturbed.

At that point, we had spoken of practically everything that had been spoken of, yet we had no choice but to be redundant. All words poured forth, and we wondered how we had arrived at this moment.

“Wickham run off with Lydia,” Kitty said. “How foolish I had been.”

“Why do you say that?” I asked.

Kitty bit her lip and then continued.

“I will only continue speaking if you all promise not to hate me.”

We all looked at each other.

“Did you know something about this?” Jane asked.

“Yes,” Kitty said, guiltily, “please don’t hate me.”

“We won’t,” I assured her. “Now tell us the truth.”

“I had seen Lydia a few times since we have been here,” she narrated. “Remember that you encouraged me to, Lizzy? Well, when I did, I noticed some partiality for Wickham on Lydia’s side. But I never saw anything on Wickham’s side at all. He merely spoke to her in ways that he spoke to every woman. You know how he is, Elizabeth and Georgiana? He is a rake. Therefore, naturally, I just saw this as another of his flirtations that indicated nothing serious on his side. There was nothing to give me cause for feeling alarm. Yet, Lydia did once tell me one day that she felt that she would have the name ‘Lydia Wickham’ by the end of it.”

Expecting us all to immediately begin to berate her, she rushed out her next explanation. “Please believe that I didn’t think she was being serious. Jane and Lizzy, you know how Lydia is. She says things like that, so I just mistook her manner for being nothing more than the common way.” Then she almost began to start weeping. “Please, believe me, I didn’t know it was all serious!”

Instantly, Georgiana went to Kitty and held her as Kitty wept into Georgiana’s neck.

“I didn’t mean to be wrong,” she repeated. “I didn’t mean to be wrong!”

“It is not your fault,” Elena voiced before Jane and I could. “Kitty, you are not to blame. As an eloper, the only people who are accountable for the blunder are the ones who committed the action.”

“Precisely,” Georgiana added. “My actions and Elena's must, ultimately, rest on our own shoulders, and Lydia’s must rest in its proper place. And as a woman who has met Lydia, I do not believe that she would have listened to anything else but her own desires. I believe that everything still would have ended where it had, especially with the likes of Mr. Wickham. He deceives everyone!”

“And thus, you are not to blame, no more than I,” I added. “Mr. Darcy, Georgiana, or anyone who has been deceived by Wickham.”

“What sort of man is he that he has this power?” Elena asked. “I barely met him, so I do not know.”

“He is handsome,” Georgiana observed, “but there are many men who are equally so. For some reason, he is like that of siren, and he calls to you. Also, there is something about his manner that puts you at ease. It’s as if he is looking into your very soul and connecting to it.”

“And thus, making you feel special, when you mean nothing to him,” I concluded. “That is his power, sadly.”

“Well,” Elena said, “those are always the ones that draw us in. Why is it always the terrible ones who have such allure, and the good ones repel us so much?”

“Who knows?” Kitty said at last, calming down. “But I can only suppose that it is the more flawed sides of us that bears the most confidence. That is why our terrible sides still thrive: it’s because that side of us is so extraordinarily strong.”

“You should write that down,” I suggested.

“I already have,” she said. “It was in the last chapter that I completed. How ironic now.”

We were roused by a knock on the door.

* * *

We all looked at each other.

“If Mr. Darcy and the Colonel had returned,” I deduced, “then they would not have knocked without calling out to us, but nor would they have sent a servant to tell us they were here.”

Standing up, I walked to my door and opened it.

“Ah,” Mr. Bingley acknowledged, smiling at us. “It is nice to know that I contacted someone.”

“Mr. Bingley,” Jane said over my shoulder, standing up, “good morning, sir.”

“Forgive me,” he said, staring past me and at Jane. “I hope I did not intrude.”

“Not at all,” I said, moving aside. “Please come in and be seated.”

Willing to agree, he removed his hat and entered.

“How very fortunate that I was able to find someone,” he explained. “I came here to issue a personal invitation. We are dining at the Lanes. My sisters and Mr. Hurst were wondering if you were open to joining our party. I, um…” He looked white in the face now. “I know that Caroline’s last personal encounter was trying for you all, to say the least, and provocatively upsetting, to say the most. But she has informed me that she feels heartily sorry for her past behavior, and she will endeavor to improve herself as time progresses.”

Jane looked at me.

“I thank her for her efforts to do so,” I assured him, “and I respect that she is acknowledging her past behavior. Unfortunately, we cannot leave the hotel this day, for we are waiting for Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam to return.”

“Ah. Yes, I tried knocking on their doors first, to see if they were present, but they were not there. Where did they go while leaving you behind?”

We all looked at each other again and I felt a blush stain my cheeks.

Reading our expressions, Mr. Bingley looked away, embarrassed.

“And I can see that it is something that I am not allowed to know,” he rushed out. “Well, I suppose that I ought to go.”

“We do not wish for you to believe that Mr. Darcy has not taken you into his confidence,” I informed him, “nor that he and the Colonel have left us. There is a crisis which took them away quickly and gave them no time to inform you of it.”

“A crisis?” he asked. “Good god, what is the matter? It is not your mother or Miss Mary, is it?”

“No,” Kitty assured him. “Everyone who is at Longbourn is well.”

“At Longbourn? Then... Miss Lydia?”

We looked at each other, avoiding his gaze.

“I see that I have pried too much,” he said, “and I should leave now before I make you detest the sight of me.”

“Mr. Bingley, wait!” Jane cried, and this halted him. Her cheeks red, she looked at me. “I do believe that we can confide in him.”

“Can we?” I asked, then I stood up and faced Mr. Bingley, utterly indifferent. After all, it was Jane that was clearly still in love with him, while I viewed him as the friend to the ONLY man that I completely trusted. “Mr. Bingley, are you trustworthy?”

He started, uncertain at this direct question.

“Yes,” he said, “I believe that I am.”

“Then, if we tell you something in confidence, can you swear to secrecy? And, also, do not let this situation affect your views on us. It is a delicate crisis.”

“Miss Elizabeth, Miss Bennet, Miss Kitty, Miss Darcy and Miss Elena,” he stated, sincere, “whatever is the matter, I promise that I will not utter it outside of this company. Any information you tell me will die inside of me.”

Turning to Jane, I resigned myself.

“He has promised. Tell him what you wish.”

Mr. Bingley turned to Jane, eager.

“Miss Bennet,” he said, “whatever you have to tell me, I hold to my promise. Also, if it is anything amiss, I promise to offer my any way that I can.”

“Thank you, Mr. Bingley, that is very kind of you.”

“No matter what,” he pressed, “I am here. And I always will be.”

His second assurance of this was unnecessary and exposed him. For it displayed his eagerness to appeal to Jane in every way, and love makes a person look a little foolish sometimes. We knew that we were witnessing two people who were in love, so, Kitty, Georgiana, Elena, and I looked away.

“I know that you will,” Jane said at last. “Please, do be seated.”

Mr. Bingley eagerly accepted, sitting down while Jane walked to the window and looked out onto the lawn. After a few seconds, she turned around.

“Mr. Bingley, the reason your closest friend and the Colonel have left us here is because they had received a report that is accurate. Our sister, in the dead of night, eloped.”

“Miss Lydia?” he gasped. “Good god, with who?”

“With Mr. Wickham.”

Mr. Bingley slunk back in his chair, his eyes angry—for the first time.

“Mr. Wickham!”


“That libertine!” he cried. “First, he hurts Darcy and now this?”

“Mr. Wickham has done more harm than you know, Mr. Bingley,” Georgiana informed him. “To make you more aware, this is actually typical of him.”

“Typical? And to think, all that time that we knew him in Hertfordshire, and he was this much of a villain? It’s enough to confound all.” He looked at us, empathetic. “I am sorry for you, but Darcy is an accomplished equestrian. He will succeed and get Lydia back.”

At last, he turned back to Jane, stood up, rushed to her, and almost touched her cheek. At the last minute, he remembered himself and he lowered his hand, thoroughly ashamed of his own lack of control.

“We thank you for your concern,” I said, helping to remind him to maintain propriety. “Your kindness is very appreciated.”

“Yes, well, I said that I would do so, and I will hold to my word now. I am very sorry for this, but I do really believe that Mr. Darcy and the Colonel will bring Lydia back. Especially since they have only a couple of hours in between the pursued. I am of the suspicion that you wish to be alone now, to console with yourselves, but you must understand my confusion on the matter. My instinct is to stay here and keep you company.”

“We would feel horrible if we kept you from enjoying the excursions that you planned for the day,” Jane said.

“Say none of that. Brighton will still be Brighton and what is not done one day can be done the next. I will leave if you do not wish for my company, but I will despise myself for going. This is a dilemma that I wrestle within myself, but I have every right to ask for guidance. Can someone tell me, what is the right course of action? What do I do now? And what would make you all happy?”

I looked to Jane, who clearly wanted someone else to solve this dilemma.

“You are the eldest,” I said, “you have the right to decide for us all. I’ll let you decide, without protest, this time.”

Jane was confused, so she decided to reason with herself.

“First,” she began, “yes, I do wish for us to be alone, but I believe, Mr. Bingley, that your company will make us all so much more comfortable. There is nothing more wonderful than a friend at this time. However, I do not wish for you to break your excursion with your family.”

“And I say that they will be satisfied with me going with them tomorrow. I shall take your words as encouragement. I am writing a letter to my sisters to tell them where I am.”

He asked me for a pen, paper, and ink, composed a quick letter and had a servant send it to Mrs. Hurst’s room. Thus, he spent the entire day with us, and we ate in Jane's and my room, telling Georgiana and Elena stories about when he moved into Netherfield Park.

All the memories of that time came flooding back to me. Father was still alive, mother was still a nervous embarrassment, though she did love us, I thought Mr. Darcy hated me, and the Netherfield Ball was what we had finally arrived at.

When speaking of this, Mr. Bingley and Jane gave the chief narration while Kitty and I added a few things. Looking on the two of them, I saw how Jane did still love Mr. Bingley, despite her affection for Colonel Fitzwilliam. If the Colonel had not pressed his own affection, then Jane would have accepted Mr. Bingley long ago.

“I see the Colonel!” Kitty cried, for she was seated by the window and had the best view of those who were coming and going.

“You do?” I cried, rushing up to her. “And Mr. Darcy.”

Both men had returned...with no Lydia.


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