Summary: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. You are certain, however, that Mr. Miranda has no such intentions.
You had the great displeasure of meeting one Lin-Manuel Miranda at a party, of all places.
It wasn’t love at first sight. It was hardly even love at all. He was cold, biting, and you disliked him instantly, despite the warnings of your dear sister about character, about the way a man grows cold from loneliness. Mr. Miranda felt no contempt at his pride, and he made you all too eager to revel in your prejudice. Judgement is an easy thing to pass, after all, and theres something to said about the assuredness of a hatred well founded.
You might, had you known of all that would transpire, had stayed home that night, read a book by the fire in the dying light, made an attempt to deny the inevitable misfortune that was becoming an acquaintance of Mr. Miranda. Luck, however, was not your lady. Prejudice was your downfall, but fate was a twisted mistress, and so you went. Secure in the notion of a night of fun, of bright lights and a little bit of laughter.
It began with a dance.
Or, perhaps, the lack of one.
“Have you heard?”
“I’m sorry?” you spoke, words muffled from behind the pages of your novel, “Have I heard what?”
“Someone has bought Netherfield!”
You looked up at that, peering up at your sister from between the pages of your book, curious.
“Are you certain?”
“Oh, yes,” Lydia said, giggling behind her hand, “Mother is all in a tizzy about it. Says he’s well endowed!”
“In what way?” Mary mocked, voice low and teasing.
“Mary!” Kitty spoke, scandalized.
The continued this way for a while, bickering good-naturedly as the sky grew dark, twilight settling easily upon Hertfordshire.
With the house returned to its usual chaos, you buried yourself again in your book, lost between the pages of Jane Eyre as your sisters squabbled.
All was well.
“You look beautiful,” Jasmine spoke, eyes brimming as she pinned your hair.
“Not as beautiful as you.”
The words were quiet, hushed in the confines of your bedroom, and you embraced her, holding her close, illuminated by the steady flicker of candlelight.
“You’ll have everyone begging for a dance, my dear sister, just you wait.”
“I think you are confusing the two of us again,” you giggled, brushing your hands down your skirt, smoothing imaginary wrinkles as Jasmine pinned the last strand of hair in place.
The house was perfectly still, silent for just a moment, and you reveled in it, the steady warmth brimming in your chest at the night, still young, and so full of possibility. Your sister stood beside you, humming as she laced your dress, and you suppose you could feel it there, the steady thrum just under your skin, heart knocking against your ribcage, the knowledge that perhaps something was changing.
“Girls! We must hurry! All the men will have found wives by the time we arrive!”
You rolled your eyes. At least some things will always stay the same.
Parties were a grand occasion in a town as small as Hertfordshire, and well regarded, for the prospect of meeting someone important was almost certain, though you do suppose you had met very little people in your life who you would consider to be truly important. Parties were simply an opportunity, a moment of fun in a too small town, and you held them with high esteem.
“Come dance with me,” Renee spoke loudly, shouting to be heard over the chatter of the ballroom.
“That would be improper, Ms. Goldsberry,” you teased, finger waggling.
She moved to speak, but before she could, the doors were thrown open, and in their place stood three people, gentlemen and woman of high stature. They held an air of confidence about them, one of young men and women most assured in their standing, and there was no need to speculate as to whom the new arrivals may be.
“The one in the middle is Mr. Ramos. He’s the one who’s bought the estate. The woman on his left, Caroline, is his sister.”
“And the man on his right?” you said, bodies pressed close as you spoke, voices hushed in the newfound silence of the ballroom.
“Mr. Miranda. A friend of his, I’ve heard.”
And so it began.
“Would you care to dance, Mr. Miranda?”
Your eyes glanced out into the ballroom, and you caught a glimpse of your sister, dress whirling about her ankles as she danced, hand in hand with Mr. Ramos.
The quick nature of which your distaste settled over you was shocking, and you bit your tongue, too proud in your good standing to be crass.
“Do have a pleasant evening then, Mr. Miranda.”
You did not stop to ponder whether or not such a statement could be possible, alone in the corner, at a ball in which he chose not to dance. Instead, you merely slipped away, back to the ballroom, too eager to partake in the excitement. And so you danced, and you laughed, and you danced some more, remarking on what a what a wonderful thing it is, to have nothing to do, and everyone to share it with. Mr. Miranda, looming in the corner, should never know the delight in such a fine pursuit as happiness for the sake of happiness.
The saddest part is, perhaps you were right.
“I’ve never seen so many pretty girls in my life!”
“You’re dancing with the only tolerable girl in the room,” Mr. Miranda spoke evenly, eager to dismiss the matter.
“I must profess, the eldest Ms. Bennet is the most beautiful creature my eyes have ever beheld,” Mr. Ramos spoke, looking besotted, “But her sister is very agreeable, no?”
“She alright, I suppose. Not handsome enough to tempt me.”
So I don’t really do soft shading like ever but i couldn’t get the lighting right just using cell shading so I used the airbrush tool for the first time and it’s gone pretty ok I think? Lighting still isn’t quite how I’d like it but it’s good enough.