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Austen's Twilight

Summary:
Let's pretend that Jane Austen had the idea for Twilight first... > Balls, dinner parties, and many interesting exchanges between Miss Isabella Swan and Mr. Edward Cullen.


Notes:
Thank you for giving this a try! I am a huge Jane Austen fan and I love writing Twilight fan fiction, so I decided to see what would happen if I combined to two. If you have any suggestions, ideas, comments, etc. please share them with me. I've gotten a lot of great and inspiring feedback on the other sites where I've already posted this story. The ideas I've gotten from readers have often made their way into the story, so please don't hesitate to share yours! I'm finding that adapting Twilight the Jane Austen's time is a great challenge. There are some things that I've had to change to make allowences for the difference, but for the most part, I'm trying to stick to Twilights plot as tightly as possible. I do not own Twilight, Stephenie Meyer does. I do not actually believe I am Jane Austen, nor do I wish to infringe on her works with my quotes and references. All of the chapter quotes belong to Jane Austen. All of the characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infrigment intended.


4. First Impressions Part 2

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1679   Review this Chapter

“He was silent and grave.” SENSE & SENSIBILITY by Jane Austen

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First Impressions

Part 2

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The evenings in Hertfordshire were much colder than Isabella was accustomed to. She found herself, on the way to the dining room, wishing for her shawl as a measure of defense against the chilly draft of the large house. Despite the number of people that occupied the dwelling and the fires burning in every visible hearth, Isabella still found herself chilled to the point of discomfort, and decided to retrieve her shawl before rejoining the party in the dining room.

She excused herself from Miss Stanley’s company and tried, in her haste, to determine the best course for returning to the entrance of the house. It was built in a style that, though very large and elegant, was unfamiliar to her. A sense of direction, moreover, was not a strong attribute in Isabella’s possession, and she therefore found herself after only a few moments, very lost indeed.

She began to grow quite frantic after spending nearly a quarter of an hour amongst deserted hallways and empty rooms. She began to fear that dinner would already be served by the time she found her way and therefore she abandoned all thoughts of her shawl, and altered her intentions only to finding the dining room as quickly as possible. She had not the smallest hope that anyone would overlook her absence at the table, and she dreaded the thought of entering the room after everyone else was already seated, or worse, served. Nothing could be done about it, and after another wrong turn and unintended exploration of Mr. Stanley’s study, the question of finding the dining room became, not when, but if.

She at last heard the murmuring of many voices together and the clinking of silver coming from one of the rooms toward the end of yet another identically situated hallway. She hurried forward, oblivious to the man who had just exited one of the rooms along her path, and nearly knocking him to the ground in her haste.

“Oh! I beg your pardon!” She exclaimed, turning an even darker shade of scarlet when she realized that he was not a servant, but a fellow guest.

“Don’t trouble yourself, my dear,” he replied kindly, unnecessarily brushing dust from his coat. He was a man of middle age, with a balding head and kind eyes which examined Isabella through a pair of spectacles. He bowed and spoke. “I shall venture to assume, my dear, that you are the long awaited Miss Isabella Swan.”

Isabella blushed deeper at this description of her arrival, but responded politely. “I am.”

“I am Mr. Alexander Banner, Miss Swan, an old friend of your Father’s.”

“Pleased to make your acquaintance Mr. Banner,” Isabella replied, “And please allow me to apologize once again for…”

Mr. Banner raised his hand, “Nonsense my dear, it is all forgotten. I understand completely the circumstances under which you were hurrying, for you see Miss Swan, I myself am also late.”

Isabella smiled, and blushed again. She decided at once, that she liked his friend of her Father’s and took the arm he offered.

“Shall we go in together? I find that in these circumstances, it is a comfort to have someone with which to share the attention. I find myself in this situation quite often, you see, the residents of Forks have long since learned not to wait upon me for any reason. My interest in the studies of the science of biology renders me easily distracted, and when an object of such study has my attention, I’m afraid the concept of time is quite lost on me. Come, Miss Swan, we shall say that I kept you from the company with my description of a Frenchman’s new concept of elements. Are you familiar with it?”

She replied that she was not, and was so engrossed in Mr. Banner’s definition of the concept, that she nearly forgot to be embarrassed upon their entry to the room.

The gentlemen rose to their feet, and Isabella was saved from explanation by Mr. Banner, who made apologies for both of them and led her to one of the two empty seats at the enormous table. Now many of the faces present were familiar to her. Miss Stanley was seated next to her Father, who smiled at her from his end of the table. Isabella was disappointed to see that neither of the two empty chairs were near him. Isabella recognized the gentlemen sitting beside on of the empty seats as Mr. Edward Cullen, by his unusual hair.

On their approach, Isabella noticed a change in Mr. Cullen’s posture and a slight stiffening of his shoulders. Mr. Banner pulled back her seat, before taking the empty one at her side. A glance in the direction of Mr. Cullen revealed an alarmingly furious expression. Isabella blushed still deeper, and wondered what she might have done in so brief a time to offend the gentleman.

Conversation resumed, and Isabella tried to focus her attention on the continued explanation of Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier’s new concepts in science as they pertained to biology. She was distracted, however, by the unceasing odd behavior of the young man beside her. His excessively rigid posture and hostile expression did not improve with the continuation of the meal. He kept one fist clenched on the table, and seemed to be leaning away, as though he were attempting to put as much distance between himself and Isabella as was possible under the circumstances. Isabella noticed that he did not eat.

“…and so you see Miss Swan, Lavoisier has declared that even something as simple as the air we breathe, is actually made up of several different substances. Those substances which can not be separated or broken down are elements. He has discovered oxygen to be one of them. It is the substance we, as living creatures, depend on most for survival. It is really quite a fascinating idea…” Mr. Banner was interrupted after a moment by Mrs. Cope, who was sitting on the gentleman’s other side.

“My nephew, Mr. Yorkie, is also quite interested in the subject, Mr. Banner. He is out of our hearing just now, but perhaps you will be kind enough to relate these studies to him, I’m sure he would be most interested and much obliged. That is, if he is not in conversation with Miss Swan… they are acquainted you see. I introduced Miss Swan to my nephew upon her arrival. He was the first young man present to make her acquaintance…”

Isabella had a difficult time paying attention to these exchanges, and was pleased that she was not called upon form a response. She kept her eyes down and tried not to observe the person on her other side. Mr. Cullen never relaxed his hand, nor did he even seem to be breathing. Isabella found his manners excessively rude and she endured the remainder of the dinner with increasing discomfort and confusion.

She recalled Miss Stanley’s bitter description of Mr. Cullen and his family and decided, on second thought, that perhaps her judgments of Mr. Edward Cullen were not those of a cynic. Isabella decided that if she were to form her opinions based on this first impression; she was inclined to think Miss Stanley’s views to be quite accurate.

The meal seemed never to end. When Mr. Stanley finally suggested the party retire to the parlor, Mr. Edward Cullen was the first one to abandon his chair and accept the invitation to exit the room, leaving his plate mostly untouched. He left the room with great haste and without ever offering Isabella so much as a smile of welcome.

Mrs. Stanley approached Isabella as she rose slowly from her chair, and brought with her the young man whom Miss Mallory had identified before, much to Miss Stanley’s apparent displeasure, as being Mr. Michael Newton.

Isabella complimented Mrs. Stanley on the fine dinner, though she could not have told her what it was that she had eaten, distracted as she had been by Mr. Edward Cullen’s dark looks. Mrs. Stanley seemed quite pleased in any case.

“Miss Swan, this is Mr. Michael Newton, he has expressed a desire to be introduced to you.”

The introduction was made, and then Mrs. Stanley excused herself.

Mr. Newton smiled and offered her his arm when Mrs. Stanley departed from their company. Mr. Michael Newton seemed quite friendly and obliging, as he escorted her into the next room with the rest of the party. He obviously did not share Mr. Edward Cullen’s unfavorable manner nor did he possess the young man’s unpleasant demeanor.

“The rest of my family will be happy to make your acquaintance, Miss Swan. They are not present this evening, but I know that my Mother has hopes of calling on you in the next day or two.”

“I shall look forward to receiving her,” Isabella replied truthfully.

“You are very kind.” Mr. Newton was easy to converse with. He entertained her with stories of his elder brother’s expedition to the Indies, which is what prevented him from attending. She had nearly forgotten Mr. Edward Cullen’s unpleasantness during dinner, until the name Cullen was brought up in their conversation the next moment.

“…I am told the insects in that part of the world are quite a nuisance and sometimes their sting can be very dangerous indeed. I believe that gentleman there, Mr. Emmett Cullen, has been on a similar such expedition, though I haven’t had occasion to hear of it first hand. His youngest brother, Mr. Edward Cullen, was seated next to you during dinner, I believe. He was quite silent wasn’t he, I wonder what prompted such behavior?”

This confirmed Isabella’s fears that Mr. Cullen had been acting strangely. She decided to answer vaguely in hopes of changing the subject.

“Was he the gentleman seated to my left? I do not know. We were not introduced, I did not speak to him.”

“Well, he is not the friendliest of men…” Mr. Newton turned to her and smiled, “Had I the pleasure of being seated next to you Miss Swan, I believe I should have taken advantage of it.”