title: little girl lostfandom: lost in austen
b-noise: home - michael buble
spoiler[s]: some basic background
word count: 1,465
"You know what Miss Price? I think you're a girl who is a very long way from home."
Amanda Price never felt quite home in the real world, the men not chivalric enough and the women not sophisticated enough. As a little girl growing up, detached would be a good word to describe her childhood. She was an average student, not very good at sports and got along well enough with her fellow classmates but never made any close, lasting friendships. It seemed that reality was just a prequel, a place holder until she could once again become emerced in the world of Pride & Prejudice; a world of balls, chivalry and ladies with manners as exquisite as their dresses. Combined with the scheduled rotation of men in her mother's social life, Amanda grew to idolize men such as Darcy, upstanding men. He became the blueprint in which she measured up all her boyfriends to and found them all lacking. It seemed the reality of London contained Wickhams so she settled and instead built a dream world and love affair with a ragged and dog-eared Pride & Prejudice paperback. An imagined love affair with a fictional man.
However with a short amount of time after stumbling into Wonderland, starry-eyed Ms. Price had become painfully aware just how wrong she was about her beloved fictional world. The rose-glass was shattered and Amanda had no idea how she was going to pick up the pieces as shards stuck deep in her flesh. Her idols plummeted off their pedestals and she could only watch helpless as they lay mangled and distorted on the ground. Her gold-like Darcy was achingly human and reminding her of the men of modern London. The women were ruthless bitches, the dresses uncomfortable and choking, even the gleam and glamor of the balls warped like a carnival mirror.
The little girl lost was drowning in her dreamland as wave after wave crashed over her head. One fallacy after another forcing her under, each disappointment adding another stone around her neck, tying weights to her ankles. But unlike when she was in modern London, there was nowhere to escape too. No small piece of Eden to hide away in like her dog-eared sanctuary had been. There was no life vest, no horizon line, or lighthouse beam. No sense of direction and no sense of home as one by one her fingers lost grip on reality, slipping as she clawed to pull herself up and put air in her lungs.
The hero was becoming nothing more than an average smuck and the villain was reluctantly showing his colors as the anti-hero. Wickham was truly the biggest puzzle in this jigsaw: one of the most apparent villains in her favorite fantasy was instead displaying the greatest virtues of character and all Amanda could think was that someone had taken a cricket bat to her head or to find one to put the womanizer back into his necessary. Every time she turned her head she was aghast by the snob that was Darcy and soundly shocked by the enigma that was Wichkam. And now as she stood staring down the geese drifting on the Pemberly fountain pond with nothing but weariness and defeat in her possession, she once again found herself drawn to the mysterious not-so-cad Wickham, toward the stables like a compass subconsciously directed North.
Tears clinging to her eyelashes like dew to blades of grass, the weary traveller gazed at a man she had always despised from the first time she had read her beloved novel and yet for the second time he was without fail reaching out for her flailing hand as she dipped below the surface. Without hesitation, no matter the outcome, he dutifully falls in-line behind her ready to follow her without question to whatever end. The loyal soldier to the time-traveling edict-challenging heroine. And as much as she was ingrained to hate him from the novel, it was this soldier that she sought out as the world started to crumble under her feet, he was her safety line, the only tether holding her from completely drifting away.
Jane's life was ruined; Bingley was on a whole-hearted downward spiral and Darcy had given his affections only to cruelly rip them away. Yet the one man who she was taught was nothing if not villainous was instead gazing up at her with such compassion and sympathy, but never pity, cracking jokes to make her try and feel better. When he spoke a phrase that struck her to the core:
"You know what I think Miss Price? I think you are a girl who is a very long way from home."
But where was home, Amanda couldn't even remember what it felt like to be home. The only feeling that came remotely close was curled up on her couch nursing a glass of wine enveloped in the world of Jane Austin's penmanship and literary genius. But that was gone, in a few short days and clumsy missteps her oldest sanctuary was smoldering ruins around her. And yet as the world is burning around her, this man before her is gazing at her with such a warm steadiness she had to turn, when she hoped to return back to the modern age she was struck in her gut with that face he gave her as they were in the stable..
Every stumble that took her one step backwards, he was there taking two forward to compensate. The more that she was around Wickham, the more that he amazed her, which in turned made her drawn to him more, like a moth of a flame. He continued to save her, time after time even though he had nothing to gain from either her rise or fall. It would only be later when she gazed into his eyes in that dismal hallway in some rundown inn, wiping blood of his hands with such steadiness about him like an aura that she realized how much she was unknowingly feeding off his strength. Amanda was awoken from the illusion that she was never meant to be an Elizabeth Bennett, and instead of the bone-crushing disappointment she expected to feel, she was instead embraced by an Atlas weight-load lifted off her shoulders. It was enough to make her gloriously light-headed as this regal anti-hero gazed at her with such intensity she gripped with the walls as he spoke hypnotic and prophetic words. It was in these moments that Amanda also realized at she didn't have to be Elizabeth Bennett to get the man of her dreams.
She had spent her whole life dreaming of another time, idolizing a flawed man and placing this world on a pedestal. And at the same time demoting her own self, the "spunk" and unique charisma that drew people to her like ships to the lighthouse beam. Yet, now as she stood in this dismal hallway staring at a man with more than just blood on his hands she is struck by how much she fell into the same trap as Elizabeth, blinded by prejudice and judgement when viewing an individual.
"Everyone you know will one day pry your fingers from their raft and watch you drown. It's the way of the world, everyone, except me."
And everyone had, in both this world and the one that came before it. Michael, her absent-minded and unfaithful boyfriend. Darcy, who would rather stand on his pedestal and wear his moral colored glasses then join the rest of humanity. And it was only here and now that she stood, shaking with exhaustion and last remnants of adrenaline detoxed out of her system, with this man wiping blood from his hands and just as drained as she was, that she finally felt herself being pulled back on that raft after weeks of flailing around in the overpowering current. Wickham's eyes cautious, darting from her to the floor, his hands and back at her as if willing her for who knows how many times to just see him. The man who had stood by her, for better for worse, richer and poorer when she didn't have even two shillings to rub together.
For the first time, she looked, really looked at him. And underneath the boyish charm and suave Don Juan, was a man who looked just as scared and shook up as she was. This was a man who had nothing, no family or friends, nothing in the world to care about or take care of. Just her, each and every time that she needed him, there he was. Without asking or demanding anything in return.