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The Proud, the Prejudiced and Nicole : Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen!

written by Rachel and Maddie

It was nine o'clock in the morning when Nicole woke up. She stretched out like a cat, and lazily looked up at the ceiling. Except... it wasn't her ceiling. It was black and there was an expensive chandelier hanging from it. She quickly sat up in bed, and looked around her. Her room had transformed in one of the most beautiful, spacious apartments she had ever seen, with expensive designer furniture, and she was lying in a kingsize bed with soft pink silken sheets.

"What has happened?" Nicole wondered, and she went into the bathroom to look into the mirror.

Suddenly the buzzer at the front door made a noise, and Nicole went to the speaker.

"Who is there?" she asked.

"It's Maddie." a voice said, in a funny European accent.


"Yeah, open the door! I dented a guy's car, and I think he's coming after me!"

Nicole opened the door, and a girl of about eighteen year stepped in the hall. She looked vaguely familiar to Nicole, even though she had never met her before. She was wearing loose grey trousers and a thight black short-sleeved shirt. Her reddish brown hair was loosely pinned up and dark sunglasses kept it from falling over her forehead. She was tapping her foot impatiently while Nicole stared at her in wonder.

"Well, how long do I have to wait?" she laughed, "We have a big day ahead of us."

Nicole roused from her reverie, and ran to the bathroom, where she freshened up and applied some make-up. The clothes in the wardrobe weren't hers, but she picked out a stylish black dress and fitting shoes.

She followed Maddie to the street, where the two of them got into Maddie's convertible, and drove off.

"I thought you didn't have your license yet?" Nicole asked.

"I don't." Maddie replied. "But strangely enough, I can still drive. This is our dreamworld, Nicole, we can do whatever we want to. It's a very special day for you, where do you want to go?"

"Hmmmm.... I think I'd like to go the Pothole, to see what's going on there."

"The Pothole doesn't open until six, and we've got a lunch date with Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley at twelve, so we have two hours left. I was thinking we could stop at Chamberlayne's for make overs. I want the whole works : hair, facials, make up, manicure, pedicure, ...I don't want to disgrace myself being in America for the first time."

"Okay!" Nicole smiled, and Maddie turned the car round. Five minutes later they arrived at LA's most prestigious beauty parlour, Chamberlayne's Salon. The girls looked round for a while, in search of Chamberlayne's most important client, John Willoughby. However, he was nowhere to be seen. He must still be in New York.

One hour later, the girls left the beauty parlour, completely transformed. Maddie had let herself be convinced to have a new coupe, and a red colour rinse, while Nicole had chosen the hair extensions and was now proudly prancing around with shoulder length curls that became her very well.

At noon the two of them met George Knightley and Emma Woodhouse, who were both very kind. Maddie couldn't manage to eat a thing, because of the presence of Mr. Knightley, and Nicole was hopping in her seat with excitement, thinking about the upcoming trip, and the evening at the Pothole. Mr. Knightley, vice-president at Eliot Productions, had connections everywhere in TV land and had kindly offered to take them on a tour of hiLA's studios.

Nicole was very excited upon first seeing the set of the most famous hiLA programs. "Oh, it's almost exactly as I had imagined it!" she shouted happily. She received a weird look from Emma upon saying this.

"It IS how you imagined it, dear. You thought this all up, remember?"

Nicole was astonished. "Oh yes, you are right... I did think of it. In that case, I'll lead the way." She giggled. "I know it better than anyone, I suppose."

The three others followed her through two long corridors, and into an elevator. Nicole opened a green door, and suddenly they found themselves. Most of them were very impressed to be on the set of the most succesful talk show of the moment, except Emma, who had been there two days before to promote her new movie. Maddie and Nicole started talking excitedly but were instantly hushed by a camera man. He explained that Miss Bingham was very sensitive about noises on the set, even if she wasn't shooting.

Suddenly Carrie noticed the bustle behind the camera, and shouted: "Intruders, what are you doing here? Security! Fossett, get those people of my set!"

"That girl has some bloody nerve." Maddie whispered to Nicole. "We created her, and now she's kicking us off our set. I mean, she should be nice, at least to you. It was your idea to give her a talk show, I wanted her to stay an unsuccesful drama queen."

Fossett, a huge refridgerator-shaped guy with a square head, got up from his seat, and was in the process of dragging the two girls off the set, when Mr. Knightley cried out: "Miss Bingham, you don't understand! This is Maddie and Nicole!"

"Oh, that's an entirely different case. Fossett, drop them." Fossett did so accordingly, and the two girls dropped to the floor like two sacks of patatoes.

"Come here, girls." Carrie said commandingly. "I want to see you."

The girls got up and whiped the dirt from their bums. They hesitantly walked towards Carrie, who was sitting in her talk show host chair like Queen Elizabeth I on her throne. "So you are Nicole and Maddie... I am very pleased to meet you at last. I want to invite you to stay here for the show today. The musical guest is the Brian Setzer Orchestra."

Four hours later the girls left the set. "Oh, this entire day has been so perfect!" Nicole said. "Do you think it can get any better, Maddie?"

"It can." Maddie said. "Follow me.

,Five minutes later they hopped out of Maddie's convertible, and slammed the doors behind them. Nicole looked out at the desolate, dark field before them, and gave Maddie a look.

"What are we doing here, in an empty field? Where are we, Maddie?"

"Hold on, Nicole, you'll see," she said, pulling a long, pink silk scarf out of her hand bag, and tied it around Nicole's eyes. She then violently spun her around to distort her sense of direction, and started to lead her towards their destination. They made 101 steps (Nicole, for amusement, was counting the distance,) and then . . . began to descend? for about 17 steps, then Maddie pulled her to a stop.

She whispered in Nicole's ear, "Do you know where we are?"

"No . . . do you?" she asked in reply.

"Perhaps . . ." said Maddie as she began to take off the blindfold. Nicole laughed slightly.

"That's a relief, I suppose . . ." she replied.

"Now keep your eyes closed!" Maddie entreated.

With a sigh, Nicole dutifully covered her eyes. "But it's dark in this hole!"

"Not now!" cried a voice that seemed strangely familiar, and the lights came on.

"SURPRISE!" cried the crowd, and Nicole opened her eyes to find herself inside of the Pothole, with Frank Churchill right in front of her!

"Happy birthday, Nicole!" said Frank in his charming Scottish voice. He then pulled out a noisemaker, and blew it.

Nicole laughed, but said, amused, "Uh . . . hello, Frank."

He grinned at her, and impulsively kissed her on the cheek, and laughed heartily. "Welcome to the Pothole, birthday girl!" and then hurriedly said to Nicole and Maddie, "I've got to be on my way, business is such a chore!" He smiled his cheeky grin, and said, "Love you, dolls!" as he hurried off in a haze of Scottish sparkle and green.

Nicole, having recovered from the shock, began to then look around at the room that she was in, the Yellow Martini Bar. The whole place was packed full of people, Dwiggies and fictional characters alike. Many people said "Happy birthday!" to her as they passed by, which made her feel a little overwhelmed. Feeling a bit thirsty, she crossed over to the bar, where she jumped up onto a barstool, and asked Joe the bartender to fix her a Shirley Temple.

"How lovely!" muttered a voice next to her. "The Shirley Temple is a favorite of mine as well."

Nicole looked up, surprised, to see a man sitting next to her, wearing a Dodgers cap and a red coat with dark glasses to complete the ensemble. The effect was startling, and it prevented her, for several moments, from determining who the man was.

"Colonel Fitzwilliam!" she ended by whispering. "Rick!"

"Here's to lookin' at you, kid," he said in reply, tinkling the ice in his glass appropriately. Nicole, using only instinct, was prompted to sigh at this tribute, but quickly recovered from the Colonel's charm.

"Colonel! What are you doing here alone? Where are your fans?"

"Alas, Teresa and Anne wish to torture me; however, they have not gotten the right way of it, so they have left me alone. Rachel I have not yet seen this evening, but I have a feeling that she is involved elsewhere. If I were destined to remain alone, I believe that I would begin to miss my retinue, but since Lise and Caroline come to join me, I will have companionship enough, I imagine. After all, she is one of my wives," he said with a sigh.

"And what of Marianne? I thought that I had her following you!" asked Nicole, poking him in the ribs with her elbow.

The Colonel looked about, alarmed. "What? What? Do you see her?" He leaned over, pulling his hat down and his glasses up, conspicuously trying to make himself inconspicuous. "Where is she?"he hissed.

Nicole sighed, and shook her head. "Don't worry, Rick, she's not here . . . I'll just leave you now . . . I've gotta go." She jumped off the stool, taking her drink with her. "Bye!"

She then began to walk through the crowd, looking about the Pothole, admiring Frank's excellent taste. The Red restaurant looked inviting, and she made a mental note to come back. She also managed to peek into the window of the office, and saw the Golden Buddha, but what she liked best was the dance floor.

It was decorated in a very suitable style, all in black with strobe lights and a disco ball. She could swear she saw Harriet in her silver tights, dancing with someone, but since it didn't look to be Frank, she wasn't sure that it was her. In any case, she was soon distracted from that, for she looked over at a platform, and saw a huge crowd gathered about it . . . a young man was upon it, dancing in ways that were strange and indescribable. His outfit was of the same style; a brown and yellow leisure suit that could probably not be surpassed in hideousness easily.

"The Disco King!" she whispered, dazed, to herself as she watched him dance about, clapping and waving his arms in a significant manner, to the cheers of the crowd.

She watched for a while, experiencing a sort of sick fascination that left her unable to tear herself away, but after a while, she wandered away once more, and began to see who else she could find about. Passing through the Martini Bar on her way to the Restaurant, she grinned foolishly at a waving Darcy, who looked quite excellent in blue as he sat with Elizabeth,
enjoying a shaken (not stirred) martini. As she passed into restaurant, she saw a conference t
hat looked interesting, and she quickly sat in the booth in front of them, the better to listen in.

Five people were in a large booth whispering to each other; two of them sounded somewhat angry, and the other two sounded frantic. The two angry voices sounded to be male, while the other voices were female. After a few moments, one of the males in the booth stood up, staring angrily down at the other.

"Listen to me, little man, I am Henry Crawford!"

Nicole gasped, it was Stephen Dorff!

The other man rose, equally angry, and said in an effective faux British accent, "No, sir, I am Henry Crawford!"

Nicole gasped again, it was Alessandro Nivola!

"But I am Henry Crawford!" cried Stephen.

"No, it is I who have the British accent, so I must be Henry Crawford!"
"But I have the charm, the finesse!"

"And I do not?" Alessandro replied, affronted.

"Well . . . that Bow of yours . . ." replied Stephen, courteously (and gracefully) bowing to the other man in reply.

Alessandro tried to lunge, but was quickly pulled back. "No, no, Henry! Not now!" a voice hissed. "You will call attention to our party!"

Nicole failed to gasp this time as she realized who it was of course Rachel would have the two Henrys to herself if she was not with the Colonel.

"What?" said both men at once, neither at all willing to admit that the other was addressed when either was addressed as 'Henry'.

"Please, not now, boys!" hissed another voice, that Nicole failed (once) again to gasp at if Rachel were near the Henrys, of course Marie would be nearby to put her claim on them as well.

Frustrated, they both sat down, and continued to argue, but much more quietly. "But I am Henry Crawford!"

"No, 'tis I!"

"Hush!" another male voice commanded, a British voice. "You are both Henry Crawfords; I know the characteristics well. Merely, you are a Regency Henry, and you are a Modern Henry; in this case, you are more Henry than you because we are at the Pothole, but you can both be Henry if you will stop arguing!"

Two deep female sighs floated from the booth. "Oh, Tim!" said one wistfully.

"You are so wonderful!" the other cried.

Both Henrys, as on their both being Henrys, appeared to be in agreement. "Hey!" they cried. "What about us?"

Nicole laughed to herself as she listened to the two Henrys being coaxed back into complacency, and resolved to join them later in the movie theatre for Life of Brian Wilbur, where they appeared to be going, in order to claim Tim and his wrinkled-bed-sheets brow for herself. After all, a Henry Crawford was probably all that one woman could handle.

Affter enjoying some excellent chicken with fresh vegetables, (and also after enjoying the sight of her brother Phillipe dancing with Maddie; a match she might have to consult Emma Woodhouse about,) she followed the group of five to the movie theatre, and snuck in after them.

She observed as they walked down the aisle, considering where they would sit, and as they began to fight about who would sit next to who, Nicole tactfully walked up.

"Err . . . I hate to intrude, but I have a suggestion . . . "

They all turned around, and Marie and Rachel were enthusiastic in their greetings. "Nicole!" they both cried. "Happy birthday!"

"Hi, thanks . . . but how about this? First goes Stephen, then Rachel, then Alessandro, then Marie, then Tim, and finally . . . me, for I can help Tim carry the popcorn!"

Of course Rachel, Marie, Alessandro, and Nicole were all satisfied with this arrangement, so Rachel shoved Stephen in, and they all sat down to watch Life of Brian Wilbur. As the theatre darkened, Rachel elbowed Alessandro, who elbowed Marie, who thoughtfully stroked Tim's arm and pointed at the floor; dutifully, he passed the popcorn. After a few minutes, Rachel reached out for her drink, and found nothing thus, she was forced to run her hands through Alessandro's hair, who turned to run his fingers along the back of Marie's neck, who then caressed Tim's cheek in order to catch his attention. Helpfully, she pointed back down at the floor, and he again passed the sodas. Nicole, jealous that everyone else got to stroke someone, leaned her head against Tim's shoulder and sighed deeply as he obligingly put his right arm around her. She was never so happy, and was able to enjoy the movie very much, although she really didn't pay attention.

After the movie was over, and as Tim was still in the bathroom trying to wipe the lipstick off of his cheek, she was about to look for Darcy again when she heard music that seemed familiar. She headed towards the dance floor, the music becoming louder, and by the time that she was there, she was able to recognize it. Happily, she rushed in to hear Indigo Swing playing, and "How Lucky Can One Guy Be?", a favorite song of hers. Suddenly, from behind her came Darcy, and with a smile, he led her out onto the floor, and they began to dance.

Suddenly, from behind her came Darcy, and with a smile, he led her out onto the floor, and they began to dance.

I've never been to Paris, France I've never learned how to ballroom dance But she's still givin' me the chance How lucky can one guy be?
Darcy put his hand on her waist, and she put her arm on his shoulder as he took her free hand in his, and began to lead her about the floor in a very nice shuffle-step.

I've never made a load-o-dough I've never been to a Broadway show But to her, I'm original Romeo How lucky can one guy be? CHORUS: Her other boyfriends and the hopeful men Call her on the telephone But at the end of the night, she's holdin' me tight And I'm the one takin' her home

At "the end of the night," he grasped her more tightly about the waste, and dipped her. He pulled her up, and she giggled, red-faced and quite delighted.
I'll never win a playoff game I'll never have a lot of fortune or fame But she loves me just the same How lucky can one guy be? (CHORUS) I'll never look like Gregory Peck I'll never mix with the hip jet-set But she ain't thrown the towel in yet How lucky can one guy be?

As the dance ended, Darcy raised the hand that was in his to his lips, and gently kissed it. "Happy birthday, Nicole," he said in his sultry voice, and bowed. Nicole could only grin in reply, and felt as if she were floating as she walked off the dance floor. Could it get any better? she asked herself.

Suddenly, she saw a woman in front of her; a woman with dark hair wearing a red dress.

"Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" Nicole muttered.

"Indeed . . . I saw you dancing out there . . ."

Nicole looked alarmed. "Oh! Worry not, I am not interested in Darcy."

Elizabeth smiled at her, amused. "Is this an invitation to be teased? After all, though he is not perfect, he is very perfect-looking, and he seemed to be interested enough in you to make up for your disinterest."

"But can you think that I believe you?"

"Perhaps you are merely being elegant and modest."

Nicole, although she did not quite mind being teased about Darcy, did not really want this to continue. "I do assure you, ma'am, that I have no pretension whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in engaging in frivolity and stupidity. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in believing that such a thing could be possible, but it is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female pretending to be modest, but as a rational creature speaking the truth from her heart."

Elizabeth looked somewhat stricken. "I am sorry; I did not mean to offend you."

Elizabeth looked somewhat stricken. "I am sorry; I did not mean to offend you."

Nicole softened. "I know, and I am sorry that I was so harsh, but I do not like to be teased."

Elizabeth smiled. "Then I shall do it no more perhaps we should tease Mr. Darcy together?" Nicole laughed. "I am sure that I should be delighted," and so, the two spent the evening plaguing Mr. Darcy's heart out in the most pleasant manner. It was a severe disappointment when Maddie came, and nodded significantly at the door to Nicole. It was time to go home.

"Aww, and I was really having fun! How cruel you are to me! Have some compassion on my poor nerves!"

Maddie laughed. "And have some on mine, please, and complain no more. I assure you, I wish that we could stay, but we must go home."

"Darn!" was all that Nicole could find to say, and so, she reluctantly stepped into the car, and the two drove off in the moonlight.


The End and a Sweet Sixteen to you, Nicole!