Chapter 1

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"Today is our last day on Pride and Prejudice," the professor informs us

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"Today is our last day on Pride and Prejudice," the professor informs us. "I hope you all have enjoyed it, and since you've all read the ending, it feels fitting to base today's discussion on Austen's use of foreshadowing. Let me ask: as a reader, did you expect her and Darcy to become a couple in the end?"

Several people murmur or randomly flip through their books like it'll provide an immediate answer for them, but only Landon and I raise our hands, as always.

"Miss Young," the professor calls on me.

"Well, the first time I read the novel, I was on the edge of my seat about whether or not they would end up together. Even now––and I have read it at least ten times––I still feel anxious during the beginning of their relationship. Mr. Darcy is so cruel and says such hateful things about Elizabeth and her family that I never know if she can forgive him, let alone love him. I certainly know that today, in the times we live in, no woman would ever put up with the way he treats her. I know I wouldn't." Landon nods at my answer, and I smile.

"That's a load," a voice cuts through the stillness

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"That's a load," a voice cuts through the stillness. Hardin's voice. I turn to glare at him, but he ignores me, pushing his hand through his hair and leaning back in the seat to my left.

"Mr. Scott? Would you like to add something?" the professor asks, clearly surprised at Hardin's participation.

"Sure. I said that's a load. Women want what they can't have. Mr. Darcy's attitude is what drew Elizabeth to him, so it was obvious they would end up together," Hardin says, then scratches the tattooed skin of his arm as if he isn't the slightest bit interested in the discussion.

I laugh in his face. "You cannot be serious?"

He looks up at me, eyes wide with surprise. "What's so funny?" His British accent sounds thicker when he's irritated.

"Did you really just say 'women want what they can't have?' I think what you meant to say is: women can have whatever they want. Sure, in 1813 things were totally different. But they had no idea how everything was about to change once the Second Black Plague hit. In the world we live in now, with everything that goes on outside the high walls of this campus, women have got better things to do than pine for guys who treat them like dirt," I say, much louder than I intended.

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