Posted on 2012-08-04
Two weeks. Two days. Seven hours. And limitless, uncountable minutes of happiness.
That was his life now. Elizabeth, loving him, allowing him to love her. After sixteen months of hellish images and memories and conversations he never again wished to dwell upon, Darcy's life was finally good. And he was Will, not Fitzwilliam. She called him Will when she saw him, she breathed it in his ear when they embraced, she whispered it, long and drawn out, when she lay in his arms. And tonight, they would truly be together for the first time. He hoped.
Two more blocks and he would be home, to her. Elizabeth would be waiting; she had told him she would cook for him tonight at his place and help him with his four-footed house guest. If taking care of his sister's overfed feline could garner him a taste of domestic bliss with Elizabeth, he'd head to the animal shelter tomorrow and adopt his own cat. The image of her padding around his kitchen chopping and slicing and sautéing hastened his gait.
He could smell garlic and basil as he approached the front door. When he reached the kitchen, he leaned against the doorframe, watching Elizabeth. Her back was to him, elbows akimbo as she shook dry the contents of a colander. Will started to speak, but his eyes fell to the counter. A brown box sat on the counter by the wineglasses. He slowed, paled, stiffened.
The box. Damn. He'd hidden it before her first visit here, he'd meant to empty it out, put its contents in a safety deposit box. Explain it to her later, years from now, when they could share a laugh about their fumbling attempts to connect. But she'd found it. Found him out.
With a thud, the colander landed on the countertop and she turned to greet him. "Hey."
Will cautiously stepped forward. "Hey." He smiled at the sight of her clad in a faded Yosemite t-shirt, her hair tied back and her cheeks rosy from the steaming pasta.
"Yay, you remembered to buy red."
She leaned forward and kissed him, gently pulling the bottle out of his hands. "Go change. No ties allowed tonight." She glanced back at the oven. "Ack! It's burning! Shoo!"
She turned away, bent over the oven and poked at the garlic bread. Will eyed the box. As far as he could see, the tape was still in place. Maybe she hadn't looked inside. That didn't answer the more immediate question: Why wasn't it still under the bed?
"Will, this is a messy meal. I want that tie off and a cute polo on," she spoke without turning. He focused on her lovely, jean-clad bottom gently bobbing as she tucked the baking sheet back onto the oven rack. "At least for now."
Rarely had a man of such height moved with more alacrity and less grace. At least he didn't trip over Rooney, the badly named calico foisted on him last week by his sister. It spent far too much time inhabiting dangerous, highly trafficked floorspace, begging for food from the overindulgent bachelor, and leaving fur on his couch.
Dinner was glorious. The bottle was drained. The dishes and the box both were seemingly forgotten as they busied themselves and their hands and mouths with other rewarding activities. He wasn't going to say anything it. Ignorance was sometimes key to making relationships work, and a brown box, and most certainly its contents, was the proverbial elephant in the room he was determined to ignore. Besides, there were better topics to address, and they mostly centered on kissing. Still, what if she'd looked?
Elizabeth twisted underneath him. Her hand moved from his back to his ear. She gave it a tug. "Paging Will Darcy? You with me here?" She was smirking at him.
Lost for words, he simply stared and lifted his hand to her hair. He fanned it gently through his fingers. "Sorry. Of course I am." He leaned in to kiss her but Elizabeth wiggled out from under him, and shook her head. "It's okay, I understand." She shook her head from side to side. "It's the smell, isn't it? I thought the garlic would help hide it."
Darcy cringed. Smell? What smell? Did I forget deodorant today?
She looked at him with a serious expression. She took his hand and patted it. "And you're wondering why the box is on the counter?"
This was it. This was bad. She knew, she'd looked inside. But why would it smell?
"I pulled it out before Rooney peed in it."
His mouth dropped open. "Cat pee. Under the bed?" The smell. Oh geez, the smell would never go away. They could never have sex in his room again. Or even once.
"Yup, but it's fine, I think. Vinegar is good for so many things." Elizabeth grimaced at him. "And I think the box is okay too. Everything inside was dry."
His head dropped. He couldn't look at her. Not now. Now she knew who Fitzwilliam Darcy really was. Damn cat. When was Georgie picking him up?
"But we need to talk." Elizabeth's hand cupped his chin and pulled his eyes to hers. He looked at her, waiting for the words that would break his heart.
"You know, fanboy, I have to tell you. Even in their original packaging, Star Wars action figures aren't really worth all that much…."The End