Posted on Tuesday, 22 April 2008
"It was the London season of 1806. Anne and I had been married for barely five months. My father had requested that I attend an Assembly at St. James' hall. I could not say no.
"When I arrived, it was the same as it had always been. There were people there that I did not know, did not like, did not feel the need to be in company with. Then a party containing four people arrived, and I could not pass up the chance to be introduced to them."
"Lady Ashby?" Bingley asked.
Darcy nodded. "The party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and their two nieces, Misses Jane and Elizabeth Bennet."
Darcy paused. Going back to the time where he was certain of Elizabeth's feelings of love was something that pained him more than anything. He took a deep breath before continuing. "I immediately felt an attraction to Elizabeth. We danced and then we crept outside for a conversation. It was a wonderful night, and I believed that I had made a wonderful friend in Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
"The next day, I took Georgiana to shop for some ribbons. We met Elizabeth and Miss Jane with Mrs. Gardiner in the shop, and the two Miss Bennets instantly formed a friendship with Georgiana. I invited the three of them along with Mr. Gardiner to dinner that evening. The invitation was accepted.
"After that night, I realized that I did not want Elizabeth as a friend. I was beginning to feel affection for her. Being two and twenty and completely foolish, I acted upon my feelings."
Bingley was shocked.
"We did not admit our feelings for one another until we had known each other for two weeks. After that, we decided to meet in secret. We would meet in a park near Cheapside nearly every night. We would talk and laugh and just sit quietly in each other's presence.
"Two weeks later, my father told me that he knew about my affair. He would have none of it, and told me that I needed to end things with Elizabeth."
"But he should not have had that choice," Bingley protested, "even if it was wrong of you. If Miss Elizabeth wanted to continue being your mistress..."
Darcy flinched at the word.
"...he should have let you."
Darcy's pain and regret was etched into his face. "Elizabeth did not know about Anne."
Bingley's jaw nearly fell to the floor.
"I always felt the need to tell her, but she would make me forget. Just her presence would make me forget all of the evils and responsibilities of the world. She was so captivating.
"That same week, she told me that her father had accepted a marriage proposal for her from Lord Johnathon Ashby. I was stunned and saddened. My emotions were weighted even more when she told me that she would be sailing to America.
"I told my father about her engagement, but he knew that I had not told Elizabeth about Anne. He took the liberty of writing her a letter the following day. She was...angry to say the least. She told me to stay away from her and to never contact her again. I replied stating that I was truly sorry for what I had done. I waited in the park for her for nearly two weeks hoping she would return. The night before the eve of her wedding, she did. We..."
He paused, thinking of the best way to word it. "We...reconciled."
Bingley looked relieved. "At least you did not compromise her." Darcy immediately looked at the floor guiltily. Bingley's eyes shot open. "Darcy I cannot believe it!"
"It was only once," he responded. "Two days before her wedding, she begged me, and I did not want to say ‘no' no matter how much I should have."
"What if you had left her with child?"
"She would pass it off as Lord Ashby's and no one would have questioned it."
Bingley was still shocked, but he also felt sympathy. Darcy reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the cross. "She gave me this and told me to keep it in my pocket for all of the days that I love her." He sighed and dropped it back into the pocket he had taken it out of. "This is the first time in five years that it has come out of my pocket for any reason other than switching jackets."
Bingley swallowed and said, "So why do you want to leave so badly? If you love her so much, why do you not inform her of your sentiments?"
"She holds no more feelings for me other than friendship," Darcy replied. "In return for her necklace, I gave her a ring and chain to wear it on for the same reason that she gave me her necklace. She is no longer wearing it."
"She could have forgotten about it," Bingley replied. "She might still love you."
Darcy shook his head as though the notion was impossible. His mentality was very depressed for the next few weeks. It had heightened exceptionally so one bright morning when he was watching Elizabeth from a distance. They were the only two in the room other than a servant here and there. He wanted to speak with her, but as soon as he had made up his mind to, Bingley burst through the door with his two sisters and brother-in-law.
"I have an announcement to make," Bingley said. "I have decided to host a ball on the twenty-third of November. All of our acquaintances from Meryton have been invited including some of Colonel Forster's regiment."
Darcy nearly groaned aloud at the announcement.
Darcy made a vow to himself as he walked down the stairs on the evening of the ball. He would leave Netherfield in exactly five days. That was a good amount of time. The pain had worsened. He could no longer stay in the same room as Elizabeth no matter how encouraging her presence was. He could stand it no longer, and he would not attempt it any longer either. It was then that he met her in the entrance hall.
"Lady Ashby," he said with as much a voice as he could manage. She turned to look at him, her face etched with worry. He furrowed his brow curiously. "Might I ask, what is the matter?"
She nodded before replying in almost a whisper. "You are the only person whom I should be telling this," she admitted. "A person, whom is most despicable and not worthy of anyone's friendship, has been welcomed with open arms by Meryton society."
"Of whom are you speaking?" Darcy asked with a bit of worry slipped into his tone.
Darcy immediately tensed up and his face paled ever so slightly.
"My sisters say that he is very pleasant. Indeed, he has even been welcomed at Longbourn. I have warned them all that he is not to be trusted and they should distance themselves as much as possible. They questioned my reasoning, but I felt that I could not tell them why without informing them of Georgiana..."
He nodded and she was silent. "Thank you," he said, "for your discretion. It is most invaluable." She curtsied and began to walk away when Mr. Darcy blurted out, "May I have the next dance, Lady Ashby?"
She was taken aback by his request, and he noticed it. He was afraid that she would deny his request, but then she said, "You may."
He took her arm and led her to the dance floor. He reveled in her closeness, but he knew that it would be short-lived. He would not stay at Netherfield for much longer, and he just wanted to...be with her again for a short time. He wanted to relive that night that they had first met, when he knew that she was the only woman he would ever love.
"Have you acquired any new novels lately?" Darcy asked her.
Elizabeth nodded and said, "Yes, E. B. Anne has put out another work."
"Ah yes, I have not read the novel myself, but it comes highly recommended."
"It is probably her best work yet."
They made more idle chat about the novel and moved on to other works as well. There were many gaps in the conversation, however; Darcy kept losing his train of thought and would not respond to some of her questions.
When their set had ended, Elizabeth left with the statement, "You should read the latest E.B. Anne novel as soon as possible." He told her he would read it directly on the morrow. She smiled and left. Darcy, unable to believe that he had just spent a half hour so close in her company, crept up the stairs silently and unnoticed. He retreated to the library were he spent the majority of the time staring into the fire. He knew that Elizabeth only held a regard of friendship for him, and she would never love him as he loved her. It was a depressing thought, but Darcy's mind raced to it.
Not long after he entered the library, he heard someone else come in as well. He furrowed his brow as he realized that it was a woman crying. He looked over to the door and noticed that it was Elizabeth.
"Lady Ashby," he said gently. She was surprised to see him in there, and she immediately moved to look away and dry her eyes. He stood up and walked over to her. He reached in his pocket and pulled his handkerchief out of his breast pocket and handed it to her. She accepted it and began to dab her eyes with it, all the while keeping her gaze on the floor. It was then that something caught her eye, and her eyes widened. Darcy's brow furrowed in confusion and followed her gaze. He then realized what she was looking at.
When he looked back up, Elizabeth was gone. His handkerchief was on the floor. He hung his head in grief. He knew that she did not return his affection and this proved it. He would leave Netherfield directly on the morrow.
And he would never see Elizabeth again.
Posted on Friday, 25 April 2008
It was unfathomable. It was insupportable! And yet, it had to be true! Why else would he have kept the necklace all of these years? And the expression in his eyes as he realized she saw it. There was no doubt that he was still harboring some sort of regard for her. He would not have kept the necklace for this long if he did not.
So many thoughts were going through Elizabeth's mind. She knew that she still loved William, but it was too difficult to believe that he still held any sort of regard for that extended friendship. He was too sensible to hold onto a love for that long. Wasn't he?
It had all confused Elizabeth so much that she had to leave his company. She needed to be by herself so that she could sort everything out on her own. There could be no other reasonable explanation for his having kept the necklace. Well, she would like to believe that there was no other possible reason for it.
Elizabeth returned to the party greatly out of spirits and Jane was easily privy to the change in her sister's demeanor. She questioned Elizabeth about it, but Elizabeth just shrugged it off, saying that it was nothing. Inside, Elizabeth was completely sunk in turmoil. She had no idea how she was going to deal with the situation regarding Mr. Darcy. By the end of the evening, she resolved that she would speak with Mr. Darcy directly on the morrow. It was a conversation that was long overdue.
The following morning, Elizabeth waited for Mr. Darcy to appear at breakfast. He did not. She waited for him in the library, knowing that he would eventually appear there. When it came time for luncheon, she inquired Mr. Bingley as to where his friend was.
"It would seem that Darcy had some business to care for in London," Bingley said. "He left early this morning and said that he may be staying in London for quite some time."
"I, for one," Caroline Bingley said arrogantly, "think that we should follow Mr. Darcy's stead. Town is far much better at this time of year; do not you agree Lady Ashby?"
"I find that I cannot, Miss Bingley," Elizabeth said. "I simply adore Hertfordshire in the winter."
Miss Bingley looked put out, but she said nothing. Convincing her brother would be difficult with Lady Ashby stating her opinions about how lovely Hertfordshire always was.
The next few months droned on slowly. Mr. Collins had proposed to Mary not long after the Netherfield ball, and their wedding was just before Christmas. They traveled to Mr. Collins' home of Hunsford in Kent the day after the wedding. Not long after their wedding, Mr. Bingley asked Jane to be his wife. Jane accepted, and Elizabeth was ecstatic for the both of them. They both seemed so happy and secure with each other that she could not imagine a better matched couple. She had hoped to see Mr. Darcy at the wedding, but he did not make an appearance.
In the spring of the year 1812, Elizabeth had been invited by her sister to stay at Hunsford for a month. Elizabeth wanted to accept, but she could not under the circumstances that she had neglected her house in town for far too long. Mary understood, and all was well between the two sisters.
Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, did visit Rosings. He did not want to, but his cousin forced him to.
"Come on Darcy," Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam had said to him. "You need to be out in society again. I have neither seen nor heard from you in above eight months. It is intolerable! You must come to Rosings."
Despite his better judgment, he accompanied his cousin to his aunt's home. Whilst there, he met Mr. Collins and re-met the new Mrs. Collins née Mary Bennet. Upon hearing the news that Elizabeth was supposed to be in attendance as well, Darcy was stricken. He could not believe that he had come so close to meeting her again. He knew that coming to Rosings had been a bad idea.
His time spent at his aunt's was dismal as always. There was nothing to intrigue him at Rosings, and the endless notion about how it would all become Darcy's upon Lady Catherine's death just bored him to tears. Little did she know that he had already assigned the state over to Richard. As the second son of an Earl, Richard had little to recommend himself other than his father's name. He would need to marry a woman of substantial means in order to keep his lifestyle and position in society. The military was a career in which Richard made good money and held a high title, but it would be better for him to have his own estate. With Darcy's help, he now had that.
He returned to London in May. His life seemed so obsolete and meaningless without Elizabeth. After she had moved to America, Darcy was heartbroken, but at least he knew that she loved him. After he cut off contact with her, his heart seemed to shrink. He became sullen and morose. He was never cheerful, and his lack of attention to anyone always worried his wife. Her worry worsened her condition, and she succumbed to her illness earlier than expected. Darcy suspected that it was his fault. He kept blaming himself for not being more attentive towards her.
After her death, he did not speak to anyone. He was too overcome with grief over the loss of his father, wife, and Elizabeth. His life was shattering before him, and all he did was watch the pieces fall. Seeing her brother's self-destruction, Georgiana began to pick up the pieces. She continued to help him even when the pieces of his life were so sharp that her hands bled. Eventually, she helped him to see the light again.
He owed everything to Georgiana. She was such an inspiration to him. She was so strong for being so young. He could not believe what a wonderful person she had come to be, and she told him that it was he who had made her such a thriving young woman. It was the first time she had seen him smile in years after she had said that.
Now he was retreating into his old habits. Georgiana watched as he once again went into exile. She wanted to reach out and help him once more, but she knew that there would be nothing she could do this time. She did not know what he was grieving over. He seemed to be over the loss of his father and wife, and she could not fathom what had depressed him so this time. She sighed and watched as he removed himself from society completely.
Darcy noticed the sadness that crawled into his sister's eyes every time they were together, and emotions overrode him all at once. The grief of completely losing Elizabeth and the grief of failing his sister had come to him so quickly as he looked into her eyes. They had been sitting in the music room, and Darcy moved over to his sister on the couch.
"Georgiana," he said with tears brimming in his eyes, "please forgive me."
She pulled her brother into a warm embrace, and slowly, the tears fell down his face. "There's so much I have kept from you," he whispered. "I can conceal it no longer."
To say that Georgiana was shocked at her brother's confession would be an understatement. She had no suspicion that her brother and Elizabeth were in love. Now that she looked back however, it was easy to see that the two were very much intimate. She never comprehended all of the stolen glances that she had observed when she was a child, but his confession made everything that she had seen make complete sense.
"And you are convinced that she no longer feels anything for you?" Georgiana asked. "You are completely sure?"
"You did not see her face, Georgiana," Darcy said, the sorrow thickly embedded in his voice. "She was completely horrified that I still had the necklace. She did not think that I felt the same because she had moved on long ago."
"You cannot say that she felt that way for sure," Georgiana said. "I would not think that you would wish to give up on this matter so easily considering how much you love her."
"This is not something that is easily mended," he said. "I must overcome my regard for her as she has overcome her regard for me."
"But if you could not overcome your feelings for her in five years, what makes you think that you will be able to do it so quickly?"
"I was not trying in those five years. Now I am, and now I shall succeed."
Georgiana looked skeptical, but her brother just smiled and changed the subject. "What do you say we return to Pemberley early this year? Nothing will matter if we leave a month earlier than usual."
Georgiana was aware of her brother's change of subject, but after his great confession that afternoon, she was not going to press him any further. She agreed that it sounded very pleasant to arrive at Pemberley early.
When June came, Darcy had already returned to his pleasant demeanor. He was speaking amiably to Georgiana again, and he did not turn away visitors every day. In the middle of the month, Darcy received a letter stating that he would need to away to London directly.
"My solicitor needs me to look over something, and he says it is impossible for him to leave town," Darcy said. "I shall be back in a few days, I promise."
Georgiana gave her brother a meek smile as he kissed the top of her head and left Pemberley.
Later that day, she received a letter from Elizabeth. Her dear friend would be coming to Lambton on the morrow, and she stated that she should very much like to see Georgiana again. Georgiana sent a reply asking Elizabeth to come and stay at Pemberley. Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle were unable to give their answer until they appeared at Pemberley the next day. Elizabeth apologized for not giving Georgiana the proper time she needed to prepare, but Georgiana silenced her friend.
"It really is no trouble," she said with a smile. "Oh Lizzy, I have missed you so, and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, it is lovely to see you again."
"Thank you for your offer for us to stay with you," Mrs. Gardiner said.
"The pleasure is all mine."
Georgiana led her guests into the house and showed them their rooms. After lunch, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner agreed for Mrs. Reynolds to take them on a tour of the house, and Elizabeth and Georgiana decided to write letters to their favorite siblings.
Dear Brother, Georgiana wrote:
Please do not be angry with me, but I did not know what else to do. The day of your departure, I received a letter from Elizabeth. You had already gone, and I proceeded as I thought best. Her letter stated that she and her aunt and uncle would be arriving in Lambton the following day, and she said that she should like to see me again. I agreed and invited her and her relations to stay at Pemberley.
They are here now, and they say that they will not stay above a month. I know that you and Elizabeth are most likely not on any terms at all let alone good or bad ones, but I thought it would be rude not to offer them a place to stay. Please forgive me,
Darcy was grieved to be sure. He knew that he needed to overcome his feelings for Elizabeth, but she would still be there when he got back, and he could see her then.
His business took him longer than he thought and he was not able to return for a complete week from the day he left. He tried to enter the house discreetly and was met with brilliant success. It appeared that Elizabeth and Georgiana and the Gardiners were on a picnic for lunch. Darcy bathed and ate and awaited their arrival.
He heard her infectious laughter first. That was what signaled their return. Her laugh was so contagious, and he found a smile playing across his face. After Elizabeth's marriage, he never thought that he would be able to see her at Pemberley, but here she was. Of course, he would have preferred her there as his wife, but he knew now that that was not possible. He would have to live with that knowledge and move on with his life.
He stood up as they entered the drawing room. He offered them all a smile and shook hands with Mr. Gardiner. He bowed to Mrs. Gardiner and took Elizabeth's extended hand. He bowed over it a little, and Elizabeth could see the change in his demeanor. His eyes were no longer smiling. Georgiana noticed the change as well, but the Gardiners were completely oblivious to it. Elizabeth's eyes belied her smile as while. She was saddened by William's bitter reaction to her.
During the course of the rest of the day, Elizabeth barely spoke a word to anyone. She was still contemplating William and why he had acted that way. He kept the necklace, Elizabeth thought. Surely that means something. But according to his behavior, it did not.
She did not sleep that night. She couldn't keep him off of her mind. She sat up in bed and did nothing as the first of many tears made a trail down her cheeks.
Posted on Tuesday, 29 April 2008
The sun rose and marked the beginning of a new day. As he stared out the window, Darcy vowed to at least try to get along with Elizabeth. Could he truly fault her for no longer holding affection for him? She did not know that he would still love her after all these years, and he could not accuse her of anything more than being sensible enough to realize that they were better off.
He couldn't help but wonder what things would be like if she still loved him. They could be engaged or already married. Would she be happy? He could not see. Whenever he had these fantasies, he only saw his own happiness. He never really saw how Elizabeth was feeling. It is selfish of me to keep these feelings, he thought. Move on so that she can do the same. It is obvious that she wishes for you to find someone else. She doesn't want to feel guilty for being with another man. It was a ridiculous thought of a hopeless romantic, but Darcy always had it in his mind.
As he entered the breakfast room, he noticed that she was there as well. Alone. He offered her a smile, and she returned it with a confused look. He did not waver and continued his trek over to her.
"Good morning, Lady Ashby," he said as he took a seat near her. "I trust you slept well."
"I did, thank you," she lied. "And you? Did you sleep well?"
"Yes," he replied. "Are your accommodations to your liking?"
She smiled genuinely. "They could not be better. Never have I seen such a grand guest room."
"I have seen portraits of your plantation back at your townhouse," Darcy said. "Surely you had some wonderful guest rooms there."
"Yes, but not quite as grand as the one I have been assigned," she replied. "Whoever decorated truly had good taste."
"That would be my mother," Darcy replied. "After she died, my father did not have the heart to have any of the rooms changed and neither did I once he passed."
"He was truly a great man," Elizabeth said. "His life ended far too short."
"Only because he started drinking far too early," Darcy mumbled. Elizabeth heard him, but did not comment. She took a sip of her tea and said, "I don't think I ever told you how wonderfully you have raised Georgiana. She is a very polite, accomplished young lady, and she will soon grow into a fine woman."
"Yes," Darcy said shortly. Elizabeth smiled at the protective demeanor that overcame his features. "I think, however, that it is time for her to have a female guide her. I have done all that I can. I am a man, I can only raise her to an extent. A woman, well, Georgiana needs to be understood. She's getting to an age where I can no longer do that."
Elizabeth nodded. She doubted that he realized the meaning of his words to her. He is thinking of getting a wife, Elizabeth thought. And with his tone, and easiness of manner, it will not be me. He will marry a woman who is far more suitable to helping his sister.
"I wonder if..." he continued. Then he paused. "I do not wish to be presumptuous, nor intrusive..."
Elizabeth remained silent, and that encouraged him. "I was hoping that perhaps you would be the woman to do that."
Elizabeth unintentionally sucked in a deep breath. Darcy did not notice. "I was hoping that perhaps you could oversee her lessons while she is in town. You could teach her about society, and..." He did not know what else to say.
"Are you sure that you want me to do it?" she asked with a teasing smile. "Miss Bingley seems so much more...accomplished than I."
Darcy tried to contain his laughter, but it was etched in his tone. "Well with that argument, I must say that I am now begging for it to be you."
Elizabeth made a pouty face. "No groveling?" She sighed. "Well I suppose that that shall have to wait. Mr. Darcy, I would be honored to be your sister's...instructor." He would have made a reply, but Georgiana had just entered the room. She saw the smiles upon her brother's and Elizabeth's faces, and she smiled as well.
"Good morning to you both," she said as she took a seat next to her brother and across from Elizabeth. "Did you both have a good night's rest?"
"Very much so, Georgiana," Elizabeth replied.
"Indeed," Darcy answered.
Georgiana looked at her brother intently, but he just shook his head. Elizabeth looked confused.
"It is rather fortunate that you joined us at this time, Georgiana," her brother said. "Lady Ashby has just agreed to help you learn the ways of society so that you may come out in a year or two."
"Thank you Lizzy," Georgiana said with a relieved sigh. "I should very much feel awkward if I was being taught by a stranger."
"It is no trouble Georgiana," Elizabeth said. "You have always been like a sister to me."
"And you to me."
The two girls shared a smile and the small party was soon joined by the Gardiners. They spent the rest of the morning amiably, and shortly after lunch, the party found themselves seated on the terrace. That was when Darcy approached Elizabeth with a question.
"Have you had much time to explore the grounds of Pemberley, Lady Ashby?"
Elizabeth looked up, slightly surprised to have been singled out. "Much to my chagrin, I have not."
"But you must," Darcy said. "I myself am in the need for a walk if you should like to go now."
Elizabeth smiled a bit and said, "I should like that very much. Georgiana, aunt, uncle, would you like to join us."
All three politely declined and Darcy and Elizabeth were soon off on their walk. They headed towards the edge of the lawn and disappeared into the woods.
"How long do you think they'll be in there?" Mr. Gardiner asked.
"That all depends on if they begin to realize that they have much in common," Mrs. Gardiner said. Georgiana just smiled to herself.
Meanwhile, there was little conversation going on between Darcy and Elizabeth. She was admiring the scenery, and Darcy was unknowingly admiring her. The sunlight perfectly reflected off of her stunning brown eyes when she looked upwards. He smiled as her eyes filled with wonder at the beauty around her.
"You have remarkable grounds, Mr. Darcy," Elizabeth said attempting to strike up a conversation. "It is a pity that my relations and I will not have more time to explore them."
Darcy was not expecting this. "Surely you are not leaving so soon?" he asked. "You have only been here a week at least."
"We wish to move onto Matlock sooner than I had predicted," Elizabeth said.
"All of you, or...or just you?" he asked hoarsely.
Elizabeth looked down at the ground.
"Are you displeased with Pemberley?" he asked. Again, she did not respond. He found the answer himself. "You are displeased with me."
"Of course not, Mr. Darcy. Why would you say such a thing?" she said as she stopped in the middle of the path. He stopped as well and turned to her. The sunlight shone off of unshed tears. He watched as she swallowed thickly.
"I saw the look of terror on your face when you found the necklace," he said. "I feel like a fool having hung onto the impossible for so long."
A tear fell down her cheek. Her eyes filled with hurt. "I see Mr. Darcy," she said with an icy tone. "You are a fool for loving me, I understand you completely now." She turned and began walking back to the house.
"That's not what I meant at all!" he called to her. When she did not turn around he ran after her. "Elizabeth!"
She stopped dead in her tracks. The way he said her name had always sent chills down her spine, and it was no different now.
"Please," he said. "I only meant that it was apparent that you had moved on, and I was a fool for ever believing that you would still love me after all these years. Believe me, I have done my fair share of foolish things, but loving you will never be one of them."
Another tear fell down her cheek and she nodded. She believed him. She always believed in him, and she always would.
"I know that...that you no longer care for me," he whispered.
"Why do you keep saying that?" she asked in a hushed voice.
He swallowed and answered, "I have to make myself believe it in some way or other."
It was then that she started fidgeting with her hand. A few moments later, she held up his ring. He stared at it in awe. "But...the chain..."
"It broke on the ship," she said. "I couldn't bear to get a new one because it would not be from you, so I wore the ring in the only other way I could think of."
He couldn't believe it. But it was true. She...she still loved him?
"All these months," he said. "I wasted all these months."
"They were not wasted," Elizabeth said. "We are hardly the same people we were all those years ago. Now we know who we are, and I...I know that I still love you."
He could not speak. He was completely stunned. But he was so completely happy at the same time. He swept her up in a very romantic fashion and kissed her hard on the mouth. She responded with just as much fervor, and when they parted, breathing heavily, Darcy asked, "Please Elizabeth, please tell me that you'll marry me. Make me the happiest man in all of England."
She smiled and nodded. He kissed her forehead and picked up her right hand. He took his ring off of her forefinger and placed in on her ring finger on her left hand. She gasped when she realized.
"You gave me a piece from the family collection?" she asked with wide eyes.
"Only the best for you, my Lizzy."
She smiled at his endearment to her.
Chapter 14 - Epilogue
Posted on Friday, 2 May 2008
10 years later. . .
At noon, Fitzwilliam Darcy, bachelor of Pemberley, could always be found in his usual place: his personal study next to the library. But at noon in the present, Fitzwilliam Darcy, husband of Elizabeth Darcy and father of Bennet, Lillian, Charles, and James Darcy, would never be found in the same place two days in a row. There were times when he was in town, longing for his family. There were times when he was out on the lawn playing with his children, and there were times when he was alone or with his wife in the savored silence.
Presently, his wife was at Longbourn, visiting the Collinses. Her father had passed away two years ago, and Mr. Collins, who possessed no tact whatsoever, demanded that he and his wife and son move in immediately. It took Elizabeth six months before she finally spoke to her cousin again. With her on this trip, was her eldest son, Bennet who was closest to little William in age. The two got on perfectly. William was definitely Charlotte's son, not even looking like his father which is very fortunate for him.
The three younger Darcy children were presently on the grounds with their nurse as they played with the two Bingley children. Their fathers were in Darcy's study next to the library. Darcy was staring out the window at his children, and both men were nursing a glass of port.
"Charles," Darcy said. "How on earth did we have such luck?"
"When did you start believing in luck?" Charles asked his friend with a smile. "You always thought there was a strategy to everything. Nothing happens by chance."
"Nothing but my life," Darcy said sincerely. "We are two rich gentlemen who are supposed to end up with two rich wives and be absolutely miserable with them for the rest of eternity. We are supposed to have affairs and illegitimate children. We are supposed to gossip with the rest of society and look disapprovingly on those who are not so wealthy as us and even those who are but do not come from old money. What happened?"
Charles shrugged. He was one of those supposed people who came from "new money." His father had been in trade, and therefore made his own wealth. Naturally, he was habit to such informal gestures as shrugs. "I cannot say," he admitted. "I cannot imagine life without Jane. I cannot imagine being miserable for the rest of my life. And I cannot imagine you without Lizzy."
Darcy smiled at the mention of his wife. She was everything to him, and their children just heightened his love for her. Their first born son was the epitome of himself, they were identical, but Lillian, their only daughter, was a replica of her mother. They shared the same hair, figure, and haunting brown eyes. Darcy's joy was heightened when their next two sons, twins, were born with the same brown eyes.
"I cannot imagine it either, Charles," Darcy admitted. He kept staring at his children as they played. "How terrible life would be without my family."
"And Georgiana, I believe, feels the same."
"I believe she does." Two years after Darcy and Lizzy were married, Georgiana met and married a young man of respectable wealth and character. He was a very gentle soul, and he suited Georgiana perfectly. Darcy was, at first, hesitant to allow the man to pursue his sister, but after much convincing from his wife, he granted permission, and the two were married three months later. Georgiana now had two children of her own, and she just sent a letter saying she was expecting a third. Darcy was happy for his sister, but there were times when he missed her greatly, and he and his family visited her as often as they could. She and Lizzy were still very close.
"To answer your question, I started to believe in luck the moment I married Elizabeth. There was no strategy there. There could not have been. She would have seen right through it and thrown me out immediately."
Charles just laughed. "That sounds very much like Lizzy."
Yes, Darcy thought. She is a treasure. She is my treasure.