The Enchantress: Part One
Posted on Friday, 20 June 2008
She flashed her unmatched, well-practiced smile that showed her perfectly straight, glowing white teeth. In her bitter heart, she knew that it was time. It was time for the kill. She knew she had him hooked, and she was ready to reel him in. Her dark gaze never faltered. She can absolutely never, ever falter; she must succeed, every time she must succeed. Failure was not an option. She almost laughed outright, "Failure is impossible for me," she thought.
She leaned in, very, very carefully, and whispered in her prey's ear, so that only he could hear her. "Come with me," she summoned, her smooth lips brushing softly against his ear.
It was just enough to send icy shivers down his spine, his body shook with desire; goose bumps rose on his arm. Her delicate hand briefly touched his thigh as she stood from her seat. As she was gliding from the room, she took one last glance over her translucent, white shoulders, arching her brow; she was challenging him. Provocatively. Seductively.
He stands, his breath is coming in short, quick pants which betrayed his desire. His entire body yearned for her. He wanted her, unlike anything he had ever wanted before in his life...he was mesmerized...and he followed her. No second thoughts. He had decided.
She heard his desperate panting for her, as she led him silently from the room, the rest of the company did not even notice their departure. She smirked knowingly. These humans and their lust, she thinks, choking back her laughter.
She hears everything. She sees everything. She can do anything.
She feels nothing.
Chapter One: An Unexpected Encounter
When Miss Mary Dawson, who belonged to one of the wealthier families in Meryton, traveled to Bath with her aunt and uncle and came back, married to a butcher's son, you cannot possibly imagine what the family's reaction was to the situation. She was given the choice to annul the marriage, or leave and never come back, and be forever forgotten by said family. As a woman so violently in love can be expected to do, she chose love over her family (or her family's wealth and protection, rather). She was forever forgotten and forever shunned. Meryton talked of Miss Mary Dawson and her blunder for countless months.
Given the town's excitable nature, as already easily determined from this piece of information, you can guess how Meryton would react when a handsome young gentleman of four thousand a year at least was rumoured to be settling on his own estate there. Every husband-hunting mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and cousin was abuzz with this latest bit of gossip.
One family in particular, a family by the name of Bennet, was all in an uproar. The entire household, aside from the three sensible members of that particular family were dashing about the house with anticipation; ribbons, gowns, lace, fabric, and (Mr Bennet's favorite) undergarments, flying this way and that. You recall those members whom I mentioned that had a bit of common sense? If you aren't acquainted with the Bennet family, then you must know for the sake of this tale that I was referring to the two eldest sisters, Jane and Elizabeth, and their father Mr Bennet.
During all this mayhem, Jane chose to keep to her room, whilst Elizabeth, younger by a few years, and not yet one-and-twenty, made an attempt to quiet her younger sisters...and her mother.
Of course, it was no use for Elizabeth to even try, on account of Mrs Bennet's invariably harassing her husband to pay a call upon their new neighbors (you remember, the young gentleman I mentioned with the small fortune), who conveniently chose an estate called Netherfield, that was not five miles from the Bennet home, Longbourn.
Mr Bennet, clever, amusing man that he was, teased his wife by refusing to call upon these charming neighbors, when he actually already had paid the visit. He learned all about said neighbors during this call, for he was loathe to forego the opportunity, being a great judger of character, as his favorite daughter; his dark-haired, stubborn, willful Lizzy.
The man, known by his friends as Mr Charles Bingley, was a gentleman of three-and-twenty years, who had two sisters. The youngest, Caroline, and the other, Mrs Louisa Hurst, married to a Mr Hurst, who, by the looks of him, clearly enjoyed food and port more than anything else.
Mr Bennet learned that this was the party that had traveled with Mr Bingley to the quaint little village of Meryton. Along with this merry little group was Bingley's closest friend, a Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, of Pemberley in Derbyshire. His dark and brooding stare could make any woman melt in her slippers, Mr Bennet was sure, especially his silly daughters. In contrast to his friend, Bingley was a more...amusing kind of gentleman. He was more apt to laugh with you, talk with you, and perhaps even dance a set or two. He was indeed very amiable, and, to Mr Bennet's unexpected delight, just like his Jane. Mr Darcy was his friend's complete opposite...at least, that is what you would think at a glance. However, there was much, much more to this Mr Darcy; merely glancing at him and assuming he was proud and arrogant would certainly not do him justice. However, most do not know this, Mr Bennet guessed; they almost certainly rely on merely glancing at Mr Darcy's surface. Mr Bennet presumed him to be a great lover of books, much like himself. He would soon learn that he was right. They did, in fact, have numerous things in common. That, Mr Bennet knew for a fact.
When Lizzy made the choice of escaping the havoc in her household to her much preferred walking path that lead to Oakham Mount (which has a beautiful view, might I add), she was finally free; she could breathe, for she had removed her corset before setting out, and chose a simple, white gown made of cotton that was cut a little low, just above her breasts. It was much unlike anything she would wear around company, but today, she wanted to escape; today, she did not care. She did not expect to be meeting anyone along the way, in any case. She was plagued with fatigue and frustration, with a splitting headache that could make even the toughest of men scream with pain. Her frustration, though, was just enough to get her mind off of the pain: frustration with her sisters for acting silly and foolish, but most annoyingly, frustration with her mother, who, much to Elizabeth's chagrin, encouraged their behaviour. With her favorite novel in hand, and a navy blue ribbon tied around her tiny waist, fluttering in the wake of her, she twirled about, tipping her face upward to the sky. It was going to be a beautiful day. These thoughts made her laugh, carefree and ignorant of the rest of the world; laugh like she had never laughed before. She laughed at her family's silliness, at her mother's ridiculousness; she laughed at everything. It was enough to make her headache disappear. Today, she would forget. She would walk to her favorite spot and read. She would read and completely forget about everything. Knowing in her heart that the sun would soon be rising, she ran, laughing as she did.
And that is when she saw him.
Chapter Two: First Impressions
He was sitting upon an old log, intent on watching the sun rise. For once in his life, he did not want to be vexed about anything. He was weary of Miss Bingley, and her endless attempts to flirt with him. It was revolting. He was frequently forced to go along with her, however. Just so she will shut her trap, he thought rather harshly, but it did her justice.
"Hah!" He laughed to himself at the thought of her as Mistress of Pemberley, and then shook his head, completely repulsed by the thought.
He heard her before he saw her. That laughter; it was a beautiful, infectious laughter, unlike anything he had ever heard before. He turned about, his brow creased, as he saw a young woman in an angelic-like pure white gown, with dark brown curls which were arranged into a messy manner. The unruly curls seemed to fall perfectly about her heart-shaped face. She had striking bright green eyes, shining from the exercise; her cheeks were flushed a rather becoming shade of pink with embarrassment at their unexpected encounter. She opened her mouth several times, as if to speak, and then shut it, apparently at a loss for words, her eyes trained down at the ground.
The gentleman stood, "Forgive me, madam," his deep, powerful voice caused her heart to flutter, and her knees to shake uncontrollably. He did not notice her unspoken attraction.
"Forgive me, I-I did not mean to startle you." He paused, twirling his hat in his hands, "I had thought myself to be quite alone." His grey-blue eyes gently studied her, waiting for her reaction.
She gathered her wits, summoning all her courage to speak, "I-It is quite all right, I assure you, sir," her voice trembled slightly at the end. She straightened herself, still very aware of her attire, and arched her brow, "I am sorry to have dist-"
"Fitzwilliam Darcy," he interrupted, stepping forward, bowing deep, his eyes never leaving her own, "of Pemberley in Derbyshire."
She raised her eyebrows at his forwardness, opening her mouth, then shutting it.
He arched his brow, cocking his head slightly, awaiting her reply.
"It is my utmost pleasure to become acquainted with you, Mr Darcy," she curtsied elegantly, her head bowed, the hint of a smile apparent upon her flushed face.
She turned and began gliding away from him, leaving Mr Darcy completely bewildered. Should he call after her? He took one step forward, just as she began to disappear from his view. She glanced at him from over her shoulder as she continued on, a satisfied smile upon her lips. His heart skipped a beat and he sighed, utterly mesmerized by a tempting pair of very fine eyes. When she was gone from his view, he brought himself out of his reverie, shaking his head at what a foolish man he truly was.
Chapter Three: Beautiful Faces and Discomforting Situations
The next night, there was to be an assembly; one that every young girl and mother dressed for with such careful patience. The Bennets and their five daughters spent the entire day preparing for the anxiously awaited for assembly; each dressing with particular care at the constant urging of Mrs Bennet.
Much to Mr Bennet's delight, the entire party was at last done squabbling and bickering, and were finally dressed and coiffed.
At this particular moment, Elizabeth's heart was quivering with either excitement or nervousness, she wasn't really sure which. She also was not absolutely sure on why she should be either of the particulars. When she had been handed from the carriage, and was finally inside the somewhat crowded and dim room, her eyes did a frantic search about the room. Her mind had been occupied with thoughts of Mr Darcy since they'd had their somewhat embarrassing, and for him, perplexing, first encounter. He was, by far, the most handsome man she had ever seen, and probably the most handsome man she would, indeed, ever see.
And that is when she saw him.
He saw her before her fine eyes had found him. "Oh, God, it's her," he breathed.
His breath caught in his throat, as he again was struck, and this time hard, by her untamable, wild beauty. Her eyes glistened as she took in everything around her, desperately searching for something. And when her eyes found his, he could not take them away. He could not help from smiling, and much to his pleasure, neither could she. Their gaze never breaking, she began biting her lip, struggling to hold back laughter. His smile widened, his desire to know her name deepening.
Darcy turned, conscious of his staring (but, might I add, not conscious of the wide, and somewhat goofy, grin upon his handsome face) to find Mr Bennet, with a rueful smile about his lips, "Mr Bennet, forgive me, sir. How-how are you this evening?" Darcy blushed, as Mr Bennet smiled, looking to the source of his admiration. Darcy had first become acquainted with said gentleman when he had paid a call to Bingley. He seemed to Darcy a very wise, amusing, and kind sort of gentleman. He liked him very much, and therefore was excessively mortified to have been caught in his apparent awe of the dazzling beauty.
"I am very well, and I thank you, Mr Darcy."
And they began to talk Shakespeare, which was Darcy's particular favorite. That is, until an older woman, Mr Bennet's wife, he presumed, began waving her hands wildly about her from across the room, frantically attempting to gain her husband's attention.
Mr Bennet let out an exasperated sigh, "If you will please excuse me, Mr Darcy, I must attend to my wife, before, God help her, she wallops someone in the head," Darcy bowed his head, then could not help but laugh shortly when he had gone. Then, as if by instinct, his eyes darted about the room. Where is she? His brow furrowed, as he could not see her anywhere. Perhaps she went outside for some fresh air? Oh, God man! You're becoming obsessed. Honestly, get a hold of yourself! I presume you probably imagined the whole encounter!
"No," he breathed. He knew in his heart that this woman was real. He could not have imagined her, as he had seen her speak to a few of her friends while he was conversing with Mr Bennet, for he could not keep his eyes off of her for more than three minutes, at least.
"Darcy," He heard Bingley's voice, but his thoughts and his mind were both in too deep with visions of the fine eyed beauty.
He closed his eyes, recollecting the way she had blushed so prettily when she had happened upon him.
She was a riddle, though, indeed. Why had she not told him her name? Perhaps, he thought, she had thought the situation was too improper?
His eyes snapped open, to find Bingley standing beside him, looking at him expectantly, "F-Forgive me, Bingley. I-I was,"
He laughed, "Not at all, old friend!" He laughed again, "Can you believe it? Have you seen the fair-haired beauty? Just over there? My God, she is an angel sent from heaven! I believe that is the elder Miss Bennet..."
Darcy looked to his friend, his mind occupied elsewhere...He searched the room and found her, conversing animatedly with ‘the faired-haired angel'. He stared, his eyes admiring her figure. His mind was brought back to that morning in the woods, remembering her enticing attire. Who are you? He thought, and why am I so hopelessly attracted to you? As Bingley rambled on he watched, as Mr Bennet approached and spoke to her. She nodded, and then silently followed him, her head ducked down. Mr Bennet appeared to be walking in his direction, much to his dismay. Could he possibly be acquainted with her?
Mr Bingley smiled, "Mr Bennet! A pleasure to see you again, sir. As you already know, this is my friend, Mr Darcy, of Pemberley in Derbyshire," He smiled genuinely.
Mr Darcy kept his eyes on the floor, "My pleasure again, sir," Mr Darcy bowed, keeping his eyes on the floor as he spoke.
"Ah, good evening to you gentlemen. Might I introduce my two eldest daughters?"
God in heaven! He almost fainted at this revelation. Mr Bennet's daughter! And the gentleman had caught him staring at his own daughter, and said not a word! Blast! Lord, what a fool I am! Mr Darcy was absolutely mortified. Darcy's eyes slowly and nervously raised to study her. To his surprise and pleasure, her eyes were fixed solely upon him, dancing so very enticingly.
"Jane the oldest," said Mr Bennet. She was tall, and, unlike her sister, her beauty was a more fashionable one given the desires of society, "and Elizabeth, my next second eldest." She dipped slowly; elegantly.
The gentlemen bowed, "It is a pleasure, indeed!" Mr Bingley then introduced himself, stating, yet again, what an immense pleasure it was to make the acquaintance.
"Mr Bingley, I do believe that your Netherfield is not but five miles from our Longbourn," Mr Bennet smiled, throwing in a quick sideways glance at Lizzy, "A very easy walking distance, to be sure."
"Is that so? No, I did not know it, sir. Perhaps, then, we may become more acquainted with each other." Mr Bingley could not keep his eyes away from Miss Bennet and her shy smiles, "Miss Bennet, might I be so bold as to request the honor of dancing the next set with you? If you are not otherwise engaged...?"
She blushed, smiling prettily, "I am not otherwise engaged,"
"Well, then," he said, the final chords ringing in their ears was his cue to take her arm, "Shall we?" She nodded and took his arm to find their place upon the dance floor.
Mr Bennet glanced at the pair in front of him, a smile playing about his lips, "If you will excuse me, Mr Darcy. I believe I see my wife calling for my attention, yet again." Elizabeth's eyes grew wide, He is surely jesting! He is leaving her alone with this man? She had been astounded at his forwardness in the woods, and now shocked at his apparent politeness, and familiarity with her father. "Lizzy," he smiled, once more, and then left the pair to themselves much to Elizabeth's chagrin.
Her heart was thumping so loudly, that she was sure Mr Darcy could hear it. She looked to the latter, inclining her head slightly, and arching her brow as she did.
"Miss Elizabeth," he said; his deep voice barely audible, almost as if to himself. Elizabeth...Yes, it fits perfectly. How could I not have seen it before?
"Yes," she breathed; her mind in a complete muddle. What was it about this Mr Darcy that caught her completely off her guard? She usually did not react in this way. And even if she was interested in men, she especially never gave in as easily as she was now.
He smiled slightly, "Do you enjoy dancing?"
"I-I..." she was at an apparent loss for words, yet she tried her best to recover herself. Oh, la, Lizzy! What on God's green earth is wrong with you? For heaven's sake, pull yourself together, you silly girl. She straightened herself to her full height, "I suppose, Mr Darcy that the appropriate answer to your question would have to be that I do enjoy dancing; if I am particularly acquainted with my partner, that is to say. I thank you for asking, sir, though I am afraid now I am forced to ask your opinion on the matter," She arched her brow, cocking her head slightly.
Good God, what do you expect me to make of that? "Well, Miss Elizabeth, I suppose that the appropriate answer to your question must be that I in fact do not enjoy dancing."
Her brows furrowed; her mouth opening in shock. What can he mean? She was annoyingly bewildered, to be sure.
He pursed his lips and his face turned very serious, "Unless, of course, that I am particularly acquainted with my partner." The corners of his mouth threatened to turn up into a smile at her vexation, "Then, Miss Elizabeth, I would take immense pleasure in dancing." His mouth twitched.
She truly did not know what to say! Her breathing was becoming somewhat laboured. What was it about this man that got to her so easily?
"Would you do me the honor Miss Elizabeth?" He whispered, leaning in closer to her. He slowly inhaled her intoxicating scent of sweet lavender, his eyes slightly fluttering, which she noticed.
Ah, I see. Well, do not think that I am going to give in that easily, Mr Darcy. You impertinent, imposing...
She forged a pensive look, creasing her brow, "Oh dear, sir. I am afraid that I do not know how to perfectly answer your question. You see, I am a very stubborn person. I cannot dance with someone, if I am not on familiar terms with them. Also, I am very particular; I must first observe them at work. For all I know, Mr Darcy, you could be a horrid dancer, who might frequently step upon my toes, forever ruining my new slippers." She replied, challengingly.
He almost laughed out loud at her alluring voice, "Well then," He fixed his eyes upon her dancing ones, utterly and completely lost, "I suppose you shall have to be forced to find out on your own, Miss Elizabeth."
When she was finished with her hunt, she slowly traced her tongue across her blood stained lips, "Delicious," she hisses. She was immensely pleased this time. Yes, she thought, this one was such fun; there was great struggle this time. Her pulse was still racing from the thrill of watching her prey's eyes grow wide with fear. She smirked, her now pointed teeth shining in the moonlight, as she recalled his desperate cries. Oh how she loved it when they begged. She pulled her cloak over her head, and began to make her escape, running into the night. She was fast; the shadowy woods blurred past her; time was wasting...and there were many more to kill.
Chapter Four: The Scent of Her
Posted on 2008-07-01
Mr Darcy, not giving Elizabeth the time to speak, bowed, and then held out his hand, offering her to take it.
With no second thoughts, she gradually lifted her hand up into his much larger one. He gently took it, their bare hands touching, creating an electric shock that sent shivers down their spines. Elizabeth faintly jolted, wondering if he had felt it too. She looked into his deep blue-grey eyes, and knew that he had. They stood thus, her hand resting in his, for what seemed like an eternity, when clapping to the final chords of the dance forced them out of their enchantment. He tried, unsuccessfully to control his wildly beating heart, as he tenderly looped her arm through his, guiding her to their spots upon the floor.
There was more than one eye in the room fixed upon the interesting couple. Their bodies moved rhythmically; outright perfectly together. It was amazing. It was enchanting. It was sheer magic. Elizabeth, and her partner, had never experienced anything like it. There was an unseen gravitational pull between them; they both felt it. They did not speak; though, in magical moments such as these, there is no need for words. And each time their hands would make contact, they both felt that unsurpassable rush of energy, electricity...of desire.
As she swiftly made her way through the twilight, the cool wind rushing past her, she saw him in her mind. "Perrrfect," she smirked. He was unsurpassable, ideal in every way...ideal for her. She saw his vulnerabilities...his weaknesses. She knew exactly how to get to him.
Her. She carefully planned out her next move; confident that everything would be worth it.. Her pulse was pounding in her ears with stimulation.
Pulsating with the thrill for the next hunt.
That night, when Elizabeth was finally safe in bed and under the coverlet, she thought of Mr Darcy, the heat rising to her cheeks. She knew nothing about him, yet she could not help the feelings which were taking over her. She had never felt this way, therefore was a bit reluctant to these newfound feelings. Yet she knew in her heart that it was right. Elizabeth wanted to know everything about him; she wanted to know him. What were his likes and dislikes? Did he have any brothers or sisters? Did he prefer Shakespeare to Byron? A peaceful smile lit up her face, as she slowly closed her eyes for a much needed sleep. There would be time for that. If God willed it, there would be time.
Darcy sighed, gazing out his window into the night. During the twenty five years of his life, he had never encountered anyone half as enchanting as she...no one half as striking. He knew that his feelings for her were beginning to deepen into something more than interest, which was either good or bad... he had no idea. When he had stared into those bright green eyes, he knew in his heart that she was real, that this wasn't a dream...or something worse. His stomach turned over at the thought.
He blew out the candle and sat upon the edge of his bed, staring blankly into the darkness, running his hands through his dark, unruly hair. His eyes fluttered, softly closing at his remembrance of the way they'd moved together when they had danced. This was real...
It must be...
Several after the assembly, Mrs Bennet could still talk of nothing more. "Oh! And that Mr Bingley! He danced twice, at least, with my dear Jane!" Mrs Bennet placed her hand over her heart, as if she was about to suffer from a heart attack. "And Mr Darcy-what a fine gentleman!-danced with no one else but my darling Lizzy! Ten thousand pounds a year, oh la! Can you believe what good fortune we have! Oh, Mr Bennet! I fear I shall faint!"
Mr Bennet's eyes looked at his silly wife from atop his morning paper, "Now, now, dear. That would not be very wise, would it? You would surely not want to be forced to wash preserve from your face now would you, my dear?" he focused his attention back upon his paper, leaving his daughters in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
"Ohh Mr Bennet, why do you tease me so? Have you no compassion on my poor nerves!"
"I daresay, my dear, that I have the highest respect for them. They have been my constant companion, these twenty years or so."
Mrs Bennet shrieked, mentioning something or other that referred to her nerves, got up from the table and claimed to be "In no position to be tortured so by her ungrateful family."
Elizabeth shared a secret smile with her father. Her gaze drifted behind him to the view into the gardens. Since the assembly, much to Elizabeth's consternation, it had been raining and she had not had been able to enjoy her walks as she so often did. Due to the gloomy weather, Lizzy had been very anxious and melancholy. She'd sit down for no more than five minutes, then jump abruptly to her feet and pace to and fro about the house... much to her family's annoyance.
That very morning soon after Mrs Bennet had departed from the breakfast table, a letter arrived from Miss Bingley. She had expressed her wish for Elizabeth and Jane to dine with her and her sister that afternoon at Netherfield.
Elizabeth creased her brow; she had been introduced to Miss Bingley later into the night, but she did not think that she had made an impression upon her. Elizabeth did not even like Miss Bingley or her sister for that matter. Those who pranced about so high and mighty with their large noses stuck in the air frankly did not appeal to her.
Mrs Bennet was screeching with delight, "Oh, Mr Bennet! Can you believe it--?"
"Can we take the carriage, papa?" Jane looked to her father expectantly.
"The carriage? I daresay you will not! No, no...you shall go on horseback." Said Mrs Bennet, defiantly.
"Horseback?!" Elizabeth and Jane cried in unison.
They had only been given one horse, which Lizzy had declared she would not share with Jane. It was not as if she was being a spoilt child, and wanted a horse of her own. But, rather, she was terrified of riding horses, and had been ever since she was a little girl.
"Jane, you take the horse, and I shall follow beside you on foot."
"Are you certain, Lizzy? It looks as if it shall rain again. Your dress will be soiled and ruined."
"I am confident and have completely decided upon the matter; as for my gown, you know that I do not care about that." She smiled, patting the beautiful white mare on the back.
Around five minutes after this conversation took place, rain had begun to fall quite heavily. Elizabeth struggled to see ahead of her, through the terrible wrath of the storm. Her gown was soaked through, and stuck most uncomfortably to her skin, which made it very difficult to walk.
She bent down, picking up the hem of her gown and gathering it up in her hands, "Jane, do not let my pace slow you down; go ahead! I do not think that I can continue any further upon foot! I shall find some shelter, perhaps a nearby tree!" She shouted over the strong gale. Jane turned her head over her shoulder to give her sister a look of incredulousness, "Jane, I shall be fine, I promise you, and shall continue on my way when this dies down somewhat! Now, go, Jane, I do not want you to catch cold!" Elizabeth gave her sister a look that said she would have no protests about it.
"Do not go far, Lizzy! I shall ask Miss Bingley to fetch some servants to come and find you as soon as I arrive!" She kicked the side of the steed and went on ahead of Lizzy in a swift, determined pace.
Lizzy wiped her eyes and face, putting her hands to cover her eyes so that she might see somewhere to take cover for the time being. She remembered from her previous walks that there should be an abandoned hut somewhere near. Lizzy continued upon her way and almost shouted with glee when she discovered it!
At long last, she was inside and safe. She gazed at her surroundings; there were a few chairs, a bed, and a few rags scattered here and there. She collapsed in one of the chairs, and rubbed her aching back. She pulled her knees up to her chest, rocking back and forth, making some attempt to warm herself. Her body was visibly shaking with an icy chill that spread through her entire body.
Jane arrived at Netherfield, some fifteen minutes later, and was greeted by a shocked Mr Bingley.
"Miss Bennet! Why, you have not been riding in the-"
"Yes, Mr Bingley I have! You must go after Lizzy now she is terrified of horses and would not ride with me, stating that she would rather follow on foot. The storm became much, much worse, and she was afraid I would catch cold so she told me to go on ahead of her, assuring me that she would find some shelter until the storm passed!"
Just then, Mr Darcy strode into the hall, "Miss Bennet!" His eyes widened in disbelief at the sight of her, "Surely you have not-"
Jane huffed with increased impatience, and tore her pale blue bonnet from her fair head, "Yes, Mr Darcy, I have been riding in the rain due to my mother's insistence." She took in a deep breath, "She is petrified of horses, and will not ride, not even with me, and declared she would go on foot, instead. Lizzy became positively drenched, and frustrated with the storm, and then told me to go on ahead of her and that she would find some shelter." Her shoulders slumped, and her eyes drooped. Men!
"Slow down, slow down, Miss Bennet. It is quite alright, I assure you." Mr Bingley took her delicate hands within his, "I promise you, we will get your sister back safe and sound. I shall go get as many servants as I can find to-"
"I will bring her back." Mr Darcy's jaw was set at his apparent determination. His brow was furrowed in deep concern for Miss Elizabeth. At his tone, Bingley and Miss Bennet knew he was not a man to be trifled with. And they knew that Mr Darcy would bring her back. Safe and unharmed.
The rain had not ceased. It had gotten lighter, but not ceased. Mr Darcy had left immediately, not even bothering to put on his hat and coat. He cared not; all of his thoughts, all of his emotions were turned toward Elizabeth. He snapped the reins impatiently, racing to get to her; he knew exactly where she would be. She was an intelligent woman, and knew Hertfordshire very well. His clothes were saturated through with the cold rainfall, his body quivering from the icy chill of the blustery weather. His mind did not register his discomfort. All he knew was that Elizabeth could be in danger, and he had to find her...as soon as possible.
Elizabeth's breath was coming in quick pants, her body shaking uncontrollably from cold. Her mind began to wonder, as all thoughts of reality drifted away. Try as she might, her eyes would not remain open, and she succumbed to the mesmerizing waves of sleep...
He found her sprawled out upon the cold, putrid, filthy floor of the old cottage. His heart dropped, "Oh, God," he whispered, "Elizabeth?" He turned her over, gathering her gently into his arms. Her eyes were closed; her body was limp with his arms. He affectionately cradled her head, tangling his hand within her soft, dark curls that were loosely falling about her. "Elizabeth..." he shook her gently, attempting to arouse her, "Elizabeth," he shook her lightly, yet again. She would not stir. His heart pounded incessantly in his ears. What should he do? She had only fainted, he knew, from the cold and exhaustion. Her yellow gown was sopping, spread out very unladylike around her...
Alluringly around her...
He brushed a stray hair from her face, "Elizabeth..." he whispered, leaning over to bury his face in her curls. He breathed in the intoxicating scent of her, "Elizabeth," He lifted his face, and brought his lips to hover delightfully over hers.
I wonder if they will feel as soft as they appear...
"Mmm," She stirred, her eyes fluttered open to find herself within Mr Darcy's strong arms, his lips teasingly inches from her own.
"Elizabeth," He gazed into her eyes, captivated, "Are you-are you unwell?"
Her breathing became somewhat laboured, "I-I," Her gaze flickered down from his entrancing, brooding eyes, to his lips. She had never in her life felt vulnerable, but she knew that now, if ever, she was more vulnerable than she probably ever would be. And she knew he was, too.To Be Continued . . .