Posted on 2012-06-03
Georgiana Darcy was overjoyed when her brother sent word of his impending marriage to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Her heart had ached for Fitzwilliam's despondency after the lady soundly rejected his suit, and she rejoiced nearly as much as he did when Elizabeth later accepted him. In the new Mrs. Darcy, the siblings would finally have something which had been missing from their lives for many years: joy. Not that the two had been unhappy; in many ways they were very much so, but Elizabeth's joie de vivre transcended their quiet contentment.
The young Miss Darcy loved Elizabeth from their first meeting in Hertfordshire, but it wasn't until she and Fitzwilliam returned from their wedding trip that Georgiana really came to know and appreciate her new sister. Aside from her cheerful disposition, Elizabeth offered sound judgment, an intelligent mind, and gentle compassion. The three of them made a happy family at Pemberley.
The only aspect of Elizabeth which took some time for Georgiana to become accustomed to was the lively, sportive manner in which she spoke with her brother, guardian, and Master of Pemberley. He, who had always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame her affection, she now saw the object of open pleasantry; and what was more, he didn't seem to mind - for the most part, anyway.
But one Sunday afternoon, in the early months of their marriage, Georgiana's curiosity about her new sister's rapport with Fitzwilliam advanced into concern for their connubial felicity as she watched their interactions, with an astonishment bordering on alarm.
Fitzwilliam Darcy was suffering from an acute case of boredom. He, Elizabeth, and Georgiana had returned from services an hour before, and the wintry sky threatened rain. Having abandoned his book, he paced restlessly about the room as the ladies focused on their needlework. Georgiana knew her brother did not take well to a lack of activity; for the past seven years, he had managed a large estate, and addressed the concerns of the hundreds of people under his protection - in addition to all his social obligations - so he was seldom without occupation. But, on this day, estate matters had already been handled, the servants were enjoying a day of rest, and the weather was far from conducive to outdoor pursuits. In short, Fitzwilliam had nothing to do - and his wife found this unusually amusing.
"I now know to what Charles was referring when he declared you to be an awful object of a Sunday evening."
Fitzwilliam stopped his pacing, and glared at his wife.
"Dear husband, do have a care when you unleash that scowl upon your poor sister and wife. It would not do if you were to turn us into stone," she teased as she returned her attention to her sewing.
Georgiana watched, eyes wide with surprise, as her brother responded to his wife's impertinence. The lift of his brow, she thought, clearly indicated his pique; from her vantage point, however, she could not see the slight uplift on the right side of his mouth.
He grunted and continued pacing.
"Oh, for all of our sakes, would you please go for a ride before the skies open?" Elizabeth pleaded, throwing her arms up in feigned exasperation, "I assure you, your beast will have far more compassion for your foul temper than I."
"Indeed," her husband replied tersely, and strode purposefully from the room.
Georgiana was now more than a little concerned. She had expected Elizabeth's liveliness would do Fitzwilliam, and herself, a world of good, but this was too much! In most circumstances, her diffidence would prevent her from saying anything at all, but she loved her new sister far too well to withhold advice which, in her mind, might prevent disharmony in the two people dearest to her. Therefore, she asked, hesitantly, "Elizabeth, why must you tease him?"
Expecting a little contrition, she was surprised to see nothing but mirth on her sister's face.
"How can you smile so? Fitzwilliam was very displeased!"
"Dear Georgiana!" Elizabeth reassured as she squeezed the younger girl's hand, "Do not worry; of course you have known your brother far longer than I, but you must understand that a woman may take liberties with her husband which a brother will not always allow in a sister more than ten years his junior; he does not mind being the object of a joke so much as you might think."
Her smile was warm, her words sincere, and her air confident, but Georgiana was not convinced; she kept this matter to herself, however.
The wait for Fitzwilliam to return seemed interminable, but a glance at the clock confirmed he had been gone for less than an hour, and just as the rain began to fall, he did return, though he had lost none of his severity. Elizabeth bit her lip in amusement at the sight of him stomping about while she continued her work; Georgiana feared for them all.
"Was the exercise successful in exorcizing your ennui, dear?" Her tone was innocent enough, though the intent was anything but.
Georgiana's brother replied with a pithy, "Yes," before quitting the room again.
Elizabeth fought back laughter, as Georgiana fought back tears. How could her sister, intelligent as she was, be so oblivious to Fitzwilliam's disapproval?
At dinner, Georgiana had hoped Elizabeth would ease her teasing manner, but it was not to be.
"Georgiana," said Elizabeth conspiratorially, as she passed the potatoes, "I have come to appreciate the merit of a Monday; would you not agree?" she asked, tossing a saucy look in the direction of her stern husband. He pursed his lips and focused on his food.
Georgiana, in an effort at diplomacy, replied, "Certainly Mondays are lovely, but are not all days?"
"Yes, of course; though as your brother has proven today - excepting the morning celebration of the Lord - none is as dreary as a Sunday."
Fitzwilliam stopped eating and looked at his wife. Georgiana dropped her fork noisily onto her plate.
The name, coming from her brother's lips, sounded to Georgiana, more like a warning than the tender caress she had become accustomed to. She watched, as with a grave face, he leaned in toward his wife and whispered something in her ear; no doubt, an admonition of some sort.
Georgiana then saw Elizabeth blush, duly chastised - she thought. But, rather than appearing penitent, she was - again - biting back a smile. The younger woman was thoroughly perplexed. She had thought much better of her new sister's understanding, and she decided she must have a serious conversation with Elizabeth at the earliest opportunity, however difficult it may be for her to begin the subject.
Later that evening, Georgiana and Elizabeth read quietly, while across the room, Fitzwilliam took out a sheet of paper and began writing a letter. Georgiana saw the mischief in her sister's face before she opened her mouth, and desperately wished she had the quickness of mind to formulate a plan to stop what she now knew was coming.
"And what do you do so secretly, husband?" Elizabeth coyly asked.
There was no reply.
But Elizabeth was not content to leave him be, so she persisted, "Do you need someone to mend your pen, my dear? I mend pens uncommonly well."
Elizabeth then turned to Georgiana, though she spoke for her husband's benefit. "Your brother has no words to spare for me, dear sister, because he is busy searching the far reaches of his mind for words of four syllables. For myself, I should be satisfied with three, but I suppose the missives I write to Longbourn require far less sophistication than Fitzwilliam's odious letters of business," with a sly smile in her husband's direction, she added in a mock whisper, "How grateful I am, then, that they fall to his lot, and not mine."
Poor Georgiana was nearly in a panic as she watched the color rise up her brother's neck. He almost seemed to be trembling with rage. She then looked back to Elizabeth, who was also red, and shaking - but with barely restrained laughter! Her young sister's horrified expression undid Elizabeth, and the laughter spilled over. Fitzwilliam, still bent over his paper, studiously avoided looking at his wife and snorted, in what Georgiana thought was something akin to disgust. She was determined to have that talk with Elizabeth when she could find her alone. To that end, she planned to approach her as they retired for bed, which they would certainly do soon; though perhaps not soon enough, Georgiana thought, as she watched Elizabeth unsuccessfully attempt to regain her composure.
Not half an hour later, Elizabeth announced her intent to retire, and Georgiana hurriedly followed. After quickly attending to her toilette, she walked down the hall to Elizabeth's room. Reaching the door, she took a deep breath, and poised her hand to knock, but before she made the necessary contact, she heard a scream.
Georgiana, alarmed by the shriek which came from within the mistress' room, very nearly opened the door to assist her new sister, but thought better of it when the sound was followed by the low rumble of her brother's laughter.
And then, she heard nothing but silence.
Though she didn't quite understand it, she began to see what Elizabeth had meant when she said that a husband will allow his wife certain liberties; and she was not so naïve to discount the possibility that Fitzwilliam was taking some liberties of his own at that very moment, so she wisely chose to continue her walk towards her own room, alone.
Meanwhile, behind closed doors…
Fitzwilliam Darcy closed the door firmly behind him. He was in search of his impudent wife; she was in need of a sound punishment.
He found her, exactly where he expected she would be. She was sitting in front of the vanity he had chosen for her as a wedding gift, brushing her hair. He stayed very still as he observed her, and he marveled once again at how lovely she was, and how fortunate he was. Perhaps, there were others more classically beautiful than she, but Darcy would never notice them, for here sat the one most precious to him, without ambition or pretention, and she was completely his - what light she had brought to his life! Even if he had been angry earlier for her teasing way, the sentiment would have held no sway over the overwhelming love he felt at this moment.
He stealthily advanced, careful to avoid her notice; and he succeeded, for when he reached her and grabbed her tightly, she screamed girlishly. He could not but laugh at her sheepish expression which followed.
"I did not expect you yet," she said petulantly, by way of explanation, "You should not go about frightening ladies."
Her peevishness melted as he trailed kisses from her collar to her ear, where he stopped to whisper, "I warned you at dinner, you will be made to pay for your bad behavior - and this, my love, is only the beginning." Thus saying, he proceeded to tickle her mercilessly, and she responded in kind.
Elizabeth reveled in these playful attentions; and though she loved this side of her husband dearly, she was not sorry that he mainly reserved it for herself. It felt, to her, as if they had a secret covenant between them. Since their marriage, he had been outwardly more pleasant than when she first met him, but he would never be garrulous, like the Colonel, or gregarious, like Bingley. He had a reputation to uphold, did he not? Fitzwilliam Darcy: The Ticklish Master of Pemberley, does not exactly inspire respect, so Elizabeth kept his secret faithfully.
As often happened between them, the teasing quickly turned to passion; kisses were exchanged, clothing was shed, candles were extinguished, and Elizabeth was soon in her husband's arms, as he carried her to their shared bed.
What went on behind closed doors will now remain there, but this much can be said: two very satisfied lovers, the dreams of each entwined in the arms of the other, slept quite well that night.The End