Posted on 2013-10-05
He was always so... polite. So endlessly and unfailingly, scrupulously polite. She felt his eyes on her whenever she looked away, and sometimes she glimpsed a glance of molten yearning, but in all their interactions he remained calm, courteous and odiously polite.
The morning came when she could bear it not one moment longer. They were alone on a path in the woods, Jane and Bingley far behind them somewhere. They had been discussing Goethe with some spirit and flow, and his countenance had gained an unusual level of animation, but still he kept his hands firmly clasped behind his back, and when they paused and their gazes met, she saw the conscientious change--the brief look away, the cleared throat, and when he looked back, the same civil, pleasant and careful expression.
"Forgive me," he began, "I ought to--"
She turned and walked away, quickly, wanting to gather her own composure and courage. Mr. Darcy broke off in surprise. He stayed where he was, watching her, as she formed her desperate resolution and turned to him. His gaze on her was largely inscrutable, but she thought he looked puzzled, and perhaps a little alarmed.
She twisted her gloved fingers together, then forced herself to relax their grip a bit as she came to stand in front of him. "Mr. Darcy," she said, "you must forgive me my forwardness, but I believe that I stand here as a woman who has nothing to lose. In plain terms then, though you have not asked, I will tell you that I love you." Ardently love and admire you had crossed her mind, but she did not wish him to think her flippant, or believe that she was mocking him. "It came upon me gradually, but I have been quite certain for some weeks. The things I once believed about you--the things I felt about you--are now so far gone that I can hardly recall them, and always with pain. You are the best man I have ever known, and--" she drew a last breath, "and I love you."
For one long moment nothing moved amid the trees. Darcy's eyes, wide, startled, dark, seemed almost blank. Elizabeth felt her heart fall. She had been so entirely certain that she was saying what he most wished to hear--that he would respond swiftly and--
All other thought disappeared as she found herself in his arms, crushed tight, his mouth on hers. Darcy kissed her with breathless urgency, with desperation almost, his hands clutching her: her waist, back, shoulders, face. His hat lay disregarded on the ground as he held her head and plied her with kisses until she thought she might faint. Then he gathered her close again, tossed aside her bonnet without asking, and said things which made her blush and tremble before kissing her all over again.
It was not at all polite.The End