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In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

March 29, 2019 06:26PM
As is now my unfortunate pattern, it's been a while since my last post, but I'm still writing this story and enjoying it tremendously! I had originally intended a longer chapter here than I have actually posted, but got too excited about sharing it and so here we are!

Chapter Six

When they had reached Darcy’s rooms after stealing down the nearly pitch-black corridor, making as little sound as possible, Darcy opened the door and followed Elizabeth inside. A fire had been laid hours earlier, and its warm glow still pervaded the room, although dimmed somewhat by the passage of the evening hours.

Darcy immediately ensured that the door he had closed behind them was locked, then moved to another door outside Elizabeth’s scope of vision (most likely the one used by his manservant, she reflected) to ensure that it was locked as well. Elizabeth stepped to the center of the small sitting room they had entered, curious to see how his intimate space was appointed. There were books everywhere, but tidily arranged, and the room had a wonderfully masculine sense about it, unlike any room she’d been in before. Through an open interior door across the room, she could see his bedroom was just on the other side.

After satisfying himself that they were as safely secured from unwanted intruders as possible, Darcy returned to her side, and grasping her hand, lead her toward the settee in front of the fire. He sat in one corner, then gently pulled her down to sit close beside, with her back to him so he could gather her against his chest. Sweeping her hair to one side, he placed a kiss on the soft skin under her ear. She sighed contentedly, resting her palm on his knee and relaxing into his body.

“If I had known you would react so favorably to news of my intervention with Bingley,” he said presently, a faint hint of laughter in his voice, “I would have told you about it much sooner.”

She laughed softly and leaned her head back against his shoulder. “I might have guessed you would have done as much after our argument at Hunsford. But I was too preoccupied trying to stifle every feeling I ever had for you to speculate on how you might respond.”

“I am very glad you did not.”

She traced small circles on his knee with her finger tips before reflecting in a quiet voice, “I— I think I have been quite unhappy for some time.”

He stroked her hair and pulled her closer by way of response, waiting silently for her to continue.

“My father’s death was so sudden, so unexpected. I felt quite stunned at first and deeply unsure of what to do. When Mr. Collins renewed his proposals, marriage seemed the only sensible way to keep my family from falling upon the most desperate circumstances. I felt too tired and too detached to imagine what life as his wife would be like, what kind of marriage I was likely to have – my duty to my family was my only consideration. Once I arrived in Hunsford, it was too painful to allow myself to reflect upon those questions, or to second guess my own judgment. It was done.” She sighed heavily. “And then— and then you arrived.”

He sighed too, remembering the intensity of their meeting in Kent, and placed another soft kiss on the place behind her ear.

“Thinking on it now,” she continued, “I suppose you always held a kind of fascination for me— even when I disliked you upon our first acquaintance, I think I knew somewhere within myself that I was drawn to you.”

“I hardly made it easy for you to like me then. I regret now how I conducted myself in Hertfordshire. It is true that I am not usually easy among people I have never met before, but I allowed my natural reserve to be influenced by the snobbishness of the Bingley sisters, and to take on a kind of disdain born of my own discomfort.”

She smiled fondly at him. “Well, I hardly gave you the benefit of the doubt, did I? And when you came to Kent, your manners were so different. Suddenly you were understanding, and so kind. I was surprised to discover how quickly I began to feel easy with you, as if we’d known each other all our lives.”

Darcy smiled at the charming thought of growing up with her and wove his fingers through hers. “I would have liked to have known you as a girl. I’m sure you were at least as energetic and mischievous as any of my young companions. And you know, I was not always so very dour and serious as you find me now.”

Elizabeth laughed softly at the image of a sullen and taciturn young Darcy which this comment conjured in her head. “No, no, I am sure you were as provoking a young lad as any in the county. An abject terror.”

He lifted his eyebrows jokingly as if to acknowledge the truth of this conjecture, and Elizabeth’s laughter redoubled. Darcy could not help himself at this provocation—his fingers slipped under her arms and found her ribs, which he then squeezed and prodded until her peels of laughter reached such a pitch that at its height they both froze, still laughing under their breath, for fear of waking the entire house.

“Mr. Darcy, take care!” Elizabeth whispered to him, a playful spark in her eyes. “We will wake everyone under your roof from Lady Catherine to the lowliest scullery maid!”

“First of all,” he said, kissing the line of her jaw and then her throat, “I’ll have no more of these formalities when we are alone. You must call me William, as my family do. And secondly,” he paused again to kiss her mouth, “the nearest bedroom is Georgiana’s four doors down the hall, and she, being young and healthy, is a very sound sleeper. As for the servants, they ought all to be in bed long ago now.”

“That may be so, William” agreed Elizabeth, smiling impishly, enjoying the intimacy of his Christian name on her lips, “but I wouldn’t be the least surprised to find Miss Bingley roaming the halls of Pemberley at night, planning her improvements for the glorious day when she claims at last the coveted prize of becoming its mistress.”

She had intended this little quip as a joke, but his expression darkened, and in a serious tone he replied, “Miss Bingley will never be mistress here. And nor will anybody else but the woman I love.”

Elizabeth felt her heart tighten, and tears once more threatening to fill her eyes. She turned her body toward him and slid one hand over the faint stubble on his cheek. Gently, she pulled his face to hers, and they fell to kissing each other desperately again, as if for a brief few moments they had forgotten the nature of their situation and escaped for a while into a fantasy where there were no obstacles to keep them apart.

Between breathless kisses she whispered to him, “oh my love if only that could be so. But I am another man’s wife.”

Darcy rested his forehead against hers and sighed his frustration. “God, I know it only too well.” He sat up, raked a hand impatiently through his hair, and sighed again. He met her eyes again and said, “I don’t mind telling you that I can’t bear even the thought of that oaf so much as putting a hand on you.”

Elizabeth was quiet for a long moment, her breathing still heavy from their embraces, looking back at him intently. “He hasn’t.”

At first, Darcy did not understand her meaning. “He hasn’t what – touched you?”

She took a deep breath, which caught a little in her throat. When she spoke, her voice was very low and quiet. “My marriage is unconsummated.”

He stared back at her in amazement. “Unconsummated?”


“You’ve never—?”

“No, never.”

Darcy heard the blood rushing through his ears. “But you’ve been married these many months…?”

Elizabeth’s cheeks were now burning, but she wished for no secrets between them. “Before we married, I sought Mr. Collins’s promise that he would not ask to know me as his wife until my mourning for my father was over. He reluctantly agreed, and has kept his promise, although of late I have had some difficulty continuing to persuade him to continue to do so.”

“I see,” he replied, still stunned by her revelation.

She sighed heavily. “In truth, I do not know whether I shall ever feel equal to the task of my duty in that regard. Perhaps I should be ashamed, but even the thought of it is still abhorrent to me.”

This remark brought Darcy somewhere nearer his senses. He considered his words carefully, keenly aware of both the extremely delicate topic and his own near desperation to know her mind on the matter. He began hesitantly, “Is it your duty to Collins himself that is abhorrent to you, or perhaps . . . is it the marriage bed itself . . . ?”

Elizabeth, knowing exactly what he was really asking, met his eyes, just inches from hers, and held them intently. Though she had much to lose, the knowledge of just how precarious was this chance at their mutual happiness emboldened her to complete honesty.

Without looking away, she replied, “I should feel no such reluctance if you were my husband.”

This was too much for Darcy. He let out the breath he did not know he had been holding in a great sigh. “Good god,” he muttered, sliding his hands into her hair at the nape of her neck and pulling her into a kiss of more unreserved passion than he had previously allowed himself. Elizabeth was intoxicated, opening her mouth against his and pressing her body into his caresses, running her own fingers through his hair, down his neck, and across his chest.

Before either of them knew how, they were stretched out together on the settee, Elizabeth on her back and Darcy above her. A passionate sigh escaped Elizabeth’s throat and partially started Darcy back to reality. He groaned half in frustration, half in desire, and rested his head briefly on her chest, hearing her heart hammering beneath his ear. “Oh my love. You will have to tell me when to stop. For if we go much farther, I do not think I can stop myself.” He lifted his head so he could meet her eyes. “But a word from you, at any moment, and I’ll obey.”

Elizabeth looked up into his beloved face, taking it between her hands. At some unknown point between declaring her love for him downstairs and being here with him now, she had quietly, but firmly, come to a decision. “I want us to belong to each other.”

“You’re sure?”


They looked into each other’s eyes for a long moment, both searching for any hint of doubt in the other. There was none to be found. Darcy rose from the couch and silently offered her his hand.


In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

RoslynMarch 29, 2019 06:26PM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

KathyLSeptember 12, 2019 04:36AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

GeneJuly 03, 2019 09:28AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6 (nfm)

deBurcaApril 19, 2019 02:06PM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

AlidaApril 01, 2019 12:19AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

AlidaApril 01, 2019 12:19AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

Margaret FApril 03, 2019 04:16PM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

AlidaApril 05, 2019 06:44AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

JubelleApril 05, 2019 05:49PM

Re: Thank you! (nfm)

AlidaApril 06, 2019 01:51AM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

Margaret FApril 03, 2019 04:21PM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

Lucy J.March 30, 2019 05:27PM

Re: In a Prudential Light, Part 2 Chapter 6

RoslynAugust 13, 2019 08:17PM


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