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Timing is Everything - Chapter 14

June 07, 2019 08:12PM
AN: One of these days I will realize that it always takes me longer to reach the ending than I anticipate. I'm not finishing this week, but here is the next chapter. I plan to bring everything to a close soon. Thanks for reading!

Timing is Everything

Chapter 14

Elizabeth had not realized how tense she was until Mr. Darcy was shown into the drawing room at Longbourn. She had refused to admit that she missed his typical morning visit while he stayed at Netherfield to bid farewell to the Hursts and Miss Bingley. She had even told herself that she welcomed his absence as it gave her a chance to work on the replacement handkerchiefs without Mr. Darcy knowing.

It had not taken long to stitch three handkerchiefs, as the ones she had kept were only embellished with his initials. When she had completed the handkerchiefs, and Mr. Darcy had still not arrived, she decided to add some embellishments to one of them. Then another one. After finishing a basic leaf border on the third handkerchief, she made herself set them down and pick up a book. She did not know how long she had been alternating between staring at the open page and staring out the window, when Mr. Darcy finally appeared. He had not even made it across the room to address her before Mr. Bingley was suggesting they all walk about the gardens. With a smile, she picked up the pile up handkerchiefs and made her way to the door.

Once in the garden, it did not take long for Elizabeth to lead Darcy down a path that separated them from Jane and Mr. Bingley.

“I am making restitution,” Elizabeth announced, holding the handkerchiefs in front of her.

“Restitution for what?” Darcy asked, looking at the folded fabric a little dubiously.

“For stealing your handkerchiefs,” Elizabeth replied.

“It cannot be called stealing when it is freely given,” Darcy replied. “And if you remember, you already allowed me to keep one of your handkerchiefs in exchange.”

“Yes, but I cannot imagine you will actually use that handkerchief. It is much too feminine for you.”

“That is true,” Darcy replied, finally taking the pile of handkerchiefs from Elizabeth’s hand. He unfolded the top one, holding it flat between his hands. “Did you make these?”

“Do you like them?” Elizabeth asked, with a small nod.

“They are amazing,” Darcy replied, then systematically looked at each one before folding them and putting them in his pocket. “All the more amazing because you made them. I do not remember the last time anyone made me a handkerchief. I usually just ask my valet to order some for me.”

“I cannot imagine ordering something as simple as a handkerchief,” Elizabeth replied. “I would be happy to make your handkerchiefs from now on, unless you prefer ordering them.”

“I would be delighted to carry handkerchiefs that you have stitched for me,” Darcy replied. “But, when the time comes that you no longer desire to do so, please do not hesitate to let me know.”

“You are so certain I will tire of the activity?”

“I have heard my sister lament her sewing lessons for as long as I can remember.”

“Oh, but I thought she was a very accomplished woman,” Elizabeth replied, with a smile.

“She would be happy to sit at the piano all day long. She enjoys riding, and can draw creditably. She speaks French and Italian. But hand her a needle and she will mumble and groan like she is being tortured.”

“Then between your sister and I, we may just have enough accomplishments to satisfy Miss Bingley’s requirements for an accomplished woman,” Elizabeth replied, laughing. “I will admit that your description makes meeting your sister not quite so intimidating of an endeavor.”

“I have missed your laugh,” Darcy said softly.

“I dearly love to laugh,” Elizabeth replied. “It was bound to happen again eventually.”

Looking into the dancing eyes of the woman he loved, Fitzwilliam Darcy desperately wanted to kiss her. Not lost to all propriety, he looked around to ensure there was no one else in sight.

“If I kiss you, do you promise not to run away from me again? I dearly wish to kiss you, but I desire your company even more.”

“I will not leave you,” Elizabeth replied, blushing slightly.

Although the resulting kiss stayed chaste, it did last much longer than their first kiss.

“I find I like that very much,” Elizabeth whispered with a sigh as Darcy drew away.

Their next kiss was much longer.

When Charles Bingley arrived at Longbourn he was determined to follow the advice of his sister, Louisa. As they walked out into the garden, Bingley was at first concerned at how he could separate himself and Miss Bennet from Darcy and Miss Elizabeth without causing any sort of suspicion. He realized his friend must have been sensitive to his need when he turned around not five minutes after leaving the house and found that they were alone.

“My lease for Netherfield Park expires in September,” Bingley started. “I have long wanted your opinion on whether I should make a purchase offer, renew the lease, or abandon the neighborhood.”

“I thought you had already decided to leave the neighborhood,” Jane replied quietly. “If Mr. Darcy had not requested the use of Netherfield Park, would you have returned?”

“I was unsure that the neighborhood wanted me to return,” Bingley replied. “I was confused. I still am.”

“What is confusing?”

“I want to ask you a question. A question that I know I cannot ask for a few more months. I am confused because I do not know if you want me to stay and ask the question, or if you want me to leave you in peace.”

“Why did you not return and ask the question months ago?”

“I thought you did not care for me.”

“Why did you not come and see me in London?” Jane asked.

“When were you in London?” Bingley asked, genuinely confused.

“I was in London since shortly after Christmas until word came of my father’s passing. I visited your sisters, and Miss Bingley returned the visit. They gave me the impression that you knew about my visit.”

“They never mentioned it to me,” Bingley replied, confused.

“Why would they do that?” Jane asked.

“I do not know.”

“Were you much in company with Miss Darcy while you were in London?” Jane asked.

“Darcy’s sister?” Bingley asked, confused. “Why would I be in company with Darcy’ sister?”

“Miss Bingley wrote that she was expecting an announcement between you and Miss Darcy,” Jane replied.

“She said that?”


There was a slight pause before Bingley replied.

“I find I am grateful that my sisters have left the neighborhood. I do not know what I would say to Caroline if I were to see her again today.”

“I would not want to cause contention within your family,” Jane added softly.

“You would not be causing contention,” Bingley replied. “Caroline’s actions are her own.”

“But what of Mrs. Hurst? She also hid the fact that I was in London.”

“I do not know why my sisters hid your presence from me, but I know that Louisa is expecting an announcement from us, and would welcome it.”

“How can you be so sure?” Jane asked.

“She told me so this morning before they left,” Bingley replied.

There were a few moments of pondering before Jane replied.

“What was the last decision you made on your own?”

“I don’t understand,” Bingley replied.

“Are you always so easily led, or do you make decisions on your own?” Jane asked.

“What do you want me to say?” Bingley asked.

“If I were to answer your question in the affirmative, would you be committed to our life together, or would our lives be ever subject to the changing opinions of those around you?”

“Your opinion would be the only one that mattered to me,” Bingley answered. “I would answer to you.”

“I do not know if I am ready to shoulder that weight,” Jane replied, quietly.

“What weight?”

“The weight of being responsible for all decisions in our life,” Jane answered. “I need you to be your own man.”

“I can be my own man,” Bingley replied.

They walked on in silence for a while longer.

“I think my advice to you would be to renew the lease on Netherfield Park, but do not make a purchase offer, yet,” Jane stated.

“Will there come a day that I should purchase the estate?” Bingley asked.

“I do not know the answer to that question. I think the answer will become clearer as you make more decisions on your own,” Jane replied. “I dearly hope that I will be a part of that decision when the time comes, but I know it is better to be heartbroken for a time than to spend a lifetime of misery.”

“You believe that a lifetime with me would be miserable?” Bingley asked.

“Only if you persist in placing the opinions of others above your own,” Jane replied. “Become your own man, for both our sakes.”

“I will. I promise,” Bingley replied, bringing Jane’s hand to his mouth for a quick kiss.

As they walked around the bend in the path, they were both startled by the sight of Darcy and Elizabeth caught in a world of their own. Bingley was inclined to turn the other direction and leave them to their privacy. Jane, on the other hand, instinctively called out Elizabeth’s name. Darcy and Elizabeth broke apart immediately.

“I think it is time to head back to the house,” Jane stated. Getting a better look at her sister, she added, “perhaps we should first make a stop by our room to, well, fix things.”

Blushing, Elizabeth agreed to the scheme, promising to meet Darcy in the drawing room within a few minutes.

When Elizabeth joined Darcy in the drawing room, there were no visible signs of their earlier encounter. She was quietly pleased that he had chosen a seat on a settee instead of a chair. As he had risen when she entered the room, they were together as they claimed their seats. With both of them attempting to sit a little closer than they had in the past, they inadvertently bumped hips in the process of sitting. As Darcy was much larger than Elizabeth, the little bump was not quite so little. Acting quickly, Darcy caught her before she could fall. The snort coming from Lydia was the only indication that anyone noticed.

Once they were settled, comfortably seated with only the barest of space in between them, Darcy leaned over to whisper to Elizabeth.

“One of these days, I will be able to kiss you without having you blush and run away.”

“One of these days,” Elizabeth agreed. “When the timing is right.”

Timing is Everything - Chapter 14

BethWJune 07, 2019 08:12PM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 14

EvelynJeanJune 09, 2019 01:20AM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 14

AlidaJune 08, 2019 12:27PM


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