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Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

June 17, 2019 10:07PM
Here we are at the end! I hope you have enjoyed this story (even with how many times there were long gaps in between posts).
Enjoy!


Timing is Everything

Chapter 16


Five and a half months after the death of Mr. Bennet, the Great House at Stoke was ready for the Bennet ladies to move in. This was fortunate, as there were beginning to be some control issues between Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Collins as to the running of the house. Darcy had checked with Mrs. Hill to see whether she would rather move with the Bennet ladies, or continue as the housekeeper at Longbourn. Having become accustomed to Mrs. Bennet, she decided to move. This was a great comfort to Mrs. Bennet.

Touring the house as their belongings were being arranged, Elizabeth was surprised when Darcy led her into the attic. Shelves had been constructed in a corner of the attic, and on the shelves were all of her father’s favorite books. Darcy had arranged a compromise with Mr. Collins. The nameplates on all the books were checked. If they only showed the name of the estate, they would stay with Longbourn. If they showed the name of Mr. Bennet, or a recent ancestor, they would go with the Bennet ladies. Darcy gained Mr. Collins’ gratitude once again when he left all of the books on estate management and crop rotation, even though the name plate showed Mr. Bennet as the owner. As there was no longer a proper library at the Great House at Stoke, and there were more books than would fit in the small study, Darcy worked with the men refurbishing the house to add a library nook in the attic in order to properly store all the books.

Elizabeth did not need words to express her thanks.



Six months and a day after the death of Mr. Bennet, Elizabeth woke with a stomach full of butterflies. Her life was about to change.

Mrs. Bennet had spent much of the previous fortnight frantically preparing for the wedding. Not only did they need to be settled into the house, but they needed to prepare the wedding breakfast. Mrs. Collins had offered to host the wedding breakfast at Longbourn, but Mrs. Bennet was determined to have it in her new home.

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner arrived a few days before the wedding. Mr. Gardiner had offered to walk Elizabeth down the aisle in the absence of her father. As Mrs. Bennet stood by her brother’s side watching Elizabeth descend the stairs, she was subdued.

“You look beautiful,” Mrs. Bennet said, quietly. “I wish your father were here today.”

“I’m sure he’s here in spirit.” Mr. Gardiner said. “He would not want to miss the wedding of one of his daughters.”

Elizabeth nodded in reply. Although she was thankful that her uncle would be there to walk her down the aisle, she had purposefully not thought about the absence of her father on her wedding day. Although all the Bennet ladies knew they were happy, they were subdued as Mr. Gardiner handed them into the carriage in order to travel to the church.



Fitzwilliam Darcy did not fidget. He had never fidgeted a day in his life. As he stood at the front of the church waiting for the appearance of his bride, he most certainly was not fidgeting. He also was not squirming, twitching or wriggling. He was just making sure everything was in place, so that there would be no interruptions when Elizabeth arrived.

Mrs. Bennet and her three youngest daughters entered the chapel and took a seat. He pretended not to notice when Lydia giggled as he adjusted his cravat, and checked to make sure both of his cufflinks were in place.

When Jane Bennet walked through the door, he grew even tenser. As Jane made her way to the front of the room to stand up with her sister, Darcy kept his eyes on the door. He started to worry that it was taking too long for Elizabeth to enter. His cravat needed adjustment again. He needed to brush out a wrinkle from his waistcoat.

He breathed a sigh of relief as Elizabeth walked through the door on the arm of her uncle. The rest of the room disappeared. He had eyes only for Elizabeth.



As Elizabeth took her uncle’s arm, ready to enter the door of the church, she hesitated. Her feelings for Mr. Darcy had changed drastically over the past six months. She wished that they had been able to come together without the loss of her father. She worried about what it meant that she was only able to come to love him through tragedy.

“Am I doing the right thing?” she quietly asked Mr. Gardiner.

“Do you trust him?” Mr. Gardiner asked in reply.

“Yes.”

“Then you need not worry,” Mr. Gardiner assured her.

“Thank you,” Elizabeth replied as they took a step toward the church.

As the door opened, Elizabeth felt a breeze playing across her face. It carried with it a slightly musty smell, similar to Mr. Bennet’s study. She took comfort, hoping her father was with them, after all.

The wedding ceremony went by in a blur. Suddenly, Elizabeth found herself signing her maiden name for the last time. From this day forward, she would be known as Elizabeth Darcy. She looked into the eyes of her new husband, and found that she was rather excited about the idea.



Darcy and Elizabeth had debated where to spend their wedding night. Neither of them wanted to stay at the Great House at Stoke. Elizabeth did not want to spend it in an Inn. Darcy did not want to be in the home of his friend. In the end, they decided to travel to London in order to spend it at Darcy house. That decision would require them to travel back through Hertfordshire on their way to Pemberley, but they thought the privacy afforded by that decision would be well worth the inconvenience.

The Darcy staff had never seen their master so full of joy. Any nervousness they may have had about the unknown woman dissipated as they were introduced to their new mistress. The new Mrs. Darcy was friendly as she was introduce to the staff, repeating their names back to them in an attempt to learn them, and apologizing in advance because she knew she would not remember them all.

Perhaps the thing they found most endearing about their new mistress was the fact that although it was clear she was a little awed by her new home, her eyes never lingered on the furnishings. Between introductions her eyes always returned to her new husband. It was a clearly a love match. They could all breathe a little easier.

After the introductions were made, Darcy led Elizabeth to her rooms. Her maid, Sally, had been shown the way immediately upon arrival, so that by the time Elizabeth made her way there she would be ready to receive her.

Darcy delighted in showing Elizabeth the door that connected their chambers. Before walking through it to rid himself of the travelling dirt, he asked Elizabeth to knock on the door when she was refreshed and comfortable. Before slipping through the door, he drew Elizabeth to him for a quick embrace.

“Mrs. Darcy,” Darcy whispered into her ear. “How well that sounds.”



Epilogue

The day after the wedding, Bingley visited Jane at the Great House at Stoke. With Elizabeth gone, Mrs. Bennet found it easy to leave Jane and Bingley alone in the drawing room together. It did not take long for Bingley to tell Jane that his decision for the day was to ask her to marry him. He told her that he was placing his future in her hands. Months of Bingley sharing his daily decisions with Jane had made an impression. She agreed that a future with Mr. Bingley by her side was something that she would like to experience.

Lydia found it was great fun to be as diligent a chaperone for Jane as Jane had wanted them to be for Elizabeth. Jane, on the other hand, came to appreciate Elizabeth’s desire for a little bit of time alone with her betrothed.

They married six very long months later.

In the end, they were both happy that Mr. Bingley had only decided to renew the lease instead of buying Netherfield Park. They renewed the lease one more time, before deciding that Mr. Phillips could watch over Mrs. Bennet just as well



The Hursts and Caroline Bingley spent three months in Lyme before returning to London. During that time, Caroline continued to revel in the attention she received. She was willing to share flattering observations about the Bennet sisters if it served her well in society.

They had been in London a couple months when the marriage announcement for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet appeared in the Times. It was with a collective sigh of relief when a week later they received a letter from their brother announcing his engagement to Miss Bennet. Armed with this announcement, Caroline and Louisa visited all their acquaintances to share the news.

A week later, Caroline received a marriage proposal from the son of a minor baron she had met in Lyme. Although he was not as rich as Mr. Darcy, he was titled, which meant she would be above the former Elizabeth Bennet for the rest of their lives. All was right again in her world.

She spent the next few years trying to ignore the fact that even though her husband was titled, he regularly deferred to Mr. and Mrs. Darcy’s preferences and opinions. Seeing the look on Mr. Darcy’s face when Elizabeth was able to get Lord Lytle to contradict himself within ten minutes, she finally understood why Mr. Darcy had not offered for her. Caroline decided it was time to change.

Change is not always easy, but it is often rewarding. As Caroline researched current events more thoroughly in order to develop an informed opinion, she was surprised at the confidence she acquired. The first time she stood her ground, and did not let Elizabeth lead her into contradicting herself, she was elated. Astoundingly, this first instance led to more thorough discussions. After a time, she found that she was enjoying the conversations and debates with Elizabeth. They were both surprised when a friendship grew between them.



Mrs. Bennet rarely left her little parlor during the day. For a woman who bemoaned small drawing rooms, she was almost never seen in the large one created for her comfort at the Great House at Stoke. She found it much more elegant to recline on her chaise during the day, watching the road in front of the house. She also delighted in the shear curtains she had installed, which allowed her to look out the window without being noticed by anyone passing by.

Over the years Mary, Kitty, and Lydia each accepted invitations to stay with Darcy and Elizabeth either at Pemberley or in town. Mary was a little nervous at the prospect of a London season, so would typically accept the invitations to Pemberley, while Kitty and Lydia gladly accepted invitations to London. Mrs. Bennet was happy that she always had at least one daughter at home, but was even more pleased that her daughters were (in her mind) actively trying to find husbands.

In time, their efforts paid off. Mary married the rector in Kympton. Kitty married a young naval officer.

Since Lydia did not have the distinction of marrying first, she decided she would wait and marry the best. Through the years, her definition of the best would fluctuate between the richest man she could find and the one with the highest title. In the end, she married the third son of an earl, deciding that the best could only mean the one that loved her the most.



When Elizabeth Darcy thought back to the events surrounding her father’s death, she was always grateful that Darcy had been with her when she received the news. She did not know how things would have been settled if he had not been there. Every day, she carried a handkerchief with the initials ‘FD’ embroidered on it. The first time one of the handkerchiefs started to fall apart, she cried. Fortunately, her husband was there to offer her a new one.

The end
SubjectAuthorPosted

Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

BethWJune 17, 2019 10:07PM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

PESJune 22, 2019 11:17PM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

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Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

janasheJune 18, 2019 09:12PM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

EvelynJeanJune 18, 2019 05:28AM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

BethWJune 18, 2019 05:35AM

Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

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Re: Timing is Everything - Chapter 16 and Epilogue

MichaJune 18, 2019 07:34AM



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