P&P200: Darcy Surprises Elizabeth
**This P&P200 vignette, as well as the several I have planned for the weeks leading up to the double wedding event on Nov. 16, are inspired by the Darcy Saga, they may even contain small portions of “flashback” moments I wrote within my sequel. However, all of them are altered a tad to present a differing POV and contain additional information I never wrote before. So they are all new material to be enjoyed as part of the awesome Austen Authors P&P200 extravaganza! Thanks for reading, Sharon Lathan
For the hundredth time in the past hour, Lizzy glanced away from the dress she was attempting to sew and peered out the window. A tiny stretch of the main road could be seen through the trees and shrubs shielding Longbourn from the passing traffic, that glimpse of gravel the precise spot her eyes zeroed in on each time. The humor in remembering that until a couple weeks ago she had never been aware of the fact that the road could be seen if sitting before this window at exactly this angle, normally brought a small smile to her face. Today she only sighed forlornly.
I am sure he has already left for London, she thought, glancing to the mantel clock, which had only inched two-minutes past the ten-o’clock hour when she last glanced at it. Shaking her head with a mixture of disgust and sadness, Lizzy released a second unconscious sigh.
“Do not be sad, Lizzy. We will be in London soon ourselves, and there you will be reunited with Mr. Darcy.”
Lizzy turned to smile at Jane. “And then I will have an opportunity to comfort you, dear Jane, while you are separated from the gentleman you love. Of course, you will certainly exhibit better restraint than me. You would never stare out windows in the hope of a flash of your betrothed riding by!”
Laughing at their joint whimsies instigated by hearts giddy with newfound love, neither noticed the appearance of Mr. Hill until he cleared his throat.
“Pardon me, ladies, but Miss Elizabeth has a visitor.”
Lizzy’s brows rose, then furrowed. “I do?” She glanced at the clock as she stood, her mind racing over the list of people she knew who would call so early in the day. Charlotte might have, but she was now Mrs. Collins and dwelling in far away Kent. That led her to imagining Lady Catherine – well known for barging in at odd hours of the day – but before she could decide whether that prospect frightened or irritated her, Mr. Hill stepped aside.
“Mr. Darcy!” Mrs. Bennet’s fawning exclamation drowned Lizzy’s started one, the older woman across the room faster than the speed of light. “How absolutely delightful to see you! Oh my! I am all aflutter! We were not yet expecting guests. I am afraid you just missed breakfast, although I am sure Hill can have Cook prepare something in no time at all! We have fresh biscuits with strawberry jam made not a week ago past, and coffee of course, with cream as you like it, or if hot cocoa is preferred?”
“Please, do not trouble yourself, Mrs. Bennet.” Darcy quickly jumped in when she finally paused for breath, tearing his eyes away from Lizzy’s sparkling gaze. “I dined well this morning, thank you. And I apologize for calling unannounced at this early hour. However, as I drew close to Longbourn on my way to Town I feared the appearance of rudeness if I did not pay my respects, and latched onto the chance to again express my deep appreciation for your hospitality these past weeks.”
“Oh, Mr. Darcy! You are so very kind!” Her voice broke, one hand dabbing a handkerchief at a teary eye. “My Lizzy is the most fortunate of women to have gained the notice of such a great man.”
Darcy bowed his head slightly, then rapidly glanced toward Lizzy. “Thank you, madam, although I judge myself the truly fortunate one. And with that in mind,” he rushed on before another word passed Mrs. Bennet’s parted lips, “may I be granted a moment alone with Miss Elizabeth?”
“Mama,” Jane took her mother’s arm, steering toward the door, “I just recalled that Cook needed our opinion on the marzipan for the wedding cake…”
Seconds later they were alone, Jane’s voice drifting down the hall through the half-closed door. Darcy wasted no time. Three long strides and he was before Lizzy with both her hands encased within his.
“I had to see you again—”
“I am so surprised—”
They laughed as their words tumbled over each other, Darcy deciding to forego conversation for the preferred pleasure of kissing her soft lips. A mere brush of mouths, tender and brief, although the jolt of electricity piercing their bodies was vocalized with susurrate exhales. Not trusting himself, Darcy stepped back a pace and drew a shaky breath. Smiling, her hands still firmly engulfed between his palms, Darcy led to the nearest sofa.
“I do apologize, Elizabeth, for arriving at this improper hour. I honestly did not plan to, sure that I was content with our affectionate parting last evening, and with the knowledge that I will see you in London three days hence. Yet, even as I mounted Parsifal at Netherfield, I knew I could not ride past your gate, envisioning you sitting here, and not stop. It was simply beyond my capabilities to resist.”
“The stalwart Mr. Darcy confesses to a weakness, does he?”
“With you, dearest Elizabeth, I find my strength and control seriously lacking. Daily I pray for time to hurry faster than normal so that November sixteen will arrive sooner. I daresay I may lose my mind before then.”
“Well, I certainly would not wish for that to happen! I shall increase my prayers, that are also asking for time to swiftly pass, and perhaps the joint effort, along with Jane and Mr. Bingley, who are undoubtedly appealing to the heavens in a similar vein, will tug at God’s ear.”
“If nothing else, He may grant the request simply to shut us up.”
“Indeed,” she said as they laughed. “Of course, I must admit that I am looking forward to an extensive shopping expedition in London. A girl only has one chance to buy a wedding dress and trousseau, after all. It is far too serious a task to be rushed.”
“Yes, I suppose that is true.” Darcy lifted one hand, fingertips caressing over her cheek. “And there is also the leisurely time I am allotting for your thorough examination of your future home in London. Darcy House on Grosvenor Square is not nearly as vast as Pemberley, but large enough to require time to peruse. And any decorating alterations you wish to make will take time to accomplish.”
Lizzy shook her head. “William, If Darcy House is half as lovely as Pemberley then I can’t imagine it needing to be redecorated, especially by me, when I know nothing of such matters.”
“I trust your instincts, Elizabeth. Certainly you will want to renovate my mother’s bedchamber to your taste. That, at least, must be done before we are wed.”
The odd inflection to his voice when he spoke the word “bedchamber” was not lost on Lizzy. Nor was the stormy glint in his eyes, especially when they dropped to her breasts and swept over her figure. His fingers glided down her neck and across the delicate edge of her shoulder, the touch as light as a feather yet sending sparks of heat searing under her skin. Shivering, instinctively leaning closer to him, Lizzy nearly whimpered when he pulled his fingers away before traveling any lower.
Roughly clearing his throat, Darcy went on in an almost normal tone, “I also hope we can arrange at least one dinner with my cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. Another, sensible reason for stopping this morning was to inform you that a letter from Richard awaited me last evening when I returned to Netherfield. I had not written to him yet, as you know, because I was unsure of his precise whereabouts. Fortunately he will be returning to London later this week, or early the following week, so I can tell him of my tremendous fortune in person.”
“That is excellent news! I enjoyed Colonel Fitzwilliam when we met in Kent, and now that I fully comprehend how dear he is to you, it will be a pleasure to meet him again.”
“Try not to ‘enjoy’ him too much, Elizabeth,” Darcy growled, a dark frown creasing his thick brows.
She smiled impishly and cocked her head. “Does this mean I can add jealous and possessive to your list of faults, Mr. Darcy?”
“If you view them as faults, then yes you may. I, however, embrace them as traits any sane man must have when the woman he loves is beautiful, witty, desirable, and near perfection.”
Lizzy rubbed a fingertip over the ridges between his brows. “You have nothing to fear,” she whispered. “You are the man I want, and no one else, no matter how pleasant, will ever change that.”
The clock striking eleven o’clock interrupted the long, penetrating kiss that was showing scant signs of stopping. Darcy withdrew from her lips, cast a baleful glower at the clock, and reluctantly removed the tiny hands tangled in his hair.
“I must be on my way. I have a two o’clock appointment with my solicitor and a four o’clock appointment with my tailor. You are not the only one who wishes for new garments for our wedding.”
He kissed the tip of her nose, smiled, and stood, pulling her up with him. They both wobbled on weakened knees, laughed nervously, and glanced aside until under partial control of their faculties.
“I will miss you, and be counting the hours.” Suddenly serious, he cupped her face and leaned close. “I love you, Elizabeth Bennet. With all my soul. Never forget that.”
“I love you, Fitzwilliam Darcy, with all my soul. Don’t you forget that either!” And this time she lifted on her toes, initiating the kiss. It was a short one, but fierce, Darcy wrapping his arms around her for a bone crunching squeeze, before releasing and pivoting, his goodbye hastily tossed over his shoulder as he lurched out the door.
Lizzy felt stung and bereft for half a second. Then a triumphant smile spread. It was exhilarating and empowering to cause the taciturn, disciplined Mr. Darcy to lose control! So much so that her mind spun with ideas. Never had she anticipated a trip to London more than this one. And shopping was suddenly far down the list of reasons.
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