P&P200: Wedding Night on the Road to Pemberley
**In Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen does not say where the Darcys spent their wedding night. It could have been Netherfield, or the Darcy townhouse in London since that would have been close. Unfortunately, it could not have been Pemberley due to the distance from Hertfordshire. When inspired to write my sequel series, I wanted the Darcys to begin life at Pemberley, so hastened to move them north, meaning that their wedding night needed to be creative! This is my vision, edited for space and to remain PG, but essentially as it appears in Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One.
For their first night together as a married couple, Darcy secured lodging at the White Stag Inn near Bedford. Located a few miles off the main thoroughfare to London from Derbyshire, it was the perfect resting point for the two-day carriage ride from Pemberley. That trek was one he had completed more times than he could remember, the White Stag discovered years ago and so frequently stayed at that the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, knew him well. They were ecstatic at the idea of hosting him and his new bride.
Arrangements had been made in advance, Darcy thorough in his planning. He secured the largest suite of rooms, those situated on the topmost floor of the sturdy red-brick building and toward the rear with a stunning view of the small lake and park. Aside from comfort and aesthetics, these rooms offered the most privacy. With travelers lighter this time of year, the inn and public rooms would see fewer customers, but Darcy was taking no chances. Everything must be perfect for this night he had awaited with breathless anticipation for a seeming eternity. Never in his life had any evening been so tremendously and lovingly contemplated.
Elizabeth slept during the carriage ride from Netherfield. This bothered Darcy not at all. The joy of holding her in his arms and gazing upon her sleeping face was greater than he ever would have imagined. And after the chaotic activities of the past days, he definitely appreciated the advantage of his new wife regaining her strength before they arrived at the inn! Besides, waking her with gentle kisses was a highly pleasurable experience.
They were greeted enthusiastically by the Hamiltons, and ushered quickly into the welcoming warmth of a private parlor overlooking the moonlit meadow outside the paned windows. A small table near the fire was set for dining, and before either could catch a breath the first course was served.
“Are you pleased, dearest?” Darcy asked, scooting his chair nearer until their knees were touching.
“Oh yes, William, it is wonderful.” She reached over and took his hand, squeezing it gently. “You have gone to so much trouble for me, and I do so appreciate it.”
“It was no trouble at all, and I must confess I was not only thinking of you,” he replied with a laugh, kissing her fingers. “As we have established, I am a rather selfish man and I want you all to myself, far away from Bennets and Bingleys or anyone else!”
“Well, now you have me, for better or worse. I hope I do not disappoint,” she said with a sly look from under her lashes and a firm squeeze to his knee.
Suddenly Darcy had difficulty taking a breath. “Oh no, Elizabeth. I am positive that it would be impossible for you to disappoint me in any situation, most especially on this night.”
The meal was excellent, but neither were very hungry. Anxiousness, underlying passion, and hints of nervousness dissolved any appetite. As soon as the last, barely eaten course was taken away, Elizabeth announced that she would retire to her dressing room to change. Darcy nearly choked on his wine, but managed to maintain a calm demeanor as she rose from the table and leaned over to give him a brief kiss of passionate promise.
“Will it suit you if I am ready in half an hour?” she asked softly, to which he could only nod. After a tender caress to his cheek, she left the room
Never had thirty minutes lasted so long! Darcy truly thought he would lose his mind. He wandered into the small library and pulled a book off a shelf at random. Any attempt to actually read it was ludicrous in the extreme, but he made a show of it, employing all his well-perfected composure. After twenty minutes he could stand it no longer and briskly strode to his dressing room where the inn’s manservant assisted Darcy with his toilette. Darcy again found himself calling upon every ounce of his strength of will not to rush through the agonizingly slow procedures.
Eventually all was done and he nervously entered the bedchamber, only to find it empty. He wandered around the room, pleased with the décor and the attention to detail. There were several vases of flowers about the room, a bottle of chilled champagne, a platter of fruits and sweets and breads, a sofa, and an enormous bearskin rug with several cushions before the blazing fire. The spacious four-poster bed was turned down invitingly. Darcy judged it best to ignore the bed for the present, instead standing by the window and breathing deeply to calm his nerves and halt his trembling.
~ * ~ * ~
Elizabeth finished her preparations and dismissed her maid. Brushing her hair absently, she relished the silence and reflected on the past weeks. No longer was she afraid of the intimacy to take place this night. In fact, she was excited, as scandalous as her mother would judge that attitude! From the first tender kisses and touches of her betrothed, the sensation engendered made it impossible for her to ignore the realities of marital relations. As the weeks progressed, her emotions vacillated among anticipation, shyness, fear, happiness, anxiety, and many others. Yet, overriding them all was desire. Deep, passionate desire that frequently left her breathless. The conclusion she reached was simple: With such intense love and yearning mutually shared, how could their consummation, and every night thereafter, be less than beautiful and satisfying?
Sitting the brush onto the vanity, Elizabeth took one last look in the mirror, and then entered the bedchamber with a happy smile. The room was lit only by the fire, two oil lamps, the filtered moonlight, and a wall sconce on either side of the bed. For a moment she thought the room empty, but then she noticed her husband standing by a window with his back to her. He was wearing a long maroon robe with a black sash, and every detail of his physique was evident.
Her heart began to race crazily. “William,” she whispered.
He turned quickly at her voice and his carefully regulated control slipped instantaneously. Several more deep breaths were necessary to maintain his equilibrium. For a long moment they stood paralyzed, drinking in each other with their eyes. Darcy was the first to break the spell as he moved to meet her in the middle of the room. He longed to grab her and enfold her in his arms, yet at the same time, he wished to study her beauty, memorizing every line and curve of the vision before him.
He stopped a short distance from her and took her outstretched hands, halting her forward movement. “Elizabeth,” he said huskily, “may I simply adore you for a moment?”
She smiled and matched his boldness. “Only, sir, if I may do the same!”
She wore a nightgown of sheer satin, pale yellow with tiny bows down the bodice, narrow strap sleeves, a deeply scooped neckline, and pleated gathers just under her bosom. Her hair was loose down her back and shoulders in a chestnut veil of soft curls. Darcy had seen her hair down on a couple of occasions, but never in such an intimate setting, and the sight rendered him breathless and weak in the knees.
Her face was flushed, eyes bright and merry and completely full of love. The gown was thin but not totally transparent, offering tantalizing glimpses of her flawless form underneath. The satin flowed over her hips in gentle folds and over barely visible legs until just touching the tops of delicate feet, leaving tiny toes exposed. The entire vision was delectable and so moving to Darcy’s soul. Everything about her was perfection and beauty.
Elizabeth, not completely unaware of the effect she was having on her husband, was nonetheless experiencing her own breathlessness as she carefully examined him for the first time not in full attire and in an intimate setting. While yet fully in charge of her senses, she intended to take note of every detail possible.
He looked so young with his face relaxed; all the tension and careful regulation that usually strained his noble features were gone. His eyes blazed a vivid indigo in the half light of the room, shining and intense with bridled passion and deep love. His robe enclosed his broad shoulders and strong arms completely, yet somehow accented the shape underneath to great advantage. His neck was bare and she could see his pulse beating rapidly in the hollow of his throat. The robe was pulled tight across his muscular chest and belted securely at his lower abdomen. She could only see a triangle of his chest to roughly mid-sternum, dark hairs visible, and her fingers itched to touch his skin. His robe covered the rest of his body, hugging his slender waist, falling to his ankles, leaving his feet bare.
Elizabeth finished her inspection, letting out an involuntary sigh and sound of surprise. Darcy broke from his reverie and looked quickly to her face.
“Elizabeth, are you well?”
“You seem startled. Are you displeased in some way?” he asked nervously.
She blushed furiously and looked away, stammering, “Oh, no, I am fine. It is just that …” she trailed off lamely.
“It is just, what?” He did not know whether to be alarmed or to laugh at her sudden discomfiture. He lifted her chin gently until she reluctantly met his eyes. “We promised to be completely honest with each other, remember? Please tell me what you are thinking.”
“I … well, I was just noticing … that … ” she swallowed and looked at him boldly, “you have nice feet!”
He could not speak for a moment, then burst out laughing. He gathered her into his arms and held her tightly. “My darling Lizzy! You are so very delightful.” He pulled back slightly so he could see her face, his grin wide. “Thank you, my love. I can safely assert that no one, with the possible exception of my dear mother, has ever commented on my feet!”
“You are teasing me,” she accused, with a playful slap to his chest.
“Of course I am! How could I not? Only you can make me laugh so.” He kissed her lips quickly, then proceeded to plant tiny kisses along her jaw until he reached her ear. He inhaled her scent and whispered softly, “Do only my feet delight you, or did you manage to discover other equally pleasing attributes during your inspection?”
Speaking, in fact, coherent thought of any kind, seemed next to impossible with the flutters elicited by his kisses racing through her body. Even so, she answered, “Perfectly adequate, Mr. Darcy, I daresay. Unfortunately, so much remains covered that I cannot in truth render a full accounting. Perhaps we can remedy this oversight on your part posthaste so I can answer your query with total knowledge.”
Darcy had ceased his ministrations to her neck and was watching her as she spoke, a happy smile on his lips. Oh how I love her! How I want her! But he had promised himself that he would control his desires and take this night slowly. He wanted to enjoy every moment with her, every word, every touch, every sound, and every smell. He was determined that she find pleasure and complete joy in being with him, in becoming his wife in every sense of the word.
“All in due time, Mrs. Darcy. First, I have a wedding present for you.” He took her by the hand and seated her on the sofa. He went to the armoire and pulled out a square box wrapped with blue paper and tied with a thick blue ribbon. He returned to her and placed it into her lap, kneeling before her. “For you, my wife, always to remember this day, the happiest day of my life.”
Elizabeth shook her head and tears filled her eyes. “William, you should not have. You have given me so many wonderful gifts already! All I need to remember and mark this day is you … only you.”
Darcy smiled, “Thank you, dearest. You shall always have me. Now you shall also have this meager token as well. Open it.”
Elizabeth untied the bow and pulled the wrapping away. Inside the box, lying on a bed of dark blue velvet, was a vanity set – brush, comb and mirror – made of mother-of-pearl with Elizabeth Darcy engraved on each handle. The craftsmanship was exquisite.
“William, I do not know what to say. They are beautiful! I have never owned anything equal. Thank you so very much!” She leaned over and kissed him soundly.
Darcy beamed at her obvious pleasure. “You would have enjoyed the spectacle, my dear. I have come to realize how lacking my education is in the area of feminine requirements. I have, in fact, studiously avoided the subject in the past. Recently, I have discovered myself extremely fascinated by all the mysteries related to the fairer sex, or more specifically related to you. I scoured my extensive library and found not a single book that could answer the questions I had. I surmised that the only sure avenue open to me was to enter the shops in London that cater to the needs of women.”
Elizabeth could picture it clearly and the vision did make her smile. He went on, “I was most relieved to find that I was not the only gentlemen present in the establishments, but I certainly was the most ignorant! Fortunately the proprietors were remarkably sympathetic, and the female customers extremely helpful, all willing to further my education. That is the day you encountered me at Harding, Howell, and Co. It is a story I shall recount in detail later, and will amuse you, I am sure. By the end of my labors, I learned numerous incidentals, which I am certain will aid me in being an understanding husband. As for this particular gift, considering how ardently I admire your beauty and especially your lovely hair, it seemed fitting.”
“William, you are too good to me. I truly do not deserve you.”
“Nonsense,” he replied gruffly, “I love you and enjoy giving you gifts.” As he spoke, he absentmindedly reached up under her gown and began running his hand along her right calf.
Time stopped and instantaneously their mutual desires were awakened. Thoughts were immediately riveted by an overpowering need for each other. The ache to touch intimately, feel their heated bodies pressed together, and cross the final barrier into truly becoming one was nearly painful in its intensity.
Gazing into her eyes, Darcy took the box off Elizabeth’s lap, laid it on the floor, and then rose onto his knees. He slowly ran his hands along the tops of her thighs and around her bottom, pulling her to the edge of the sofa. Her knees parted and he moved closer, his hands leisurely caressed their way up her back, eventually entwining in her hair as he brought her lips to his for a passionate kiss.
Elizabeth ran her hands up his chest and then under his robe, placing her fingers gently on his shoulders. With slow deliberation she peeled the garment off his shoulders, exposing his upper body as she lovingly ran her palms down his back. Darcy released her long enough to remove his sleeves, baring his arms to her tender caress, and then encircled her again, never once leaving her sweet lips.
Then she boldly reached down and untied his sash, the robe falling to the ground. Darcy moaned and in one swift, graceful motion rose from his kneeling position, gathered Elizabeth into powerful arms, and carrying her to the bed.
~ * ~ * ~
Quite some time later, blissfully satiated, they lay on the mussed bed with limbs entangled. They were awake but drowsy, talking softly of silly things for the pleasure of hearing the other’s voice, and simply enjoying being together in sweet harmony. Darcy played with her hair where it cascaded over his arm, while Elizabeth traced lazy circles over his chest and stomach.
The final acts of love had been far superior to any imaginings either of them had entertained. Darcy, never a great admirer of romantic poetry, finally understood. Each day, each moment with Elizabeth had transcended the one before. Tonight they had reached dizzying heights, and it honestly seemed impossible to love her more. Now he knew that she owned him, lived inside of him, kept his heart beating, and gave him purpose. If it had not felt so very right, it might have terrified him.
Contentment flowed through Elizabeth. She was tired, yet exhilarated at the same time. Happiness was a palpable entity that surrounded her and permeated her very soul. How is it possible to love someone this much? Is it normal? Probably not, but I would not wish it any other way.
Real life intruded when Darcy’s stomach growled, as if in response to Elizabeth’s fingers playfully examining his navel. “Hungry, darling?” she asked. “Have your recent exertions increased your appetite?”
“I have eaten sparsely today. Nerves, I suppose.” He rolled onto his side and began kissing her bare shoulder. “I was much more interested in satisfying other hungers so that I ignored my more basic needs. What is food compared to your love?”
“Very pretty. However, I am beginning to experience pangs of my own. The Hamiltons have supplied us with an abundance of food and it would be rude to ignore it.”
They donned robes – the process delayed by numerous kisses and caresses – and moved to sit on the rugs near the hearth. Neither was shy in attacking the superb provisions and chilled champagne. They fed each other, frequently pausing for sweet kisses, eventually satisfying their hunger and reclining comfortably before the fire.
Darcy was drifting into sleep when he felt Elizabeth untie and open his robe. “Elizabeth?” he whispered curiously.
“I made a promise, sir, to give you a full accounting of all your attributes that are pleasing to my eyes. Never let it be uttered that I do not keep my promises. Now, relax.”
“That may be a challenging order to follow, my beloved, if you continue in this manner.” He captured one of her tresses and twined it around his fingers. For long moments they gazed at each other, enraptured by the love they felt. Thoughts of sleep vanished. Darcy started to rise up, intent on taking her into his arms, but she stayed him with her hands.
“I am not finished, sir,” she murmured and lowered her face to his neck as she stretched fully onto him. It was her turn to bestow feather kisses to all his sensitive places and to discover the secrets of how to please him. This she did with an intensity and directness that left him beyond breathless … and completely satisfied.
Their wedding night was not over yet…..
If interested in reading the full version – Which takes two chapters, gives many more details, and is not PG! – it can be found in my first novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One. The Darcy Saga five-novel series follows the Darcys leisurely through the initial years of their marriage. For more about my novels, visit my authors page here on Austen Authors, or visit my website: Sharon Lathan, Novelist where I have excerpts, editorial reviews, an extensive portrait gallery of Regency images, historical essays, a Regency Glossary, an interactive blog, and much more.