Chapter 11
“Good morning, Elizabeth.” Darcy stated as he brought the twins in for their usual morning visit. Seeing Elizabeth sitting in the chair beside the fireplace made him smile. “You are appear to be improving more and more each day. It pleases me to see you doing so well.”
“It is a blessing to be out of the bed. I have never taken to being ill, as I cannot stand being forced to remain indoors, especially in bed, for any length of time.” Elizabeth laughed lightly. “Perhaps it is a flaw that I should have warned you of before you decided to marry me.”
Darcy laughed. “As it is a flaw I have myself, I could not find fault in your being the same. Heaven help us if we both become ill at the same time, our staff will flee from our home.”
“And how are the children this morning?”
“Our son has developed quite an appetite. Mrs Blaine has begun to look for a second wet nurse, as it is clear a second one will be needed.”
Elizabeth smiled, taking hold of the babe. “William, a thought has crossed my mind. Perhaps it would be best if we were to give him a nickname, or go by his middle name. With Richard’s death, and all that has happened since, I am afraid it will be a constant reminder of Richard. Though I wish the children to know of him, we must move forward.”
Darcy was surprised at her suggestion. “I had a dream the other night, in which Richard came to me. He insisted that we move forward, not live in the past.”
Elizabeth’s eyes grew wide. “When did you have the dream?”
“Four nights ago.” Darcy replied.
“I had a dream that night as well. Richard begged me to give you a chance at being my husband. He told me that he approved of our marriage, and that he wished for us to be happily married. I promised him I would do what I could to keep my promise. Though I miss him terribly, he was correct. Holding on to his memory will not allow me to be happy. And if I am not happy, you and the children will suffer.”
“Elizabeth, I do not expect you to fill wifely duties until you are ready. I will never put such a burden on you.” Darcy sat down in the chair beside hers. Lifting on of her hands in his, he brought it to his lips. “I do care for you, Elizabeth. I would not have married you if I had not.”
“William, I have thought of our situation since the birth. I have to admit…oh dear, how can I say this without sounding like a harlot?”
Puzzled, Darcy looked deeply into his wife’s eyes. “I could never imagine you sounding as if you were a harlot.”
“It is only, I do find myself drawn to you.” Elizabeth lowered her gaze, looking down at her hand clasped within his. “I find I have desires for you.” She said in a soft whisper.
The news was surprising to Darcy, though not unwelcomed. He, too, had developed some warm feelings. “Elizabeth, if you wish for us to be… closer, I find no objection to the idea of being your husband, in every way, when you are able. I am not certain what the physician has declared wise for your health.”
“Another fortnight, from what I have been told.” She squeezed his hand tightly. “I am grateful we have had this discussion. It has been in my thoughts for some time now, but I did not know how to broach it with you.”
“I pray you will always find it easy to speak openly with me, no matter what the subject might be.” Darcy leaned to her, placing a kiss gently on Elizabeth’s lips. “Now, as to the discussion of our son’s name. Perhaps we refer to him as Tom or Thomas. Tommy would be fine as a child, if you prefer.”
“Tom would be perfect.” Elizabeth declared her preference. “Ari and Tom. Thank you, William.”
As she was looking at the infant in her arms, Darcy took a finger under her chin and lifted her face to look into his eyes. “There is no need to thank me. You have become dear to me. I cannot imagine my life not having you in it.”
Elizabeth’s smile reached her eyes, making her husband’s heart beat quicker than normal.
~~ ** ~~
“You say that someone entered the law office during the night?” Mr Bennet questioned his brother in law. “Do you suspect they were looking for Elizabeth’s legal papers?”
“There could be no other reason. I doubt very much if Mr Long’s purchase of the tree grove would peak anyone’s desire to see the papers.” Mr Phillips stated. “I am pleased that we made several copies of the wedding contract between Elizabeth and Darcy. You already had all the papers from her previous marriage.”
“As does William. Richard sent copies to him. No one will find the papers here. It is one time I am pleased my father was as paranoid as he was. It would be quite difficult for someone to find the vault room, or the safe inside the room. Was there any damage done to your office?”
“No, only items out of place. You know how meticulous I am on where each item should be at the end of the day. That is what alerted me to the break in. When there were papers out of place on my desktop, I knew something was wrong.”
“I will send word to Darcy. Since the person struck out in your office, the next logical places would be Willows or Longbourn.” Mr Bennet stated. “Perhaps the person would also be foolish enough to attempt to locate the papers at Darcy’s estate in Derbyshire or his townhouse. How I wish we could teach Lord and Lady Matlock a lesson. They will find some way to strike at Lizzy, no matter what she does. Such ridiculous people. It baffles me that Richard seemed to be so level-headed, according to what my brother and Lizzy have told me of him. Not at all like his parents.”
“Sometimes common sense and intelligence skips a generation.” Mr Phillips smiled. “Perhaps it is due to all the inbreeding in the peerage.”
Mr Bennet chuckled. “You are most likely correct, Augustus. Makes me glad we are not part of the peerage.”
~~ ** ~~
Louisa Hurst knocked on the door to her brother’s study. On hearing him call out to her to enter, she did so. “Charles, I need to speak with you.”
“Of course, Louisa. Is something wrong? Is Hurst’s gout giving him problems again?”
“No, Gilbert’s gout is as it always is. It is our sister which troubles me at the moment. I overheard her speaking to herself this morning. That has never been unusual for Caroline, but what she was speaking of was very worrisome. She has sent word to a modiste in Town, one who caters to the highest of society. Caroline wishes to have a trousseau made for her wedding.”
“Her wedding? Nothing has been said to me of her even being courted. Who is the man? Have you met him?” Bingley was concerned that he had missed something important happening in his very own home.
“Charles, I dread your reaction when I tell you, for I am certain you will be furious.”
Bingley shook his head. “No, Louisa, you have nothing to fear from me. I prefer to learn news from you than from someone else.”
Louisa found it difficult to look her brother in the eye. “She was speaking of becoming Mrs Darcy of Pemberley.”
“Good God, has she lost all rational reason? He is a married man, not to mention that he detests her. What am I going to do with her?” Bingley shook his head as he stood and walked to a nearby window. “I have no choice, she will have to go to live with our aunt. She can no longer be trusted to remain here, so close to Darcy and his new family. I fear what she would do to be rid of Mrs Darcy and the children.”
“I wish it was different, but I have had the same fear. Gilbert and I spoke of it this morning. We would be willing to escort Caroline north, and then we could journey to the Hurst estate. He wishes to visit his parents, once we are able to rid ourselves of Caroline.”
“We should plan on you leaving within the next day or two. And we cannot allow Caroline to know what we have planned.” Bingley turned his attention back to his sister. “And we might need to keep some laudanum on hand when you prepare to leave with her. Caroline will most likely not go calmly.”
~~ ** ~~
“Mother, what brings you to the country? You usually refrain from coming to the estate.” James declared as he approached his mother in the foyer of Matlock.
“I came to prepare the nursery for when your niece and nephew arrive. There is so much to do, as the nursery has not been used for many years. It will need to have new papers for the walls, and new furnishings. I will need to interview staff to tend to the children as well. We will need nurse maids and wet nurses, and order new clothes and other items. So you can see, it is important for me to be here.”
James could not believe his mother’s denial of the truth. “Mother, you have not won custody of the babes. From what I heard from the solicitors, Darcy has the right to claim the children as his own, giving them his name. It is done, and, to be honest, I am certain Richard would have approved of Darcy being father to the twins. The two were always close, and Richard would wish his family protected from you and Father.”
Feeling the sting of his mother’s hand striking his cheek, James stepped backwards.
“James Fitzwilliam, how can you speak so of your family? We are your blood. You dare to speak as if the harlot has the right to keep my grandchildren from me? You should be ashamed of yourself. It was bad enough, the way she schemed to marry my dear son, and keep him from us, but then she defied us by having Richard buried at her home and keep his children away from us. She is evil. My grandchildren cannot be raised by someone as evil as she is.”
“Mother, you will not garner any assistance from me on the matter. I am in agreement with Darcy and Martha. You had best accept Darcy’s marriage to Elizabeth. Until you do, you do not stand a chance of ever seeing your grandchildren. Now, I have work to be done. If you will be here later, I will enjoy dining with you.”
Lady Matlock stormed away from her son, marching to her private study. She was determined that she would have Richard’s children living at Matlock, no matter what it took.
~~ ** ~~
Caroline Bingley had slipped from her bedchambers and out of the house. She was determined to put her plan into action, as she was finished waiting around for her future. The darkness of the pre-dawn hour would cloak her actions.
She had one of the grooms saddle her horse. “If anyone inquires, I plan to ride about the estate. I should return in a few hours.”
The young man nodded his head. He was not fond of Miss Bingley, as she was quite abusive to all of the staff at Netherfield.
Riding in one direction, to give the appearance that she was traveling in the opposite direction of her goal. Once she was clear of view from the house and stables, Caroline changed direction. She then headed directly to Willows.
Careful not to be seen, she soon arrived near the main house. Securing the horse to a nearby tree. She found a servant door at the rear of the house to be unlocked, allowing her access to enter unannounced. The only difficulty she would have was to discover which rooms she needed to access.
There were a few servants wake and moving about the house, forcing Caroline to take care, keeping from being discovered. She considered herself fortunate when she overheard two maids speaking near the door to the Master’s suite. Waiting until the maids had moved on, Caroline slipped inside one of the doors. She knew he was an early riser, so she moved quickly to execute her plan.
Caroline took off her clothing, leaving it scattered on the floor as she silently made her way to the bed where Darcy slept. Her eyes were fixed on the fine specimen of rugged male forms lying on the bed. The bedding was askew, leaving his chest uncovered. The deranged Miss Bingley found it difficult not to assault his body, so desperate she was to run her fingers over his chiseled skin. My sister would be green with envy if she knew how fortunate I am. Gilbert Hurst is nothing even close to Fitzwilliam. To think, Fitzwilliam would waste himself on that chit. She does not deserve such a handsome, strong man as this. He is mine, all mine.
She carefully slipped into the bed, waiting to make certain that he did not wake as she moved to take her place. Moving to his side, Caroline could no longer resist touching the smooth skin.
Lightly, she caressed her fingers over his chest. The taunt muscles and smooth skin felt incredible to her. She could not help herself, she wished to see more. Caroline slowly pulled the bedding off his form, finding he was completely bare of clothing. I have seen sculptures of male bodies, but they are nothing in comparison to Fitzwilliam. Oh, my, how is a lady to take such a large… thing… inside of her. From what I have read and what the other girls at school spoke of, the man uses this to deposit his seed inside the lady. But I cannot imagine how. Fitzwilliam will know everything, he is such an intelligent man. And I am certain that he will be a gentle lover. I cannot wait for him to make me his.
She allowed her fingers to lightly touch his manhood, amazed that it hardened in response. This must be a clear sign that he wishes me. He must desire me. What I learned always declared that a man would respond in such a manner if aroused. Oh, Fitzwilliam, you are aroused by my touch.
Moving back up his body with her fingers, Caroline soon found his lips too tempting to resist. She moved herself above him, bracing herself on her arms, as she lowered her head towards his. Her lips touched his, first gently. Suddenly, he returned her kiss, and his passion grew into fury. Caroline was swept up in his delightful tasting of her. But her delight was all too soon dashed.
“Lizzy, my dearest, my beloved Lizzy.” The words poured from Darcy as he continued to kiss the lady in his arms.
“LIZZY!” Caroline’s anger was extreme.
Suddenly waking from the delightful dream he was experiencing, Darcy was confused. “What is going on here? What are you doing in my bed?” He shouted at Caroline Bingley.
“You wanted me, Fitzwilliam. I know you did. I came here, to reassure you of my constancy. You can annul your marriage to that trollop. Then we can be together.”
Darcy had jumped up and out of his bed, wrapping a coverlet around his body. “Miss Bingley, I cannot imagine what you are doing in my bed. I have never desired you, nor will I ever. I am a married man. I have no need of an annulment.”
“But you enjoyed my touch, I saw your reaction when I touched your manliness. You responded to my caresses. That proves that you care for me and desire me.”
“I was dreaming of my wife, Miss Bingley. You were not in the dream, my wife was. Lizzy is the only lady I wish to ever have relations with. You could never make me happy. I will remove myself from this room, and I suggest you dress yourself while I send for your brother to come here.”
There was a knock on the door which separated the Master’s chambers from the Mistress’. Darcy was afraid of anyone seeing the predicament he found himself in. Slowly, the door opened slightly and he could hear the gentle voice of his wife. “William, is all well? I heard you cry out, and was concerned.”
Darcy moved quickly to the door, attempting to block Elizabeth’s view of the naked woman in his bed. “I woke to find someone unwanted in my bed. I had been having a most enjoyable dream, only wake to a nightmare.”
Elizabeth looked at him, confusion apparent as a crease grew between her brows. “What sort of nightmare, William? Is there something I can do to be of assistance?” She found the sight of his naked chest to be intoxicating. It struck her as curious to find him wrapped in only a coverlet around his waist.
“You might as well know, as I need to send for Bingley to come. Miss Bingley stole her way into our house and into my bed. She was attempting to seduce me, while I was asleep. I did not wake until she spoke harshly to me.”
Caroline had no modesty, as she rose from the bed, wearing nothing at all and made no attempt to cover herself. “Is this the whore who has made you forget all others?” She asked as she marched herself towards Elizabeth.
“MISS BINGLEY, PLEASE COVER YOURSELF!” Darcy bellowed, turning himself away from the disgusting sight.
Elizabeth was of mixed emotions, whether to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the situation or to be angry with Miss Bingley for entering her house, uninvited, and making such an advanced against Darcy. “William, perhaps you should enter my bedchamber and allow me to handle Miss Bingley. Ring for Lucy and have her inform Prentice where you can be found.”
Darcy was concerned. Though Elizabeth was stronger, in fact she had planned to take a short walk outside with him that day, he was not certain she was up to taking on Caroline Bingley. Seeing no options, with his state of dress and Caroline’s refusal to cover herself, Darcy entered the Mistress’ chambers, closing the door behind him.
Caroline made to follow him into the next room. Elizabeth took hold of the naked lady’s arm, halting her progress. “I know we have not been introduced, but I believe that consequences have made it impossible for proper society rules. Miss Bingley, you have forced your way into my home, uninvited and unwelcomed, stealing your way up into my husband’s chambers. And, if that is not bad enough, you undressed yourself and entered my husband’s bed. You still stand before me with not a stitch to cover you, and you dare to call me a whore? You will be ruined when word of this gets out, and believe me, from your behavior, it will be difficult to keep this hushed up. But you are too foolish to realize what you have done will harm you, not my husband.”
“If you were wise, you would allow him to gain an annulment. He will have to marry me, as he will not allow me, the sister of his closest friend, to be ruined.” Caroline pranced herself over to the bed, laying down on top of the bedding. She smoothed her hands along the silken fabric of the sheets. “It is you who will be forced to leave this house. But I might take pity on you, if you give Fitzwilliam the annulment without an argument. If you do so, I will speak with Fitzwilliam of allowing you to remain here, and we can leave for Pemberley straight away.”
“I am going nowhere, Miss Bingley. And you will not be going to Pemberley. William is my husband, and will remain so. Now, if you do not wish to have your brother see you in such a manner, I would suggest you dress yourself.” Elizabeth attempted to control her frustration with the woman who was making such a fool of herself.
“You are envious, for I have a pleasant figure and Fitzwilliam is fond of me. I know he has feelings for me. I saw how his body reacted to my caress. If we had had a few more moments, I am certain he would have taken me, as he should. With your figure, I am not sure how you could have enticed any man to marry you. You must have some sort of foreign ways which a true lady, such as myself, would never do to attract a man to you.”
Elizabeth had held her temper long enough. “Miss Bingley, as soon as your brother arrives, he will be asked to remove you. I do not care a bit if you are marched out of this house stark naked. But your brother does not deserve such humiliation. Put on your clothes, or I will call for servants to come in here and force your clothing on your body. And if the maids are unable to force the clothing on you, I will send for the footmen to assist. Is that what you wish?”
“I will not be leaving, Mrs Fitzwilliam. You had best come to terms with that fact. As soon as you are removed, I am certain that my dear Fitzwilliam will wish to consummate our relationship. He will wish to seal our relationship, even before the annulment is obtained. I have no worries, if a child is begotten before marriage, it would be simple enough to hush up such things.”
“You are a fool, Miss Bingley. Very well, remain here, in this room, until your brother arrives. I will be joining my husband in my rooms.”
Caroline realized that Darcy was in a degree of undress that she did not wish Elizabeth to see. “No, I believe it is best you remain here, with me, until my brother arrives. He will force you to understand my position and my claims for Fitzwilliam to be my husband are greater than your silly claims for him.”
Elizabeth gave up her attempts of making the deranged woman see reason. She stepped into her own bedchamber, locking the door between the two suites.
~~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~

Chapter 12
“I cannot begin to apologize to you, Elizabeth.” Darcy began speaking before she had completely shut the door from his rooms. “She has lost her mind completely.”
“I know, William. I do say, you would make a fine Greek, with your toga. Though I must say the sight of Miss Bingley in all her glory was far more than I wished to ever see.”
“I sent word to Netherfield for her brother to come. Gads, the thought of her in my bed, I do not think I will be able to sleep in that bed ever again.” Darcy gave a shudder of repulse at the thought of what he had been forced to encounter.
“Well, we will have that bed removed and replaced before the day is done.” Elizabeth began to chuckle. “The sight of you, wrapped in bedding, and Miss Bingley completely starker, I had a difficult time keeping from bursting into laughter.”
“I must say, I never thought she could be less appealing than when she wore those hideous orange gowns she favors, but I was mistaken. She looks better wearing those orange gowns than when she wears nothing.”
Elizabeth began to laugh louder and louder. “And now, she believes that you have compromised her and that her brother will insist on you having our marriage annulled and force you to marry Miss Bingley. I know I should take pity on the woman, as she is not well. But I have to find the humor in the situation. You look as if you would pluck out your eyes to rid yourself from the image you witnessed.”
“Unfortunately I cannot, for even with my eyes gone, the memory is still burned into my mind. I wish there was a way to erase such memories.” Darcy began to laugh along with his wife.
There was a knock on the door to Elizabeth’s dressing chamber. When she went to open it, she found an uncomfortable Prentice standing amongst her garments. “Oh, Prentice, your master is in need of some clothing.”
“Yes, Mistress, Lucy informed me of the situation. I brought some clothing for Master William. I also took the liberty of locking the door into Master William’s dressing chamber and the main door into his bedchamber, and posted a footman outside the doors. I did not think you would wish for Miss Bingley to flee before her brother could arrive.”
The thought of Caroline Bingley, running throughout the house in nothing but her skin, made Elizabeth burst into laughter. “Forgive me, Prentice. I will have my husband join you. I am sure he is more than ready to be dressed.”
An hour later, Darcy and Elizabeth were completely dressed and awaiting Bingley’s arrival. Charles Bingley was not one to rise from his bed as early as Darcy, so it took a little work of his valet to wake the man. Learning of his sister being at Willows, before daybreak, was difficult enough. But Darcy’s message had eluded to her improper behavior. This could only mean one thing. His sister had lost her mind completely, as she had most likely attempted a compromise.
Upon his arrival, Bingley was shown to the sitting room attached to the Mistress’ chambers. “Where is my sister?” He inquired.
“Locked in William’s bedchamber.” Elizabeth said, a chuckle escaping from her.
“Good God. What has she done?”
“She nearly gave me a case of apoplexy.” Darcy said, his disgust with the matter visible. I was sound asleep when I was awaken to Miss Bingley, lying next to me in my bed, with not a stitch of clothing on. I cannot bring myself to tell you what she was doing.”
Charles Bingley turned red with embarrassment. “Dear God, she has lost her mind. We will have her sent away this very day. I do not know how I can ever face you again, knowing such shame that my sister has brought. It would be best if I close up Netherfield and leave the neighborhood as soon as possible.”
“Nonsense, Bingley. I do not hold you responsible for your sister’s behavior. Neither of us would have ever thought this to be a possibility. If you had known she was so unhinged, you would have insisted she not come to Netherfield, or you would have sent her away long before this.”
“I would have, Darce, as I know you have only tolerated her behavior due to our friendship. But you have made it clear from the first moment you met my sister, you were not interested in an attachment with her. I have told her time and again, but she never listens.”
“I am afraid word of this will reach Meryton soon enough. Though our staff here loyal to us, there are others who come and go from the estate who would have no difficulty in speaking of such scandal.” Elizabeth stated. “And it would surprise me to learn that no one heard either William or your sister cry out. It was not a quiet event.”
Bingley shook his head. They would be ruined, their entire family would face the devastation of Caroline’s actions. He would never be able to court Miss Bennet, not once the news was out. “Show me to her, if you would be so kind.”
Darcy nodded his head, and walked towards the door which would give Bingley access to the Master’s bedchamber. Just as Bingley’s hand reached for the doorknob, Elizabeth called his attention. “Mr Bingley, I feel it is important for you to know that your sister might still be unclothed. She had no wish to dress when I spoke with her, as she announced that she would consummate her love with William after my husband threw me out of the house.”
“Gads, it is not a sight I wish to have of my sister.” Bingley nearly turned green with nausea.
“After being witness to the situation, I cannot blame you, Bingley.” Darcy said, giving another shudder.
~~ ** ~~
Bingley had sent to Netherfield for his eldest sister’s assistance. He found Caroline beyond reason, and he knew Louisa could work on Caroline. At the very least, he hoped Louisa could manage their sister enough to get her clothes back on her. It appeared to him that, in her breakdown, Caroline had determined clothes were not necessary.
On arriving at Willows, Louisa was informed of her sister’s state of mind. She was shocked with Caroline’s behavior, and fearful of what her sister would do if she became angry.
“Charles, perhaps we can give her some powders in some wine. If we sedate her in such a manner, it would be easier to control her. Once asleep, we can put her clothes on her and load her in a carriage. We must take her from this neighborhood at once.”
Bingley agreed and sent for Mrs Blaine. Once the glass of brandy was prepared with powders which induce sleep, Louisa carried it into her sister.
“Caroline, our brother was worried for your nerves. He stated you had quarreled with Mr Darcy as well. I suggested you might like a small glass of brandy. This is quite fine brandy, from France. Mr Darcy’s private stock.”
“It will be of the finest quality, as my betrothed would have nothing but the very best.” Caroline smiled as she took the glass, drinking its contents down quickly. “Ah, yes, it is wonderful. Just what I needed to soothe my nerves. Did you see my dear Fitzwilliam? Has he rid the house of that dreadful whore and her brats? I cannot abide having to tolerate them in the same neighborhood, so I pray he sends them far away.”
“I am not certain what is happening with them, Charles was worried for you. Of course, my concern is to ensure you are well. So I did not stop to ask any questions of that lady and her children.” Louisa thought to herself that her words were not truly lies, as her brother had informed her of Mrs Darcy and what had happened. She had not asked any questions.
“They should be shipped off on the next boat, returning the foreigner to her native lands. I should tell Fitzwilliam, make him see the truth in it. The chit is not from England, she has vulgar ways as a foreigner would. Dirty, filthy lot. Fitzwilliam should realize that no matter how you dress them up and try to make suitable, they are still vulgar and lowly bred.”
“I am certain you can speak with him, once you have calmed yourself. Now, might I suggest you dress yourself? Even with the fire burning, there is a chill in the air, and I would not wish for you to become ill.”
“Oh, Louisa, you take such good care of me. Indeed, it would not do for me to take ill. Yes, I shall dress myself. I would not be proper if I were to take a fever.” Caroline set about to dress herself, and allowed her sister to assist her. By the time Caroline was dressed, she was becoming fatigued.
Louisa was quick witted. “Caroline, you were awake quite early this morning, perhaps you should rest for a little while. You must be quite fatigued. When Mr Darcy is finished with his business, he will wish you to be rested.”
“You are correct. It would do no good to have me exhausted and falling asleep in his arms. There is so much to take care of, now that we will be preparing to wed. And then we will travel to London. I cannot wait to see the expression of all those ladies who had wished to capture my dearest Fitzwilliam. They will all be envious of my success.”
“Indeed, they will. But you will be unable to do anything if you do not rest yourself.” Louisa had managed to lead her sister, by the arm, towards the bed. Once Caroline reclined on the bed, Louisa placed a gentle kiss on her sister’s brow. “Now, sleep, my dear sister. I will remain here to watch over you.”
“You are so good to me, Louisa. I will make certain you are invited to visit with us at Pemberley.”
~~ ** ~~
“Mother, when are we setting out to bring my betrothed home?” Anne de Bourgh was relentless in her badgering her mother. Several times each day, Anne would demand an answer of her mother.
“Anne, I have told you multiple times that we have to wait until we receive word. Your uncle is dealing with the solicitors, and we require the original documents of that foreigner’s marriage to Colonel Fitzwilliam and her marriage to Darcy. If we do not wait a little while longer, we will regret our haste. We need to be able to have that chit locked away in Bedlam, so that her children can be given to Lady Matlock. She is set on raising your cousin’s children.”
“What do I care for my aunt having some whore’s children? My concerns are for my betrothed being brought to me. I demand we leave soon, as I am fed up with waiting. If Darcy is not brought to me soon, I promise you, I will make everyone pay for their failures.” Anne stormed from the room, and up to her rooms.
“And to think, she is supposed to be delicate.” Lady Catherine said after her daughter was out of range of hearing her.
~~ ** ~~
“I am sorry, William.” Elizabeth said as she continued to laugh. They had finished their short walk around the flower garden nearest their house, and Elizabeth could not control herself from laughing at the situation from earlier that day.
“You seem to be finding a much entertainment at my expense, Elizabeth.” Darcy attempted to keep his expression from giving away his humor.
“It is only that each time I look at you, I can see you wearing the coverlet wrapped about you. I must remember to thank Miss Bingley for leading you to give me such a delightful image to admire.” Elizabeth giggled.
“Do not even mention that woman. Though, perhaps, I owe her my appreciation as well. It did allow me to be less formal in your presence.” Darcy chuckled. “Elizabeth, I am grateful for our decision to move forward in our relationship. I must also confess, when Miss Bingley was…caressing my body, I was dreaming of you.”
“Your reaction to her touch, you were believing you were being touched… by me?”
“Indeed. It was an intoxicating dream.”
“Oh, my. She stated of your…manhood, the change in it, leading her to believe you wished her company. Your dream, I was touching you…there?”
Words escaped him at that moment. Wrapping his arm about her waist, Darcy pulled her to his body. “I did dream of your hands, your fingers, touching me in such a manner. It would be foolish of me to say otherwise. I must be honest with you. You are the most handsome lady of my acquaintance. And you are intelligent, with a quick wit and kind heart. Would you object… do I ask too much, if I were to ask for a kiss?”
Blushing deeply, Elizabeth found it difficult to meet his gaze. She had become quite taken with the man she was now married to. Finding him handsome, and of high morals, not to mention, intelligent and very kind. At first, after they had met, Elizabeth found many aspects of William and Richard. They were both tall, though William was the taller of the two. Both of them had bright blue eyes, and their noses were similar shaped. But the past few weeks, Elizabeth could see more of the dissimilar aspects of the two men.
William had a shy nature about him, where Richard was the life of any gathering. William was well read and continuously finding a new book to increase his knowledge. Though Richard enjoyed reading at times, he could go for quite some time between books, and most of what he read was histories. William had well rounded tastes in reading materials, histories, poetry, literature of many sources, and he even confessed to having read a few novels he had purchased for his sister.
Another difference in the men was William’s dimples. It was rare to see them, but when he smiled, a genuine smile, it brought pure joy to Elizabeth’s heart to see the dimples appear in his cheeks. It was with those dimples that William had melted the ice which had surrounded her heart after Richard’s death. Those dimples made her desire to live again, to desire to love again. And it was those dimples which now made her desire his kisses.
“Yes, William, I welcome your kisses.” She said, in a soft whisper. Darcy raised her chin as his lips lowered to taste hers. The soft, gentle kiss soon took on a life of its own. Passion built between the two, a passion which neither had ever felt before. Stronger than Elizabeth had ever known with Richard, her desire drove her to want more. Very little encouragement was required to persuade his hands to freely roam over her soft curves, memorizing every inch of her body.
Several moments passed by until both required air. “I think it may be wise to find a more private location, if we are to continue our discussion, my beloved Lizzy.”
Elizabeth looked about her, realizing where they were standing. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the willow tree which gave shade to Richard’s grave. Suddenly, she felt guilty, as if she had betrayed Richard’s memory. She broke free of Darcy’s embrace and hurried inside the house. Reaching the main hall, Elizabeth grew fatigued to the point she nearly fainted. Fortunately, Darcy had raced after her, and his arms caught her before she fell. Scooping her in his arms, Darcy called out to Mrs Blaine to send for the physician. He took his wife up the stairs, as she argue for him to put her down.
Placing her gently on the bed, Darcy finally looked into her eyes, attempting to determine what was wrong with her. “Please, Elizabeth, tell me what happened? Have I injured you? Are you ill?”
“I cannot tell you, William. I am ashamed of myself.”
“What could cause you to be ashamed of yourself? I cannot imagine what you could have done?”
“It is nothing I can speak of, not with you. Forgive me, William.” Elizabeth looked Darcy in the eye, tears welling up in hers.
“Dearest Elizabeth, please, I beg of you. Tell me what happened.” Darcy begged. “My loveliest Lizzy, please speak to me.”
“Do not call me that. Please, I beg you, do not call me Lizzy. When you do, oh, William, Richard called me his beloved Lizzy. Just now, when we were outside, and you said those endearments, and I saw Richard’s grave, I was overwhelmed. I wish to move forward, and find myself drawn to you. But then something happens, and captures my memory. I felt as if I were betraying Richard. What am I to do? Do I continue to live a life of solitude, clinging to the memories of the man who such a wonderful part of my life, or do I move forward, past the memories, and love again? I do wish to move forward, but how do I calm the trembling inside me?”
“Richard called you Lizzy, did he not?” Darcy waited for Elizabeth to answer him. Seeing her nod, Darcy continued. “Then I shall never refer to you as Lizzy. Would you be comfortable with Beth? Or would you prefer Ellie?”
Elizabeth laughed. “Beth would be fine. No one has ever called me Beth. What a sad fool I am.”
“If you are, my dear Beth, then I am one as well. I allowed my feelings to run wild. But I will tell you this. I have no regrets for having kissed you as I did. We are not betraying Richard, my dearest Beth.”
“I know, William, I know. I was just caught up in all the emotions of the day. I do not regret kissing you either. Oh, I am just being a goose.”
“Now, my dear wife, I insist you rest here until the physician arrives to tend to you. It is my belief you have done far too much today. We do not wish for you to take ill.”
“I am well, William. I was caught up in too many thoughts and that is what overwhelmed me just now.” Elizabeth gave her husband a stern look. “All of this confinement to my rooms is driving me to distraction. The walk was pleasant, I assure you.”
“We will do as the physician suggests, after he tends to you.” Darcy was equally stern in his look. “I will brook no opposition. If need be, I will recruit Ari and Tom to side with me.”
A chuckle bubbled from Elizabeth. “That is not fair, Fitzwilliam Darcy, using our children to manipulate me. Cruel, cruel man. Remember, turnabout is fair play.”
Darcy reached out his hands and grasped her waist, beginning to tickle her. “Never, our children will always side with me. I am certain of it.”
Elizabeth broke in laughter at his silliness. “I surrender, please, have mercy, kind sir.”
“I am far from being kind, my dear wife. Now, do you intend to on obeying the physician’s decision on whether you should remain in bed longer?”
“Very well… I give up.” Elizabeth had tears beginning to stream down her cheeks from laughing so hard.
“Good. Now, I insist on our agreement being sealed with a kiss.” Darcy gave her a smoldering look which made Elizabeth gasp.
Her lips seemed to have taken on a life of their own. As soon as her lips touched his, the spark ignited. The intensity of the kiss when they were outside was nothing in comparison to this kiss. His tongue entered her parted lips, tasting all of her mouth, dancing wildly with her own tongue. It was only after Mrs Blaine knocked on the bedchamber door for the second time, louder than the first time, did the sound register in their intoxicated minds.
Breaking their embrace, Darcy felt like a school boy being caught sneaking sweet meats before a meal. A blush grew over his cheeks, vivid redness which was clear to see.
“Enter.” Darcy called out. Mrs Blaine opened the door, announcing Mr Herbert’s arrival.
“Come in, Mr Herbert, I thank you for coming so quickly.” Darcy stated as he stood to take the physician’s hand.
“I was actually coming this direction to check on Mrs Darcy, as it has been a week since the last visit. Now, what is this report I have received stating you have near fainted, Mrs Darcy?”
“I became overwhelmed with emotion, nothing more.” Elizabeth exclaimed. “Or perhaps, it was my husband’s kisses which took all sense from me, leaving me dizzy.”
Darcy’s blush deepened. “I do not think my kisses made you light headed.”
Mr Herbert chuckled. “Well, I am pleased to learn the two of you are finding joy in your marriage. Other than the bout of light headedness, has there been any other symptoms?”
“Other than being witness to some shocking behavior this morning, nothing else has happened.” Elizabeth said with a smile on her lips.
“I can only guess, you are speaking of Miss Bingley’s curious behavior?”
Elizabeth was surprised. “How did you come to know of the matter?”
“Mr Bingley insisted on my consultation as to what should be done with Miss Bingley. She is quite out of sorts.” Mr Herbert shook his head. “I suggested to Mr Bingley to send her to St Martin’s in the Isle of Scilly. There is a clinic of sorts there, which caters to people who are ill, such as Miss Bingley. Between the medicine which is given to the patients, and the fresh ocean air, they have found the combination to work wonders. It also keeps the patients secure in the area. I have sent another patient there, and the reports of his care is been quite favorable.”
“And what do you think of my wife’s condition?” Darcy inquired.
“I think that you should not overwhelm her with your kisses. Otherwise, I believe Mrs Darcy is well. She has good color in her cheeks, and seems much stronger than the last time I was here. It is my belief she should use caution, and rest as often as needed, but otherwise, she can move about the house, and short walks about the gardens nearest the house.”
“Thank you, Mr Herbert. Your words are gratefully welcomed.” Elizabeth gave her husband a look of independence.
“But always remember, I have instructed you to refrain from overwhelming yourself. Do not feel you have free reign to do whatever you wish. Your body is still recovering.”
“I will make certain my wife heeds your words of wisdom.” Darcy said, giving his wife a smirk.
“Mr Herbert, I would like to share a dance with my husband at the harvest ball. Do you approve?”
“Mrs Darcy, I will give you this direction. If you wish to be able to dance, then you should rest the entire afternoon on the day of the ball. You must eat a good meal after waking, as you will require your strength. And, this point I do insist upon, you must stop if you feel yourself becoming fatigued or lightheaded.”
“I can agree with your orders. It will be worth it to open the ball with my husband. I wish to have the neighborhood see that my health is improving and that the estate will continue to thrive.”
“Very good, very good. Now, I will be off on my rounds. I will see you at the ball.” Mr Herbert stood and left the room.
~~~~~~~ ** ~~~~~~~
Chapter 12
“Welcome home, Jacob.” Mr Bennet said with great joy. “It is wonderful to have you home in time for the ball.”
“Mamma has been filling me in on all the arrangements. She is quite pleased with the entire affair.” Jacob smiled. Accepting the glass of port his father offered, he took the seat before his father’s desk.
“And is there one young lady you wish to dance the opening set with?”
Jacob’s smile grew. “Ah, yes, and I pray that it will be a celebration dance for us.”
“So you plan to ask Miss Lucas for her hand?” Mr Bennet inquired.
“Tomorrow. I was planning to ride to Lucas Lodge in the morning to speak with her. We would have to wait a few months, until I am finished with school, before we can marry.”
“Well, I have a surprise for you. We have been making improvements to the dower house. Though we decided to leave the ordering of new furnishings to you and your future wife, we have had it scrubbed down and aired out. Your mother has even had new paint on the walls of two rooms.”
“I appreciate your thoughtfulness, Papa. You and Mamma have always supported my decision of who I wished to marry. Several of my friends have had their futures planned out by their families, and they have no choice of who they are to marry. You have always been generous in my choice. I know that Charlotte has very little in the way of a dowry, and her connections only extend to her father, who is the magistrate for our neighborhood, but she has always held my heart in her hands.”
“That is what your mother and I feel is the most important aspect of choosing a bride. I love your mother, as much now as I did when we first met. Those who marry without knowing their spouse before the wedding, and are only wed to gain wealth and property, garner my extreme sympathy. I cannot imagine spending so many years in such a marriage, especially due to having to endure the marriage bed if you cannot tolerate each other.”
“Good God, Papa, you are speaking of such intimacies which I would share with my wife.” Jacob’s eyes were wide. Seeing the smile grow on Mr Bennet’s lips, Jacob finally chuckled at his own foolishness. “You do have a point though. I cannot imagine having… relations… with someone just to produce an heir.”
“Well, you will have a chance to see your dearest love tonight. We are to dine at Willows tonight, and I have it on good authority that the Lucas family was also invited.”
“How kind of Cousin Elizabeth to invite us all to dine. Is she well?”
“Very much improved, though she is still weak. It is the first gathering she has had since the birth.”
“And her new husband, what think you of him?” Jacob was the only member of the Bennet family who had not met Darcy.
“Darcy is an asset, a good and kind man, who cares dearly for Elizabeth and the children. He is quite devoted to them. In my opinion, he was half in love with her before her labors began, which is why he had no objections to marrying her as he did. Now they have time to build on that love.”
“I was shocked when I received your letter, announcing the marriage, and the early delivery of not only one babe, but twins. I thought, for certain, you had been in your cups when you wrote such a missive. But then two days later I received Mary’s letter which stated nearly the same as yours. I knew Mary had not gotten hold of your best brandy, so I was forced to believe the tale.”
Mr Bennet laughed. “It is definitely a story to tell time and again. And your comment of Mary getting hold of my brandy, that makes me laugh all the harder. Now, if it were Lydia we were speaking of…”
“Come now, Papa, Lydia was only curious as to why men would drink something different than ladies.” Jacob laughed.
“Oh, another young man you will meet tonight is Mr Charles Bingley. He has taken the lease on Netherfield Park.” Mr Bennet said.
“I have heard of him from Mamma’s letter. And she insists that the man is taken with our Jane. If I am not mistaken, she claims he has five thousand per annum.”
“Ah, yes, the priorities of what makes a good match for your sisters, according to your mother.” Mr Bennet laughed. “But she is correct in the fact that he is worth five thousand per annum, and he is very taken with our dear Jane. You will see for yourself tonight.”
~~ ** ~~
“Cousin Elizabeth, you look well. I have heard how ill you were, after giving birth. It pleases me to know you and the twins survived and are thriving.” Jacob gave his cousin a kiss on the cheek.
“Jacob, it is wonderful to have you home for the ball. I know there are several young ladies who are looking forward to dancing with you.” Elizabeth teased. “Please allow me to introduce you to my husband. Jacob Bennet, this is Fitzwilliam Darcy. William, this is my cousin, Jacob.”
“I have heard many wonderful things about you, Mr Bennet.” Darcy said as he bowed.
“Now see here, there is to be none of this Mr Bennet nonsense. I am Jacob, or Jake. We are cousins now, and I have heard amazing tales of you as well. It is a pleasure to finally meet you. Though I believe some of the tales are not to be believed, as you are much shorter that the giant I was led to believe you to be.”
“Aunt Fanny, you have been exaggerating again.” Elizabeth laughed.
“Nonsense. I need not say anything. It was Mary who was constantly singing your husband’s praises.” Mrs Bennet chuckled. “Though, I must say, I am quite fond of you, William. You are a welcome member of our family.”
“My thanks to you, Aunt.” Darcy bowed in her direction. “And I am grateful to be a part of your family. Now, Beth, shall we ring for the twins to join us? I know everyone wishes to see them.”
Elizabeth nodded her head. Mrs Blaine carried Ari, while the nursemaid brought in her brother. Elizabeth took her son in her arms and walked over to Jacob, with Darcy taking hold of Ari.
“Jacob, this is our son, Richard Thomas William Darcy. We have decided to refer to him as Tom. And this is our daughter, Aristella Anne Elizabeth Darcy. We call her Ari.”
“Elizabeth, they are quite handsome. And so very healthy after being born a month early. So, when are we to begin riding lessons?” Jacob smiled.
“My husband has already been searching for ponies for both of the children. I would prefer to wait until they can sit up on their own, perhaps even be able to walk, before they begin riding lessons.” Elizabeth teased.
The Lucas family was announced just then, and were shown into the drawing room. It was clear, the moment Jacob and Charlotte caught sight of one another. No one in the room could deny the love which was burning in their eyes. And everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the two were betrothed.
Shortly after the Lucas family arrived, Charles Bingley was shown into the drawing room, along with Mr and Mrs Phillips.
With everyone present, the dinner was announced. The children were sent back to the nursery, as the adults made their way to the dining room.
~~ ** ~~
The dinner was enjoyed by all, though nearly half way through the meal, Darcy became distressed by some news he heard. Mrs Phillips was speaking of everyone in Meryton being excited about the ball, and she inquired of Elizabeth if the militia had been invited to attend.
“Yes, I sent an invitation to Colonel Forester and his wife, inviting all of the officers to attend.” Elizabeth responded.
“How delightful, as there are some fine young men in the unit. There will be plenty young men to keep the young ladies of the neighborhood dancing all night long.”
Mrs Bennet was listening to the conversation. “I heard that you had an evening of cards with the officers at your home last week.”
“Indeed, Sister. And one of the newest members is extremely kind and attentive. If I were Jane’s age, I would have set my cap for the likes of him. So handsome and intelligent.”
Mary was curious. “Which officer do you speak of?”
“Mr Wickham. His name is even pleasant sounding. Wickham.”
Darcy was at the head of the table, though he heard the name and witnessed the reaction of his sister. “Mrs Phillips, would this officer be George Wickham?”
“Why, yes. He is from some county to the north, though I cannot remember for the life of me where it was.” Mrs Phillips continued.
Elizabeth noticed Georgiana become suddenly pale. It was clear to see the name was known to her young sister. Elizabeth looked towards her husband and saw a look of pure anger come across his expression. She knew they needed to change the subject before anyone else became aware of the situation.
“Jacob, how is your friend, Jonathon Woodbury? I remember he was planning to marry soon.” Elizabeth asked.
Jacob smiled. “Indeed, he is to wed just before Christmas. His mother is thrilled, and as his betrothed’s mother died several years ago, it will allow Jonathon’s mother to plan the wedding. She has always wished for a daughter, but only had three sons. So Jonathon and his fiancé only need to give a few opinions, have their fittings for their clothes, and arrive at the church for the wedding. Jonathon informed me that it is keeping his mother occupied, allowing him more time with his future wife. They have been to the theater several times, not to mention museums and opera.”
“Well, I have four daughters to fulfill my need to plan weddings.” Mrs Bennet said slyly. “So when you get around to proposing to the young lady of your choice, it will be her mother who will make the decisions. I might make some suggestions, but otherwise, I will enjoy being at my leisure.”
Elizabeth smiled at the look Jacob gave Charlotte. It was clear that they shared an understanding, and were only required the official blessing of her father, and Jacob formally asking Charlotte for her hand.
Fortunately, the conversation had taken attention from the discussion of the militia. Jacob began speaking of a new planting technique which he thought would be profitable for not only Longbourn, but for all the estates in the neighborhood. The discussion was far more important to the men than hearing about the militia.
As the ladies moved into the drawing room, leaving the men to their cigars and port, Elizabeth was able to have a private moment with Georgiana. “If you wish to be excused, I will understand. You are quite pale. Would you like to rest?”
“Y…Yes, Elizabeth. Thank you.”
“Georgiana, please know that you are always welcome to speak to me, if you require a friendly ear to bend and shoulder to cry on.”
The younger girl smiled. “I know, and I am grateful to you. Perhaps tomorrow, we could talk.”
“I would look forward to our chat. Pleasant dreams, my dear sister.” Elizabeth placed a kiss on Georgiana’s cheek, then watched as her sister made her way up the stairs. Once Georgiana was out of sight, Elizabeth made her way into the drawing room.
~~ ** ~~
When their guests left Willows, Darcy and Elizabeth made their way to Elizabeth’s sitting room. Darcy was grateful for his wife’s kindness in protecting Georgiana’s sensitivity, and he knew he owed Elizabeth the truth of his dealings with George Wickham.
Elizabeth’s heart ached for the pain she could hear in her husband’s voice, the pain which had wrapped around his heart many years before, yet could not be displaced.
Darcy told of his childhood, of the young boy who had started his life as a friend of Darcy’s, and of the turn of nature in the boy after his father died. The boy Wickham turned cruel, especially towards the younger Darcy.
“It was the year before Georgiana was born when I was seriously injured. I was playing with Wickham, in the loft of an old barn. Wickham was swinging from a rope and landing in a pile of hay below. He encouraged me to do so, and after a few moments of urging me on, I finally did so. Unfortunately, as I was took hold of the rope, it broke and I fell to the ground, to the side of the hay. I had broken both of my legs and some ribs, not to mention a severe lump on the back of my head. It was a full month before I was considered recovering, having developed a fever twice. My mother was heartbroken, as she could not bear to see me in such a condition. She sat beside my bed for weeks, seeing to my every need. I later learned that the rope had been cut, deliberately making it weak. Wickham had hung that particular rope earlier that day. My mother was certain that Wickham had attempted to kill me, and she refused to allow him near me again. Unfortunately, my mother died the following year. Georgiana was only a baby, she has no memories of our mother.”
“How did your mother die?” Elizabeth asked softly.
“She loved to ride horses. That was one of her greatest joys in life. And she loved to ride about our estate. I can remember Mother speaking of how dearly she loved taking in the natural splendor of our estate. One day, Mother’s horse returned from their ride, only my mother was not with the horse. It took many hours for the men to find her, but when they did, there was nothing which could be done for her. Her neck was broken. My father was overwhelmed with grief and personally took his rifle to the stables, and put the horse down. He blamed the horse. It was a week after Mother’s funeral when I learned of the stable hands believed it was not an accident, but that someone had a hand in my mother’s death. From what was said, George Wickham had been out riding at the same time, and had raced back to the stables just after Mother’s horse. He was said to have had blood on his shirt, blood which many believed had come from a struggle with my mother. Besides the broken neck, there were scratches on Mother’s face and arms, as if she had been in a struggle.”
“What did your father do?”
“Father would not hear a word said against Wickham. He declared it impossible for Wickham to have done such, as he was only twelve years old at the time. And Wickham was charismatic, using his manners to make my father smile when no one else could. Georgiana was far too young, and had our mother’s eyes, and I was very much like Mother in personality. It brought Father pain to be with us, pain of the loss he struggled with. He had loved my mother, and seeing the reminders of her each day was more than he could stand.”
“William, I am grieved for you. In many ways, you lost both of your parent when your mother died.”
Darcy nodded his head. “For some reason, Wickham felt as if he was owed more than he had. It was as if he believed himself to be part of our family, and, since I was born several months after Wickham, he acted as if he were entitled to be the Master of Pemberley. I have never understood this, as one day, I asked Father of Wickham’s behavior. His words spoke of pity for the boy, as Wickham was not his natural child, but he was the son of a wealthy man. Father had promised never to speak of the situation of Wickham’s birth, but he left papers for me of the truth.”
“So you know who Wickham’s father truly is?” Elizabeth was deeply saddened by the tale, especially the pain Darcy had suffered.
“In the papers my father left with his will, he informed me of who Wickham’s father was. There was an inheritance left to Wickham when my father died. It had been established years before, a gift from his birth father, which Father had invested. There was nearly four thousand pounds when Father died. The funds were given to Wickham, as he claimed a desire to study law. Two years later, he returned to me, wishing a valuable living which had become available. Knowing of Wickham’s habits with seducing ladies and gambling, I felt it was unwise to consider Wickham as a man of the cloth. This caused Wickham to become furious. Little did I know, this led to him committing a worse crime against my family. The reason we left Ramsgate when we did was due to Wickham. He had arrived at Ramsgate, and with the assistance of Georgiana’s companion, set about to seduce my sister into believing she was in love with him. He had not counted on my joining Georgiana, and he had not counted on my sudden decision to do some shopping and meet Georgiana on the beach to surprise her. Mrs Younge fled from the house we had leased, and I did not wish to have my sister in the neighborhood with that man.”
“I am pleased that you come here. It was a blessing for both of us.” Elizabeth smiled as she held Darcy’s hand to her cheek. “But now, he is here. What should we do?”
“Knowing he is here, it explains who was involved in breaking into Mr Phillips’ office. Wickham has known most everyone in my family, and could be working for Lord and Lady Matlock, attempting to find our license and marriage contract. I do not trust him, as he is a scoundrel. If he truly believes he is the son of my father, the thought of seducing Georgiana shows the desperation he has to gain the funds he desires. A man who could do such is not one to be trusted.”
“We should inform my uncle and Mr Phillips tomorrow. And I will send a message to Mrs Forester, explaining that we do not extend our invitation for the ball to Mr Wickham. If I explain there was a previous acquaintance between you and him, and that it ended badly, I believe it will be accepted.”
“Thank you, my dearest Beth. You are so very kind.” Darcy used his thumb to caress small circles on her cheek. The emotions inside him churned, the desire to taste her again was extreme. Finally, he gave in to his need, claiming her lips with his own. Releasing her lips, after several moments, he began placing kisses along her jawline, then behind her ear and down her neck. The fragrance of orange blossoms and lavender combined on her skin, playing with his senses, increasing his desire to taste her further.
“Beth, would you allow me to sleep in your chambers tonight. I find my need to hold you, touch you, is overwhelming.”
Elizabeth was caught up in the emotions which flowed through her. Words escaped her, leaving her only able to nod her head. Darcy scooped his wife in his arms and carried her into her bedchambers. His hands began unbuttoning the back of her gown.
“William, are you certain?” She asked, while longing still smoldered in her eyes.
“I am quite certain that if I do not, I will be driven to distraction of the greatest heights. I have come to crave your touches, your kisses. You drive me wild, Mrs Darcy. And I dearly want you.”
Though she had been told by Mr Herbert to sustain until after the ball, Elizabeth felt herself more than ready for relations with her husband. She, too, craved his touches, and she wished to feel the completeness of being loved by her husband. She had secretly wished for him to come to her, beg her to be with him. And he did.
The heat which was generated between the couple was great enough to turn the estate to ash if it had been a flame. Their clothes were discarded quickly, and the remainder of the night was spent in love being given, love being taken, and love being mutually satiated. The following morning, when the couple came down to break their fast, their smiles were uncontainable. They knew the day would be filled with difficulty, as they would have to contend with Wickham and discovering why he was in the neighborhood. But nothing could erase the pure love the couple felt after the experience they had the night before.

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