It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy;— it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others." - Jane Austen
"You are the one I love," Mr. Darcy said with resolved seriousness, "Marry me, Miss Elizabeth, and make me the happiest of men."
My heart milled in my chest. The only sounds I could hear were my heartbeat and the gentle hum of the fountain; its water rustling like a whisper from a loved one. He took hold of my hands. Before I could respond with an answer, his trembling lips were on mine. He broke the kiss as fast as it had begun, in all likelihood, from an obligation to propriety.
Amanda, I thought to myself, what are you doing? I love him. I love him. I love him.
"Before I give my answer," I smirked, "I would like you to do something for me."
With a soft splash, Darcy emerged from the pond. His wet shirt clung to his body. The sheerness of the shirt revealed a well-muscled torso. I had not expected him to be so... healthy. I was shocked because all those Regency portraits I had seen depicted heavyset men with moon faces and cheeks as red as tomatoes. You know, the type of guy wearing a froufrou too-tight suit, an off-kilter wig with his feet propped on a tiny stool, looking as though he was battling a severe case of gout. Darcy was, beyond any doubt, not that. No, not at all.
"Is this acceptable?" He inquired with a bashful grin.
"Oh yes," I blushed. "Yes."
He moved towards the edge of the pond to get back on solid ground. I stopped him, "No, stay there. If you get out now, I know we will kiss, and I will not be capable of thinking clearly." I sighed, "I know you love me, and I love you as well. Even so, when you first met me, I was this annoying, self-righteous brat, and you looked at me with an abysmal disregard. Now, you say that you love me for the acuity of my mind, my beauty, and my kindness and strength."
He smirked, "I see everything about you as disagreeable. Still, I love you, Elizabeth Bennet." His voice softened, "You have my heart."
My breath caught in my chest. With fluid movements, he swam back to the edge of the pond and climbed towards me. "Do not doubt the sincerity of my feelings for you."
I reached up to caress his face with my hand, stroking his lips with my thumb. Locking eyes, we stepped closer to one another. I noticed the flecks of gold in his brown eyes. I felt an overwhelming need to know everything about the man standing in front of me. I wanted him to kiss me again. I needed him to kiss me.
He held me by the waist before the yearning could become agonizing. Pulling me towards his chest, he disregarded the fact that he was dripping with water. The water seeped through to my dress, but I paid no heed to it. I heard a husky sound in the back of his throat as he kissed me again, this time with more passion. Electricity charged through my body. I wrapped my arms around his neck, deepening the kiss, raking my fingers through his hair.
The kiss ended when he noticed his butler was walking towards him. He backed away from me and asked what business he had today. He told Darcy the accountant was waiting for him in the library. Darcy told him he would come soon. Once the butler was out of sight, I looked up at Darcy, "Can you ignore that?"
He sent me a strained smile and shook his head, "I cannot."
I chuckled, "I figured."
"When my obligations are quitted, I will find you, Elizabeth, for, there is more to say." He kissed my hands, "If only the same words, over and again."
I love him. I love him. I love him.
I walked towards my room in a daydream. Had this all happened in two nights? I had never been in love like this before as cliché as it sounded. I had never experienced this with Michael. I preferred it when Michael was not around because I felt stifled when he was there. It seemed strange how I was thinking about Darcy all the time, wondering if he was thinking about me. Was I in love? Was this what love felt like? I wanted to be by his side and hated not being with him. I swooned and flopped backward onto my bed. Heaving a blissful sigh, I smiled to myself. Fitzwilliam Darcy loved me. He loved me. There it was, plain and simple.
A knock on my door broke me from my reverie. Pushing myself off the bed, I walked towards the door and opened it. A servant curtsied and handed me a letter. "Thank you," I muttered, staring down at the handwriting that belonged to none other than Mrs. Bennet. The servant walked away, and I shut the door.
The writing looked accusatory, screaming at me making me feel as though I had never left home. I cracked the wax seal and opened the letter, nervous to read the contents.
My Dear Lizzy,
I am writing to tell you how happy I am with you! I was under the impression you were at Hunsford Parsonage and have only now been informed you are at Pemberley. Now is the time to set your cap at Mr. Darcy! We will forget about Mr. Collins. We can now focus on Lydia catching Mr. Samuel Palmer's attention. Shall I arrange for a summer wedding?
Your loving mother
This mission of making sure Mr. Palmer found Lydia suitable could have been done by Mrs. Bennet; however, she did not possess the patience or the stamina to perform the task. It meant the task would fall to me. Even through a long-distance mother was attempting to manipulate me. I had to tell Darcy, but first, I needed to calm down. I needed my book.
Where was my book?
I had sworn I had placed it on my nightstand. I opened all my drawers and rummaged through the contents, but to no avail. The book was nowhere in sight. My brow furrowed as I attempted to retrace my steps. The last time I was reading it, I had been in the main parlor room. I walked downstairs and opened the doors to find Mr. Darcy sitting on the sofa alone.
My hands grew cold, and my heart pounded, for, he was holding my book. He looked over at me and closed the book with one hand.
"What is the meaning of this?" He stood up and walked towards me.
There was no love in his eyes this time. Rather, his dark eyes glowered at me, and I cringed afraid of the anger behind them. I backed towards the door, my hand reaching for the doorknob; but, he stopped short and took a deep breath. He turned his back to me and shut his eyes, "What is the meaning of this book? What kind of a contemptuous insolence is this? To pen a roman a clef about kind persons who have accepted you as their guest. You do not even possess the kindness to disguise our names. It is an immoral lack of gratitude and infidelity of trust. Did you pen this novel? Are you Miss Elizabeth Bennet and Miss Jane Austen? And this," he waved the picture of Michael that I had placed in the pages of the book, "who is this and what kind of witchcraft is this portrait?"
I remained still. How was I to word this? He could not know that he was a fictional character. It would have ruined him. "Tell me!" He bellowed.
"What do you want me to say, Fitzwilliam?"
He threw the book at my feet, "Do not address me so informally."
I sniffled as I attempted to hold back hot tears of bitterness and frustration. I struggled, "This is a huge misunderstanding."
"Is it?" He turned to me. Upon witnessing the tears in my eyes, he yielded. He looked aside, "Honestly, I cease to care."
"No," I stepped closer towards him, "I refuse to believe that. You told me you loved me today. You cannot turn love off with such ease."
He whispered, "Nothing about you is trustworthy to me any longer. If there is no trust, there is no love."
My eyes brimmed with tears, "But, I love you."
"Then," he squared his jaw, "it is a cross you shall have to bear."
I shook my head at him in disbelief, "I am leaving tonight for Longbourn. It is clear that I am unwanted here."
I love him. I love him. I want to die now. I love him.
Before Mr. Darcy could stop me, I ran out of the room. I kept running until I realized that I was lost. I was not surprised, given how vast Pemberley was and ran back and forth, trying to find a familiar corridor. I felt a hand reach out to stop me and turned to see Mr. Darcy. I hesitated when I saw something glint from the corner of my eye. It was a mirror. The mirror bore an uncanny resemblance to the one in my bathroom. Before we could say anything more, the mirror became a portal and we were drawn in. when I saw something glint from the corner of my eye. It was a mirror. The mirror bore an uncanny resemblance to the one in my bathroom. Before we could say anything more, the mirror became a portal and we were drawn in.