A Rocky Road

Unwanted Letters

I tell her I will not be present at dinner and to apologise to Elizabeth for me. I then proceed to go back to my suite, somewhat storming up the stairs.

A few minutes later, I hear footsteps coming back up the stairs. My heart beats faster and faster as I hear a knock at my bedroom door. However curiosity overtakes me and I proceed to open the door to find Elizabeth standing there, an anxious expression covering her features. Without thinking, I embrace her in a hug, and invite her into my room. After a bit of conversation, it is apparent that she is concerned about me, as she clearly did not miss the fact that I was absent from the dinner table. I tell her that I was tired after the journey, which was only half the reason. At this point she doesn't seem too worried about me, but as I proceed to tell her that if I had come to the dinner table I would likely have gone back to my old ways which she detested so, her demeanour changes. Her anxious facial expression is replaced with one that is difficult to read, but I am pretty sure that she is angry with me for thinking such foolish thoughts. She tells me that she believes me and agrees that it was probably best that I was not at dinner as she would not have been pleased with my behaviour. Finally satisfied that I am alright, Elizabeth leaves me for the night.

The next day brings a hive of activity, which is uncharacteristic of my quiet but large mansion. I wash and dress and then go down to breakfast as usual. As usual, we eat breakfast, in silence, with the exception of Georgiana and Elizabeth giggling at each other every so often. Their antics make me smile quietly to myself as I am happy that Elizabeth seems to like Georgiana as a friend quite well.

After the morning meal, Georgiana announces that she has urgent business to attend to in the town and begs Elizabeth to go with her, but I already know that they have made plans to go to town for the day. I give my consent to their proposed excursion, and wonder what useful employment that they have imagined up for me to complete whilst they are gone, however neither Georgiana nor Elizabeth mention any task for me. Once they are gone, I retire to my study to write letters and complete other business related activities, especially those pertaining to the wedding. As I write, a maid comes in and tells me she has a letter for me, which she then proceeds to hand me. As she hands it, I notice the handwriting. Oh no.

Seriously, after she has left me alone for nearly 3 months, she condescends to write to me. I am so angry; I thought I said I wanted nothing more to do with her, excepting a twice yearly visit to see Georgiana. I wish Bingley were here, he would know what to do in this situation. As he is not at Pemberley at this current time, I resolve to leave the letter until he arrives the following day. I need to get out of this room. I hurry outside to the stables and saddle Storm, my horse and gallop as far as I can without injuring the horse. By the time I slow Storm down, I am much calmer and see my reaction as foolish as it has not harmed anyone by receiving a letter from a nearly estranged relative. I anxiously ride home, in case my sister and fiancée arrive home, only to find me gone, with no explanation.

As I ride into the stables, I am informed that both aforementioned women have, in fact, returned in my absence. They both seem happy, both to see me and with their purchases, however these are removed from my sight quickly for fear of me catching sight of the gowns that are most certainly wrapped in the packages that they carry. I am unaware that Georgiana is talking to me; I am so absorbed in my own thoughts.

"Brother? Did you write the letters you wanted to while we were gone?" Georgiana asks, a concerned expression on her face, as she clearly noticed the listless expression on my face, a few moments previous.

Quickly bringing myself to the present and pasting a smile on my face, I reply "yes, yes. All done. Excuse me Elizabeth, but could I steal my sister for a few moments as there is something I wish to discuss with her."

A look of something between hurt and sadness crosses Elizabeth's face, but she assents.

I lead Georgiana to my study.

"Fitzwilliam Darcy that is no way to treat your fiancée! Surely you could have said your urgent business to me later with less of an inconvenience to Elizabeth?" Georgiana explodes.

"Georgie, if it pains you that much, I'll apologise later, but I apologise to you now as I was not in my right mind when I greeted you. You are about to find out the reason for my apparent aloof nature just now." I reply, somewhat calmly.

I pass the letter to Georgiana, who looks somewhat baffled at my actions. Once the letter leaves my hand, her eyes widen in apparent understanding. Questioningly, she looks at my face as if to gauge my reaction.

"Yes, the letter is from our aunt, the distinguished Lady Catherine de Bourgh." I say in answer to the look I received, although I must admit, I did it quite angrily.

"What did she write?" Georgiana said, trying to keep me relatively calm.

"I refused to open it. You may, however." I reply, somewhat annoyed.

With a sigh, Georgiana replied "fine, I'll read it aloud."

"Fine."

"The letter reads as follows:

My dear nephew,

You can be at no loss as to the reason for this letter, I am sure of it.

You see, I was made well aware of your imminent wedding by a member of the bride's family, specifically the Collins's. Imagine my outrage at not receiving an invitation to my own nephew's wedding- the last of my family, aside from darling Georgiana.

You will give me an invitation to your wedding; otherwise all connections that may have been existing to this point will be forever severed.

I will never forget what you did- marrying that woman of inferior birth, marring the shades of Pemberley by her connection to that infamous Wickham character.

As ever,

Aunt Catherine"

"What was she thinking when she wrote that awful letter?" I practically yelled, nearly loud enough for anyone to hear. Hopefully Elizabeth didn't hear.

"Calm yourself, brother. It is our aunt under discussion here. I don't agree with it either- you made the right choice. I know you too well, you are currently wondering if you did the right thing. Stop and I'll let you know something really important- burn the letter and don't reply to it- you want to sever the connection, and although I try to see the best in everyone, she has finally shown her true self." Georgiana said in an attempt to reassure and calm me down.

At that point, I felt like a little boy. I wanted to run away from all of my problems.

Georgiana's advice stuck with me though after our conversation. I wondered if I should tell Elizabeth, because like Georgiana she would know what to do and offer practical advice. With a sigh, I went down the stairs to dinner in the great dining hall.

Elizabeth POV

I was hurt by the abrupt dismissal from my fiancé, but I didn't pay too much attention to it, as I could tell that he was troubled and he probably wanted to tell Georgiana about it and ask for her advice.

I went up the stairs to my room, but after a while, the room seemed too oppressive- forcing me out onto the landing again. I decided that reading in the library would occupy me for the duration of the discussion between brother and sister, but I was restless.

I took a book from the shelf, settled in a comfortable chair and began reading. This would not do- I could not focus on the story unfolding before me. My thoughts flew to the wedding and the beautifully stitched, elegant wedding gown that was in my room.

I soon returned to my room, book in hand this time.

I knew not where else to go. I sat on my bed, admiring the beautiful and delicate creation before me. It truly was beautiful- it was mainly made of lace, with a satin skirt to compliment the delicate lace of the bodice and sleeves.

Before I knew it, a servant was letting me know that dinner was to be served in half an hour, which left me just enough time to change into a suitable gown and wash quickly.

Once I was ready, I went down the staircase to the great dining hall.

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