A Rocky Road

Invitations

Darcy POV

As I ride along through the park, I think about all that I want to tell her. I realise that even if I am admitted into the house, that she may refuse to see me. I honestly cannot blame her. I am ashamed of my own conduct and the conduct of my aunt that she has been subjected to during her stay with her friend, the toad's wife.

After riding swiftly for a few minutes, I arrive at the house. Quickly I dismount and pound my fist on the door. Too late I realise how the servants may feel at hearing such an imperious knock.

The servant comes to the door and inquires to whom I wish to speak. I state that I wish to speak with Miss Elizabeth. The servant looks curiously at me before I am ushered into the drawing room to wait.

It is a small room, but then again, any room in another house that is not Rosings is bound to be considered small. It is neatly adorned, with candles littered around the room- all lit to give light to the gloom of the darkness outside. I feel quite comfortable in this smaller space, but am still extremely anxious about invading Miss Elizabeth's privacy.

Impatiently, I pace across the small room, hoping to quell my nerves, but to no avail. Eventually, I assume a position against the mantle. As I wait in this position, I hear the door open and a woman utter a gasp as I turn around.

I hear the woman enter the room behind me. I turn around to confirm that it is indeed Miss Elizabeth.

Quickly, I remember that society dictates that I bow. I do so and then watch as she does a small curtsy. We stand there for a few moments. I can see all of the hurt and anger in her eyes, as she most likely assumed that I would stay away from her, which I fully intended to do but felt the need to express myself in the form of a letter.

"Miss Elizabeth, forgive me for the intrusion on your privacy. I merely wished to deliver a letter to you." I say in a stiff and formal manner. Relax. Remember what she thought of you the last time you acted this way.

At this point, I hand her the letter I wrote. She takes it, as curiosity wins over her anger at me.

"Mr Darcy, I was not expecting visitors this evening. I assumed that you would be dining at Rosings tonight." She replies with some anger but nothing compared to the emotion she spat her refusal of me with. She waits, clearly wanting an explanation for my presence

"I could not face my aunt…" I reply. Darcy! What are you doing? She doesn't need to know that!

"Oh. I was ill with a headache and so did not want to ruin the dinner." She replies, without fully acknowledging my comment.

"Forgive me. I will leave you now." I bow and begin to exit the room.

I wish to escape because I fear that the letter will have no weight if I stay.

"Mr Darcy, will you not stay for tea?"

"Perhaps another time?" I say.

She smiles and tells me that it would suit her to meet for tea tomorrow.

"Shall I bring my cousin with me?" I ask.

"Anne should not be allowed to come should she?"

"Miss Elizabeth, I was referring to my cousin Richard, the colonel. I assumed that you met him already."

Understanding dawns on her face and she nods.

"Until tomorrow then."

I then exit the house, relieved that the meeting is over.

Elizabeth POV

As I curtsied, Mr Darcy could be seen mounting his powerful steed and making his way back to Rosings. I bite my lip as I try to account for the letter I hold before me, wondering what it contains and the reason for its author to pen it.

I sincerely wish to burn it out of spite and anger towards its author, but curiosity wins over.

I trace the outline of his masculine but beautiful handwriting with my eyes as I open the letter and begin to read it.

Dear Miss Elizabeth,

Please be assured that there will be no renewal of the addresses that I expressed today. I wish merely to let you know that I am sincerely in regret of what I said about your family, as I realise that my own is somewhat the same. This is no excuse for my behaviour which was ungentlemanly, as you said.

It is my hope that in the future we may meet with some civility and attempt to become friends.

Yours,

Fitzwilliam Darcy

I have mixed emotions as I read the last line of his letter. He still wants to attempt a friendship even though I rejected him thus?

I take a deep breath in order to settle my nerves. How will I be able to receive him tomorrow when he brings his cousin? Will we meet with civility?

I know the answer to these questions will need to wait until the morrow when he will be able to attempt civility as well.

I reread the letter to make sure that this is the same man who clearly assumed that I would not hesitate to accept him earlier in the day. One thing that stands out to me is that he admits that his family is in the wrong too; however no further details are given. One more question to ask.

As I walk up the stairs, I can hear the dinner party returning, forcing me to hurry even further up the stairs.

I need time to think about the events of the day, and this is best done in the solitude of my room. Maybe all I need is to rest, and then everything will seem clearer.


Darcy POV

As I walk back into the foyer of Rosings, I notice that the guests have left. However, before I reach the staircase for the second time in a matter of hours, I am stopped by Richard. I sigh, unable to avoid the barrage of questions to come.

"Fitz, where were you?"

"Um, nowhere of import Richard." I say, feigning tiredness.

"Oh, really?" he challenges.

With a deep breath, I say "how about we go into the study reserved for my use?"

As we walk, I can tell that Richard is curious. I need to tell him some of the story in order for me to bring him to Hunsford on the morrow.

I usher him in.

"Alright, Richard. What I am to tell you must not be repeated or used as a source of teasing." I say sternly.

Richard nods his assent.

"The reason for the mood I am in can be summed up in three words: Miss Elizabeth Bennet."

His eyes widen, seemingly in shock but also in amusement.

"Tell me Fitz, what did this young lady do to you?"

"Richard, I… She refused me." I say in shame.

"Then where did you disappear to?"

"I went to see her."

"You just told me she refused you." He replies with curiosity etched in his features.

"Thank you for reminding me. I had to see her. Rich, I…"

"You love her don't you?" he says gently.

I can only nod.

"I had to see her, to deliver a letter to her."

He raises his eyebrows, clearly waiting for me to continue.

"She has invited us for tea on the morrow, will you come with me? I do not trust myself, I still love her so much."

"Of course, she must be beautiful to have captured your attention so."

"Thank you. Remember, not a word of this is to reach aunt."

He nods his assent.

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