A Rocky Road

Tea time


The next day dawned bright and clear. Elizabeth awoke early as usual. She was anxious about her meeting with Mr Darcy, as she did not know why she had asked him.

Mr Darcy had much the same feelings as Elizabeth, and so spends the time pacing around. Richard sits and watches with amusement.

Darcy POV


"Calm down."

"It's time to leave to go to Hunsford." I say.

"Well, let us go then!"

As we walk, I become more agitated. What if that toad of a cousin is there?

Finally we reach Hunsford. Richard glances at me, then knocks on the door. The same servant that admitted me last night greets us and ushers us in to wait in the drawing room.

I begin to pace as we wait, earning a smirk from Richard. I glare at him, unsure where this mood came from.

After a few moments, Miss Elizabeth walks in. I stop pacing and bow.

"Miss Elizabeth, may I introduce my cousin Richard Fitzwilliam, the colonel."

"A pleasure to meet you Miss Elizabeth. Darcy has told me about you." Richard says as he bows.

Elizabeth POV

As I curtsy in response, I notice that Mr Darcy is glaring at his cousin. This causes me to smile, as I realise that this is his general attitude towards everyone.

"Mr Darcy, thank you for coming. I hope you are in good health?"

"Thank you Miss Elizabeth, I am." He replies, somewhat sternly, seemingly determined to deter me from speaking to him further.

"Colonel Fitzwilliam, would you care to sit down. Shall I call for tea?" I ask, trying to escape the stare that Mr Darcy seems intent on focusing on me.

"Please do. Put my cousin at ease, for he is anxious, as you can no doubt see!" the colonel replies, with a glint in his eye.

"I am in no such mood, Richard. Please stop spreading falsehoods." Mr Darcy says sternly.

I smile at this.

"Miss Elizabeth, would you do me the honour of sitting with me for a moment, there is something of great import that I wish to impart to you." He says to me. I look at him in surprise but follow him to a seat that is set apart from his cousin.

I take a deep breath then say "Mr Darcy, I have read your letter and I thank you for it sir, it was a token of great kindness."

"You are most welcome."

"I have one question to ask of you, however."

He raises his eyebrows, clearly wondering what I could have to ask of him.

"Mr Darcy, what did you mean in the letter when you wrote that you had realised that your family was somewhat the same as mine?"

"I simply meant that we both of us have relatives that are loud and boisterous." he says, clearly unwilling to go into details.

He takes a deep breath before saying "Miss Elizabeth, there is more to the letter than I wrote. I thought it more important to tell you face to face than write it."

I look curiously at him, waiting for him to continue.

Darcy POV

"Miss Elizabeth, I wished for you to know the story of my sister and a man that you mentioned within your refusal- Mr Wickham.

When my sister was but fifteen, he managed to convince her to go with him and elope. Thankfully, I was able to go after her and stop the elopement. She told me of his intentions, which did not include marriage, and she went home with me quite willingly."

She gasps, and I can see that this story has unnerved her.

"These are my only dealings with this man, and I hope that you can view my course of action as one of anger towards an undeserving man. If there is any doubt about my story, Richard can vouch for its accuracy."

"No, that will not be necessary." She says firmly.

I stand up and say "thank you Miss Elizabeth. I regret to inform you that I must leave now. Richard may stay, however." Anything to get away from her now that I have revealed the most intimate dealings of my family that I vowed to keep private. Why must I reveal such information to her? Darcy, you lovesick fool!

She looks hurt by the quick departure, as it was I who wished to come for tea today. She soon recovered, though.

"Very well. Good day Mr Darcy." She says as she curtsies to me.

I bow and then exit the house.

Why did you leave, you fool? I walked quickly back towards Rosings, however I did not go in, as I wished to avoid my aunt for as long as possible.

I decided to tell myself that I had left because I was upset after telling Miss Elizabeth about Georgiana. I knew that it was false, as the true reason was actually in relation to the fact that Miss Elizabeth had refused me.

Elizabeth POV

His departure has a profound impact upon me; it makes me feel unusual in a way that is impossible to describe.

I manage to entertain his cousin for the remaining time of the morning call. He seems to be the complete opposite of Mr Darcy, making him good company to my troubled mind.

However at last he leaves.

"Please tell your cousin that I hope he is well, as he did not look to be so." I say with a curtsy.

"I will be sure to do so. Until next time, Miss Elizabeth." He replies with a bow and leaves.

Now that I am alone, I am able to reflect upon the tale that Mr Darcy wove about his sister. If it is true, it is indeed distressing. If not, then he will have done a most ungentlemanly thing.

What reason could he have possibly had to reveal intimate family details to a relative stranger unless it was true?

I can barely stand it. Why did he tell me this about his family?

I can only hope to have an occasion to discuss this with him, as I feel the need to discuss this information with someone.

Suddenly Charlotte comes into the drawing room, and seeing that I am alone says "we have had an invitation to dine at Rosings tonight, as the gentlemen are to leave tomorrow."

I smile.

Darcy POV

Richard returned not five minutes ago, and he seems to endlessly torment me with expressions of friendship with Miss Elizabeth. Does he not know how he hurts me?

"Yes Richard. That will do for now, thank you. I am in no mood to be reminded of my failure." I say, beginning to get angry with Richard.

"But Fitz! She is a beautiful young lady, with a sharp wit and intelligence." He retorts with a smirk.

"Yes, I know, but now she is lost to me forever due to my own foolishness."

"Oh, do not be so sure about that. She seemed quite disappointed when you left."

"Really?" I say with hope.

Richard laughingly says "she especially wished me to convey her regret that you had to leave earlier than planned. Is there a reason for the sudden departure?"

"Yes, I told her about Georgiana." I say, my voice filled with sadness.

Richard stares at me, trying to discern my emotions.

"I believe aunt mentioned some guests were to arrive to dine with us." He says.

"I have heard no such thing, and nor would I wish to, as it can only be Miss Elizabeth coming to taunt and torment me."

"Have it your way, but you will have to make an appearance."

"Fine, I will come." I say, knowing that all I wish is to remain in my room,away from the only woman that can ever make me happy, but never will.

Elizabeth POV

As I dress for the evening, I wonder how to bring up the conversation about why he told me about his family, as any man that is refused should feel rejected and not want to spend more time with the woman that rejected him, let alone tell her about his family. He loves you still.

I hurry down the stairs anxious to be punctual, as if I am not, my cousin will call to me and I would rather he did not. I smile at Charlotte who is also waiting.

We exit the house, and make our way to Rosings. Can we possibly walk any slower? I am impatient to talk with Mr Darcy, as I need to know why he told me of Mr Wickham in such an intimate way.

At last we reach the door, and are admitted. My cousin walks in front of me, making some comment about the furnishings that I ignore. I am too focused on my thoughts that I barely register the fact that he stands before me, bowing and asking after my health.

"Forgive me, Mr Darcy. I am well, thank you." I reply with a curtsy.

"Miss Elizabeth, you seem to be distressed. Is something the matter?" he asks.

"I thank you, no." I say, walking over to the window.

I hear footsteps behind me and sigh.

"Miss Elizabeth."

"Mr Darcy, forgive me for earlier. I was contemplating how to ask you something, as I am curious about it."

I look to him, making sure that he is ready to listen.

"Pray, continue."

"Why did you tell me about your sister, when it obviously gave you great pain to do so? That is so clearly the reason for you leaving earlier."

"Miss Elizabeth, forgive me for burdening you with my family history, but I felt it prudent for you to be aware of my dealings with Wickham. It is because of my hope to become friends that I did this, but forgive me if this was unwanted."

"No, sir. It was not unwanted. It made me sad that you had suffered so." I say, slightly blushing.

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