Darcy knocked on the door of the mistress chamber.
“Come in,” Elizabeth spoke in a soft voice.
When Darcy entered, he saw that she was standing, by the windows, looking out at the garden at the back of the house. She was in her green dressing gown and robe, with her hair down. The robe was in superb material and accentuated her form. The candlelight flickered, enveloping her in an air of mysterious enticement.
He walked and stood by her side, breathing in her sweet lavender scent and waited for her to speak.
“I am worried about Jane,” she sighed.
He wanted to scoop her up and take her to bed, to smooth away her worries and comfort her to sleep. But the way she uttered the words made him wait for her to express more. He chose to take her hand and squeezed it.
“I wish all of them, the Bingleys, the Hursts, even Father, Mary and Jane, would go away, back to the North or Hertfordshire, and leave us alone. Am I the most wicked person to think so?”
Darcy welcomed such a situation as well, he thought. He could then spend at least a month of solitude to court and build up a better relationship with Elizabeth. However, that could not be. “I wish to spend our times as a normal couple as much as you.”
“But, just like any problem, if we do not face and resolve it sooner, it may get even bigger.”
Elizabeth sighed again. “I know. I have enough indolent example from Father, in his daily dealing of the estate.” She squared her shoulders and turned her head to look at him. “I shall be strong. May I apologize to you again, Fitzwilliam?”
“I apologize as well.”
“No, I think I owe you a bigger apology.”
“I do not think we can measure the size of an apology.”
“I mean I should never have used the horrible words I had uttered at Hunsford to yell at you. You have proven to me that you are not what I thought who you were. You are considerate to me, my dreadful family, and everyone in your employ. You are so much better than Mr. Bingley, my Father and many men I have known.”
“I should have told you I was going to Whitechapel and the reason.”
“I want to be your true partner in life.”
“I would love that as well. Elizabeth, I promise you I will always respect you and consult you as often as possible on all related issues. Pray remind me should I forget that.”
Elizabeth’s lips curled up slightly. “I have your permission to yell at you at any time?”
“Maybe not in front of others.”
“I shall remember that.”
“And not using the words at Hunsford.”
“Any more conditions, my dear husband?”
Darcy pretended to think hard for a moment and then shook his head. “Those are my conditions for your screeching.”
“I do not know how to screech!”
“Not at all. Shrieking is Mother’s specialty. I only chastise my forgetful husband.”
“I am still in the prime of my health and have a vivid memory, especially with everything concerning my wonderful wife.”
“Your wife is tired now, Mr. Prime Darcy.”
“No nickname please, Elizabeth. I cannot abide them. Should we sit?”
Elizabeth turned to look at him for a long moment, as if debating a grave issue in her mind. “Am I too bold, to suggest we rest, on your bed?” She whispered.
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