Author: Qwara PM
A little white lie...murmurs of a rumor...the regret of a lifetime...and haste will set it all into motion. P&P AU.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - Chapters: 22 - Words: 38,368 - Reviews: 169 - Favs: 71 - Follows: 35 - Updated: 04-22-06 - Published: 03-11-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2839502
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Author's Note: Sorry I've been neglecting this fic, but it just isn't really doing the trick for me anymore. I had a lot more planned for this, but it just isn't really satisfying my writing whims. I have a vague idea of another fic that I might do, but I don't know quite yet. But I feel bad leaving you all hanging, so I'm going to add an ending, in the form of a diary entry from Elizabeth; a little lame, I know, but I suppose it will give you some closure.
Chapter Twenty-Two: From Spring till Christmas
December 27, 1812
Last night my writing was interrupted when my father came upon me at my writing desk. As may be recalled, I was recounting the events of the past year or so in honor of this lovely diary for a Christmas gift. I believe I ended with April, when we all left Kent, and I must say that I was quite thankful for our departure.
For the next month or so, I was idle, and all relatively uneventful; aside from the monthly balls at Meryton, and occasionally dining with the officers, there was little to do (though this did seem to amuse Kitty and Lydia sufficiently). Admittedly, after I had mulled over Fitzwilliam's letter for a period, I found that being in Wickham's company gave me much more pain than pleasure. Therefore, when it was made known that the regiment was to remove to Brighton, I was overjoyed; though my two youngest sister's spirits considerably sunk.
After unsuccessfully attempting to convince my father to allow us to all go to Brighton, Kitty and Lydia spent their days moping about the house. Lydia whined that she had a great many friends in the officers and their wives; but apparently none of them liked her well enough to invite her to go to Brighton. Kitty protested that the same was so with her; and then they both began to abuse our trip to Kent for Easter, as they have ascertained that had we not gone, they would have had more opportunities to become intimate with the officers and their families, and thus have received the said invitations. I believe that this is ludicrous—and I am sad to report that they have not seemed to become any less silly these past months.
When the aforementioned period of time passed, my dear Aunt and Uncle Gardiner came and stayed with us for a fortnight or so. They invited me on a tour to the Lakes, along with Lydia, as they believed the air would do her some good (as she was far worse off than Kitty, who could control herself tolerably well by this point). Of course, we both acquiesced. Unfortunately, sometime after that Lydia and I learnt that our tour would have to be delayed, and its extent curtailed, due to Uncle having business; and we would be able to go no further than Derbyshire. At the time I was excessively disappointed, but I must say that I am now very gracious to whomever it was that demanded my uncle's attention for business.
Upon our reaching Derbyshire, Aunt Gardiner was adamant on visiting the little town of Lambton, as that is where she spent all of her girlhood: and so we obliged her by making it a destination; and it so happens that Lambton is but five miles from Pemberley. Aunt and Uncle Gardiner were mad to see it, and even Lydia admitted curiosity to see the place of which she had heard so much (undoubtedly from the poisonous Mr. Wickham). I was quite understandably opposed to the scheme, but on learning from the chambermaid that the family was absent for the summer, decided that my curiosity superseded my caution; and to Pemberley we went. One can imagine my surprise upon meeting Fitzwilliam there! But he was such an altered creature that neither Lydia nor I could believe it; and there was no denying his proposal for my meeting his sister.
So we went on while I was at Lambton, visiting each other quite frequently: and I now know what suspicions I must have raised! However, their suspicions were not in vain, for on my final day in Derbyshire, Fitzwilliam called on me; and what did he do, but propose again! I did not think that it would be in his power to do so a second time; the action defied all pride that I had supposed him guilty of, and therefore I could not but give him a favorable answer. I admit that I did not love him then as well as I do now; but he was quite obviously overjoyed. My aunt and uncle protested that they had supposed we had been secretly engaged all along, and even Lydia was not so very surprised although I had undoubtedly abused him to her before, which made me rather embarrassed for my accidental indiscretion. I then learnt that Fitzwilliam had planned to reunite Jane and Charles all along, upon my insisting it; and so, of their being thrown together once more, the outcome was infinitely more favorable than their previous acquaintance of the summer before.
I admit that I could not have predicted a better outcome for it all; and on that fateful night of the Netherfield ball after I had spoken with my mother, I told myself that I would soon laugh it off: and laugh it off I finally do.