Oh my goodness! Hello everyone! I cannot believe the attention this story has gained, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the follows, favorites, and reviews. I appreciate the encouragement since this is my first fanfiction; after reading some of the beautiful stories on this site I couldn't wait to jump in on the fun! This story was originally going to be a oneshot, but I felt that I needed the chapters to break it up a little. So I am sorry to inform you all that this second chapter will be the final one. Never fear, though, for it will certainly not be my last story. Constructive criticism is always welcome, and I hope to hear from you all again soon. Enjoy! P.S. I forgot to add the disclaimer to the first chapter so here it is: I am not Jane Austen.
Elizabeth was furious. The awful Mr. Collins had proposed marriage to her. Him, out of all the men in the world. She shuddered at the thought of becoming his wife; no woman in the world could take pleasure in that horrid task.
She walked at a quick pace towards the woods behind Longbourn; the wonderful trees that she had known and loved since she was a small child. She had, had to escape the house as soon as she could, her mother was in an uproar.
"Now look what you've done Miss Lizzy," her mother started, "upon your father's death Longbourn will go to Mr. Collins, and his wife, and what shall we do?" Lizzy had not answered that question, since she was trying to escape the house as quickly as possible. Thank goodness papa had not made her marry that odious man!
Elizabeth, was by now, well into the woods as she pondered on these thoughts. It was a shame the young lady's thoughts were occupied, for there was marvelous greenery draped across the forest floor. Specks of violet and rose dotted the sides of her path, and she strode quickly by them. Suddenly, what Mr. Collins had said about the likelihood of her receiving another offer entered her head. Her insides burned with anger as she recalled his words. She simply could not contain it any longer. With much passion and anger she spat the words, "Oh the odious man, how dare he propose to me!" The words made her feel better and for a few moments she believed herself to be entirely alone. That, is when she heard the twig snap.
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Darcy had rose with the sun. Being plagued by dreams of a certain woman with fine eyes had made it impossible to sleep. He rose before the other occupants of the house, and informed his valet he was going for a walk. He assured himself that the fresh air, and fine view would take her out of his mind. He was sorely mistaken. Every topic he tried to entertain would always lead back to her. Her laugh, her wits, her intelligence.
He had walked on in that manner for a long time, when suddenly he heard footsteps. Someone else was walking along the path, and it sounded like a rather quick pace. Not wanting to engage in conversation at this time, the gentleman ducked into the tree line. He decided he would let them pass, and continue on his walk.
He peered his eyes as the form rounded the corner, and they instantly widened in shock. Walking his way, at a rather quickened pace, was Miss Bennet herself. He was just about to dive further into the woods when she spoke very loudly.
"Oh the odious man, how dare he propose to me!" Darcy froze. Someone had proposed marriage to Miss Elizabeth? "Why of course," he thought, "I could not be the only man to notice her charms." Fitzwilliam Darcy was not a jealous man, however, in that instant he couldn't help but feel a pang of envy deep down inside himself.
Darcy quite forgot that he was hiding, and while he was crouching he had unconsciously shifted his weight, causing a twig to snap. He realized his mistake instantly as Elizabeth's head snapped upward. A look of panic crossed Lizzy's features as she stopped to search the wooded area with her eyes. Not wanting to frighten her, Darcy made a quick decision to step into the clearing. When Elizabeth caught his eyes she took a shallow breath.
"Mr. Darcy!" she exclaimed in earnest surprise. Darcy blushed incredible shades of red. When she spoke to him it had brought back every memory of the vivid dreams he had, had the night before. Flustered, he quickly stared at his hands, and quietly said, "Miss Bennet." He bestowed the quick bow that propriety demanded and retreated back to looking at his hands.
Elizabeth quickly remembered her own manners, and dropped a slight curtsey, while looking confusedly at his flaming red cheeks. A moment passed where neither of them spoke; the gentleman was too embarrassed, while the lady was too confused. Lizzy could not believe her 'luck', first she was proposed to by one ridiculous man, and then she encountered a proud one. The only thought Darcy could have was how temptingly beautiful she looked when she was vexed.
Elizabeth finally let out an exasperated sigh and quickly said, "I am sorry Mr. Darcy, but I really must be going." Going? Darcy was abruptly shook from his thoughts as she said the words. He couldn't let her go; he had to know who the man was. He let propriety fly out the window as he said, "Forgive me Miss Bennet, but I couldn't help overhear, you have been proposed to this morning?" Lizzy looked up at him in mortification remembering how loudly she had spoken to herself.
"I….er…" she wasn't sure how to respond to the question. She hated this man why did she owe him an explanation? He stood there silently waiting, boring his eyes into hers. His intense gaze flustered Elizabeth, and she quietly replied, "I have."
"You have?" he repeated almost in a whisper. He couldn't ignore that he felt like he was breaking inside. Indignation rose in Elizabeth's chest, "So!" she thought to herself, "he thinks me so intolerable that he doubts the possibility of any man wanting me!" She threw up her head, and squared her shoulders in defiance.
Darcy didn't realize any of this, only one question entered his mind.
"Who was the man?' he found it hard to keep the emotion out of his voice, and he swallowed thickly while he waited for her response. For the second time that day Mr. Darcy had caught Lizzy off guard, and she found herself speechless. She couldn't help but notice how affected the gentleman was by her news. He had a tightened jaw and a sorrowful, but determined look in his eyes.
"I am not sure that is any of your business Mr. Darcy." She replied coolly. Darcy instantly blushed, and quickly apologized. He mentally reprimanded himself; how dare he pry into her personal affairs. By this time most of Elizabeth's anger had subsided, and she was slightly amused with the situation. She always had a knack for making fun of the situations at hand. To think! Run away from one vexing man only to bump into another! Seeing the saddened look on Mr. Darcy's face she decided she would share some of her ridiculous morning. With a sigh she began, "Well if you must know it was Mr. Collins."
"Mr. Collins!" Darcy couldn't help but blurt out, "But he is ridiculous!" Darcy was instantly rewarded for that statement with a genuine grin from Lizzy. She tried to hold it back. Oh how she tried. The last thing she wanted to do was smile at this man. With the stressful day she was having it didn't take long for that smile to spill over into a laugh. It wasn't that anything was necessarily funny. It's just that her morning was so stressful that she had to expel it somehow, and this was her body's natural defense anyways.
She was… laughing. He couldn't believe it. He had made Miss Elizabeth Bennet laugh. It was the most wonderful sound he had ever heard. It came from her core; a hearty wholesome laugh. Not a fake tittering he had heard from so many well refined young ladies. She was raw and earthy and he loved everything about her.
It wasn't long before these charming thoughts brought a smile to the gentleman's face as well. Elizabeth abruptly stopped laughing and gasped loudly.
"You have dimples!" she said amazed and excited all at the same time. She instantly slapped her hand across her mouth; she had not meant to say that out loud. Elizabeth Bennet had one weakness when it came to the looks of young gentlemen. Dimples. Her sisters teased her mercilessly about it, all except for Jane of course; whenever they were around a man with dimples Lizzy would grow red. The girls would nudge her with their elbows, while grinning at her.
After Elizabeth's exclamation Darcy dropped his smile, and regained his mask of indifference. "Those ridiculous dimples!" he thought to himself, "They look absolutely childlike and now she's seen them!" Darcy felt his ears getting red. There was a fallen tree by the path, and Miss Elizabeth suddenly sat down. Lizzy had once heard that happiness is what you make it. She decided in that moment that she was going to be happy for the rest of the day. She wasn't even going to let the intimidating Mr. Darcy get to her. Sighing with resignation she began, "I am sorry Mr. Darcy, it is just that today has been quite taxing." She placed her head in her hands and closed her eyes. Slowly, he approached her and sat beside her; he could tell she was stressed. They sat in silence for a few moments.
Darcy began first, "You refused Mr. Collins?" Though he was sure he knew the answer he couldn't help but wonder. She took her head out of her hands and straightened her back.
"I did. What woman with common sense and intelligence could accept that man?" Darcy smiled to himself, he was sure that she was the most intelligent, admirable woman that he had ever met. "I am afraid though, that it put the house in quite the uproar."
"Uproar?" Mr. Darcy questioned.
"Upon my father's death Mr. Collins will inherit Longbourn." This was news to Darcy. He should have seen it coming; Mr. Bennet had no sons. The estate would have to be entailed away to a male heir; in this case Mr. Collins. "My sisters and I, if not married by then, shall be quite put out." She continued, "It quite shocked my mama when I informed her I would not be inheriting Longbourn as the future Mrs. Collins."
"But she must have known that you do not love the man?"
"Love in marriage is of little consequence to her, but it is extremely important to me. I am convinced that only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony." He glanced up at her; she had such a look of contentment on her face. If she would let him, he would love her deeply. He would show her everyday how much he cared. But his pleasant thoughts stopped instantly. He could not love her. He was the Master of Pemberley. He had obligations to fulfill, and family expectations. After all, her family was not a rich one; or a proper one at that. Her younger sisters were ridiculous, and her mother was a matchmaking annoyance.
Darcy looked back up to Miss Elizabeth. Her eyes were closed, and her hair was blowing in the slight breeze. She looked radiant in the morning sunlight, and in that moment Darcy knew he would not be able to resist her charms for long. He would eventually fall under her spell and be completely entrapped. And he would love every second of it.
"His proposal wasn't exactly the most thoughtful one." She went on, "Mere moments after I refused him he informed me that it was unlikely I should ever receive another offer." Elizabeth shared this information as a joke, now that she had, had time to think she found the statement rather amusing. Darcy, however, was shocked. He quickly looked up at her and with much feeling told her, "Miss Elizabeth, I think it very likely that you should receive many offers of marriage." He didn't want anything that measly man said to bother Miss Bennet.
Elizabeth quickly looked to Darcy with a confused blush on her face.
"I…um, thank you Mr. Darcy." Lizzy dropped her eyes to the ground trying to make sense of his odd statement. Darcy, realizing he had made the lady uncomfortable, dropped his eyes as well. He instantly regretted his statement as an awkward silence ensued.
However, Mr. Darcy's regret did not last long before the young woman lifted her head, and said rather quickly with a laugh, "You have been a most surprising confidant today, Mr. Darcy." "For that," she continued after a pause, "I thank you." Elizabeth didn't know what had made her say such a thing, but she had said it now and there was no taking it back. She disliked this man, and yet he had been a kind listener when she needed one. Perhaps Mr. Darcy wasn't so bad after all. Her mind was in a muddle.
Darcy's heart rose. She had called him a confidant! Once more he bestowed a genuine smile in her direction, and the effect of the dimples was not lost on her. She smiled weakly back and muttered something about it being late.
"Of course, Miss Bennet," Darcy said as he hurriedly rose, "I should not have kept you so long."
"Oh no sir, the fault is all mine." Elizabeth also stood and for a moment their eyes lingered on each other. Darcy, being quite transfixed by her look, hesitated a moment. He would be sad to let her go, but he knew he must. Lizzy eventually escaped his deep gaze and said, "Good day Mr. Darcy." She curtsied.
"Good day Miss Bennet." He bowed. Lizzy gave him one last smile before turning and walking towards home. Darcy, rather unwillingly, peeled his eyes away from her and also began his walk.
Mr. Darcy of Pemberley had dreams that night that would make the most awful sinner blush.
Mr. Darcy how very inappropriate of you! Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this little story; I know I enjoyed writing it. Until next time, lots of love.