A/N: This chapter is about 2,500 words. It looks longer because I provide a sample from "Darcy Bites" at the end (just so you know).
As Darcy turned onto Fischer Blvd, Lizi's phone beeped. She checked the message and said, "It's from Jane. Everyone has arrived safely."
Darcy nodded and visibly relaxed. He didn't stress about car accidents the way he once did, and he had accepted that they couldn't all drive together anymore (now that Chad and Jane had two boys and had bought their own shore house by the bay in Seaside Park), but he was still relieved to hear of everyone's safe arrival. He glanced at his watch. "Maybe we should go directly to the restaurant."
"No, we have time to catch our breath first. Besides I want to change." When he looked torn, she added, "I'm sure they won't start without us."
He smiled and agreed to stop at the house first. It was a Monday night so there wasn't a lot of traffic. When they got to the house, Lizi quickly changed into a new white sundress, took down her hair and freshened her make-up. She found Darcy standing on the balcony looking out over the ocean. He had changed into something more casual as well. His face lit up when he saw her. "You look beautiful."
Feeling almost giddy she twirled around so that the skirt flared out.
Darcy stepped toward her, took her hands in his and lifted them up to kiss. "We could just stay here."
"I think we'd disappoint a few people if we did."
He sighed, "I guess we better get over there, then."
When they arrived at Fitzgigi's, Darcy started to head directly for the stairs, but Lizi stopped him with a gentle touch and a nod toward the girl taking names. He adjusted his course and waited until the people ahead of them had been given their pager before saying, "We're Will Darcy and Dr. Lizi Bennet. I believe the rest of our party is on the roof."
Lizi shook her head and smiled indulgently at his mention of her new title. It was nice he was so proud of her. The girl's face broke into a huge grin. "Of course. Everything's ready for you. I'm glad you got such good weather."
Darcy said, "Thank you," but once they were out of earshot, he asked, "What does she mean 'everything's ready'?"
Lizi had to force herself not to laugh at the worry in his voice, "I suspect they couldn't resist a few decorations."
"Oh." He frowned.
"I'm sure it's nothing to worry about." From the way Gigi and Kat had been giggling together over the last few weeks, and from some questions they had asked her, Lizi had suspected something of the sort. Kat and Gigi had turned out to be a good influence on each other. It helped that Kat didn't spend much time with Lydia since their sister had moved to New York.
"Right," Darcy replied, "How bad could it—"
They reached the roof and Darcy's question was answered before he could finish asking it. Every available surface on the roof had been covered in some combination of ribbon, tissue paper flowers, tulle, seashells, and candles. The effect of all this draped over the utility equipment on the roof defied description—but at least the candles weren't too close to the tissue paper. They had even erected an arch, covered in the same materials, presumably for Darcy and Lizi to stand under as they exchanged their vows. Lizi's father was standing nearby, watching for the couple's reaction with barely suppressed delight. Lizi was having trouble not laughing herself, but Kat and Gigi had such expectant, hopeful looks on their faces she forced herself to say, "This is… incredible. It must have taken you forever."
"I never would have imagined," Darcy added, "that the roof could look like this."
After that, there were hugs and squeals and the two of them were saved from having to say anything else. Lizi didn't dare to make eye contact with Darcy—let alone her father—for fear she would burst out laughing. Instead she forced herself to focus on how sweet it was that Kat and Gigi wanted to make the day special for them. Never mind that the whole point of getting married on the roof of Fitzgigi's was that everyone would be looking at the view of the park. Aside from Mother Emmy (Lizi's priest) it was only their immediate family that would see it anyway. When Darcy had suggested that Lizi's education was a better investment in their future than a fancy wedding would be, something had shifted for her. She still didn't like the idea of taking more from him, but she could understand his feelings. Not that she'd doubted him before but she'd been struck in a new way by how committed to the relationship he was and how sincerely he meant it when he spoke of investing in their future. When it came down to it, she didn't want to put off starting a family for too long either, and as things had turned out she was glad she had finished her education when she had. Even though the cost wasn't comparable, the idea of not spending money on their wedding made her feel a little better about it. Besides, Jane and Chad had had a grand enough wedding to satisfy anyone's taste for at least the next decade. She and Darcy had even discussed not having any guests, but they had quickly abandoned that idea. Their desire to keep things simple wasn't worth hurting anyone's feelings. Of course, Lizi's immediate family made for a crowd even with their being one person down, so it felt like there were more of them than there really were. They had decided they considered Rick and Brandon immediate family as well, making three on Darcy's side, but he had no desire to balance things by inviting anyone else.
Mother Emmy came up and hugged them both. "We can start whenever you're ready."
Lizi glanced around at the assembled guests. If only her mother were here… she turned to Jane, "Where's mom?"
"In the Ladies' Room. She accidentally wore mascara that isn't waterproof. It could happen to anyone." They were always giving each other these little reassurances when their mother did something silly, which she did from time to time. But she had regular follow-up visits with her neurologist and so far there was no evidence of the tumor growing back. The first year after her surgery had been a long and difficult recovery, but by now she was mostly back to her old self.
"I'll get her."
In the Ladies' Room, Lizi found her mother trying to wipe off the mascara that had run down her face. She must have been crying (hopefully out of happiness and not because of the roof).
"Oh Lizi! I'll ruin your wedding pictures!"
The only wedding pictures would be whatever any of their family snapped themselves. Lizi took the wet paper towel her mother was using and continued the job herself, she could see that her mother's hand was shaking, "The only thing that could ruin my wedding pictures would be if you weren't in them."
"Don't make me start crying again. I'm sorry Lydia couldn't be here."
"She said she couldn't get away." Lydia had only decided she "couldn't get away" after Lizi had told her there wouldn't be an open bar and she'd have a two drink limit. She had spent most of Jane's reception keeping Lydia from making too much of a spectacle of herself. She was torn between annoyance that her sister wouldn't come to her wedding if it wasn't a chance to party, and relief that she didn't have to deal with her.
She fixed her mother's make-up and put her own mascara on her. It was a nice moment between them. When her mother was ready she happened to glance at Lizi's feet. "Lizi, you're wearing flip-flops!"
"I know. Darcy likes them."
"Oh, well I suppose it doesn't do any harm. They probably won't even show in the photos."
Lizi felt a small twinge of guilt, Darcy hadn't said anything about liking her flip-flops, but she didn't want to argue with her now, just when she'd been feeling such tenderness toward her. Her mother would agree to anything if she thought it would please Darcy. She credited him with having saved her life, which to be fair, he probably had. Usually Lizi was more careful not to take advantage of it.
Her mother continued, "Did you see the roof?"
"Yes, it's… nice that they wanted to make things special for us."
"I'm sure they meant well. How did Darcy take it?"
"He managed to say enough to make them happy."
Her mother touched her face. "He really loves you. It's not the sort of love everyone finds."
"I know. I'm lucky."
"So is he."
Lizi gave her mother a big hug and they headed upstairs. The ceremony was simple and beautiful, and afterwards they all had dinner at Fitzgigi's and toasted the couple with champagne. Lizi lifted hers to her lips but didn't actually sip. When Darcy had drunk half of his he quietly switched glasses with her.
Her father had been deep in conversation with Mother Emmy about Lucifer and Dr. Who, but he noticed the switch and looked at Lizi sharply. "You're not drinking?"
"Lizi!" Her mother squealed, clapping her hands, "are you pregnant?"
So much for keeping it secret. "We weren't going to say anything until after the first trimester."
"Oh, people always think that's a good idea, but it isn't. If anything goes wrong—not that it will—but if it does, you won't feel better for no one else knowing. Better to share your joy and your grief." With a glance at Mother Emmy, she added, "And this way, we can all pray for you." Then she nodded at Mother Emmy, as if she were gaining some kind of points by mentioning prayer.
Her mother actually had a point. Anyway, there was no containing the news now. No one in the restaurant could have missed it.
Darcy slipped out the door and up the steps to the balcony outside their bedroom. Their bedroom, his and Lizi's—he had thought of it as theirs for a long time, but it still pleased him to have it be so officially. He hoped Lizi would come to truly think of his houses as her own now. She felt most comfortable in this one and he preferred it as well. He had so many memories here. They had discussed Lizi going into practice in this area and spending most of their time here now that they owned the whole house. With Chad and Jane owning their own shore house, and Karo having moved to France, the Bartley's had decided they didn't use their unit enough to be worth keeping. Lois and Herb had used it quite a bit but they were equally happy to stay with Chad and Jane.
Darcy sat breathing in the sea air, it was a warm, humid night and the main floor had started to feel more crowded than it actually was. Everyone had come back here after dinner, even those who were staying with Chad and Jane. This was the unanticipated result of not having a reception, everyone was acting as if this were the reception. Their nephews were up past their bedtime—their grandparents were encouraging them to get into every possible sort of mischief, and Rick and Mother Emmy were almost as bad as the grandparents. It was going to be hard to keep everyone from spoiling their baby. He had already caught Rick ordering a jumperoo and several toys to keep at his own house "for when the baby visits". It was nice that everyone was so happy for them, and he didn't want to damper their enthusiasm, but how had it become a tradition to spend a portion of one's wedding night with a bunch of other people?
He hadn't been up there long, when Lizi joined him. "Do you want to be alone?" He loved this about her, she always checked, she didn't just start talking. She didn't get tired out by people the way he did, but she understood.
"I was kind of hoping to be alone with you."
He reached out his hand. She took it and sat on his lap. "You might have increased the chances of that happening by letting me know."
"You found me, didn't you?"
"You know we're going to have to tell Lady Catherine about the baby. Now that everyone else knows." (They referred to his aunt this way when they were alone, because the resemblance was uncanny.)
"Rick and Brandon promised not to say anything."
"She might catch on. Rick just ordered a crib."
"She's going to find out sooner or later. It's better she hear it from us. If after all this time she still thinks I got pregnant to 'trap' you, that's her issue not ours."
"Let's not talk about her right now, OK?"
"OK. What would you like to talk about."
He pulled her close, "Absolutely nothing." He kissed her slowly, savoring the moment.
After some time had passed, Lizi said, "We shouldn't just disappear from our own party. We should say goodnight to Mother Emmy at least," but she showed no sign of pulling away.
"She'll be here all week and she's an introvert too, she'll understand. If we say goodnight, it will break up the party and spoil everyone's fun."
She laughed softly. "You have persuaded me, Mr. Darcy."
He smiled, "You haven't called me that in a long time."
"Would you like me to?"
It was silly but he couldn't resist saying, "You must only call me Mr. Darcy when you are completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy."
Catching on, she asked with mock seriousness, "And how are you this evening, Mr. Darcy?" She covered his face with kisses, murmuring between each kiss, "Mr. Darcy… Mr. Darcy… Mr. Darcy… Mr. Darcy…" By the time she had finished, it no longer felt like they were being silly, and neither of them gave any more thought to their house full of guests.
Sherman walked up to Detective Jonas's desk, when she looked up he stuck out his hand and said, "Sherman Hughes, Private Eye."
"I wish I were, but never mind that. You're investigating John Wicks." He handed her a large folder. "This will help."
She opened the folder, glanced quickly at the contents and frowned. "What is all this?"
"Evidence. I've been following him for a long time. My employer has a personal interest in seeing him brought to justice."
She continued to look over the contents. Her expression was skeptical but she slowed down and was studying what he had given her more closely. "Who is your employer?"
"He'd rather I not say."
"You can check it out for yourself if you don't believe me, everything's legally obtained—except for the stuff I flagged, and you can find that through legal channels once you know what you're looking for."
He didn't stay to try to convince her. He knew he had piqued her interest, and the evidence he had given her would speak for itself.
Darcy was awakened by the beep of his phone. There was a text message from Sherman saying, "GOT HIM!"
Darcy didn't have to ask what it meant. Ironically, John Wicks had given him the idea of having Sherman keep tabs on him when he asked if Darcy was stalking him. It had finally paid off. The world would be a little bit safer for his family and for everyone else. Lizi often told Darcy he didn't have to "fix everything" but she would understand his fixing this.
He sent Sherman a bonus, then turned off his phone, snuggled up next to Lizi, and went back to sleep.
A/N: Sorry folks but it had to end sometime. I'm toying with the idea of writing a short story about Rick and Brandon but I don't know yet if it will come to anything.
Thank you all for reading, it's very encouraging to look at my views and see the number of people (all over the world) reading my story. Thank you to all who reviewed for the time you've taken to write reviews and all the feedback and encouragement you've given me. And a special thank you to cactustactus for volunteering to edit the later chapters.
I know some of you have read "Darcy Bites" (Available on Amazon for purchase or for borrow with KOLL or KU) but for those of you who haven't here is a sample. Since at the end of "An Accidental Darcy" I give a sample of one of the higher action scenes I thought I'd give you one of the Neatherfield scenes this time.
Pride and Prejudice with Fangs
Amy Elizabeth Davis
In a world where the existence of vampires is a truth universally acknowledged, most would be surprised to learn they had ever invited one to tea.
A Visit From Mrs. Bennet
Darcy stood looking out the window of the breakfast room where Mrs. Bennet and two more of her daughters had been shown after visiting her sick daughter. Mrs. Bennet was so vulgar and ridiculous that Darcy did not feel he owed her the compliment of rational debate. He would have left the room entirely, but Miss Elizabeth Bennet had made some amusing comments about poetry.
When Mrs. Bennet finally rose to leave, her youngest daughter, who had been rudely whispering with her sister throughout the visit—put herself forward. "Mr. Bingley, did you not promise to give a ball at Netherfield? It would be the most shameful thing in the world if you did not keep your promise!"
"I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my engagement. When your sister is recovered, and Darcy can assure me it is safe to travel after dark, you shall if you please, name the very day of the ball."
Darcy replied, "I am afraid it is not that simple, Bingley. If the regiment and I are unable to discover any more feral vampires in the area, it does not follow that there are none. It is likely there is at least one other; while they normally hunt in pairs, they often live together in packs of three or more. With two of their number killed, any remaining are likely to have gone to ground, where it is probable they will remain until people stop following the present precautions."
"Miss Eliza," said Miss Bingley, "seems to be quite fond of walking alone. Perhaps she might lure the creature out for you, Mr. Darcy."
The lady in question looked sharply at Darcy. "Would that work?"
"Are you so fond of balls that you would put your life at risk in order to ensure one?"
"I was thinking not of the ball, Mr. Darcy, but of the safety of the neighborhood. The militia is only quartered here for the winter, and you are merely in the country for a visit. If we have more vampires, it would be better to root them out now while we are so well protected."
"I cannot find fault with your logic, Miss Bennet, but I am sure your father would never allow you to risk yourself in this way."
"Indeed not Lizzy," interjected Mrs. Bennet. "You know how unaccountably fond he is of you." She sighed. "It is a shame about the ball though. I'm sure it would lift everyone's spirits after the recent unpleasantness."
Disregarding her mother's comment, Miss Elizabeth Bennet addressed him again. "My father may very well prove difficult to convince, which is why I need to know if it is worth the effort. I ask you again, Mr. Darcy, would it work?"
Was she in earnest? Darcy studied her a moment before replying, "I must ask a question of you before I can form an opinion."
"When did you become aware of the vampires?"
Her brow furrowed in thought before she said, "I suppose it was when they started stalking me."
"Did you see them approaching you? Did you hear them?"
"No I… it was something else… something like seeing or hearing but… different … almost… almost as if I could feel… something evil."
Darcy forced himself to reply calmly, "Almost as if you had another sense? In some way like the other five but in another way not at all like any of these?"
"Yes!" She nodded excitedly. "Yes, that is exactly what it was like!"
As they talked, Darcy moved closer to her without being aware of it. He began to lift his hand as if he would reach out to her, but quickly caught himself and ran his hand through his own hair. "When feral vampires are hunting, they give off a… they give off something that some—very few—people can sense."
"Feral vampires? I have heard you use this term before. Why do you make this distinction?"
"Feral vampires are vampires who hunt by instinct, who drain all the blood from a human and kill it without thought or feeling. They are like wild creatures, worse than animals."
"Does this not describe all vampires?"
"No, there are many who keep their impulses under control and pass as humans. They drink the blood of animals, or of those who have agreed to give it, and take only what they must, never enough to kill."
"Then not all vampires are monsters?"
Her words surprised him but he answered calmly, "No, the ones that are not feral do not… I do not believe you would pick up this sense of evil from them. Have you ever… felt… anything like it before?"
"No, I..." She paused in thought. "Something like it, yes. Occasionally over the last month or so… perhaps a bit longer, but not so strongly, almost like a noise in the distance I was not quite sure I heard."
"That must have been when they were hunting the people we discovered at their feeding grounds. Have you felt anything like this since the two were destroyed?"
He nodded. "Neither have I. I also have this additional sense. It is how I was able to arrive on the scene so quickly when you were being pursued, and why I have been able to make as many kills as I have. But, like you, I can only sense them when they are hunting."
She took a step toward him. They were now standing as close as propriety would allow, looking intently into each other's faces. "And if there is a vampire… a feral vampire in the area; if I were to walk alone after dark again, do you think it likely it would hunt me and alert you to its presence?"
"I think it likely—highly likely—that such a creature would find you irresistible, Miss Bennet."
"Then it would work."
"It might. It could work, but it would be very dangerous for you, even with your skills and additional sense, and there could be more than one. I have encountered packs as large as twelve."
She shivered, but her determination did not falter. "But it could work. It would be our best chance."
"Darcy! Miss Bennet! You cannot be serious!" They both jumped at the sound of Bingley's voice. Darcy had almost forgotten there was anyone else in the room.
Bingley continued, "Miss Bennet, my sister was joking I am sure… she did not really mean… you cannot possibly be thinking of… after what we… Darcy, you must not allow this!"
"I have no authority over Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Bingley. I believe she is aware of the danger."
Bingley stared at Darcy and opened his mouth several times before turning to his sister. "Caroline, you must tell Miss Bennet you were not in earnest."
"I assure you, Miss Eliza, I had no thought of your volunteering for the task."
"Even when one speaks without thought, one may come upon a good idea now and then, no matter how unintentionally, Miss Bingley, but we must not upset your brother any further. Mr. Bingley, my father has not yet been applied to and unless he gives his permission there is no point in our debating the matter."
"Don't let Lizzy upset you, Mr. Bingley," added Mrs. Bennet. "She's talking nonsense. I'm afraid her father encourages her. Lizzy, you mustn't run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home. Mr. Bingley won't know what to think of you. I can assure you, Mr. Bingley, that Mr. Bennet won't let Lizzy put herself at risk, even if he does have four more daughters, and he is not at all fond of balls."
Bingley did not look reassured, but he let the matter drop. Mrs. Bennet and her two youngest daughters took their leave and Miss Elizabeth Bennet returned to her sister. Darcy had expected Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst to start abusing the Miss Bennets' relations as soon as they were out of earshot, but the two of them looked at him strangely and were oddly quiet for several hours.
A longer sample is available on Amazon and of course my other fanfics on this site can be found by clicking on my name. Thank you for reading.