Awwww shucks guys, glad you seemed to like the ending. i always feel a little sad when my stories come to an end. although the writing bug has bitten me again, so I might go back and carry on with my witches sequel. Or ive got a couple more plot bunnies running in my head. I quite like keeping my stories a bit shorter. the witches sequel is alteady some 50 thousand words but I lost my muse so not written the end, and I dislike posting if im not sure how i'm gonna finish. So many stories I have found unfinished, some brill ones too. gutted when I get to a point and there are no more posts!
anyway, my main author notes needs to be a
I suspect I will get some unhappy readers so here is my warning. If you like all sunshine and rainbows do not read beyond the major page break. If you dont mind bitter sweet, feel free to read on (i'm ducking behind my sofa, so feel free to throw plenty of, virtual, tomatoes!)
EPILOGUE - FORGET ME NOT.
September 1818 - It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.
Darcy took a deep, satisfying, breath of the clear Derbyshire air. He had always felt more at home in Derbyshire than anywhere else. Today was no exception. He had spent the preceding week in London, Business that could not be delayed, and today he was returning to his wife of six years.
He looked out over the park. The building of Pemberley stood proud and majestic against the hilly backdrop. The lowering sun casting long, red tinged shadows around it, making the scene look as if it were a glow. He smiled to himself, imagining Elizabeth in her favourite room, one that she could watch the sun set from.
His thoughts turned back over the last three years. First alighting on memories of his children. Anne was now a confident child of five. Clever and discerning and always watching out for her younger brother.
Bennet, or Ben as everyone called him, had been born in the spring following Darcy's accident. He adored his sister and would follow her anywhere. Darcy had insisted on being present for his birth, still lamenting that he could not remember the details of his first daughter's birth. Elizabeth had tried countless times to reassure him that he had not been present and therefore a memory of pacing the study was not one to miss, but he missed it all the same.
His latest daughter, Florence Madeleine Darcy, was named for both their favourite aunts. She had been born a mere six weeks prior and Darcy had hated to leave them. But Elizabeth had insisted and she had been correct. The business would not had waited and a significant investment would have been lost had he not gone.
He still kept a detailed journal, including one that contained any memories as they came to him, although these were very infrequent these days. He could recall many details of the first three years of his marriage, but suspected that the full memories would remain elusive. But who could claim a perfect memory anyway? His only regret was that he could not recall speaking his vows. That was a memory he wished for more than anything. On the whole he was grateful, he had been lucky and his accident, could have cost him so much more.
Bingley and Jane remained on the best of terms with the Darcys. Their little family was also growing, although Jane had only birthed boys so far. Caroline had been sent to the north and had accepted the first marriage proposal that came her way. She was a leader in the society around Newcastle and was content with her lot, outwardly. She rarely came to London, not since an incident of Lady Matlock, Elizabeth and Georgiana collectively giving her the cut direct about a year after her attempt to drive a wedge in between Mr and Mrs Darcy.
Georgiana had delivered safely, her son a few months older than his own. The boys were on the best of terms and Darcy was very impressed with his brother in law. Gerogiana's predictions seemed to be correct. Her husband's brother had not had any further children. Her son would likely inherit the baronet one day. Elizabeth had also proven correct, Darcy preferred his brother in law for his good nature and his affectionate regard for Georgiana, rather than his connections or fortune.
Wickham had not intruded upon his notice. Lydia had not had any children, as of yet, and spent the majority of her time moving between her relatives houses, finding them preferable to her husband's. She had, surprisingly, developed some maturity in the past few years. Likely brought on by her disillusionment with her husband's proclivities. She was still lively, but less inclined to impropriety, even if only for the sake of maintaining her welcome at the Bingley's or Darcy house.
One of his favourite brothers was Captain Williams. A naval officer of some forty years whom had become enamoured of Kitty about a year prior to his accident. They had married and Kitty had been travelling abroad his ship. He had amassed quite a fortune in the navy and had bought a comfortable home for Kitty in Nottighamshire. Only fifty miles of good road stood between Pemberley and their home. She had elected to stay home once her twins had been born, about a year ago, and the captain tended to stay closer to home on campaigns. Between Darcy and the captain there was a steady friendship built on a mutual respect.
He turned his thoughts back to his wife. He had never had cause to regret his choice of bride. His love for her had only grown. Each successive year showing him more of the amazing, capable, beautiful, intelligent, impertinent, opinionated and strong woman she was. He smiled, wanting to be back near her, to hold her, kiss her and generally spend some time in her company. He tended to partition his life as pre and post meeting Elizabeth. The years after his marriage being the happiest he could name, not withstanding the short episode of upset three years ago.
The young stallion beneath him shifted. The horse was the first offspring of Mars, now some two years of age. He had retired his stalwart, yet troublesome, horse from being ridden and put him out to stud. The result was some very spirited, strong horses. This horse, Thesius, was less skittish than Mars, but still required a strong hand.
He soothed the anxious beast then kicked his horse in to a comfortable trot and made his way through the woods. Eagerly anticipating his welcome home.
He couldn't say what happened, though he thought it was likely a snake. The path was overgrown, he should have taken the horse around, but he had not considered it to be dangerous. It was almost with sardonic amusement that he felt the horse bunch under him, neigh in agitation, then surge forward. His eyes rolling, bit chomping, hooves flying.
Blast he thought, as he lifted from the saddle and felt himself falling to the earth.
That was the first sensation, a deep throbbing, all consuming pain in his head.
He groaned and lifted a hand to touch the back of it. Considering how he fell he would not be surprised to find a cut to the back of his head. There was no wetness there and he was relieved. He then thought on the peculiarity of not feeling any dampness. Hadn't he fallen off his horse in the woods? His eyes were still closed. This he noted with almost surprise.
It was then that other senses began to intrude upon his waking thoughts. He was not only dry, but comfortable and warm and most certainly not in riding attire. The smells that surrounded him were of indoors and fire and wood, a smell he recognised. Unfortunately the feelings, both of pain and uncertainty were all too familiar.
He tried to move his head and groaned again.
Oh no! He thought, How can I have fallen again? He forced his thoughts to swim through the pain. He could not allow the same issues as the previous fall. He thought, with relief, back on the memories of his wife, his children.
He felt a cool compress on his forehead. Hoping to relieve his wife's certain anxiety, he reached up and grasped the small fingers tending to him. Bringing them to his lips he kissed them, murmuring his thanks for her care.
The gasp of shock had his eyes flying open where he was confronted by an extremely startled maid.
"Thank you Molly, that will be all" the welcome voice of his valet brought his eyes to the other occupant of the room.
He was confused by the younger looking, albeit familiar, man that stood there.
"Yes sir" the maid scuttled out of the room "I think you have given young Molly quite the fright. 'Tis not like you to make advances towards the maids. That bump to the head must have been worse than I thought."
Darcy was completely affronted "I should think not. A married man such as myself would never consider acting so improperly"
The look of confusion on his valet's face only served to make him more irate.
"I was expecting my wife to be tending me" he frowned, why was she not there? Then he thought she may be concerned about his memory again. "Would you please fetch Elizabeth so that I might reassure her I have not forgotten her?"
"Elizabeth?" His valet frowned. "Mayhap I should get the doctor"
"No, as you know I am quite experienced at these injuries. I feel perfectly well. How long ago was my fall?"
"Not more than a few hours, sir. Although you were only unconscious for a matter of minutes. I dare say you were lucky. one of the groomsmen saw you fall and acted most precipitously. A few men returned you to the house and you were already starting to awaken. You have been sleeping since then, and having plenty of dreams I dare say. You have been quite vocal in your sleep state"
"I do not talk in my sleep" he was becoming quite cross. "would you please fetch Elizabeth?"
"I am sorry, sir, but I am uncertain of whom you could be speaking"
A cold, sinking feeling was overcoming Darcy as he looked around the room. He suddenly recognised the unusual decor and with a sickening certainty he knew he was in his rooms at Netherfield.
"Thompson. Please, answer me quickly. What year is it?"
"Tis October the 12th in the year 11." His valet, noticing his masters distress, expounded on the details "you are currently residing with your friend Mr Bingley at Netherfield park in Hertfordshire. We have been here for a little over a week. You fell from Mars on your early morning ride today."
"I'm not married?" Darcy whispered, tears gathering in his eyes.
"No sir, although I believe you have been considering entering the state of matrimony of late"
Darcy closed his eyes, turning his face away from his valet "Thank you, that will be all"
"Very good sir. I will see if the housekeeper had any tinctures that might help with your confusion and the headache you are bound to have." he bowed and left and Darcy allowed the tears to fall.
Almost a week later Darcy had filled three notebooks with his rambling accounts of his fictional marriage. He was completely recovered from his fall from Mars and was out in the garden, he had sustained very few injuries. He had been told he was exceedingly lucky.
He hadn't felt lucky, but he knew what he must do now.
There had been significant rain the night before, he had been dining with the officers and on his return he had found Miss Bennet had taken ill when visiting Miss Bingley.
He was now walking the gardens, hoping his expectations were not unfounded.
When he heard a twig snap he turned to view the glowing countenance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Taking a deep breath he approached, bowing to the startled woman.
"Miss Elizabeth, you must be here to see to your sister. You look remarkably well this morning, shall I escort you to her?"
He offered his arm, noting the look of surprise and uncertainty on her face.
He smiled to himself.
He had managed to fall in love with this woman. Twice. And he had convinced her to fall in love with him despite behaving abominably on more than one occasion. How would he fare if he were to openly court her?
He vowed he could have her half in love with him by the time she left Netherfield, and he looked forward to the challenge if not. He smiled, showing his dimples, to the woman who lightly touched his arm. Her slight gasp and widening of the eyes were reassuring. He was looking forward to this, he meant to remember every detail of his courtship and marriage on this occasion.
In the mean time he had his memories to reflect upon and he knew, with complete certainty, that Elizabeth Bennet was destined to, one day, be called Elizabeth Darcy.
ok guys, so one or two (negative comments are always a guest) who didnt like the story and or the ending. but most of you seem to not hate me for the twist. All the positive comments are much appreciated. I have had a few pleas to continue, so that is what I am gonna do. keep an eye on my page. ill get the first chapter up in the next week...:)