Hi, guys! I can't believe this, but this is the last chapter. Yes, I know! I don't know how or when it happened, but I didn't even realise that we were so close to the end. I guess it's my fault for posting long chapters and for posting everyday, but I also blame you, because if you hadn't been so sweet, I wouldn't have posted so often! I'm kidding of course, but I'm really sad it's over.
So, here comes the bride! I hope you don't think the ceremony is too detailed. I admit I don't know much about weddings, and as an atheist, I have been to church like five times in my life for christenings, not weddings. And I know even less about Regency weddings, so I did some research and found they were a looooong and tedious exchange of hands and vows, and more hands, and more promises. I tried to keep it as simple as I could, but I wanted to keep the wedding ceremony. I hope you don't think it's tedious!
I will make a confession to you. I've written a few chapters of… I think you could call it glimpses of their married life at Darcy House (the first week) and then Pemberley. I'm still writing it, but I don't think I will post it. It's definitely not T-rated. This one was T because of the minor suggestive adult themes, such as Darcy's thoughts and then his talk with Mr. Darcy, but what I'm writing has fluff, family bonding, but also explicit adult themes (yes, sex! they are married now!). And since I read that MA rating (or R) is not permitted (supposedly, and I think it's stupid), if I post it, I will have to edit it and tone it down a little. Still, it's a WIP and I don't know if you'd like to read it, so you tell me! There are so many other things I would like to write (like another Regency version with his parents alive that takes a different turn than the book, a modern AU, a soulmate AU, and so on!), but since I started uni, I don't know if I will or when.
Let me thank you again and again for your kindness through this journey. You are amazing. 99% of the comments I received were so positive and full of good vibes that you have inspired me to keep writing. Thank you! Keep spreading such positivity and love that we all really need it now! Please, feel free to PM me and I hope I will post something soon.
BE SAFE! I hope you, your family, and your friends are all well and healthy. Stay strong, take precautions, don't panic, and we will get over this together. I hope I have made your isolation/lockdown/quarantine or whatever you are doing more tolerable. You have definitely improved mine.
I send you all my love, from Argentina, to wherever you are.
"There is something else, Fitzwilliam. Ladies are usually raised to believe that they should not enjoy themselves and that if they do, and express it, they would be less respected by their husbands. Make sure she knows you want to bring her pleasure and that you want her to tell you or show you when you do. Tell her that within your chambers, there is nothing to be ashamed of."
"Thank you, Father. I will."
"Is there anything else you wish to ask me?"
"No, I think not."
"Then we better go downstairs for breakfast."
It was the early afternoon previous to the wedding that the Darcys visited Longbourn for tea; dinner was out of the question when the wedding was so close.
"Are you not happy that the day is merely hours away, Bennet?" Mr. Darcy asked.
"I have mixed feelings on the matter," Mr. Bennet replied. "I am happy all this hassle and wedding talk will be over soon, but I still resent Bingley and your son," he nodded to the young men, "for taking my daughters from me."
"I am not taking her so very far away, Mr. Bennet," Bingley smiled. "And you will always be welcome in our home."
"Do you think you will ever forgive me, Mr. Bennet, for taking Elizabeth so far away?" Fitzwilliam asked.
Mr. Bennet chuckled. "Oh, I do not know. I will try."
"You will also be welcome at Pemberley and Darcy House," Lady Anne said. "If that is some consolation."
"Some," Mr. Bennet smiled. "But I hope you know, Lizzy, that I shall demand you write—at the very least—once a week. And they must be long and charming letters."
"Oh, Papa! Witty, too?" Elizabeth teased.
"Of course, or I shall not answer them."
"You were going to answer them?" Elizabeth asked, surprised. "You never do!"
"Well, with only two daughters at home, I shall have more free time," he then turned to his youngest daughters. "Unless you two are planning to become a handful?"
"No, Papa," Kitty smiled. "I have no such plans, but if I do, I shall tell you first."
Mr. Bennet could not help but laugh and be amazed at his daughter's new-found humour and thought that perhaps, he truly should spend more time with them.
"But, I will prove my willingness to forgive you, Fitzwilliam, by giving you some advice, if you will accept it."
"Of course," Fitzwilliam replied to his future father.
"I am sure you have a good cook in both Pemberley and Darcy House," Mr. Bennet said.
"Yes, we do."
"Are they loyal to you?"
"I truly hope so," Fitzwilliam replied, confused now.
"Do they make strawberry jam?"
"Papa! No, that is not fair!" Elizabeth said.
"I am helping my future son, my dear," he told her before turning to Fitzwilliam again. "Lizzy has a little self-control problem when it comes to strawberry jam."
"Does she?" Fitzwilliam smiled.
"Indeed. She will tell you she does not, but it is truly an addiction."
"If she tells you you can trust her with it, do not! And warn your cooks, too, for she will apply to them."
"Oh, Papa, he did not need to know that!"
"What if she is left alone with it?" Fitzwilliam chuckled.
"She will make herself sick."
"I was twelve the last time!" Elizabeth argued, and at her father's raised eyebrow, she added: "Well, maybe fourteen or fifteen."
"I suspect that the reason it did not happen again is that I had a serious talk with our cook about indulging a pouting little girl who inherited her father's sweet tooth."
"I assure you," Elizabeth said to her future husband, "it is not necessary to speak with your cook."
"It is," Mr. Bennet chuckled.
"I will make sure they both know, Mr. Bennet," Fitzwilliam chuckled.
"Oh, Papa! See what you have done? They did not suspect a thing!" Elizabeth complained and everyone laughed.
When the time came to go, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam walked ahead of the rest of the family towards the carriage.
"Tomorrow we will become husband and wife," Fitzwilliam beamed in happiness.
Elizabeth smiled. "I am aware. Are you nervous?"
"Nervous? No. I am anxious for it to be over."
His betrothed chuckled now, "Wow, so complimentary, Fitzwilliam."
"You know what I mean," he reached for her hand. "I cannot wait to call you my wife."
"Me neither," Elizabeth said seriously, but the smiled. "I mean, to call you my husband. It would be quite awkward if I were to call you wife."
Fitzwilliam chuckled. "After tomorrow you shall not be able to make such impertinent and teasing remarks and be left unkissed."
Elizabeth faked indignation, "You are already threatening me in such a vile way before we are even married!"
"I hope you never consider my kisses vile!"
"Oh, I think I can tolerate them," she smiled sweetly to him.
"Such comment would be punished," he said and she laughed. "But truly, are you nervous?"
"A little," she admitted.
"About the wedding or everything that comes afterwards?"
Elizabeth chuckled. "A little of both. It is different for women. My whole life will change. I will not be Lizzy Bennet of Longbourn, daughter of Mr. Bennet, a simple country gentleman."
"Elizabeth, we spoke about this. You only have to be yourself. If you imagine that Mrs. Darcy should be grander or finer, you are wrong."
"I will be more exposed to the ton, Fitzwilliam. And I will not be a daughter, but a wife. I do not know how to be one."
Fitzwilliam smiled. "And I do not know how to be a husband. We will learn everything together."
"Yes, and I do not want you to think I am having doubts, for I am not. But I am melancholy. Tonight will be my last night with Jane, Mary and Kitty. Tomorrow, Longbourn, the only home I have ever had, will cease to be mine."
"But you shall gain Georgiana, and Pemberley will be as much your own as it is mine."
"Yes, I know," she smiled.
"I will never forbid you to visit your family or have them over at Pemberley. You shall always be your father's daughter, your sisters' sister, and Longbourn shall always be your home. You are not losing anything, my love, but gaining. You are gaining one more set of parents, another sister, another home, and a husband."
"You are right. I am only gaining, and I shall adapt."
"I will care and love you so passionately, so unconditionally, that you will never regret it, Elizabeth."
"Oh, no!" Elizabeth said. "Do not think I might regret it. It is only melancholy over my childhood, I suppose. I love you, Fitzwilliam. I do not regret my decision."
Fitzwilliam, not caring about the time and place, kissed her as briefly as he possibly could.
"I love you," he whispered quickly against her lips before leading her back to the Darcy carriage. "Go back inside, it is getting cold."
"I shall see you at the altar?"
"Nothing but God himself could keep me from marrying you."
Fitzwilliam woke up the next day refreshed as he had never been. His valet, Rogers, even smiled at his master's good humour and clear excitement. He bathed, shaved, and was immediately dressed in cream-coloured trousers, light blue waistcoat and black coat. Rogers tied his cravat in a very intricate knot and declared his master ready.
"If you will forgive my saying so, Master, I am very happy for you, and I wish you every happiness," Rogers said as he bowed.
"Thank you, Rogers," Fitzwilliam replied and was left alone in his chambers.
He did not have much time to think of his happiness, for he had not been alone more than five minutes when both his parents knocked and entered.
"Oh, Fitzwilliam," Lady Anne sighed as she walked right to him and embraced him in such a way as she had not done in a long time. "Oh, look how handsome you look," she cupped his face as she saw it blush.
"You do not understand, Fitzwilliam," she said. "You look so much like your father that now, in your wedding suit, you remind me so much of my own wedding!"
"I thank you for the compliment, then, my dear," Mr. Darcy smiled. "I hope it brings good memories."
"Oh, you know they are wonderful memories!" Lady Anne replied. "I shall spend the whole day trying not to cry."
"Are you nervous, Fitzwilliam?" his father asked. "I know it can be daunting to stand in front of so many people and be the centre of attention, especially for you."
"I have been the centre of attention many times, Father. This time it will be a happy occasion, so I do not believe I will mind too much considering the reward. I am not nervous, but I am anxious for all of this to be over."
"It is usually a more enjoyable event for the bride," Lady Anne commented.
"No, it is not that," Fitzwilliam said. "I suppose I spent so much time thinking this day would never come that I will not fully believe she will marry me until it is done and over with. I cannot truly believe it until I hear the vicar pronounce that we are man and wife."
Mr. Darcy chuckled. "I think you need not fear Miss Elizabeth will run away."
"Still, I shall not truly relax until the wedding breakfast."
"Well, we can start then by going to the church," Lady Anne said. "Mr. Bingley is ready and pacing the halls at this very moment."
The time finally came when the grooms were standing nervously at the altar, family and friends were already situated, with the Bennets and Gardiners—except for Mr. Bennet—on one side and the Darcys and Fitzwilliams on the other. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who was standing for both the grooms approached them and said:
"The brides are already outside waiting for everyone to settle. I only wished for you to know that they have not run away and will marry you, though I do not understand their reasons," he joked.
"We are a good catch, Colonel!" Bingley smiled in good humour.
"I suppose you are," Richard grinned, "but are you two truly worthy of the angels I have just seen this morning? I doubt it."
"You have seen them?" Fitzwilliam asked.
"I have, and you shall forget your own name when you see them."
"Oh, Lord," Bingley sighed nervously.
"Are you having second thoughts?" Richard teased.
"There is absolutely no chance of that," Fitzwilliam said.
Soon after he said this, he heard the piano announcing the brides' entrance. He stood unable to move, stunned and in complete awe at the sight of Elizabeth walking towards him and looking only into his eyes. She did not look at her family or his, she merely walked—looking so much like the angel Richard had described—straight to him with her eyes fixed on his face. He barely saw Mr. Bennet and Jane on his right arm. He admired her cream coloured gown with lace around the bodice and noticed how soft and fine the fabric looked, how tight-fitting and how it highlighted her every curve. She was beaming so brightly that her face was almost glowing with happiness; her cheeks were flushed, making her pink lips stand out and her eyes sparkle. He saw his grandmother's necklace on her chest and his mother's ring on her right hand, which was holding her father's arm. He had never found her so exquisite, so breathtakingly lovely as she looked now. Her walking down the aisle to him symbolised the conclusion of all the pain and heartache he had gone through in the last year. Now, he would finally marry the love of his life.
He did not know how he looked, but he knew he was smiling and that he probably looked as love-struck as Bingley always did. He did not care if all of Meryton saw him and knew how desperately in love he was with her. She finally got to the altar and stood to his left as they faced the vicar.
The vicar opened The Book of Common Prayers and began:
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman, and this Man and this Woman, in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
"First, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name. Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of contingency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ's body. Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these four persons present come now to be joined."
Fitzwilliam glanced at Elizabeth and knew he had never truly expected to find someone like her; someone he could truly marry out such deep love and devotion as he felt for her. They were to truly become partners and to enjoy all of those things the vicar mentioned: mutual society, help, and comfort in prosperity and adversity. In her, he would have a true partner.
"Therefore, if any man can show any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter forever hold his peace," the vicar said. After a few seconds, he continued: "I require and charge you, as you will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you knows any impediment, why you may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, you do now confess it. For be you well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful.
"At which day of Marriage, if any man does allege and declare any impediment, why they may not be coupled together in Matrimony, by God's Law, or the Laws of this Realm; and will be bound, and sufficient sureties with him, to the parties; or else put in a Caution (to the full value of such charges as the persons to be married do thereby sustain) to prove his allegation: then the solemnization must be deferred, until such time as the truth be tried."
After another pause, he continued thus:
"Well, then let us proceed." He turned to Bingley, for they had decided they would go first as the ones who had come betrothed first and because Jane was the eldest. "Charles Robert Bingley, wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," Bingley said.
"Jane Bennet, wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," Jane replied.
"Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" the vicar asked.
"I do," Mr. Bennet replied and stepped forward to put Jane's hand on the vicar's.
The vicar took Bingley's hand to take Jane's and asked him to repeat after him:
"I, Charles Robert Bingley, take thee, Jane Bennet, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth."
Then, Jane repeated:
"I, Jane Bennet, take thee, Charles Robert Bingley, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth."
Richard brought a ring and laid it upon the book where the vicar took it and delivered it unto Bingley who put it upon Jane's fourth finger of her left hand, and, holding the ring there, said:
"With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
Now, the vicar turned to Fitzwilliam and said:
"Fitzwilliam George Darcy, wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," Fitzwilliam said firmly.
"Elizabeth Bennet, wilt thou have this man to thy wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so long as ye both shall live?"
"I will," Elizabeth replied, and Fitzwilliam felt all the weight of the world, the one he always thought he would carry alone, lift from his shoulders.
"Who giveth this woman to be married to this man?" the vicar asked again.
"I do," Mr. Bennet said and put Elizabeth's hand on the vicar's.
The vicar took her hand, put it on Fitzwilliam's, and asked him to repeat after him:
"I, Fitzwilliam George Darcy, take thee, Elizabeth Bennet, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth."
When it was Elizabeth's turn, she said:
"I, Elizabeth Bennet, take thee, Fitzwilliam George Darcy, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey," she smiled a little as her teasing eyes warned him not to take this last promise too seriously. He returned her smile, and he could almost feel Mr. Bennet's mirth from where he sat, as she continued: "Till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth."
Richard brought again another ring and laid it upon the book where the vicar took it and delivered it unto Fitzwilliam. Fitzwilliam took Elizabeth's left hand and with the ring lingering on the fourth finger he said:
"With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
With that, he slid the gold ring onto her finger as she beamed at him. He knew he would remember this moment forever.
"Let us pray," the vicar said. "O eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life; send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, and this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that, as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made (whereof these rings given and received is a token and pledge), and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
Then the vicar joined the two couples' hands together and said:
"Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder." He turned to the congregation. "Forasmuch as Charles Robert Bingley and Jane Bennet, and Fitzwilliam George Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have consented together in holy wedlock, and have witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have given and pledged their troth either to other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving of a ring, and by joining of hands; I pronounce that they be man and wife together, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Let me now present, Mr. and Mrs. Bingley, and Mr. and Mrs. Darcy."
Then the Vicar moved to the Lord's Table and sang Psalm 128 before leading everyone through Psalm 67 and additional blessings for procreation. The couples, the vicar, and Richard—as the witness—signed the register in the parish after the church wedding and headed for Longbourn to enjoy the wedding breakfast.
Fitzwilliam felt more social that day than he ever had before. He did not care if he had to be congratulated a thousand times, if his mother-in-law boasted about her new 'tall and handsome' sons, if Sir William joked for the hundred time that he and Bingley were taking two of Hertfordshire's best and most beautiful jewels, and he did not even care that he was the centre of attention. He watched as his wife—yes, his wife!—did her best to draw all the attention to herself to spare him the mortification, but what she did not know was that he truly did not mind. Not to-day. Not the day when the most amazing woman that walked the Earth, the woman he loved more than life itself, became his wife. He could stand anything. So he bore Mr. Bennet's teasing, Richard's knowing smiles and winks and Miss Bingley's sour face with good humour.
They made sure to eat, drink and speak to everyone: friends, family and neighbours were greeted and the ceremony and wedding breakfast was complimented as everyone decided that it had been the grandest event ever seen in Meryton. Mrs. Bennet was congratulated and thanked by her married daughters and her new sons. He had to admit that Mrs. Bennet had done an incredible job, for even though he had forgotten all about decorations the second Elizabeth walked into the church, he had been waiting at the altar enough time to admire the subtle and elegant way it had been adorned. He had expected something grander and chastised himself for judging her again.
They spent a couple of hours in pleasant conversation with their families before it was decided that the couples would leave. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth wished to be at Darcy House before dinner, and Fitzwilliam admitted to himself that he wished to be alone with Elizabeth even if it was inside a carriage.
"What shall you do, Father?" he asked Mr. Darcy. "Shall you part immediately to Pemberley?"
"No, we shall stay at the inn tonight with the Fitzwilliams and then leave early tomorrow."
When Mrs. Bennet heard this, she made her sentiments known and expressed quite eloquently how unreasonable she believed such a plan would be. She insisted that the Darcys and the Fitzwilliams should stay at Longbourn now that they were officially family.
"There is certainly room enough for all of you," she argued. "And you know that Georgiana, Mary, and Kitty will be more than happy to share a room, won't you, girls?"
"Yes, Mama," her daughters replied.
"Yes, Mrs. Bennet," Georgiana said happily, for she would stay another night with her new sisters.
"Are the Gardiners not staying at Longbourn also?" Mr. Darcy asked.
"Yes, but we have eight bedchambers, if the girls share one, and my brother's children share another one, we will have enough room for everyone!"
Lady Anne, who was not particularly fond of inns, accepted immediately and considered it a good opportunity to spend some time with her new family. The Fitzwilliams were consulted and, to her surprise, they agreed and so it was decided that they would all stay with the Bennets.
"You shall make quite a group," Fitzwilliam grinned, teasingly.
"Well, it shall be an interesting night for us," his father said and then turned to his son with a mischievous glint in his eyes that made him look quite like Fitzwilliam's new wife. "And for you," he added in revenge for his son's teasing.
"Father!" Fitzwilliam blushed and looked around to see if anyone had heard him.
"Do you still have the book?"
"Yes, can we not speak of this here?"
Mr. Darcy laughed and clasped his son on the back as the rest of the family approached the couples to say goodbye. Fitzwilliam embraced his mother and shook his father's hand and said:
"I cannot thank you enough. I am absolutely sure that without your support, I would not be here now."
"'Tis our job as parents to ensure our son's happiness," Lady Anne said as she stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheeks. "Be happy, my love."
Georgiana gave him the tightest embrace he had ever received and whispered in his ear:
"I know you shall be happy, Fitzwilliam. You have found an amazing woman to be your wife and the best of sisters to me."
Fitzwilliam, touched, merely returned her embrace. He then moved to his new family as Elizabeth walked to the Darcys.
"Mrs. Bennet, I cannot thank you enough for the ceremony. It was all that we thought it would be and more."
"Oh," she blushed. "I am very happy that you approve, Fitzwilliam. Take care of my girl, will you?"
"The best of care, Madam," he said and kissed her hand.
"Well, Fitzwilliam, you have made it. You are taking my Lizzy far, far away. I suppose it is too late to convince you now. Is it not?" Mr. Bennet teased.
"I fear it is, sir. But I promise I will spend the rest of my life ensuring her happiness. Is that enough?"
"Indeed, it is. She shall always be my Little Lizzy, but from now on, she is also your Elizabeth."
"Think of it as gaining a son, sir, not losing a daughter."
"I believe I shall, and I shall see you both soon. Have a safe trip."
"Thank you," Fitzwilliam said and shook his hand before kissing his new sisters' cheeks—making both of them blush—and making them promise him that they would stay at Pemberley some time.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth was also saying goodbye to her in-laws.
"I thank you so much," she said, "for all your support."
"Do not mention it, my dear. I cannot wait for you and Fitzwilliam to join us at Pemberley," Lady Anne replied.
"It shall be very soon."
"Indeed, and with all the work that is expecting us at Pemberley, it shall go by before we know it," Mr. Darcy said and then, taking Elizabeth's hand on his, he kissed the back of it and added: "Welcome to the family, Elizabeth."
"Thank you," she said smiling before Lady Anne embraced her and wished her a safe trip.
The next thing she knew, she was in Georgiana's arms.
"Oh, Lizzy, thank you! We shall be so happy together! I cannot express with words how happy I am for you, for Fitzwilliam, and for myself!"
Elizabeth chuckled. "I hope you are still so happy for yourself, Georgie, when you realise the downside of having so many sisters!" she teased.
The last people they said goodbye to was also the most emotional farewell for her. Jane walked straight to her and without a word, embraced her with more strength than Elizabeth had known she possessed. The Darcys and the Bennets, along with Mr. Bingley were standing behind.
"My dear Lizzy," she sighed. "I do not know what I shall do without you. You are my voice of reason when I think too good of people. You might be younger, but you have always been my fiercest protector."
"I am completely sure that Charles will fill that role now. But what will I do without your calmness and sweetness of temper to make up for my cynicism?" Elizabeth asked and then pretended to whisper: "For Fitzwilliam is just as bad as I am in that respect."
Fitzwilliam smiled and did not feel offended for he knew it to be true.
"Georgiana usually does that for me," he said. "She will have to take Jane's role now."
Jane laughed as she finally let go of Elizabeth. "I am being ridiculous! We shall see each other soon."
"Yes, we shall," Elizabeth smiled.
"Neither Darcy nor I," said Bingley, "will allow the two of you to be apart for too long. It would put your happiness at risk," he smiled.
"You joke, but it is true," Elizabeth said. "I shall take your word, Brother," she beamed. "Take care of my sister."
"I shall," he said and kissed her hand.
Fitzwilliam did the same with Jane and with one last kiss to her sister's cheek, Jane headed for their carriage with Bingley. Fitzwilliam handed Elizabeth into their own carriage and then followed after her. They waved to their families, both wearing big smiles on their faces, as Longbourn became smaller and smaller in the distance.
"Are you all right, my love?" Fitzwilliam asked when they could not see her childhood home anymore.
"Yes," she smiled. "I might be leaving the only home I have known, but I am doing so with the best husband I could have imagined. I shall follow my uncle's philosophy and take the good with the bad."
I do not own any Pride and Prejudice properties, nor do I make any money from the writing of this story.
Characters and situations, created by Jane Austen, are taken from Pride and Prejudice and from the Pride and Prejudice (1995) adaptation created by Simon Langton and distributed by BBC.
This story is released under the GPL/CC BY: verbatim copying and distribution of this entire work are permitted worldwide, without royalty, in any medium, provided attribution is preserved.