Hi, guys! Well, I'm back! I wasn't away too long, was I? You've been so kind and sweet, I couldn't help it.
This story, as I have said before, is a continuation to Take the good with the bad. To be honest, it has no plot. None whatsoever. Nada. So, if you're looking for conflict and angst, this is not for you. This is 50% fluff, 30% family bonding, 20% smut. And maybe another 10% extra of fluff just to be sure. They're just small glimpses of their lives together as a married couple. So far I've written (spoiler alert? does it even matter when there's no plot?) the first few days at Darcy House and the first few days at Pemberley. I think I will write the holidays and then I'll start skipping months and even years. Yes, there will be children! There was one guest who gave me tons of ideas, thank you! I thought they were all amazing and I'll try to write them!
The problem is that I don't know how long these chapters will be or how often I'll be able to post. Probably not very often. I survived the first two weeks of online classes, but I'm sooo tired already. And the fact that this is a WIP, and not already written as Take the good with the bad was, means I need to be inspired, write, edit, and post. So, I'm sorry I can't make any promises, but I thought you'd like to read what I've written already.
You might have noticed I tried to reply to your reviews! I will try to keep replying, so keep reviewing! I thank each one of you for taking the time to tell me what you think. Thank you so much! (A little fun comment: pigtails913 told me The Facts of Life theme song reminded them to Take the good with the bad, and I think that's awesome!)
(There's another note at the end)
Take the good with the bad - Chapter 26
"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."
Happily ever after
Fitzwilliam was startled awake when the carriage shook. He was confused at first, for what could possibly be that weight on his right shoulder and that lavender smell? He looked towards the object of his confusion and saw his beautiful Elizabeth sleeping on his shoulder. He smiled at the tender image before him, for the never had seen her asleep before. He rejoiced in the fact that from this day forward, he would always awake to her lovely face.
"Elizabeth," he whispered when he noticed they were approaching Darcy House. "Wake up, my love."
Elizabeth moaned in her sleep and then sat up suddenly.
"Oh, I am sorry, Fitzwilliam," she said, rubbing her eyes. "We have been married a few hours and I have been asleep most of them."
Fitzwilliam chuckled. "As long as I get some hours of your waking time, I shall be content."
"Are we close to your home?" she asked.
"Our home, Mrs. Darcy," he declared pointedly.
Elizabeth smiled. "Say that again."
"Mrs. Darcy," he whispered and cupped her cheek. "Mrs. Darcy." He kissed her forehead. "Mrs. Darcy." He kissed her mouth.
Suddenly the carriage stopped and they pulled apart, laughing.
"We are home then, Mr. Darcy. Tell me, Husband, do I look presentable?"
"You look more beautiful than ever."
Elizabeth chuckled. "Lying, Mr. Darcy? And so soon after our vows? It does not bode well for our happiness in marriage."
"I am telling only the truth."
"I shall forgive you, for I think you truly believe it," she teased as the footman opened the door.
Fitzwilliam jumped outside and handed Elizabeth out. They were barely inside the house when the Williams came to receive them.
"Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy," they greeted them with smiles on their usually serious faces. "Congratulations."
"Your luggage arrived an hour before you. We have prepared some clothes if you wish to change from the journey," Mrs. Williams said.
"Thank you, I believe we shall," Fitzwilliam said, helping Elizabeth with her coat.
"Emma shall be your maid until you choose one, Mrs. Darcy. I hope you like her. She is a good girl, hardworking, and eager to please, if a little inexperienced," Mrs. Williams told her.
"I am sure we will get along very well, Mrs. Williams, thank you."
Fitzwilliam walked upstairs with Elizabeth to her new chambers.
"I hope you like them," he said. "They are not as big and grand as Pemberley's, but Mother chose them for you herself. You can change anything you want, of course."
Elizabeth opened the door and found a bedchamber twice the size of her own at Longbourn.
"You call this 'not as big and grand,' Fitzwilliam?" she chuckled. "It is enormous! And very beautiful, too."
She walked around the room, touching the old, but elegant furniture. When she got the enormous bed, she realised that for the first time in her life, she was in a bedchamber with a man that was not her father. She blushed and tried to hide it with her usual teasing:
"Your mother might have chosen this, but I did not know she knew me so well as this chamber implies. Did you decorate it yourself, my dear?"
Now, it was Fitzwilliam who blushed as he replied:
"I might have told her a thing or two."
"I might have told her that lavender seems to be your favourite flower, that you seem to be very fond of green and light purple—I assume because they remind you of nature and the flower itself—and that you prefer simple and elegant decorations."
Elizabeth was so very touched, she was speechless for a whole minute. She felt her eyes watering and her bosom fill with tenderness for her husband.
"I never told you any of those things."
"I have been watching you for a long time, Elizabeth," he took a step closer to her. "I also know that you always put cream on your coffee—that sweet tooth your father told me about, I assume. I know that you dislike bonnets, and you take them off as soon as you think you can get away with it. I know you have a strange relationship with horses—you do not quite fear them, but you do not ride them, either. I know you take off running in the country, when you think no one is watching you, and that you like to spin in circles like the happy little girl you are on the inside."
"Well, if you know me so very well, Mr. Darcy, what am I thinking now?" she asked teasingly, wrapping her arms around his neck.
Fitzwilliam grinned. "That you would like me to kiss you."
Elizabeth startled in surprise—for she had indeed thought that—but could not utter a word before his lips were on hers.
Fitzwilliam did his best to appear calm and relaxed, and not as nervous and excited as he truly felt. He wanted, of course, to carry her back upstairs and kiss her for the rest of the night, knowing he would not have to stop now. He ate as much as he could—very little—and did his best to carry on a conversation.
"I hope Georgie does not regret her decision to stay the night at Longbourn," he heard her say. "I know my family can be a little too... lively."
"She seemed perfectly happy to stay there, Elizabeth," he said. "My parents are with her, but I think that when she visits alone, it shall be a good opportunity for her to be without her parents, but still in a safe environment."
"'Tis definitely safe physically, I hope they shall not drive her insane."
Fitzwilliam smiled. "Your younger sisters seemed to have grown a lot these last few months. Give them some credit, my dear."
"Oh, you are right. But Georgiana is so shy..."
"She is getting better every day thanks to you and that liveliness that seems to be a Bennet characteristic."
"You are not worried for her?"
"I am not. I trust your family," he said.
He realised, the second he said it, how much he had truly changed. A few months ago, he would not have trusted the Bennets with one of his horses, much less his little sister! But he had grown to understand them, respect them, and he had even grown fond of them. It was hard not to hold some affection for his new sisters when they were being so kind to Georgiana, and so forgiving to him. It was hard not to grow fond of Mr. Bennet when he saw how deeply he loved Elizabeth, and it was even hard not to hold some affection for Mrs. Bennet when he realised the reason behind her nerves. They were his family now, for better and for worse, and he had managed to go further than he had ever thought he could. Losing Elizabeth had definitely helped put things into perspective. He had known, when he proposed again, that he was willing to treat them with respect, for he would tolerate worse than the Bennets to have Elizabeth by his side, but he had not expected to grow fond of them as he had.
"Fitzwilliam? Are you all right?" Elizabeth asked.
"Yes, I was only thinking," he shook his head and then smiled at her. "Would you play for me when we are finished with dinner?"
"I am finished, and I shall play for my husband for I promised to obey," she teased.
"It was not an order," he smiled, standing up and walking to her. "And I know you will not obey if it were."
Elizabeth laughed and let herself be guided to the music room. Elizabeth sat in the bench and said:
"I shall obey you this time, Fitzwilliam, so what would you like me to play?"
"Voi che sapete," he replied without hesitation.
"Oh, very romantic of you, my love," she smiled and started playing. "You know, it was the first time that I looked at you in such a light."
"And it was the first time I thought you might let me be a part of your life. At least, as Georgiana's brother, and possibly, as your friend."
"Friend?" she chuckled. "Oh, no. We had too much history behind us to be merely friends."
"I admit I prefer this outcome," he teased as he sat right in front of her to be able to see her as she played. "Will you sing like you did that day?"
Elizabeth smiled and without replying, she started singing. He was suddenly taken back to Pemberley's music room, but this time they were alone. He could take his fill of her voice, her scent, her every expression as she sang and played. The same feeling of peace and joy filled his chest, but this time by tenfold. He had told his parents that morning—was it only that morning?—that he could not truly relax and surrender to the feeling of happiness and elation that tried to burst from his chest until they had been declared husband and wife. Now it was done. Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder, the vicar had said. Nothing could ever come between them.
As he heard her sing and play, he felt all the weight lift from his shoulders and a feeling of pure tranquillity and ease embraced him. It was not the same feeling of euphoria and ecstasy he had felt when she accepted his hand in marriage. This was a calm satisfaction that he could feel deep inside his soul; it was pure contentment and fulfilment. He was in a daze by the time she was done and looking at him with an inquiring expression.
"Come, my love," he said softly. "Let us retire."
He watched her carefully to see if she seemed distressed or worried, but as she did not, he held his hand to her and they walked silently upstairs. When he stood outside the door that led to her bedchamber, he turned to her, and asked:
"May I come to you?"
He knew it was his legal right to come to her, but he did not wish for her to think he would force her if she did not wish it. He waited anxiously for her answer, and he thought then, that he might cry in disappointment—once in his own room—if she said no.
"Of course," she blushed. "Give me half an hour."
He kissed her hand and thanked the Lord before he left for his own room to prepare for the night.
"How does one prepare himself for his wedding night?" He had asked his father.
"Wash, dress, and pace impatiently until the time comes," had been his father's teasing answer.
And since he was an obedient son, he did as his father said. Rogers helped him undress, wash, and redress in a simple nightshirt and breeches and then retired with a small smile on his face.
Twenty-five minutes later—he had not made it to thirty—Fitzwilliam found himself in front of the door that connected his bedchamber to his wife's. He knocked softly and when she told him to enter, he opened the door to a sight he would never forget.
Elizabeth sat in front of her mirror with her beautiful chestnut hair falling around her. It was longer than he had thought, a beautiful chocolate waterfall that reached her waist. He looked transfixed for a minute, before he managed to walk slowly to her, looking into her eyes in the mirror, until he was right behind her.
"May I?" he asked, taking the hairbrush from her hand.
He touched her hair and marvelled at the softness of it, at the way her playful curls did whatever they wanted, and refused to stay in place. Just like my Elizabeth, he thought with a tender smile. He had never seen her with her hair down, although he had wished to remove her hairpins many times during their engagement, he had never done it. He thought she would have let him, but he feared it might have been too much for his self-control. I was right, he thought dryly. Now what he wanted the most was to sit her on his lap and cuddle her for hours.
"Thank you for these, Fitzwilliam," Elizabeth said. "They are absolutely beautiful."
"What, my love?" he asked distractedly.
Elizabeth smiled. "The hairbrush, the comb, and the hand mirror. I never dreamed of having anything this exquisite."
They were quite exquisite, he had to admit. He had the back of the golden set engraved with the Darcy crest, and the handles, with 'Elizabeth Darcy.'
"I am glad you like them."
"How could I not? I admit, though," she smiled teasingly at him, and he thought for a second that he would throw caution to the wind and kiss her then, "that I am more surprised by your apparent ability to brush hair. Is it a common amusement among gentlemen?"
Fitzwilliam smiled. "You forget, my dear, that I have a mother and a sister. I used to brush Mother's hair when I was younger, and then Georgie's when she was a little girl. I do not go about brushing the hair of strange ladies."
"That is a relief, indeed!"
His true source of relief was to find Elizabeth so relaxed and playful. That she was teasing him was a good sign, he thought.
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked, when he finished brushing her hair.
"I think I would," she replied.
"Give me a second," he said and walked to his sitting room where he kept a bottle of port.
He came back with the bottle and two glasses, and he sat on her settee as he poured one for each.
"Come sit with me," he said as he offered her a glass.
She stood up from her place in front of the mirror and he thanked God he was sitting down. He had not seen much of her body, for she had been sitting and covering herself with her hair, but now, as she stood, he felt his eyes widen and his throat get dry at the sight of his oh-so-lovely wife walking towards him. Although it was December and it was quite cold—despite the fire burning in her room—she was not wearing a dressing gown or even a bed jacket or a shawl. He could tell she was only wearing a silk night shift that hugged her body and showed every single curve. He swallowed and forced himself not to look down, for he knew that it also ended somewhere between her calf and her ankle.
Make her feel safe and relaxed. Do not, ever, hurry her, his father's voice sounded in his head.
And as much as he wanted to take her in his arms then, he restrained himself. She sat down so close to him, he could smell the sweet lavender water she wore. He passed her a glass without looking at her and then raised his own.
"For our happiness in marriage," he said.
"And our love," she added.
He realised, as he drank, that he did not know how to proceed. Should he talk about anything at all? Or should he kiss her? Should he pull her into his embrace? Or should he wait until she took the first step? As he pondered this, he heard Elizabeth say:
"You need not act as if nothing important is about to happen," she smiled, teasingly. "I, myself, know very little, so I hope you know."
He could not help but smile as he finally turned to look at her.
"'Tis not a matter of not knowing, but I do not wish to proceed, if you are not ready."
Elizabeth shrugged. "As ready as I will ever be with so little information as I was given."
"What were you told?"
"Horrible things by Mama, and comforting things by Aunt Gardiner."
"What did your aunt say?" he asked, afraid to ask about her mother's advice.
Elizabeth smiled again. "That you love me too much to hurt me."
"Your aunt is a very wise woman," he smiled, before regaining a more serious countenance. "Elizabeth, I would never hurt you, and if you feel uncomfortable, and wish to stop, you only need to say so."
Elizabeth nodded. "Very well."
He cupped her cheek. "I love you, and I only wish to show you that." He leaned towards her and kissed her lips softly, before he whispered against them: "With my body I thee worship."
He kissed her slowly at first, closed-mouthed as he always had, letting his lips linger on hers until she relaxed. He opened his mouth then, and tried to encourage her to open hers. When she felt his tongue on her lips, she gasped in surprise, and he took the opportunity her open mouth offered and kissed her deeper. Little by little, she started responding as he had wished. She kissed him back as best she could, following his lead and copying his movements. Her hands caressed his hair and pushed him closer and he—with what little wits he could gather—thought it would be a good technique: to wait until she grew comfortable and—with her responses—asked for more, before advancing further. Now he was kissing her as passionately as he had always dreamed—but feared—to kiss her.
Kiss her, and not only on the lips.
He broke the kiss and brought her near with a hand on the small of her back as his lips traced her jaw and neck. He sucked at her throat and tried to calm his body's response as she gasped.
"Is this still all right?" he panted.
"Yes," she only said.
"Come, my love," he said and taking her hand, he guided her to the bed.
About the rating, this chapter is T, but the story is definitely M. I finished this chapter here on purpose, so if you're not into smut, you can skip chapter 2 and then resume your reading in chapter 3. I totally get it if it's not your thing. But if you are into smut, you'll like the next chapter (unless I lose my courage and tone it down haha). Tell me, would you like to read something slightly M or really M?
Stay safe at home!
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.