Lizzie smiled but was still worried. She couldn't very well just burst into the house at 11:00 at night and announce that she was in love with William Darcy. And besides, where would that leave her? She and Will lived on two completely different sides of the Atlantic. She sighed and again buried her face in his warm, perfectly toned chest. She wished she had thought this through earlier. But considering she had thought she would never even see Will again… she groaned a little into his chest.
She felt a light pressure as Will kissed her forehead. He sighed and pulled back from her so that he could look her in the eyes.
"Alright, what about this," he said. "It's up to you, but we have two choices. Either I leave the family firm in London and work at our branch here and you stay at school. Or you finish this semester at NYU and then come live with me in London and continue your studies there."
She grinned, her happiness swelling again. "You thought of something awful quickly."
He looked down at her hands. "Well, I admit I had put some thought into it earlier."
She looked at him a little sadly. She still felt a pang of guilt; she marveled at how he could still love her after all that she'd said and done.
"Will… I should have said this a long time ago, but I am so sorry for all those things I said on New Year's Eve," she said softly.
Will shook his head, tucking some of her hair behind her ear. "I deserved it."
"But that's just it, you didn't!" Eliza cried. "You didn't deserve it at all!"
"Most of it I did," he said quietly. But then he smiled and kissed her. "Besides, it doesn't matter now, does it?"
"No, I guess not," she replied, smiling herself. Then she bit her lip and looked at him mischievously.
"What?" he asked suspiciously.
"Nothing, it's just… you always seemed so serious. How could you have fallen in love with me in the first place? And when?"
He laughed and wrapped his arms around her waist. "I was so far into it before I even realized I had begun, I have no idea the exact time."
"But I was always at least a little impolite to you. Or did you like me for my impertinence?" she said jokingly, laughing.
"I call it your vivacity."
"That's being kind," she said. Then she raised an eyebrow. "How come you came back? I mean, before when you were here… well, you left so quickly, I thought you didn't care anymore."
"I left because I cared too much," he said. She blushed and looked down. "But then my aunt paid me a little visit."
Lizzie let out a short laugh. "Ah, dear Lady Catherine," she said sarcastically.
"Yes… she told me what you said. And quite contrary to her intention of separating us, it gave me hope like I had never let myself have before."
Eliza stood on her tip toes to kiss him. "She said she'd never talk to us again if you went out with me… do you think she meant it?" she asked hopefully.
"Probably," Will replied. "But we'll see."
Eliza took a deep breath and then clasped his hand and started walking back to her parents' house. Stopping next to her car parked outside by the curb, she turned once again to Will. He leaned her against the car door and kissed her for the millionth time. When he pulled away, she smiled up at him.
"I want to go to London with you," she whispered. He grinned and kissed her yet again.
"Georgia will be delighted," he said, chuckling.
They kissed again and then parted ways.
Will woke early the next morning, his stomach still doing cartwheels. As he showered and dressed, he found he was still in shock at how last night had gone. The fact that Eliza – Lizzie – really was in love with him… he couldn't imagine being happier.
Around nine, he was standing in front of the Bennet's house, his palms sweating ever so slightly. He knew it was imperative that he make a good impression on Mr. Bennet. Lizzie loved and looked up to him so much; Will was desperate to get on his good side. With a deep breath, he strode up the front steps and rang the doorbell.
Mr. Bennet himself answered, fully dressed but looking a little weary. His eyes widened at the sight of Will, but when Will asked to speak with him, he graciously led Will into his study.
"If I'm disturbing your work…" Will started to say, but Mr. Bennet waved a hand and sat down at his desk chair.
"Not at all," Mr. Bennet said, gesturing toward the green armchair by the window. Will gingerly sat down.
"Well, Mr. Bennet, I'm not entirely how to go about this…" Will began, but then looked up to see Mr. Bennet eyeing him shrewdly.
"Then let me help you. It has something to do with Lizzie, doesn't it?" Mr. Bennet said with a wry smile.
Will's mouth fell open a little.
"I saw how you were looking at her the other day," Mr. Bennet said. "It didn't take a great leap of the imagination."
Will blushed and looked down at his hands. "Well, then, I guess I don't need to tell you, sir, that I'm in love with your daughter. However, I did not know until last night that she felt the same way."
He looked up quickly and was slightly crushed to see a look of surprise on Mr. Bennet's face.
"Anyway," Will went on hastily, feeling his face burn, "we talked about it, and we… well, Eliza… decided that she would like to move to London with me."
Mr. Bennet sighed and clasped his hands together on his lap.
"I just wanted to assure you, sir, that Eliza will be very safe in London, and that she will continue with her studies there," Will said, but then paused. "However, if you don't wish her to go…"
Mr. Bennet held up a hand. "Lizzie's an adult now, much as wish she weren't. She can make her own decisions," he said. He fixed Will with a beady look. "You can provide for her? Make sure she's safe?"
"And you love her? She won't end up back here in tears?"
Will looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Never, sir. I love her more than anything."
Mr. Bennet leaned back and took off his glasses. "Call me Tom," he said.
Will grinned gratefully and nodded. Then noticing a certain book on Mr. Bennet's desk, they fell into an easy conversation for nearly an hour. Close to ten, they heard Mrs. Bennet coming home, and Mr. Bennet snuck Will out the back. He told Will he would call Lizzie right now, so Will went back to Netherfield, took Charles' car, and went into the city. He had gone nearly twelve hours without seeing Lizzie, and he couldn't hold out much longer.
At ten in the morning, Eliza woke to her loudly ringing phone. Knocking over books and hair brushes, she reached for it on the nightstand.
"Hello?" she croaked.
"Good morning, Lizzie." It was her father.
"Dad!" she said, sitting up straight. From the sound of his voice, Will had spoken with him. "What's up?" she asked tentatively.
"Well, I just had a visit from William Darcy."
Eliza bit her lip. She couldn't quite make out the tone in her father's voice: was it sadness? Disappointment? Relief?
"Oh. Listen Dad, we would've talked to you last night, but it was really late, and we didn't…" she trailed off.
"He's really a very nice young man," her father said. "He assured me he only wants the best for you, and I believe him." He paused. "Oh, Lizzie… I just want to make sure that you want him to want the best for you."
"Dad, trust me, I do." She took a deep breath and ran a hand through her hair. "I know it's not… expected, but I love him, Dad. I really do."
There was a long pause in which Eliza's stomach twisted into several knots.
"Well, I guess London isn't that long of a plane ride away," her father finally said. Eliza let out her breath in a sigh of relief.
"It isn't! And I'll come home and visit, too, all the time," she said quickly.
"You'd better," he said. "Oh Lizzie, I couldn't have given you up to anyone less worthy."
"Thank you, Dad."
Three months later, after dozens of hugs and innumerable tears, Eliza was on a plane, headed toward Will, London, and her future.
A/N: To be continued… possibly! Let's be honest, I'm not ready to give these characters up. I might do a sequel… it may not be anytime soon, though. I've decided to continue The Reluctant Cinderella for now, but if you guys think it would be worth it, I will definitely start crafting a sequel.
So, for the last time, PLEASE review! Tell me how you liked the story and if you'd like to see a sequel. Please please please!
Farewell, my friends. This truly has been one of the most fun and rewarding stories I've ever written. Thanks to all of you.
Love, luck, and flying Ringwraiths,
Emma the NazgulQueen