Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, they belong to the ingenious Jane Austen, one of the best writers in the world... well at least in my obsessed opinion.
This is my solo fanfiction and my first one for Jane Austen, though it has been brewing for awhile. Just a note, I am not trying to copy her style of writing because it is very superior to my own and I cannot coin words as well as her. Another note, this is Thing Two writing, not Thing One. We're cousins writing a story together so we have the same account, just to make it all a little more confusing.
Man and Wife
He looked towards the back of the church, away from the glittering alter and the kindly priest directly in front of him. He could not imagine a more joyous day than this, a day he thought would never occur. His close friend as his best man and his soon-to -be-wife's sister as her maid, or rather matron, of honor. Glancing through the crowd he noticed all the people he had meet within the last year and all the people he had always known. His wife's family, all except one who was with- no, he wouldn't let that man ruin his wedding day. Her aunt and uncle, the ones he had met at Pemberley and were the main reason he was standing here today, were there, though he noticed their numerous children were absent. He glanced briefly at Miss Bingley dressed in her usual haughty style, her expression more suitable for a funeral. He smiled inwardly at that and his eyes landed on his beloved sister, more precious to him than anything. She smiled prettily up at him and he smiled in return. The wizened man at the organ began his tune, one that had been repeated many times. Everyone stood and turned towards the back of the old stone church where the man was watching intently.
An angel glowing in white was escorted down the long aisle by her father who seemed both proud and miserable at the same time. He was losing his favorite daughter, yet she was gaining a life of happiness. She blushed slightly from embarrassment and excitement as she walked between the crowds of people, the stain glass windows shining onto her white gown. Her fine eyes sparkled up to her awaiting husband along with a radiant smile which he returned. Her father reluctantly let go of her arm, holding on as long as he could, and her husband and her sister helped her up the last few steps. Everyone turned obediently towards the priest as he began the rites that would join the two lovers forever.
The promises were made with happy confidence and the rings given in reminder. The quick kiss was delivered and the priest raised his hands towards the awaiting assembly.
"I present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy!" He exclaimed to the crowd and was answered by applause and calls. Women were dabbing their eyes with their handkerchiefs and Mrs. Bennet refrained from bawling like she had done at Jane's wedding.
The blushing bride was escorted out of the church on her husband's arm and they waited on the steps to greet everyone as they were leaving.
Her mother was the first to greet them with wet eyes and waving her frilly handkerchief. "Oh, my dear Lizzy, to have you married at last! Oh, you can't imagine my happiness. Oh, Lizzy!" Her mother rambled on breathlessly. "'Tis a shame you must go so far away, but for ten-thousands pounds we couldn't expect to keep you at Meryton, could we, my dear. If only you could stay near us and your sisters, then I would be perfectly happy."
"Now, now, my dear, that is the price we pay for having daughters," Mr. Bennet interjected wisely. "Though I am afraid I will feel the parting more keenly than you, Mrs. Bennet."
"Oh, Mr. Bennet! You jest! I know that they must leave, of course, but to see them gone so far away, and you will be so far away my dear, all the way at Pemberly," Mrs. Bennet lamented loudly to her daughter.
Elizabeth smiled at the familiar banter between her parents, but she could tell it did not grate well on her husband though he suffered it silently.
The Bennets moved a little towards the right still talking loudly but making room for others to greet the bride and groom.
Following next was Miss Caroline Bingley who congratulated Elizabeth haughtily and as civilly as she could. With Mr. Darcy she was slightly more agreeable though the fact that he had not chosen her to be his bride still pained her. However, she still wanted to have the acquaintance of Pemberley and she moved off to the left to wait for Georgiana, hoping to stay as far away from the Bennets as possible. It was Darcy's turn to smile in amusement as she walked away. Next came a more agreeable pair, as the best man and matron of honor descended arm in arm from the church.
"Oh, Lizzy," Jane began in her quiet, sincere manner. "To think that we both should be so happy and content, it is unimaginable!"
"Only to you, my dear Jane," Elizabeth replied smiling at her favorite sister. "I only wish Netherfield and Pemberley were closer, but we cannot have everything, can we?"
"No, indeed we cannot, " Jane said and both girls were reflecting on their youngest sister. "But it all came together anyway."
Elizabeth nodded her head and continued. "So, when can we expect the both of you at Pemberley?"
"I do not know, but I expect it will have to be in few months time as I still have to meet some cousins of Charles' that reside in London and could not come to the wedding."
"Well, just write us a letter or stop on our doorstep whenever you wish to visit," Elizabeth replied smiling to her sister. "I think we shall have to separate our husbands 'fore I believe there is a line stating to form."
Jane laughed. "Good day, then, Lizzy. We shall see the both of you soon. Come Charles," she said gently to her husband. "I fear you will have to leave Mr. Darcy now as there is a line forming behind us."
Mr. Bingley glanced back at the line and exclaimed "Good God!" before turning back, exceedingly embarrassed, to the laughing Darcys. He gave Mrs. Darcy a very eloquent farewell and congratulations for the both of them. "But you must make sure, Mrs. Darcy, to have this husband of yours mix more at parties or we shall have a frightful time when we all meet!"
Everyone laughed, including Mr. Darcy, and the Bingleys made their way over to the Bennets where Mrs. Bennet was already making plans very loudly of visiting the Bingleys as soon as they returned. Georgiana Darcy came up with her companion, Mrs. Annesley, who would accompany her to London with Miss Bingley and also look for a new station. Both Georgiana and Elizabeth got along very much like sisters already and agreed that Mrs. Annesley would no longer be needed. However, she would be allowed to stay with her salary until she received a new station. Mrs. Annesley, though saddened at having to leave Georgiana who was rather like a daughter, was eager to help other young ladies as she had helped Georgiana start to overcome her extreme shyness.
"I cannot tell you how eager I am for us all to be back at Pemberley, Elizabeth," Georgiana told Elizabeth happily while her brother watched the both of them. "I cannot believe how fortunate I am to have received a lady such as yourself for a sister. Will you be returning in a fortnight to Pemberley?"
Elizabeth glanced up at her husband and then replied. "No, we will be gone for about three weeks. But then we shall have the run of Pemberley all to ourselves and you and your brother will have to acquaint me with everything inside and around it."
"Three weeks cannot come too soon," Georgiana replied happily and then turned to her brother who wanted to issue his usual warnings to her before she went off to town. Though she was a year older and a bit more wiser, Wickham's scare last year was not forgotten by anyone.
Mrs. Annesley said a few kind words to both Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and promised to keep a sharp eye on Georgiana. Then the pair of them moved over to where Miss Bingley was standing haughtily removed from the rest of the crowd as though she would catch some deadly disease if she mingled. Unfortunately, Mr. Collins decided that now would be his time to capture his cousin and the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
"Congratulations, cousin Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy," Mr. Collins greeted pompously along with equally pompous bows to each. Mrs. Collins came up behind him and shot an apologetic look to Elizabeth. Rising from his bow, he continued. "I am very happy for the both of you and hope you will find as much happiness as I in the married state. I must say though, that you have greatly displeased her Ladyship and it would be well on you to mend that breach in the family. Her Ladyship is most kind and generous and I am sure she would eagerly welcome the both of you back into the family circle."
Here he was interrupted by his wife who eagerly wished to talk to Elizabeth and silence her husband. "When will you be returning to Pemberley, Eliza?"
"In about three weeks, Charlotte. How are you doing? When do you begin your lying in?"
"In another two months, but I'm doing fine. I am not as old as you might think, Eliza."
"I said nothing of the kind!" She exclaimed and their short visit ended somewhat happily.
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner seized their chance to greet the couple that they helped form. Joyful smiles were on everyone's faces when the Gardiners approached. After the congratulations were made, Elizabeth presently asked when they would be arriving at Pemberley.
"My dear, if you keep giving out invitations to Pemberley, we will never have the place to ourselves," Mr. Darcy teased.
"Perhaps I would not like to spend all of my time with just you," Elizabeth teased back.
"To be young and in love, " Mrs. Gardiner said smiling.
"Don't lament, dear aunt, for you and Mr. Gardiner have four children and are still in love."
The party began to dwindle down as the light outside began to fade. Many entreaties to come and visit were made and everyone stood on the church steps as Mr. and Mrs. Darcy stepped into their open air carriage. With a final wave and yells of farewell, the carriage rolled away from the church with the younger Lucases chasing after it. Elizabeth turned in her seat so she could wave at the old familiar church and the many familar faces that surrounded it as they slowly grew smaller and smaller. A sharp bend in the road suddenly blocked it all from sight. She sighed as she turned back to face the rigid back of the driver.
"What's the matter, Elizabeth?" Her husband asked gently.
She turned away from him and gazed out at the last fields of the town. "I never realized how much I was leaving behind, that's all. There are some I won't miss, but I cannot help missing Jane and Papa. I know he will miss me sorely what with Mama and her nerves." A small smile played about her lips.
Mr. Darcy reached forward and entwined his hand with hers. She moved her gaze away from the fields and rested it on him. "Then we will have him come and visit often, though I'm sure you have already given him a free invitation," he teased.
"Of course, he is my father after all."
"True, but we are now man and wife," he said, becoming more serious.
"I would never forget that," she replied smiling.
"Oh Jane, I am so glad Netherfield is so close by," Mrs. Bennet began with her usual lamentations as they walked down the path from the now empty church towards Longbourn. "Poor Lizzy, to be so far away from us all, I don't know quite how she will bear it. I know I shouldn't be able to, what with my poor nerves."
"Do not worry, Mama. I am quite sure Lizzy will be happy with Mr. Darcy and -"
"Well of course she'd be happy with ten-thousand pounds and such a large estate, but how could anyone be happy away from all their relations," Mrs. Bennet continued slightly annoyed, ignoring everyone else.
Mr. Bennet expertly tuned out his wife's grumblings which increased as they parted ways with the Bingleys. He was more preoccupied with returning to Longbourn which suddenly felt empty and foreign. It would take him a long while to get used to not hearing Elizabeth's witty jokes, seeing her smiles as she passed him in the hall, and mostly he would miss her sense, something that would now be impossible to find. True, he could always visit the Bingleys, but nothing could replace his favorite daughter.
"Papa?" Kitty asked, recalling him back to the present. "Papa, Lizzy said I could go and visit her at Pemberly in July. May I go, Papa?"
"Yes, you may, Kitty."
"And Lydia invited me to join her a fortnight before Michaelmas, may I go visit her too?"
"That I absolutely forbid!" Mr. Bennet stated firmly. "You'll not go about with all those officers consuming your every thoughts. You'll stay with your elder sister and hopefully gain some sense off her!"
Kitty's eyes began to swim with tears and Mrs. Bennet hurriedly put her thoughts in. "Mr. Bennet! How can you let her go see Lizzy and have nothing to do with Lydia? They are both her sisters and respectably married -"
"Respectably married!" Mr. Bennet cried, losing his temper. "Have you forgotten the pains we endured when Lydia eloped? Do you think elopement is the same as respectably married? Kitty will either go to Pemberley or Netherfield where she has sisters of sense or go nowhere at all!"
Mr. Bennet stormed into his library immediately regretting losing his temper. True, he was greatly upset over Lizzy going away, but he would not tolerate Kitty going to Lydia and having her elope too. Sitting heavily in a chair, he continued to think as the sun set over the trees. Kitty had some sense, but unfortunately it was all buried under Lydia's influence. Hopefully Jane or Lizzy would be able to save her. Glancing around his library and hearing the unusual quiet of the house, he could not help but feel self-pity.
"With my two sensible daughters gone, who will save me?"
I hope you liked it. Please drop a review and let me know how I'm doing.