I managed to finish another fic! I feel so proud of myself. You have no idea how long I've struggled with this little thing, but now…now I'm finally happy with it. I don't think I'll be able to top For Your Eyes Only, since well, I don't think I'm able to top that. Simple as that. The amount of reviews I got from you simply blew my mind.
So, thanks to all of you who reviewed – and to all of you who've asked, I'm sorry, but For Your Eyes Only,as well as this little fic, will stay as one-shots. I'm just not very good with longer fics…
Anyway, please enjoy!
Please remember to
His eyes flickered away from the book for a mere second. "Hmm."
The other man shifted his weight from one foot to another, a habit Darcy knew he had when he was either nervous or uncomfortable. "There's something I wish to talk to you about, if you don not mind."
Darcy paused, closing the book he'd been reading with a snap. "Yes, Bingley?" He stared at his friend curiously, letting a perfectly black eyebrow rise high on his forehead.
"Well." Bingley cleared his throat, rubbing his hands together, "if you do remember, which of course, you do, since – well, you're Darcy. I'd be damned if, well, oh—"
The corner of his mouth twitched upwards, nearly curling into an amused smile. "Well? What is it?"
"The ball," Bingley blurted, looking immensely proud over himself. "I want to talk to you about the ball."
His eyebrows rose even higher. "The ball."
"Yes, yes." Bingley waved with his hand airily. "The one I'm hosting tonight. I'm quite sure you know about it."
"Yes, I vaguely remember hearing your sister mention it once or twice," he deadpanned, absently noting how Caroline Bingley had dropped her fan, letting it fall to the floor with a soft clatter.
Bingley let out a hearty laugh. "I suppose she would have." He relaxed slightly, lowering himself into the opposing chair. "Now, about the ball… There have been…complaints. About…you."
Darcy drummed his fingers against the hard cover of his book, patiently waiting for his friend to continue.
Bingley took a deep breath before continuing. "And I'm inclined to agree. Darcy, I know you do not like dancing. However—"
Darcy raised his hand, effectively silencing the other man. "Have you ever considered there might be a reason for my rather…sparse dancing?"
Bingley blinked. "Ah…"
"Yes, quite so. Your eloquent manners never cease to amaze me, Bingley." He leaned back in his chair, crossing his legs comfortably. "I made a promise once," he started solemnly.
"You made a promise to never dance?"
"Sarcasm does not become you," he stated calmly before continuing. "I made a promise once when I was very young. My mother was not very fond of frivolous dancing, as she liked to call it. I remember inquiring as to why, she replied simply 'One should only be dancing with someone they truly cared for.'
"When I heard her say that, I swore to her that I would only ask a woman to dance with me if I intended to marry her."
"I've seen you dance with my sisters several times before."
"Yes, but I've never asked them for a dance," he replied, flipping his book open, letting his eyes travel over the pages. "However, I'm going to make you another promise now – I will ask a woman to dance with me tonight."
Bingley stared at him curiously. "I thought you never broke promises."
"Nor will I," he replied, her eyes never leaving the book. "I intend to honor them both."
Caroline's fan clattered against the floor once again.
The young woman was standing alone, her elder sister had been swept away by Bingley to dance yet another dance, the rest of her family and friends were either mingling around or dancing.
No one had dared to approach her, let alone ask for a dance.
That, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that he kept glaring at anyone who tried to.
It was one thing Fitzwilliam Darcy prided himself with; his self-control – his ability to control those petty little urges that seemed to pop up from time to time. However, this particular night, his prided self-control proved to be somewhat missing.
At least where Miss Elizabeth Bennet was concerned.
His lips twitched upwards.
"And what, pray tell, do you find so amusing, Mr. Darcy?"
Darcy spun around, giving a quick bow. "Miss Bingley."
"What makes you think I am amused?"
She sent him a knowing glance, fanning herself slowly. "You are smiling, are you not?"
"It depends on what you define as a smile, Miss Bingley," he replied shortly.
She smiled, closing her fan slowly. "Do you not think it is time for you to honor the promise you made my brother earlier today?" She reached out with her free hand, as if she expected him to take it.
His mouth twitched again. "Yes, I do believe so." He bowed hastily, slowly making his way over to where the lone Elizabeth was still standing. He bowed. "May I have the next dance, Miss Bennet?"
"Mr. Darcy! I—oh…no I—I mean…" she stammered. "Yes, you may," she replied finally, curtsying hastily as her mouth tightened into a thin line.
He gave her a quick nod, offering his hand for her to take.
She stared at it warily for a moment, before placing her hand gently in his, letting him lead her out onto the dance floor.
In the background, a fan clattered loudly against the floor.
"May I inquire as to why Miss Bingley is staring at us, never mind the fact that her fan is lying broken at her feet?"
Darcy smiled, a soft chuckle escaping his lips. "You look wonderful tonight, Miss Elizabeth."