Chapter 15: If I loved you

Suddenly, Elizabeth looked straight up into Mr. Darcy's eyes, "William, what are we waiting for?"

He blinked down at her in confusion with a puzzled smile upon his face. Elizabeth elaborated, "We should tell everyone of our engagement immediately."

Darcy sharply turned his head towards Elizabeth, clearly stunned by her sudden change of heart, "Lizzy, my darling, I simply don't think now is the time or the place…"

"Ohh William, of course it is! I don't know why I've been dragging my feet for so long. I love you. And I cannot wait to be your wife." She smiled and laid her head on her beloved's shoulder. This really was what life was about, living and loving with the ones you care deeply about.

Darcy smiled and looked down upon his future bride. She looked so beautiful in the moonlight and it took all his strength not to kiss her again. But he knew that once he started down that path, it would take everything for him to stop. Instead, he led her over to a nearby fountain and sat with her at the edge of it. "My dear, we shall announce our engagement at the first possible moment tomorrow. I will come calling on you and we will tell them together."

Lizzy laughed a little and smiled, "I am sure mother will be quite shocked. She is convinced that I detest you, and has given up hope of our being matched."

"Your mother has been trying to match us up, was she?" said Darcy smiling, himself, a little, "I don't seem to recall her forcing us together at any point."

"I do not think she ever, really, was trying to pair us off, but as Jane had made such a nice match with Mr. Bingley she is convinced that now she is a matchmaker and knows what is best for everyone. I feel for my sisters." Elizabeth was then distracted by a sudden movement in the gardens ahead. She got up and peered over the hedge and popped back with an "OH!"

"William!" whispered Elizabeth, "You will never guess who is over there."

"Who is it, my darling?" asked Darcy getting up to look himself. He was curious as to who had elicited such a reaction from Elizabeth. It must be someone they are both acquainted with. Carefully he peeked over the hedge and he, himself, was surprised at who was behind it.

"Mary! I cannot believe that Mary is dallying on with some unknown gentleman! I cannot, nay will not, go through this again. What happened with Lydia was bad enough."

"Well, it seems as if your sister isn't as she seems." said Darcy. "But do not fret, I got a better look than it seems you did. The gentleman in question is, in fact, Mr. Benjamin Daniels, a rising member of Parliament. I believe he was secretary to Jonathan Grey for many years. I am sure that is where he gained the footing to become a member of Parliament."

Elizabeth was struck dumb for a moment. Mary, her sister Mary, had a secret suitor that no one knew about? Apparently there was more to her sister than met the eye. Because she was so close to Jane, she did not think to become close with her other sister. She would have to talk with Jane about this. She was sure than Jane had no idea! Mary…a suitor!

Darcy once again took Elizabeth's hand and led her back to the fountain where they were sitting before this upset had taken place. "We should talk about what is going to happen tomorrow. After all, this news will certainly be a surprise to your family. We should discuss what is going to be said."

"Aren't you simply going to come bursting into my house declaring your love for me?" said Elizabeth with a smile.

Darcy shot Elizabeth a look, "And why does it have to be me that declares my love first? After all, they are your family…"

"I suppose you are right." Said Elizabeth, "But I do think it should be both of us. My father wont let me go to you if he doesn't believe I truly love you, and you me."

"Alright then, I will come tomorrow and we will simply announce our engagement to your family." Said Darcy, "They cannot have an objection because of our love for each other."

Elizabeth sighed and leaned closer to Darcy. Finally, their engagement would be public and they would be free to see each other when they wished. Everything will be perfect now, she just knew it.

The following morning.

Elizabeth looked and felt terrible. For some reason she was unable to sleep all night. She kept tossing and turning and every little noise seemed to keep her awake. Eventually she just got up knowing that if she tried to keep busy, her mind would keep from wandering. It was not that she wasn't excited about the prospect of announcing her engagement. It was that she was terrified. What if her family did not accept it? Oh, she was sure her mother would, after all, Mr. Darcy had enough money to appease Mrs. Bennet, but still, she was not sure how this would all turn out and it terrified her.

"Lizzy, please do sit down." Said Mrs. Bennet, "Your pacing is driving me distracted! How am I supposed to have a relaxing morning with you constantly moving about?"

Lizzy sat herself down on the chaise next to Jane, but her mind kept wandering. It seemed that everything that happened inside, or outside, the house drew her attention. She was not exactly sure when Mr. Darcy would arrive and it was causing her to be very anxious. Jane, whom Elizabeth had told of the plans the night before, grasped her sister's hand in support, knowing of what was to come.

Just as Elizabeth had begun to relax a maid announce the arrival of a guest. A one Mr. Darcy. "He has asked to speak with the entire family, m'am." said the maid to Mrs. Bennet.

"Ohh what could that insufferable man want? I was having such a relaxing morning," grumbled Mrs. Bennet, "Ohh well, send for Mr. Bennet and bid Mr. Darcy come inside."

As Mr. Darcy walked inside the small sitting room Elizabeth could barely tare her eyes away from him. If it were possible, he looked even more handsome than ever before. He was wearing a smart dark coat that complimented him well. He store across the room and stopped directly in front of Elizabeth, extending his hand towards him.

Lizzy froze for a moment, but upon looking into her beloved eyes, she smiled and put her hand into his. Although she had been fearing this moment all morning, now that Mr. Darcy was with her, she knew she could face anything. Darcy helped her up and led her to the front of the room. In that moment Mr. Bennet entered the room, looking as confused as ever. He reached Mrs. Bennet and whispered, "What is going on?"

The Bennet family looked at the couple at the front of the room with questioning eyes, waiting for them to say something.

Elizabeth looked at Mr. Darcy once more before clearing her throat softly. "Mother, father, Mr. Darcy has asked me to marry him." She stopped for a moment to take a breath, "And I have said yes." Elizabeth exhaled and smiled, finally, after so much time, their secret was out.

It seemed that the Bennet family was somewhat shocked at this news. They all had similar shocked looks on their faces. After all, Elizabeth had only shown her dislike for the gentleman beside her. It was Mrs. Bennet who saw fit to speak first. "Why Lizzy, I had no idea! When did this occur?"

It seemed that Mrs. Bennet had no end to her questions, so Mr. Bennet simply said, "This is, of course, your choice, Lizzy, but I would like to speak to Mr. Darcy, alone, for a moment."

Darcy, who had been silent for much of this, gave Mr. Bennet and small nod and followed him out of the room. Lizzy watched him go with a smile, before turing back to her sisters and mother. All at once it seemed they had a million questions. She did not know where to start! But it was Mary who asked the easiest one. "Well Lizzy, do you love him?"

She just smiled, the kind of smile only one in love can give, and said, "Yes. Yes, I do. Very much."

This seemed to quiet the questions for a moment as her mother and sisters just stared at her. Elizabeth was sure they had many more questions, but she simply wanted to be with her Mr. Darcy. "I'm sorry mother, but it is important that I am with Mr. Darcy right now." With that she walked out of the room towards her father's office.

Authors Note: So…they actually did it! Now everyone knows….Ohh my goodness! I'm so sorry for the lack of updates! As I've told a few of you, my computer broken and I lost all of my work. I'm going to try and get the next chapter up soon! Thank you all for sticking with me. Please review and let me know what you think!

UPDATED A/N: I was rereading this chapter and found a million mistakes, and I couldn't let them sit any longer. For anyone who is still reading this (or happened upon this story for the first time), I have a question for you. I've been toying with the idea of reworking this story. I started it when I was a freshman in undergrad and now I'm a masters student, and I feel that this story is in need of some editing and rewriting. What do you guys think, should I finish the story out as it is now, or rework the story so far and then finish it? Thoughts?