What was Darcy thinking as he looked out the window at Netherfield at Elizabeth and that dog...
Elizabeth Bennet was a country girl.
Fitzwilliam Darcy tended to look down his nose at country folk. He found the country - and its inhabitants - to be "confined and unvarying."
How ironic it was that he found Elizabeth Bennet to be neither.
Confined? Most assuredly not. At the moment she was romping like a child with a very exuberant dalmatian, of whom...of which?...Darcy was inexplicably envious. Woe to anyone, thought Darcy, who might try to confine the spirited Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
Darcy, still damp from his bath, stood at the second-floor window at Netherfield Hall staring at Elizabeth and the damnably fortunate canine. There was a chill in the room, and he pulled his dressing gown more snugly around his body.
If I were that dog, he thought, I could knock Miss Lizzy to the ground and mount her with impunity.
That thought succeeded in driving away the chill in the air far more effectively than Darcy's tightly tied garment. So effectively, in fact, that he found himself becoming quite overheated.
He quickly obliterated the word mounting from his mind, shaking his still wet head as though to drive away the disturbing images the word evoked. His unruly curls fell over his forehead, and he pushed them back in irritation.
Don't look at her. Close your eyes.
He did so, but opened them within a matter of seconds upon hearing the dog's joyous barking.
Dear God, he was licking her face, and rather than being repelled, as would be most women of Darcy's acquaintance, Elizabeth was laughing and kissing him in return.
For just a moment, Darcy fancied himself licking Elizabeth's rosy lips, then her neck, then the swell of her...
He stopped short.
She likes that damn dog better than she likes me.
He put that thought aside for the moment and went back to contemplate the second of the two adjectives he had carelessly applied to the country.
The young lady's behaviour toward him varied from hour to hour, even minute to minute.
Darcy was an astute observer of people, but Elizabeth Bennet baffled him. She made no attempt to please him; in fact, there were times when she seemed to go out of her way to displease him, which may well have been what Darcy found most pleasing about her, so unaccustomed was he to women who made it clear they did not court his good opinion.
He shook his head again. Just two days in the same house with the woman and his thought process was becoming muddled indeed. Did I just arrive at the conclusion that she pleases me because she doesn't care if she pleases me?
There were times when she could be almost sweet to him. She had looked truly grateful when he had inquired after her sister's health; her smile had been genuine, had it not? Darcy himself smiled at the memory.
His smile gave way to a worried frown, however, when he recalled how just a few minutes later she had taken a mischievious pleasure in rebutting every one of his carefully thought out opinions.
He had tried mightily to obscure his irritation, but her teasing smile let him know in no uncertain terms that he had been unsuccessful. The woman clearly enjoyed baiting him.
And I must admit that I enjoy it as well .
He turned his eyes once again to the pleasing picture outside the window.
Elizabeth's hair had come loose from its pins, and Darcy was breathing so hard now that he could hear it. His heart was beating faster, and when the dog bolted into the park, Elizabeth close behind him, he resisted the impulse to go outside after her, even in his state of undress!
Was I ever that young? he thought wistfully as the two robust, beautiful animals moved out of his line of vision.
All too soon, his valet came into the room, offering the usual constricting clothing that would transform Darcy the man into Darcy the gentleman. Darcy waved him away, turning his back to put on his breeches unassisted. His arousal would have been all too evident had he not done so!
One by one he donned his garments: high boots, starched shirt, tightly tied cravat, fitted coat, forcing him back into reality, and the blood from his nether regions back to his head so he could think logically.
Most unsuitable young lady. Impertinent to the point of impudence. Inferiour connections .
By the time he went downstairs to dinner, Darcy's heart had slowed to normal. Elizabeth Bennet was at table, hair properly pinned up, the only evidence of her afternoon's exertions a slightly heightened complexion.
After dinner, they took their coffee in the drawing room. Elizabeth sat at the pianoforte and began to play. Darcy could not help staring at her. She looked at him, almost quizzically, unable to discern whether he looked at her with pleasure or distaste.
Good. I've made her blush, Darcy thought.
She stopped playing abruptly, a smile animating her beautiful face. Darcy was spellbound, until he realized she was looking past him.
She was looking at the dog, who had ambled in from the hall. He ran directly to Elizabeth, and jumped up, his paws on her knees. She patted his head and scratched behind his ears, as he panted with excitement.
Darcy, with an overwhelming sadness, forced himself to look away.
Two years later. Netherfield Hall. Christmas Day .
Jane Bingley, in an advanced stage of pregnancy, sat next to Elizabeth in the drawing room.
"It was so good of you and Mr. Darcy to come to Netherfield, Lizzy! I know how much you wanted to keep Christmas at Pemberley, but the doctor thought it inadvisable for me to travel."
Lizzy's own son, born 9 months and 6 days after her marriage, slept peacefully in his basket, his papa keeping an anxious watch over him.
Lizzy smiled at her husband. "You need not stare at him, Fitzwilliam! You might frighten him, as you did me in the early days of our acquaintance."
"I rather doubt you were frightened of me, Elizabeth. Even the formidable Lady Catherine failed to intimidate you."
After just one year of marriage, Fitzwilliam Darcy could give as good as he got.
Bingley came in, exuberant as ever, trailed by Elizabeth's dalmatian friend.
The dog sat himself between Darcy and Elizabeth, and Darcy reached down to pet the animal.
"You used to hate that dog, Darcy," Bingley said.
Darcy denied it, but Bingley insisted.
"I remember quite clearly! It was when Jane fell ill here at Netherfield. I recall you kicked the poor creature when he came in one evening..."
"I most certainly did not kick him! I nearly tripped on him, that was all."
"Well perhaps, but you were unreasonably irritated. Jaspar has apparently forgiven you though...look, his head is on your knee, and he is wagging his tail."
"Good dog," Darcy said awkwardly, looking the canine in the eye. He could swear the dog raised his eyebrows! Not that he truly had eyebrows...
That night, Darcy and Elizabeth readied themselves for bed. The nanny had taken little Fitzwilliam to the nursery after Elizabeth fed him, and Darcy took his wife into his arms. Her body still had the delightful voluptuousness of new motherhood, and Darcy put his lips to the hollow of her neck.
"Did you truly hate that dog, Fitzwilliam?"
"No, of course not, I..."
Elizabeth was stifling laughter, her eyes dancing.
"Well, no, I did not hate him...I...oh blast it, I was jealous of him."
"Jealous of a dog? Did Bingley enjoy his company more than yours?"
"No, no, not Bingley."
"I don't understand, Fitzwilliam," Elizabeth said, although perhaps she was beginning to.
"It was you," Darcy said sullenly.
"Yes. You were playing with him, and I was watching from the window."
"So...you played with him, but you would not play with me. At least not in the way I wished you would."
"I played with you, Fitzwilliam!"
"You toyed with me, Elizabeth. There is a difference!"
"Perhaps. But I will play with you now if you like."
"May I take the same liberties you allowed that dog?"
Elizabeth thought about it, her forehead creased.
"I am not sure I recall..."
"But I do, Lizzy," Darcy said meaningfully. "In detail."
"You must refresh my memory then," she said.
"Certainly," Darcy said, slipping her robe off her shoulders. It fell to the floor as he began to nip gently at her neck, then lowered his mouth to lick her swelling breasts.
"Fitzwilliam," she said, "the dog did not..."
"Artistic license," he said.
He pulled the pins from her hair, then led her to the bed.
She lay back, and held her arms out to him.
"No, Lizzy," he whispered. "Turn over. On all fours."
Elizabeth blushed from her chest to her hairline, but she complied, gasping as he entered her swiftly from behind.
"What man could resist you, Lizzy? Certainly not me, from the day I met you."
She merely sighed in response, her face in the pillow.
"I watched you that day. So beautiful, so natural. I wanted you so badly, but I foolishly denied myself. And now," he said, thrusting faster, "I cannot get enough of you. I will never get enough of you Lizzy, I love you so much..."
Elizabeth found this new mode of lovemaking unusually affecting. The weight of her husband upon her back, his hot breath at the back of her neck and the depth of penetration afforded by the novel position stimulated her so effectively that she reached the pinnacle of ecstasy more quickly than was her custom. Darcy slowed his pace to keep her at her peak, then quickened it as they tumbled over the edge together.
The smiling couple came down rather late for breakfast the next morning.
"You are looking wonderfully well this morning, Lizzy," Bingley said as they entered the room.
Elizabeth thanked him.
"Yes," Darcy said, as he buttered his toast. "Quite fetching."
He caught Elizabeth's eye and leaned close to her. "That was a pun, my dear."
Jane looked up in surprise as Elizabeth nearly spit out her coffee.
"Lizzy! Are you all right?"
Elizabeth nodded, unable to speak.
Bingley looked at Darcy suspiciously.
"Did I miss something?"
Darcy was all innocence.
"Not at all, Bingley."
Jaspar looked up, sniffing, from his position under the table. Darcy leaned down and gave him two very meaty pieces of bacon.
Pleasantly surprised at receiving such bounty from a most unexpected source, Jaspar gobbled them greedily.