Love Letters to Mr Darcy

Chapter 8: Confrontation

Rain poured down on the shades of Pemberley, the gardens becoming drenched as the last few gardeners were called inside. Much of the staff was kept busy as Mrs Reynolds knew what trouble might be had, should their hands be idle. In the East Wing – the one normally reserved for the most welcome of guests – a young man sat in boredom, staring at a great pile of letters (bills, requests for payment, IOU's) that lay in a scattered heap on the Persian carpet. Although he was a handsome young man, the gleam of self-satisfaction, ambition and cunning that lay in his eyes was most unbecoming, along with the ragged blue coat flung carelessly on the settee.

Gathering the letters in a great bundle, he proceeded to wander through the halls of Pemberley into a small suite of rooms in the family wing, which were oddly empty of any servants. Looking about, he spied an auspicious looking dressing table and hurriedly placed the letters in its drawers. Satisfied that he had successfully disposed of any discriminating material, he crept back to the East Wing and awaited the return of some worthy companion.

A horse and rider raced through the storm towards the gates of Pemberley, slipping through them, they soon came to see windows shining in the distance. Soon enough, they reached their destination and a bedraggled servant was once again sent out to usher the gentleman into the warmth of the hall and lead the horse to the stables, where it might be cared for by the hostlers.

Mrs Reynolds hurried to the doors to fine a thoroughly soaked Mr Darcy being helped out of his coast by a rather timid maid. Having reassured herself that it was indeed him, she led him – deflecting his enquiries – to his normal chambers in a great procession as each servant greeting him warmly, watching them until they were out of sight before returning to their work.

Having sent or a bath, Mrs Reynolds persuaded Mr Darcy to wait as she bustled off happily to fetch his supper herself. Smiling at her happiness, he glanced about and – seeing no sign of Elizabeth – frowned and let himself through an adjoining door to her private chambers. He was startled from his reverie upon finding that room also empty but a low, self important voice speaking from behind,

"Why, Fitzwilliam, I did not expect to see you here so soon?"

Darcy looked at him in cold fury.

"Where is Elizabeth?"

"My dear cousin, I-"

"Where is she!?!" Mr Darcy's desperation showed through his voice and he roughly strode forward, but Wickham darted out of the way, laughing at his aggravation.

"With Jane, of course! What did you suspect you old buffoon! That she'd just wait here like a good little wife and have no fun?"

Mr Darcy advanced another step.

"If you so much as laid a finger on her, Wickham…"

Wickham smiled and his eyes twinkled in the light of the few candles.

"Call me George," he held up a finger for silence as Darcy began to protest. "Now cousin, we have known each other long enough to call the other by his Christian name. And by what chance will you finally ask me of my purpose here in your lovely home which you expressly forbid me to enter even in the direst of emergencies?"

Darcy remained silent, as if in defiance of that which his cousin spoke.

"Well, if you will not ask, I will still tell. You must believe, my dear wife and I were so kindly staying with the Bingley's when we were let know that Jane was asking for Lizzy – may I call her that? But I must for we are so close – so I granted your friend Bingley (whom, I might add, now owes me some great favour) the favour of riding through that same storm that you yourself just exited, to Pemberley and informing dear Lizzy of the situation. And as she was so thankful in the complete and utter lack of a man in her house, she me leave to stay and do as I please."

"What persuaded you to stay?" Darcy asked through gritted teeth.

Wickham showed a charming smile.

"The little maids are pretty and – come to think of it – I have always wished to see what a truly angry Fitzwilliam Darcy actually looked like."

He surveyed Darcy slowly from the head to toe to clenched fist.

"And I must confess I really have no idea why Lizzy ever married you in such a disagreeable state. But, alas, that really is none of my business."

Wickham's smile became less charming and more deliberately irritating. The tow men spend the next few moments in silence before Wickham strode cockily to the open door through which he had come and gave one last infuriating wave to his cousin before sweeping off to some unknown place.

Mrs Reynolds watched the gentleman ride towards the distant gates of Pemberley and sighed in exasperation. What ever would dear Lizzy think of what had taken place?

A/N: Thankyou everyone for being so patient but my teachers have decided that out return to school is going to be plagued with major assessments. I'll try and write another chapter at the end of another test, just like I wrote this one in Latin (yes, I take Latin!!!) but that might not be for a while. A heads up, I'm reading Sense and Sensibility at the moment and really recommend it , and even going to a study day this weekend on it. But enough of me. Please review and show me what you think.