There are many ways that you can learn something about a person without actually meeting them. Visiting their house is one of the key ways to do this. The books they own, the pictures and art that they have up, how the house is decorated.
Even the tiny details give something away. Like the films that they own.
The Darcy's films were organised within an inch of their plastic lives. Each organised section of the giant book case that was stretched across one wall contained a genre of films. Within that genre each film was organised alphabetically with one notable exception.
Next to the Classical film section there was a slight gap where a model of a carving of a face had been placed and then there was another section.
These were not like the other films in that they were all in white plastic boxes with small neatly printed labels on them.
The first read 'Proposal', the next 'Our engagement part', 'Our Wedding', 'Bits and Bobs', another two with dates written on and the last ones simply read 'Anna' and then 'James.'
Ever since a rather desperate Lizzie had given Will a camcorder as a birthday present it had become a permanent attachment to his hand at every event whether it was major or minor.
He'd wanted to catch every moment until Lizzie had pointed out to him that if his face was always stuck behind lenses then he wouldn't truly live each moment. In fact the camera had almost received more threats than Will had and had always been a present she had regretted giving.
The first threat was when eight songs into their engagement party, Lizzie still hadn't had a dance and found her husband to be interviewing people about news events that had happened that day she had grabbed the camera from him and held it precariously out the window unless he joined her on the dance floor.
He had grumbled and said wouldn't she want to have something to watch when they were eighty and she had responded that she would only watch it if it was worth watching and having Richard Fitzwilliam's thoughts on the fact that there had been a parliamentary debate was not what she called worthwhile. Especially as neither of them knew or cared about the debate.
"But it'll be interesting to see what other world events happened on this day."
"No it won't. But it will be fun for you to dance with me."
Lizzie leaned against his chest as they danced. She knew why he had been so grumpy recently. He had never wanted this engagement party on this date but had instead wanted a wedding.
It had been one of the worst fights they'd had when she'd insisted that it was all too soon to get married and that she wanted them to have a relatively long engagement and the date that he had so carefully chosen as being the perfect time of the weather and between their birthdays and other celebrations would do for two years time.
He had said that he didn't see the point in that.
She had responded in a particularly bad mood that she had known he would say that.
"Well if you know me so well then why would you think that I would be ok with this?"
"Can't you just see that I want to wait for awhile? I don't want to rush into anything."
"You don't want to rush into marriage, our marriage?"
There was a long, hard pause whilst he looked at her. "Is this because you're not sure?"
"No," she's insisted but neither of them was convinced.
"Fine you know what, let's not do this now. I want you and I've always known that I've wanted you in my life forever so why don't you just give me a call when you're ready."
He'd stormed out and she had sat in the middle of her kitchen and cried.
It had been a week before the engagement party when Jane had popped round to show of the dress she had just purchased for the event to find her sister sitting in her own dress staring at the diamond ring in her hand.
Jane in an usual moment of forcefulness had kicked her out and told her to go talk to the 'silly boy who she was obviously madly in love with'.
Without changing out of her dress Lizzie had driven over and hammered down his door.
An extremely grumpy Will Darcy who was still clad in his pyjama bottoms answered the door.
"I'm scared." She had barely given him time to open the door the whole way. "I was scared when I said yes and at the time I thought it was the cancer I was afraid of. And then I never admitted it to myself but when you said the other day about dates and my mum mentioned dresses it all became so real."
She stepped in further into the apartment.
"I'm scared because I don't know if I'll be a good wife and then I might become a mother and that still terrifies me in the way that it did when I was fifteen. And I'm still not a year out of cancer and if something happens to me I don't know what to do because I really don't want to fight it again and all I do know is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you but I don't want anything to change and I know that things have to."
He went towards her and cupped her face in his hands. "I'm so glad that you explained everything."
Pretty soon neither of them were wearing either of their strange midday outfits.
He still wasn't fabulously happy at not getting his own way on the wedding a she was rather used to it and therefore prone to sulking and the camera caught that look at the engagement party.
The camera had also caught this same expression on his face eighteen months later at his own wedding. It had been a compromise between the two of them, Will couldn't arrange everything and Lizzie would get over her fears to get married sooner. Eventually they had both agreed on the date and arrangements and because of that it was perfect.
They'd had an official photographer and film made but had also encouraged friends and family to take their own photos and film clips. Charlie had hijacked their own camcorder after Lizzie again threatened the camera again stating that if every camera added ten pounds then she certainly wasn't having more than one on her.
"So brother in law, what's up?" Will was sitting in the corner with a not exactly joyful expression on his face considering that this was the happiest day of his life.
Charlie and the camera turned.
"Yeah she's looks very beautiful."
"She looks better than that."
"Well what's wrong then?" Charlie and Will turned back to each other.
"Look at her, she's always surrounded by people. I can't seem to get a minute alone with her and it's supposed to be our wedding day."
"Aww, is little Willy learning have to share." A voice, a female voice, joined them. "Well he could always ask me to dance."
"I think I will Mrs Darcy." He grabbed her hand and lead her onto the floor. "And later tonight I'll show you how wrong you are about 'little Willy'."
Will had also wanted to film, a week after they had arrived back from their honeymoon, the moving in to their new townhouse in London.
This had not worked well for Elizabeth as he had also insisted on carrying her over the threshold and it was either the camera or her that he was going to drop.
Needless to say in her eyes, she felt that he had made the wrong decision in choosing the camera.
Ultimately it hadn't worked out worse for him as this had started another conversation about what colour certain rooms would be painted and whether they would do it themselves or get people in.
Lizzie had won with warm colours painted by them as opposed to magnolia painted by hired decorators but this Will would claim many years later was only because he felt so guilty about the bruise on her hip from the doorframe.
Yes, thought Will as his eyes ran over the collection of their home videos most of them seemed to involve him losing an argument in some way or being hurt including the video of Anna being born where Lizzie had squeezed his hand so hard she had released blood. Or two years later, the video of James being born where Lizzie had threatened multiple times to divorce/murder him.
But nothing was going to go wrong today. He had already labelled the box and charged the camera, ready for action.
"You know." Lizzie came downstairs holding James. "If you carry on filming everything this way we're going to run out of space soon."
"We could always move."
"We're so not discussing this right now." Lizzie balanced James to her other hip. "I've got to make sure Anna's ready."
"We'd have plenty of room at Pemberley. And you always said that you wanted to raise the children in the countryside." He shrugged on his jacket.
"Anna's just started primary school here and I don't want you living in London five days a week so you can work. It's bad enough when you have go to New York."
"Fine, fine. Shall I go and see if Anna's ready?"
"Please." She turned away from her husband and towards her son, "We're going to see your sister be a tulip, won't that be fun Jamesy?"
Still smiling Will entered his daughter's bedroom heart melting slightly at the sight of his four year old who looked so like her mother in her little pink tutu ready to go off and dance her heart out in the chorus of the tulips. "Ready bean sprout?"
"Daddy," she turned to him in that terribly serious way that only a four year old can pull off, "I'm not a bean sprout, I'm a tulip."
"I know that but I've called you bean sprout since you were this big," he held his thumb and finger barely an inch apart. He wasn't sure on the details but maybe wearing the tutu for the car journey wasn't the best idea. "Are you sure you're supposed to be wearing your outfit already?"
"Yes." And she said this with such authority that he automatically believed her.
At that moment Lizzie, still balancing two year old James on her hip came up, "Anna Matilda Darcy what are you doing in your costume? Mrs Conway told you that you were getting changed there. C'mon into the clothes I put out for you."
Will gave a smile of sympathy as his daughter began to change he followed his wife, (was it weird that after all this time he still got a thrill from thinking that?), down the stairs.
Ten minutes later Anna flounced down the stairs still clutching onto her tutu.
"Okay are we ready to go?" Lizzie grabbed the keys and then picked up James who she had put on the floor whilst waiting for his sister, up.
"Yep." And Will swung his daughter high in the air and onto his shoulders.
"Daddy," she squealed in glee and tugged at his hair.
"And Uncle Chris is meeting us there?" Anna asked bouncing above them all alarmingly close to the ceiling.
"Yes Uncle Chris is going to record it so Grandma and Grandad can watch you perform as can Auntie Gee."
She was very excited and Lizzie who hadn't hated performing but had never looked for it and knew that her husband broke out in a cold sweat at the merest idea of doing a presentation wondered where this enthusiasm came from.
The performance was good, luckily for the parents it wasn't just the beginners' dance class but also included some of the older children who had more expertise and quite a high skill level. Unfortunately though as with all sorts of amateur performing when you don't know those that are on stage it can quickly become dull.
"So I was thinking," Lizzie whispered to her husband. "Maybe we should move to Pemberley."
"What?" he turned to her and as he had spoken far louder than he had intended received an angry glare from the mother in front of him.
"Well it's such a beautiful house and it's where you grew up. I mean I'd always wished I'd had that, a permanent base. And I suppose you're right."
"It would be much nicer to raise them in the countryside and its pointless leaving a house like that empty and you know that I work better there."
Ever since her first visit there Lizzie had always found that the grand house had inspired her and a year into their marriage her first historical novel had been published to which a sequel had been recently written.
"Are you sure?" Will was very excited about this as this had always been an issue for them. Yes, it was true that they both wanted to live in Pemberley but it was a long way from London and Will needed to be there so much for work and Lizzie didn't want to be alone that they had both quickly realised that there was no point travelling back and forth all the time.
"I think there are a lot of details that need to be worked out."
"I've been thinking that maybe I should hire someone to help run the company, I mean I know that Richard wants a larger role and Georgiana might want to get involved. I wouldn't necessarily have to be in London that much, I could work from home a lot." He was in the giddy state that their daughter had been in forty minutes earlier.
She smiled at her husband's enthusiasm. "Yes, I know you're excited but we still need to think it through."
"Ok, ok. What would we do to the house, sell or keep?" They'd kept Will's apartment but sold Lizzie's when they'd moved in to the house as it made good financial sense.
"I thought," she glanced over to the back of the room where Chris was standing so that he could film it properly, having volunteered to do so after serious coercion from Lizzie so that Will would actually sit watching the show instead of fiddling with the zoom. "That we could give it to Chris and Georgiana as a wedding present."
Will smiled at her, "Yes, I suppose that would be fitting."
"Well we need to make arrangements because we both will still need to travel up here and I want Anna and James to be able to see their cousins often, that was something that I never got to do and I've always liked the close relationship you and Richard have."
"That's because Richard always flirts with you. Honestly the way you talk you make it sound like Derbyshire is in a different country! Charlie and Jane will be able to visit all the time with all the little Binglettes."
"It's just that Lauren and Anna are close and it would be nice for James to have an older brother influence in Luke." It seemed that Jane and Charlie had carried on the Bingley tradition with naming their children by naming them by one letter especially with the new baby on the way that Jane had confided in her sister, they were planning to name Louise.
"Yes, yes but we could always have another baby for James to be a big brother too."
"Nuh nuh, we'll have to make a decision, either I'm getting pregnant or we're moving. There is no way I can do both at the same time."
"Well I know that there's one option that we can practice for." He whispered suggestively in her ear.
"Shush you, Anna's about to come on."
And indeed the chorus of tulips was making their way across the stage. Will beamed with pride at the sight of his daughter spinning her way across the stage. He adjusted the weight of James who was sitting on his lap and reached to his side and grabbed Lizzie's hand, squeezing gently.
It didn't matter if they didn't have another child or didn't move, things were pretty damn perfect as they were.
This really isn't the epilogue I had planned and isn't necessarily in typical epilogue fashion but I rewrote it 3 times and this is what stuck. I think I've found that most of the story seems to have been like that.
In other news Belonging should be coming out relatively soon. I say that now but I have a feeling that my school is trying to kill me with the amount of work set.
But now's not the time for that. I just wanted to say that you are all amazing and wonderful and hundreds of other adjectives and I had a lot so much fun writing this and receiving your reviews.
And yes, it's corny but I'm very tempted to write these words: The End.