A/N: Here it is at last. I've been working on this chapter for over a month and while I had gotten pieces of the chapter written, there were gaps between one part and the other which were necessary to the story. I finally worked out the problem I was having this morning. Thank goodness and this is what I've come up with. I think it's fun as well as emotionally charged. I hope you enjoy.
As Will lead Elizabeth into the auditorium, he looked down at Elizabeth and couldn't help the being proud that he was her date. She looked gorgeous in a royal blue silk dress with a fitted top and flared waist. She had worn her hair down and the dark silken curls bounced around her shoulders. The color of the dress suited her to perfection and Will tightened his arm around her waist in an unconsciously possessive manner.
Every eye in the place were on the couple as they entered the room and Will caught the transfer of money as wagers were won and lost.
The whole school had gone crazy with betting on every aspect of his relationship with Elizabeth.
He glanced down at Elizabeth who looked disgusted by the whole proceedings, "Doesn't anybody in our school have anything better to do than bet on the state of our affairs."
Will's eyes lit up at her choice of words, "I hadn't realized that we had started an 'affair'." He bent down and whispered in her ear, his voice low and seductive, "But I'm more than willing to take up a good cause."
"Darcy, that poor of a joke does even merit a response from me." Elizabeth's words belied her actions as a ghost of a smile flickered across her beautifully tempting mouth.
"In our relationship that would be a first," Will couldn't resist the wicked retort and grinned down at his date with a smile and a wink, "I would believe that I have never seen you at a loss for words."
Elizabeth's eyes narrowed and she tossed her hair back in defiance as she began to walk away.
Will caught up with her in a few steps and as he saw Charlie and Jane, he wrapped one arm around her waist and guided Elizabeth through the throngs of kids to greet his friend and her sister.
After they greeted the other couple and found seats at an unoccupied table, Will asked, "Ladies, would you like something to drink?"
"Yes, I would like a bottle of water." Elizabeth answered a little too politely for Will's taste as he yearned for the liveliness of her mind and the pert comebacks she always had in her ever-expanding verbal arsenal.
"I'd like water as well." Jane looked at Charlie.
"I'll help you, Will." Charlie jumped up to follow and as they walked toward the refreshment table, Charlie glanced back at Jane and gushed, "Jane is perfect, beautiful, kind and caring."
"Really," Will answered automatically.
"Yes," Charlie gushed, "In fact, I think she is the one. When we graduate I'm going to ask her to marry me."
Will realized with a start that he had been so wrapped up with his feelings for Elizabeth that he had forgotten about Charlie and Jane. He had been sure that Charlie would be on to his next girl before a few weeks had gone but the fact that his friend was talking about marriage disturbed Will. You've been thinking of marriage to Elizabeth so who are you to make judgments. A persistent voice inside him reminded him.
When Will brought Elizabeth her water, her manner was still annoyingly polite as she replied, "Thank you very much."
Will ground his teeth together at the coldness of her reply but forced himself to relax as he asked silkily, "Would you like to dance?"
"No thank you." Elizabeth's voice was icy as she turned her back on him to listen to Jane and Charlie.
Will would have been angry if he hadn't seen Billy Collins making a beeline toward Elizabeth from across the room and smiled in a mischievous manner.
"Elizabeth, I was hoping you would give me the honor of dancing with me." Billy picked up Elizabeth's hand and brought her fingers to his lips.
Will tried to stifle his laughter as he saw the disgusted look on Elizabeth's face but she smoothly refused, "I'm so sorry, Billy but I've already promised this dance to Will."
Will grinned with an evil smile, "But Elizabeth don't you remember, you just turned down my offer to dance."
Billy's eyes brightened with anticipation but Elizabeth refuted Will's statement as she glared at him, "Don't tease me Will, of course I agreed to dance with you, you're my boyfriend." Will was amused as he heard how she almost choked on the words as she said them.
Will's eyes sparkled with humor as he winked at Billy, "I guess you're out of luck as the lady has spoken."
Billy Collins' disappointment showed but he said formally, "I shall look forward to dancing with you later."
Elizabeth muttered under her breath, "I would rather be sold to the highest bidder at a white slave auction than dance with you, you mealy-mouthed midget with bad breath."
"I believe this is my dance." Will said as he took her hand and led Elizabeth onto the dance floor. With a sigh he pulled her into his arms. Will was still smiling as he glanced into her upturned face and saw the fire in her.
Elizabeth eyes flashed with unrepressed anger, "Will Darcy, how dare you throw me into Billy Collins grasp."
Will's face was overly innocent as he replied, "I don't know what you are talking about, you made it perfectly clear that you didn't want to dance with me and I was just respecting your wishes."
"You know very well the only reason I came with you was to avoid being alone with that toad." Elizabeth snapped furiously.
Will leaned over and whispered in her ear, "You should stop acting as though you are angry with me because Billy is watching with anticipation and is imagining that you will soon be storming from the dance floor."
Elizabeth followed Will's glance toward Billy Collins who was watching the two of them with undisguised hope altering his features.
"Damn." Elizabeth buried her face into Will's shoulder, "When is he going to take a hint."
"Where you are concerned," Will was trying to be supportive as he reveled in the feel of her pressed tightly against him, "I don't think Billy Collins will ever give up." Under his breath Will said quietly, "Not that I blame him."
"What?" Elizabeth asked.
"All the blame is on him," Will improvised, "because you've done everything you can to discourage him."
Elizabeth giggled, "Yes, I've done everything but kick him in the crystal balls to get my point across."
Will laughed and Elizabeth's face bloomed pink with embarrassment as Will whistled, "I'll have to remember to try and stay on your good side."
"That is not going to be easy for you." Elizabeth quipped as she gave in to her normal good-natured humor.
He breathed a sigh of relief and agreed, "You can say that again."
Elizabeth nestled her face against Will's shoulder and he repositioned his hands so that they rested on the top of her rear end as they moved in time to the music with their bodies pressed solidly against each other.
Elizabeth looked up at Will, "Is Billy still looking at us?"
Will glanced over her shoulder and said, "Yes, the little perv hasn't taken his eyes off us." He didn't really see Billy Collins but qualified to himself; it was just a little white lie.
Will couldn't resist the smile on her lips and lowered his head to kiss Elizabeth. He captured her lips under his with a fiercely possessive kiss. He coaxed her lips open with his persuasively tender kiss and he sighed as they explored the depths of each other's mouths.
His hands dropped down to cup her bottom as he pulled her against him. Will moved against her sensually until the noise of the crowd finally penetrated his consciousness with their wolf-whistles and cat-calls.
Elizabeth stepped back and presented a mocking curtsy while Will followed suit with his own bow.
Will's hand enveloped Elizabeth's in his before she could make her escape and led her into the next dance with a fast paced a song. Together their moves seemed to be synchronized with each other as they enjoyed every moment of their time together.
At the end of the dance, Will couldn't resist as he wrapped her arm around her waist, "If I didn't know better I would say that we made for each other."
"Keep wishing, Darcy," Elizabeth shot back, "Maybe one day you will convince yourself."
"Oh I don't need to convince myself." Will countered with an eyebrow raise, "But maybe one day I can convince you."
"Dream on, Darcy." She laughed, "Maybe one day you'll be a real boy."
Will loved her teasing banter as he pulled her back onto the dance floor with him.
They danced until they were both out of breath and Will had been keeping her entertained with tails of his family. When they got back to the table both were overheated and laughing, "I can't believe you said that." Elizabeth sputtered after Will whispered in her ear, "I can't believe you said that," She shook her finger at him, "That was mean and cruel."
"It is no such thing," Will smiled, "I assure you that was a perfect imitation of my cousin Anne."
Caroline Bingley stopped by the table with a fake smile plastered to her overly painted lips as she turned to Elizabeth, "What a shame that Wickham couldn't be here tonight, I heard that he is a very good dancer."
Will could have killed her where she stood as he saw the anger settle back over Elizabeth features. He took Elizabeth's hand and rushed her away from Caroline before she could make any more acid little comments. The dance floor was crowded and warm but Will pulled Elizabeth to him for a slow dance.
He felt the rigidity of her body and tried in vain to bring about her good humor again. After a tense silence, Will finally said, "Elizabeth can't we put all of this behind us?"
"Darcy," Elizabeth pierced his heart as she threw daggers from her eyes, "You got George Wickham thrown out of school. How am I supposed to put that behind me?" He felt her eyes searching his face for answers; "Are you so jealous of George that you had to make up a story to get him kicked out?"
"Me, jealous of George Wickham," Will scoffed derisively, "That's a new one." Sarcasm dripped from his mouth in contempt, "He has been jealous of me all of his life and he spends all of his time thinking up ways to take what is mine."
"Is that what I am… yours." Elizabeth's anger was seething below the surface, "There is nothing that I want less than to be yours."
Desperate to stop the fight, Will thought quickly, "You don't want to make Billy think we're fighting do you."
"Damn," Elizabeth swore, "When is he ever going to back off and leave me alone?"
Will didn't really see Billy but he was sure the other boy was out there lurking.
"If he wants to keep watching us," Will suggested, "Then we should give him a really good show."
"What are you talking about…"
The rest of her sentence was cut off as Will captured her lips and lifted her off the ground. She wound her legs around his waist as he deepened the kiss with a hunger that left them gasping for more. Elizabeth arms wrapped tighter around him as she pressed herself into his body. His arousal became apparent as she moved against him with a passionate desire.
Will lifted his head and he dragged air into his lungs as he remembered there were a room full of people surrounding them, "My God, Elizabeth, let's get out of here there's way too many people here." His voice was husky, "Let's go somewhere private."
Elizabeth followed his gaze as he indicated the room, "Will, I thought you said Billy was watching us."
"I'm sure he's here somewhere." Will said but knew the lie wasn't very convincing.
Elizabeth's fury radiated from her in waves as she stalked back to the table and asked Jane, "Have you seen Billy Collins recently?"
"I don't know why you're asking about him," Jane replied, "But his mother picked him up about a half hour ago."
Elizabeth turned furiously on Will, "You lying son of a bitch, what do you have to say for yourself?"
When he didn't answer, she spun on her heels, "I'm leaving; I can't stand the sight of you anymore."
Will's voice was pained as he reached out a hand to stop her, "I just didn't want to fight with you anymore tonight, especially about Wickham."
"Well, I'm giving you your wish." Elizabeth raged, "You won't have to fight with me as I'm going to find a ride with someone else."
"Elizabeth, don't go." Will pleaded, "Let me take you home."
"I don't think so." Elizabeth disappeared in the crowd and as Will tried to catch up with her, Caroline was blocking his path.
"I'm so glad that I found you." Caroline's voice grated on his nerves, "I just found out something very important."
"Caroline," Will tried to moved past her, "I don't have time for this right now."
"Not even if I just overheard Jane Bennet in the bathroom talking to some of her friends and said that if Charlie didn't propose soon that she was going to have to trap him by getting pregnant."
"What." Will roared his annoyance, "We can't let that happen."
"I know." Caroline said slyly, "I have a plan."
"Do whatever you want." Will murmured quickly, "Right now I have to find Elizabeth."
"I just saw her get in a car with some other kids and leave."
"Damn." Will shoved his way the crowd as fast as he could.
Elizabeth rang the bell at the Fitzwilliam house; she needed desperately to talk to Georgie but it was Richard who answered the door.
"Elizabeth, I thought you were at the dance with Will." Richard face gave away his confusion at seeing her there.
"We had a fight and I left him at the dance." Elizabeth admitted sheepishly, "I needed someone to talk to and I'm hoping that Georgie is at home."
A flash of sympathy crossed Richard's face, "Our aunt insisted that Georgie visit her for the weekend so she's not here."
Elizabeth's shoulders slumped as she turned to leave, "Oh okay."
"Elizabeth if you need to someone to talk to, I'm here for you." Richard's eyes showed his compassion, "I know I'm not Georgie or a girl but I will do my best." His voice held humor but he indicated for her to come inside and she complied.
He led her to the living room where they sat on the sofa before Richard asked kindly, "So what is troubling you?"
"Will." Elizabeth answered slowly.
Richard laughed lightly, "That does not surprise me but what is it specifically that's troubling you?"
"I can't figure out how I can have such a strong physical reaction to him when I don't trust him or even like him much."
Richard tilted his head sideways as he rolled his eyes, "Well we can't exactly pick who we're attracted to. Life just doesn't work that way." As he watched Elizabeth chew on her bottom lip, he couldn't contain his curiosity anymore, "Can I ask what Will has done to cause this kind of animosity in you?"
"Well from what I have heard from people he is not a nice guy and that he takes every opportunity to take advantage of the less fortunate."
"Well have you ever thought that your source was telling you what you wanted to hear?" Richard said knowing exactly who Elizabeth was talking about.
"I trust my instincts about the people I have met."
"Elizabeth, just try to consider for a moment that you might be wrong." Richard scooted toward her, "Tell me what Will has done to you that was so wrong?"
"You know exactly what he did." Elizabeth fumed, "Without even giving me a chance he was judgmental and cruel when Charlie asked him to go on a blind date with me. How could he treat me so deplorably when he didn't even know me?"
"You've just answered your own question." Richard said, "He didn't know you so he wasn't rejecting you." Richard looked at Elizabeth with a smug expression, "You have to understand Darcy a little better to understand his reaction that day."
"I don't want to get to know Darcy better." Elizabeth insisted, "I already know that he is a proud, egotistical and arrogant. I don't need to know anything more than that."
Richard tilted his head and said in a calm voice, "You are blinded by your prejudice and have been influenced by other people to see what you want to see." He grinned as he tried to explain, "You have to understand how many blind dates Will has been on because scheming matchmaking-mama's have pushed their daughter's at him and the family. Our Aunt insisted that he accept all invitations from the wealthy and affluent families and he hated every moment of it." Richard leveled an appraising gaze at Elizabeth, "Is it any wonder that he didn't want to be set up on a blind date with anyone, even someone as devastatingly attractive as you." His eyes twinkled, "But you haven't told me what the latest offence is that can be laid at my cousin's feet?"
"He lied to me about Billy Collins, the big jerk." She eyes on blazing, "As always, he took total advantage of the situation and gave no consideration for anyone else's feelings." Elizabeth saw the look on Rick's face and got angrily to her feet, "I can't talk to you about this, damn I wish Georgie were here, she would know what to say." Angry tears flooded Elizabeth's eyes and she fought a losing battle to contain the deluge as the tears spilled down her cheeks.
Richard stood and in a comforting gesture pulled Elizabeth into a hug and patted her on the back. He wiped the tears from her eyes before an explosive expletive was uttered behind them.
"What the hell is going on here?" Will had never been as angry in his life when he saw his cousin holding Elizabeth, his Elizabeth in his arms.
"Will," Richard tried to explain as he released Elizabeth, "We were just talking."
Will's anger bubbled to the surface, "I wouldn't call what you were doing talking but I just don't want to hear any excuses, Richard," His eyes bore into Richard, "I want you to leave us alone so I can talk to my girlfriend."
Will slid an arm around Elizabeth in a fiercely possessive gesture and Elizabeth stiffened under his touch.
Richard held his arms up in defeat and retreated from the room.
As soon as Richard had left the room, Elizabeth extricated herself from Will's arm.
Her anger matched his as the two glared at each other, "How dare you come in here and order me around as if you have a right to, Will Darcy."
A possessive growl erupted from Will's lips as he leaned toward her, "You're mine and I will not allow you to see any other man."
"I don't belong to anyone and I'll see anybody I want." Elizabeth protested as her strong independence urged her to speak, "But I never want to see you again."
Will's fury overwhelmed him as the words he never wanted to hear came from her. He forcefully pulled her into his arms and leaned down as he claimed her lips. His lips were hard and demanding as he forced a response from her.
Will rejoiced when Elizabeth wound her arms around his neck and kissed him back more passionately than she had ever kissed him before.
"Elizabeth." Will breathed deeply, his voice raw with a desperate need.
When Will's hold on Elizabeth had relaxed, she pushed him back with all of her strength, "Goodbye, Will Darcy."
Will watched helplessly as Elizabeth stormed from the house and slammed the front door so hard that it rattled the walls.
When he regained his composure, Will raced after Elizabeth and found her walking along the road to her home. He quickly caught up with her and took her hand to lead her towards his car, "I'll drive you home."
"I'm not going anywhere with you." Elizabeth protested.
Will was firm, "I took you to the dance and you're parents will expect me to take you home."
Elizabeth's eyes shot fire but she finally relented, "Fine." But before she got in the car she said, "By the way, I just think you should know that Richard was just trying to convince me that you weren't such a bad guy." She smiled coldly, "But I guess the jokes on him because you came in and proved that I was right about you all of the time."
Will and Elizabeth were too angry to talk on the short drive to her home and as soon as he stopped she jumped out of the car and ran to the door without a backward glance.
As he watched her slam the door behind her, Will peeled out from the driveway with frustration. He drove for hours but that didn't stop the anger he felt.
Richard woke him up the next day by pounding on the door.
Will opened the door, his eyes weary and drawn, "Aunt Catherine is insisting the we spend Thanksgiving week with her."
"We still a few more days of school." Will countered.
"She has spoken to the school and we are going to be released for the week."
"Great just what I wanted," Will muttered sarcastically, "A week with Aunt Catherine."
"None of us enjoy it but we have to go otherwise we will find her on our doorstep demanding satisfaction." Richard's laugh was bitter.
"Richard I'm sorry about last night."
"I can understand," Richard said amiably, "you must have thought the worst when you saw us together."
"You don't even know half of it." Will looked sheepish as he told him what had happened the night before.
"Will, why don't you just tell Elizabeth the truth?" Richard asked with a shake of his head.
"I've promised Georgie that I wouldn't." Will sighed, "Besides at this point it's also the principle of the thing because what kind of relationship can I have with Elizabeth if she doesn't believe me or trust me." Will shrugged, "I guess there's no good answer."
"I have to tell you that I think you are going about this all wrong." Richard said, "But it's your life."
"Without Elizabeth what kind of life can I have?" Will said as his shoulders slumped in dispair.
Richard had to get Will's mind off Elizabeth and thought of a way to do just that, "Will, I have an idea," He mused, "Why don't we invite the Bingley's down to Aunt Catherine's for the holiday."
Will looked relieved, "That's a great idea and it will get Bingley away from Jane Bennet."
Richard looked quizzically at his cousin and so Will explained what Caroline had overheard the night before about Jane, "If we can just get him away from her influence for a while, I'm sure we can get him to see reason."
The arrangements were made quickly and soon everything was settled but Will couldn't shake the feeling of foreboding that crept insidiously through him and tried to shake off the feeling. My being away for a week will give Elizabeth time to get over her anger and begin to miss me, I hope.