So this chapter, I think, will end the story. ...WAAAH I WANT TO CRYYYY D:
Disclaimer: the person who owns this story is dead, so I can't buy the rights from her no matter how much I want to.
As soon as she could the next morning, Elizabeth got outside. In her usual coat and snow boots, she walked through the lazily-drifting snowfall to the Coffee Nook, and just sat at a table. Only one person was on duty. Elizabeth was glad that it was someone she didn't know. For a long time, she didn't move—just stared straight ahead, thinking.
It was too late to start over with Will, wasn't it?
And suddenly she felt like crying.
Overhead, the song playing on the radio ended, and the hostess' voice crackled. "And it looks like we have someone calling in with a dedication! Hello?"
There was a pause. Then: "Yes."
"Is there something you'd like me to play? Is it for anyone in particular?"
"Yes. Um. I feel like I've gone wrong with...with a young woman I really like. Some...er, complicated things sprang up around us, and there were a whole bunch of misunderstandings, and...um. I just feel like there were a lot of things I could have done to prevent the mess that she and I are in right now."
"Care to share?"
"It's...it's a long story."
"All right. Would you at least give me your name?"
"And her name?"
Elizabeth stared at the speaker in the ceiling. The sound of Will Darcy's voice pronouncing her nickname...was she hearing correctly?
"All right Will, do you have any song in mind?"
"Um...actually, yes. 'Hallelujah,' by Jeff Buckley?"
"Okie-dokie. Wow, no one's requested that song for awhile. I'll play it for you, Will. And good luck with whatever sort of trouble you're in with Lizzy."
As the lone guitar quietly plucked its way into the room, Elizabeth looked around. No one else seemed to realize what was happening, so she continued listening to the radio intently. Was it really—? Could it be—?
Well I heard there was a secret chord
that David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Elizabeth let the words wash over her face like rain, and wished with all her being that it was really Fitzwilliam Darcy dedicating the song to Elizabeth Bennet.
Baby I've been here before
I've seen this room and I've walked this floor,
I used to live alone before I knew you
And I've seen your flag on the marble arch
and love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
And if it was from him—from Will—then what did it mean? What was he saying? The words were going by too fast for her to stop and wring each line dry for analysis, for meaning, for symbolism. So she gave up trying and just let the music wash over her. It was oddly easy to just give in, to stop resisting, to follow the sway and the flow.
Someone was walking by the window—she could see at the corner of her eye. The person seemed to stop, seemed to just stand there beside her, on the other side of the glass. She looked.
Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
And she tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
The tears came quickly, silently. She didn't try to stop them.
As the song ended, Elizabeth rose slowly from her seat and walked through the door to where he was. He stood quietly, watching her come closer and closer.
"You don't look so well," he said, breaking the thick silence.
She laughed through her tears. "I didn't sleep much last night."
"Neither did I."
Elizabeth looked up into his electric blue eyes with such ease that it surprised her. He returned her gaze with an equal lack of difficulty.
"My aunt visited you last night?" He asked.
"Yes." And Elizabeth looked away.
"How can I pay you back for the way she treated you?" He murmured.
Elizabeth laughed again, nervously, still staring at the snow-slathered sidewalk. Her tears were drying in the cold air. "It should be me paying you back. After what you've done for Lydia, and I'm guessing for Jane as well..." She shook her head, not knowing how to express what she was feeling.
"Is everything all right at home now?"
Elizabeth glanced up at him. "Yes, really."
"How are you?"
"I'm..." Elizabeth looked off to the side for a long moment. "I think I'm okay. I'm better, anyway."
"Yes." A sob was welling up in her throat, a sob that—for the first time—she couldn't explain. She made the mistake of glancing up at Will, who was watching her with so much concern that it ripped open the doors of her heart. She buried her face into her cold hands and sobbed like a relieved child.
"I'm sorry," she managed through rebellious breaths. "I just—need a moment—" But he took a step forward to offer her his shoulder. Without looking at his face, she leaned forward and sobbed into his expensive coat.
"I don't understand why I needed to cry," she said as soon as she could speak without choking. "I just..."
"It's all right," he reassured her, as if afraid that she would run away if he didn't reassure her. "I understand."
Elizabeth was relieved to see that she hadn't left snot clinging to Will's shoulder. She rubbed at her eyes with the back of her hand, and felt the indescribable urge to laugh.
"I'm sorry," she repeated. "I think...I'm really better now."
"That's good. Really."
Will waited until Elizabeth was done drying her tears before asking her, "Did you mean what you told my aunt?"
"You told her that you would refuse if I asked to date you."
"What?" Elizabeth said. She put a hand on her forehead and laughed. "Oh," she said. Will frowned, waiting for her to answer.
"She must have lied to you," Elizabeth said with a sigh. "I said I would make no promise of the kind. She also asked me whether you already asked me to date you, you know."
"Wait." Will looked surprised. "She asked if I already asked you?"
"Yes. She didn't tell you?"
"No, or I missed it."
"What, should I have told her the truth?" Elizabeth teased.
"Actually, I don't care that much at this point," Will said, all seriousness.
"And why not?"
"Because after finding out how you treated her and got away alive, I've lost quite a bit of my former respect for my aunt."
They fell into an easy sort of silence, as Elizabeth worked to recompose her face.
"Don't feel like you owe it to me," Will said presently. "I'm not trying to sound proud or anything, but just because I...er, did the things I did...doesn't mean you have to date me. If your feelings toward me haven't changed, I'll leave you alone from now on. I won't bother you ever again. But know..."
Will paused for a moment, as if wondering if he should continue.
"Know," he said, "that I did everything for you. All of it—all of it was with you in mind. And even if you do refuse me this second time, know that my feelings toward you won't ever change. If you need anything—just—" He cut off there, as if not wanting to go into the possible refusal.
Elizabeth watched him as he spoke. She watched his brown curls, dotted with snowflakes, as they were mussed by the occasional breeze, and his weary, prematurely-wizened blue eyes, and his mouth, wondering if he was really asking her again, wondering how it was possible that he didn't hate her after all she'd wrongly assumed.
"You picked the right song to play for me," Elizabeth said, smiling and patting his cheek. He watched her, slightly surprised and still unsure.
She laughed at his boy-like confusion, hugging his arm to her. "I'm saying yes, in a very indirect way."
His confusion dissolved slowly into a rare smile. "That was indirect indeed."
"Sorry. I couldn't think of a colorful way to say 'yes'."
"I forgive you. Please loosen up on my arm; I think you're cutting off the circulation."
"Oh! Sorry, sorry." Elizabeth loosened her hold on his arm, but kept her arms in place anyway. Leaning her cheek on his chest, Elizabeth closed her eyes and sighed deeply. His hand came up to slowly hesitantly touch her cheek.
"Aw, don't call me that. You may only call me that when you are mad at me."
"Then what should I call you when I'm not angry with you?"
"Lizzy, of course."
"...Will. Anyway, I think it's Jane who's running toward us."
"Jane?" Elizabeth turned around abruptly, and saw Jane rushing towards them.
"Lizzy?" She called.
"Jane! Um..." Elizabeth looked frantically between Will and her sister.
"What are you doing, just standing there with him? Come back and tell Mom—don't you want to see her face?" As Jane neared them, Elizabeth saw—with intense relief—that Jane was smiling warmly at Will. Jane pulled Elizabeth by the arm towards their house. "Charles told me all about what Will did for me—"
"Charles told you?" Will looked aghast.
"Don't worry, Jane won't tell anyone. Right, Jane?" Elizabeth quickly cut in.
"Yes, yes, of course. Charles told me not to tell anyone too. Now come on! Mom's face when she finds out—"
Elizabeth laughed, and twined her cold fingers with Will's equally-cold fingers, and marveled at how two cold things brought together produced warmth.
A/N: So that's the end. There's the end, ladies and gents. The end.
I'm going to go cry and feel stupid now D: I'll miss all of your reviews! And thanks to all who stuck with me throughout, especially Mimbulus-Mimbletonia17 and Tina95; your reviews, though extremely under-critical (XD), were encouraging and really brightened up my days :D
btw, if you want to listen to the song "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley, here's the link:
www. youtube watch? v=Pid0n CrsQxM (take out the spaces)
Thanks again to everyone! I'm not sure if I'll be writing another PandP fanfic anytime soon, but I will try! :'D