Author's Note: The following is a short snippet from a story I started writing last summer. Unfortunately, I got busy with school and my original fanfic, Of Goats and Men, soon fell by the wayside. When I finally came back to it I realized that, as much as I love P&P in it's entirety, I much more enjoy writing the parts where Darcy and Lizzy really get to interact. From this new found knowledge this one-shot was conceived, though it's roots can still be found in my original story. I may add more one shots from this particular story later, or, who knows, if people like it enough, I may write the original Of Goats and Men in it's entirety. Until then, read, enjoy, and do let me know what you think. Thanks!
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Bennet, swore heavily under her breath. Trust her car to choose now of all times to break down, right when she was in the middle of the wilderness half way to her aunt and uncle Gardiners' place in Lambton. She cursed her earlier decision to take the more scenic back roads to get to Lambton as opposed to the interstate. At least on the interstate there would be the chance of a passerby lending aid.
Frustrated, she dug around in her purse for her phone. "Aha!" She exclaimed triumphantly upon locating her phone deep in the bowels of her purse. Unfortunately, the moment was short-lived as she soon discovered her phone to be dead.
"DAMMIT!" She yelled, her green eyes flashing in frustration and anger. Outside a distant rumble of thunder echoed her shout. She allowed her head to fall forward onto the steering wheel."This is great, this is just awesome! I'm stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to contact anybody and it's about to start pouring outside! The gods clearly hate me." If her voice was slightly hysterical, she consoled herself with knowing that no one was around to hear it.
A small snort from the back seat of her car reminded her that she was partly wrong in her last thought. There was indeed someone to hear it. Namely, her newest foster pig Wilbur. As the head of Bennet's Sustainable Landscaping, and owner of her own small farm, she often took in orphaned animals to foster. Currently she only had one though, and that was Wilbur.
She couldn't help but smile as the little guy snorted again, and slowly she raised her head.
"You are right of Wilbur, as usual. I am not being punished by the gods, though lord knows I deserve it after the way I treated..." She cut herself off before speaking his name. She had avoided saying it for almost three months now. Ever since the disastrous way they had parted at her cousin's house that spring. After he'd admitted that he thought her the most wonderful women in the world, that he loved her...
She pushed the thought away, reminding herself, yet again, that while he had admitted his love for her, he'd admitted quite a few other things as well. Like how it had been him who had split up Jane and Charlie, successfully breaking both of their hearts. How he thought her family an embarrassment and that she was beneath him. As if, just because he came from England, was CEO of the multi-million dollar Pemberley Printing House, and probably sneezed out chocolate, that made him innately better than her. Okay, if the chocolate thing was true, she would probably concede that he may be a tiny bit better than her.
Her anger properly restored, albeit not as strong as it had been immediately after what she now referred to as "the Rosing's Incident," Lizzy set about figuring her way out of her current predicament. She had no idea what was wrong with Optimus Prime, her aptly named blue Volvo. Although being 30 yrs old probably wasn't doing it any favors. A fact Lotti and Jane took great delight in teasing her about. But dammit, just because a car was four years older than it's owner didn't make it any less desirable a car, at least not in Lizzy's book and not when it normally ran better than either Jane or Lotti's newer cars. Of course this still didn't change the fact that Lizzy knew nothing about cars. This meant she probably wasn't going to be able to fix it.
Her next option was to find someplace with a phone. She hadn't passed a gas station in over thirty minutes and, from previous trips to visit her aunt and uncle, she knew there wasn't much in the way of roadside stops in between the last town of Red Oak and the coastal town of Lambton. There were more than a few large estates scattered in between the two though.
Thunder rumbled again, the wind outside picking up. Lizzy knew that her decision would be crucial. If she stayed in the car she would most likely end up having to spend the night in it, not many people took the back roads to get to Lambton. This idea made her uneasy. She hated the idea of sleeping all by herself in her car, in the middle of a thunderstorm, in the dark woods. If Jane were here she would say Lizzy was being silly. Lizzy would say that this was exactly how horror movies started.
Lizzy checked her phone once more. Nope. Still dead. She could have sworn she'd charged it before she had left, but apparently not. What was she going to do? All of her life Lizzy had been good with decisions. Unlike her sister Jane who hemmed and hawed over the tiniest of decision, Lizzy had never had any troubles making up her mind. Lately though, she'd found herself acting like Jane and struggling in her choices. She blamed this rash of indecision all on that jerk Darcy. Before him she'd been perfectly fine making decisions based on nothing more than instinct. But, ever since her gross misjudgment of him last spring, she'd been shaken in her convictions and in her own ability to see clearly.
With a click the indoor light of her car turned off, bringing her wandering mind back to the matter at hand. She had to make a decision. Stay or brave the on coming rainstorm in search of a house. If only she knew if there was one near by.
As if conjured up by that thought, a light flickered on farther along down the road. It was so obscured by trees it was no wonder she'd missed seeing the entrance to the driveway earlier. She was lucky the timed light had turned on this early. Usually lights like that were programmed to turn on only once the sky had reached full dark. No doubt she had the storm to thank for darkening the sky enough to trigger it. Than again, if the storm wasn't here she would have probably been able to find the driveway a lot easier to begin with.
Whatever. All that mattered was she was now one step closer to not sleeping in her car. Maybe her luck was changing. Lightning flashed outside, urging her into action. Lizzy shoved her still dead phone into her purse, which she then shoved into her backpack on the seat beside her. Grabbing her keys out of the ignition, she jumped out of the car, swung the backpack onto her back and then opened the back door. In his carrier Wilbur snorted curiously at her.
"We're making a run for it buddy." With one hand Lizzy caught up the messenger bag with all of his food and supplies and slung it across her shoulder. With the other she grabbed his carrier, locked the car and shut both front and back doors.
"Okay, let's do this." Already she could feel sprinkles of rain beginning to fall. It would soon start pouring, something she most certainly didn't want to expose a young piglet to. Her gaze focused upon the lone light ahead of her, it was about a 100 feet down the road. But even that seemed far when one was carrying two bags and a baby pig. No matter. She would make it.
Ten minutes later found Lizzy surveying a large ten foot high iron gate. True to her suspicions the light she had seen hung over the middle of the gate, marking the beginning of a large drive. Normally, she would have just walked around the gate and continued on down the curvy drive until she got to the huge mansion that undoubtedly stood just out of sight. But, whoever lived here had already thought of that, and, instead of just having a gate, there was a wrought iron fenced that extended as far as she could see in both directions. It was set back from the road, and was so discrete a fence she never would have noticed it had she just been driving by. Unfortunately, she wasn't driving by, but was trying to gain entry. The rain was steadily getting harder in the meantime. In a few more moments she knew the cloud above her would burst and she would go from being a little wet to completely drenched. She scanned the fence again and then she saw it.
"Aha!" She exclaimed for the second time that night. The intercom was positioned to the right of the gate, probably only used by those who didn't have remote control of the gate. Which would be Lizzy.
Lizzy shambled over to the intercom and pressed what appeared to be the call button. Above her a large crash of thunder shook the sky and all at once the rain around her turned into an onslaught. In a matter of seconds she was thoroughly drenched and began to shiver. She hoped Wilbur wasn't as cold as she was, but knew that they needed to get inside quick to avoid either of them getting a cold or the flu. As the tone began to ring, Lizzy prayed to whatever gods might be listening that someone answered.
"Please, Please, Please! I promise I'll be a nicer person!" Lizzy begged the universe.
The phone kept ringing, prompting Lizzy to try again. "I'll be more patient with Lydia."
The sound of ringing persisted.
Lizzy dug deep in her mind for something to promise, it had to be something that would be hard, a sacrifice of sorts, "I'll... I'll... I'll apologize to Darcy!" Right as she spoke the last bit of the sentence, a click signaled that someone had picked up the line. Lizzy could not contain the fist pump of joy that she victoriously thrust into the air.
"Hel-hello?" The girl's voice was timid and confused. Not that Lizzy blamed her. They were in a huge thunder storm, literally in the middle of no where. If Lizzy had been the girl she'd probably be terrified it was a murderer calling to breath heavily in the phone at her.
"Yes! Hello, my name is Elizabeth Bennet. I'm so so sorry to bother you, but my car has broken down and my phone is dead and I was just wondering if I might come in and borrow your phone or perhaps..." Lizzy's rambling was cut off at this point.
"Wait. What did you say your name was?" The girl's voice no longer seemed so timid, in fact it sounded, dare Lizzy say, excited? A huge flash of lightning split the sky, a crack of thunder soon followed.
"Umm, Elizabeth, Lizzy, Bennet?" Lizzy answered questioningly, wondering what her name had to do with anything.
The girl muttered under her breath before saying in a louder voice, "Come in." There was a brief buzzing noise as the gate unlocked itself, and then the doors swung open. Not willing to be locked out again, Lizzy raced through the opening. Safely on the other side, Lizzy set down the kennel. The walk up to the house would probably be a long one and she couldn't afford for Wilbur to get any colder. Opening the kennel, Lizzy scooped up the slightly shivering pig and, unzipping her fleece jacket, tucked him safely inside her T-shirt before zipping it back up. The body heat between them would hopefully keep them both going until they could reach the house. She was just lucky Wilbur was such a calm little pig. Lord only knew what she would do if he was prone to fidgeting and fighting. As it was, he snuggled in deeply. His little piggy head poking up just above her collar.
That done Lizzy picked up the now empty kennel and set off down the dark drive towards the twinkling lights she could just see through the trees.
It took her a good fifteen minutes to get to the end of the drive. By this point the wind was whipping all around her, blowing the rain into her eyes and obscuring her vision. Only the bright lights emitting from the house kept her on course. Her back was beginning to ache from her hiker's backpack, Wilbur's canvas bag, not to mention the pig himself still beneath her shirt and fleece.
"What I wouldn't give for some fucking chocolate right now." She muttered under her breath. Despite her determination to get to safety as soon as possible, she nearly stopped upon turning the last bend and seeing the mansion in front of her. It was quite possibly the grandest and most lovely building she had ever seen. Built of brick, and flooded with lights, Lizzy almost cried with relief at how welcoming it looked. Without hesitation she marched the last 10 or so feet down the round about, passed the large fountain, and up to the front door.
She cast her eye around for a doorbell but needn't have bothered as, before she could even locate one, the door was flung open.
The girl who opened the door looked to be no more than sixteen. She had long, straight blond hair, a beautiful face and blue eyes that seemed slightly familiar. Though she'd only just glimpsed the girl, Lizzy could tell that she would be a great beauty, once she finished growing into her height and got past the awkward stage.
The woman in front of Georgiana wasn't anything like she'd expected. For one thing she was soaked to the bone and had a number of bags strapped to her back. Her dark brown hair was drenched, sticking to her pale face. Her nose was slightly crooked, the irregularity suggesting it'd been broken at some point. A raised scar cutting through the woman's right eyebrow, perhaps the remnants of a piercing, also marked the woman's face. But despite these two features, or perhaps partly because of them, the woman was beautiful. Her countenance was a friendly one and her green eyes sparkled with good-humor, despite the circumstances she found herself in. Georgie realized with a start that she was simply staring as the woman shivered outside and mentally scolded herself, when would she stop being such an idiot?
"Oh I do apologize! Please come in." Georgie moved aside to give the woman room to walk in only to give a small scream as a little pink snout popped out of the top of Lizzy's jacket.
Lizzy, in the middle of staggering into the grand foyer, looked down in alarm at where the girls gaze was resting, and gave a short bark of laughter when she saw the cause of the young girl's cry.
"That's just Wilbur, he's harmless. I thought I'd pop him inside of my jacket to keep him warm." Lizzy smiled and watched as the girl blushed, mumbling an apology and turning away to quickly shut the door behind them.
With a relieved sigh Lizzy set down her numerous bags. She was careful to keep herself on the rug, not wanting to drip onto the nice wooden floors. Though, judging from it's Persian design, she doubted dripping on the rug was anymore acceptable than the floors. It didn't look like the type of rug one got from IKEA. She was suddenly very conscious of the wealth all around her. But soon I shall be gone, I just need to borrow the phone. This thought put her at ease again. Still shivering, she turned once more to the girl, who was once again looking at her in wide-eyed interest. Lizzy wasn't quite sure why she should be of such interest to this girl, but then again it wasn't everyday a virtual stranger wound up on your doorstep, especially when you lived in a place like this.
"I'm sorry, I don't believe I caught your name. As I said earlier, I'm Lizzy Bennet." Lizzy stuck out her free hand, ignoring the fact that not only must she look like a drowned rat, but she currently had a pig peeking it's head out from between her boobs. Confidence in the face of anything was the key to reducing awkwardness. At least she hoped so.
"Oh, um, I'm so sorry, I should have introduced, I mean" The girl stuttered a bit before putting her own hand into Lizzy's.
"My name's Georgiana Darcy. Or Georgie."
Lizzy was momentarily stunned as the girl spoke her last name. Her initial instinct was to either run away as fast as she possibly could, or simply keel over. But, no she couldn't have heard that last name correctly. It couldn't possibly be...
"Georgie? Who are you talking to?" The man's voice came from the top of the grand stairs to her left and sent a shaft of panic through Lizzy's body. Mouth agape Lizzy looked up the staircase and straight into the gaze of the man she'd so cruelly rejected only three months before. Fitzwilliam Darcy.
The universe hated her.
She wasn't sure how long the two of them stared at each other, both stunned by the others' presence. Though she felt he had much more of a reason to be stunned. I mean, here she was, the woman who'd called him a complete and total rat-bastard just standing about inside his house. She wondered if it was possible to die of mortification. If so, she was ready any time now.
"Lizzy?" His voice was quiet and filled with some unnameable emotion, leaving the usually socially confident Lizzy at a loss of what to do. Luckily, by this point Wilbur had decided he had been holding his peace much too long. He was in a warm and what appeared to be a safe environment and he no longer wanted to be inside of Lizzy's shirt. With a squeal he began to struggle, his little hooves scratching at her skin.
It was just the distraction needed to break Lizzy's current stupefied state. With a curse, she knelt down and unzipped her fleece, scooped Wilbur from out of her shirt, and set him on the ground. The little piglet shook himself vigorously before snuffling around Lizzy's feet, momentarily contented.
In the time it had taken her to do this, Darcy had descended the rest of the staircase, his gaze never once leaving the shivering woman in front of him. Even dripping went with her make up in disarray she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Three months. It had been exactly three months since that horrible day at Rosings. Three months of soul-searching, questioning everything he'd ever thought of himself. All because of this one woman. And here she stood, in the very place he'd imagined her, fantasized about having her, almost since the moment they'd first met.
He was acutely aware of the growing awkwardness, of Georgie watching with curiosity. This was his chance to show her how much he'd changed. Lizzy Bennet had stumbled into his life once more, and this time he would not let her escape.
"Lizzy, did you just take a pig from out of your shirt?" Darcy asked, partly out of incredulity and partly as a way to lighten the tension settling onto the room. He could feel a smile begin to pull at his lips. The first one in what felt like ages. He watched as she nervously zipped her fleece and straightened her shirt before answering.
"Yes. Yes I did." She met his gaze in that challenging way of hers he'd missed so much. He let the smile he'd been fighting spread across his face.
"I can't say that I'm surprised. I only wonder where the goat is?" Lizzy shifted uncomfortably, unsure of whether or not he was intentionally teasing. A shiver raced through her and this seemed to shake Darcy out of whatever thrall he'd been in.
"Please excuse me, you must be fairly freezing. Georgie why don't you take Lizzy upstairs and find her some warm clothes. I'll ring Mrs. Reynolds for some hot chocolate and have Lizzy's things dried and put in a guest room." He voice rang with confidence as he gave his orders.
Georgie nodded eagerly before starting towards the staircase, only to pause when Lizzy protested. "Oh, but, I just need a phone. I mean, I have relatives who can come pick me up. I don't want to impose." Unlike Caroline Bingley, who would have protested as just a matter of form, he knew that Lizzy was sincere in hers. She would never in a thousand years dream of accepting his help when she could help herself. It had taken him awhile to figure out why this was but he had finally begun to understood towards the end of his stay in Meryton last winter. It wasn't due to, as Caroline had once accused, "conceited independence." Rather, it was because Lizzy had spent her entire life taking care of others. Her sisters, her mother, even her father, all depended on her. So much so that at times he had watched as she put aside her own needs and desires in favor of their own. It was clear that Lizzy had learned from an early age that it was up to her to get what she wanted. She wasn't accustomed to being taken care of herself. Something Darcy wanted to remedy.
"Nonsense. It would be foolish for anyone to be driving out in this storm." He pointed out. Right on cue another flash of lightning tore threw the sky, closely followed by the booming of thunder. Outside hail began to fall. It seemed the weather was on his side.
Lizzy sighed, but even she knew when it was a moot point. She nodded in agreement, "I suppose you are right. But here at least let me take Wilbur."
Lizzy gazed down at the piglet currently rooting through his canvas bag.
In one smooth movement, Darcy swiftly picked up the little piglet, his arm underneath the pig's belly, supporting his body and head and bringing him into his chest.
"I'll watch him while you get changed." Darcy felt another smile spread across his face at the surprise in Lizzy's face.
"Oh. Okay, but if he gets fussy, I mean, just..."
"Lizzy," Darcy interrupted, relishing her name once more on his lips, "We'll be just fine. But you won't be if you stay in those wet clothes. So go get on some dry ones."
Lizzy gave another nod and went to join Georgie who waited for her on the stairs.
Darcy set Wilbur on the floor next to him while he worked on getting a fire started. Behind him Mrs. Reynolds rolled in a cart of hot chocolate with an array of cookies for good measure.
"Well, it is a bit unexpected but by no means unwelcome to have an evening visitor. Especially one who's beauty I've heard so much about." Mrs. Reynold commented as she fussed over the cart.
More like an elderly aunt than a housekeeper, she had been with the Darcy family since the current Master was but a baby. Having known him that long had made her a shrewd observer of his moods, and something had had him in a very poor one these last few months. Judging from the way he fumbled with getting the fire started, a chore he'd never had the least bit of problem with, she'd wager it had something to do with this Elizabeth Bennet.
If he heard her comment he didn't respond, causing Mrs. Reynolds to smile. She was surely looking forward to what had the makings of an interesting night.
Upstairs Georgie was already having a grand time talking with Lizzy. She had been hesitant and unsure of what to say to the woman at first, but soon they had struck upon the conversation of books. They'd found they had tastes very much in common. They both loved Jane Austen, though they hated Emma and Fanny Price. They both liked fantasy and paranormal fiction but also appreciated historical as well. And, to top it all off, they both loved not only the Mercy Thompson series, but that of Discworld. In short, Georgie was already well on her way to ranking Lizzy as one of her favorite acquaintances, and hoping that they would have the chance to become more than just that. A smile upon her face, Georgie pulled out a pair of flannel pajama pants, a sports bra, tank top and an old sweatshirt for Lizzy. She decided not to mention that the sweatshirt belonged to her brother, she had a feeling Lizzy wouldn't wear it if she knew whose it was. Georgie wasn't stupid and, knowing as much as she did about the story of Will and Lizzy's relationship, she knew it would probably take a while for the two of them to be comfortable in the same room together, much less wearing each others' clothing.
When Will had first come back from his visit with Aunt Catherine it hadn't been hard to see that something was wrong. He had rarely talked, even to her. He had been short of temper with everyone, but, at times when he thought no one was watching, she had caught glimpses of unimaginable sadness in his eyes.
Georgie would never have dared to confront him about it, but she had called up Richard and managed to weasel out what had happened. It seemed that Richard himself had had some issues sorting it all out, but did know that it had something to do with a woman. Very likely with one Elizabeth Bennet. At first Georgie had been confused. She simply didn't understand how any woman could refuse someone as good as her brother. But, after prodding Richard to explain, she soon came to understand that there was much more to the story than even Richard knew, and that somewhere along the line Will had given this Elizabeth a very poor impression of himself. So much so that the woman had outright rejected him.
It was with this new understanding of what ailed her brother that Georgie had, against his explicit orders, entered his private study one night and found him silently crying as he looked out over their estate. It had been a side to her brother she had never seen before. Part of her had wanted to simply creep back out of the door. But she had quickly squashed that part and, wordlessly, Georgie had tiptoed across the room and, with more than a little trepidation, had hugged her brother as he cried.
"Oh Georgie." He had sighed after the tears were gone, "How could I have messed it all up so much? What do I possibly do now?"
It was the first time Georgie could ever recall her brother asking her for advice and she was determined not to give him a wrong answer. Still locked in his embrace she, ironically, found herself pulling from her experience with Wickham to answer.
"We all make mistakes Will. Especially when the heart's involved." Here she paused, careful in choosing her next words.
"All we can really do, after the fact, is learn from them and try and live our lives all the better for it."
Georgie looked up to see Will smile, something he hadn't done in weeks.
"When did you get to be so wise Georgie-porgie?" She had laughed at his use of her childhood nickname and, his mood lighter than it had been in weeks, they had gone done to dinner.
Since that night almost two months ago the changes in her brother's demeanor had been overwhelming. He was more open to strangers, making greater pains to get to know people at parties and at work. Though he would never be as comfortable as Richard when conversing with strangers, his effort was clear and Georgie could sense that people found him much more pleasing and enjoyable to be around. As the improvements continued, Georgie soon found her anger at the young woman cooling. After all, as she'd slowly begun to get the full story from Will, it soon became apparent to her that this Lizzy had never really had a chance to see the Will Darcy Georgie knew so well. If she had, Georgie was absolutely certain that this Lizzy would return her brother's love. Who wouldn't? Which is why, upon hearing who was at the gate, an unbelievable excitement had come over Georgie. Despite his vast improvement, she could still see hints of sadness in Will's eyes. Here it seemed was another chance for her brother to be happy. Without even consulting him, something she usually did with everything, she had let the young woman in, she just hoped she didn't end up regretting it.
"Thanks again for the clothes Georgie, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it." Lizzy came out of the bathroom looking much more presentable than she had upon entering it. Her hair had been brushed through and dried into its natural wavy curls. The make up streams on her face had been completely removed and she was now in the warm clothes Georgie had provided her with.
"It was no problem!" Georgie rushed to assure her. She was simply glad she could be of use.
"Well, I bet the hot chocolate is done by now, we had better head down there before Will drinks it all." Georgie continued.
Lizzy steeled herself. Georgie was right, it was time to go downstairs and face him. She could no longer dawdle.
"Yeah, I bet you're right. Let's go." Lizzy flashed Georgie a brilliant smile and the two of them made their out of Georgie's room and down the stairs.
Darcy had finally succeeded in getting the fire going when he heard the two woman coming down the stairs. They were chatting amicably, and laughing as they entered the library where he now sat in an armchair, Wilbur sleeping soundly in his arms.
Darcy felt his heart squeeze at the sight of them. The two people he loved the most enjoying each others company. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen Georgie so animated. There was something about Lizzy Bennet that just seemed to breath life into the whole of the Darcy clan.
"You look much warmer." Darcy stated as the two of them walked further into the library.
Lizzy fought back the urge to simply stare at the ground when she responded, instead she met his gaze and gave him a smile.
"Yes, Georgie was gracious enough to lend me some of her comfiest of clothes."
Darcy took in her appearance her breath catching slightly when he saw what sweatshirt she was wearing. It was his one from Oxford, he'd lent it to Georgie a few months ago and had never retrieved it. He was now quite thankful he hadn't, just the sight of Lizzy in it filled him with a boyish pleasure. God, he felt like he was back in middle school.
"I see Wilbur's settled in nicely." Lizzy continued, smiling at him once again. Darcy couldn't help the answering grin that spread across his face. It was the most she'd ever smiled at him and Darcy couldn't help but see it as a good sign. Perhaps his letter, though he shuddered to think of what he had written now, had helped her to see him in a better light. Maybe his apology to Bingley coupled with Bingley's subsequent proposal to Jane had dissolved some of her hatred of him. But he couldn't count on either of those things being true. He had already grossly misjudged her behavior towards him once. Long ago he had resolved that, in the unlikely case he ever got a chance to form a friendlier relationship with her, he wouldn't take any of her actions for granted.
"Yes, well, I'm a little bit of a pig whisperer." Darcy joked, wishing he could have thought of something wittier to say to her. But she didn't seem to mind and instead gave a short laugh.
"But, please, help yourself to a hot chocolate and cookie and tell Georgie and I how you ended up stranded in the wilderness on a night like this." Lizzy did as he suggested and, settling on the love seat next to Georgie and across from the armchair Darcy sat in, proceeded to explain about her old car, dead cell phone, fear of horror movies, and trek to their gate.
Her hands were animated as she weaved the tale, lacing it with humor despite the fact that Darcy suspected she had been quite fearful during it's occurrence.
"And so now you find me here your grateful and uninvited guest." She concluded with another grin. Darcy feared that the conversation would turn awkward now that she had ended her story, but he needn't have worried. At ease with her surroundings, Lizzy turned the conversation to what she knew both she and Darcy would be most comfortable talking about, namely, Georgie. Lizzy asked the normally shy girl all manner of questions about the girl's life, in what seemed like a genuine effort to get to know the her better. Though Darcy occasionally interjected when he felt the need to display his immense pride in Georgie's accomplishments, he was mostly content just to watch the two women interact. Eventually the conversation turned to favorite movies, which soon led to the suggestion that they watch one while the storm raged around outside. Deciding upon one of Georgie's, and apparently Lizzy's favorite movies, Galaxy Quest, the three of them settled into a, surprisingly, comfortable night.
It was almost ten thirty when Georgie took herself off to bed. A little early for Georgie, especially as it was Friday, but Will had a sneaking suspicion that she was purposely taking herself away to allow him alone time with Lizzy. He wasn't sure if he should be grateful to her, or panicked at the thought. After all, the last time they'd been along together had been during the disastrous proposal.
Before Darcy could voice any protests against it, Georgie was gone, leaving the two of them sitting in the firelight, on the couch, in front of the TV with a Georgie sized hole between them. Lizzy didn't even have the benefit of using Wilbur as an excuse to leave as she had already fed the little pig and put him in his kennel for the night. She fidgeted, remembering her earlier promise to the universe in her desperation for someone to pick up the intercom. A promise was a promise and she needed to apologize for her behavior towards him all those months ago. While still a bit angry at him for his interference with Jane and Bingley, she now knew that he had only been motivated by love for his friend. And, with Bingley's proposal so close to her own refusal of Darcy's, Lizzy knew that he must have had a hand in reuniting the couple. She also knew she owed him an apology for her misjudgment of Wickham. Unwilling to simply take his word, Lizzy had made some discreet inquiries and had found that Wickham was exactly what Darcy had said he was. A low piece of scum. That he had treated sweet Georgiana so poorly, breaking her heart and tricking the girl out of such a large amount of money made Lizzy's blood boil. If she ever saw that sleazy accountant again she'd make him wish he'd never been born. Reminded once more of just how wrong she'd been Lizzy opened her mouth to begin her apology.
They both blushed at their interruption of each other, but Lizzy was determined to have her apology out. She generally hated to apologize, but she was well and truly in the wrong here and needed to get it off her chest. She pressed on, "Darcy," She paused once more, somehow she didn't think the use of last name suited in this instance. She started again, all the while aware of his deep blue eyes upon her.
"Will, I think we both know I owe you a tremendous apology." When he would have interrupted Lizzy cut him off, before looking downward at her restless hands.
"No, no let me finish. I misjudged you completely and, while I still don't agree with your interference between my sister and Charlie, I understand why you did it and I can't say that you didn't rectify the situation as soon as you realized your mistake." She looked up from her hands, determined to look him dead in the eye for the next part of her apology, "And as for Wickham. I never should have been as foolish as to believe him. I barely knew the guy. I think I was just looking for a reason to not like you at that point and grasped as what, in hindsight, is a pretty suspicious story. Especially from one so eager to tell it. I am truly sorry for believing that bastard and I just want to let you know that I haven't breath a word of what you told me in that letter to anyone else. Nor will I. Georgie's an amazing girl, and I'd never do anything to hurt her. Especially not that I know we have a mutual love of books and Galaxy Quest." Lizzy joked, trying to lighten the mood. She peered into Will's face, trying to read his expression cast in shadows as it was. His blue eyes bore into her own and suddenly she realized how close they were, somehow, during her apology, he had moved across the couch until his thigh now touched her own.
Finally he spoke, "Lizzy," his voice was rough with that unnameable emotion once more. Slowly, he reached forward to cup her cheek in his hand, giving her plenty of time to retreat should she want to. The funny thing was, Lizzy didn't want to.
"Lizzy," he started again, holding her face gently in his large hands, his eyes the most intense blue he had ever seen, "You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. Everything you said at Rosings was true." Lizzy opened her mouth to protest but he shushed her, causing Lizzy to scowl even as he grinned. "I was nothing less than an arrogant bastard in regards to my treatment of you and in my rushed judgment of Jane. As for Wickham, well he even tricked me at one point. I thought the very best of him most of young life. It was only when we went to college that I discovered the truth of his devious nature. Even after that discovery, I never thought him to be as bad as the fucker he turned out to be. How could I expect you to be able to spot such a rat when he fooled me not once, but twice?" Lizzy could see his point and reluctantly nodded. She felt as though she'd at least earned a great lesson in the importance of looking past a first acquaintance though.
Silence descended upon them as they simply stared into each others eyes. Lizzy knew she should probably remove her face from his hands but she found she didn't have the will. And then, before she even realized what he was doing, his face was lowering towards her own and suddenly they were kissing.
Lizzy was surprised at the intensity of the kiss but she soon responded in kind. Instinctively, her arms snaked around his neck, her teeth nipping at his lower lip as the kiss became more fevered. On a groan, she wasn't quite sure whether it was his or her own, she felt herself being pushed back onto the couch, his weight securely on top of her. What little self-preservation was left was urging her to push him off and go lock herself in her guest room, but she found she was far too comfortable where she was to make even a ripple of protest. He was too good a kisser, too good a human being, and she was surely too far on her way to falling for him to even give a semblance of a objection. His kisses were drugging, his hands no longer upon her face but running down her body, feeling her curves. Lizzy's hands were doing a little exploring of her own, skimming up beneath his shirt to feel the hard planes of his back and chest, quite pleased with what she could feel.
Darcy was almost positive this was a dream. Or at least he would have been had it not been ten times better than any dream he'd ever had of Elizabeth. He knew he should stop, that they had only just formed a first tentative friendship, but he had waited for this for so long. Had wanted to kiss that impertinent mouth of hers nearly since the first insult she'd thrown his way. He wasn't about to stop now.
Caught up as they were, neither one of them noticed as, with the next powerful blast of thunder, the lights went out.
"Will?" Georgie's call down the stairs was what finally brought the two of them to their senses. With a low growl of displeasure Darcy wrenched his mouth away from Lizzy's to respond with a terse, "What?" Lizzy was suddenly acutely aware of Darcy's hand beneath her tank top, not to mention her own hands located somewhere on his abs. Despite the uncomfortable position she now found herself in, she had trouble in stopping herself from giggling at the tone of his voice. She had heard him aloof, patronizing, friendly, kind, and even broken. But she had never heard him sound so displeased and grumpy. Well, actually, he might have used that tone of voice when he talked to Caroline.
"The power's gone out." Georgie responded, a question in her tone at his lack of observation.
"Oh." Darcy answered intelligently.
He looked down at Lizzy, who was currently shuddering from repressed laughter. Suddenly his cranky mood at being interrupted was gone, a smile spreading across his face. Lizzy had never seen him so handsome, his dark, wavy hair messed, his too blue eyes glowing. "Give me a minute and I'll find the candles." Darcy called back.
"No, it's fine, I'll come down there and get them." Georgie called, her voice already almost to the entrance of the library. Darcy watched in amusement as Lizzy's laughter suddenly stopped. Her face turned red at the idea of being caught by his sister in such a compromising position.
"Quick get off!" She hissed at him. Her small body squirming beneath his own larger one. The feeling was not unpleasant. Darcy merely grinned, "I don't know, I'm feeling quite fatigued, I may just stay here and let Georgie find the candles for herself. If I remember correctly they're over there on the bookshelf to our left." He was greatly enjoying having the upper hand over Lizzy for once.
"Fitzwilliam John Darcy, if you don't get your ass off of me right now I swear I will make you wish you'd never been born!" Darcy didn't know how she'd found out his middle name, but the fire in her green eyes and the frustration of her expression made him laugh out loud. His rich laughter filled the room, drifting out into the foyer where Georgie was deliberately taking her time walking to the library. There was suddenly a large thump, as if someone had fallen off of something and Will's laughter abruptly came to a stop.
Lizzy's laughter soon took up where Darcy's had left off, not quite covering his groan.
Darcy stared up from where he lay on the floor as Lizzy sat up and put herself to rights. He wasn't sure how she had flipped him off the couch but he promised himself retribution for it as soon as his sister had left. At this moment Georgie came into the room. A smile spread across her face as she took in her brother's smiling face from his position on the floor, as well as Lizzy's messed hair and accompanying grin. Georgie was immensely grateful she had decided to open the gate.