Write My Name On A Sidewalk and Hope It Stays
Disclaimer: I disclaim any and all ownership over Pride and Prejudice and anything else copyrighted that I've mentioned/alluded to/etc.
Dedication: You. :) (Yes, you as in whoever is reading this. Thank you so much for finishing my story!)
Songs: Crash and Burn and Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden
Reviewers (who literally make my day, y'all are epic):
Harriate Slate-Thing-Hari-Hu: Lol, then I know a Lady Cat you'd like even more. Yes, yes it is.
Amona: I'm glad you've enjoyed it. :) Why don't you like 'Old Fart'?
Clarinetto14: Thank you! :3
Downtown austen: Thanks. Neither do I! XD
HappyAbbey: Seems legit, lol. Thanks. C: Well, it's not original, just rare; I honestly think Lady Cat would like Elizabeth if their situation were different. But that's just me.
Cvtperez: Thank you for reviewing. :)
ShameOnMe2: No, you really don't. I'm curious – where have you seen Lady Cat liking Elizabeth before? I've only seen it done once. You deserve a platter of cyber cookies for knowing who Richard is and seeing North and South. :D
Merrilymary: Aw, thanks! Well, yeah, you probably do, but you never know for sure. ;P
CMonline: Don't be! It's all cool! And your excuse is top notch, too. ;) Thank you.
Stormgirl23: Thank you! :D
Cellophanesoldiers: So far? This is the last chapter! :P Thank you.
Amelette: Yes, yes it is. I'm sorry I'm killing you! Do you need a potion or a Phoenix Down? :P
xxPrideandPrejudicexx: I'm sad it's ending, too. C: Thank you for R&R-ing.
- Epilogue -
The last weeks of school bled into summer while Charles' arrival and Darcy infiltrating Elizabeth's life. At the beginning, it seemed odd and perhaps a tad clingy the way Darcy just showed up on Elizabeth and Jane's doorstep with nothing but a smile plus an offering of iced hot chocolate. The time never mattered when he showed up unannounced, be it right before Elizabeth's classes or nearly ten in the night. Over time, Elizabeth grew accustomed to it and expected Darcy, disheartened when the practice ended with the ending of the school year. When Charles arrived not even three days after summer break started, more often than not, Darcy took Elizabeth back to his flat. Surprisingly, in that first week of summer after weeks of dating, it was Elizabeth's first time setting foot inside the place. Internally, she expected something grad, but it was just a simple place with hardly a thing set around to personalize it besides the decidedly masculine taste in furniture.
That changed when Elizabeth practically lived in it. Darcy could only smile when he got there by himself and found an odd book lying around, a jacket strewn on the floor, and the dirty dishes adorning the skin and countertops. What he saw as a temporary home was turning into something more, thanks to Elizabeth and her adamant opinion that, if he wasn't going to make the apartment looked lived in, she would. When they weren't together, a phone was glued to both their ears to make sure the other wasn't lonely; Jane and Charles accused Elizabeth and Darcy, respectively, of being a worse "sickeningly happy" couple than them even though Elizabeth and Darcy never went a day with out an argument, trivial or not. When school had been going on, Darcy was able to coerce Elizabeth into four dates a week, but with summer holding more hours of idle nothingness than productive ones, Elizabeth found herself with Darcy every night either at his apartment or at a restaurant. Sometimes she even woke up on his couch, squished between him and the back of it; as summer wore on, it became a normal occurrence.
When summer finally melted into fall and Charles left, Elizabeth gave up spending her days at Darcy's apartment to make sure Jane wasn't alone. By the time Thanksgiving passed, Jane had blatantly told Elizabeth that Darcy was lonelier than she was and that Elizabeth should at least spend her weekends at his place; she was under the assumption Elizabeth had done more than just sleep at night with Darcy when she couldn't have been further from the truth. Despite the searing kisses, wandering hands, cold showers Elizabeth knew he took, and the sometimes-grouchy attitude that led to fights, Darcy said nothing about taking the final step, and, for that, she was grateful. The mere thought of it terrified her to no end for reasons she couldn't name.
Christmas was a strange affair. Charles came down from Harvard only to be told, if he wanted to see Jane, he'd have to see all the Bennets while Darcy was denied any access to Elizabeth. Ignorant of his true nature and all he'd done for them, none of the Bennets but Elizabeth and Jane accepted him, therefore making him banned from their household; with all of Meryton under the same unawareness, Darcy wasn't sure he sure he would have particularly enjoyed being watched by everyone's distrustful eyes. Still, he tried to convince Elizabeth to let him come with her, Charles, and Jane to no avail.
"I love you, Fitzwilliam, and I don't want to see you become everyone's punching bag just for my sake. I'd crack and tell them what you did, and I know you don't want that to happen. You'd be watched even more to go along with fresh gossip." Elizabeth's words shocked them both. For her, she hadn't realized how strongly she felt for him until the words spilled from her mouth at the thought of her mother's harping. For Darcy, he'd said the three magic words many times over with the added addition of, "I don't need to hear your reply now, as long as I have the chance to someday," but what shook him was that Elizabeth finally said it with out him saying it first at a totally random time like it was natural. The grin that it brought to his face haunted Elizabeth the whole time she visited her family; she couldn't wait to get back to him. When Jane noticed Elizabeth growing antsy two days after Christmas, she decided to fib and say she'd left her school work that was due the first day back at their apartment; Charles, who'd grown restless himself from wanting to be alone with Jane and from the incessant pestering and inquiries from Faye Bennet, as well as Elizabeth were eternally grateful to her for doing so.
However, when Jane and Elizabeth reached their apartment with Charles in tow the next day, there was a message on their answering machine for Elizabeth from Darcy stating that he was visiting Georgiana for the holidays; she was unable to see him until the day before New Years. Darcy came bearing gifts for them and told Elizabeth, if she was nice, she'd get another present on New Years. What she expected was something akin to an inside joke item or even racy PJs in jest, but what she received was the key to Darcy's apartment along with his request that she'd move in with him (or, if was too early, she could keep the key so she could have access to his abode when she wanted). Elizabeth didn't answer right away, wanting to consult with Jane first because she knew that it was, perhaps, too soon for her to be moving in with him, but deep down inside, she honestly wanted to.
"Lizzie, I know you think mom's advice is rubbish, but, in this instance, it's not. Do what your heart tells you to, okay?" was all Jane offered. Elizabeth ended up procrastinating until the last day of their break to agree to move in with Darcy. She was glad to having agreed since mundane tasks suddenly became enjoyable or even adventurous when Darcy was around. For example, if Elizabeth was washing the dishes, Darcy never let her do them alone; he was always either hugging her from behind, becoming an adorable nuisance, or he stuck the dirty dishes in the dish washer and put the clean ones away. Following his lead, Elizabeth was happy to mimic his actions when he did the dishes, et cetera. Winter melded into spring, and Darcy convinced Elizabeth to spend her whole Spring Break with him at Pemberley to leave Charles and Jane alone in Dallas. She spent an exhilarating week touring Derbyshire and the grounds of Pemberley hugging Darcy for dear life on the back of his motorbike or seated on C.S. or Epona's back with Darcy behind her leading the horse. Elizabeth was sure Darcy wouldn't be able to end their week in England with something exceptionally grand as he had the year previous by saving her mother, but she was struck wordless when he came pretty damn close.
Saturday night, the last night they'd be spending at Pemberley, Elizabeth exited the shower to see a post-it stuck to the bed post telling her dinner would be on the back patio written in Darcy's hand. Smiling to herself, thinking he'd gotten a romantic candle-lit dinner to be the cherry on top of a brilliant Spring Break, Elizabeth descended the stairs to the first floor and walked down the halls until she reached the back doors. The sight that greeted her upon opening the doors rendered Elizabeth speechless.
The sun dipping into the horizon lit up the back patio, and it was outfitted by portable heaters, the loved plaid blanket Elizabeth remembered from her first picnic with Darcy, a couple of oil lamps for when the sun went fully down, and what looked to be a decadent dinner. Darcy, looking handsome as ever in dark wash jeans and a gray sweater that complimented his eyes, was sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the blanket, an old looking cherry wood guitar in his lap; the guitar case rested closed by his side. Elizabeth had learned early on in their relationship that he knew how to play a few songs from wanting to perform duets for friends and family with Georgiana when she started playing the piano, but Elizabeth had never heard him play or even seen him with a guitar before. She had asked him to play for her a few times, but Darcy had flatly refused, saying he wasn't very good (from not practicing on top of not having the talent for it) and was even worse at singing.
"Finally going to play for me?" Elizabeth joshed, joining Darcy on the blanket. Darcy smirked, running his hand through his hair; she recognized this as a nervous or vexed habit of his. Since he looked particularly pale, Elizabeth could only guess he was anxious but not why.
"If you promise not to laugh at how awful I am." Darcy replied, sounding earnest, killing Elizabeth's original idea to tease him more.
"Pinkie promise." She said, holding out her hand, smallest phalange erect.
"You're absurd, Love, you know that?" Darcy couldn't help but smile toothily at Elizabeth, curling his pinkie finger around hers, sealing the deal.
"You love me for it, though." Elizabeth snickered, sticking her tongue out at him.
"That I do, that I do." Darcy laughed, rearranging himself to where he was on one knee, the guitar propped up on it. With the lie of that being the only way he could play on the ground, Elizabeth didn't expect a thing.
"Hey there, Ellie, what's it like at Pemberley? I'm two seconds away, and, Love, tonight you look so pretty, yes you do. Nothing can shine as bright as you; I swear it's true." If Elizabeth hadn't recognized his playing, the changed verses would have clued her in on that Darcy was doing a personalized version of "Hey There, Delilah" by the Plain White T's.
"Hey there, Ellie, don't you worry about anything. I'm right here if you get sad since you gave this man another try. Close your eyes, listen to my voice; it's my ultimate demise. But now I'm at your mercy… and, I'm, eh, going to skip the chorus…" Darcy trailed off awkwardly, a pink flush covering his cheeks; it seemed he was regretting his decision. Elizabeth smiled widely at him even though she was hiding back a laugh, hoping he'd continue.
"Er, right… Hey there, Ellie, I know I was an arse at first, but just believe me girl, you've changed me completely. I've done everything for you; I'll be the man you need, it's true. My word is good." As awkwardly as he'd stopped, Darcy continued, not meeting Elizabeth's eye, for he was watching his sweaty fingers strumming the strings, hoping his memory served him right about the notes.
"Hey there, Ellie, I owe you so much thanks. If every confession I gave you would be as beastly(1) as the first, I'd take it all. Even if we can laugh about it now, I'd love to take it back. A year ago seems pretty far, but they've got Doctor Who's… oh, no, wait…" Darcy stopped again, this time in the middle of a note. His eyebrows came together in confusion, and the shaky smile he'd been wearing was replaced by a contemplative frown.
"Well, there goes that verse. I don't remember it…" Inwardly, Darcy berated himself. Why did he have to be such a romantic?
"Hey, I applaud you for doing this well. You're not half bad at playing, but your voice could sure use a bit of help." Elizabeth grinned at him, still clueless as to what he was really doing, thankfully. His voice, despite being effortlessly beautiful when he spoke, was jumpy at best with horribly squeaky high notes when he sang; it didn't help that he was singing incredibly soft. Elizabeth wasn't an expert at the guitar, but Mark Jones had taught her a few notes once. What Darcy was doing was beyond her skill, so she commended him. Besides, the poor sap looked sick.
"I'm not done, either, so you'd best get used to suffering through this to humor me." Darcy winked, gaining a bit of confidence form her words; in his mind, if she didn't mind his playing, that was an amazing feat by itself.
"Well, I'd die for you if I had no other option. Aunt Catty and Caroline would make fun of us, and we'll just laugh along because we know that neither of them have felt this way." Darcy continued. He used his aunt as an example even though he knew she had been in love, once, before it had made her bitter with her husband's death. It was a small, personal revenge for all of what she had done.
"Ellie, I can promise you, that by the time we pass on, the man I am will never ever be the same, and you're to blame. Hey there, Ellie, you be good and please don't screw with me. A few more years and you'll be done with school, and I'll be making history like I do – just not by singing about you." A little giggle escaped Elizabeth at the last line, and she looked horrified until she noticed Darcy was grinning, laughing with her.
"You know it's all because of you. We can do whatever you want to, but please don't leave me. Hey there, Ellie, here's to you. This one's for you, and only for you. Oh, it's what you do to me… Oh, it's what you do to me… Oh, it's what you do to me." Darcy paused, taking a deep breath. His heart was beating like mad, and his mind was giving him worst-case scenarios that weren't even possible. Elizabeth thought he was done when he opened the case, putting the guitar gently inside and was about to start clapping in addition to giving him a hug when something caught her eye.
Darcy held his breath when he held the little velvet box, already opened to reveal the sparkling piece of jewelry within it, in front of him. For nearly the first time in his performance, he met Elizabeth's eyes; his were shining with hope and apprehension while hers were wide in shock.
"Ellie, will you marry me?" Darcy finished his rendition softly, smiling at the blush spreading across her cheeks like wildfire.
"You – you are the most – the most stupid, romantic fool I've ever known." Elizabeth said shakily, forgetting about actually having to answer; all she could think to do was hug Darcy close to her, hoping to feel an erratic heartbeat that matched hers.
"I love you for it, though." She whispered, tears pricking at her eyes. Darcy hugged her back tightly, wondering if that counted as a yes or no. He'd been insecure because it had only been about a year since they'd started dating, but he was an impatient, passionate man. Darcy couldn't see his future without Elizabeth, so he thought it wouldn't matter if he proposed sooner rather than later. Currently, he was reconsidering this.
"I love you, too, Ellie… but, ah, is that a 'yes', a 'let me think about it', or a 'no'?" Darcy questioned shakily.
"What do you think it is?" Elizabeth asked, pulling back and smiling warmly at him.
"Well, I don't know – you took long enough deciding whether to move in with me or—"
Elizabeth silenced him with a kiss, exultant laughter bubbling within her throat.
"Fitzwilliam Benjamin Darcy, that is a definite yes. I can't have Caroline thinking she still has a chance with you! You're mine and mine alone, so don't you dare forget it."
Darcy only stared at her in wonder; he was positive Elizabeth Bennet (Darcy, in his mind) would never cease to amaze him.
A/N: (1) To the English, beastly means unpleasant. :)
Whhheeeee, it's done – I'm sorry it took so long! And you reviewers gave me over 100 freaking reviews! Y'all are awesome; thank y'all so much! Cyber cookies/cakes/cupcakes/Nutella/candy for all! …I can't believe I finally finished a chaptered fic (in less than a year, too!). TTuTT I'm not sure if FF likes lyrics from songs, but I doctored them and all that… so, eh. (I will not apologize for a cheesy proposal. :P) I think I'll go over this story and correct mistakes sometime (like when I have things like "half" for "hand"… yeah, I don't know how that happened, either). Maybe over the summer break, maybe not. Keep your eyes out for me, yeah? I've got another modern (somewhat darker) P&P on the way. ;)