A/N: As requested by many readers, I have gone back and added the Meryton assembly scene, as well as a brief account of our favorite couple's courtship and engagement periods. Enjoy!

Elizabeth Bennet was in the habit of walking out early in the morning, usually before the rest of the house had arisen. She set out in the direction of the woods on this particular morning, with her ultimate destination being the little secluded pond in which she often indulged in a relaxing swim in the heat of the summer. The day was proving to be an especially warm one, the perfect kind of day for such a pastime.

Once at the pond, Elizabeth looked all around to make sure she was truly alone before removing her gown, stays, stockings and boots. Attired in only her knee-length summer chemise, she eagerly jumped into the cool water, and began leisurely floating about on her back, gazing up into the cloudless blue sky.

After several minutes passed thusly, Elizabeth suddenly became aware of heavy footsteps approaching from within the woods. Recovering from her momentary shock, she had just enough time to scramble up the bank and hide herself behind a tree before the figure of a man emerged into the clearing. Elizabeth looked longingly towards her discarded clothing on the ground just out of her reach, then back at the unknown man who had intruded on her privacy.

Elizabeth's breath caught in her throat as she beheld the most beautiful example of masculinity she had ever seen. His every feature was perfectly suited to her tastes and preferences. He was very tall, with broad shoulders and well-formed legs, all displayed to advantage as he removed his outer clothing and boots. He had thick, wavy black hair and fine, handsome features. His face had a noble look about it that Elizabeth could not help but admire; but as she studied his face more closely she discerned a trace of sadness marring his otherwise flawless features. "What could someone so beautiful possibly have to be so downcast about?" she though as she watched him descend into the water with a deep sigh.

It was a bright, hot late-summer morning in Hertfordshire. Fitzwilliam Darcy had arrived at Netherfield with Mr. Bingley only the previous day. He had greatly hoped that the change of scenery would lift his spirits, which had been a great deal lower than usual of late, but had thus far found nothing that could accomplish the task. The house was nice, but it was only a house, and one with a rather poor library at that. The grounds were lovely, though Darcy found them unremarkable when compared to the wild beauty of Derbyshire. There seemed to be a fine bit of woods adjacent to the estate, which he promptly set off to explore upon rising just after dawn.

As he trudged his way through the thick growth, Darcy's thoughts returned to the object of his worries, his dear sister, Georgiana. How could he have failed so terribly in his duty to protect her? If he had not arrived at Ramsgate when he had, his darling little sister would be suffering God only knew what miseries at the hands of his worst enemy, and it would have been entirely his fault. He wondered if he had done the right thing in leaving Georgie with their family instead of staying with her. But he could not bear to see her so altered. It weighed heavily on his heart and soul. The only person left in the world with any genuine tender feelings of love or caring for him must now think him terribly negligent and irresponsible. Never had he felt so truly alone.

The heat was quickly becoming sweltering, and Darcy felt the need to remove a layer of clothing. He unbuttoned his waistcoat and shirt, shrugging out of his jacket and removing his cravat. Soon he found himself emerging from the dense woods into a little clearing which featured a temptingly cool pond. Darcy thought that a dip in the pond, as he had done so many times in his youth, would restore his spirits as well as cool his overheated body. He quickly divested himself of his waistcoat, boots, and stockings, and strode eagerly into the cool water.

Elizabeth continued to watch as the handsome stranger briefly disappeared under the water, then emerged to run his fingers through his dark hair. His thin shirt clung to every line and angle of his sculpted chest and abdomen, putting Elizabeth in mind of a marble statue she had seen once in a museum. He was a work of art- unique, perfect, and priceless. She admired the way his muscles rippled under the sodden fabric as he moved. Her fingers itched with desire to touch him, to feel those wonderful muscles under her hands, or, better yet, pressed against her body. Elizabeth blushed scarlet at her own unladylike thoughts. She could not remember ever thinking anything so wanton before in her life. But, then again, she had never had such magnificent inspiration as this before her eyes.

It suddenly occurred to her that, as he had approached from the direction of Netherfield, that this stranger could be the much anticipated Mr. Bingley. Her heart soared at the thought that they may be introduced soon. Perhaps...but, no, she could not hope that such a man would even spare her a second glance. He would prefer Jane, as every other had. He did not deserve second best.

Elizabeth was so lost in her thoughts, that she did not notice that the subject of her reverie's attention was drawn to several articles of feminine clothing lying on the bank opposite of where his own rested. He strode from the water and made his way over to the mysterious articles, passing within three meters of Elizabeth's hiding place. When she saw him reach down and pick up her corset, holding it up and studying it with a puzzled expression, she involuntarily gasped.

Darcy dropped the corset as soon as he heard the delicate, and decidedly feminine, sound coming from the trees to his left. When his head turned towards the source of the sound, he was rendered speechless by the vision he beheld there. There was a young lady with long, wavy dark hair and creamy white skin, staring apprehensively at him with very large brown eyes. She was absolutely lovely, her lithe body leaning into the tree in front of her like a nymph in an enchanted wood. He swallowed hard as his eyes traveled from her face to what was visible of her body. He could see that she wore only a thin, flimsy garment that fell only to her thighs, leaving most of her shapely legs exposed for his hungry eyes. The thin fabric clung to her form, revealing the shape of her rounded hips and tiny waist, as well as the side of one beautifully rounded breast and delicate white shoulder.

When his eyes moved back to her lovely face, Darcy was surprised, but gratified, to find her doe-like eyes raking over his body with maidenly fascination. When her eyes returned to meet his, he nervously managed a brief greeting, to which she timidly replied. Unable to help himself, Darcy took a step towards her, hoping that he would not frighten her with his growing arousal. She didn't seem frightened. Her eyes did move over his body again, but instead of a scowl of fear and disgust, her full lips turned up in a smile, and her eyes sparkled with openness and anticipation.

Elizabeth was truly fascinated by the man before her. Her eyes were drawn to a different tensing muscle each time he moved. She noticed that his eyes were the most incredible shade of deep blue, framed beautifully by thick, long lashes. She blushed as she realized that he must have noticed her staring. A nervous laugh escaped her lips.

"Forgive me, sir, for...staring so. You must think me terribly unladylike, but I assure you I am a gentleman's daughter..."

"Not at all, my lady," Darcy replied when he finally found his tongue. "I'm afraid I am the one who must apologize for starring...though, I assure you, I am a gentleman."

Elizabeth bestowed upon him her most radiant smile, causing such a constriction in Darcy's chest as he had never before experienced. As he stood, transfixed, Elizabeth's eyes dropped once again to his tempting torso, causing her to laugh at her own hopelessness.

"You remind me of a Greek statue come to life, sir. I have always through that such...appealing features must be terribly exaggerated, but...it seems I was wrong."

Darcy was thrilled that she apparently found him appealing as he found her. With such irresistible temptation before him, he could not but step closer, and closer still until his hand rested on the tree behind which she hid her luscious form from his eyes. With his other hand, he slowly reached for one of hers, raising it to his lips for a lingering kiss before pressing her palm against the center of his chest. His large, warm hand covered hers, holding it against him so that she could feel the accelerated beating of his heart under her palm.

Elizabeth was elated. Her captive hand was enveloped in the warmth from his large hand and firm chest. His heart pounded as though he had been running. Could she really be responsible for that? The thought was flattering, to say the least. Unable to resist, she began to press her fingertips into the firm flesh under her hand.

"You're so lovely," Darcy whispered reverently, moving his hand from hers to cup her cheek. His thumb lightly traced the shape of her plump lips. He was enchanted.

Darcy briefly wondered if he was out of his mind. Perhaps the weeks of fitful sleep and self-recrimination were beginning to take their toll on his sanity. He knew it was wrong to behave thus. But, by God, she was exactly what he needed! Her delicate fingers were shyly exploring the planes of his chest with tentative interest. Her lips parted under his touch.

Elizabeth's heart soared as his deep, sensual voice pronounced her to be lovely. Granted, he had not yet seen Jane, but she would relish the attention while she could. For a moment, she contemplated telling him he was lovely as well, but wasn't sure that this was a complement that would appeal to a gentleman. Before she could formulate another response, he continued-

"Will you not tell me your name, my beautiful little wood nymph," he asked with a rakish grin.

"Elizabeth," was her simple answer. The impropriety of her answer briefly impressed itself upon Elizabeth's mind, but she quickly disregarded it. For heaven's sake, she was soaking wet, in transparent undergarments, alone in the woods with this man! Allowing him to use her given name should be the least of her worries.

"Elizabeth," he purred, tracing his fingers over the wild waves of her hair. "I'm William."

Elizabeth studied William's face, the handsomest she'd ever seen, then hesitantly moved her hand from his chest to the side of his neck, tracing her thumb over his strong jaw. Darcy briefly cursed his thoughtlessness at allowing himself to leave the house unshaven that morning, but soon relaxed as Elizabeth seemed fascinated by the rough texture of his jaw. Indeed, she thought that the faint shadow emphasized his best features. It was quite fascinating. He was rough and hard where she was soft and smooth.

Darcy captured her hand in his and gave it a gentle tug.

"Will you not come out from behind that tree, Miss Elizabeth?" he asked. His mesmerizing sapphire eyes smoldered as they looked pleadingly at her through the dark curtain of his lashes. Elizabeth blushed, but found herself drawn towards him, curious and eager to discover what he had in store for her.

When she stepped completely away from the tree, William thought he would simply die of desire. He could clearly see the shape of her perfect breasts and erect nipples through the clinging garment. Her waist was so delightfully small in contrast to her enticingly rounded hips. He could make out a slight darkness between her thighs that looked so comforting, so inviting. He longed to bury himself deep within her, to fully enjoy the pleasures such a goddess could offer, but the last shreds of his self-control would never allow that. She had shown him such trust and tenderness. He would never harm the angel God, in his mercy, had sent his way. He only wanted to hold her, to give her pleasure she had never dreamed of, to see the look of ecstasy on her face as he satisfied her.

Elizabeth blushed anew under the heat of his passionate gaze. Slowly, she stepped closer to him, placing her hands on either side of his abdomen, squeezing and kneading the pleasingly taut musculature there. Darcy's hands immediately grasped her tempting hips, pulling her body against his as his lips descended on hers for a deep, hungry kiss.

Both immediately lost all capacity for rational thought. They proceeded to lose themselves in deep, ardent kisses, tasting each other's lips and basking in each other's scent. When Darcy felt Elizabeth's lips part beneath his, he gently edged his tongue into her mouth to find hers. Elizabeth had never previously known such a thing was done, but it was far from unpleasant. Knowing she was yet an innocent maiden, Darcy slowed his pace to allow her to acclimate herself to this new intimacy, patiently employing his own tongue to train hers. When at last she responded with confidence, he clasped her to his body and kissed her until she felt lightheaded. Elizabeth clung to his strong shoulders with everything she had, glorying in raw power she felt emanating from his body. She had never known such desire. It was exquisite.

After several minutes spent in this manor, Darcy desired to look at her face, to see that passion in her fine eyes. Breaking their searing kiss, he took in her lips, appealingly swollen and reddened from their activities, and then her lovely eyes, so full of passion and excitement for him. Likewise, Elizabeth studied his magnificent countenance. His blue eyes practically glowed with passion. When they moved down to her nearly naked body, she shivered with excitement. When his large, disconcertingly warm hand followed the path his eyes had taken, her knees nearly gave way.

Sensing her weakness, Darcy gently lifted her from her feet and deposited her on the soft ground. He paused for only a moment to admire her as she looked expectantly up at him from the forest floor, her wild curls resting among the leaves. She was a thing of the other world, sent to entice him beyond his capability to resist. Darcy pressed his body onto hers, pressing her deeper into the yielding foliage underneath her. Elizabeth instinctively arched her back to press her hips against his, not realizing that her bold move would nearly prove his undoing.

Darcy moaned deeply and grasped her hip, holding it securely against him while he pressed his throbbing arousal against her, desperately wishing that he could make her his, but having already decided not to. He could, however, introduce her to the pleasures of the flesh and take delight in pleasing her. Darcy captured her willing lips once again, moving his hand under the fabric of her chemise to grasp her firm thigh, gently massaging there until she practically purred with pleasure. She continued to move her hips insistently under him, searching for something she didn't understand. All she knew was that she needed something from him. With eager hands, she tugged his shirt from his waistband and pulled it upwards, proceeding to caress his back and abdomen, almost unable to believe how soft and warm his skin felt under her hands.

With shaking fingers, Darcy untied the ribbon at the neckline of her chemise, pulling back once more to beg her approval with his eyes before proceeding. Carefully, his fingers pushed aside the fabric to reveal one perfect breast which his hand immediately covered. Her breasts were not large, but just full enough to fill his palm quite pleasingly. Darcy noted Elizabeth's pleasure at his touch, and gently began stimulating her nipple with his fingers, then with his tongue. Elizabeth briefly regretted the unladylike sounds that escaped her throat at the sensation of his cool, wet tongue on such a sensitive area, but was soon so overrun by the sensations he was creating that she forgot her embarrassment entirely.

Darcy was beginning to feel the limit of his control quickly approaching. He decided that if he was to maintain his resolution not to deflower her, he would need to proceed with giving her her pleasure at once. To that end, he moved to the side, reclining on one elbow on his side, then pulling her body to spoon against his. He allowed himself to palm her delectable breasts for a few moments more. Elizabeth felt a desperate need to touch him, so she moved one hand behind her to grasp and stroke his thigh, which was well muscled from years of fencing and horseback riding. She turned her head back to kiss his lips once more, wishing with all her heart that this moment would never end. Here was a man, the most beautiful she had ever seen, that wanted her. Not Jane, her.

Elizabeth gasped when Darcy lifted her leg and draped it over his own, causing a sudden rush of cool air to caress the sensitive area between her thighs. Darcy proceeded slowly, being careful not to frighten her with sudden movements. His hand traced over her outer thigh, inching her chemise higher with each stroke. Elizabeth whimpered when he moved to caress her inner thigh, involuntarily grinding her bottom against his arousal. With a primal groan, Darcy pressed himself harder against her, slowly undulating his hips against her softness. At last, his fingers reached their ultimate destination, to the mutual undoing of both.

"Oh, Elizabeth," Darcy whispered huskily in her ear, as he delighted in her helpless cry of ecstasy when his finger slipped into her. In only a matter of minutes, Elizabeth arched her back as her cries grew loader. Her fingers found their way back into his hair, grasping and pulling at it as she reached a level of ecstasy she had never previously imagined. Keeping gentle pressure on her womanhood to prolong her fulfillment, Darcy desperately removed his other hand from her breast to release his straining manhood from his breeches, needing only one or two strokes to find his own release.

They both lay panting on the ground for some time before Darcy regained the presence of mind to refasten his breeches. Moments later, Elizabeth rolled to face him, propping herself up on one elbow to study his face, now so relaxed with satisfaction. She traced the line of his jaw, then down his throat to the open buttons at the top of his shirt. She caressed the soft, dark curls on his chest, leaning down to bestow a gentle kiss where she could see the pulse pounding in his throat. Her eyes wandered to the exposed skin at his abdomen. She was immediately taken with the rows of paired muscles on his stomach. Drawing his shirt aside, she leaned down to gently kiss and caress the area of interest. Darcy groaned when her tongue dipped into his navel. Clearly his wood nymph was still feeling amorous, much to his delight and masculine satisfaction.

As much as Darcy would have dearly loved to stir them both to passion again, he knew that, for her sake, they needed to part now. His heart clinched at the thought of allowing her to walk away from him, not knowing if they would ever meet again. When he voiced his concerns to his lovely companion, she simply smiled and replied,

"If we are meant to meet again, we shall. That is, if you're even real. I find myself worrying that you're too perfect to be flesh and blood."

Darcy laughed at her high estimation of his person. He knew that he was admired by many women of the ton, and often sought after as a lover by the dissatisfied wives of his peers. Until this day, he had thought of his attractiveness as somewhat of a curse, for it made it impossible for him to escape the notice of matchmaking mamas and the unwanted advances of disreputable women. Today, however, he could not have been more happy that he appealed to this pure, captivating young lady.

"There is a being that I read about once in my father's library," Elizabeth continued, "called an incubus-a demon who takes the form of a handsome man in order to seduce human women. I think that is what you are." She paused for a moment to push his unruly hair from his eyes, once again being drawn into their blue depths. Leaning down to whisper in his ear, she continued, "return not to hell, my dark angel, but stay here, on earth, with me."

Darcy groaned and rolled her under his body, pinning her there with his weight and mass. Elizabeth hitched her leg over his hip, and caressed his chest with both hands.

"I fear, my lady, that I must contradict you. I am all too human. You, however, are too lovely to be of this world. What are you? Fairy? Nymph? Angel?" He began kissing her once again, this time slowly and deeply. His arousal was quickly returning, and he knew that, soon, he would no longer be able maintain his resolution to respect her maidenhead. He would have to leave her now, or truly become the demon she thought him to be.

With herculean effort, Darcy removed his lips and body from hers, pulling them both to their feet. He tenderly cupped her beautiful face in his hands, closing his eyes and leaning his forehead against hers.

"Elizabeth, I must part from you now before I do something that we would both regret. I have no wish to harm you in any way. You are too precious. I thank you for what you have given me of yourself today, but I would be a beast if I took more."

Elizabeth reached up to cup his face as well, gently placing kisses on his cheek and jaw.

"If we are meant to meet again, then we will. I know we will."

After a final, tender kiss, Darcy helped Elizabeth dress herself before waving goodbye as he watched her disappear into the woods. Once she was gone, he began to doubt that she had been real. He would pine for her forever if she never materialized before him again.

Elizabeth eagerly awaited the arrival of the Netherfield party at he assembly late that evening. She fervently hoped that her handsome William was the Mr. Bingley who had taken the lease at Netherfield. If he was not, she was sure she would die of disappointment.

When the doors finally opened to admit a party of two fine-looking ladies and two unremarkable gentlemen, her heart began to sink in her chest. Sir William Lucas introduced Elizabeth and Jane to Mr. Bingley and the remainder of his party, disabusing Elizabeth of the hope that she would see her William again. Jane soon began to chat amiably with the real Mr. Bingley, whom the former lady seemed quite taken with, as he was, unsurprisingly, with her. Elizabeth caught only a small portion of what the gentleman was saying.

"_my friend, Darcy, should be right behind us_business to attend to_coming on horseback_"

The doors opened again, this time to reveal a tall, handsome gentleman dressed in very fine clothes, with dark, windblown hair and stunning blue eyes.

"It's him," Elizabeth sighed.

Darcy entered the assembly hall with more anticipation than he had ever spared for any social event in his life. He was sure he would meet Elizabeth again there, and the thought filled him with anticipation, but also with no small amount of anxiety. What if she had come to resent their actions of that morning? Would she reject him? Fear him? Or worse, would her father be awaiting his presence with a loaded rifle?

Pushing his fears and misgivings aside, Darcy dismounted and handed his reigns to the groom. This was it. There could be no more delays. He must enter the assembly hall and face his fate, no matter the outcome.

As the doors parted to reveal quite an energetic crowd within, Darcy scanned the plethora of faces, searching for one with lovely porcelain skin and fine chocolate eyes.

Those eyes were what captured him as they locked with his. She had already spotted him, and was staring in his direction with an expression of hope and relief. Darcy was pleased to find that Elizabeth looked just as alluring fully clothed as she had nearly bare in the woods that morning. She wore a gown of thin yellow muslin with a low neckline and form-hugging shape. Her long curls were arranged in an artful mass atop her head with just a few short tendrils left down to frame her pretty face. He was still enchanted.

Darcy had thought a good deal about their encounter throughout the day. In truth, he had thought of nothing else. Common decency dictated that he now ask for Elizabeth's hand in marriage, as he had clearly compromised her. As far as he knew, they had not been seen together, but surely his actions had raised her hopes and expectations. It was wonderful to think that, when she had happily accepted his advances, she had not know who he was, and had no inkling of his fortune or social standing. It had been most refreshing to be wanted for himself and himself alone. The allure of such a match was potent indeed. The thought that, as her husband, he could finish what he had begun that morning by the pond was tempting in the extreme.

The one drawback was that he was sure that Elizabeth's family's social standing and connections were not on the same level with his. She did not strike him as a young lady from the first circles, which, in truth, was a large part of her appeal. She had, at least, revealed to him that she was a gentleman's daughter. In that much they were equals.

Bringing his thoughts back to the pleasing vision she presented in yellow, Darcy began to search for a way to secure a formal introduction, and, with any luck, the next set. When he noticed Bingley standing quite close to her, speaking animatedly to a beautiful blonde woman, the solution became clear. He need only go to his friend, who had, apparently, already been introduced.

Elizabeth's heart faltered anew as William strode towards her. He had clearly recognized her, and, to her relief, appeared pleased with what he saw. She openly admired his form as he approached. In his perfectly cut black jacket and trousers with a deep burgundy waistcoat and silk cravat he looked stunningly handsome. A quick glance around her told Elizabeth that she was not the only lady admiring the handsome newcomer. Several of the town's women, including her own mother, were staring open-mouthed at the fine specimen who had come so unexpectedly into their midst. Even Jane had torn her eyes from Mr. Bingley's to spare an appreciative glance at Mr. Bingley's friend. He stood out among her neighbors like a sleek, black thoroughbred amongst the tawny farm geldings.

"Ah, Darcy, there you are!" Bingley smiled cheerfully as his friend approached the group.

"Bingley, perhaps you would be so kind as to introduce me to your lovely companions," he hinted with a glance in Elizabeth's direction.

Bingley quickly acceded to his friend's request for an introduction, surprised though he was at Darcy's suddenly improved mood and taste for social interaction. He was also a bit relieved that Darcy seemed to be more interested in his new angel's sister than in the angel herself.

"Of course," Bingley answered. "Darcy, may I introduce the Misses Bennet, Miss Jane and Miss Elizabeth. Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth, may I introduce my friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, Derbyshire."

Bows and curtseys were made as required, and Mr. Bingley immediately resumed were he left off in his conversation with Jane, leaving Darcy happily free to converse with Elizabeth.

"Miss Elizabeth, may I say how much of a pleasure it is to meet you?"

"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Darcy," Elizabeth blushingly responded, her thoughts traitorously straying to the pleasure that had been hers in his presence earlier that day.

Noting her very becoming blush, Darcy grinned encouragingly and asked for her hand for the next set.

Elizabeth, of course, happily accepted.

As they moved gracefully up and down the set, Darcy and Elizabeth's eyes rarely broke contact. Each time their hands came together, Darcy gently squeezed her delicate fingers, sending shocks of sensation straight to her center. She enjoyed watching the way he moved, impossibly graceful despite his size and hight. Darcy admired the becoming flush of her cheeks and neck and, of course, the tantalizing view of her d├ęcolletage. He could not stop himself from remembering how perfect and beautiful her breasts were, and how pleasingly they fit into his palms. His trousers were becoming increasingly uncomfortable as his arousal grew. He fervently hoped that no one would notice his predicament.

When the dance ended, Darcy, surrendering to the temptation before him, bent close to his lovely partner and whispered huskily in her ear.

"Miss Elizabeth, I'm feeling a bit overheated, and could use some air. Would you accompany me out onto the terrace?"

Elizabeth, sure that air wasn't what he sought on the terrace, quickly nodded her head in acquiescence. They could, of course, not be seen leaving together, so Elizabeth calmly curtseyed to her handsome companion and sauntered towards the open french doors. Darcy watched her go, forcing himself to remain in the ballroom long enough to avoid drawing the attention of any of their fellow revelers.

At last, he found himself emerging out into the cool night, and before he could even take a breath, he was in Elizabeth's arms, her soft lips insistently pressing against his as her delicate little fingers firmly grasped his lapels to hold him close.

Placing his hands firmly on either side of her tiny waist, Darcy backed Elizabeth up against the stone wall, pressing her soft form between it and his overheated body. All the while, his tongue ravaged her mouth as he savored the taste of the wine she had imbibed. Her soft, plaintive moans were the most moving music he had ever heard.

Darcy allowed himself to indulge his baser side for only a few minutes, knowing that he must consider Elizabeth's reputation. At any time, someone could walk out and discover them. They would, of course, be forced to marry, not that he would mind excessively. He had already decided that she was his fate, his destiny. For her sake, he forced his hands to relinquish their hold on her soft curves, moving to the slightly more acceptable position of cradling one of her gloved hands between them. He traced her swollen lips with his tongue one final time before pulling back with a resigned sigh.

"Elizabeth, I must tell you how utterly lovely you look tonight," he breathed huskily in her ear.

Elizabeth laughed nervously and retorted,

"You look rather dashing fully clothed yourself."

"Minx," he teased, giving in to the temptation to nip gently at the curve of her shoulder.

In order to give relief to her own fears, Elizabeth timidly asked Darcy if he had noticed her sister, Jane.

"Your sister? Which one was she?" Darcy vaguely remembered being introduced to Elizabeth's sister, but, as his eyes had been only for her, had to think quite hard to remember the lady's face.

"Jane is the beautiful blonde who was speaking with Mr. Bingley when you arrived. She is, by far, the more beautiful..."

" I did notice a classically beautiful young lady speaking to my friend. Bingley seemed quite taken with her. I can see the concern in your eyes, darling, but you needn't fear. Your sister is a very handsome woman, but you are much more to my taste. I adore your earthy, natural beauty, and your adventurous spirit and passionate nature. You are so unspoiled by the materialism and shallowness of fashionable society. All of these things tell me that you are exactly the kind of woman I need, but never dared hope to find."

Elizabeth smiled happily and squeezed his fingers. She began to think she must be losing her wits. She had only known this man since that morning, yet she was so taken with him that she felt desperately jealous of him, even where her own beloved sister was concerned. His speech had put her fears to rest, however, and she allowed herself to simply enjoy the pleasure of gazing into his captivating eyes.

"I know very little about you, William...Mr. Darcy. However, what I have seen of you answers all my wishes." Finishing her little speech, Elizabeth blushed as she thought about what, specifically, she had seen of Mr. Darcy during their interlude together. As of yet, she had found nothing wanting in him, and she had seen quite a bit.

"Our relationship has had a most unconventional beginning, darling," Darcy continued, "but I believe that, with the implementation of some self-command and the use of a good chaperone, we can proceed in a more conventional fashion, hopefully ending with the ability to indulge our passions with the blessing of God and man."

He paused to capture her other hand and press gentle kisses onto each of her knuckles. Looking intently into her eyes, he continued,

"Miss Elizabeth, it is my intention to court you, with the hope of earning your love and winning your hand in marriage. If this is agreeable to you, I will call on you at your home and ask your father for his permission and blessing on our relationship. Does this sound agreeable to you?"

"Most agreeable, dear sir." Elizabeth beamed up at her handsome new suitor, thrilled at the prospect of having such a beau, and, one day, such a husband.

The courtship of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Elizabeth Bennet was a stormy one, filled with many emotional highs and lows. While the couple was delighted with each other, those connected with each held opinions ranging from embarrassingly rapturous delight in the prospect of their marriage to fierce disapproval and disdain for the match. It can easily be guessed which particular members of each family held what opinion, so the particulars of how said opinions were so demonstratively expressed are not much worth mentioning here. Suffice it to say, many outside opinions were expressed, worked through, and, ultimately, brushed aside by the young couple.

As for the opinions of the young people themselves regarding their happiness in the match, it gives me great pleasure to inform the reader that they each found much to admire and, eventually, love in the other. Over time, they discovered that they shared many opinions, tastes, and habits in common. Their dispositions and temperaments, though not the same, were found to be most complementary.

Darcy was delighted by Elizabeth's wit and natural intelligence, as Elizabeth was delighted by Darcy's obvious delight in these, her most defining traits. She had always wished to marry a man who loved her for herself, one who would see her liveliness of mind as an asset rather than a flaw. It seemed that, in Darcy, she had found the answer to this wish. Elizabeth, in turn, was also pleased with his intelligence. His manners, though in need of some softening and refining, were not unpleasing. She was continually surprised and pleased by his warm solicitousness towards herself.

There were times when Darcy momentarily lapsed in politeness towards Elizabeth's family, but, after some display of displeasure, which stemmed from wounded pride more than actual offense, she found it in her heart to forgive him these missteps. After all, she had had her entire life to grow used to the more shocking behavior of her mother and younger sisters. Surely Darcy should be given at least some time to accustom himself to them without facing censure each time his shock overwhelmed his patience. Elizabeth soon found herself grateful that, after being exposed to the worse behavior her family had to offer, he still found it in his heart to desire her as his partner in life.

As for the passion and instant attraction that brought our young couple together, it grew only stronger as their attachment deepened and flourished with their courtship. True to his word, Darcy remained ever the gentleman during the seasons of courtship and engagement, waiting patiently until their union had been sanctified before God and man before claiming Elizabeth as his own.

Elizabeth could not hide her surprise and confusion as her new husband ordered the driver to stop the carriage just off the main road to Meryton after they departed from the wedding breakfast. He then proceeded to lead her by the hand through the woods, wedding gown be damned, until they emerged into a small clearing with a cool, inviting pond. There, in the place they had first discovered each other, Darcy laid his precious wife on the bed of soft leaves and made love to her for the first time. Though the weather had turned too cool for a dip in the pond, the blissfully sated couple sat for several moments at its banks, basking in the joy of their love and their gratitude to the forces that brought them together on that hot late-summer morning.

Six months later...

Darcy rose shortly after dawn and set off into the woods near his ancestral home, intent on taking a refreshing swim in the cool spring with the small waterfall that he knew lay hidden therein. He hadn't taken the trouble to dress formally. The day was warm, so he wore only his breeches, boots, and shirtsleeves.

When he reached the clearing with the sparkling spring, his eyes were drawn by the most bewitching sight. Standing under the waterfall, with the glistening water flowing over her voluptuous body, was the most enchanting siren he had ever beheld. Her long, dark hair flowed down over her full breasts, and her creamy white skin glowed in contrast. Her belly was beautifully rounded with child. She was an enticing fertility goddess lurking in his woods to tempt him with her delights.

When the goddess beckoned for him to join her in the water, Darcy quickly obliged. He divested himself of his clothing, leaving it lying on the forest floor, and strode into the water towards the lovely creature who had so captivated him.

She reached for him, and he took him in his arms, his hands worshiping the gentle curve of her belly. Their lips met, their tongues danced together, the silence of the forest was broken by the enchantress' sighs of pleasure. Her dainty hand slid down Darcy's chest and abdomen, under the water were it found his straining arousal. Gently, she stroked him, reveling in each moan she pulled from his lips.

No longer able to resist her allure, Darcy gripped the siren's thighs and wrapped them around his waist, thrusting into her in one swift motion. For several long moments, they simply remained as they were, bodies connected, lips and hands caressing every inch of available skin. At last, Darcy carried his lovely goddess out of the water, lying down on the shore with her beautiful body astride his. He lay, enthralled, as the delectable creature began to ride him, ravishing his body and his heart with each undulation. She tossed her dark head back as her body succumbed to wave after wave of pleasure. In seconds, her husband fell over the edge with her, pulling himself up so that he could enfold his precious wife in his arms.

Caressing his unborn child in her belly, Darcy drew Elizabeth's lips to his for another probing kiss. For the rest of his life, he would thank his lucky stars that heaven had seen fit to send this etherial creature across his path that day in Hertfordshire, for there could be no other woman in this world or the next whom he could ever love and admire more ardently than she.