I apologize for not updating like, five hundred years ago, as I had promised. School get's in the way a lot. And I didn't really expect the response I got from the first chapter only, so wow, thanks for all the reviews/follows/favourites! It means a lot!
PS: I changed my pen name from cellophanesoldiers to armsoftheocean in case anyone is confused!
Jane and Charlie looked disgustingly happy. Absolutely, completely, and revoltingly happy. But Lizzy was happy for her- if anyone deserved someone as good as her own self, it was Jane. She smiled, while watching the couple dance on the floor in pre-marital bliss. Well, at least someone was going to be happy, she thought, quickly scanning the crowd for maybe for hundredth time for him. She'd been dying to apologize- or something for the past two months- in which she'd gone without seeing Will at all. How on earth could I have been so stupid? And to think I used to pride myself upon being a good judge of character, she thought cynically to herself, amazed at how George had duped her so quickly with an easy smile and charm.
"Come on, Lizzy- you've been standing around all night- why don't you dance?" Jane appeared in front of her, her cheeks flushed and a bright smile gracing her features.
"Hey- your engagement party. Shouldn't you be the one dancing?" Lizzy retorted, falling into step next to her sister.
"Because I just wasn't doing that, right?" Jane teased, picking up two champagne glasses from a passing waiter, handing one to Lizzy.
"It's just..." Lizzy sighed, taking a sip from the glass. "Nothing- just nothing," she said brightly, not wanting to ruin Jane's night.
"Oh please, Lizzy- we practically shared a womb. I can tell when something's wrong," Jane said wisely, grabbing Lizzy's wrist and pulling her to an empty table.
Lizzy let out a bark of laughter, before collapsing down into the chair. "First off, we didn't practically share a womb- if I remember correctly, you were born a good three years before me." To this, Jane waved a hand in the air and huffed slightly. "Details, details."
"And secondly," Lizzy continued, before taking another dredge of wine, "Nothing is wrong- I swear. Seriously- go dance with your fiancé- whom, if I may add seems to be giving me death glares for taking away his precious little angel."
Jane laughed, shaking her head, before her smile slipped off her face. "It's because of Will, isn't it?" Jane questioned quietly, her eyes scanning the ballroom of Netherfield for the man in question.
"Jane... just-" Lizzy sighed, and let out a frustrated groan. "I've been so stupid and blind. And I can't help but feel so guilty for being so ignorant after reading that letter, and I just..." she trailed off, her fingers tapping impatiently against the table.
"Look, just pretend I didn't say anything, okay? It's your engagement party, and you're supposed to be having fun. Not listening to your little sister's stupid mistakes," Lizzy replied.
Jane scowled at this. "Lizzy- your problems are not stupid- besides, Charlie can last a few minutes without me, and I know that you've been beating yourself up about this whole Will situation, and really, the best solution would be to just talk it out with him!"
"That's just it, Jane- I can't. I feel so embarrassed about being so taken in by Wickham's charming façade, I can't look at Darcy without feeling like my five year old self- getting scolded by Mom for taking cookies from the cookie jar before dinner!" Lizzy exclaimed.
"Well- I think you've got your chance now- Will's just walked in," Jane informed her quickly, before shooting Lizzy a quick grin. "Good luck!" She whispered gleefully, before dashing back to Charlie's waiting form.
"Wait- Jane!" Lizzy hissed, rapidly glancing around the ballroom, a pit of worry forming in the bottom of her stomach. Her eyes flicked over the entrance, and froze as she saw him walking in. His hair was messy as usual, his tall figure clad in a dark suit.
Lizzy had known she'd run into him- of course, it was bound to happen. He was the best man, and she was the maid of honour, and both of their best friends were getting married. But after not seeing him the entire summer, she'd assumed he'd been avoiding her. Or something like that.
Shit- shit shit shit, a little voice inside Lizzy's head began to panic as he began to near. "Idiot girl- stop being a coward and talk to him," she muttered to herself, before plastering a huge, forced smile on her face. She opened her mouth to greet him, before freezing. What the hell do I call him - Darcy? Will? Mr. Darcy? Fitzwilliam? God, no, who the hell even uses a name like that these days? I'll sound like some pretentious idiot- like that ridiculous aunt of his- shit, maybe I shouldn't be insulting his famil-
"Hello!" she said, forgoing his name entirely, and quickly cutting off her rambling thoughts. "How are you?" she continued, tapping her fingers on the sides of her thighs.
He paused in front of her, his brows wrinkling in slight confusing, before a bemused smile appeared on his face. "I'm... fine- and you?"
"Great! Been busy, you know- with the internship at Ludwig- took up a lot of my time!" she said with a slightly nervous laugh. "And you? I haven't seen you around the past couple months," she added curiously.
"Oh, well, I've been out visiting the other offices in London, California and Italy... making sure everything was working," he said, almost apologetically, before taking a seat in the empty chair next to her.
"Oh- right," Lizzy responded, an awkward pause falling between the pair. Just apologize, you idiot! a voice shouted to her inside her head.
"This is a good song," Will said suddenly, breaking the silence, as an old Frank Sinatra song began to play. Lizzy nodded noncommittally in response.
"I haven't heard it for quite a while," he added on, almost conversationally. "Nice tune to it."
Lizzy turned her head, and gave him an odd look, wondering what he was trying to get at. "Er, yes."
"It's got a nice dance beat, don't you think?" he questioned, before scratching the side of his head.
"Definitely," she responded, confused. It was a slow jazz number- there was no dance beat. Will mumbled something in response, a questioning gaze in his eyes.
He cleared his throat. "I wanted to know if you wanted to dance. To this song. With me- I mean," he finished hastily with an embarrassed smile.
Lizzy stared at him, wondering if she had heard correctly. "Oh, sure!" she said, slightly baffled, before smiling at him in response.
The pair of them got up, and made their way to the dance floor, Will's had placed at the small of her back. A shiver of anticipation ran up Lizzy's spine, as he placed his hands at her waist, her arms wrapped around the back of his neck, as they began to sway.
A solid minute of silence passed between the pair of them, before Lizzy broke the silence.
"I just wanted to say... that- that I'm sorry. I made so many terrible assumptions, and I just can't believe how blind and stupid I've been, and I just wanted to say I am really, reallyreally, sorry and I just wish that-" Lizzy began, her words speeding up, before Will cut her off.
"There's nothing to apologize for," he said, with a slight smile. "You were told certain things by someone who you thought you could trust, and Wickham always has been a very persuasive person," he said with a slight scowl. "And I don't blame you for your mistrust of me- I hadn't exactly made the best first impression- or second," he finished with a slight laugh.
It was nice- his laugh. Deep and throaty, Lizzy observed. She hadn't ever heard him laugh before. Or come to think of it, she hadn't seen him smile this much either.
"I just feel terrible for judging you... how I did- and saying all those terrible things when we were- er, at the restaurant," she finished, her face turning a deep shade of red, as she remembered the certain things Will had said on that night.
And the thing was, she despised herself for judging him so quickly, for making such assumptions about his entire person, simply because her pride and ego had been damaged upon their first meeting. And the self-loathing had been eating away at her very core ever since she opened the letter he had dropped off the same night, because she had been so verywrong. If there was one thing Lizzy hated, it was to admit that she was in the wrong. And to think, maybe the pair of them would have had a chance at a real relationship, if she hadn't been so callous with her judgement.
The swayed silently to the soft, strumming sound of the guitar for a few minutes, her skin burned feverishly where Will had placed his hands, and a slow ache built inside her body, her heart hammering. She took a deep breath, attempting to calm her racing heart, wondering if he could hear it beating, closing her eyes, and inhaling deeply, only to inhale the smell of Will- it was citrusy, clean, and just purely Will- causing her head to spin even more. Lizzy saw Charlotte shoot her an anxious glance, her eyes sparkling with mirth at her friend's obvious confusion with her conflicting feelings.
"I think that we should perhaps start over," Will said promptly, as the song ended. Lizzy disentangled her arms, feeling oddly empty from not having him near her.
"Start over?" she questioned, cocking her head to the side.
"Yes. I'm William Darcy. And you are?" he asked with a huge grin slipping onto his face, causing Lizzy to smile hugely back in response, her heart fluttering from the change a smile on his face could do. He'd been handsome before, even with his features sullen and cross- he had the whole tall, dark hair, and imposing figure down to an art. But with a smile? Her heart jumped a mile- he looked younger than his thirty years, the boyish charm melting away the harsh lines.
"Are you sure your name is William? I swear I've heard people call you Fitzwilliam. Maybe I should call you that too?" she said with a teasing glint in her eyes. He laughed again, and the sound of it made her stomach flip.
"Whatever you want to call me," he said lightly. "Now, your name?"
"Elizabeth Bennet," she continued, playing along. "But you can call me Lizzy- all my friends do," she added.
"So, Lizzy," he began, testing out her name out- it slipped from his lips effortlessly, and caused a delicious feeling to travel up Lizzy's spine because of how her name sounded coming out of his mouth. "Would you like to go out for dinner tomorrow night?"
"Like... a date?" she asked, her smile threatening to get even wider.
"Whatever you want it to be," he said with a slight shrug, his face portraying much more emotion than Lizzy was used to. It seemed as if his solemn and arrogant mask had simply melted away.
"I suppose I can free up some time for you," she said, before grinning hugely. He beamed back at her, and they stood in the middle of the dance floor, staring at each other like complete idiots for a whole minute, before Charlie and Jane walked by.
"About time, you idiots," Charlie whispered loudly, smacking Will on the back, causing the two of them to turn beet red. Jane gave Lizzy a huge grin, and a thumbs up. Charlie and Jane rushed away, grabbing Richard and Charlotte on their way. Lizzy stared in confusion, before she saw the four of them bending their heads together, wallets being pulled out, and money being exchanged.
Realization dawned on Lizzy as Charlotte, looking grim, shoved a green bill into Richard's hands. "I can't believe it! They made a bet on us!" exclaimed Lizzy, her mouth gaping open in shock. Will laughed in response, before grinning down at her, and threading his fingers through Lizzy's slim ones.
"Well, at least they had more hope in us?" he offered. Lizzy chuckled in response
"I forgot to ask. Did you um, take the job at Stanford?" Will asked, the smile slipping off his face slightly.
"Oh- no, I didn't. I think...there might be something worth staying in New York for," she responded, glancing down at their intertwined hands, a smile playing at her lips.
*Seven months later*
It was safe to say, the last seven months of both Lizzy and Will's lives had been, well, amazing. They'd quickly fallen into an easy relationship of a couple who had known each other for their entire life. There had, of course, been the fights, in which they'd get into a heated debate, both with opposing opinions, resulting in not speaking to each other for several days, before one or the other would rush over to the other's apartment, and apologize profusely, which resulted in a rather... passionate reconciliation, in which Jane would evacuate the apartment for the next twenty-four hours and hide over at Charlie's. Which is why they found themselves at a wedding, seven months later. Not exactly their own wedding, but the wedding of their two best friends.
"This is nice," said Lizzy, throwing a grin over at the tall man in a tuxedo sitting next to her.
"There are so many people here though, for Christ's sake- how on earth do Jane and Charlie even know these many people?" Will mused, shaking his head, his eyes flicking across the outdoor garden where the reception was taking place, which seemed to be almost bursting with hundreds of people.
"Come on- you're the best man, I'm sure you know some people," Lizzy said with a roll of her eyes.
"Hmm, let's see," Will said, his eyes skimming quickly over the clustered crowd of Jane and Charlie's wedding reception.
"There's you, Georgie, Charlie, Jane, oh, and Charlotte over there- and unfortunately, Caroline- that I know. I think that sums it up," he said, counting off the names on one hand.
Lizzy laughed in response, before shaking her head. "I'll bet that half these people were invited by my Mom, and the other half by Caroline."
"Sounds about right," Will replied dryly.
"When we get married, we're not having these many people here," retorted Lizzy, before continuing without even processing what she had said, "I'd like probably about, oh, I don't know three people at ours?" And then it clicked inside her head.
Will looked slightly alarmed, his eyes bugging out slightly.
"I- oh. I just meant, you know- at my wedding. If that ever happened," Lizzy said, slightly mortified. You had to open your big mouth, didn't you, Lizzy?
"Was that a proposal, Lizzy Bennet?" Will asked, the corners of his lips twitching.
"I just- no!" Lizzy replied, a dark blush building up in her cheeks. "You're the one who's been carrying around a ring box!" she blurted out.
The smile slipped off Will's face. "That's not for you. Besides, how'd you even know that?" he demanded.
Lizzy scoffed, the mortification from several seconds ago fading. "Please. The only other females in your life in any sort of way is Georgie, Lucy- your secretary who is ten years older than you, Mrs. Reynolds and Jane. I doubt you're holding out for your sister, and I think Jane's been called for," Lizzy said drily, leaning back in her chair, a satisfied grin on her face. "Oh, and Caroline. Unless you want to get married to the spawn of Satan, don't let me stand in your way." Will flinched in horror at the comment about Caroline.
"And I found it in a suit jacket you left in my laundry hamper two weeks ago, genius."
Will's cheeks coloured slightly, remembering those eight days whrn he couldn't find the ring, but didn't think much of it- he'd probably left it at work. He mumbled something under his breath, before digging into his pocket and pulling out a small velvet box. Lizzy's jaw slackened.
"Well, I've been carrying this around for five months now. I didn't want to... scare you or anything. But I assume since you haven't run away screaming when you first found it..." he trailed off.
"Was that a proposal, William Darcy?" Lizzy said in a mocking tone, her voice wavering a bit.
And she could see it. It was effortless- being in a relationship with Will was perhaps one of the easiest things in life. Everything was so natural for the two of them, everything they did fell into sync unknowingly, and it was just so simple to see the two of them getting married, living together, sharing anniversaries and birthdays, buying a house, cooking dinner together, having kids- it all seemed so natural.
A smile played at her lips. "It didn't really sound like one. Try again," she said, her heart hammering inside her chest.
Will cleared his throat, before getting out of his chair, and sinking down on one knee. "Oh god- I didn't mean like that. Everyone's staring, Will!" Lizzy hissed, as the majority of the reception crowd turned towards them, a silence falling over the crowd.
Jane and Charlie were staring, the pair of them grinning back at them. Mrs. Bennet looked absolutely over the moon, and was already tugging at Mrs. Lucas' arm. "Not exactly the most charming fellow, but so rich!" Lizzy heard her mom say, before gritting her teeth in annoyance.
"Lizzy Bennet, I love you, probably since the moment I met you. I want a white picket fence with all the fixings. I want to spend every minute of the rest of my life with you. I want to wake up with you next to me, and I want everyone to know that we're together. Will you marry me?" he asked, just as he opened the small velvet box.
When Lizzy had first found the tiny box in his suit jacket, her head had begun to spin, and she felt a bit sick. But she hadn't opened it, despite the strong urge to do so, and had simply placed it back into the folds of his pocket. And now, she was glad that she hadn't opened it.
A slim ring, with a silver band stared back at her, a modestly sized diamond in the centre, surrounded by a small cluster of green emeralds. She knew it was Anne Darcy's old ring- she'd seen it on her finger when Will had showed her pictures of his parents before.
A smile broke out on her face. "Technically, I proposed first, so will you marry me?" she asked, grabbing his hands and pulling him up. Will rolled his eyes and smiled widely. "You can't beat me at everything, Lizzy. Let me win at proposing," he said, before wrapping his arms around her waist.
Lizzy laughed, tears pricking her eyes. "Fine," she said with a laugh. "Of course I'll marry you," she said, a smile breaking out, right before Will pulled her in and kissed her on the mouth, the ring still clutched tightly in Will's hands. The crowd started clapping, and several hoots which were most definitely coming from the direction of Richard and Charlotte.
The two of them pulled back, a bit breathless, and Will ducked his head, a bit embarrassed to have gotten so carried away in public. He slipped the ring onto Lizzy's finger, his chest threatening to burst open from joy- he hadn't been this happy in years.
"I think we might have stole Jane and Charlie's thunder," Lizzy commented, as several of their friends and family began to walk towards them.
Will laughed in response, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her into his side. "I think it was worth it."
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