A Glimpse at Happily Ever After
In the master's chambers, not much had changed since Mr. Darcy was last in town. The walls, furniture, and style still held rich dark tones that best reflected his subdued personality and tastes. Everything was in perfect order, each piece of finely carved furniture stood in their well set places. The windows, long and large and thrown open, were, as usual, letting morning light of the new dawn creep across the room until it stretched upon his bed rousing him from sweet slumber. There was but one new addition which seemed to have transformed the entire room, one thing that made him look at everything in a completely new light.
His wife made all the difference. As a blissfully happy newlywed Mr. Darcy was seeing through rose colored glasses. As his gaze returned to the sleeping form of Elizabeth Darcy, he basked in a feeling of perfect completeness. She had filled him in every possible way and he hoped that he had filled her. He felt whole. The final piece had been found and attached in the puzzle of his life. The previous day and night had been the happiest of Fitzwilliam Darcy's life. Having been joined and bonded to his other half allowed him to truly enjoy the simple pleasures of life once more. Basking in, and enjoying the soft warm rays of mornings first light was something he had not relished in quite a while.
He had not noticed as it was happening, but as Fitzwilliam Darcy began falling in love with Elizabeth he began to equate her to the sun. Elizabeth radiated heat, energy, and light. The effects on him were interchangeable. His once frozen heart had been touched and melted by Miss Elizabeth Bennet, enabling him to see himself and the world in a new way.
He noticed the morning he returned to London after the Netherfield Ball. Something was different. His master suite in his London townhouse had always been arranged in such a way that would allow the light from the windows to wake him each morning. Rising with the sun had become a habit for him at the age of eleven. It was something his father had impressed upon him.
It was a Sunday morning and still dark outside as young master Darcy had been shaken awake by his father and told to get dressed. They quietly left the house and climbed what seemed to him at the time, a mountain, that overlooked much of their property. They stood together at the summit as the sun rose over the peaks. While the elder Mr. Darcy left arm rested around his sons shoulders, the right gestured to all that lay about them, "Fitzwilliam, son, I know right now it seems a log way off in the future, but one day you will grow up and you will become a man, a great man with a great many responsibilities. The management of Pemberly and the care of a family will rest upon your shoulders and you will always have a great many things to be doing, so it is best to begin each day as early as possible. If you arise at first mornings light and use your time wisely you will accomplish much. This morning your baby sister arrived into our world. She is quite lucky to have an elder brother who will always be setting an example, she will greatly depend upon you. Son your mother and I love you very much and are very proud of you and will continue to be as you grow into a fine young man."
Since that day he had tried to live up to his father's expectations rising with the sun and working hard each day. When he had left Hertfortshire and woke to face his first day back in London, discontent spread over him at the prospect of arising and facing a day with no possible way of encountering Miss Bennet and for the first time in a long time he slept late. Being able to stop thinking about her, he started to realize the amount of sway she had over his unwilling heart. Mere sunshine on his skin had once been enough to brighten his outlook for each day. Beginning at Netherfield and shamefully continuing long after, denial, internal conflict, and emotional turmoil was enough to block out everything else like a thunderstorm blocks out sunlight. He had been fighting with himself, he had been in denial. He had given too much importance to himself, his wealth, and position. He had been much, much too proud.
Smiling to himself he recalled Elizabeth teasing him recently saying, "In truth your pride wasn't so unreasonable. When you consider your wealth, position, figure, and devastatingly good looks, not to mention your prestigious Aunt Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her chimney piece that cost 800 pounds, there can be no room or reason for humility." Not stopping there, she had expounded upon a long list of all his good qualities, claiming that they were under her protection now, and she would do her duty in exaggerating them as much as possible. She finished her teasing stating, "Your pride wouldn't have caused such a fuss if it hadn't so insulted mine." Oh how he regretted making that stupid thoughtless comment about her being only tolerable. With new perspective he realized he never truly had as reasonable cause to be prideful as he did right now.
Gazing upon his wife knowing she was now his gave him great satisfaction. The light from the window illuminated her sleeping form. Her massive chocolate curls were splayed across her exposed back that rose and fell rhythmically with each of her breaths. Resisting the temptation to sweep her hair to the side and pass his fingers lightly over her skin was useless. He could still barely believe they had truly been married.
Horridly vivid memories haunted him for so long. Elizabeth's adamant declaration that he was the LAST man in the world that she could ever be prevailed upon to marry had been irrevocably burned into his mind and had been replayed over and over again during the months following that disastrous proposal. Those months were void of warmth and light. Though that time had been a difficult one, and the lesson learned a most painful one, he was grateful to know the bitter to appreciate the sweet. His sweet Elizabeth. Unable to help himself he began following his fingers with his lips. She murmured softly, "mmmmmmmmm...Fitzwilliam?"
"yes." he responded in affirmation and reassurance. She opened her eyes and smiled at him.
"Oh, mmmm, I wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming is all, thank you." she said sighing.
"One simple word cannot possibly be all you need to convince yourself that you aren't dreaming? My love, I think it very likely that you need more hard physical evidence." he replied leaning in to kiss her passionately. Elizabeth eagerly complied and responded, while mentally disagreeing with her husband's conclusion. Recently her dreams had consisted so constantly of her current situation, that this wouldn't really help her differentiate between dream and reality. After a few minutes Darcy suddenly broke apart to look into the eyes that had long captured his attention and heart.
"My dearest loveliest Elizabeth, are you truly happy?" he spoke with such sincere feeling that Elizabeth had to restrain laughter and threw his question back to him.
"Well...are you happy Fitzwilliam?"
"What a question to ask me! of course I'm happy, I have acquired what has been my hearts desire for nearly two years. I have married the most brilliant, bedazzling woman in existence. I am beyond happy, for I never knew such happiness could exist." He truly was, but he wanted so much to know and be reassured that she felt the same. He knew rationally that to question this at the moment wasn't really all that rational. Their current state and her amorous response only moments ago gave evidence to support the idea that Elisabeth was indeed happy, but his machinations earlier had planted doubts in him, doubts of her love for him, doubt that she felt as strongly for him as he felt for her; he couldn't help adding, "Here I sit in my bed with the woman who once refused me, claiming me to be the last man in the world to have the privilege to end up in our current predicament. Your feelings were so decidedly against me, that it is me who has true difficulty distinguishing dream from reality." He tried to sound teasing but felt he was failing miserably, "I may be mistaken my dear, but on our way to London yesterday I saw quite a few out and about. I assure you I am not the only man left on earth."
The time following the announcement of their engagement up until the actual wedding had been very difficult one to find and spend time alone. Most of their conversations had been light and teasing drawing room repartee. And although in response to a renewal of his proposals Elizabeth had implied she loved him, saying that her feelings were quite the opposite to what she felt last spring, those three short words he so desperately wanted to hear were never actually said.
Sensing her husbands need for reassurance Elizabeth Darcy dug her fingers into her husbands hair, locking his gaze with hers and solemnly said, "Mr. Darcy, my dear husband, Fitzwilliam, I am perfectly and utterly happy and content. I cannot imagine being happier than I am right now. How I could contain any more joy in my body, I do not know for I am full to bursting with it. This moment here with you is perfection, I need nothing more from life than just this, here, with you." The effect this declaration had was significant, but the astute Mrs Darcy perceived a sliver of doubt still remained in her husband. She continued determined to banish all doubt forever, "oh Fitzwilliam" she purred while intermittently kissing his forehead, temples, chin, and nose, "how could you doubt my happiness? Yesterday I was joined to the man I love more than anything in the world, never to be put asunder from him."
All doubt fled and was quickly replaced by pure love and a desire to communicate all they felt without the need for words.