A Slip of the Tongue
Synopsis: Mr. Darcy has a slip of the tongue as he asks her to dance./p
(AN: OK so its a fan fiction so some of the characters will act out of character. Get over it.)
After dancing the first two with Mr. Collins, she danced with an officer with whom she spoke of Mr. Wickham, happily finding that within the shire Militia he was universally liked.
When those dances were over she returned to the company of Charlotte Lucas to report the latest news she had acquired about her current favorite. And she was in conversation with her when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. Darcy, who took her so much by surprise in his application for her hand that without knowing what she did, she accepted him. He walked away again immediately, and she was left to fret over her own presence of mind; Charlotte tried to console her.
"Charlotte, please, tell me I did not do what I think I just did and that he did not do what I think he just did."
Charlotte was unable to immediately help her friend, because she herself was trying to convince herself that what she had just witnessed was indeed what had happened. She had to replay the scene in her had been chatting amicably and laughing about the whimsical charms of some of the officers. The blatant flattery some would use to get a young lady to dance was exactly the type of folly that Elizabeth loved to laugh at. Honestly, they could come up with better lines. Charlotte had overheard a Mr. Sanderson asking Miss Catherine Bennet if it had hurt her when she fell from Heaven, then asked if the angel before him would do him the honor of dancing the next with him. It was this she was sharing with her friend when they had been approached by the most illustrious personage in the land.
In Elizabeth's eyes Mr. Darcy had approached with his usual hauteur and severity and had addressed her in a curt manner which annoyed her in her current state of good humor.
"Miss Bennet, might I be so bold as to claim your hand in marriage?"
Charlotte's jaw had dropped as she stared unabashedly at the man who had just offered marriage to her dear friend in the middle of a ballroom in a crowd of people and standing by her side no less. Her shock was only doubled hearing her friends immediate and casual response. She wasn't even looking at him for goodness sake./
Because of Elizabeth's deep dislike of the man, she had long ago determined to give as little notice to him as possible. Therefore Elisabeth had not been paying too much attention to what he was saying, the first words that had left his mouth had implied his intention to ask her to dance, this notion was met with such great shock and repugnance as to so overcome her that she had missed the rest of what he said. As soon as he had done speaking she had responded with a quick begrudged, "Yes, of course" knowing that if she refused one gentleman this evening, then she would have to refuse all the rest and would have no more opportunity to dance for the rest of the ball.
Because Miss Bennet was decidedly avoiding his eye, Mr. Darcy turned to look and converse with her friend until the dance began. What he found in Miss Lucas' visage was utter shock and amazement. Confused by the depth of shock he saw in her face he quickly reviewed his behavior looking for a cause. Perhaps it was singular, yet he didn't think it should be so shocking for him to receive this reaction in asking Miss Elizabeth Bennet to...
Mr. Darcy had truly only approached with the intention of securing Miss Bennet as a partner for the next two dances. He paled as he realized what words had indeed come from his mouth and more truly he admitted to himself, from his heart. Unsure of what to do he abruptly turned and walked away.
Returning to the present Charlotte realized that her friend was still repining her acceptance.
"Why could I not think of an excuse, hateful man! I promised myself I would never dance with him."
"Lizzy!" Charlotte cried out in exasperation, having finally come to terms with the reality of the situation. She felt quite certain that she was the only one who fully understood what had just happened. "Didn't you... don't you realize... ….. Mr. Darcy did not as you to dance, he just proposed and you just accepted him!"
"Dear Charlotte, your sad and very strange attempt at humor won't make me feel any better." It was only now that Elizabeth truly looked at her friend. "Charlotte you look as though you've seen a ghost, what's wrong?"
"My dear Lizzy, I am not joking, weren't you listening to what Mr. Darcy said?" It was obvious to Charlotte that she hadn't, but she wanted so desperately to be wrong. She knew Elizabeth would never be happy married to a man she hated so much. She also knew that her sentimental friend would never knowingly accept a man she didn't love. She watched as her friend tried to replay in her head the conversation she had just had with Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth's face drained of all color as she realized that Mr. Darcy had not asked for her hand to dance as she had previously assumed. She pulled to the forefront of her mind what she had pushed to the background and ignored before as the gentleman was addressing her, replaying over and over the part she had not consciously listened to; hand in marriage, hand in marriage, hand in marriage, HAND IN MARRIAGE !
Mr. Darcy could not have possibly meant what he said, it must have been a mistake.
Elizabeth's mind was reeling, and the room was spinning. In her head she played back the entirety of the last few minutes over and over trying to find some escape from the reality that was closing in on her. Despite the emfeeling/em that everything was happening in slow motion, Mr. Darcy's approach, application, retreat and her realization had all passed in just a few minutes. The music for the next set had just begun to play, inviting the couples to assemble themselves on the floor. She shoved at the walls of her mind that had become a torture chamber, to look hopefully around the room searching for the sight of Mr. Darcy approaching to claim her for the dance. If she had been in her right set of mind she would have laughed at how contrary it was that she should be hoping to dance with Mr. Darcy.
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