One morning, she wakes up in bed next to William Darcy and she just knows. She knows from the way that she's snuggled against him, from the way that her legs are tangled in his, from the place that his hand rests on her hip. She knows from how relaxed she is, how content she is to just lie there in his bed. So when she flips onto her belly and wiggles closer to him, her first words of the morning are not I love you or good morning. They are,
"I think we should get married."
Because, like she's said, she just knows.
One of his eyes opens blearily, and he wraps his arm around her waist and pulls her closer, so that she's on her side facing him.
"Yes," he murmurs, "someday."
Lizzie fully intends to be quiet after that, but when he closes his eyes once more and lightly nuzzles her nose with his, she can't help but say it.
"No. I think we should get married today."
The affectionate nuzzling stops instantly as Darcy's eyes pop open. He's not even shocked; he's just staring at her with an oddly calm look on her face.
"What?" he responds in a voice that sounds like it's about to start laughing.
"I want to marry you!" Lizzie says defensively.
"And I want to marry you," Darcy agrees. "Just not today."
Then he closes his eyes once more, assuming that the conversation is over.
"Well why not today?" Lizzie demands petulantly. His face is almost surprised as he flips over onto his back, the comfortable cuddling over for the morning.
"You can't just wake up morning and decide that you want to get married!" he argues. "That's not how life works, Lizzie."
"Maybe it should," is her response, and he frowns as he looks over at her.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Look, Will, we're going to get married anyways in the end, but there are two ways we can go about it. We can do it the hard way or the easy way. This is the easy way. Don't you want it?"
He's still frowning at her.
"You've never exactly been impulsive. What brought this on, anyways?"
"I love you," she tells him. "Isn't that enough?"
"Lizzie. Stop it. What actually brought this on?"
"It couldn't have just come from a loving place?" she protests, but she's starting to laugh because he can see through her like she's made of glass.
"Fine. I just… I don't want the Jane wedding. Don't get me wrong- it was absolutely gorgeous. But the entire time, I just couldn't imagine you and me going through it. The pressure. The fancy clothes. The five hundred guests, only about twenty of which I actually knew. That's just… that's not me."
"So your solution to this is to wake up one morning and say 'hmmm, sex was good last night, let's get married today.'"
"I said nothing about sex!"
"No, you're right, that was all me," he says teasingly, leaning up to kiss her.
"Is that a yes?"
"What?" he mumbles against her lips.
"We can get married today?"
"No!" he pulls back, frustrated. "Lizzie, you don't deserve that."
"Don't deserve… to be married to you? I'm sorry, is this Caroline I'm lying in bed next to?"
"You deserve to have a huge white wedding surrounded by Jane and Charlotte and Lydia and Gigi. You deserve a fancy dress and an engagement ring and a father/daughter dance."
"And while all of that is absolutely wonderful, I do not need the added pressure! When I do marry you, I don't think I want hundreds of people surrounding us the way they would be if we went the traditional rout. Our relationship has always been so public, and is it too much that for once I want it to be personal?"
She can tell that his resistance is waning by the way he is looking at her.
"You want to get married today?" he echoes, and this time his words come out in a bit of a croak.
"It doesn't work like that, Lizzie," he says again, but this time he's just trying to convince himself. "We… we need time, and a marriage license, and…"
"If you really wanted to get married, you could get all that within the next ten minutes," she tells him. She knows that she's exaggerating, but she doesn't really care. She's got it set in her mind that she has to be married by the end of the day, and she wants it gone through with before anybody can tell her mother.
"Let me think about it," he says, his voice strained, and it really isn't anything less than she expected. She kisses him quickly before crawling out of bed and throwing some clothes on, then heading into the kitchen to prepare coffee. The spacious kitchen is filled with light, and once she's in there and away from her half naked boyfriend, she is able to gather her thoughts once more.
Lizzie's heart beats faster as she realizes that she had basically just proposed to Darcy. And he had not exactly said yes. Granted, he hadn't said that he didn't want to marry her, but still. The fact that this is probably the most impulsive thing that Lizzie has ever done causes her to groan out loud and hit her head against one of the cabinets. As she takes out her phone and contemplates which number she is going to dial, she grabs the pancake mix and begins mixing batter furiously. It's not until the pancakes are sizzling in a pan that she dials the number.
"Good morning!" chirps a voice cheerily, and Lizzie swallows hard before forming the sentence that she has to say.
"I just proposed to your brother."
In the background, she can hear a fork clattering onto a table top.
"It gets worse."
"I asked him to marry me today."
"You just asked William Darcy to… elope with you?"
"Um, yeah, I think I did."
"Lizzie Bennet, have you actually met my brother?"
"I would hope so, as I've been sleeping next to him for the past four years."
"This man takes three hours every morning to pick out a tie, Lizzie, how can you expect him to suddenly decide that he wants to marry you?"
"It's not suddenly! We've talked about getting married before!"
"But why would you think-?"
"Look, Gigi, I don't want a Jane wedding! I don't want my wedding to be like that. Ever since the videos ended, my relationship with your brother has been as personal as it gets, and the idea of a crowd full of people that I don't even know sitting and watching as I get married in a stupid white dress is basically a hideous prospect to me. Plus… have you met my mother?"
"With a proposal like that, how could he say no?"
"Oh, shut up," Lizzie laughs, pouring coffee into cups and placing the cups on a tray. "You know I love him, too."
"See, I would have appealed to his more passionate side. I think that part's easier to win over than the logic, when it comes to you."
"What am I supposed to say?" She quickly puts on the accent that belongs to her mother, which has become a habit whenever she is mimicking something that she deems to be crazy. "Oh William Darcy, I cannot imagine one day more without joining in sweet harmony as man and wife! Please, take me to the chapel and marry the crap out of me!"
"Oh yes, because the word crap definitely makes me want to marry you right now," Gigi snorts.
"Good thing you're not the Darcy that I'm attempting to seduce into becoming my husband."
"Good thing you're going to be my sister-in-law by the end of the day," says Gigi, and Lizzie sets the plate of pancakes down on the tray a little harder than she had intended to.
"Yeah, like he's ever going to break."
"You never know with you and him. Bye, Lizzie. I'll talk to you later."
As soon as she hangs up the phone, she grasps the tray in both of her hands and pads back over to their bedroom. Getting closer to the door, she can hear her boyfriend's voice angrily saying something from where he is.
"So this is what you think of me? Thank you for explaining it to me so eloquently."
Lizzie's stomach clenches as she realizes what he's doing, what words are about to be repeated in her own voice. She stops short of their bedroom door, listening outside of it.
"And thank you for proving time and time again that your arrogance, pride, and selfishness make you the last man I could ever fall in love with."
The room falls silent. Aware that Darcy has paused the video, Lizzie takes a deep breath before stepping inside. He's lying on the bed in front of his laptop, his brow furrowed as he looks at the paused picture of them, staring at her face as it is contorted in a disgust that she is ashamed to remember.
"Hi," she says quietly, and she's a little afraid that there's going to be a flash in his eyes when he looks up at her. He doesn't. Instead, his gaze remains fixed on the computer screen.
"Ironic, isn't it?"
"That, in reality, you're the only man in the world I could ever fall in love with."
His gaze lifts from the computer to her, and she sees his entire expression shift at the sight of her in a dark blue dress, barefooted, and carrying a tray laden with breakfast foods.
"It's odd to see you look at me like that."
She sets down the tray on the dresser.
"You shouldn't go back to those videos. They don't matter now.
"You look at me so differently now," he says lowly, and then a smile crosses his face. "Let's get married today."
Reaching onto his laptop keyboard, he pulls out a box that she hadn't realized had been resting there. The box that she knows holds that ring that had once sat on his mother's finger. He lifts the velvet box into the air and opens it to show the ring that he had sized to her finger a year ago. She had found the receipt in his trouser pocket one day and, in all honesty, had not been able to stop thinking about being married to him ever since.
"Let's get married today," Darcy repeats, and Lizzie laughs loudly and leaps onto the bed to kiss him.
"You're right. About all of it. About the personal wedding and the personal relationship. We're not Bing and Jane- as a matter of fact, we're far grumpier than they are. We don't have to please anybody."
About ten minutes of kissing takes place before Lizzie remembers why they started kissing in the first place, and she pulls away quickly to grab her phone from the kitchen. As she lifts it into her hand, she realizes that somewhere along the way the ring landed on her finger.
"You take care of the wedding stuff, I'll take care of the maids of honor!" she calls back as she runs down the hall.
"Maids of honor?" he yells back after her.
"Don't worry, Fitz counts!"
The first phone call she makes is to Gigi.
"What time do you need me?" she says in lieu of hello.
"I'll get back to you on the details. Just clear your schedule, okay"
"Absolutely. Do you want me to put Lydia on the phone?"
"Go for it."
"Ooooh, and can we have matching dresses?"
"Don't push your luck," Lizzie warns, and she can practically feel Gigi's smirk through the phone.
Gigi takes a few seconds to walk down the hall to Lydia's bedroom, and then Lizzie hears a knock at the door and a few exchanges. During this time, she takes a few moments to thank heaven that Lydia and Gigi are roommates. One less number to dial seems in this moment to be the best thing that has ever happened to her.
"Lizzie?" comes Lydia's voice. "Did I just hear Gigi blithering on about matching dresses? OW! Throwing of a pillow is entirely unnecessary!"
"Darcy and I are getting married."
"Ummm… duh. Oh, I mean, cool, Lizzie. That's totes shocking."
"Totes," Lizzie agrees.
"When, by the way?" Lydia adds through a yawn.
The screaming that comes from the other end of the phone is basically incoherent, but Lizzie thinks that she can make out a few things about their mother killing her.
The next phone call is also rewarding, as Charlotte happens to be drinking tea, and does a marvelous spit take as soon as Lizzie tells her.
"Look, I know it's a bit of a haul to get over here, but it is a wedding, so what do you think?"
"Already leaving," Charlotte says through a mouthful of bagel, and Lizzie thinks that she can make out the jingling of keys. "See you in a few hours."
The last number that Lizzie calls is Jane.
"Good morning, Lizzie," she says in a voice that seems so remarkably content that Lizzie doesn't even feel the need to ask how married life is going for her older sister.
"Remember that thing that I was telling you that I might do?"
There's a pause on the other line during which it sounds like Jane is just breathing, trying to gather her thoughts.
"Yeah," she says eventually. "I do."
"He said yes."
There's a soft screech on the other end.
"I'll be over there in ten minutes to do your hair! Oh god, I have to tell Bing. He's best man, right?"
"WILL!" Lizzie yells into the bedroom. "IS BING YOUR BEST MAN?"
"YES!" he shouts back.
"Yep," Lizzie tells Jane in confirmation.
"LIZZIE!" hollers Darcy. "HOW DOES SEVEN O'CLOCK SOUND?"
She frowns, walking down the hall so that she can poke her head into their room.
"Isn't town hall closed at that point?"
"I called some favors. Pulled some strings. Lamented my love. All that good stuff."
She grins at him.
"Look at you go." Then she turns back to the phone. "Seven o'clock."
"Okay," Jane says happily.
"Talk to you later," Lizzie promises as Darcy wraps his arms around her and starts kissing her neck.
Before she can completely focus on her husband to be, she sends a quick text to those who are essential.
Message To: Gigi Darcy, Lydia Bennet, Charlotte Lu, Fitz Williams
Message Text: Wedding at 7 o'clock. Be there or be square.
Lizzie Bennet has never exactly been an impulsive person, but in the years to come, she will come to think of the one impulsive decision she and her husband ever made as the best decision of her life. Sure, there are consequences. Sure, later on her mother does make her throw the whole gigantic marriage announcement party that seems to Mrs. Bennet to be a good substitute from the wedding that would never be. It doesn't matter. The post wedding party just proves to her that she had made the right decision. Besides, it is a lovely party, thrown by a newly pregnant Jane, who decides to basically give Lizzie the wedding reception without the ceremony. And she gets to have her father/daughter dance, which Lizzie supposes is important, even if she's been going by Lizzie Darcy for four months before the dance takes place.
She'll always fondly remember the little wedding in the short white dress and the black ballet flats. The way they take pictures in the Japanese garden at Pemberley afterwards, pictures that hold everybody that they love. She'll always remember the laughter that follows as they eat dinner at a restaurant later that night, and how she and Will hold hands under the table, and how Lydia steals her phone and changes Lizzie's last name and relationship status on facebook and twitter without Lizzie realizing it. It's a bit of a shock to log onto twitter the next morning and see that her name is Lizzie Darcy, but it makes her laugh until she cries, which makes Will laugh too.
She'll forever remember when they're finally alone together, how they stare at the rings that they had picked out in too much haste and hold hands and really kiss for the first time as a married couple. She'll remember the moment that she fully comprehended for the first time what being married to each other really means for them, and the moment in which she felt the increase in trust and affection that had been built between them just by saying words and signing papers, bonding them together forever.
Mostly, she'll remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night, and how she answers it to hear her mother's chattering voice on the other end.
"Lizzie," she says, "I think maybe Lydia has done something positively odd to your facebook account."
"What about it, mom?" Lizzie inquires, trying not to let the smile leak through her words.
"Well, it says that you're married to William Darcy!"
"Really? That's great."
"But, Lizzie, why would it say that you're married to William?"
"We got married today," Lizzie tells her mom, and then she sets the phone gently on the bedside table and lets her mother rant on while Lizzie becomes encased the embrace of her husband.