Lizzie Bennet has a problem.
She's in love with her boyfriend
Now, as problems go, that's not bad. What with plagues and droughts and wars and debts and the general state of chaos in the world. One might even say this isn't a problem at all.
But one doesn't quite get it.
Not only is Lizzie in love with her boyfriend of approximately 11 and a half days (Darcy insists that after 5pm, full days don't count, and she insists they round up, so they compromise with the half and agree to celebrate their anniversary closer to midnight than to noon from now on), but her boyfriend is amazing. He is kind and smart and well-read and devoted. He is mild-mannered and soft spoken and put-together and oh so tall she sometimes forgets she's staring at him adoringly until she feels the nerve pinching at the back of her neck.
She is so in love with him that when she tries to remember a day when she didn't love him, in fact actively despised him, rewatches her videos to remind herself that this was once a hard and fast truth in her previously narrow little life, she cannot believe it. It reminds her of trying to recollect a dream, wherein she feels the ghosts of her experiences, vaguely remembers shapes and colors and sounds, but cannot fathom what it all means anymore. Little by little, she forgets (though she carries a little piece of it with her everyday.)
But the fact remains that she did once obsessively and without question loathe this man, eagerly finding scraps of evidence to prove her foregone conclusion, fed by her own bruised ego and prickly insecurity. So that when he did muster up his courage and in the most ill-timed, ill-fated and poorly worded way, declared his love for her, she used the full force of her neo-feminist-cum-grad-student vocabulary to burn his hopes to the ground, capturing it all on film and broadcasting it to approximately 400 000 strangers worldwide.
Or so she thought.
For as she often did back then, she underestimated William Darcy.
Whereas an off-handed insult after an awkward first dance had plunged her into a poorly thought out and very public frenzy, a campaign to defame this man's character to any soul who would listen, he reacted in what she would soon come to know as true Darcy fashion. Putting aside his own humiliation, he sought to expose George Wickam's character while defending his own, and quietly changed her mind about him.
And Lizzie Bennet does not like to change her mind.
And therein lies the problem. Lizzie Bennet is in love with William Darcy, who has already declared it to her, her family and people with internet access from Brazil to Zimbabwe. And now with apologies said and amends made, with awkwardness ebbing away and intimacy settling in its place, with happiness making a cozy little home for itself in her heart, Lizzie doesn't know how to say the words.
Well, it's not the words per say, but the how, what, when, why and where. With all the confusion and missed opportunities, with all the double meanings and longing glances, touches, tours, lunches and now, delirious kisses and stolen moments, coffee in the park and his voice on the phone in her ear every morning and every night...with all the pain she can't believe she ever caused him, the rejection and smallness she once made him feel, she never wants him to doubt her. When she says it, she never wants him to question it, because she knows she never will.
And now, this moment. She stands in the kitchen in his hotel suite as he finishes packing his bag. Pemberley and San Fransisco can only be ignored for so long. He'll only be gone for 10 days and yet her heart aches with the knowledge that she'll have to go with only the memory of his touch for that long. He speaks clearly and concisely into his bluetooth, giving orders to his assistant, his glasses perched primly on his nose (at her request), windsor knot firmly in place, as his hands perfectly fold the last of his shirts (not his old well-worn harvard t-shirt, which is safely tucked away in her purse. Per her request as well.) She watches his movements and absentmindedly traces the rim of her coffee cup. She calculates how many hours between this moment and his flight landing, wonders how she'll get any work done on her thesis as her phone just stares at her, devoid of any texts from him for that long. They've promised they will give each other about 5 hour blocks of radio silence unless there's an emergency so that they can both get some work done (she's already imagining all the way she's going to break this promise.)
He gives an unconscious and satisfied nod as he hangs up with his assistant and she can't help but giggle at this idiosyncrasy. This causes him to turn to her with a quizzical brow and all she can do is shake her head and shrug. He tries to look annoyed but she can now recognize the twinkle in his eye. She sees his lips twitch and he dips his head, trying to hide the blush and half smile that's creeping up. Even now, when it's just the two of them, his acute shyness still comes over him and she wonders how she never noticed it before.
Her heart melts in an all too familiar feeling and when he looks up at her through his eyelashes in his patented puppy dog stare, all she can do is put her coffee down and walk over to him, place both her hands on either side of his face and pull her down to him. Their lips meet and as it usually does, what starts off innocently enough quickly turns to open mouths and wandering hands. She feels all the blood leave her head and pool somewhere below her belly button and the next thing she knows she's lying across his bed as his right hand snakes its way under her blouse. His glasses push up against the bridge of her nose and fog up slightly and he pulls away and smirks (the closest he's ever come to outright laughter is a slight chuckle). She pushes them firmly on top of his head and his eyes look deeply into hers, sending a shiver down her spine. His fingers are gently teasing their way under her bra cup, an echo of the activities they eagerly engaged in the night before and she thinks "C'mon Lizzie, now or never"
And then it's all snatched away as the phone rings, loudly. He presses his forehead to hers and groans slightly, takes a deep breath before extracting his hand, leaving a clammy coldness which causes her to catch her breath in disbelief. He pecks her on the lips before rolling away and standing up, reaching for the hotel phone. And he's back to the old Darcy efficiency, confirming that the car is here to take him to the airport and just one bag and no, he's already made arrangements to get picked up in San Francisco but thank you for the offer.
He hangs up and pushes his glasses down and zips his bag and she starts to panic. He's leaving, he's just going to leave and it's all she can think of, that he'll be gone, and 10 days is too long and she should tell him now, before it's too late and no, it's not the perfect moment and damn, why didn' t she say it just then, or the first time he dropped her off after dinner or after one of the many occasions where they stayed up all night talking and quietly watched the sunrise from her front porch, or after the first time they'd made love, or when she took him to see the Star Wars Trilogy screening at the old drive-in and he told her he'd always secretly wanted to grow up and be Han Solo but felt more like Chewie, tall and misunderstood, and how he never thought he'd actually get the girl and save the day and all the other times he made her fall more and more deeply in love with him.
And now he's checking his fob watch (which combined with his glasses and suspenders make him look more like a hipster than usual) and talking about landing and what time should they skype tonight so she does the most logical thing she can think of at that moment.
She sits on his suitcase.
He stops mid-sentence and she realizes how utterly crazy she must look right now, perched tensely atop his closed luggage on the bed, staring at him like a deer in headlights. His eyebrow lifts slightly and she recognizes true annoyance coming through. She's making him late and William Darcy hates to be late. He sighs.
"Lizzie, what are you doing?"
She starts to speak but it sounds more like a squeak then an actual word so she clears her throat and tries again.
"This is difficult for me as well, but we both agreed it was for the best."
"Did we? I don't seem to recall-"
"I love you"
She blurts it out so quickly she's not even sure he understood her. In fact, she's pretty sure she said Iluryuuu, which is probably the least romantic way to tell the man of your dreams you love him. He's quiet for a second and stands rigidly, just staring at her. His expression is blank and before she knows it she's talking again, babbling actually, as her inner-voice tells her to shut up already, it's only making things worse. But it's like getting on a roller coaster and deciding at the top of the first hill that you want to get 's no turning back so you might as well enjoy the screams and hope you don't look too dorky in the souvenir photo.
"Look, I know that this is probably the worst time and the worst way I could say this, y'know short of actually having a camera rolling, like every other time we've had terribly painful and awkward interactions. And trust me, this is not how I imagined saying it, okay? I mean, I've been wanting to say it practically forever and I just kept waiting for like, the perfect moment. And we've had so many perfect moments that I could've chosen from, but none of them seemed right and I kept thinking to myself, what am I waiting for? Balloons and a banner and a clown being shot from a cannon and while that would actually be a really cool children's party, it's not the way to tell someone you love them. So I just kept waiting and now you're leaving, and you can't just go without knowing, y'know? So...there's that..."
She trails off. Her heart is beating so fast she's sure he can hear it and she begins to wonder if he finally realizes she's crazy and he should just have her commited already.
The phone rings again and she jumps. She's up on her feet and grabbing the phone before he can react.
"Relax! He's on his way!" She says it much louder then she intended and she can hear the poor concierge at the other end stammer slightly as she slams the receiver down. She keeps her back to the him and stares at the poor defenseless phone and wonders if she should just make a break for the door. But then again, the window's closer and while they're on the 15th floor, she's seen some awnings that would probably break her fall. It would hurt but maybe she could pick up some ice cream along the way and just stay in her mother's meditation room forever. That sounded like a good plan.
Finally, she hears him shuffle over to her and feels his breath on her neck. She's trembling slightly and he puts his hands on her hips, gently turning her to face him. She looks up at him and she can see his smile. One hand lifts to gently brush a stray lock of hair from her face and his eyes are so close and so blue. She goes for broke.
"I love you"
His smile widens and he leans down, his lips not quite touching hers and she wonders how she can feel such agony and pleasure at the same time, a feeling she never thinks she'll get used to but one she experiences with him on a daily basis.
He closes the gap and the kiss is slow and deep. She melts into it and she knows it's a cliche, but everything else goes away. She's home with him. And it's perfect.