“Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.”
Elizabeth glanced at Darcy from the corner of her eye. She could still not believe that they were married, even though they had been man and wife for several hours. When they left Longbourn in Darcy’s carriage after the wedding breakfast they sat with rigid propriety whilst driving through Hertfordshire, where they were both well known. Only their clasped hands, resting on Elizabeth’s lap and hidden from the avid stares of the local inhabitants, demonstrated their affection.
As they met the toll road and turned north, however, Darcy reach across her and closed the velvet curtains halfway, hiding them from the other travelers around them. He reached for her and drew her towards him, holding her as they continued towards their first stop on the way to Pemberley. When they were not kissing or touching each other, Elizabeth thought back on their wedding day, which already seemed almost a dream.
When they had reached the church, Elizabeth stepped carefully from the carriage, making sure that her gown and veil did not catch on the latch of the door or drag on the ground. After surviving the pandemonium of the Bennet household this morning she did not want hers or her sister’s wedding gown to be damaged right at the church door. Her father, his lips compressed as they were when he was trying to suppress an emotion which he did not wish them to see, held her hand and steadied her as her sisters straightened the train and smoothed her veil, then Lizzy had stepped to the church door while he similarly assisted Jane.
Mary had attempted to appear indifferent to such material conceits as wedding gowns and flowers, but her eyes had given her away, as they were almost as bright as Kitty’s. Kitty had felt that attending her sisters at their wedding was a fair repayment for the previous suffering caused by their sister Lydia…Lydia might have married before her sisters, but her marriage had barely given her respectability after her infamous elopement, and Kitty now felt justified and revenged for the rudeness she had had to endure when Lydia had been invited to Brighton without her. Now Lydia was at a camp almost on the border with the uncivilized Scots while Kitty was at Jane’s and Elizabeth’s wedding, as she reminded her family multiple times during the morning!
When they were finally ready, the organist started playing and Papa offered Jane and Lizzy each an arm. The usher dramatically stepped forward to fling open the double doors of the church and they began their procession. Lizzy glanced at the guests on either side- a little confused by the many faces of their friends and family smiling at the two brides. Well, all smiling except for Miss Bingley, who had looked like she had had curdled milk in her tea that morning. Lizzy had suppressed a smile and looked towards the altar as they approached it. Suddenly, she felt herself tremble. There was Mr. Darcy, his expression serious but his eyes warm as he watched his bride approach. Mr. Bingley was next to him, a wide grin on his friendly face and his eyes glued to her sister’s face.
When they reached the front Lizzy hardly heard the minister as their father solemnly handed each of them over to their husbands; she saw that her papa’s eyes were moist and she found herself blinking away a few tears herself in spite of her happiness. Papa would miss both of them so…she wanted to throw her arms around him and reassure him about the happiness of both his daughters, but her hand was already in Mr. Darcy’s and, once her eyes met his, she forgot about Papa, about her mother…about anything but her Darcy.
The ceremony seemed to only take the blink of an eye, and when it was finished, and the two couples had signed the church register, there was no time to think of how lonely Papa would be as they kissed or shook hands with the guests as they left the church, before all bundled into carriages for the ride back to Longbourn for the wedding breakfast.
When they were all seated for the breakfast, Lizzy finally had time to attend to something besides her husband’s hand in hers. Her parents welcomed the guests with tears sparkling unheeded on their cheeks and Lizzy reached over to squeeze her sister’s hand. “Congratulations,” she whispered in her ear, “All the happiness in the world my dearest Jane.” They had embraced each other then each had turned to her husband with a smile to face the future together.
Elizabeth looked at Darcy as evening closed in and he felt her gaze.
“What are you thinking, my dear wife?”
“I’m trying to recognize my husband. It will take some time for that word to become commonplace in my mind.”
He smiled slightly, just a small curl of the corners of his lips. “Don’t worry, my darling, I will remind you as often as necessary.”