Darcy and Elizabeth – Answered Prayers – Although four months have passed since Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection of his marriage proposal, Fitzwilliam Darcy has yet to come to grips with the idea of a future devoid of Elizabeth’s love and companionship. Riding through the rain to reach Pemberley, Darcy arrives at his home with his mood as gloomy as the weather. When he discovers that Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle are touring the gardens, Darcy decides to use the approaching storm as a way to keep Elizabeth at Pemberley. It is his last chance to convince Elizabeth that he is a man worthy of her affection. Will he succeed?
I am back with the third and final short story in what I am calling the “Pemberley series” because all three stories take place at Pemberley. You may ask, why Pemberley? The answer is simple: I just love how Jane Austen brings it all together in the gardens at Mr. Darcy’s Derbyshire estate.
By the time Darcy and Elizabeth arrive at Pemberley, they have had sufficient time to take a hard look at their own prejudices. In doing so, they realize that they have both fallen short. Elizabeth recognizes that she was too eager to think well of George Wickham and too quick to think ill of Mr. Darcy. But it is Darcy’s epiphany that allows the story to blossom. A self-centered, class-conscious man from England’s elite has fallen in love with the daughter of a gentleman farmer. What will the neighbors think! The wonder of it all is that he doesn’t care! It is at Pemberley where our charming pair take their first steps toward reconciliation. By the time Elizabeth leaves the manor house, there is nothing but blue skies and smooth sailing ahead.
Yes, I know that Lydia and Wickham happen, but we don’t believe for one minute that those two self-absorbed people will destroy the happiness of our beloved couple. The story of an immature teenager and a scoundrel almost gets in the way of the happy ending that we know is coming.
I write about Pemberley because it is so hopeful. Although Austen never intended to write a romance, once an author releases her work to the world, it becomes the property of the reader. To millions of Jane Austen’s readers, Pride and Prejudice is a romance—and a satisfying one at that. I hope you will enjoy my short story. Now, here is an excerpt from Answered Prayers:
The setting: The study at Pemberley with Darcy enjoying the port, i.e., he is a bit tipsy.
With the firelight flickering across Darcy’s face, Lizzy saw a deep and abiding hurt and knew that she was the one responsible for it.
“If I caused you any pain—”
“Yes, I know. It was unconsciously done, and you hoped that it would be of short duration. Unfortunately for me, you were wrong.”
“Mr. Darcy, I—”
“I was never so surprised in my life. Whenever I saw you at Rosings, I felt ridiculous because my feelings for you were so obvious: my visits to the Parsonage, our encounters in the park, how I could not take my eyes off of you during church services, supper, while you played, and on and on.” Shaking his head, he added, “A moonstruck calf had more dignity than I did.”
“I honestly did not know of your—”
“Of my what? Interest, regard, affection, love. That was the progression. When you came to Netherfield, you piqued my interest. During all those interminable card parties, you merited my regard. At the Netherfield ball, you earned my affection, and by the time I saw you in Kent, I was in love. Well done, Elizabeth,” Darcy said, raising his glass, “and you did not even notice.”
I would love to hear your comments. Thanks for your present, past, and future support of my writing efforts.
P.S. For those who enjoy my Patrick Shea mystery series, the fifth book, Murder by Moonlighting, will be released next week.