I don’t know how many of you are as impatient for spring as I am but here in the northeastern US it seems like we’re getting an extra dose of winter this week! So hopefully this little bit of D&E fluff will bring some warmth to you! Thanks for reading!
The rain fell heavy and fast, a marked contrast from the light drizzle of only twenty minutes prior. Elizabeth sat in Darcy’s car, peering worriedly out the window.
“Should we make a run for it?”
“We could make a run for it but then we’ll both be soaked for the party.”
She sighed. “Good point. And my hair would wind up looking like I was a wild creature or something.”
“Ah your hair already looks wild,” he teased her, reaching over to give her curls a little shake.
“Can’t hurt this mop.”
“Jerk,” she teased back. “Sorry I don’t have my hair product specialist from Mizu on speed dial, like some people.” He really does have some amazing hair.
He chuckled and laid his head back against the headrest. “Don’t be silly. Speed dial died out about a decade ago, now I tell Siri to get it for me.”
“Oh, of course.”
“Anyway, we’ll stay here a few minutes. I’m sure the rain will die down.”
“Sounds like a plan.” She reached out, turning on the satellite radio to a station she knew they both liked then settled back against her own headrest.
Strange really that she should find herself so comfortable with the man who sat next to her. She liked the friendship that had developed between them, rising out of what was first utter hatred.
He had insulted her when they first met, then tried to dissuade his friend from getting involved with her sister. Elizabeth didn’t hesitate to express her thoughts about it to him one night when the opening presented itself.
For a long time after that they avoided being together and if they couldn’t avoid being together, they spoke the bare minimum to each other, being cool and polite and terse. It wasn’t until Jane and Bingley’s wedding, when they were thrust together in their duties as maid of honor and best man that a thaw came about. After that, with both of them seeing other people but somehow moving in the circle that revolved around the Bingleys, they became unlikely friends.
She used to be surprised by how much she had in common with him. Now she understood that in terms of his disposition and sense of humor, he was probably the most compatible person with her that she’d ever met.
“How did we get roped into the grocery run anyway?”
“I volunteered,” she told him. Jane and Bingley’s son — guest of honor at the party — had awoken on the morning of his first birthday cranky and tired. Jane had attributed it to teething and explained it to Elizabeth in a way that made it seem perfectly reasonable that Jane and Bingley and Mrs Bennet should all be required to stay home and fret over him while Elizabeth went to pick up the birthday cake.
“And you volunteered me too?”
“Your car has a bigger trunk. Mine is full of all my tennis stuff.”
“Your tennis stuff, your extra running shoes, that crate with the mysterious packages — seriously what is that stuff?”
Elizabeth laughed. “That’s what I like to refer to as my out box. Things I’ve bought online but intend to return.”
“Someone needs to take away your Amazon Prime.” Darcy yawned and did the best he could to stretch within the confines of the drivers seat.
“Tired?” Elizabeth asked. “Must have had a hot date last night.”
“Hardly. I waited up for Georgiana to get in. Since she got her drivers license, I’m averaging about four hours of sleep a night.”
“The trials and tribulations of a diligent older brother.” She smiled at him and reached over to give a friendly pat on his arm. “You take such good care of her.”
His eyes flickered towards at her hand, still laying on his arm and for a moment, she saw a strange, strained expression in his eyes. She dropped her hand and hastily turned to look out the window, watching as a lady with a toddler got soaked to the skin attempting to get the flailing child into a car seat. “Is it just me or is it actually raining harder?”
“Speaking of hot dates,” Darcy remarked, “how was yours last night?”
“Mine?” She turned back to look at him and for some reason, blushed under his scrutiny. “Oh with that guy from the gym? It was fine. I had fun.”
The date had been as bland as the words implied. Her date was nice enough, but he had no sense of humor. Conversation struggled along for about a third of their date; then, she asked an innocent question about his hobbies. He became more animated after that, speaking at length about Sherlock Holmes, the various Sherlock Holmes fan fiction clubs he belonged to, and various theories he had about the world of Sherlock It wasn’t the most awful date she’d ever been on, but it left her with an oddly empty sensation.
“It was fine, I had fun? Is that Elizabeth Bennet-speak for true love or what?”
“Or what, for sure.” She said with a little laugh. “Definitely not true love, not anywhere near it. He was a decent guy I guess, but we didn’t have a lot in common.”
They sat in silence, watching the rain fall, the fat drops creating rivulets and streams on the front windshield. They had been submerged into some exclusive, rainy world; everything else ceased to exist. It mesmerized her, watching the rain on the windshield — would this drop slide down first or that one? which would go faster? — so much so that she spoke without thinking.
“I wonder sometimes how it can ever happen. You meet people, they seem nice but once you get to know them…” She shrugged. “How can you find someone that you feel so comfortable with, someone you genuinely want to spend time with, but expect that same person to make your heart pound? It seems impossible sometimes.”
She tore her eyes away from the windshield to find Darcy staring at her. Something in his expression made her heart skip a beat. “You know what I mean? Do you ever worry you won’t find that?”
His eyes held her captive with an expression that was as frightening as it was thrilling. When he replied, his voice was low but sure. “I found it.”
“You did?” She forced herself to speak lightly, desperately ignoring the electric undercurrent which suddenly filled the car. “Darcy, have you been hiding things from me? Are you secretly in love?”
It seemed like forever until he answered slowly, “Yeah, I am.”
She couldn’t meet his eyes any more and dropped her eyes to her lap, fiddling with the strap of her bag.
“Haven’t you ever thought about it?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “Well, I mean sure. Of course I have. It’s just…”
They had been good friends for a while now. Sometimes she felt closer to him than anyone else in the world. But the more reasonable part of her knew she wasn’t really part of his world. He was the sort of wealthy that involved university endowments and private planes. His wife would be a trophy, not a frizzy haired girl who attended college on scholarship and had once had to live a month on ramen noodles.
Her hair had fallen around her face, and he reached over, his fingers brushing her cheek in a tender caress as he tucked the hair behind her ear again. “Will you look at me?”
“I go through my day, every day, thinking of you. You’re the first thing that comes to my mind in the morning and the last thought I have when I go to sleep. I wonder what you’re doing, if you’re happy, I think about telling you what I’m doing or thinking or feeling — it’s crazy. I’ve come to the point where I don’t even feel right if I’m not with you.”
She could not speak for a moment — her chest constricted and her breathing was quick. When she trusted herself to speak, she asked him, “But I couldn’t bear to lose what we have now, our friendship. What if we tried it and it didn’t work out?”
“What if we tried it and it did work out?”
She had no answer to that, but it turned out she didn’t need one. They stared at each other for a second too long and then he leaned in, taking her lips with his and kissing her. He did not touch her, nor did she touch him; only their lips were able to experiment with this first, tentative union.
Strange that something so new could feel so comfortable, so much like… well just like it ought to. Her heart again took flight and her only true, conscious thought was I hope he doesn’t stop.
He pulled back, studying her while she did the same to him, her eyes roaming his familiar face. He looked the same but different and not only for the question in his eyes. She smiled at him, raising one hand to touch his cheek.
Her bag dropped to the floor then and the car horn emitted one loud, startled honk when she moved to him, this time kissing him while enjoying the pounding of her heart and the whispers in her mind that this was it, it was the real thing for them.
They were still like that when another car pulled into the space beside them. The rain had ended and the blonde man was able to see — with some slight hindrance by a little fog on the windows — who the occupants of the car were and what it was they were doing. He smiled with delight and sent a quick text to his wife.
Found them and you won’t believe what they’re doing! 😘 Finally! Anyway getting the cake myself… probably should have done that anyway.