Moving Day

A modern P&P short.

“Jane, why on earth are you dragging this sad thing with you?” Lizzy teased with a smile as she held up the stuffed dog their father had won at the state fair when they were small.

Snatching her prized toy away from her little sister she answered, “Because it was the one and only time we were able to get Daddy to go anywhere like that! It’s a testament of our will winning over his, if only that one time. Besides, you volunteered to help us move stuff, not criticize my belongings! Now get moving before I call Caroline to replace you!”

Lizzy laughed, “You wouldn’t dare! She’d simply throw everything out and insist Charlie buy all new!”

Jane agreed, “And that’s why my sister is here, and not Charlie’s! Oh, and don’t be angry…”

“What would warrant me ever being angry with you dearest, angelic Jane? You’ve never made anyone angry in your entire life!” Lizzy stated whilst rolling her eyes.

Jane looked grim and serious as she responded, “There’s a first time for everything…”

Lizzy was now growing concerned. Jane was never sarcastic, that was Lizzy’s specialty. Jane only ever told the truth and trusted others to do the same. If Jane was certain Lizzy would be angry, then it could only mean that what Jane had to say was something truly upsetting.

“Okay… Jane, you’re scaring me a little here. What’s this news you’re certain is going send me into a rage?”

Jane refused to look at Lizzy and chose to focus on her stuffed dog as she spoke. “Well, Charlie asked Will to help too. He should be here any minute now.”

This was bad. This was very, very, exceedingly, horrifically and unspeakably bad! Lizzy was indeed angry, but it was not Jane’s fault in the least.

“Okay then, I guess Charlie will just have to call Caroline after all.”

Jane began to apologize but Lizzy held up her hand to stop her.

“You guys don’t really need my help. Especially if you have Will here… I still don’t understand why you two just didn’t hire professionals to do all this hard labor.”

Jane shook her head. “You know how Charlie can be…he wants to be a normal, ordinary man and that means moving and breaking your back carrying furniture, just like everybody else. I know we have enough help, but I need you here!” To prove her point, Jane held up the stuffed dog and made like it was begging Lizzy for attention. Jane then begged with puppy-eyes, “Who else would help me act in the best interest of Mr. Fluffy-Puppy here?”

“Mr. Fluffy-Puppy?”

“Oh, come on! Cut me a break, I was eight! I think you’d named your horse “Horsey”, so you, little Miss Lizzy, have no room to criticize!”

Lizzy laughed, “That’s true. I suppose I’ll stay and help, since I‘m already here and everything. Just…well, please don’t leave me alone with Will. I just don’t know what to say to him anymore.”

“I’ll try to do what’s best for you Lizzy. You know you’ll have to talk to him sometime you know. You couldn’t avoid him for too long anyways…the wedding’s in three weeks!”

“I know, I know. Are you certain you don’t want Caroline to be your maid of honor instead of me? I imagine walking down the aisle with Will would be all her dreams come true!”

“Don’t think for one moment she didn’t ask! Even after all the trouble she caused…she nearly demanded that she not be a mere bridesmaid, but that I should kick you out of the wedding party and have her be my maid of honor! She has more nerve than anyone I know!”

“Of all the things I could call Caroline, ‘nervy’ would be the kindest.”

The sisters laughed and carried on as they finished boxing up the knick-knacks and Jane’s childhood souvenirs that remained in the Bennet’s attic.

************************************************************

Lizzy and Jane had finished packing up Jane’s things from the attic and basement. There were no remnants of Jane Bennet left in the house, excepting the many photos that were hung and displayed everywhere.

The Bennet family was, for the most part, a close and loving family. Tom and Fran Bennet had five daughters and as anyone who’s grown up with sisters knows, there’s simply never enough space, closet, counter or otherwise, when you have that many women under one roof.

The moment Jane was able to afford it after college, she moved into an apartment of her own. It had been a small one-bedroom efficiency apartment, which meant she’d left many of her treasures at her parent’s home. The house she was moving to with Charlie could easily hold the entirety of the Bennet house, Jane’s apartment, Lizzy’s condo, their Aunt and Uncle Gardiner’s house and then some. Actually, calling Charlie and soon-to-be- Jane Bingley’s house anything other than a mansion was simply a gross understatement.

Charlie and Will arrived with the truck and loaded Jane’s dozen or so boxes took almost no time at all. Next they were headed to Jane’s apartment where everything was already to go. Jane and Charlie, having not seen each other for an entire afternoon, begged to ride together. As Will had rode over in the truck with Charlie, this left him with no choice but to ride along with Lizzy in her car. Both Charlie and Jane were oblivious to the death looks (or at least they pretended to be so) shot at them both from Will and Lizzy. Lizzy realized too late why Jane had insisted they leave her car at Netherfield and ride together.

Will was every bit as uncomfortable about their predicament as Lizzy was. Short of hitchhiking the twenty miles or so to the apartment, there was no choice but to accept Lizzy’s offer of a lift. Hitchhiking very nearly seemed the better option.

What should have been a half-hour ride at most, turned into an hour-long ordeal. Summer construction season was in full swing and there was nothing for it but to sit in traffic and ignore one another. There was so much that needed to be said, but neither knew how to begin or whether what they wanted to say would be welcome. So it happened that Lizzy Bennet and Will Darcy sat in complete silence for the entire trip.

Upon arrival at Jane’s, she and Charlie watched for any signs of resolution between his friend and her sister, but none were found. Instead, the looks of death continued and at the first opportunity, Lizzy chided Jane and Will yelled at Charlie. “How could you do that to us?” was the exact phrase used by each of them. When later Jane and Charlie compared notes, they were each highly amused by the non-couple’s antics.

Much of the afternoon was spent loading up the contents of Jane’s apartment into truck. The final bit of Jane‘s furniture, which was the bedroom set, had been packed into the truck at last. They had done so because they were dropping them off at their sister Lydia’s new apartment on the way to Netherfield.

Lizzy, not wanting to spend any more time alone with Will, insisted that this time Jane would ride over with her and Will could go in the truck with Charlie. Jane and Charlie nodded in agreement as they secretly squeezed one another’s hand.

Charlie asked Lizzy to verify that Will had tied the bookcase to the wall properly. Will, who was already in the truck making sure all the drawers were secured with tape, took offense and insisted that his knots were always so secure that your life could depend on it.

Lizzy had to laugh out loud at such a boast. “Of course. Will Darcy dare not do anything that’s merely average! I’m sure you were a model Boy Scout.”

Will had long ago realized he had no idea when Lizzy was serious or teasing. He’d been mistaken so often when it came to understanding her that he no longer tried to interpret her meaning and chose instead to take everything she said at face value.

He turned and addressed her directly and smiled. “Yes, actually I was a model Boy Scout. If you must know, I was not only in the Order of the Arrow, but I also made Eagle Scout by the time I was sixteen.”

She could not help but smile at the pride in his face as he spoke about his youthful accomplishments. The terrific irony was the pride she now found attractive in him was exactly what had originated her hatred of him in the first place. Upon meeting Will Darcy, he’d made some off-handed comments she’d overheard and misinterpreted, thus coloring him in a poor light for the entire first year she knew him. Everything he said and did Lizzy felt supported her initial impression. Two years later, Lizzy now had entirely overthrown everything she originally thought she knew about Will.

Lizzy smiled in return as she replied, “As I already said…Will Darcy doesn’t do anything merely average.”

Lizzy stood there before the bookcase with her hands on her hips watching Will. Will was also similarly standing with hands on his hips staring back at Lizzy. They were so locked in each other’s gaze that neither noticed that Charlie had grabbed the handle to the door. As the light faded quickly inside the truck, they became aware of being locked in and started to yell. Will and Lizzy heard the telltale sounds of the truck being latched shut and both knew they were now at Jane and Charlie’s mercy.

Will banged his fist on the door and swore, “Damn it, Bingley! Let us out of this truck now!”

Lizzy pleaded, “Jane, don’t do this to me! You promised!”

Their pleas fell on deaf ears. Instead of being let loose, they were told in no uncertain terms they would not be let go until they came to a resolution and could behave civilly with each other.

Jane’s sweet “teacher-voice” that she used with her third graders said, “Charlie and I are going to go and get some dinner now. You two play nice together and see if you can kiss and make up like good children.”

Charlie laughed, “And if you do as teacher says, we might even buy you an ice cream if you can do as you’ve been told and just behave.”

Before Will and Lizzy could respond, they heard the car doors slam shut. They listened as Jane and Charlie drove away.

************************************************************

Turning away from the door and shaking out his sore hand, Will stuck his achy hands in his jeans pockets and shrugged. “Well….”

Lizzy looked at him earnestly. “Well what?”

Will answered so softly Lizzy barely heard him. “Maybe we ought to do as they say?”

Both hoping and fearing that he meant “kiss and make up”, she further inquired, “And that is?”

He sat on Jane’s long dresser before answering. “Learn to behave civilly to one another. Me? I think we can do it. We are two intelligent people after all, and see? We’ve spoken at least three sentences now without fighting…there may yet be hope.”

Lizzy sat down on the nightstand. “Three sentences? Wow…you may be right, hope lives!”

“See? Now that’s at least five!”

“And yours makes six!”

“Now it’s seven!”

“Eight!” they both exclaimed and when they realized they had spoken at the same time, they begun to laugh heartily.

When they both had sufficiently recovered, Lizzy began, “Will, I’m sorry. I need to apologize to you for all those things I said to you at Charlotte’s. You didn’t deserve the way I treated you and I’m very sorry.”

“No apologies are necessary, Lizzy. Had I not been such a clueless idiot it never would have happened. Everyone except me realized you hated me, I didn’t understand you and then I made you uncomfortable by telling you of my foolish wishes and desires. I’m the one who should be, and who is, sorry. I should never have imposed on you like that.”

“You could have knocked me down with a feather that afternoon. I had thought that it was you who hated me. I was wrong about you in so many ways. You are a good man Will. I let what I thought I knew cloud my better judgment.”

“I’ve known for so long what a snake Wickham is that I had forgotten how charming he can be when he chooses to be. I wasn’t thinking rationally and I know I behaved like a jealous idiot. I just can’t tell you how glad I am that you now know his true character.”

“Your email certainly opened my eyes. Honestly, my first reaction was to hit delete. I didn’t want to hear anything you had to say. I was so in love with my own clever opinions and refused to believe that I could be wrong. When you sat silent through my accusations, I thought that was an admission of guilt. I was so stupid. You could never be what George had made you out to be.”

Will now looked at her in the same way he used to back when they‘d first become acquainted. At the time, she had incorrectly assumed it was to find fault. Later, she had learned it was because he had loved her. She had no idea why he should look at her like that now after all that had happened.

Will spoke gently. “No Elizabeth, not stupid. I’m just glad you realized the truth in the matter. It makes me feel better that you no longer think so ill of me.”

Lizzy smiled, but it was to keep from crying. She had long abandoned any ill-will she’d felt for Will Darcy and slowly and against her own will she had come to realize that she loved him and he was by far the best man she knew. Here he was now, being nice and forgiving her for which she was grateful. The problem was she was no longer satisfied with his forgiveness; she wanted his love but knew her desires were all in vain.

“Well, it seems I was destined by God, the fates or what-have-you to understand you better. We’ve been thrown together,” here Lizzy waved her hands around inside the truck for effect, “quite literally, often enough that I was bound to get how wrong I was one of these days. Thanks again for all your assistance when you helped us this spring.”

“Oh Lizzy, that was nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

“Nothing? You took my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner and myself into your home while their car was being repaired. And when our plans had to change, you turned into our social director. You didn’t need to do that.”

In all seriousness Will answered, “Yes I did. I needed to show you that I was not the arrogant S.O.B. you thought me to be. I had something to prove.”

Lizzy archly responded, “I thought Will Darcy was beholden to no man.”

Will sighed deeply and shook his head. “You, Elizabeth Bennet, are definitely not a man.”

Lizzy could not help but giggle at this. “Why Mister Darcy, nothing gets by you!”

Will tried to hide the longing in his voice, “You did.”

They were silent for some time. Lizzy still needed to thank him for his help bailing Lydia out of that mess with George before any real harm was done. Will was still so unsure of himself, felt so inadequate in his ability to understand her that he dare not say anything about he felt, lest he be crushed again. He had lived through her rejection once and knew he’d not be able to do that again.

Will remembered how excited he was when he and Richard visited his Aunt’s condo in Hilton Head and found her nearby staying with her friend Charlotte’s family. As Charlotte’s husband was Will’s Aunt’s business manager, they found themselves often in company. Will had taken it as a sign that he should pursue Lizzy whereas Lizzy thought it meant she was being punished for something.

For three weeks, the two parties saw each other daily. Will spent a considerable amount of time deliberating the pros and cons to asking Lizzy to marry him. Will decided that even though the ‘con’ list was longer, it didn’t matter and he would ask Lizzy for her hand. Where Will’s grand scheme began to fall apart was he actually told her about the list and actually named each ‘con’! Had Lizzy liked him to begin with, that would have been disastrous; yet, since she already had despised him, it was the death knell of all his hopes.

Lizzy told him “no thank-you” to his proposal and instead of letting it be, he demanded an explanation. An explanation and then some is what he got. She accused him, rightly so, of breaking up her sister and his friend and faulted him, unjustly so, of denying Wickham a career in Will’s company and for blackballing him in the industry making him unable to find a proper job. He became enraged at her defense of his enemy and acted the jealous fool. His words were bitter and mean. She railed back that even had he been charming and sweet, it would not have mattered because even before these things had happened, her opinion of him had already been fixed. Her feelings were, based upon his own words and actions, that he was the very last man on the face of the planet whom she would choose to spend ten minutes alone with, never mind marry, even if the fate of mankind was hanging in the balance.

Will began to chuckle at his recollection. Today they’d spent at least an hour and a half alone together and the world was still in one piece. The more he thought about how ridiculous that afternoon was, the more he began to laugh.

Lizzy was curious, “What’s so funny?”

Will tried to stop, but found he couldn‘t. “Nothing.”

“Nothing indeed. Please Will? I could use a good laugh. Now, please tell me what’s so funny?”

He raised his eyebrow in the manner he‘d learned from her, “Alright, but you probably won’t see the humor.”

She quirked her eyebrow in response to his and answered dryly, “Thanks for your vote of confidence in my sensibilities.”

“Okay, but I warned you. Remember back at the condo, when you said I was the last man on the planet you’d ever spend ten minutes with?”

Lizzy knew Will had been right and she should have left it alone. “Yes….”

Will motioned to his watch and sheepishly offered, “Well, according to my math, between the car ride and our imprisonment, we’re closing in on two hours in company.”

“I’m glad I’m such a source of amusement for you Will.” muttered Lizzy.

“Oh come on now, Lizzy, you know I would never laugh at you. It’s not you that’s amusing…it’s this whole situation. Charlie locked us in a truck for crying out loud! You didn’t choose to spend this time with me…and the fate of mankind is safe despite whatever our outcome is.”

Lizzy nodded somewhat in agreement. “Yeah, well, Charlie had an accomplice, that’s for sure. Jane’s not innocent either. I think she’s punishing me for subjecting her to the Will Saga for nearly two years.”

Will asked somewhat nervously, “The Will Saga? I don’t know if I should be frightened or flattered by that. What exactly do you mean by the Will Saga?”

Lizzy didn‘t answer his question. Instead she asked one of her own. “I guess it’s my turn to ask you if you’re sure you want to know?”

“Yes. Please.”

“Alright then. You need to understand, and I think you’ve realized, that Jane is not only my sister but she’s my best friend. What this means is she knows all of our history, well, nearly, with one another. It became rather episodic, and thus the name ‘Will Saga’ was born.”

Will still wasn‘t sure if he was frightened or flattered. Would he ever fully understand Lizzy? More importantly, would he ever truly be given a chance to? “You said she locked you up in here with me as a punishment…I’m sorry to be, once again, imposed upon you Lizzy.”

Lizzy was tired of this treading lightly business. They were both somewhat rational adults and should be able to hold a conversation without either of them shattering to pieces. It was time to take a chance.

Moving from her position on the nightstand, she stepped as best she could over a few boxes and around the standing beveled mirror until she reached the long dresser where Will was. Motioning for approval to sit, Will nodded his acquiescence. Instead of sitting on the opposite end, she sat directly next to him. Will was highly surprised by this action and it showed clearly on his face.

“Will, I need to set the record straight. There have been way too many misunderstandings between us as it is without adding this to the list. Please know that your presence here with me is neither a punishment nor an imposition.”

He could hardly believe his ears. Will searched her eyes for any hint of this being a tease or some sort of joke, but she appeared to be very serious. All he could say was, “Really?”

“While I’m clearing things up for you, let me also say that you are by no means the last man I’d spend ten minutes alone with.”

Will was listening carefully to every nuance of what she said and more importantly listening to what was left unsaid. It was clear she no longer hated him. Even as unsure of himself as Will was, he was able to grasp that much at least.

He looked her directly into the beautiful eyes he’d always found so fascinating. He saw something new there, something he’d never seen before. Will well knew what her anger and scorn looked like, he was familiar with her amusement and delight, he had even seen shame and sadness there; this was altogether different and with this new look, his hopes began to grow.

“Truly, Lizzy?” he asked, hoping for confirmation in it’s truth.

“Truly, Will. In fact, since I seem to be confessing this afternoon, I’ll come clean about everything. The truth is, well, the truth is that you, William Darcy, are actually the very first man I’d choose to spend ten minutes alone with. The problem is that, despite my education and what my diplomas say, I’m an idiot who’s blown every chance she was given with the very best of men.”

Lizzy felt raw and exposed; yet also somehow felt better than she had in months. She supposed the old adage about confession being good for the soul was true after all. Lizzy started fiddling with the Claddaugh ring she wore in her right hand. She realized that was a nervous habit she’d actually picked up from watching Will. Lizzy wondered if next she’d begin to find looking out windows as fascinating as he seemed to.

Will closed his eyes tightly and prayed that when he opened them this would still all be real. And it was. He tentatively reached out his hand until he found hers and clasped it tightly. She smiled shyly up at him, unsure of what would come next, but hoping she would not be alone in baring her soul.

“Elizabeth, you are definitely no idiot and I would never have you say so. You are being way too generous with me after the way I’ve behaved to you in the past. Please, unless your feelings have completely changed, we need to move on to something else. My own wishes and love for you haven’t altered at all. If anything, they’re stronger.  However, one word from you though, and I promise I’ll never bring it up again.”

“My feelings? Oh Will! They’ve changed so much since last year…in fact, they are now exactly the opposite. This isn’t really happening, is it? You did just say that you still love me?”

Will smiled and nodded yes.

Lizzy grinned back. “That’s very convenient then, you see, as it happens to coincide with my loving you.”

Will, still holding her hand, stood up and turned towards her with a request. “Say it again?”

Lizzy stood before him, looked him directly in his warm eyes and replied, “I love you, Will Darcy, with all my heart.”

Will pulled her into his arms and finally did what he’d longed to do for nearly two years: he kissed her. Each had long imagined and fantasized about this first kiss between them. The reality far exceeded both their imaginations. It was tender and passionate, loving and gentle, innocent and sensual all at the same time. Lizzy and Will were both lost in the moment and perhaps, for the first time in their lives, being lost was alright.

After recovering a bit from the kiss, Will bravely ventured forward. “You say that your feelings from last summer are now the opposite. Is that correct, Lizzy?” She nodded yes and he continued, “All your feelings and opinions?”

Lizzy thought for a moment about what he could mean by that when realization dawned upon her. “Yes Will, all my feelings and opinions are, indeed, quite the opposite.”

That was exactly what he‘d hoped to hear. “Then you will marry me?”

She giggled and answered, “I suppose I must. The human race may very well be depending on it!”

“Tease me all you like, my dearest Lizzy! Now that I know you love me, I can bear anything.”

Lizzy said seriously, “I would give you a proper answer if you ask me properly, Will.”

With that, he sat her upon the dresser and dropped to one knee as best he could within the limited space of the truck. Taking both of her hands in his, he began, “Elizabeth Bennet, I have loved you with a fervent and tender passion for so long that I can no longer recall a time when I wasn’t in love with you. Your thoughts are the ones I long to know, your desires and wishes are the ones I want to make come true, you are who I know I’m meant to spend my life with. Together, we can build and raise a family, share our joys and sorrows, argue, debate, tease and love one another without condition for the rest of our lives. Please, my dearest, loveliest, Elizabeth, end my uncertainty and suffering by saying that you’ll marry me and share my life and all that I have to offer. Truly, without you to be there with me, everything I have means nothing. My dearest Lizzy, please say that you marry me?”

Lizzy wrested one hand away from Will so that she could wipe the tears from her eyes. “Yes! William Darcy, I would be honored to be your wife.” She knelt down so she could meet him face-to-face. With a bright, tear-stained smile on her face, she said, “See? Had you asked like that last year…maybe you’d have received a different answer.”

Will shook his head. “I highly doubt that. I had some valuable lessons to learn from that day, and I thank you for giving me the insight to see where my character was lacking.”

Lizzy started to protest, but Will stopped her by squeezing her hand and continuing. “I was given excellent principles as a child, but living as we did, I never had the opportunity to practice them. For so many years I was a selfish and arrogant man, thinking much was owed to me just because of who I am, instead of what I am. You, my lovely Lizzy, taught me the difference between being a man of worth and a worthy man. When I saw myself through your eyes, I was appalled by what I had become. I loved you all the more, that is, after I’d thought on it, for not accepting me as I was. If I am now, as you say, the best of men, it’s only because of you Elizabeth. By you I was properly set-down. I came to you last summer without any doubt of my being accepted. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased.”

“Well, Mister William Darcy, this woman is very well pleased.” She kissed him to show him just how much.

After her demonstration of how pleased she was, Will sighed, “Oh Lizzy, when?”

Still caught up in the wondrous haze of being a newly-minted fiancée, she managed to ask, “When what?”

Pulling her closer in an embrace Will answered, “When can we marry? How soon before I can make you my one-and-only Mrs. Darcy?”

The reality of what it meant to be engaged finally hit Lizzy. She would become Mrs. Darcy. Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy. Mrs. William Darcy. It was a very pleasant thought indeed! Lizzy thought carefully about her answer and after considering several important factors, came up with an answer she was certain would please her beloved Will.

“I think you must already know that I have no desire for the same sort of circus that Jane and Charlie are having. All I truly want is you and a few of our family members there. Being Fran’s least favorite daughter gives me the advantage of not needing to heed her wishes or advice. Dad will back me on whatever I want to do…and what I really want to do is marry you as soon as possible.” She buried her head in his chest and squeezed him tight. “I think we’ve already wasted enough of our, and everyone else’s, time. What do you think?”

Will Darcy, ever-known in the business community for being stern and dour, beamed with delight at hearing that his love was as anxious to wed as he was.

“I think we need to make a call. You don’t have your cell do you?” he asked, knowing that in all likelihood she didn’t.

“No, I’m afraid it’s in my bag which I left in the car. And yours is?”

He shook his head and chuckled, “Upfront in the cab. I kept hip-dialing and taking pocket-pictures, so I threw it on the dash for safe-keeping. If we had a cell, we could assure the dynamic duo that their plot was a success and they could let us out.”

“That was awfully evasive Mr. Darcy. Does ducking the question at hand work well for you in the boardroom?” She was enjoying this newfound freedom to tease the always serious William Darcy. “I can assure you that those tactics will not work with me, Sir!”

He laughed. “No, I suppose they won’t.” Will leaned down and gave her a very tender kiss. “I guess I’ll have to develop some new strategies.” he said with a wink. “I’m in perfect agreement with you…between your mother, no offense, and my family, plus the media, I think the best thing would be to get a Justice of the Peace and have a very simple and very quiet ceremony for just a handful of people. Would next weekend be too soon?”

She touched his cheek with the greatest of affection. It was hard to fathom that just a few hours ago she’d feared to be alone with this man! Now they were planning how soon they would get married? Lizzy was sure even the ever-optimistic Pollyanna Jane couldn’t have imagined things would have turned out this well.

“Oh Will, if I could, I would marry you today! Charlie and Jane are getting married in just three weeks. We can’t get a march on them…I know I said I don’t care what my Mom will say, but she’d absolutely kill me for that!”

Will laughed at the thought of Fran Bennet somehow even having a bigger fit of nerves than normal. He could very well imagine her protestations about her flutterings and spasms, how Elizabeth was the most ungrateful daughter ever and on and on. It would not matter to Fran Bennet that Lizzy was marrying one of the wealthiest men in America for love. Nope. What would matter was the tragedy of not having a huge society wedding like the Bingley’s.

Lizzy pretended to be offended by Will’s laughter. “You think that’s funny? Laugh it up, funny-boy. That woman will soon be your mother-in-law, that is, if you haven’t reconsidered and thought better of marrying me.”

“Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth…there is absolutely no better thought than marrying you!” He brushed a wayward curl behind her ear, kissed her cheek and continued. “You may yet change your mind when you realize you’ve agreed to have the bossy DeBourghs and the- shall we say boisterous? Fitzwilliams as your new family?”

“Boisterous? That’s akin to calling my family ’lively’! However, the lovely Georgiana for a sister nearly makes up for it all. Then there’s you of course! As your wife, I’ll never have any cause for regret!”

“I’d certainly hope not!” William kissed her soundly to confirm that, as his wife, she’d truly never have any cause to repine.

After a few moments of just being quiet in each other‘s company, Lizzy wondered aloud, “I do wonder what people will say though…it’s not as if we’ve actually dated or anything. Isn’t it a more than a bit strange? We’d never even kissed before today!”

Will contemplated on their complicated history and relationship for a moment. “While it’s true that we’ve not had a conventional relationship like some people, I would venture to say that we know each other better than had we gone a more traditional route.”

“I suppose that’s true. You have always been a quite observant man.”

“I hope so. Let’s see how observant, shall we?” He grinned as he sat on the dresser once more and struck a thoughtful pose with his thumb under his chin and his long forefinger on his cheek, aside his nose. “Your birthday is, of course, April 19th and your favorite color is a yellowy-amber- not too orangey, that would be too like Caroline! You played volleyball, swam and ran track in high school. You were class Salutatorian. You graduated, with honors, from Brown with a degree in Business Administration and you took your Master’s, again with honors, from Harvard in the same. Your all-time favorite book is Anne of Green Gables and you love all sorts of books except true-crime. You claim your favorite food is sushi; but I refuse to believe it as I’ve seen you with pizza and I’d venture that pepperoni beats sashimi any day. You love spring showers and crunchy leaves in the fall. You’d rather ramble in the woods on an afternoon than attend a ‘society’ event. When I see you with a can of Pringle’s and a Dr. Pepper, I know to steer clear for a few days time, as that’s your special time of the month.” With that last statement she blushed bright red from head to toe, but nodded in agreement at his perception.

He took her hand in his and smiled before he went on. “You love playing devil’s advocate and expressing opinions which are not your own. You wear almost no make-up, which I love because you are, beyond a doubt, beautiful without it. You care more for comfort than fashion. You have the most giving, generous heart. You are the most witty and intelligent woman I’ve ever met. I am the luckiest man on the planet that you’ve somehow overcome my myriad of faults and love me.”

She rewarded his efforts with a kiss. “I do love you, very much so! However, your faults are not so many as I once thought they were. I daresay mine outnumber yours!”

Not to be out-done though, Lizzy stated, “Very observant indeed, William. You are not the only one who’s paid attention these last few years though! If my memory serves, you graduated Valedictorian from Andover, Summa Cum Laude from Harvard for both your B.A. and your Master’s. I also know that no one will ever actually see any of those diplomas, as they have your full name on them- Fitzwilliam! Your favorite color is green. You like to drive so fast I’m amazed you still have your license. You, sir, profess steak to be your favorite dish, but I believe you secretly covet a good pizza as much as I do. Your favorite ‘classic’ book is the Count of Monte Cristo but you love a good manly action novel. How many Tom Clancy novels can there be? Anyways, you play with your ring when you’re nervous or distracted and you stare out windows when you need a moment to think or to calm down. I know there’s nothing as awful as you on a Sunday afternoon during football season, especially if your beloved Patriots have played poorly. You’d do nearly anything to protect your family and those you love and I count myself as blessed beyond measure that I am in that small minority.”

William smiled broadly, showing his dimples at best advantage to Lizzy’s delight. “We are a well-matched pair my love. I see you’ve discovered my secrets.”

Lizzy chuckled, “And you’ve discovered mine! I can’t believe you noticed the Pringles and Dr. Pepper…I’m truly mortified!”

“Lizzy, I raised my sister on my own since she was ten. If you want to compare mortification stories, I can assure you I’ll win. I was twenty-two and had to take Georgiana for training bras and, well, for the other stuff too. I had no idea what I was doing and, I swear, I bought one of everything! The clerk in the clothing store must have thought I was some sort of pervert shopping with a little girl…it was a disaster! After that horrible episode, I begged and pleaded with the au pair to take her on those trips from then on.”

With empathy clear in her voice, she responded, “Wow. I had no idea Will. You poor thing.” Then, with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes she teased, “Well now Will, you’re prepared for when our daughters reach that age…you’re already well-practiced!”

Daughters. Children. When Will Darcy had woke up this morning, he had groaned at the thought of helping Charlie and Jane move. He had finally admitted to himself that he’d long been jealous of his best friend. Not because of Jane, but because Charlie had been able to secure his future with the woman he loved. Seeing them together and so in love only aggravated the longing for his own happy ending with Lizzy. That was something that when Will Darcy awoke this very morning had seemed impossible for himself. Now his happy ending was in sight, his future secured and his own Lizzy was talking about their children! It was almost too much to be believed.

Will shook his head at her assertion. “I think that ought to be a mother’s job, don’t you Dearest?”

Lizzy knew some girls dreamed of being a mother from the moment they received their first baby-doll as a child. Elizabeth Bennet did not. She and her baby-dolls had grand adventures in the wild outdoors rather than more traditional role-playing. She always liked children and had a real knack with them; yet, until this moment, until hearing Will speak about her becoming a mother, she’d never considered it as an option for herself. Once the thought was nestled completely inside Lizzy’s mind, she could not imagine anything aside from being Will’s wife that she wanted more. To have a family with this amazing man was all that Elizabeth Bennet wanted in the whole world. This new knowledge brought with it a remembrance of an earlier conversation which made her giggle.

“Now what’s so funny?” he asked in all seriousness.

She laughed outright, unable to suppress the giggles. Hoping he’d see the humor too, she confessed, “Mankind can rest easy now…”

The wheels of Will’s mind were moving slow just now and it took a moment for him to make the connection between the conversation they’d just had and what was spoken of before. When it became clear to him at last, he audibly gasped.

They sat in a companionable silence, so different from the tension-filled quiet of the earlier car-ride. Each were thinking about the new possibilities before them. There was still much to work out but neither was concerned. The true difficulties were over now for Will and Lizzy- they deserved to just sit for a while and simply be.

An alarm from Will’s watch echoed through the truck. “Well Lizzy, I’m supposed to call Georgie now. I’m sure in a few minutes when I haven’t called, we’ll hear my phone ring in the cab. If we’re lucky, when she doesn’t reach me, she’ll call Charlie and then maybe he and Jane will come let us out.”

Lizzy couldn’t resist taking this opportunity to pout. “You wish to be free of me so soon? This surely doesn’t bode well for our future Will.”

Will just squeezed her hand in response. “Never! I would however, like to get out of here so we can finish getting this stuff to Netherfield so I can take my beautiful fiancée to dinner to celebrate our engagement. I’m starving and I know you must be too.”

Lizzy asked sheepishly, “Pizza?”

“I think that can be arranged.”

They were about to finalize plans for later when they heard a commotion outside. Will looked questioningly at Lizzy and she nodded her agreement.

***********************************************************

“Charlie, I don’t hear anything!” Jane said worriedly.

“Oh no! Do you think they’ve finally killed each other once and for all?” Charlie laughingly teased.

Jane scolded him in her best teacher-voice, “Charles Bingley, if I find that my sister has shed any more tears over your friend, he will have me to answer to!”

Inside the truck, Will whispered to Lizzy that he had no clue that Jane could be that scary. Lizzy warned him that he had no idea just how tough Jane could be and it would him well to remember that!

Charlie just laughed. “I just wish to God one of these days they will realize how much they love each other. It’s been the most absurd year watching them try to avoid each other while still trying to be near. I hope they’ve been able to clear the air somewhat. They really have behaved like children for way too long.”

Jane agreed. “I still can’t believe we put them in ‘time-out’. I guess it’s time to see if it works on grown-ups as well as it does on kids.”

Charlie worked the lock on the latch so he could open the door to the truck while he said, “Hopefully, they’ve been able to kiss and make-up like you said.”

Upon hearing the door open, Will grabbed Lizzy in his arms and passionately kissed her. Jane Bennet and Charlie Bingley simply stood there for a moment in surprise.

When Will and Lizzy broke apart for air and to regain their composure, they broadly smiled at the dumbfounded couple before them.

Will and Lizzy smiled at each other before they said in unison, “You did say to kiss and make up!”

*************************************************************

Epilogue:

The moving had been abandoned for the rest of the day. It was decided to hire professionals to finish the job after all. There were simply too many other things to focus on besides moving boxes from one room to another.

Three weeks later, Charles Bingley and Jane Bennet were married in what was the wedding of the New England social elite. Watching the bride and groom’s families behave poorly at the festivities only strengthened Will and Lizzy’s resolve about having a quiet, civil ceremony.

Lizzy was correct that her Mother cared not about being deprived of throwing a grand affair for her as long as she didn’t mess up Jane’s big day.

Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet were married on a late summer’s day exactly one week after the Bingleys. With only the people who mattered most there to share it with them, it was a most joyous occasion. Together, they lived a long life together, full of laughter and joy. Even though mankind was no longer dependent upon their efforts, they did what they could to aid the species along by having a son named William (There would be no more Fitzwilliams upon Will’s insistence that it made a horrible first name.) and a daughter named after Will’s mother Anne.

There were several more moving days throughout the lives of the Bingleys and the Darcys…but those are tales for another day.

Finis!

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Creative Commons License
Moving Day (a modern P&P short) by michchick aka Jennifer Hickling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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