This chapter is for Miss Pat. Happy birthday in heaven to you, my friend!

*Chapter Sixty-Three*


At four, Liz’s alarm sounded as usual. Will was already awake, eagerly anticipating Liz getting up so they could say a proper farewell before he and Henry needed to leave for New York. Liz got up without much fuss and, after taking her insulin, quickly rejoined Will in bed.

“Good morning, Sweetheart,” Liz said as she snuggled against his chest.

Will kissed her forehead. “It is a good morning, Love. Everything alright?”

Liz wrapped her arms around him, planted several kisses along his collarbone and neck and said, “Perfect.”

He brought her up so her lips met his. After several passionate kisses, he rolled them both so they were on their sides. Propped on his right elbow, he used his left hand to brush wayward strands of hair from her face. “I don’t know how I’m supposed to be professional for the next few days without you beside me. You’ve spoiled me, Elisabeth Gardiner, absolutely spoiled me!”

Liz gloried in his attention. “It’s only fair as you’ve ruined me forever for sleeping alone. These next days are going to be much too long. Are you sure you have to go? How much richer do you need to be?”

Will chuckled. “It’s not only about the money, Liz. If it was, I’d say to hell with it and cancel everything! We need to go because this company is in some financial trouble and a lot of jobs will be lost if we aren’t there to help them out of the bind they’re in. I remember not so long ago you were railing against “corporate fat-cats” who sold their businesses short. Well, that’s not at all what we do or what we’re about. If we can save the jobs while trimming the expenditures, then that’s what we’ll do.”

“So, you’re the corporate version of a knight in shining armor?”

“I suppose you could say that, but, truthfully, I only care about being your knight in shining armor.”

Liz pushed him over so he was flat on his back. “And so you are! What do you suppose I can favor my knight with to show him he has my heart and my allegiance?”

Will pulled her closer. “Being the brilliant woman you are… I’m certain you can think of at least one or two things that would please me.”

And so she did.

Later as they were getting ready before breakfast, Liz shyly confessed that it was likely a good thing they’d be separated for the next few days. “I’m due for my monthly imposition. Because I always feel like crud, I’ll likely just come home from school, grab some granola and yogurt, curl up with a book and go to bed. I won’t be much fun, so your trip being right now is probably for the best.”

Will shook his head in disbelief. He took her by the hand and set her down in her favorite chair and when she was comfortable, he began. “Elisabeth, have you really so little faith in me? If you are not feeling well, I would wish to be here to see to your comfort. This… this imposition, as you call it, is likely to be a regular feature of life for many years to come and I will not have you shoving me out the door every month because of it. I love you and for more than just what we share in the bedroom and I’m more than a little concerned, and frankly a bit hurt, that you might feel otherwise.”

She reached out for his hand and he came forward to take it. “William, that’s not at all what I was trying to say. I know we have more than just sex, great though it is, going for the two of us. You’ve become so important to me in such a short time that sometimes I get a little freaked out. Everything is changing so fast that my brain just can’t seem to keep it all processed fast enough. You’re right, of course, but you already knew that, didn’t you? This will be a regular thing to deal with, and I’m so glad that you didn’t freak out on me about it.”

“I do have a sixteen-year-old sister, remember? I’ve served as Georgie’s parent as well as her brother for most of her life. She was twelve when she was first imposed upon, and it was left to me to help sort everything. I am rather good at getting craved-for goodies from the market and I’m sure that if you have backache I could help there, too.”

“You, my dearest William, are too good to be true. I’m sorry I was cranky and gave you the wrong impression. Is it too early to chalk it up to hormones?”

“Probably.” He softly chuckled and sat beside her, embracing her in his arms. “I have a few ideas about your hormones.”

“Oh, really? Perhaps you’d care to share?”

Will flashed a smug grin. “I could just keep you barefoot and pregnant for the next ten or twelve years.” 

 He was not in the least surprised when he found himself shoved out of the chair. “Or not.”

“Or not, indeed! William Darcy, I know you are not serious!”

He dared to come close enough to kiss the top of her head. “No, I am not. But this is as good a time as any to discuss having a family, is it not?”

She patted the chair, an indication that it was safe once more. “I suppose it is. How many children were you thinking?”

“I have not given it too much thought, to be honest. Until I met you, I could never truly picture having a family of my own. The only thing I know for certain is that I would like to have more than one. I, for the most part, grew up an only child and would not want that for our own offspring. What were you thinking, Love?”

“More than one, but definitely less than five. I think two or three would be perfect. How does that sound?”

“Brilliant.” Will hated to do it, but since they were on the subject, it needed to be asked. “And when would you want to start this family of ours? You are just about to embark on a career you’ve worked really hard for. How long did you wish to wait?”

Liz was thrilled by his response, but she wanted to be sure he really meant it. “You aren’t going to push me to begin right away? I mean, you are older than I am and everything. Are you sure you wouldn’t mind?”

“Elisabeth, I am turning thirty-two, not fifty-two! There is plenty of time. But since you’re asking questions, I have one. Isn’t getting pregnant while diabetic dangerous?”

“It wouldn’t be as easy as someone with normal kidneys, but if I’m being closely monitored, there shouldn’t be any reason why I can’t have a normal pregnancy. Speaking of all these hormones and family planning… I should make an appointment this week to see the doctor.”

“What for? Is something wrong?”

“No, but I should see about getting some birth control. It would help with my impositions and be a whole lot easier than remembering to keep a stock of condoms.”

They continued to discuss their visions of the future without any further misunderstandings until Will’s grumbling stomach could no longer be ignored. Since Liz was to make breakfast for the three of them, it fell to Will to wake Henry. Armed with a glass of water and aspirin, he knocked as softly as he could on the guest bedroom door. “Good morning, Reynolds. Time to get up.”

Since there was no response, Will knocked louder. “Reynolds, Liz is making breakfast. It’s time to get up.”

There were still no signs of life from within. “Damn it, Reynolds. Do I really have to come in there?”

When no answer came forth, Will resigned himself to his fate. “This is your last chance, Reynolds. I am coming in.” Will entered the room and was unable to stifle a laugh at the picture his assistant presented. Somehow, Henry had slid off the bed during the night and had become twisted in his comforter. His upper body was actually underneath the bed. Will set the water and medicine down, next he took hold of Henry’s ankles and managed to pull him from under the bed. Even the jerking motion of being dragged across the floor wasn’t enough to rouse Henry from his slumber.

“Bloody hell, how drunk were you?” he asked the unresponsive Henry. Gently, Will poked Henry’s side with his foot. “Come on, stop being such a git. Breakfast is nearly ready and we need to get going soon.” Will tried again, this time a little less gently, no response from Henry except the line of drool coming from his mouth. “Holy hell, this is worse than trying to wake Chip back in our school days.” Deciding he’s wasted enough time attempting to wake the dead, Will grabbed the glass of water and poured it on Henry’s face. That did the trick.

Henry sputtered and thrashed about, trying to free his arms from the blanket so he could wipe his face. He was surprised to find he was on the floor, but he was surprised even greater still that Will was standing above him, not looking one bit guilty that he’s been responsible for such a rude awakening.

Will failed in his attempt not to enjoy this. “Decided at last to join the living, have we Reynolds?”

Henry was still trying to piece together how he’d come to be on the floor and was a little slow in his response. “You seem to have left me little choice in the matter, sir.”

“No, I did not. I did, however, try other means first. How is your head this morning? I have some aspirin here, but I’m afraid I’m fresh out of water to take them with.”

Henry gathered his knees up and rested his head and arms on them. “You, sir, are a cruel man in the morning. My head is killing me and if you wouldn’t mind, I think there’s a heavy statuette on the chest over there that you could use to just do me in and put me out of my misery.”

“There’s no cause for that or anything so dire. Come,” Will offered his hand to help Henry stand, “breakfast awaits us. Some aspirin, some food, and lots of water are all you need to feel better.”

Henry, still dressed in his clothes from the night before, asked, “Is there a possibility of more sleep, sir?”

Will assured him there would be plenty of time for that later. They joined Liz in the kitchen and it was all Henry could do to keep the smell of eggs and bacon from making him further nauseous. He ate breakfast; six pieces of dry toast, two cups of black coffee, three aspirin and four glasses of water for breakfast.

Henry’s head was lying on the table when Liz stood behind him and ruffled his hair. “Poor Henry. Will, Sweetheart, do you think we can find somebody for Henry?”

Henry’s eyes opened wide.

Will set the newspaper he’d been reading down. “Somebody to love? Certainly, Love. If a bit of matchmaking will make you happy, then why not?”

Henry managed to lift his head from the table. “Please, God, no. No matchmaking, no somebody to love, no anything, I beg of you both. I’m quite fine on my own, thank you anyways.”

As Liz cleared away the dishes, she made to tease him. “You have such a lovely singing voice, Henry.”

Furrowing his brow, Henry said seriously, “I don’t sing.”

Will wondered if he sounded this absurd when he protested about snoring. “You do, Reynolds, and don’t listen to Liz. She’s being too kind for you sing appallingly.”

“I recollect that Wickham hit the floor several times last night, but not much else. You will forgive me my ignorance of last night’s events; I pray you will both take mercy on me and just have done with all the mockery at once rather than string it out to torture me.”

Will nodded. “Very well, consider the matter closed. Perhaps cleaning up and making ready to leave might just be the thing you need to finish clearing out your head?”

Henry agreed. “Capital idea, sir.”

“Oh, and Reynolds? A hangover is no excuse. Please cease all the “sir” nonsense.”

Henry, still suffering mightily from a headache, merely waved his hand as he left the breakfast table.

Liz turned on the dishwasher. “I am worried about him, Will. It’s obvious he still isn’t feeling well, please be nice to him today.”

“Of course I will. I will always be kind to your favorite minions. Are you sure that you won’t be late for school?”

“No, I’ve got plenty of time. This morning is my own. When you get back, I’ll have already done my oral and, hopefully, with a little luck, I’ll be ready to receive my doctorate. It’s a busy week for both of us, and maybe not having you around to distract me is a good thing.”

Will wrapped his arms around her waist. “Are you implying, madam, that I am a distraction?”

“Oh, yes! A very large, very handsome, super sexy distraction that I am very grateful to call my own. But since I need to focus this week on my work, it’s probably a good thing you’ll be in New York.”

“Where I need to focus on saving a company from fiscal disaster. This will be a good test for us, I think.”

Liz grinned. “I always tested well.”

“I will try not to die of shock from that revelation. I, however, did not test well… or at least easily.”

They finished cleaning up the kitchen and waited for Henry in the living room. Once he was finally dressed and ready, Liz took them to Logan where she was introduced to Captain Wentworth. The Captain assured Liz he would take very good care of her fiancé and there would be nothing at all to worry about. Henry and Wentworth disappeared into the place to give Will and Liz some privacy to say good-bye.

“Why is this so hard?” she asked. “It’s not as if you’re going away forever.”

“I don’t know, Love. This is difficult for me as well. We’ll be back in a few days and after that I see no good reason why we should ever be parted again.”

“I love you, William Darcy. Remember that.”

“I love you, Elisabeth Gardiner. Remember that.”

They kissed and comforted each other until they heard a clearing of Wentworth’s throat signaling that it was time to take off. Liz sat in her car and watched the plane fly into the morning sky. Only when she lost sight of the plane on the horizon did she leave for school.

Henry had been asleep since the moment he had buckled into his seat on the plane. Will had wanted to review notes with his trusted assistant, but he didn’t have the heart to disturb the poor man. Instead, he watched out the window as the land passed in a blur beneath them. As the landscape below mesmerized him, Will contemplated the strange turns which had taken in such a short period of time. As someone who had been deliberate and careful about planning the direction of his life, Will was remarkably casual about how quickly and easily he’d given up controlling every minor detail. It’s amazing what the love of a good woman can do!

They arrived in New York and had a car transport them to the US base for Pemberley. Will checked in and made certain everything was in order. He and Henry met with the senior staff and were brought up to speed on the various projects that were going on in the office. After several hours of this, Will noticed Henry could barely hold his head up. Will explained they’d be back very early the next morning as he and Henry left for the apartments he kept in the building across the street.

Henry was very glad when Will handed him a card-key and told him nothing more was expected of him until the next morning. As Henry opened his door and tossed his bag inside, he nodded to Will and said, “Thank you, sir, and good night!”

Will didn’t have the heart to point out that it was only two in the afternoon.

When Will opened the door to the penthouse that was his whenever he stayed in New York, he was greatly disturbed to find that someone else was already there. There was a pair of large, brown loafers in the front hall and a briefcase was sitting on the hall table.

Will called out, “Hello? Unless you make yourself known right now, I will call security and have you removed!”

A laughing voice answered back. “And why on earth would you do something like that to your favorite cousin?”

Will relaxed enough to tease his cousin. “John? Is that you?”

Andrew Williams greeted his cousin with a great bear hug. “You ass! I’m your favorite cousin.”

They moved to the living room and made themselves comfortable. “No, my preferred cousin is the one who actually remembers I exist. How the hell have you been? It’s been an age and a half since anyone’s laid eyes on you!”

“I know. We’ll talk about that in a little while. What the hell are you doing here?”

“Aside from this is my flat? The better question is what are you doing here?”

“I had asked Reynolds if I could use it since I was in town on some business.”

“When was this?”

“One week a year ago. But I kind of decided to keep the key and I really only stay here when I’m in the city. God knows I try to save all the money I can on my poor instructor’s salary. But Fitz, if my being here is going to cause you any trouble, I could go. I’d hate to be the one to get in the way of any big romantic plans you might have.”

“No romantic plans at all. This is a working trip. In fact, Reynolds is next door. What about you, Andy? I’m not going to find any unmentionables strewn about the place, am I?”

“Sadly, no. It’s been way longer than I’d like to admit since I’ve had any access to lady’s unmentionables. How about you? You seem in a remarkably good mood and you haven’t even threatened to kill me for being here. You must be getting some.”

“See? This vulgarity of yours is precisely why John, for the moment at least, is my favourite cousin.”

Andy smacked Will on the back and laughed. “Ah! But you didn’t deny it! So spill already… who is she? When do we get to meet her? Does she have a sister?”

“Bloody hell, there are moments that I really hate you, you do realize that?”

“You love me and you know it. Now, it’s kiss and tell time! Details, man!”

Will shook his head at the immaturity of his cousin. “Grow up, Andy.”

“My life is so boring in comparison to yours. Excuse me if I wish to live vicariously through my jet-setting playboy cousin.”

A jet-setting playboy is the one thing in the world Will had no wish to be. Highly annoyed by his cousin’s inquisition, he determined that he would not say one word about Elisabeth. She was too precious to him to allow her to become an object of Andy’s jocularity. He would need to speak to Reynolds about keeping mum on the subject.

“I cannot help that your own life is dull, Andy. You said that you had a problem you wished to speak of?”

“I’ve been lonely lately and I’ve been thinking about the things that I’ve fucked up in my life. I’m thinking you were right when you told me to grow up.”

“What’s brought on this round of self-reflection? Did something happen at the Academy?”

“Nah, I love being an instructor. I received a call last week from out of the blue. You remember that girl I was going to marry? Well, it seems she’s taken up with some guy her father can’t stand and, since he’s always had a soft spot for me, he called me. I can honestly say that not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what might have been with her.”

Will frowned. He had never actually met the girl, but he distinctly remembered the mess his cousin had been in after the break-up and had no wish to see him go through such hell again. “Sometimes the past is better left there. That girl was selfish and tore you apart. Why would you want to even consider going through all that again?”

“Maybe it’s my military training or something, but I feel like I gave up too easily. I should have been able to conquer whatever troubles we had. Her father swears that I’m the right man for her and I believe he may be right. What do you think? Should I try again? Give her another chance?”

“Didn’t you say she’s with some other bloke? You would really be that guy, the one to break up a happy relationship?”

“Her father says the guy is a tool and there’s no way she’s happy. He swears she’s just rebelling against him for some reason or other. The more I think about it, the more I think he’s right. Lisa belongs to me.”

“You mean with you.”

“No, I meant what I said. She’s mine. Or she soon will be when she realizes that I’m the only one who could ever give her what she really needs.”

Will wondered when his cousin had become such a prick. “Your mother would smack you if she’d have ever heard you speak about a woman like that. What the hell happened to you, Andy? You sound positively Neanderthal.”

“Not at all. We should have been together all along. She just needs to see that she was wrong about me and then everything will be fine.”

“Well,” said Will, trying to think of something to say, “I suppose I should wish you luck, then. When do you plan to try to sweep her off her feet again?”

“I’m thinking there’s no time like the present. It’s the holidays and that always makes people feel sentimental and all that shit, so I think now is the time. In fact, you could really help me out.”

Will was ready to promise almost anything to get Andy out of there. He would need to have a long talk with John about Andy’s mental health. “What can I do for you?”

“Could you loan me some money? And by loan, I mean give, because we both know I’ll never have enough to really pay you back. I just need some travelling funds and a bit of seed money to start my new campaign to get Lisa back. Please, Fitz? Otherwise I’ll just have to call John and he’s even worse to deal with than you.”

“If there was a compliment of some sort in there, I must have missed it.” Will didn’t want to enable Andy to pursue this foolishness, but he also didn’t want to spend a week with him either. “Alright, I suppose I could spare some cash. How much were you thinking you might need?”

Andy grinned. “You’re the best, Fitz! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Ten large would really fit the bill. Christmas is coming, and though I’m sure I’m enough to fill all of her needs, I’m sure the little lady would love to get some bling in her stocking.”

Feeling ill at the thought of his cousin going after a girl who was clearly disturbed and mercenary, Will soothed his mind with thoughts of Elisabeth and how different she was than any other woman in the world. When he felt calm again, he agreed to his cousin’s request. “It’s early enough. Come on, we’ll stop by the bank and get your ten grand this afternoon. Were you staying the night, or did you want to head off on your quest right away?”

Andy shook his head. “I think I’ll head out tonight. Since you’re being so generous, I will let you buy me dinner before I leave.”

Will simply nodded.

The cousins went out and took care of Andy’s finances and then had an early dinner. Andy regaled his cousin with stories from the Academy and some of the stupid things different cadets had done. The entire time Will listened to him, he was stunned by the changes that had occurred to his cousin’s personality. There was a harsh edge, almost a cruelty, which had not been there before. Will was very glad Andy was not staying any longer than necessary.

 After Andy had packed and left, Will walked around the flat cleaning up after his cousin. There was something nagging at him, like there was something he felt he was missing or not seeing. He wracked his brain, but came up with nothing. He would think on it later tonight. Or better yet, I’ll go over this Andy business with Liz, she’ll help me see whatever it is that I’m missing.


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~more coming soon~


Creative Commons License Out of Reservations by michchick aka Jennifer Hickling is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.