This last week have been, errr..., rather intriguing. Not in a bad sense, though.
I was invited to join a great giveaway celebrating Ms Austen's day - her 240th birthday and it's been quite a surprise to notice so many great gifts aligned. Mr. Darcy's Diary , Longbourn , Becoming Jane , P&P BBC , as well as several copies of Austen's masterpieces. Among these treasures is my 45 days in Europe with Mr. Darcy Portuguese edition. Wow, what an honor!
Yeah, and there's still the Berkeley online P&P course I'm taking part and loving. Plus, I've had the nice surprise of noticing Darcy friends from a beloved site visiting me. I was delighted, would love to know what they think about my adventure in petticoats. ;)
Anyway, here, as Elizabeth has found an ally (or was it friendly fire) in someone she could never have guessed, can you guess her next move? It's a short lovely chapter and after this, there's only the Epilogue I'll try to post in a few days' time. But as life is relentless and my Christmas short stories project's deadline is close, I can't yet say when I'll manage.
For now, enjoy what people do best: love and gossip!
Love in acts
angst, rated M, short, sequel to P&P
‘Tell me everything, please.’ She asked, eyes wide and expectant. He sighed. ‘I promise I’ll deal with it all.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes.’ She answered without a second thought and noticed her husband eyeing her maid calmly removing each of the thousand pins from her hair. Very dashing he was in his waistcoat and cravat, the tailcoat discarded before he entered her chambers.
He waited until her hair fell down her back and the delicate jewelry was safe inside its boxes to send her maid away. From then on he could help his wife undress; in fact he would take pleasure doing so.
He nodded. ‘Ashton probably already knows as much, but I didn’t want to have an audience.’ She nodded, fine eyes still expectantly directed at him. ‘Come to the setee, my love. Bring your Limoncello.’
‘Oh, no…’ She mumbled miserably and sat beside him with a single tumbler from which she sipped delicately before passing it to him.
‘He will live.’
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes. It was a leg injurie. Quite bad.’
‘Did you see it?’ She asked in a whisper. He shut his yes and pressed his lips in a thin line. ‘Is that why they wouldn’t let me in?’
‘I almost wavered on my feet, Lizzy. And the smell…’ He pursed his lips. ‘Ladies would surely faint at the sight of that.’ He drained the tumbler and winced as the tart alcohol hit his throat.
She huffed indignantly. ‘He has a lady nurse! And if he were from a modest family, his mama and sisters and cousins would be the ones to help.’
‘If he were from a modest family, his leg would have been cut before he was sent home.’ She gasped. ‘The surgeons cleaned the wound to the bone as best as they could and sent him home. He said the crossing was almost unbearable, he was mostly unconscious. Once in London, he was better treated.’
‘Will he be able to have a normal life?’
‘I suppose. Aside from this leg, he only has nasty cuts on the other. His good mood is unscathed, he has general good health but there is no telling if the infection will clear.’ Darcy rose to refill the glass. ‘He will always have a hollow that hopefully will heal and skin will cover, but I don’t think he’ll grow flesh there anymore. No breeches, only trousers from now on. Maybe he won’t ride anymore, but I don’t see any problems for him to use curricles.’ Darcy drained the tumbler and refilled it to the middle to extend it to her.
To his surprise, she drained it instead of sipping. ‘I like trousers…’ She mused, eyes lost, face in a pained expression. ‘You look very handsome in trousers.’
He took the tumbler from her and rested on the mantle. ‘Let’s hope his only problem is of the fashion nature.’
‘May God provide.’ She sighed.
‘You, my love, has been causing quite an impression on the ladies here with your fashion.’ He pressed a smile.
‘Yes.’ She smiled weakly at him. ‘They loved my last purchases.’ She bit her lip.
‘What? Didn’t you love all you chose in London? You can choose other items if -’
‘No.’ She cut him. ‘You were already very generous. It’s that… I couldn’t fool your aunt, she saw through me and we… I mean, she explained about what would be expected of the wife of a man of your consequence.’ Elizabeth paused. ‘Family duties too.’
‘I wondered why you were so intent on Anne.’ He made a huge effort to contain his mirth. ‘Is that related somehow?’
‘How in God’s name is Pemberley’s mistress’ distress related to cousin Anne?’
She groaned at his choice of words and he had to press his fist to his lips. She squinted and caged him in her suspicious stare. He fell in love with her all over again. ‘I’ll never remarry, silly love. You will never leave me; I’ll never have another woman.’ He held her face in both hands and kissed her.
When he released her, she was breathless. ‘You considered this option?’
‘My aunt told me about your conversation.’ He grinned. ‘I’m to repay her help with that monstrous muff you thankfully didn’t choose.’
‘The white one?’
‘Yes.’ He kissed her cheek and sat beside her again.
‘What else did she tell you?’ Elizabeth asked terrified his aunt had given him ideas to picture Anne in bed, one more woman to haunt her.
‘That I have to keep her Limoncello a secret.’ She giggled as he kissed her jaw. ‘And most importantly that you are so special, money and social positions can’t persuade you to accept what is abhorrent in your eyes.’
‘She is a very wise woman.’
‘I say…’ His big hand found her breast and she covered it with hers.
His other hand, she directed from her neck to the junction of her legs and he sighed. ‘Maybe you should send for the matching cape to gift aunt Daphne.’ She whispered in his ear, his lips busy on her perfumed cleavage. ‘I should pay with my pin money…’ A tremble. ‘I almost lost this.’ She brazenly opened her legs for him to caress her over her dress.
‘You may gift her with whatever you want.’ He bit her earlobe and she trembled again before raising the hem of her gown for him. He grinned and bit her lower lip. ‘But because you’re fond of her. There was never any danger of you losing anything.’
Gasping and sighing in turn as he melted her with his hands, she laboriously freed his neck from the tie and held to catch his attention. ‘I have your heart.’
‘And your desire.’
‘Will I always have it?’
‘But that woman who looked like me-’
‘Stop.’ He leaned away from her.
She held his wrist to keep his hand inside her dress. ‘We’re not in bed yet. I need to know.’ Her heart thumped violently, it was the information she needed to move on with her life, to break free from the strings holding her. ‘Did you search for her after I refused you?’
His big hand clawed her inner thigh. ‘I didn’t have to search for her. Or any of them. It’s easy enough to hire such services when a gentleman has the inclination. The one similar to you was a sad coincidence that actually didn’t instigate me as much as I first thought.’
‘You still need to ask, Lizzy?’
‘Please.’ She begged, her hand on his neck trembled.
‘Because she is not you.’
They were caught in each other’s eyes for long moments.
‘I love you.’ She whispered, her fine eyes filling with tears. ‘But I can’t bear the thought of you with anyone else.’
‘It was never like what we have.’ He turned his head and kissed her wrist. ‘It is impossible to ever be.’
‘Can you be exclusively mine?’ She begged in a question, her eyes on his lips touching her wrist.
‘I want to believe you.’
‘I’ll prove it to you, one day after the other.’ He leaned his head to kiss her, her tongue licked his lips and he sighed. ‘I’m putty in your arms, and lips, and-’ He let go of her thigh to maneuver under garments and invade her with two fingers as she liked, her back arched, one stockinged leg lifted. ‘And here. I’m putty here. Helpless. Captive.’ He pumped lovingly. ‘Enslaved.’
After the kiss that almost robbed his soul, he had to withdraw his fingers because she stood, held her skirts around her waist and with an impatient look commanded him to open his breeches’ flap as she got rid of drawers.
‘Come, my lady.’ He held her by her naked hips guiding her astride him.
She tried but the setee was narrow. Impatient she was, but not in the mood for an unfulfilling liaison. ‘Bed.’ She ordered in an imperative whisper. ‘Now.’
She rose; he went after her instinctively taking off the waistcoat, unable to make any coherent thought aside from her bared bottom in front of him as she walked to the bed with her skirts lifted. ‘Lay down.’ She ordered again. He complied, his member eagerly pointing to the bed canopy, and tried to take off his boots. ‘Never mind those!’ She admonished and he stretched his arms inviting her to climb on top of him. Once dovetailed, he finally did what promised to her maid and undressed her as her body trembled and sweat covered her delicate skin. When she was gloriously naked, the flickering light coming from the fireplace coloring her skin as if using it as a live canvas, she raised to seat erect over him and with her head tossed back, convulsed.
On his back, he watched her barely being able to breathe, moving by instinct, watching his lady naked and fitted snugly around him, moving and moaning, her long chestnut curls around her shoulders, her small pinkish nipples pointy, the red canopy above her – if he ever dreamt of having physical pleasure in his marriage, it had been like this: an expensive boudoir with an exquisite female who tasted of fine alcohol, the decadent smell of sex mixed with candles, an overwhelming atmosphere of raw lust and ardent love.
She lowered her exhausted body and her hair closed his face in a secluded shrine. ‘Seed me, Fitzwilliam, it’s about time.’
Wings – The Bet
‘Here you go.’ Rodgers handed Hamlet almost half his very precious salary.
‘Thank you very much, my friend.’
Rodgers sighed. ‘For a man with this silly name, you can be insufferable.’
‘Not silly, it comes from one of the Bard’s plays. It means my papa was well educated, a fine valet he was. I say.’
‘A dynasty of valets.’ Rodgers sniggered.
Hamlet laughed. ‘I still don’t know why you accepted this bet.’
‘He could spend himself right before meeting a lady, that’s what most of us do.’ Rodgers’ eyes were downcast mourning the lost money. ‘But I don’t think Mr. Darcy does that or make use of those oils, I’d notice in his drawers. I know for a fact he dislikes riding coats…’
Hamlet cringed. ‘Ugh, I hate to clean those. My previous master was intent on French letters. I was pleased when Colonel was assiduous at the rich widow’s chambers.’ He sipped his ale and both men were silent thinking about the differences between a working man and rich one when it came to the ingenious art of lovemaking without problematic aftermath. ‘Anyway, I told you I knew Colonel Fitzwilliam taught Mr. Darcy how to avoid seeding a woman when she was prone to get a child.’
‘He seemed too eager to do that with his bride. And we have to agree that he is not the best pupil in this matter.’ Rodgers shook his head and drained his ale.
‘The wrenches he maintained?’ Hamlet asked and the other valet nodded. ‘That’s why they talked about it when- I don’t know, long ago. It’s been years, before you even, and not another mishap came to him. Am I mistaken?’
‘Colonel thinks one is not even Mr. Darcy’s. Maybe two, actually. But he would never deny assistance, he is too noble to allow a situation such as that take dire directions.’
‘Did Colonel send word to any of his paramours after he arrived?’
‘Don’t think he’ll bother.’ Hamlet shrugged and sipped his ale.
‘Not even the one married to that old Duke?’
‘Would you want a handsome titled wrench like that to know you’re marred? Or see your leg missed a chunk?’
‘Not at all.’
‘She’s bound to know, though. This season, no one from the family will be of much socializing, but Miss Georgiana will have her come out sooner or later.’
‘By then he will have found a way to disguise his leg.’
‘Will he wait that long?’
‘For her? Yes. For action in general, don’t think so.’ Hamlet snorted. ‘So, your master still hasn’t a child coming. No nannies for Pemberley yet.’
‘No.’ Rodgers mumbled. ‘Suzanna will find somewhere else to work.’
‘Maybe you could explain to Mr. Darcy that his lady should get acquainted to a nanny even before their children-’
‘He would never fall for that.’
‘What about that one from… Meryton. Right?’
‘I was there a few weeks ago. With child. Not mine, though.’
‘Yes, my friend. You are in difficulty indeed. Poor and loveless.’ Hamlet sniggered.
‘At least I can drink tonight. Mr. Darcy won’t be calling me-’ He sat up straighter and the butler appeared on the back door to search for him.
‘Your master has rung his bell, Rodgers.’
‘Yes, sir.’ He stood immediately. ‘Deuce. Why hadn’t the mistress learned to take off boots by now?’ He muttered under his breath and Hamlet laughed.
a revised & extended version of this story will be available on Kindle Unlimited from Jan 25th, 17.
a revised & extended version of this story will be available on Kindle Unlimited from Jan 25th, 17.