Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Perfect Present #6

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Here’s another excerpt of my Christmas story! I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me about it!

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Jane did not have time to reply, for at that moment, the door opened, and Elizabeth entered. She lifted her lips, but it was not the bright and sunny smile she usually wore, and everyone in the room noticed.

“Lizzy, are you well?”

“I am; I could not fall asleep last night and ended up reading until dawn. I think I slept for two or three hours at most, before my maid came in and woke me up.”

Jane eyed her sister up and down, scrutinizing her carefully. “You did not overdo yesterday?”

Elizabeth gave an impatient huff. “No, Jane, I did not. I think I merely napped too long after my walk. You know that I should not sleep past four o’clock if I do not want to be up late.” Fearing she’d say something hurtful, Elizabeth turned toward the sideboard to survey the contents. She truly felt well, just tired; but as always, exhaustion made her short-tempered.

Hesitantly, Jane asked her Elizabeth about her plans for the day.

“I think I should like to sit quietly in the library and read or sew. I know that you planned to return neighborhood visits this morning, but I think it is beyond what I am capable of today.”

“I think that is wise. I shall make your excuses; I am certain no one will mind.”

“Thank you, Jane.” Elizabeth began to take small bites of her eggs and ham, grateful that her sister did not pursue the issue of her health any further.

Darcy, who had observed the conversation between the sisters in silence, applied himself once more to his plate and his cup of coffee. He was disappointed that Elizabeth did not wish to walk again today; he had been looking forward to repeating the exercise. Now, he wondered if he should even attempt to spend time with her. She required rest, and it would not be he who stood in her way or caused her to become ill.

“I should like to go with you, Jane,” Bingley announced with a grin. “I have no pressing business, and a great need to steal some private time with my wife.”

Jane blushed, but smiled just as widely as her husband. “I should like that very much. Thank you.”

Darcy caught Elizabeth’s eyes rolling at the syrupy sweetness of her sister and brother and did his best to stifle his own smirk. Biting his lip, he looked back down at his plate until he felt his self-control returning. Once certain of his ability to keep a straight face, he spoke. “I have correspondence to attend to this morning. Might I use your study, Bingley?”

“No need for that, Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth spoke before her brother had the opportunity to reply to his friend. “You may sit in the library with me, if you like. I promise to be quiet and not disturb you. There really is no point in having fires in two rooms when one will do.”

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