Thursday’s 300: Get some sleep, Mrs. Darcy!

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

I seem to be able to write again, finally! Yay!! <3 This little tidbit was inspired by the rough night of sleep I got post-Daytona 500, due to the acid reflux that resulted from partying way too hard during the race! 😀

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Elizabeth Darcy was tired. She had not slept well the night before, the result of far too much rich food at dinner. How her husband of thirty years, Fitzwilliam, had managed to rest, she did not know.

Elizabeth and Darcy had always shared a bed, from the very first night of their marriage. His family had been scandalized to discover it those many years ago and had vigorously tried to convince the couple to conform to high society propriety in the matter. However, the pair had been too deeply in love to care what anyone else thought and continued to do what they wished. There were times, though, that Elizabeth wondered if they should sleep apart.

The previous night, when she and Darcy had gone to bed, Elizabeth had felt the increasingly familiar sensation of the contents of her stomach trying to burn their way up to her throat. She had, therefore, sat up, leaning back against the headboard to sleep. Darcy had insisted he do as his wife did, so she would not feel alone, but the deeper into the land of Nod he fell, the further down into the bed he slid. Meanwhile, Elizabeth had struggled to sleep comfortably, afraid to recline even a little. Therefore, when morning came, Darcy was bright eyed and bushy tailed while Elizabeth felt as though she had been dragged behind a carriage.

Now here she was, struggling to make sense of her account books because her brain did not want to function properly. Mrs. Bartholomew, Pemberley’s housekeeper for the last twenty years, kept glancing over at the mistress, and Elizabeth knew the woman recognized her exhaustion.

“Pardon me for saying so, ma’am, but perhaps you should take a rest. The master will not be pleased to see you so tired.”

Elizabeth sighed. “No, he will not.” She glanced at the clock on the mantel. “He should be gone for a few more hours. Perhaps I will lie down for a bit. Do you mind if we look at these books later? I do not wish to inconvenience you any more than I must.”

“I do not mind at all, ma’am.” The housekeeper patted Elizabeth’s hand. “You go get some sleep. I will send your maid up to help you undress.”

“Thank you, Bartholomew. You are a treasure. I have said this before, but I am so grateful to Mrs. Reynolds, God rest her soul, for recommending you.” With a weary smile, Elizabeth rose, clasped the hand of her housekeeper in parting, and then wandered out of the room and up the servant’s stairs.

Arriving at the master’s suite, she entered her dressing room to find her maid, Jenny, awaiting her. Within a few minutes, she was out of her morning gown and dressed in a clean nightgown. She cautiously laid flat on the bed and, feeling no discomfort, soon drifted off to sleep.

Two hours later, Darcy tiptoed into the room. Mrs. Bartholomew had informed him that Elizabeth still slept, and while he wished to check that she was well, he did not want to wake her. He sat gingerly on the side of the bed, brushing a stray lock of hair off his wife’s face. She is so beautiful, he thought. She had become dearer to him every single day of the last three decades. With a soft smile, he leaned down and gently kissed her lips before sliding off the bed. Making his way to the door with quiet steps, he paused before he stepped into the hall, his gaze lingering on his beloved. Then, with another tender smile, he stepped through the portal and silently pulled the door closed behind him.


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