Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Today’s post is the first few hundred words of chapter five. I’m humming right along with this story. 🙂
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Darcy arose the next day eager for a ride. He pulled on his riding clothes and took off, eventually finding his way to a field that lay between Netherfield and Longbourn. To his delight, he spotted Elizabeth on the other side of the fence, strolling along a lane. He hailed her, and when she waved at him, turned Apollo back, riding a little ways away before heading back to the fence. The horse easily jumped over the fence, landing a few feet behind Elizabeth. Darcy walked him in a circle back to the stile where she stood, dismounting and tying the animal to the post so he would not wander away.
“Good morning, Miss Elizabeth.” Darcy bowed. As he rose, he took her in, examining with appreciation the color and cut of the gown, as well as the perfect way it draped her figure.
“Good morning,” Elizabeth replied as she curtseyed. “How was your ride?”
“Wonderful, as always. It is such a beautiful morning.” Darcy looked around with a smile tipping up the corners of his lips. “I very much enjoy riding early in the day.” He looked back at Elizabeth, making note of the tiny curve of her lips and the twinkle in her eye. “Do you ride?”
“I do, but very poorly. Jane is the better rider of the two of us. I much prefer to walk, but even if I did not, our father only keeps the coach horses, which are also used on the farm, his gelding, and Nellie.” Elizabeth blushed as she spoke.
“Nellie is the mare your sister rode to Netherfield last week?” Darcy had noted the animal in the stables while the Jane had been ill. She was an old lady, Nellie was, but had a sweet temperament.
“Yes,” Elizabeth confirmed. “She is ancient and slow, but steady as a rock. She has never shied away from anything or frightened us in any way. My father calls her the perfect ladies’ horse.”
Darcy grinned. “She did seem rather placid.” His words caused Elizabeth to giggle and Darcy could not help but chuckle along with her.
As their glee lessened, Darcy found himself staring at Elizabeth. She was staring back, he could see, and he wondered if she would be amenable to receiving his call. He had intended to begin joining Bingley on his calls, anyway, but to get permission from Elizabeth now would set his courtship ahead a great deal. “Might I call on you? Later today?” Darcy’s pulse thundered in his ears and he worried he would not hear her response. He need not have worried.
Elizabeth smiled as she heard Darcy’s words. She ducked her head as though overcome with a sudden shyness but then peeked up at him. She bit her lip, and then, “You may. I look forward to your visit.” Her face flushed a deep red, but the grin that made her lips twitch and the sparkle in her eyes told him she was pleased.
Darcy bowed. “Thank you.” He glanced at the sky before looking back at his companion. “I should go; the Bingleys will be breaking their fast soon and it would be rude not to join them. I will see you soon.” Darcy bowed again and turned to go, forcing his feet to move to Apollo and mount the beast. Once atop the horse, he tipped his hat to Elizabeth and urged the animal into motion. A feeling of warmth and happiness suffused him, making him grin widely. Waiting even an hour to see her would be difficult, but knowing he had permission made it bearable.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment for me! <3