Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Predicament, excerpt 12

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

In case you didn’t already hear, I have been writing four days a week at a recently-opened bakery in my town. It’s done wonders for my productivity, and I was able to write the Patreon-exclusive Christmas book, which is now live, in five or six weeks.

I’ve taken this story back up now that the Christmas story is done. I’m hoping to have it finished and off to a beta reader in a week or so.

Anyway, this post is a few hundred words from the chapter 10. Finch used to be called something else, but I didn’t like what I first named him, so I changed it. LOL

Remember that I’m only sharing excerpts of this story.

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The next morning, Elizabeth’s walk took her to the stile where Darcy had first proposed. It was the first time since he made his offer that she had been able to walk this way, as the weather had been a bit rainy and the path too dirty. She sat on the stile just as the sun peeked up over the horizon and waited.

Not five minutes later, Elizabeth heard hoofbeats. A sudden fear that it might be Finch instead of Darcy made her flee to the woods and hide. It was not until the horse and rider flew over the fence that she could see it was her betrothed, and she ran back to the stile.

Darcy dismounted immediately, dropping Apollo’s reins on the ground. With a wide grin, he caught Elizabeth up to spin her around. Then, setting her back down, he captured her lips in an ardent kiss. When he let her go, Elizabeth smiled, her eyes sparkling.

“We need to do that more often.”

“I agree, wholeheartedly.” Darcy hugged her again. “Come, sit on the stile with me and we can talk.”

“I am glad you understood me yesterday when I was trying to arrange this.”

Darcy laughed. “We had the same mind on the subject so it was easy to decipher. I am happy, as well, though I do not like that we have to be secretive.”

“Nor I. My father refuses to oppose my mother, however, so we are stuck.” Elizabeth clenched her jaw at the thought.

Darcy put his arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders and ran his hand up and down her arm. “Give him time, my love. If he does not come around in two or three more weeks, we will reassess the situation.”

“That puts us after Christmas. Do you not have to go spend the holiday with your sister? What about your estate?”

“I usually spend Christmas in London, to be honest. It is expensive to heat Pemberley, and while the cost is not a burden, I do not believe it is wise to waste money when it could be saved.” Darcy squeezed Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Especially now that I have a wife and, hopefully, one day in the future, children to think of.” He kissed her softly before he continued. “I had thought to have my sister come to Netherfield. Wickham has been reassigned, as I understand it, so she will be safe from him, should she come.”

Elizabeth pulled away from Darcy’s embrace enough to turn towards him. “That would be wonderful! I would love to meet your sister. Do say you will send for her.”

A smile spread over Darcy’s face. “I will. As soon as I get back to Netherfield, I will write to her, and also to my cousin. He shares guardianship. He is an officer in the horse guards but is on leave for the month of December. I trust him to get Georgiana here safely.”

Elizabeth returned to Darcy’s embrace. “How very exciting! If only we could resolve this impasse before she arrives.”

“That would be ideal. However, your father refused to see me the last time I attempted and I am hesitant to push him further.” Darcy kissed Elizabeth’s head.

Nuzzling her face into Darcy’s neck, Elizabeth huffed. “He did the same to me yesterday, even after I told him Mama is pushing me at Mr. Finch.”

“Speaking of Finch, I want you to be careful when you are out walking.” Darcy tipped his head to try to see Elizabeth’s face. “I thought about our discussion last night and worried he has learned too much about your habits. I do not know him well enough to be certain of his propensities. He may attempt to meet you and give rise to gossip, or even take it to your mother in the hopes she will force you to marry him.”

“He does seem to like me a great deal more than I like him.”

Darcy grunted at Elizabeth’s dry tone. “That is good news.” He kissed her head.

Elizabeth squeezed Darcy’s middle. “I will take care. We need no further headaches than the ones we already have.” She lifted her head. “I imagine I should start back to the house, now.” She squinted up at the brightly-shining sun. “It would not do to be late getting back and cause an uproar.”

Darcy leaned down to kiss her once more, thoroughly plundering her mouth. “I love you.” Kiss. “Tomorrow, same time and place?”

“Mmmm, yes.” Elizabeth allowed her lips to cling to Darcy’s when he kissed her again, but then tore herself away and climbed down. With a lingering look and a wave, she turned and hastened down the path toward Longbourn.

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