Thursday’s 300: Darcy’s Christmas Heir

Welcome back to Austen Promises!

I have written a short story (or a rather long vignette, if you’d rather call it that) for you. I’ll be posting a few hundred words every week for three to five weeks.

I wrote it the Sunday before Christmas, which, since you’re reading this the day after Christmas means this past Sunday. LOL

It took me several hours to write, though I confess I was distracted by the book of faces, my dog, and the need to find food. 😉

I hope you enjoy my little story! <3

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? Patrons also get a free copy of each of my books once it is complete.

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With a groan, Elizabeth Darcy heaved herself off the sofa. She was with child, and had ballooned out in the last few days. Once on her feet, she stretched, her hands pressed against her back. Then, with a sigh, she waddled to the fireplace to pull the bell.

In moments, the housekeeper, Mrs. Reynolds, was at the door. “”You rang for me, ma’am?”

Elizabeth turned from the window, where she had been looking with longing at the frozen gardens. She smiled. “I did. Can you tell me where Mr. Darcy might be found? I would go looking for him myself, but …” Elizabeth waved a hand to indicate her enlarged form. “Walking very far is a challenge right now.”

Mrs. Reynolds smiled. “I believe the master is in the library. Shall I call him to come to you?”

“No, no. I will make my way to him.” With careful steps, Elizabeth ambled to the door. She had tripped over the rug in this room earlier in her pregnancy, landing on her knees. She did not wish to experience that again, especially not with the danger such a thing exposed the baby to. “Will you see that the gifts on that table are taken to my dressing chamber? Hannah is expecting them and knows to hide them in my closet.”

“Of course, Mrs. Darcy. I will see to it immediately.” Mrs. Reynolds paused, wringing her hands. “The master will not be pleased if he thinks you are not resting like you should.” The elderly woman had learned early on that it did no good to try to sway the mistress from a course she had decided upon, and so she did not make the attempt.

“Nonsense.” Elizabeth waved her hand dismissively as she passed the elderly housekeeper. “He will grind his teeth for a while and read me a lecture, but he will get over it soon enough.” Elizabeth smiled at Mrs. Reynolds and sailed past her into the hall.

A short time later, Pemberley’s mistress entered the enormous library. As she always did, she stopped a moment and looked around with a wide smile to match her wide eyes. “I do not know that I will ever become used to the size of this room, nor the number of volumes it contains,” she murmured.  Having looked her fill, Elizabeth moved further into the room, heading toward the large windows in the corner where she knew her husband preferred to sit. “Husband?”

Darcy’s head shot up at the sound of his wife’s voice. He dropped his book on the small table that stood beside his favorite chair and rose to his feet. “Why are you not resting?”

“I did rest, but then I wished to speak to you.” Elizabeth arrived at her destination, which was the chair beside Darcy’s. She turned so she was facing away from it. “Help me sit?”

Darcy hesitated a moment, but then stepped in front of Elizabeth and took her hands. He braced himself and took her weight as she lowered herself into the chair.

“Thank you, my love. Getting up and down has become so much harder recently.” Elizabeth covered a yawn with her hand.

Darcy resumed his seat, but left his book on the table, instead giving his wife his full attention. He narrowed his eyes when he witnessed the yawn. “You say you did rest?”

“Of course I did!” When Darcy only stared at her, Elizabeth squirmed. “Very well, I reclined on the sofa while I wrapped your present.”

Darcy’s left brow quirked upward, but he remained silent.

Elizabeth huffed. “Oh, for goodness sake. I was on the sofa with my feet resting on a stool. Is that better? I did not get up and wander about the room or walk the gardens, or anything else. I remained seated the entire time.”

Darcy gripped the arms of his chair. “You were supposed to have gone to your rooms and slept.”

Elizabeth sniffed, looking at her hands in her lap. “I could not, not while you were meeting with your steward. If you were working, so should I be.”

Darcy crossed his arms. “I am not ready to burst forth a child at any moment.”

Elizabeth ignored his remark, instead lifting widened eyes to stare at him. “Would you go up with me, now that you are done with Mr. Allard? It would be infinitely easier to nap if I had you beside me.”

Darcy’s arms came down and his expression softened. “I will go up with you. The Christmas Eve services are very late, and I would not wish to fall asleep halfway through.” He stood and offered Elizabeth his hands, then pulled her up when she accepted them. “Come, Wife.” He tucked one of her hands into the crook of his elbow.

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