Welcome back to Austen Promises!
I’ve written a little more on this story, and after church this evening, plan to add to it. We need to meet our antagonist pretty soon. teehee Today’s post is a little longer than most have been. You’re welcome. 😀
Post two is here.
Post three is here.
Post four is here.
Post five is here.
Post six is here.
Post seven is here.
Post eight is here.
Post nine is here.
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That afternoon, Darcy’s carriage entered the paddock at Longbourn. He twisted his neck, his cravat suddenly constricting his ability to breathe. He clenched his sweaty, glove-covered palms, wishing he could wipe the moisture on his breeches. When the equipage came to a stop, he waited for the groom to open the door and kick down the step. His heart pounding, he took a deep breath and stepped down, looking up at the well-kept home that was about the size of Netherfield. He tugged on his waistcoat and strode up the steps, his heart pounding.
The door opened at his knock. A woman in the dress of a housekeeper accepted his card.
“I am here to see Miss Bennet.”
“Of course, sir. She is in the drawing room, if you will follow me.”
Darcy did as the woman bid, pausing outside the door as she announced him, and then striding into the room. What he saw made his breath catch in his throat.
Elizabeth rose from a sofa in the center of the room, a smile brightening her countenance. She was wearing a blue dress, the color complementing her dark hair. Though she was covered from her neck to her toes, the wide skirt and shoulders and cinched-in waist showed off her womanly curves to perfection. She curtseyed, and it was this action that snapped Darcy out of his silent admiration.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Darcy. I am so pleased you called.” Elizabeth gestured to the other end of her sofa. “Please, do be seated. Would you care for some tea?” When Darcy indicated he would enjoy a cup, she turned to Mrs. Cower. “Bring the tea tray in, and some of those crumpets Cook made this morning.”
When the housekeeper had curtseyed and made her exit, Elizabeth sat, Darcy joining her.
“You look very well today, Miss Bennet.” Darcy cringed inwardly at the inane comment.
“Thank you. You look well, also. Very dashing.” Elizabeth grinned.
Darcy could not help the chuckle that rumbled through him. “Thank you.” He glanced around the large but comfortable room. “You have a lovely place in which to entertain.”
“I do; I thank you.” Elizabeth looked around. “I suppose it is a bit outdated. My mother redecorated shortly before my elder sister married, and it has not been touched since. It is familiar, however, and as I am not overly interested in refurbishing, it remains.” She laughed. “As long as the paper is not peeling off the walls, I am not going to worry.”
Darcy grinned. “I do not blame you for avoiding it.” He shuddered. “I allowed my sister to redecorate my townhouse in London a few years ago and it was a mess. I should hate to live through that again.”
“Exactly!” Elizabeth giggled. “We are of the same mind on the issue, it seems.”
“Indeed, we are.” Darcy paused. “Perhaps there are other things we have in common. Do you like to read?”
“I do!” Elizabeth leaned forward. “I read everything I can get my hands on.” She waved her hand in the direction of the door. “I have gone through every book in my father’s library more than once, and have a subscription at the lending library, as well.”
Darcy was riveted by the animation on Elizabeth’s face. “My favorite way to pass time is to read. Do you have a favorite kind of book? I prefer histories, myself.”
Elizabeth’s eyes twinkled. “I thought you might.” She tilted her head for a moment as she looked at Darcy, but then straightened it and replied to his query. “I love history, but I find I prefer plays, particularly Shakespeare’s comedies. I love a laugh, and what better way to find one than to read one?”
“I am not at all surprised. You are uniformly cheerful, from what I have learned of you so far.” Darcy chuckled when Elizabeth blushed.
The conversation turned to music while they had their tea, and by the time they were finished, it was past time for Darcy to take his leave.
“Would you care for a walk in the gardens before I go?” Darcy’s heartbeat pounded in his ears as he waited for Elizabeth’s reply.
“I would love one. Do you mind if I check on my father before we do?”
“Not at all. I will come with you, if you do not object. I should greatly enjoy meeting the gentleman who raised such a charming daughter.” Darcy stood and held his hand out.
Elizabeth placed her hand in Darcy’s and allowed him to help her up. She smiled at him as she teased him. “Those are very pretty words, Mr. Darcy. One might think you were trying to charm me.”
Darcy smiled. “Perhaps I am.” He tucked Elizabeth’s hand into the crook of his elbow. “Lead the way, madam.”
The story continues here.
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