Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Here’s the next installment in my little story.
Not much really happens, I don’t think … Charlotte tries to flirt a bit is all. LOL
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.
Post ten is here.
Post eleven is here.
Post twelve is here.
Post thirteen is here.
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Darcy’s brows shot up toward his hairline. “Indeed? Lady Catherine was my aunt. What a small world we live in!”
Charlotte’s lips lifted in a small smile. “It is small.”
“I believe my Uncle De Bourgh’s family inherited Rosings, since my cousin died before she married.”
“Yes. He had come to visit your aunt not long after Miss De Bourgh’s death. We were introduced, but I was in mourning and sorting through my husband’s belongings, and so we were not afforded much conversation. Your aunt was very kind to allow me to stay on at Hunsford for a six-month while she searched for a new clergyman.” Charlotte infused as much warmth into her tone as she could.
Darcy nodded. “I am not surprised to hear it. Though she enjoyed sticking her nose into the business of others far too much, she was known for her kindnesses, often in the most surprising of places. She had a superior air about her and a certainty that she was the most knowledgeable about everything under the sun that put most people off, but she had a good heart.”
Charlotte smiled broadly. “I found her just as you said. I will never forget what she did for me in my time of need.”
Darcy’s lips lifted in a small smile, but he said nothing else. Instead, he glanced at the clock on the mantel behind Elizabeth. “I have overstayed my welcome, I fear.” He moved his gaze to his hostess. “I have greatly enjoyed our visit.” He stood.
Elizabeth and Charlotte stood with him.
“I have, as well.” Elizabeth’s smile was not quite as bright as it normally was. She gripped her skirts and curtseyed.
“I should be going as well, Eliza. Do say you will come to Lucas Lodge tomorrow for a chat.” Charlotte took Elizabeth’s hand.
“I will.” Elizabeth’s lips lifted briefly at the corners, but she looked more solemn than was her usual wont. Withdrawing her hand from her friend’s, she clasped it with the other. “Shall I see you out?”
“That would be lovely.” Darcy immediately offered her an arm. His heart raced at her touch and he nearly forgot to offer the other to Charlotte. When she touched him, the experience was completely different to what it was when her friend did. Instead of a warm zing, he felt nothing. It was like having his sister hold his arm.
The trio walked to Longbourn’s front door, where a maid waited with their hats, gloves, and outerwear. Darcy bowed to Elizabeth. “Thank you again. May I call tomorrow? I did not have the opportunity to visit with your father today.”
Elizabeth’s eyes never left Darcy’s face. “You may. Shall I warn him you are coming?”
“If you wish.” Darcy opened his mouth as though to say something but then glanced at Charlotte and closed it. He put his hat on his head and nodded. “Until tomorrow, Miss Bennet.”
“Until tomorrow, Mr. Darcy.” Elizabeth turned to her friend. “Thank you for coming, Charlotte. It was so good to see you.” She hugged the other woman.
“You, as well.” Charlotte glanced out the still-open door to see Darcy entering his carriage. “He is very nice.”
“He is.” Elizabeth’s countenance became solemn. “I enjoy his company very much, as does my father.”
Charlotte said nothing, instead smiling briefly. She put her bonnet on and tied the strings. “Do not forget to come visit. You can talk with me while Mr. Darcy speaks to Mr. Bennet.”
Elizabeth said nothing. She shut the door behind her friend and wondered what was going through Charlotte’s mind. She wandered into her father’s book room and sat in her favorite chair, beside his desk.
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