Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Today’s post is a vignette of about 755 words. For the most of the next several weeks, that’s what I’ll have for you. I may need to take some weeks off. It will depend on the week and what else is happening in my life.
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Elizabeth Darcy snuggled down into the corner of the couch in the bedchamber she shared with her husband. She had been working hard for a solid week, supervising the details around a ball she and Darcy were hosting in two days’ time. She’d spent most of the past night wide awake, going over the details in her mind. She had not rested, and exhaustion seeped into every part of her.
“Elizabeth?” Darcy’s concerned voice drew near.
Elizabeth lifted her head and looked over the back of the couch. “Good morning.” She smiled briefly and then laid her head back down on the cushion.
“Are you well?” Darcy came around to sit beside her. “It is unlike you to still be lying about this late in the day.” He extended a hand to smooth a lock of hair back over her ear.
“I am just very tired. I could not sleep last night.” Elizabeth nuzzled against his palm where it lingered on her cheek.
“Ah, that explains the tossing and turning that kept waking me up.” Darcy’s left brow rose and he smirked.
Elizabeth blushed. “I am sorry. I did not mean to keep you awake, too.”
Darcy caressed his wife’s cheek once more with his thumb before dropping his hand to her thigh. “You did not keep me up all night, though you did wake me up a few times.” He ran his hand along the top of her leg from hip to knee and back again. “What kept you awake?”
Elizabeth shrugged. “I do not know. I kept going over the ball details in my mind. It was as though they were on one of the scrolls in your music box, playing over and over and over. Sadly, my brain never shut off.”
Darcy tried to hide a grin. “I am sorry; that must have been frustrating.” When all Elizabeth did was narrow her eyes at him, he swallowed his amusement. “Why do you not stay in bed all day? Perhaps you can nap in a bit? Or remain here on the couch and read.”
Elizabeth yawned and nodded. “I prefer to remain where I am, so I will take you up on your offer. Could you perhaps ring for Mrs. Reynolds and ask her to send up a tray?”
“I will do that. Shall I eat with you?”
Elizabeth smiled fondly. “Please do. Will you bring me the book on the bedside table?”
Darcy squeezed Elizabeth’s leg before he rose. He stepped to the side of the bed, pulled the bell for a servant and picked up the book. He peeked out the window, pulling the heavy drapes aside to allow light to filter in, then made his way back to his wife’s side.
A knock on the dressing room door drew Darcy’s attention.
The door soundlessly opened and his valet’s head peeked around it. “You called, sir?”
“I did.” Darcy gestured to the couch. “Mrs. Darcy is unwell; please inform Jenny that her services will not likely be needed today, but that she should remain available, should that change.
“Please have a tray brought up. I will break my fast here, with my wife. Should she wish for something to eat later, she will ring.
“Also, Mrs. Darcy is not home to callers. None, I do not care who they are. I will speak to Mrs. Reynolds when I go downstairs and inform her that all decisions today, no matter if they are related to the ball or to next week’s menu, must be made without my wife’s input. This house ran for years without a mistress; it will have to do so again for a few hours, because the mistress needs coddled today.”
Mr. Smith nodded his understanding and bowed. “Yes, sir. Is there anything else?”
Darcy waved the man away. “No, that will be all.”
With another bow, the valet backed out of the bedchamber.
Darcy sat with Elizabeth, chatting quietly, until they had finished breaking their fast. Then, with a quick kiss and a long hug, he left her to meet with his steward.
Elizabeth did just as her husband suggested that day. She read her book, napped when she felt like it, and rang for a snack when she was hungry. She felt more awake as the day went on, but still fell asleep before Darcy did that night, and slept like a log until morning. She rose the next day feeling her normal energetic self, a fact Darcy celebrated in a way that was quite satisfying to them both.
What do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment, if you like!