Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Today’s post is a vignette of about 908 words. I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
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Fitzwilliam Darcy leaned back in his chair and stretched. He had just finished up a meeting with his steward and given the man leave to go. Darcy sighed, thinking about a nap and wondering where his wife was. He got up, deciding to go find her.
The first place Darcy checked was the family parlor. It was one of Elizabeth’s favorite rooms in all of Pemberley, decorated as it was in a rather shabby fashion and filled with old, comfortable furniture. He was surprised when she was not there. He pulled out his pocketwatch and opened the cover, checking the time. “Two o’clock, just as I thought. She is usually here at this time.” He looked around the room as he flipped the cover shut with one hand and tucked it back into his waistcoat pocket. With a sigh and a nibble on his lip, he turned and went back into the hall.
Darcy looked up and down, trying to recall what Elizabeth had told him hours ago about her agenda for the day. Finally deciding on a direction, he walked up to the next floor and looked in their suite of rooms, starting with his dressing room and walking through each of the joined rooms until he arrived in hers, on the far side. He scratched his head when he did not find his wife in any of their chambers.
Leaving the suite, Darcy began to walk the halls of that floor, peeking into rooms in the hopes of finding Elizabeth in one. He shook his head when he looked into the final apartment and found it empty. “Where could she have gone?”
Suddenly, Darcy recalled something his wife had mentioned as they parted for the day. “The attics? I wonder what she would be doing up there?” With renewed vigor, he made his way to the servant’s stairs at the back of the mansion, climbing up to the top floor. As soon as he stepped off the final stair, he could hear her voice among several others. Following the sound, he came to a storage room, where he found Elizabeth supervising the housekeeper and three maids as they sorted through a stack of trunks.
“There you are, Mrs. Darcy. I have searched high and low for you.” Darcy approached, wrapping his arm around his wife’s waist.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Darcy.” Elizabeth smiled, lifting her face to receive her husband’s kiss to her cheek. “I told you I would be up here today.” She cocked her head, a knowing look on her face. “You forgot, did you not?”
Darcy flushed, glancing at the maids and Mrs. Reynolds. “I do not recall hearing you tell me this is where you would be.” He assumed a look that was as innocent as he could make it, one that always worked on the housekeeper when he was a boy.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes, and behind her Darcy noticed Mrs. Reynolds shaking her head.
“What? You do not believe me?” He tried to sound offended, but to his ears, his voice was more whiney than vexed. Darcy rolled his own eyes then. Way to be a man, Darcy, he thought.
Elizabeth crossed her arms, taking a step away from him and turning to face him. “You, my dearest love, did not bother to listen. I knew when I spoke to you that you did not hear me. Your mind was on your meeting with Mr. Allman to the exclusion of all else.”
Darcy turned a deeper shade of red. Though he could not see the faces of the servants, he knew the four females were undoubtedly amused by the situation. He gritted his teeth as he considered his next move. I can give in to the anger I feel right now or I can pretend I am not bothered. If I become angry, I will undoubtedly say something that Elizabeth will take offense to and she will retaliate. Darcy winced as he remembered the last argument they had had. If I pretend to not be upset that the maids are laughing at me, the master of the house, Elizabeth will smile sweetly at me, pat my cheek, and make a witty remark, and we will go to our rooms together and have a nice nap … or something. Not wishing to begin an argument with his highly intelligent and quick-witted spouse, Darcy chose to pretend he did not notice the smiles of the female servants.
“I thought to suggest a nap.” Darcy held out his elbow, moving to the side to make it easier for Elizabeth to take hold of his arm. “The meeting was a long and complicated one and I find myself in need of a break.”
Elizabeth looked skeptical at first, her lips twisted into a smirk and her finger tapping on the elbow of her still-crossed arms. Her sharp gaze and narrowed eyes searched his features, which he made certain remained neutral. Finally, she nodded. “Yes, a nap would be nice.” She took Darcy’s arm, speaking over her shoulder to the housekeeper.
Darcy breathed a sigh of relief as he led his wife down to their chambers. By the time they woke from their nap, it was time for supper.
Darcy never breathed a word about the incident to anyone, and he made certain from that day forward to pay close attention to everything that came out of Elizabeth’s mouth. He was always grateful for an argument avoided.
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