"I loved it!! It was perfect! Everything was as it should be."
"This story is magnificent! William finding Elizabeth at Netherfield stands out as one of the most romantic moments I've ever read."
"Lovely, lovely, lovely heart-wrenching, tear-jerking story! Thanks for the journey!"
From the Author
For instance, in this book Georgiana is a grown woman who is married and Mrs. Bennet is a very evil woman. Jane is not a shrinking violet and not afraid to speak up. If this type of variation is not what you enjoy reading, I would advise you not to buy it. For those undecided who have a kindle, download the sample. If the first five chapters don't convince you to buy the book, you have lost nothing. For those who do not have a kindle, go to "look inside" and read some of it before you purchase.
My readers, those who follow me on my forum, DarcyandLizzy.com, like to read "outside the box" stories of Darcy and Elizabeth and I have published it at their request. After all, not everyone likes every type of story, but everyone is entitled to have the books they like available to them.
Except. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Copyrighted.
William's coach was late, and it was not until darkness began to fall that it pulled up in front of Netherfield. After being greeted warmly by his hosts, he immediately retreated to his room to prepare for dinner. Bathed and dressed, he made his way back downstairs to find Charles alone in the drawing room. As he entered, Bingley stood to pour two small glasses of brandy and studied his friend's appearance as he handed one to him. He took note of William's weight loss, greying hair, and the deep lines around his eyes. Oblivious to his perusal, William asked a question.
"Did my presence keep Mrs. Bingley from coming down for dinner?" His voice sounded teasing, but the look on his face showed true unease. Charles was quick to respond, realising William might think Jane held a grudge for his part in separating them initially.
"Peter was fretful, and she had to attend him. She will be down shortly, and then we shall dine."
Having seen Charles' son when he arrived, a smaller version of his father with the same red curls, William said pensively, "You have a fine boy. He looks very much like you."
At Charles' pleased nod, he stated quietly, "You seem truly happy and content."
"I am. Jane made me the happiest of men when she became my wife, and now she has given me Peter."
"That is indeed a wonderful gift." William added a little wistfully, "Would that I had a son." Swirling the liquidin his glass, he studied it seriously before adding, "I am exceedingly sorry that I only recently read your letters, Charles." He took a deep breath. "I had... I was trying to solve a problem for which I could find no resolution. I decided, quite impulsively, to visit my property in Scotland. From there, it seemed only natural to check on my estate in Ireland before returning home. I never meant to be away so long or neglect my friends."
Charles responded sympathetically. "I understand, truly I do. Sometimes life brings problems our way that seem insurmountable at the time, and we must do whatever it takes to get through them."
William studied his friend with new appreciation. "I am thankful for your understanding and insight."
Charles could only nod, very aware that William had no idea how the last few months had lead to that epiphany."Once I read your letters, I realised how selfish I had been to stay away so long without a word, but at the time I was blind."
"I believe you," Charles offered, moving to pat his back. "Do not apologise. You have explained why you were out of touch and why I did not receive a reply from you. We are friends, so all is well."
"Once again, I have asked forgiveness, and you have been generous in granting it." William reached to clasp Charles' hand. "You are a true friend."
Jane walked into the room to see her husband and William with hands clasped and could not help but smile at the scene. "We are so glad you have come at last, Mr. Darcy."
"William," he said softly.
"And you must call me Jane."
William nodded just as the dinner bell sounded, and Charles moved to offer his arm to his wife.
"Come, Darcy! You must be starved--spending days on the road with only the inns to rely on for meals. Our cook does wonders with pheasant and bakes an apple tart to rival any I have ever eaten!"
The last course was being served and the Bingleys and Fitzwilliam Darcy had managed to talk about anything and everything, without touching on the subject of the Bennets. During the entire meal, William had hoped Charles would mention them, so he could learn what had happened to Elizabeth. Instead, his host had rattled on and on about the problems he was having with proper land drainage and the solutions his newly hired steward had suggested.
Whenever William chanced to look at Jane, she was usually watching Charles. She was perfectly amiable when spoken to, but he got the impression she was trying not to say anything amiss.The dinner was nearing the end, and they were enjoying the apple tart Charles had bragged about earlier, when William ventured to ask after the Bennets. He had no way of anticipating the floodgate of emotions that question would release as he addressed Jane nonchalantly.
"Are your mother and sisters in good health? Do they still reside in Meryton?"
Jane's fork stopped in midair, and he thought he saw her hand tremble. She glanced to her husband but did not reply, so Charles answered in her stead.
"They are well. Mrs. Bennet purchased a home here. Mary is now married to Mr. Phillips' law clerk and Lydia and Kitty are... well they are still silly, just older." William noticed Charles' smile fade but saw it quickly replaced with a forced one.
As William looked between the couple, he surmised that something was wrong, but he could not help asking, "And Miss Elizabeth? I assume she is married with a child of her own by now."
A sob escaped from Jane, as she rose and ran from the room. Both men stared at the door through which she disappeared.
"Charles, I am sorry if I said--"
Charles' hand in mid-air stopped William. "You are not to blame, Darcy. Let us go into my study, and I will explain." They stood, and William silently followed his friend out of the room, puzzled by what had just transpired.
After Charles had poured each of them a full glass of brandy, he motioned for William to have a seat and wearily sank down on the sofa across from him. Their eyes met, but Charles looked away, trying to gather his thoughts. He could relate only what had happened to Lizzy up to a certain point, then he would lie to protect her until he was sure of William's cooperation. Taking a deep breath, Charles looked back at his friend. His drink has not been touched and his eyes were still
locked on him. The decisive moment had arrived. Does he still care enough for Lizzy to help her?
No longer patient, William slid to the edge of his seat, leaning forward. "Where is she, Charles?"
"I suppose, being out of England, you have not heard." William's head slowly moved back and forth. "Steel yourself, my friend."
"Charles!" William sounded more desperate than angry.
"Elizabeth is dead."
The glass of brandy William was holding hit the floor.