The Talk - a short story
The sun had finally slipped down over the horizon and darkness enveloped Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as they rode in their coach away from the celebrations of their wedding day. They were en route to the secluded bungalow that Fitzwilliam Darcy had arranged to be available to them on their wedding night. The winter air seemed to relish in the fact that the sun had disappeared and therefore rejoiced in dropping a few more degrees, causing Elizabeth to shiver.
"Here, let me help you warm up," offered Darcy. He had already secured the two of them in a warm blanket, and had his arm wrapped around her, so he pulled her closer and began moving his hand back and forth along her arm to help remove the chill.
"I am fine, William," Elizabeth reassured him. "Please, may I get something out of the basket for us to eat? Are you hungry?"
"Yes, indeed I am hungry, but I am afraid it is not food that will quench my appetite right now." William looked down at her and gently smiled.
Elizabeth looked up at him and their eyes met. She blushed and was suddenly quiet and looked back down. Darcy wondered whether his comment had embarrassed her. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Being almost a head taller than her, he was able to look down at her and observe her every movement. He looked at the curls on her head and moved his hand up to gently play with them. He wove his hand through the ribbons and flowers that bedecked her hair. How beautiful she had been as his bride this day! And how beautiful and lively a wife she shall be!
He looked out the window and began to see some lights ahead. "Besides, I believe we are getting close. It shouldn't' be too long, now." He tightened his grip around her.
It was now Elizabeth's turn to take a deep breath and tried to let it out quietly, but Darcy was ever aware of it. If her mind was on the same thing that his was on, they were both beginning to feel the effects of their nervous anticipation of the coming evening.
"My dearest Elizabeth," began Darcy. "I...uh...what exactly...have you been told about tonight..." He stumbled terribly over his words! "...about what to expect?"
This time Elizabeth took a deep breath and held it for awhile. Her thoughts took her back to earlier this week when her mother came in and had "her talk" with her. As she remembered the talk, she suddenly smiled at her recollection of it and finally let out the held breath slowly.
"Of course Mamma came and talked to me."
"And what did she say?" he asked inquisitively.
Elizabeth pursed her mouth a little as she considered how she would tell her beloved husband the opinion her mother had on this subject. "Oh you know mamma. She rambled on for a good ten minutes, and I really cannot say that I could make any good sense out of what she said. I believe she was quite uncomfortable with the whole topic!" Elizabeth laughed.
"Well surely you can tell me the effect of what she said," suggested Darcy.
Elizabeth raised her eyebrows and arched her head. "If you must know, she said I must do my wifely duty, although it may be tedious and imposing. That there are some things in life that we must endure graciously, even though they are...they are..."
"They are...what?" asked Darcy incredulously.
"Most unpleasant! This is fine, indeed."
"Mamma did mention there are the rewards that come from it," Elizabeth added.
Darcy's eyes lit up. "Rewards?"
"Of course, my dear William. The rewards of children. One can endure anything to bring about the joy that only children can bring. Why, don't you agree?" She smiled up at him.
"Yes, of course." He gathered his thoughts. "So this is all the opinion you have of tonight, then?"
"Well, no...there was also my talk with Charlotte," furthered Elizabeth, sneaking Darcy a look and mischievous smile.
"And what, pray tell, did Mrs. Collins have to say? Or do I not want to hear?"
Elizabeth's smile grew as she anticipated where this conversation was going to go.
"She told me that, of course, it is a biblical commandment for the wife to submit to her husband in this way."
"Yes, of course."
"She actually told me it wasn't so bad, that it is even tolerable!"
"Tolerable?" cried Darcy.
"Yes, tolerable... if you can keep your mind engaged on other things!" Elizabeth struggled to keep a smile off her face.
"Engaged...on things like what?"
"Oh, I'm sure Charlotte thinks up all sorts of ways she can keep Mr. Collins outside and busy during the day. That way he stays away most of the day and then is too tired when he comes home at night!" Elizabeth looked up at him with sparkling eyes. She was startled to find him looking at her very seriously. But before she could stop teasing him, she had to say one more thing.
"But you don't have to worry, dear. I already have a list of things I will think about and it is long enough to last for about our first two months of marriage, at least."
"Two months? And what, pray tell, is on your list?"
"Well, as the new mistress of Pemberley, I must consider how I shall redecorate some of the rooms, where we shall go on some of our travels, the balls we shall give..."
Darcy was speechless, and Elizabeth could bear it no longer. "William, I am teasing! Don't you know me by now?"
"Not in this area, I don't. All my knowledge of you in this area is going to be from this day forward!" He smiled and leaned over and kissed her forehead. "I am afraid, though, that by this counsel you must be dreading tonight!"
"There was one more person who I talked with," Elizabeth confessed, smiling.
"I can hardly wait to hear who it was!"
"My aunt, Mrs. Gardiner."
With that, Darcy smiled and relaxed. Elizabeth knew how much affection Darcy had for the couple and he had, on occasion, remarked about the relationship that the Gardiners had for each other, that it was one of love and respect. They often had seen them display open signs of affection towards each other.
"And what did she say?"
"She joined me a few nights back while I was outside on a walk. It was a moonless night, and I was quite glad for the darkness, as she shared with me most intimately on a few things." Elizabeth paused. Darcy said nothing, waiting for her to continue. "She told me that there were things that had taken her and Mr. Gardiner years to learn and she wanted me to be aware of some of those things early on. Although she did admit that part of the fun is the discovery, and she would leave some discovery for the two of us to find on our own."
Now Darcy seemed intrigued. He looked at Elizabeth and smiled. "What, exactly did she tell you?"
In the midst of this conversation, neither was aware that the coach stopped, and suddenly the door opened.
"Here we are sir, ma'am."
Darcy looked at Elizabeth with a look that said "hold that thought" and the two of them exited the coach.
"Take our things over to that bungalow over there. Here is the key." Darcy handed over the key he had secured earlier.
Darcy and Elizabeth walked slowly to the secluded bungalow that he had chosen for their first night. They walked inside and Elizabeth was pleased with the simply decorated rooms. They had much charm with accents of flowers and candles that had probably just been lit for their arrival. A fire was burning in the fireplace. Elizabeth was very pleased.
"Thank you and we shall not be disturbed till noon tomorrow," said Darcy as he let the help out the door, closed it and locked it.
He turned back to Elizabeth and put his hands on her shoulders, slowly drawing her to himself. "Now, my dearest Elizabeth. What were you saying about Mrs. Gardiner's talk?"
Elizabeth shook her head. "I'm sorry dearest William, there are some things that I cannot possibly share with you."
"Why not? I am now your husband! What must you keep from me?"
Elizabeth only stubbornly shook her head and laughed. "My aunt did say, though, that the love between a man and a woman who truly love and respect one another can be one of the most wonderful things to experience." She looked up and smiled reassuringly.
"Will you not tell me anything more that she said?" he asked pleadingly pulling her closer.
"No, I will not tell you anymore." She looked up at him and met his gaze. She felt lost in the depth of his eyes that were looking back at her. "But, tonight, I will show you."
With that, Darcy lowered his head and kissed her. The kisses that they had shared during their engagement had been full of passion, but now Elizabeth was aware that even those kisses had been restrained compared to this one.
Later that evening, as Darcy and Elizabeth lay in the warmth of each other's arms and just about to fall asleep, Darcy spoke.
"I think, my dearest Elizabeth, that we shall have to thank Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner the next time we see them for their wise, timely and profitable counsel."
Elizabeth, stirring from almost being asleep, "Mr. Gardiner? Why Mr. Gardiner?"
"Of course Mr. Gardiner. Oh..." chuckled Darcy. "...did I neglect to tell you that he had a talk with me, too!"
With that, he kissed her, and sleep had even yet to wait to claim them.
© 2001 Copyright held by author