Author's Note: This story takes place on the day that the engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth is formed.
Fitzwilliam Darcy walked out the front door of the Bennet home in a complete and utter daze. He felt lightheaded -- almost floating, in fact. Darcy was so overcome with such powerful emotions that he did not hear one word of Charles' chatter about Jane Bennet, as the two gentleman mounted their horses and begin to ride away.
Elizabeth Bennet...his fiancee??? The woman that he had loved and for such long, lonely months...now his? Impossible. He must be dreaming, but, at the same time Darcy knew that he was now the luckiest man on earth, that Elizabeth loved him and returned his affections.
Unbeknownst to Darcy, there had been a smile on his face ever since Elizabeth had said to him,
"...My feelings are so different. In fact, they are quite the opposite."
The memory was enough to make him lose his senses. He almost fell off his horse. Dizzily, he steadied himself, as Charles' voice interrupted his thoughts.
"Darcy...DARCY! Good God, man! Are you well? I've been talking to you for the last five minutes, and you haven't heard a word of it, have you?" Charles looked at his friend with mild concern.
"No, Bingley. I am sorry; my thoughts were elsewhere."
"Well," Charles said to his friend, smiling slightly, "are you going to tell me what has so captivated your thoughts, or shall I go on?"
"Yes, Bingley. I have some wonderful news to tell you. The most wonderful news in the world. Elizabeth Bennet and I are engaged. She accepted me this afternoon."
Charles Bingley smiled as soon as his companion said these words.
"Darcy, I wish you the deepest joy. Jane and I had talked about the possibility of this happening, but we decided it to be unlikely. All I can say is that nothing could make either Jane or myself more pleased."
"Shall you ask Mr. Bennet for his consent on the morrow?" Bingley asked.
"If I can," Darcy said, his smile growing larger.
"You and Lizzie will be married on the same day that I am to wed Jane, of course."
"I had not thought about it, but it seems a very good idea. Elizabeth will certainly think so, but I will ask her, anyway."
Darcy's mind wandered over the evening that had passed. He played over ever word in his mind, recalling, lastly the beautiful, expressive smile that Elizabeth had given him before his departure. When the two gentlemen reached Netherfield, they parted in the hall.
Darcy went into the library to think. How different things seemed now than yesterday, or even that morning! Oh, Elizabeth! He could not wait to see her, again. After sitting complacently for above an hour, he went upstairs to change for dinner.
Elizabeth was eating dinner with her family. So far, she had not spoken more than two words during the meal. She was too lost in thought for conversation at the moment. There was only one person in the world she would willingly talk to, but she couldn't talk to that person until tomorrow.
No one at the table noticed Elizabeth's odd behavior at dinner except for Mary, actually. She wasn't as perceptive at noticing things about people as she thought she was, but could hardly help being curious after what she had seen earlier that afternoon.
Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy had just come back from their walk. Jane and Charles had returned from their walk a long while ago, and Kitty had returned from the Lucases some time ago, so they had been alone all this time. When Mary noticed this, she had said to herself,
"I wonder if Mr. Darcy is interested in Fordyce's Sermons or any type of philosophy. If so, the afternoon might not have been entirely wasted."
Then, she began to think otherwise. The rest of the afternoon had been quiet. Jane and Mr. Bingley were talking with Mrs. Bennet. Mr. Bennet was in the library. Kitty and Lizzie were doing needlepoint. Then, it had happened...Mary looked around the room to amuse herself, and she had noticed something: Lizzie raising her head ever so slowly--then, her dark eyes flashing across the room, searching for something. Then, her eyes softening--sparkling with happiness, and her lips creeping up into a smile.
Mary had looked around in an attempt to find where her sister was directing her gaze...following the path her eyes took to discover Mr. Darcy on the other side of the room looking back adoringly.
"Rather odd considering Mr. Darcy was not the type to look so complacent. Hmmm..." Mary had thought to herself. She then put the incident out of her mind, disgusted by the way the two of them had looked at each other--like they were sick.
Well, at least that's what Mary had thought, and she was right, in a way. Elizabeth and Darcy did look sick...lovesick.
When dinner was over, Elizabeth swayed out of the room and floated upstairs. She was not the type to be swoony or to act like a weak little girl who had fainting spells and always sighed over men. No--Lizzie was not like that at all, but she had never truly been in love before. This new experience was taking its toll on Elizabeth. She was having a hard time trying to control herself.
"I must tell Jane," Elizabeth thought to herself. "I must tell her about Mr. Darcy." Elizabeth walked into her sister's room and closed the door behind her.
© 1997 Copyright held by the author.