At last, ‘Darcy vs Wickham’ is finally finished. I didn’t realize my first posting was in 2019 until just the other day. My apologies for being so long with this story. And what I find amusing is that it is probably the shortest P&P variation in the Darcy Versus Series. It was just a difficult one to get ‘just right.’ 🙂
And here is the cover reveal. We did change it by adding a tombstone which was very fitting for the story. I have also included Chapter II for your enjoyment.
As the couple exited the Grotto, they laughed at their disheveled appearances. Elizabeth even blushed as she noted how wrinkled all their attire was. Taking a few minutes, they straightened their clothing. Then Elizabeth smoothed her husband’s shirt as much as she was able before he donned his coat and she tied his cravat. Unable to do as much for his wife, Darcy tended to the back of her hair helping her to redo a simple bun with a few curls around her face. Her ladies’ maid would know something was wrong because she had done a very elaborate hairdo for her mistress just that morning, and Elizabeth blushed to realize that Annie could probably guess at what they had been doing. She knew Mrs. Reynolds would know for sure, and her blush deepened in color.
“Do I look like I have been…” Elizabeth couldn’t finish her question without blushing brightly, and her husband only laughed.
“Does it matter, my love? After all, we ARE married.”
Elizabeth melted in her husband’s arms as he kissed her ardently…again. And sighed in contentment.
“However, Will, we both have responsibilities to care for as today is going to be very busy.”
Her husband sighed. However, it was in resignation but not to the detriment of his wonderful relationship with Elizabeth. He had never dreamed of such happiness. With the death of his mother twelve years earlier and his father’s demise just five years past, his life had been one of duty, responsibility, tending to Pemberley’s business, caring for tenants, and, most importantly, being one of the guardians to his younger sister, Georgiana. Until Elizabeth appeared in his life, he had never known such contentment or conflict of emotions before.
Up until the past year, he had endured the ton, its grasping mothers and their offspring who pursued him with a vengeance for his prestige, wealth, and power. His handsome good looks were not a handicap either and had many a young lady nearly drooling with the idea of claiming him as husband even if they had to compromise him. And several had tried. When he could, Darcy had Richard attend with him as a guard against being manipulated by the harridans in upper society, many of whom had no scruples at all in gaining a husband and wealth for themselves or their daughters. Just about anything was acceptable so long as marriage followed whatever compromise was perpetrated even if the young woman was found naked in his bed.
Darcy, though, had been raised to have consideration and concern for the young women who came into his life, whether servant or peer. He had also been made aware that many men were profligate before their marriages and many after as well. His mother, especially, had encouraged him not to follow the ton’s guidelines of ‘anything goes so long as you don’t get caught’ or ‘anything goes even if you get caught.’ Instead, Lady Anne Darcy, the Earl and Countess of Matlock’s daughter, taught him that the Bible’s principle of remaining chaste until he married would bode well when he finally found the lady of his dreams. Not only could he find contentment, but he could be disease free as well.
Although George Darcy had not been perfect when growing up, he concurred with his wife and was faithful to her until her death and even afterwards, he would not consider remarrying or laying with any other not his wife. He grieved for Anne until he died of apoplexy unexpectedly five years earlier.
At the young age of three and twenty, Darcy took up the reins of Pemberley for the next six years until he met Elizabeth Bennet in Meryton, a small town in Hertfordshire. Ordinarily, he would never have traveled there except his friend Charles Bingley had asked him to help evaluate an estate for possible letting or purchasing. Although with a background in trade, Bingley’s father desired that his son eventually become landed gentry and raise the prospect of the rest of the family which consisted of his two sisters Caroline and Louisa.
His older sister, Louisa, had married Gilbert Hurst this past year, but the younger, Caroline was still looking for a wealthy man, preferably a peer. Recently, though, she had met Charles’ friend, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and decided that is who she would marry in the next few months, be it by hook or crook. Was she adverse to compromising him? Absolutely not! She would do whatever was necessary to capture Darcy and become mistress of Pemberley. And very nearly accomplished that one night when she was found naked in Darcy’s bed. However, Darcy’s valet was present and verified that Darcy had nothing to do with the disgusting action of Miss Bingley, and Charles would not push Darcy to marry his sister. He refused to do that to his friend.
Consequently, Miss Bingley had not only the humiliation of defeat to bear, she also had to watch as Darcy fell in love with and pursued Miss Elizabeth Bennet and married her in a double wedding ceremony with Caroline’s brother Charles and Jane Bennet, Elizabeth’s older sister. Caroline Bingley’s total devastation of her machinations was complete.
“Will, do I look presentable?”
“Elizabeth, you look beautifully disheveled, my love.”
But she was not placated as he had a slight smile on his lips as he said it.
“Oh, but they will know.”
“Do not worry, my dear. I doubt they are that curious about our life.”
Oh, if you only knew. Elizabeth’s memory went back to when she discovered just how curious the servants at Longbourn were about the business that the Bennet family incurred. And she just rolled her eyes at her husband.
When they entered the terrace door off the rose garden, Mrs. Reynolds greeted them.
“Did you both have a pleasant walk?”
Elizabeth could not prevent the dark blush that covered her face at the housekeeper’s question and bit her lip as she looked at the floor.
Darcy, bless his heart, intervened.
“Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Darcy tripped on a root as we walked and tangled with a bush. I wonder if you would have Annie come to her rooms and help her into better attire for dinner, please.
If anything, Elizabeth blushed even more at the taradiddle her husband handed to Mrs. Reynolds on a silver platter.
However, the housekeeper, in keeping with Darcy’s comments asked, “Are you well, Mrs. Darcy?”
“Yes, I am well. Just a little mussed. I am headed upstairs now to change.”
“I will have Annie come immediately, ma’am.”
And Elizabeth was placated for the moment but would have been further embarrassed if she had seen the big smile on Mrs. Reynolds face as she went to find the mistress’s ladies’ maid. She was delighted that the master of Pemberley was so besotted with his wife, after he had endured so many years of heartache, because she loved him like a son.
Now for the Giveaway. Please comment below before February 22nd to gain an entry. Winners will be announced February 28th. There will be six winners. Those from the United States will receive e-books, and winners from other markets will receive PDF copies. Enjoy!