A/N – Daily update. Literally. ...I got nothing. Enjoy!
"I'm glad that's over" Jane told me as I sat beside her on the couch. "At least now we can meet as indifferent acquaintances."
"Oh, yes" I said sarcastically.
"No, you cannot think me so weak as to be in danger now" Jane pleaded.
"I think you are in great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever" I told with, grinning.
"I'm sorry, though, that he came with Mr. Darcy. I know you had a falling out" Jane said kindly.
"Don't say that" I pleaded.
"Why ever not?" Jane looked confused, understandably.
"Jane, I think I'm in love with him" I whispered.
"Oh, Victoria" Jane sighed.
Kitty's shout made us jump. "It's him! He's back. He's come again" Kitty cried. Before we knew it, Mr. Bingley was inside the drawing room with us.
"I know this is all very untoward, but I would like to request the privilege of speaking to Miss Bennet. Alone" Mr. Bingley said firmly, without a silly smile for the first time that I've known him.
It was obvious which Miss Benner he was talking about, there was no clarification needed. "Everybody to the kitchen. Immediately" Mother whispered. "Except you, Jane dear. Of course" with that, we all left Jane with Mr. Bingley.
Of course, we were listening at the door. We were all grinning as we waiting for Jane to say yes. Even Father came over to listen.
As soon as we heard Jane say yes, we burst through the door, hugging the couple. I was happy for Jane, but as I watched her and Mr. Bingley together, I couldn't help thinking of Mr. Bingley's dear friend, and how I had argued away any chance of happiness for myself.
I left the room and took refuge outside, crying and berating myself for being so stupid.
He watched as Charles entered the house, knowing what Miss Jane's answer would be, and happy for his friend. He saw Victoria run out of the house and to a tree. She fell and started crying.
He wanted nothing more than to go to her, but he couldn't bear to be rejected again, and she had given him no hope.
That night, we couldn't stop laughing for joy. Jane and I were to restless to sleep, and Jane was much too happy.
"Can you die of happiness?' she asked. "Do you know he was totally of my being in town in the spring?"
"How did he account for it?" I wondered.
"He thought me indifferent!" Jane cried.
"Indifferent!" I said, frustrated.
"Don't be so angry, Victoria, he told me of what you had told him, but sometimes a man needs more than a word for proof of feelings" Jane scolded me.
"Yes, I know."
"And he was no doubt poisoned by his pernicious sister" Jane added.
"Bravo!" I laughed at Jane insulting someone for the first time.
"Oh, Victoria, if I could but see you so happy" Jane sighed. "Are you sure nothing can come of Mr. Darcy?"
Before I could answer, I heard hooves. A Carriage. "What is that?" I asked.
There was a loud knocking on the door, which woke the entire house. "Maybe he's changed his mind" Mary suggested.
Father opened the door to reveal a rather imposing figure.
"Lady Catherine" I greeted, prompting my sisters curtsies.
Without invitation, Lady Catherine stalking into our home. "The rest of your offspring, I presume" she said stiffly.
"All but one, the youngest has lately married, Your Ladyship" Mother happily told her, despite the late hour. "And my eldest was proposed to only this afternoon."
"You have a very small garden, madam" Lady Catherin said ruthlessly.
"Could I offer you a cup of tea, perhaps, You…" but she rudely cut off Father.
"Absolutely not. I need to speak to Miss Victoria Bennet alone" Lady Catherine demanded. "As a matter of urgency."
Lady Catherine and I were left alone in the drawing room. I waiting patiently to hear what was so urgent from her.
"You can be of no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand why I am here" she told me.
"Indeed you are mistaken. I cannot account for this honor at all" I told her politely.
"Miss Bennet, I warn you, I am not to be trifled with. A report of the most alarming nature has reached me, that you intend to be united with my nephew, Mr. Darcy. I know this to be a scandalous falsehood though not wishing to injure him by supposing it possible, I instantly set off to make my sentiments known" she told me.
I was shocked by her words. Engaged to Mr. Darcy? I certainly had said no such thing, and only Jane knew how I felt about him.
"If you believed it to be impossible, I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far" I said, tired.
"To hear it contradicted, Miss Bennet!"
"But... if such an engagement could not be possible, how does such a report exist" I countered.
"If?" she cried, furious. "Do you then pretend to be ignorant of it? Has it not been industriously circulated by yourself?"
"I have never heard of it, Your Ladyship, nor would I spread a falsehood that would only prove to embarrass myself and my family when proven untrue!"
"And can you declare there is no foundation for it? Has my nephew made you an offer of marriage?"
"Your Ladyship has declared it to be impossible!" I couldn't tell her the truth, I simply could not.
"Let me be understood" she shouted. "Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter. Now what have you to say?"
"Their engagement is no business of mine." I snapped.
"You selfish girl!" she screamed. "This union has been planned since their infancy. Do you think it can be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth whose own sister's elopement resulted in a scandalously patched-up marriage only achieved at the expense of your uncle?"
I was surprised Lady Catherine had no idea of her nephew's involvement, but said nothing. She needed no more fuel for her fire.
"Heaven and Earth, are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted? Now tell me once and for all, are you engaged to him?"
Her words shocked me and humiliated me, ridding me of all bravo and fight.
"I am not" I admitted.
"And will you promise never to enter into such an engagement?"
Her demand brought the fight back.
"I will not, and I certainly never shall" I told her plainly. "You have insulted me in every possibly way and can now have nothing further to say. You speak of inferior birth, and yet to act with less dignity than some girls less than half your rank. I must ask you to leave immediately."
I opened the door to show her out, surprising Mother, who had been listening with the rest of the family at the door.
"Good night" I said firmly.
"I have never been thus treated in my entire life" Lady Catherine huffed as she stalked out of the house.
"Victoria, what on earth is going on?" Father asked me when Lady Catherine slammed the door.
"It's just a small misunderstanding" I sighed as I headed back to bed, holding back tears.
"Victoria?" Mother asked, sounding concerned, but I was too upset.
"Oh, for once in your life, leave me alone!" I cried, running up the stairs to hide under my blankets. I wanted nothing to do with anyone.
I couldn't sleep. My mind was full of chaos, so instead of drawing in the early morning, I dressed and went for a walk.
It was still dark, but light enough I could find my way and not trip. I walked without purpose, simply wandering, trying to make sense of my life.
It was as I walked along a little bridge that I spotted him. Darcy, dressed ruffled and casually, walking towards me through the morning fog. My heart leapt, for I could think of no reason for his visit.
I couldn't move, I waiting for him to reach me. And then he was in front of me.
"I couldn't sleep" I told him gently.
"Nor I" he admitted. "My aunt…"
"Yes, she was here" I smiled sheepishly.
"How can I ever make amends for such behavior?" he asked softly, his voice like a caress.
"After what you have done for Lydia, and I suspect for Jane also, it is I who should be making amends" I said through my tears and the lump in my throat.
"You must know" he sighed. "Surely you must know it was all for you" my heart clenched. "You are too generous to trifle with me. I believe you spoke with my aunt last night and it has taught me to hope as I had scarcely allowed myself before."
His speech gave me hope, like a warm wave after these long days of misery.
"If your feelings are still what they were in last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever." I felt as if my heart was in my throat, beating wildly.
He took a step closer to me. "If, however, you feeling have changed I would have to tell you, you have bewitched me, body and soul and I love… I love… I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on."
I looked up at him, he was ever so much taller than I, and I could feel tears of joy falling down my face.
"My feelings have not changed" I told him truthfully. His head dropped, and he turned to leave. "Mr. Darcy!" he looked back at me. "I have loved you for a very long time."
I stepped closer to him, until we were toe-to-toe once more, and I took his hand. "My anger and confusing may have altered my reaction in April, but I did love you then, as I do now" I told him.
Darcy grasped my hand tightly, and slowly, to the sounds of the birds, rested his head against mine. I could feel his breath on my lips as we stood, basking in happiness of finally being together.
I paced back and forth as Darcy spoke to Father behind the closed door. Because of our first interactions and Lizzie's disdain for him, my family did not have a good opinion of Mr. Darcy, but I could not believe they would be so bitter as to wish me unhappiness.
And, finally, the door opened. Without hesitation I stepped inside while Darcy left the room. "Shut the door, please, Victoria" my Father requested. Before shutting the door, we shared a look and I smiled at him.
"Tori, are you out of your sense?" My Father asked me. "I thought you couldn't stand the man."
"No, Papa. Lizzie hates him, and I was angry for some offenses I had believe of him, but I never hated him." I explained truthfully.
"He's rich, to be sure" my father said, as if searching for a reason for me to wish to marry Darcy. "And you will have more fine carriages than Jane. But will that make you happy?"
"Have you no other objection than your belief in my indifference?" I asked hesitantly.
"None at all" Father said. "Well, we all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of fellow, but this would be nothing if you really liked him."
"I do like him" I told him.
"Well…" My father nodded.
"I love him"
Father looked at me in shock. "With all my heart" I added. "He's not proud. Lizzie was wrong, everyone was entirely wrong about him. You don't know him, Papa. If I told you what he was really like, what he's done."
Father seemed worried. 'What has he done?"
And so I explained how Mr. Darcy had found Lydia and Wickham, had paid for everything, and even the things I suspected, but had no proof for.
"Good Lord" Father gasped. "I must pay him back."
"No" I shook my head. "You mustn't tell anyone. He wouldn't want it. We misjudged him, Papa. Mr. Darcy and I have both been fools this entire time. You see, he and I are… He and I are so similar. We're both so stubborn. Papa" I was crying again.
Father started laughing. "You really do love him, don't you?"
"Very much" I nodded.
Father sighed sadly. "I cannot believe that anyone can deserve you but it seems I am overruled. So, I heartily give my consent."
I smiled and hugged him tightly. "I could not have parted with you, My Tori, to anyone less worthy."
"Thank you" I hugged him tighter before running off.
"If any young men come for Lizzie, Mary, or Kitty, for heaven's sake, send them in. I'm quite at my leisure" Father chuckled.