The next few days were restless for Darcy. Elizabeth could see him chafing at the restrictions. He was a very active man, and she could tell that her declaration of love for him had made him want to express his love physically. She could not allow that to happen until he was better. She did not want him to pull out his stitches. So she slept in the bed by his side and they did a lot of kissing. Every time he tried to touch her more, which was often, she threatened to leave the bed altogether. That usually stopped him.
Elizabeth's realization of her love had filled her with a new tenderness for her husband. She hated to see him in pain. Since he would not take any more laudanum, she tried to distract him by bringing the children to play in his room, or read to him. She even brought in a chess set and they played together.
Anthony and Jane also came in to visit, and Darcy's cousin brought news of the tenant who had stabbed him and how he had been arrested. He also brought in papers at Darcy's request and they worked together. It gave Elizabeth a break so she could see to the children or take some air.
On the fifth day, the doctor said Darcy was well enough to get up and take a walk in the garden. He and Elizabeth went out with the children. They walked hand in hand as they watched the children play. Jane saw this sign of affection and gave Elizabeth an approving smile. Elizabeth had not had a chance to tell Jane about the change in her affections, but she thought Jane guessed.
When the doctor returned to take out the stitches, Darcy asked him if he was cleared for all physical activity. Elizabeth blushed, knowing why he was asking. The physician replied that he still needed to be careful, but that most activities should be safe.
Elizabeth was surprised that she was eager to see him in her room that evening. For the first time she was looking forward to physical intimacy with him. She wanted to be close to him, as close as she could be. She loved him so much.
When he entered the room and got into bed, he asked her if he could take off her nightgown. Elizabeth replied without any hesitation. She wanted him to see her, and she wanted to see him. After he helped draw the nightgown over her head, he just stared at her for a full minute, until she grew nervous. Her stomach was not as flat as it had been, and her hips were wider. Would he find her unattractive? But then he ran his hands over her, and said, "You are so beautiful, Elizabeth."
She liked feeling his big warm hands on her bare skin. "Could I see you too?" she asked.
He pulled the blanket back, and she saw the part of him that went inside her every night. She gasped. "It is so big!" she exclaimed. "I am surprised it does not hurt me!"
Darcy chuckled. "It is not always this large. Only when I want you. Which is most of the time."
She smiled. "May I touch you?" she asked.
"I would love it if you would," he said in a husky voice.
She placed her hands on his chest, and felt the hair there over the firm muscles. It was fascinating to see and feel him. He was hard where she was soft. Finally, she wrapped her hand around his erection and he made a choked sound. She released him immediately. "I am so sorry!" she said. "Did I hurt you?"
"No, it just felt so good," he said. "I don't think I can wait any longer. Are you ready?"
She moved onto her back and spread her legs and he moved between them. With a groan he slid into her, and continued to touch her as he thrust. For the first time, Elizabeth enjoyed having him inside her. He seemed to fill a place inside her that was hollow without him. She loved being so close to him, her bare breasts brushing against his chest, his breath coming quickly as he moved in and out of her. Finally, he buried his face in her throat and ground his pelvis against hers before quickly pulling out and releasing on her stomach.
"That was close," he panted. "I almost forgot to pull out I was enjoying it so much."
He got up to get a wet cloth to clean her off, then put his robe on as if to go back to his room.
"Will you stay here with me, Fitzwilliam?" she asked hesitantly. "I would love to sleep next to you."
He beamed. "I would love that too."
He took off his robe and climbed back into the bed beside her. She put back on her nightgown and he took her into his arms. Together, they fell asleep.
The next morning Darcy woke with something warm and soft pressed against him. At first he was confused, but when he opened his eyes, he saw his wife snuggled up against him. He decided to wake her up with kisses and caresses.
First he kissed all over her face, then her neck and her mouth. He moved his hands over her curves, and slowly she awakened. "Mmmm… Good morning, my love," she said stretching.
Darcy rejoiced to hear the endearment. "Good morning," he said, leaning in to kiss her mouth again. This time she returned the kiss, and he rolled her over before lifting her nightgown off of her. She helped him, and he got to see her full beauty in the light of day. She was breathtaking. He felt for the folds between her thighs and she spread her legs to give him access. He wanted to see her down there, so he lowered his head. She was soft and pink down here, and he moved his fingers up and down, opening her folds.
He could not wait any longer. He rose up and thrust into her, feeling her warm softness all around him. He groaned as he began to move. It was over all too quickly. He felt his release coming upon him and pulled out, spilling his seed upon her hip.
"I can see the benefits of sleeping in the same bed," he said, after he had arisen to clean her. She gave a breathless laugh and he saw that her face was rosy. "I love you, my darling."
"I love you, Fitzwilliam."
They left Kent two weeks later, after Elizabeth had taken Jane aside and assured her of the change in her affections. It had been hard to love Darcy at first, but he had changed a lot, and underneath it all he had been a good man to begin with. He had needed to shed some of his selfishness and arrogance for Elizabeth to see it. She did not tell all this to Jane; but Jane was happy for her sister nonetheless. Jane still wondered about the physical aspect of Elizabeth's marriage, but decided that if her sister was happy, that was all that mattered.
Darcy, Elizabeth, Alexander, Amelia, and Thomas all returned to Pemberley. Elizabeth's new-found love for Darcy strengthened their bond. In the months while Kitty was visiting, and then after when they took Kitty and Georgiana to town for the season, their lovemaking became more pleasurable, especially on Elizabeth's side. She found that loving him made the act something she even looked forward to. On Darcy's side, Elizabeth's love inspired him to make her enjoy it. He touched and caressed her more than he ever had before he entered her, so she was slick and ready for him.
Her first climax came about almost by accident. Elizabeth had found that, the longer they were married, the more Darcy's stamina increased. He was able to make love to her longer and longer as he gained more experience. One night, when he had gone on for an especially long time, Elizabeth felt the now-familiar heat forming in her belly and the almost unbearable throbbing where he was joined with her. All at once the pleasure overwhelmed her, and she cried out his name, shuddering beneath him. Darcy was so surprised that he barely had the sense of mind to pull out and spill his seed on her stomach. They lay panting side-by-side afterwards, both of them glowing with satisfaction, although Darcy was puzzled.
"I did not do anything different than what I usually do," he said.
"What - what happened to me?" asked Elizabeth.
"I believe you found your release. I have no idea what I did differently. I have been trying to make this happen for a long time."
Elizabeth realized that this "release" was what he experienced every time they made love. "I think it was in how long it lasted. I had felt it coming on before, but did not know what it was. This time it just went on long enough that the pleasure finally overwhelmed me."
Darcy was inordinately pleased with himself, and worked hard to make her climax again. It did not happen every time by any means, but Elizabeth found no reason to complain. She loved her husband, and enjoyed being intimate with him whether she found her release or not.
Kitty's introduction to society went well. Being away from Lydia's pernicious influence, and with the friendship of Georgiana, she had learned how to act properly, even if she was still a bit lively. Georgiana became betrothed that season to the younger brother of one of Darcy's friends, and after her marriage later that year, she was settled at her husband's estate only a few hours' drive from Pemberley. Travel between the Darcys' and Mr. and Mrs. Leventhorp's estates became a common occurrence.
Two years later, Kitty married a friend of Anthony Fitzwilliam, whom she met while visiting her sister Jane. Jane had since born her husband a son, and the couple were very pleased with their small family.
Elizabeth and Darcy themselves had three more children. They decided to try for another when Thomas was four years old, and again four years after baby Anne was born. Their last child, which was their fourth daughter, was a surprise. It seemed that Darcy's method of birth control was not foolproof after all, and seven years after Frances's birth, Sophia was born. She was spoiled mercilessly by her papa and older siblings, although Elizabeth made sure she still behaved like the little gentlewoman she was.
Darcy eventually warmed to his mother-in-law. Mrs. Bennet had mellowed considerably as the years passed, with the death of her husband followed by the marriages of all her daughters. If she was still silly at times, Darcy was willing to put up with it. Mrs. Bennet spent her time between the homes of all her married daughters once Kitty married, and Darcy found himself able to be perfectly civil to her when she was at Pemberley. The fact that she doted on his children, little Sophia especially, softened him toward her.
Of Darcy himself, many noticed that he seemed like a new person only a few years into his marriage. He had always been besotted with his wife, of course, but his attitude had altered so much that it, and Elizabeth's returned vivaciousness, inspired his relations, as well as society itself, to love Elizabeth almost as much as he did. Elizabeth had the joy of finally welcoming Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and their children to Pemberley, and they became regular visitors. They even became the godparents of Darcy and Elizabeth's third daughter, Frances. Once he got to know them, Darcy was ashamed that he had ever looked down on them.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy became the greatest master and mistress that Pemberley had ever seen, and they and their children were beloved by all, tenant, servant, and gentry alike. Whenever Darcy felt remorse for the way he had treated his wife at first, she always shushed him with kisses. "You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure."