An amuse-bouche collection of tasty morsels designed to whet the palate and prepare you for the gourmet meal to come. Yep, I’ve been watching Top chef lately! Read on and enjoy!
Even thinking of the books now did not pique her curiosity as much as the fact that he had entrusted her with a key to his personal and private items. His vulnerability, honesty, and faith in her and their bond caused her heart to swell. Lizzy paused for a moment in her tender caresses. Have I given myself as wholly to him as he has to me? Would I trust him with my journals? Yes, I would, without hesitation, for I have given him all of me. She recollected his confession on Christmas Eve of how he yearned for her and was inundated by his need. Those phrases had registered as encapsulating precisely her emotions for him. The little brass key was symbolic. His soul was hers utterly, and likewise he owned her. The only reason he had not given it to her immediately is that Mr. Darcy was learning to tease!
Time halts. They are dazzled. Enchanted in the rays from Heaven.
“I love you,” she whispers.
He inhales sharply and jerks as if stuck by a pin, eyes flying open. “Say it again,” he pleads softly.
She smiles, “I love you … Fitzwilliam.”
He shuts his eyes briefly, sighing with a sibilant moan. Then he flashes the brilliant smile she has so rarely seen, eyes sparkling and the palest blue. “Elizabeth. Lovely, precious Elizabeth,” he breathes as delicate fingertips trace a line of fire across her jaw and chin, finally lingering on her lips.
She holds her breath. He must kiss me! Her mind screams, I will die if he does not and likely die when he does! She trembles as he gazes at her with heart exposed and raw emotion written on his visage.
It was this love that had made the past several years so emotionally tortuous. Master Fitzwilliam had from his youth been far too serious and intense, too reserved, and too apt to seek solitude. The burdens that had been thrust upon him at the tender age of two-and-twenty, along with his acute sorrow, had nearly overwhelmed him. If possible, he had retreated further into himself, laughed and smiled less, and erected a rigid shell about his heart. He only had a handful of true friends, including his sister whom he loved to distraction, yet even they often found his tendency toward surliness and bitterness difficult to comprehend or tolerate. Mrs. Reynolds had fretted and worried, but there was nothing she could do but pray.
She found him in the library, staring out a window. At first glance he seemed calm, but in the short time of their acquaintance, Lizzy had learned to recognize the signs of tension in his body—and never had he been as tense as he was at this moment. Fury emanated from him in nearly visible waves. Lizzy approached him silently and gently laid her hand on his arm.
He jolted in surprise and looked at her with such ferocity on his face that she flinched. “Leave me be, Elizabeth,” he commanded flatly in a voice that brooked no argument.
Nonetheless, she refused. “No,” she said firmly, “Talk to me, William.”
He stared at her in shocked ire at her refusal and then turned his gaze to the window. He fluttered the letter in the air. “My aunt is not pleased about our engagement,” he said with massive understatement.
Lizzy surprised him further by actually laughing, and his scowl increased. “I find no humor in this, Elizabeth.”
“Really, William! Did you imagine she would embrace me with open arms and host a party? Lady Catherine made her opinion of me quite clear at Longbourn, an event that we should essentially be thankful for since, left to your own devices, you may not have gotten up the nerve to propose again.” She said the last bit teasingly and rose onto her toes to kiss one cheek while caressing the other. He continued to stare at her, clearly torn between crushing her into his arms or further ranting about the letter. In the end he did neither. He sighed and walked several paces away before turning back to look at her. He was in turmoil and had no idea what to say.
Her free hand stroked his other leg where it draped over her lap. Time passed as they drank their wine and each placidly enjoyed the presence of the other, speaking occasionally but mainly silent.
“William, I love you.” She spoke softly and smiled with her eyes as well as her lips.
He bent near, gazing intently into her eyes, and then kissed her gently but thoroughly, tasting the wine on her tongue. His lips traveled to her cheek and along her jaw to her ear, nibbling the lobe and then tickling her with the moist tip of his tongue. “I adore you, Elizabeth. I worship you, I respect you, I lust for you, I admire you, I cherish you, I love you ardently. My wife, lover, companion, mother of my children, my soul, my heart …” His endearments fell fainter until they ceased as he devoted himself to the task at hand.
Lizzy sighed, excitement rising at his intoxicating touch. He pulled away, leaving her panting, and reached under a pillow. He handed her a small box tied with a red ribbon.
Normally, Darcy loved her spirit, but right now he only experienced a tremendous urge to bend her over his knee and paddle her. Instead, with effort, he took the reins into his hands and coldly intoned, “Very well, Mrs. Darcy, let us go back,” and without further conversation he briskly slapped the horses’ rumps and hastened down the avenue to the stable yard. He pulled to a skidding stop and vaulted out, striding with contained fury to Mr. Thurber and leaving Lizzy sitting on the seat.
She bit her lip, remorse at her outburst warring with her aggravation. Darcy was intently speaking with Mr. Thurber, who glanced blandly at Lizzy as he nodded his head in agreement with whatever his master was requesting of him. Lizzy climbed down by herself and waited with growing vexation. Mr. Thurber left with a flurry of activity ensuing at his orders while Darcy stood with rigid back to his wife.
Within minutes, several grooms had hitched the curricle and saddled Parsifal. Darcy swung onto his stallion’s back in one powerful motion, settled, and only then looked to Lizzy. His countenance was calm but stern, eyes a deep blue and jaw set. Lizzy knew this look, and it was not a pleasant one. She flinched briefly and then collected herself and met his glower full on. His eyes narrowed dangerously, grew even darker, and his jaw muscle contracted with a spasm.
Darcy could not explain why it struck him as humorous, but it did. He laughed faintly, breath tickling her sensitive bosom, and shook his head. He kissed each perfect breast and then lifted up to look upon her amazing face. “No, my precious, you did not hurt me. Quite the opposite, in fact. I am frankly becoming undone by the bliss I am feeling being in your arms … touching you … kissing you. I must slow down. Ah, my beautiful wife, you have absolutely no idea how I yearn for you!”
She smiled happily and rose up to his lips. “Yes, Fitzwilliam,” she purred, “I do know. I yearn for you as well and do not wish to slow down.” She kissed him playfully as she had so longed to do, teasing his lips, tasting the skin of his jaw, exploring the cleft in his chin. Her fingers moved freely over his face and neck, toying with his ear folds as fire ignited anew over his flesh.