Last month, I started an on-going story for Thursday Three Hundred. I was inspired by Scott’s Grotto in Ware, Hertfordshire and noticed that Pride and Prejudice is the only story where the characters have no day trips planned. In the last post, Darcy accidentally accosted Elizabeth’s person while attempting to hide from the shrill voices of the younger Bennet daughters. Let’s see what happens next!
The loud cracking sound echoed off the walls of the cave at the same moment his face registered pain from a slap. Good Lord, he might be bruised, and she likely sprained her wrist.
“It was an accident,” he ground out.
“I am sure it was,” Elizabeth hissed in an angry whisper, “for we all know I am not tempting enough for you.”
“What?” Had she hit him harder than he thought? She made no sense just now.
“At the assembly. You said that of me to Mr. Bingley. I plainly heard it, and so did anyone else sitting nearby.”
Darcy blinked in astonishment, his brain still feeling rattled. Had she struck him only out of his…ahem, mishap, or was there some long-standing anger for the duration of their acquaintance?
“A fool I might be but blind I am not,” he said. “Had Mr. Bingley suggested I dance with you, then I would have been forced to acknowledge his good sense.”
Elizabeth huffed. “I already know what you think of Mr. Bingley’s sense. Do you delight in mocking everyone you know?”
“I never mock.” He ought to turn and leave. He had made his apology, but she always held him in thrall. “Are you well? You did not injure anything when I knocked into you?”
“My hand hurts,” she acknowledged.
Darcy’s had adjusted to the light a little and could see she tilted her chin in what he presumed was defiance. She was proud of her defense, as she should be he acknowledged. “May I see?”
She nodded, and Darcy lifted her hand, cradling it in his. “I will have to remove the glove.” He paused for assent before pulling back the soft leather. He focused his mind on ascertaining if she were hurt for the act of revealing her flesh to him was one of the more erotic encounters he had in life and awoke dormant fantasies of seeing far more of her.
“Who did you think Mr. Bingley was suggesting you dance with?”
Elizabeth’s voice was a welcome intrusion to his dangerous mindset. He had been holding his breath, his eyes eager to see more of her inch by inch. Grateful that she had not discerned his interest, he answered after having to clear his throat. “Another lady sitting beyond you.”
Elizabeth furrowed her brow, and Darcy tested the movement of each digit before turning her hand back and forth and side to side. She did not seem in pain. Next, he stroked his fingers over her palm, where he knew her skin would be most sensitive to pain. Instead of a wince, he saw her shiver.
“I cannot recall who sat near me.” Her breath came in quicker pants. “When I recall that evening, all I remember is you.”
Darcy exhaled. “Elizabeth,” he murmured before pulling her closer.
His head lowered drawn to the irresistible pull of her lips. Just before he reached heaven, there was a rumbling sound and the ground shook. They drew back and looked to their rock ceiling as rocks began to tumble down. Elizabeth burrowed into his side, and Darcy enveloped his arms around her. When the dust settled, the entrance to their chamber was blocked by large boulders.