Mr. Darcy's Grieving Wife– Chapter Nineteen

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year! I spent the week of Christmas traveling and visiting family and friends. Unfortunately, I also had a terrible cold which also reared up after we returned home. Thankfully, though, no one else has gotten it and I’m finally feeling more than 50% better. It was a trial to travel under such conditions, but I was grateful to spend time with loved ones. I made sure to rest a lot and everyone was very understanding of my limitations. I just wish I could have enjoyed it all a bit more. I’m sure in the future I’ll forget about how much my throat hurt and just remember the good times.

Isn’t that the message of New Year, after all? A time to let go of the bad and remember the good. I love that about New Year! A fresh start!

Speaking of fresh starts, Elizabeth and Darcy definitely need one. Will they get it?

WARNING: This chapter is sad and a bit angsty. We are getting closer to the big climax, though so this won’t stretch out for long. I will try to post a few times a week until the story is finished.

Previous Chapters: One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six / Seven / Eight / Nine / Ten / Eleven / Twelve / Thirteen / Fourteen / Fifteen / Sixteen / Seventeen / Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Christmas Day came and brought an unusual amount of trepidation for Darcy. Georgiana had assured him that she would tolerate the holiday with the Fitzwilliams and that he should enjoy the time with his new wife and support her family. In two days, the Bennets would leave Netherfield and move into the house he had purchased for them. Then, his duty to them would be over, and perhaps any shred of admiration on Elizabeth’s side would evaporate as well. 

After breakfast, everyone gathered in the drawing room. In a rare show, Mrs. Bennet even joined them. She looked frailer than Darcy had ever seen her before. Her body seemed just as robust, and except for some signs of tiredness, she did not look unwell. However, there was something about the look in her eyes and her mannerisms that seemed so delicate. It reminded him, a bit, of Elizabeth. Both women had deeply mourned Mr. Bennet. 

They took turns passing out gifts. Elizabeth had done chosen nearly all the presents from them both of them, except for the gentlemen. Darcy chose cigars for Mr. Hurst and a new hat for Bingley as he was always losing his. 

At last, Elizabeth held out a small box toward Darcy. 

“I hope you like it. You are exceedingly hard to shop for,” she said, then chewed her lower lip as if doubting her gift.

Darcy slowly untied the ribbons and then opened the package. Rifling through packing paper, finally, he found a small miniature, already framed. A smile came on his face, and his eyes shined. He met Elizabeth’s gaze. “This is exactly what I wanted. How did you know?”

“Papa did not often travel, but he never went anywhere without a miniature of each of us.” 

The overflow of love Darcy felt at the sight of his beautiful Elizabeth captured for his eyes froze at her words. 

“Oh, it is newly done,” Elizabeth hastened to explain. “I wrote to Charlotte asking her to make a new one. She just finished in time yesterday.”

Feigning, exuberance, Darcy forced a grin to his face and squeezed his wife’s hand in thanks. Inside, however, his heartbeat slow, and ice filled his veins. She had not perceived he wanted such a present. She was continuing to guess at how to be a loving spouse by copying storybooks and the examples of others. 

“It seems we thought along the same lines.” Darcy thrust his gift to Elizabeth’s waiting hands, desiring to finish the whole process as fast as possible. 

Quirking a brow, Elizabeth tore open her package. “William,” she murmured as her eyes landed on her father’s watch that Darcy had repaired. “I will treasure this.”

“I believe your father would want that.” Darcy nodded. 

She cradled it in her hand and then leant over to show it to those nearest her. Next, she went around the room and made everyone look at it. Around him, everyone beamed at him, as though he had made the best choice in a sentimental gift for her. Did any of them see the truth that their marriage was just a sham?

A shout of joy erupted from Jane, and Darcy turned his head to see Bingley down on one knee. Clapping and merriment were exchanged. Elizabeth fiercely hugged her sister while Mrs. Bennet cried happy tears. While the others called for spirits and talked animatedly about the future plans, Darcy watched as Jane gazed at Bingley with all the love that he had hoped to see from Elizabeth. Unbidden, his eyes found her. She wore an expression of longing as she also watched her sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law. She glanced away and found Darcy looking at her. Elizabeth flinched, and her face grew ashen with terror. 

He could bear it no more. Excusing himself from the room, Darcy returned to his chamber and called for his valet.

“Jones, I will leave for London after the Bennets move.”

“You had planned to leave a few days later. Do you now wish to leave earlier?”

“Yes.” Darcy tore at his cravat. Had he been unclear in some way?

“I see,” Jones replied as he motioned for Darcy to lower his hands and allow him to work. “And Mrs. Darcy?”

Darcy did not immediately reply. He waited until Jones was finished with his tasks. 

“Will that be all, sir?” Jones asked. 

“Yes.” The valet moved to the door. Just before he opened it, Darcy called after him. “Mrs. Darcy will not be joining me.”

*****

Elizabeth rolled over in her bed, seeking the now-familiar heat source that was her husband. Instead, her hand found only cold sheets. Cracking an eye open, she could see daylight coming through the curtains. 

The day before, her sisters and mother moved out of Netherfield and to a house in Meryton. It was smaller than Longbourn but larger than Mrs. Phillips’ home, and therefore Mrs. Bennet seemed quite pleased with it. Elizabeth had held her breath, expecting some distasteful show from Mr. Collins, but the day went without incident. Indeed, they had some assistance from their long-time friends and neighbours. Between all the staff and men involved, there was little for the women to do but tell them where to put things. After everything was moved in and rearranged two or three times, they ended with a merry little party of tea, cakes, and music—but no dancing. Even still, by the time Darcy and Elizabeth returned to Netherfield, they were exhausted. He had held her close for much of the night, but nothing more happened. In fact, he had not touched her in that way since Christmas Eve. Elizabeth fell asleep to the feeling of Darcy’s lips against her forehead.

Now, the sun was up, and her husband had already started his day. They had taken to rising together, so Elizabeth supposed she awoke late. Her eyes sought out the clock, but it was too far away to see. Turning to the table on her side of the bed, she found the watch Darcy had given her. It was barely after dawn.

Why would Darcy have needed to begin his day so early? Elizabeth cast over conversations in her mind and did not recall him saying anything on the subject. She had hoped he would wish to call on her family but had never brought up the topic for fear that he would lose his patience with her. At some point, distance must be made between her and them, and it may as well start when the others left Netherfield. 

Indeed, the more she had thought about it, the more she desired to begin anew with Darcy. Now that all the pressure over her family’s settlement and the death of her father was behind them, they could really start their married life. She, at last, felt ready to leave most of her mourning behind. She would never forget her father and always miss him, but she could not miss out on life. That was what she realised when Bingley proposed to Jane on Christmas Day. Elizabeth had barely existed for the last several weeks. She had been unable to tell him before. Now, she wanted to seize life by the horns. Perhaps, then she would feel the missing sensations to know she truly loved Darcy. 

Deciding to waste no more time in finding her husband and beginning their happily wedded life, Elizabeth swung her legs over the side of the bed. Sliding her feet into slippers and finding her dressing gown, she tied the belt loosely around her waist as she entered the sitting room between her and Darcy’s chambers. Scanning the area, she saw no signs that her husband had eaten or done work there. Continuing on to the door connecting to his room, she knocked. After hearing no noise, she eased it open. He did not spend much time there, but Elizabeth had thought she would have seen more evidence of him. Instead, it looked as though it had been unoccupied. The bed was stripped bare for washing, which she found unusual. Easing toward the dressing room, Elizabeth called out lest she disturb his unsuspecting valet. When there was no answer, she entered. Blood drained from her face when she found bare cupboards. 

Mr. Darcy had gone!

And without a word to her! What was she now? An abandoned wife left to have a separate life from him? A pain Elizabeth did not know she could feel ripped through her. She gasped for breath and doubled over against the onslaught. Clutching her stomach and fighting for air, she sunk to the floor. Too late. She realised far, far too late that what she felt for Darcy was more than merely obligation and esteem. She had felt numb after her father’s death. With Darcy’s abandonment, she felt drained of life. 

For weeks she had wondered if she had a heart left to give her husband. She thought it shattered when her father died. Now, she knew the truth. She had already fallen in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy. If only it had not taken a broken heart to realise it.

25 thoughts on “Mr. Darcy's Grieving Wife– Chapter Nineteen

  1. “She glanced away and found Darcy looking at her. Elizabeth flinched, and her face grew ashen with terror.” Why would Elizabeth have such expression? No wonder he fled. I wish you health and happiness in this new year.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I hope you are steadily on the mend now, Rose. It’s beyond crummy to be sick during a time when we are supposed to be enjoying the holidays, not to mention the prep beforehand. It takes so much out of you. I do not bounce back like I used to when I was (now) much (MUCH) younger. So, all my strongest thoughts and prayers for a speedy total recovery. Because real life goes on around you whether you are gung ho and healthy as a horse, or bedridden with filthy tissues all around you. I’ve been there.

    Indeed, I saw this coming but it was still tear-jerking when that expected scene came to life. Oh yes, the angst. Poor Elizabeth. Poor Darcy. It’s only bearable to wait for the next installment because it has been so busy during the holidays. Now it will truly get tough. Good luck with the next chapter…(she says hoping to spur Rose on to hurry!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I got out of most of the prep this year. I ordered almost all the presents online and my husband wrapped them all. We were traveling several hours so I didn’t have to cook anything or host anyone. We bought ready made pies to bring to the dinners but there was so much food I don’t think they were even touched. I really thought I had strep throat but the culture was negative so it appears it was just a virus. I will say, my daughter had a cold about 3 weeks ago. She had a sore throat for one day. My symptoms began a few days later, but lasted for 2 weeks. I assume it was the same cold but apparently my immune system is shot. I’ll keep that in mind in the future. I’m thankful it happened while my husband was off work.

      I already have a few chapters written ahead of this, it’s just a matter of having time to edit and post. I like to have a little buffer between what I’ve posted and what I’ve written so hopefully I can finish up now that I’m feeling better. Well, once the kids go back to school. This chapter was hard, but in a way we’ve ripped the bandaid off so the healing can begin.

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      1. Wow I feel bad for Darcy and Lizzy. I hope Lizzy heads to London. I hope you get back to 100% soon. Thanks for sharing this great twist. Happy New Year.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope you are getting better now Rose!
    Oh Elizabeth! Finally realising you love Darcy just as he’s convinced you never will and has gone! Now you need to follow him and show him that you do love him! Please!
    How can you leave it there? (Sob, sob!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve felt a lot better for a full 24 hours now so fingers crossed I’m really on the mend and it’s not going to swing back around. I’m so sorry to leave it there. Bahahaha. Well, I’m a little sorry! I’m just imagining how fast readers will turn the page when it’s in book form though. Do you think just saying that she loves him will be enough?

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  4. She’s silly to take so long to realize she loves him, and his disappearing act is even more so. The two of them need to sit down and have a long, heart-to-heart chat. Soon!

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  5. Well you did warn there would be angst, and you weren’t kidding.

    Badly done Mr Darcy, what a coward, not even leaving Elizabeth a note.
    I suppose the only good thing to come out of his discretion is that Elizabeth has finally realised her true feelings for her husband.

    I look forward to reading how you put our dear couple back together, as you never disappoint.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I am glad you are getting better. My family had the slight run down, slight fever and sour throat. Hit it with high dose of vitamin C, immune support vitamin and celery juice. We all got better within 3 – 4 days. Well, I felt that angst as she sunk to the floor. So, Darcy left without word? Elizabeth needs to follow him and talk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad your family is doing better. Yes, I was loading up on all the vitamin C, immune support, and elderberry in addition to medications. Next time I’ll try celery juice too! Out of all the sore throat remedies, I will say that a salt water gargle and Sucrets gave me the most relief. It took about 2 weeks for Tylenol and Advil to work on reducing the pain and inflammation.

      Elizabeth and Darcy definitely need to talk. Do you think he’s still willing to listen? Do you think she’s ready to talk?

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  7. For some reason, I just received this with all 19 chapters, so I read straight through before posting anything because I was already 18 chapters behind. Elizabeth has no idea what love is, not does she understand that it’s not something that you practice. Why didn’t Darcy at least leave her a note? How embarrassing! Will Elizabeth go to her family ‘s new home?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth is welcome to remain at Netherfield. Mr. Bingley wouldn’t kick her out. She could at least feign a reason to be there for a few weeks. If Jane and Bingley were getting married sooner then she’d have even more reason she could stay. If she moves in with her family it would be announcing to the world what’s going on. Darcy shouldn’t have left without talking to her about it.

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  8. Ugggh, my heart! One of the reasons I love your stories, Rose. You draw your characters so beautifully that we get to move in their space for a little while, feel their joys and their pains, and just breathe with them a bit. I know you will bring it back around and make sense of the muddle (but seriously, my heart! looking forward to feeling their joy… anytime now… 😂)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hi, read the comments to the most recent post (ch 22) and decided it was safe to start reading again. i/m glad i hadnt read this chapter before i took a break from the story. wow. killer scene.

    i think it was stupid of Darcy to not even notify her he was returning to London, but he was far more patient than i would have been with her behavior. even if she didnt love him, she should have been more considerate of him, knowing that he does love her. it is her fault for this mess, but i look forward to their reconciliation and the mending of his broken heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s her fault…but I also think it’s understandable due to her grief and that’s why Darcy’s been so patient. However, he should have talked to her about how difficult it was for him. Both of them have turned inward instead of toward each other. That’s bad for any relationship.

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