Richard sighed audibly as he closed the door behind him. They had not spoken a word all the way back and Monika seemed lost in her thoughts again, paying little attention to him or to their whereabouts. His reason told him that she was tired, exhausted, and drained from the events of the last two days and that asking anything from her was too selfish at the moment. However, his heart cried that she was leaving him again, she was escaping, running away, shutting herself off; she was becoming untouchable. Last night she seemed to welcome his presence and find comfort in his company. There were instances when she seemed to forget all the barriers that had unexpectedly appeared between them. But her attitude was changing as quickly as the expression of her eyes.
They needed a new beginning, but Richard had tried that before; and it had failed. His hopes were evaporating. He felt immense fatigue. He didn’t want to spend the rest of his life attempting new beginnings; he wished to find a right path and follow it, even if it was sad and lonely. He wanted answers, not questions, doubts and pleading.
Suddenly, everything seemed way too grey and ugly to him. The exertion of the previous hours and the subsequent resolution, the final act of Wickham’s drama had strangely not made him feel at peace, but rather void. Definitely not in a good mood, and even worse, not with the wish to be in a good mood; he didn’t attempt to go near Monika, or talk to her or beg her to trust him and let him prove the sincerity of his feelings, as he had intended to.
Love had come too suddenly in his life, finding him unprepared. He was not quick enough at recognizing it and later he had found trouble in dealing with it. Moreover, he had no idea what his expectations of it should be. Happy endings seemed surreal, even to his eyes. However, he had the impression that if Monika accepted to be by his side, he would wish nothing more for the rest of his life.
But how could he be sure that this was good for him, for her, for both of them? It felt right, nay heavenly to him. It was wholly unexpected but so overwhelming that originally he had no doubt that Monika would feel exactly what he did. But what if she was truthful? If that connection that he had seen had only existed in his imagination? Would it be good for him, and for her, to insist on a chimera? Wasn’t that too selfish of him? And how could he tell? Looking deeply into her eyes… No, her eyes told him nothing; or told him everything he wanted to see.
Frustrated, he rubbed his temples to prevent the headache that was coming, but to no avail. He was aware of the throbbing of his veins that spread over his head, rendering him powerless. Bordering on self-pity over his condition, he barely heard Monika speaking.
“I am off to bed.”
She was in the middle of the stairs when he called her name.
“We have to talk,” Richard whispered.
“Do you think that now is a good moment for it?”
“It never seems to be a good moment for us, Monika.” He had not realized the various ways she could interpret his words until after he had voiced them.
“You are more correct than you can know,” she answered in a neutral tone, turning to leave.
She paused and stood for a moment. Richard watched her back; it was tense, stiff. She exhaled and turned to look at him. He thought that her eyes were softer than before, but he did not really trust his impressions.
“It will be worse if we do it now.”
He nodded and then said, “Promise me we’ll talk before we leave England.”
“I promise,” she replied simply. They stood still, their eyes locked; she on the top of the stairs and he at the bottom. It was not a confrontation, rather the evaluation of loss after a fight.
They had both lost.
A whole minute passed, second after second. They were acutely aware of time and place, still they could not move. Finally, she turned her back and headed for her room.
Richard leaned over the wall, as if he had received a blow. Was everything lost?
William opened his eyes to the ebbing of the sunset, at the hour that seems full of shadows and everything loses its color. It took him only a moment to realize where he was and to account for the mixture of immense relief and happiness in his heart. He woke up in Elizabeth’s house, after having fallen asleep in her wonderful, tender, warm embrace. At some point, she must have gotten up, as she had fetched pillows and coverings to make him more comfortable. Now she sat at the opposite armchair, listening to some music on her discman, her eyes closed. She looked completely relaxed, lost between consciousness and sleep. William loved the sight she presented as all the lines of her face softened, revealing a mixture of beauty, elegance and innocence that she reserved only for those who where close to her.
He wondered how he had been so lucky as to have gained permission into her world, and how he had retained his place there after stupidly doing everything in his power to jeopardize it. His heart raced at the mere thought of being parted from her forever. Taking a deep breath, he decided there and then that the sadness that had pent up in his heart during his childhood and early youth did not deserve even the tiniest corner in his memory any longer.
He stood up, smiling; Elizabeth had not noticed that he had woken up. He leaned over her, coming closer and closer, until their faces almost touched. He nibbled her lower lip, removing the earphones and she opened her eyes immediately, looking confused. Soon however, she remembered who was in her apartment, now kneeling before her and assaulting her mouth. She relaxed, allowing herself to enjoy his tender ministrations. But at that moment, he drew back, his eyes sparkling.
“Tired?” he asked, unable to hide his amusement at her look of disappointment.
She decided to play his game. After pretending to think hard for many seconds, she spoke seriously.
“It was an exhausting day, wasn’t it?” This time, she was laughing inwardly at the sad look that suddenly spread over his face. Realizing that they had tortured each other far too long, she cupped his head with her hands and said earnestly: “I am not tired at all. I’ve been sleeping all day, like you did. I feel completely refreshed. And…” She whispered seductively, “Now, I am completely at your disposal. Do you have anything in…”
His lips crushed hers before she could finish the sentence; demanding, unrelenting. She met his invasion with an attack of her own, as a wild, almost primitive passion gained control over her and all her actions were ruled by her need for him. She wanted more from him; she wanted all of him. She could not account for this madness, this thirst that urged her to cling to him. Her breasts relished the excruciating contact with his firm chest; her legs tightly encircled his waist and her hands pressed against his back as he stood up and carried her to her bedroom without any hesitation. They went on kissing on their way, lightly bumping into furniture once or twice, but never really losing balance.
Their mouths didn’t part even to breathe. They were in perfect tandem, inhaling and exhaling together; sharing the same air. Only when they both lay on her bed did his lips leave hers. He looked at her for a long moment, breathing heavily. She met his intense gaze; she had learnt to treasure it and challenge it. He began undoing the buttons of her shirt, with great care and seemingly without haste, gaining an impatient look from Elizabeth and an impatient stir of her body.
“I know, Liz.” His voice was hoarser than ever. “But this need for you… It’s killing me. And the thirst…” She groaned as his fingers removed her shirt completely and traced a line along her bra. “It won’t be satisfied… It can’t be satisfied, unless…” She shivered as his hands moved from her neck down to her back, before undoing her bra, “Unless I have all of you. Everything. Until you’re mine in every way possible.” She didn’t know what was burning her most; his words, his hands that were moving around her finally bare breast or his lips that were nibbling her neck, leading her to complete surrender. “And this,” he whispered, licking her earlobe, as a moan escaped her, “cannot be done hastily.” Before his head moved lower, she heard him saying: “We will take this step by step, until there is nothing you have kept hidden.”
She nodded absent-mindedly, but he could not see her, as he had buried his face in the soft flesh of her breasts. His mouth tasted her milky skin, as it went on its exquisite path to her sensitive parts which were begging for his attention. It seemed that he would stay there forever, delighting in Elizabeth’s whimpering, never tasting enough of her.
She was lost in a mist, not sure which prevailed, pleasure or need. A soft cry came out of her lips as his hands replaced his mouth, which moved lower, producing new waves of desire.
Then he drew back and looked at her with eyes that were speaking of storms and waves; but which were also promising the only way to happiness. His hands left her body only for a moment. It was enough for Elizabeth to regain some of her senses. Pushing him back, she rolled over him before he could realize what was happening. She had loosened his tie earlier, so she now made no effort to throw it away in one move. Leaning over him, she whispered in his ear, “Ties, shirts… Barriers, Will.”
He chuckled but then groaned as her lips moved at the base of his neck and she could not resist the temptation of suckling his perfect skin. “I want no more barriers,” he heard her saying; his hands moved instinctively to her back, to press her against him, to prevent her from leaving him. “I want all of you too, Will.” She added and he was suddenly touched by the slight trembling in her voice.
“You have me,” he said softly. “You always did.”
“No, I didn’t.” She moved her head so that she could look into his eyes. “You were always stepping back. The more I gave, the less I got.” Tears were glistering in her eyes. She was done unbuttoning his shirt, but her fingers were still playing nervously with the fabric.
“Baby, I am sorry… I am so sorry.” He cupped her face in his hands. “Look at me, now. I am yours. I live in you. You live in me. I am a part of you. Can you doubt this?”
“I was always terrified that I would lose you.” She had no idea how she had come to admit it.
“So was I,” he answered softly. “Tonight,” his index finger slipped down her back, to the base of her spine, “we will help each other. Reassure each other. Heal our wounds.”
Her mouth found his and her lips worshipped the source of the words. Words that had touched her soul and had appeased the worries of her life. “Let me love you, Liz. Love me back,” was his simple plea.
She drew slightly away again, tracing soft patterns on his brow with her fingers and then digging her hands in his hair in the way they both loved. Soon her attention returned to his shirt and she helped him get rid of it. She paused to admire his strong, muscular chest before she started kissing it thoroughly. Lips, teeth, every part of her focused on exploring his gorgeous body. Her hands caressed his shoulders and then she placed her palms into his, allowing his fingers to entwine with hers, as her nibbling made him shiver.
She reached his waist and he wondered for how much longer he could bear the excruciating burden in his loins that was demanding relief. He felt her fingers moving away from his, aiming at undoing his trousers. Mastering all his self-command, before she could react, he skillfully changed his position and found himself on top of her again. “Now, Liz,” he whispered wickedly, “you know it is my turn.”
His hands moved around her hips, his palms going back and forth, driving her crazy with small circular movements on her thighs, as he was removing her jeans. His mouth traveled up and down her legs, following the traces of the fabric, until her jeans were lying with the rest of the clothing on the floor.
He felt her hands inviting him higher and higher until his eyes were looking into hers once again.
“Kiss me, Will,” she demanded and his mouth was on hers immediately. He opened to her; allowed her to taste him for as long as she wished. He had never imagined that being so exposed could be so liberating; that he would feel so taken care of. He guided her into his depths, treasuring the mark she was leaving on him, unable to control his groans as his need for her gradually grew more and more urgent.
The same fire in her guided her hands lower, while she was still kissing him, and she freed him from his trousers as well as from his last defenses. He broke the kiss and parted from her for a moment, to throw away the last remainders of his clothing.
He stood over her; naked before her naked form. Their eyes took in the sight of each other, sensing that words were inadequate to express a portion of what they felt. He smiled faintly, and then spoke in a low voice.
“This is me, Elizabeth.”
“Do you want me?”
“Will you accept me?”
He entered her so slowly that she was aware of every part of him as it was becoming a part of her. She could feel the slightest movement, the tiniest stirring. She didn’t try to figure out why her heart stopped beating for a second, nor could she explain what this warmth was; how she could define this burning sensation that embraced and paralyzed her whole body in its intensity.
William stayed still for a second, overwhelmed by the feeling of her. Had he never cared to look, to understand, to feel how beautiful she was before? It seemed that only at that moment he was beginning to comprehend what Elizabeth meant to him. How precious she was; how she had become more indispensable to his life than air. He kissed her with all his passion, hoping to express what was taking place in his heart, changing it. He wanted to show her everything; nothing could remain secret anymore.
He began to move and her response took his breath away. They were united in one rhythm, offering and accepting more pleasure than they had ever dreamed. They were worshipping each other; feeling equal, immense pleasure in adoring and in being the object of the other’s adoration. Their need retained only a reminiscence of tenderness, as it became heated, turning into a wild flame ready to consume them. He possessed her completely, reaching her most secret depths and losing himself in her acceptance of him, until they let their bodies free, to take control and rule; limbs, necks, chests became one as they continued in a maddening tempo, until she cried out his name with a desperate tone. And then she repeated it again and again, joined by his voice that was whispering her name, until their duet reached its final climax; leaving their bodies shaking and their minds traveling along the paths of the mystifying experience.
A few minutes later, as they lay in each other’s arms, not yet fully recovered, he tipped her chin up so that she could look at him and he whispered:
“How do I begin telling you what you are to me?”
She closed her eyes and nuzzled more comfortably in his embrace, smiling. But then, remembering something important, she looked at him again.
“Will?” she said biting her lip.
“Don’t laugh at me…”
“What is it, baby?”
“What happened…” She stopped and kissed him on the cheek. “I love it when you call me baby.”
He kissed her brow. “Don’t change the subject, Liz.”
“Well, what happened between us seemed like…” She blushed. “I mean, I know we had done this before, but this felt like…”
“Our first time,” he completed knowingly.
“You felt it too?”
“My dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.” He kissed her mouth. “We had never done that before. I have never let anyone look into me, and I have never looked at anyone in this way. It is unique. It’s rare.”
“Special.” She smiled
“Precious.” He grinned, but then they both turned serious.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
Elizabeth woke up in the wee hours of the morning. Her body was trapped in his tight embrace, melting completely against him. It was strange, she thought; she couldn’t recall ever waking up any other way. Sleeping in his arms seemed her only chance to find peaceful rest. She sighed softly. His body was her haven; her shelter; yet it could drive her, relentlessly, into such powerful storms of sensation that left her drained and breathless, but feeling more whole than ever.
Closing her eyes again, she snuggled even closer to him, allowing one leg to slip between his.
“Liz, there is a limit to what a man can bear.”
Her eyes shot open to meet his; intense, passionate, betraying that he had not been asleep for some time.
“You’re awake?” She was embarrassed, as if he could have heard her previous thoughts.
“Oh yes,” he replied immediately. “You’re too much of a distraction. I prefer feeling you to sleeping.”
“I don’t know, Will.” A mischievous smile crept on her face. “I guess it depends on one’s dreams. I cannot complain about mine, ” she added, her voice low, seductive.
“Aha.” He smiled broadly, his whole face beaming. “So we have been dreaming, have we?”
“Is there competition, Liz?”
She just shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, I certainly have to do something about that…”
He rolled over and ran his fingers across her breasts, before his hands were placed on either side of her arms, leaving her unable to move. He slowly leaned over her, nibbling momentarily at her lips but moving back before she could respond. Smiling devilishly at her frustrated look, he tasted the spot at the centre of her neck and then traced a path upwards, grazing her chin but stopping again before he reached her lips. He felt her body trembling under his.
“Ah, was there fulfillment in your dreams, Elizabeth?” His mouth was upon hers as soon as he finished the sentence.
“Yes,” she answered, as their lips brushed each other; challenging him and surrendering to him at the same time.
He could never ignore a challenge coming from her. His assault was immediate and merciless. His mouth covered hers, his tongue chasing hers, both fighting and worshipping, in a desperate attempt to quench a thirst that only grew more urgent with each second. She whimpered, her palms moving to his shoulders, then grabbing them abruptly to bring him even closer to her. She needed to feel his full weight; to collapse under it. She needed to feel his chest against her breasts or she would burst into pieces. He obeyed, his hands tightening their hold of her waist, pulling her closer to him. Their kiss continued with a despair that was bordering on torment, as their need for each other was moving to a whole new level. Elizabeth encircled her legs with his. He groaned and broke the kiss almost violently. For a moment they just looked at each other, their breathing ragged, their eyes fierce; reflecting the almost raw passion that had possessed them both. Feeling maddening waves of desire invading her, she pleaded with a voice she did not recognize as her own:
“ Now, Will.”
Piercing eyes, neither closing nor ever leaving her face… Assault, invasion, forcefulness… Her senses were clouded, and she felt she was diving deeper and deeper into an abyss that she almost feared. Wholeness, completion… She listened to a heartbeat and couldn’t tell if it was his or hers… Then possession, again and again and again… Forever… He was taking and giving; he was tender and demanding; he was her torture and salvation… Sounds and echoes filled the space between them, as if they came from another world. Whimpers and groans and cries… Did they come from their mouths? She didn’t know. She didn’t know what was his and what was hers. It didn’t matter anymore. His lips, her lips, they were one; there was no separating anymore, as their bodies moved in their perfect, maddening dance. No hindrance and no embarrassment; this intimacy, this complete surrender had put an end to the last reserve that might have lurked in their hearts.
And then… It began like a raindrop, a little flame of a candle, the almost inaudible fall of a card. But it was the start of another storm, a domino. Spot by spot, pulse by pulse it traveled to her core, to the depths of her, lighting the fire. She gasped and clung to him, feeling the inevitable first signs of explosion. Then masses of electric waves overtook her, traveling into her blood, to her skin, to her limbs, to every corner of her body. She closed her eyes and cried aloud, as her spasms became uncontrollable, willing to be lost; to taste this indescribable delight to the very end, no matter if breathing became a struggle and her lungs pleaded for air.
He sensed her body shaking violently, but his self control had completely abandoned him and he could only lose himself in her, crying out as her nails dug into his back and then collapsing atop of her, unable to begin to explain what had just happened.
As soon as his panting calmed down a bit, he turned to study her face, rather anxiously. However, her eyes remained closed.
“Elizabeth?” he whispered softly.
Her eyes opened unhurriedly, but no word came out of her mouth. He moved to his back and took her in his arms. They remained silent, in awe, afraid they would break the spell if they spoke.
Minutes passed. Then he felt her lips kissing his cheeks. A light, feather-like caress which brought such happiness in him that he grinned. He heard her soft laughter, wonderful melody in his ears.
“Yes, my love?”
“Absolutely no comparison with my dreams.”
He chuckled. “A compliment?”
“Oh yes.” She kissed him again. “Oh, yes.”
“You’re doing miracles for my self-esteem, Elizabeth.”
His playful tone could not but bring forth her wish to tease him. “Really? I thought you never had problems with self-esteem, William Darcy.”
He chuckled as he tightened his grip around her waist, his whole body relishing in her closeness.
“I am not sure this is a compliment, Elizabeth.”
“This was not meant as a compliment. I only wanted to point out that you are an insufferable smug.”
“Am I intimidating you, my dear?” His hands moved lower, causing her to shiver, but not from any form of fear.
“Not anymore.” Her voice seemed too earnest, not following his teasing tone.
Instantly his hands stopped their maddening movements and his fingers lifted her chin so he could look directly into her eyes.
“ Anymore? Were you ever afraid of me, Elizabeth?” His tone was dead serious.
“No, no, no.” Her lips pressed tightly against his and then she continued spreading soft kisses all over his face. “Not this worried look, Will. I don’t want to see it again.” She murmured as she rested her head on his chest again.
“Nothing, it’s nothing.”
“Elizabeth. Tell me.” His voice had a hint of pleading.
“Very well, if you want to know every piece of silliness that comes to my mind, you’ll have it. I was only thinking of our first time together, here.”
His brow furrowed. “How this…”
She interrupted him.
“I was terrified, Will. I don’t remember ever being so scared in my life before. You were so perfect, and gentle and gallant and I wanted you so hopelessly and so madly…”
A passionate kiss that lasted for some time put a halt to her confession. When their mouths drew apart, she opened her eyes to study his face. He was smiling, as if he understood her.
“And I was smug, wasn’t I Elizabeth?”
“No, this is not what I meant…”
“Oh yes. I appeared confident and determined, in complete control, didn’t I?”
She eyed him curiously. “Weren’t you…?”
He laughed. “No, Liz, I wasn’t. I was panicked.”
“You were different... We had kissed and I had realized that I desired you so much that I had trouble concentrating at work, knowing that you were so near. I wanted to make love to you badly, and yet, I was afraid that I would rush you or disappoint you… I couldn’t read you, I couldn’t tell if it was too soon or not. And then…”
“On a fateful Friday afternoon…” she added smiling.
“A rainy Friday afternoon. Everyone had left, but for you, my most devoted employee.”
“I had an article to write and I could not put a word to paper.”
“It was getting late and the rain was getting worse and worse…”
“I had no umbrella, I would get soaked before I got to the underground station; so you, caring man, offered to give me a ride. I was so absorbed watching you that I didn’t answer for a good thirty seconds.”
“And I thought that you considered me a cad and I was mentally slapping myself, but then you said yes. Did you hear my sigh of relief back then? I thought people in the next building would hear it as well.”
“Not really, Will. I was too busy cursing my stupid self.”
“Good to know. And afterwards, there we were, at your door and I knew I had better conceal my need for you…”
“Well, my limbs are still affected by the reminiscence of that kiss.”
“Oh, there was no way back after that. I thought I would go mad if you didn’t ask me to stay.”
“You certainly did not give that impression. It took all my courage to tell you to come if for a cup of coffee. How ridiculous coffee must have sounded!” She exclaimed in mock despair.
“I can’t remember. I was trying to calm myself.”
“Will, are you sure we’re talking about the same night? You were the epitome of calmness!”
“I repeat, Elizabeth. I was panicked. I thought that I would lose all my self-control, I would succumb to that…that flame, that you would think me a beast. This is why I kept every appearance of self-assurance. I will never forget the first time I saw you naked.” His voice was low and soft, matching the tender caress of his hands.
“That is not easy for me to forget either. But you had that look. I thought, I believed, it was not something important to you back then.”
“Haven’t you learnt to decipher that look now, Elizabeth? It was hunger. Pure desire.”
She smiled. “We were such fools. Such utter fools.”
“But our bodies were not, Elizabeth. They knew we were perfect for each other, long before we came to admit it.” His finger moved absent-mindedly down her back, and he started at the void, as pictures of that first night flashed into their minds.
“It was beautiful, Will. Despite fears and insecurities… My, we had lots of fears and insecurities! I remember thinking at one point: ‘What if he considers this a one night stand? What does he want from me? How will I face him in the office? What will I do tomorrow? No, tomorrow is Saturday!’”
He chuckled. “And at the same time, I was wondering why the idea of leaving your side that night was so repulsive.”
“But you stayed.”
“Yeah… I was forced to. It was raining, remember?” “You are being smug again!”
“Oh, you regret my decision to stay that night?”
“Even worse. You are smart and smug!”
“You slept in my arms, just like tonight. I had never let anyone sleep in my arms. Not even my sister when she was a child. I always told myself that I was not the cuddling type.”
“And to think that I fell asleep thinking of all the women who had previously slept in your arms… and how much I wanted to kill them.”
“Glad to know we were having similar thoughts. I was dreaming of throttling every man who had ever touched you.”
“Tormented sleep then, Will.”
“Not really. How could it be? That night I discovered the delights of a close embrace.”
“The delights of suffocation?”
“Let me tell you something, Elizabeth. That night, I woke up to find that you had slipped away from my arms. I tried to close my eyes, but I could not fall asleep again. Then I moved closer to you, embraced you and was asleep before I knew.”
“Those were very clear signs, William,” she said jokingly.
“And I was a very stupid and blind man.”
“I love you Will. I loved you before that night, I loved you that night and I have loved you ever since.”
“I fall in love with you every day, Elizabeth.”
Her lips on his sealed their professions, but it hardly seemed enough. Their hearts were so full, so affected by every new little token of the precious feelings they experienced and shared that they hardly knew how to express everything they wanted to say. Mid-kiss, Elizabeth realized there was only one way.
“Make love to me, Will.”
And then, yearning souls and entwined bodies told their own story.
When Elizabeth opened her eyes again, William had left the bed. The clock told her it was almost seven. Sunday morning, she reminded herself. She looked at the window and was met with a grey sky, but she felt that no weather could affect her mood. Quickly putting on a robe, she left the room in quest of him.
She found him talking quietly on the phone, his back turned to her, very absorbed. She moved slightly so she could study his profile. He seemed deep in thought but not overly worried, she was relieved to discover. Elizabeth made another step or two so that she could hear what he was saying, but then he turned his head and noticed her. His serious face instantly turned into a smiling one, his eyes lit up as he saw her. He hastily ended the conversation on the phone.
“Good morning, beautiful.” His voice had such earnestness and his tone was so intimate that she felt herself ready to blush.
“Good morning to you too, business-man.”
“So, you assume that I was talking about work?”
“Don’t feign the innocent Will. I know you. What happened?”
“Hey, why are you so curious about business? I had no idea you were a fortune-hunter.”
Something back in her mind whispered to her that news could not be terrible if he was in such a good mood, still it was not enough to reassure her. “Will!”
“Ok, ok. No more teasing.” He stood up and embraced her tenderly. After placing a soft kiss on her worried brow, he said,
“It is not very bad. Rosings Press buried us of course, but they were looking for an excuse to do it. Gilson’s report was not good either. He called me a ‘criminal so arrogant that he changes the meaning of words to prove himself innocent.’” William smiled to make Elizabeth understand that this was not really affecting him. She snuggled her face against his neck.
“Can we kill Gilson?” Her voice came muffled.
He chuckled. “Do you know that I love you even more when you exaggerate?”
“That’s why I am doing it.” He was glad that she seemed a bit more light-hearted.
“We can’t confront people for being stupid, Elizabeth. I am not even suing him. Let him ramble until he realizes that he is not hurting me. Then he will stop. And no real harm can be done. TV reports were pretty good on us. The chief of the police publicly thanked Pemberley for the invaluable help it offered to the investigations. Most newspapers are praising us. Happy now?”
She tilted her head back to look at him. “Truly?”
“Have I ever lied to you?”
She smiled. “Never.”
“Oh, I must also mention that you are famous, Liz. Charles said that everyone is asking for an interview with you. I think TV shows have fallen in love with you. But first, Elizabeth, you must suffer the Holy Inquisition.”
She looked at him quizzically. “We have a meeting with the members of the board today at ten and they want to talk to you as well.”
“Do you think I should start looking for a new job?” She said half-jokingly.
“I don’t think they would like to displease the ‘Real Boss of Pemberley.’ ”
“Yes. I am always amazed at the creative minds of the people who work in the press.” She admonished him for his satisfied look. Suddenly, as if recalling something, he said.
“Will you visit your family afterwards?”
“I had not thought about it. I must see them at some point. They must have been very worried and we scarcely talked before Charles practically threw them out of the house.”
“Valuable friend, Charles. Anyway, where are they now? Has your mother returned to Hertfordshire?”
“I don’t know. I’ll have to call, I guess. Why are you asking?”
“My sister is leaving tomorrow. I had hoped that… That is, I wish you two would,” he swallowed, “meet before she leaves… And this afternoon could be a good chance to…”
She smiled and hugged him. “My parents and sister and friends are not going anywhere. We can go to your house right after the meeting. Just give me some time to call and talk to everyone.”
“Sure, we have plenty of time.” He paused. “So, is the meeting ok with you?”
“Will you be by my side?”
“All the time.”
“Then it is.”
Table of Contents
Return to Austen Interlude