How To Mend A Broken Heart
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The morning after the Matlock’s dinner party, Caroline Bingley sat in her drawing room impatiently awaiting the arrival of her sister, Louisa Hurst.
Hurrying into the drawing room, Louisa Hurst threw the newspaper she had been carrying onto a nearby chair, looking at her sister she saw the answer to her question but asked it anyway, “Is it true?”
Caroline’s façade fell as tears overflowed her eyes. She broke down and sobbed, “Yes.”
Louisa sat down by her sister and placed her arms around her, pulling a distraught Caroline into her embrace.
Once Caroline had exhausted her tears, Louisa asked, “And what was Charles’ response to the news?”
“He was devastated,” was the reply.
Louisa was confused. “Devastated! I can imagine him to be surprised at Mr. Darcy’s engagement, shocked perhaps, but devastated?”
Caroline looked at her sister then realized what she had forgotten to mention, “No, not at Mr. Darcy’s news, but that Jane Bennet was married and has been for almost a year now.”
“Jane Bennet is married. Thank goodness. But how did he find that out?” Louisa’s confusion was growing.
“Miss Eliza Bennet informed him last night as we awaited the call to dinner.” Caroline said absentmindedly as she was still focused on her pain.
“Miss Eliza Bennet was at the dinner party! But how? Why?” Louisa could hardly believe her ears.
Reviving from her own disappointment, Caroline explained, “She arrived with the Dowager Lady Matlock and General Fitzwilliam. It seems Miss Bennet had a connection to Lady Webberley.”
“Lady Webberley?” Louisa found this all hard to believe.
“Yes! I do not know the particulars as we were called to dinner before I could find anything else out. Then with the announcement of Mr. Darcy’s engagement to Mrs. Wagstaff…well, Charles and I left soon after that and returned home.”
“Where is Charles now?” Louisa asked.
Thinking a moment, Caroline stated, “I do not know. I have not seen him all morning. He was not at breakfast.”
Rising from her seat, Louisa left Caroline to find her brother.
Returning a minute later, she asked, “Caroline, Jensen just informed me that Charles left the house around midnight last night and has not returned.”
“Where do you think he has gone?” Caroline asked.
“Mr. Darcy’s! He must be at Mr. Darcy’s.” Louisa went to the desk and penned a quick note. Calling for a footman, she requested that the note be delivered to Darcy House post haste.
The sisters waited anxiously for the reply. An hour later, a note was returned that Mr. Bingley was not at Darcy House nor had they seen him.
Panic enveloped Caroline and Louisa as images of dreadful things happening to their brother flittered through their heads.
The morning found Darcy at his breakfast table finishing the morning paper. He had just sent his sister, Georgiana, off with Lady Julia and Mrs. Wagstaff on some excursion to Bond Street while he contemplated what to do on this fine, glorious morning. As he looked out the window, he decided a stroll in the park was in order. He had been cooped up in his rooms the past few days and felt that fresh air would do him good.
Calling for his hat and coat, Darcy was soon heading down the block in the direction of the park. However, once reaching the end of the block, he looked over at the park and then to his right towards Crandall House. Without missing a step, he turned right and before long was knocking on the door of his aunt’s townhouse.
As Hornsby, the butler, took his coat and hat, Darcy turned and saw his cousin, General Richard Fitzwilliam, coming down the hall.
“Fitzwilliam, where are you off to?” he called.
Upon reaching his cousin, Richard replied, “I am not a man of leisure as you. I have duties to attend to.”
“Yes, well…” Darcy sighed.
“I hope you did not come all this way to see me. I know we have been long over due for a visit. I have just now received a note that my attendance is required at Headquarters. You are welcome to come along with me. We can talk in the carriage.”
Seeing Lady Suzan and Elizabeth coming down the hall, he turned to Fitzwilliam, “As much as I would like to accommodate you,” he nodded to the ladies, “Why would I want to spend time in a carriage with you when there are two lovely ladies here to entertain me.”
Richard laughed. “You will be sorry you made that decision.”
Darcy looked questioningly at his cousin.
“Darcy, what are you doing here?” Lady Suzan asked as she joined the two gentlemen.
“Why to visit with my favorite aunt.” He bowed to his aunt.
“We are much too busy to be socializing. We have much to do,” Lady Suzan explained in an agitated tone.
“See, Darcy, you are not welcome here,” Richard stated.
“Of course, he is welcome here. Just not this morning or any morning for the next two weeks,” Lady Suzan said.
“Your Ladyship, Miss Bennet, Darcy,” Richard bowed to each, “I must depart. Darcy, this is your last chance to join me.”
Shaking his head, he looked at his aunt and Miss Bennet confused as to why they would not receive him. He had been so looking forward to beginning the courtship of Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s good opinion. He had not anticipated this road block.
Seeing her nephew standing there looking confused, Lady
Suzan explained, “I have taken on a Herculean task and have no time for idle
chit chat.” Turning to Elizabeth, she
commanded, “Come, Elizabeth, we have much to do.” Taking
“Aunt,” Darcy called as he followed the ladies to their destination, “Is there anything that I can do to help with such a task?” Although he was a bit put out that his aunt would consider that he even knew how to idly chit chat.
After seeing that everyone was in the drawing room, she closed the door. “Ah! But if only you could. I have two weeks to prepare Miss Bennet to be presented at Court. It takes years for some to receive the instruction they need. I have every faith in Miss Bennet’s abilities of being a quick study, but we just do not have time for lolly-gagging around.”
“Aunt Suzan, I believe I am the perfect person to aid you in this task,” he replied.
Looking at her nephew with astonishment at such a statement, her thoughts written clearly on her face; what does a gentleman know of such things!
“Mr. Darcy, while we would appreciate your assistance…”
“Miss Bennet,” he interrupted. “I have spent the last year assisting my sister in all that she should expect as she makes her debut. While I do not profess to be knowledgeable as to the fashions of the occasion, I am aware of some of accoutrements that are required. And I am also fully versed in the protocol of the event. So you see, I am qualified to assist you in this endeavor. Aunt? Miss Bennet?” He looked to each lady for their reaction.
Looking thoughtful, Lady Suzan said, “Yes, Darcy, you might be valuable at that. Yes, I thank you for your help.”
“Masculine? Miss Bennet,” he filled in the word that she had been unwilling to use with laughter in his voice and a smile on his countenance.
Blushing, she said, “Yes. But surely you have business matters to attend and there is your upcoming nuptials to address.”
Inwardly he cringed at her reference to his engagement, but he was not going to miss this opportunity to spend time with her. “Miss Bennet, it is my pleasure to assist you. After all, this is our new beginning, is it not?”
Laughing, she replied, “Yes, Mr. Darcy, yes, it is. I thank you for your kind offer.”
They spent the better part of the morning going over the protocol of the presentation. Darcy proved to be quite knowledgeable on the subject. He was also a fount of information about those at Court whom they might meet. By luncheon, it was agreed that Mr. Darcy would spend his mornings helping Miss Bennet prepare to be presented at Court and how to conduct herself in Society-at-large.
As the Bingley sisters were imaging all the terrible things that could befall their brother, Charles Bingley was lying flat on his back, waking with a throbbing in his head. Opening his eyes, he realized it was not a wise idea as the bright morning light caused the ache in his head to worsen. He closed his eyes hoping that the pain would subside when it dawned on him that his brief glimpse of the morning revealed that he was not in his bed chamber.
Where am I?
Slowly opening his eyes, he looked at the ceiling. When he found he could focus his eyes, he lifted himself up to rest on his elbows while he surveyed his surroundings. From his new position, he made another startling discovery. He was naked. Naked! How did I get naked? I always sleep in a freshly laundered nightshirt. And where are the bed covers? There was nothing that could be used to cover his shame.
Panic overcame him and he shot up only to have the pain in his head force him to lie back down.
What am I going to do? I have no idea where I am. Where are my clothes? Opening his eyes to a narrow slit, he searched the room. Relief! His clothes where on a chair located in a far corner of the room. But how am I going to get from here to there with this ache in my head?
He heard a door open and a cheerful female voice say, “Good Morning, Charlie, I am glad to see you are awake.”
Immediately he put his hands over his private parts, his humiliation complete.
Upon further consideration, he decided that the feminine voice had already seen him in his disrobed state if she knew his name so he opened his eyes to behold an angel standing above him. Long blonde hair cascading over her shoulders; china blue eyes the same shade as Jane’s. It is Jane! Had the past few years all been a bad dream that I am now finally waking from?
“Jane?” he croaked.
“No, but I can be Jane if you want me to be,” the vision answered.
‘Jane’ removed her dressing gown to reveal a slender figure with pert breasts.
His mouth fell open. He had never seen a naked woman, at least in the full light of day, and his body reacted to the sight before him in a most embarrassing way.
Bending over, ‘Jane’ began to pull his hands away from the part of his anatomy that he had most wished to remain hidden.
“Charlie, you have no reason to be shy.” She winked at him as she crawled on the bed, “No reason at all! In fact, you should be quite proud. There is no reason to hide what has been generously given to you.”
Suddenly his eyes shot open when he felt his companion touch the part of his manhood that had escaped the confines of his hands. Realizing that his struggle for concealment was futile, he removed his hands as her most skillful hands replaced them. His mortification was absolute.
Croaking out, “Jane!”
“Yes, Charlie,” she said.
“I need to leave,” he stated.
“But you are paid up through tomorrow. We have the rest of the day and the night,” she informed him with a big smile.
“I really do need to leave,” he choked out as she had taken him to his full potential.
“But Charlie, you are in no condition to leave.” She lowered her mouth onto his straining erection.
Reconsidering, he barely whispered, “Maybe one more time.” A smile of bliss etched on his lips.
Bingley knew what he was doing was wrong, very wrong. But he could not stop himself. Images of Jane Bennet coaxing erection after erection from him and then taking him to a release that left him breathless overrode any moral objections to what he was currently experiencing. Though his memory was a bit fuzzy, he definitely remembered finding ecstasy at least three times in the past few hours. So, what was one more time?
‘Jane’ removed her mouth from his straining erection and smiled at him.
Charles looked at her quizzically.
She climbed astride him and slowly lowered herself onto his most private part which was at rigid attention from her actions.
The sensation of her warm, moist body engulfing him caused his hips to involuntarily thrust upward.
He watched her buck at his action. Her eyes opened wide and a sweet smile appeared on her lips.
“No, Charlie, I do not think you will be going anywhere for awhile,” she said as she ran her hands up his chest and pinched his nipples.
“Oh! Jane!” he moaned as he closed his eyes and let his body over rule his mind and his conscience.
Lady Suzan extended an invitation for Darcy to stay for luncheon which he accepted wholeheartedly. His morning with Elizabeth had been more than he expected, and he was loath to leave her just yet. The fact that he would be spending his mornings with her for the next two weeks did not diminish his need to be in her company as much as possible.
As they partook of their mid-day meal, Darcy brought up the topic of the presentation gown. He knew that Georgiana’s had taken over two months to complete.
Laughing, his aunt explained that had been the least of their worries as they had found her old gown still at Crandall House. When Elizabeth had exclaimed how beautiful it was, Lady Suzan offered it to her, and she had accepted. Two seamstresses had been hired to alter and update the gown and were hard at work upstairs as they spoke.
When luncheon was finished, Lady Suzan spoke, “Darcy, are you staying for the afternoon lessons or do you have other things to do?”
“As much as I would enjoy spending the afternoon with you, I do have something I need to see to this afternoon,” he replied. He had promised himself to see Bingley after Bingley’s uncharacteristic behavior the night before. But unwilling to leave Elizabeth just yet and since there was plenty of time to visit Bingley, he added, “But I can stay for a little while longer.”
“Good!” his aunt exclaimed. “You may keep Miss Bennet company while I see to the seamstresses and make sure that are doing everything correctly.”
After retiring to the drawing room,
“Yes, Miss Bennet,” he replied.
Taking a deep breath, she looked him in the eye and continued, “I know we have settled things between us several days ago, but you must allow me to elaborate while we have some time to ourselves. You cannot know how deeply I regret the words I spoke to you at Hunsford. I have come to see they were spoken in anger, which one should never do.” She gave him a weak smile. “I have come to think that I had been incorrect in my accusations and would hope you would find it in your heart to forgive me for my impetuous and imprudent remarks…”
“Miss Bennet,” he interrupted. “There is nothing to forgive. You allowed me to look at myself through another’s eyes and I found myself wanting. Your words have, I hope, made me a better man and for that, I am thankful to you.”
Looking at him, she was surprised. “But, Mr. Darcy, my behavior…”
“Was honest and forthright, which is much to be admired,” he countered.
“But my accusations of your treatment of Mr. Wickham were…”
“…Were perhaps undeserved. But you were not aware of how Mr. Wickham uses people for his own means. His friendly and easy-going manner is designed to deceive innocent people.”
“Yes, I am painfully aware of that,” she said in a low voice as she looked off in the distance.
“May I ask how he had imposed himself on you?” He was not looking forward to the answer but he needed to know how much damage Wickham had caused to alter her opinion of him.
“As I now know the truth of Mr. Wickham’s character, I am not sure it still matters,” she said as she returned his gaze.
“It matters to me, Miss Bennet; please tell me what he had to say about me?” he asked, his eyes looking intently into hers.
“Very well. He informed me that his father was your father’s steward.”
“Also, he was your father’s godson.”
“And your father left him a valuable family living.”
“And when it fell vacant you flatly refused to honor your father’s wishes.”
“Yes, well this is where his story diverges from the truth. You see, Miss Bennet, soon after my father’s will was read, Mr. Wickham approached me about compensating him for the living as he did not want to take orders and wanted to study the law. Knowing that he would not make a proper clergyman, I agreed and gave him three thousands pounds in lieu of the living. That was in addition to another thousand pounds that was bequeathed to him in my father’s will. Several years later when the intended living fell vacant, he demanded that I give him the living as by rights it was his.”
“I hope you can now understand why I refused him.”
Continuing on, Mr. Darcy stated, “If you need the particulars of this transaction, General Fitzwilliam can be applied to as he is fully aware of what took place and also my solicitors have the papers of the original agreement that can be applied for.”
Shaking her head, “No, Mr. Darcy, that will not be necessary. I believe you. I released you long ago from any injustices suffered by Mr. Wickham.”
“I am glad. I assume you are referring to the elopement of your youngest sister and Mr. Wickham.”
She looked at him surprised and nodded her head.
“My aunt, Lady Catherine, apprised me the next spring of what had happened to your family. I must offer you my belated condolences to you and all your family for what you have suffered,” he said sincerely.
“Thank you, Mr. Darcy,” she said. As she did not want to discuss the matter of
“Yes, I had not had a chance to alert him to your presence in town,” he said. Sobering, “Miss Bennet, I feel very ashamed about my involvement in separating your sister from Mr. Bingley…”
Interrupting, she said, “I am sure you cannot take full responsibility for that action…”
“Miss Bingley!” he interjected.
“Miss Bingley would not have been successful in that endeavor without my support,” he confessed. “Be that as it may, when I learned that the neighborhood was expecting Mr. Bingley to propose to your sister, I began to watch her carefully to see if she had any special regard for him as I did not want to see him in an unequal match in their affections for each other. While she accepted Bingley’s attentions, her quiet demeanor did not show any special regard. I felt that your sister’s acceptance would be influenced by other’s expectations.”
“But Jane never outwardly displays her feelings…” she exclaimed.
“Yes, I know that now. It seems she and I share that same trait.” He smiled at her.
Smiling back, she responded, “Maybe so. I can see your point.” Lowering her head, she sought to appease him by stating, “As things turned out with my family, I am sure that it was best the match was never formed.”
“Miss Bennet, I sincerely regret that I presumed to know the feelings of others. It was a lesson hard learnt,” he said and lowering his voice to almost a whisper, “and one that I will always suffer the consequences.”
She looked at him intently trying to decipher the meaning of his last statement. Without any success she said, “Yes.” After a moment, she continued, “Mr. Darcy, I would like it if we could be friends. My previous misconceptions of you have humbled me, and I would like for us to make a fresh start without any prejudices to hinder us.”
Grinning, he stated, “Miss Bennet that would be my dearest wish.” Taking her hand in his, he bestowed a gentle kiss on her fingers before looking up at her, “Friends!”
At that time, Lady Suzan joined them, and Darcy took his leave.
Going directly to Bingley’s townhouse, he found Bingley’s sisters in an uproar over their brother’s disappearance. Worried about his friend, though not wishing to spend much more time with the hysterical sisters, he asked that he be notified the minute Bingley returned while promising to see what he could do about locating their wayward brother. Darcy had no idea where Charles Bingley would have gone and decided to return to Darcy House in hopes that if his friend was in trouble, he would come to him there or, at least, send word.
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