divider.jpgbroken heart                          How To Mend A Broken Heart                                            broken heart



<<==  Back                                                                           Back to My Stories                                                           Forward  ==>>


Chapter 12

It was well into the afternoon when Charles Bingley had found his clothes and his carriage. Now, he was on his way to have a few words with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.  As seriously displeased with Darcy as he was, he struggled to keep the grin from his face as images of the previous night and morning replayed in his mind.  By the time he got to Darcy’s townhouse, he pushed aside his pleasant musings and let his anger at Darcy replace them.  Storming into the study, he demanded, “Darcy, why did you not warn me?”

Darcy stood up from his desk and looked at his friend, not sure what he meant.  Was Bingley referring to his engagement or the fact that Jane Bennet was married?  Bingley’s appearance offered no clue as to his meaning: He was wearing the same evening clothes from the night before and it was quite evident that he had not had a morning shave.  The smell of stale liquor hung about his person.  “Bingley, where have you been?  Your sisters are worried.”

Bingley stared at his friend and spat out, “Answer my question!”

“Mrs. Wagstaff accepted me just last week. I had meant to tell you, but things have been so chaotic…”

“Not that,” Bingley snarled, “about Jane Bennet!”

Darcy bowed his head a moment before replying, “Charles, I only found out about Miss Bennet’s presence in town three days ago. I did not know until she answered your questions about her family.”

Bingley’s ire deflated, and he went to sit in a nearby chair.  Placing his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, in a small voice he muttered, “If I had gone back to Hertfordshire like I wanted instead of listening to you, Caroline, and Louisa, Jane could have been married to me and not some country parson.”

Darcy thought the same thing and also that he might be married to Elizabeth right now instead of being engaged to Mrs. Wagstaff.  Placing his hand on his friend’s shoulder, he said, “Bingley, I am truly sorry.”

Removing his hands from his face, he looked up at Darcy, “Whatever for? This is my fault. Only I can take the blame.”

Darcy’s guilt was severe.  Charles might be right but he was equally at fault.  When Darcy learned the truth that Miss Jane Bennet had cared for his friend, he should have immediately sought a remedy for Bingley’s pain instead of wallowing in his own self-pity. 

“Bingley, your sisters are worried about you.  They said that you left sometime in the night with no word as to when you would return.  I have just returned from your townhouse.  Where did you go?” Darcy asked.

Bingley’s pale complexion reddened at the thought of where he had been. 

Seeing his flushed countenance, Darcy knew the answer would not be well received.

Looking up at his friend with a small smile on his lips, he admitted, “With Jane.”

Incredulous, Darcy responded, “Jane! Jane Bennet.”  Did Bingley go all the way to Hertfordshire?

“I do not think her real name was Jane, but she let me call her that.” Then with a dreamy expression on this face, he continued, “She had long golden hair and blue eyes, and she looked just like Jane.  Oh! She made me feel like a man.  Darcy, she made me feel like a man five times.  It was just like Jane and I were married, had been married for ever so long.”

Darcy’s astonishment was great.  He went to Madame Dupree’s? Concern for his friend’s state of mind soon overtook the shock of such an admission.  This was totally out of character for Bingley.  Recognizing the need to protect his friend from doing anything foolish, he began, “Bingley…”

Bingley wrinkled his nose as he caught a whiff of what was emanating from his clothes.  “Darcy, I need to go home,”

“Bingley,” he tried again, “What are you going to do?”

“I said I was going to go home,” was Bingley’s innocent reply.

“No! I mean after that.” Darcy was getting frustrated.

“Well, first I will bathe and be shaved.  Later, I suppose I will have dinner with Caroline.  After dinner, I might return to Madame Dupree’s. After all I am paid up through tomorrow.” He grinned.

Realizing that Bingley was walking on a slippery slope, he counseled, “Bingley that might not be such a good idea.”

Bingley’s temper flared. “And why not?  Just because you now have a beautiful widow to warm your bed, I cannot enjoy myself in the company of a lady.”

With that, Bingley turned and left Darcy gaping at his friend’s crude remark.  I have no intention of letting Virginia warm my bed, at least not until we are married if that ever comes to pass.

Arriving at his townhouse, Charles Bingley found his sisters crowding around him asking questions that he had no intention of answering.  After all, he was his own master and did not have to answer to anyone. 

Caroline and Louisa were soon silenced by the aroma of their brother.  Caroline suggested, “Charles, you need to bathe.”

Charles looked from one sister to the other and then walked away from them and ascended the stairs to do just that.

Freshly washed and shaven, Charles entered his bed chamber in only his dressing gown.  Piling up the pillows at the head of the bed, he reclined against them to ponder the recent events of his life.  He had some important decisions to make and this time he would rely on no one but himself to make them.

How do I really feel about the fact that Jane Bennet is married?  Did I really love her?  He did not know if he still loved her or had ever really loved her at all.  Yes, he had been infatuated with her but had it really been love?  Was the pain he felt when he learned that she did not return those feelings stem from the fact that he loved her or just a blow to his vanity and pride?  He had chosen to believe it was love, but now he was no longer sure. 

Last night when I returned home, why did I leave again and go to Madame Dupree’s?  Why did I not just stay here and brood and flounder in self pity as I have done all these years?  As he tried to answer these questions, comprehension began to dawn on him.  He had let others dictate how his life should be led and they had not done a very good job of it.  Last night he wanted to feel he was his own man; he wanted to feel the desires of a man, to feel the passion of living again! 

Smiling, he remembered the girl whose name he did not know.  She had made him feel all those things and more.  Five times!  Was that some sort of record?  He did not know, but he was proud of himself for the first time in years. Feeling a stirring of passion in his loins, he untied his dressing gown and opened it wide so he could watch his manhood swell.  Reaching down, he wrapped his hand around it to encourage it.  Leaning his head back, he closed his eyes and brought forth the image of that girl with the light shining brightly on her as she sat atop him this morning.  His stroke became harder and faster as his imagination took flight.  His release was intense but left him wanting more.  Retrieving a handkerchief from the pocket of his dressing gown, he cleaned himself off and called for his valet.

Thirty minutes later, Charles instructed that his carriage be brought around and asked where he could find his sister.  Finding both his sisters in the drawing room having tea, he informed them that he was going out and would not return until the morrow or possibly the next day.  Before Caroline and Louisa could inquire as to where he was going, he turned on his heel and left them. 

When the carriage arrived, he called to the coachman, “Madame Dupree’s!” and jumped in the coach.

The next morning found Darcy at his aunt’s breakfast table with Lady Suzan, his cousin, and Elizabeth.  He sipped his coffee while the others ate as he had breakfasted earlier with Georgiana.

Finishing his plate, Richard Fitzwilliam looked over at his cousin with a smirk. “So Darcy, when did you become so knowledgeable in preparing ladies to be presented at Court?”

Calmly, Darcy replied, “For the past year I have guided dear Georgiana in her preparations.  Not all of us have the luxury of playing soldier in Scotland.”

Defensive, Richard retaliated, “I was not playing soldier.  I was training Wellesley’s cavalry. All brave men and of the highest order!  I will say it was more exciting than pouring over peerage books and deciding on the appropriate lace.”

“Well, I must say it was a damn sight better…” Darcy rejoined.

“Boys!” Lady Suzan commanded before their little tiff escalated into fisticuffs.

Elizabeth lowered her head to hide her smile at Lady Suzan speaking to the two gentlemen as if they were errant young lads.

Both Richard and Darcy gave Lady Suzan an apologetic look.  As Darcy spoke, “My apologies, aunt, Miss Bennet.”

Richard followed suit. “Yes, Mother, Miss Bennet.  I offer my apologies, as well.”

A few minutes of silence reigned at the table before the sound of Darcy’s voice was heard.  “Fitzwilliam, you could have least come to Pemberley for a visit.  After all, you are also Georgiana’s guardian.”

“We were very busy.  Horses and men arriving daily, I could not get away,” Richard declared.

“Why was the cavalry training in Scotland for Chris…” Darcy, checking his language in front of the ladies, stopped before continuing.  “And just why were you training in Scotland in the first place?  The war is much further south.  If England had been invaded, what good would you have been then?”

“But we were not invaded…” Richard was interrupted by the heavy clank of silver against china.

Both gentlemen looked at the source of the noise to see Lady Suzan glaring at them.  Each gentleman glared at the other in an accusatory way before adopting an apologetic look with which to face Lady Suzan.

Rising from her chair, Lady Suzan looked at her son, “Richard, I expect you have duties to perform at Army Headquarters.”

Sheepishly, he answered, “Yes, Madam.”  Gathering some papers he had brought to the table, General Fitzwilliam left his cousin to attend to the ladies.

Darcy glanced over to Miss Bennet to see her shaking with suppressed laughter.  This is not good.  Just when I was making some progress in gaining her good opinion, this set back has to occur.  She must think of me as a twelve-year-old child.  Why do I let Fitzwilliam taunt me like that?

Turning her attention to the remaining occupants of the breakfast room, Lady Suzan said, “Elizabeth, we have much to do and too little time to accomplish it all.”  As she walked to the door, she turned back.  “Darcy, if you can learn to behave as gentleman then you may join us.  Otherwise, off with you.”  She pointed her finger to the door.

Reaching the door, she commanded, “Come!”

As Darcy helped Elizabeth from her chair, she looked at him and grinned. “Thank you, Mr. Darcy, such gentlemanly manners you have.”

Darcy flushed at the reminder of his earlier behavior with the general.  No, this is not good.  I hope this little set-to with Richard has not damaged me in her esteem too much.

Darcy and Elizabeth obediently followed her Ladyship to the drawing room.  In hearing that Elizabeth would be practicing her curtsy, he settled himself in for a dull morning.

Lady Suzan had instructed the seamstresses to devise a train that could be attached to her normal gowns to practice in.  The train that was required as part of the presentation gown had been the downfall of many a young lady and Lady Suzan was determined that it would not be Elizabeth’s.

As Darcy watched the maids attach the fake train to Elizabeth’s gown, he soon came to the realization that it, indeed, would not be a dull morning as he would be able to examine Elizabeth’s light and pleasing figure at will. 

Darcy, in the role of the monarch, sat in a chair as Elizabeth walked toward the mark where she would stop and perform her curtsy.  Reaching that mark, she lowered her body for the curtsy only to find herself tumbling to the floor. 

Immediately, Darcy was on his feet to help her up.  With her laughing at her clumsiness, he found himself smiling as he tried to retrieve her from the carpet. 

Lady Suzan rushed forward to check that Elizabeth was fine.  Finding her laughing, she scolded Elizabeth for her lack of serious attention to the task at hand and ordered her back for another attempt.

Realizing the reason for Elizabeth’s awkwardness, he remained standing to prevent her fall to the carpet on her next attempt.  It was quite evident to see that she was overcompensating for the long train by placing her weight forward.  The fact that she was already…er…top heavy, it did not take much for him to observe that her second attempt would most likely not be successful either.

When she walked forward to her mark and began to dip into her curtsy, sure enough she lost her balance.  But this time Darcy was there to catch her before she fell to the floor.  Leaning in he whispered into ear, “Miss Bennet, keep your back straight and your shoulders back as far as they will go.” Glancing at her bosom, he added, “You seem to have too much of your weight in the front.”

Elizabeth blushed at his oblique reference to her ample breasts and nodded as she averted her eyes from him.

As Lady Suzan gathered up the train to help Elizabeth to her starting position, Darcy went back to sit in his ‘throne’ chair.

This time as Elizabeth walked forward, she threw her shoulders back and jutted out her breasts.

Darcy carefully crossed his legs at the sight of her obviously aroused nipples clearly outlined against the thin fabric of her bodice.  A small smile appeared on his face as he mentally asked the question, Am I the cause of her arousal? Because you, my dear Elizabeth, are the definite cause of mine.

“Much better,” Lady Suzan called as Elizabeth had made her curtsy without falling over.  “But you must be able to go lower.  Let us try again.”

Walking over to Elizabeth, Lady Suzan asked in a concerned voice, “Elizabeth, dear, you are quite flushed, are you well?”

Lowering her head, embarrassed at the effect Mr. Darcy was having on her, she answered, “Yes, Lady Suzan, I am well.  It just seems…Does it seem warm in here to you?”

“Now that you mention it, it is rather warm.”  Calling over her shoulder, she addressed Darcy, “Nephew, open a window, and let us have some fresh air.”

Relieved that the attention was on Elizabeth, he carefully arose from his chair and went to open a nearby window.  Standing in front of the open aperture, he hoped the cool breeze would cool his own ardor.

He spent the rest of the morning standing behind the chair he was once seated in or making frequent trips to the open window.  Struggling, he tried to keep his attention from Elizabeth’s bosom, though he was not always successful.

All were thankful when luncheon was announced.

After luncheon, Darcy was quick to excuse himself and almost sprinted the distance to Darcy House.  Upon arriving, he stopped only long enough to announce, before climbing the stairs, that he would be in his chambers and he was not to be disturbed.

With Elizabeth’s aroused nipples in his mind’s eye, he let his fantasies led him to exhaustion and a well-earned nap.

To his utter humiliation, he awoke to find his valet trying to rouse him and the evidence of his dreams at full mast.

With a smirk, his valet said, “Mr. Darcy, it is time to dress for dinner.  Would you be wanting a hot or cold bath this evening?”

Rolling away from his valet’s view, Darcy growled, “Hot!”

Waiting until he heard the dressing room door close, he rolled onto his back and lifted himself on his elbows as he gazed down at his erection.  Why are you always getting me into trouble?

Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he decided he had indulged himself enough for the afternoon.  In fact, his indulgences had been too frequent over the past week and he needed to regain control of himself.  I have been acting like a young boy entering puberty.

Slipping off the bed, he walked to the dresser and poured the ewer of cool water over his erection.  Using a towel to dry off, he donned his dressing robe and entered the dressing room.

Mr. Bingley returned to his townhouse by mid-afternoon two days after he had left.  Thankful that his sister was out, he went directly to his apartments.  He had plans to make for the rest of his life.  While the last two days had not totally eradicated the memory of Jane Bennet, they had freed him from the pain of heartache.

Millie, for he had discovered her name, had done wonders for his ego and self-esteem.  She was warm and caring and very talented in her chosen profession.  And he could not stop grinning as he felt very content in his life now.  But what about my future? 

Definitely he saw a wife and children.  Millie had shown him that he no longer wished to sleep in a bed by himself.  Yes, a wife would be necessary for that and children would therefore be a natural consequence.  Now he needed to identify the right person to fulfill that role.  Should he seek a woman with experience such as a young widow like Darcy had done?  Tempting, but he really wanted someone fresh that he could mold and teach about the ways of a man and a woman.  Thinking of all the ladies that had piqued his interest in the past, most were now either married or engaged.  He knew little of those young ladies that were scheduled to debut this season, except…

Miss Georgiana Darcy!  He had known Georgiana since she was a child.  He already held affection for her, though it was brotherly.  But could it be more?  Picturing her as she appeared at the Matlock’s dinner party, the spark that he felt in his loins told him, yes, it could be possible.

She had always been a beautiful girl.  She was sweet tempered and a bit shy.  But as she grew older, they had taken to teasing each other, and he knew her to have a sense of humor that complemented his.  The other night he remembered his first impression on seeing her was of a lovely, young lady---one who had matured into womanhood.  She held herself with grace and poise, even though there was still that hint of timidity; it only gave her a sense of genuineness.  Miss Georgiana Darcy held no pretensions nor did she need to and that suited his needs perfectly.  Looking back in his mind’s eye to that night and his first sight of her, he realized subtle changes in her.  Gone was the boyish slenderness she had possessed and in its place was a body ripened into a woman’s, with curves in all the right places.  While not as voluptuous as Mrs. Wagstaff, Georgiana Darcy did not need to be ashamed of those assets she did have.  Bingley knew then and there that he could find happiness with Miss Darcy, maybe even come to love her.

He had learned his lesson about being impetuous.  No, he would not make his intentions known just yet.  He would quietly pay court to her and see if she could be interested in him as a husband.  If not, he would look elsewhere.  But he had hopes to find a wife and be married before the summer was over, regardless if it was Georgiana Darcy or not.  But before he could start any courtship, he had one thing that needed to be done and he would see to it tomorrow.






<<==  Back                                                                           Back to My Stories                                                           Forward  ==>>



Email Me