Coming in 2018
❝The very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.❞ – Jane Austen
A story so many Jane Austen fan fiction lovers, who’ve read and enjoyed A Tender Moment, have been longing for.
A frantic dash through Longbourn’s halls ended triumphantly when Mrs. Bennet found her husband in his study with his head buried in one of a pile of books on his desk. If twenty-odd years of marriage had taught her anything, she would have known he did not wish to be disturbed, especially at that particular moment. Alas, having no inclination to learn such lessons, the lady of the house approached him directly.
Wringing her hands in her apron, one which she donned more for show rather than functionality for she was not inclined to do such menial tasks as housework, she cried, “Oh, Mr. Bennet!”
The gentleman did not even look up from his book.
“Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him once more, this time with more urgency in her voice, “you must allow me to tell you what happened at Lucas Lodge, last evening.”
His eyes trained on the page before him, he replied, “No doubt you mean to tell me which lady wore what and who shunned whom. Can it not wait just a while longer? At the very least until I finish this chapter?”
She placed her hands on her hips in defiance. “It most certainly will not wait, and as it pertains to Lizzy, the one daughter to whom you are always giving preference, you will want to hear what I have to say just as eagerly as I wish to say it.”
Indeed, of his five daughters – all of them out in society and neither of them married – Lizzy was his favorite. There was a quickness about her that none of her sisters possessed. With no sons to divert him, much less inherit his estate which was entailed to the male line, his second born child, Lizzy, was Mr. Bennet’s greatest consolation.
He peered over his spectacles at his wife. “Lizzy, you say?”
“I knew the mere mention of her name would summon your attention.”
Mr. Bennet turned his book face down on the desk and leaned back in his chair. “Indeed, you have my undivided attention. Pray, do not keep me in suspense.”
“I have reason to hope that Lizzy has an admirer and one from a most unexpected quarter, I might add.”
“You speak as though such a prospect comes as a surprise to you.”
“More than surprised, I declare I am completely flabbergasted, as you will be when you learn the gentleman’s identity.”
“Now that you have sufficiently prepared me to be amazed, I beg you to reveal this new admirer’s name?”
“It is that proud Mr. Darcy!” Mrs. Bennet exclaimed with energy.
Her husband scoffed. “Surely you are mistaken for I know with certainty that Lizzy does not even like the gentleman owing to his insulting remark the evening of the Meryton assembly—words to the effect that she is not handsome enough to tempt him, if I recall correctly.”
“Indeed, you do recall correctly. Mr. Darcy said our Lizzy was barely tolerable, which explains why I now find myself completely at odds over how to think or feel about this new development.”
“What evidence to you have to support your suspicions that the proud Mr. Darcy’s opinion has changed.”
“Why, he danced with her, for one, when he might have danced with any number of single women in the room, including his so-call intimate friend, Miss Caroline Bingley.”
Mr. Bennet exhaled. Drawing himself up to his desk as though he meant to resume reading, he said, “Is this the sole basis for your theory?”
“There’s more. The two were seen speaking to each other on the balcony afterward. Mr. Darcy even raised her hand to his lips before parting.”
“Then, what you are saying is that Mr. Darcy is a true gentleman after all. Shall we place an announcement in the Banns?”
“I did not say he offered his hand in marriage—at least not yet. But I do believe such a prospect is not beyond the realm of possibility.”
“Ah! From dislike to like, from like to matrimony so easily as that. The rapidity of the inner working of the female mind never ceases to amaze me, especially when the future of a single gentleman of a large fortune is at stake.”
“You may laugh at me all you like, but a mother knows these things. Mark my words; there will be not just one but two weddings at Netherfield in three months or my name is not Mrs. Fanny Bennet.”
“You will pardon me my dear if I do not celebrate just yet for I do not know precisely what your assertion portends. Either I will gain a son-in-law, or two, or I will not have had the pleasure of calling you my wife for the past several decades.”
“Oh, Mr. Bennet! How you enjoy vexing me, but it will not do, especially today.”
“Pray, what makes today different from any other day?”
“Did I not tell you? Lizzy is expecting a gentleman caller today.” Turning on her heels, she proceeded to quit the room. Reaching for the doorknob, she turned to face her husband. “It is Mr. Darcy.”