(Kelly was written by Kelly Blanchard. Darcy was written by Denise O’Hara.)
It was a typical cold and blustery February day in the English countryside. As least it is not raining again, he thought, as he walked to the shiny new automobile sitting in front of his home. He did not like driving in the rain. He smiled at the thought that he, Fitzwilliam Darcy, was driving an automobile on any given day. He put the key in the ignition and was putting the car into drive when he saw in his peripheral vision the massive door of his home, Pemberley estate, open. His beautiful bride of just a few weeks, Elizabeth, had come out to wave goodbye to him. She had a smile on her face but it could not mask the apprehension he detected in her fine eyes. He smiled and waved back as he gently pushed on the gas and was off. He could understand her concern. After all, though his date of birth was April 14, 1778, making him technically over 200 years old, he had just gotten his drivers license the day prior to this one.
He pulled up to the local pub, The Horse with No Name, and parked. The place was just fifteen minutes from Pemberley and served very good fish and chips. He walked into the establishment and looked around. He recognized several of the faces in the room and when he spotted a young woman sitting by herself with a tablet keeping her company, he decide she must be Miss Kelly. He nodded to Bert, the barkeeper, who confirmed his guess by motioning toward the round table in the corner where the woman with the tablet was sitting. Catching her eye as he walked up, he gave a quick bow. “Miss Kelly”.
Surprised at the unexpected formal introduction, bow included, the woman could not stop the light laugh that escaped. “It’s just Kelly,” she smiled, putting out her hand. “And you must be Mr. Darcy.”
He shook her hand and sat in the chair across from hers. “It’s nice to meet you, madam. Please, just call me Darcy.”
“Very well, Darcy. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Kelly observed him sit across from her, and she smiled at him. “So, how are you adjusting to the modern age? Did you know that this cell phone has more processing power than the space ship that took us to the moon?” She tapped on her phone, which was on the table, then shook her head. “A bit hard to believe, isn’t it?”
“Are you serious? I must admit that I had no idea whatsoever,” Darcy replied, taking out his own smartphone and looking at it with wonder. “As to how I am adjusting, it has not been easy. However, there are many advantages to this time I find myself in. I’m getting quite used to the modern conveniences.”
“What has been the hardest thing for you to adjust to?” Kelly raised her brows, sitting back in her seat to get comfortable.
“I promised my wife, Elizabeth, that I would try to be open to your questions, Miss Kelly. You see, I was raised to be a gentleman and have made it my practice to not give offense when possible. So it is with hesitation that I must reply to your inquiry that the hardest adjustment has been the lack of manners I see all around me every day. Do you realize how wide one must open their mouths to take a bite of the burger which is a popular item on so many menus? Or how loudly people speak in public?”
Kelly chuckled. “Ah yes, I could see that seeming rather rude, and for what it’s worth, I agree with you. Our society lacks the common manners, but it’s what is accepted and expected, so I find ignoring it all helps. Of course it must be harder for you, and for that I apologize.” Then Kelly leaned forward, “So what was life like before you went to sleep and then woke here? What of your family? Any siblings?”
Darcy gave the young woman an approving smile in return. “My life was full. There was always much to be done just to take care of my home, my business, and social engagements. Of, course everything was done at a slower pace. But, I cannot say I dislike the ability to travel quickly from one place to another. That most definitely is advantageous!” He paused when Bert brought two glasses of water to their table and took a sip. “I have only one sibling, my sister Georgiana. She was only twenty years old when last I had seen her. I was thirty. Now I am still thirty while she is a woman of fifty-eight. She was a grandmother in her other life. She is not the same shy young girl I once knew, that is certain,” he chuckled. “I must say I rather enjoy her company now more than ever before.”
“That must be awkward. Having a younger sister that’s not technically older than you.” Kelly furrowed her brows, trying to comprehend that. “So when was the first time you met Elizabeth?”
“We met at an assembly in Hertfordshire when I was visiting my friend, Charles Bingley. He had let a country home in the neighborhood and I joined him at the assembly, a local dance that is, and there I met the Bennet family. They were a family of five daughters and their parents. Elizabeth was the second oldest and not yet one and twenty,” he smiled fondly at the remembrance.
Kelly smiled. “And was the attraction between the two of you immediate, or was there resentment first (on either of your parts) which changed into love?” She tilted her head as she observed him.
Darcy shifted in his seat uncomfortably. “Well, I was, well… I have changed much in the years after I first met Elizabeth. I regretfully say that I was rather arrogant in my opinions at the time, and as a result barely glanced at any of the country folk in attendance. I believe she was rather put off by my attitude at our first meeting. However,” he raised a finger to make his point, “it was not long before my feelings changed. Her resentment at my offensive conduct remained for some time. I had to work hard to change her opinion of me. Thankfully I was able to. Unfortunately,” he shook his head with a sad expression crossing his face, “that change did not occur until the very end of our original time together. So you can imagine,” he looked at Kelly with relief clearly showing, “how grateful I am to have this extra time granted us. I intend to make up for lost time.”
Kelly nodded. “I’m glad you two have been given a second chance.” Then she sat back, regarding Darcy for a long moment. “Tell me, what is the most reckless thing you have ever done?”
Darcy contemplated her question for a moment. “Had you asked me in my former time, I would have given you an example from my childhood. I was a typical boy who got into some mischief now and again. But as an adult, I lived a very strict routine.” It was his turn to furrow his brows and rub his chin at the memory of the man he had been. “Everything changed for me when I fell in love with Elizabeth. I never thought I had that kind of love in me, but she brought it out. So, when she was shot by that scoundrel Wickham, and subsequently was put into stasis to give her a chance to survive, I made the decision to give up everything I knew to join her. Mind you, as she lost consciousness she said the words I had longed to hear but that was the first time she had ever said them. I knew I was taking a risk with my life, everything I knew, and her feelings for me. I think you might call my decision reckless. It is not every day one chooses to be frozen,” he smiled.
“What happened to the individual who shot Elizabeth?” Kelly tilted her head.
“Hmmm,” he took another sip of water before simply stating, “Wickham was hanged. Are you hungry, Miss, I mean, Kelly? The fish and chips here are not half bad.”
“I’m quite fine, thank you.” Kelly reassured him with a smile. “But did you ever forgive him for what he did? Or did you hate him?”
Darcy sighed. “Hate is a strong word. I do not believe I ever hated Wickham, though others would say I had ample reason to. He was the son of my father’s steward, so we were raised together. We were friends as children, which is probably why I could not actually ever truly hate him.” Darcy stopped for a moment and looked into the air, thinking back to a time long since past. “He could always make me laugh and even when we were teenagers and he was showing his true colors, he was so likable! It was not until he tried to seduce my fifteen year old sister that all my affection for him was finally gone.” He looked back at Kelly, giving her a look of sadness as he managed a regretful smile. “After our paths crossed again in Hertfordshire, I felt decided dislike for the person he had become. Even after the incident with Elizabeth, I knew within myself that he did not intend to harm anyone. Not physically, at least. He wanted money. It was always about the money. But make no mistake about it, he had other options and opportunities to be a good man. He made his choices and never repented. For that I never did forgive him.”
Kelly listened to everything he said and nodded because it made sense, but then she pulled back to observe him for a moment. “Mr. Darcy…I’m sorry, Darcy, you seem to be a very…calm and collected individual, and you appear to have master the art of self control. I can tell by your mannerisms and speech, but tell me….” she leaned forward, locking eyes with him, “Was there ever a time when that control slipped?”
“Not that others would have been able to discern,” he replied. He looked down at the table and rubbed a finger across the napkin under his glass of water. “Yet, inwardly, I will confess, yes, there were times when I could not control my feelings. When my mother died shortly after Georgiana was born, when I realized my sister was almost bound to a wicked man, and when Elizabeth first told me how much she disliked me… At those times, in the privacy of my room, I was like a pup lost in the woods.”
“And how do you respond during such moments? Break down and cry? Which is perfectly understandable and not at all to be ashamed of, by the way. Or did you punch a wall or something?” Kelly tilted her head, furrowing her brows.
“Oh no, nothing like that,” Darcy replied. “It was an inward struggle. I could not get control of my thoughts and emotions. I did need physical outlets to make it through those times. Every day I would run long distances when Mother died. By the time of the other events, I had taken up fencing and found it gave me some relief. I would swim back and forth the length of the pond at Pemberley, for hours at a time. That is how I was taught to deal with unwanted feelings.”
“Oh fencing! I love fencing!” Kelly grinned at him. “Sorry, that’s a pastime of mine that I don’t get to do very often.” She then sat back and gave him a hard look. “But really though—you’ve never once lost control? Never raised your voice or anything like that? I’m certain your sister, when she was younger, tried your patience a lot.”
Darcy smiled, “You are mistaken. My sister was so shy and quiet, she was a remarkably easy child to live with. But now that you mention it, I do see how strange such control must seem to others.” Darcy drew back and looked at her as if a lightbulb had just turned on in his understanding. “Elizabeth and I are not, how would you say it, big fans, of television. However, we watch movies almost nightly. And based on what I have seen thus far, it does appear most men do not behave as I am accustomed to. I will say, I am a work in progress, and would not be surprised if one day I did lose control, as you call it. Time will tell.”
“Well, if you don’t lose control, that’s all right. I’m merely curious, but I highly respect your self-control.” Then Kelly’s eyes shifted to the clock on the wall, and she frowned. “Our time is almost up, but another question since you mentioned movies. What do you think of films? And what, would you say, is your favorite movie so far?”
Darcy’s face lit up. “I enjoy them immensely! I have been given to understand that we have watched many of the “classics”. Gone with the Wind, just about every Cary Grant movie, westerns, as well as many others. But now that I am driving, I have started watching Steve McQueen movies. Wow! Now I would not mind letting lose like that some day! And,” he admitted sheepishly, “have you ever seen the Avengers? I find I relate to Robert Downey Jr.’s character. And the Hulk! Captain America, Thor! I will be watching the latest in the series tonight.”
Kelly laughed. “Yes, the Avengers is quite a good film. I’m glad you’re enjoying this era. I’m sure it must be difficult for you to adjust sometimes, but…” she tilted her head with a smile as she regarded him. “I think you’ve done quite well, and I’m sure you will continue to do well. Now though, unfortunately I must excuse myself as I have other business to attend.” She rose to her feet. “However, it was a pleasure to meet you, Darcy, and I am very grateful for everything you told me. I hope you and Elizabeth the best with your new life.” She smiled at him once more.
“The pleasure was all mine, Miss Kelly.” He stood and started to give a slight bow before he stopped himself and smiled at her. “I dare say life will be an adventure.”
“Isn’t it always?” Kelly grinned at him. “You take care now, and have a wonderful day!” With that, she bowed her head to him then lifted her head, smiling, and then left.
Denise O’Hara has two novels available on Amazon. Be sure to check them out!
Darcy and Elizabeth: Timeless (Book 1): https://www.amazon.com/dp/1530073294
Darcy and Elizabeth’s Timeless Adventures (Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IYNC1EW