[note: This was a short writing exercise intended to illustrate how love is patient. Darcy dislikes being late, but for this first soiree as a married woman, Elizabeth is nervous, and, like many of us do when we wish to present ourselves to best advantage, she has wavered on what to wear. This change of wardrobe has caused them to be late in departing and left her feeling remorseful.]
Elizabeth saw Darcy check his pocket watch for the third time since entering the carriage. “Will we be late?” She asked it softly. I was her fault that they had fallen behind their time. If she had but stayed in the blue dress instead of changing to the green.
“We may be.” Darcy tucked his watch back in his pocket. “You look lovely.” He tilted his head and gave her a smile. “Except for that crease between your brows.”
She sighed and shook her head. “I am not lovely. I am vain and petty and have no regard for anything but my own desires.” Oh, she knew that was not exactly true, but it was how she saw herself at this moment. “I should not have changed. It was wrong of me. What I had on was perfectly acceptable, but there was that small stain on the sleeve, and I felt that it would be seen by all and reflect poorly on your choice of wife.”
He placed his arm around her shoulders and drew her to his side. “You are lovely,” he assured her as his hand ran down her arm to her elbow and back to her shoulder. “And I am honoured that you would care enough to consider how your choices reflect upon us as a family.”
“And now we shall be late which will not reflect well. I am sure you were never late to a gathering before you were married and now, the first gathering to which we are invited, you will be late. They will know it was because of me.” She rested her head against his shoulder.
“It is not the first time I have arrived late for something, and I am sure it will not be the last.” His hand continued its path from shoulder to elbow and back.
“Not with me as your wife,” she muttered.
He kissed the top of her head and then checked his watch one more time. “They will love you,” he whispered.
“I know you do not like to be late, Fitzwilliam. I have seen you become cross with Bingley. Why are you so generous with me? Why are you not angry and sullen?”
“Because you are my wife, and I love you.” He looked down at her. “You are correct that I do not like to be late. But, I know that your nerves are unsettled and my usually unflappable Elizabeth is discomposed. It is not your usual way.” He squeezed her tightly. “My father used to heave great sighs and tap his foot as he waited for this or that to be accomplished or a friend to arrive for a visit. But he rarely did so when waiting for Georgiana or me to catch on to an idea or to accomplish a task ─ even if the task was preparing for an event to which he could not be late.” He smiled at her upturned face and kissed her forehead. “To my knowledge he never did more than check his watch on the occasions when he had to wait for my mother. I asked him about it one day.”
“What did he say?”
Darcy cleared his throat softly and began reciting, “Charity ─ love ─ suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, it is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never fails.”
Elizabeth smiled and chuckled. “He quoted the Bible?”
Darcy nodded. “He did, and then he said, ‘I love your mother.’ I remember looking at him with a puzzled expression because I could not quite piece it together. He simply raised a brow and shook his head at my inability to draw the proper conclusions and asked, ‘According to what I have just recited, how do I show my love for your mother?'”
Elizabeth nodded thoughtfully. “By being patient.”
Darcy kissed her forehead again. “Precisely.” He smiled at her sheepishly. “It is not easily done, but,” he shifted a bit in his seat so that he could look at her more fully in the face, “I love you.”
“Thank you.” She lay a hand on his cheek. “I will begin my preparations earlier next time.”
He turned his head and kissed her palm. “While I will appreciate that, I will love you even if we are late to every soiree to which we are ever invited.”
“You will remain patient?”
He shrugged. “I will try to remain so, but I cannot promise perfection,” he cocked a brow, “not even I am perfect. As you have said, you have seen me grow impatient with Bingley.” He leaned forward and kissed her nose.
Elizabeth giggled. “Do you not love Bingley?”
Darcy chuckled and cupping her face between his hands, kissed her. “Not as a I love you.”
She smiled up at him. “That is good, I suppose.”
“Yes,” he agreed, “it is very good.” And with that, he kissed her again.