Elizabeth waddled her oversized body carefully across the wet floor and headed towards the No. 1 Healing Pool which promised a hot 38 degrees for her aching back. It was almost near closing time and the sun was setting. And, as it was off-season, there were hardly any guests left at the eleven pools in Lambton Hot Spring Hotel.
She never thought she would travel so near to Darcy’s hometown. Lambton was just a few miles from Pemberley. What will he say if he sees me now? she mused.
As if the question was meant to be answered, Darcy’s tall and muscular form appeared right before her eyes. The Healing Pool was deserted except for him. He had just emerged from the pool, shaking water from his hair.
They were just twenty yards from each other. They eyes met with such intensity that it rivalled the temperature of the pool. Then he broke the silence with a throaty question, “Am I the father?” His eyes were transfixed on her rounded belly, proudly on display in the once modest red bikini.
She thought about lying for a second, but then decided against it. After his e-mail explaining his dealings with Wickham and the reason for his interference with Jane and Bingley, Elizabeth was no longer angry with him. Her visit to Pemberley Industries with her aunt and uncle the previous day had made her more aware of his goodness. He was a great man, a loving brother, and an excellent employer. He deserved to know the truth about his child. She even thought she was in love with him. But the emotion was still too new to her. She was afraid to confess in case he had moved on. She lowered her eyes and nodded her head.
His breath shortened as he tried to control the vehemence rushing into his head. He asked again, “You do not intend to tell me?” He was unable to hold back the bitterness from his voice.
Anger flared in Elizabeth’s chest, but she had promised herself that she would treat him with respect the next time they met. So she explained as calmly as she could, “I did not have your private number, and I never got past anyone in your London office, not to Bingley or your cousins. One of the receptionists even told me that at least ten women a day called, demanding to speak to you, claiming to have your baby. Even my e-mails were blocked. What more could I do?” Her eyes turned teary, remembering all the humiliating encounters with his staff very early into the pregnancy.
Darcy took in another short breath and walked a step closer to her. He gently wiped the tear from the corner of her eye and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that my staff acted like that with female visitors. I swear I have never slept around, not before or after I met you at Meryton. I haven’t been with another woman for some time.”
His closeness made her remember the explosive time they had enjoyed in Rosings woods. Ironically, the situation on that day was somewhat the reverse of today. She was the one who had just emerged from a secluded pond after skinny-dipping there and had met Darcy unexpectedly. He seemed to have the same intention of gracing the pond in all his glory.
Elizabeth didn’t know that he loved her then. But from his reaction on seeing her naked form she knew he wanted her. She was ashamed to admit that she lusted after him, even if she did dislike his arrogant manner and had heard some disparaging reports from Wickham and Colonel Fitzwilliam.
The sexual tension which had been present since they met in Hertfordshire cracked in a big way. They couldn’t keep get their hands off each other’s naked bodies. With the wet soft grass as their bed, the birds singing and playing above their head, Darcy had taken her willing body to great heights.
Without much in the way of foreplay, he had thrust into her hot and ready entrance, enjoying the welcome wetness. His hands worshipped her supple breasts while his lips paid homage to her sweet mouth. They danced to the mating tune, passionately and hungrily, moaning and screaming out loud.
Neither of them had any protection that they could use, and did not even think about it. They just focused on pleasing each other and savouring the experience as if time had stood still and there was no tomorrow. Unfortunately, that proved to be true. Darcy had arrogantly asked her to move in with him after they made love, and had repeatedly insulted her family, almost in the same breath. She had been furious and argued with him, accusing him, blow-by-blow, of separating Jane and Bingley and reducing Wickham to his present state.
Thus at Lambton, it was the first time they met since their coupling in the woods.
Darcy stood by the pool, looking concerned. Elizabeth was silent and her mind far away, thinking, But I must be brave for my child.
He put his hands on her shoulders and said, “Elizabeth, I loved you last April. I still love you now. Please marry me!”
Elizabeth looked into his eyes and asked, “Why didn’t you come to find me in the past months if you still love me?”
“You said I was the last man in the world whom you would marry. I was resigned to a life of loneliness. I even told Georgiana to name her second son with the Darcy surname.”
“Oh!” Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his waist. She wanted to lower her head to his chest but her big belly prevented her from getting as close as she wanted. “I love you too, William,” she replied, “But I cannot marry you … not yet.”
Darcy’s eyes widened and his heart sank. “Why? I love you and you love me. We have a baby who seems to about to pop out any minute. Is it because you don’t like to be photographed in your wedding gown large with child? We can have another set taken after the baby is born. We should marry now. In fact, we can get married tomorrow. I will talk to my pastor.”
“But I don’t want you to think that I only agreed to marry you because I’m having your baby. Let’s wait until after Junior is born.”
“Elizabeth, I know you’re not a gold digger. If you were, you would have agreed to move in with me immediately after we made love. When you found you were pregnant you would have sent lawyers to hunt me down for financial support. Please, my love, say you’ll marry me tomorrow.”
She was relieved that he understood her. She nodded. But before she could say yes to his proposal, a pain pierced through her body. Junior seemed to be anxious to meet his father.
Darcy and Elizabeth were married one month later; exactly one month after Andrew Darcy was born by the side of the Healing Pool with the help of the ambulance crew and his father.
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