Mr. & Mrs. Bingley
Author's note: Jane Austen has always been my greatest inspiration, and this is a small tribute to some of her best characters.
Nervous AnticipationCharles Bingley threw his quill down onto his desk, frustrated beyond measure. This had been his fourth attempt to write to his beloved fiancé. It had seemed like years since he had last seen her and it was driving him mad. He o had been called to London a weeks previous to finish some final business so him and his Jane would not be disturbed on their extended honeymoon. He ran his fingers through his wild hair and stood, his chair making an unpleasant screeching noise on the old floors. He was currently in The Queen's lodge which was right outside of Meryton where he would meet Darcy. They would then leave Meryton early the next morning on horseback and would ride straight to Longbourn where his darling Jane would be waiting. He finally decided to give up on his letter and make sure that everything was prepared for his journey tomorrow. It would be a long ride, but the destination completely worth it.
"Jane, if you continue to sew that gown I fear that your fingers will bleed out!" Just as Lizzy said this, Jane pricked her finger for the hundredth time with the slender needle. "'Tis hopeless. My hand are shaking, for heavens sake!" It was the eve of Bingley's return and Jane was more anxious than ever. "Jane, I know you have missed him but there is no need to fret so. You will see him tomorrow morning." Lizzy said in a more gentle tone. Jane collapsed onto the bed and started to unpin her hair. "I suppose." she said with an exasperated sigh.
For a while after the house had succumbed to sleep, Jane lay awake, staring at the ceiling. Not able to bear it any longer, she rose from her bed and went over to her dresser. She eased open the bottom drawer and pulled out a single letter.
My Darling Jane,
I have been gone for five days and already I feel as though I will become mad if I do not see you soon. I will be leaving in three days and will ride straight to Longbourn to see you. As soon as I do return there will only be a day left until you are finally and completely mine, for I have already give my heart to you. However, I am starting to fear for Mr. Darcy’s health. I do believe that he too is missing Elizabeth greatly. I must end my letter now as the candle on the desk threatens to blow out. I love you so much.
Tears welled in her eyes as she read the lines she had seen a million times in the past three days. Wiping her tears, she climbed back into bed, clutching the letter against her heart.
Jane woke with a start, realizing that the sun had already risen and Elizabeth was nowhere to be seen. "I must have overslept!" She realized with a pang of guilt that she had kept her fiancé waiting. She rushed to get dressed and only allowed herself to pin the sides of her hair back, leaving most of it down in a shower of soft curls. She practically flew down the stairs only to find her family slowly making their way to the breakfast table. "Good morning, Jane." Lizzy said brightly and walked over to greet her sister. "Where is Charles? What time is it?" She asked, her voice frantic. "A quarter past nine, and he is not here." Just as she said it, Jane heard the wheels of a carriage approaching. Within a minute or two, a footman entered the house.
“Miss Bennet, Miss Bennet, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley have sent a carriage for you. We will wait for you to be ready.” Jane looked at her parents quickly, barely waiting for their consent to go when Jane grabbed Lizzy's hand and they danced giddily to the carriage.
"They should be here by now!" Darcy said, not without whining. He too had been called away on business and was anxiously awaiting the arrival of his future bride. Both he and Bingley were pacing about the room, hands tightly clenched. This would be one of the very few times In either couples engagement that they would be completely alone. Though they appreciated Mrs. Bennet's ecstasy in their proposals, she had become exceedingly annoying with her frequent interruptions of their most precious solitude with their beloved. Along with the excessive chatter of Kitty Bennet and Lydia Wickham when she had visited briefly. So agitated once, Darcy remarked that all three women, "would render me deaf with their relentless and nonsensical chatter!" Suddenly, Darcy put up his hand, making sure his ears were not deceiving him. Bingley peered out the window and ran from the room, Darcy at his heels. The two men shoved the doors open and charged outside, headed straight for the carriage. They skidded to a stop just before coming in contact with the hard wood of the carriage door. The door swung open from the inside and out stepped Elizabeth strait into Darcy's arms. He swung her about as they laughed with pure elation. Jane too nearly jumped from the carriage and into the strong embrace of her betrothed. He crushed her to his chest and gave her a soft kiss on her rosy cheek. "Charles!" she cried with joy as he placed her on the ground, loosening his grip slightly. " I missed you so much, my darling, sweet and gorgeous Jane." He said, smiling so widely he appeared to be quite foolish. Darcy began to lead Elizabeth inside as Bingley told them that he and Jane would be taking a walk through the wood. She secured her arm in the crook of his elbow as they walked slowly to the back of the estate. They were silent for a long while as they strolled peacefully along the path, completely secluded from vision. He decided to break the silence.
“A little ways up this path is a small marble monument for the people who originally built this, as well as something that I wish to show you.” Looking up at him with a question in her eyes, he grinned and quickened pace. After a few more moments of walking, they came upon the monument as Bingley had said, but alongside it was a small marble fountain, streams of water bubbling over the surface of the pool it held.
“‘Tis not much, but I wished to have something built here at the place where we met.” He was about to say something more, when he noticed with a pang that tears were welling in Jane’s eyes. He turned so he was facing her and took her hand in his. She looked away, releasing a small sob.
"Whatever is the matter, love?" He asked, growing more and more worried by the second. He cupped her cheek and made her face him. Her chin quivered slightly and then she gave in to her tears. He was at a complete loss as to why she was so upset. Bewildered, but trying to comfort her as best he could, he gathered her into his arms and hugged her close. She then surprised him by throwing her arms around his neck, a most inappropriate action for only an engaged couple. He stroked her hair lovingly and asked, "My wonderful Jane, please tell me what is upsetting you so!"
"Oh,Charles! I do not deserve this. No matter how good you think my heart and soul to be,
I will never deserve you!" With each word, he hugged her tighter, but also grew slightly angry. He led her over to the side of the fountain and sat, pulling her on his lap, ignoring propriety for the time being.
"Look at me, Jane." He said and she tilted her head up slightly, but he pulled her chin up so he could see her eyes.
"Jane Bennet, I love you. I love you so very much and it is I who is not worthy of you, not the opposite.” Her sobbing subsided a little and he wiped her tears away. He held her for a long while after this until her face was dry and only her eyes were puffy.
"I love you Charles." she said quietly. After several minutes, she finally came to her senses and realized the inappropriateness of the way they were sitting. She released her hands from his neck, and blushing furiously, slid off of his lap and a good nother foot away. However embarrassed she was, he had not been ready to release her and pulled her back onto his lap, placing a chaste kiss on her lips.
"Charles, we shouldn't." Jane said. He regretfully removed her from his lap and sighed dramatically, pouting like a small child who's toy had been taken from him. She giggled and stood. Glancing at his watch, he said that they should be getting back to the manor, and they unhurriedly began to walk back to Netherfield, hand in hand.
"Any final words, Darcy?" Charles Bingley whispered to his friend as they nervously stood at the end of the aisle, awaiting their brides.
"Not that I can think of at the moment!" He replied, his voice shaking with anticipation. The girls had left Netherfield before dusk and the two men had driven themselves mad with nervousness for the wedding. It was held in the ancient Meryton Church where the Bennet family had attended since Mr. Bennet was a young boy. Charles was not particularly fond of planning and arrangements, so he had left it to Jane. As he gazed about the church, he noticed what a fine job she had done. The ends of the pews were decorated elaborately with several different species of wildflower as well as gold and silver ribbons. There were candles lining the alter, glowing with a pleasant floral scent. Everything was ready. Bingley anxiously toyed with the buttons on his coat but froze as the people stood and the orchestra started to play. The double doors opened with a flourish and the two Bennet sisters walked down the aisle, Jane on the left of her Father and Elizabeth on his right. Bingley barely noticed Elizabeth as he focused all of his attention on Jane. She was absolutely radiant. Her hair was fashioned in a masterpiece of curls and golden blonde hair with silver ribbon woven through. Her dress was simple; a white gown of chiffon with a silver ribbon fastened at her waist. She carried a bouquet of white and pink roses to match the rosiness of her cheeks. The young priest performed the ceremony with gusto, never stuttering or slipping in any way. However, it was all a blur to Bingley as he recited his vows and slipped the diamond encrusted band next to the emerald engagement ring which would now reside on Jane's hand forever. He was finally pulled back to reality when the priest announced them as Mr. and Mrs. Bingley. The couples exited the chapel together as the assembly threw flowers and their hats In the air. Hd glanced over to see Mrs. Bennet crying hysterically and then to his sister who looked sincerely happy for him. He then finally looked at his Jane, her face was glowing and she was laughing cheerily. Throughout the cheers, though, he did manage to snake his arm around her waist and pull her closer to him. When they were out of the church, the two couples stopped on the steps. Bingley pulled her close to him and kissed her with restraint, being that they were if front of people. After the kisses were broken, the joyous couples climbed into their respective carriages and began the short trip to Netherfield. The reception was as one would expect, completely happy and chaotic. Congratulations were granted to each couple hundreds of times and the food was excellent. And even Darcy participated in the dances, much to his wife and Bingley's surprise. Darcy and Lizzy left in the early afternoon to start their two day journey to Pemberly, and the Bingley's soon followed to make their way to the townhouse that Charles had bought years earlier in London. Their coach ride was uneventful as they both slept most of the way, exhausted from the nerves of marriage. Charles was the first to awaken at a rather sharp turn of the carriage. He peered out the window and noted that they would be arriving within the hour. He looked over to wake his Jane, but stopped and stared at her face. It was completely peaceful and he was amazed that even in sleep she positioned herself gracefully, but not as close as he would like. But for fear of waking her, he just sat and gazed at her. They arrived at five o'clock sharp. "Shall we, Mrs. Bingley?" Charles said as the carriage jolted to a stop at the townhouse. "We shall, husband.” She replied. They emerged from the carriage and Bingley gave instructions to the staff to have dinner prepared in two hours and to begin unloading their baggage as they planned to stay for at least three days. They did so with haste as Charles led his bride throughout the house. "It is quite large to be a town house, Charles." Jane said with astonishment as he led her through the vast amount of rooms. "It may seem that you are correct my wife, but this is nothing compared to Netherfield!" he remarked teasingly. She giggled as he led her to a small parlor on the second floor. She felt immediately at peace in the room, it's soft shades of yellows calming her. He sat on the couch as she walked about the room. "Come, darling." He said as he patted the cushion next to him. She gladly obliged to his request, but sat as if they were still engaged. "We are married, my love." he said as he kissed her head and pulled her closer. She giggled and rested her head on his shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She looked up to see his face and was met with a warm smile, full of love. They sat for a small while before Jane sat up. "Come, let us explore more!" she said and stood. For the next hour or so, Bingleu led her about the rooms and they talked just to hear each Others voices. They left with a lingering embrace as the went to prepare for dinner.
"May I be so bold as to say that you look absolutely angelic, Mrs. Bingley." Bingley said as Jane descended the steps to the main floor. She blushed and took his hand as they went to the dining room. The cooks had prepared a feast for the Master and Mistress, and when they had both eaten their fill, Jane stood and announced quietly that she would be preparing for bed. Bingley was barely able to nod as he nearly choked on his water.
Jane sat In front of the mirror for a long while after she had dismissed her maid. She was anxious for it was now time for what she had been most nervous about during the engagement. But she would face it with confidence. She rose unsteadily, but was startled by a knock on the dressing room door. "Jane?" it was Charles. "Come in." She said calmly as the man she loved more than life itself walked through the door. He was radiant, and Jane noted that this was the first time she had seen him without his full attire on. "Darling girl." he said and stepped toward her, gathering her into his arms. "I love you." he said and she blushed, looking away. Displeased by this, he took her chin in his hand and made her look up at him. Though her face was flushed, she met his eyes with total love and happiness. He lowered his head and pressed his lips against hers. Hoping that he wouldn't frighten her, he released her after a few seconds. Now it was Jane's turn to be displeased. She met his lips again but this time with ardency and passion. Though surprised, he greeted this boldness with enthusiasm and kissed her in a way that he had never before. Gone were the restraints of the proprietary engagement laws, allowing them to love each other as they fully wanted. They broke apart, breathless, lips ruddy. Charles pulled her closer and began bestowing light kisses to her jawline and neck, something he had never done before; it drove her wild. In a very un - Jane like manner, she seized his lips again and they kissed wholeheartedly, not holding back. Without breaking the kiss, he grasped the back of her thighs and lifted her up as she locked her legs around his waist. He carried her to their bed, and one can imagine how the evening went from there.
Charles Bingley awoke to the glorious sight of his sleeping wife next to him, her golden locks strewn randomly about the pillows. He slid closer to her so they were touching on all planes and wrapped his arms around her gently so she would not wake. As he lay there, embracing his beautiful Jane, he silently thanked god for giving him such good fortune. For a long while, he was content in just holding her. The night before had been absolutely wonderful, his love growing more and more for Jane.
Jane awoke to the heavenly sensation of her husband embracing her. She decided to lay there for a few moments before she stirred. Last night had been....enchanting. And she had realized that there had been nothing to fear. It was as if their bodies and souls were welded together, and the feeling was euphoric. She finally turned over in his arms to face him and she began stroking his dark ginger hair. "Good morning husband." Said she, quietly though. "Good morning wife." he said in voice of faux seriousness. She giggled and be laughed. She then noticed how close they were and blushed furiously, quite ridiculous for the time being. He noticed and released his grip. "have I displeased you in some way?" he asked worriedly. "No!" she said, more loudly than she would have wished. "um,," she struggled as she tried to find the right words. "Charles, last night was.....was....." But she couldn't find the right words. Noticing the catch in her voice, he became sad, thinking he had displeased her. "I am do sorry that I forced it upon you! I didn't mean to...I will leave you now to dress." And with that, he stood from the bed and exited the room. Jane felt like crying. He had misunderstood her, or better yet she had worded her statement terribly. She had loved the night before's activities and was at a loss of what to do. She called for the maid and she was presentable within the hour. She left her dressing room and sat on the bed for a long while, too ashamed to face Charles. Her head dropped into her hands and she succumbed to her years. "What have I done?" she though, terribly upset. She stayed in her room for the remainder of the day, having decided that she was unworthy to see Charles. This may have not been the bet choice, however she felt it was what she deserved. She did not eat but only drank tea at dinner, bemoaning the absence of her beloved. As twilight came, Jane decided that she would drive herself mad with desperation if she did not see him. She rushed out of the room and asked the nearest staff member where the master was. "He went to his chambers and said he wasn't to be disturbed for a bit." The manservant told her. "Thank you." She said with a wobbly courtesy. She practically ran to his chambers, which were quite a long distance from hers. She knocked on the door, and. It waiting for a response, she burst into the room and looked about frantically for him. He was sitting in an armchair by the far window. She walked slowly towards him, but upon seeing his face, she launched herself into his arms. If he was surprised, he did not show it, and he immediately hugged her fiercely. "Charles, I beg you to forgive me! I must admit, I could not find words for how wonderful last night was. I enjoyed it more than a lady should admit, and I love you so much!" She said as he stroked her back. "Shh, it's alright." He repeats over and over as she cried hysterically, quite nearly drenching the shoulder of his waistcoat. Taking charge, he rang for the servants a d told them to retire for the night. Is a fluid motion, he stood and swept Jane up and into his arms. He carried her to her chambers and allowed her to dress in her night clothes as he would do the same. She made haste and threw on her best nightgown, a pale yellow with a scooped neckline and thick straps. There was a knock at the door as Charles came in. He stood behind her in from of the vanity and began to unpin her hair. As he did this, he combed her hair stopped avery few minutes to place soft kisses along her neck and shoulders. She sighed and tingled with pleasure. He released the final pin and brushed the last curl. He pulled her hair to one side and kissed her jawline and neck. "Charles!" she whined as she frantically tried to turn, but he chuckled softly and held her firmly so she couldn't turn. His lips traveled down her neck to her shoulders and then to what was exposed of her back, all the while stroking her impossibly silky hair. Finally, he loosed his grip and she spun around so fast that she fell over! She fell to the ground with only a small thud. For a moment, he was not sure what to do, and the. He burst out laughing. Tried as she may, she too was overtaken by laughter. He lifted her into powerful arms, still roaring with laughter. "My dear, sweet, wonderful Jane!" He said as the laughter Finally subsided. And then he kissed her. Unlike the night before however, she matched his passion, explaining what she couldn't with words. And for the second night, he carried her to her bed. After a few more kisses, he pulled away, at which time Jane's heart sank. "Do you wish me to stay? Or would you like to have your privacy tonight?" he asked in a quiet tone. "Always and forever I want you to stay." She replied, her eyes full of love. Though this statement was bold for her quiet and shy personality, she meant every word of it. Grateful and wonderfully pleased at this response, he claimed her lips again.