Bah Humbug 2012, Pride and Prejudice, E
Lizzy surveyed those in attendance at Thanksgiving dinner. She and her husband of two years, William Darcy, were having a quiet celebration this year, so it was just she, William, Mrs. Reynolds, and William’s cousin, Daniel Fitzwilliam. While Mrs. R was not technically family, Lizzy and William considered her as such, so they had insisted she join them in the dining room.
Jane and her family were spending the holidays with the Bennets, but she and William had opted to forgo the two-hour ride, since the baby was due any day now. Lizzy didn’t mind the quiet holiday. Her mother had been overwhelming since she learned of the pregnancy and she was extremely thankful to escape the insanity!
Sighing, she watched as her husband finished his meal while he spoke with his cousin. He had seemed rather out of sorts the last month. She knew he was excited to be a father, so she was certain it wasn’t pertaining to the pregnancy. Lately, she had found him looking at some of his older photo albums and had a theory that he was missing his parents and his little sister, Georgiana.
William’s parents were both deceased and he did have times where he missed them, which, having never lost a parent, she could only assume was natural. Georgiana, on the other hand, was estranged from William and Lizzy knew that even years later it was a subject that grieved him.
Georgiana had married George Wickham a little over three years ago and William had been very outspoken against the marriage. He knew Wickham’s character and was concerned that the man was only marrying his beloved little sister for her trust fund. Six months ago, Daniel had confided to them that Wickham had absconded with a Loretta Young, taking a large portion of Georgiana’s trust fund with him. Since then, William had attempted to contact her, but his sister hadn’t returned his phone calls or letters, which only caused his worry to increase.
Lizzy’s attention was called back to the present as Mrs. Reynolds rose from the table. “I’m going to get some of these dishes cleaned up, so if you’ll excuse me.”
“Let me help you clear the table, Mrs. R.” William responded as he stood from his seat.
Daniel sat forward, “What can I help you with?”
William looked up from where he was gathering dishes. “You and Lizzy go on into the den. I’ll be in when I have finished helping Mrs. R.”
Lizzy smiled as her husband helped her rise. He caressed her belly and gave her a kiss on the temple before she waddled through the French doors. Daniel took a seat across from her as she plopped down in her husband’s recliner.
“Is William okay?” Daniel asked. “He seems quieter than usual.”
“Honestly, between the holidays and the baby coming, I think he’s missing his parents and Georgiana. Have you heard from her?”
Daniel nodded. “She’s embarrassed and is worried William will say ‘I told you so.’”
“At one time, he might have,” replied Lizzy,” but he’s changed. Not that I really knew him before, but from what you, Charlie, and Mrs. R have said, he was a different man the last time they saw each other.” She was truly saddened for the estrangement of the siblings who had once been so close.
“I agree and I’ve told her as much, but it cannot be easy for her.”
“No,” Lizzy said sighing, “I don’t imagine that it is. Do you think you could persuade her to come with you for Christmas?”
“I asked her to come with me today, but she said she just wasn’t ready.”
The baby kicked her in the side and Lizzy rubbed the spot tenderly. “If you need me to speak with her, I will.” Lizzy looked at him beseechingly. “Please see what you can do.”
“Of course,” he responded just as William entered the room. “I’ll keep you updated.” Lizzy nodded.
“What did I miss?” he asked as he perched himself on the arm of the recliner next to his wife.
Daniel smiled. “Lizzy was just giving me her predictions on the bowl games.”
She watched as he regarded her tenderly. “You’re going to watch football with us?”
Lizzy smiled. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
Two weeks later, Daniel called to tell Lizzy that he thought he’d have Georgiana at Christmas dinner. She wished it had been more definite, but she could only be happy that things just might work out.
William Darcy awoke and opened his eyes to the favorite part of his morning for the last few weeks. Lizzy was sitting in her spot, cross-legged, nursing their now three-week old daughter, Emily Jane. For a few moments, he lay next to her and listened to the soft humming and small gulps of the baby feeding and marveled at how lucky he was. He only wished that his parents had lived long enough to meet his wife and daughter.
His thoughts turned to Georgiana. He needed to determine how to contact her. She was a member of their family and she needed to know that she wasn’t alone. He also missed her and wanted her to be a part of Emily’s life, if only she would take his calls—or call him back.
William slowly rose and leaned in to put his arm around Lizzy, just enjoying the quiet of the morning. Jane and Charlie would be there later with Beth and their one-year old son, Tyler. He was now rather relieved that the whole Bennet clan had cancelled on visiting for the day. Mrs. Bennet had come down with a nasty cold. William had feared that he would have to put his foot down and tell her that she couldn’t visit. Fortunately, she’d decided on her own that it was better if she didn’t share her illness with her new granddaughter.
Lizzy lifted Emily and passed her to William for him to burp. He happily took his daughter and cradled her to his chest, rubbing her back.
“I am going to take a quick shower. Are you okay until I’m dressed?”
He looked up to find her smiling as she stood next to the bed. “Yes, we’ll be fine. We’ll just have a bit of a chat while you are gone.” He watched Lizzy walk to the bathroom as he continued to rub the baby’s back. She was still as beautiful as the day he met her in the park. He knew that she wasn’t happy with her body since the baby had been born, but it had only been three weeks. If anything, she was curvier, and he definitely had no complaints about that!
He heard a burp and cradling Emily’s head and bottom he leaned her back from his body.
“Merry Christmas, sweetheart,” he said as she looked at him with wide eyes. “You are my beautiful little girl.” As he studied his daughter’s features, he remembered holding Georgiana as a baby in a similar manner and a tear fell from his eye. “Maybe if I call today, I can persuade your Aunt Georgie to speak with me. What do you think?”
Emily blew a spit bubble and despite the tear, he smiled. “I think so too.” He watched her eyes begin to drift closed and he cradled her to his chest as he gently rocked her back and forth.
By the time Lizzy was out of the shower, Emily was sound asleep once more. William placed her in the cradle, and quickly took his own shower so he could dress to go downstairs. When he was ready, he found Lizzy holding the baby, waiting patiently for him by the door to their room.
When they arrived in the kitchen, Mrs. Reynolds was already busy at work on Christmas dinner.
“Merry Christmas!” she exclaimed as they appeared in the door.
Lizzy strapped the still sleeping Emily into the infant seat they had on the table for meal times and took her seat. Mrs. Reynolds set a warm plate of cinnamon rolls in the center of the table with a carafe of coffee. William took his seat next to his wife as Mrs. Reynolds returned with the cream and sugar.
“Thanks, Mrs R.”
“Of course, dear. I just put the turkey in the oven, so if the little one begins to fuss, I’ll settle her. You just enjoy your breakfast.”
William smiled, Mrs. R had been around since he was young, and he was thankful to have her there. Despite her position as his housekeeper, she was like family, but he still wished Georgiana would be there to celebrate the day with them. Deciding he didn’t wish to spoil the holiday for his wife, he tried to suppress his sadness. He was just picking up his pastry as the doorbell rang.
“Now who on earth could that be this early?” asked Mrs. Reynolds as she bustled out of the room.
William, worried something was amiss, rose to follow. As he reached the swinging door to the kitchen, he heard a familiar voice. Pausing, the door opened and Mrs. Reynolds came through, followed by Daniel, and taking up the rear was none other than Georgiana.
Daniel, with a large smile on his face, placed his arm around Georgiana. “Sorry we are so early, but I wanted to get Georgie here before she changed her mind.”
In shock, William’s heart was in his throat as he watched as his sister shift uncomfortably. “Georgie?” When her eyes met his, he gave a small smile. “We’re so happy you could come.” A tear escaped from his eye, and he extended his arms as his little sister let out a sob and took a step toward him. He crushed her to his chest. “I’ve missed you so much.”
“I’ve missed you as well,” Georgiana said softly through her tears.
When they finally separated, William looked to find Lizzy standing beside him, holding Emily.
“Georgie, I’d like you to meet my wife, Lizzy, and this is our daughter, Emily.”
Lizzy outstretched a hand that Georgiana accepted. “I”m so happy to finally meet you, Georgiana. Your brother has told me so much about you.”
Georgiana smiled nervously. “Would you mind if I held my niece? I think the two of us need to become acquainted.”
“Of course,” replied Lizzy as she carefully passed the baby to her aunt. “Have you had breakfast? Mrs. R just served cinnamon rolls. I’m sure she has made enough to feed a small army, if you would care to join us.”
“I’d love to,” Georgiana replied with tears in her eyes.
By the end of the day, Lizzy and William, who upon discovering Georgiana had planned on spending the night at a local inn, insisted she stay with them through New Years. Daniel took her to retrieve her things and she was quickly installed in a guest room.
Years later, when they looked back on their holidays together, Lizzy and William always remembered that Christmas as one of their favorites. After all, it was not only Emily’s first Christmas, but it was also the reuniting of Georgiana with the family.
© 2013 L.L. Diamond