The Memory Series #3
Moments of Moments Future:
A Pride & Prejudice Reimagining
by Ney Mitch
Crash landing in 1812, Mr. Darcy is now reunited with Elizabeth Bennet, but therein lays the beginning of a crisis. Not only does he have to adjust to living in the past, which is proving to be very difficult, but he also must deal with running an estate, while also being haunted by expectations from his family...whom he does not know!
By his side stands Elizabeth Bennet, with whom he is quickly falling in love. Will they have the strength to face the many obstacles that are coming from all sides.
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Genre: Time Slip Romance
The future had come to Pemberly!
Soaking wet, with his clothes drenched in water, Mr. Darcy rubbed the water droplets from his eyes that fell from his hair.
“Elizabeth!” he cried.
“Mr. Darcy!” I exclaimed, then forgetting myself completely, I rushed up to him as he folded his arms around me and his wet clothes began to severely dampen mine, yet I cared for none of it.
As our arms folded around each other, Mr. Darcy rested his head on mine, and I felt his cheek press against my forehead.
“I thought I had lost you,” he whispered.
“I worried as well,” I cried.
“Elizabeth, where the bloody hell am I? And what in god’s name is this place?”
I laughed, for I was surprised that he had to ask the question.
“I think you know, sir.”
“This can’t be Pemberly.”
“But it is. It’s Pemberly…in my time.”
“Oh bollix. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad I found you, but bollix!”
I laughed at his vulgarity.
“How I missed you.”
“That means a lot, since we weren’t separated for more than a few hours.”
“What?” I asked, confused, for what could he be referring to? Unless…
“But Elizabeth, who are these people who are behind us?”
I froze to the spot as I recalled that we were being watched by many prying eyes that not only were making assumptions of what they had seen, but also knew, unlike Mr. Darcy, that ladies and gentlemen did not hug one another at all, and we had broken propriety in the worst ways.
“Right,” I whispered into Mr. Darcy’s ear, “Leave it to me to explain, for that is the only way that you shall survive this.”
“Go ahead, mate.”
“Dear me, this could not get any worse.”
As I turned to face Mr. Bingley, Georgiana and Jane, we were startled as suddenly, Colonel Fitzwilliam came rushing in.
“I heard of a calamity,” he began. “Is all well?”
Yet he froze when he saw Mr. Darcy and I holding each other, his eyes were filled with alarm, his body rigid, and his countenance like lead.
“It just got worse,” I confirmed, and then I moved away from Fitz slowly. “Colonel, your cousin is quite well now. He simply had a tumble in the pond and has hurt his head.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam was not convinced, or if he was, he did not care. All it took was that one moment of witnessing Mr. Darcy and I holding each other, and it was enough to draw up any feelings of resentment and contempt he would have felt.
“Right,” he replied coldly, “Then excuse me.”
With tense finality, he turned his heel and lumbered out of the room, to the confused eye of Georgiana and Mr. Bingley.
“Is our cousin well?” Georgiana asked when Colonel Fitzwilliam was out of earshot.
“I suppose he is just overwhelmed by the sight of your brother like this,” I lied.
“Elizabeth,” Mr. Darcy whispered in my ear, “why was he so mad?”
“I shall tell you later, for you must know, but for the moment…” I turned around and faced Mr. Bingley. “I recall Mr. Darcy being in this way when he first fell at Netherfield Park.”
“Oh, he was?” Mr. Bingley asked.
“Indeed, he was,” I confirmed, “He was in this precise state, and he did not even recognize me at the time. There is no need to be alarmed, Mr. Bingley or dear Miss Darcy. He is simply temporarily suffering from memory loss. Yet it returned to him swiftly before, and it shall do so again. This time, please, be gentle with him. He needs quiet and solitude, and right now, he needs to be brought to his room by what feels familiar to him.”
I went to Georgiana and took her hands.
“I know it all must seem strange.”
“It is strange,” she stressed.
“I know, I know.”
“He looks at me as if he doesn’t know me. That is a hard feeling.”
“I know, but I promise, he just needs time.”
“What do you need from me?” she asked, eagerly.
“I need…for you to give him time. I’ll escort him, along with some servants to his room, and he shall spend the night there, and in the morning, you shall all see him gradually. Only then will he be able to adjust. I know it seems strange that I know him better at this moment, but I do. You must trust me, Miss Darcy. Please?”
Georgiana looked between her ‘brother’ and me, and she sighed.
“Very well. Please, tend to him well.”
She moved around me, walked up to Mr. Darcy and took his hand. Mr. Darcy looked on her curiously, and a little bewildered.
“I hope you get well soon, brother.”
Georgiana leaned up and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you,” he replied shakily, “sister.”
I smiled, happy that he was catching on.
Mrs. Reynolds led us up the steps, along with another servant, and they both eyed Mr. Darcy curiously, as if he were a spooked animal.
Once we reached his bedroom, I was secretly glad, for now I knew where his bedroom was located. When they entered, Mr. Darcy turned to me, looking afraid of being left alone, so I risked all and whispered in his ear as he lowered his head down so that I could reach it.
“Order dinner to be brought to you here, and I shall come and visit you at nine o’clock in the evening. We all would have supped by then.”
“Brilliant,” he replied, then I moved away, curtsied to him, and bid him a steady recovery. As I walked away, I looked at him once more and saw that he was watching me as I walked down the hall and disappeared around the corner.
With every footstep that I took, more and more it came to be realized, that if the servants were the sort to be of the gossiping nature—which often servants were—then that meant that very soon it would circulate that Mr. Darcy and I were on our way to getting engaged.
How easily I had forgotten myself and all the customs that I had been raised into!
And yet, I would not have done it any other way.
Eventually I returned to my room, sitting there in quiet alarm that was mingled with happiness and unease.
Mr. Darcy, of the future, was returned back to me.
But the other Mr. Darcy, his ancestor, was not there.
And it was clear, that there was only one place that he could have gone.
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of 2016 was brought into the past, and therefore, logically, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of 1812 was pushed forward, into the future. He would have woken up in a different time, and for a moment, my heart went out to him, for I knew that he was to be thrown into a world where he had no idea what he was cast into. And yet, I had been cast into the same world, and I survived, but I had grown lucky. I had fallen into the very place where his descendant was, and who knows where Mr. Darcy would have ended up? Yet if he were most fortunate, then he would have woken up at his home, for if he did, then everyone would assume that he was his descendant, and he was rich. He would be confused, yes, but he would be comfortable. He would have time to figure it all out eventually, as I had.
Also, his descendant was to be pitied a great deal, for while he returned to Pemberly, still wealthy, he was in the past, where he had a family who relied on him. He would have to adjust to a style of living that not only was beyond him but was hard because it is very easy to move forward and adapt to the ways of the future. Yet it is not always easy to move backwards and adapt the ways of the past. In the future, things were in fact easier by a great deal.
He had a job that he was good at.
He did not have an estate to run.
There was great indoor plumbing! Oh, dear lord, how I missed the 21st century restroom! From the sink, shower, and toilet, to barb paper and shaving items, it was all there, and he would have to adapt to such a world where all took longer, communication could not be achieved at the click of a button, but achieved over days through letters, and he would not be as independent as he once was. He was used to being able to come and go as he pleased, but it was not so now. In fact, he would be shackled by everything, from social decorum to gentry obligations. In falling into the past, he inherited all of his ancestor’s pleasures and pressures.
And also his situation!
Mr. Darcy had fallen right at the moment when I had broken his ancestor’s heart, and of his cousin, and the cousin was still there. I secretly was most bitter that if all of this was to occur, then why could it not have occurred sooner! Why could not Mr. Darcy have fallen through time sooner and we could have been at least close friends, where in no way did I consider entertaining the affections of Colonel Fitzwilliam? If he had come, I never would have gotten myself into this mess, for I would have been too devoted to him, whether Mr. Darcy loved me or not.
Yet now I had made a right hash of it, and Colonel Fitzwilliam was sitting there, somewhere in Pemberly, feeling most imposed upon and hurt. The original Mr. Darcy was heartbroken and in the future, and now the one that I loved would inherit the rift that was caused between cousins—all over a woman.
This was not, nor ever, was my intent.
I thought to find Colonel Fitzwilliam to explain myself, but I knew that I ought not to, for I had no idea what to say to him as of yet, and it was a delicate business. I had to find the right words, but I did not know what the right words were, or if there ever were any.
* * *
And what did Mr. Darcy mean when he said that we had not seen each other for no more than a few hours? After all, we had been separated for months.
But he was wearing the same clothes he had been wearing when I last saw him.
Indeed, he could have happened to have worn them at the time that he was hurled into the past, but I did not think so. In fact, there was only one explanation that I could deduce, and I would discuss it with him.
However, propriety commanded me to decorum, so I got dressed for dinner and went down, where I met Mr. Bingley, Jane, Georgiana was the hostess, and eventually, we were joined by Colonel Fitzwilliam.
As we sat down, I had the misfortune to have been seated next to him, and I knew very well that he deserved an explanation. After all, it was not so long before that I had considered accepting his hand in marriage. It had not been so long ago that I would have very much chosen to overcome my past affections and given myself to chance.
Yet now, it all was quite forgot almost, and the affection that I had developed for him seemed to be a flight of fancy and no more. It was the decision made from a woman who had quite given up, and perhaps should not have.
As we ate our soup, Colonel Fitzwilliam looked ahead, but I knew that he wished for some answers, or to say something. I thought it was only right that I ought to help him.
“Do not worry about feeling upset, Colonel,” I began, “you have a right to be.”
Colonel Fitzwilliam froze, his spoon midair. “Do I?”
“Yes,” I admitted, “therefore, whatever you are feeling, do not be ashamed, or upset with yourself. You cannot control the pain that you feel you are undergoing now. It is only natural.”
“Thank you, for giving me that, at least.”
“I am sorry for the pain that I cause you, but that is all that I can give.”
“Why is that all that you can give? And why were you…when I entered, why were you holding him?”
“He was distraught, Colonel. He had fallen.”
“He does that a great deal when he is around you. Is that what you do, Miss Bennet? You make strong men tumble and forget themselves? And what they owe to their families?”
I looked at him critically, coldly, and he faltered.
“Forgive me,” he rushed out.
“Colonel,” I began, “I understand that you are heartbroken, and therefore you are not in your right mind, but you are still a gentleman, and I am a lady.”
“You are right, you are a lady,” he confirmed, “but you are not right about the other matter. I am no gentleman, I am a soldier, and that is my burden, is it not? After all, Fitz is a gentleman. He is the man who owns Pemberly, and I own nothing, not even a home.”
“And that is what it all comes down to, is it not? He has all of this, and therefore, now that you think on it, how and why would you choose me, when you can have so much more?”
His words made me bristle. “Colonel, that is not what is happening here. You are presuming to know my mind, and you do it an injustice.”
“What more am I to assume? You tell me in one moment that you shall not choose either of us, out of a desire to bring no breach between cousins, and then I walk in to see you holding him with affection. And I know you, Miss Elizabeth. Better than you may suspect. That was not false affection. You were happy to be in his arms.”
I emitted a sigh, for he was correct.
“You are correct. I do feel affection for him, as I feel camaraderie with you.”
“Camaraderie?” He snorted. “That is merely friendship.”
“Colonel, I know that your mind is in such a state now, but give me time to explain, for now I am very confused. So terribly so.”
We ate on in silence.