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Volume seven

Chapter 26: Song For Whoever.

I wrote so many songs about you
I forget your name.

Song For Whoever, by The Beautiful South.
From the album Welcome To.

Tuesday 28th June, Quarter Finals.

The next morning, instead of being woken by the usual dawn rays at six o'clock, or the alarm shortly afterwards, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth were woken by the ringing of the cordless telephone extension from the handset on the beside table, at five-thirty am. Instantly both opened their eyes, and William reached out and grabbed the phone, the line becoming open for talking as soon as it left the receiver. "Darcy."

"Isn't it a wonderful morning!" Returned an unusually bright and alert American accent.

William sat up in bed, leaning his back against the headboard, and looping an arm around Elizabeth. "Bingley?" He queried. Contrary to popular belief, as bright and as exuberant as Charles was, William had rarely known his best friend to be awake at this time of the morning.

"Yes, don't you recognise me, Darce?" His asked back.

"I do, I'm just surprised that's all. Now, apart from announcing your opinion on the weather this morning, what else did you call at five-thirty for?"

"Oh, yes of course. I'm a father, Darce."

Fitzwilliam stilled for a moment, then a grin erupted upon his face. "Elizabeth, Georgia and I will be right over. Where are you, and have you called Mr Bennet yet?"

"At Chelsea & Westminster,1 and yes, the rest of the family are on their way."

"We'll be there as soon as we can. Is Jane alright?"

"Darce, she is an angel, a perfect angel!"

William rolled his eyes, and replied. "I'll take that as a yes. See you soon, Charles." He put the handset back in its receiver and turned to his companion. "Jane's had her baby."

Elizabeth gasped and slid out of his and the bed. "Do you know anything else?" She asked as she slipped on her underwear and long skirt.

"Jane is fine apparently, and so is the baby, as far as I could gather. Charles was in too much of a state of raptures to reveal anything more." William got out of bed and grabbed the shirt and trousers from his tux the night before.

Elizabeth pulled a short-sleeved top over her head. "I'll go and wake up Georgia," She remarked before walking out of the bedroom door.

Not more than half an hour had passed when a jaguar pulled up in the visitors carpark of the hospital and a trio exited from it into the building.

"Jane!" Elizabeth cried out in joy as soon as they had entered the room where the happy couple were.

"Lizzy!" The serene voice of her sister cried back from her seat in the bed. Jane looked her normal self, not at all the worst for wear despite her labour this morning.

The two sisters embraced, and then Elizabeth sank into the chair William had placed behind her, glancing across to see Charles holding the babe in his arms on the other side of the bed. "When did all this start?" Elizabeth asked her sister.

"About two this morning," Jane replied. "It was very quick."

"And is it a girl or a boy?" Elizabeth asked.

"A girl," Jane answered, before turning to take the child from her proud father and present her to her Aunt. "Ismay Rosalynne Bingley."

Elizabeth took the baby in her arms, Georgia leaning over from her chair, and William over her shoulder from behind to look as well. "She's beautiful, Jane."

"I heartily agree," William added, moving around the bed to hug his best friend. "Congratulations, both of you."

"May I hold her?" Georgia asked, and smiled when Jane gave acceptance. Tenderly she took the babe from Elizabeth.

Michael Bennet and the rest of the family entered at that moment, none looking the worse for wear for the five-thirty alarm call.

The family stayed with Jane, Charles and Ismay until Michael and Edward Gardiner reluctantly called Elizabeth and William to their training before their matches this afternoon. Charles also received a call from his coach and had to make a move as well.

"I am going to feel very torn today," Edward Gardiner remarked to his protégé as they arrived at the warm-up courts just after midday. "Coaching you to play against my son."

"I'll try not to disappoint you, Edward," William replied. "Either way."

"Well all I ask is you play your usual best, and try not to win too well against Leo," Edward returned with a smile. "Now, lets begin shall we?"


Elizabeth had long since finished her quarter final match against Emma Woodhouse,2 winning 6-4, 7-5, when she met up with Georgia and the Gardiners for the late afternoon match on Centre Court, featuring her boyfriend and her eldest cousin.

As she sat down in the players box, she flashed as glance at the scoreboard and read the results of the previous matches, smiling at the three set win of Charles in his match against Jolian Fitzwilliam; her brother in law had obviously been in a hurry to get back to his wife and child. Caroline Bingley had also won, she noted, against Harriet Smith.3

A cheer arose up from the crowd at that moment, and the board cleared and then filled again, as the two players made their way out of the locker rooms and on to the court. Elizabeth returned the look of love William had given her as he passed by her side of the seating, then settled back to watch the match.

The summer sun was beating down on the court, and everyone was dressed in short sleeves and short shorts or skits. The two tennis players, restricted to long short-sleeved t-shirts and shorts, were both sporting hats, and silently wishing for shade.

"William Darcy verses Leo Gardiner," announced the umpire after the warm-up had finished and the players were taking up their places for the first serve. "First set, Darcy to serve."

William caught a ball from one of the ball boys at the back of the court and bounced it on the ground. Then he raised his arm and threw it into the air, bringing his racket up behind to connect a few seconds later.

The ball flew across court. Leo swung out his racket to return it and the first rally of the match was underway. Around the grass surface, the crowd was divided between cheering for the nation's title holder, and his opponent in this English verses English match.

"Fifteen, love," the umpire declared eventually, as the ball bounced out of play. William turned round and collected another, as the crowd drew their brief applause to a close. Silently, he served again.

"Thirty, love," the umpire declared a few seconds later, on the first ace.

William collected another ball and served again. Already he could feel the heat from the sun beating down upon him, some of the glare reflecting off the court. His mind was preparing itself and the rest of his body to try and make sure the match was not too tiring in the hot summer weather.

Leo caught the ball on the edge of the racket, and sent it back on a direct route to the net, cyclops4 beeping as it registered the impact.

"Forty, love."

William collected another ball. He took a deep, cooling breath, and served again. His mind flashed an image from the morning into his brain; of Elizabeth holding her niece. Resolutely he brushed the memory away. This was the quarter finals, there was no time for any distractions of this sort, even if they were to do with the single most important thing in the world to him right now.

"Game, Darcy. Gardiner to serve."

William held his position at the back of his side of the court, as a welcome breeze passed through the complex. He bent himself, racket swinging between his legs, head raised up to watch for the route of the ball. Silently he watched his opponent serve, waiting as the ball flew over the net and bounced, then rose up and swung out his racket to make the return.

"Fifteen, love," the umpire announced after another rally. William returned to the back of the court and waited for the next serve. His mind persisted in calling the picture of Elizabeth holding her niece into thought. This time he surrendered to contemplating why the image was currently holding his mind captive. The answer was obvious. He had been imaging what he hoped was the future for their relationship; that the child in her arms was not her niece, but made of their flesh and blood.

"Thirty, love."

He knew that she wanted children. It was one of the things which they had discussed during that dinner two days ago. Like most of the plans they had aired that night, it was one of the many things which they both held the same views on. They would have three, and before either of passed into the last years of their careers.

Tennis was rarely a long haul sport. The average player retired from competing in the worldwide championships from their mid to late thirties onwards. Darcy knew only of a few who were over forty and still pro. Caroline Bingley, Charlotte Lucas, Christopher Brandon5 and George Knightley6 were close approaching this time in their careers and rumours were buzzing around the circuit as when they would call it a day.

As for himself, to have won his first Grand Slam titles at twenty-seven and twenty-eight, was considered to be quite late in the pro part of his career. However, he was by no means ready to call it a day. Not for a long while. He and Edward had thoroughly planned his career, to make sure that his body as well as his mind was prepare to still be playing the professional circuit when he was forty and over, if he was lucky enough.

"Game, Gardiner. Darcy to serve."

Lady Catherine had been right in one respect. It was time start family. And William knew exactly who he wanted to create one with.


The doctors looking after Jane pronounced her and Ismay well and ready to go home by the time William and Elizabeth had arrived at the hospital for early evening visiting, the former having just finished his four set match, winning 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 7-5. They all travelled back to the Bennet house, which held a impromptu welcoming party.

Despite the short notice most of the friends and family from the tennis circuit and out of it were present, including the Lucases, and Detroit and Dakota Morgan-Debourgh, who were there with their father's blessing, if not their mother's.

William entered holding hands with Elizabeth, and his twin cousins were the first people they met. He introduced Elizabeth, who was surprised and pleased to receive their good opinions of the relationship.

"I personally think its romantic," Dakota remarked after Elizabeth had confirmed the reports of some the papers and magazines which she had seen during Wimbledon concerning the 'whirlwind relationship' as it was now being called. "And you have my eternal gratitude for freeing my mother of her belief that Darce and I would eventually wed. As much as I love my cousin, neither of us would have been suited."

She caught Elizabeth's expression of slight disbelief and chuckled. "I'm not quite what you expected am I? No one has time to form acquaintance on the tennis court. Its just a quick shake of hands across the net at the end of the match, with brief converse if you're lucky from the locker rooms and back in between. Let me assure you, this comes as an immense relief to me. It means I can finally bring my significant other for two years into the limelight."

Elizabeth smiled at her. "I think, that with the exception of your mother, I like very much my boyfriend's family."

"You have done well for yourself my man," Detroit commented to his cousin as he led William away to where most of the men had clustered in the large living room. "Elizabeth Bennet is one hell of a catch."

"She's not a catch," William replied good-naturedly, "she's a beautiful, talented and intelligent woman who I am lucky enough to have the love of."

"True," Detroit remarked. "Now, is it true that you will soon be leaving the hallowed ranks of bachelor-hood for her?"

"We're certainly considering it," Darcy replied, deftly deflecting the need for a firm avowal. No one but himself would know exactly when he would ask her. "How's your mother?" He asked, changing the subject.

"Not pleased," Detroit answered. "What didn't help was some paparazzi catching her route to your house, then the Bennets, then Uncle Matlock's and finally home, and sold them to a tabloid where a reporter published a very accurate account of why she would be doing such a thing."

"The press today," William commented with a shake of the head and a mock sigh.

"And then of course Dad announced that he was pleased with the match, which caused an almighty airing of opinions across the dinner table. Eventually she was forced to concede and remain the only silent objector to the match. I think she's adopting a strong case of denial until she actually sees the wedding invitation. She'll get over it, one day."

William only made an absent "hmm," to this opinion, his mind and eyes distracted. Ismay had been brought down from her bassinet, and Elizabeth was once again holding her as she stood with Dakota, Charlotte, Jane and Georgia.

Detroit caught the expression of enchantment upon his cousin's face and glanced around for the origin. When he had seen who it was, he chuckled and placed a friendly hand on William's shoulder. "I think you'll be asking that question a lot sooner than you realise, my friend," he remarked.

William nodded, entirely agreeing with him.


1. Chelsea & Westminster is an actual hospital. Its latest claim to fame is being the one where Sophie Ellis Bextor had her son.
2. Emma Woodhouse is the heroine of Emma.
3. Harriet Smith is also from Emma.
4. Cyclops is the device which records impact with the net during a match.
5. Christopher Brandon is from Sense & Sensibility.
6. George Knightley is from Emma.


Chapter 27: A Case Of You.(Rated NC17)

Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you, darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh I would still be on my feet

A Case Of You, by Joni Mitchell.
From the album, Blue.

Wednesday 29th June, second day of the Quarter Finals.

When William woke up the next morning, it was to find himself alone in his large four poster bed. Rapidly he sat up and glanced around the room. Then he relaxed. Silently he climbed out of bed, and headed to the balcony.

"Penny for them," he softly remarked, after he had wrapped his arms around Elizabeth, his head resting upon her long dark brown hair.

She leaned back into him, feeling his slight erection, realising that his dignity was covered only by her. "Aren't you cold?" She asked him.

It was long past dawn, but the summer sun had yet to shine, presenting a blue sky and gentle breeze. "Not at all," he replied to her. "But you didn't answer my question."

"Everything and anything," she responded. "Enjoying the view, liking the fact that I have one of the world's most handsome and eligible men in bed behind me, revelling in my feelings for him, and the knowledge that he has them for me, contemplating the future."

"I'm not putting too much pressure on you, am I?" He asked her after that last part, suddenly concerned. He had promised to himself that he would not rush her, or rush them, like he had last year, yet his thoughts could not stop thinking about their future together.

"No, of course not. Yesterday just made think about it, that's all."

"Me too," William replied, remembering falling to sleep with the image of Elizabeth holding her new niece firmly imprinted in his mind. Then he recalled the thought he had woken up with. "But I also realised something else. That I want to enjoy 'us' first."

"You do?" She queried, surprised.

"I do. I've been a father to Georgia for five years. As much as I am glad of the experience, I want relish this," he tightened his embrace, "first."

"So do I," Elizabeth replied, glad that he felt the same way. She knew he was conscious of his age, but she was only twenty-one, and she did not feel ready yet. Gently she pressed against him, grinding her butt against his sex.

He groaned in reply. All thoughts about the future were suddenly forgotten, in favour of the present before them. Elizabeth turned round in his arms, her eyes staring into his with a look he had come to know very well over the past nine days. Nine days, he realised once more, recalling their conversation, and realising that neither of them could be ready after so short a time to admit another into their relationship.

Looking back at her with the same expression, he reached down and undid the silk ribbon around her robe, revealing all of her glory. Silently he pushed it until the sides rested under her arms and surveyed her, marvelling at how beautiful she was, how lucky he was to have her love after last year, and at how close they had become in just nine days.

Elizabeth stared back at him, her own eyes taking a visual journey upon his body, her thoughts focused on the same thing as his. He knew everything about her, and she knew everything about him. There were no secrets between them, nothing they felt they had to hide from each other. Never before had she had a relationship like this.

From the first night they had become close to each other, and that closeness had increased with the arrival of each new day of their union. She had known she loved him before the meeting outside court three, and since then, that love had become deeper and more secure with every affirmation. There were no doubts, no concerns about past lovers inside her, especially when she stared into his eyes, and found his heart and soul laid open before her, with the love he felt for her spread across their landscape, the power of it amazing her every time.

She stepped into his embrace, and his hands slipped under her robe to caress the planes of her back. She felt his manhood pressing against her with a smile at how he desired her, at what her body did to him. She arched her back, her hard nipples shifting upon his smooth chest, and he groaned in response. She raised her head and caught his lips in hers.

The intensity of his reply did not surprise her, for she felt exactly the same way. Their mouths opened together and their tongues duelled until the need to breathe became impossible to ignore. He broke from her, his arms still around her, and led her back inside.

He only got as far as the threshold, when she jumped up, pressing her knees against his hips and seeking his lips once again. Suddenly, reaching the bed did not seem so important, so he headed for the nearest support, one of the walls beside the balcony entrance.

When Elizabeth felt the hardness of the wall behind her, she broke from his lips and smiled. Fitzwilliam placed his hands either side of her, then raised his eyes to hers and caught her expression. "You did that deliberately," he accused her huskily.

"Well I've been wanting you up against a wall for a while now," she replied, and he chuckled, before bending slightly to kiss her neck. Elizabeth groaned and slid her legs apart, arching her back as she felt his hands move from the wall to caress either side of her, and his sex press insistently against her mound. Her hands stroked his back, fingernails lightly prodding the skin as they journeyed downward, then switched into what little space there was between them.

Absently she explored him, as her mind recalled the night of the Netherfield Ball, and the images that appeared in her head when she encountered her sister and Denny Lucas outside, moments after her dance with Fitzwilliam. All she had seen first was his lips as they leaned in to kiss her chest, then it was as if the camera had zoomed out, and she watched as her body willingly responded to all of his touches, her mouth opening to admit a silent cry of pleasure as he entered her. She had not even known then how amazing it would be when it came a reality, yet her mind had instinctively realised how wonderful it would feel.

And now they were together, so close that at times she found it hard to believe they had ever been apart. She knew him so intimately, able to tell at a single glance what he was thinking and feeling, and when he wanted her, which was frequently and often.

This depth of knowledge was returned by him, so deeply that it surprised her at how much well they knew each other. Last year felt more like a journey to what they had now, rather than something both had just spent surviving rather than living. During the months they were apart, they had unconsciously been preparing themselves for this, and result was incredible.

Elizabeth cried out as Fitzwilliam finished giving her a hickey, and his hands shifted her upwards, until his head was level with her breasts, whereupon he closed his lips around one of the hard nipples, revenging her on her torturous pleasure that she was giving to his manhood, determined not to end this encounter yet.

She pressed her knees against waist, moaning as she let all of herself revel in the sensations his touch produced. Her head pressed back against the wall as he switched breasts, and she ground herself into him, seeking some release from the tension building up inside her, waiting for their joining. Then he left her breast, moved her back down, and entered her.

Reality was even more amazing than the dream. Elizabeth sought his eyes as he immersed himself completely inside her, awed once more by the depth of emotion she could see in their black and brown landscape, all aimed at her. There was something so erotic, so arousing about his eyes, which she had noticed from the first time they had ever made love. Now, whenever their bodies became one, she would always seek their gaze, letting the intensity overwhelm her, as she did now, until her body tightened her sex around his, and came in a blinding orgasm, his own following seconds later.

Sated, they returned to reality, breathing heavily as they gaze at each other. William closed his eyes for a moment, pressing his forehead against hers as he gathered himself, still overwhelmed by the union. Then he raised his head and opened his eyes to look in hers once more. "Which was better?" He asked her huskily. "The dream or the reality?"

She looked back at him solemnly, knowing now that she wanted to spend forever with him. "Reality."


When they emerged from the master bedroom, it was to find that the house was empty, Georgia having gone to training, as it was nearly midday. Mrs Reynolds had left them a selection of hot and cold sandwiches for lunch, which both of them hungrily tucked in to, and looked through the morning papers.

It was the second day of the quarter finals, and the back pages and sport sections were all focusing on the fact that this year there were several British verses British matches, with the potential for more later on. Two of the matches were occurring that afternoon, and both of them featured close relatives; Georgia against Kitty, and Toby against Richard. Sports correspondents were divided over who would win each match, all predicting different outcomes in the number of sets and games.

Elizabeth reached the end of the last article and laid the paper aside. Almost immediately she found herself raking her gaze over the man sitting opposite her. Somehow the state of the Wimbledon championship did not seem to matter compared to the relationship she had just realised how deeply she was committed to. She could barely believe that nine days ago she had been despairing over it ever happening. Now it felt like things had always been this way.

Fitzwilliam looked up at that moment, and without a word, reached across the table and took her outstretched hand in his. "The matches are both last on the courts," he remarked to her, the expression upon his face needing no dictionary to tell her exactly how he wished to spend that time.

With that thought in mind, the breakfast-lunch was quickly finished. William stored the leftovers in the fridge for later on, then took her hand once more and led her back to his bed. They lounged upon the top of the duvet in the little amount of clothing they had put on to go down for breakfast after discovering the house to be empty; Elizabeth in one of his shirts, William in jeans. A smile grew upon his face as he openly admired her in her outfit, noting the way the edge of the shirt rested on her thighs, knowing that there was nothing beneath it.

Understanding the look, Elizabeth opened her legs in welcome, sighing blissfully as he answered to her call, a hand slipping in-between her thighs, and under the shirt. William watched her face avidly as his fingers explored her sex, knowing instinctively by now what to touch to arouse, make her scream, or come. He stoked the fire slowly this time, gently applying the pressure where it was needed, relaxing her into the orgasm.

The silence was intense around them. Elizabeth could feel, touch, hear, see, smell nothing but the sensations his touch was creating inside her. She glanced down to see his fingers deep inside her, then back up to his eyes in order to convey to them the pleasure his touch gave her, staring into the black pupils until she had reached the white place, and could see nothing as she came.

William gently worked her down from her high, then slid his fingers out, bringing them up to his mouth and licking them clean in front of her. He smiled wickedly at her, and Elizabeth took up the challenge, pouncing on him. She rolled him underneath her, sitting up as soon as she had him trapped, and began to grind herself against his fly.

His hands moved from her thighs to the shirt buttons, but she gently moved them back to their original position and undid the shirt herself. Agonisingly slow, her fine eyes caressing his face, gazing seductively at him as each button was undone, then parting the shirt until it hung just on her arms, baring the rest of herself for him to view. She ground herself against his fly again, deliberately teasing him, seeing how long he could last.

Seeing her plan in her fine eyes, William relaxed against the pillows and watched her as she writhed upon him, the edges of his shirt brushing against the sides of her breasts as she moved. It was undeniably one of the most erotic visions he had ever seen of her. Of their own accord his hands moved from her thighs to clasp her ass, unconsciously increasing the pressure upon his sex as she ground upon it.

A few minutes later and he had taken all he could bare. "Elizabeth," he begged, her name coming out in a ragged tone, indicating just how close he was.

She obliged, moving back and unzipping the fly. His erection popped out, and William sighed a second later when she moved back to impale herself upon it. He gasped at how tightly she held him inside her, then she ground herself once more, and he abruptly lost all sense of the outside world as he came, climbing the plane of pleasure even higher as her own release followed a second later.

Afterwards she collapsed on top of his chest, and the last coherent thought he remembered having, was the wondrous feeling of how her hard nipples pressed against him felt, and the decision to set the alarm for the time they needed to leave in order to watch his sister's and cousin's and her siblings' matches later that afternoon.


Chapter 28: Faith In You.

You are my first, star at night
I'd be lost in space without you
And I'll never loose my faith in you
How, will I ever, get to heaven, if I do.

Lost In Space, by the Lighthouse Family.
From the album, Postcard From Heaven.

Thursday 30th June, Semi Finals.

By the time they had returned from Wimbledon, celebrating and commiserating Georgia's victory and Kitty's defeat, both Elizabeth and William had discovered who would be their next opponents for the semi finals. Again, in their closely knit world of tennis siblings, family and friends, their fates were to be cast. William was to face Charles Bingley, and Georgia, Dakota Morgan-Debourgh, the next day.

Morning dawned with what had become the usual situation in the Darcy townhouse; Elizabeth waking in William's arms, the two of them making love to each until the alarm rang, then moving downstairs to join his sister and his housekeeper for breakfast.

Georgia was in a mixture of nerves and excitement for her upcoming match that afternoon, which would take place directly after her brother's, on Centre Court. It was her debut on that particular part of Wimbledon, as well as her first match against her cousin, and her first semi finals.

"The important thing to remember, Georgie," her brother advised when she informed them all of her fears and excitement, "is that. Focus on the fact that you are in the semi finals of only your second Wimbledon, facing a holder of the title. Don't forget the desire to do well or win, just remember that the experience is often more important for the first time. Whatever the outcome, the knowledge that you have reached this far, will enable you to reach it again, and give you surety of your abilities."

"Speaks the wisdom of a man who has been in the final four times," Georgia jokingly replied. "I don't remember any occasion of you adhering to that advice when you didn't win a match."

"I confess that may be true," William allowed, as his girlfriend and sister exchanged mutual smiles of bemusement, "but I have since learned that there are some things far more important than tennis."

"Surely, not!" Georgia exclaimed in mock horror, before rising slightly from her seat and reaching out with her palm to check her brother's forehead. "Hmm, definitely a little feverish. What can we do, Lizzy, to cure him of this dreadful affliction?"

"I am afraid all we can do is wait, Georgie, until he receives the news that he is in the final, and realises that he must preserve the holding of the title."

William protested in vain, and the banter between them continued in this way through the journey to the stadium, until the siblings finished their training and the family separated to their destinations; William, his locker room to change for the match, Elizabeth and Georgia, the players box on Centre Court.

Clocks struck one post-mortem, and the doors to the locker rooms opened on to the court. Sports bags on arms, the two players walked out into the sun-drenched air. Walking side by side, Charles and William could be seen to be chatting as they made their way to the white lines and their chairs either side of the umpire's tall one.

A few minutes of warm up, then the umpire called for time, and the players walked to their positions for the first service game of the match.

William selected a ball from the three thrown to him, shoved the other two in the pocket of his shorts, then prepared to serve. He had played against Charles before; twice at Roland Garros, three times at Flushing Meadows, seven times in Melbourne, and once before today's match at Wimbledon.

All were evenly matched matches, with victories split down the middle, which both claimed was an unconscious desire not to injure their friends by competing for an unfair advantage either way. Rankings wise, it was William who came out on top, as he was currently world number one, despite losing the Australian championship, while Charles was third behind the holder of the Melbourne Grand Slam; Toby Bennet.

At Wimbledon William was seeded first, whiles Charles was seeded fourth, behind his compatriot Detroit Morgan-Debourgh and brother in law, Toby Bennet. Both of them however, were ranked number one in their home countries.

Darcy threw the ball into the hair, and swung his racket up behind it. The ball flew across court, bouncing in exactly the right place, and a patriotic cheer rose up from among the British supporters in the crowd as the umpire confirmed the ace.

"Fifteen, love."

William took another ball out of his pocket and served again. He knew the minute the ball left the racket that this serve would be a start to the first rally of the match. Sure enough Charles reached out with his racket and the returned to ball, causing him to advance forward to send it back over the net once more. For a while nothing could heard on the court except for the bounce of the ball as it connected with the ground and the rackets.

"Fifteen all," the umpire announced when the rally finally came to an end.

And that was when William realised that this would be a long match.


During the break after the first three games, Elizabeth slipped outside for a quick phone call to Jane, as mobiles had to be turned off during play, so as not to disturb player's concentration. Due to Ismay's arrival, Jane could not be at the match and so was watching the television coverage.

As usual, there was the traditional commentator, and a retired tennis champion commenting on the match; in this case Walter Elliot;1 father of Elizabeth, Anne and Mary Elliot, who had followed their father into the profession.

"Games seemed to be going by way of service at the moment, wouldn't you agree, Sir Walter?" The BBC2 commentator remarked at the start of the three game break.

Walter, who had only recently taken up the use of his baronetcy since his emigration to Canada, agreed. "Yes, it does. And this is often the case between two well matched players. Yet each game has also been fiercely contested. A rare testament, between such close friends."

"Yes, and, if the rumours are proved true, they likely to become even closer via a connection to the Bennet Quartet," the commentator added. "But then the Darcy family has many close ties to other professional players at the moment; cousin to both Jolian and Richard Fitzwilliam, and Detroit and Dakota Morgan-Debourgh."

"Time," announced the umpire's voice now, as it became audible once more to the television audience.

"Yes, it certainly creates a sound argument in favour of genetics," Sir Walter remarked as play started up again; Charles serving for the fourth game of the first set. "Someone could predict that Ismay Bingley will follow in her parent's footsteps, in view of winning Grand Slams."

"And the same could be said for any child of William Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, if the current speculation is to be believed about them."

"Fifteen, love."

"Notice here the results of different coaching techniques," Sir Walter remarked, changing the subject as they replayed the rally which had led to the first points in the fourth game of the first set. "William Darcy has been trained by Edward Gardiner- yet another connection to the Bennet family, there -since he old enough to pick up a racket, while Charles Bingley was coached by his father, Whitford Bingley, who he fell out with two years ago.

"Since then Bingley has not picked up a new coach, opting instead to prepare himself. The difference is displayed here. Bingley focuses on the high powered hits in his service, while Darcy, though just as powerful if not more in his serve;- he currently holds the record I believe for the fastest serve -favours drop shots and close but accurate long shots which land in the back line corners."

"Yes, both styles I believe are very typical of Britain's style of play and America's style of play," the BBC commentator commented.

"Precisely, and one can tell from Darcy's game that he has experience of both techniques, as opposed to only one."

"A product of his travelling family," the commentator agreed, "with some part of the year spent in America with the Fitzwilliams and Morgan-Debourghs."

"Fifteen, all," the umpire declared after another gruelling rally.

"It is also a style which has served Darcy well," Sir Walter remarked. "Knowledge of what America favours in their players and what Britain and the rest of the world favour has not only given him a well-rounded game style, but also victory in the American Grand Slam."

"It is a technique which will be a necessity in the modern game, wouldn't you agree?"

"Yes I do. High powered hitters have won over the drop shots quite a bit in this decade. Darcy, by bringing both skills into his game, will probably reign for quite a while. Though we should not underestimate the other British players."

"Yes, we are having a surge of successful British players recently. In the women's game there are Jane, Elizabeth and Kitty Bennet, and Georgia Darcy, while in the men's there are William Darcy, Toby Bennet, Richard Fitzwilliam, and Leo Gardiner. Out of those all but one have yet to win a Grand Slam, and two have held the Wimbledon title."

"Thirty, fifteen," announced the umpire, and the commentators turned their attention back to the game.


Two hours and four sets later, and William might of felt glad to hear the confident support of the television commentators, especially off the back of a second set defeat.

He hated losing sets. Despite his wisdom to Georgia this morning, her judgement of him had been right. It was the competitiveness in him he supposed. Innate due both to his love for the game and the heritage left to him by his parents. He was number one in the world, he was supposed to be invincible. Charles Bingley may be his best friend, but William was determined to win this final set and with it, passage to the final.

He collected only one ball from the ball boy at the back of his side of the court, the first new ball of the match. Taking a deep breath, he bounced it once upon the ground, then held it close to his racket. With a last look to the players box, and Elizabeth's silent message of love and luck, William threw the ball in the air, and swung up his racket.

The ball became nothing more than a blip on radar. It flew across, scoring 146 on the speed counter and a perfect ace.

"Fifteen, love."

William silently cheered with the crowd, then collected another new ball. He served again.

"Thirty, love."

And again.

"Forty, love."

And again.

"Game, Darcy. Bingley to serve."

William settled into his usual stance behind the serving line, his eyes trained on his opponent, his thoughts on nothing but the next ball which would be coming to him. All his last serves had been over 140, a impressive record and a boost to his average speed during the match. This was the final set, it was time to call on all his training and the talent he had inherited from both sides of the Fitzwilliam and Darcy clans. To focus on nothing else but winning the match.

Charles served and the ball flew across the court, only a touch slower than William's last shot. Slowly Darcy watched it bounce and reached out with his racket and returned the shot. Charles caught and sent it back, and William moved into the centre of his side of the court and stretched to return it while it was still high in the air, bringing it down to bounce on the other side of the net, in the right-hand bottom corner.

"Love, fifteen."

The Brits in crowd broke out into loud applause, their hopes and fears raised because it was the final set. William returned to his receiving position, breathing deeply as he waited for Charles' second serve. He watched the ball fly upwards, the racket swing up behind it to carry it across the court, and waited until it had bounced on his side before reaching out with his racket and hitting it back. The ball picked up speed on return, due to his force behind his racket, and bounced on the back line just out of his friend's reach.

"Love, thirty," the umpire confirmed amidst the cheers while the commentators talked about the chalk, or rather the titanium dust which had made it in and not out.

The crowd quieted and Charles served again, not letting frustration have an impact on him when it was pronounced a fault. He serviced again.

"Let, second service," the umpire announced as the ball set off the net alarm by hitting the top of it. A ball boy crouched at the end of net rushed out to retrieve it.

Charles served again. This time the ball decided to co-operate.

William swung out his racket and returned it, rushing towards the net when Charles' hit proved to land short. He was just in time, managing to send it over his opponents head to bounce off the back line again.

"Love, forty."


Love, forty." the umpire announced again four games later. The British supporters held their breath, as their player returned to the back of the court to wait for the next serve. He was up five games to love, and held three match points.

Charles served one more time, and the ball flew across court. William swung out his racket and the crowd held its breath as soon as it connected. Thousand of eyes trained themselves on the ball's return trajectory. It went over the net, bounced in, then....

"Game, set and match, William Darcy," the umpire announced as the ball diverted right, finishing on the other side of the court from Charles. "7-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-7, 6-0."

The crowd erupted into deafening cheers. William glanced across the court to meet his friend's smile. He returned it, then showed his appreciation to the crowd, sending a kiss to Elizabeth. Then he walked up to the net.

"Well done, Darce," Charles said as they shook hands.

"Thanks," William replied. "Sorry about ruining your chances."

"One of us had to win and I'd rather it was you. This means I can spend more time with my girls."

William nodded, and then the still smiling friends turned and walked the short distance to the edge of the umpire's chair. The umpire bent down from its great height to shake their hands, then the players moved to their chairs to pack away their rackets, drinks and remains of the snacks partaken of during breaks.

Sport bag slung on shoulder, William rose again and thanked the crowd. He was in the final, he realised, for the second year running. He only hoped that it would not be as exhausting as the five set battle he had just been through. He was grateful for the day of the rest he would get before it.

Charles walked to one side of the court to do autographs for his American fans, while William headed to the players box, smiling as Georgia and Elizabeth rose from their seats to hug him, the latter indulging in a long kiss, which set the cheers of the crowd into an even higher decibel range.

William parted only from Elizabeth when breath became a requirement, then walked to the end and signed some autographs before following his friend into the locker room for a shower and change.

A few minutes later he emerged in the viewing area, moving to join Elizabeth in the players box to watch Georgia's match.

Elizabeth greeted him with a smile and another kiss, then they linked their hands and sat down.

Their hands remained joined throughout the match.


1. & 2. It is usual practice in England for Wimbledon to be broadcasted by the BBC, and for a retired tennis player to be part of the commentating team. In real life, we have had Tim Henman, Pat Cash, John Macenroe and Boris Becker among others recently.


Chapter 29: Do You Have A Little Time For Me?(Rated NC17)

If you should stop for a while
You would find me standing by
Over here at the side of your life
I liked to hold you still, remind you of all you've missed
If you have a little time, do you have a little time that is.

Do You Have A Little Time For Me, by Dido.
From the album, Life For Rent.

Friday 1st July, Second day of the Semi Finals.

Caroline Bingley was in a determined mood. A vengeful determined mood if one wanted to be specific, but this wont was the last thing Caroline wanted to admit to this morning, so she settled for just determined.

She could not believe this had happened again. Fate had dealt her many blows this year, but she had thought things could not get much worse. Yet they had, and, short of retiring ignominiously, there was very little she could do about it. Except what she did last year, that is.

But Caroline, if she was honest with herself, was not happy with what happened last year. A lot of the result had been dependent on the judgement of the umpire and the ball people, not the accuracy- or lack there of -of her shots.

In short, she did not think the same event would happen again. And she really needed this win. Not just because it would wonders for her career, which it would, but because it would mean that she had at least one thing up against Elizabeth Bennet this year, even if Elizabeth Bennet had everything else Caroline had ever wanted.

Win, she had to win. And not just win, but win outright. A slaughter. Last year was a three set, and one, almost two, tie-breaks. 4-6, 7-6, 7-5. The scores were imprinted forever upon her mind. This year, she wanted them to be 6-0, 6-0. She wanted Elizabeth Bennet to never stand a chance of winning. To crash out of the Wimbledon championship. For sport commentators to speak about it and for reporters to write about for the rest of the tennis season, and not for all the wrong reasons. Like last year.

Last year. Caroline frowned as she thought of last year. So many things had gone wrong. Foremost, she lost her fiancee. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Without any warning whatsoever. He had just broken up with her. Even worse, he had confirmed the news in a press conference, the very next day, with giving her a chance for a firm denial in the nearest newspaper or showbiz magazine.

He had not even met her then. Yes, he had heard of her- it had been impossible to do otherwise -but he had never met her. She had ensured that. She had gone to every length to make sure that he saw no one else but her. She had not spent the years before in observation of what he liked and what he did not just to loose him when she had him. But lost him she had.

What had gone wrong? To this day Caroline had no idea. She had not rushed him, especially considering the recent rumours about him and her. True, she had not managed to get him in her bed, but it had not been for the want of trying. She was rich enough, had been in the fast set long enough to be acceptable, plus her name had sounded right next to his.

Caroline Darcy. It rolled off the tongue. It spoke of elegance and sophistication. Elizabeth Dar- no, Caroline could not even bear to pronounce it in her head, let alone see it on printed paper, under the dreaded section that, according to all the rumours, it would soon be. There was simply no contrast. No contest. It was destiny. Her name and his name were meant to be together forever. Or until death did them apart.

Rebound. That was what it must be. There could be no other explanation. A man did not consider marrying a woman he had only been together with eleven days. Especially after splitting up with a woman he had been with for nearly a year, one he had been engaged to.

True, he had never actually asked her the question, but she had always believed it was a matter of certainty between them. A unspoken, yet definite connection. Cold feet. That was all it was. He had simply wanted a break before finally committing to her. To make sure she was exactly what he wanted.

This was the conclusion which she had come to last night. After hours of thought- and possibly a lot of drink -she had decided that this must be the truth of his relationship. And that all she needed to do, was something to make him sit up and notice her again.

Something to make him realise who she was to him, and how much more she could be. Above all, it had to be anodyne. Nothing controversial. Something which there could be no alternative view or argument to. Undeniable. Above all, it had to contrast with her. She was one extreme, Caroline would be the other.

And the only thing she could foresee accomplishing that was winning the semi final match against her today. Not just winning. Slaughtering.

So Caroline was in a determined mood.

A determined, vengeful mood.


"Miss Elizabeth Bennet verses Ms Caroline Bingley. First set, Miss Bennet to serve," the umpire announced after the players had finished warming up.

Caroline scowled at not having the chance to serve first. But then her opponent threw the ball up into the air, and she tensed, readying for the shot. This was not a time to focus on what was wrong. It was a time to make sure things went right.

The ball flew over the net. Caroline waited for it to bounce, then rose up to intercept. Her racket connected. Return trajectory straight and true.

"Out."

No. That was impossible.

But the umpire confirmed it. "Fifteen, love."

Caroline was sure that ball had been in. A little near the backline, but in all the same. She scowled once more and returned to her position. Holding the racket between her open legs, she watched her serve once more. The racket connected, then..... Caroline blinked. No, that was not possible.

"Thirty, love."

That was simply not possible. She could not have an ace. Not in this match. Only she, Caroline, was allowed aces. They were the shots of power. Of skill. The shots that true champions made. They spoke perfection. In other words; they spoke of Caroline Bingley. Not Elizabeth Bennet.

A fluke. That was what it was. A one time occurrence. Nothing that would ever happen again. For Elizabeth Bennet, that is. Caroline Bingley however, well, every single shot of hers would be an ace.

Her opponent turned to collect another ball. Caroline took the opportunity to glance up into the crowd. She saw him in the players box. As usual, he was easy on the eye. Smart, sophisticated, yet casual in his white shirt, dusty blue v-neck sweater and matching trousers. All designer, naturally. She could tell what clothes were label and what were not at a single glance. She smiled at him, but noticed then that he was not smiling at her. He was not even looking in her direction. He only had eyes for her opponent.

Beep, beep. Caroline scowled at the sudden noise, loud in the silence of Centre Court, Wimbledon.

"Would all the spectators please ensure that their mobile phones please be turned off," the umpire ordered. Caroline inwardly applauded with the crowd. Quite right, she noted silently, as her opponent caught her ball and waited for silence to settle once more. The noise was distracting. She did not need distractions.

Although, if they bothered her opponent, then by all means, keep them coming.

Elizabeth threw the ball into the air once more. Caroline gripped her racket and waited. She watched the flash of yellow and white as it rose then dropped, and the white strings come up behind it, as the racket connected to complete the serve. She watched it fly away, rushing towards the net, and prayed for it to drop too soon. For Cyclops to beep, and pronounce it a fault.

No such luck.

"Forty, love."

Caroline heard the crowd chuckle and cheer. Not her name, but that of her opponent. Where were the American flags? Where were her supporters? She gripped her racket tightly and scowled once more.

"Game, Miss Bennet. Ms Bingley to serve."

Caroline blinked. Her scowl grew larger. No. This was not happening. She turned to collect a ball, and checked the scoreboard. One, love, to her opponent. So it was true. Well, no matter. It was only the first game. 6-1, 6-0. She could live with that.

But this meant something different now. Something more than just determination, even vengefulness.

This was war.


"Game, set and match, Elizabeth Bennet. 6-1, 6-0."

Elizabeth could barely hear the final score, the cheers from the crowd were so loud. But there was confirmation, in yellow letters and numbers, on a black background, in other words, the large scoreboard in one corner of the court. Boldly they spelt out a result she had not even dreamed of an hour and a half ago.

She was through! Through to the Wimbledon final! Her first British Grand Slam final. A match away from clutching the rosewater plate her sister had held to the skies only a year ago. Winning the French was nothing compared to the British possibility.

The crowd continued to cheer, and Elizabeth turned round to thank them, raising her racket high, leaving the players box until last. Returning the gesture he always made to her, she ran up towards it, and Fitzwilliam rose up, catching her in his arms.

"Well done," he breathed into her ear, before turning his head and seeking her lips. The world that was Centre Court faded away as they kissed. Elizabeth threaded her arms around his neck, fingering the ends of his dark hair. He cradled her head in reply.

If it was possible, the supporters were even louder when the couple finally broke apart. Blushing, they glanced at the flashing onslaught of cameras, both privately owned and from the fourth estate.

Elizabeth reluctantly parted from him and walked up to the net. She encountered a scowl combined with a look worthy of medusa there, in the face of Caroline Bingley. The handshake was more a preliminary to an arm wrestling match, rather than the traditional mixture of congratulations and commiseration's. Elizabeth calmly rose above it, wrenching her hand from her opponent then stretching up to thank the umpire.

She turned back to the crowd after that, walking to the edge of the court, where the barrier stood, and began to sign the autograph books which were thrust out at her.

Caroline had long disappeared by the time she reached the exit to the changing rooms. Elizabeth signed her last book, then turned and waved a final time to the crowd, before making her way to her locker room.

Where Fitzwilliam was waiting for her. He rose up as she entered, silently motioning with his hand for her to close the door. Elizabeth obliged, then sauntered into the room, deliberately swinging her hips in her walk, knowing full well by now how much he was aroused by the sight of her in a tight tennis dress.

She stopped just a breath away from his lips, and swept her eyes down and up his body. For the fourth time that day she noted inwardly how sexy he looked in his current state of dress. Her hand reached out and gently brushed his lips. Silently she let her fingers run a path down his front, letting her expression convey all she wanted of him.

Later neither of them would be certain about who had moved first. The next few seconds were over in a blur and flurry of clothing and ever increasing desire. Not until the hot water of the shower poured down upon them, would either recall their next move.

Elizabeth let the clean liquid cascade down upon her, watching him through narrow gaps. Her eyes were wide and dark with passion and arousal. Suddenly she remembered standing in a shower eleven days ago, wishing that she was not alone. And now it was reality. She stepped closer, brushing her nipples against his hairless chest and letting his manhood press insistently against her abdomen. "You know, I have fantasised about this," she remarked, the words coming out as nothing more than a breathy whisper, somehow perfectly audible over the noise of the rushing water.

He was smiling at her. "Really?"

"Really," she confirmed, her hand reaching down to touch him. He closed his eyes and groaned in reply. "I pictured this the first day of this championship."

Fitzwilliam reached down and took her hand in his. "Me too," he said before pushing her against the wall.

Elizabeth only had time to smile at him, before his lips were upon hers. His hand let go of hers, and adjusted the shower head, so the water cascaded into what little space there was between them. She ground herself against him, exploring the smooth plans of his back, while his own hands slid under her arms to rest upon the sides of her breasts.

Before she was aware of it, her legs were moving apart to accommodate him as his lips broke from hers, and began to move down to explore the rest of her body. Elizabeth pressed the back of her hands against the tiled wall above her head, arching her back towards him as he latched on to a nipple.

Their eyes met as he switched breasts. Once more Elizabeth found herself marvelling over the contrast between Fitzwilliam and the lovers before him. By no means promiscuous, there had only been two relationships before this one that she had allowed to progress to sex. None of them however, had ever touched her this deeply. They had been more content to satisfy their desires, rather than taking hers into consideration as well.

With Fitzwilliam, it was different. Not only did he look to please her, he liked to see that pleasure written in her eyes, which somehow made it even more satisfying. The bliss in his black pupils which appeared when he came inside her, was more powerful than anything she had ever known.

He moved downwards, kissing a path to her belly button, his brown eyes remaining fixed on hers. Dropping to his knees, he reached her open legs, and brought his hands forward to explore her sex.

Elizabeth groaned as his fingers slid inside her. She felt him touch her g-spot, then his lips were on her clitoris, and she cried out as she came. Through the bliss she felt him press his mouth against her, drinking in her taste.

An almost smug grin was upon him when he rose back up, and Elizabeth decided to return the favour, pushing him against the opposite wall and then dropping to her knees. She heard him whimper her name as she closed her mouth around his sex.

"Damnit, Lizzy," he was heard to mutter as she came back up, moving to rest back against the other wall, having brought him not over the edge, but teetering on the brink. She smiled back him, giving a come hither look with her eyes as she opened her legs, and then closed them around him, pressing against his hips as he entered her. He caught her lips in his once more, his hands bracing themselves against the tiled wall for support. A few thrusts was all that it took for them both to come.


The hot water had long since run out when they at last turned it off and stepped out of the shower. Both blushed as they realised the time, before hurriedly separating to dress.

Georgia merely raised her eyebrows when they met her in carpark. Elizabeth had to hide her smile as Fitzwilliam reddened before taking out his keys and unlocking his jaguar.

Press had long since departed to cover the other semi final match of the day, as the dark blue convertible emerged out on to the sun drenched London roads.

William moved one of his hands from the wheel and sought Elizabeth's. They remained joined the entire way back to Grosvenor Square.

Volume eight.