Posted on January 6, 2009
inspired by the video to Shape by the Sugababes
During the time in Netherfield, Darcy had neglected his duties. Now, back in London, he had to compensate for this through more work per day. He did not mind much, for Darcy felt the work was a diversion from the strange dreams that had haunted him since Netherfield.
There was this masquerade, and a fascinating woman, whose face he could not see. And every night, he woke up minutes before she took off her mask. Darcy desperately wanted to see her face, and each morning he hoped, nay, he prayed, that in the following, night he would finally see her face.
Later in day, he tried to banish these dreams into a secluded corner of his mind. Something like this just distracted him from the important issues in his life. Thus, Darcy worked every day until late in the night; he was fencing with his cousin at the club and riding out daily, as well; all in the hope that he would sleep an exhausted, dreamless sleep.
But this night he again had hoped in vain.
Shortly after he had retired, his dreams brought him again to the masquerade...
Darcy stepped down the huge stairway into the ball room, and he could already see that the dance floor was crowded with couples.
He looked around to see her. And there she was, standing, watching the dancers. Dressed in a beautiful silk gown of a deep crimson colour she was positively glowing. The deep, unadorned neckline gave her an alluring radiation.
Half of her face was covered with a blue Venetian mask shaped like a butterfly. She was certainly a sight to behold; but she did not seem to care.
"I have waited for you," she said softly as he came nearer.
Darcy just stared at her as she turned around and walked towards the dance floor.
When she was a few steps away from him, she turned around again.
"Are you not going to ask me to dance?" she murmured mischievously, barely audible to him.
"What...I mean...Of course..." Darcy stuttered, unable to form the appropriate words.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Darcy offered her his arm and asked,
"Would you do me the honour, Miss?"
Smiling, she took his arm, and he led her to the dance floor.
Their hands touched only for the briefest of seconds, but their eyes were locked with each other, creating a whole new sphere where only they existed.
Moments went by, and nobody said a word.
"What a wonderful dance." She interrupted the silence.
"Indeed." He knew not what he should answer to such a comment.
Again silence fell between them. Smiling, she looked on him, before she began to talk anew.
"It is your turn to say something Mr Darcy. I talked about the dance, now you ought to remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples."
"I am perfectly happy to oblige, please advise me of what you would like most to hear," he replied a little absently, too focused on just looking at her. Then it hit him.
"You know my name?" To confess the truth, he was a little bit astonished. Darcy was wearing a mask himself; and should not have been recognisable for anyone either.
"Of course I do." Her beautiful eyes twinkled with amusement.
"But that reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones, would you not agree?" Again that captivating sparkling of her eyes. "But for now we may be silent, if you wish it."
"Do you talk as a rule while dancing?" He was amused; this dance was not the normal boring farce he had so often encountered among the ton. This woman definitely had some wit. What a pleasure it was to have an intelligent conversation while dancing. He wondered what else she was capable of.
"Oh, no." She laughed, and he thought it the most beautiful sound he had ever heard. "I prefer to be unsociable and taciturn. That makes it all so much more enjoyable, do you not think?"* Sarcasm was dripping from every syllable, and now he was sure that life with this woman would never be boring.
The last chord was played, and the dancers were all in two lines again. He had never regretted a set ending so quickly.
Now, as they faced each other again, Darcy's piercing glance focused on her face, as though he could melt the mask away like that.
"It is very warm here. Would you mind going on the balcony for a moment? I am feeling quite flushed." She interrupted the silence between them.
Darcy was not able to see it, but he was sure that she arched her eyebrow playfully while she looked at him.
"Of course if you wish so." He led her on to the balcony.
They escaped the rest of the assembly - to Darcy their faces were a blur anyway - and stepped out into the cool night. As he looked above, the sky sparkled with millions of stars, and the summer air -- Why was he so sure it was summer? -- smelled of nameless flowers.
Darcy turned to his dance partner again, and watched her as she was taking in her environment.
Silence again, but this time, neither felt the need to interrupt it, and so they stood on the balcony for some time.
Finally Darcy could not take it longer and broke the silence. "Madam...." Darcy hesitated. "Could you....Would you do me the favour, and take off your masquerade?"
She smiled mischievously, and her hands moved smoothly up towards the back of her head to untie the ribbons that held the mask on her face.
The woman hesitated for a moment. Then her sparkling, fascinating eyes searched for his and held his stare.
"Would you help me to untie these ribbons, sir?"
He felt unable to speak a word, so he just nodded his approval.
She turned around, and exposed to him her beautiful, creamy neck, only adored with some raven tresses, which had escaped the elegant arrangement of her hair.
She brought her hands to her face and held the precious mask, while he loosened the ribbons.
When she turned around, the mask now safely in her hands, he looked into the beautiful eyes of Miss Elizabeth Bennet.
He smelled her, a whiff of lavender filled his senses, his lips nearly touching hers.
Just one single kiss. Darcy tried to persuade himself as he took her face into his hands. He leaned forward, his eyes closed in anticipation.
His lips barely touched hers, and suddenly his hands felt empty.
As he opened his eyes, she was gone. Nowhere, not on the dim balcony nor in the bright ballroom could he see her.
It was as though she had just disappeared.
With a soft cry, Darcy woke up.
The morning sun was softly illuminating his bedchamber. Everything was as it ever was. But on the other hand...everything had changed.
He now knew one thing for certain. He was hopelessly in love with Elizabeth Bennet.
*Dialouge taken and modified from the 05 movie