Author's note: This story isn't going to turn into a big project; it's just a light little diversion where Caroline gets a little slap in the face.
Caroline Bingley was looking out the window in the drawing room of Netherfield. The weather was fine; sun streamed through the draperies, and an unseasonably warm breeze stirred the leaves on the trees, now growing brown with the approach of Winter. The beauty of the morning was completely lost on Caroline; her attention was not focused on the weather. Instead, she sulkily looked out as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy strode quickly away from the house. Caught by the quickness in his step, which was very different from his usual slow saunter, Caroline's curiosity was piqued. Where could he be going? As she hurried to the front hall to put on her wraps, the thought that he was obviously on the way to Longbourn never even entered her mind.
She walked out the front door with haste, determined to follow him. It was hard to catch up with him, but, after lightly running for a while, she could just catch a glimpse of his boots. She tried exceedingly hard to control her loud, raspy breathing, so he did not hear her. As she gasped for breath, she thought to herself of how unladylike of her this escapade was.
"A lady like myself, in my position in life should not be doing this. Oh, what Mr. Darcy does to me!"
And indeed she was right. Her obsession with him blinded her so much, that she did not even have the wits to realize that he was head-over-heels in love with Elizabeth Bennet; that not even the cleverest of Caroline's schemes could make him do so much as to tear his eyes from his fiancee.
Part Two-- Meanwhile, In Mr. Darcy's Neck Of The Woods Mr. Darcy whistled quietly to himself. It was a low, happy whistle, just under his breath. Funny, he had never done this before. He was surprised at how much he liked doing it. It brightened his spirits. Not that his spirits had needed any brightening, lately. Ever since he and Elizabeth had come to an understanding, he found himself smiling and laughing all the time, often for no apparent reason. He thought of the odd but amusing conversation that he had shared with Elizabeth just yesterday in the drawing room at Longbourn. Smiling at the memory, the words ran clearly through his mind:
Darcy had been fiddling with the buttons on his cuff, when he felt Elizabeth's eyes on him. Lifting his face to where she sat next to him on the window seat, he saw that she was, indeed looking at him.
"What are you looking at so intently, dear?" he had asked her, sincerely hoping she would say, "You," in that pert little voice of hers that he loved so much. But she didn't. Instead, her reply was:
He felt a hot flush creep up on him, but regained composure before replying:
"And may I be so bold as to ask you what is it about my attire that has fascinated you to such a degree?"
"It's just that there is so much of it! You must get dreadfully hot in the summer."
"Occasionally. But, you must get dreadfully cold in the winter," he said, before boldly sticking his finger under the material of her dress that covered the top of her collarbone, to feel its thinness.
She blushed absolutely scarlet as she felt his skin touch her neck. Then she said, "Indeed; that is why coats were invented. But I don't think I'll be relying on coats to keep warm quite as much after we have married."
Mr. Darcy was puzzled. It got just as cold at Pemberley as it did anywhere else.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I'll have you," she stated forwardly.
"Yes, you will," Mr. Darcy replied, looking down lovingly into he face and moving close to her.
His reverie was stopped when he heard a noise in the distance. It almost sounded like someone panting.
"A wild dog, perhaps," he thought to himself as he continued to walk. He was more right than he thought.
Caroline Bingley still followed in hot pursuit to keep up with him. She was determined to find out where he was off to...
Elizabeth awoke and dressed quickly, in anticipation of Mr. Darcy's usually early arrival. She knew that he would reach Longbourn, soon, but she grew impatient after waiting for 5 minutes. She quickly put on a light coat, and walked off, planning to meet him halfway. Before leaving the drive, she plucked a stray leaf from the ground and hurried on her way, humming softly.
"Why...(pant, pant)...must you be such...(huff)...a fast walker...(puff)...Mr. Darcy?" Caroline thought as she strained to keep him in sight.
The object of her chase was still walking quickly, knowing how close he was to Longbourn. As he rounded a corner, he could see a figure walking towards him. At first, he couldn't see clearly enough to know who it was, but as he drew closer, he noticed a familiar pair of dark eyes, looking wide and fresh and bright with the radiance of the morning. Her figure became quite clear to him...the long, swaying curls, her rosy cheeks, her red lips, and her graceful stride. He called out to her:
"Darling! Lizzy, my love!"
She looked up to find the source of the voice, and she smiled shyly. She began to run towards him, and he stopped walking and opened his arms wide for her. She ran breathlessly into his embrace, nestling her head against his chest.
"What a nice welcome!" she exclaimed.
"Well, I missed you!" he replied.
She looked up at him, wide-eyed, with a sparkle in her eyes that plainly said, "I missed you, too, even though I saw you just yesterday." He held her close, before she had remembered the leaf that she had brought. She gently and reluctantly pushed herself away from him.
"Look what I brought you," she said, holding up the beautifully tinted leaf.
"Oh. Is it a wedding gift?" he mocked, while inwardly reflecting on how enchanting this little token was.
"No." She pulled her face into a mock frown. "I just thought you would like it. She carefully placed the leaf in one of his buttonholes.
He pulled her close, again, being careful so not to crush the little gift in his jacket. She surrendered herself to the expression in his deep, passionate eyes.
Caroline witnessed this scene sourly. "So that's where he was going!" she angrily said to herself. "Of all the sick spectacles..." The horror was evident on her face, as she turned on her heel and stormed away, not caring whether the lovebirds heard her or not.
Elizabeth and Darcy, hearing something behind them, pulled themselves away from each other and looked up curiously.
"It was probably a duck or something," Elizabeth guessed, and they turned back towards each other, and resumed their activity.
Author's Note: See guys? I added the duck part, too.