The wedding vows had been exchanged exactly one year ago. Elizabeth was amazed that a full year had gone by. The bliss that the Darcy's felt was immeasurable. Everyone in the parish noticed how Mrs. Darcy sparkled and lit the room.
Some of the older women commented on the softer edge that Mr. Darcy had these days.
Mr. Darcy had informed the Pemberley staff on his wedding day that a special party was to be given for their one year anniversary, it was to be the grandest ball Pemberley and Mrs. Darcy would ever see.
The light December snow fell upon the earth in a way that fairies bestow their dust on sleeping children. Elizabeth marveled at the brisk air and took it in big gulps. In two days, Pemberley would be alighted with the finest candles. Cook had sent a note to the Continent to bring the finest chef, Monsieur Henri Apres to Pemberley. The servants had everything running smoothly. But Elizabeth felt something missing. Some sort of special touch. Mr. Darcy had informed the staff that she should not be bothered with trivial matters pertaining to the ball. To Elizabeth she felt positively useless.
Mrs. Reynolds sensing her despair managed to explain to Mrs. Darcy that it was her husband's wish that she not be bothered with the details.
"Mrs. Reynolds, but I long to help out. I could plan games, look over the menu, create a floor plan for the card tables. Create a floor plan, separating Mrs. Bennet from my husband." Her giggling was contagious and soon Mrs. Reynolds was giggling back to work.
Elizabeth went in search of her husband to have him explain why she should not be in charge of planning the ball. Although he meant well, she was hurt.
"Dearest, I only want you to have wonderful time. Such minute details are better handled by the servants." Darcy saw her eyes grow bright with tears. He walked over to stroke her hand. "Darling, I want you to have fun." He pulled her closer but to no avail, Elizabeth was upset and the only thing that would bring her into good spirits would be to allow her to help with the planning.
"I'm sorry Fitzwilliam, here I am blubbering like a child. I just feel so... so out of place. This is my house and I still feel like a visitor. Please darling, let me help." Her pleading eyes always worked their magic on him. He gave in and she hugged him. He bent down to kiss the top of her nose.
"It's not like you to be so emotional, Elizabeth. Yes, you may butt in as the younger folk say it. And you are not a visitor in this house. Its yours and mine. And our children when they finally come."
"Soon darling, soon." Elizabeth broke from his embrace and ran toward the kitchen.