February 14, 2011
Fitzwilliam Ryan Darcy was not a happy man. The Gods, fate or just dumb bad luck had conspired against him and he was defeated.
His beautiful wife of only two months, Elizabeth Anne Bennet Darcy lay beside him in their bed, warm, soft and breathing softly. Sex with her had been, as always, magnificent. She was a goddess and he loved her so dearly that words were useless in describing it.
But now their time together was over. Darcy had to get up, and leave her and he wanted to cry. Of course, he didn't, but he couldn't control his rage at his inability to change what he must do. He felt impotent, and it was eating him up inside.
Fitzwilliam Electric's main construction complex was located in Canton, Ohio. It employed over twenty thousand employees at the five factories in the complex. At 4:00 am the previous morning, a fire had broken out in the main plant. Before it was all over, the plant was destroyed and two others were heavily damaged.
And so, on this, the first Valentine's Day of his married life, Fitzwilliam was leaving his beloved to fly to across three states to be there. He had his duties, and duty always came first. He felt like he was going to throw-up.
Part of him knew he was being childish. He was a grown man after all, and responsibilities were a part of life. He knew he would have many more Valentine's Days to share with Elizabeth, but somehow he couldn't overcome the bitterness of it.
The truth of the matter was that this was his first real Valentine's Day, period. He had been in relationships before, but they had never worked out for very long, and somehow he had never been with anyone on February 14. It was his V-1.
Now he was with the most wonderful person in the world and he wanted to celebrate every minute of it. But instead he was going to burned out buildings and a hotel, while Elizabeth stayed in Boston, organizing the relief efforts from the Fitzwilliam Trust and the Pemberley Foundation.
He had made such plans! They were to fly to his island in the West Indies. Everything was in readiness- the cruise, the beach, the fireworks! He was so looking forward to surprising her, pleasing her. No one enjoyed things like Elizabeth and he was anticipating sharing her delight.
He sighed in disappointment. He let Elizabeth draw him into her arms, and he took all the comfort he could find with her, until she gently announced that they had to get going.
Quietly they bathed and dressed, following their normal routine, just another day. When he came out of his dressing room, impeccable in his gray suit and blue tie she stopped him. "This is for you," she smiled as she pinned a red rosebud to his lapel. "Remember I love you."
He kissed her slowly and thoroughly. "I will make it up to you," he promised.
"I know. I'm looking forward to it."
Hand in hand they entered the breakfast room. On his plate was vivid red envelope. He picked it up and raised an eyebrow in inquiry. Elizabeth gave him her 'innocent' look which he knew from experience was actually an admission of guilt.
He opened the envelope and pulled out an honest-to-God Valentine, complete with roses and lace. He smiled at her, then read the inscription:
My Darling Fitzwilliam,
How can I tell you how much you mean to me? You have made my life a sweet dream of perfection. I love you so much. Your touch is the last thing I feel before I sleep and the first thing that wakes me in the morning. I need you to know how my heart races every time you walk in the room, how I get giddy when you look at me, how I sleep in perfect bliss feeling you beside me. You have brought me such complete happiness in such as short time, I'm sure I will never be able to make it up to you, but I'll do my best by loving you till I die.
Love you madly,
This time he did tear up as he walked to her and crushed her to him. "My love, my sweet love," he murmured to her. "Thank you, I will treasure this forever." He kissed her lips, then her forehead, then pressed her to him again. "I love you."
After a few moments they slowly released each other enough to sit. They ate their breakfast while holding hands, a skill they had developed during their courtship.
"When is your meeting?" he asked.
"Eleven. Call me if you can before that, so I can get some idea of what's going on from the ground." she answered professionally.
Fitzwilliam Darcy had followed his heart when he married. He was pleasantly surprised to discover his heart had chosen a woman who was not only kind, witty, and beautiful, but also one who had a great business sense. Elizabeth had taken the reins of the Darcy family charities and had run with them.
"I will. I should land at nine am central time and I'm being taken straight to the complex." He stopped to sip his coffee. "You can expect a call around ten-thirty. Is there anything particular you will need to know?"
Elizabeth checked the leather bound notebook beside her plate, which matched the one beside him. "Hm, I think I've got all the basics: Number of employees affected, payroll, stuff like that."
When they were informed of the disaster, two decisions came easily to the executive couple. One: they would rebuild the plant and two; they would continue to pay their employees until the plant reopened. The first decision was expected, the second would take the business world by surprise. He didn't care- this was FE, the company Fitzwilliam's grandfather had founded. They would support it to their last penny. The Darcys knew too many families depended on them and they could not let those people down.
It would be expensive, and that's where Elizabeth came in. The Darcy family fortune would support the payroll until it was able to maintain itself.
"I really need you to get some kind of feel on how long the rebuild will take and let me know if there's anything unexpected," she grinned, "which I expect there will be."
"Okay, the press conference is scheduled for noon. Expect the phone to start ringing off the hook then."
"I'll be ready."
After a few more minutes Fitzwilliam rose, "I gotta go. I love you." He kissed her tenderly, and then hurried out to his limo. Elizabeth sat a moment more thinking, then left to go to the Darcy building.
Elizabeth knew Fitwilliam had been planning for Valentine's Day, but nothing could have prepared her for the sight that greeted her when she entered her office. For a moment, she though she had somehow been teleported to a florist's. More flowers than she could count covered every surface. "Oh!" she gasped.
"Like it?" her secretary, Catherine Morland, asked.
Elizabeth shook her head in amazement. The scent of all the blossoms filled the room and she took a long moment to enjoy the beauty of it all. Then she turned to Catherine and asked, "Any idea where I should start?"
"Try the desk," Catherine pointed to a small envelope.
How do I love you? Let me try and count the ways.
Elizabeth then spent a full 35 minutes reading the cards on each arrangement. When she was done she had 73 cards in his handwriting, each saying something like:
'I love your generous heart.'
'I love the way you dance.'
'I love your hair.'
'I love the taste of you.'
'I love your snore.'
Elizabeth and Catherine laughed over the last one. Elizabeth then picked out three arrangements to stay and ordered the rest to be arranged throughout the building and picked up the phone.
"Well?" His deep voice was filled with mirth.
"You are crazy, you know that?"
"Did you like it?"
"I love it, but you're still crazy." She laughed. "How long did it take you to write out all these cards?"
She could her him smile on the phone, "Not too long. It was actually kind of fun and I'm glad I got to give you this at least."
"I don't snore, by the way."
"Of course not, my love. But I love it anyway. Its cute."
Elizabeth shook her head. "I love you, you nut. Anymore surprises I should be one the lookout for?"
"That would be telling. I love you, no matter what."
"No matter what," she responded and hung up.
Fitzwilliam hung up the phone and reviewed his notes. The private jet was quiet as it soared though the air. He was ready for the meeting, but he wasn't sure if he was ready for the destruction. His first position had been at FE, first as assistant operations manager, then as general manager of the complex. From there, he went on to Pemberley, his father's hugely successful computer firm. Then everything changed- his father died and suddenly he was in charge of it all. It had been awhile since he had been out to the FE plant, but it still held a certain fondness for him.
This was going to be hard, but he had to do it. He was going to comfort the workers, provide hope for the future and most important to him, find out how this had happened.
Elizabeth watched the man she loved on the television. Fitzwilliam was announcing the plans for FE and, as expected, the phones had started ringing. He was still wearing the rose she had given him. He looked calm and professional; the business leader everyone knew, but Elizabeth could see the sadness in his eyes. This was one of the few days when it was no fun to be Will Darcy.
Elizabeth's own press conference was scheduled for one o'clock. She wouldn't be giving out much by way of new information; she would primarily be repeating Fitzwilliam's promise to support the workers and answering questions. However, she knew it would be well attended. She was Elizabeth Darcy, media darling. The press from the Wall Street Journal to the Ladies Home Journal had gobbled up her fairy princess story whole. Luckily for her, she had a rock to support and shield her. Fitzwilliam had made sure she was never unprepared and never in over her head. He and his pack of attack lawyers had set the boundaries for the press and they weren't foolish enough to cross that line.
A few minutes later there was a knock on her door. At her response a waiter entered, carrying a covered tray. He removed the cover and revealed a plate of sushi, a rosebud and a phone. As she picked it up the phone rang. "Hello?"
"Hi beautiful. "
"Will, what are you doing?"
"Lunch with my wife, of course," he paused. "At least I hope its lunch. You do have your favorite food in front of you, don't you darling?"
Elizabeth laughed. "Yes, its lovely. Thank you."
"I miss you." Elizabeth could hear the hurt in his voice. "Did you see the press conference? What did you think?"
"I think the head of FE is a real hottie who can park his shoes under my bed anytime." Elizabeth's heart rose as she heard him laugh.
"Well, who knows, you might get lucky someday."
"Woo-hoo! You were great. Very reassuring, very professional."
"How did your meeting go?"
"Oh," Elizabeth tried to talk around a piece of tuna. "It was fine. No problems." She briefly covered what she was going to say at one, making note of his suggestions. Finally she said, "I'm done. I got to get ready for my close-up."
"I know. Thanks for lunch."
"Oh, thank you. I have to say, despite everything, this is the best Valentine's Day I've ever had."
"I really miss you." Her heart broke at the loneliness in his voice. More than anything she wished she could be there to hold him.
"I miss you too. I love you." She tried to reassure him. "I'll see you soon, sweetheart."
"Not soon enough. Good luck with the press. I'll call you later."
"No matter what."
"No matter what. Love you Liz."
She turned off the phone and thought, her fingers slowly drumming on her desk; then Elizabeth moved. She grabbed Catherine as she exited her office and started giving instructions.
"Are we all ready?" Elizabeth asked as she left the set.
"Mostly," Catherine replied as they walked swiftly to the parking garage, "The car's waiting for you, your luggage is in the car."
"Did you get everything?"
"Yes, the plane is ready, but there's a problem. Logan doesn't want to let it go."
Elizabeth sighed. Ever since 9/11 Logan International Airport had a huge chip on its shoulder, if that was possible for an airport. Private planes like hers suffered the worst. "What are the alternatives? Any airline flights that will get me there?"
Catherine shook her head. "The next flight isn't until 4:00, it has a stop-over in Newark and you wouldn't get there until 7:40."
Elizabeth decided to give Catherine a raise. "Get me Logan on the phone." Elizabeth was still getting used to her role as the 'Mistress of Pemberley,' but she had studied the master enough to know what too do. Catherine handed her a phone, "Hello, this is Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy."
Fitzwilliam was tired and sick at heart as exited his limo. The hotel was the best in town and he had the whole top floor to himself. He had been made as comfortable as possible, but he would happily have given it up for a room at the Hotel Six if he could have Elizabeth with him.
The manager stopped him in the lobby. "Your messages sir." Fitzwilliam took the papers and looked at them without reading them. "Have you dinned sir?"
Food? "No, I'll have something sent to my room, thanks."
"Very good, sir."
Fitzwilliam made his way to the elevator. He leaned against the wall as the doors closed. The damage had been bad, but it could have been worse. Plants Three & Five would reopen on Monday. Plants Two & Four should be open in a month. Plant One was a complete loss, but would be rebuilt in 8 months. Luckily plant Five was large enough that they could temporarily move some of the product lines there.
He still had no clue how the fire had started and how it had spread so quickly. Heads were going to roll when he had the answers- and he was going to get the answers.
Sighing he loosened his tie, then paused as the elevator doors opened and reveled a small, chocolate shell on a tiny plate in front of him. Puzzled he looked down the hall and saw a trail of chocolates leading to his door. Shrugging he picked up the chocolate and popped it in mouth as he followed the path.
On the door was taped a note:
Close your eyes and come in.
Fitzwilliam's heart was pounding. That was Elizabeth's handwriting! Stunned, he didn't know what to think, so he simply followed the directions.
As he entered the room, a pair of soft hands grabbed his arms. "Keep your eyes closed," a low voice directed him as he was guided further into the suite.
"Okay, you can open them."
Fitzwilliam opened his eyes. The best sight in the world greeted him: Elizabeth. She was wearing a short, black silk robe. He took her into his arms and held her tight, in case this was some kind of dream that would vanish. Her kiss convinced him she was real. "Darling! How did you get here?"
She beamed, "I borrowed Richard's plane. Happy?"
He kissed her long and hard. She eagerly responded. "I'm so happy, I can't tell you! It's so good to see you." He pulled her close and rubbed his forehead against hers. "I needed you, baby."
Elizabeth kissed him, playing with his tongue, and then sucking his lower lip. "Lets get these clothes off. You need a bath."
Fitzwilliam became aware that he was in a bathroom. The lights were dimmed and there was candles burning. There was a huge sunken tub in the corner filled with bubbles. Elizabeth was quickly undressing him and he happily cooperated.
Soon he was sinking into the hot, foamy water. He was surprised to notice he was alone. "Liz?"
She quickly returned holding a pair of large glasses containing something red. "Strawberry margaritas!" she exclaimed as she handed him the glass.
"I don't like strawberry drinks," he said archly.
"I know, but its Valentine's Day. Red? You know?" She frowned prettily, "just drink it."
He did as he was bid and found he enjoyed it more than he expected. "Are you coming in?" He asked.
Elizabeth grinned, "Nope. I'm going to wash you." She knelt beside the tub and held up a natural sponge. Gently she turned him away and started washing his back. She shushed him when he tried to ask her more questions. "Hush, now. Just relax and enjoy."
Fitzwilliam had to admit he was enjoying it. Elizabeth was massaging his shoulders and the drink was having an effect as well. When she turned him around to wash his front, Will played at catching her mouth with his own. She in turn retaliated by gently pinching his nipples. Laugher bubbled freely out of both of them until Elizabeth almost fell into the tub. She quickly made a retreat out of range and pronounced him clean.
Will put on the black silk robe she had left for him and entered the bedroom. More candles and a room service tray awaited him. Elizabeth was stretched out on the bed, her robe showing just enough to capture his imagination.
"Come and lay down, you must be hungry."
His eyes followed her long, shapely legs up to the whisper of silk wrapped around her middle. They caressed her full curves and her pale skin contrasting with the black of the robe and bedspread. Hungry? Hell yes!
He lay beside her and pulled her close. His hands stroked her back, then slid down over her ass, as he passionately kissed her. He paused a moment as he discovered she wasn't wearing any panties, then he redoubled his attack with increased vigor.
When dizziness finally overcame him, Elizabeth pushed him down on the bed and sat up. "Whoa, tiger. What's the rush?" she teased as she brought up the tray. "Close your eyes."
He did as she commanded and was rewarded with the sweet flesh of mangos being feed to him. He savored the fruit, which was followed by kiwis, strawberries, and grapes. After awhile he sat up and began feeding her as well.
When the fruit was gone, she pulled the next plate of cheese and crackers closer. Together they ate. "I hope you don't mind finger food, " Liz said shyly. "I didn't think you would want anything formal."
"Are you kidding?" He gave her the eyebrow. "This is perfect, just like you."
"Good. I wanted to make this special," she breathed. "Want something to drink?"
"Water would be great." He took the glass from her. "What's next?"
She gave him a wicked grin. Will felt himself harden from it. "Take off your robe and lay down, on your tummy."
She straddled him, and then he felt warm oil on his back. A moan escaped his mouth has she started massaging him. Starting at the top, she carefully found each knot in his muscles and rubbed them away. Will thought he would fall asleep until he noticed her hands had traveled to his butt, which she was now giving her careful attention.
All the tension, which had ebbed away, flowed back into him and he was suddenly hard and throbbing.
He rolled over and kissed Elizabeth, his tongue expressing to her his urgent need. "Don't you want desert?" Elizabeth laughed has she found herself flat on the bed.
One of the things she loved doing was finding her husband's breaking point, and pushing it. Fitzwilliam could only take so much stimulation, and then he went wild. Elizabeth didn't abuse this trait by using it too often, but she had to admit it was very exciting to her to have her normally cool, professional, controlled man lose it and fuck her like a wild animal.
"Oh!" she exclaimed as she felt her hips drawn up so she was on her hands and knees. With a rush Fitzwilliam entered her and she abandoned herself to him, knowing he would take her to climax with him.
It was a good thing that they had the hotel floor to themselves. Otherwise the other guests might have been concerned by the sounds coming from their suite. The noises rose to a fevered pitch, and then ended in a wail of satisfaction.
On the bed Fitzwilliam gathered Elizabeth into his arms and pillowed her head on his shoulder. When their breathing returned to normal he kissed her and asked, "You said something about dessert?"
Elizabeth threw her head back and laughed. Then she pulled over a large bowl of chocolate mousse. "I thought we could share," she said saucily.
Fitzwilliam pulled his wife close. Love washed over him as he felt her gently place a kiss on his temple. "Thank you, Lizzy. I needed this." He turned to look in her eyes, as he brushed some stray mousse from her hair. "This was the best Valentine's Day I've ever had."
Elizabeth snuggled up and smiled sleepily. "You're welcome, my love. Now hold me close and let me sleep in my favorite place."
In the darkness Fitzwilliam reviewed his evening, carefully remembering every detail. He would cherish those memories for the rest of his life. His last thought before sleep claimed him was the realization that he had a new favorite holiday.