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This Is Happiness

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Lizzie watched as her sister giggled into Bing’s shoulder. They were honestly so cute together it was unbelievable. She was so glad that Bing had finally manned up, and that Jane had let him go to New York with her. The views that video had received… They really were perfect for one another.

Speaking of perfect, and most-viewed videos…

Lizzie turned around to spot Darcy gazing at her. She smiled, and watched him blush. It was funny, he still hadn’t quite got used to the fact that he could look at her as much as he wanted. She leaned across and kissed his cheek. He smiled awkwardly, that smile that she could barely admit to herself that she found sexy. He put his arm around her, then, in a smooth, practised move, signalled the waiter over and asked for the bill.

“Are you sure you don’t want to split it…” Lizzie asked, hardly daring to look at the figure. It was a ridiculously posh and expensive restaurant.

“No, this is my treat,” Bing argued, grabbing the cheque from Darcy’s hand. A lively debate ensued, ending in both men splitting the bill. Lizzie was a little annoyed at this. Sure, she maybe couldn’t afford it, but it wasn’t all that nice to be reminded. But she let it slide. She seemed to be doing that a lot more recently. Letting things slide. Not getting into conflict when unnecessary. Maybe it was doing her good. She’d pay for the next one.

Outside the restaurant, she hugged Jane goodbye, and watched as Bing and her sister walked hand in hand down the street. Lizzie smirked.

“Do you want to share a cab?” Darcy asked her.

“Sure,” she said, hailing one as it drove past.

“Do you want to go to yours first?” he asked, as he let her climb in first.

Lizzie steeled herself to say what she had desperately wanted to all evening. “I was thinking… maybe we could go back to yours tonight?” There was a short silence, in which Darcy’s expression was unfathomable. “I mean… if you think it’s too soon or you don’t want to or whatever… I mean I’ll completely understand, but…” she was babbling now. “I just thought… maybe I could… stay over…”

Darcy interrupted her stream of words by giving the cab driver the address… his address.

He pulled her towards him, and gently kissed her on the lips. She ran her hands through his hair, barely noticing the motion of the cab as it set off, winding through the streets of San Francisco. By the time it broke, Lizzie had no idea where they were.

“I love you,” he whispered.

“I love you too.” Darcy kept his arm around her the entire journey. She rested her head on his chest, listening to the thrum of his heartbeat through his dark blue shirt, steady as a metronome.

It had been nearly two months since her birthday, since the beginning of their relationship. The first month and a half had comprised of phone calls, video calls and visits every other weekend. Talking, finding out about each other. When her degree had finished, Lizzie had left for San Francisco, and had been there for two weeks now, house-sitting the same apartment she had stayed in during her company-shadowing.

There had been plenty of dates, dinners out, even a big fancy black-tie convention, in which she was proudly introduced as William Darcy’s girlfriend. And while there had been plenty of kissing and touching and discovering one another, they had never actually gone any further. They had wanted to wait. To take things slowly. Until tonight, Lizzie thought with a grin.

The cab pulled up outside Darcy’s apartment. Lizzie gave the driver a twenty, and together they walked up the stairs to Darcy’s penthouse apartment. He opened the door, and they walked in.

Lizzie was used to the size of it, but that didn’t mean that it hadn’t amazed her the first time around. The place was huge, bookshelves and expensive-looking abstract art canvases on the walls, an entire wall made of glass, showing the black sky outside.

“Do you… um want a drink?”

Lizzie turned around. Darcy had taken off his leather jacket, and was now watching her.

“Um… sure. That’d be great thanks.” He smiled, and walked into the kitchen. Lizzie pulled off her jacket and kicked of her heels. She wandered over to the nearest art canvas, and looked at it. It was a mess of colour, obviously very arty and abstract. It had struck her before as not the sort of thing she’d expected Darcy to like.

“Here you go,” Darcy said, handing her a glass of wine.

“Thanks.” He stood next to her, also looking at the picture.

“My dad liked it,” he said. “He bought quite a few, but this was his favourite. It… reminds me of him. I know that sounds stupid. Hanging up a picture that you don’t like for sentimental reasons.”

“No, no, it doesn’t sound stupid,” Lizzie said. “That’s not stupid at all. It’s perfectly normal.”

Darcy laughed. “Thank you.” They stood in silence for a moment. Lizzie took his hand and squeezed it gently. He returned the pressure then led her over to the sofa. They both sat down, as they had done many a time before, Lizzie leaning against his chest, with his arm around her shoulders. It felt comfortable that way, natural. As though it had been designed for her.

Lizzie finished her drink and placed her empty glass next to his on the coffee table. She glanced up at Darcy, to see him staring at their reflection in the window, a little smile on his face.

The kiss took him completely by surprise, but he ran with it anyway, cupping her face with his hands, and running one hand through her hair. She left one arm around his neck, pulling them closer, the other hand ran across his chest until she felt the buttons of his shirt. She undid one, then another one, before he pulled away.

“Are you sure?” he whispered.

“Yes.”

All it took was that one word for him to lift her up entirely, like he had in that Q&A video, and carry her into the bedroom. They fell together onto the bed, their lips not parting. Lizzie continued to undo the buttons on his shirt, and pulled the fabric away, throwing it onto the floor. He ran his hand across her back, until he found the zip of her dress.

They continued to undress one another, until they were both in their underwear. He looked at her, gently stroking her collarbone, before reaching round to unhook her bra. They slid together under the covers together, and he rolled gently over her, they kissed. Lizzie wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling herself as close to him as possible.

So this is happiness.