Elizabeth’s pulse raced, and her breath came fast from apprehension rather than exertion. She put her hand to her forehead to quell her sudden dizziness, perhaps the effects of the wine. She struck out through another exit, hastening her pace. As she turned a corner, she tripped and fell; she gasped as the flame in her lantern flickered out. Lying on the ground for a moment, she allowed her imagination to work on her and wondered if this were some sort of trick the Darcys were perpetrating on her. Some sort of vampire trap. She recollected how Mr. Darcy had plied her with claret and champagne.
She stood up and brushed off and began to walk through the maze with only the light of the moon. No, she thought, then why would Miss Darcy have brought me? Unless she knew that her brother is a vampire, and I am to be his victim! Her heartbeat increased with her fear, but she could not suppress dreadful thoughts. Could she be a vampire, too? Wickham had taken her away. Would he not have made her a vampire? A verse reverberated her in head—“No heart is beating in her breast.” Is that what they intend to do with me?
Cursing her own temerity, Elizabeth walked faster, to meet or to evade her destiny all the sooner, with the cadence repeating, “No heart is beating in her breast. No heart is beating in her breast.”Each corner taking her either to her escape or deeper into the cage. Heady and anxious, the hedges seemed to grow over her, consuming her. “No heart is beating in her breast.”
The moon momentarily obscured by clouds, darkness descended upon her. Her pulse throbbed wildly in her neck. She walked into a hedge then turned around violently and fell against Mr. Darcy with a sudden, sharp intake of breath, her clenched fists against his chest. He rested his hands on her shoulders, and the clouds drifted away, allowing the moon to illuminate him before her. She stared into his face, his eyes as black as midnight on a moonless night, and held her breath.
“Elizabeth,” she heard him say, but he could not have because his lips did not move. He leaned in towards her face, his mouth hovering over her own, and she thought he intended to kiss her. They stood thusly through several rapid beats of her heart.
Pulling her ever so closer, he lowered his head, his lips grazing the soft skin by her ear as he whispered, “Are you afraid of me now?”
Releasing a serrated breath, she said, “Should I be?”
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- ISBN-10: 1618853295
- ISBN-13: 978-1618853295