Today is Ms Austen's birthday, three days to mine and I have to admit that, although I have my head swimming in the closing acts of my new sotry, I cheated on Austen today. Peeta & Katniss are the culprits. I'll get to that in another post.
Today, it's all about Jane.
In these last months, I wanted to post bits of my new story several times but always resisted. It's not wrapped up yet, only a (aleady sketched) chapter to go but big work on revising it. At least one thing I already decided: I'll post the whole story here on my blog before publishing.
Today I considered posting Jane's view of the story but the beginning is kind of gloomy and Jane deserves better than that. It's the first time I felt the urge to talk about Jane Bennett and I feel I owe her a revised and complete story - so that means February...
That leaves me with... *drum roll*
"*Eight o'clock in the morning and things don't look good from up here, pals. A minor accident near the Ville Mall is taking two of the four lanes and a kilometer ahead, there’s the usual traffic jam caused by the Olympics improvement works. My advice is do not take the Yellow Expressway today. If you did, relax and listen to the City Vibe Radio Station. You're looking into two hours jammed. At least!"
Elizabeth sighed and looked up through her windshield to watch the radio station helicopter noisily pass her by. Another morning stuck in traffic... Each day she had to leave the house earlier just to continue arriving at the office late.
She could see the Federal Health Institute’s Palace seating majestically up on the mountain ahead, the Concrete Christ behind it in the distance, and calculated fifteen, twenty minutes to reach its gates. But if the radio station’s traffic report was right – and it always was, she would be facing at least hours of traffic jam; scorching sun over the roof of her car. She sighed again.
Olympics couldn't arrive soon enough. Rio needed to get rid of all these construction sites!
Elizabeth took her phone, loaded Google maps and tried to find an alternative route crossing neighborhoods. Before the Olympics’ road works there was an exit and she could take a long ride around the mountain and-
Her phone rang cutting the image of the map on her screen.
She twisted her lips. Jane and her weird little things. Why did her older sister need to block her cell phone number? It drove Elizabeth crazy.
"Please hold for His Royal Highness, the King of Pemberley." A rich sexy deep male voice asked striking a chord in her memory.
"What?" Elizabeth answered surprised by the greeting in English. Without noticing, she had switched from Portuguese and needed to concentrate to understand the strong British accent.
"Please hold for His Royal Highness, the King of Pemberley." The rich voice insisted.
Elizabeth frowned deeply, her mind rolling in high speed. What kind of silly joke is- then it hit her.
It could not be!
She kept silent for ten seconds and laughed aloud.
The rich male voice at the other end of the call chuckled.
Elizabeth felt her cheeks blaze, her heart speed, her skin tingle.
Could it be?
“Oh my God!” She said laughing. “Is this a royal phone call?”
“Yes, ma’am!” Darcy said ditching his long forgotten radio DJ voice, his smile clearly audible in his tone of voice. His heart was threatening to escape his body through his mouth and it surprised him. He excitedly anticipated this call but not this involuntary reaction from his body.
He had arrived early at the office and went straight to his Security Department’s floor. Hurst was already having his second cup of coffee and extended him a thin folder and a reassuring nod of his fat head.
Darcy nodded back and ran to his office to reacquaint himself to his longtime friend. Married, kids, address, employment, social networks accounts, phone number… Phone number! Of course, instead of replying her e-mail, he would call her!
But time zones killed him! He had to wait five hours. By eight in the morning she must be up, she had young children… right?
“I can’t believe it!” Elizabeth was still laughing. “The Poor King is broke! He can't even afford a secretary!”
Darcy laughed loud and she marveled at its richness.
“Have you wasted your fortune in polo matches and expensive horses, my King?” Elizabeth asked, a smile so stretched on her face that it hurt.
“Your namesake doesn’t like competition. She has been ruthless with taxes here!” Darcy answered.
“I cannot believe it!...” Elizabeth said.
“I couldn’t believe when I got your e-mail.” Darcy answered.
“Is it really you, friend?” She insisted.
“Your Little Prince of Pemberley, the most presumptuous guy in all England. That’s me!” He said.
“The one who didn’t show up for my graduation, didn’t send a word, cut me off rudely?” Elizabeth raised one eyebrow.
“Errr… About that… I’m sorry, Lizzy. Close to your graduation, things got really messy here. I understood when you didn’t answer my last letters, although it hurt me.”
Elizabeth’s ears were ringing very low, lost in a time travel so fierce that she could almost feel it physically, like a Star Wars’ hyperspace jump. She hadn’t heard anything he said after ‘Lizzy’. Since her father died, no one used that nickname anymore. Lizzy…
Overwhelmed, she took the phone off her ear to look at its screen. The facetime button was alight so she clicked it without wasting a second thought. The screen went blank for a second and she could see a blackened image.
“Let me see you.” She asked seriously.
“Huh?” Darcy asked stupidly.
“Look at your phone.” She ordered.
He took his phone from his ear to frown at it and…
“Hi!” She said blinking and smiling.
“Bloody hell!” He said surprised. “I wasn’t expecting that!” He ran his free hand on his hair.
“Hi, friend!” Elizabeth repeated.
Darcy smiled back at her and they stared at each other’s face for long seconds.
In their heads, it played a fast forward movie showing the images of letters, paper clippings, cassette tapes, old photos, dreams and hopes long lost or forgotten; all passing through their eyes in a quick succession while they studied the other’s aged face.
“You are gorgeous, Lizzy.” Darcy whispered.
“Thanks.” She felt her cheeks warm up. “I can’t believe it! It’s the first time we see each other live!”
“It is.” He nodded smiling with closed lips, both his cheekbones protruding in his charming face.
“I missed our friendship.” Elizabeth answered.
“Me too.” He said and frowned back when she suddenly united her designed brows. “What is it?”
“I’m sure I didn’t send you my phone number on the note…” She squinted. “How did you find out?”
Darcy tilted his head to the side awkwardly holding his phone in front of his face, self-conscious by his image in the tiny square under Elizabeth’s beautiful face in his screen. “A King has his ways…”
“Mmm.” She made a non-committal sound.
“Secret service worked over the weekend.” He admitted in a half smile.
“Excuse me?” She raised her brows.
“Last year we had an incident here. A hacker got into our system and caused a lot of damage. After some investigation, we discovered it was one of our own employees who sold us out. Since then, our IT people have been doubling the security protocols and our Security department is boarding paranoia.” He smiled incapable of resisting. It was absolutely fantastic to see his longtime friend face to face like this, this easy, this simple. “When your note reached me, my Head of Security checked you out to make sure you weren’t a threat to the company.”
“Mmm.” She twisted her lips. “I’m a little disappointed I’m not a threat…”
“Are you allowed to invade my privacy like this?” Elizabeth asked.
“I’m sure we didn’t do anything illegal. Social network profiles, cybernetic tracks…” He shrugged. “You left me a trail of bread crumbs, Lizzy.”
“I did?” She asked worried.
He nodded. “I can only thank you. It’s great to have finally found you again.”
“Not that you had been looking for me… After all, you ditched me in the past.” She accused him.
“I’m to blame, I have no excuse. But can I explain myself?” He asked.
“Please do. Not that I have anything better to do than hear whatever story you have for having broken my heart…”
Darcy touched his fist to his heart and sighed. Elizabeth giggled and attached her phone to the dashboard holder.
“Where are you? In a car?” Darcy squinted.
She nodded. “Traffic jam. Another… Rio is impossible these days. Between World Cup and Olympics, what we have left of the city is either a huge traffic jam or a work site.” She took the phone from the stand and showed him her windshield.
Darcy winced seeing how many cars packed ahead.
“See? I’m expecting at least one hour. Maybe more…” She shrugged. “Got time, friend?”
“Seventeen years, give or take.” He smiled.
“Good, keep me company.” She smiled back, but it was a toothy grin to answer his closed lips genuine smile.
Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
Happy Birthday, Prince!
Happy Birthday to me... 3 days to go!
This is part of an intelectual work belonging to Moira Bianchi, inspired by Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. All rights reserved and registered in Brasil.
All images found on Google.
The talented and gorgeous Tom Ford and Liv Tyler don't have anything to do with this project, sadly. I respect, admire and consume their work.