This week I had a very upsetting incident concerning this story but, as a reader told me, 'haters will hate...'
Here it is, the (first of many in this story) thrilling chapter.
To read the whitened lines, select them.
As always, if you haven't already, read the story's front page before diving in. Tks.
It's useless to resist
Elizabeth tried to not let her beliefs cripple her life.
She believed in God, went to church regularly, was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary and occasionally prayed the rosary. Eventually she even read the horoscope and checked her astrological chart, but nothing like her teenager years when she read her daily prediction before leaving the house for school or asked people’s birth dates as soon as she was introduced. That passion was left behind as she grew older and life proved to be unpredictable.
Her dear father died early, her mother couldn’t control her three younger sisters, Jane and her had to take care of the six of them. It was in the midst of this familial maelstrom that horoscope lost its appeal and she acquired the comforting habit of fingering the rosary’s tiny balls when things seemed lost.
Elizabeth believed in Divine Providence. A grown woman, a professor and researcher, mother, wife, sister, daughter and employer; she summoned Special Providence every now and then when she found herself in an impossible situation.
Darcy was a major impossible situation.
He had been a dear friend in her younger years, someone that existed only in letters, weak radio transmissions and scarce photos; a friendship that only dallied with the best in (young) human interaction: they read each other’s doubts and gave advices to help each other go through the difficult insecure years of early adulthood, they flirted raising the battered teenage ego and ended up forging a strong bond.
This bond seemed purer than a pet’s love since there was no material gain between Darcy and Elizabeth. A pet expects its beloved owner to at least feed him; their pen friendship was ethereal, dreamy, guileless, perfect in its impossibility.
Fate had juggled pieces to put them together, push them apart and when their lives had settled, threw them together again – for Elizabeth was sure that thinking about searching Darcy’s name on Google after decades of using the internet was fate’s twisted work.
|Karen Oakley designs|
Darcy didn’t fit in. He was part of her past, back when life was carefree and full of possibilities, when Elizabeth dreamt of studying abroad, backpacking the world, refusing to settle for the less thrilling choices - which she ultimately did. Darcy brought back her dreams, her selfish urge to live adventures.
Before Paris, she managed to see in Darcy a friend, but after, she saw a lot more in him. His cousin’s presence last time they met helped cool her foolish eagerness to talk openly and discuss with Darcy this mislead view that was taking over her.
He had thrown her eloquent hints - or was she fooling herself?
Darcy intrigued her, seduced her, melted her. She was curious about him, she couldn’t figure him out. Why would someone keep trapped in a miserable marriage?
Incoherently, Elizabeth wanted what she couldn’t have. Very ashamed she admitted to herself how she felt when his wife took him from her during that lunch: jealous. How could she feel that way?
On the flight back to Europe two months after the last time they met, Elizabeth once again summoned Divine Providence to point the way. One long night, a mini bottle of wine, a light in-flight breakfast and twelve hours straight later, she landed in the City of lights to face whatever fate had in store.
Darcy confirmed he was going to join her for her last days in Paris, again occupying the penthouse grand suite in the same hotel – so Elizabeth decided to play as her planets laid. The last module of classes of the year was starting, Christmas was just around the corner and the season in Paris increased the dreamlike atmosphere for Elizabeth. It was cold and the city was already lighted for the Holidays, a sight to be seen.
‘Are you sure you don’t want to go to the concert with us?’ Elizabeth asked her friend Charlotte sipping coffee, hoping to have a chaperone. ‘It’s the opportunity of a lifetime…’ She wiggled her brows making Darcy chuckle.
‘Like the singer is walking the green mile…’ Charlotte rolled her eyes. ‘I want to do some more Christmas shopping.’
Elizabeth pulled a funny face. ‘God forbid. The stores will be crowded at night and then carrying bags in this cold weather… You must be crazy.’
‘And you won’t bring anything else for your family?’ Charlotte raised one eyebrow defying her.
‘Of course I will, for all of them. That’s why I jump out of bed early!’ Elizabeth winked at her friend.
‘I thought it had been to have breakfast with me, since I arrived early.’ Darcy hid his smile the best he could on the rim of his teacup.
Darcy was surprised.
‘Happy birthday, Fitz.’ Charlotte said blushing. ‘I forgot to say when you arrived here.’
‘Thank you very much.’ Darcy smiled with closed lips. ‘It’s been a month already.’
‘Elizabeth could argue something about zodiac hell, but I beg her not to!’ Charlotte glued her palms in plead.
‘Ha, ha, Charlotte.’ Elizabeth scrunched her nose. ‘Zodiac hell finishes on one’s birth date.’
‘Not mine…’ Charlotte sighed miserably. ‘Mine started the day I fell in love with a guy whose mother coincidentally is my birth date twin… Years apart, of course.’ She snorted. ‘The woman has pleasure in tormenting me; now she’s into giving me her clothes. Imagine that… I shop for her something I’d like to wear so when she hands it down to me, I’ll actually like!’
Both Darcy and Elizabeth chuckled.
‘Do her clothes fit you?’ Darcy asked sipping his tea while the ladies had coffee.
‘To my chagrin, yes!’ Charlotte widened her eyes desperately. ‘She’s shorter than me but rounder in the middle so the clothes hang a bit loose. I use it anyway, out of guilt… When she shows up unexpectedly; I like her to see the clothes in the hamper.’
Elizabeth snorted. ‘She could just keep the damned clothes in the clean laundry hamper, but she likes to suffer. I would never wear my mother-in-law’s hand-me-downs!’
‘Well, I’m a good girl.’ Charlotte smiled sweetly making Darcy chuckle. ‘Elizabeth is a good girl too; she just likes to hide it. Don’t you think, Fitz?’
‘Absolutely.’ Darcy nodded solemnly while Elizabeth showed her tongue to her friend.
Charlotte clicked her own tongue. ‘You’re so polite… You don’t deserve to hang around her, she’ll pollute you!’
‘Shut up!’ Elizabeth scolded. ‘And finish your breakfast; we have classes in twenty minutes.’
‘Soon you’ll start dieting all the time and swearing.’ Charlotte warned him.
Darcy chuckled and Elizabeth slapped his arm.
‘You tried to convince us that you snub the gifts your mother-in-law gives you.’ Charlotte shook her head. ‘I know that woman has unbelievable good taste because I remember a black and blue watch from last year…’ She snorted.
‘My mother-in-law is a gem.’ Elizabeth groaned. ‘Lucky me, Mrs. Young lives in São Paulo and is busy pestering her husband…’
Darcy pressed his lips together and looked down.
‘His mother-in-law is a delightful woman as well. Right, Fitz?’ Elizabeth asked and he nodded. ‘Was she really sick that day?’
‘What day?’ Charlotte sipped her coffee.
‘Last time we met, he was called to take her to the hospital.’ Elizabeth explained. ‘Is she fine now? Because you are pretty far to rescue anyone…’
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‘My mother-in-law has the same thing! Sadly there is no cure and no drugs known to men.’ Charlotte nodded sadly. ‘It’s called shrewdness.’
Darcy had to laugh because that was exactly what he meant.
“… I'm giving up, before the night is gone!
I'm giving in, giving up strong!... ”