I've been busy with the Portuguese version of 45 DAYS IN EUROPE WITH Mr. DARCY and I must say that it is lovely to revisit old friends...
Of course, you know all about it, since you're interested in this next chapter...right?
As always, if you haven't already, read the story's front page before diving in. Tks.
This next step in Elizabeth’s academic life was laden with family responsibilities. Although her husband supported her decision, he didn’t change his professional life to help her manage hers. A week in London was only the beginning of her years’ ordeal to complete the mandatory curricular credits. She had opted for a high level international PhD program part because traveling abroad was always fun, but she refused to neglect her family.
Elizabeth would have to juggle her career, her household, her kids and the occasional help from her mother; arrange her life well enough to find some peace of mind and focus on spending two weeks away every two months or so. At least she could count on Jane to overlook the situation and put out any fires that may occur.
|Paula Goddard | ND Magazine|
It was irrational, she was aware of that. He lived in Manchester and only came to London on business. He disliked London life for the same reasons the world craved it: crowded, chaotic, a modern Babel. That was another thing she had to make an effort to understand; a vision so different from hers who lived in a big city and loved it.
Regarding Darcy, Elizabeth considered herself magnanimous. He hadn’t mentioned again his secretaries’ addiction confessed in Orlando, but it had been hard to swallow for many reasons. She believed him better than men who chased after easy disposable sex. At least, she wanted him to be better than that, she had assumed he was actually; the same way she assumed his conquests were the proverbial secretaries working overtime on the boss’s lap.
She realized his confession had felt like china crashing on the floor and it surprised her to see their friendship as a fragile lovely thing.
The knowledge that women desired him also shocked her. Yes, he was a charming man, beguiling sad green eyes, heavenly voice and other many qualities. However, Elizabeth saw him as ‘just a nice guy’, pudgy, not a sexually available man who sought sex out of his marriage. Moreover, he had preyed on his low level female staff…
He baffled her.
Other women interest in him upset her, or rather, opened her eyes to the way she felt about him.
Aside from the company of a few work friends, Elizabeth was alone in London making her guilty for feeling so excited with the beginning of her PhD in a cosmopolitan city.
She called home as soon as her plane landed and Jane assured her that everything was and would be fine. Then she called Wickham and left him a voice message and thirdly she called Darcy.
“Bart, you took care of your children’s routine the best way you could. Stop overthinking and concentrate on your PhD.” He said patiently. “Welcome to England!”
Either Darcy’s words were what she needed to hear or the program monopolized her attention from the beginning, because Elizabeth was completely caught up with it and only had time to call home again in the evening. Any other communication with her children was via text as they used the app installed on their tablet for this purposed.
From the National Institute came four masters including Elizabeth, other three from Rio de Janeiro State Institute, two from the Brasilia National Health School and one from the City of São Paulo Health Care Department. In total they were ten Brazilian masters in Biomedicine and endemic diseases in this PhD program among a group of fifty members from many nationalities, one in each specific field.
Much too tired, they retired early on their first night, exhausted from the overnight flight and the excitement of starting such an important course in another language. The second night, the group of ten Brazilians went out for dinner together enjoying the lovely summer evening in London. As the night fell late in early August, they even had time for group sightseeing afterwards.
Only on her third day in London did Darcy manage to arrive in the city. Elizabeth would be held at the university until late afternoon and he promised to meet her at her hotel’s lobby to pick her up at six thirty.
She hurried with her afternoon engagements and managed to arrive one hour earlier at the hotel to pamper. She took a quick shower, half blow-dried her hair, dressed in capri denim pants and a white short-sleeved button down that skimmed her waist, the colorful thin scarf he had given her, red medium heels suede pumps, nice drop earrings, some bracelets, light make up and she was ready.
Six twenty five she was arriving at the hotel lobby to wait for Darcy.
Three minutes later, she got a text.
Sorry, Lizzy. I’m running a tad late. See you soon.
Elizabeth had to wait twenty more minutes that she used to answer e-mails, call home and chat with her sister online. When she tired of seating alone at the budget hotel’s lobby, she put on her sunglasses and stepped on the sidewalk to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon.
She lit a cigarette watching the Londoners pass her by, the iconic taxis jammed in heavy traffic and her eye caught a handsome man walking down the street. She took a drag and nodded at a distance thinking that there were hot men anywhere in the world. Then, to her surprise, the guy smiled responding her nod.
Discreetly she checked if he was smiling at someone else but he seemed to be coming straight to her, the half-smile in place.
“Damn, it’s Fitz!” She thought and her heart jolted. In work clothes – a pink button down shirt, navy pants and a caramel jacket - he was so modern, sexy, a heartthrob. She raised her sunglasses, it was impossible to take her eyes off him; he was fit and looked so good. The cigarette warming her fingers broke Elizabeth’s trance and she half turned to put it out using the tall planter’s ashtrays - but her eyes never left his approaching figure.
Darcy had tried to be punctual as an Englishman should, but he had an impromptu meeting at the office and the traffic didn’t help. He was anxious to meet Elizabeth after the last two months missing her so much. With difficulty, he had tamed his mind and was succeeding in pushing her off his head, their almost daily phone calls had been spaced when she told him the news he had been waiting: Elizabeth was coming to Europe.
Now, his car and driver ditched two blocks behind because walking would be faster, he finally rounded the corner and saw her standing at her hotel door looking so young and hot. He smiled as soon as he recognized her figure and gloated the second he was close enough to notice her ogling him.
An image flashed through his mind: a feline stalking a prey, a lioness’ intense gaze when she located dinner. Strong and magnificent, so bloody sexy.
‘Wow, doesn’t your wife forbid you to look this good when she is not around?’ Elizabeth said when he got close enough to hear her. ‘Women will want to steal you from her!’ She held the hand he offered her.
‘Will you?’ Darcy asked pressing his lips to hold the smile threatening to take over him. That’s why he had been trying so hard to look fit.
‘I do have a husband and... Oh, what the heck. Yes!’ Elizabeth smiled from side to side.
He nodded solemnly, still serious. ‘The preference is yours.’
“… And now the planets circle around you
I didn’t know I was looking for love until I found you…”