& Moira Bianchi: novembro 2017

terça-feira, 14 de novembro de 2017

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Princesas Possíveis 
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sexta-feira, 10 de novembro de 2017

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 2

Bertha has had time to get used to the idea of the magical tea. have you?

Let's gulp down this adventure?

Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.

read chapter 1

I - Apron strings

The day before the supervisor’s visit was never fun for anyone at the coffee shop, no one liked Collins and his extreme care for paperwork. How anyone could care for the lanky man who was always urging the crew to keep to the user´s manual saying ‘If the owners showed up here, they would be deeply displeased to see you guys working this expensive machine this way if the manual says you should adjust it that way.’

Even though he was to arrive Monday morning, Friday afternoon the whole crew made sure everything was in order so the boring man would be deeply pleased this time and make his visit a fast one.

At least there would be Met shifts that weekend so Bertha could unwind. At the gourmet candy shop, she enjoyed seeing beautiful people in amazing clothes on opera or ballet opening nights as much as regular people amazed by the grandeur of the place during season. It didn’t pay well, but it gave her free pass back stage. 

Bertha’s cell phone buzzed ten minutes before the end of her shift while she double-checked her paperwork to make sure the boring supervisor wouldn’t have anything to complain. 

Did you guys catch the news?

‘Traditionalists committee nixes ballet about legendary gay dancer’

We´re closed for the weekend.

‘Oh, no!’ Bertha’s shoulders sagged. She had been keeping track of the touchingly beautiful play’s rehearsals. She exchanged texts with the other co-workers, joined on-line protest and pouted: her weekend plans were destroyed.

Walking home tired a bit downed, she didn’t have a good excuse to avoid taking the magical tea. The big black winged mug was now a menace, she even felt a big anxious when she thought about it.

And then an amazing idea hit her, better, it came to her memory: she had another back winged mug. A lot smaller, a lot cuter, also old and kind of dear to her. 

The idea of tasting the mystery tea instead of gulping it made the adventure more palatable, safe.

At home she rummaged her cupboards to find the designer’s espresso cup she had bought when she first got the job in the coffee shop. Always short on cash, Bertha only afforded the piece because it was chipped at the bottom, a tiny flaw that made the expensive cup go on sale for 70% off. 

Even so, it was very cool.

Bertha smiled holding it close to her eyes.

And small. Surely it held less than 100ml, one fourth of what the big black mug could take. Aha!

Reassured, Bertha proceeded to the next steps as her friend Lottie explained: boil water, add a pinch of Belladama, cover, shower, soup, relax, sieve. 

Mmmm… there it was, the moment she dreaded. Should she call Lottie? She said she’d know Bertha’d be ok… 

Bertha sniffed the tea. Shrugged.

Sipped gingerly. Not bad.

Considered adding sugar. Didn’t think it necessary.

Ok, then. 

She took the whole small winged espresso cup and waited a whole minute. Nothing happened.

She washed the dishes. Still nothing.

Stared at the TV, nothing.

Thirty minutes later, she yawned.

Then another.


And she was asleep.

The alarm clock buzzed at 5:45am, Bertha blinked heavy eyelids and thought about turning on her side but she stretched arms, legs and jumped out of bed. After a quick trip to the bathroom, she changed into running clothes, stepped into her running shoes, and as she gathered her keys and mp3 player, somewhere deep in her mind she tried to remember when did she buy those bright yellow shoes.

The first mile at fast pace was tough. Air burned her lungs, she had to force her legs to keep going; but then it got easier and when she managed the five miles it felt good. As it did to climb those 63 steps to her one-bedroom without stopping to desperately breath.

She showered, had coffee and a quick meal, blow dried her shorter hair, surprisingly used make up on her eyes, picked up her bag and tote and left for the coffee shop feeling fine. Monday morning, everything had the chance to work out fine – even the supervisor’s visit.

By ten, the shop had the regular line of customers avid for their caffeine fix, baristas busy commanding the big steel beasts that released perfumed steam, the door opened wide to let Mr. Collins, his ever present plastic smile on his face but this time he had a companion: a big tall man.

‘Good morning.’ Collins said coming close to the counter. 'Is everything in order?’ He asked nervously.

‘Yes, pretty much.’ She frowned holding in a smile to answer his facial expression.

‘I have the man with me.’ He pointed at his chest.

She took a big breath; how could she say to her supervisor’s face he was not that important?

‘William Darcy, the man.’ Collins widened his eyes. ‘CEO.’


‘Don’t you ever read memos, Lizzy?’

‘There’s already too much paperwork, so many e-mails and I sometimes have to help at the counter, we’re one barista short. I keep telling you that, Mr. Collins.’

‘Please, make sure everything is perfect here today, he doesn’t have much time to visit shops in my area, I chose this one because it’s a big one, always so tidy and-’

‘Collins?’ Came a strong voice.

‘Mr. Darcy.’ Mr. Collins swiveled immediately. ‘This is Lizzy Bennett, the day manager.’

She opened a genuine smile, the man was hot. Tall, dark hair and dark rimmed glasses, seemed carefully unshaved, clear jacket with a light shirt inside, expensive jeans; any woman would smile to him.

The man frowned deeper at her. ‘Bennett.’ He repeated dryly as greeting. ‘This…’ He pointed at her chest. ‘Quite… Nice.’

She was incensed, red in the face, pupils dilated, had to twist her face because of the sun coming from the front windows. Had the damned guy just made a rude comment about her blouse’s opened first button? How dare he? 

‘Lizzy is our treasure.’ Collins smile seemed to grow as grim, the man was very tense. 

‘Excuse me.’ She interrupted. ‘You can’t talk like that! Not here, not anywhere!’

‘Pardon?’ The tall man bent his head a tiny bit to the side like a puppy.

‘This is sexist.’ She held her cleavage and felt the buttons closed, felt the temperature on her face and neck go higher. ‘Wrong.’ The word tumbled out before she could stop it.

‘I apologize if you misunderstood me, ma’am.’ He was still serious. ‘The aprons.’ He pointed again. ‘Very appealing.’

Lizzy swallowed her pride. Damn, that was awkward. ‘I make these.’ She tried to keep normal.

He nodded and let Collins call his attention elsewhere. She considered if the king had just given her his approval. Huh. 

Instead of the regular long inspection that took the staff’s whole morning, this time Collins didn’t want to spend time making sure the shop worked as it should. 

‘Mr. Darcy wants to see how his fortune is made, Lizzy. Come.’ Collins called out. ‘Let´s take the tour around the shop with him.’

She refused to chaperone the supervisor and the (frowning) man saying with a smile she was needed behind the counter. ‘George can help you.’ She waved at the handsome man pretending to host customers by the sidewalk tables. 

‘Ah, yes, that is George Wickham, Mr. Darcy.’ Collins said. ‘The evening manager.’

Men introduced and quest set, they started the fortune tour. Since Collins had a very special guest, he used the twenty minutes’ visit to superficially browse the paperwork in the tiny office, briefly check the back-of-the-house facilities and mostly stayed at the salon observing the busy Monday morning service.

When her staff was complete, Lizzy didn’t need to keep at the register, but she didn’t want to loiter and be forced to host the mighty CEO with a haughty attitude in front of whom she almost made a fool of herself. So she kept helping the service, greeting the regulars and faintly missed one guy, the organic grande Caffe latte friendly man. She also kept track of the trio in their inspection.

Mortifyingly, more than once the man caught her looking at him – or did she catch him looking at her?

In fact… His remark about the aprons… Lizzy rarely missed the target when it came to that, the guy did mean some kind of compliment to her cleavage; she was sure.

When they finally left, she was relieved there weren’t any problems, the shop was in good shape – at least on her shift. 

‘The guy is loaded.’ Wickham said with an ironic smile as they sipped employee’s coffee at the back tables.

‘Should be, CEO of a coffee shops’ chain…’ Lizzy shrugged.

‘We’re only one of his business, he has several others. Shopping centers, real estate.’ Wickham whistled. ‘That fiancé of his will be even richer.’

‘Who is she?’

‘Anne DB.’


‘Always on social media, sickly thin girl, expensive clothes and shoes you all love and envy.’

‘Not sure I know who that is…’

‘Search in your phone.’ He pointed her cell. ‘Darcy and Anne are related, second cousins or something. Maybe she’s even part of the company.’ A shrug. ‘But he didn’t mention her once, maybe it’s just money marrying money.’

‘When do you mention the girls you date, George?’ Lizzy shook her head, eyes locked on her phone’s screen analyzing the man’s fiancé. Very thin, fashion victim, rich, it girl… Funny, as Darcy was very handsome, Lizzy thought he’d choose a flashier woman.

‘I haven’t won the heart of the woman of my life yet.’

‘Good luck finding that lucky gal.’

He chuckled and took her hand. ‘I’m free this weekend.’

‘If this was you asking me out, the answer is still no, thanks.’

‘Oh, Lizzy, you destroy my heart.’

‘No, I don’t. you have lots of dates. What else did they say? Collins and the man?’

‘Nothing.’ Wickham sipped his coffee. ‘Collins is too big of an asslicker to allow Darcy to actually say what he was thinking. But he was very interested in our shop, especially your aprons.’

‘Really?’ Lizzy felt her neck and face warm up. 

‘The Darcy guy seemed upset the whole time, checked his phone and watch a few times, observed the counter… I bet Collins will forbid us to keep using your creations, babe.’ Wickham tried again to hold her hand. ‘Don’t be offended, it may not be personal.’

‘May not?’

‘The guy had this brooding thing, all rich and important. These people look down on us.’

‘I see…’ Lizzy wanted to roll her eyes. ‘He doesn’t even know me.’

‘Exactly! He only saw something outside the regular pattern and it may have been enough to get on his nerves.’

Even though she knew Wickham was a guy full of half-truths and long-stories, Lizzy spent the rest of the day thinking about the hot CEO and his looks to her. So, when Collins called her cell phone that evening, she already had been waiting for bad news.

‘A meeting!’ Lizzy was incredulous. ‘At the main office?’

‘Yes, Lizzy!’ Collins sounded agitated. ‘Eleven, don’t be late. Bring your aprons and other creations that are used at the shop.’


‘They want to talk to you about it.’

‘Who are ‘they’?’

‘The heads.’

Oh, shit.

‘Leave someone covering your shift and don’t be late. See you then. Good evening.’

At the refined office, the big conference room was very intimidating, but Lizzy kept her act together waiting like Daniel in the lions’ den. Neither the very handsome Darcy nor Collins were present when she was called in, only the marketing team. She was asked to explain the aprons and mittens.

‘The aprons we get with the uniforms are too thin and our espresso machine sometimes spits steam right here.’ She stood to point at her ribs. ‘So I thought we needed something light but double-layered, cute, made with high quality hardware to adjust the string around the neck because the knot is not practical.’

‘You’re saying the official company uniform is cheap and inadequate.’ A thin woman asked challengingly.

‘Sorry.’ Lizzy pressed her lips. ‘The aprons were meant to help us out during our day’s actions, but it doesn’t. The strings keep untying, sometimes when we have both hands busy, and the fabric isn’t very absorbing so our shoes sometimes get drops.’

‘She must know, Caroline.’ A congenial blond man seemed enthralled by her explanation. ‘Show me your aprons, Miss Bennett.’

‘I made these in black because it’s easier to keep clean and since our uniforms have black trimmings, it fits well. For the strings and logo embroidering I used the company green.’ She stretched the apron over the big table. ‘This one is for the busboys, using white for the details because of the boots they use.’

‘And the other colors, one for each position?’ The man asked smiling.

‘The baristas asked for red, they say they are the heart of the shop.’ Lizzy rolled her eyes.

He laughed. ‘I agree. But maybe their color should be brown!’

‘That’s what I told them, Mr-’

‘Bingley, chief marketing officer.’ He reached for the mittens. ‘These match the details because the aprons are always black, right?’

‘Yes. We tried to use it all black, but it didn’t seem to fit our light atmosphere.’

The snotty woman, Caroline, had her eyebrows knitted together analyzing the pieces over the table without touching anything, occasionally she took notes on her tablet. 

The congenial man, Bingley, stood to try on an apron, took a smiling selfie and then put on a mitten. ‘What you like best, Miss Bennett?’ He approached the small coffee machine over the side counter. ‘Latte, cappuccino?’

‘Lizzy, please.’ She smiled. ‘Freshly brewed, large, plain.’ She knew he was trying out her creations as she did every day. Her confident smile grew.

‘Same for me.’ Came the strong voice.

‘Was about to say that.’ Bingley nodded. ‘Exactly the way Darcy chooses his coffee, which is very funny since we run a business based on coffee drinks.’

‘I like to keep it simple.’ Darcy pressed a closed lips half smile. ‘Miss Bennett.’ He nodded.

‘Mr. Darcy.’ She tried to just smile back but was afraid it was similar to a twitch and her hand – oh, the shame – her right hand went straight to her neckline. It was a knee-jerk reaction; she didn’t plan or think it through. And worst, she noticed he noticed. ‘Did he already make you an offer?’

‘I’m waiting for you, exactly as you instructed answering my text.’ Bingley put two espresso cups on the table for Lizzy and Darcy who took a sit close to her.

‘Offer of what?’

‘Caroline?’ Bingley returned to the machine.

‘Macchiato is fine, thanks.’ She smiled weakly and turned to Darcy. ‘It seems very plausible; the items will complement our next campaign.’

‘I told you.’

‘You’re always right, of course.’ Her smile grew, but her adoringly glance to the boss was cut by her big coffee cup being brought to her. ‘Bingley, you’re the Marketing expert.’ Caroline waved at Lizzy.

‘And you’re the product manager.’ Bingley smiled.

Darcy grunted surprising Lizzy. ‘Miss Bennet, when I visited your shop yesterday, I noticed your aprons and asked Bingley and Caroline to evaluate if we could include your items in our new line of merchandising.’

‘And they are perfect!’ Bingley finally returned to his seat with a big mug of latte. ‘Next season we’ll start rebranding the chain. The logo will have a few changes, a touch here and there, the tone of green we use will go a bit darker and to reinforce this change, new merchandising. Mugs, cups, the regular products you already know.’

With her heart pounding, Lizzy blinked. ‘And my aprons?’

‘We want to make it part of our national uniform as well as make it available for customers to take it home. Same with mittens.’ Caroline looked at Bingley. ‘Do you think the quality is compatible with our standards?’

‘It’s great!’

‘Then we need to talk numbers and contracts, Miss Bennett.’

‘Wow.’ Lizzy blinked faster. ‘Are you serious?’

Caroline lowered her cup half way to her lips. ‘What makes you think we’re not? This is business, we’re not here making friends.’

‘What I meant is that it’s very surprising, I wasn’t expecting that…’ Lizzy frowned. ‘George said you might fire me because of the change in the uniforms.’ She said looking at Darcy who raised his eyebrows.

Bingley opened a file full of papers. ‘Who is that?’

‘George Wickham, the evening manager.’

‘The one you said insisted on asking questions about your personal life and that crazy cousin you never see?’

‘Oh, he sees her.’ Caroline smiled sideways. ‘One has to be blind not to see Anne on every useless trending topic there is!’

Darcy cleared his throat. ‘Miss Bennett-’

‘Lizzy.’ Bingley corrected Darcy.

Even though he didn’t use ‘Miss Bennett’, Darcy continued without using ‘Lizzy’ either. ‘There is a spread sheet of quantities and delivery deadlines, also costs, how much we’re disposed to pay.’ And motioned with his index finger to Bingley.

‘Here they are.’

So many information, aprons and mittens listed by color – all of them seemed to have two, four hundred units’ order. Wow. ‘I need to think this through.’ She answered. ‘I make these on my own at night after work, weekends. To fulfill this, I’ll have to change everything.’

In her mind she saw in light speed all she’d need to have done: quit the coffee shop and the Met, maybe get a bank loan to set up a company, hire a team, schedule deliveries, organize cash flow and profits. It’d be grown up life. 

‘Tomorrow we’ll have a staff meeting to present the rebranding, can we count on a few aprons and mittens?’ Bingley winked. ‘Two of each, by three.’

‘I guess.’ Lizzy considered her options. ‘A little more than a day to work, I already have a few aprons almost ready because the guys needed to replace the extras…’ 

‘Great. Caroline will email you the new logo and Pantone code for the green. If you can manage more than two, that’d be even better; excellent would be an extra-long one so Darcy could use it for a quick photo shoot.’ Bingley pointed and the man didn’t even take his eyes from his cell phone. ‘We’ll be using as an insider campaign to launch the novelties.’

‘I’d need to measure him.’ Lizzy looked at him although he still didn’t let go of his phone. ‘You.’

‘Caroline will email you what you need.’ Darcy stood. ‘Bingley, when you’re done, find me. There’s new trouble for me to solve.’ To Lizzy he smiled with pressed lips. ‘See you tomorrow.’

After a day working diligently, fingers reddened and mind reeling, Lizzy returned to the fancy offices with three aprons and four mittens perfectly done. She was proud of her effort and knew the heads would be satisfied with the order.

In her future there was a whole new horizon for entrepreneur Lizzy. She’d miss her simple life of being an employee when she worked a lot and the big risks were taken by someone else. Now that would all be on her, she’d need to work a lot and handle the risks too.

When the elevator’s steel doors opened, the lobby was busy as a bee hive unlike the day before. ‘Apron Lizzy’ as she was known was directed to the side of the big conference room where the presentation would be broadcast to country and Caroline waved her long fingers nervously asking for the order.

‘Ah, very nice, Lizzy!’ She smiled like she meant it this time. ‘These look perfect.’ The snotty woman raised an apron to the light to inspect the embroidering and sewing of the strings.

‘Thanks.’ Lizzy smiled back. ‘I barely slept last night. The costs will need to be adjusted, also the delivery dates, at least at first.’

Caroline was back in her sour mood. ‘That might be a problem.’ She pressed her eyes. ‘But for another time.’ She waived her fingers again. ‘Give me the rest of the things, mittens… Yes… Ah, Darcy’s apron you can give it to him.’ She pointed at the other end of the room while she arranged the merchandising on a neat shelves unit.

Before leaving, she had spent a few minutes in front of her closet thinking what to wear that couldn’t give him the wrong idea or drag his eyes to her cleavage. There was the issue of muffin tops and to solve both problems she opted for leggings and long t-shirt, both in black with a funky denim jacket on top. It was surprising how good it all fit her, how well her hair behaved, how easy it was to get a satisfying make up done. Confident enough she approached the man who looked even more handsome that afternoon and as if sensing her, he turned up from his cell phone on his hand when she was close enough.

‘Mr. Darcy.’

‘Lizzy.’ He pressed a smile. ‘Call me Darcy. Or William.’

‘Darcy.’ She returned the smile. ‘The apron.’ She pointed over her shoulder to where she had just come. ‘Caroline wanted me to give this to you, you know, for the photo shooting.’

‘Ah!’ He stored his phone in his pocket, took the apron and put it on. ‘Good enough?’

‘May I?’ Tentatively she reached out to adjust the neck string’s metal clip, he smiled and leaned towards her. Then she walked around him to tie the waist string. ‘I think it’s perfect.’ Lizzy took out her phone. ‘Can I save this moment? I mean, you’re the man wearing my apron… it’s a big deal.’

The man?’

‘That’s how we know you.’ Lizzy walked back a few steps and snapped a few times.

‘Now can the man have your number?’ 

Lizzy looked up and once she saw the way he smiled, the professionally satisfied smile froze on her lips: the man looked even more handsome.

‘Will you go out with me?’

‘For coffee?’ 

He chuckled. ‘For something a little more creative.’

Did he mean?... No, he couldn’t! Did he? Surprised, slightly flattered, a little put out and even intimidated she was left speechless.

He saw her reaction as a reflection of the ardent attraction he felt, her beautiful eyes blinked slowly as if she already chose places to tell him where to take her.

‘It’s time.’ Someone called out.

‘Tonight?’ Darcy asked.

‘No.’ Lizzy was heartbroken. ‘I thought you were interested in what I created.’ She pointed at the apron he wore. ‘That I misunderstood the way you looked at my boobs, but I didn’t. Did I?’


‘What a turn off…’ She frowned. ‘And I thought this was going to be something so cool…’ A sad sight. ‘No, I don’t want to go out with no perv with a famous cousin fiancé who he never sees and cheats on her with anyone hot enough. And the deal, it’s not good enough for me, the amount you want to pay for each apron and mitten is too cheap. I need to talk coasts.’

‘Darcy!’ Bingley arrived close to them. ‘Here you are. Hey, apron Lizzy. Can you wait over there? Great job, the pieces look perfect.’

‘This is your opinion of me?’ Darcy’s stare didn’t waver from Lizzy’s face.

‘Tell me I’m wrong.’ She challenged.

‘You thought someone was going to fire you yesterday, instead you were offered a lifetime deal.’

‘A bit far from that.’

‘It’s quite generous.’

‘Doesn’t work for me.’

‘No one refused to negotiate with you.’

Lizzy stopped the banter, he was right.

‘What is going on here?’ Bingley asked, his smile faded.

Darcy waved him off. ‘Nothing, let’s go.’

As she watched the broadcast take place with Bingley doing most of the talk as a Marketing expert should and Darcy waiting to be called in frame dressed with her apron, Lizzy considered what a weird couple of days it had been… New business venture, refused a date from the boss’ boss…




‘Lottie, it’s me!’ She smiled.

‘Sorry, have we met before? I’m awful with faces and these events here in the main offices always make me so nervous! I’m Charlotte from Chicago.’ The girl extended a hand to shake. ‘I’m in charge of deserts, the new one-biters this time.’ She pointed.

‘I’m…’ In a stuttering fit, she felt her throat close. From where did she remember this girl who seemed really close in a weird way. ‘I’m Lizzy, the new aprons and mittens. I made those.’

‘Oh, how lovely! Can I have one?’


‘Here, try my doughscuits. The man liked honey dust best and he never likes anything too sweet.’ The girl offered a dish from a side table pointed a small doughnut covered in light creamy glaze. 

‘Never heard of doughscuits.’ Lizzy said with her mouth full.

‘Doughnuts and biscuits mixed together.’

‘Delicious.’ Lizzy laughed eating and risked a glance around the room in time to catch Darcy looking at her. She blushed, he didn’t disguise his amusement in seeing how she enjoyed the food.

The man or my doughscuit?’ Charlotte sniggered.

‘Your art. Darcy is…’ Lizzy looked away. ‘Unreadable.

‘He keeps looking this way, you were hugging him just now-’


‘I thought you read him pretty easily.’

‘We just met.’

‘Funny, it seemed you two had something going on for months, the flirting seemed so easy.’ Charlotte elbowed Lizzy and tilted her head to Darcy who had just started to speak on camera. ‘He sure looked interested.’

‘Men are always interested in women, even if they have someone on the side.’


‘I heard the man had a fiancé, that it girl from Instagram, his cousin.’

‘I doubt, it’s gossip.’

‘How do you know?’

‘I follow her accounts.’ Charlotte pointed at her feet. ‘Bought these shoes because she used it last month in a party. If she had that man, she’d be posting photos with him every day.’

Again Lizzy stopped the banter, she was probably right.

Swallowing pride was an art difficult to muster, one had to make an effort to conquer. Lizzy had to try hard that day. But when the staff started to leave the conference room, she had gathered courage enough to approach Darcy.

‘Try the one covered in dark German chocolate. It’s not very sweet.’ She said.

He turned. ‘The doughnut filled with cream fraiche and coconut is unpalatable to me, even for a one-biter.’ He made a pained expression. ‘Have you tasted it? Will it please your customers? Former customers?’

Lizzy reached for one. ‘Yeah.’ She covered her mouth with her fingers. ‘People will love it! But it’s very sweet.’

Darcy shrugged. ‘It’s decided, then.’

‘I lashed out on you earlier. It was a bit uncalled for.’ She licked her lips. ‘Sorry.’

‘I deserved it.’

‘It’s ok, you don’t need to-’

‘Some parts I didn’t understand as cousin or fiancé, but since you heard from someone you might be fired, that could have been untrue stories too. But the aprons caught my attention to you, yes.’ Darcy pressed his lips, Lizzy blushed again. ‘If you allow me to apologize, there will be a very safe ballet presentation at the Met tomorrow at six pm. No perv asks anyone out for a date at six pm.’

She chuckled. ‘No, it’s very safe. I’ll take you out on a date at the Met tomorrow.’ He twisted his head to the side like a puppy. ‘Meet me at the door at five thirty. Can you? Is it too early?’

‘I’ll be there.’

Another day of butterflies in the stomach.

To deal with the anxiety she ran seven miles instead of five, hurried from her shift home to be home in time to doll up, put on her nice dress, shoes, hair…what was she doing? 

A date with the man

Rich and handsome and… What if more creative was… You know: creative?

He said no perv stuff.

Just in case, she put on good underwear.

He arrived ten minutes earlier for no reason besides his attraction to the pretty girl of big expressive eyes, lovely curves and capable hands. 

Darcy had big expectations for that date. If they got along as well as hoped, if she liked him as he was attracted to her, if they managed to deal with the different work schedules, he’d love to be her boyfriend. 

The excitement of a new relationship made him uneasy, Darcy wanted to cause a good impression. The considered buying her flowers, but that would be too old fashioned. Make reservations for dinner at a nearby hotel’s restaurant, but she might call him a perv again. He ended up deciding for a single rose and reservations at the park’s boat house restaurant.

Lizzy loved his attentiveness, blushed and blushed, rose on her toes to kiss his cheek and caught his hand to walk around the block and take the employee’s side entrance.

Although they were fully dressed as guests, she gave him an insider tour of the theater including the last minute warming rehearsals. 

Darcy had been at the Met several times, maybe could even have bought sweets for dates from Lizzy during her shifts at the candy shop if fate had helped, but he had never seen backstage – specially right before show time. It was thrilling.

When they took the expensive seats he had bought, both had hearts beating faster than normal and were already halfway through to falling hard. 

‘Thank you.’ He smiled the way that stole the air from her lungs, entwined his fingers with hers and brought to his lips for a kiss.

‘You’re welcomed. I used to work his every other week, now I’ll have to quit because of the Apron Strings.’

He frowned still smiling. ‘Your company’s name?’

‘Too lame?’ She pulled a face.

‘I’m already tied up.’ 

‘You’re not giving me much chance to resist, are you?’ She teased as the lights blinked indicating the imminent start of the ballet.

Darcy leaned closer to her ear. ‘Neither did your cleavage give me the other day.’

‘Oh!’ Lizzy leaned away. ‘You perv! I knew!’

He chuckled. ‘I apologized. And I’m sure I wasn’t disrespectful.’ He seemed contrite, she believed. ‘You are stunning tonight.’

‘Was a bit uncertain about what to wear…’


‘…Just in case creative meant strawberries and champagne just like the lingerie brand I’m wearing, the angels one, big black wings just like the tea cup…’

Bertha woke up slowly from a baby like slumber. 

It was like she had never slept better in her whole life.

A deep sigh.


She stretched her arms and kicked off her duvet to stretch her legs. Oh, that felt good.

Turned to one side and smiled, closed her eyes and let really slowly sip in her mind.


What day it was?

Saturday morning, right?

Where was her cell phone?

side table, dead… How weird! It always lasted the night… She plugged it on the charger and used the bathroom, when she returned to check it came the surprise: it was Sunday early afternoon.

The next day, Monday, the day of the supervisor’s visit, she called in sick.

quinta-feira, 2 de novembro de 2017

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 1

So, as I said before, here I start putting my healing process to action.

It's an unpretentious love story composed of nine short stories reliving Pride and Prejudice over and over. I am a die-hard Janeite, any excuse is a good enough excuse to experience Darcy & Lizzy for me, so here I'll do it left and right and upside down.

So, shall we start this adventure?

Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.

A heart full of ideas

Bertha smiled, nodded her agreement, scanned the client's phone for her app QR code, stabbed the computer adding free espresso shots and asked for the name to scribble on the cup. 

‘Mark with a K.’ The girl said. 

Bertha frowned. 

‘I miss my boyfriend, this way it'll be like hi’s around here when you call out.’ 

‘Ok.’ Bertha rolled her shoulders and wrote Kark with her sharpie. It always made the costumers' day when she misspelled their names.

‘Go, B. Your break's up.’ Another cashier arrived close behind the coffee house counter. ‘I can handle the line.’

‘Are you sure? We can double.’ Bertha smiled- not exactly to the pimpled faced girl but to the apron she had sewed herself, including the store logo hand embroidered. It was a beauty.

‘Yeah.’ The girl waved her off. ‘Next!’ She cried out to the line of anxious coffee starving people.

Once at the back tables nesting her mug of hot coffee and milk, Bertha loaded her messages app. Mom, sisters, the friend who would be staying over. She chose that smiling face and put the cell phone to her ear. ‘Hey, B. Arrived in town safely, forgot how chaotic it is! Wow! Look, there are still a couple of documents missing from my files. Could I use your store´s back tables to fill these up and try to bring back before-’

‘Oh, hi!’ Bertha looked smiling and put down her phone. ‘Was just hearing you!’

‘Dear, B!’ Lottie opened her arms for a bear hug the two friends didn't share for long months, maybe years. ‘Why do we wait so long to meet?’

‘You don't like to leave Merytown...’ Bertha smiled sideways.

‘And you dislike coming back.’ Lottie lowered her tote to the floor. ‘We should meet more often.’

‘You look the same, Lottie.’

‘Thanks, I guess?... ‘

‘You know it's a compliment.’ Bertha offered the chair beside her. ‘Tell me everything about home.’ 

‘Oh, well, you know, I'm sure your mom tells you most of the gossip - maybe more than I know.’ They shared a snigger. ‘Mostly people are the same, doing this and that, we're happy in our lives.’

‘Coffee?’ It was the only thing Bertha could say, in her mind no one could be happy living little lives in that little town. She waved to the busboy and pointed at her cup before raising two fingers and winking.

She in fact lived a small life composed of little bits. Had a degree in marketing but worked as a coffee shop manager and occasionally as a cashier at the Met's candy shop. 

Every week had a new fabulous idea for a business venture, a marvelous project to make money while having fun. Lately it was the kitchen aids stuff, small things to help normal people cook better looking cute. Aprons, caps, mittens, pan coasters. But before she could have bet her life on the success of a new line of shoes, patterns and stamping design for clothes, a flawless stratagem to win a reality show, coaching for TV hostesses... Bertha was a girl full of ideas but sadly not a go-getter, she was a dreamer.

‘Are you free to go?’ Lottie smiled to the busboy who brought her an employees’ coffee cup.

‘Home? Almost. What about your documents?’

‘So many forms to fill! I could swear I had it all covered...’ Lottie sadly blew the coffee steam before gingerly tasting it.

‘If anyone asked me, I could never say IRS would get you of all people.’ Bertha frowned. ‘Maybe I could help, show me.’

She did try but had to ask for the other manager to take over when her break time was done. 

One barista short that day, she had to keep as a cashier but couldn't shake a funny feeling evoked by the presence of her old friend in her adult domain. 

Lottie looked the same, taller than Bertha, thin, smilie, big teeth, shot hair, single, an overall happy aura. It made Bertha self-conscious of the few pounds she never made an effort to loose, the plans she never made an effort to make happen, the daring haircut she never ordered at the fancy salon she never visited, the dreamy boyfriend she never found. 

And she kept on working mechanically with a smile to the regular customer: ‘Caffe latte, grande, organic, Williams. Good morning. 3,59!’

Someone passed behind the big man.

‘Bye, Bertha, gotta run to deliver these before they close for the day.’

‘Leave your bag, I'll take it home, Lottie.’ She said.

‘Oh, thanks.’ The friend passed the heavy tote full of books over the tall counter. ‘Sorry, sir.’ 

‘No problem.’ The customer nodded politely.

‘Ok.’ Bertha returned to the computer. ‘Your regular order, sir... That will be… 3,59.’

‘Thank you.’ He answered.

‘You're welcomed, have a good one!’

Later that evening when they lounged in Bertha's crumpled one-bedroom apartment, Lottie was satisfied that she had managed to solve her problems.

‘I wanted to return home tomorrow morning, early afternoon the later.’ She said. ‘Have to sleep in my bed.’

‘Because your lover will miss you?’ Bertha smiled sideways sipping her beer.

‘Kind of.’

‘Wow, secrets!’

‘Nah!’ Lottie waved her friend of. ‘I make love with my bed. I hated they scheduled this hearing without giving me a chance to choose a date. The beginning of the month is my time to be quiet and calm, relaxed.’

‘Cramps.’ Bertha whined. ‘I know...’

Lottie didn't answer, only smiled like a fat cat fed a big bowl of juicy food. ‘This place here is a little over the top, huh?’ She said changing subjects. ‘You have plenty of furniture and still, it seems there's stuff strewn all around the place!’

Bertha looked around her. ‘It's not messy.’ She didn’t mean to, but sounded hurt.

‘It's not a dirty mess, I'll give you that. But you're close to a hoarder. Maybe I could denounce you to that tv show.’

‘Oh, shut it!’ Bertha frowned disregarding the jab as nagging, but then thought it better. ‘Do you think so?’

‘Mhum...’ The friend nodded. ‘How come you have all this in such a tiny place?’ 

‘It's just...’ Bertha's eyes roamed her one-bedroom once paying little attention to details. In her mind she saw each abandoned project perfectly stored away. ‘I have these ideas that at first seem so easy to make happen... Like the aprons we're using at the coffee shop, did you notice?’ Her friend nodded again, smiling this time. ‘I made those, and mittens. Let me show you.’ 

For the next few minutes she explained a detailed business plan for a small business that although rudimentary seemed very possible to Lottie.

‘Never took you for a cook!’

‘Am not!’

‘And how did you come up with this?’

‘Well, you know, observing, thinking, got time in my hands.’

‘So, was it the same with all these other boxes?’

‘And basically what I have stored in cupboards too.’

‘But still you keep your life on hold?’

‘Who are you? My mom?’

Lottie laughed. ‘Just saying, Bertha. You put time into things but when it comes to effort you bail out.’

‘Says the girl who still lives in the house her parents left her, didn't change a couch!’

‘I did change the couch; you'd know if you visited.’

‘Still you're the kettle calling me the pot.’

Both friends pouting, Lottie considered it must have been such a situation her granny warned her about: not an emergency, nowhere near life or death, just close enough to cajole a heart back into rhythm. ‘Like a defibrillator?’ She had asked in mocking humor. ‘You'll see, smart ass.’ Her old granny smiled like the old witch she was. ‘Actually, you'll feel it.’

Lottie starred at her feet for a while to order her thoughts, then inspired noisily. ‘Look, Bertha, I didn't mean to-‘

‘Nor did I. Sorry.’

‘Sorry too.’

Bertha leaned over and they touched beer bottles in a toast to peace.

‘Remember my granny?’ Lottie pressed a smile.

‘Of course!’ Bertha's smile exploded all over her face. ‘I'll never forget that trick of putting a piece of paper in a clear glass of coffee, lighting a candle beside it, singing a charm and suddenly we had the division of waters!’ She raised her voice menacingly. ‘Black at the bottom, clean as crystal on the top! I was so awed by her witchcraft!’ She finished laughing.

‘It wasn't a trick.’


‘She really knew some witch stuff.’

‘Come on...’

‘I know you won't believe me, but I was once in a place similar to where you are now. The difference is that she had an eagle eye on me and rescued my confused heart before I built this empire of cluster.’ Lottie waved a hand around them to show Bertha’s place. ‘Maybe I can't help you, you'd need her, but well, I'm the best you've got.’

‘Talking riddles, baby.’ Bertha rolled her eyes and stood to get new beers. ‘Can you translate?’


When she returned from the tiny kitchen, her friend had taken a small bag of herbs from her tote. ‘Weed? My landlord is a prick, if he smells us, I'm gonna hear it until the end of the world!...’

‘It's not mayjuana. It's tea.’

‘Oh, I see... Tea we smoke!...’ 

‘I'm serious.’ Lottie insisted and pulled Bertha's hand to sit by her side. ‘It's serious shit, pay attention.’

‘Oooh, serious pot.’

‘Shut it, Bertha! It's not pot! It's Belladama.’


‘Ancient wild belladama, very strong, hybrid, not something you might find in regular shops. It's gold in leaves.’ 

‘And what is it for, this precious treasure?’


‘Get real!’ Bertha was about to stand, but her friend held her arm. 

‘It won't heal your life, it'll only give you a nice view of your it, a… Box seat for a big game; somewhere to stop and think things through.’

Bertha frowned starting to think her friend had gone crazy. Single, close to her forties, living alone in her deceased parents’ house...

‘You should choose an old tea mug, not too big, not too fancy, just one you like. Fill it up with boiling water then place the leaves on top. Cover with a dish, let it sit for a few minutes while you take a shower, eat something light, maybe have a soup. In this bag there is enough for two cups, but you won't have two cups at a time, I'm giving you two trips.’

To your crazy place, Lonnie Lottie? Bertha thought.

‘When the temperature is good for you, there's no right or wrong, you sieve it into another mug and return the strawberry golden tea into the favorite one. Did I say it can't be new? It has to be one you already have, Bertha, that's really important. Then you go to bed.’

There was silence. Bertha didn't know how to answer her friends’ sweet smile. 

Lottie was filled by a mixture of pity and excitement to share her secret; it was a big step for her.

‘I should be happy tonight, then!’ Bertha finally said.

Lottie shook her head. ‘Wait ‘till I get home, have the tea tomorrow evening, it's Friday. Can you take the weekend off?’

‘I guess, but I like to work at the Met.’

‘Not this one, you'll sleep it through.’

‘For two days?’ Bertha's eyebrows raised to the roots of her hair. Like hell she'd drink that poison!

‘More or less.’

‘How do you know I'll be fine if you'll be home already?’

‘I'll know.’ Lottie said with absolute certainty, Bertha was still incredulous. ‘How long have we met?’

‘Since preschool.’

‘And will you doubt me now?’

‘How can I not? You tell me your granny was a witch, start talking in riddles, gives me a magical happiness elixir ...’

‘It's not magic, don't mix things up. When you wake up you'll be the same, but the hybrid belladama will help you see the best side of things. It's a respite, brings up the strength you don't know you have.’

‘Do you use it?’


‘How often?’

‘Once every two months. Maybe once a month if I'm not feeling fine.’

‘That's why you didn't change anything since you were left alone after your parents passed away?’

Lottie closed her eyes, smiled fondly, scrunched her nose. ‘I change a lot.’ She grinned. ‘You'll understand.’ Finally, she opened her eyes.

That night Bertha couldn't sleep because she kept the tea pack under surveillance. Lottie had helped her choose a mug and she stored the pack inside the black ceramic bowl with angel wings. 

To give her friend the impression of being attentive, she had put the mug over her books on her nightstand saying she wanted to keep such an important gift close. But in fact she started to fear the thing.

Real witchcraft? Really?

Could it be exciting?

Or just plain stupidity?