domingo, 28 de janeiro de 2018

It’s feminism, what else?

Hello,
since yesterday I've been swimming in feminist connundrums. Or maybe just feminine doubts. I don't know, for me this seems to be a thin line that not only me but everyone seem to cross every now and then.

It started with this post \/ from an Instagram account I love.


Then, on Twitter, I found an article about how slave women and children were trained to please men on Ancient Greek. And today I read about the 'daddy stitch'.

Of course there are moments when every one - not only women - want something different. If you only get gentle love, you might want a good fuck and vice-versa. And this Insta account does have inspiring firing posts but yesterday this photo seemed wrong to me. Did I trip thinking it could be a girl being taught to ask for what a guy wanted and not what she liked?

Maybe because of this devilish logarithms that controls our lives - I do think Google already has a 'minority report' chip inside me - there came the Twitter link to the Ancient Greek's prostitutes... 

If you've been here in my blog before you know how I hate the romance novels law attesting that every woman must be conquered by a manly man who rapes her into love. It kills me. Men love and lust is not charity towards any woman, it cannot be.

But I do know real women who put up with small evil in their husbands for the sake of a comfortable life. Outdated urban legend? I wish...

That brings me to the astonishing 'daddy stitch'. Oh. My. God. I had no idea such a thing existed! What a monstrosity! The article I read said something like 'the post-partum body cannot be the end of a sexist joke'. Yes! When a woman is on her most vulnerable moment, exhausted and full of hormones, a child in her arms, tears and all, someone heartless devilishily prepares her to please her partner... It makes me want to cry.

Doesn't this sounds like something out of 'Mad men'? And no one - incuding me- wants me to begin venting on that TV show again. Right?

I had a c-section when my boy was born because of a surgery I hd had a few years before. My gynos (2 female doctors, my friends, both also pregnant at the time) didn't even consider natural birth afraid my uterus wouldn't endure the stress of labour. But I doubt they'd consider such a thing... Would they? 

I'm so shocked I considered asking them if such a thing exists here in Brazil. Instead, I talked to hubs and... Guess? He says it's a common thing, men talk about this. 'To be a girl again.' He said it's refered as that. Urgh! Such pigs!

I'm disgusted. Appalled. 

Time should be up to all these things, shouldn't it?

And this is not only done to please men, it's done to please the partner in spite of the woman because, obviously, she is an object. Fuck. Damn. Shit.

After spending time revising my first novel Friendship of a Special kind with care worrying if what those Darcy and Lizzy do could be done these days, and dreaming about loving balanced relationships, I wasn't ready to face this objectifying.

It hurts.
Right?



terça-feira, 16 de janeiro de 2018

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 5 _ PART II

hi, there.

The funny thing about JAFF is that we can play taking the characters a bit too far here and there, maybe a little off center if the story lines asks for it. In this one, Darcy is so cryptic, right?

But don't lose your faith in him! Or me...

Have you?
Oh, dear...

Let's read the last part, shall we?


Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 5 PART I
or START from CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 5
II-Big fish, difficult catch _ PART II


        From the rainy night on, Lizzy decided to ignore Darcy and his abuse. Whatever he thought or said didn’t exist to her, the prize would go to whomever the audience chose, so the best she could do was enjoy the ride. In fact, it was all she could do.

He seemed even more upset with her spontaneity; at times, the man was a caged beast pacing inside a cell. Even though he pretended to be as strongly opinionated as ever, he was different after the altercation in the deck. No one knew why or how much, but the huge handsome man did keep more to himself until the big final arrived and there were only three left: Darcy, Lizzy and Fred.


'In the Island' is a reality TV show of 16 beautiful young people isolated in a paradise like island in the Caribbean with the task of renovating a small hotel and caring for its animals. The opening said showing ‘before and after’ images of the renovated rooms. Only 3 left, it’s up to you at home to vote on the big winner of the 3 million dollars prize!

Since Anne left the day before yesterday, Lizzy and Darcy have declared truce. The disembodied voice said showing how the three remaining competitors paced the living room waiting to be called to the big deck for the live show. She has cooked for the two men, baked a cake and they even had a meal together!

‘What an improvement, huh?’ The host appeared on screen. ‘The Neanderthal guy helped the cute girl pack her stuff, carried her trunk, was a real gentleman the whole day. I could swear he was trying to say something to her, but my director disagrees. Can we show the folks at home, boss?’ He pretended to surprise the production team. ‘Oh, come on… Just that bit- Right! Watch this, folks!’

A cute video clip of Darcy and Lizzy started showing how he watched her when she was distracted, was almost always close to her and at times smiled while she laughed. As Ed Sheeran sang Shape of you, the couple played a swift cat-and-mouse game of shy smiles and doubtful looks. It was all designed to let the audience think that if they had a few days more, they’d end up together.

‘Keep voting at home, the decision is in your hands!’ The host urged the audience. ‘Don’t forget!’

No one forgot that, but people were also busy tweeting and commenting how he manipulated the girl as the competition neared the end.

#DarcyKnowsBest and #LizzyIsTheBoss alternated as the top trend hashtag, along with #EnoughHarassment. Sponsors loved the response, they all made big bucks that season: the network loved Darcy and Lizzy’s energy more than anyone did. Fred Wentworth was just dead weight in the final.

‘Hello, guys? Lizzy, Fred, William?’ The host called out and in the renovated living room the finalists looked up at the speakers as if the man was in the ceiling too. ‘Time’s up! We’re waiting for you here in the deck! Come see who wants to greet you…’

Lizzy skipped a step, she was so nervous that when Darcy tried to hold her wrist to say something, she shook him off. The last few days he decided to be a nice guy didn’t erase the three months being a jerk and she was so close to go home…


It all passed in a blur.

In a moment they arrived at the highly illuminated deck, Lizzy was engulfed in her parent’s hug, blinding lights prevented her of seeing the entire cast but her mother’s whisper arrived clear is Lizzy’s ear: ‘Internet polls say Darcy will win.’

She could have wasted time dwelling on how the jerk could win over Fred who was an adorable guy or her who had been a victim most of the time, but the show was fast tracked and she was mesmerized by the recaps on the big screen.

And a moment later – in fact it was more than an hour into the live transmission – the host called the three finalists to the center of the stage to read his rehearsed speech from the teleprompter.

Blah-blah-blah about endurance and strength and strategic playing and… ‘The winner of this season is a most deserving person, someone who can speak most decidedly what comes to mind without fear of defending the ideas that sometimes are quite… edgy.’ He paused for drama. ‘So, the winner of The island is… Lizzy Bennett!’

Her heart stopped, she felt air escape her lungs.

‘Who?’ Lizzy frowned. ‘Me?’ She looked at the three men on stage.

‘Of course you.’ She saw Darcy’s lips move. ‘That’s the whole point.’

‘What?’ She shouted.

Then came arms around her, she was tackled, carried in the air, confetti, music, champagne.


Only four hours later he saw her again. Not where he’d like to meet the enticing girl, it was in the very dark and loud club the whole cast and crew gathered to celebrate the end of the season.

Darcy was still a bit dizzy with all the attention he got once the airing ended; his sister showed him the social media accounts and introduced the public relations team. Turned out the big prize was irrelevant to him, there were already too many merchandising and VIP presence contracts waiting for his approval that’d give him twice the amount the show gave Lizzy.

He’d see to that in the following days, first he needed to talk to her without cameras following them all the time. He craved that, there was too much to be said and heard - as he saw it.

‘Hi.’

‘Huh?’ She frowned in the middle of the dance floor.

‘I’d like to talk to you.’ He smiled.

‘No, thanks.’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Haven’t you assaulted me enough?’

Darcy frowned, shook his head tilting it down to try to hear her. ‘What?’

‘I said, leave me alone!’ She snorted. ‘Jerk!’

‘I need to talk to you, have to explain why I chose that way to give you the prize.’ He pressed a smile in answer to the funny face she pulled. ‘Please.’ He held her arm and pointed at the balcony.

Lizzy shook her arm free but walked in the general direction he pointed. ‘Speak.’ She barked when they arrived where she could hear her own voice. Over his shoulder, she could see other people interested in their conversation.

‘Congratulations!’ He gave her a charming smile.

She nodded.

‘I knew you would win.’

‘Really?’

‘You were the best competitor; I saw it from the beginning.’

‘I’m a big catch, big fish, whatever.’

Darcy raised his brows. ‘You heard me?’ She shrugged. ‘I meant it as a compliment.’

‘I don’t think so. You said it with contempt as you treated me these last three and a half months. I endured your harassment and assault with politeness but I’m not obliged to do it anymore. I may as well send you to hell right now.’

‘Calm down, babe.’

‘Don’t babe me!’ She raised her voice.

He raised his hands. ‘Sorry. I apologize if I went over the line at times, it was necessary to make sure people saw your value. You’re such a great girl, so beautiful and funny. I couldn’t just date you, the rakes of the cast had noticed your charms too, a simple male pissing game would make you cheap. The best way to defend and put you on good term with the audience at the same time was to act as if I wasn’t at all moved.’

She blinked and blinked and blinked for a few moments. ‘But you were?’ An adorable frown. ‘Moved by me?’

‘I’m in love with you, babe.’ He smiled. ‘Of course you noticed. Half the internet is talking about it.’

‘You’re pulling my leg!’ Lizzy shook her head and tried to pass him by. ‘Jerk, super jerk!’

‘Hey!’ He held her arm again. ‘Wait, we have a lot to talk.’

‘No, we don’t!’ She again shook her arm but this time he didn’t let go. ‘This is bullshit! You hate me, even called me a whore!’

‘I most certainly didn’t.’

‘Just did now!’

‘Quite the opposite.’

‘I heard you when you said I had better means to loot easy money.’

‘By dating me, I have money.’

‘Damn you.’ She pushed him. ‘Let me go!’

‘Now we don’t have any more cameras following us, babe. We can be together, can say how much we want each other.’ He smiled lovingly and tried to hug her.

Lizzy pushed his chest with more force. ‘Don’t dare touching me.’

He stopped.

‘I hate you, you’re a jerk. If you have money, you had nothing to do in a reality show with people who did need and want that money. These last months you made my life a living hell, I want you to disappear.’ There was fierceness in her voice. ‘I’m not kidding, don’t misunderstand me. You are the last man on Earth I’d date. I never ever will go out with you.’

As she left him alone in the balcony, Darcy sadly realized there were cameras on them,  cell phones from people attending the party.


‘What can you be doing?’ Georgiana gushed entering the hotel suite living room at eight in morning. ‘It’s so early, I thought you’d still be in bed after sleeping with so many roommates for so long!’

Her brother groaned. ‘I’ll go soon, are you leaving?’ Darcy said without raising his eyes from the laptop.

‘Gym.’

‘Hang a ‘do not disturb’ sign, will you?’ He asked. ‘And when you return, make sure the envelope I’ll leave at the table reach Lizzy.’

‘Lizzy the winner?’

‘Yes.’

‘Why?’

‘I need to explain a few things to her.’

‘In paper, like a letter?’ Georgiana asked horrified. ‘Why don’t you send it to her by e-mail, instant message, private mail or something?’

That caught his attention. ‘How do I find out her contacts?’

‘Social media?’ The sister rolled her eyes.

‘She won’t accept my friendship request.’

‘She doesn’t need to, only needs to accept the messages exchange.’

He groaned thinking it was the same. ‘Right. Go work out, Georgiana.’

When she did leave, he considered that sending it to her online was a little more secure than sending a letter that could easily end up in the wrong hands.

All he had to do was try.


It took Lizzy two months to notice Darcy’s request to private messaging because she now was famous, had thousands of followers, appeared in many TV shows and parties.

Once she did notice his name and the date his request was sent, she needed two more weeks to gather interest to read whatever it was he wanted to say.

After reading it, she was floored. So astonished, she didn’t know what to do and decided to not do anything. ‘Let time tell.’ The new millionaire whispered to herself, heart pounding.


‘Hey, hey, hey!’ The TV show gushed hopping in front of the camera. ‘Good night and welcomed to Late night at home with the stars.’ She paused to hear the audience applaud. ‘Tonight we’ll have many guests including the last ‘In the Island’ winner, Lizzy Bennett!’ More applauds, some cheering. ‘She is a dear, that’s for sure. She is about to start a career as special reporter for a famous show searching interesting facts in university life!’ Applauds and cheers again. ‘And we’ll have big surprises for her tonight!...’ She fake whispered to the camera in a conniving smile. ‘Please welcome Lizzy, folks!’
Lizzy entered from the side doors looking very cute in ripped jeans and a white off shoulder ruffle crop top that looked very chic with her high heels and big smile. ‘Hi! Thanks for having me!’

‘It’s our pleasure, honey!’ The girl gushed. ‘This show loves you, don’t we?’ The host asked and the audience went wild. ‘For six months we’ve been trying to lure you in, but you never find time for us…’ A pout.

‘I know!’ Lizzy laughed. ‘It’s been crazy! There’s so much to do, commitments, places to go, fans!...’

‘Parties…’

Lizzy laughed again. ‘Yes, parties!’

‘Tell me how are you spending all that cash!’ The host pointed the big sofa and the two girls sat on their legs talking as if there wasn’t a big audience or cameras and crew in front of them.

‘Didn’t have a chance to start yet.’

The audience made a sad sound.

‘I’ve been so busy… But I decided that at least half of the money will go to a fund to help people through school. I can offer low loan rates, scholarships and such. It’s not much, I know, but I want to do it.’

‘I think it’s great.’

‘Thanks.’

‘And have you been in touch with the other contestants?’

Lizzy pulled a face, shook her head, mind in a quick trip to a certain jerk and back. ‘Not really. But I do bump into the girls at parties. I’d like to meet a few of them more often, though.’

‘Who for example?’ The host insisted bringing a mug to her lips. The show was supposed to fake a small apartment where she hosted friends to chat, so she was at home.

In a slow shoulder lift, Lizzy tried to avoid answering. ‘I spent a lot of time with them and suddenly, boom! Hardly see their faces.’ But the other girl kept a sassy look pressing for a straighter answer. ‘Some people I left edges to trim.’

‘Ah!...’ A grin. ‘I do have something for you to see…’

‘Really?’ Lizzy felt a weird twist in her stomach. That show had big audience; the PR people pointed by the network to help her seemed to be deliberately delaying her participation for some reason. She was probably about to find out why.

‘We have exclusive images of the last ‘In the island’ season, something only the lucky people who had pay-per-view and were very smart noticed…’ The host grinned.

‘Should I be afraid?’

Laughter.

‘Guess not.’ The host giggled. ‘I think you’ll love to see this… Twitter has been discussing these images as an urban legend for the last six months and now we´ll make it clear.’

‘Oh, dear…’ Lizzy groaned.

‘Now!’

The studio went dark, a big screen appeared at the back of the living room and Lizzy’s face appeared. It was the first day of ‘In the island’, she was happy and a bit keyed up; shortly after she was making friends with everybody except Darcy. From then on, the video clip was centered on them. The fights, the attacks and… A plethora of things Lizzy had absolutely no idea he did for her: cleaning the shells from the shore before she took her runs, preparing the tools she’d need to accomplish her share of the renovation work, collecting clothes she forgot drying out, picking her favorite fruits from the orchard.

When the lights dimmed back, she had shining eyes.

His words from the private message swam in her head: I’m in love with you, it was an act, I wanted the audience to notice you.

‘Surprised?’ The host whispered.

‘Astonished.’ Lizzy whispered back.

‘What would you say to him? Maybe he is watching, the show is live you know…’

The fact that the audience was completely silent didn’t seem weird to Lizzy.

‘I’d say a million things. There’s so much to ask and to adjust and maybe I could ask him out…’

‘I will say yes.’ Came the rich voice and the audience exploded in cheers.

Lizzy turned, almost bumped her nose in his chest for he was very close and jumped to hug his shoulder.

‘I’m sorry.’ He whispered hugging her back, very strongly. ‘I thought you understood me and played along so we both could be among the finalists.’

‘I hated you.’

‘I adored you since the beginning.’

‘Can we talk?’

‘We can be together.’ He moved his head to reach her lips. ‘If you want.’

‘I do.’
instagram

An inch to touch lips, he noticed cameras and used his hands to hide her face for enough moments to share a quick kiss. ‘I hate cameras.’ He breathed, she giggled. ‘Let’s go.’

As the couple tried to leave the stage, the host held Lizzy’s hand and the girl stood stretched to the cheering of the audience both in the studio and at home. Internet was wild with the hashtag #DarcyAndLizzyForever.

‘Wait!’ The host complained. ‘The interview is not over!’

Picquery
‘Yes, it is.’ Darcy barked.

‘No, Mr. Darcy.’ The host stomped and inadvertently knocked the side table. The black mug tumbled and fell on the floor breaking in several pieces.

---


Bertha opened her eyes slowly and sighed smiling from ear to ear.

That had been a funny one.

Reality TV, ha!

Pity she woke up in that part… She had the sensation of what was in the letter, but wanted to hear the handsome man explain why he had made her feel so aggravated. And excited – if she was being honest with herself. His arms felt wonderful, she could easily get lost in those…

What they could do alone without cameras, huh?

The next ten minutes Bertha spent thinking about having a full dose of the magical tea.


...continues...

terça-feira, 9 de janeiro de 2018

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 5 _ PART I

hi, there.

Happy new year!

Here I bring you a new chapter for this crazy fanfic, one that i started last year (haha) and only finished now... 

As expected, the belladama tea is messing up with Bertha. Maybe with me too... How much? A lot!

Ready to giggle away?

Let's go!


Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 4 PART II
or START from CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 5
II-Big fish, difficult catch _ PART I


        Even small changes could make huge waves.


The Belladama tea trips always pictured her in shape but she was a bit chubby, had been for a few years since college actually.

After the first try, she almost gave up the idea of running, it seemed too hard.

Bertha looked at her image on the floor mirror and thought how she let herself get so out of shape... Working at the coffee shop, she had access to an unlimited supply of French toast and cupcakes, mochas and whipped cream; that must have been it. Funny how things got out of hand and you got used to the downfall.

Again, her older sister Janet came to her mind and she decided to quit avoiding the call.

"Hey, stranger!" She got it on the second ring.

"Hi, Janet. How are you doing?"

"Fine, the kids are all ok too. Missing their auntie..."

"You know, I was really thinking about visiting-"

"Yay!"

Bertha thought the reaction was too enthusiastic to a simple visit from a sister who lived a few hours away. "Janet?"

"I'm watching Big Brother on TV. Are you following this season? This cast keep messing everything up, what a bunch of crazy people!"

"No, I don't watch reality TV..." Bertha groaned. "I called just to chat. Is it a bad time?"

"Of course not, but you could have waited a bit."

Bertha sighed. "It's nothing important, I was just musing... Have you ever thought about how different your life could be if you haven't gotten pregnant right after high school?"

"What a funny idea! Chuck had already proposed before prom, we had decided community college was good enough for him. I was going to try nursing school... We had everything settled."

"I know you don't regret the kids or marrying Chuck early, that's not the point."

"What is the point, then?"

"We had that project, remember? The funky prints for t-shirts that sold pretty well, but we had to give it up because the babies kept you too busy."

"Oh! That was fun... But we worked a lot and only made pennies..."

"You had talent for fashion, Janet."

"That's what they keep telling me at the PTA meetings when I bring the new ideas for kids' soccer uniforms and all..."

"It's a pity, Janet. You could resume creating pretty stuff."

"Besides pretty kids?" A chuckle.

Bertha responded the chuckle for what it was, a nervous one. "Yeah. You could work on something of your own. I don't know. Just saying."

Her sister seemed to consider the matter for a few seconds. "This idea came out of nowhere?"

"I dreamt of it, actually."

"A dream?"

"Yep." Bertha smiled. "I dreamt we had a small business, fashion."

"Oh, my... How fun! Were we good at it?"

"Pretty good, yes." For a moment, she considered having belladama again that night. "Look, I’ll try to take the weekend off by the end of the month so I can spend time home. Maybe we could try to talk about this?"

"A business?"

"Why not?"

"Wow, Bertha!..." Janet chuckled. ‘Chuck?’ She called out. ‘Listen to what Bertha is talking about!...’


Bertha had her heart thumping, it was like that lately. Every time she decided that night was the night, her emotions started to run wild.

To calm her anxiousness, she went for a run along the river; her first try for 4 miles. Breathless, sweating buckets, surely 500 calories burned and she knew her heart sped for the Belladama fix.

As she slowly walked home, she realized it had been pure silliness: why did she waste time running instead of having the tea right after work?

For several reasons, really. She’d be off for a few days and it was better to run before that, to spend pent up energy, to control anxiety, to delay gratification.

At home, as the witchcraft tea simmered, she took a good shower, blow-dried her hair, and with tiny sips Bertha finished the previous day fruit salad with the single yogurt in her fridge.

First trip in her new persona, the ‘fit Bertha’. She chuckled at her own irony as the yawning started to take her away.

---

An island, white sand and deep blue sea, emerald green trees in a lovely garden, a big gorgeous building with an enormous pool, deck, tree house, tool shed, a small animal farm, everything surrounded by tall walls disguised as thick shrubs.

Two months already, her skin was tanned as golden syrup, muscles toned from the work renovating the old hotel and the long runs by the shore, swimming every day, sports.

'Lizzy!' The TV host’s disembodied voice called out.

'Yes?' She smiled.

The hotel living room was filled with half the Reality TV show's cast, the ones left after the game had reached its second third part. Everyone seemed tense, but she tried to keep cool.

'Another week, huh? Nervous about today's voting session?'

'A lot!' She laughed. 'I hate helicopters.'

Around the room, everyone chuckled.

'Either you or Fanny will fly home tonight, the helicopter is already waiting, honey.' The host pressed an apologetic smile. 'I'm sorry to say.'

'Well, Larry, if people at home think it's my turn to go home...' Lizzy raised her shoulders. 'But I'd rather it'd be Fanny!'

'No!' The mousy girl with amazing green eyes shouted and everyone laughed. 'I'd rather you go, traitor!'

They all laughed aloud.

'It's that I'm afraid of flying, Fanny!...' Lizzy joked.

'You can swim all the way to the continent!' Fanny answered in the same good humored tense joke.

Both girls were side by side on the couch, had been good friends since the show started - in fact, Lizzy had made friends with everyone except the tall, dark and handsome MD William Darcy who had seen something in the cute tomboy girl that made him extremely uncomfortable.

'You girls know it's up to the audience to decide which one goes home, right?' The host asked, they sobered up and nodded. 'And Lizzy this week had to face the ire of our noble doctor... For a simple game of truth or dare, the discussion you two had was pretty intense...'

'Oh, I don’t care about the things he says...' She smiled sideways very saucily resisting the urge to look Darcy's way and blow the idiot a raspberry. 'Why should I?' A shrug.

'He made serious accusations to you.' The host insisted, it was his job to take the cast out of their comfort zone.

The camera showed Darcy's face for the first time, it was stoic. Serious, handsome, almost irate. No one could know what he was thinking but the moment he appeared; the show's hashtag went sky-high on Twitter. #DarcyKnowsBest #DarcyInTheIsland

'Well, there’s that saying.' Lizzy continued. 'The stones you throw at me I use to build the castle of your ignorance.'

A new hashtag appeared #LizzyIsTheBoss.

The host raised his eyebrows, the other cast members chuckled. 'Oohhh...'

Focus on Darcy’s surprised face, still stoic. Inside he was boiling in anger.

'What do you have to say, William?'

'That I’m right, she just wants camera attention.'

There was silence for a moment. Thick uncomfortable silence.

'You know, Larry?' Lizzy’s smile didn’t falter. 'I think that’s exactly what he wants and chose me to use as ladder.'

There was cheering in the room, other contestants agreeing and a few booing.

'If he wants to use me instead, he’s welcomed!' A willowy redhead, Caroline, said earnestly.

'We all know that, darling!' The host joked, there was embarrassed laughter and the focus returned to the studio. 'Let’s remember the navy party Fred Wentworth formally asked to date Anne and Caroline used Darcy’s shoulder as hanger. That was when he first noticed Lizzy as she spent the night dancing with Wickham and Willoughby. What a party that was, right folks?'

Flashback footage showed a gorgeous celebration with lavish decoration, a huge table filled with delicious food and colorful drinks, the cast of beautiful young people wore scant wardrobe of sailors and nurses in the hopes many would repeat the famous ‘Times Square kiss’, which they did.

By the corner, watching the party, Darcy grabbed a beer and avoided getting involved in the mess of laughter and dancing. It was one of the first events of the season, the crew didn't know much about the cast and it took them a while to notice his attention wasn't on the willowy redhead making a huge effort to seduce him. Darcy's frown was always directed to a cute girl among all the belles selected to parade in bikinis for three months, he seemed to silently criticize what Lizzy did, how she danced, how loud she laughed, how much she drank, nothing escaped his eagle stare.

Charles, a congenial blonde engineer, tried to get Darcy to join the fun to no avail. The taller man shook his head, snorted, and sipped his beer. 'You waste your energy in this silly party and tomorrow when the alarm wake us up at seven in the morning to tend the animals; your tired body will charge you the prize.'

'Come on, man! Have some fun! Many hot girls, good food... Have you checked the brunettes? Lizzy, Jane, Emma?...' Charles whistled. 'Hard to choose which one to fall for!'

'Choose Jane, the one who smiles too much. She has an easier attitude. Emma has too much spirit and Lizzy is not for you.'

'Excuse me?' Charles chuckled.

'She's a big fish, one needs to be an accomplished fisherman to catch her.'

'Like you, I suppose?'

Darcy shrugged. 'I'm here to win; she seems to want the 3 million too.' He pressed his eyes to slits. 'But while I don’t betray myself, she's trying to seduce the camera forcing happiness and spontaneity.'

'How can spontaneity be forced?' Charles doubted. ‘You’re crazy.’

Darcy’s sight returned to her, as always. 'Watch her.'

Big letters showed up on screen: He does watch her, a lot!

All the time, closed caption rolled on the foot of the screen saying: Remember to vote! It’s up to you to bring Fred back to the game. Either he or Tilney can come back to try for the big prize of 3 million dollars with our 2 finalists!

The last take before the show’s opening credits was of Lizzy overhearing the guy’s conversation.

Tikehau AFAR Media
'In the Island' is a reality TV show of 16 beautiful young people isolated in a paradise like island in the Caribbean with the task of renovating a small hotel and caring for its animals. The opening said. Only 10 left, tension sizzles and they are ready for the decision of this week's captain.

'And the week started with big trouble indeed.' The host pulled a face. 'It was meant to be a simple truth or dare night, but Darcy's ever growing anger towards Lizzy spun out of control last night. Let's watch it.'

When the cast arrived at the patio, they found small stools around the bonfire and notes explaining the game. There was laughter and embarrassed chuckles as Emma dared Elinor to quote a love poem to Edward, then Marianne dared Willoughby to be romantic as well, next the bottle pointed at Darcy.

Lizzy sighed, swallowed with difficulty. The reason why that man seemed so intent on her was a mystery, it was obvious he was rich and would never look twice to a simple undergrad like she was. But the guy seemed to be everywhere around her, always had a harsh word to criticize the way she painted walls or mended fences. If he had a chance to dare someone to do something, it was obvious she'd be his target.

'I dare Lizzy to be honest.' Darcy said, she rolled her eyes. 'For once, I'd like her to be herself.'

'I am, all the time.' She said calmly. 'Sorry if you don't like who I am.'
'People told me that to win a reality show, I should seem very open, smile and laugh a lot, make friends with everyone, care for animals if there were any, dance and sing and be happy all the time.' Darcy explained in an emotionless voice. 'You do everything like it's a list you’re following.' Lizzy raised her eyebrows. 'It's all fake, no one can be happy all the time!' He pointed at her.

'This is me, I'm not forcing anything.'

'You are!'

'You just met me, how can you think you are so sure about who I am?'

'It's obvious, you're artificial! It's the money you want.'

'I do need the money, my family is not rich, I have many sisters and am an undergrad. The money would be a big help. But I'm not faking anything!'

'You're chasing the camera all the time, Lizzy. Admit it.'

'Why do you care so much?'

'Because you dupe the audience.'

She was left tongue-tied. Who gave this man authority over her to say such horrible things on national TV? Lizzy thought that it was useless to carry the petty discussions with the crazy man and to kill his attacks with a superior attitude she stood, took a hibiscus flower from the nearby tree and offered to him.

Her gesture took Darcy by surprise. He blushed, fumed, his heart sped, he didn't know what to do.

'Please.' Lizzy insisted pushing the flower closer to his face. 'Peace.'

Everyone's cheers closed the issue and the subject, but his interest on her only augmented.


To the audience, the handsome doctor carried an earnest aura. On twitter, his crazy ideas were repeated as the absolute truth so Lizzy was considered untrustworthy, a person who did anything to win the big prize.

To the other half of the audience, and it grew with each vicious attack he aimed at her, she was a victim of harassment. A cute girl, spontaneous and fun-loving that unfortunately triggered the attention of a man she didn't want - to them it was clear he had tried to dance with her on the nurse/sailor party and she preferred to spend time with Wickham who was much more agreeable than Darcy.

There in the island, she made it her goal not to fall under pressure and kept her plan to make the best of spending as much time as she could at the place. Hopefully she’d be amongst the final three and the prize would be big enough to pay for her university. With her education in mind, Lizzy still danced every time a good tune blared in the sound system – even if she was brushing her teeth; still laughed out loud with the new friends she was making, still ran by the shore after lunch skipping steps to avoid the many shells the waves brought to adorn the white sand.

At home, the audience kept anxiously waiting the moment he would do something outrageous to her although he never did, his reaction was to watch from the shadows with contempt, show his overall disapproval by the aloofness he treated her presence.

Twitter went berserk the day the cast was given the task of painting the hotel living room and for some reason Lizzy and Darcy alone had to take care of the huge ceiling managing paintbrushes and rollers in extension poles. For the whole time he was silent as if there was no one with him while she tried to chat a couple of times. At the end of the adventure, Lizzy was so frustrated that instead of taking a regular shower she walked to the beach, ditched her t-shirt and swam for a good hour. Darcy watched her from the balcony the whole time.

That night at dinner there were a couple of her favorite fruits waiting for her to have as dessert. She didn’t know who picked them up, but the audience saw a tall, dark silhouette in the orchard.

It was then that the TV show director noticed Darcy was playing a weird game. He kept disapproving the girl publicly, but when the cameras were not directly on him, he was attentive to her. ‘Put a slave camera on the guy and one on her.’ He ordered in the production weekly meeting. ‘There’s a story there.’

‘Should they make a clip during a minute or two in the Sunday special edition?’ The assistant asked.

‘No. Save it, one day we’ll find use for this story.’

From that point on, with Lizzy, the audience grew each time more confused because small things started to change in her days. When she ran, there were few shells on the sand; the path she used to take for the orchard was almost always cleaned; her bikinis were never forgotten on the clothes-line.

Still other things continued the same. Like a cat afraid of water, every time Darcy was close she expected the worse. One day he was having breakfast in the big opened kitchen when she woke up and as she took a seat to eat, he mumbled a half-hearted apology and left. Another day, in what was supposed to be a funny game of coexistence, he created a major awkwardness by refusing to play soccer on her team and being extremely competitive to make sure she lost.

There were times she wanted to give up, ask to go home and be done with the psychological pressure he put on by treating her like an enemy for no reason. But she kept strong.

By the last month, most of her friends had been sent home, including Fanny, Emma, Wickham and Jane. Six competitors left, her education seemed almost within her reach, Lizzy avoided crying as she dressed in the stupid Tiki costume with Anne and Charlotte in the big bedroom. There was no sign of Darcy and Caroline and deep down Lizzy hoped they were shagging somewhere because happy people didn’t bother annoying anyone else.

The Polynesian luau was magnificent, the most gorgeous party so far. The setting was superb as always. Torches, a big table of incredible finger food, drinks in coconuts, plenty of beer and as the previous parties; this one revealed an area of the hotel the cast should renovate following the construction crew instructions: the patio deck.

Amazing place, sea breeze, hula skirt with flower crowns, sipping a strong Coconut Martini, Lizzy was enjoying the party for once forgetting about the dark menace Darcy’s disapproval presented.

Dancing to the good themed music with Charlotte and Anne, she smiled at Charles approaching them.

‘Thinking about all the work we’ll have sanding this deck, girls?’ He joked.

‘Let’s not think about work tonight, Charles!’ Anne pointed up. ‘Such a pleasant evening.’

‘Cloudy.’ Charlotte sighed. ‘But I love the weather.’

‘It’s because Mr. Sour is far from everybody.’ Lizzy laughed. ‘That’s why the party is so nice!’

‘He’s actually a nice guy...’ Anne pressed her lips.

‘Very intelligent, always seems to guess who the audience will choose to eliminate.’ Charles agreed. ‘Except when it comes to you, Lizzy.’ He grinned. ‘You put the guy in short circuit!’

They laughed but Lizzy frowned. ‘How come? Hardly talked to him since we arrived here... Our conversations are fights.’

‘Almost always about silly things.’

‘That he starts!’ Lizzy defended himself. ‘I never pick up a fight.’

‘There is someone arriving…’ Charles walked to the edge of the deck. ‘There, in a boat…’

‘Can’t be him.’ Lizzy mumbled. ‘We’re not allowed to leave.’

‘It’s not William.’ Anne whispered. ‘It’s Fred! I can’t believe, it’s my Fred! He returned!’

The girl ran to the beach, the others cheered but before they could further discuss the issue; there was a big thunder and rain started with such violence as to wash away the shore.

‘Hey!’ Lizzy shouted laughing. ‘Come back! Why are you afraid of a little rain?’ She insisted but the other girls and Charles bolted to the covered area that hosted the food and drink tables, as well as the fireplace in deep need of renovation. ‘Ninnies!’

In the pouring rain, it seemed impossible not to smile and dance, so she did. There wasn’t anything in her mind besides the joy of the moment, the fat drops washing away her makeup, destroying her grass hula skirt and just when she took away the flower crown, he appeared.

Tall and dark and hot and impassive and disapproving.

She didn’t stop dancing, he didn’t step into the rain, they merely stared at each other as if carrying a stare contest. Darcy was the one to cave in first.

‘That’s why the cameras love you.’

‘I know!’ Lizzy laughed. ‘I’m a happy person.’

‘You don’t need to make this effort.’

‘No effort at all!’

‘Dancing in the rain alone almost naked.’ He tilted his head. ‘You’re a beautiful girl, I’d say it won’t be hard for you to loot a good prize, you don’t need to win this show.’

That stopped her. ‘What do you imply?’

‘Exactly what I said.’

‘I heard you imply I’m cheap and available to anyone who can afford.’

He raised his brows.

She walked closer to him, finger pointing at his nose. ‘I’ve put up with your shit for long enough, William, because I think you’re a sad little man but you’ve got to respect me. I’m not for sale, never have given you any indication of this!’

‘You’re almost naked, Lizzy. We’re alone here - aside from the cameras, of course. I can only think you premeditated this situation, the others have gone inside but you stayed so I’d come to get you.’ He gave her a once over. ‘I’m here, you look amazing, all you have to do is get closer still.’

‘Sorry?’

‘Isn’t it what you want? I’d guarantee you a place in the final three.’

‘I cannot believe what you’re saying…’

‘That I know you want a romantic night to gather more votes from the audience? It’s obvious, the only thing you haven’t done yet.’

She was outraged. ‘I’d never shag you!’  

‘It’d be a pleasure, you’re very pretty.’ He pointed at her skirt. ‘What’s left of these clothes don’t leave much to my imagination.’

‘You’re a jerk!’ If she could, she would punch his face; but he was too tall and strong. ‘My clothes entice you? Here are news for you, pal: I don’t care for your opinion!’ Enraged, she took off the rest of the hula skirt and threw at his feet. ‘What now? Only my bikini and coconut bra? Do I seem cheap to you?’ A challenge. ‘You can’t have me, never will!’

Something in her voice and her expressive eyes made him understand that his actions had gone a bit far, but there was too much at stake. ‘I could answer but this is not really for me, is it? You took off your skirt to show off. Cameras will love this.’

A groan came from deep down her throat. ‘Jerk!’

The discussion broke the internet that night.

---

From the rainy night on, Lizzy decided to ignore Darcy and his abuse. Whatever he thought or said didn’t exist to her, the prize would go to whomever the audience chose, so the best she could do was enjoy the ride. In fact, it was all she could do.

He seemed even more upset with her spontaneity; at times, the man was a caged beast pacing inside a cell. Even though he pretended to be as strongly opinionated as ever, he was different after the altercation in the deck. No one knew why or how much, but the huge handsome man did keep more to himself until the big final arrived and there were only three left: Darcy, Lizzy and Fred.