& Moira Bianchi: 9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 8 _ PART I

quinta-feira, 30 de maio de 2019

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 8 _ PART I

hi, there.
I'm back!
Long time since the last update, but now I'll post regularly until the end, as promised.

The story is complete! 

Quite lovely, surely will bring smiles and giggles to you. Wait many more rides to come, a few turns and forks in the road. Happy endings coming Bertha's way.

How about regular Wednesday posts till the end? Sounds good?
Here we go!

Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 7- part III

V- Que sera, sera _ PART I

Bertha couldn’t shake the feeling of remorse brought by Lottie’s scolding. Her parents’ house back porch door banged behind her, she winced and her shoulders fell to her feet with a realization: the feeling was the same that carried her through the teenage years. Disapproval mixed with remorse.

Janet was the best daughter, had the best grades in school, better friends, the perfect boyfriend in Chuck, the loveliest summer jobs, was always their mom’s best gal. Bertha was, well, just the other daughter. She had her father’s attention, his books and wit discussing literature; had good grades in school if the subject allowed outside-the-box answers. 

Unspoken law decided that Janet was the girly, Bertha was the practical; the older one was a sleek Merc cabriole while the younger was a sturdy Hummer. 

Remorse was a companion feeling, like it was her fault for not choosing to be as close to her mom as her sister. Because of that, her bond to her father thickened and in response, she grew a little farther from her mother. An impossible conundrum, it was.

‘Maybe belladama can find me an answer.’ Bertha whispered to herself as she walked the few blocks down Almond Lane Street to her sister’s house, not far from her parents’. ‘But Lottie doesn’t want me close…’ She shook her head.

Janet’s home was busy even in the middle of the night, it was a place that even the best physicists in the nation couldn’t explain. A loving couple, three kids, a small dog and a guinea pig, seven souls constantly restless. During a visit from the auntie who was never with them, it was mayhem!

Several minutes were spent going over the toys’ vault when Bertha sat on the floor and nodded smiling as each kid showed her the objects, explained how it worked and how much fun it brought. Then she lost a few videogame soccer matches and operated the LOL dollhouse lifts. Only then could she find her sister to chat and maybe, maybe, talk about their fashion brand.

But, as she arrived at the kitchen, her smile fueled by the kids’ enthusiasm with her presence, frustration took over. Then remorse returned. Janet was on the phone with their mother, talking happily showing great intimacy, laughing at what seemed like inside jokes. The call took long enough for Bertha to have two cups of her sister’s lame coffee.

‘Mom is loving it there at the spa!’ Janet smiled hanging up. 
‘She told me expensive hotel at the beach with Rotary Club friends. Even Aunt Pippa is there.’ 

‘Loving it! Hot tubs, pleasure walks, massages, parties! They will be staying an extra day.’ Janet opened the fridge to choose what to cook for the family’s next meal. ‘Will you stay to eat with us?’


‘We could have…’ She opened and closed the fridge doors considering her options. ‘Chicken casserole? Chilli… Too spicy for the kids, they’d need mac and cheese. Or pork chops.’

‘I’d like to take a run later; could we have something light? Meatloaf and mashed potatoes?’

‘Too easy.’ Janet shook her head. ‘That’s food for the days Chuck is out of town.’ Her attention was directed to the cabinet where she inspected cans. ‘Pork chops with heavy gravy it’ll be. How about pecan pie afterwards?’

Bertha raised her brows. ‘Can you cook all this in an hour? Wow!’
‘I have one frozen!’ Janet chuckled. ‘Mom always takes care of this for me. She fills my unexpected visits’ stock one or twice a month.’

‘Ah!’ Nails thumping on the kitchen table in rhythm for a while. ‘You know what, I’ll take that run before eating.’

‘You do that.’ Janet nodded. ‘You look good, sis! Better spend calories before consuming a few more. Call me when you step out of the shower.’

As she walked back to her parents, a doubt looped in her mind: did her sister dismiss her or did Bertha find the perfect excuse to escape Janet?

She did take the run, but the accelerated breathing and sore muscles didn’t help this time. Her feelings were jumbled. Bertha opened the fridge to fetch a bottle of water and, out of wicked curiosity, searched the freezer. Yep, the same unexpected visits’ stock Janet had. Slightly fancy desserts, the kind she sold as daily coffee sides, some the coffee shop had even discontinued to update the menu. A Mexican dinner party, carbonara sauce, sea food for a paella. How petty would be to have some of that instead of the frozen soup? 

A wicked smile and the bag of sea food was left in the kitchen sink waiting to be mixed with eggs in a healthy frittata when Bertha left the shower. 

After the shower, remorse and guilt mixed in her, she rested the sea food bag inside the fridge to defrost slowly while she mechanically took an instant soup while the belladama tea simmered and she thought what to say to her sister to bail out of the meal at her place.

Jane’s mansion was immense, the heart of a lovely northern estate that felt the change of the seasons in its rich vegetation. Bright green summers, caramel autumns, white winters and colorful springs as that one when Lizzy walked the gardens slowly, a long leaf between her fingers to keep them occupied and her mind distracted.

regency reader
Watched from afar, she seemed in perfect harmony with the greenery. Were she a goddess, she’d be a nymph, Dryades the woodnymph of trees and forests. The simple light dress, the dark spencer and frilly straw bonnet complimented her serene beauty, allowed one the rewarding pleasure of watching her assured steady pace.

If one had peace of mind to ogle the handsome nymph lurking the woods. But the price to pay was high and a true gentleman was obliged to honor such debt. 

‘Does she linger in her walks, Mrs. Bennet?’ Georgiana Darcy asked in her small voice. ‘I had a wish to be acquainted with her.’ A blush. ‘If this shall please Miss Bennet.’

‘Of course it will, my dear! I will send for Elizabeth at this moment. She has this silly idea of touring the grounds instead of being of aid for Jane and the new baby.’ Mrs. Bennet pulled the cord to summon a maid. ‘At home she does the same, I have to keep reminding her of how much her sisters need the help of a spinster.’

Georgiana averted her eyes from the old lady to her brother as he momentarily turned from the window to frown at the woman. ‘Spinster, Mrs. Bennet?’

‘My other daughters are all married.’ She twisted her hand in the air. ‘All but married. By accepting dear Charles, Jane let good marital luck enter Longbourn, that’s our estate, you know. My third daughter Mary and my youngest, Lydia, are already happily married. Kitty is engaged, she’s my second youngest. Only Elizabeth insists on being single.’ Mrs. Bennet clicked her tongue. ‘A spinster, that’s what she is.’

‘I had the thought Miss Bennet was of an age close to mine.’ Georgiana blinked trying to catch her brother’s gaze, but he again faced the window. ‘Not more than two decades of life?’

‘She is on the verge of crossing that line, my girl. In two weeks she will be a woman of one and twenty with a terrible attitude.’

The door opened and no one turned to greet the lord of the manor because they expected the summoned servant. ‘There are plenty of gentleman fighting for Lizzy’s attention, mother, I keep reminding you.’

‘Oh, Charles!’ Mrs. Bennet held her bosom. ‘You surprise us!’
Darcy turned from the window, face in a frown.

‘Couldn’t if I tried, I am too big and my happiness proceeds me.’ Bingley smiled, bowed to Georgiana and walked to Darcy offering his hand. ‘My lady and my princess sleep peacefully.’ 

‘Good Gracious.’

‘Congratulations, my friend.’ Darcy shook hands and shared a small smile with Bingley. ‘We delayed our visit to respect Mrs. Bingley’s health but I understand that we arrived in an unfortunate moment.’
‘Not at all!’ Bingley chuckled. ‘Jane rests because little Charlotte has her auntie Lizzy habit of reading the night long. They spent a good part of the evening contemplating the enchantments of a Lady’s Magazine.’

Georgiana giggled in her hands, Mrs. Bennet snorted.

‘It is never too early to educate a lady, it seems.’ Darcy pressed his eyes.

‘Exactly what Lizzy explained to me this morning!’ Bingley pointed a finger at Darcy. ‘Has she already discussed my daughter’s accomplishments with you?’

Darcy shook his head. The others could have heard him grumble ‘I am still to have this pleasure’ if Mrs. Bennet hadn’t spoken first.

‘Elizabeth should aid her sister by ruling the household, not spoiling an infant. This silly child confronts me in all possible methods. Last night I ordered the nurse to bring a pap of bread and goat milk, but she insisted Jane could care for the infant.’ A noise similar to an animalistic groan came from the woman. ‘She was nurtured with the mush of bread and water, but the head strong thinks she knows more than me who raised five, five daughters.’

‘The infant, did she take to her mother?’ Georgiana asked in a deep blush leaning closer to Mrs. Bennet. ‘Did Mrs. Bingley manage to, to…’ Several blinks. ‘Nurse the child?’

‘Yes.’ A sniff. ‘Between the three of them, they spent the night quietly. The first since we arrived days ago.’

‘This must be a joy.’ The rich girl smiled. ‘Aunt and niece must really have made a friendship.’

‘Friend to little Charlotte, huh! She tried to protest when Jane decided to honor her husband when baptizing her daughter. Probably is ashamed of the name, and she should be!’

‘Mother, amuse Miss Darcy with tales of my princess’ prodigies.’ Bingley forced a sad smile. ‘The moment she gurgles when we call her name, for example?’

‘I could but Miss Darcy has better to see the infant angel when she awakes.’ She dismissed the comment. ‘Such a lovely countenance in that handsome baby, you shall see.’ 

‘I long to, mam.’ The girl smiled. ‘But I am confused, for the late Princess Charlotte is a figure I much admire. Why would Miss Bennet feel ashamed of such a handsome name?’

‘Ah, that is a thorn in my side and that child, my second eldest, will forever vex the land wherein I dwell.’ The woman vociferated.

‘Oh, no, mamma, using the Holy Bible to complain about me again?’ Lizzy shook her head while taking off her bonnet and only realized the visitors when she raised her eyes with a hand fixing the loosen locks of her coiffeur. 

‘Miss Bennet.’ Darcy bowed immediately. It helped because lowering his face he could disguise his response to her proximity. ‘I hope you fair well.’

She curtseyed. ‘Yes, thank you, Mr. Darcy.’

‘I’m glad you remember, miss. It has been more than a year since I visited Merryton.’

‘My brothers talk freely about you, sir, albeit in much different forms.’ She kept her serenity although her temperature rose a slight degree. Was the man so handsome when she last saw him?

Darcy’s face hardened. What was close to a smile in his lips returned to a thin line. ‘By your brothers you mean husbands of your sisters, ones you have close acquaintance.’

‘Jane, Mrs. Bingley, yes, as much as the distance between her estate and Longbourn allow. We do exchange letters whenever possible. Lydia, Mrs. Wickham, I cannot say the same, she abhors long letters and the life of an officer’s wife doesn’t bring much allure to me.’

‘Because she would have too many options of husbands, that is why.’ Mrs. Bennet grumbled.

‘Allow me to introduce my sister to you.’ Darcy cut the older woman distracting them from the subject. ‘Georgiana, this is the Miss Bennet I told you about.’

‘I can only hope your brother gave you a very pretty notion of me!’ Lizzy exchanged curtseys with Georgiana. ‘We scarcely met besides my stay in Netherfield with my sister as she recovered from an illness.’

‘We danced, Miss Bennet.’ Darcy reminded her. ‘And spent evenings in social occasions more than once.’

‘Was I tolerable enough a partner, sir?’

Darcy’s breath caught, eyes locked in hers.

‘Oh, I can only believe you were a superb partner. Fitzwilliam rarely dances in balls or dinners. If he made you the honors, you must exceed in the art, Miss Bennet!’ Georgiana smiled.

‘I did try my best.’ She turned a sassy smile from the brother to the girl. ‘You see, he was mostly standing although gentlemen were scarce and more than one lady sat for several dances.’

‘Fitzwilliam…’ Georgiana sighed. ‘He could try more, Miss Bennet, I encourage him to; but my brother lacks the talent of conversing easily.’

‘Especially with those I have never seen before.’ Darcy continued. ‘As in your society.’

‘A small society, if I recall what he said.’ Lizzy looked at her mother. ‘Was it not what he said, mamma?’

‘Yes, yes. He accused us of having a confined society.’ Mrs. Bennet nodded. ‘And you reinforced his words by allowing traitor Charlotte Lucas to rob our living. There she went to Kent as Mrs. Collins, future heir of Longbourn, while you stayed single.’

‘Mamma…’ Lizzy lowered her gaze, face colored.

‘You asked why did she dislike Princess Charlotte, my dear, and this is why. She avoids the name of the woman she let steal her fiancé.’

‘I did not.’ Lizzy shook her head. ‘And we do not need to annoy Charles’ friends with this business.’ She swallowed forcefully. ‘Have you come to lay eyes on the most handsome child ever born in this land?’ A smile.

‘Yes!’ Georgiana smiled back chuckling at the manner the aunt described the baby. 

‘He proposed to you, and what did you do?’ Mrs. Bennet adjusted her cap over her hair, irate frown on her eyes. ‘What did she do, Charles?’

‘She chose to choose for her own, mother.’

‘No, no!’ She shook her finger. ‘She chose to be a stranger to one of her parents, me, the one she threw on the arms of starvation when my husband fails. I warned her the perils of letting the cousin set to inherit Mr. Bennet’s estate go, she behaved as an ungrateful child and refused Mr. Collins.’

Lizzy sat on a nearby couch and sighed. 

‘My aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourg, has a parson with that name, mam. I believe I met him in Netherfield. Could this be the same man?’ Darcy controlled his face not to show his disgust.

‘And he did marry in the previous year. I remember my aunt talking about the new Mrs. Collins.’ Georgiana said. ‘And about another union she helped, the first marriage her parson proclaimed.’

‘That was my daughter Mary, just last Easter!’ Mrs. Bennet clapped happily. ‘When visiting the Collinses, she met his deacon and accepted my advice to marry a man of the church. Lizzy was the one invited to visit Kent, but shame forbade her. Imagine visiting the home that was supposed to be hers!’ 

‘An unhappy alternative indeed…’ Lizzy grumbled. 

‘Very unfortunate.’ Darcy nodded.

Only then did she notice that he stood closer to her than to his sister. With her face turned up, she stared at him as he used to stare at her when in Meryton.

‘I was in Kent last Easter.’

Lizzy considered what could be done with that unrequired information of his.

‘No one informed me that instead of your sister, you could have been there.’

She blinked. Mary never mentioned one single ball, only two very dull visits to the mansion for tea. Did the handsome man hope to have a chance to slight her once more? Lizzy was starting to loath the man from the North. ‘I couldn’t, sir. My relations with Mrs. Collins are scarce.’

‘Did she insult you in any manner?’ He hardened his voice. ‘Was she influenced by my aunt, Lady Catherine?’

‘I couldn’t say. We are estranged.’

He nodded, clasped his hands behind his back, frowned.

She frowned as well, intrigued by his concern. However, before she could make something of such an odd reaction, his sister called her attention asking about mother and baby.

Lizzy gushed about the pretty child, how well she adapts to the world but showed a small concern for her sister’s low fever. ‘I’m sure it is due to the lack of rest; little Charlotte is proving to have a preference for owls!’

‘Maybe I could draw her a few birds, then. In a box for her baby trinkets or a chest for toys? Fitzwilliam is yet to purchase a gift for little Charlotte.’

‘What a lovely gift.’ Mrs. Bennet answered in a weak smile.
‘Oh, Jane would certainly love a box painted by you, Miss Darcy!’ Lizzy smiled. ‘Wouldn’t she, Charles?’ Silence. ‘Charles?’ The three women eyed each other. ‘Charles?’ 

‘Yes?’ Bingley turned his face from Darcy with whom he exchanged private words to look directly at Lizzy. ‘Yes!’

The women giggled, Darcy walked over to his sister and offered his hand. 

‘We’d better leave for the day.’ He helped her to her feet. ‘Another day, when Mrs. Bingley feels more rested, we can return to pay our respects.’

Georgiana seemed disappointed, but knew better than to confront her brother.

Once they left, Lizzy did not know how she felt about the visit her sister and niece received. Obviously, her mamma had disgraced any positive image she may have left in the presumptuous man’s memory, it was clear in the manner that he hurried to protect his sister from her company. The confused feelings she had towards him did not help her understanding.

She did enquire Bingley the subject of their private conversation in the drawing room, but he merely smiled shaking his head.
‘Have patience, sister. Patience and wisdom.’

‘Is that what Mr. Darcy told you, Charles? What a different form of expression for you.’

‘I am a father now; I have to learn the importance of conducting the life of a young lady.’
WW Gilchrist, 1879/1926 - Caldwell Gallery

‘And shall I be your first victim, brother?’ She raised one eyebrow, half smile in place.

‘Allow me, sister. Either me, or mother Bennet who still doesn’t forgive you for saving me from the close society of the rector.’

Lizzy sighed. Nodded. Lowered her shoulders. 

* continues *

3 comentários:

  1. Oldies but goldies >>> https://www.moirabianchi.com/2018/02/9-ways-to-live-pride-and-prejudiciously_23.html