segunda-feira, 29 de julho de 2019

SANDITON: o museu de grandes novidades de Jane Austen

Olá!
Com a campanha de divulgação da minissérie SANDITON a todo vapor, eu parei para ler o manuscrito com atenção que a última obra de Jane Austen merece. Pela primeira vez li tudinho na sequência,  marcando partes interessantes e buscando referências.


Só vejo os 'six inches deep in mud' das saias de Charlotte! - pic to twitter
Dá uma pena por ser tão curtinha...

O capítulo 12 ficou pela metade, mal vimos o famoso Sidney de quem havíamos ouvido contar pelo irmão mais velho como era bem humorado e espirituoso e debochado. 
Do Capítulo 4, tradução livre minha. Mr. Parker fala do irmão.
"... Sidney diz qualquer coisa, você sabe. Ele sempre disse o que quer, de e para todos nós. A maioria das famílias tem um desses membros, creio eu, senhorita Heywood. Há alguém, na maioria das famílias, privilegiado por habilidades superiores ou espíritos para dizer qualquer coisa. Na nossa, é Sidney, que é um rapaz muito inteligente e com grandes poderes de agradar. Ele vive demais no mundo para se sossegar; essa é sua única falha. Ele está aqui e ali e em todo lugar. Eu gostaria que pudéssemos levá-lo para Sanditon. Eu gostaria de ter você familiarizada com ele. E seria uma coisa boa para o lugar! Um jovem como Sidney, com sua equipage elegante e ar da moda."
Do capítulo 5
"...Sidney é um sujeito atrevido, senhorita Heywood. E você deve saber, ele vai ter uma boa dose de imaginação das queixas das minhas duas irmãs."

um Austen hero com o vozeirão de Theo James!...
Mas li em algum lugar - nem sei mais aonde, porque já li um monte de mil coisas - que Charlotte Heywood terá um romance apimentado com o 'brooding' Sidney. Péra! Brooding, carrancudo, é Mr. Darcy! Sidney deveria ser felizinho como Tilney. Mas no trailer...
e lutando em mangas de camisa!... Aff!

E a família Heywood vive de plantar hay, feno. 
H-A-Y. 
H-E-Y-wood.
Talvez sugerisse que era roceira, matuta, simplória, facilmente impressionável? Como Catherine Morland de Northanger Abbey?...

Também não conhecemos pessoalmente Miss Lambe, a rica herdeira mulata das Índias.


Sim, Austen usou a palavra 'mulatto'.
Como é que é?...
Sim, Miss Charlotte. Jane Austen era phodona desde 1700 e vovó mocinha!


Do Capítulo 11, tradução livre minha
"...Miss Lambe era fora da comparação, a mais importante e preciosa (para a escola interna que as levava para Sanditon), pois pagava em proporção de sua fortuna. Ela tinha cerca de dezessete anos, meio mulata, pouco amistosa e frágil, tinha uma criada própria, deveria receber o melhor quarto na casa alugada e sempre foi a primeira preocupação em todos os planos da Sra. Griffiths (dona da escola)."
O termo usado por Austen é 'half mulatto', mulata clara, morena escura, menina mulher da pele negra, marrom bombom, pele dourada, nós Brazucas.
Mas Miss Lambe é 'a rich West Indian from Surrey' (capítulo 5) e eu achei mapas do início do século XIX mostrando que as Índias Ocidentais iam do que hoje é a Venezuela até a Flórida. Então, era área de nativos, indígenas, primeiros habitantes, local altamente colonizado. Havia muita miscigenação.
maps of the west indies

Nem é novidade pra ninguém que adoro Cazuza, a poesia dele ainda é super atual pra mim. Um museu de grandes novidades me parece ser uma ótima descrição para o que Andrew Davies, o roteirista uó de O&P 95, está preparando para nós.


Erotismo nos homens de Austen
Sim, por favor!
Sei que tem gente que não gosta, mas eu adoro! Acho que Austen dizia muito nas entrelinhas , nos olhares de Darcy e Wentworth, nas reprimendas de Knightley e corredores escuros de Northanger Abbey com Tilney.
No capítulo 12, que é quando tudo parece que ia começar a acontecer mesmo, quando Sidney chega em Sanditon de surpresa, Charlotte vê isso: (tradução livre minha, again)
"...A Srta. Brereton estava sentada, aparentemente com muita compostura - e Sir Edward Denham ao seu lado.
Eles estavam sentados tão perto um do outro e pareciam tão envolvidos em conversa íntima que Charlotte instantaneamente sentiu que não tinha nada a fazer senão recuar e não dizer uma palavra. A privacidade era certamente o seu objetivo. Não podia senão golpeá-la desfavoravelmente em relação a Clara (Brereton); mas a dela era uma situação que não deve ser julgada com severidade.

Ela ficou feliz em perceber que nada fora discernido pela Sra. Parker. Se Charlotte não fosse consideravelmente a mais alta das duas, as fitas brancas da Srta. Brereton poderiam não atraído seus olhos mais atentos. Entre outros pontos de reflexão moralizadora que a visão desse tête-à-tête produziu, Charlotte não pôde deixar de pensar na extrema dificuldade que os amantes secretos devem ter para encontrar um local apropriado para seus encontros roubados. Ali, talvez, eles se considerassem tão perfeitamente seguros da observação; todo o campo aberto diante deles, um banco íngreme e empalidece nunca cruzado pelo pé do homem em suas costas, e uma grande espessura de ar para ajudá-los também! No entanto, aqui ela os tinha visto. Eles eram realmente mal utilizados."

O roteirista já disse que isso será uma cena de sexo. Eita!
Do Telegraph: 'No texto original de Austen, Charlotte espia Denham e uma personagem feminina que parecia "envolvida em uma conversa delicada." Davies transformou isso em uma cena de sexo que terá puristas buscando os sais aromáticos. A cena “risqué” é um lembrete de que o sexo era tão prevalente no século 19 quanto é agora, mas nós erroneamente imaginamos que as pessoas da época eram “muito boas e muito castas para fazer tais coisas”.
"Obviamente, as pessoas enfrentaram todo tipo de travessura".
As cenas nuas de banho seguem as aparições sem camisa de Aidan Turner em Poldark e Tom Bateman em Beecham House.' 

Ainda bem que vários livros da série Cupidos em Devon já estão escritos e registrados na Biblioteca Nacional EDA, ou alguém poderia achar que Austen anda me inspirando mais do que o normal! 
Austen heros tendo encontros às escondidas na floresta quando o cânon diz 'muita compostura', banhos desnudos, lutas... Aff!
Já falei da voz de Theo James?


O Duque Negro de JQuinn
Historicamente incorreto! 
Alguém disse. 
Nem sei quem... 
Mas, lembra daquele raciocínio sobre o tamanho dos pintos em romances? Ninguém quer saber da verdade verdadeira. Por que na verdade verdadeira, mulheres no século XIX não tinham direito a nada e somente algumas poucas tinham alguma chance de ficar com seu próprio dinheiro como Lady Denham aqui de Sanditon. Na maioria, como todas as outras daqui mesmo, iam das mãos dos pais para as mãos dos maridos, para as mãos dos irmãos e rezando para serem homens bons.
A gente já vive a verdade verdadeira...
A crônica da CBilson defende esta visão e mais: fala da hipótese de Bingley negro. Como ele seria aceito por Mrs. Bennet?
EspeculAUSTEN
Bingley negro com dinheiro vindo do comércio com as Indias...
Aliás, o dinheiro de trade de Bingley poderia ter 'origens sujas' como em Mansfield Park? Será ?
Na crônica ela fala dos Blackamoors como negros libertos, mas nas minhas pesquisas só acho a arte - decorativa e joias. Como maneira de denominação, é sempre com conotação pejorativa. (como se objetos e joias mostrando pessoas escravizadas fosse de bom gosto...)
Moor é até mais comum, em tradução simples seria 'mouro' (wiki: termo refere-se principalmente a habitantes muçulmanos do Magrebe, da Península Ibérica, da Sicília e de Malta durante a Idade Média. Os mouros inicialmente eram os berberes indígenas da Magrebina. O nome foi posteriormente aplicado também aos árabes e na Europa, em sentido mais amplo e pejorativo, a todo muçulmano.) 
Black + moor = mouros negros.
conjunto de broche e brincos de ouro Blackamoor tipo do que uma
parenta usou para alfinetar Meghan Markle, lembra? tsk, tsk
pic de cris notti jewels
Daí, pesquisando, achei um estudo sobre nobreza européia negra escondida nas dobras da história. Tem isso? 
Maurits Huygens pintado por Rembrrandt
parece negro?
pic de afro-europe
Segundo o pesquisador holandês negro Egmond Codfried e autor do livro "Avó esquecida de Belle van Zuylen", havia nobreza negra na Europa. Suas alegações são controversas e, claro, refutadas por historiadores. Codfried estudou sistematicamente centenas de pinturas de nobreza famosa e menos famosa. Ele regularmente tropeçou em pessoas que pareciam negras ou de cor, ou apesar de serem brancas, claramente tinham características faciais como lábios espessos ou narizes largos. Perceba que são análises subjetivas... Seu estudo foi inspirado por acaso ao encontrar um retrato de Maria Jacoba van Goor. Temos uma visão dos problemas e dos métodos para identificar esses europeus. Esta bela pintura também foi uma razão para lançar uma visão afrocentria na vida de Belle van Zuylens e suas obras, as biografias na origem de sua fortuna financeira. Através de sua avó de cor, a holandesa Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805) também conhecida como Madame de Charrière, junta-se ao posto de escritores como o russo Alexander Pushkin, o francês Alexander Dumas e Colette, os britânicos Elizabeth Barrett e seu marido Robert Browning, o compositor clássico alemão Ludwig von Beethoven e a rainha Charlotte da Grã-Bretanha. Estes são europeus de grande mérito, que tiveram antepassados ​​negros. Também descobrimos que Belle era uma amiga de Pierre Alexander Du Peyrou (1729-1794), um proprietário de plantação do Suriname de cor marrom e rica na Suíça. Ele é conhecido como um amigo próximo, benfeitor e editor do mais famoso filósofo do Iluminismo, Jean Jaques Rousseau.

Sobre a rainha Charlotte, achei um monte de tanta coisa que vai dar um post só sobre a rainha mestiça - ou half-mulatto. Mmm... Charlotte. half-mulatto. Ah, Jane querida, será que vinha daqui sua inspiração?...
history hustle
Ela voltou às paradas de sucesso por causa da Duquesa de Sussex, Meghan Markle, que tem mãe negra e pai branco. Daí buscou-se a primeira rainha negra - ou bi-racial - da Grã-Bretanha que se casou com o rei George III (reinado de 1760 a 1820). Nascida Sophia Charlotte de Mecklenburg-Strelitz, a princesa alemã tinha 17 anos quando se casou com a monarca britânico de 22 anos seis horas depois de conhecê-lo ao desembarcar na ilha. Eles tiveram 15 filhos juntos, 13 dos quais viveram até a idade adulta.
De acordo com o documentário da PBS Frontline, a rainha Charlotte descende diretamente de um ramo da família real Portuguesa que tinha suas raízes na África. É nóis! Quando o rei de Portugal conquistou em 1200 a cidade de Faro dos mouros - MOORS - a população muçulmana da Península Ibérica, com ligações ao norte da África - ele tomou a filha do governador como amante e acabou tendo três filhos com ela. Pesquisas sugerem que uma dessas crianças casou com a família de Sousa, e dela seis linhas diferentes da nobre portuguesa Margarita de Castro e Sousa, do século XV, até a rainha Charlotte.
Há evidências de que as pessoas naquela época pareciam ter notado que ela parecia ter vindo de uma raça mestiça. O médico pessoal da rainha, Barão Stockmar, descreveu-a como tendo "uma verdadeira cara de mulato" (a true mulatto face), por exemplo.

Especialistas apontam para pinturas dela em que aparecem características mestiças, alguns retratistas como Ramsay famoso na época refletiam a precisão e não a fizeram parecer branca.

também rainha Charlotte... nariz mais fininho, né?
trip savvy
  
Pérola negra

Já falei aqui no blog de algumas histórias notáveis de negros quase esquecidos quando descobri romances históricos de personagens negros. Lá nesse post - Dark Romance - até falava de Shondaland, o site da produtora do seriado dos Bridgertons do Duque Negro de JQuinn (que no livro é branco).
Dido Belle, Antonio the negro, Gustavus Vassa, Sara Bonetta.
pinterest
Estudei o Haiti e Antonio, the negro quando escrevi um dos volumes da série Cupidos em Devon, um muito bacaninha que leva a gangue para a América Antebellum e... fiquei mal por um tempo. Tipo deprê, mesmo. Custei a achar o tom animado e agitado que o romance duplo de irmãos gato-e-rato pedia. 
Escravidão não é bonito. 
Imagino o que Austen guardava na manga...

pena que ela não teve chance de contar.
portrait of a young woman - Liotard
pic de afro-europe
A herdeira rica e doente e... negra
'I don't care to be any man's property.'
um jantar, ela parece que responde perguntas... Será Lizzy 2?
Logo pensei em Ann Walker. Miss Lambe será interpretada por Crystal Clarke, olhe como o figurino é DI-VI-NO.
Charlotte e Miss Lambe
DAILY MAIL
Rica, bonita, doente, feita de gato-e-sapato por todo mundo. Miss Lambe (lamb, ovelha, inocente?...) parece estar a este caminho quando chega a SANDITON para uma temporada com outras garotas da escola de boas maneiras. Miss Parker faz muita questão de convencê-la a tomar banho de mar e Lady Denham quer lhe dar leite de jumenta (para tosse ou se-lá-o-que), mas é dito que ela segue as receitas do médico amigo da família.

É assim no cânon, mas pelo trailer que acabou de sair, ela parece espevitada como Lizzy e... vai sofrer na pele mulatto como é ser o que a gente é. Será que foi isso que Austen pensou em relatar? Nas poucas linhas dos primeiros capítulos, falou-se mais do dinheiro e da doença dela do que de preconceito...
Austen mencionou algo em Mansfield, tinha irmãos na Marinha, será que entraria nessa discussão ou isso é modernidade enfiada no cânon que ela não teve tempo de completar?

Doenças, hipocondria & deboches
Lendo Sanditon, listando tantas e tantas doenças e dores que a família Parker sente e fala e trata, o tempo todo fiquei relacionando a obsessão deles com doenças imaginárias e o estado de saúde de Jane Austen que hoje sabemos estar tão deteriorado a ponto de beirar os meses finais.
JA world
Será que Austen achava, no fundo no fundo, que o que ela tinha era Mr. Woodhousezisse? Que sofria de hipocondria e que ia ficar boa logo? Que ia acabar Sanditon e Watsons? Reescrever Lady Susan como é dito que ela queria?
Ah... só nos resta especular...


Aqui, olha o trailer com texto em Português.

Sr. Heywood: Esses balneários podem ser lugares estranhos. Ninguém sabe quem é quem, de onde vêm, o que estão fazendo.
Charlotte: Isso parece ... estimulante!
Família Heywood: Tchau!
Sr. Heywood: Apenas tenha cuidado, é isso.
Charlotte: Cuidado com o que papai?
Sr. Heywood: Tudo.
-
Sr. Parker: Posso apresentar a senhorita Charlotte Heywood?
Sir Edward Denham: Encantado em conhecê-la, srta. Heywood.
Lady Denham: E sem dúvida eles mandaram você a Sanditon para achar uma fortuna.
Sr. Parker: Ela é uma velha assustadora, mas segura o destino de Sanditon em suas mãos.
-
Lady Denham: Você não pode evitar.
Charlotte: Evitar o que?
Lady Denham: Falar o que pensa, defende suas próprias ideias.
Miss Lambe: Eu não tenho intenção de ser propriedade de homem algum.
Lady Denham: Você é uma jovem muito teimosa, srta. Lambe.
Charlotte: Eu espero que você não tenha má impressão de mim.
Sidney Parker: Má impressão de você? Eu não me importo com o que você pensa ou como se sente.
Esther Denham: No final das contas, acho que você vai se arrepender de ter colocado o pé em Sanditon. Acontece comigo.
-
Charlotte: Eu pensei que você me considerasse má influência?

Sidney Parker: É possível que tenhamos os dois nos enganado?

---
Olha tudo que meditei & bloguei sobre SANDITON na TV:
- Resumo do manuscrito original deixado por Austen: aqui
- Resumo dos personagens do manuscrito deixado por Austen: aqui
- Resumo dos personagens da minissérie: aqui
- O que achei dos primeiros capítulos: aqui
- Podcast CAFÉ COM JANE AUSTEN fala dos primeiros capítulos da minissérie: aqui
- Muitos questionamentos e incongruências: aqui
- Que final foi esse, Sanditon, sua loka? Com link para o PODCAST resenhando tudo: aqui

Na Bienal, lancei outro livro AUSTENEITE, uma boa desculpa para visitar os amigos de Pemberley over and over and over!... 9 VEZES ORGULHO E PRECONCEITO
 Tem amigos de Northanger Abbey e de Persuasão também!
Já à venda!
bj

Pesquisei aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui, aqui

quinta-feira, 25 de julho de 2019

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 12_ PART II

hello, there.
Persuasion.
How about that?

I confess that I was very (very, very) unsure about playing around with Ms. Austen's 'serious novel', but ah... isn't Wentworth one of her best men?

And, isn't it a lovely dream to dream together?

Bertha and Williams have stepped into such a heartwarming ride!... Still hope you like it! And still have my*fingers crossed*





Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 12 _PART 1
or START from CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 12
VIII- Lonely Hearts - part 2


It was a customary thing, paying homage to the men and women who risked their lives defending the country overseas, the speakers and screens played the short movie and everyone looked around at the ones standing and saluting. 

That was when Lizzy saw him. Tall, dark and oh-so-handsome. It felt like she was set on fire.

Darcy knew when she saw him because his body alighted. But only when the homage ended and he relaxed that he allowed his head to turn to where she was. Pretty and sweet and tanned.

Her heart broke again when his downward mouth showed his reaction at seeing her.

His heart broke again when he noticed she still lived well after destroying him 8 years before.

Still shocked with his presence, Lizzy returned her eyes to the stage on the back of the dolphins’ tank feeling panic take over. Her nostrils flared, her breathing accelerated, sweat started to damp her hands. William! After 8 long years! At that place, of all places in the world! … 

‘I'm gonna-’ She pointed the general direction of the exit and climbed down the bleachers before her sister could answer anything. But at the stadium door she met her cousins entering in a hurry through a fit of giggles and altered as she was, allowed them to drag her back.

‘Let's stay in the splash zone.’ Lizzy suggested pointing to an area very far from where she had been with her sister.

‘Oh, no! I spent an hour doing my hair this morning, Lizzy! Even burnt myself with the curling iron.’ Kitty showed a finger. ‘As far from water as possible.’ 

‘We should have chosen Desertworld instead of SeaWorld then!’ Louisa laughed. Her sister showed her the tongue, Lizzy whined to herself. ‘There's Jane!’ The girl waved back.

‘And that friend of yours, Lizzy, from work.’ Kitty pointed as they climbed closer. ‘Charlotte, isn't she? Producer of your interview show?’

‘I guess…’

‘Who are those with her?’ Louisa lowered her sunglasses.  ‘Damn, how hot are those guys?’

Maybe I could faint. Lizzy thought. 

‘Finally!’ Jane berated them when they arrived. ‘You almost missed the dolphins.’

‘We were the last ones to enter, had to dodge the hostess like ninjas!’ Louisa made a kung fu move.

‘In training, girl?’ Charlotte joked.


fit as a ninja
‘I'm a ninja, ninjas never relax.’ Louisa and Kitty joined their hands and ankles to lower their head in a bow.

At that, both men put a fist to a palm and bowed in return. 'Osu!' They said.

Charlotte chuckled.  ‘These are true ninjas, Henri-’

‘Louisa, Charlotte!’ The girl stomped a foot.

‘Sorry.’ Charlotte shrugged as means of apologizing, looked at Lizzy and then, on noticing her friend's countenance, frowned.

‘Do you fight ninja?’ One of the girls asked.

‘We both practice martial arts, it's part of our training.’ One of them said.

‘And it's fun.’ The other added smiling sideways.

‘Train for what?’ Kitty asked curiously inspecting their shape.

‘We're navy officers.’

Charlotte leaned closer as if to share a secret. ‘They are seals.’ At the same time, the sound exploded, handsome people in diving suits appeared on stage, one dived and was thrown out of the water by two dolphins.

‘What?’

‘We came for the seals!’ The tallest one shouted smiling.

Presentations were done as best as possible and Lizzy hoped they'd forget about her drowned in all the noise and confusion in her chest. 

‘Of course, my friend Lizzy, the culprit!’

She felt a hand on her shoulder. 

‘She's the reason we're here.’ Charlotte was speaking close to the men's faces, but already so near her, Lizzy could hear everything.  ‘These are Capt Fitzwilliam and Capt Darcy.’

‘Hello!’ One man said. 

‘Hi.’ The other groaned.

Lizzy pressed a smile, blinked charmingly, pretended not to be melting inside.

From the spectacle of trained animals, she barely saw anything. She kept her fingers on the thin scapular’s chain, mind agreeably engaged revisiting the past, the happy year they dated until he proposed. Darcy had been handsome then, but almost a decade older he was irresistible. Would they still be together? Would there be bitter regret between them? Would it had been a happy marriage? They could be fighting for child custody…

‘Hello!’ A giggle.  ‘Earth to Lizzy, do you copy?’

‘Huh?’

‘Let's go!’ Jane pointed the rest of the group already far ahead. ‘The show is over.’

‘Oh, yes. Right.’ Lizzy stood. ‘It was great, wasn't it?’

‘A little shorter than before, maybe because of all this politically correct patrol complaining about the wonderful things they do here.’

‘Maybe…’

‘Where to, now?’ She asked.

‘Back to the hotel?’ Lizzy smiled. ‘Mary and the boys are alone.’

‘Are you crazy? Not even 2 pm!’ Louisa shook her head. ‘My old maid of a cousin wants to call it the day.’ She complained to the others. ‘But I want the fast rides; you promised you’d ride the free falls and coasters with me, Lizzy!’

‘You did, Lizzy.’ Kitty frowned. ‘And simulators too. I'm not standing in line for silly frozen penguins, I want adrenaline!’

‘Are you afraid of roller coasters?’ Darcy sniggered.

‘Kinda…’ Louisa pouted.

‘I'll be your chaperone.’

‘I'd love that!’ She took his arm and they started to walk in the direction of the big scary ride.

If for Lizzy it was heart wrenching see her ex, it was an even bigger massacre to witness his attentions to her cousin who as 19, the age she had been when she broke their engagement.  

‘Are you ok?’ Jane linked arms with her as they met at the roller coaster shaded line. ‘I lost you in the crowd twice during the walk.’

‘It's pretty hot today, isn't it?’

‘It was hotter earlier, actually...’

‘Too sunny.’

‘This the Sunshine State after all!’ Jane giggled.

‘I think I'll try to find a smoothie.’

‘I want one too, Lizzy.’ Kitty cried. ‘Please?’

‘Well bring refreshments for everyone.’ Jane decreed. ‘Guys, what can we get you?’

‘I'm fine, thanks.’ Darcy answered without looking directly at them.

‘No need, fine lady.’ Fitzwilliam smiled. 

As the sisters gained distance from the group, Lizzy started to breathe normally again. And think. ‘What was that about?’ She poked Jane. ‘Playing waitress for strangers.’

‘Oh, how gorgeous they are! Can you imagine how they look in uniforms?’ A smirk. ‘Charlotte, huh, dating two guys at once!’ A giggle.

‘I wonder what Charles Bingley would say about this enthusiasm of yours.’

‘Hopefully he’d be so jealous as to finally propose after seven years together?’

‘He is too good for such petty feeling.’ Lizzy joked as they stopped in line for the beverages. ‘Is it right that men forget frustrations in love faster than women?’ She asked out of the blue.

Jane was filled with terror. ‘What did Charles say to you? Why didn't you tell me right away? When did he call you?’

‘Calm down, there's nothing to do with you. I was just wondering.’ 

‘Because your friend has two and you have none?’

‘Charlotte is dating only Fitzwilliam, the shorter.’

‘Oh, what a pity... the other is such a catch.’

‘You think?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Don't you remember him?’

The sisters exchanged a long complicit look.



Darcy had had time to prepare, he anticipated the day he'd finally meet her again after so long. Still, his jumbled feelings and thoughts were as unpredictable as guerrilla behind enemy lines. She looked prettier, hot but aged. Her face showed trouble contrasting with his memory of a sweet careless babe with bright ideas and a sharp tongue. 

The reason why she changed so much was none of his business, they were acquaintances.  He barely remembered details of their time together, the imported chocolate bar she preferred, what kind of knickers she used or how she liked to be kissed. Those were faded memories. ‘They are taking too long. Do you think they need help?’ He asked casually. 

‘My cousins?’ Louisa averted her eyes from the phone. ‘If they do, they'll call us.’ She raised her hand. ‘A selfie!’ 

Darcy was taken by surprise, but smiled as the girl glued faces with him. ‘Don't post this on social media, Louisa, please.’ 

‘Why?’ She whined.

‘Work.’ He pressed his lips. 

She pouted so prettily that he caved in. ‘Cut off most of my face, let me show you how.’

Watching the scene, Charlotte groaned silently.  ‘Men are such fools.’ She said, both Fitzwilliam and Kitty looked at her. ‘We only have to play our charms and you're done.’

‘Still you don't rule the world.’

Both women frowned. ‘What about England?’

‘Germany?’

‘Chile?’

‘New Zealand!’

‘What about those countries?’ He challenged.

‘All governed by women!’

Fitzwilliam rolled his shoulders. ‘Governing isn't ruling.’

‘How many women do we have today in Congress?’ Charlotte rose to the challenge. 

‘I'll check right now.’ Kitty took her phone from her pocket.

‘Women are emotional, think with their hearts.’ He smiled.

‘And men with their weenies.’ She pulled a face.

They laughed. 

‘Men easily put personal troubles behind and move on to act as needed, that's what I'm saying. Proactiveness.’

‘I don't know…’ Kitty paused.  ‘Uncle Bennett seems to always miss his late wife; he talks about her, built a shrine in the garden.’

‘Lizzy told me about that.’ Charlotte went serious. ‘She was very sad when she returned from that inauguration, even with the priest's words and the family together.’ 

‘Uncle did everything so perfectly, so formal…’ Kitty agreed. ‘Remember, Louisa, we needed to buy new clutches because ours didn't match our cocktail hats?’
chic as a royal lady

‘And the fascinator Jane used on her hair, the feathers and veil.’ Louisa posed her fingers over her head to better exemplify.

‘Lovely.’

‘It was… Aunt Gardenia managed to find an haute couture suit to match Aunt Bennett’s best pillbox hat. What a thoughtful homage… no easy feat, but she did it even though she was so busy arranging Lizzy’s new condo close to her place.’

‘What did Lizzy wear?’ Darcy asked and blushed when all eyes zeroed on him. He shrugged.  ‘You give so much importance to hats, I'm curious. I do wear hats most of time. Right, Fitzwilliam?’
‘Yeah, dude. Caps, visors, garrison.’

‘Lizzy was in black…’ Kitty bit her lips. ‘We all were, of course, it was another funeral. But I mostly remember her boyfriend holding her close.’

‘Me too!’ Louisa smiled.  ‘Mom and Aunt Gardenia were certain he was about to propose. We even joked about a wedding topping a fake funeral.’ 

‘Right!’

The sisters giggled.

‘Did he?’ Darcy asked. ‘Propose, married her?’

‘She's single, not divorced…’

‘Incredibly enough, with all the hot guys she interviews for the show, both in bands and crew. They think I’m the one refusing to give her personal phone number, but she rarely dates guys from work.’

‘So, it's not incredible she's single, it's understandable.’ 

‘Incredible how she resists. Only women can do that, men fall for any flirt.’

‘Not true.’ Fitzwilliam shook a finger.

‘Yes, true!’ Charlotte insisted, chuckled when he got closer, shared a quick kiss.

‘Oh, they are coming back. Please, don't mention the funeral or the shrine.’ Louisa asked in rushed tones.

‘It’s that the house is on the market. Jane gets so upset…’

‘Lizzy too, even though she moved out years ago. A decade, I think, but it's still her mom's house. To think of it sold to a stranger...’

‘Is it a big place?’ Darcy asked, eyes on the prettiness of the woman he had once loved as she walked back to him - to where he stood with her friend and family.

Charlotte snorted. ‘Talk about city palaces…’

‘Big, a mansion! Six bedrooms, don’t know how many bathrooms, three living rooms, pool house, wine cellar, billiards room, home theater, gym, golf simulator room… what else, Kitty?’

‘Guest cottages on the lawn. Something about how many football fields would fit in the park… Do you remember, Louisa?’

‘It is a palace!’ Charlotte whispered. ‘I've been invited to a weekend. Needs a bit of renovation, like removing the snobbish owner.’

‘Help, help, help!’ Jane offered the three cups she was holding. ‘Frozen fingers!’

Lizzy also carried three and blushed when Darcy's big hands held the cups for her. ‘Thanks.’

‘No problem.’

She took hers and a very red one. He was left with an orange green frozen juice. But all the women had one. ‘And this?’

‘Orange, pineapple and kale.’ She said. ‘Right?’ Then, by the look on his face, she considered how tremendously stupid her idea had been. ‘Still like it?’

‘Sure.’ He simply averted his eyes removing the lid carefully so the straw wouldn't drip on him. ‘Thanks.’ It had been years since he had had that juice, but it tasted wonderful. 

The line moved, they inched closer and closer to the ride and Lizzy couldn't find a way out of that situation.  She started to plan that when they entered the coaster, she'd escape somewhere else and go back to the hotel. Once safely far from the view of Darcy's attentions to other women, she'd text to let her sister know where she was. Jane would understand. 

It was a coward's plan, but a possible plan. The only problem was she couldn't escape. Darcy himself pulled her in front of him to enter the ride and took the seat behind her besides Louisa.

‘You'll need to hold my hand.’ Lizzy heard Louisa say. ‘I get too scared.’

‘Of course!’ He chuckled. ‘Give me your hand, pretty lady.’
Security belts and locks in place, their feet left the ground, the seat gyrated backwards and they were ready to fly as superman.

‘Shit.’ Lizzy said. But it was too late.

The ride of free falls, turns, twists and climbs was exhilarating, adrenaline pumped inside her; she grinned and only noticed a reassuring hand holding her elbow from behind when speed slowed to an almost stop. She tried to turn or look behind her, but she was too trapped.

Darcy had never heard his ex-girlfriend curse, and it amused him more than the coaster. Sure that falls and twists turned his insides, but the pretty woman in front of him screaming dirty words at each abrupt movement made him laugh loud. Terrorized she must have been, so he reached out to hold her.

When they left the ride, grinning and chatting, he still kept his distance for her in spite of the turmoil inside him. If only…

‘Oh, no!’ Lizzy stopped in the middle of the crowd. ‘No, no, no!’

‘What?’

‘Please, God, no, no!’ She started to panic, look around her, put her hands in her pockets, held her breasts. 

‘Are you hurt, sister?’ Jane frowned.

‘I'm going to die!’ Lizzy held her neck. ‘Mom's scapular, I lost it!’

‘What was that?’ Fitzwilliam exchanged a funny look with Darcy.

‘A necklace, long, with a pendant in each side.’

‘Was it a jewel? Gold or anything?’

‘Gold!’ Lizzy blinked misted eyes. ‘But it could cost a penny, the real value was my mother's inheritance.’ 

‘Sure.’

‘We'll find it.’ Jane decided. ‘When was the last time you noticed it around your neck?’

‘The smoothies bar, as we talked, I fingered it.’ Lizzy blushed making an effort not to look at Darcy because he had been the subject.

‘Let's return there. You guys can look around here.’

As soon as Jane and Lizzy were out of hearing range, Louisa pouted. ‘I'm not wasting my time looking for an old necklace. Let's try the waterfall, Kitty?’ She smiled.

‘Better help Lizzy, she needs to find it.’

‘No, it may be too late… Darcy?’ 

‘Sure, in a moment.’

‘Now!’

Louisa held his arm pulling him to the right, he tried to resist but she stepped on a stroller passing by, lost her balance, fell over the baby taking the mother with her in an awful fall.  

A catastrophe! The baby cried, the mother suspected an attack, Louisa whined miserably.

The tears she had been holding in her, Lizzy let flow when she got a text from Kitty saying they were on the way to the hotel because of the accident. The photo showed Louisa with bruised knees, elbow, hair in disarray but comfortably ensconced in Darcy's arms as he carried her.

---

Sun, sorrow, shame had a too strong hold of Lizzy. 

At the hotel, after visiting her snoring sister and nephews, then her cousins' room to make sure the girl was ok, she decided it was best to retire to her own domain without much explanation. 

In the crowded hotel room, Louisa had a battalion watching over her: Jane already showed her mistrust on the girl's pain, Kitty reinforced her sister’s suffering, Darcy hovered around, Charlotte and Fitzwilliam offered to visit a drugstore for ointments and bandages. Lizzy considered her presence unnecessary. 

Cold shower helped, she tried to convince her heart that losing her mother's heirloom was worse than meeting her handsome past head on. The suite had a fairly comfortable couch conspicuously resembling a sofa bed that was close enough from the kitchen where she put a bowl of frozen soup in the microwave.  But tiredness won over the slow revolving of the dish and she dozed off.

Darcy was sent for ice, one of the women said it would relieve the sore areas around the angry reddish wounds; he'd do anything to get out of that ridiculous situation. At the corridor he sighed, ruffled his short hair. Scrapped knee, what could be more juvenile? He asked himself. And heard a beep. 

Frowning he searched left and right. Again the beep, faint. And he noticed the door left almost closed, but not locked. A third beep. Someone could be in trouble - real trouble - he convinced himself knocking softly on the door immediately aside the one he had just left. It could be hers, it was a wild guess, invasion of privacy, many misdemeanors or felonies or… Lizzy, his former Lizzy sleeping with her legs tucked her, on the couch, as the pretty woman she was.

Eight years was too long to a wait, not all instincts worked properly when faced with such a temptation. He silently walked closer, kneeled before her and touched his lips to hers. A very sweet caress, the faintest of touches, but skin on skin.

Her eyes opened slowly, she smiled, her hands moved to hold his face. ‘Hi.’

‘Hi.’

‘I missed you.’

‘Me too.’

They held each other's eyes in silence. 

‘Best dream I've had in years…’

‘Eight?’ He asked. ‘Or less?’

The tone of his voice hit her in the gut; she blushed furiously, felt hot all over. It wasn't a dream, he was there! In her dreams, he was always sweet and loving, in real life he surfed the edge of rudeness with her. ‘Oh.’ She swallowed, let go of his face. ‘I'm sorry.’ A series of blinks. ‘I thought I was-’

‘Dreaming of me?’

‘Yes.’

‘Do you do it often?’

‘Yes.’ Lizzy had no guile to lie, he was there!

‘And you always smile so prettily when I'm around? Is it to seduce me again?’

No answer.

‘You dream I follow you again, give you my heart, and then what?’
‘Darcy, after all these years, that was not what-’

‘Then you stay by my side or let someone else in your family decide your life?’ He accused as much as asked. ‘And what is my answer, Lizzy, do I let you go over and over?’

‘Wait!’ She asked holding his face again. ‘Let me-’

There was too much inside him to wait a single moment. He leaned on her and captured her in a kiss, a real passionate, invasive kiss. The yearning for her. He held her waist and legs. The heartbreak. The remorse that ate him alive. He almost laid on top of her. All the possible what ifs.

‘Wait!’ She tossed her head back. ‘Wait, love, let me breathe!’

‘Don't call me that, I'm not your love.’

The pang of pain was hard to take. ‘You must think you are something to me!’ Tired, emotionally drained, and then, aggravated. ‘Entered my room without invitation, found me asleep alone and stayed, woke me up, kissed me. You changed, Darcy, a lot!’

He stood to fight back, but she was right. ‘I apologize, I got carried away.’ Defeated, he sat beside her. ‘There were beeps, I thought that maybe someone was having a medical emergency, came in just to check and found you here.’

‘Beeps.’ She was still frowning. What did he mean by that?… ‘My soup!’

Lizzy jumped to rescue her dinner. Tasted and realized it needed reheating. 

‘Soup in a hot day as today?’ 

‘It’s calming, spinach and asparagus.’ She didn't see the disgusted expression he pulled because she was facing the oven. ‘I didn't eat much today and there's a freezer full of frozen meals in the lobby.’ He was silent, so she turned to make sure he hadn't left. 

‘Funny you are, Lizzy Bennett.’

She pursed her lips.

‘Never thought I'd meet you in a hotel like this. The one I chose is far better.’

‘Stayed in worse.’ She shrugged. ‘On tours, working as TV interviewer for rock concerts and all.’

‘I've followed your career, watched you on line.’

‘Oh.’ The oven beeped calling her attention and saving her from facing him. ‘I love my work, but I'm not proud of everything I've done. They've sent me to some awful concerts.’

‘And you didn't quit? Your father or aunt didn't persuade you to search for another job that was up to the Bennett's standards.’

She chose to ignore the jibe. ‘My aunt was the one who got me this job when I needed to move away from home, she’s friends with the network owner. That’s why I moved to Miami. My dad and sister think I should leave the music cable network for a major channel, but until I can start my own documentary production studio, I'll stay put. I like what we do.’ A pause. ‘My mother’s passing still hurts, my dad is not the same; he has been through a few rough times.’ She turned back bringing the hot bowl with care. ‘Financially and emotionally.  He is trying to deny his own depression.’

‘Never realized he was so dependent to your mom.’

‘Was, especially because she managed the expenses, made sure we didn't lose track of reality.’ 

‘He is broke, is that it?’

She nodded sipping gingerly from the spoon. ‘Almost. We have our trust funds, not much money but enough for a safety net. For me, at least. My sister can spend that amount in a month.’

He mumbled something she didn't quite understand.  ‘Is that why you're so different? Fidgety?’

She stopped with her spoon on the way to her mouth. ‘From what you remember?’ He nodded. ‘I'm not 19 anymore, Darcy.’ 

‘No, you're not.’ He meant as a compliment, she understood as a pejorative observation. ‘Sad, forlorn.’


mom's heirloom
He eyed her like a hawk, it made her terribly uncomfortable.  ‘Today was a very bad day for me. I lost my mom's jewel.’ Her eyes filled with unshed tears again. ‘Don't know how could I be so foolish.  Now I'm lost, alone.’ Her hand touched her neck and chest where the scapular used to rest. ‘It's all kinds of awful.’ The soup seemed inedible, she pushed it aside.

‘What can be done? What can be attempted, to recover your necklace?’ He stood holding his waist. ‘Is there nothing you could take, to give you present relief? A glass of wine, bold red Sirah.’ He sniggered humorlessly. ‘The kind you used to like. Shall I get you one?'

‘I still like it.’ Although she felt a bit warmed with his remembrance, the pain was too strong to make her smile. Nothing can be done; I know that. Before leaving the park I left a complaint in the visitor's office. But what could be done? It's thin Italian chain with medals the size of a thumbnail. It'd difficult as finding a needle in a haystack.  How are they even to discover it? Someone may have found it, saw how lovely it was, took it…’ Tears rolled down her cheek. ‘I don't have the smallest hope. It is every way horrible.’

He nodded. ‘Well, I am afraid you have been long desiring to be rid of me, and I don't have anything to offer.’ He pointed with his thumb over his shoulder. ‘I was supposed to find ice for Louisa's knee.’

‘Of course.’ She sniffed, cleaned the tears with her fingers. ‘Go, she's waiting.’

Darcy spent a few moments with uncertainty until he realized his disposability. ‘Bye.’

‘Bye.’ She whispered.  ‘Again.’

---

‘I have the right to be in his apartment, he gave me the key!’ The twin said opening the door. ‘I'm his little sister. If he is in trouble, I’m the one to help, he has helped me before. If not for him, I don’t know what could have happened…’ She paused. ‘He never answers my phone calls anymore I have to check if he needs me to pay back the favor.’

‘But he's an adult, Giovana. What if he's with someone?’ 

‘Junior would have told me if he was seeing someone, Anne.’ 

‘He doesn't have to tell you all his secrets-’ Anne prepared herself to help her wife rooted to the floor on the door of her brother's room. ‘What?’

Giovana held a smile between amusement and wonder. ‘They are asleep!’ She whispered.

‘Who?’

‘Junior and a girl…’

Giovana and Anne watched Bertha and Williams slept on their sides, each on a corner of the bed, facing each other and holding hands.


they really do...
‘We better leave.’

‘Yes…’ Giovana let her wife pull her by the hand. ‘How cute they are?’ 

‘Lovely.’

‘I should take a picture, wait a moment.’

‘Don’t  think it’s a good idea, too big of an indiscretion, Gio….’


---
~ to be continued ~ 

quinta-feira, 18 de julho de 2019

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 12_ PART I

hi, there.
I'm making preparations to lauch this story in Portuguese version here in Brazil with minor changes... No, several changes. It'll come out in print and ebook version, as cheap as a subway ticket. 
Don't know if anyone would be interested in having this one here (in English, revised and extended) in print. Would you?
On line it'll always be available here.

I do have a new project coming on, very cute and funny and mysterious and lovely. It'll be available on ebook and paperback before the end of the year. Hopefully.

So, after Williams' dream, we arrive at a very, very special point... Can you guess where?

I am very excited to show this chapter. Not only it is my firt time toying with this Austen classic, but for Bertha and Williams is such a romantic moment!... Hope you like it! *fingers crossed*





Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 11 _PART 2
or START from CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 12
VIII- Lonely Hearts - part 1


Bertha was having a busy morning; the coffee place was alive with students buzzing in because of a lecture about to start at the community college down the street.

Even though she wasn’t needed at the cashier, she managed the long lines and the special requests to get things moving as quickly as possible.

When someone touched her shoulder, she turned ready to answer where to find an outlet to charge a cellphone.

‘Williams!’

‘Morning.’

She knitted her brows. The guy was two days late for the weirdest date of her life and, oh dear, he brooded. ‘Is everything ok?’

‘I didn’t show up.’

She nodded pressing her lips together.

‘Do you want to know why I couldn’t?’

She shrugged. ‘Changed your mind?’
beans to ground

He took the small bag from his pocket.

‘My belladama!’

‘Belladama, you say.’

‘I’ve been insane trying to find this.’

‘You forgot in my car.’

She blinked, puzzled. Why was the guy in such a funny mood- ‘You drank it?’ Bertha hid her mouth in her hands. ‘Lottie is going to kill me.’

‘I smoked it.’

‘What?’ She shouted.

‘And slept for two days.’

A laugh escaped her. ‘How was it? Did you like it? Why are you so mad?’

‘You were with me the whole time, maybe you can tell me what happened.’

Words left her, heart stopped, eyes dried out. The man standing there in front of her with a frown, stubble in his face, eyes set on her, mouth slightly opened… ‘It’s you…’ She whispered and felt her face redden as tomatoes in spring. ‘Oh my God, now I recognize.’

‘Bertha?’ Someone called her from the counter. ‘Can you help here with this order?’

Both having difficulty breathing, they needed a moment to think straight.

Williams was the first to react. ‘I’ll be there.’ He pointed to a corner. ‘At the last table, I’ll seat there and will wait for you.’

‘I can call you later.’ She swallowed. ‘I have your office’s card.’
He shook his head. ‘I’ll be here. Waiting.’

‘K.’


He had to wait for her for more than half an hour.
‘Ancient wild belladama, very strong, hybrid, uncommon. Gold in leaves.’ Bertha was finishing her explanation. ‘Good to find… Happiness. Not magic per se but when we wake up, we’re the same only different. The hybrid belladama brightens the best side of things.’

‘Still you feel the need to take some time away.’

A shrug. ‘I’m new to this thing. Still identifying the strength, I don't know I have. Maybe I’m just confused.’

Williams was as skeptical as Bertha when she was first introduced to the magical tea. ‘So, we choose a mug; add boiling water, wait, sip, sleep.’

A giggle. ‘There should be some preparation.’ She bit her lip. ‘Anticipation.’ 

‘Prepare anything you want today, tonight we sleep together.’
‘You're mad!’ Bertha laughed. ‘I barely know you, how can I sleep with you?’

‘I have your tea; we'll buy a special mug together and drink. Then we lay down and wait the dream reach us.’

‘At the same time?’

‘Why not?’

‘I don't even know if it can be done this way! And you just woke up from a trip, you shouldn't take another.’

‘Call your friend, ask her.’

‘Oh, no!’ Eyes wide, mouth in an ‘o’, Bertha even heard Lottie's arguing. ‘No way. Maybe she didn't realize I took the bag, if I tell her we'll ride together, she’ll have a fit.’

‘What you mean, take the bag?’

‘My belladama was almost gone; I visited her house back home and saw this bag forgotten... so I took it.’

‘Stole it?’

A frown. ‘I'll tell her.’

‘It's still taking without her knowledge, Bertha.’

She twisted her lips. 

‘So you refuse me today.’

‘Why shouldn't I? You invited yourself to my bed, accused me of stealing, said that I drugged you.’

‘I didn't.’

‘Pretty much. Insulted me in several manners. Only missing is for you to say that I'm the waitress you want to date but your family think is bellow you.’

‘You know it is you and you also know my mother misunderstood what my sister may have told her.’

‘I don't know anything.’

‘I like you. That’s the only reason I can think for having dreamt of you last night and I suspect it’s been so for a while.’ He leaned on the table to get closer to her. ‘Do you dream of me?’

Bertha bit her lip.

‘My sister says that when we think about someone, the person is thinking about us.’

Her ears burned. It was him, she knew it. He was her Mr. Darcy, Mr. Perfect. In times past, in other situations, in breeches, suit, undressed, fighting with her, dancing, making business deals. ‘Maybe.’ She conceded. 

‘Say when, Bertha. And where. Your house, a hotel. Or come to my place, my bed. But I insist on having this tea with you.’

‘I can't miss work after these days away because of the storm, you just had a hell of a ride… how about Friday night?’

‘Fine, Friday.’ Williams nodded. ‘Today we'll go shopping for mugs. Then have dinner.’

‘A date?’

‘Yes. Is it a problem?’

‘Let's not! Please?...’

‘Why, Bertha?’

‘Let's keep almost strangers and get acquainted in the Belladama haze?’ She invited and in her agitation, Bertha reached out to hold his hand over the table. ‘If we do find each other in the dream, I mean. We don't know if we'll meet there…’

‘I'm sure we will.’

‘We can buy a mug Friday afternoon; I leave at five. Maybe I can take one from the shop.’ She pointed the shelves.

‘No, we'll buy it somewhere else.’ He smiled shyly. ‘I'll be here Friday, 4:30pm.’


For days she served him his latte every morning, they exchanged kisses on the cheeks and he left without any other word. 

Friday arrived. Very anxious, Bertha left earlier. Texted him saying she’d be at home and took a good long run to prepare her body for what was to come. To be true to herself, Bertha did think about spending time with him in more ways than just sleeping. 

Even though she felt silly, she prepared a small backpack with a silky black demure pjs with matching sleeping mask. Also, a big toiletry bag with perfume and shampoo, one could never know…

He was at her building's sidewalk a little early, also too anxious to wait in his place until it was time to get her. Williams had had many dates in his life, but never one to drink tea and sleep. 

Embarrassed, they shared a kiss on the cheek that hovered perilously close to the lips; she entered his car - this time waiting for him to open the door for her. She was surprised to hear rock when the radio came to life; the sound had been considerably gentler than the last time she had been there. However, she didn’t comment as they drove to the mall.


perfect set
There was a long time spent choosing a mug. It needed to be the right size and print. After agreeing on not agreeing, they chose a simple white tea for one set. The pot fitted the mug perfectly, the two items made a perfect pair. 

'That'll do.' Bertha said.

'Are you sure?' Williams twisted his head to a side like a puppy.

'Positive.'

'The cheapest.'

'The best choice.'

Best choice also had been his place, which she supposed to be bigger and less crowded than her small flat; also less impersonal than a hotel.

There, they brewed the belladama tea together sharing nervous laughs and giggles. As it cooled, they discussed where to take it.

‘My bed.’ He said.

She bit her lip. ‘Never been this forward, Williams.’

‘Say Darrygh, Bertha.’ He proposed.  ‘I'd like to call you Bee.’

‘Cute.’ She thought.  

‘You’re always so busy at the coffeeshop.’

She liked that she payed attention. ‘Dar, then, to match.’

‘My bed, it's more comfortable.’ He pulled the covers he had changed moments before leaving to get her. ‘Pillows for both of us, a fluffy duvet.’ He stopped. ‘Will you change? Should I?’

‘Not sure… both of us in pjs?’ A giggle.

‘You can use this bathroom; I’ll use the one in the hallway.’

Both incredibly embarrassed and deeply excited with the possibility of spending a dream together, Bertha and Williams found themselves in pjs facing the bed and the teapot.

‘We're really doing this?’

‘We are!’

‘Ok.’ She took a deep breath. ‘Here we go.’ And sipped first.


‘Are you sure you want to leave my bed?’ 

His rich voice caressed her ear. ‘Oh, please, stop that, love.’

‘It would be incredibly insensitive of you to leave my bed when I’m here naked wanting to have more of your company.’ He insisted. ‘My fiancée.’

Lizzy turned from the mirror where she dressed to share a big smile with sparkling eyes. ‘No ring, Lieutenant Junior.’ 

‘Jewels are a symbol of status; a new one could never say how much you mean to me. My love.’

‘Still.’ She showed him the finger.

‘Wrong finger, wife.’ Darcy threw a pillow at her.

‘Hey, that’s abuse!’

‘That was you pretending you don’t care for my mother’s ring waiting for you at my sister’s ranch.’ He was serious and could see from her face that she quit the joke. ‘As soon as I get a leave, we’ll visit her to get you the ring, the one my dad gave my mom and she left it for me to give to the right woman one day.’

She kneeled on the bed to kiss his lips. ‘And that one is me.’ 

‘No one other could make me this happy.’ He held her face with both hands. ‘Please, don’t let your parents’ crazy ideas about a big white wedding get to you.’

‘I won’t.’

‘We agreed on something small and intimate.’

‘The beach, sunset, very romantic.’

‘No Hawaii, Thailand, Martha’s Vineyard.’

Lizzy giggled. ‘Chill out, love. My parents are not as crazy as they seem.’

He groaned. ‘Do you really have to go?’ His right hand took her left one towards his abs.

She recoiled as a spring. ‘William!’ In a moment she was on her feet, but her eyes were directed to his very alert sword. She bit her lip. He smiled sideways resting strong arms behind his head. ‘My aunt arrived this morning; she is waiting for me…’ Eyes closed, ears burning, heart racing. ‘Damn you, fiancé.’ A shudder and she left, eyes still closed, hips bumping on his dresser, chair, desk. ‘Ouch, ouch, ouch!’

‘Careful!’ He chuckled. ‘I’ll be there to get you for dinner!’ Darcy yelled, but she was already close to the front door.


Lizzy arrived home still smiling from the incredibly unexpected morning she had had. 
vintage cap

Earlier when she chose what to wear for a breakfast date with her boyfriend, the very handsome navy officer William Darcy, she hadn’t expected the news he’d have for her. ‘Deployment, Lizzy. In a month.’ He had said in his rich voice holding her hand and she felt that was the only warrant her heart had for not breaking at the spot. ‘Marry me, I ardently love and admire you.’ He continued. ‘Allow me the happiness of leaving with the knowledge that your love is mine.’ She had tears in her eyes, heart in a twist, and the certainty that, without a doubt, he was the man she would ever want for herself.

Parking at the driveway behind her family’s cars, she calculated who would be at home. Sisters Jane and Mary, Aunt Phillipa, mother, her shop’s manager, father, his secretary parked on the curb, a brand new SUV… A busy party to receive her news. ‘Wow!’ She thought. Lizzy waved for the security men posted outside the doors, they waved back and she entered.

As predicted, the house was full and the noise made it impossible for anyone to talk to anyone. She heard her father say something about a dinner party, her mother yell at the lady who helped manage her beauty products’ shop, cousins passed by her dripping the hall floor and her youngest sister Mary hot on pursue. The pool, she understood.

There she found her older sister Jane having drinks with their aunts Phillipa and Gardenia, the dear relative she had been anxious to meet. 

‘Ah, here she is, finally!’ Gardenia stood to hug Lizzy really tight. ‘So pretty! And so long missed! Why haven’t you visited me in Miami, girl?’

‘Because she has a boyfriend that keeps her leash tight.’ Jane sneered.

‘Oh, shut it!’ Lizzy poked her sister and kissed her other aunt.
‘Who is that?’

‘The same, you know him…’

‘A man of the navy, very handsome.’ Phillipa waved her eyebrows. ‘The kind we used to like to date when we were this young, sister. Quite a catch, I’ll say!’

Lizzy smiled. ‘William is just perfect.’ She paused. ‘He just…’
‘Brother doesn’t think much of him, though.’ Phillipa continued.
‘Why is that?’ Gardenia moved her smiling eyes from her favorite niece to her sister.

‘A navy man, really? What is the boy thinking? Wants to be a monk or something?’ She rolled her eyes. ‘His month’s payment wouldn’t cover Lizzy’s tote.’ And pointed to the bag left on the table.

When Gardenia looked back at Lizzy, she found a troubled expression instead of the dreamy enrapture of a moment earlier. ‘Mmm…’ She pointed at the garden. ‘I have something in the car for you, honey. Come with me.’ 

Alone in the front of the house, protected by the watchful eyes of the security men, aunt and niece could talk more freely. ‘You are the daughter I couldn’t have, honey, always said that. When you were born, I threatened your mom to steal you for me.’ The older woman said knowing this tale would make the 19-year-old smile. ‘I know you’re not ok.’

‘Do you know I’m engaged?’ Lizzy raised one eyebrow.

‘What?’

‘Shsh!’ A giggle. ‘He proposed just now, I can hardly believe it.’

‘This navy man?’

‘Lieutenant Junior William Darcy.’

‘One that has been proposed to brings home her fiancé so he speaks to her father while she starts making plans with the women of her family.

‘Sure, that was what happened in 1845.’

‘Lizzy.’ A glare.

A sigh. ‘He’ll be here tonight, everything will be done properly, milady.’ A well-mannered curtsey.

Gardenia shook her head. ‘Why he didn’t come with you? Why are you so… Gloomy? This is not how it’s supposed to happen, honey. When Edgar proposed to me, I was over the moon, danced and laughed; we celebrated, talked to my parents, and started making plans.’ She raised her shoulders. ‘Of course we didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to have children, but we were in love.’ And suddenly a thought occurred to Gardenia. ‘Do you love this man or is he forcing you in some way?’

‘Force me to love a perfect man?’ Lizzy laughed. ‘No need!’

‘But…’

‘But he is to be deployed to Middle East in a month.’

‘Oh, dear!’ Gardenia covered her mouth with her hands. ‘No, no, no…’

‘Can’t something be done, aunt? Some acquaintance of yours? Someone you can call?’

‘Edgar is gone almost ten years already, dear. His friends are still powerful, but I’m not a politician as he was. Your dad could ask around.’

Lizzy bit her lip. ‘Don’t think dad would go to all the trouble, he doesn’t like William.’

‘I can understand my brother…’

‘Aunt Gardenia!’

‘Look at where you come from, honey.’ She waved the big house, manicured lawns, the lush neighborhood, fancy cars. ‘Imagine living in a military base counting on his salary? How much does he make a year? How would you finish school?’

‘He’ll be far for a while, I could keep going…’

‘As a single woman?’ The aunt had sad eyes. ‘What if the worst happens? You’d be a young widow like me.’

‘Oh, dear Lord!’

‘Or learning to handle a handicap. PTSD.’

Lizzy crossed her arms under her breasts. ‘Stop, aunt, please. This is too much insensibility.’

‘It’s practicality, honey. Think straight. There’s no ring on your finger, no one knows of this proposal or they’d tell me the minute I stepped out of the plane and called to say I rented a car.’ Gardenia pointed at the house. ‘There’s time to get out of this.’

‘I love him.’

‘But he is not for you.’

‘I’ll never love another, I love William.’

‘You’re too young, life will teach you. Just don’t choose the hardest lessons.’

---

‘Another promotion, huh?’ The guy sneered. ‘How lucky.’

‘No luck for the enemies on Darcy’s way!’ Another answered.

‘I earned it.’ Darcy said to himself on the mirror contemplating his uniform’s insignias. 

‘Of course you did!’ 

He received collective pats on the back, some more forceful than the others.

‘Whole countries cower in fear of the mighty Lieutenant Commander.’

‘You take too many risks, man.’

‘He’s insane, that’s what he is.’

‘Fucked up.’

‘I am almost ready…’ He whispered to himself.

‘What did you say?’

‘Nothing, forget it.’

---

‘Navy seal?’ Lizzy gasped and held her late mother’s scapular around her neck. ‘But that is too dangerous!’

‘That is damned hot!’ Charlotte, her friend and college at the cable TV station laughed. ‘I met him at a bar last week, we’ve been seeing each other since. Great guy, very handsome, easy to talk to… Has a friend!’

‘Oh, no…’ Lizzy shook her finger. ‘Thanks, but no, thanks.’

‘Come on, there must be cobwebs down there!’

‘You think!’

‘I bet!’

They giggled.

‘I’m single, but not alone.’

‘You are lonely, friend. Everyone can see.’ Charlotte tapped the end of her pencil on the table. ‘The girls are all enthused about this rock festival, want to meet the rock stars, already choosing which ones to pursue and you?’

‘I’m sane.’ Lizzy showed the tongue. ‘My family is here in Miami; dad, sisters, nieces, cousins. I could never take time out for dating…’

‘Ah, so you do want to meet my guy’s friend!’

A groan. ‘Fine. Let’s set up a date.’

‘Great. Tomorrow we’ll meet at that new club on South Beach-’

Lizzy laughed. ‘Stop right there. South Beach, no way!’

‘You’re such a rich snob…’

‘Am not.’

‘Is too.’

‘To prove I am not, I’ll be taking my cousins to Seaworld, Disneyworld and Universal this weekend.’

‘What, Orlando?’

‘Yep!’

‘You’re kidding?’

‘Nope?’

‘What about Black fish?’ Charlotte defied.

Lizzy sighed. ‘There are many other attractions at Seaworld and my cousins have never visited.’

‘Oh, those cousins of different names of yours… so lively they are.’

‘Lively, huh?’ Lizzy twisted her mouth, her friend pouted. ‘They are spoiled, yes. My aunt always wanted to be their best friend, rarely acts like a mother.’

‘How old are these kids? Aren't they too old for them parks?’

‘The girls are 18 and 19. Never heard of anyone over 15 banned from Disneyworld.’  Lizzy teased.

‘Miami has lots of attractions for teens, why go so far?’

‘They asked, my sisters like the idea, we're going.’

‘Huh… what are their double names again?’

‘You enjoy the follies of others, don't you?’

‘Especially rich folks from the other side of the country!’

Lizzy shook her head with a small smile. ‘Lydia Louisa is 19, Henrietta Katherine is 18.’ As her friend pulled a face to repeat the names, she sighed. ‘Just Louisa and Kitty is fine.’

‘You’re nuts. We’re swamped in work for the festival.’

‘I’m an excellent reporter; my job will be done in time.’

‘You’ll be presenting this year!’ Charlotte despaired.

‘Only backstage. I’ll be prepared.’ Lizzy guaranteed.

‘I hope so, or we’ll all loose our jobs!...’

---

A scorching day, the family scattered around the busy park, the only connection they had was their phones. Lizzy walked around with her sister Jane while Mary tried to control her two boys, the nieces were lost.

‘I’m tired. Can we go back to the hotel?’ Jane whined.

‘Alone?’ Lizzy asked. 

The Bennetts regarded the small boys running around the man inside the penguin costume. ‘I can’t stand it anymore. My brats need a bath and I need a sitter. Also my migraine tablets, lots of them. I’m calling it the day and am not afraid to use my favorite apps to call for a ride and a nanny.’

‘You should tag along to help, Lizzy.’

‘And leave the girls to you?’

‘Right, you’d better stay…’ Jane answered miserably. ‘Mary, hire two nannies.’ The youngest sister showed thumbs up. ‘If we were staying at the resort, at least we could wait for them at the pool and send a concierge to take care of the girls, but that awful little place has a tub in the garden!’

‘Oh, come on… It’s a good hotel, comfortable, we can afford and what matters is time spent together with the family.’

‘Blah-blah-blah!’ A sigh. ‘Tell me sincerely that you don’t miss the money we had, not worrying about budget, red credit cards or driving brand new cars.’

‘It was more comfortable…’

‘Dad has to find a way to make good investments again. He can’t keep believing the wrong stock market agents anymore.’

‘He spent too much, Jane, we know that. We all did.’

‘We have an upscale way of life, that is all.’ 

‘My uber is coming. See you later.’ Mary kissed Lizzy and Jane before pulling her sons away as best as she could.

They watched the struggle for a while until Jane sighed, shrugged and pointed the timetable sign. ‘The parrots’ show, it’s time.’

‘The dolphins, you mean.’

‘I love the parrots…’

They shared a smile. ‘Let’s move, I don’t want to stand still forever. Will let the others know where to find us.’

In a few minutes, while the tanned sisters were seated side-by-side waiting for the show to start, chatting, laughing and Lizzy got a new message on her phone.


‘Where r u?’

‘Seaworld, Charlotte. Told u.’ *emoji fish*

‘Yeah, where here?’ *shared location Seaworld Miami*

‘U’re here too! G8! Dolphins! Hurry or u’ll miss!’


lovely creature
Until the music started, Lizzy twisted and turned her head from side to side trying to find her friend. But when the very hot man in a black diving suit appeared on stage to ask the audience to stand in honor for the military present, she let her eyes feast on his handsomeness. 

It was a customary thing, paying homage to the men and women who risked their lives defending the country overseas, the speakers and screens played the short movie and everyone looked around at the ones standing and saluting. 

That was when Lizzy saw him. Tall, dark and oh-so-handsome. It felt like she was set on fire.

Darcy knew when she saw him because his body alighted.