quarta-feira, 3 de julho de 2019

9 ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously - chapter 11

hi, there.
As I said last week, we're on our way to the end. Not quite there yet... It's time for a meeting, a very special one.

A thing I love in Pride and Prejudice is that Darcy and Lizzy meet again, by chance, twice. Or we think it's by chance. In Kent, during Easter, I do think he was informed she'd be there... Anyway. Both at Rosings and Pemberley they meet again, both times after parting in no-so-friendly terms. Fate keeps giving them chances! 

It's like insistent witchcraft!


So, I give you HIS SIDE OF THE STORY... Enjoy this chapter.




Nine ways to live Pride and Prejudiciously
WIP, modern (mostly), adult (you know me...), fun, fluff, heart healing stuff.
read chapter 10
or START from CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 11
VII- Head over heels - part 1


‘Finneas!’ Williams called out from the front room of his clinic. ‘Finneas, are you still here? Where is the secretary?’

‘Darrygh?’ A man answered poking his head from a door. ‘She is running an errand for me. Why all the screaming? Is everything ok- Oh, man!’ A chuckle. ‘What the hell happened?’

‘My six o'clock patient was a moron.’ Williams ran his tongue over his front teeth. ‘Fuck up.’

‘Whatever could have happened in a consult for a dentist loose a tooth when he was supposed to be working on someone else's?’

‘I punched him, he punched me back.’

‘What?’

‘Shut up, Chad. Where's Finn?’

Laughing at that point, Chadwick, the dentist, his partner, closed his office's door. ‘Did the guy try to leave without paying? Can't imagine why a DDS would fight with a patient!’

‘Finneas!’ Williams called again.


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‘Hey, dude, chill out. You guys try to make me worry your worries, but I'm immune, dude.’ The tall man completely dressed in white but for the crocs sandals, chilli peppers print. 

Williams retracted his bruised lips.

‘Dude!’ A chuckle. ‘How did you chip your central incisor?’

‘A fight!’ Chadwick guffawed.

‘Where?’ Finneas chuckled. ‘You had a full schedule today!’

‘My six o'clock.’ Williams tried to feel the strength of all his upper teeth with a thumb. ‘He's worse. Black eye at least.’

‘Why dude? You're such a peacemaker.’

‘He was rude.’

‘Huh?’ The partners exchanged an amused look.

‘Take a look.’ Williams pointed at his mouth. ‘Prepare me a veneer.’

‘Let me finish my six o'clock, peacefully.’  Chadwick chuckled, Finneas pulled on Darrygh's lip to check out the damage. ‘I'll take a closer look.’

A few minutes later, the dentist made patient with the dentist attending him and the prosthodontist analyzed x-rays. 

‘Incredibly it's a complex crown fracture…’

‘I feel pain; some pulp tissue was damaged.’

‘Luxation? ‘

‘Maybe.’

Finneas searched his pockets until he found a thin cigarette, lighted it and smoked. ‘Here, have some before Chad starts the root canal.’

‘I don't want your marijuana, Finn.’

‘Gonna be in a lot of pain, dude…’

‘Am aware of.’

‘Leave the MMA champion to me, Finn. Go start the restorative work.’

‘Doubt he'll allow me to work on him. His mouth will feel like crap.’

‘Gotta have to. My folks are at some friend's somewhere and I'll have to go get them tomorrow.  Can't show up missing a tooth.’

‘In the middle of this storm?’

‘Hope it thins out until then, here in the city wasn’t so bad.’

‘Imagine if you tell them the reason you fought!’ Another laugh. ‘Because the guy complimented the girl he works with!’
Williams groaned. ‘He was rude to her.’

‘She sells you coffee.’ Chadwick locked Williams mouth opened to start the procedure. ‘The girl is your barista, that is all.’

‘He wants all the warmth she has to offer…’ Finneas smiled puffing smelly smoke. 

The three man smiled, even the one who had lips locked in a mouth opener. 

‘I oee waan too ash e ou.’ Williams mumbled.

‘Right, dude, only ask her out…’ Finneas moved his head slowly as a turtle. ‘Then bring her to your place, ask her to brew you a coffee pot, sip, sip, sip.’

Chadwick guffawed. ‘Go away, Finn! I'm using sharp instruments here.’

‘I'm going, I'm going. But he wants her coffee.’
Williams raised a thumbs up.


The next day, late afternoon when he entered his car to drive the few hours to where his parents stayed, Williams still tried to get used to his new aesthetic. His tongue passed on the smooth tooth every now and then, the sore gum made it even more strange.
Worse still was the memory of the anger building up inside him as the man insulted Bertha. And, as much as Williams thought about it, he could not realize why did he care so much. He had a crush on her, the barista girl who hardly knew he existed. No need to feel so protective of her, so connected. 

Such thoughts, imaginings of some kind of weird bond uniting him to a girl he wanted to date but had no indication would accept him, carried him through miles and miles, two stops to buy icy drinks and when he noticed, his GPS was directing him inside a small town.

What he didn’t notice was that the runner he passed by, the attractive figure in tight running pants was the girl in his thoughts.
Bertha also had no idea that the sleek sedan passing by was new in town or headed to her parents’. The plan was to spend as much energy possible to sleep all the way home avoiding any conversation with the son of her parents’ friends.


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She only reduced speed one block from home to allow her breathing to slowly return to normal. In front of the house there was an unknown car, black, shiny, new. ‘The son.’ Bertha mumbled. ‘The twin.’ A shake of her head. ‘Come play with us, Danny.’ She said to herself. ‘Redrum. Come play with us forever, and ever and ever…’ She recited the old horror movie.

‘Meeeow!’

‘Oh, Ginger! You do it on purpose!’ 

Chuckles.

‘I believe in you, dear!’ 

‘Don’t give her credit, Gia. She’s the only one who steps on his tail.’ 

‘Because I’m the only one he offers it as a rug, mom.’ Bertha complained entering the living room with a glass of water. Coming from the kitchen where she entered the house, she hadn’t met the son and to her surprise, she knew the guy – at that moment with this mouth wide opened as his father inspected his teeth.

‘Hi, dear, this is Junior, our son. He’s here to pick us up. How soon can you get ready to go?’

‘In a hurry to leave us, huh, Gia?’ Bertha’s father joked.

‘Oh, no! we love it here. But Junior has a busy schedule at the clinic. Just like Darrygh used to be, a day full of patients.’

‘Beautiful job, son.’ Darrygh father said. ‘No one can tell it was ever broken. Enamel restored, need my magnifying glasses to identify the crack line on the palatal wall of the crown, pulp tissue and gum seems healthy.’

‘Finneas and Chadwick are the best in invasive treatments. Post and crown done in record time.’ Williams ran his tongue over his tooth. ‘He closed my diastema without consulting me.’

‘Looks good though.’

‘Yeah.’

‘Junior?’ Gia called out. ‘This is Bertha, the girl you’ll be giving a ride home.’

‘Caffe latte, grande, organic. Williams.’ She whispered. ‘Is that you?’ An amused smile.

‘Hi!’ He smiled back, cheeks slightly colored. ‘You? I mean, hi. Yes, I’ll give you a ride home. Sure.’ Williams paused. ‘It’ll be a pleasure.’

‘Do you two know each other?’

‘He’s a regular at the coffee shop I work at.’ Bertha was still smiling at him. ‘Almost every day he makes the same order, excellent costumer. Caffe latte, grande, organic.’ She told her mother. To him, she added: ‘Can’t help you here.’

‘No need, thanks.’ He smiled back.

His teeth!... She marveled. The gap between the front teeth was gone. How… handsome. More handsome. ‘I’m a little more than a waitress, Gia.’ She added. ‘I serve coffee.’

‘She’s the manager.’ Her mother said. ‘A degree in marketing to work at a coffee shop, a franchise.’ She clicked her tongue. ‘She could apply for a post in the main offices.’

‘I could.’ Bertha broke eye contact with Williams. ‘Going up for a shower. Really quick.’

‘Take your time, Bertha.’ He answered. ‘No hurry.’ However, she was already up the steps.


During the ride, Williams answered his parents, listened to their chat, paid special attention to the road while mostly and constantly observing Bertha. In his car! Singing along with his father’s oldies radio! What a day! If he knew, he’d driven in the storm to spend more time with her, even risking his mother’s watchful eye. He knew she noticed how he stole glances at the mirror because more than once he caught his mother’s eyes after admiring Bertha, both women were side-by-side on his back seat, it was unavoidable. Soon his sister would start calling to ask for details…

When they stopped for gas and coffee, his father smiled, waved his eyebrows, nodded. ‘I like her, good humored, polite, pretty. Her father is a good friend. It’d be nice to share grandkids with him.’
Williams chuckled. ‘In a hurry, old man?’

‘Do I get any younger?’ He defied. ‘Do you?’ A pause. ‘I see your eyes on her.’

‘It’s curiosity. Never seen her out of the uniform.’ He shrugged.

‘I know…’ A smirk. ‘I can seat with your mother and move the pretty girl to the front.’

‘No need, I’ll drive her home when I drop you off.’

In fact, it was a curious situation for people who hardly knew each other. As much as her presence gave Williams a thrill, Bertha had barely changed outfits. From the black running pants and t-shirt, she had on when she arrived home to the dark pink one with a maxi shirt. The apron he used to see covering her was gone, she carried a simple rain jacket always opened and constantly fumbled with the pocket’s content. It was a fine figure.

‘I cooked, Junior, the shrimp pasta you and Giovana like so much.’ 

‘Great, dad.’ Williams said as she navigated their return to the highway.

‘They had this seafood already defrosting; Bertha planned on cooking something but changed her mind.’

‘Not as good as you!’ Bertha chuckled. ‘I would try an omelet. Not much.’

‘Did you enjoy the pasta, though?’

‘Yes, it was delicious!’

‘She’s never been to the Keys, Junior.’

‘Oh, dear, what a pity!’ Gia held Bertha’s hand. ‘It’s a lovely place. Don’t you want to stay at our house?’

‘I already offered.’ Darrygh started a long retelling of their summers in Florida that distracted them almost to their door.

‘Would you two come in for dinner?’ Gia offered. ‘What you’d like, dear?’

‘No need, Gia, thank you. You’ve already been very kind; I can take the train and will be at home in no time.’

‘Absolutely, Junior will take you home.’

‘Of course I will.’ Williams had his eyes on hers through the rear view mirror.

‘You don’t need to, if you want to spend time with your parents, I can manage.’ Bertha smiled.

He shook his head. ‘Where do you live?’

‘South of the river bank.’ She said, he nodded. ‘Close to you? You’re a regular at the coffee shop.’

‘I live around the corner of the coffee shop.’

‘Close, but still you’re not obliged. The train is fine for me.’ A smile.

‘But the train doesn’t reach the river.’

‘Subway.’ Bertha explained. ‘I take the train and then the subway. And walk the few blocks.’

‘Oh, well, you two go ahead.’ Gia decided as the youngsters’ conversation dragged along . ‘I’m very tired, we’re far from home for days, it’d be a lot of work to cook, anyway.’ She waved her hands. ‘Come back another day, let me know what you’d like to eat, dear.’

Bertha blushed, shook her head. Williams held a groan.
Hurried goodbyes said, they proceeded directly to the city, alone then for the remaining 40 minutes of the ride. 

‘Your mom isn’t very subtle.’ Bertha twisted her lips to a side.

‘What do you mean?’

‘They planned a blind date, our moms.’ She blushed and averted her eyes to the window. ‘I overheard them talking.’

‘Shit.’

Bertha chuckled, he joined.

‘My mother is a bit anxious sometimes.’ He said as an apology. ‘But she means well.’

‘It seemed so… I also heard her say that you’ve been advised against dating the waitress you liked.’ A shrug. ‘I am kind of a waitress, was until recently.’

He mumbled something under his breath that hoped she couldn’t understand – and she didn’t. ‘That’s why you said it at your parents?’

‘Yes.’

‘You considered a slight to you.’

‘It was. Kind of.’ Another shrug. ‘You don’t have to pretend to want to ask me out or anything.’

‘Listen; don’t pay any attention to what someone told you about me. Let me talk to you.’

‘Too late. Your mom also said you’ve been alone for a long time, complained actually. Said something about your sister too, but I didn’t quite understand. Then my mom complained about me. No news there, my mom doesn’t need excuses to find faults in my choices.’

‘Giovana, my sister, is married to another woman, Anne. That’s her only problem in my mother’s eyes, even though she adores Anne.’

‘Ah… Now it makes more sense.’

‘And I am single. I mean, without a girlfriend.’ He stopped at a red light and could finally look directly at her. ‘Never been married.’
Bertha waited unsure of how to answer – or even is she needed to. Ok if he wanted to tell her, but he was a costumer whose parents knew her parents. A coincidence. That was all.

She didn’t reciprocate, so Williams smiled with eyebrows raised.
Bertha still waited. ‘The green light?’ She pointed, he started driving again. ‘This radio is great.’ She tried to sound casual. ‘Oldies, classics. I like it.’

‘I guess you have someone.’ Williams concluded. ‘The other manager who visited my office to check on his teeth.’

‘George?’ Bertha even coughed. ‘Good heavens, no!’ She breathed to calm her reactions. ‘He just works with me… Ew!’

‘Good to know.’

‘What? Why?’

‘Nothing.’ He paused. ‘So, single?’

‘Why, feeling obliged to ask me out?’

‘Not if you feel the need to accept.’

‘To please our parents?’

‘Let’s think only of ourselves.’

The shared smiled was surprisingly satisfying. ‘I’d like to afford accepting the offer to the beach house. I need a vacation.’ She sighed. ‘I actually need one of those spas where all you do is toast under the sun and sip a fancy drink.’

‘Problems at the coffee shop?’ He seemed interested.

‘In life, there are these times where we need to decide which way to go. You know?’ Bertha crossed her arms under her breasts. ‘A fork on the road?’

‘Yes.’

‘I have lots of ideas and plans, but can’t seem to find the correct path…’

‘And feel you need to take some time away and relax, think things over?’

Bertha smiled amused. ‘Yep. Maybe try to play around with some ideas, see which ones fit me better!...’

Williams didn’t understand what was so amusing to inspire that smile, but it was nice to see it, to have that girl smiling for him in his car.

‘There, that’s my street.’ She said pointing. ‘But you’ll need to go around the block.’

Suddenly they were in front of her place and he needed to let her go. He got out to open the door for her, but she had already stepped out of the car when she managed to reach her side. 

‘So, this is me.’ She pointed the building. ‘Thanks for the first class ride.’

‘My pleasure.’

‘Well, then…’ An embarrassed smile. ‘See you.’

‘Tomorrow morning, breakfast?’

‘Sure. Caffe latte, grande, organic. Williams.’

‘No, you and me, French toast, in a side table.’

‘Ah.’ She nodded. ‘Fine.’ And took a few steps aside. ‘Good evening, and thanks again.’

He waited until she entered and locked the door.

She went upstairs thinking what kind of silly man sets a date to the place the girl works. If that was a date…

He was so elated with the promised date that only noticed a small bag on his passenger’s seat when she reached his garage. ‘What is this, Bertha?’ Williams took it. ‘Herbs?’ Brought it to his nose. ‘Pot? No!...’

Shaking his head, he took out his phone and sent a picture to Finneas. Not a second later he called back.

“What is that, dude? You’re so strange! Picking up fights, now buying mj?”

“I didn’t!” William chuckled. “It’s hers, my coffee girl. She left it in my car.”

“How was she in your car if you needed a new tooth to pick up your parents?”

“Coincidences of life, man… Now, what is this? Can’t be pot, there’s too much here and she doesn’t seem like a smoker.”

“Smell it.” Finneas ordered.

“Perfume.” Williams answered. “Fruit with perfume.”

“Funny… Where are you?”

“Just arrived home.”

“Wait, I’ll be there in a moment.”


Curiosity moved mountains, also men interested in pretty girls. Soon the two partners searched online trying to find out what the dried broken leaves were. Proactive, Finneas brought along with him an arsenal of instruments capable of jailing a person for a decade.
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‘I say the narghile.’ Finneas held the tall golden pipe. ‘This must be some fancy cigarette the ladies like to say they smoke, but not really.’

‘I’ll give it back to her tomorrow.’ Williams smiled sideways. ‘Then ask what is it.’

‘Let’s try it first.’

‘No!’

‘Yes.’

‘No…’

‘Come on…’

The set up took some time and when it was fully functional, Finneas took the first drag, nodded appreciatively and passed the hose to Williams.

As he smoked, his friend received a call. Somehow, Williams gave in to the tiredness of the road as fast as the third or fourth drag. If Finneas crashed in his place, he didn’t notice.


He had learned how to cook with his father, it had been a family pastime as old as the Darcy family name. Because of this, he cooked from the heart, towel on his shoulder, measurements done by good sense, faith in his accurate taste and smell. There were chefs who worked by the book, measuring and weighing everything; William Darcy cooked using his sensibilities and senses.

He knew Brinley, his older brother and partner at the Pemberley Caterings, if he nervously waited outside the kitchen, pacing incapable of controlling the anxiety, their upcoming moment was really important, a breakthrough: the chance to cater major events of the luxurious Longbourn Institute of Arts.


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The enormous school and museum dedicated to fine arts maintained by the Bennetts, wealthy family of old money, hosted selected events such as an annual gala ball, presidential gala dinners and weddings for the very rich, much more profitable for the institution. The family had a chief executive but enjoyed dealing with important decisions, such as changing caterers.

A chance to be the sole caterer for such a place would assure a steady income to their small business, allow them to hire teams of outstanding professionals and maybe even establish a chain of Pemberley restaurants. 

But, for all that, William needed to forget about Brinley pacing outside the kitchen and finish his presentation menu of fast finger food. Surely the sisters involved on the daily managing of the Institute, including the one said to be a vegan, would be seduced by his baby meatball with spaghetti topping, tiny grilled cheese and tomato soup cup, viking hasselback bite, polenta blini with caramel onion and mushrooms, tapioca pudding. 

Food was indeed important, that was how the Darcys saw it.
He instructed Fitz, his other brother, on how to plate the creations and arrange the trays in a way he believed would please women and added finishing touches. sprinkles of chopped parsley here, salt flower there, he corrected his posture crossing his arms over his chest. Perfect.

Lizzy Bennett listened to her sister Jane sing praises to Pemberley Caterings thinking why were they wasting time with a small family business. Simply because their friend and executive Charlotte had chosen them to take care of her wedding, it shouldn’t be enough for them to consider it an option for Longbourn Institute.

From the corner of her eye Lizzy observed a tall and handsome blondish man pace appearing and disappearing behind the dish pantry’s door. She also noticed how Jane reacted: if he showed up, she perked; when he walked out of sight, she relaxed. 

‘Mmmm… Not good.’ Lizzy thought. 

And finally the presenting troop entered the ballroom where big events took place. The high ceiling, thick columns, gilded mirrors and Italian marble flooring echoed the steps of five men, all different in dispositions, but still, all similar in appearances. Handsome, yes, some more than others. There was a certain something in their air and manner of walking and expressions that called attention. 

The blondish one, the older and pacing brother was also the manager, Brinley who explained the family business that came from their father’s beer brewery from whom they earned the love for cooking, presented the others. Fitz was the smiley one was the pastry sous chef, Collin the most average in height and beauty was the accountant, Burgess the youngest was the host and finally William, the chef. 

All brothers, how curious! Lizzy thought. From the moment they arrived close, her interest was particularly directed to one because of his posture. ‘A warlord.’ Haughty, the chef was the tallest, dark haired and brooding face, arms crossed, legs apart as if ready for war. ‘Fine.’ She smiled. ‘Let’s see what you brought us.’

‘Part of our specials. Small bites for a dynamic party, comfort food to appeal to people’s emotional memory implying happiness.’ William said with confidence. ‘My creations are welcomed by vegetarians, vegans or people with dietary regulations.’

With a raised eyebrow, Lizzy waited as he presented each dish watching her sister and friend taste each of the offerings, all the time she considered if Charlotte was in financial difficulties. Considering such a service for her wedding.

‘Oh, Lizzy!’ Jane pressed two fingers to her lips, mouth full. ‘You have to try this one!’ She pointed the half-bitten blini. ‘Explain again what this delicious thing is, please?’
The lovely smile made the men smile back. 

‘Polenta blini with caramel onion and mushrooms.’ William said carefully.

Lizzy shook her head, lips pressed in the faintest of the smiles. ‘I’d rather not.’

‘Oh, please, don’t be so squeamish!’ Charlotte poked Lizzy’s arm. ‘All vegetables here. Polenta is corn, right? Onions, frog houses; what problem can you find in this food?’

‘Mushrooms are not frog houses, I’ve told you.’ Lizzy sighed.

‘Absolutely.’ William bristled. ‘A delicacy.’

‘So are crickets, scorpions and grasshoppers.’ A shudder shook Charlotte and Jane. ‘But those she wouldn’t eat, because she saves animals.’

‘Please, just taste this.’ Jane insisted.

‘It is safe.’ William used a patronizing tone. ‘I cooked it myself.’

‘And he is the best cook there is. Both normal and vegan people say it!’ Brinley nodded smiling his pride.

‘I see figs here; am I correct?’ Lizzy asked.

‘Yes.’ Still William had the same haughty tone to his voice.

‘Cheese between white bread slices, creamy tomato soup-‘

‘Non-dairy cream was used.’

‘Have you checked the presence of sodium caseinate?’

Silence.

‘It’s a milk-based derivative.’ She shook her head. ‘Potato is cute, but filled with cheese and bacon bits, honey or white sugar in the pudding, meatballs could be soy or beans but taking from the figs and cream, I suspect lard or eggs. Even people who mean well fall for what labels call natural ingredients disregarding that Vegans are very savvy and serious.’ A mixture of sadness and tiredness colored her face. ‘If it’s meat, as it seems to me, I fear to ask the origin.’

‘No one would be as fastidious as you, Lizzy.’ Jane put down the small plate in her hand. ‘In a party here, everyone would at least try and surely love how good this food tastes.’

‘I certainly disagree. I take great care to eat outside of my trusted circle of places, you know I only do when I’m particularly acquainted with the source. The same care should be taken here, people trust Longborn, sister. We just hosted a gigantic symposium about the Amazon Forest’s illegal cattle farms, it had international resonance. Imagine if we served food that could come from similar origins?’

‘You accuse us of using food of low quality?’ Collin asked incredulously. ‘Distrust us?’ 

‘I’m sorry, Mr. Darcy…’ She pressed her eyes and counted silently. 

‘Fourth, Mr. Darcy, the Fourth. It would be insupportable for me to risk the good name of my family on a supposition you used the right ingredients.’

‘My brother gave his word, Miss Bennett.’

‘I wonder if you prepared for this meeting, sirs. I see no certificates or formers contracts you may have had with this kind of venue.’ She moved her index finger gingerly around her own hand. Nodded and took a step aside. ‘Jane, please?’ A move with her head towards the main doors and they walked not ten steps away. ‘Is it a punishment to me to stand here?’ She whispered.

‘No! I dare say this is a very agreeable task, much better than meeting Charlotte’s fiancé in the engagement party.’

Lizzy widened her eyes. ‘Who? The tall chef who can’t tell protein from fruit?’

‘Don’t say that!’
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‘He served figs in vegan food.’

‘So what wasps die inside figs, Lizzy? It was a delicious little serving.’

‘Won’t even answer you.’ Lizzy rolled her eyes.

‘Collin is the fiancé, the shorter one.’

‘Ah!’ She turned round, looked at the table for a moment, caught William’s eye and withdrew her own fast. ‘I am in no humor to give consequence to caterers slighted by other venues. You had better return, thank and dismiss them.’

‘I think they are a good choice. Only need our guidance.’

‘You cannot be serious.’

‘Trust me.’

‘Huh-huh. No.’ Lizzy shook her head. ‘Dismiss them.’ She coldly said and left.

Jane knew it was an order.


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