Richard stood at the front of the steps cursing in the wind on a pleasant Monday morning.
"Where the hell is my foolish cousin?"
"For the thousandth time Richie, I don't know", Charles' patience was at the end of its tether. "You saw exactly the same note I did."
"If he is making us wait here just because he is saying a tearful goodbye to Missy Lizzy, I would make him weep before chopping off his ballocks."
"You sound like my sister". That definitely shut him up and he heaved a heavy sigh of suffering. Before Charlie could plot Richard's murder, there was unmistakable purr of an engine at the driveway. Darcy honked and winked when Richard's eyes almost popped out of their sockets.
"Is t-th-that?" He gesticulated violently at the gleaming Buick Sylark convertible where an amused Darcy sat behind the wheel.
"I call shotgun", Charles shouted and skipped past his astounded friend.
"Ha! I am driving. Get in the back Darce."
"No way. Either you could get your butt back in there or you may walk to Bunol."
"I knew there was a catch", Richard grumbled but followed his cousin's demands.
The men were going to Bunol for the famous tomato fight that was scheduled to take place at the town square on Wednesday. Originally, their plans involved arriving to the village an hour before the festival but a certain female's presence compelled Darcy to alter the plans and hence, they were now heading to the Valencian town two days prior to their scheduled arrival.
"Remind me again why are we reducing our stay at Netherfield? I feel cheated after I paid the rent in advance. It was such a charming little place", Richard drawled in an unaffected manner.
William cleared his throat. "Well, you two have been buggering me about not exploring the small town beauty of Spain. Here is the chance and before I change my mind, shut up and enjoy the view."
"..and here I was thinking it was because of Lizzy." Richard flopped onto the seat and put a fedora on his face as he settled down for a nap in the belly of the Buick.
"No feathers on that fedora, Rickie? Caro would be disappointed", Charles gave his input. Richard showed him the finger without changing his lazy posture.
An hour after Richard's snores could be heard in the otherwise silent scene, Charles addressed his friend, "Did you have a good walk last night?"
William replied after a beat. "You are reading too much into a simple equation, Charlie. I just dropped her off at her place and yes, she is a very good conversationalist. Especially, because she understands the need for companionable silence", he ended with a pointed look.
Bingley chuckled in repose. "Okay, okay. I get it. I will not push you. At least tell me, when will she be arriving? "
"Most probably tomorrow. Her plans were not fixed. She said it depended on when her sister and friend would arrive from London."
"Sister? Which one? She has four of them, doesn't she? Lord knows I am not capable of keeping up with two of mine. How she manages four is a wonder."
"The eldest one, I suppose. She is quite dear to her."
"For having just two conversations, you sure know an awful lot about her."
"Well you two were lying passed out on the sofa. Someone had to show a semblance of good manners towards our guest."
"You are unbelievable."
Lizzy waited at the baggage checkout.
Spotting flaxen hair on the head of a tall and willow beauty, she rushed to embrace her dearest relation.
"Janey", she squealed. "Oh! I missed seeing your pretty face."
"Lizzy, it's so good to see you", she hugged her back just as fiercely.
A voice butted in. "I am so jealous. Not a week in and you already have a tan, Lizzy."
"Charlotte!", she hugged her oldest friend. "I am so glad you guys are here."
"You are really excited for this tomato thing, huh?" Charlotte teased, "or is it some hunk you just want to see shirtless, covered in tomato puree? Very kinky, though my choice would be chocolate."
"What? No. Charlotte!" Elizabeth spluttered.
Jane's eyes widened. "It is. Who is he? It can't be that engaged guy. I refuse to believe that of you." "There is no crime in looking", Charlotte retorted. "It could be that goofball who always flirts with you or it could be the brooding one. How did you describe him? Tall, dark and handsome."
"Stop it. Both of you. I am not going all the way to Bunol to ogle some guy I did not know of a month ago. Is it so hard to believe that I am happy to spend some quality time with my best friends?"
"Oh, Lizzy. I apologize. I didn't mean to pry. Of course, Charlotte and I are equally pleased to be here with you. "
"Say what you want to. That anticipation right there Miss Bennet, it has been put there by a man. A stud, I'd say", Charlotte smirked unrepentantly but she let go on being at the receiving end of the twin glares.
Meanwhile, in London, a certain waspish lady was haranguing. "I can't believe this. I mean, how hard is it to make a dress out of roses? It's not like I am asking him to design me a copy of that Gaga dress. Melissa, are you even listening?
Melissa looked away from the setting sun to focus on her companion. "Do you think Charles is cheating on me?"
Caroline, on the verge of sipping her almond milk, with no almond and non-fat milk, thank you very much, blanched at this very abrupt question. "Are we talking about that same man I shared womb with?"
Melissa did not react except for staring off at the giggling couple on the adjacent table who sipped from the same straw . Caroline answered disingenuously , "What brought this on Mel? You know Charles. He wouldn't hurt a f…" Melissa got up and pushed her sunglasses on.
"I am flying to Spain tomorrow."