I originally wrote this story a little over a year ago, one of my very first pieces of fan fiction, and it has since remained my very favorite. I wrote the story after a spark of creativity one night on some notebook paper and transferred it to my computer the next morning with very few alterations. Keeping in mind that I enjoyed this piece so much, it has often bothered me about some punctuation errors, bad paragraph transitions, and unclear writing that's really littered in this piece. I decided to spruce it up, edit it a bit, deleting some very minor bits, adding in even more. However, I'm leaving the other original up for posterity and comparison. So, with no further ado, please enjoy this re-written version of "My Fair Lover"!
My Fair Lover
Ms. Eliza Doolittle sat in a drab, sterile English hospital waiting room. The year was 1975. A nurse outfitted in a white dress and apron slowly walked out of one of the rooms. She made her way to the elderly Eliza and the large family surrounding her and delivered some bad news.
Eliza kept a brave face, not shedding one tear, and retreated into the hospital room.
It was just like the old devil to live one-hundred-and-twenty-one years and then leave her alone.
Eliza sighed. She stared at the lifeless corpse of her soul mate. She had spent just sixty-two years with him. Just. She smiled. And in all those years, no one could ever separate the two of them.
Her mind raced back to the year 1913 when the two first met. "A heartless guttersnipe", he had called her. Henry was always insulting others, and, in his odd way, forever charming her. She remembered the rocky early years of their life together. Tears were drawn from eyes, slippers acrobatically thrown through the air, and many, many marbles accidentally gulped. Also there, was the only person who could ever get a word in edgewise between Eliza and Henry- Colonel Pickering.
After Higgins had won his bet, the one that forever changed all their lives, Pickering eventually moved back to his plantation home in India. However, he always seemed to be at the little apartment on Wimpole Street, until his death in the early nineteen-forties. Eliza remembered how, after bonding such a close friendship with Pickering, Higgins was always convinced that the constancy of the air raids were the reason for his death. Eliza knew better. He was over ninety year old. But that didn't stop Henry from frequently swearing, "Bloody air raids!".
She was eighty-nine years old, nearly the same age Pickering was when he died. Funny, she thought, how fast time flies… Eliza let a soft chuckle escape from her lips. She was shocked, and slightly appalled, to hear the sound of it. She tried to bring back memories of herself with Henry, and thought of all the titles and monikers she had held throughout her life: the simple Liza and Eliza, or when she was younger, Miss Doolittle, and the worst one of all, Mrs. Higgins. That was the named used when members of high society did not want to address the fact that Eliza had given Henry four children, and they never were married.
Her children, now in their forties, were Julia, Audrey, Marni, and the youngest one, Little Rex. Alan, Frederick, George, Bernice, Moss, Wendy, and Cecil were her grandchildren. Her great-grandchildren, the newest, and youngest additions to the family, were the infants Leslie and Galatea.
The youngest were born shortly after the 1960s, Henry's favorite decade by far. Well over one-hundred, he listened to the Beatles, wore tie-dye, and went around London barefoot. Eliza, eager to join in, had burned… his slippers.
But she knew that as much as she hated it, even while plagued from a multitude of diseases, ranging from arthritis to acute dementia, Henry always held total control over her. She pretended not… but it was true. She remembered how, when Henry had forced her to dye and cut her hair, he had called her his "blondie cockney".
"Blondie cockney," she said it aloud. Admittedly, she did relapse into her old form of speaking from time to time. But those times felt so far, far away.
Her father died twelve years after becoming a millionaire, and, through some miracle, he retained most of his fortune, even to the day he died. And though his visits were few are far between, he doted upon his grandchildren endlessly, spoiling them with his endless amounts of money. Of course, he left none of his fortune to Henry and her, but not at all out of spite. Perhaps it was because, or so she had always assumed, he had made the decision out of genuine respect…?
When her father passed away, Eliza's stepmother came to live with the couple. Henry always complained of the plump woman's high, glass-shattering voice, (the lady, you see had been a big star back in her day, starring notably in many Wagner operas) but she made a good companion for Mrs. Pearce in the latter years of her life. Mrs. Pearce was still employed by Henry, but she never did any work. Henry, however, never did object to this. He liked having Mrs. Pearce around, and he missed her when she left to a nursing home, just two months before she died.
Most of their years together had been happy ones. That was, until Henry's lovely mother died in 1951. Eliza was sure Henry would follow suit. He wouldn't eat, he stayed in bed, and he lost interest in all things, even phonetics. But Eliza had forced him out of bed every once in awhile, and after much trial and tribulation, she finally got him to go and visit the theatre. Miraculously, the cheerful tunes of the stage saved him from completely wasting away, and he soon began bringing a recorder with him, to tape the accent of Yul Brynner in The King and I.
Freddy, her old suitor and the couple's theatre companion, immediatly came to mind. What life would have been like married to him! Divorced several times, Eliza was sure he still carried a torch for her. Now a close family friend, one of her grandchildren had been named "Frederick", known as "Freddy" as well, in honor of him. She hoped that he was in a good relationship now with Andi.
"Higgins…" She rubbed the still hand of her mate. She smile, thinking again of the happiest times of their partnership. Higgins, snapping at those staring at the sixty year old and thirty year old strolling down the street. Eating chocolates…
"Mmmm…." She took a deep breath, as though she was eating one now, savoring the rich, creamy taste. "Oh, loverly…"
"Damn! Lovely, Eliza, lovely…" she chastised herself.
The hospital doors opened. A young freckled teenager walked in- the spitting image of Henry.
"Grandma, we have to leave now…"
"Thank you, Freddy. I'm almost finished." Her grandson nodded and left the room. He had been very close to his grandfather. In fact, he had been the one to introduce Henry to the Beatles.
Eliza stroke the stray gray hairs from Higgin's face. A tear slowly rolled down her wrinkly face.
Standing up, she walked toward the door, but gave one last look at Henry. She could see out the window of the room that it was raining peacefully. She wonder, whimsically, if it was also raining in Spain?
Eliza thought back, too, about the moments of passion during their relationship, of heat, of fire. It happened often. But that wasn't why she stayed with Henry. No, the old coot was one of a kind, and while she never would have told it to the egotistic ham's face- she was truly grateful to have had him in her life. Why he had let her stay around, she'd never know. But obviously, he thought there was something special in her, too.
And yet… during their entire course of their relationship, all sixty years or so, true raw emotions could never be expressed or allowed to be played out. Henry was always too uncomfortable with that sort of thing. He felt emotion was a sign of weakness, any sort of emotion, anything that revealed you were nothing but a human being. Eliza, of course, felt differently. Henry would have said that she only felt that way because of "sentimental female nonsense" but that couldn't be the case. What she felt took real bravery to be expressed, and for the longest time she had longed to say just three words, the only three words completely banned from their home.
"Damn it, 'enry 'iggins! I love you."