The Diary of Jimmy Kent
I'm probably going to be dismissed today.
Carson's going to call, I'll hear his angry eyebrows over the telephone, and then I'll be the laughing stock of Downton as I haul my meager belongings into the streets.
Thomas will leave me and all hope will be lost.
I hate July. I hate everything.
I haven't been dismissed yet.
However, Mrs. Patmore and Daisy have insulted my complexion disastrously. If this keeps up, I'm going to develop a complex.
"You look peaky today," Mrs. Patmore said, squinting at me in earnest.
"He does. You're white as chalk, Jimmy," Daisy agreed, pausing her stirring and setting full, inspecting eyes on me.
Lovely. I feel like a zoo creature.
"I'm sure it's just the lighting," I said breezily, not in the mood for slander.
"Nah," Alfred suddenly said, Stella at his side. "You look terrible. You should probably go and have a lie down."
This is why I hate Alfred, Diary. And everybody else.
Alright. What's going on? I still haven't been dismissed.
Is Carson torturing me?
I couldn't take it anymore. I had to know.
After dropping off the last of dinner's dishes, I found Mrs. Hughes in her sitting room.
"Mrs. Hughes?" I enquired gently, knocking lightly on her door.
She turned around and smiled. "Yes, James?"
I remained nonchalant, putting up the perfect act of indifference.
"I was just casually wondering whether or not Mr. Carson's made any calls today. Or made any attempts at communication?"
Oh yeah. The fox is back.
Mrs. Hughes stared, slightly puzzled. "Mr. Carson? No, not to my knowledge. Why do you ask?"
OH PRAISE JESUS.
(Keep it calm, Jimmy.)
"Oh, no reason. I just…er…miss him, is all." I hid any and all wincing that threatened to occur when I heard myself utter that last bit.
Mrs. Hughes, thoroughly unconvinced, merely nodded, eyes assessing me. "I see. Well. I'll let you know should he write any letters, shall I?" And I think her tone was mocking, but I'd like to think it wasn't.
"That would be most gracious of you."
At that she actually rolled her eyes. "You are something else, James. I'll give you that." And with one last little smile, she shooshed me off.
So I suppose today is a success.
(But I miss Thomas. When will he return? Everybody's talking about the new baby... But as much as I love babies [I don't] I can't help but wonder what this will cause. They were only to be in London for two weeks, but now? I just don't know. And it would be terribly impertinent to ask.)
(Or would it?)
(It probably would.)
I am distressed today for two significant reasons.
All is quiet on the western front. Suspiciously quiet. I can only assume that Carson is planning a slow and intricate demise for me, and is actually choreographing a detailed performance of publicly dismissing me upon his return.
My diary is running out of room. I have barely any pages left, but still have so many feelings. I am nearly speechless with panic. What will I do when it runs out?
Today is dreadful.
(I did tell Stella she looked like a cow, though. She screeched and almost cried, so it was very much worth the reprimands I received from Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Patmore. Even Alfred laughed.)
I suppose I could just get a new diary, couldn't I?
But I like this one.
Today is atrocious. My brain hurts from all of this thinking.
I wonder what Thomas is doing?
I can hear Ivy calling my name. I'm probably late for luncheon.
I was born into the wrong life.
I still haven't been dismissed and I'm starting to wonder if I just imagined shouting at Matthew Crawley in the dining room.
I sincerely hope I did.
Then again, everybody's so caught up with the new babe (it's a boy! They're calling him 'Robert' which is perhaps the least creative name in the world. I don't understand the tradition of carrying on names. Why is branching out such a bad idea? She should've named the thing James and be done with it—I have a stunning name.)
Have been very lonely as well. Have spent most of my time scrubbing every flat surface, polishing everything in my vicinity, and running errands for the kitchen staff and Mrs. Hughes.
I do hope I get this promotion, Diary. I would look so very posh as a valet. Could wear a proper suit. Would get an increase in salary.
Ohmigod! Thomas and I could get matching suits! We would love beautiful!
That's it, Diary.
I MUST get this job. I don't care if I've ruined my chances or if Matthew Crawley hates me; I WON'T GIVE UP!
I give up.
Mrs. Hughes has just said I'm going to need the spend the day with Alfred, hauling carpets and tapestries in and out of storage, before being enclosed in Carson's tiny office and polishing the silver that's only used at Christmas.
I'm sorry, but I can't think of anything that provides less suffering.
How the hell am I going to survive today?
I LOVE TODAY!
Mrs. Hughes just said at lunch that everybody's to return tomorrow!
"Everybody, Mrs. Hughes? Staff included?" I asked very nonchalantly.
"Indeed. Lady Mary and the babe will be on the earliest train. The others will follow shortly."
I could have cried in my tea.
Thomas is returning! Thomas is returning!
Life is getting its color back!
THOMAS COMES BACK TODAY!
THOMAS COMES BACK TODAY!
THOMAS COMES BACK TODAY!
(The family's returned. Mrs. Hughes said Carson and Thomas and everyone should be arriving at any minute!)
I AM PATIENTLY WAITING FOR THOMAS TO COME BACK!
MRS. HUGHES SAID ANY MINUTE, BUT THAT WAS ALMOST AN HOUR AGO. BUT THAT'S ALRIGHT BECAUSE I'M PATIENTLY WAITING.
What the hell is wrong with that woman?
Who tells somebody that people are going to arrive, and they don't? If she had no clue as to whether they were arriving soon, then she should have—
I hear…Carson's voice. Ohmigod, ohmigosh, YES, that is Carson's voice!
THOMAS IS BACK!
So help me God.
I bounded into the servants' hall, where everybody surrounded Carson, Anna, Mr. Bates, and Molesley and O'Brien (who were standing quite close, might I add).
Immediately, I noticed a certain someone's absence.
"He is a beautiful little chap. He's got his mother's eyes and her fine nature. He will do the family proud and wear the title of 'Lord Grantham' with all the honor of his forefathers."
And that's well and good and all, but where the fuck was Thomas?
"Oh, he sounds lovely, Mr. Carson. But, may I enquire as to the whereabouts of the rest of the staff?" My tone was the most nonchalant it has ever been.
Mr. Carson appraised me, puzzled. "They are here, of course."
I glanced at the faces before me for good measure.
Nope. Still not Thomas.
"I think what he's asking is why Mr. Barrow and Mr. Branson stayed behind," Anna supplied, and she shot me a tiny, knowing smile.
A tiny, knowing smile that was lost on me as I collectively shat my pants.
"I beg your pardon?" I nonchalantly spluttered, and I actually gripped the chair before me to steady myself.
"Ah, yes. Mr. Barrow was acting as Mr. Branson's valet, and he had some affairs to attend to in London. They should be back within the day."
The only thing that kept me from exploding in a fiery mess was the fact that I completely trust Thomas, I appreciate and respect his friendship with Branson, and they are going to return soon, safely nixing any possibility of them eloping. (I know how Branson has a penchant for that sort of thing.)
"Excellent!" I smiled in a manner that hurt my cheeks.
Honestly, Diary. I can't catch a break.
Wait a second.
Carson hasn't dismissed me. He hasn't said anything.
… I don't know what the hell is going on around here, but I am certainly not going to complain.
I may just have a job as valet, yet!
Found Molesley in the servants' hall. Couldn't help but take advantage of such a situation.
"Mr. Molesley!" I greeted warmly, putting on my best smile.
"James," he nodded with a twitchy smile.
"You'll be leaving soon, eh? Back to the old house, I mean."
"Ah, yes. Once Mr. Crawley has settled in here, I'll be making my leave. Should be another week or so."
"I see, I see." I cleared my throat and stood with nonchalance. "What about Miss O'Brien?" I asked casually, studying my nails.
Molesley nearly dropped his teacup. "Miss O'Brien?"
"Yes. Where will she go? Or will you two be living apart?"
I smiled angelically.
"I-I'm quite-I'm quite sure that she'd prefer to stay here. We'll-we'll find our way, of course. Nothing we can't manage," he smiled. And then, with the fear of Jesus in his eyes, he dismissed himself, clattering teacup in hand.
So there it is, Diary.
I am the master of love.
O'Brien and Molesley have found each other. Thanks to me. And now the world is a better place.
(Want to tell Thomas so bad! When will he be back?)
(Then again. He may yell at me and ruin everything. Will wait until he finds out on his own.)
I must keep this secret.
"Molesley and O'Brien are courting," I found myself saying as Alfred and I were waiting for our trays.
"No!" Mrs. Patmore nearly gasped, spatula in midair.
"What?" balked Alfred. Oops. Forgot that were his aunt.
"Well. I mean. I'm not sure if it's serious," I reassured him, but his jaw remained on the floor.
"Molesley? But he's so…twitchy like," he said with revulsion, and Stella laughed.
"But he's got a nice manner, hasn't he?" she said, hand on hip.
Hm. Stella is capable of saying nice things? Am I sober?
"I think it's sweet," Ivy said, soft pink cheeks puffed in a smile. Aw, bless. She's such a sap, isn't she?
"The whole house'll be married before you know it," Daisy muttered, eyes never leaving the pot she was stirring.
"Not me," I said without thinking.
"And why's that?" Mrs. Patmore asked as she sprinkled flour on the counter.
"Well, I don't know. I suppose we'll just have to see, won't we?"
Luckily, Alfred chose that moment to complain about his aunt's choice in suitors again, so the subject was changed.
All in all—great success.
Thomas still hasn't returned and the world is ugly.
I am going to thoroughly check every inch of his body for lovebites. If he has one, just one…
No, Thomas would never do anything. No.
I need to just calm down. Because I trust Thomas, and I am secure in our relationship. I like Branson. Yes.
I am so happy, I could float on air! The sun is out, the sky is sapphire, and the grass perfumes every room with the blissful promise of life and laughter!
Life is perfection, and my hair has never looked better!
Thomas came back last night.
Was sleeping unrestfully, dreaming all sorts of horrid things (Thomas kissing Branson and other such nightmares that will scar me eternally) when I suddenly felt a presence, bringing me to wakefulness.
"Hello there," whispered a velvety voice as arms encircled me, and even in my sleep deprived oblivion, I knew exactly what that meant.
"You're back," I immediately coughed through my sleep-voice, and turned into the embrace behind me—to Thomas.
"That I am," he muttered with a tired smile, and though he smelt of travel, dirty trains, and cigarettes, my own personal heaven was returned to me.
I couldn't contain my smile as we kissed (very sloppily, I was dead exhausted) and just as we broke apart, I found myself asking, "Why you back so late?" in a tone that I hoped was anything but accusatory.
"We took a car. Tom wanted to be back by tomorrow morning."
Just as I was opening my mouth, a cool, smooth finger was pressed against my lips.
"Don't say anything about it. Nothing happened. I still love you. I missed you every moment. Did you read my letters?"
Oh good god above.
Now I just feel like an ass.
"Every morning!" I lied. "I missed you, too. It was odd without you. Nobody said anything about my hair."
Felt his smile against my cheek as we embraced. "I'm sure it was perfect every day." Pause. "How could it not be with the amount of product that's continually soaked into it?"
I don't care if he's just come back—I bit him.
"That's rich, coming from someone whose head could be used as a slip-and-slide. I do not soak my hair in product."
"I think this is one of those times we need to agree to disagree."
"Alright, Thomas. I disagree."
"And I agree, James."
But, before I shut my eyes again, I couldn't help but enquire a tiny, "Did Carson mention anything about dismissing me? Or Mr. Crawley? Did Mr. Crawley say anything?"
"What on earth are you—"
"Excellent. We'll catch up tomorrow, darling. Love you. Goodnight."
And before he could protest further, I sank into the pillow and drifted adamantly to sleep.
Perhaps I'm not going to be dismissed, Diary.
Morning has not been very successful. Have been yelled at at every corner.
All because of a slight slip of the tongue.
It was during breakfast and we were all discussing the Lady Mary's new babe. Carson elaborated about the birth in great detail (nothing sordid, mind you) and regaled us of the daily events of said babe. (It was utterly boring, as babies don't do much but sleep, eat, soil themselves, and scream a ruckus. Still, I pretended to be charmed.)
Yet, as everybody cooed and awed at each passing sentence, I noticed that there was yet to be a description given to the little thing. Nobody said anything about what he looked like! So, naturally, I was quite curious.
"Is the baby ugly?" I found myself asking.
Which, dammit, Jimmy, because that could have been phrased better.
Of course, Carson nearly choked on his toast and Mrs. Hughes gasped louder than a banshee.
"James! You will show some respect!"
"That is grounds for dismissal!" Carson blurted with a pink face, and let me tell you, Diary—I thought that was it. And I mean it. (And I've had plenty of scares, so I know what I'm about.)
"Now, Mr. Carson," Thomas immediately intervened, throwing eyeball-daggers at me, "I'm sure James didn't mean that. Perhaps he's just overworked from trying to obtain the new position of Mr. Crawley's valet; he's not in his right mind."
Mr. Carson harrumphed, eyeballing me.
"Hm. Perhaps indeed."
And he left it at that.
I threw Thomas a mental 'I love you for saving my drowning corpse,' and a sweet, brief smile, before looking away to a very knowing Anna, who had been watching the whole affair.
Love Anna. Love that she knows.
Even if her husband later called me "rude" and "childish" because I asked if a baby was ugly.
I severely dislike having a significant other.
Thomas berated me today when we went on our walk.
"Mr. Bates told me you were being impertinent to him today?"
"Impertinent? To an old crook? Never."
"Jimmy," he warned, but I rolled my eyes.
"I don't understand. I thought you didn't even like him—why are you suddenly sticking up for him?"
"Because he's got my respect now, that's why. He helped me during a tough time."
Was just about to enquire further, when I caught the slightly foreboding look in his eye.
"Well, just because you respect him doesn't mean I have to."
"True. However, he is your superior. And a good man. If you just—"
"I WILL NOT. I WILL NOT GO AGAINST MY BELIEFS OR PRINCIPLES JUST TO SATISFY YOUR HAPPINESS. YOU ARE SELFISH, THOMAS BARROW!" I shrieked under the stars, and I did not regret one word.
He remained quiet, eyebrow raised, staring at me with a look that is best described as 'thoroughly unimpressed.'
"Have you finished?"
I sniffed. "I have."
"Good. Just try to be a bit kinder. He's not a bad man, it will be good for you to get on his good side—what with you trying to become a valet as well—and it'll make my job a lot easier."
Though I rejected any attempts at peacemaking at the time, have been thinking about it since. I suppose it would be a bit of an advantage to make peace with the old bear, wouldn't it?
Tomorrow. I'll try tomorrow.
I hate Thomas. And I hate that he persuades me to do things like this.
Try to weasel out any information about Molesley from O'Brien.
I hate today already.
First goal accomplished.
I may have stalked O'Brien all morning in hopes to catch her alone.
The good news: it worked!
The bad news: that woman does not share.
"Miss O'Brien!" I greeted in a delighted tone, once she was done chatting with Carson (she's been doing that quite a bit lately…) and I sidled up to her, hands behind my back.
"James," she nodded, before trying to pass.
"I just ran into Mr. Molesley," I hurried, blocking her path.
Her eyes flashed upward, but no other reaction was made. "Indeed." She tried to pass again.
Once again, I stepped in her path. "He's very sad to leave Downton," I sighed with a suggestive undertone.
Please take the bait, woman. I need to know what is happening.
"I'm sure he is. We'll all be sad to see him go."
And with that, she went on her way.
For any other person, I would regard said interrogation as a failure. However. This is O'Brien.
Her reaction towards Molesley's departure has successfully gone from "Finally" to "We'll all be sad to see him go."
If that's not a clear indication of her undying, mind-bending love, then I don't know what is.
I need a crown. I am king.
Just told Thomas I am a king.
"You'd make a far better queen," is what he said, before turning the corner.
I suppose he's right. Their crowns are prettier.
Second goal of the day has plummeted to Dante's final circle of Hell.
I tried to talk to Bates, Diary. I really did!
Found him sat in the servants' hall (that is the place to go whenever you need to find someone to chat with) mending Lord Grantham's buttons, and was delighted to see we were alone.
I seized this opportunity.
With a difficulty even I didn't anticipate, I forced myself to sit next to him and smile a greeting of, "Hello, Mr. Bates."
He paused his actions, eyeing me with a calm suspiciousness. "Afternoon, James."
Alright, this is good. Words are being exchanged. Good vibes are flowing.
"How are those buttons?" I asked awkwardly after failing to formulate any other questions.
He raised an eyebrow. "Well enough. His Lordship has been having difficulty with a few. I'm merely suiting them better to his needs."
"Ah," I said.
He continued to stare at me expectantly while I floundered for words. (What are words?)
"So…" I started, channeling my inner social butterfly and leafing through my mental dictionary. What do I say?
I could feel his eyes on me.
The pressure is on.
"So, what's it like being crippled?"
And THAT was the last thing that I should have said.
I knew it was wrong immediately.
Without transition, his calm, expectant eyes turned murderously dark.
"You should be ashamed of yourself," he concluded with a stern tone, before assembling his wears and hobbling away. No! Not 'hobbling.' Before…walking away with a noble bounce.
Feel slightly guilty, Diary. I didn't mean to offend him this time. Was just trying for conversation!
Thomas is going to be so mad.
And Anna, too.
"Have you called Mr. Bates a 'cripple?'" Daisy just whispered to me in the kitchen.
My god. These people need to clap their beaks shut.
Gossip can kill people.
"I hope what they're all saying isn't true, you cheeky little thing! If you've gone and called Mr. Bates—a fine man and a veteran to our good country—a 'cripple,' then you've no business in this kitchen of mine—"
"I didn't mean to, Mrs. Patmore!" I nearly cried, hands outstretched and pleading for mercy.
"SO IT'S TRUE!" she squawked, and before I was caught in the line of fire, I slipped out of the room.
Honestly. This has been my worst mistake yet.
Ugh ugh ugh.
Have just ran from Anna. Literally ran.
"You!" she accused upon seeing me as I rounded the corner.
Not in the mood to be lectured (I didn't mean to insult him, dammit!) I ran as fast as my legs would take me.
Have been hiding in the pantry for the past seven minutes.
There was a knock on the pantry door.
Not sniffling because I was not crying, I cracked the door open.
"Jimmy, come out."
"No. Never! I am the stain of Downton. Nobody likes me anymore, Thomas! I've ruined my career! Once Carson and Mrs. Hughes catch wind of this, I'll never be considered for the valet position!"
"Yes you will. Now come out."
Drying my non-existent tears, I cautiously stepped into the light of day.
His eyes were soft as they surveyed me. I probably looked a mess. "There you are." He set a sweet hand on my forearm. "Is it true?"
I groaned. "Thomas—"
"I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just asking!"
"Yes. BUT"—I added as Thomas opened his mouth—"it were on accident and I didn't mean it! Not like that! I was trying to befriend him! Just like you wanted me to." My voice finished small.
There was a pause, and I glanced up. Thomas was smiling.
"Of course you managed to insult the poor man in the worst way when you were trying to befriend him." His tone was fond.
"I'm very good at doing things like that," I sniffled dejectedly.
"Yes you are. But don't worry." He leaned closer. "I'll fix this."
And before I could drop to my knees in blind gratitude, Thomas was gone.
How he will fix this, I know not. But the fact that he wants to, will try to, means the world.
I love Thomas.
Must do him proud!
Nobody's mentioned the Bates incident since last entry (and I'm too afraid to mention it to Thomas and he hasn't said anything about it himself) so I'm assuming Thomas really did find a way to smooth things over with Carson and Mrs. Hughes.
(By the by—Carson made a passing mention about how he's just about made his decision about the new post as valet. I am already preparing my acceptance speech. And my outfit.)
Am going to make things right with Bates today. I will!
Have promised Mrs. Patmore and everything! (She finally let me back in her kitchen. Is such a relief, but is also very disheartening—it had been so long since I had a kitchen ban. Am sad to have broken my peaceful record.)
I tried to make amends with Bates.
Found him in the corridor, standing pensively with his cane, so I walked up to him with my most apologetic smile and stated boldly:
"I'm sorry I called you crippled."
He narrowed his eyes.
"I mean it. Truly! I'm sorry…I'm just not very good at being nice."
At that he actually laughed, crinkles forming at the corners of his eyes. "Nobody's bad at being kind, Jimmy." I beg to differ. "You just need to stop thinking about it so much. The kindness is in you—just let it out naturally."
I bit back an instinctual, "You don't know me," and instead settled with a bitten-lip smile and a nod.
We stood there a bit awkwardly, and just as I was thinking of a good conversation starter (he likes flowers, right?), Bates supplied a:
"So you and Thomas are good friends?"
And the hot flashes began.
Because Anna knowing about Thomas and is one thing. Bates knowing…is entirely another.
"No. No, why would you say that?" I demanded.
"You just seem to spend a lot of time together," he reasoned, but I countered it with a:
"I hate him. And we do not spend time together."
"There's nothing to be ashamed of, Jimmy."
"I'M NOT ASHAMED!" I barked hotly, and next thing I knew, I was turning on my heal, hissing out, "We better get back to work—try not to fall down the stairs, chum."
I have nothing to say in defense of myself.
Anna glared at me all through dinner.
Carson and Mrs. Hughes didn't. So there's that.
Still feel like an evil person.
The first thing Thomas said to me when I entered his room tonight was:
"You told him to fall down the stairs?"
"Er. No?" I supplied, putting on my toothiest grin and guiltiest eyes.
"I'm sorry! I just…I may have…gotten carried away."
"Well, he mentioned you and I and I panicked! I didn't know that he knew and—"
"What do you expect? He's married to Anna!"
"Yes, but… It was all very shocking."
"So you told him that?"
"I mean-I didn't-I don't know. I feel terrible, alright?! Bloody terrible! And Anna hates me now! Mrs. Patmore is probably going to ban me from the kitchen again and I'll lose me job! So everything is horrible, Thomas! Everything is horrible, and I don't know how I'm going to make it out of this one!"
I fought back a manly sob.
"Jimmy," he sighed as he embraced me.
I cried against his undershirt.
"Can you fix this? Please? Without calling him names or suggesting violence?"
I nodded as I hiccupped.
"And then will you please stop trying to befriend people?"
I nodded once more.
"Good. Now let's get in bed, read some stories, and mock Alfred and Stella. Did you see them today at dinner?"
Always makes me feel better.
Today's the day. I'm going to fix everything with Bates.
And I have a plan.
Have just returned from the village.
Plan is fool-proof.
Now all I have to do is convince Bates to come with me to send a telegram.
Potential problem afoot.
Had found Bates, who was talking with Thomas, and asked him to come to the village with me.
"Why?" he immediately asked, and the dislike was positively pouring from him.
"Well, I have to send a telegram and I thought…this would be a good chance for me to explain myself. And we could get to know each other better!"
He was immediately suspicious, but he agreed.
Problem is, so did Thomas.
I tried to give him the "NO!" eyes, but he ignored them and stepped into pace with us. I excused myself so I could write this down.
I'm panicking, Diary. This cannot go wrong!
I sure hope Thomas doesn't get mad.
Then again, now he can see my good deeds!
… Let's hope this goes well.
I am slowly coming to terms with the realization that nothing will ever go according to plan.
Here's how it went, Diary.
I'll be honest. I may have paid off some local children to stage a situation where I look like the hero, and thus impress Bates.
It may have not worked out…accordingly.
We had just reached the village, on the particular path I'd mapped out, when we stumbled upon said children.
Two boys were making fun of a small child with a limp. The limping child was ignoring their taunts, and so, before Bates or Thomas could intervene, I proudly stepped up and said with bold luster:
And the children stopped and stared.
"That is enough, ye young devils! He may be a cripple, but he is a KING! Crippled people are better than normal people! See this man here?" And I motioned to Bates. "He is an ANGEL among men! Look to him, not to your sinful ways!"
I felt grand and proud, like a Greek god!
But when I peered over, Thomas looked mortified.
"Are you delivering a sermon?" he asked icily.
Did I do bad?
I looked over to Bates, who was now rubbing his temples.
Was just about to ask him what was wrong, when, of course, the child with the "limp" ran up to me.
"Oi! Where's me money?"
"Later," I hissed, trying to sidestep him. (This is why I hate children.)
Thomas' jaw actually dropped.
Bates stared in disbelief.
"James," Bates began, and he looked like he didn't know where to start. "You need to stop drawing so much attention to these trivialities. It doesn't matter. All of this is nonsense. If you focus on the physical details of life, you'll drive yourself mad with all of the imperfections. It's what's inside that truly matters. Nothing else."
I blinked, not knowing what to say or do.
I looked at Thomas. He was nodding.
"Oh," I merely said, and Bates sighed and put an arm around my shoulders, which slumped.
"I think you may have actually had your heart in the right place this time though," he said, and there was the briefest twinkle in his eye. "So why don't we just keep this between us?"
"Um. If it wouldn't be too much trouble," I muttered. And then I released a small smile.
And ignoring Thomas' persistent glares (and after paying the child), we walked back to the house.
So not all was lost.
Anna is talking to me again.
"I'm happy to hear you've made amends with Mr. Bates," she smiled, and bumped her hip into mine as she passed me.
Today is a good day.
Have been running myself ragged trying to impress Carson.
He keeps saying he's about to announce the new position. I think he's just torturing us. That's what Thomas says.
"But Alfred won't get it right?" I asked him.
"Don't be daft. He has no chance."
I just wish things would be sorted!
All Carson does is flit around all day, singing about the baby.
And, as far as I know, Mr. Crawley still hasn't said a word.
I wonder if Mr. Crawley would dismiss me instantly if I got the position? He obviously can't hate me that much if he hasn't told Carson.
But I can't imagine he likes me, either.
Thomas just grabbed me in the hallway.
"Did you know that O'Brien and Molesley are sweethearts?" he asked, gaping.
I smiled smugly. "Are they, now?"
He froze. "Jimmy."
"What? You can't say anything because it's too late! Just admit that I did the world a service, Thomas!"
"I'll admit nothing. I'm going back to work, but expect an earful tonight."
Oh, Thomas. Can never admit when I'm right.
Am getting up extra early today so I can organize the serving dishes.
I better get this position.
I feel like death.
Something is afoot.
When I said "Good morning" to O'Brien today, she gave me once-over before nodding curtly and walking away.
What is her problem?
Carson's just said that he's going to announce the new position!
"I'll notify them of their new post within the hour. Mr. Crawley looks forward to your services."
This means he forgave me!
Mr. Crawley forgave me!
I GOT THE JOB, I JUST KNOW IT!
"Do not jump the gun, Jimmy."
"What do you mean? It's not me? Do you know that it's not me?"
"I know no such thing. In fact, I'm positive it's you. But you need to calm down. You're making a scene."
"I'm calm! I'm calm! Alright. I'll slow down."
It's very hard to slow down.
"Do you think you got it, Jimmy?" Daisy asked with an excited smile.
I puffed my chest. "I think so, yes."
"You'll look so handsome as a valet," Ivy gleamed.
Mrs. Patmore nodded. "A proper grown man, you've become! Won't be spending much time in these kitchens then, I suppose!" And there was almost a sadness to her voice.
"Mrs. Patmore," I reassured, "I don't care if I become the Lord of the household—I will never stop stealing food from your kitchen.
She rolled her eyes, but there was an accompanied smile.
Ohhhhh I'm so excited!
I GOT THE JOB!
Well, I'm pretty I did.
Mrs. Hughes just passed me in the hallway and gave me a knowing smile.
"James," she said.
"Mrs. Hughes," I said.
AND IT WAS WRITTEN BETWEEN THE LINES, I SWEAR. HER EYES TOLD ME EVERYTHING.
Honestly, can't he just tell me now?
"You're shaking. Calm down! You've got to serve tea soon. The Dowager's coming," Thomas muttered in the corridor when he saw me having a panic attack.
"Again?" I shrieked.
"Well, with the new baby, she's bound to be here more often than usual. Just smarten up and breathe, will you?"
I nodded, and he pressed my arm before walking away.
I am unraveling, Diary.
CARSON HAS JUST WALKED INTO THE ROOM!
Why on earth has he just asked to speak with Alfred?
Alfred got the job.
I surrender the will to live.
Have spent the day on the receiving end of pity eyes, encouraging pats on the shoulder, and whispered apologies.
Have also successfully managed to avoid Alfred completely.
And Thomas, for that matter.
Do not want to see anybody. Have worked so hard for this job, and yet Alfred, Alfred who picks his ears and runs into walls with his tea trays, gets the raise.
He gets it, while I rot away as a footman.
I am inconsolable.
Just saw Thomas.
"It was O'Brien," he whispered angrily.
"O'Brien?" I asked dazedly.
"She's been talking in Carson's ear. She wants a good future for Alfred, the snake. Her loyalty was always with him, friend or no."
I nodded, but barely heard. I knew something was afoot.
But what does it matter?
Too late anyway.
"Do you want to go for a walk?" Thomas asked after Carson dismissed us all.
I shrugged. "Not particularly. I just want to go to bed."
He stared, concerned. "Alright, then. Have a good night, James. And don't stress yourself about this. There will be more opportunities."
I nodded, then climbed up the stairs.
What Thomas doesn't understand is that it doesn't matter if there's more opportunities. I will always find a chance to ruin them. I had a chance at being the future Earl of Grantham's valet. And then I screamed at him.
Life is hopeless for Jimmy Kent.
Today is already wretched.
Thomas knocked on my door.
"How are you feeling?"
"Miserable and disillusioned."
"Ah. Well, would you like to walk with me downstairs?"
"I suppose. Can I eat cake today?" I asked pathetically.
"I'll see what I can do. I think Mrs. Patmore will probably bend the rules for you. She usually does."
At least I have Thomas. And Mrs. Patmore. And cake.
Alfred has been trying to talk to me all morning.
Have successfully avoided him, but I don't know how long I can keep it up. I'm just not in the mood to hear his boasts. Or Stella's. So I've been avoiding her, too.
(Haven't been avoiding O'Brien, though. I'm stalking her like a hawk, waiting to trip her or throw her down the stairs.)
"Are you alright, Jimmy? You haven't been yourself," Anna said gently, putting a light hand on my arm.
"I'm fine," I said automatically.
She gave a sympathetic smile and rubbed my shoulders. "I'm here if you need anything. Me and Mr. Bates."
Don't know why people are acting like me mum died. Was just a job. No big deal.
Once again dodged Alfred.
"Sorry, Mrs. Hughes has just sent for me."
And then I hid in the pantry.
Is very hard to avoid Alfred when serving. (And I'm surprised he's still serving. True, Molesley is still in the process of packing up, but I figured he'd begin his training by now.)
"Jimmy!" he keeps whispering.
Is infuriating. I will not look at him. I will not listen.
But I will stab him with a fork.
Found Thomas after a particularly depressing conversation in the kitchen about Alfred's new post. (However, Mrs. Patmore did give me a hug and kiss on the cheek. Love her.) (And I did spill tea on O'Brien. It's the small victories.)
"Thomas," I muttered pathetically when we were alone. "Can we lie in bed tonight and talk about how ugly red hair is?"
He smiled sadly and kissed my temple. "Of course we can. We can make fun of tall people, too."
I think I'm dreaming.
Carson had just dismissed us to bed ("We must rise early tomorrow! Young Robert's christening will begin at nine, sharp!" which I may have completely forgotten about) when Alfred, who I have been successfully avoiding, disengaged himself from a deep conversation with Stella (who shot me curious eyes) before walking up to me.
I could see Thomas in my peripherals, watching, and I nearly made a break for it when Alfred suddenly grabbed my arm.
"Jimmy." And his face looked alarmingly serious.
It was both odd and off-putting.
"Yes?" I asked impatiently, wrenching my arm free. "I suppose you want me to congratulate you? Throw flowers at your feet? Well, congratulations, Alfred. You win!" The bitterness filled my mouth.
"No, you daft sod. I'm not here because of that. I want to say that I want you to take the job."
"Huh?" I asked, mouth agape.
"I want you to take the job," he repeated.
What did Alfred just say?
"I beg your pardon?" I squeaked.
He rolled his eyes. "You heard me. It's yours. It means more to you than me. And let's be honest—I only got it because of me auntie. I suspect she'll be in a state when she finds out her hard work was for nothing, but I expect Molesley'll cheer her up." And his dopey grin was back in place.
"Alfred," I began, truly at a loss for words.
"Go on, then," he said. "I'll tell Carson tomorrow. It's you who deserves the post, not me."
"That's that. I don't like Mr. Crawley much. And it didn't work so well with us last time. I doubt it'll be any better this time round."
I stared blankly at him because what? WHAT? What is reality?
Alfred—the Alfred, bane of my existence—has just surrendered an incredible opportunity…for me?
Where am I?
Is this a dream?
With one last reassuring nod, Alfred began walking away.
"Alfred," I called, and he stopped. "Thank you. Really. Thank you, mate."
He shot a small smile, then barreled on his way.
After what felt like forty seven minutes, I looked over to Thomas, who was still watching from the shadows, a beam on his face.
"So," he said.
"So," I answered.
We both grinned.
"I suppose we won't be making fun of red hair or tall people tonight, then?"
"Nope," I nearly sang, and with a smile that almost split my face in two, I pranced up the stairs, Thomas right behind me.
I don't even know what to say.
I'm so nervous. Has Alfred spoken with Carson? How will I know? What if he decides someone else is better for the job? Did Alfred mention me? Or did he forget? What if Mr. Crawley still hates me? Oh god, how will I face him? How can I unclothe a man I belittled? Will he remember? Is he blinded by love for his child?
I'm so nervous.
We're all leaving for the christening soon.
I suspect Alfred's told O'Brien his decision, as she keeps giving me sour looks. But they're softened by Molesley's constant presence at her side.
Hate all she wants, the reason she found love is because of me.
She'll come around sooner or later.
Carson's just come up to me.
We all began filing out of the house when he took me aside.
"James. I would like a word with you when we return."
He nodded, attempted a smile, then retreated.
Ohmigod. Diary, I think it's happening!
I'm not sure what world I live in, but it is not mine. My world is dark and unlucky and ugly and unfair. This world is beautiful, promising, forgiving, and lucky.
Was already a bundle of nerves at the Christening because of the whole affair with Alfred.
So imagine my horror when Mr. Crawley himself approached me afterwards.
"James," I head a soft voice say behind me, and I whipped around to see the gently professional eyes of Matthew Crawley.
"Mr. Crawley,"I greeted, bowing my head.
He smiled, somewhat awkwardly, ducking his head a bit as well. "How are you today?" he asked politely.
"Well, thank you."
Kill me now.
"The weather is lovely."
"Indeed. The sun is very bright." (I am terrible at polite conversation.)
Another awkward silence.
"I actually would like to address a certain matter with you—" he began, but my panic got the best of me.
"I apologize profusely for my conduct during our last encounter, sir. I was going to apologize the day after, but then Lady Mary had her baby and then—"
He held up a hand, a small smile in place. "No need. Truly." And I quieted. "What you said was correct. And, as is obvious, I've taken your words to heart, as I have continued my search for a new valet."
And that suddenly dawned on me. Why hadn't I noticed that? Why hadn't it occurred that it was strange for Carson to continue interviewing for the position if Mr. Crawley hadn't wanted a new valet?
Oh, Jimmy. Ohhhhh, Jimmy.
"Though I apologize for the impertinence of the situation, as well as the ill timing, I have been meaning to have a conversation with you."
"With me?" I squeaked.
He nodded. "Yes. Yes, I was wondering if you would be at all interested in the position of my new valet?"
And in that moment, I think I died.
"Huh?" I spluttered ineloquently.
But Mr. Crawley smiled. "I know this is not the time nor the place, but I find my time monopolized by wife and baby. And so I must take advantage of the moment, I'm afraid. I hope you do not find me rude?"
"Nuh uh," I grunted, mouth agape.
SHAPE UP, JIMMY. NOW IS YOUR MOMENT.
(Is life a dream?)
"I will talk to Carson, of course—I'm not sure if he's selected anyone just yet, and I do hope he hasn't –but I find your spirit admirable and your tone engaging. You are a noble man, James. And I look forward to our friendship together."
What did he say?
What did he actually say?
Surely. Surely, he did not just say "friendship."
"Thank you, sir. Thank you so much. I'm sorry. And thank you!" I blathered, shaking his hand with a ferocity that startled us both.
Gently removing his hand (and laughing quite a bit) Mr. Crawley nodded. "I'm glad you've agreed to this. And thank you for coming today. I will see you soon."
And with that, he was gone.
As was my ability of speech.
I just don't understand, Diary.
Is this a cruel joke? Or am I dreaming? Or am I drunk? What is going on?
Whatever it is, I like it.
Today has been a whirlwind.
After we returned from the Christening, Carson did indeed speak with me. He told me of his intentions to make me valet, how Mr. Crawley confirmed these intentions, and how I deserved the post every last bit.
It wasn't long after that that Thomas found me. In a deserted corridor, he picked me up and swung me around, before setting me down (and I was laughing hysterically) and taking a step back.
"You've done it!" he grinned wildly. "It's official!"
"At Mr. Crawley's own request!" I glowed.
"Carson's told me. What happened between you and Mr. Crawley, though? You never told me anything about an argument."
"Tonight I'll tell you everything. For now, let us rejoice."
And with one very quick peck of the lips, we parted joyously.
It was then that I entered the kitchens.
"There he is!" they all sang, and before I knew what was happening, Mrs. Patmore was standing before me with a cake, a tiny banner stuck into it that said, "Congratulations, Mr. Kent!"
"How on earth—" I spluttered, but Daisy and Ivy cut me off in their excited chatter.
"Alfred told us what he was planning to do yesterday!"
"We had last night and today to prepare!"
"I made it myself!"
"I helped make it, too!"
"We made sure to keep it from you!"
"Mrs. Patmore said you liked cake best! I hope you enjoy it!"
They both beamed at me, side by side, and I was just about to hug them until we all died, when I caught Mrs. Patmore's eye.
"I knew you had it in you. A proper valet now! Mr. Kent!" Now. I am not a crying man. But her voice was just emotional enough that I broke down into tears, Diary.
Reputation be damned, I cried.
And the best part?
"This is so beautifuuuuuuul," Stella suddenly sobbed, and she ran forward from her spot in the corner, wrapping her arms around us all as we embraced, the cake between us all. (Was such an emotional moment that I completely resisted the urge to stick her face in it!)
Tears very much blurring my vision, I whipped my head around to see Alfred, standing there with his chest puffed and a sentimental smile on his face.
"Come here then, you oaf. We all owe this to you, anyway!"
And with a grin that grew larger, Alfred ran forward before being swallowed alive by our group hug.
Was a precious moment, Diary. Felt so loved and so happy.
And later, as we were eating cake—and Anna (who hugged me and squeezed my cheeks and looked very glowy), Bates, Mrs. Hughes, and even Molesley and O'Brien joined us—I felt that, for the first time, I had done something right in my life.
It was only after the buzz wore down and we began preparing for dinner that Anna came up to me, Bates at her side.
"I'm so proud, Jimmy," she smiled, and she squeezed my arms.
I grinned goofily in response, high on everything.
"And I suppose now is as good a time as any." She glanced at Bates, whose eyes flicked lovingly to her, then appraisingly back at me. "See, we haven't announced it just yet." She paused.
The anticipation built.
What's going on?
"But we're going to have a baby," she smiled, and I could have cried all over again.
"Congratulations!" I immediately exclaimed, and was just going to hug her when:
"And, since we've no family left between us… We were wondering if you'd like to be the Godfather of our child?"
And then I really started crying.
"Really? Me?" I used them for support, as the threat of swooning was very real. "Will I be any good at it?"
"You'll be just fine," Bates assured me, and before I could stop myself, I leapt into their arms.
"This is the most perfect day! Thank you both! Of course I will be the Godfather! Thank you!" And then I paused. "What should I wear?"
But they only laughed at me. (Was a serious question.)
Am now numb with happiness.
Can barely even write, Diary!
Which, I suppose is lucky. As this is the last page of this beloved diary.
Am heartbroken, but I suppose it's best to end on a high note, right? Because today has been absolutely perfect, and I can hardly believe a moment of it.
But oh, how I will miss you, dear friend. You have been with me through it all! Parting is such sweet sorrow, as Thomas would say.
Speaking of, must find him. It's a night to celebrate!
You will remain in my heart always, Diary. I will never throw you away! Finding you outside was the best thing to ever happen to me.
Well, actually, Thomas was. But it was you that brought us together! And for that I'm eternally grateful!
Did I mention how today is amazing?
Love always, Diary,
x Jimmy Kent
Though you have repeatedly expressed your sincerest desire for me to never, ever touch your diary, you are currently outside picking flowers to make yourself a bouquet because of your promotion. And honestly—who makes themselves a bouquet?
I know this is the last page of your Diary, and I know how attached you've grown to it, so I want the last words in it to say how much I love you. You are beautiful, you are everything, you are obnoxious, and you are mine. And, lucky for you, I am yours.
You're going to shriek when you find this—and yes, you shriek—but I don't care. Meeting you was everything, as was watching you grow, and I become prouder and prouder of you every day.
You are going to be the best valet in the world. I promise. (And if not, I'll clean up your messes. Because we both know there will be quite a few.)
I'll love you forever. Even when I don't want to. Because you are my cheese, always will be.
The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold.
All my heart,
PS. Let's get you a new Diary tomorrow in celebration, yes? I think that's best. But even if you decide not to—if you put your diaries to rest—I promise I will always be what this was to you. A place to talk, release, cry, and reveal your soul.
*AN: Oh my. Ending this was sadder than I anticipated! Gah! (I'll probably write an epilogue. Someday.)
Well, I need to apologize for ending this prematurely. I was going to write until August, but I've become too busy and distracted—and this fic is such a BEAST—that I felt it was best to end it now. Thank you to all who have stuck with me! I haven't had the chance to respond to each comment yet, but every single word said about this has inspired me to continue it and has made me smile more than you know! I've gotten such an incredible feedback and have talked to sooo many wonderful people!
If you ever need anything, or want to chat, I will befriend all of you because you are literally all sunshine. Come at my tumblr! Velvetoscar!
(I'm also mizzwilde on tumblr, but that's for One Direction madness and writing. I know. Don't judge me.)
Thank you again! Love to all!
I hope this wasn't as terrible as I fear it was!