My Own Mr. Darcy
After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough. Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.
What happened next wasn’t supposed to happen. Ever. And I didn’t mean for it to happen this time. I just didn’t see it coming until it was too late.
“Have you seen any good movies lately?” Chad asked.
“I haven’t gone to a movie in ages, but I watched part of Pride and Prejudice last night.”
“What is it about that movie? My mom and sister like it, too.”
“Probably because it’s one of the best movies ever made.”
“You really think so?”
“I love it.”
“Allison—that’s my sister—she says the best way to impress a girl is to watch Pride and Prejudice with her.”
Uh oh. I tried to hide my qualms with a laugh that sounded artificial to my ears. Long ago I’d decided my Pride and Prejudice was a hallowed movie—only to be shared with a chosen few. I knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to hide my feelings about the movie. And about Mr. Darcy. How could I betray Mr. Darcy by watching him bare his soul while I sat beside another man?
“Let’s watch it.”
“I don’t know. You probably wouldn’t like it,” I said. “There’s no action. It’s all dialogue.”
“Should I be offended that you think I couldn’t handle a movie with dialogue?” Chad was teasing me and I should have teased back but I was too busy panicking.
“It’s not that I think you couldn’t handle it. I just don’t think you’d really like it. We could watch something else. Mission Impossible? Transformers?” Please. Anything but Pride and Prejudice.
“I’m afraid you’re only making me more curious to see what all the fuss is about. There’s a video store close to my house. Let’s go get it.”
I made other suggestions at the video store but in the end, we walked out with Pride and Prejudice and Chad’s thumb was covering Matthew Macfadyen’s face.
Courtney’s window became available before mine but instead of stepping up to her window, Mr. Dawson turned to the woman behind him and indicated she should go next. He was choosing my window on purpose. My heart did a clumsy somersault.
I finished with my customer and Mr. Dawson stepped forward. I unfolded the slip of paper with the pink lizard at the top and began filling his request.
“Your name is Elizabeth?” he said.
“Is that what people call you?”
“Some do. Some people call me Lizzie.”
“What would you prefer I call you?”
I lost track of the bills I was counting. This was a significant question and I wanted to answer it right.
What did Mr. Darcy call Elizabeth? I needed time to think. Even though I’d watched Pride and Prejudice a million times my mind was malfunctioning and I couldn’t remember if he used the more formal Elizabeth or the more casual and intimate Lizzie? I certainly couldn’t suggest he call me his pearl. We didn’t even know each other.
Since I couldn’t remember and Mr. Dawson was standing there waiting for an answer, I blurted out my best guess.
“You can call me Elizabeth.”
Great. Now he’d think I was trying to keep things more formal? I had to stop analyzing every little thing and count the money.
“Elizabeth, how long do you have for lunch?” I stopped counting again and looked at him. “Lunch, Elizabeth. I assume you take a lunch?”
“Um, yes. I do. I have an hour.”
“What time is your lunch hour?”
“I go from 12:30 to 1:30.”
“I’m planning to order sandwiches for lunch today and wondered if you’d come to the bookstore and join me.”
I gaped at him. Was he teasing me? “Sandwiches? Today? At the bookstore?” Had I really just repeated everything he’d said? He was going to think I was a moron. I was starting to think the same thing.
“Yes, I’m inviting you to lunch. Today. At the bookstore.”
“Okay, sure. That would be nice.” I finally finished counting the money and placed it in the bank bag.
“I’ll see you at 12:30,” he said.
Author Karey White Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist. She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.
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