The theme for this writing challenge had to do with dealing with an annoying relative. I thought it would be fun if all the relatives were annoying in some fashion.
Everyone’s a Delight
William Darcy tapped his steering wheel impatiently, waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
He’d reluctantly said goodbye to his girlfriend, Lizzy, Wednesday when she’d left to stay at her parents’ house on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for Thanksgiving weekend. William hadn’t wanted her to go, but she was adamant.
“It’s a tradition. We have Thanksgiving Day together and then we spend the weekend cleaning up the house and the yard for winter.”
“But you don’t live there anymore,” he pouted, pulling her into his arms. She laughed and kissed him on the cheek.
“I still want to spend the time with my family, and you already told your aunt and uncle that you’d spend Thanksgiving with them. Your sister is going to be there.” He groaned and she let out a chuckle. “You’ll be okay. You’ve had business trips longer than this.”
“And I didn’t want to leave you then either.”
She was correct of course he couldn’t back out of dinner with his aunt and uncle. Georgiana was coming into town with her husband and his new niece. He’d promised her that he’d be there—come hell or high water. He’d had no choice but to say in New Orleans for Thanksgiving.
He and Lizzy had spoken on the phone nightly since she’d been gone, but he missed her dreadfully. A month had passed since she moved out of the tiny Metairie apartment she’d shared with Jane, and into his more spacious Garden District Home. He’d become quite accustomed to her presence, and the old house seemed to have an empty echo without her laughter filling it. He’d been so happy last night when she called to invite him to her parents’ house for the day.
Taking one last turn onto Beach Boulevard, he drove a few blocks where he turned into the driveway of a newer style brick home. Almost all of the houses were new since Katrina had wiped Waveland and a lot of the gulf coast clean when it came ashore. William was still amazed that several of the old live oak trees on the property had survived along with a couple rather crooked looking pine trees.
After parking, he walked casually around the house to where he heard voices, stopping when he could see everyone in the backyard. Mr. Bennet was comfortably seated on the porch swing, absorbed in a book as the toe of his foot gently tipped the swing back and forth. His wife was on the edge of the yard, gossiping with the neighbor, Mrs. Long, about who knows what.
William’s best friend, Charles Bingley was standing behind the lawnmower. William could only presume that he was supposed to be cutting the grass, but the machine was neither running nor being pushed. It was sitting idle like it’s operator, who was making goo-goo eyes at his fiancé, Jane. She was being just as useless as her significant other, holding a pair of pruning shears and sporting a ridiculous smile of her own. He rolled his eyes as he looked for Lizzy, but instead, found her sisters near opposite corner of the house.
Lydia was leaning, propped up on the weed-eater, as she texted on her phone with Katie reading and giggling over her shoulder. As he was just turning to scan the yard again, Mary came around the corner next to her sisters.
“You are supposed to be working, not texting the boys from school,” she chided.
Lydia scoffed and snorted. “You’re just jealous because we have boys who want to text us.
“I could care less about those immature, stinky football players!” Mary retorted, beginning a rant that became a full-blown argument.
That was when his eyes were drawn like a magnet to the back of the yard, where Lizzy was busy raking oak leaves as she listened to her iPod. Taking one last glance around, he once again wondered if Lizzy was adopted or how she ended up normal growing up in this environment.
Having found Lizzy, he wasn’t simply going to stand there and wait for her to notice him, so he began striding forward. Mrs. Bennet stopped her gossiping for a blessed three seconds before she started up again.
“That’s Lizzy’s boyfriend, William Darcy,” she whispered louder than some people speak. “I’m sure you’ve heard of him, Janelle—the owner of Darcy Enterprises. You know, the New Orleans company that’s always donating money. You know, the Darcys, the ones that have the new exhibit at the zoo named after them.”
“Good God!” he thought, rolling his eyes. He liked donating money to worthy causes, but if he’d known that being the main contributor to the remodeling of the zoo’s elephant exhibit was going to get him this much attention, he’d have donated the money anonymously. Elephants were his mother’s favorite animals, and when the opportunity arose, he couldn’t resist giving the money in her memory.
Shaking his head, he continued to stealthily creep up behind Lizzy, wrapping his arms around her from behind. She jumped and whirled around, smiling widely when she saw him.
“Will!” she exclaimed, as she pulled out her ear buds. “I’m so glad to see you!” She threw her arms around his neck, and he could tell by how tense her back muscles were wound that she was that she was not enjoying herself.
“Are you the only one working?” he asked when he pulled back.
She sighed and rubbed her hand on her forehead. “If you would’ve asked me that it would be this way a month ago, I would’ve said no, but while we’ve been out here, I’ve remembered years past when I felt like I was the only one getting anything done. We worked on the yard yesterday while Mom and Jane went Black Friday shopping and we’ve been out here all morning. I just feel like nothing gets done unless I do it.” She scanned the backyard and exhaled heavily.
“Well, you always say to think of the past…”
“As it’s remembrance gives you pleasure. I know.” Her eyes darted to each member of her family before coming back to him. “Just remind me of this next year.”
He was just chuckling when something about her hands caught his attention, and he grasped one, turning it and stroking with his fingers as he examined it thoroughly. His temper flared when he saw the cuts and blisters on her hands.
“Sweetheart, don’t you have a pair of gloves?”
“I did, but apparently, Dad hadn’t checked the mousetraps in the shed for a while. They had been half-eaten when I found them.”
He shuddered, patting himself on the back for having a contract that required an exterminator to come once a month. “That’s gross.”
“Yes…well…you weren’t the one who had to clean the shed out yesterday.”
“That bad?” He raised his eyebrows but smiled a bit when she giggled.
“Your OCD tendencies couldn’t handle it. Especially, when mice have been living in there—even I couldn’t wait to take a shower.”
“So you’ve cleaned out the shed, and you’ve been raking…”
“I raked, mowed, and edged the front yard yesterday. Then I cleaned the gutters.”
William looked over her shoulder at the two-story house. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”
“Nope,” she said, shaking her head. “Just me and the leaf-blower.”
He looked back over her shoulder where her father was glancing up from his book. “You don’t look done over there, Lizzy,” he called from the porch.
With her father’s ill-timed remark, William took the rake from Lizzy’s hand. “What are you doing?” she asked, as he took her hand and led her up to the porch. He roughly leaned the rake against the railing.
“Go get your things, I’m taking you home.”
Mr. Bennet put his book down and stood. “But we’re not done yet.” He was standing close to the rail so that William would have to look pretty high up to see him.
“Mr. Bennet, exactly what have you done?”
His blood began to simmer as the older gentlemen gave a chuckle. “Why I supervise.”
“Really? Is that why your wife is gossiping, your youngest three daughters are texting and arguing, and your oldest is flirting with her fiancé. I haven’t seen one of them lift a finger since I set foot in this yard. I think it’s time for them to do some of the work for a change.”
“It figures that Lizzy would find a boyfriend who’s just as annoying as she is,” Lydia chimed in from behind him, making him startle.
“What did you say?” he asked incredulously.
“You heard me,” she continued. “There’s a saying that there’s one in every family. Well, Lizzy is the annoying, preachy, thinks-she-knows-it-all in this family.”
“That’s enough, Lydia,” Mr. Bennet growled. “Just because your sister hopes that one day you’ll behave as an adult, doesn’t mean you have the right to abuse her that way.” For the first time, William appreciated something that came out of Mr. Bennet’s mouth.
Lydia scoffed and sauntered back over to where Kitty was waiting for her. Little did Lydia know or probably care, but in William’s opinion, she and Mrs. Bennet were the annoying ones in the family.
Lizzy came out of the door with her bag in her hand. William took it, hoping to spare her blisters more wear, and let her say her goodbyes to everyone. Fortunately, Lydia kept her mouth shut, and went back to staring at the screen of her phone.
William was waiting for her by the car when she was done, and he smiled widely at the kiss and embrace she’d laid on him when she walked up. “Thank you,” she whispered after she’d nibbled on his upper lip.
“I heard what you said to my dad.” He must have had a surprised look, because she giggled a bit. “The windows were open and my room is just over the porch swing.”
They loaded into the car and he began driving down Beach Boulevard toward Bay St. Louis. Lizzy was staring out over the water with a content smile. When he passed the street that would take them to the highway, she turned to him and frowned.
“Where are we going?”
“You’ll see,” he said with a smile.
William had decided while she’d been saying goodbye, that as long as they were on the beach, why not stay for the night? He’d called Palm House, a local bed and breakfast, to see if they had a room available. As luck would have it, they’d had a last minute cancellation and he’d quickly booked the room. He’d also called the local casino’s spa. As soon as she’d cleaned up, Lizzy would be pampered and spoiled for the remainder of the day.
After all, she may be the annoying family member to Lydia, but to him she was perfection, and he was going to be sure she knew it.
© 2013 L.L. Diamond