Posted on 2011-12-21
Elizabeth was sad that she had to spend her winter break away from her childhood home, but some things couldn't be helped. She was glad that Jane's boyfriend, Charlie, offered his guest rooms up when they told him that their flight was cancelled due to the inclement weather. But the downside of staying with Charles at his nice Boston home was that she would have to deal with the Terrible Twins, Lina and Lois, and Charlie's roommate, Darcy.
As nice as Charlie was, she had no idea how he met an ass like Darcy, whose family could be traced back to the days that Harvard was founded. It wasn't just that she was from Yale and the Harvard-Yale rivalry was as old as America itself. No. Darcy had the nerve to insult her during a tailgating party at the Harvard-Yale game. She still remembered how it happened.
Charles said, "I can't stand seeing you so fixed on the football game on TV. It's not even your team."
Darcy said, "There's nothing else to do. Everyone's either stuffing their faces or getting drunk."
Charles said, "There are also some people out on the dance floor. You danced with Lina and Lois. And there are a lot of pre-law students here."
"Well you were dancing with someone from Yale. You know the consequences."
"Oh to hell with the rivalry! We're all Ivy Leaguers here. Besides that, Jane aspires to be a nurse, which is nothing less than what I expected from such an angel."
"She smiles too much."
"You know, her sister is majoring in poli-sci-"
The worst part was that she saw him look at her, who was seated at another part of the bar.
"I'd rather get a hangover for a week than associate with a hipster who thinks she knows everything about the government. And she seems to occupied with her Guinness to even care about dancing. Please leave me alone. The game is going into overtime."
Needless to say, Elizabeth didn't finish her drink that night.
Elizabeth was just glad that final exams were over and that she was still on scholarship for another year at Yale. She smiled as she looked at the grades she got: 3 As and 2 Bs. She looked up from her laptop and saw that Darcy seemed to be drawing on a sketchpad. Things were relatively quiet in Charles's living room. Lina was peering over Darcy's shoulder while Lois was watching a Christmas special on TV. Jane was in the kitchen, making cookies with Charles.
"What are you doing so secretly, Liza?" Lina asked.
"I was just checking my grades on the student portal," Elizabeth said. "3 As and 2 Bs."
"Oh. No straight A's. What subjects were the Bs for?"
"My hardest subjects this semester: statistics and contemporary political ideologies."
"What do you plan to do with your degree? Most poli-sci majors I know become professors." She said the word professors as if they were a step above hobos in her eyes.
"Well my dad is a law professor, but I'm hoping on being a public interest lawyer."
"In other words you want to be a lobbyist. Darcy hates lobbyists, don't you, Darcy?"
"Well, I usually hate anyone who tries to use money to further their own agendas instead of the needs of the people."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at his statement and decided to up the ante. "This time of year would be a very opportunistic time for generosity and goodwill towards men, I think," she said.
"Yes, it is. Although I miss the Christmases I had as a kid." For the first time since they first met, Elizabeth saw a smile on Darcy's face.
"That reminds me! What are you planning on getting your sister for Christmas? I bet you're writing down a list on that silly little sketchpad-" She reached out to grab Darcy's sketchpad, but Darcy got up and glared at Lina.
"Sorry, Lina, but this is private. If you'll excuse me, I'll be in my room."
Lina humphed and sat down on the couch next to her sister. Jane came in with a plate full of cookies and Charles followed after with a huge bowl of popcorn. Elizabeth thought about going to sleep but Lois changed the channel to A Christmas Carol and Elizabeth decided to stick around.
Later that night, Elizabeth couldn't sleep. After pulling all nighters for the past few weeks, Elizabeth wondered if she would ever have a normal night of sleep. She decided to go downstairs for some eggnog and a book. She went downstairs to Charles's formal dining room where he kept a large bookshelf stocked with medical texts, law texts, and classical literature. She figured a Dickens novel would make a good bedtime story. She went to the kitchen for some eggnog only to find a sketchpad on the counter.
Darcy must be up. Elizabeth thought. She shook her head at the idea that a stuffy jerk like Darcy could ever have artistic tendencies, but her curiosity overpowered her. She opened up the sketchbook and marveled at the contents. The first few pages were landscapes of a countryside home in the mountains. Then she saw portraits of a young lady with an older man and an older lady. She assumed that they were Darcy's family.
But the latest drawings were surprising to her. She saw a drawing of Charles and Jane during the Halloween party at Yale. Charles was dressed as his favorite Peanuts character, Snoopy, while Jane was dressed as Woodstock in a yellow feathery dress. Charles and Jane were drawn standing in a pumpkin patch with Snoopy's house in the background. The next drawing was of Lina and Lana, both dressed as "sexy" witches that night. He put warts on their noses and colored Lina's skin a sickly shade of green, which made Elizabeth laugh. The last drawings in the book, however, were all of her.
The first drawing was a portrait of her at the Halloween party. She dressed as a black cat to contrast with her roommate, Charlotte, who was dressed as a white cat. To her surprise, Darcy drew her to look more like Catwoman than the cat costume she wore that night. In the drawing, she wore a black lace mask with black cat ears, a black bustier, black leggings, and black high heels. Weird. I only wore a black sweater, skinny jeans, and black boots that night. Elizabeth thought.
The next picture was a picture of her singing karaoke at Charles's Thanksgiving party. It was based more off one of the photos Jane took and posted on Facebook. Elizabeth noticed how the picture focused on her face and how much detail was spent on her eyes. I thought he was looking at me thinking I was drunk and stupid.
The last picture was just a sketch but it shocked Elizabeth beyond anything. It was a sketch of her sitting at the window bench a few hours ago. She was drawn in profile with her glasses on. But the eye shown in the picture was still given so much detail.
"I was hoping I was the only one awake," a baritone voice from behind her said.
She turned around and faced Darcy, feeling like an elf next to his towering height. "I'm sorry for looking," she said. "I should get some milk and go."
"Don't. I was waiting for the right time." He opened the fridge and took out a carton of milk. "I prefer to have some hot chocolate when I can't sleep, if you want some."
Elizabeth nodded. "Why do you keep this such a secret?" she asked.
"I haven't been able to really draw anything in a while," he said. "And I don't like showing my works in progress to strangers. And Lina hates artists." He went to the pantry and took out a block of chocolate.
Elizabeth laughed. "Mind if I heat up the milk?"
"Sure." Darcy laughed. He took out a knife and chopped up the chocolate. Elizabeth poured the milk in a pot and added some water from the fridge and sugar from the sugar bowl next to the stove.
"The thing is," Darcy said, "my sister is just starting college and I've spent half of the semester worrying about her. She had a really bad end to her senior year. And I lost my inspiration."
"What happened to her?" Elizabeth removed the mixture from the heat and made room for Darcy to pour in the chopped chocolate. Darcy took out a spatula and took over.
As he stirred the chocolate and said, "She was nominated for Prom Queen and she had a date with a guy attending a college nearby but...it turned out to be a big joke."
"She had to go through therapy while finishing up her paperwork with Berklee College. She was at least able to get write some songs, but since my parents were working through the summer, I had to take care of her for most of it."
"I'm so sorry."
"She was homesick the night of the tailgating party. I wanted to apologize for what I said."
"It's okay. I had no idea about what you were going through." She went to the cupboard and grabbed two mugs. "Do you want any marshmallows or whipped cream?"
"There should be some in the pantry," he said.
Elizabeth opened the pantry and got out a can of whipped cream and a bag of tiny marshmallows.
"I usually drink my hot chocolate with marshmallows, but I feel in the mood for whipped cream right now," Elizabeth said.
"I think I'll have some whipped cream myself." He poured the hot chocolate into the two mugs and Elizabeth topped the mugs with a dollop of whipped cream.
"Charles has some Christmas movies on DVD if you want to watch."
"Sure. A good movie should put me to sleep."
Darcy went to the living room and chose a DVD from the cabinet below the TV stand. As he crouched down, Elizabeth noticed that Darcy had a very nice bottom hiding underneath his robe. The only light in the room came from the Christmas tree and she noticed, as Darcy stood up, that he had a nice smile and his messy bedhead made his face look almost boyish.
Elizabeth sat down on the couch and placed the mugs on top of the coffee table. Darcy put in A Christmas Story into the DVD player and turned on the TV.
"Will you get to spend Christmas with your sister?" Elizabeth asked.
"Yeah. The problem is she doesn't finish until December 21st. She's going through final exams now."
"And then what?"
"I'm hoping to drive back home. Mom and Dad will take their vacation days once Georgiana comes home."
"That's good. At least you get to spend Christmas with your family."
"I'm sorry your flight home got cancelled."
"Given the weather in New England, I'm not surprised. I should probably just take a train or drive to Maryland with Jane."
"But the roads are too icy. It's safer if you stay here."
"But Darcy, I don't know anyone besides Charles and you-"
"I can introduce you to my family. We can invite them over for dinner as soon as Georgiana's finished with school."
"Thanks. You're too kind."
Elizabeth sipped her hot chocolate and licked the whipped cream off her lips. She laughed as she watched the infamous triple-dog-dare scene. Darcy, however, paid more attention to Elizabeth than to the movie. By the time the movie was over, Elizabeth was asleep with a smile and a chocolate mustache on her face. Darcy licked his thumb and wiped away the chocolate from Elizabeth's lips. He felt her weight on his shoulder and fell asleep.
The two of them woke up to the sounds of a screech. Elizabeth woke up and saw Lina in front of the TV, screaming like a banshee. Her hair was a ratty mess and she wore a green mud mask on her face that reminded Elizabeth of Darcy's drawing.
"Would you stop screaming?" Charlie said. "You're going to wake the whole city."
"But that slut-she's sleeping with-"
"We fell asleep watching a movie," Darcy said, his arms wrapped around Elizabeth's waist.
"And don't call me a slut!" Elizabeth said.
Lina's hands balled into fists but Darcy got off the couch and grabbed one of her shoulders. He pinched a nerve.
"OW!" Lina crouched down and glared at Darcy.
"There's some hot chocolate in the fridge if you want some, Charlie," Darcy said.
"Good idea!" Charlie said. "And as for you, Lina, get back up to your room and stay there until you behave or I'll call our parents."
Lina grumbled and went back up the stairs.
"Sorry about that," Charlie said. "I was hoping you guys would get along sooner or later."
Elizabeth blushed as Darcy went to the kitchen. "Darcy invited me to stay with his folks for Christmas."
Jane walked in from upstairs, still looking a bit sleepy. "Good morning."
"You're just in time for some breakfast," Darcy said. "Elizabeth, do you wanna make waffles?"
"As long as I get to add the whipped cream in the end."
By Christmas Eve the following year, Elizabeth and Darcy found other uses for whipped cream. But that's another story.The End