Posted on Wednesday, 1 October 2003
Hot Out the Oven! -- a Darcy owned franchise
The door to the kitchen slammed open and Peace Fitzwilliam stormed through it, mumbling curses under her breath. Taking a quick glance around and not finding the person she needed, she sucked in a deep breath and bellowed, "Harmony!"
Her call went unanswered and Peace sighed impatiently. "Where is that wanker? Never is where she's supposed to be," she grumbled before yelling for her sister again. "Harmony Grace Fitzwilliam, get your worthless carcass out here before I find you and stick your head in the fryer!"
Harmony emerged from the buffet cooler and scowled at her twin. "Whaddya want?" she snarled. "Can't you see I'm busy! I have better things to do than to answer to your every beck and call. Not all of us get to stand around smile and look pretty, and get paid for it!"
"Well, if you weren't such a raging psycho, you could stand around and look pretty and get paid for it. As it is, you're stuck back here with the rest of the scum bags." Peace snickered. "So shut the hell up. There's a customer complaining about the meatloaf - says it tastes funny -- so go deal with it."
"Well of course it would taste funny after I spit a huge goober in it!" Harmony exclaimed. "I call it my 'special sauce' and if she doesn't like it, just take a piece and ram it up her nose! Better yet, I'll do it." She marched over to the door and opened it. "Now just be a good sister and point out who the looser is and I'll give her my personal attention."
Peace stared at her sister in disgust, before shaking her head. "You did not do that! Besides, you can't taste goober once it's cooked... or at least I don't think so." She assumed a thoughtful expression. "Anyway, that's not the point. Just get the stupid meat loaf and put some new out there before Darcy has your butt in the sling."
"Fine!" Harmony grumbled as she opened the warming unit to grab a new pan of meatloaf, "I'll go out there and waste a whole bunch of perfectly good meatloaf just because a moron says it tastes funny! If they don't like the food, then why do they come here? I mean what happened to the whole family gathered around the dinner table at home, huh? Swear to all the gods that people are lazy pigs these days..." Her grumbling continued as she went out to the buffet, leaving Peace to roll her eyes and go back out to the cash area.
Peace was approached by Darcy a few minutes later. "Well, how'd it go?"
"I'm still alive so it didn't get too gory!" Peace replied flippantly. "But you better make sure Harm doesn't find out who complained-wouldn't put it past her to do something...rash?"
"I had no intention of doing so," Darcy replied as he walked away. He went to the office and shut the door behind him. Why did I hire them? he thought. You know why... As a favor to Uncle Stephan.
Darcy rued the day when his mother's brother had entered the restaurant followed by his scowling cousins. He should have known from their countenance and their past behavior that Peace and Harmony would be nothing but trouble and he would have refused except for he felt he owed Stephan.
Stephan Fitzwilliam had become the virtual head of the Fitzwilliam family after both Darcy's and the twins' parents had died in a plane crash seven years ago. He had taken in the orphan twins and had offered to raise Darcy's sister, Georgiana, as well. Darcy, at the age of twenty-three and having only one year of college left, had refused but was grateful for the help that Stephan provided during that difficult time.
So when Stephan had asked for a favor, Darcy usually didn't hesitate in complying. However, this time he had some trepidation in agreeing with Stephan's wishes. Over the past few weeks, Darcy had come to regret the decision as the twins' antics had justified his earlier fears. That fear had manifested itself into vivid nightmares that woke him in the dead of night.
A knock on the door interrupted his train of thought. "Yes?" Darcy called, then jumped in his seat as the door opened violently to reveal a livid Harmony.
"I'm out of damn corn!" she proclaimed. "What do you want out there instead? I have a nice rat floating in a vat of caramel or there's the gnats buzzing around the potatoes. Personally, I'd go with the rat. Granted, he looks a bit bloated but if I bake him long enough and pour some gravy over him, nobody will know the difference."
Darcy sat with a horrified expression on his face, unable to make a reply as his attention was caught by several customers passing by with sickly countenances. When he was able to focus on Harmony again, Darcy managed to say through gritted teeth. "Just use carrots... and if you don't have carrots, use beans. I don't care."
"Don't care, eh?" Harmony sniffed disdainfully. "Some store owner you are." Closing the office door, she marched back into the kitchen and dissolved into a fit of laughter once the kitchen door was shut behind her.
Peace choked back her laughter, having heard the entire exchange from just a few feet away at the cash register where the customers were now checking out. Putting on her most charming smile, she said, "Thanks for eating at Hot Out the Oven! Hope you come again!"
"No! No! No!" Peace yelled at Harmony. "You have to hit it here, or it's not going to open." She pointed to a small indented area on the hood of their rusted out 1982 Ford Escort. It had long become a ritual for one of them to pull the release button while the other beat on the hood until it popped open. Then they would have reopen the choke with a close-pin so the car would start.
"Well, if I hit it here, I'll put another dent in it!" Harmony screamed back at her sister, then kicked the side, where she did indeed add to the collection of dents.
"HEY! Leave The Heap alone - one day she'll be worth a fortune, you know." Peace lovingly stroked the cracked dashboard.
Harmony looked at her sister in disgust. "It may be a classic by the simple fact that it's TWENTY YEARS OLD, but considering the fact that we have a hole in the floor, the roof leaks, it rarely starts, the leather is cracked, and the entire exhaust is held together by coat hangers, I highly doubt it's going to sell for anything other than a jar full of pennies... and that's being optimistic!"
Peace made a face, "Honestly, Harmony. She only has 197, 548 thousand miles on her! She's like new! And when she does start... purrs like a kitten."
"Sounds more like an asthmatic if you ask me," Harmony muttered and smacked the hood open. She disappeared under the hood to fiddle with the choke, smacking her head against it when Peace honked the horn. Howling in pain, she rubbed her head and peaked around to glare at her sister.
"What? It wasn't me. The Heap didn't like what you had to say about her."
Stephan finished setting the table as the wheezing and sputtering of the twins' car in the driveway announced their arrival. The front door slammed as the girls came trudging into the kitchen, shedding their purses and various parts of their work uniforms as they went. Stephan grinned at his nieces and again felt that slight shock he still received every now and then upon seeing them.
The Fitzwilliam twins, as they were known by many in the town of Matlock, were very striking to behold, which was only enhanced by there being two of them. Both girls were on tall side for women, topping at about 5'11", and athletically built. They had the characteristic flame-colored hair of the Fitzwilliam family though their delicate facial structure was inherited from their mother. But what made people always look twice at the twins, besides each having one blue and one green eye, was that they were nearly exact copies of each other - even their parents had had trouble telling them apart...at least until one of the twins said or did something to give it away. Most people never bothered to figure out who was who but the girls' distinct personalities made it easy to tell after a while.
Peace tended to be the more level-headed of the two and most people preferred to deal with her instead of her sister. She had a naivety and friendliness about her that people quickly warmed to and she was usually able to charm her way out of any situation, which came in handy in soothing over ruffled feathers - especially if Harmony was doing the ruffling. It was those same characteristics that enabled Peace to deal with her sister and she was usually able to prevent Harmony from acting on her more violent impulses. But then she wasn't her twin's sister for nothing...Peace had temper equal to her sister's when provoked. Fortunately it didn't happen too often.
Harmony, on the other hand, was the more volatile of the two. Quick to anger, extremely opinionated and not shy about it, she lived life by acting on almost every impulse, no matter how inappropriate to the situation. She did have some sane moments, mostly when her sister flew off the handle, but nothing roused her ire more than men. Harmony was a blunt, in-your-face, up-your-rear, rabid, fire-breathing feminist. She believed with her entire being that the world would be much better off without men or at least enslaving the whole lot of them. Since neither scenario appeared to be taking place soon, she settled for terrorizing every man that crossed her path, with the exception of her Uncle Stephan, who she sincerely adored.
That adored uncle gave each girl a quick kiss on the forehead before asking, "So, how was work? Oh, supper will be ready in about ten minutes." He pulled a lasagna out of the oven and began cutting it into portions.
"Oh, it was another typical day." Peace replied brightly. "I practically had to threaten Harmony into doing her job instead of throttling a customer. Then she managed to terrorize Darcy and at the same time loose a handful of customers by threatening to cook a caramelized rat for lunch. So, how was your day?" she asked, smiling winsomely.
Stephan was used to the twins' antics and ignored Peace's attempt at turning the conversation to glower at Harmony. Harmony glowered back, completely unimpressed. "What?" she asked, "I ran out of corn and a cooked rat was a legitimate solution. In some countries, it's considered a delicacy!"
"Yes, well here in the U.S. it's considered disgusting by about ninety-nine percent of the population," Stephan replied as he set their dinner on the table, "so I would ask that you keep your solutions to the realm of the acceptable, am I clear? And don't torture Darcy so much either - he was very generous to let you work in his restaurant in the first place, and he's your boss for the second."
"It's hard to take him seriously when I can remember when he used to think he was some big gangsta rapper," Harmony said with a malicious grin. "What did he call himself? Oh yeah, 'The Dopest D'? More like the 'Dumbest D'. What a moron!"
Stephan couldn't help but smirk as he too remembered Darcy's gangster phase. "Be that as it may, he's still your boss and as such you need to treat him with respect...at least in the workplace. Now sit down and eat."
"Yeah, yeah, whatever," Harmony grumbled as she shoved Peace into the wall. "Tattletale!" she whispered in her sister's ear before seating herself at the table and digging in.
"Better from me than someone else," Peace said as she sat across from her sister.
Harmony merely stuck out her lasagna-covered tongue and was promptly reminded by Stephan to behave. Dinner passed by more quietly after that, everyone managing to enjoy themselves, in spite of Harmony's occasional lack of table etiquette. They were just clearing up when the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it!" Harmony yelled as she raced to the door.
"No, I'll get it!" Peace cried, catching up to her sister and shoving her into the coat rack. "It's probably a salesman, who's just doing his job and you'll be overly rude!" Putting on her brightest smile, she yanked the door open only to reveal not the expected salesperson, but their Aunt Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, Anne. The smile faded into a sneer. "Oh, it's you," Peace stated flatly before slamming the door in their faces and walking away.
"Well? Who was it?" Stephan asked curiously.
"Aliens!" Harmony exclaimed as she rejoined her sister. "Two big ugly ones with a nasty ooze coming out their noses."
"That's about right," Peace said, nodding in agreement, "But you forgot the horns."
Harmony smacked her forehead. "I can't believe I forgot those! Well, I'm tired now and I think I'll go to bed. How about you sister?"
A commotion in the front entrance convinced Peace that she too was tired. "Yes, I believe I am! Goodnight, uncle!"
"But it's only 8 o' clock!" Stephan called after them. "What the...wonder what got into them?" He soon found out.
"STEPHAN MARSHALL FITZWILLIAM!" a haughty voice called out from the front entrance. "I demand to know why I was received in such a manner! Have my nieces no respect for their elders?"
"Oh no," the poor man groaned as his sister, Catherine, walked into the dining room. "Hello, Cathy."
"Don't 'hello Cathy' me! Your nieces just slammed the door in my and Anne's faces! Is this how you raised them? To treat their nearest and dearest relations with disrespect?"
"No, I raised them to be good girls," Stephan replied, "but as you can see, they have a mind of their own."
"Humph! I always said a man could never raise two girls properly. You should have turned them over to me after their parents died. I would have raised them to be proper ladies like my dear Anne. She would never dare slam to a door in someone's face! This isn't the first instance either. Anne told me all about twins' behavior today at the restaurant."
Dutiful little Anne...always spying for her mother, Stephan thought, glancing at his niece. "I've already dealt with the situation, thank you. And I don't justify their actions towards you, Cathy, but you always seem to bring out the worst in them. Living with you would hardly have made a difference and in fact, it would have been worse!"
Catherine's face turned an alarming shade of purple and her brother sighed in exasperation. When she got like this, the argument would last for hours and in the end, accomplish nothing. He knew he was in for a long night and made a mental note to devise some punishment for the twins later. If he had to suffer, then so did they.
AN: Just in case you're confused about the family structure it goes like this... Stephan, Catherine, Darcy's mother, and the twin's father are all siblings. Thus Peace and Harmony, Anne, and Darcy are cousins! Wooooow! Isn't that neat! Ok, we're leaving now!