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Something to be Thankful For

November 23, 2017 02:17AM
Blurb: In 2010, Thanksgiving offers Will Darcy something extra to be thankful for. But he needs a little help getting there.

In 2010, Francis William Darcy (Will to his friends) moved to Highbury, Michigan from his hometown of Pemberley, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He came to Highbury, a small city home to a few resorts and a small liberal arts college, to work for Knightley Accounting, the accounting firm owned by his college friend, George Knightley. For four years after graduating from college, Will and his cousin, Ed Ferrars, had worked as junior accountants for a large firm in Pemberley. But Will and Ed had both suffered personal tragedies in those four years. So when George told them that his father was retiring from Knightley Accounting Services, Will and Ed had both jumped at the opportunity to work in a smaller firm alongside their longtime friend.

Will and Ed arrived in Highbury in September to a beautiful northern Michigan fall. They moved into an apartment near the office. And they both started to build friendships in the town. He started frequenting the Knit Wit for his morning coffee and to see the cute brunette behind the counter. Her nametag usually said that her name was Elsa although he had also seen “Meg Ryan,” “Audrey Hepburn,” “Holly Golightly,” and “Hermione Granger” on it. On Halloween, she was Professor McGonagall.

“She’s a grad student working on a PhD in literature,” another barista told him. This barista’s nametag usually read “Anne,” “Annie,” or “Annabelle,” but occasionally it read “Grace Kelly” or “Ginny Weasley.” For Halloween, Anne/Annie/Annabelle was Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

“Is she studying at Highbury?”

“Nope, Highbury doesn’t offer advanced degrees, and anyway, that’s where her undergraduate is from. She wanted a different experience for her doctorate,” the tall barista replied. “She’s studying over at Mansfield University. It’s about half an hour south of here.”

“That’s got to be a rough commute in the winter.”

“It is, but this is her last year. She graduates in May.”

“That’s great.”

“Oh yeah,” Annabelle replied. “And once she graduates, she can do more than just the six to nine morning shift and weekends. And that will make my life easier.”

“Won’t she be working full-time at a college?”

“Yeah, but we own this place together, so she has a commitment to this place.”

“You two own this place?”

“We inherited it from the former owner a few years ago. We worked here when we were undergrads, and when Jane died, she left this place to us because she knew that it was our mutual favorite place in the world and that we wanted it.”

“That’s got to be an expensive inheritance.”

“Spoken like a true accountant,” she replied with a slight smile.

Will smiled back. “How did you know that I’m an accountant?”

“Elsa and I grew up with George. Well, really we grew up with Emma, but George was always around.”

“And he had to babysit some of us,” Elsa inserted as she popped up next to her business partner.

“Poor, poor man,” Annabelle sighed as she handed Will his coffee.

“What happened?”

Annabelle smirked. “Elsa, you explain.”

The petite brunette laughed. “First, you have to understand that my parents own the Longbourn.”

“The resort hotel by the lake?”

“That’s the one. Anyway, when George was fifteen and I was about ten, my parents hired him to babysit my four sisters and me every Saturday during the tourist season.”

“I take it that didn’t end well?”

She laughed again; he liked her laugh. “I was ten, my older sister was eleven, and my younger sisters were seven, five, and four. Gwen and I didn’t really need a babysitter, but the younger three needed one desperately. George was doomed from the start.”

“But he’s still alive,” Annabelle consoled.

“Fortunate man,” Elsa returned.

Will smiled awkwardly. “He’s probably stronger for it.”

“I hope so.” But her sigh as Will walked away indicated that she suspected that she and her sisters had materially weakened the long-term health of their former babysitter.

Will had originally planned to go home for Thanksgiving weekend, but he found himself completely booked on Wednesday. And then he realized that flying home on Wednesday night would be expensive and would severely limit the amount of time he was able to spend with his family. When he asked his sister what she thought about that, Gina admitted that she had just made plans to spend the holiday with their grandparents in San Francisco.

When he mentioned this to George, his coworker invited him to spend Thanksgiving with his family. “Except it’s not a normal family Thanksgiving,” George cautioned.

“Then what is it?”

“A circus, more or less, I guess.”


George shrugged. “So, here’s the deal. My family and Emma’s family and Elsa’s family and Nora’s family and Annabelle all spend Thanksgiving and Easter together. Christmas is on your own, but all of those families come together for Thanksgiving and Easter. Thanksgiving is at Elsa’s family’s place, and Easter is at mine.”

“How long have you guys been doing this?”

That elicited another shrug. “We’ve done it for as long as I can remember. It started out just as the Bennets, the Woodhouses, and the Knightleys, but it’s grown from there. We picked up Annabelle during high school because her family sucks. Nora’s family was kind of a gradual absorption. But it’s great. I love it.”

“And I’d be welcome?”

“Oh, yeah, totally, my mom said that you and Ed would be more than welcome.”

“Then I’ll be there.”

Will’s first thought on entering the Longbourn’s lobby was that the Longbourn was a nice hotel. It was a comfortable, old-fashioned place with high wooden ceilings. He followed George into a large dining room with more wooden ceilings. It was also filled with tables. Each table was simply but elegantly decorated with a red or orange lace-covered tablecloth, white china place settings for six, and centerpieces of autumnal flowers.

Will was relieved to see that George was leading him towards Emma, Annabelle, and Elsa. Emma, George’s long-time best friend, was laughing as they approached. Will still wasn’t quite sure what to make of her, but he understood why George called her “The Imp.” She was always dressed elegantly, and her behavior was never overtly inappropriate. But she still made him a little uneasy.

When the men reached the ladies, Annabelle greeted them with an easy smile. “Will, George, Happy Thanksgiving! It’s so good to see you.”

Will awkwardly hugged her while George eagerly embraced her while complimenting the tall brunette. “You look lovely, Annie.”

She grinned and awkwardly ran her fingers over the skirt of her knee-length purple dress. “Thanks.”

Elsa squeezed her friend’s shoulder. “You look stellar, Annie. Any man with a brain would agree with me.”

Will smiled. “You do look nice, Annabelle, and so do you, Elsa. I like the dress.”

“It’s a stunner, Elsa,” George said. “You look great in blue. You should wear it more often.”

Ignoring her friends’ compliments, Elsa looked over Will’s shoulder and smiled. “The Dashwoods are here.”

“Is James here?” Annabelle asked.

Elsa nodded. “He is.”

Her friend grinned. “I have to go say hello.”

While Annabelle and Emma walked over to the newcomers-a family consisting of a man in a wheelchair, a petite middle-aged woman, two young women, and a high school-aged boy, Will looked back to Elsa. “Is that Nora’s family?”

“It is indeed,” she replied. “James, the dad, Dr. Dashwood-he used to be the headmaster or principal of the Ford Academy, which is where most of us went to school. But he’s battling cancer now, and it’s not going well. You know their oldest daughter, Nora. Their young daughter, Marianne, gets along pretty well with Emma. And we’re all fond of Jamie, their son.”

He nodded. “He’s in high school?”

“He’s a senior at Ford.”

“That’s got to be rough on him.”

“I think it is, but he’s a good kid. He’ll get through it all,” George spoke softly.

While squeezing George’s shoulder, Elsa added, “He’s got good people around him.”

He looked down at his shoes. “I need to go get something to drink and say hello to your parents.”

As his friend and roommate walked away, Will glanced around the room awkwardly. Elsa smiled at him. “Don’t worry; you’re sitting with George, Emma, Annie, Thor, and me.”

“Thor?” he repeated. “As in the Norse god of thunder?”

“Yerp,” she replied casually. “He’s around here somewhere-maybe. Or maybe he’s not here yet.”

“The Norse god of thunder? I don’t think I’ve seen him here today.”

“You haven’t. Once Thor arrives, you’ll know.”

“Does Thor have another name?”


“Do you say that often?”


“Was that a question or an answer?”

“Answer,” she replied with a winning smile. “I say ‘yerp’ far more often than anyone should. It’s a bad habit I picked up during my undergraduate years, and I’ve never been able to shake it.”

He smiled. “It’s kind of cute.”

“You’re just getting to know me. You won’t find it so endearing when you’ve heard me say it fifty million times and you wish that I would just say yes or yep or yeah for once.”


“Bingo.” She grinned, and Will knew that he could fall in love with that smile very easily. “You’ve figured her out pretty quickly for someone who has only been in Highbury for two and a half months.”

“I work with George, and I lived with him in college. And I consider him to be a close friend. I’ve met Emma a few times before. And even if I hadn’t, I’ve still been hearing about her for years.”

Elsa shook her head. “Do you remember the story I told you about George babysitting my sisters and me when we were kids?”


“Well, I think Emma was much harder on him when we were all kids than my sisters and I were. And there’s only one Emma whereas there are five Bennet sisters.”

“Don’t ever tell her I told you this, but he secretly calls her Hurricane Emma.”

Elsa snorted. “He’s so ridiculously in love with her.”

“How long have you known that?”

“Four years, what about you?”

“Since September, but I only figured it out when I saw them together. Plus, apparently, I’m pretty dense. At least, that’s what my sister tells me.”

“Younger sisters like to tease older siblings.”

“You speak from experience?”

Elsa nodded. “I’ve been on both sides of the table.”

“I can’t see you being teased.”

“You don’t know my sisters.”

Will shrugged. “That’s true, but I know my sister and I can’t see her teasing you.”

“Well, then, I can assure you that my sisters are very different from yours.”

“I’ll have to meet them to be the judge of that.”

“Oh, you’ll meet them. You can’t live in this town for very long without meeting all of my sisters. We’re the Bennet sisters; we’re a Highbury institution.” And then she laughed.

“They belong in an institution,” George teased.

Just then, Will saw a tall man with dark blond hair walk into the room. The man immediately made his way to Annabelle and created her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. “Is that Thor?”

“That’s Erik Wentworth,” George deadpanned.

Elsa grinned. “That is the God of Thunder.”

“His name is Erik, Will. He’s this year’s writer in residence at the college.”

“And he’s the God of Thunder.”

“Elsa might have a crush on him,” George stage-whispered to Will.

The petite brunette shrugged. “He’s hot. I know that he’s dating my best friend and he’s not interested in me, but Lord in heaven, he’s gorgeous.”

Before Elsa could continue gushing, Annabelle and her friend were walking back to them. Erik greeted Elsa with a hug and shook George’s hand. When he came to Will, he paused and said, “I don’t think we’ve met yet.”

“Erik, this is George’s new business partner, Will Darcy,” Annabelle began.

Erik immediately grinned and extended his large hand to shake Will’s thinner hand. “I’m Erik Wentworth, Annie’s boyfriend. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Good to meet you too,” Will replied as he shook the other man’s hand.

“So you work with George?”

Will nodded. “I’m an accountant.”

“Obviously,” Elsa muttered.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

She shrugged. “Well, I’m just saying that you’re not going to find a rocket scientist working with George. He’s an accountant, and logically anyone working with him is going to be an accountant unless they’re his secretary or something, and I’m pretty darn certain that Will is not George’s secretary.”

Will smiled and shook his head while Erik rolled his eyes. “Elsa, you’re ridiculous.”

“I tend to think that I’m adorable,” she replied with a smile.

Erik wrapped his arm around her shoulders and rested his chin on the top of her head. “You may be adorable, but you’re also ridiculous.”

“I think that you meant to call me ridiculously adorable.”

“Um, no, I called you what I meant to call you.”

Elsa stuck her tongue out, and Will felt an odd sensation in his gut that told him that this woman was settling herself into his heart quite easily. But before he could think any further thoughts on the subject, Elsa’s father bellowed that it was time for everyone to take their seats. Erik released Elsa and wrapped his arm around his girlfriend instead, leading her gently towards their table.

“Shall we?” Will asked Elsa.

She smiled. “Let’s follow Thor.”

“You’re interested in Elsa,” Erik remarked during dessert. Will was sitting between Erik and Elsa, but Elsa was distracted by the presence of Emma and George’s infant niece, Ava, in her arms.

Will shrugged. “I guess I am, yeah.”

“I can tell by your behavior. But I can also tell that she doesn’t have an earthly clue.”

“How do you know?”

“Elsa is one of the friendliest people in the world. She is kind and sweet and warm to everyone she meets.”

“So you’re trying to tell me that she’s not flirting me?”

Erik shook his head. “She’s just being friendly.”

“So what should I do if I’m interested in her?”

“Ask her out. Elsa is one of the most straight-forward people I know; if you want to date her, ask her out. Don’t play games because she doesn’t play games and she doesn’t know how to play games.”

“What if I’m shy?”

“Tough rocks, Darcy, Elsa Bennet is a strong-willed woman and if you want her, you’re going to have to play hardball.”

Will took a deep breath and then a large sip of wine. “I can do that.”

Erik clapped his large paw on Will’s bony shoulder. “Yes you can. Now go do it.”

“Excuse me?” Will coughed.

“Excuse me, Elsa,” Erik continued. “Could my new friend, Will, have a moment of your time?”

Elsa spun around in her chair. “Yeah, sure, what’s up?”

Will coughed. “I was um wondering if I could um…”

“If you could what?” she asked gently. “Are you all right?”

“Have your um…”

Elsa put a hand on Will’s shoulder. “Are you all right?”

“You wanna go on a date next Friday please?” he blurted.

She grinned. “I’d love to.”

“Great,” he blurted.

“He’ll pick you up at seven next Friday,” Erik inserted. “And he needs your phone number.”

Elsa laughed. And with that, Will’s heart was lost.

Will had Elsa’s number by the end of the night, and by the end of the weekend, they’d arranged for their first date to be the following Friday night. That night, he found out that she loved to knit. He asked her if she would make him a sweater. She replied that the only man for whom she would ever make a sweater would be her husband. He told her then that he was going to marry her someday and he wanted a navy blue sweater as a wedding present. He then added that he preferred a cardigan to a pullover.

At their wedding four years later, she gave him a navy blue cardigan that she had started knitting the night that he proposed to her. She admitted then that she had picked out the pattern and the yarn the night of their first date.

Something to be Thankful For

CeciliaNovember 23, 2017 02:17AM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

JoseJanuary 18, 2018 10:22AM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

RoxeyNovember 24, 2017 12:20AM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

RoxeyNovember 23, 2017 08:41PM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

Lucy J.November 23, 2017 03:36AM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

Trish1006November 23, 2017 04:43AM

Re: Something to be Thankful For

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