A beat up Craftsman with no drill bit in it. Unless he lobbed it at her head, it was not a real threat. A laugh bubbled out of her and once she started, she couldn’t stop. The guy glared at her and headed back into the corn. Will turned her to face him.
‘What is so funny?’
She laughed harder. 'I don’t know. Maybe I’m too old for this.’
'Well, come on. Let’s go see what else your sick sense of humor finds funny.’
‘Good morning,’ he nodded to her and then proceeded to write Mr. Darcy on the whiteboard.
‘What are you doing here?’ She jumped up but refused to cross behind the podium. She had manners.
‘I’m teaching the workshop.’
‘Why didn’t you say anything last night?’
‘You didn’t ask.’
‘You said business!’
‘This is business.’
‘You’re insufferable,’ she huffed and murmured under her breath.
‘Insulting the teacher on your first day, Liza?’
‘Ah–,’ she gaped like a fish.
‘You’re here early. You’re an eager student, I like that. And front row center. Are you a bit of a brownnoser?’
‘No, don’t you dare. You paid good money to be here.’
‘I’m sitting in the back then.’
‘I like having you close.’
She glared at him and he had the audacity to laugh!
‘Don’t laugh at me.’ She forced the words through her clenched teeth.
‘I can’t help it. You’re adorable when you hate me.’
‘Then I must be stunning, because I loathe you.‘
Rachel dreaded to think what notes Patsy had made about her in the ‘marriage’ notebook, what strategies she might use to secure Rachel a rich husband. Put up her profile on an internet dating site, perhaps? In a sudden, unexpected feeling of solitariness, Rachel had taken this route when she split up with Paul and she had enjoyed a few pleasant evenings with nice-enough blokes but it all seemed a lot of effort for unrewarding returns. She inwardly winced as she imagined what Patsy might write–'Looking for loaded man to marry,’ 'Must have income in excess of…’ Rachel felt her face grow hot and she scowled at Patsy, who gave her a questioning glance.
A guy in a suit had approached the table—geez, they moved fast around here—but Lynley just smiled and pointed my way as she thanked him.
‘Friend of yours?’ I asked, not liking the tension in my voice.
‘No, just a knight in shining armor seeing a lone damsel in perceived distress.’
‘I don’t think there’s much distress you can’t handle.’
‘See that, right there’—she pointed at me—’ exactly the right thing to say. Yep, you’re a smooth one.’ She took a sip. ‘But I am, in fact, a little distressed.’
‘Why?’ I reached out a hand, drew it back.
She was focused on her drink, not on me, so she missed the gesture. ‘And regardless of how awkward I feel, I had to come here tonight—to thank you, on behalf of the families who depend on Fairlight Farm, since they don’t know specifically who to thank.’
‘You might try to look a little less … forbidding,’ Charlie said quietly in my ear. I nodded and plastered on a smile.
'How’s this?’ He looked at me and shuddered.
'I take it back. Forbidding is better.’
‘Tell me the truth. Are your feelings for me the same that they were in October?’ Her question was so tentative, so querulous. I almost wanted to laugh.
'No.’ I confessed quietly. She began to step back, but I caught her wrist. 'No. It’s much worse now. I feel…deeper, stronger. More.’ My throat was tight just admitting it to her; that I’d never stopped feeling for her, that I’d been only…existing…
‘My friend Neil and I had this theory we were working on before he went all Hollywood and became Mr. Tyson.’
'Your friend Neil. Wait. Did you just name-drop Neil deGrasse Tyson?’
'Oh, do you know him too?’
I could not fathom how I had been so wrong. I was sure I had read all the signs—the glances, the giggles, the sly comments. Now, in retrospect, it was obvious. She was making fun of me, laughing at me, insulting me, but I was too dense—too smitten—to see it.
It didn’t hurt so much that she didn’t have feelings for me. It hurt that she did have feelings for me—feelings of disgust. Feelings of disdain. I had no idea what I had done to ignite her dislike.
The church filled with low murmurs interspersed with Collins’s pompously declamatory tones. A sigh escaped him, and it was only then that Darcy noted he was intently listening to pick out hers. He scowled once more at his shocking folly and belatedly added the rumble of his own voice to the general chorus—only to see her suddenly start at the distinct addition. His chest tightened. There was no way of knowing why the sound of his voice had made her jump, but now that his eyes had come to be fixed on the back of her neck, he could not force himself to look away. Head bowed in prayer as instructed, she was perfectly still—and the entire world seemed to grow still around them as he sat staring like the most pitifully besotted mooncalf.
Darcy made no answer. He seemed scarcely to hear her, and was walking up and down the room in earnest meditation, his brow contracted, his air gloomy. Elizabeth soon observed, and instantly understood it. Her power was sinking; everything must sink under such a proof of family weakness, such an assurance of the deepest disgrace. She could neither wonder nor condemn, but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing consolatory to her bosom, afforded no palliation of her distress. It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.