July 9, 2016: The Day I Nearly Died of Mortification (Part 2)

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Though I always feel weird taking showers in other people's homes, it was a relief to strip off my wet bathing suit and rinse the chlorine from my body with warm water.

I put on the fresh clothes in my backpack and braided my damp hair. I was starving. My brain concocted many possible excuses I could use to avoid eating at the same table as Will Darcy, but my stomach threw a tantrum to rival one of Mom's. It wanted food now!

Before joining the others in the kitchen, I called Mom. I told her what had happened to Jane, and I said Mr. Hollywood's friend would drive us home after lunch.

As any loving mother would be to hear that her daughter had collapsed from heat exhaustion on a neighbor's driveway, Mom was ecstatic.

"Just as I planned!" she crowed.

"Hold on, you planned for Jane to collapse in front of Charles Bingley's house?"

"Not to collapse, obviously. She was only supposed to catch his attention, and then he'd invite her in for a drink. But what a great opportunity! Make sure she takes advantage of it and milks all the sympathy she can out of Charles."

"No, Mom, it is not a great opportunity. Jane could have died!"

"Pff, people don't die from getting a little overheated."

"Yes, they do! Hundreds of people die from heatstroke every year!" I closed my eyes and exhaled slowly. "We'll be back soon. Charles' sister made a quiche."

I hung up on Mom as she was asking what Caroline was like, and whether she was in the film industry, too.

I turned to head towards the kitchen. Will Darcy was standing close behind me. I gasped in surprise. He said nothing.

After an uncomfortable moment, I said, "Um...thanks for letting me use the shower." Then I realized it was nonsensical to thank him when this was Mr. Hollywood's house.

Will stared at me with his usual cold, inscrutable expression. I smiled awkwardly and walked passed him.

Suddenly he said, "Ms. Bennet."

Ms. Bennet? I hadn't heard anyone call me "Ms. Bennet" since...well, ever.

"Yes, Mr. Darcy?"

"If your sister is planning to sue Charles for suffering personal injury on his driveway, I must warn you that the Bingleys have excellent legal representation."

His words didn't make any sense to me at first. "What?"

Will crossed his arms. "Your family would only lose thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees. Any judge would see through such an obvious scam right away."

"Scam?" 

My brain slowly comprehended Will's insulting accusations. "Wait, wait. You think Jane is the sort of person who would purposely fall down on her neighbor's property and then sue him?"

"It wouldn't be the first time a pretty woman has scammed a wealthy man."

Diary, I shouldn't have called Will Darcy a small-minded, lemon-sucking jerk. That description is far too complimentary. He's the rudest, most spiteful worm to ever dirty the air of Deschutes County with his toxic words.

I said, "Do you even hear the venom that comes out of your mouth? Or are you immune to it because you've been exposed to yourself since birth?"

Will sighed. "There's no reason to get upset. I wasn't making any implications about your sister's character. I was only stating facts. The Bingleys are formidable. Provoking them would be unwise. That is all."

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