August 27, 2016: The Day that Stupid Vampire Went and Ruined Everything (Part 1)

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Dear Diary,

Remember when I took back all the mean things I've said about Will Darcy? Well, I take that back. Will is a judgemental, selfish, impulsive idiot, and I was naive to think we could be friends.

I can't believe I was so gullible. I actually thought Will was a good person. He charmed me with his smooth jokes and his Ocean Rolls, but all the while he was plotting to betray me. I shouldn't have trusted him, and Ocean Rolls are forever tainted now, and why does sex have to ruin everything?!

Life was going so well until today. I started my new job at the Writing Center, which is on the ground floor of the community college library. The atmosphere there is lovely, my supervisor and coworkers are very nice, and the training sessions have been surprisingly fun and informative. I had no idea there's so much to learn about teaching.

Now that I have a steady (if meager) paycheck, I can finally stop leeching off of Charlotte. Jane introduced me to a group of her theatre colleagues who need a new roommate by September 1, which is magically perfect timing. They're an eccentric bunch, but the rental looks clean and they assured me everyone obeys the house rules: no illegal drugs, no dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, and no existential crises in communal areas after 9 p.m. (Fine print: "Having an existential crisis in private is acceptable, as long as it is not accompanied by Coldplay.")

Mary sulked when I declined her offer to live together, but sulking isn't much different from her usual demeanor, anyway. Since we work in the same building, when our schedules line up we meet in the staff break room to eat our packed lunches. After a few days of sitting at the same table, our sisterly relationship returned to its normal state of mutual resigned tolerance.

When Mom heard about Charlotte's life changes from Susan Long, she called me in a huff. She said she always knew Beverly's girl would "end up that way," and Winston Collins is an odious little brown-noser, and she's glad her daughters have higher standards. I think that's the closest to an apology I'm ever going to get.

As for the twins, they're working at Annie's Bookstore & Cafe until they return to OSU in late September. On their first day of work, Dad had to coax them out of bed with loving threats. Then Kitty and Lydia met George Wickham, with whom they both fell violently in lust at first sight. Now they race each other to doll themselves up and rush to work in the mornings.

Though I imagine my youngest sisters are more interested in George's baby-blue eyes and cute dimples than in his mind, I hold out hope that he'll have a positive influence on them. To appeal to a nice literature-loving guy like George, the twins will have to at least pretend to be considerate and responsible young women who read things other than the comments on their own Instagram posts.

This afternoon I stopped by my parents' house to pack the remainder of my clothes and other items that didn't fit into a hastily packed backpack. Jane helped me strip my bed and gather various toiletries, office supplies, electronic cords of mysterious origin, and other forgettable miscellany that appears to pop into existence on moving day.

As I taped up the last cardboard box, Jane asked for the tenth time, "Are you sure you don't want to live here with us?"

For the tenth time I replied, "Yes, I'm sure." For variation I added, "Every writer is obligated to spend at least one year of her twenties living in house full of crazy artists. I'm nearly past the deadline."

Jane said, "I'm going to miss you. We don't laugh as much without you around."

"It's not like I'm not moving back to New York. I'll be ten minutes away, for goodness' sake. And you're not going to live here forever, either."

I pushed Jane's arm teasingly. "Charles has a soft nougat heart pumping caramel through his veins, but even he couldn't stand to live with the in-laws. He'll whisk you away to Beverly Hills, and you'll be so busy being a movie star, you'll forget all about us. We'll have to go down to the Regal and shell out fifteen bucks a piece for matinee tickets just to see your face."

Jane quietly wound up the packing tape. Something was wrong. Though her mouth smiled, her face was tired and her eyes were sad.

Come to think of it, I'd been so busy fixing up my own life, I hadn't paid any attention to Jane's. While packing we talked about my moving plans, my new job, and my conflicted feelings about Charlotte and Winston. Jane hadn't talked about herself at all.

I asked, "How is Charles?"

"He's doing well, I think. He's decided to rent out the house on the corner. We probably won't see him around much anymore."

Jane delivered this news so casually, as if she were talking about some elderly neighbors we occasionally waved to while picking up the mail. Because of her placid tone, the full import of her words didn't sink in right away.

"Wait, he's renting it out? As in, he's not going to stay in it anymore?"

Jane nodded.

"Did he find another vacation home he likes better or something? Like, some picturesque cabin down by Sunriver?"

Jane shook her head.

So...Charles is gone? Completely? He dropped a million dollars on a house, spent a couple of pleasant summer weekends in it, and then lost interest and handed the keys over to a property management company?

What about the famously expensive views? What about "the most perfect place on earth"? What about Jane? Just a few weeks ago Charles was worshiping Jane like Pip trailing after Estella. What on earth happened?!

I had so many questions swirling around my head, but the only one I could ask was, "But...why?"

Jane shrugged with a small smile. "Because he got tired of flying back and forth, I guess. And because...Will told him to."

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