Seasonal Situations #1

Considerations Near Christmastime

by Ney Mitch

Considerations Near Christmastime by Ney Mitch Sometimes, when you walk away from something, eventually, the only thing to do is walk back...

That’s what Elizabeth Bennet thinks when she hops on a plane and decides to move in with her family in Alexandria, Virginia. Born in Oklahoma, USA, in the 1980s, Elizabeth belongs to a military family. With both parents and grandparents being in the Army, and Air Force, the Bennet sisters were raised to follow in the family footsteps. However, time has no choice but to sometimes turn a life upside down, and Elizabeth found herself falling away from her family and being quite the prodigal child. When she returns, they are now living in Virginia, and each of her sisters have taken different turns in their lives. Jane, Mary, Kitty and Lydia all have tales of their own, and it turns out that Elizabeth was needed, more than ever. When she returns, she helps to support her family, and then has to confront re-meeting a man from her past, who did nothing but ruin her life: Fitzwilliam Darcy.

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Release Date: October 17, 2023
Genre: Contemporary | Christmas Romance


Chapter One

There & Back


Feeling the brisk air whip across my face, I walked into Earl’s Coffee House, shaking off the chill.

“Lizzy,” Earl said from over the coffee counter, “the usual?”

“You know me too well,” I replied, happy to see that there was no long line to order, but simply a few people waiting for their drinks to be completed. “Ah, this is good.” I took money out of my wallet and handed it to the cashier. “Being on time for work always has to do with there being no long line at your coffee stop.”

“It’s been slower this morning than usual,” Earl explained. “I wonder what that’s about.”

“Oh, there’s some construction on some roads. That’s it.”

“Construction; the bane of business.”

“But the blessings for those in the construction business,” a voice said behind me. There was something about the voice that sounded familiar. Turning around, I came face to chest with a tall man.

I looked up and saw a face that I had not expected to see after so many years. A face that I had no desire to ever see again, but like a bad penny, he presented himself.

I knew that I must have looked spooked because I really was. If there was a name that you could place to the event, the hour, or moment, where an old antagonist enters your life, that you had neither expected nor wanted to see again, what would that moment be? What would it mean to you, to signify, to believe that it had to happen? There, at that moment, at that spot, was the unmaking, the very unravelling of your day?

“Darcy?” I uttered, shocked.

“Good morning, Elizabeth,” he replied.

Standing there, waiting to place his order, was Fitzwilliam Darcy, a man that I had not seen since I had left Oklahoma.

“Well,” he continued as I moved out of the way so that he could order. “It’s been a long time.”

My cheery mood deflated, and I rolled my tongue behind my teeth. Never was I very good at transparency.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said, a little resigned.

“I’ll have a large hazelnut latte,” he told the cashier, “cream and sugar.” Then he turned to me. “Well, that is clearly not happiness I see in your expression.”

“You’re surprised?” I asked, with a raised eyebrow.

I took in all of him, his strong but lean frame. Darcy managed to look impressive while still sporting worn blue jeans, a gray thermal, flannel shirt, with a tweed coat over it.

“I guess that I am,” he replied, “even though I probably should not be. We haven’t seen each other since, like what? High school?”

“Yes, it’s been long. Truly.” I laughed, with an arched eyebrow. “I felt all the days, months, and years of that distance, and I think that I can say that I enjoyed the separation a lot.”


“Have you been living here in Kentucky?”

“Just passing through,” he stated, which brought happiness to my heart.

“Take all the time you need to keep passing through. Think of me as like that awkward acquaintance that you know you ought to say hi to, but you do not really want to. Embrace that instinct, and you can keep banishing me from your life.”

We got our drinks at the same time, and I was more than happy to dash to the door, but he followed me.

“Well, cruel much?” he jabbed.

I ground my teeth.

“Cruel?” I pointed to myself. “Me? Well, isn’t that the hot-air balloon calling the whoopy cushion ‘filled with hot air’?”

He looked quizzically at me.

“What did you just say?”

I rolled my eyes, having to explain my logic.

“The ‘pot calling the kettle black’ phrase is overdone, so I decided to get creative.”

“And that was where you landed?”

“Shut up, it was clever.”

“Sure, it was.”

I was done.

“Gotta get to work. See ya.”

I continued to walk away, happy to see the last of him.

But I heard determined footsteps behind me.

Oh crap, here we go!


* * *


“Lizzy, really?” he called after me. “It’s really like that?”

“Like what?” I asked, turning to him. “You really want me to be happy to see you?”

He sighed.

“I was younger back then,” he said. “It was high school; we were all kind of mean.”

“But you were the worst,” I retaliated. “Look, I know that it was a while ago, and it should be one of those ‘forgive and forget’ kind of things, but you know that I’m not that way. You were a bully, Darcy. You practically ruined my entire four years of high school. You were so good at being horrible that everyone joined in. When I graduated, I was so happy to get out of there, that when I got accepted to Louisville, I was elated, because it was the furthest place that I could get to. And I have never been back since.”

When hearing that, Darcy’s face shifted to one of repentance and quiet alarm. I think it was finally just dawning on him what he had done. When he had succeeded in destroying a life. Usually, a person feels a dramatic unease when arguing with someone, but his expression was so unexpected that I was overjoyed. In my own way, this was a victory of sorts.

“You never went back to Oklahoma?” he asked, his voice quieter.

“No,” I answered simply. “No, I have never gone back.”

“But that’s... Elizabeth, that’s idiotic. You did not go back home all because of a stupid reason.”

“Oh, so this is where you call me weak. Well, I’m not. You laughed me out of class, your friends laughed me out of school, and then out of Sante Fe High. I was not weak for not going back. No, I kept going, decided not to let the bullying drive me insane, and I looked forward. And I never looked back.”

Darcy bit his lip, tapping his coffee cup with his fingers, nervously.

“And that’s all that you have to say,” I realized. “Just that I was stupid for not going back. But you will never do that incredible thing. That remarkable thing that always works.”


“You will never say that you are sorry. And that’s what is painful.”

“I am sorry, alright?”

I smiled gently.

“There, you see? Not so hard, is it? Now we can go our separate ways and despise each other a little less. I can work with that. See you around.”

I began to walk away, but once more, I heard footsteps. Darcy had run up to me and stood in my way. If what he said was positive or negative, I was prepared.

“If you are about to revoke the little bit of peace that we found,” I countered, “that would be very annoying.”

“Quite the opposite, actually,” he replied.

“Good, because if you’re going to stand in my way, then you better have a good reason.”

“Sometimes...alright, I left that life behind me. And I moved on. I got better. But then I see you and it all comes back. You do not know what it’s like to have hurt someone and never made up for it. How about I take you out for some coffee sometime?”

I gave him a harsh laugh.

“I am assuming that you are joking.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Or a prank, where if I were to say yes, then I would go, and you would stand me up.”

“No,” he assured me, “not that. Look, I really do mean it. How about I take you out for a coffee, and you can see for yourself that I really do feel badly about it all? It’s been twelve years and I’m older, free of the whole-gotta-be-a-jerk-to-be-cool school thing. Give an ole’ Santa Fey alumnae a chance, eh?”

Late for work, that was me.

Quick to hold a grudge, that was me.

Curiosity was my kryptonite, that was me. Should I say yes to him? Should I open myself up to someone whom I had nothing but bad memories for? Was it worth it? Opening up that whole history that I had tried so hard to be free from? That I had taken to the air for?

Was Darcy worth it? “Well,” he continued, “how about it? How about—”


* * *


I woke up with a start when I heard the pilot announce that the plane would be landing soon.

“Ah, hello sleepy head,” said the passenger who was sitting next to me on the plane. Her name was Delores, a robust and striking Puerto Rican woman, with a personality that made you a little envious. Some people are born with a nature (or cultivated a nature) that has a natural gravitational pull, where it sucks everyone else in. Delores was one of those sorts. The stewardesses loved her, and I could barely get a word in edge-wise sometimes, but I was not upset about that, because I liked her too. Before I dozed off, she filled up the flight with lots of conversation. That suited me fine, because I was never the sort to give my information out to anyone, so I always liked it when other people did so.

“Hey,” I said, rubbing my eyes.

“You slept hard,” she replied. “It was like you were dead to the world.”

“Sleep is my favorite activity,” I joked.

“For me,” she said, petting her stomach, “it’s eating. And I refuse to apologize.”

“Don’t. Food looks good on you, you lucky minx.”

“I know,” she laughed, “it’s a gift, given by God, to our people. We all look good like this. I feel bad for the rest of you all.”

I rubbed my eyes again, hoping to wipe away the dream that I had just experienced.

“Sorry for sounding groggy,” I replied, “I…”

“What? Still wish you were under?”

“Well, yes, but also no. I had the strangest dream.”

“Ah, what was his name?” Her eyes shifted, like you would do when you had an oversight. “Or, what was her name?”

Leaning back, I looked at her, amused.

“How did you know it was about a person? I mean, when it comes to dreams, there is the traditional stuff: show up to work naked, running from someone who is trying to hurt you, falling from a building, dying... you know, the usual dreams.”

“I took a stab in the dark, and bull’s eye. Do not feel bad, I have a way of being right a lot. So, what was his name?”

“Darcy. Fitzwilliam Darcy.”

Delores squinted.

“What’s his first name again?”

“Yeah,” I exclaimed, “worst first name ever, right?”

“I’ve heard worse, but that is pretty bad.”

“It makes no sense.”

The pilot ordered us to remain seated, with our belts on, because we were going to begin our descent into the airport.

“You know that person from years ago,” I said, clipping my seatbelt, “that person who ruined your entire life, and you do everything to never see them again?”

“Yeah,” Delores responded, “those are my first two husbands.”

I laughed.

“This whole ride here, and you never said that you were married twice. You literally talked about everything else, but that? What gives?”

“Like you said, there are some things that you want to get away from. And from them, I got away, and I even do it with conversation. My boyfriend lives in Washington DC, and that’s all that matters, because with him, the third one is the charm. Sometimes, it takes a few tries before you get things right.”

“I was always afraid to get things wrong,” I said, “so I didn’t think it was even worth to try.”

“You never wanted to get married?”

“I thought about it,” I said, “back before the flood. But since I survived that catastrophe, I did not regret it. But with this dream, it was about a guy. Not a romance, not at all. He was a classmate of mine from Santa Fe High School, in Oklahoma. He was so mean to me that I literally had to walk to school each day, expecting to see mean things written on my locker. And I did, every day. I haven’t seen him since we graduated, which was twelve years ago. Well, I just dreamed about him.”

“What was that like?”

“Strange. Usually when we dream, we dream about things around us, random stuff, or just a lot of nonsense. I wonder where my mind was at.”

“Well, since you’re moving to another city,” Delores said, “you’re probably nervous, and your brain took you to a time where you were terrified about something.”

I smiled.

“Delores, you are a true Freudian, without all the sexual stuff.”

Delores laughed.

“Yeah,” I realized, “I’m sure that’s it. After all, I’m setting up a new life; there is no way that his shadow could find me here.”

Since I was in the middle seat, I did not have the best view at the window. Looking past the passenger, I got my glimpse of Washington D.C. and the Ronald Reagan Airport.

“Virginia and D.C.,” I whispered. “It’s nice to see a familiar face. So, what have you got in store for me?”



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