No one, including myself, can begin to calculate how many hours I’ve fantasized myself into one of those quiet Austenian drawing rooms pretending to do needlework while a hottie in skintight trousers sent me meaningful glances from across the room. I’ve read Pride and Prejudice at least twenty times, and Austen’s other five major novels at least a dozen times. I’ve watched my two-DVD set of the BBC’s P&P so many times I could practically act it out end to end, all five hours of it. Sometimes, and especially lately, the only thing that makes sense in my world is Jane Austen.
Could all those viewings, combined with all those re-readings, have resulted in my finding myself living someone else’s life, in someone else’s body, in, of all places, Jane Austen’s England?
Everything about her is long and lean and graceful, as opposed to my short, curvy, trip-over-the-nearest-rug self. Unlike me, she can dance without maiming her partner and embroider as if possessed by actual domestic skill. I can’t even hem a pair of pants. But this is no meek little miss. She’s thirty years old and in no rush to get married, which pisses off her marriage-mad, Mrs.-Bennet-meets-Cruella-de-Vil mother (much to Jane’s delight, I like to think). She also appears to have a talent for exasperating the most prized bachelor in the neighborhood, which brings us to…
..who makes my palms sweat and my mouth go dry whenever he walks into a room. Physically he’s a sort of mashup of Daniel Craig and Lost’s Josh Holloway. I’d never thought of those formal, choreographed dances from Austen’s era as sexy, but that was before I danced with Edgeworth. That was before I inhabited a body that actually knew how to dance. Mr. Darcy? Or Willoughby? Not an easy one to answer. You see, my borrowed brain is serving up memories that are not my own. Disturbing memories. And in them Edgeworth plays a starring role.
Formerly known as best friend; that is, till I found out he provided my philandering ex-fiancé with an alibi. Nevertheless, I miss him. I miss amusing him with accounts of my boss’s random acts of clueless egotism, which always made me find the humor in them myself. I miss sipping vodka and doing the dishes with him after his dinner parties, while everyone else practically passed out in the living room from too much good food and wine. And I miss his unconscionably divine cooking, which has no apparent effect on his lanky frame. It’s as hard to stay angry at Wes here as it is to feel more than an abstract sense of heartbreak over the man I could have married.
Jane’s best friend, now mine. She’s the only one I can confide in, though she puts her own construction on my story. She’s also Edgeworth’s sister, and in her mind he’s anything but a hero. Between Mary’s ideas about her brother and the confusing memories that aren’t even mine, I don’t know what to think. I’m having enough of a hard time holding onto my identity. I don’t need to set myself up for another betrayal. Besides, I’m not going to stay here forever. I’ve got a real life to get back to.
The Fortune Teller
“Those who want the truth, get truth. Those who want lies, get lies no matter what I say.”