“This is it?” Darcy asked Bingley with a touch of disbelief, wrinkling his nose at the sight of the dark, dull diner.
His friend nodded eagerly. “Out of our survey of 1,000 people, this place was voted to have the BEST hamburger.”
The place was certainly busy. The two men waited for nearly 45 minutes before they received their burgers. Darcy had ordered one with lettuce, bacon, tomato, onion, cheese and mustard, while Charles went for pickles and relish in additional to the traditional filling.
After one bite, Darcy’s eyes widened. It was hot, juicy and delicious. He pushed through the crowd and demanded to see the chef.
“You can talk to me, hunk,” purred a young girl with a low-cut tank top, as she leaned her huge breasts against him.
He scowled and slipped a fifty-dollar bill to her. “I need to see the chef, now!”
“You’re cute, but so beat.” The girl pushed the note down her cleavage, then yelled at the top of her voice, “Lizzy, come out! Dad is here.” Then she whispered to Darcy, batting her eyes, “Give me another hundred and I’ll cover for her. That way, you can talk to her at the pub around the corner.”
Darcy’s lips tightened obstinately, but Charles took out the money and gave it to the young girl.
A minute later, ‘Lizzy’ came out. “Where’s Dad?” she asked, looking around in confusion.
“This old chap needs to see you, immediately!” the young girl said, and pointed at Darcy. “I’ll cover for you for an hour.”
“Lydia!” Lizzy threw up her hands. “How many times do I have to tell you not to disturb me during my shift, especially with strange requests?”
But Lydia pushed Lizzy through the crowd and out the door of the diner, saying, “Just talk to them, or they’ll kill me!”
“What? Why?” Lizzy sputtered, but Lydia had already retreated. Bewildered, Lizzy turned to look at the two men.
“Nice to meet you, Lizzy. I’m Charles Bingley from Darcy Production, and this is our president, William Darcy.” He held out his hand, but Lizzy ignored him and turned to walk back into the diner.
“Hey, young lady, not so fast!” Darcy blocked her entrance. “We just want to know who the real chef is at Longbourn Hamburger.”
Lizzy glared at him. “Move out of my way or else…”
Her flashing eyes made his heart jump. She might be young, but the stubborn set of her jaw held a certain allure. “I just want to talk to the chef. I’m producing a TV show. I want to feature Longbourn Hamburger. I’ll make the chef a celebrity. He won’t need to be stuck in this little hole for one more day.”
“Is that right? How exciting!” Lizzy said cheerfully. “Come inside with me, and I’ll show you.”
Darcy felt a flood of warmth in his body when he saw her beautiful smile. He couldn’t resist putting his hand on the base of her back, to guide her forward. The electric touch that resulted goaded him to do something he would never have done in normal circumstances. Bending toward her, he whispered in her ear, “Care to show me the, uhm, town’s sight afterwards? I’d love to come with you.”
Lizzy stopped dead and looked up at him, her mouth opening in astonishment. Her lips were just inches away from his, and he was tempted to kiss her there and then. But she moved away and walked into the diner with quick strides.
Two steps into the diner, Darcy saw a sausage flying his way. As if in slow motion, he saw it strike his chest, and followed the red and yellow stains of the ketchup and mustard smear that it left down the front of his Armani suit.
With two stomping steps, Lizzy returned to stand in front of him, glaring. “My name is Elizabeth Bennet, and I am the chef and owner of Longbourn Hamburger. And I would consider it a privilege to be ‘stuck’ in this so-called ‘hole’ for the rest of my life, Mr. hot-shot-celebrity Darcy!”
Then she leaned toward him on tiptoe, as if intending to give him a peck on the cheek. Whispering ‘Enjoy the sights -- alone!’, she slipped her hand beneath his suit jacket and across his torso, making him shiver. Then, before he quite realised what was happening, she slipped an egg into the breast pocket of his shirt, withdrew her hand, and patted him hard enough on the chest to break the egg.
When he swore in surprise, she arched her eyebrows, gave him a sweet smile and walked back into the kitchen.
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