Series Special: A Fan fiction for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice–Chapter III

The characters in this story are inspired by the novel’s beloved characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

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(The next day at the studio of Brown Paper Media)

 

It was a Saturday, and Kulay came to the studio at ten o’clock. She was supposed to meet Gelo and Maria there an hour before lunch but decided to come in early to avoid the weekend traffic and to prepare for her editorial next month. Every quarter of the year, each magazine would release an editorial to wrap up the events in the three fields that were featured in the last three months.

Kulay kept a journal where she jotted down notes for her editorial. She browsed through them. Her newer list included familiar names from yesterday’s Art Fair:

Daniel Dela Cruz’s Alice in Wonderland

Michael Cacnio’s Manananggal

Mel Sylvestre’s artwork

Nona Garcia’s Before the Sea maquette

The maquette, the word struck a chord. Kulay suddenly remembered the mysterious guy who snuck up on her on two separate occasions.

Two separate occasions, right! Kulay realized she had not yet seen the pictures taken from last January’s event. She immediately browsed through the shared files from a cloud storage device they all used.

She clicked on the folder Síning. She opened the January folder.

She kept browsing through the series of pictures, trying to recall why she only remembered to do this now. Each photo showed several people in the event, most of them looked familiar to her. But none of them looked like the guy who snuck up to her twice. Liz was not able to catch the guy in her lens. Or probably it was the guy himself who didn’t want to be caught.

Kulay let out a heavy sigh. She decided to focus instead in completing her list, letting go of the thoughts about the mysterious guy. As she browsed through the pictures, she stumbled upon an image—

IMG_20140221_060242

Right! How could I forget about this? she muttered to herself. She clicked on View Image, and the monitor showed her an image of a label from the Tagalized exhibit. She realized she planned to include this beautiful piece in her editorial and must find a way to know its creator.

She wrote down the name on a post-it and accidentally hit next. The next image showed Liz’s photo of the Pride and Prejudice and Its Peculiarities painting. She stared at it, hypnotised by its surreal yet majestic style. The colours used were mostly pastel, yet the entire painting seemed striking in all angles. Kulay wondered what could be the inspiration of its creator. Did he like the story as much as she did? Could he be a hopeless romantic inside? Could he be . . . —

Kulay shrugged at the thought even before she could finish it. She closed the tab for the cloud storage site, opened another tab for the search engine, and typed in the name she had in her post-it.

Keith Jacinto, there you go, she whispered as she hit Search.

The results provided her with articles, mostly press releases from several galleries. Upon scrolling down, she luckily stumbled upon a website after his own name: www.keithjacinto.com. She clicked on it, and was immediately greeted by the same Pride and Prejudice painting from the gallery last month. Browsing through the website only showed his artworks that reminded her of several artists because of the variety of styles he could present.

All the artworks were grouped according to the year they were created, with the most recent work shown first. Each label only showed the title, the original size, and the medium used. Each artwork fascinated her. One painting called Shutter Smile was a beautiful oil on canvas painting that showed a girl standing on a grey field, holding an SLR camera with a big smile on her lips. Only the girl has colours on her but her head obviously was the focus of the painting, emphasizing it with much more striking colours, so the eyes would be immediately drawn to her head. Her curiosity arose more as she saw his other artworks. How come they have never featured him before? Who is this Keith Jacinto?

Kulay hit the About page to see more information about Keith Jacinto.

She felt disappointed upon seeing so little information about him:

Keith Jacinto. A carver, painter, photographer, and sculptor from the Philippines.

For work commissions, send your work proposals to wp@keithjacinto.com.

But below the thrift information was a black and white photo of a young lad’s right profile. His facial features were almost covered by his long, wavy hair, except for the right eye which was focused on something in front of him.

She stared at that photo and couldn’t make out anything from it. It was as if Keith Jacinto didn’t really want his face plastered on his own website.

Maybe not on his website, Kulay whispered. She realized she hadn’t search for his name under Images. And when she did, she was disappointed to find nothing. Well, there were several men and boys tagged under the name Keith Jacinto, but none of them resembled the young lad in the Keith Jacinto website nor the Keith Jacinto Kulay pictured in her head: a grungy-looking guy with thick-rimmed glasses and long, messed up hair.

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Series Special: A Fan fiction for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice–Chapter II

The characters in this story are inspired by the novel’s beloved characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

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CHAPTER II

(February 2014)

 

Kulay, Maria, and Dean arrived an hour past lunch time at the Art Fair Philippines which was held on the two floors of a former car park in a building in Makati. It was the second day of the four-day event, and Dean was tasked to attend all four events, which he greatly accepted. Luckily, he was not preoccupied with commissioned work at the moment. On the first day, he was accompanied by Gelo and Maria. Liz, Rina, and Mayi, along with her husband would join him there on the third day. The last day was a promised double date for the two guys, Dean with his girlfriend, and Gelo with a female friend.

“Okay, guys, let’s start!” Kulay said, as she gestured for them to start touring to keep to their schedules.

The art fair exhibited contemporary art in various media and styles. Some of which were made by artists known to Kulay and her colleagues while most of the artworks were either memorable or forgettable. Undeniably, the group’s favourite was Daniel Dela Cruz’s Alice in Wonderland depiction in metal sculptures.

While touring the entire floor, Dean saw a fellow from an organization roaming around. They greeted each other and introduced his friend to the two ladies he was with.

“I’m with my friends, too,” Jo, the artist friend, replied to Dean when asked if she was alone. As she said this, a group of three approached her. Dean and Maria knew one of the guys of the group, so they exchanged their hi’s and hello’s. Dean easily supplied the names of his female colleagues.

“Oh, by the way, you guys went to the The Tagalized 19th Century Literature exhibit last month, right?” It was Allan, the acquaintance of Maria and Dean. “Our friend Keith had one of his artworks in that exhibit,” he paused, “wait, where is he?”

“Oh, he excused himself a while ago. I think he saw something at the previous gallery that he liked. Didn’t you hear him?” said Tori, one of Jo and Allan’s companion. Allan shook his head as a response.

 

The three of them went on with their tour. Their next stop was the Silverlens Gallery. They saw familiar names that label each mini art installations. But it was the Nona Garcia miniature artwork that initially captured Kulay’s interest.

“Oh, here is Nona Garcia’s Before the Sea!” she exclaimed to Dean who was standing next to her and peered closely to it, “Wait, what’s it called again? This tiny version?” she asked.

“It’s a maquette,” an unfamiliar voice replied.

Kulay looked up and was surprised to see the owner of the voice. She stood up straight and quickly scanned around her to look for the friend she thought she was talking to. She saw Dean just standing behind the guy, talking on the phone.

“T-thank you,” she smiled at the stranger. “Are you the curator?”

The guy stared at her as if she said something offensive. She managed to get a good look of him. No wonder she thought she was talking to Dean, he was also wearing a black shirt; their heights were quite distinct, although now she noticed that this guy is taller and has fuller figure than Dean’s.

“Oh,” she suddenly exclaimed, “you’re that guy from the Tagalized exhibit!” she said, suddenly remembering him as the mysterious guy who took and shook her hand. The guy blushed and looked away, and without a warning, left immediately, leaving Kulay with her withheld speech.

“Kulay, look!” it was Maria. She automatically turned to her friend, as if to forget what has just happened. “It’s Nona Garcia’s mini version of—wait, what is it called again?” she asked.

“A maquette,” she said and smiled, “maquette of Before the Sea,” she added quietly and kept her thoughts to herself.

 

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Series Special: A Fan fiction for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice–Chapter I

The characters in this story are inspired by the novel’s beloved characters Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy.

 

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Year: 2014

Place: Philippines

 

CHAPTER I

(January 2014)

 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

But it is different now in the 21st century. It has been said that a single and successful man, usually but not entirely, in his mid-thirties, is probably either ignoring the deadline of his bachelorhood or is gay.

Kulay laughed at this statement when she first heard it. And yet, she couldn’t help but consider it an ironic fact. It seemed like the straight male specie is starting to dwindle in numbers, and for single ladies like herself, she couldn’t help but feel threatened.

At least that’s how the art exhibit was making her feel at the moment. The art exhibit’s theme The Tagalized 19th Century Literature was all about adding certain Filipino elements in the famed 19th century classic literature pieces. The first painting that greeted the visitors was a depiction of two men who were easily recognized as Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson, sharing a kiss.

“Oh, my . . .” she muttered to herself. She stared at the artwork with great dread. She could not believe an artist would do this. And did the homosexual act pictured in the two famed characters supposed to be the ‘tagalized’ trait of the artwork? She couldn’t help but look away with anger. The characters are just two of her favourites in English literature. She looked at her colleagues, one of whom was also a great fan of the duo. Her friend looked at her, too, mouthing a curse.

Kulay approached the label and read the details inscribed there.

The Science of Deduction and Attraction by Santi Morales, Mixed Media,” it was Dean who read it aloud for all five of them to hear. It was the same friend muttering profanities earlier.

“How dare he,” was all she said. It was only then that she realized that all six of them shared the same sentiments, only that one of them, Maria, recovered easily from her shock and started receiving the artwork with good humour which unsurprisingly affected them all.

“Okay, that’s a blast to begin with,” said Liz, in between giggles. Mayi agreed with her, and they both shared a high five. The two of them followed by Maria started moving along.

“I shall try my best to forget this artwork, same with how Holmes tried to forget about the solar system,” Kulay said gravely. Dean laughed and agreed with her while Rina, who knew too well of her disposition and beliefs, pulled her away from the controversial artwork.

 

All six of them, plus another one who was running late, managed an independent website that published the online magazines Booklat, Stereo-Type, and Síning, all of which were started when they were in college. Though they worked full-time jobs in different fields—Mayi owned a bookstore; Liz was an art director for an advertising agency; Maria was a freelance writer and a photographer; Rina was an art instructor at a university; Dean was a freelance artist and designer; Kulay was a writer and researcher for a publishing house; and, Gelo was a technical writer and a musician—they actively worked in this website and published the magazines that became one of the most popular and reliable sources of information that discuss about literature, music, and the arts.

All seven of them were the publishers of the Brown Paper Media. Each one, however, actively and amicably took on the three vital editorial positions through voting: the managing editor, associate editor, and the layout artist. In Booklat, Mayi took on the helm along with Kulay and Liz. In Stereo-Type, Maria lead Rina and Gelo. In Síning, Kulay managed the magazine along with Liz and Dean. Everything seemed to be going well for everyone.

It was one of their privileges as media, receiving invitations from several events that may be featured in their online magazines. They regularly visited art galleries, attended book fairs, seminars, talks, conventions, concerts, shows, and other events in the Filipino art scene, literary scene, and music scene. Not always all of them though, understandably because they kept regular jobs or commissioned works. Invitations were usually sent a month before the event. They particularly requested this to different organizers, so they could include it in their schedules as early as possible. An event would become one’s beat when the date would sit well on his or her schedule. But of course, they made sure that at least two of them are in an event to stand as the interviewer and the photographer. Here, they usually relied on each other’s schedule to see who was available to attend the said event.

If only one could make it, or someone would arrive but not on time, or if worse comes to worst, none of them could be present at an event, they have an entire list of on-call interns to stand in for them. However, they tried not to always resort to this last solution, so as not to tarnish any relations they have made with their contacts.

This gallery visit was their first big invitation this year. It’s a good thing that all six of them—the seventh was late, as expected—managed to attend the opening of this gallery where they have several artist friends who have their own artworks included in the exhibit. They saw other artists they know, many of whom were regularly featured in the Síning magazine.

 

The familiar faces of their artist friends and acquaintances made Kulay forget the foul start. It was also comforting to see that the rest of the artworks, although sometimes as equally controversial as the first one, weren’t that disagreeable. They even found some of the other artworks funny and enlightening.

Kulay was walking around the gallery with Rina as they went from one artwork to another. When an old friend of Rina’s approached them, Kulay excused herself and left them to their enjoyment. She saw Dean and Maria laughing with Gelo—finally he has arrived—along with three other artist friends. Liz was taking pictures while Mayi interviewed a small group of artists. Tonight’s event was Liz and Mayi’s beat.

Kulay proceeded with the tour. There was still one exhibit piece she had not seen. There was a smile on her face as she paced through the last partition of the gallery. She was fascinated with what she had just recently seen, an installation art of a horse carriage mashed up with the jeepney. The title was Giddy Jeepney by Kitty Alcaraz, an artist regularly featured in Síning. There was a brief explanation below the label that it particularly focused on the carriages of the 19th century that were almost omnipresent in all the literary pieces during that time. Kulay liked the simplicity and the frankness of the idea. She even thought it would be a perfect vehicle for tourists roaming around Manila.

She reached the end of the gallery, and as she turned, she saw a huge painting leaning on the wall; its height exceeding hers. It was the only painting that was not hung.

She was immediately drawn to the scene depicted in the painting. The man and the woman in it were familiar to her, and she was sure she knew who they are.

The painting showed a man and a woman facing each other, both in their 19th century clothing, but their background were the sleepy field of the countryside and an expensive and expansive estate of a town, or locally known as hacienda.

The dress of the female character on the left was simple and bore slight elegance—its style is reminiscent of the 19th century English dress— but she possessed that confidence that is known to Kulay. Her background showed the quiet field with a simple bungalow, a distinct ilustrado home of the 19th century Filipinas. She held a book in her left hand, pressed on her stomach, and a quill and a sheet of parchment paper on her right; she wore a sincere smile on her face with her eyes fixed on the man’s.

The man on the right was exuding with authority. He was wearing a gentleman’s suit which made him stand out despite the grandiose mansion shown in his background. He held a top hat on his right hand, pressed on his stomach; he had thick eyebrows and a frown on his lips. But his eyes betrayed all that was initially obvious, for their gaze was soft and was full of affection, as he longingly gazed back at the woman.

“Lizzy and Mr Darcy,” Kulay gasped. She just finished reading the novel and watching the movie and the TV series a few weeks ago. Her admiration for the classic literature was undoubtedly as great as her Sherlock Holmes favourite, and it even placed her Jane Eyre fascination in the second place.

“This looks really good!” Mayi exclaimed. This made Kulay snapped back to reality, popping the thought balloon she had earlier while she fancied over her ‘fangirling’ of Pride and Prejudice.

“Oh, is it Mr Darcy?” It was Liz who was also a fan of the novel. She immediately took a couple of shots on the painting.

“You seem to be enjoying this particular piece, Kulay,” Maria said as she approached her, bumping her with her elbow as to tease her. Kulay grinned widely and nodded.

“Of course, she raves over this in Twitter and Facebook. And in fairness, it’s nicely depicted here.” Rina added, winking at the two of them.

“Thank goodness it is nicely depicted!” Kulay finally spoke. “I shall be happy to meet and shake hands with the artist of this lovely piece,” she added and peered on the side to read its label. It was entitled Pride and Prejudice and Its Peculiarities by Keith Jacinto, Oil on Canvas.”

The rest of her companion walked on, returning to the centre of the gallery hall, but Kulay opted to stay a bit longer in front of the painting. She tried to memorize the details that her camera will never be able to capture and give the justice into. She also took a picture of the label.

“Thank heavens for this piece,” she sighed happily, concluding with the thought that although it was not the best in the exhibit, it was her favourite piece.

 

After staying at the gallery for almost two hours, Mayi finally declared that she’s satisfied with the details she got for her story. Liz declared ditto. Their early attendance at the event had been fruitfully rewarded. Now that the event’s time was at its peak, the venue was flocked with media and more guests. Almost all the hosts and organizers of the event were occupied with the attention from the media. They managed to wave goodbye to their friends, who helplessly waved back while they entertained their interviewers.

As they approached the main door of the gallery, three artists called on Mayi and Liz. They exchanged kisses on the cheeks as Liz briefly introduced the rest of them to the artists. Kulay, who almost missed the introduction because she just came from the ladies’ room, opted to stay behind everyone. She busied herself with fixing her bag when Dean tapped her,

“Kulay, that’s Santi Morales,” Dean said and pointed with his mouth on one of the three artists, particularly at the lean guy wearing a grey sweatshirt.

Of course he looked gay, Kulay thought. She looked at Dean and rolled her eyes as her reply. They sniggered at this exchange of looks. She actually though Dean was cringing.

They started walking towards the door and smiled and waved back to the three artists who tried to reach out to them. One of them managed to reach Dean and Maria who were in front of Kulay. Seeing that she was left with no choice but to shake hands with the ‘disagreeable’ Santi Morales, she reluctantly raised her hand as he looked on to her when, out of nowhere, a guy from her left reached out instead to shake her hand. She was taken aback.

“Thank you,” the guy said quietly. He looked serious, not even a smile accompanied his short speech.

Kulay easily recovered from her shock and replied, “Thank you, too,” with a smile, and then let go of each other’s hands. When she looked on to her right, she saw that Santi Morales was already thanking other guests, like nothing happened.

“Oh, where’s Kulay?” she heard Gelo asked.

“I’m here!” she waved. When she turned to look at the guy again, she saw him walking towards the centre of the gallery. She curiously looked on, shrugged her thoughts, and ran towards her friends.

 

“Kulay, do you know who that guy in black was?” Liz asked while they were walking towards the parking lot. Kulay replied no, she didn’t. “Well, he only shook hands with you,” she said teasingly. Everyone hinted on this and started teasing her. She tried to ignore their teasing and told them that they might be wrong, but the rest of the group said that it was true, one even seemed to carefully recall what happened.

“Do you guys know him? Is he even a part of the event?” Gelo asked in an annoyed tone.

“Oh, he probably is. We need to know that dashingly mysterious man,” Mayi replied with a big smile on her face.

“He’s handsome indeed but looked arrogant,” Rina stressed amidst the teasing.

“But he shook hands with Kulay, and only with Kulay,” Maria reiterated, “Reminds me of someone,” she added and winked at Kulay.

Kulay somehow read her thoughts and laughed. She smiled at Maria and said,“So, did I just shake hands with the modern Mr Darcy?” Kulay said jokingly. They all seemed to agree with her.

 

15:34//19:44

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