A/N: This story is based off of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing,one of my favorite works of his. I absolutely love Shakespeare, so I decided to try my hand at basing a story off of one of his comedies. However, I changed a couple of minor things around (like the Leonato character is not the father, but an older brother, and some names are a bit different) to better suit the time period. I suppose it's proper to mention that I do not own Shakespeare in any way, shape, or form. Please enjoy and R/R!
Men are pigs. Yes, you heard me! Men are pigs! They are nice enough to look at, but they are inherently piggish and perverted. I have always felt this way, and I always will. That's just who I am: Beatrice Foley, the headstrong, opinionated, sarcastic, feministic man-hater.
My cousin Hannah, however, is a completely different story. Sometimes I question whether or not we're really related. She's sweet, polite, docile (when she has to be), and basically everything I'm not. She's a romantic who's just waiting for some dashing, gallant, God-like guy to sweep her off her feet. Good grief, as if that's ever going to happen. This is real life, for crying out loud, not some cheesy Disney movie!
Hannah and I are the same age, 18, and we pretty much grew up together. Despite our completely different personalities, we are best friends. She has a brother, Leo, who's 19 and is the epitome of the protective, loving older brother. He acts the same way towards me, which kind of annoys me (I don't need protecting!) but I've gotten used to it, and I know he means well.
Anyway, I'm staying for the summer with Hannah and Leo at their beach house on Martha's Vineyard. Now let me tell you, this is one huge beach house. So naturally, Leo just had to invite friends. To be specific, he just had to invite Don Parker, the son of the richest guy in Boston (where we live during the year) who is pretty much considered royalty because of his good looks, his brother John (who I've always found to be sketchy and shady), a couple of John's oafish friends, and some new friend of Don's named Chris. Oh yes, and Ben.
Ugh. I can't stand Ben. He's a womanizing, cocky, egotistic asshole. He's got practically every girl on Martha's Vineyard (except me, of course) at his feet, but never wants a serious relationship. He's also the only person who can compete with me for wit and sarcasm. He feels that every time I see him, we have to engage in a "battle of wits," and I'm happy to say that I've never lost.
So now I'm stuck spending a summer in the same house as him. Dammit.
They arrived around noon on Saturday, June 19. I lay in my favorite hammock in the yard, reading a book. Hannah sat nearby in the garden, writing. Suddenly Margaret, our good friend who was also staying the summer, came running outside.
"They're here! They're here!" she squealed with delight, hopping up and down.
"Who's here?" asked Hannah, thoroughly confused.
"Don Parker and his friends, of course!" Margaret replied. "Come on!" She ran back inside, followed closely by Hannah. I sighed and slowly got up from my hammock. "Don Parker and his friends" meant that Ben was here as well. He was the LAST person I wanted to see. I trudged back into the house, left my book on the kitchen table, and went out onto the front lawn to join Hannah, Leo, and Margaret.
A very flashy car had just pulled into the driveway. The front door opened, and out stepped the guy that every girl in Boston was after: Don Parker, resident God-like rich dude. He was 19 years old (like Leo), of a good, medium height (5'11" or so), and had a body that would make any girl (even man-haters like me) swoon and drool. His light brown hair and deep blue eyes were a match made in heaven, and his smile could melt you in five seconds flat. Did I mention that he was also a genuinely nice guy (yes, even by my standards)? He was everything that Hannah wanted, but she had never gone for him for some reason or another. And me? Me go for Don? Ha, dream on.
Anyway, the afore-mentioned God-like guy walked over to Leo and the two exchanged one of those half-high-five-half-hug things that guys do. Hannah and I had tried to do it before, but we always ended up whacking our heads together or something.
"Leo, my man! How've you been?" exclaimed Don.
"Awesome, dude. How 'bout you?" Leo replied.
"Oh you know, same old, same old. But still pretty well." Don made random flapping gestures with his hands as he spoke, a rather amusing habit of his.
"Good, good," said Leo, nodding his head. He turned to us. "You know my sister, Hannah, and my cousin Bea, right?"
"Of course!" said Don, smiling his 1000-watt smile and coming over to embrace both of us. "It's a pleasure to see both of you beautiful ladies again."
"Very smooth," I thought to myself, before noticing that the other occupants of the car had emerged and were now standing patiently on the lawn. I looked them over.
Ah yes, there was John Parker, Don's rather shady younger brother, standing there with a scowl on his face. He looked a lot like his brother, but his hair was a bit darker and he wasn't quite as muscular. He was 18, like Hannah and I, and he had been in our year at school (Leo and Don were a year ahead of us). Neither of us liked him much. He was one of those people who always had an ulterior motive and was always sneaking around in the shadows, plotting something or other. In short, he sketched us out.
My eyes traveled from John to Conrad Jones and Bart Smith, John's lackeys (for lack of a better term). Both were large, muscular, and stupid. They reminded me a lot of ogres. Margaret had a bit of a thing for Bart, God knows why. I must say she had horrible taste in guys.
My gaze continued to drift until it fell upon a sight both appealing and grotesque. I say it was grotesque merely because it happened to be Ben Clark, and I'd had an intense dislike of him since sophomore year. In spite of this, I couldn't deny the fact that he was gorgeous. Blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, perpetual stubble (yes, I know, a lot of people don't find that attractive, but I do), and a heart-stopping smile: oh yes, he was the epitome of eye-candy. Nevertheless, he was still an asshole. He was very tall and toned, the perfect body for a rower. In fact, that was how I met him.
My highschool was very well known for its excellent crew teams, both male and female. Even as sophomores, Ben was the stroke seat on the boys' varsity boat and I was the coxswain of the girls' varsity boat (I'm small, so sue me!). Our boats would go out and practice on the Charles River at the same time, and we shared a boathouse. When I met Ben, it was April Fool's Day. I knew who he was, and he knew who I was, but we had never spoken. However, he was good friends with the boys' coxswain, Luke. Let's just say that Luke didn't like me very much, probably because I had turned him down for a date freshman year. So, after we put the boats away that day, I saw Luke whispering to Ben (who had to bend WAY over so that Luke could reach his ear), and Ben suddenly started coming toward me with this insane smile on his face. I, of course, started backing away, but as Ben was a lot bigger than me, he soon caught up with me. He reached out and grabbed me, throwing me over his shoulder despite my kicking and screaming. He carried me down to the dock, and then chucked me into the river. Now let me tell you, the Charles River in Boston is not fun to be thrown into, especially in early April when it has only just thawed from the frigid winter. Anyway, it turned out that he did that because Luke wanted to, but couldn't pick me up himself (he was a coxswain, after all). Ben and I have been feuding ever since.
I snapped out of my daze when Leo spoke. "Oh, so this must be the famous Chris Cahill," he said, shaking the hand of a guy I hadn't noticed before.
"Yeah, nice to meet you. Leo, right?" the new guy asked.
"Yup. So how do you know Don?" Chris proceeded to answer while I took the opportunity to look him over: medium height, nicely toned, dark hair, bright green eyes, and innocent demeanor. I looked over at Hannah and noticed that she was practically salivating. I chuckled to myself: It was going to be an interesting summer.
Leo brought Chris over to introduce him to us. "Chris, this is my cousin, Bea, and my sister, Hannah." Chris first shook my hand with a pleasant smile, and then turned to Hannah. He paused for a moment, looking positively stunned, rather like a fish out of water. He soon collected himself and shook her hand, flashing her an even brighter smile than he had given me. Oh yes, it would be a very interesting summer.
My attention was suddenly diverted as a certain tall, blonde asshole began to move. Ben sauntered over toward Hannah, Chris, and I with his usual cocky grin.
"Is no one going to say hello to me? I'm so hurt!" he said sarcastically, putting his hand over his heart in mock sadness.
"…And I care, why?" I asked, rolling my eyes at him.
"Oh ho! If it isn't ultra-bitch herself!" he exclaimed, turning to me with fake surprise.
"Is it possible for me not to be bitchy when you're around? You just make it so easy!" I retorted.
"Well, you seem to be the only girl around with that opinion. The rest of them are practically throwing themselves at my feet, screaming 'Take me, Ben! Take me!' even though they're well aware that I just don't do relationships."
"…Something that I think we can all be grateful for. Otherwise, you'd never stop chasing women, and we'd have to put up with your clinginess. That must be the only thing we have in common: I don't 'do' relationships either."
He chuckled. "Well, that means one less ugly chick to have to fend off."
"YOUR MOM is an ugly chick!" I retorted, shouting the first thing that came to mind.
"Wow, Bea, that was real mature," he replied, shaking his head at me.
"A lot more mature than throwing people in the Charles River."
"I can't believe you're still not over that. You must be a freaking elephant for your memory."
"And you must be a bird for the size of your brain."
"That's it," he said, throwing up his hands in exasperation. "If I can't have a civil conversation with you, I'd rather not converse at all." With this, he turned away and walked over to talk with Leo.
"Damn him," I thought. I hated it when people just walked away from debates. It drove me insane.
The sky was absolutely gorgeous. I sat alone on the hill behind the house that overlooked the beach, watching the sun sink beneath the horizon, spreading rays of pink and orange across the sky and setting a million sparkles upon the water. Everyone else was still at dinner, but I just had to sneak out to see the sunset.
Suddenly, two voices interrupted my quiet pleasure. "Hey, dude. What do you think of Leo's sister?" asked the first.
"Who, Hannah?" replied the second.
"Wait a moment," I thought to myself, creeping closer and hiding behind a tree to listen. "I know that voice. That's Ben." I scowled at this thought.
"Yeah, what do you think of her?" Peeking out from behind my tree, I saw that the other voice was that of Chris.
"Meh, she's alright I guess," answered Ben.
"Well, I think she's amazing. She seems so sweet, and on top of that, she's wicked hot!"
"Dude, are you kidding me? I've seen so many hotter girls than her. I mean, her cousin Bea's a total bitch, but she's definitely hotter."
Whoa, now that startled me. I wasn't sure whether to be insulted or flattered. I chose the former, scowled to myself, and continued to eavesdrop.
"Well, I really like Hannah, and I really want to ask her out. I'm kind of nervous, though. You know, rejection phobia."
Ben laughed. "Are you serious? You actually want to get into a relationship? What about our bachelor's club?"
"Dude, we started that in middle school. Don't you think it's time to move on?"
"No!" said Ben indignantly. "I mean, we can hook up with whoever we want, but relationships? Ppf, no way, man."
I heard footsteps approaching, and Don joined in the conversation.
"Hey guys, what's going on out here?" he asked.
"I'll tell you what's going on," scoffed Ben. "Chrissy here has a wittle cwush!"
I could just imagine Chris blushing as I laughed silently to myself.
"Hey, man," said Don happily, ignoring Ben's obvious sarcasm. "That's cool. Who's the lucky lady?"
"Hannah," said Chris sheepishly. "I really like her."
"Leo's sister? Dude, you should ask her out!"
"Nah man, I'm way too scared that she'd reject me. You know how I am with that kind of thing."
"Hmm, I'll tell you what, man," said Don, sounding as though he was hatching an absolutely brilliant idea. "In a few days, we're having a costume party. We do it every year on the first day of summer. If you want, since we'll all be in costume, I'll pretend to be you and ask Hannah out for you."
"Really?" asked Chris, sounding excited. "Yeah, that'd be awesome!"
"That has to be the dumbest idea I have ever heard!" shouted Ben. "Honestly, relationships are stupid to begin with, but to have someone else ask a girl out for you? Now that's just idiotic."
"Oh shut up, Ben," said Don, sounding annoyed. "It's not like you have any better ideas. I don't see you putting your master plans of asking girls out into action."
"That's because, as I've told you a million times, I don't date!"
Don sighed. "Some day, my friend, you're going to fall madly in love. And when you do, I'm going to watch you make an idiot out of yourself and have a good, long laugh. Come on, Chris. Let's go in and plan our costumes for the party. Then we can talk more about our plan." Don and Chris went back into the house, leaving Ben to trudge along behind them, grumbling something about "total bitches," "stupid bastard," and "damn party."
Chuckling to myself, I thought about what I had just heard. Little did I know that I wasn't the only one listening.