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Friday, November 8, 2013

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10 Years, Actually: Harry & Karen, David & Natalie, John & Judy

This is part of a week-long series celebrating the tenth anniversary of Love Actually.

David and Natalie married in 2004. They and their story were soon known around the world. And what a story it was! A regular girl. One of the most powerful men in the world. Charming, now famous photos of the two at a children's Christmas pageant. They were like Charles and Diana, but, you know, without the unpleasantness of royalty. Their wedding wasn’t elaborate, nor was it televised. David wore a suit. Natalie wore a simple red dress (as did many new brides the following season). After being re-elected in 2008, David announced that he wouldn’t seek a third term and would, instead, focus on his campaign promises.

“If I can get them done in five years, I’ve done my job,” he told reporters at the beginning of his second term. “And if I can’t, I haven’t. And the voters will have to find someone who can.” This rational, no-nonsense, attitude was effective in boosting his popularity, but ineffective at achieving his goals. With the ongoing war in the Middle East and economic problems now plaguing the world, David’s second term was rough. And their marriage suffered.

Natalie had never stopped being his assistant, but if you witnessed their interactions, you’d think she stopped being his wife. Work was a place to work, but so was, unfortunately, their home. Being married to the Prime Minister stopped being a fairy tale, and instead became a dreary political drama. In private, she counted down the days until he left office. In public, she remained happy and optimistic. The whole of the Kingdom loved her, but she only cared about the opinion of one.

And so, they kept going. David had aged a decade in those five years. And she, maybe seven.

This past May, David’s successor was chosen. A woman. A conservative. Both David and Natalie were impressed by her handshake. After waving goodbye to their jobs, they moved to Cornwall. It’s a small place right on the water—just a few bedrooms. Technically it’s a castle, but homes in that area look like that because they must.

It gets cold that close to the ocean, but that's why they have all those layers of stone—as well as each other—to keep warm.

 

Karen and Harry went to great lengths to be certain the kids never heard them fight. No, they waited for sleepovers and field trips and visits to Daniel and Carol’s home. But when she and Harry were the only two around, she screamed. She had made a decision to stop crying about it, but she would certainly continue screaming, and Harry would accept it as his punishment. He listened to every word and rarely responded because he knew it wouldn’t help. She needed to let it out, so he let her. This would fix things, he thought.

“Oh, you just feel guilty,” his mates would tell him. “You just want it to stop.”

“Of course I do. If you love someone, marry them, and then fuck someone else, isn’t guilt the bloody obvious thing to feel?”

She had one or two nights a month to make him feel as terrible she felt, and by summer of that year, it was all out of her system. She had said everything she needed to say. Mia had quit. Harry had apologized profusely. And the kids were, they both presumed, none the wiser.

On the first night they shared a bed since it happened, neither slept. They stayed awake, on their sides, whispering like they’d done when they were in their 20s.

“Do you forgive me?” he asked.

“You’re in the bed, aren’t you?”

“You know I never stopped loving you. I could never.”

She paused and repeated herself. “You’re in the bed, aren’t you?” Harry laughed. And, after a few deep breaths, “I’m fully aware of love’s propensity to die a nasty death. We both are. And I know a loveless marriage harms everyone under the roof. But I’m also aware of love’s oft-ignored ability to survive a fracture. To be, oh, wrapped up in a cast. And, though it leaves a hideous scar, it heals.”

She brushed Harry’s hair with her fingertips as he cried quietly, then leaned in until there were mere atoms between them.

“If our love—our marriage—had been over, we would have ended it. But it wasn’t.” She became aware of her impending rhyme, but decided to go ahead with it. “So we mended it.”

Today, the scar is hardly visible at all.

 

John and Judy remain very happy and in love.

 

Previously: RufusSarah & Karl, Jamie & AureliaColin & Harriet, Daniel & Sam, Billy & Joe, Juliet & Mark

Bobby Finger is fully aware that he changed the election cycle around.

44 Comments / Post A Comment

apples and oranges

AHHHH

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1968020174@twitter

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yeah-elle

stop making me weep with this wonderful cry-making nonsense.

yeah-elle

cackling at the "i don't get hugh grant" tag though.

heyderpette

I'm dead. Harry & Karen, omg. I am just completely dead.

Myrtle

@heyderpette Emma Thompson, magnificent bringing Karen to life. The nuances in her face in that clip... she wore a fat suit for this part. Look at her staring at Alan''s mouth, usually a signal that one wants to be kissed; here it's heartbroken betrayal...how'd she do that? I'd carry her through London on my shoulders anytime she wants.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

Harry and Karen = perfect. God, she's still the best. Simply the best.

hussified

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose That just made me sigh and then hiccup, because exactly. Karen rules.

hellolovely

I think I'm the only person on earth who found this movie completely boring.

PennyCentury

@hellolovely I mean, I'll admit to reading the odd fan fiction derived from something I'm meh about but I have no idea why you would be here then?

Amber Stewart@twitter

YOU KNOW BETTER THAN TO MESS WITH MARTIN FREEMAN

Myrtle

@Amber Stewart@twitter Right? I decided I know him, based on the character he played here, and am so happy for his current success. Over invested, cheerleading happy for him.

Amber Stewart@twitter

@Myrtle Martin is one of the many people older than I am that I refer to as "my precious babies."

lobsterhug

No, I don't want it to end! Surely there are more people we need updates on.

adorable-eggplant

@lobsterhug Seconded! That dude with the yellow polka dotted tie in the second gif, tell us what happens to him.

lobsterhug

@adorable-eggplant Yes! And what about the caterer that Colin hit on at Juliet's wedding? And the awful US President? I need to know!

hussified

OH THANK GOD JOHN AND JUDY ARE OK.

PennyCentury

Oh my god Harry and Karen. You made this right for me.

missupright

OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I was already crying and now I'm crying more. This series has been perfect. Proper 'Pin stuff.

Beaks

John and Judy! Yay!

mabellegueule

This is apparently an unpopular opinion but I hated Love, Actually. I was going to say I liked these posts way more than I liked the movie but I felt like I had to make that clear. I actually _really_ liked these posts, almost enough to make me consider rewatching the movie, but I think I will stick with my current arrangement.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@mabellegueule Would you say you Love(d), Actually these posts?

questingbeast

I don't think changing the election years was the problem. 'After being re-elected in 2008, David announced that he wouldn’t seek a third term and would, instead, focus on his campaign promises.' Prime Ministers aren't elected personally, don't 'seek terms', and noone announces they're giving up the party leadership after an election they've just won, or fights an election as PM when they've already said they'll step down immediately after. If you're resigning voluntarily you do it between elections. The whole thing is very jarringly American. The Cornwall bit is nonsensical.

shannanigans

@questingbeast 'Ello guvnor!

stephanieboland

@questingbeast Thank you; noticed a couple of these jarring details and it's a pity as these are otherwise excellent.

Bobby Finger

@questingbeast Yes, I was trying to squeeze them into some kind of familiar [American] political narrative. So that I flubbed on, but! The Cornwall thing is a nod to Richard Curtis' most recent movie, "About Time." Bill Nighy's family lives in a big pink house on the sea. Anyway, yes, I will gladly own up to those political mistakes. "This'll do," I thought.

questingbeast

@Bobby Finger OK sorry did not get that! I suppose it's just that I loved the idea, and then all the comments on every post were, 'I'm so into this!', and I wanted to be too, but just kept thinking, 'But where IS this? "Highway"?'. (I suppose being 'England for Americans' is in the grand Richard Curtis tradition! :) )

Bobby Finger

@questingbeast The way I figure it, if Richard Curtis can make Hugh Grant PM, I can make him retire in Cornwall.

melis

bobby finger is right about everything

questingbeast

@melis No need to be rude. I like his writing a lot, I just said I found the language thing jarring. Why is my opinion wrong?

adriana

@questingbeast no no it's ok, I promise melis isn't being rude, melis is being melis.

1968020174@twitter

@stephanieboland loved the style, Gloria has doing some great job; working at home in front of her computer just for 3 hours and earning more than she expected !Have a kind visit my dear friends ..BAY91.CoM

likethestore

If you loved Love Actually I HIGHLY recommend the new movie About Time which is by the same writer (or director?). It's soooo romantic but also about family and it's incredibly moving and I cried buckets.

Thank you for not killing/breaking up Hugh Grant.

Myrtle

@likethestore excellent news, I was hoping it'd be good. Working Title makes such lovely, human movies. I still love When Harry Met Sally, and Working Titles right in that league.

Chareth Cutestory

To me, this series is perfect.

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Maybe the reason that many people are hooked up with these series because it is beyond the expectation of the readers that the story will turn out that way. - Lindsay Rosenwald

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apolsasam

Wow! This is nice to hear. I love these people. - Aldo Disorbo

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