Music Monday: Softness and Light, Brian Crain

Pause your busy Monday for a couple of minutes and try this little imagination exercise.  Click play on the video below. Then close your eyes and see if you can imagine yourself travelling in a carriage with the light filtering in through the window.

Briancrainfan. “Brian Crain – Softness and Light.” YouTube. YouTube, 07 June 2012. Web. 15 July 2017.

Were you able to see it?  Isn’t this song perfect for a carriage ride on a sunny spring day? I found it to be.

In fact, it is this song and that exercise that I used to settle my brain into one of my writing sessions this week which resulted in the carriage ride shared in the excerpt at the end of this writing news update.

This week, I began working my way through my first round of edits for Henry’s story.  I am just past the halfway point with that, and I am still loving that story! I hope to have my edits done before Wednesday this week so I can send that story off to my first reader.  Because I am pushing to get that done, my writing sessions were shorter this past week.

As I mentioned last week, I was in need of a new story to write this week and had several options from which to choose.  Well, I settled on one that I had attempted before and had given up on.

I’m not the sort that likes to give up. 😉 So, I am giving it one more shot — and so far, it seems like it is going to work.  I wrestled with it for a day and then decided to discuss my concerns with a couple of writer friends.  That was an excellent choice because a couple of helpful comments was all it took for me to have a lightbulb moment about how this story might be accomplished.  We’ll see if it works out.

The story has a working title but as I am still very uncertain if that title will stick, I will just refer to it as Dash of Darcy 4 because it will be the fourth Dash of Darcy Collection Novella. (And if all goes according to plan, there will be at least one sequel and maybe two sequels to add to my Dash of Darcy Companion Stories Collection.)

As with all my Dash of Darcy novellas, the story departs from Pride and Prejudice at a specific point and then follows a new path to happily ever after for Darcy and Elizabeth. This story starts at the conclusion of Darcy’s disastrous proposal — before he can even leave the parsonage — and takes a one hundred eighty degree turn.

This novella is a reworking of three short stories I wrote several years ago.  These stories — A Change of Heart, Just Three Words, and With My Whole Heart — can be found in their original forms in my short stories collection HERE.  I can’t promise that all of what you read in these stories will end up in the final product as the story has to be expanded and some ideas might not work with the new plot additions, but these three stories are my starting point.

The following scene (currently the beginning of chapter 3) is entirely new material that I am adding to this story and follows the rewritten A Change of Heart (which has been expanded enough to be chapters 1 & 2).

EXCERPT FROM Dash of Darcy 4

“You seem rather morose about leaving Rosings,” Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam said as he joined Darcy in the carriage. 

Darcy shrugged.  He did not particularly wish to speak to his cousin about why he was not as pleased to leave Rosings as he normally was.  On most trips to visit his aunt, Lady Catherine, leaving was the highlight of the visit, and his cousin knew it. 

“You seemed to be dragging your feet to leave the parsonage just now.”

Again Darcy shrugged.

“You have not developed an affinity for nonsensical ramblings and incessant effusions, have you?” 

“No.”  Darcy pulled out a book of verses and opened it to the place that was marked, attempting to ignore Richard’s raised brows and questioning look. The low chuckle from across the carriage however instinctively drew his eye.

“Aunt Catherine will not be best pleased.” Richard smirked as he folded his arms across his chest and settled back into his seat. 

Darcy’s lips twitched.  His aunt would be a great deal less than best pleased when she finally discovered that Darcy was attempting to win a lady who was not her daughter Anne as his wife.  “When is she best pleased?” 

“Oh ho!” Richard laughed.  “Do tell what you have done.” 

“Who says I have done anything?” Darcy hedged.

“You.” Richard extended his legs across the short span between the carriage benches and made certain to knock Darcy’s leg in the process.  “You are avoiding a topic, which is what you do rather than lie about whatever it is that you do not wish to reveal.” 

Darcy smiled and shrugged before turning his eyes to the words on the page before him.

“I’ll have the truth,” Richard said with a laugh.  “You know I shall.”

“Indeed, I do,” Darcy replied.  “But you enjoy the process of wheedling it out of me, and I should so hate to rob you of the pleasure.”  He closed his book and placed it on the bench next to him. 

“Very well,” Richard said with a grin, “I shall guess.” 

Darcy waved a hand to indicate Richard had the floor. 

“You have fallen in love with the lovely Miss Bennet.” 

Darcy picked up his book once again.  “You have deciphered it, and now I shall return to my reading.” 

Richard snatched the book from his cousin’s hands.  “You have truly fallen in love?”  There was no small amount of shock in his voice.

Darcy sighed.  “Yes, I do believe that is what this foolishness is.  At least, I do not suppose it is merely an infatuation that drives a man, despite rational argument and obligation to duty, to offer marriage to a lady.” 

Richard blinked, and his mouth dropped open. 

Darcy watched as his cousin closed his mouth, opened it again, closed it once more, and then with a shake of his head and a look of great perplexity finally spoke. 

“You proposed?” 

Darcy nodded.

“To Miss Bennet?”

Darcy nodded again.

 “Miss Elizabeth Bennet?”

“That is the only Miss Bennet who was in residence at the parsonage.”  Darcy’s lips curled up slightly.  It was a rare sight for his cousin to be lost for words.  Richard Fitzwilliam was not the sort of man to ever be caught unaware about much of anything. 

“I knew you liked her, but marriage?”

“It seemed the thing to do.”

Richard’s brows drew together creating a deep crease between his brows.  “The thing to do?  The thing to do?”  He shook his head.  “What has become of you?”

Darcy shrugged.  “I honestly do not know, but if it will put your mind at ease.  She refused me.” 

Richard scrubbed his face with his hands.  “She refused you?” 

Darcy reached across the carriage and reclaimed his book which Richard had discard on the seat.  “You know, Cousin, you are usually the more loquacious between us,” he taunted. 

Richard’s eyes narrowed, causing Darcy to grin broadly. 

“Allow me to see if I have this startling news correct,” Richard began.  “You, the staid and steady, do only what is required and proper, Darcy Fitzwilliam have actually fallen in love with a lady?”

Darcy nodded. 

“And despite what I assume were sound arguments against making such a match, you have proposed to this lady?”

Again Darcy nodded. 

“And this lady, who I know to be intelligent, has refused you, your estate, and your income?”

“No, she refused me,” Darcy responded.  “Her rejection was clearly of me and nothing else.”  His brows drew together for a moment.  “Do you think me vain and conceited?”

“She accused you of such?”

“Among other things,” Darcy replied.  “Do you think me arrogant?”

Richard shrugged. “You are aloof at times ─ so bent on presenting yourself in the best light that you do appear to look down your nose at others.”

Darcy scowled.  “Why did you not tell me I was being improperly proud?” 

Richard laughed.  “Would you have listened?”

Darcy shook his head.  How had he allowed himself to become so proud?  His parents had never taught him to be so, and he did not think himself unfeeling.  How had he become so filled with who he was?

“I do not think you arrogant,” Richard said. “You appear to be, but those of us who know you understand it is your unease.  You do not fall into conversation easily unless you are at home among close friends and family.  You are reserved and given to pondering and considering every option before making a decision. You have been given a great burden of responsibility in the care of Pemberley and your sister, and you fill the role of master credibly. None have suffered under your care.”

Darcy shook his head.  “Except my sister.” 

“The fault for Georgiana’s pain lies with Wickham,” Richard spat.

Darcy nodded.  “I know, but I cannot help feeling my share of the guilt.” 

Richard blew out a breath. “Nor can I.” 

The two men rode along in silence for several minutes before Richard once again knocked Darcy’s leg.  “Tell me why, if the lovely Miss Bennet, whom you claim to love, refused your offer of marriage, you are delivering a letter to her sister and do not seem heartbroken?” 

Darcy smiled.  “Because although she refused my proposal, she has allowed me the privilege of calling on her in town.” 

Richard’s eyes grew wide.  “No, it cannot be.”

“I assure you it is.” 

A grin split Richard’s face.  “And the letter gives you the opportunity to meet her uncle before you call on his niece.  I had not thought you so sly.” 

Darcy laughed.  “I am not. If her uncle is home when I deliver the letter, and I am able to meet him it will be a happy coincidence. I offered to deliver the letter to her sister because it seems I have played a role in injuring her.”  He tipped his head, and his eyes narrowed.  “About her sister.  Perhaps you would care to tell me how Miss Bennet came to know that I played a part in separating Bingley from her sister.”

Richard grimaced.  “Miss Bennet’s sister was Bingley’s most recent angel?” 

Darcy nodded. 

Richard sighed and began his explanation.

~*~*~Leenie B Books

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Leenie Brown

Leenie Brown fell in love with Jane Austen's works when she first read Sense and Sensibility followed immediately by Pride and Prejudice in her early teens. As the second of five daughters and an avid reader, she has always loved to see where her imagination takes her and to play with and write about the characters she meets along the way. In 2013, these two loves collided when she stumbled upon the world of Jane Austen Fan Fiction. A year later, in 2014, she began writing her own Austen-inspired stories and began publishing them in 2015. Leenie lives in Nova Scotia, Canada with her two teenage boys and her very own Mr. Brown (a wonderful mix of all the best of Darcy, Bingley and Edmund with healthy dose of the teasing Mr. Tillney and just a dash of the scolding Mr. Knightley).

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