Sometimes a song will inspire a story. It can be the emotion of the melody or a simple lyric. And then, there are those times when a song reminds you of a story. That is what this incredibly fun song did for me this week. Read on for a few short snippets of that story and a peek at something sort of new that I started writing this week.
BrettEldredge. “Brett Eldredge – Somethin’ I’m Good At (Official Music Video).” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Feb. 2017. Web. 04 Mar. 2017.
Ok, did you listen to the song? If you did, do you have any guesses about which story or characters this song might have reminded me of? For me, I think I shall never be able to read or write about Whit from A Very Mary Christmas without picturing Brett Eldridge.
Below is where we first meet Wit.
Nicholas Hammond groaned and rose from his chair. “Why are you here?”
“Good day to you, too, brother,” said Alfred Hammond, flopping into a chair. “You remember Whit?”
“Mr. Whittemore.” Nicholas greeted the young man, who had accompanied Fred into the study. At least Ethan Whittemore had the good sense to look uneasy. Nicholas came around his desk and propped himself on the edge of it, intentionally kicking his brother’s foot while crossing his ankles. “I might ask the same of you, Whittemore. Are you not both supposed to be in school for at least another week?”
“Old man Frohock cannot abide a bit of fun,” said Fred, “and wishes not to see me again until after the New Year.”
Nicholas motioned for Whit to take a seat. “I assume you were part of this fun?”
“I was, sir.”
If Nicholas did not know the sort of young man Whit was, such a concise answer given in such a humble tone might have convinced him that Whit was an innocent caught up in a scheme not of his doing. But, Nicholas knew Whit. Whit was the brains of the pair seated before Nicholas’ desk. The idea for a scheme might originate with Fred, but the planning and execution lay firmly at Whit’s feet.
Whit might be the “brains” of the scheme, but it certainly seems that any scheme he promotes to Fred ends in disaster and near tragedy.
“Grab some coins and your great coat,” whispered Whit as they moved down the hall. “Wickham will be playing cards tonight, and he is an easy mark. I dare say, we can double our money and then arrange for a bigger event where we could win more — that is if you are up to riding against Wickham.”
Fred paused to consider the thought. “But if we lose?”
“That will not happen. Aside from your brother, you are the best rider I have seen. However, if needed, I will write to my father to cover the expense and take my chances with being sent to sea.” He grabbed Fred by the shoulders. “But, that will not happen, for we will not lose — although, tonight, you will lose. We must make Wickham think he has a chance against you. A friendly ride out after the game with a small wager, and then we beg him to let us attempt to win it back — along with additional money from his friends.” Whit slapped Fred on the back. “If not for that lad carrying the milk, the scheme would have worked on Allston.” He chuckled. “Actually, it did work. We just were not allowed to collect, but this time, there will be no lad with milk and no Mr. Frohock to keep us from our winnings and your brother from marrying.”
He had good intentions. If only he could run a scheme without something going wrong. Thankfully, he finally got it right. (Although his timing needs some work.)
The door at the end of the room cracked open just as Nicholas stood to draw Mary into his embrace.
“Are you finished? We are getting cold.” Whit’s head poked through the small opening.
“Then I suggest you find the main entrance to the church and use it,” said Nicholas.
“But what is your answer?” Though Whit’s head still poked into the room, he was obviously struggling against someone who was trying to pull him back.
“I have not prepared to leave Longbourn,” said Mary.
“We have seen to that,” Whit slapped his hand in the direction of whoever was attempting to extract him from the room. “Fraser also knows to expect Miss Mary. Not a thing has been left undone.” He finally lost his struggle, and the door slammed shut for a moment before reopening.
“He is persistent,” muttered Nicholas. “What shall I tell him, my love?”
Whit was just such a fun character to write! And to tie this in with what I was doing this week — I have put together another anthology of previously published stories. Despite the Circumstances is a collection of four stories that have a common theme of love against the odds. The titles included are Oxford Cottage, Listen to Your Heart, Waking to Mr. Darcy, and A Very Mary Christmas.
Along with getting this collection organized and uploaded to the various retailers, I finished going through Discovering Mr. Darcy and sent it to my first reader and have her comments back — I have a few things to work on for that story this week.
And then, I opened my story ideas and partial works folder and randomly picked one to open. This was labeled P&P 4, which means it is the fourth story idea I started writing. I stopped that story at just over 14,000 words! That was probably due to focusing on some other project and then just never came back to this story. Well, I have decided that I will try rewriting it. (My style of writing has changed a bit since that first attempt at this story and rewriting seemed easier than just editing.) I am not certain where this story is going or if it will go directly to publishing or take a stop in Thursday’s Three Hundred yet, but it is underway. I haven’t gotten very far into the rewrite — about 3500 words or so, but here is a bit of that beginning. Oh, and I have renamed it, at least for now, as With the Colonel’s Help.
The sun shone down bright and warm on Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam as stood before Rosings. He turned and looked back in the direction from whence he had come. The slow but persistent twisting of his stomach continued its work in making him feel very uneasy. There was something not right in how Miss Elizabeth responded to his information regarding his cousin, Mr. Darcy.
He took off his hat and ran a hand through his hair. He had said it as a promotion of his cousin — a viable example of the caring sort of friend Darcy was. However, he had the distinct impression that his comments had in fact done just the opposite of his intention. He paced toward the side of the house, thumping his walking stick in a very intentional fashion on the ground. He had just lifted the stick to give the ground another resounding thud when the path of what must be done became clear. He beat one last note in the earth and then with a twirl, tucked the stick under his arm and hurried to the house.
“Darcy, we need to talk.” He deposited his outerwear with a footman and taking his cousin, who fortunately was in the passage, by the arm, nearly dragged the poor fellow down the hall and into the billiards room. Closing the door behind him, he placed himself between it and his cousin. It was time to have a discussion that was well past due. However, he knew it was a discussion in which his reserved cousin would not be an eager participant, and that, coupled with the man-handling Darcy had just received, would likely cause his cousin to seek escape. But escape was not an option.
“What are your intentions regarding Miss Bennett?” Richard began.
Darcy sucked in a quick breath. How did Richard know he had intentions regarding Elizabeth? He had not mentioned his thoughts to anyone, and he was not about to begin to share them now. He folded his arms and tried to look nonchalantly annoyed. “I know not of what you speak. I assure you I have no intentions in regards to Miss Bennet.”
Richard cocked a brow. “No intentions?” His tone was doubtful. “Come, now, Darcy. It is not like you to tell such falsehoods.”
Darcy swallowed. “I speak the truth. I have no intentions toward Miss Bennet.”
Richard’s lips curled into a small smile. “No intentions toward Miss Elizabeth Bennet?” He was nearly certain that his cousin was playing a game of words. “Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the lady in whose presence you become a blundering fool and whose person your eye rarely leaves — you have no intentions towards her?” Richard crossed his arms and leaned against the door. “Might I remind you that you can answer my questions and do this the easy way; or I can call for some port, and we can do it the hard way. Either way, you know I will get my answers. So, the question is, do you wish to have a headache tomorrow or not?”
Darcy eyed his cousin cautiously. He knew that if Richard wanted information from him, Richard was going to get information from him—no matter how he had to obtain it. Darcy had been on the receiving end of Richard’s persuasions to talk for years. Lately, Richard’s tactic had been to fill his cousin with enough port to loosen Darcy’s tongue and leave him with some very unpleasant side effects the following day.
Richard’s gaze was unwavering as Darcy shifted from one foot to another and his jaw clenched and unclenched. “Which will it be, Darcy?”
With an exasperated sigh, Darcy shook his head. “Very well, I shall answer your questions. I have no desire to spend an entire trip to London in a closed carriage with you while feeling as if the carriage has run over me.” He gave Richard a severe look. “My answers go no further than us. Is that understood? If Aunt Catherine even thinks we are hinting at the things about which we are about to speak, things could become quite uncomfortable for many people — you and I foremost.”
Richard nodded his consent. The seriousness of the situation magnifying in his mind as he realized his cousin was likely considering marrying Miss Elizabeth. “I would not ask if I did not think the answer imperative.”