I have put up the first installment of my work in progress, Accidentally Yours, at Beyond Austen. If you haven’t joined the forum yet, you will have to do that in order to read the story. I would love to have your feedback.
Here’s a short excerpt to whet your appetite.
Darcy grew increasingly annoyed as he watched Elizabeth across the room, sitting at the pianoforte, talking privately with his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam. How is it that she will talk so freely in that familiar way with him? She must know that he cannot offer for her, as he is a second son and requires a lady with both a fortune and connections, and she knows very well that she has neither. If a gentleman’s intentions are not of significance to her, why does she so freely bestow her smiles upon him and yet ignore me? And what is my cousin about? Does he not realize that he could be raising her expectations with his undue attentions?
He nearly snorted with impatience. This is the first I have seen of her since we arrived at Rosings nearly a week ago, and she cannot spare even a glance for me, though she attends every word of his as if each one held all the éclat of a proverb.
Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine, was talking interminably at him, as usual. It could in no sense be called a conversation, for a reply was rarely needed or wanted by the lady. He knew that the look on his face plainly expressed his feelings, but he could not find it within himself to care. Darcy tore his eyes away from his cousin and looked at his aunt’s audience. Collins’s entire demeanor displayed his rapt attention, while his wife, Charlotte, wore a look of resignation. The pale face of his cousin Anne and her insipid countenance were no different from the way she always looked, and Mrs. Jenkinson mirrored every expression of her employer.
Finally, his aunt actually insulted Miss Bennet by informing her imperiously that she needed to practice the pianoforte with regularity in order to improve her performance. Lady Catherine compounded the offense by offering her, in a voice loud enough shake the crystal, the use of the instrument in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room, saying that Miss Bennet would be in no one’s way in the servants’ wing.
Darcy could stand no more. He stood, though his aunt had not broken her diatribe, and strode to stand beside the pianoforte, facing Elizabeth as well as his cousin, who sat close beside her on the pretext of turning the pages for her while she played.
Knowing that his attraction for Elizabeth was inappropriate for numerous reasons, Darcy had studiously avoided her while Colonel Fitzwilliam had visited her at the Parsonage each day since their arrival. Now, he would stay away from her no longer. He found it completely intolerable to watch her bestow her smiles and attentions upon another man. He knew that he could not have Elizabeth for himself, but he refused to stand by while Fitzwilliam monopolized her. All the women of Darcy’s acquaintance hung on his every word; Elizabeth would be no different.
Elizabeth paused and looked up at him, raising an eyebrow. “You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? But I will not be alarmed though your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.”
Ah! Now I have her attention. Darcy’s face was serious as he replied to her sally, “I shall not say that you are mistaken, because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which, in fact, are not your own.” Fitzwilliam may look dashing in his regimentals, but he cannot keep up with her wit and intelligence as I can.
Elizabeth laughed aloud, and Darcy bestowed a rare, dimpled smile upon her, gauging its effect.
Two Darcys . . . two worlds . . . two time periods. Which Darcy will Elizabeth choose?