Welcome back to Austen Promises!
I have begun a new Regency story. I call it Darcy’s Unknown Betrothal, in which Darcy’s and Elizabeth’s fathers betroth them when they’re young, and then just don’t tell them. Today’s excerpt is the first few hundred words, and is from the very first chapter (well, as it stands right now … things sometimes change with editing prior to publication. 😉 ) I have made Darcy and Elizabeth younger in this story, and also made them closer in age than they are in canon.
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“Father,” eighteen-year-old Fitzwilliam Darcy began, as he entered the study and stood in front of the large mahogany desk. “Must I go to Rosings with you? My aunt will speak of nothing but my betrothal to Anne, over and over again.”
“I am sorry, Son, I know that is aggravating, but Lady Catherine is your mother’s sister and you must honor the connection. I will steer the conversation away from you, as I always do.”
“But, she will hunt me down and get me alone to do it! Please, Father, do not make me go!”
“Fitzwilliam,” George Darcy said, sternly. “You are too old to whine. You will go. I will protect you as best I can.”
Fitzwilliam sighed. “Yes, sir. I am sorry for complaining.”
“Apology accepted. Go on up to the drawing room and wait for me and your sister. I suspect the bell for supper will be rung soon.”
Fitzwilliam nodded his acceptance and walked to the door, stopping before he stepped into the hall and looking back at his father, who he found observing him closely. “Is she correct?” he asked, his voice so low as to almost seem a whisper. “Am I engaged to Anne?”
“No, Son, you are not. You will never be; it is not possible. However, I want you to be very careful at Rosings; do not allow yourself to be left alone with your cousin for any reason. We are taking Richard with us, and I want you boys to stick together like glue. Do you understand?” At his son’s nod, George added, “She cannot force a marriage, your aunt, but Anne’s reputation could be damaged if Lady Catherine attempted a compromise between you and your cousin. None of us wish for that.”
Fitzwilliam’s shoulders relaxed at his father’s words. “No, sir. I would not want any harm to come to Anne. I simply do not wish to marry her. Thank you, Father.”
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