Thursday’s 300: To Save Elizabeth, Excerpt #7

Hi everyone!

This story is progressing well. It’s up to a little over 21,000 words. I hope to make it between 40,000 and 50,000, but won’t be surprised if it goes over.

Did you know that for a monthly pledge of as little as $1 at Patreon, you can have early access to all my blog posts, including my Thursday ones? And, that the Thursday posts are expanded for my patrons, who usually get a whole chapter?

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Four days later, Darcy and Georgiana entered the Gardiner’s house, eager to enjoy a meal and conversation. The first thing they noticed in the usually peaceful home was an underlying tension in the maid who took their things. Glancing at each other, they followed her to the drawing room, wherein waited the entire Gardiner family and Elizabeth. After greeting everyone, and being introduced to the smallest Gardiners, the siblings settled themselves into seats, along with their hosts, and waited for the children to follow their nurse out of the room. Feeling that same odd tension coming from Elizabeth, Maddie, and Edward, Darcy was compelled to say something.

“Is something the matter? It is usually so peaceful here, and cheerful, but everyone seems to be on edge this evening.” Darcy watched the range of reactions, from Maddie’s closed eyes, to Edward’s dropped head, to Elizabeth’s fidgeting and pallor.

“There have been some … strange goings-on,” Edward admitted. “We have tried to behave as naturally as possible, but I see we have failed.”

“What has happened?” Darcy’s eyes darted from Edward to Maddie to Elizabeth, settling on her for a moment, wishing he was closer to her. He would like to lay his hand on hers and calm her. Forcing his eyes back to Edward, he listened intently.

“The night we went to the theatre, we arrived home to find we had been broken into. The children and staff were well and nothing was taken, but some rooms had been ransacked.” Gardiner’s eyes darted to his niece, and Darcy understood that to mean Elizabeth was the one whose room was violated the most.

Maddie continued her husband’s tale. “Then, yesterday, after our carriage ride, Elizabeth and I walked to the warehouse to take a meal to Edward. Brutus came with us. He began to behave strangely not long after we set out, as though someone were following us. We remained alert, but arrived at our destination safely. However, when we left the building to walk home, the dog immediately began to act up again. As we walked, we began to notice a man following us.” She sighed. “We were frightened and hurried our pace, and the man increased his, as well. We think,” she continued, as her gaze turned to her hands, clasped in her lap, “that he approached, because suddenly, Brutus stopped and growled, then took off running and barking. We looked back to see the man who had followed us running into a store. Elizabeth and I were both rather shaken after that. When Brutus returned to our location, we hurried home and locked the door.”

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