quinta-feira, 19 de maio de 2016

Regency love fairy tale - Part 6

Hello, there.
It rains here and everybody knows we don't like rain here in Rio...
Anyways, what's best for a rainy day?
A good read!

Enjoy


Love in acts

2nd act

ECLIPSE OF THE HEART

angst, rated M, short, P&P, Alternate Universe
Part 5


Part 6 -



‘Lizzy?’

‘Here.’

Here where, Lizzy?’ Ben bellowed. ‘Deuce, where are you?’

Elizabeth’s head appeared on the door to the room behind the dais on the parlor they rented for the auctions. ‘Where is the fire, good Lord!’

‘He was just here.’ He said angrily and she frowned deeper. ‘Darcy.’ Elizabeth swallowed. ‘He was looking for you.’

‘You said I was not here.’

‘I said you are not available.’

She pressed her lips. ‘That’s not quite the same thing.’

‘Doesn’t matter, he is gone.’

She nodded; he squinted suspicious of her reaction.

Surely enough, that night as the auction approached its end with the more expensive sets, Ben spotted Darcy in the audience, eyes intent on his mother. He frowned realizing she hadn’t noticed, she still laughed and talked animatedly to Clarence not at all concerned with the man’s interest. But, as the people started to leave, the man arrived close to her, bowed at the Earl before paying her his respects, kissed her hand and left. Ben knew that when he asked what the man said, she wouldn’t answer.



‘You visited my apartment again this morning.’ She said as they entered the park, finally with privacy enough to talk about anything other than the weather. ‘Bright and early, you don’t sleep in.’ Elizabeth herself was not yet recovered from the shock of, as she finished her breakfast, hearing the footman announce Darcy’s presence with a charming invitation for a stroll through Hyde Park.

He merely smiled and held her hand tucked in the crook of his arm.

‘You cause quite an impression on Ben.’ She tried again, he still kept silent. ‘Pray, sir, you may as well say what you still want to talk about and we can declare the subject dead.’

‘I will.’ He smiled sideways so impossibly charming her legs wobbled.

‘I wonder.’

There was silence for a good part of the crowded big lane and only when they could identify the side path protected by the tall trees, did she find something to say. ‘You must think me terribly rude or a terribly silly woman who lets emotions carry away.’ He shook his head with a ghost of a smile. She decided to try again. ‘The glasses are exquisite. Never have I liked swans that much.’

‘Pemberley has a lake with at least two dozen swans. At least they are decidedly quieter than peacocks.’ He was still chuckling, she waited smiling. ‘But that may be a problem.’ Her mouth formed an ‘o’ but no sound came forth. ‘You don’t like the birds?’ 


‘Never cared for them.’ She swallowed and tried to recompose herself in spite of her racing heart. ‘Very unladylike of me not to care for birds of any kind, and if I may be indiscreet I could say my maid have seen me curse on one particular feathered creature that used to live under my window at Longborn.’ She shook her head pressing her lips together and he raised his brows with mirth. ‘My mother has been nurturing a silly infatuation for a very ill-tempered peacock and it reciprocates her attention nervously opening his tail.’

‘And you don’t appreciate the bird?’

‘I can’t say it’s not a magnificent spectacle but it crows, sir!’ She made a pained expression and he laughed. ‘Really loud!’

He laughed. It was an unusual day of good humor for him. Darcy had been practicing for days and now that he was so close, he started to second guess his courage as they approached the exact tree he knew existed on a prettyish little twist on the shaded path. The trunk had been bent and chastened by time and weather for many decades so that it formed a bench wide enough to fit a derriere from a thin elegant lady such as the fetching creature on his arm.

Once he seated her, he paced for a few moments trying to gather his thoughts.

‘Pray, do blurt it out.’ She joked holding her hands so he wouldn’t see how they trembled.

He stopped and shook his head. ‘That’s not how a gentleman does these things.’ He joked back and watched her slender neck move with the tense swallowing. ‘Richard was my closest friend, we had much in common.’ She nodded and blinked slowly wondering what was she doing there. ‘He didn’t have time to offer, but Clarence did. Why didn’t you marry Clarence, Miss Elizabeth?’

So surprised, she gasped. How unexpected. ‘I couldn’t.’
‘Was it Richard?’ He asked and she shook her head with eyes wide like a frightened cat. ‘It was years after he passed away, he couldn’t have any lasting impression on you.’ Darcy mused. ‘Why then?’

‘Several reasons.’

‘Tell me.’

‘We didn’t love each other for that, Clarence and I are friends.’
‘There are solid marriages based on friendship, you had to have another reason. You didn’t trust him enough to tell him your secret. Was that it?’

‘Well, yes, but-’

‘Please, madam.’ He begged.

She eyes searched around them nervously, there was no one close but it was a public park. ‘I had my reasons.’

‘Clarence admires you, I see it in his eyes and the way he treats you, he values your friendship. He is wealthy, your love liaison with my cousin was long in the past, I cannot see-’

‘You cannot see because you are not me, sir, as I am not you to know why you didn’t marry and let your sister live under the orders of a strange woman. I could never leave Ben behind and how the heir leaving his estate to follow his second eldest sister while his mother was alive could ever be explained?’

He blinked grasping what she meant. The lad was… the lad was… “Don’t let my son see me crying with you.” That’s what she had meant. ‘Bennett is not your bro-’

She stood with a raised hand to him. ‘Don’t say it.’

The lad, her eyes on Richard’s face... Darcy passed a hand over his face and bit his knuckle. She groaned and paced the tree, the leaves crunching under her delicate boots.

‘You were right, Mr. Darcy. When we’re together there is always need to apologize.’ She blew air from her nose angered with herself. ‘Ben is a grown man, he can fend for himself. Your family have no need to acknowledge him.’

Darcy shook his head. ‘My uncle is dead, he never quite recovered from Richard’s passing, my aunt is sadly demented. As for his brother, the Earl now, I don’t think Edward would care for he and Richard were never close.’

She actually trembled with relief, he nodded and she looked around her not sure if she wanted to leave with grace or just to run and hide. ‘Why did you insist on this stroll, Mr. Darcy? Aside from Clarence, I have had other offers, no so many these last years but still.’ She frowned, her heart thumping. ‘Even more than once I was offered to be a mistress, a richly kept woman.’

‘What?’ He roared.

His reaction reassured her he wasn’t planning on that. She shrugged. ‘Men see me working with Ben, a woman of six and thirty-’ He was surprised, she noticed. ‘They tend to think I’m… Mmmm… liberated.’

‘And Bennett is old enough to live by himself now.’ He stated. ‘Is he shopping for a bride yet?’

‘No. He still wants to dedicate to his education.’ She said. ‘He was offered Oxford. We can afford it.’

‘Your mama is still alive.’

‘Yes.’

He paced.

‘Pray, sir, you are making me rather nervous and I’d like to go home.’ She wriggled her hands. ‘I hate to quote my mama, but now I do understand what she means when she complains about her nerves.’

‘Would you consider meeting my sister? Would it please you if she paid you a visit?’ He asked at last.

Her shoulders sagged and she fell back down at the tree makeshift bench. He was not preparing to offer his hand; God bless, he wanted her to cheer his sister. She was an adult assured woman who managed to live a good life in spite of the catastrophe that came to her as it had to many other young naïve girls all over England countless times. Lost in her turmoil, she wondered if it was yet another form of mistress business, be hired to build up the confidence of a girl- suddenly her attention snapped back to him.

‘… ardently I came to admire and love you, I cannot repress my feelings any longer. Will you accept my hand?’

‘I beg your pardon, sir?’

‘Fitzwilliam, please call me Fitzwilliam. I long to call you Elizabeth.’ She shook her head stupidly, he moved closer to hold her hands in his and as they still shook, he lowered his head to place a lingering kiss in each wrist, twice. ‘I know your secrets, you know mine. The ones I haven’t told you yet, I’ll offer you as soon as you want to hear. I spent these last days fighting an irrational jealousy towards my deceased cousin, struggling against the unsuitability of our match.’ He kissed her palms, first one, than the other. ‘I admired you from when we met; your figure, your good humor, your strength and your dedication to your family. I am deeply flattered you confided in me, your trust and rectitude; you could have kept the truth hidden, I had no manner of finding out. Will you accept my hand?’

‘No.’

‘You refuse me?’

‘Yes.’ He kept her hands in his; she kept her head tossed back to look in his eyes as he stood in front of her. ‘I can’t-’

‘Your heart is free, is it not?’ He eyed her expectantly. ‘Ben is old enough, my lady.’ Darcy tried. ‘I have felt a strange fondness towards him since we met and deemed it because you bewitched me so. Now that I know why I feel deeply inclined to care for him, he would also profit from our marriage for I run my estate longer than he does his, there are things I can teach him or even run it for him while he goes to Oxford. Cambridge, he can go to Cambridge and later enjoy his Grand Tour.’

She smiled softly shaking her head. ‘You have no debt to settle, sir.’

‘What?’ He tilted his head to the side in a quick shake. ‘Do you think I offer you my hand because of my cousin?’

‘Can you honestly say this is not your intention?’

‘It was not nobleness but jealousy what consumed me these last days, madam.’ He let go of her hands and held his waist. ‘I expected you’d refuse me.’

‘You did?’

He nodded. ‘I needed days to gather courage.’

‘Still you tried.’

‘A man can hope, my lady.’ He sighed. ‘Would you consider visiting Pemberley? For an extended stay. You can get to know Georgiana there; I’ll invite your sister and Bingley as well.’ She raised her brows, his hope filling once more with the lack of an open refusal. ‘My sister is loath of taking part on any event of the season, even thirteen years after her falling. I’d like to return to Pemberley with her, but I won’t go if you’d rather stay here.’

‘Our plans are to stay in London until our last auction, in six weeks.’

‘We can go to Pemberley now and return for the auction. Would it please you, my Elizabeth?’

‘Don’t call me this way.’ She asked. ‘I give you leave to use my given name when we’re alone but don’t say ‘my Elizabeth’, ‘my Lizzy’.’

‘How can I call you, my lady?’ He took her hands again but instead of placing a kiss on her wrists, his lips hovered over hers. She shook her head actually uncertain of how she would like to be called. ‘May I steal a kiss?’ He asked for the sake of politeness because he touched his lips to hers as soon as the last word was spoken.

He kissed her lower lip, then her upper lip and she sighed relaxing her jaw. Her lips were soft and pliant, she tasted of fresh strawberries and honey, he wanted more and pulled her on her feet for a full kiss. Felt the tip of her tongue dart out and touch his lips and let his invade her mouth kissing her once, twice. “Hyde Park, you are in the middle of Hyde Park. She is a respectable unmarried lady. Hyde Park.” He kept telling himself over and over in his mind while his lips touched her cheeks, her eyebrow and finally placed a lingering kiss on her forehead. ‘Say yes.’

‘Yes.’

Wings


 ‘I need it done by tomorrow.’

‘It’s not possible.’

‘Miss, this new bonnet has got to be ready for tomorrow. My mistress will need to travel, that’s what she said.’

‘The only manner I can make do is by reducing the brim.’ The chief milliners scratched her head.

Ashton twisted her lips. ‘How reduced?’

As they discussed how the new bonnet Elizabeth had commissioned the week before would have to be changed, her lady’s maid considered several implications. Miss Bennett was very strict about what fashions she liked, what kind of embellishments she allowed, how modern she wanted to appear. Also, what this unexpected trip could mean.

‘Miss?’ The milliners raised her voice. ‘I said it’ll be like this one, more fashionable, her face will be more exposed.’

‘Mmm… more freckles.’

‘We can add feathers. How about peacock?’ The woman smiled pointing a big jar full of colorful long feathers.

‘No, she won’t like that.’

‘How about a darker tone, then? Brown?’

‘It may look good on her, she’s dark blond.’ Ashton considered. ‘I wish she had been here instead of locking herself on that warehouse cataloguing  auction pieces, so busy she can’t spare a quarter hour… Please finish all the items she ordered.’

‘What about you, miss?’


‘Oh, I’d love one of those new corsets with sleeve pumpers!...’ Ashton raised her shoulders pressing a sassy smile.

giphy

continues


update:

a revised & unabridged version of this story will be available in Kindle, ebook and brochure from Jan 25th, 17.

sábado, 7 de maio de 2016

Regency love fairy tale - Part 5

well, here I am again.
lots of stuff happening here in Brazil and I discovered myself having a lot (more) in common with Kitty Walker: I am addicted to our own kind of C-Span. Politics here is each day more similar to House of Cards (very unhappy face).

Meanwhile, in my second Regency story, we find our dear couple in a stall. A very sad one.
BT, the first Regency story is here.


Love in acts

2nd act

ECLIPSE OF THE HEART

angst, rated M, short, P&P, Alternate Universe
Part 4


Part 5 -

When Elizabeth was properly dressed, she knocked on Ben’s door before entering. ‘Good afternoon, dear sir.’

‘Going out?’ He asked after averting his eyes to her for an infinite moment.

‘Yes, for a stroll.’ She faked a brave smile. ‘I left a couple of notes for you to check, items for our next auction, prices I think we need to correct. Would you take a look later?’ He nodded, eyes lost on the window, body slumped in his chair. ‘Something the matter with you, Lesley?’

‘Something the matter with you, my Lizzy?’

‘Why there should be? I’m the same as last night, a bit more rested. You seemed in better spirits last night, talking about two or three ladies you danced with, the business connections you made.’

‘This morning I received a call.’ He said and she waited. ‘Mr. Darcy was here.’

‘Oh, dear.’

‘Asking me permission to court you.’ Ben snorted. ‘No, he came here to let me know he was going to court you. He said you seemed old enough to grant him permission, but he also had a sister and deemed it proper to talk to me first.’

‘He did, did he?...’

‘Ma-’ He stopped as she raised a finger at him. ‘My Lizzy, this buffoon is wasting his time.’ She frowned. ‘You are six and thirty, who in his right mind-’

‘Would choose me over a rich and handsome silly debutante lady of the ton?’ She cut him. ‘Who indeed.’ She mused. ‘What did you say?’

‘That he was wasting his time.’

‘You refused.’

‘I wasn’t granted the right to refuse.’

She sighed. ‘Sorry.’ She tried to keep a straight face but a giggle escaped her. ‘You sounded like a spoilt brat, Lesley.’ He snorted again, louder this time and she smiled loathing to kill his naiveté. ‘Don’t worry, dear, this will not bother us for long.’

Before she could say anything else, the footman opened the door announcing Mr. Darcy had come for Miss Bennett.

‘Well.’ Ben said raising his brows.

‘I’ll be in the sitting room. Don’t disturb me.’ She ordered and he raised one eyebrow. ‘It’s an order.’ Both the master of the house and the footman nodded solemnly.


‘Miss Bennett.’ He bowed.

‘Mr. Darcy.’ She curtsied and extended her hand to the sitting room. ‘I shall order refreshments, sir.’ Elizabeth said hoping he would tell her there was no need for he didn’t plan to stay for long, but he nodded and walked to the window holding his hands behind his back. Once they were left alone, she sighed deeply and stood in the middle of the room, right in the center of the rug and waited.

He could see her on the window glass and again admired her figure, her loveliness. Still he waited the few minutes it took for the ordered tea to arrive and the maid to be sent away.

‘We will not be disturbed, Mr. Darcy.’ She said blinking to gain courage. ‘If you are here, I believe you consider there are still questions you need to ask.’

He turned from the window slowly and regarded her with so much longing, she felt her knees weaken. The same woman - no: she must have been but a girl, now she was a sensible fine lady. ‘I am grieved.’

She nodded lowering her stare. ‘Sir, as I said-’

‘He loved you.’ She looked up, eyes wide. ‘Richard hated writing letters, always mocked me for my ability to compose big ones. He used to say I never used words with less than four syllables!’ He chuckled with his own memories and heard her respond. ‘But he wrote me speaking of a girl who captured his heart and the life he planned to live in Meryton.’

Elizabeth blinked. ‘It’s not easy to believe.’

‘Unfortunately that letter is long lost, but you can trust me, madam.’ Her eyebrows knitted and he nodded sadly. ‘He made jest about keeping his men sober under duress for his own heart had been stolen by a very tempting country beauty. A small society such as Meryton was bound to make a show out of a second son of an Earl having a connection with one of its ladies, so he decided to keep your attachment private, asked me to keep his secret. I understood his predicament.

When the family was made aware of the mutiny on board that took his life, I needed a few weeks to think straight, we were very close. Once I could mourn my cousin, I wanted to offer my condolences but he sadly didn’t disclose your name in his letter. If my memory doesn’t fail me, he said ‘I might search you while he was in the Continent and try to steal his flower.’’ Darcy pressed a sad smile.

Elizabeth sat heavily and a whimper escaped her throat. ‘That is how he called me.’

‘I am very sorry for bringing sad memories back and wish I had your talent to dig happy ones to link.’ He swallowed with difficulty. ‘Also very ashamed of having sent someone I trusted at the time to do something I should have done myself.’

‘George Wickham, he was the one asking questions about Richard…’ She whispered. ‘The same man who wronged your sister.’

He nodded. ‘I was the only one who knew of Richard’s intentions, but Wickham was also his friend.’ Darcy greeted his teeth remembering how he insisted on sending at least a secretary to inquire after the fetching girl with magical eyes his favorite cousin was so partial about, his father snigger at the temptation quote and how in the end he settled for sending Wickham. ‘I told him only that my cousin had left friends in Meryton.’

‘He was very clear in his inquiries, sir.’

‘Knowing that low-life as I do know, I consider he may have seen a good chance to secure a good living by finding a girl – any girl – that could be persuaded to present my uncles any solace for their dear deceased son, any seed of hope.’ Darcy turned away from her to look out the window and luckily didn’t see her face turn livid. ‘All he needed to do was to throw a bait, wait for a girl to claim a promising future and profit.’

‘I never trusted him, although he was congenial and charming.’ She said and Darcy had to approach her again to hear. ‘My mind was… clouded. I would never talk about Richard with someone I didn’t know.’

‘Of course you wouldn’t, Miss Elizabeth.’ He pressed his lips looking at her, so fragile she was. He wanted to take her up in his arms and cradle her thin body in his lap until her heart calmed. He wanted to protect her of any harm, should have protected her from a conniving Wickham, the shock she must have taken hearing the news from someone so vile, from his own cowardice. ‘Would you like tea, madam?’ She shook her head. ‘Can I offer you brandy?’

‘He didn’t find me.’

‘No, I considered my cousin had played me. I am so grieved, madam. Perhaps if it were me, you would have let me know how to lessen your suffering?’

She shook her head looking up at him, her fine eyes widened and sad.

‘When Bingley searched for estates to let, he asked for my help and I traveled with him until Kent when a letter from Ramsgate reached me.’ He swallowed the bile that rose in his throat. ‘But I have to admit that I wasn’t prone to go to Meryton because the sad memories of my cousin’s last days seemed too painful.’ She nodded. ‘Please, madam, believe me he did love you.’

She forced an ironic smile. ‘Pray sir, have you not just said you considered your cousin had played you? ’

Darcy reached his waist coast’s pocket and took a time piece. ‘Is this the heirloom you keep, madam?’ She gasped. ‘His had RF instead of FD, of course.’ He ran his thumb over the shining silver and delicate mother-of-pearl. ‘My dear grandpapa, the former Earl of Matlock had one of these and used to commission one for each male heir born. Mine doesn’t work anymore, but I carry it anyway.’ He opened the lock, checked the stopped hands and closed it again with a click. ‘If Richard gave this to you, his intentions were true.’

She cried quietly, he awkwardly watched the elegant fetching woman let go of her sadness from a past deemed long forgotten.

‘I shall leave you alone, madam. I don’t want to impose any longer.’ He took her hand and posed a lingering kiss before leaving.



For the following fortnight, Darcy brooded locked in his den. He was silent at the dinner table as his sister; both dwelling on the nefast wounds time didn’t seem capable of healing.


Elizabeth put on a brave face for Ben’s sake and tried valiantly to close the gap in her chest. Richard was a turned leaf and his ghost had no business returning to haunt her days, he had had her nights for countless years, that should have been enough.

rebloggy

continues
update:

a revised & unabridged version of this story will be available in Kindle, ebook and brochure from Jan 25th, 17.

terça-feira, 3 de maio de 2016

50c on a dollar

Hello,
Here I am again bitching about Mad men. Oh, well... it's closure, I suppose.

We've finished binge-watching all the 7 seasons and here are my views on the series.
It was a waste. 
Yeah, Draper. I was disheartened as well.

Such cool atmosphere, the rich Americans in the 60's! Right in the beginning, first or second season, Don says to Betty he's bringing his boss for dinner, she complains about not having enough food and he asks what's the use of the new freezer he had given her. A freezer to stock food in the 60's! You know when my mom got a freezer? When I was old enough to remember! Probably early 80's! How cool to see how US middle class life was, so advanced compared to Brazilian middle class!... I was raised in a small town, but my hubs was a kid in Rio and he said things were different here too.

The wardrobe was spectacular! I remember a dear aunt wearing those short, short, short dresses Megan wore... And Sally's boots with high white socks! I had those! My dad had that big mustache... 

The sets, specially the Draper apartment, WOW! Roger's white office - a Saarinen, a Corbu lounge chair... I loved it.

But when it comes to the characters... Meh!
I kept telling my hubs that if we stopped to devour House of Cards' 4th season, I'd never return to Draper. I mean, how can weak Don compete with bad-ass Claire?
As I said in my first Mad men post, I do like my heroes (and anti-heroes) tall, dark and handsome. I do, I'm a Darcy girl. But Draper... what a weak character. I don't mean a man's character (if he is a scoundrel or a family man or a cheater), I mean as a fictional character. He doesn't make sense, he's watered. The whole show seems watered to me.
Take his second married, f.e. Who was the Megan character? Before she accepted baby-sitting for him in California, she was no one. We didn't know she had a family name - we only knew her mom didn't use soap to wash her face and was French - we never knew she was an actress, had friends - including black and gay, a major issue in the show - or that she didn't like to be taken for granted. Wasn't she taken for granted when she accepted to be Don's girlfriend after spending three nights in his bed (one in his office and one in a hotel: bam! He says he needs to know if he'll be able to come back... really?)?
So, the beautiful girl with awkward teeth accepts the ring of a dead woman he cared about, the guy was grieving, blah, blah, blah and: the major character has a wife. Who is she? Have you heard from her? Has he thought about her? Has he known who she was two episodes ago? No, neither did we. 
Therefore, Megan had to be created from scratch. I never got to like the character, for me she was all wrong. And then, suddenly, she had to go. Guess? She was deconstructed in a single episode! Oh, please...


Good riddance, blue eyeshadows...
'Why am I being punished for being young?
An aging, selfish, sloppy liar.'
Draper presses his lips in contempt at her words in their divorce settlement. I did too.

And what about the black secretaries? Couldn't they be really good copy writers? Or a black client bringing them big money? 
What about a gay client? Where is Salvatore? Why did he had to leave and only when the lights went off we got to see a gay woman kicking ass? 
There was the gay-good-guy who never had a voice, was vicious to Pete and sweet to Joan. Then what? He vanished.
There was the gay-weird-friend of Peggy's who never made an opened pass and suddenly, there wasn't.
There was Don's secretary who was upped to controller and suddenly, vanished.
*sigh*

The best character's arc for me was Joan. She was my favorite character since the beginning because she fools us. You see boobs and hips, she forces strength down our throats.
There was the marriage to a pig, a bastard child, a mother (that no one knew she had until she appeared out of thin air), the ever suspicious friendship with Peggy (who wouldn't? Peggy is a weirdly developed character), keeping the rich guy on the back-burner, and more importantly, the struggle to keep afloat. From a super secretary to administrative chief to controller to partner to accounts manager to her own company. I'd love to watch a Joan spin off, to see how her producer career developed. Maybe on Fanfiction.net there are a few good reads on that, I should check.

This dialog sums up what I mean:
You go, girl!


Joan:
'I'd be happy to take my half-a-million and be on my way.
Big shot:
'I'm willing to give you 50c on a dollar to never see your face again.'
Joan:
'I guess I wasn't clear, I'm not negotiating.'

The whole McMann&Tate, oops, McCan&Ericson thing was a bore. Everyone was lost and actually, Draper ending up on a weird people's weird camp for weirdly dealing with weird emotions made total sense to me. A show with great potential that was totally wasted...

So, for me, in what it concerns 'Mad' (men), I'm all for Mad about you.

Let's hold each other's hand, as we jump into the final frontier...