Partings on WIP Wednesday

This week on work-in-progress Wednesday, I’m inviting you to post about partings. Do your characters leave a lover, a friend, a relative, an enemy? Do they part for an hour, a day, a month, forever? Show me what you’ve got.

(The video clip is the wrong period, but the right mood for my excerpt, which is below.)

In my current work in progress, the hero and heroine both work, and their commitments take them in different directions several times in the course of the novel. I like this parting.

Gren kept up a light patter of social conversation over the meal, and Prue made a valiant effort to contribute, though she was dreading the coming parting, and kept lapsing into silence to just watch David and soak up her last moments with him.

He was quiet, too, and Charrie oscillated from bright and bubbly to morose and silent. Without Gren, it would have been a dismal meal.

When the men got up to leave, Gren suggested to Charrie, “Shall we leave them the breakfast room for a moment, Charity? I know my brother wants to kiss her goodbye, and he doesn’t want to embarrass her in front of her sister.”

Charrie looked from one of the men to the other. “You are brothers?”

“Half brothers,” David confirmed.

Charrie opened her mouth, thought better of whatever she was about to say, and shut it again. Without another word, she left the room, Gren trailing in her wake.”

As soon as the door closed behind them, Prue walked into David’s arms.

“Travel safely,” she said.

“I’ll call for you on my way back.”

“No; I doubt I’ll stay long. I will go back to London. Come to me there.”

“Stay at my place, Prue. Mrs Allen knows to welcome you and make you comfortable. Treat it like your own home.”

“I will. I would like to.”

They kissed, and it was a hello and a farewell all at once. This one kiss would have to sustain them for a month or more. It lasted an eternity and was over too soon.

“I do not want to leave you,” David said at last, drawing his head back but keeping her locked in his arms.

“I do not want you to go. But we each have our duties. Go, David. Finish your enquiries and come home to me.”

David smiled, more a warmth in the eyes than a movement of the lips. “Home. Home is wherever   you are, Prue.” He kissed her again, a gentle benediction, then stepped away and opened the door.

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14 thoughts on “Partings on WIP Wednesday

  1. Was working on this as a bonus for an omnibus collection, later than the previous excerpt:

    “What now?” Sera wanted to catch her breath after he failed tire when they fought. She and Crabbe had always been evenly matched, but he now had more advantages in a sword fight than any new tricks she learned.

    His skull showed no expression. Crabbe looked away, like he always did when he was stalling. “I am glad to have seen you one more time, my Sera. But you should go. Please.”

    Sera couldn’t smother the sob. “You deserve your freedom from this. I don’t want to destroy you.”

    Crabbe’s head tilted, like he had when he was about to be ironic. “I would have destroyed me. I was never sure if those powers were a curse on you or not.”

    “Everything fades, after enough years.” Her throat hurt again. She hadn’t wanted to put him down like that. “I can’t, not after missing you for so long.”

    Crabbe stepped forward again, maybe reluctantly, but his weapons went en garde. “Turn back. I must destroy any intruder to protect the orb. I have no choice.” His voice had hardened again, into a deep grinding.

    With a prayer and cry of “Asælan aswebban,” to a lost people’s fitful magic, Sera concentrated. A column of pure white light surrounded both of them.

    Crabbe fell to his knees, smoke rising from his bones. Joints popped as his blade and finger bones fell away from his arm. Thin bolts of lightning struck within the light, with Crabbe stiffening after each strike.

    Sera rushed over to hold him up in her lap, the bolts only tingling. “I’m so sorry, love. I didn’t find you in time to save you from this.”

    For an instant, in the light she saw a wispy image of the strong man he had been. He was smiling faintly.

    “You did… Love you…” The bones finished disintegrating, leaving only empty armor and his skull.

    After Sera finally stopped weeping, she stood up and entered the ruins to finish the mission.

  2. Pingback: Work-in-Progress Wednesday | Laura Michaela Banse, Author

  3. Oh, I like the new digs, Jude. I didn’t have anything for this, so I wrote something special. It could be a part of the novel. Beast does, after all, release Belle to go back to her father. I’m trying to stay sort of loyal to the Disneyfied version, while still making it my own. 🙂

    (everything after “I am.” is completely off-the-cuff made up right now. Agonizing!)

    “You are leaving.” It was not a question.

    Their gazes met across the length of the room. Rupert’s large frame filled the doorway leading to her bedchamber, and she took a step back, bumping into the small table by the balcony doors. Briefly, she wondered if he could see the evidence of her earlier tears. It was a thought most quickly dismissed; newly engaged women often shed tears of joy, so it was of no matter.

    She owed him an explanation, and opened her mouth to give him one, but found herself saying only, “I am.”

    He scowled, but did not protest, and her shoulders fell. She leaned against the window, letting the cold seep into her burning skin. She owed him an explanation, and yet, could not speak. She closed her eyes, blocking out

    She owed him everything, but could offer nothing in return.

    “Fithian takes you to London, then?” Again, it was not a question. Likely, Lord Fithian had already apprised the others of their plans.

    “Only briefly, to obtain a special license.” Perhaps he did not know the plans.

    “And your father?”

    Her eyes flew to his face, and there she saw her own pain echoed. His hands clenched at his sides, and a bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face.
    She stepped forward, to close the distance between them, but he stopped her by throwing up one hand.

    “Do not,” he said through clenched teeth.

    (And I’m not sure where I’ll go from there. I’m still trying to rein myself in and stop writing all willy-nilly through the book so I can get the first 5 chapters done for a beta read.)

  4. So here it is… (Sorry it’s late!) From “The Long Shadow”, one of my all-time favourite bits: John is about to go on campaign to the Helder (1799) and he and Mary both realise at the same moment he might never return. This is what happens next (apologies for the length).

    And yes, briebrief nudity &c: you have been warned.

    ***

    The supper grew stale on the table. At some point they abandoned the drawing room for their guest apartments. The servants remained discreetly absent, so Mary pushed John’s red coat off his shoulders while John fumbled with the pins that held together the bodice of her gown. After sixteen years of married life their love-making was more affectionate than spontaneous, but tonight there was naked need in the way they discarded their layers of clothing in an erratic path to the bed.

    Night was falling by the time they had finished. Reluctant to break the charm of their intimacy by calling a servant, John padded across the floor to the mantelpiece and found the tinderbox behind the clock. Mary watched, curled among the crumpled bedsheets, as John struggled to kindle a flame with unpractised fingers. Eventually he managed to light a candle and climbed back into bed. She pressed up to him and he curled his fingers in her hair, trying to imprint her softness, her sensation, her smell on his memory. Dear God, he was going to miss this. He was not sure what he would do, who he would be, without her at his side.

    Mary absent-mindedly stroked John’s chest in circles. He placed his hand over hers. ‘I wonder when we will meet again. If we succeed in driving the French out of Holland, we may remain on the continent some months.’ Mary’s hand under his clenched. John kissed her. ‘I know. I want to return as swiftly as possible, but I want to return victorious.’

    ‘John,’ Mary protested, her voice muffled. ‘This is our last night together, for goodness knows how long. Can we forget, just for a moment, that you will be leaving me soon? Can we enjoy what we have here, now? Please?’

    ‘You want our campaign to succeed, do you not?’ John teased. In the light of the candle Mary’s eyes glistened with strange intensity.

    ‘The only thing I want is this. Come home to me, whole and healthy. Come home with both your arms, and both your legs, and everything else.’ She pressed her lips to each limb, then ran a trail of kisses up to his mouth.

    ‘I promise,’ John murmured with a slow smile. Mary did not return it.

    ‘Do not make promises you may not be able to keep.’

  5. How about a tidbit from my soon to be released short story, Nothing but Time? Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton is have lunch with his mistress, Mrs. Cassandra Vaughn.

    Neville studied her and, if he had any doubt as to continuing their association, her interest in Hartford confirmed what he already knew. It was time for him to move on.

    “He is currently without a mistress, if that is what you are wondering,” Neville muttered off handedly. “He may be interested in taking another, if you are drawn to him.” Their lunch arrived and Neville began to eat, not bothering to wait for Cassandra’s answer since she was entirely engrossed in studying Hartford.

    She continued her perusal of the man across the room before finally setting her glass down. Absentmindedly, she twirled the crystal stem between her long delicate fingers as it rested upon the table. At last she gave a heavy sigh before she picked up her fork and proceeded to push her food around her plate. “You could cast me off that easily, Drayton? Do you not care for me even in the smallest increment within that icy heart of yours?”

    He wiped his mouth with a napkin before leaning back in his chair. “I am hardly passing you off to anyone, Cassandra. It is entirely your choice who you plan to take as your next lover,” he replied quietly so their conversation would not be overheard by those nearby.

    “Will you not miss me?”

    Neville suppressed a chuckle. “Let us not play games, my dear. You and I both agreed we would not claim any emotional attachments in our relationship, especially when we decided to go our separate ways.”

    “You could, at the very least, feign a touch of sorrow at our parting to mend my bruised ego,” Cassandra said. She gave him a small smile, giving proof that she was scarcely put out about ending their association.

    “You will hardly be lacking for company nor money to survive,” Neville continued, not giving voice to any assumption that he had grown fond of her. “Your late husband saw that you would be well taken care of before his early demise, and I have already deposited a large sum into your bank account that should see to your needs.”

    “That was generous of you, Neville,” she murmured softly, surprising him by the use of his given name. She reached out for his hand, giving it a pat. “Thank you.”

    He took her hand raising it to his lips. “You are welcome, Cassandra. Never let it be said, I did not settle my accounts.”

    “I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy these past many months together. However will I get along without you to keep me amused?”

    Neville laughed. “Oh, I am sure you will think of something, my dear.”

  6. Hahaha, I don’t race. 😉 It’s nothing I wouldn’t let my mother read. 😉 Will post it later as off out to roller derby now (…. assuming i survive)

  7. Beautiful stuff! Love “it lasted an eternity and was over too soon”.

    I have a perfect scene for this… But wanted to check if PG-13 was OK first… Brief nudity and sexual content, as it were… ?

    • I don’t have an adults-only warning on my blog, but I reckon PG-13 should be fine. Nothing too racy, but I trust you, Jacqui

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