"Through These Trying Times"

Here is a rough draft of the first chapter of the next fanfiction I shall write.  This is still in the very early planning stages.  Also, as I began to really plot this out, I realized that I have to finish OBFM so you know what will be going on.  If not, you’ll be like what happened to this person, who’s this, and so on.  Tell me what you think.

She watched the storm retreat off into the eastern horizon.  From that distance, the falling rain appeared as a veil or curtain hanging from the clouds.  “How very appropriate,” she thought to herself as her splendid gray eyes glanced at her three eldest granddaughters as they laughed and shared secrets with setting sun’s radiant arms baptizing their innocent heads.  She listened to their sweet laughter and prayed that the veil of innocence would not be ripped away from her grandchildren prematurely as it had with her own children.  They deserved splendid, happy years of youth as she and Gilbert had, not years of worry and waiting.  She shook such melancholy thoughts from her head.  The upcoming conference in Munich would patch everything up nicely.  No one wanted to repeat “The War to End All Wars.”

Again, she delighted in silvery sweet laughter coming from her granddaughters.  Summer was waning away, and Cecilia and Hope would be off to Redmond shortly to begin their college careers.  She felt very fortunate that they had decided to include her on their “girl’s day out,” and she knew that Gracie was secretly a bit jealous that she was not yet old enough to leave for Redmond as well.

“Grandmother, come back to us!” Hope called out to her; her own gray eyes sparkling gaily.  “Cecilia was just about to begin reading her new book to us, and I’m sure you’ll just love it!”

Anne slowly sat down on the quilt they brought with them to the sandy shore, declaring, “You must do all of the voices, Cecilia dear.  I so love an elocutionist who can do all the voices.”

Cecilia with her silken chestnut hair, looked intently at Grandmother, cleared her throat, and began, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderly again.  It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me.”  She stopped reading, searching each listener’s expression thoroughly, lest they not be entertained, and waited for approval to continue.

Grace’s eyes perked up from the dreamy place where she was envisioning what Cecilia read, “I like it already!”

“Yes!” Grandmother concurred, “I do believe that I’ll have to visit Mr. Tenderley’s bookstore the next time your Grandfather and I venture into town.”

Hope laughed, “You always visit Mr. Tenderley’s bookstore, Grandmother!”

“Yes, Abigail, I am aware of my vice.  However, the next visit will be much shorter as I know for what I shall be looking!  Tell me Cecilia, who wrote this new novel?”

Cecilia turned the book to where she could glance at the spine.  “Daphne Du Maurier, Grandmother.”

“Thank you, dear.  Please continue,” she instructed, and Cecilia obeyed.  They listened to her read for a while, letting the grass tickle them as the salt breeze graced by.  Cecilia finished the first chapter just as Madeline and Lucy McGowan joined the group.

“You missed Cecilia reading from her new book, girls.” Grace informed them as they sat down.

The McGowan sisters apologized for arriving late, but all could tell they had a good excuse.  Maddie, being the more outspoken of the two sisters, chimed in, “We would have been here earlier, but we received a letter from Jake in the mail today,” waving the letter in the air for all to see.

“How is the newly commissioned Lt. Jacob McGowan faring?” Mrs. Blythe asked.

Lucy smiled, showing all how proud she was of her eldest brother who had recently graduated from the United Stated Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  “He is quite well, Mrs. Blythe, and wants everyone to know that he’s coming home on leave at the end of October!”

Cheers came from each of the ladies upon hearing such pleasant news, but Hope felt a little sad at the announcement and it was evident by the expression she wore.  “I – we’ll be away at Redmond and will miss his visit.  I so wanted to see Jake when he finally got leave.  It seems like forever since he left for the Naval Academy.  I was wondering how he’s changed.”

“I imagine you all have grown and matured a great deal since Jacob left four years ago girls.  Why you three oldest were but fourteen at the time, and Jacob was only sixteen when he left.  You were all children then, but you’re young adults now.”

“I suppose that Lucy and I are still children?” Grace sulkily asked, always hating to be slighted for the difference in her age from her closest cousins.  “Maybe we should spend our time with David, Ellen and even little Joy?”

“Anne Gertrude Ford, never put words like that in my mouth!  You’ve, for the most part excepting this comment, matured alongside Gilly and your older cousins and friends.  They’re the company you keep, so of course you imitate the way they act.”

Cecilia hit Grace slightly on the arm, “Act adult now, and get over the fact that it will still be two years before you can go to college!”

“At least your family can afford to send you to college when the time comes, Grace,” Maddie said without the slightest ounce of jealousy.  “I’ve got to work and save to go, and you can’t teach grammar school with a secondary diploma anymore.  Don’t worry about not seeing Jake, Hope,” she said, changing the subject.  “You’ll be around all sorts of interesting college boys in Kingsport.  Pokey old Jake couldn’t hold a candle to most of them, I’m sure.”

Hope watched a white bird fly into the rainstorm in the distance.  “I’m sure I will meet lots of boys, but there won’t be any that I’ve known my entire life, except for Tenny, Walt, and Gil, and they don’t count.”

Cecilia, always one to point out facts like both her mother and father, pointed out, “Technically Hope, you’ve only known Gilly and Walt thirteen years this September.  Uncle Walter brought you home on Grandmother Anne and Granddad Gilbert’s thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  Actually, he returned on that day and brought you both back the next.  Nonetheless, dear cousin of mine, we do get a long weekend just at the end of October in order to rest from midterms.  I imagine you could talk Uncle Walter and Aunt Una into letting you come home to Hope’s Cove that weekend for such a special occasion.”

“Cecilia’s right, Hope dear.  Coming home on the weekends is much easier than when Gilbert and I attended Redmond all those years ago.  So tell this old grandmother what you young people plan to do this evening?”

Lucy’s eyes lit up, “The Adventures of Robin Hood is playing at the Cinema.  Maybe we could all go to see that?  I just love Eryl Flinn.  He’s dreamy.”

Maddie rolled her eyes at how romantic her sister could be.  She was much more interested in the company that they would be keeping when they went out.  She was terribly worried that Walt Blythe paid more attention to his beautiful cousin Cecilia than any other girl.  Of course, who wouldn’t love sweet Cecilia with her chocolate colored, almond-shaped eyes, her silky chestnut hair, and flawless complexion?  Of course, rumor had it that she and Bryant Douglas had an understanding.

She also knew that might not be true either, because rumor around the Glen also held that she and Tenny Blythe had an understanding as well. They truly did have an understanding too.  Just not the one most people expected.  They had long before promised to be the best of friends and never anything more.  Tenny Blythe was so devastatingly handsome without knowing it that many thought that Maddie should have deeper feelings for him.

The only two in their crowd that had had an understanding at one time were Hope and John Blythe.  They had planned to never marry and keep house together in Paris working as an artist and writer.  That was all before his illness though.  No one really talked of John’s plans any longer.  It sometimes hurt too much.

Hope sighed with relief because for some odd reason, she was very interested to see what sort of man Jacob McGowan had become.  A rainbow began to slide down the curtain of rain in the distance, and all of the women, young and young at heart, laughed, gossiped, and enjoyed each other’s company until the Methodist church’s clock began to strike six in the evening.
6 Responses
  1. iffie21 Says:

    aaah ooh, Manderly- I just watched Rebecca the other day-- keep it up!

  2. Elouise82 Says:

    This is really excellent! Even if you did decide to write it before finishing OBFM, I think you could set it up so that people still were able to figure out what was what: LMM herself did that ocasionally. Anyway, love it, and you're inspiring me to start on my next ff!

  3. Yeah, but I like the element of surprise too much, and there will be things happen in OBFM. I think time will progress quickly in OBFM, much like "Anne of Ingleside."

  4. Elouise82 Says:

    That works, too.

  5. geeruby Says:

    I'm SO EXCITED by this! I can't wait for more. The tone is so elusive, so mysterious....

    (The word verification for this comment is "bages" which I find, for some reason, hilarious beyond hilarious.)

  6. I'm not as happy with this first chapter as I would like to be. So hopefully when the time comes, I'll write an even better one.