Thursday Three Hundred– Hidden Hearts

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Last month, I started an on-going story for Thursday Three Hundred. I was inspired by Scott’s Grotto in Ware, Hertfordshire and noticed that Pride and Prejudice is the only story where the characters have no day trips planned. In the last post, Darcy accidentally accosted Elizabeth’s person while attempting to hide from the shrill voices of the younger Bennet daughters. Let’s see what happens next!


The loud cracking sound echoed off the walls of the cave at the same moment his face registered pain from a slap. Good Lord, he might be bruised, and she likely sprained her wrist.

“It was an accident,” he ground out.

“I am sure it was,” Elizabeth hissed in an angry whisper, “for we all know I am not tempting enough for you.”

“What?” Had she hit him harder than he thought? She made no sense just now.

“At the assembly. You said that of me to Mr. Bingley. I plainly heard it, and so did anyone else sitting nearby.”

Darcy blinked in astonishment, his brain still feeling rattled. Had she struck him only out of his…ahem, mishap, or was there some long-standing anger for the duration of their acquaintance?

“A fool I might be but blind I am not,” he said. “Had Mr. Bingley suggested I dance with you, then I would have been forced to acknowledge his good sense.”

Elizabeth huffed. “I already know what you think of Mr. Bingley’s sense. Do you delight in mocking everyone you know?”

“I never mock.” He ought to turn and leave. He had made his apology, but she always held him in thrall. “Are you well? You did not injure anything when I knocked into you?”

“My hand hurts,” she acknowledged.

Darcy’s had adjusted to the light a little and could see she tilted her chin in what he presumed was defiance. She was proud of her defense, as she should be he acknowledged. “May I see?”

She nodded, and Darcy lifted her hand, cradling it in his. “I will have to remove the glove.” He paused for assent before pulling back the soft leather. He focused his mind on ascertaining if she were hurt for the act of revealing her flesh to him was one of the more erotic encounters he had in life and awoke dormant fantasies of seeing far more of her.

“Who did you think Mr. Bingley was suggesting you dance with?”

Elizabeth’s voice was a welcome intrusion to his dangerous mindset. He had been holding his breath, his eyes eager to see more of her inch by inch. Grateful that she had not discerned his interest, he answered after having to clear his throat. “Another lady sitting beyond you.”

Elizabeth furrowed her brow, and Darcy tested the movement of each digit before turning her hand back and forth and side to side. She did not seem in pain. Next, he stroked his fingers over her palm, where he knew her skin would be most sensitive to pain. Instead of a wince, he saw her shiver.

“I cannot recall who sat near me.” Her breath came in quicker pants. “When I recall that evening, all I remember is you.”

Darcy exhaled. “Elizabeth,” he murmured before pulling her closer.

His head lowered drawn to the irresistible pull of her lips. Just before he reached heaven, there was a rumbling sound and the ground shook. They drew back and looked to their rock ceiling as rocks began to tumble down. Elizabeth burrowed into his side, and Darcy enveloped his arms around her. When the dust settled, the entrance to their chamber was blocked by large boulders.

Thursday Three Hundred– Hidden Hearts

I’m going to try something new on the blog. I’m going to do a continuing story for Thursday Three Hundred. Each post will be at least 300 words. The full story, however, will be a short story of about 10,000 words. I will probably later publish them as a collection of short stories.

Scotts Grotto in Ware, Hertfordshire is a real location. You can read a bit more about it here.

Rose Letter

Darcy held back a grimace as the carriage swayed. How in the devil had he Bingley talked him into this? An excursion to nearby Ware to visit a fairy grotto. Fairies of all things!

The Bennet carriage did not have enough space to carry all of them comfortably, and so Bingley offered space in Darcys. He could either convey Mrs. Bennet or the unusual man visiting who was their cousin and the estate’s heir, Mr. Collins. Just when Darcy was beginning to conclude it was better to have the devil you know than the devil you do not know, Mr. Collins told Elizabeth he hoped to spend time alone with her in the caverns. Before Darcy was fully aware of what he was doing, he had invited the man into his carriage. Miss Bennet, of course, was also asked–since she was still recovering from her cold, Mrs. Bennet said when she all but threw her daughter into the coach. Darcy wondered at the propriety of one maiden and three gentlemen in one compartment. Undoubtedly, it was on the tip of Caroline’s tongue when she began to argue as Mrs. Bennet climbed into the Hurst carriage. However, Darcy could not bear riding with either lady in addition to Collins. He rapped the ceiling of the coach to pull forward before the others were entirely loaded up.

Arriving at the grotto, it was as awkward an experience as he had expected. He was too tall for most of the rooms and had to continually duck his head. The light was dim and the worst of the Bennet females shrilly oohed and ahhed over every shell decorated niche. The middle one pontificated that she felt a communion with God here.

Darcy had to get away. There were air vents, but with so many people cramped in small quarters, he felt trapped. His sole relief was that Caroline hovered near the entrance, refusing to go any further than where the sunlight shone.

Following the walls, Darcy walked through the corridors until he could hear nothing. He actually liked grottoes and had visited a few near Pemberley as a child. He never would have supposed Hertfordshire had such a thing but trust Lydia Bennet to entirely insist upon the idea of Bingley visiting the landmark and the Bennets accompanying him.

Rounding a corner, he found another opening. Scott’s Grotto had one large chamber and then five smaller ones. He had not thought to bring a lamp with him during his escape further into the cave. He had assumed the hall and each chamber would have light, but the lone lamp in this area flickered dimly. Hearing a giggle echo off the walls, Darcy inched back, hoping the darkness would shelter him from unwanted intrusion.

Expecting to feel the coolness of the stone wall, he was met with the softness of a female body while a softened yelp reverberated in his ears. He could feel the person falling due to his accidental bump. Spinning around, he thrust his hands into the darkness to steady the person. He did not feel the firmness of shoulders or elbows. Instead, the soft lusciousness of breasts filled his hands.

Mortified, he pulled his hands away. Before he could offer an apology, the lady gasped in shocked outrage.

“Mr. Darcy! How dare you!”

“Miss Elizabeth?”