Are you ready for another summer holiday with Darcy and Elizabeth? Shall we join them for a unique two weeks? Enjoy!
I sat on the pier, swinging my bare legs back and forth over the blue waters of Loch Coorie. The full moon cast a silver glow across the loch, and the clouds appeared almost pink against the dark sky. I heard the cabin door open. Van Morrison’s voice filled the night with music, and I smiled when I heard my husband chime in on his favorite verse.
“You’re my brown-eyed girl. Do you remember when we used to sing―”
“Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-te-da,” I repeated the phrase along with him until we both had to stop singing because we couldn’t keep from laughing.
“Hey, my fine-eyed girl, I’ll bet you’re getting chilly out here.” He sat down beside me and slung his arm around my shoulders, pulling me close.
“How could you tell?” I said, looking up at him.
“Well, one, you’re wearing nothing but a T-shirt and shorts in the Scottish Highlands―of all places―and two, those moon-lit legs of yours that I adore are turning purple. Why didn’t you put on some warmer clothes?”
I leaned against his shoulder and gazed up at the moon. “Because the sun came out this afternoon, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I dared to get a hint of a tan before we return to the age where a bit of brown skin on women is considered verboten. And because it’s my last day to wear shorts until next year. In fact, it’s the only day I’ll wear shorts this year.”
“I’m surprised you packed any. This spot’s hardly our shorts and T-shirts getaway. Are you disappointed we came here?” He kissed my hair and moaned softly. “Umm, your hair smells like heather.”
“I found some beginning blooms during my last tramp through the hills. And no, I am never disappointed when we come to Loch Coorie on holiday.”
“Are you sure you’re not just saying that for my sake?”
I slipped my arms around his waist. “Darcy, we’ve been married for over two hundred years. By now, can’t you tell when I’m serious? I love our little cabin here on the loch.”
“I love you, my brown-eyed girl. Shall I sing some more?”
“I’d rather you kiss me and hold me tighter. I admit I am getting cold.”
“Come here, sweet thing,” he growled.
No one but Darcy would understand why I loved to go to Loch Coorie when I could have chosen one of our luxurious holiday homes―either Summer Wind, the exquisite house Darcy bought for me years ago, located on an island in the Aegean, miles away from Greece, or our haven in the South Pacific where he built a lavish domain he insisted on calling a hut. He found that deserted island a considerable distance from Tahiti and promptly bought it. I named it Nehenehe, which means beauty in the native language. It truly reflected its name.
The small rustic cabin in Scotland didn’t look like much from the outside―just a fishing cabin―but inside, Darcy had furnished the three rooms with every convenience we thought we couldn’t live without―a complete kitchen (for a wife who had yet to learn much more than the basics of cooking even after all these years) and a lovely living room filled with our favorite books and music plus all the latest tech gadgets we attempted to use. Our favorite room, of course, was the bedroom where we could spy the moon rising in the evening and fall asleep to the lullaby of the loch lapping against the shore.
Outside, we could fish and fish and fish. We both enjoyed coarse fishing off the pier. However, it took a lot more fly-fishing to satisfy Darcy than me, but when I grew tired of wading into the streams he had discovered, I left him to cast his line to his heart’s content. After all, I had a thousand acres to explore with hills and dales enough to make even me happy. With Faithful, Darcy’s aptly named dog for a companion, I shot photos of rocks and trees to fill scrapbooks in the past and laptops today. Too bad I had to leave them behind when our holiday ended, but I knew they’d be waiting for me when we returned.
Darcy often hiked with me, but his second-favorite pastime occurred about half an hour or so before sunset. We’d pack a picnic basket and a bottle of wine and board the sailboat he had recently bought. While sailing around the loch, we never feared we’d be interrupted, for our little cabin was hidden away in a secret cove and surrounded by land that was ours alone. It was our hideaway, as were the island retreats we owned, but somehow the cabin on Loch Coorie seemed cozier, our own little place where we were free to coorie in or cuddle night or day. When we named the loch, we preferred the traditional meaning of Coorie―to snuggle or nestle―no matter how much the meaning of the word has been transformed in this modern age.
Actually, we were free at Summer Wind and Nehenehe too. How could we not be when Darcy bought the entire islands? Through the years, we had learned the hard way that we had to holiday at extremely private destinations. At first, we visited Vienna, Paris, Venice, Rome, and most of the beautiful cities of Europe without being recognized, but as Jane Austen’s fame increased, we could no longer register in hotels as Mr. and Mrs. Darcy. Toward the latter part of the twentieth century and especially after Pride and Prejudice was adapted into movies and television shows, we were recognized. And after a certain actor, whom Darcy insists remain nameless, portrayed him in a mini-series of Miss Austen’s book in the mid-1990s, it became impossible for my dear husband to go anywhere in public without being mobbed. The actor looked far too much like the gorgeous man I married!
I was thankful Darcy found reliable men to maintain our holiday properties and protect our privacy. Fergus in Scotland, Kostas in Greece, and Hector in Tahiti were paid handsomely for their efforts, and all had proved to be men we could trust. Of course, they were the latest in a long line of people Darcy had employed through the years to insure we enjoyed our two weeks in June outside the pages of Miss Austen’s book.
Just then, the beginning beats of When a Man Loves a Woman boomed into the night, and Darcy pulled me even closer. His kisses began to grow in intensity. It was all I could do to break our embrace, but I managed to pull back enough to look him in the eye.
“Percy Sledge? Darcy, I know he’s your favorite, but I love Michael Bolton’s version.”
He raised one eyebrow and gave me his look. “This is my favorite song, woman. Sledge is the master. Humor me.”
“We’ve listened to him since the sixties, and he’s great, but please, can’t we hear Michael B tonight?” I lowered my face and gazed up at him through my lashes. I’d learned long ago that he had a hard time refusing me when I gave him my look.
He shook his head. “Girl, the things I give up for you.”
“If she is bad, he can’t see it,” I sang. “She can do no wrong.”
That provoked the outcome I wanted. He nodded and began to sing with me. “When a man loves a woman deep down in his soul, she can bring him such misery.”
“I’ll take away your misery if you’ll go in and put on Bolton,” I whispered. Although contemporary technology was much more convenient, Darcy still insisted on keeping our stereo on which to play his favorite vinyl records.
“Okay! Bolton it is.” He rose from the pier, and I immediately felt his absence. I ran my hands up and down my arms and hunched my shoulders against the chill.
“And bring my sweater, would you please?”
“Here,” he said, slipping off his long-sleeved shirt and wrapping it around my shoulders. “You know, you could go in with me,” he whispered in my ear. “There’s a certain bed inside where we’d both be more comfortable.”
The sight of his bare chest warmed me much more than his flannel shirt, and I was tempted to do as he suggested. “Eventually,” I murmured, “but it’s our last night, love. And the moon and clouds and water are so, so lovely…”
“I won’t argue. Stay. I’ll be back in a moment.” He turned and walked toward the door of the cabin, and I watched him until he disappeared from view. I adored the way he walked. The breeze blew my ponytail with a sudden gust. I shivered and pulled Darcy’s shirt up around my neck. I smiled, noting his scent, and buried my face in it. Oh, how I loved that man!
I heard the call of a grey heron and turned to watch him flap his wings and soar over the pier. Perhaps he flew in search of his love tonight as well. The peace I always found in this place filled me with thanksgiving. I would be forever grateful to Jane Austen for creating Darcy for me and for giving us this fortnight every year to step out of her “own darling child” of a book and into the real world.
It was odd. Darcy would always be twenty-eight, and I would remain not yet one and twenty. We would never age. At times, I wondered what it would be like to have children and experience the joy of watching them grow to maturity. Still, all but two weeks each year was spent inside the pages of Pride and Prejudice, and I hadn’t missed motherhood there. How could I? It was the story of meeting Darcy, falling in love, and beginning my marriage. Only in our glimpse of the real world did I sometimes grow thoughtful, wondering what our life would be like if we didn’t go back.
“Well, I’m glad she allowed us to marry at the end of the book,” I murmured.
“Are you talking to the moon?” Darcy said, wrapping me up in a soft, woolen throw. I had been oblivious to his return. He sat down beside me, having put on another shirt and a jacket. He had brought a tray containing a teapot and all the fixings. He poured a cup for me. “This should warm you up.” I murmured my appreciation while sipping the delicious brew.
“I was thinking of tomorrow and our return,” I said.
“I thought I heard you say something about being married.”
“I said I was glad Miss Austen let us marry at the end of her book. I doubt she would have agreed to these trips if we had remained single.”
He laughed. “Not a chance. Remember, she was the daughter of a vicar. Do you recall our first escape?”
I nodded. “It was 1817, the year she died, and already the world had changed since she had written Pride and Prejudice. We went to London, and there was so much to see and do. Where did we go first?”
“I don’t recall a thing about the trip to London except that great big bed in the hotel and being alone with you. It was heaven. There was no author telling us what to do or readers imagining even more. Just us.”
“We did spend most of our time in our room, didn’t we? If I remember correctly, we spent the first few holidays in that manner.”
“First few? More like first fifty.”
“Darcy! Surely not. Fifty years?”
“I’d bet my last pound, Elizabeth. We spent at least fifty years of two-week holidays in bed before we began to explore the outside world. And why not? Miss Austen wrote so little about our marital bliss. We had to make up for lost time!” He buried his face in my neck, and I giggled with delight.
“Ooh, you mustn’t do that when I’m holding a cup of tea. We may both go home with unexplained burns.”
“Sorry. I’ll behave while you’re sipping your tea, Mrs. Darcy. Or should I call you Mrs. Bennet-Darcy? I still can’t get used to brides electing to hyphenate their married names today.”
I raised my eyebrows at him. “I could even marry you and remain Elizabeth Bennet. Many women don’t take their husbands’ names at all.”
He frowned and shook his head. “Then chalk one up for the nineteenth century. You became Mrs. Darcy when you married me, and Mrs. Darcy you will remain.” He placed both of his hands on my face and turned my head to look into his eyes. “You are mine, and you always will be. I’ll have you known by no other name than Elizabeth Darcy.”
“Well, that’s a sexist statement if I’ve ever heard one,” I teased.
He smiled. “But secretly you like it, don’t you?”
I could not hide my amusement, and I nodded in agreement.
“Come on, little darlin’. Let’s dance.” He rose from the pier and helped me to my feet.
“Darcy, you hate dancing.”
“Yes, in Regency times, I do not care for dancing. All that twirling and bowing and stepping and skipping. I feel like a fool. But―” He pulled me into his arms. “Today’s dancing is much better, especially slow dancing. I hardly have to do anything but hold you.”
The first strains of the next record on the stereo began, and I breathed a happy sigh. “My favorite!” I exclaimed.
Settle down with me.
Cover me up.
Cuddle me in.
“I know my little wife. Ed Sheeran’s song always puts her in the mood.” He placed my head on his chest. Our arms around each other, we swayed back and forth to the music, our feet barely moving.
I gazed up at him. “If I could take anything back with us tomorrow, it would be our favorite songs.”
He nodded. “And then everyone we know would think we’d lost our minds, hearing such intimate words in the drawing room.”
I sighed. “You’re right.”
“No, Fergus will pick us up at nine in the morning. We’ll board our private plane for Hertfordshire, and he’ll drop us off just in time to slip inside the cover of Pride and Prejudice where, once again, I’ll proceed to make an ass of myself.”
“And I’ll be so full of prejudice that I believe Wickham instead of you. How can I be so stupid?”
Darcy kissed my forehead while we continued to dance. “You’ll dislike me at first, but then I’ll propose to you like an entitled, stuffed prig, and you’ll hate me.”
I laughed. “But you’ll write your letter, you’ll save Lydia, and we’ll fall in love. That’s the best thing about our life, Darcy. Every time someone reads the book, we fall in love. It happens again and again.”
“Mmm…I do like that part.”
“And that’s when we need this song.”
Sheeran sang, “Kiss me like you wanna be loved, you wanna be loved, you wanna be loved.”
“Elizabeth, we don’t need this song,” Darcy murmured, his voice deepening. He lifted me off the pier and held me in such a close, intimate manner that I felt myself melting into his body. We were now face to face. I had no need to stand on tiptoes to reach his lips. Like the song said, I began to kiss my husband slowly and deliberately until, in no time at all, he knew exactly what I wanted.
Darcy was right. We needed neither tunes from today nor arias from the past. We made our own music―a love song that would never end.
What do you think about “Two Weeks in June?” Wasn’t it different? We want to hear your thoughts. Comment here to be entered in the giveaway which ends one week after the last vignette has posted.
Thank you, Jan Hahn, for stepping outside your “box” and giving us this lovely vignette.
Books by Jan Hahn
The Child and The Journey are also in audiobook format. An Arranged Marriage will be available as an audiobook later this summer.
Wow! This IS different! I’m loving it already. I wonder, when they go back to P&P do they now know how it ends or are they living it as per the story every time? If they are in ignorance how do they learn about the two weeks in June?
I know this is only a vignette but I would love to know more (hint, hint)
I’m constantly amazed how you authors constantly come up with new ideas, – and very grateful!
Thank you for sharing this lovely idea with us Jan 😍
Thanks for stopping by, Glynis! We’re glad to hear that you are loving this vignette. Isn’t it amazing how the authors come up with new ideas?
You asked some interesting questions, and left a good hint! 🙂 It will be interesting to read Jan’s response, which may be later today. She is currently traveling home from her “One Week in June” summer holiday!
This vignette asks more questions than it gives answers, Glynis. I’m not a fantasy reader or writer, so I haven’t worked out all the hows and whys. I just thought it would be fun to have Darcy and Elizabeth sample a brief sojourn in modern life and yet have to return to Regency times. From their conversation, I think they are compelled to relive P&P every time someone reads the book. I don’t think they know the ending at the beginning.
Jan, this was wonderful! And as a life-time fantasy and science fiction reader, I can assure you that not answering all the questions is perfect! It’s what would happen in real life, and the essence of writing good fiction, even good fantasy, are the people who populate your writings. Hugely imaginative for someone who doesn’t read fantasy that much (of course, all Jane Austen derivatives we’ve written have been fantasy of sorts.). I love this vignette!
Thank you, Colin! I’m thrilled that you approve. Actually, your last book was my inspiration for attempting this vignette.
Awwwww that was so sweet!! I love fantasy stories and this little vignette is just perfect. It’s amazing they are still so in live after 200 years or marriage, but what’s even more interesting is that they adapted so well to the modern world. Thank for sharing it with us!
Hi Belen. This was a different take on Darcy and Lizzy, wasn’t it! It is endearing to read how in love they still are after so many years! 🙂
Thanks, Belén! In my mind, Darcy and Elizabeth will be in love forever. Their story is one for the ages.
That was a unique scenario. I like that they are able to have a hideaway for 2 weeks. The down side is it is only for 2 weeks.
Lots would be packed into those two weeks, wouldn’t it! Thank you visiting and commenting, Patty.
I agree, Patty. They need a month or two, but then they’d get so used to modern conveniences, they might never return. That’s why Jane Austen only gave them two weeks.
Enjoyment is ahead for those who read this story. Thanks.
That’s a neat thing to say, Betty. I agree with you! 🙂
How kind of you, Betty! Thank you.
This was sweet and oh so creative! Jan is such a talented writer!
Yes, she is a talented writer. Thanks for stopping by, Kelly.
Thank you, Kelly! I’m so glad you liked it.
Awww…that was lovely and so unexpected!! First I thought they might be vampires, hehe, but then I kept reading and it all made sense! So cute when she said they get to fall in love again everytime someone reads the book. Thanks, Jan!
It is lovely and unexpected. Isn’t it wonderful to read that they fall in love over and over!
Thank you, Daniela! Did you think they were vampires because Elizabeth wanted a tan? That thought didn’t cross my mind when I was writing this, but I can see where you might get that idea.
This is such a unique, bittersweet vignette! I feel sad for them that they have to live apart again each time the story begins. But I love imagining them on all their vacations throughout the many years.
Thanks for dropping by and commenting, Brigid. It was nice reading your thoughts and knowing the vignette evoked feelings.
That’s sweet of you to feel sorry for them, Brigid, for having to be apart again and again. Such is the life of our famous literary characters. That’s why I wanted to give them two weeks all alone each year. Thanks so much for your comments.
This is fresh and wonderful! Yes – we can imagine Our Dear Couple in this time, place and routine because they live that way with us as we read. We want their love to continue each year with us. Great plot for another series?
Fresh is a good word choice for this vignette, and wonderful is too! Wouldn’t this make an interesting series!
I wrote this vignette as a one-time scene, never envisioning a series, but a long time ago I learned never to say never. Thank you, Mary!
What a clever view of happily ever after! I love it! Jan Hahn, you may not write in quantity, but your writing is quality for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Peggy aka gabbycat
Well said, Peggy K! Thanks for popping in!
Thank you, Peggy! It’s for sure I don’t write a quantity of books, but you’re kind to call them quality.
At first I thought this was a modern P&P, but then realized it was not only a time travel, but one that used the actual book characters and had them learning to adjust to the changes as time went on. I liked that readers were part of their love story as they enjoyed canon too. In addition, muse-ic applied well always enhances the story, and this is no exception. Bravo, Jan, for making your two weeks a lovely one.
Isn’t this an interesting premise? It is definitely different from Jan’s usual style of writing, but not different in quality. The muse-ic, as you say, was emotive and lovely! Thanks for commenting, Suzan.
Thanks, Susan! I hear so many “modern” songs that make me think of Darcy and Elizabeth. Since I have always written Regency stories, I can’t use them. It was fun to think of a scene where I could incorporate some of today’s love songs.
Wow! Phenomenal story. I’m normally not a fan of time travel, but this was so well written with a beautiful, emotional love story–and they are still in a passionate love after 200 years. Well done!
Phenomenal is a good description for this emotional love story! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
What a lovely comment! Thank you.
What a lovely vacation for Elizabeth and Darcy, and what a great premise. I’d love to read more of their adventures in different times.
It would be fun to read more of their adventures throughout the years. Maybe we should hint loudly! 🙂
Thank you, Lynn! I’m glad you liked my little fantasy.
And terrific to see something new by Jan.
Yes, it is terrific to see something new by Jan. Thanks, Ginna.
Thank you, Ginna! I’m glad you think it’s clever.
Mary Ann Nagy
I loved the vignette. It brings us to another venture in a earlier time than this one, possibly during the 30’s or 40’s when the music was really great. (Hint, hint!) It is great to use your imagination in this and picture them in these adventures that makes us smile as we read.
Thank you very much Ms. Hahn! (I have enjoyed all your novels with such great imagination and writing.
Good to hear, Mary Ann. Your hints are great! Maybe!?!
Thank you, dear Mary Ann! Thinking of Darcy and Elizabeth dancing to music through the ages would be fun. I can just see him doing the Charleston! 😄
Mary Ann Nagy
Loved the vignette. Darcy and Lizzy in love forever for over 200 years and we are in love with them. Jane Austen keeps us inspired as well as the authors who write P & P variations for us.
Nothing could be better than to sit down and read of our beloved couple no matter the era, by whom, or whatever state of mind we are in at the moment a novel strikes our attention.
Thank you for inspiring us to keep reading.
What a lovely comment, Mary Ann. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I’m thankful for readers like you!
WoW! I truly love when our D * E stories are more than following cannon. I love a vagary and this one stretches the imagination that hea is truly without end.
That is a neat way of putting it, Sharon…hea is truly without end. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
Glad you enjoyed it, Sharon. Thank you!
I love this! Always enjoy Jan’s books. She nevertheless disappoints!
Isn’t it a lovely vignette. I agree that Jan never disappoints. Thanks, Becky, for visiting and commenting.
Thank you, Becky! You’re very kind.
I first read P&P aged 11 in the 1960s, after seeing the 1940 film with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, so I’ve racked up over 50 years as a Janeite. I’ve been a sci-fi geek even longer, probably more or less since I learned to read. So, one of my favourite Austenesque sub-genres has to be any tales involving time travel. Jan, this one ticks so many boxes for me. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
You are and have been a devoted Janite. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, Anji.
I have so many friends and family who love sci-fi. I always feel like the odd one because I’m not a fan. I prefer history to the future, perhaps because I want to know the ending. I’m glad you enjoyed my attempt at time travel, Anji. Thank you!
Lucy S Marin
That was fun, Jan! It was a nice twist to the D&E story and very sweet.
We’re glad you thought this was a fun vignette. Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you, Lucy! I had fun writing it, so I’m glad you liked it.
I really enjoyed this. It was so different from anything I have read. I am looking forward to An Arranged Marriage coming out as an audiobook.
Thank you, Debbie. I’m glad you liked it. And thanks for your interest in the audiobook of An Arranged Marriage. It should be released shortly. Just waiting on Audible.
It is different, and intriguing. As Jan said, the audiobook for An Arranged Marriage should be available any day!
Sheila L. Majczan
This is so poignant – sigh! But I remember a book about a family who lived forever…is that truly what would make one happy. I can’t imagine not ever having at least nieces and/or nephews much less not having children. I do like how Colin Firth is Mr. Darcy – he’s my first choice for Darcy also. Your imagination here is fantastic. Thanks for sharing. I like the songs also. Buble is one of my favorites and also Ed Sheeran.
I’m glad you were able to comment. Wasn’t this a poignant tale. It gave one much to ponder.
Thank you for your comments, Sheila! I, too, struggled with the idea of never growing older and especially not having children. That’s just one of the reasons I doubt I could make this scene into a novel. But it was fun writing a vignette where Darcy and Elizabeth lost a bit of their Regency starch.
I believe that Jan doesn’t write modern stories so this is unique for her to pen this lovely vignette. It is a clever twist using the premise from the movie Groundhog Day but only get two weeks to spend as husband and wife every year. That’s too short a duration for me.
This was a first in several respects for Jan, I believe. It was quite unique and lovely. Two weeks wouldn’t be much time, would it! Thanks, Sylvia.
Too short a time for me, too, but I feared they would never go back if Jane Austen had allowed them to stay longer. 😄 Thank you for commenting, Sylvia!