I combined my love of Groundhog Day with my love of Persuasion! This is a story I wrote for the Austen Authors blog, but it’s been taken down, so I’ll be giving it away for new sign-ups to my Romance Readers! If you are already one of my subscribers, just shoot me an email with “Last Hour for Love” in the subject line and I will send you the link also as a new year’s present! Much love to everyone and happy new year!
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Anne set down the teapot without pouring and pressed her hands to her eyelids. She could not keep on doing this.
What about the last day with her mother? Why could she not repeat that day?
Or the day she had thrown over Frederick Wentworth and condemned herself to a life of growing loneliness? What couldn’t she change that day?
Instead it had to be this absolute—absolute canker of a day. If she was not watching Captain Wentworth woo Louisa, she was watching the poor girl fall lifeless on the pavement of the Cobb! Or she herself was being knocked off the Cobb. Or Captain Wentworth.
Once, memorably, it had been poor, kindly Mrs. Harville!
And if it was not injury, she was beset with Mary’s crotchets, Charles’s lackadaisical deafness to his wife’s errors, and Henrietta’s tiresome speculations on her beau’s prospects.
“Anne? What is the matter?” Henrietta asked.
She shook her head mutely. If she claimed to be sick, she knew exactly what would happen. If she pressed on, she knew what would happen.
A half sob choked its way out. She buried it in her hands.
Never in her life had she grown rigid and drummed her heels on the ground the way some young ladies did. Never had she screamed and fainted. She had never boiled over with frustration or disappointment in her father.
She had mourned her mother deeply and privately. She had mourned her mistake with Frederick deeply, but with moderation. She had never shirked her duties at Kellynch Hall.
She had never run away from her problems.
“Anne?” Mary demanded. “I’m thirsty. What is wrong?”
“Is she choking?” Louisa gasped. “Can you speak, Anne?”
“What is it? Is she ill?” Charles asked. “Anne?”
And Frederick’s beloved voice nearly drowned out by the others, “I say, Anne…”
Anne fled the parlor. She stumbled down the stairs of the hotel and out into the salty wind and clouds of Lyme. She swiped tears from her face onto her dress.
She had no coat or pelisse, not even her lace shawl, but she didn’t feel the cold. She turned away from the hotel, and away from the dreaded paved walk along the sea.
She was nearly at a run.
She didn’t even realize Captain Harville and his wife were approaching until they were nearly upon her.
“My dear Miss Elliot,” Mrs. Harville exclaimed. “What is the matter? Has there been some accident?”
Anne laughed and wiped her stinging eyes. “No, no accident today. Please excuse me.”
Poor Anne deserves the chance to make things right, but first she must discover that every day holds life-changing choices, if she can be brave enough to see them.
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