Friday, September 25, 2009

Golden Romance

Prompt: The house lights dim, the curtain goes up… you’re on.

Each week I also rise to an additional challenge - that to explore a different genre or writing style. Last week, I had been given the challenge of writing a romance in the style of Barbara Cartland. Having never read one of her books, I went to the library and quickly read the first that came to hand. I hope I give justice to her particular style of romance with this weeks offering.

If you’d like to suggest a genre for me to write in next week – please leave it with your comments!


Suzanne flickered her long eyelashes and stole a glance at Kurt. He’d already sunk into the arrogant stance of his character and stood poised for the opening line. She could hear the impatient murmur of the audience on the other side of the thick curtain and quickly ran her hands down her costume, ensuring it was sitting straight, before giving the final nod to the stage manager.

The house lights dimmed as the curtain went up and the Stage Manager strode across to centre stage in front of the actors.

“Your gracious patience has been noted gentlefolk. As our belle, Maria has been taken mysteriously ill, her part will be played by her understudy, the lovely Suzanne Manners. And now with no further ado..” he swept his hand across the stage and signaled the orchestra to begin the opening number.

“I’m on.” The panicked thought ripped through Suzanne, but with practiced ease, she opened her mouth and began singing; enthralling even the most disinterested audience member.
Suzanne could tell Kurt was unnerved at her performance, but it was hardly surprising. He’d been icily polite to her throughout the haphazard rehearsals with his philandering nature substantiated with his consistent post show liaisons with the other chorus girls. Anytime she had been called to practice her pieces, he’d looked bored or had simply slipped out with one of the other girls.

Her sudden thrust in the limelight had been a shock; but one she was not unprepared for. The rowdy rabble of ill-educated miners were hardly a match for some of the audiences she had had to woo in the past. A stab of sadness struck her as she though of her recently dead father and of her decision to find adventure in the minefields. If it hadn’t been for Nanny; she’d have submitted to the will of the bickering family members and her life would have been very different now. Suzanne twirled and finished her opening number with a flourish, allowing another wistful glance at the striking figure beside her and a wink to Nanny sitting in the front row.

The musical continued, the age old story of love lost and found again, betrayals and denial of emotions between the characters. It was one of three complete scripts the theatrical society had in their possession, and although most of the audience knew the story and songs after years of performance by various actors, they enjoyed the variety new blood brought to the roles.
Suzanne shivered as Kurts strong arms surrounded her. She lay her head on his chest and stared up into the dusty rafters, delighting in the rich timber of his voice as he serenaded his sweetheart. Her impassioned response and embrace was untainted by acting or pretence as she wished that the words he sang and spoke were truly ones from his heart to hers. As the last notes of the first act lingered, the audience erupted with cheers, throwing tiny pouches with gold dust onto the stage, particles glittering on the strong stage light beams.

The thick wooden doors at the back burst open violently and a half dozen soldiers, bedecked with brass buttoned uniforms and polished rifles burst in. The captain pushed his way in. “Sir Theodore. Your family will delight in knowing you are safe and well. It is my duty now to escort you back to England so that you may now take the responsibilities of the family estate.”
One of the heavy set miners stood up and faced him. “Ooi, don’t you mean Sir Percival? You got his name wrong.” A chorus of agreement followed.

The captain frowned and quizzically looked up at Kurt, whose arms were still held Suzanne. Kurt erupted in a huge theatrical laugh, “My dear fellows what a joke you now play on me. Just back from war and you need some entertainment? Why not meet me at the Empire Hotel later on and we can share further merriment.”

Suzanne looked up into the fierce eyes, glittering and glaring deep warnings at the Captain. The Prompt at the side stage flicked uncertainly through his copy of the script, searching for the amendment of the play.

“Sir Theodore, or Percival or whatever foolish name you have decided to take on; Your family awaits, as does your fiancée.”

The audience gasped, the biggest intake from Suzanne as she disentangled herself from Kurts grip. “Fiancee? How could you? You made me love you and I love you more than life itself. You are nothing but a bounder and a cad. All the stories about you are true.” Suzanne turned and began to weep.

The Prompt at the side flurried through his pages confused and angry he had not been given the updated script. The orchestra began a lamenting soulful tune, and the audience booed theatrically at Kurt; enjoying the new twist to an otherwise tedious interpretation of the script.

“I don’t love her. I love you.” Kurts hands found Suzannes shouldered and slipped over the satin white curves. “Be my bride, come back with me to the Estates. Let me take you away from all of this.”

Suzanne turned and looked up at him. “But all those women, you’ve never once looked at me. Really spoken to me.”

“I watched every movement you made since you first arrived. I have loved you from your first word.” He held her hands and searched her eyes intently. “ I don’t care if you are a penniless prospectors daughter. I love you and want you to be my wife.”

Tears trickled down her face as she gazed at him. “My darling, I have secrets which I too must reveal. I am the Wirthstein Heiress, not kidnapped as the papers state, but ran away to find adventure. I found that in spadefuls here on the gold fields, but I have also found love.”
The audience exploded with cheers and applause whilst the Captain continued to stare in confusion about him.

The two figures embraced with true passion as the lights dimmed. Kurt lifted Suzannes face with a gentle finger on her chin. Slowly and deliberately, her pressed his lips softly to hers, the moist whisper turning to an urgent hunger as they continued to embrace.


Unknown said...

boy this was a bit of a challange for me - re-reading it I know I need to insert more passion, more sidewards glances and seething emotions in order to really capture barbaras style - but its a first draft... and it was strangly fun to write - tongue in cheek...I hope you didn't gag too much with my cliched lines.. big smiles...
I also know that Barbara took more than 1000 words to convey her intricate and twisted comments are welocome - as is my challange of genre for next week

Uncle Tee said...

Very nice. It even read like a play. I like the soldiers twist and how the audiance booed him when they found out he was engaged and the guy at the side of the stage...flicking through the script.
Very good.

Mine for this week:

Laetitia :-) said...

I confess, I haven't actually read a Barbara Cartland book for many, many years so my recall of her style is rather hazy. But the sudden declaration of passion reminded me of her books.