This is the second scene taken from The Blue Castle that I'm working-on as a writing exercise to get geared-up for my own fictional writing work. I've been taking small moments that were alluded to in the novel and giving them a little more measure. This scene involves the time in which Barney has to leave for a short while and when he returns (which happens to be one of my favorite scenes in the book). I imagine this scene taking place before the "One Night" story that I've already written cause I couldn't imagine Barney leaving her alone after an episode like that. Any comments or feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
I do not claim any rights to the L.M. Montgomery characters used, they are just "borrowed" for a scene or two or three.
The Blue Castle, Chapter 29, 12th paragraph...
Once he went away and stayed away two days and nights. He had asked Valancy if she would be afraid to be alone and she said that she would not. He never told her where he had been. She was not afraid to be alone, but she was horribly lonely. The sweetest sound she had ever heard was Lady Jane's clatter through the woods when Barney returned. And then His signal whistle from the shore. She ran down to the landing rock to greet him to nestle herself into his eager arms — they did seem eager.
An extended version of that...
It is the perfect kind of afternoon that Valancy likes best. A light breeze stirs the thick shady leaves in the trees over head. The gentle beams of sunlight that manage to get through the forest canopy sparkle as they reach their destination on the rushing water of a babbling brook. Valancy tilts her face upward to take in the dancing light for a moment before she puts her sunhat back on. Barney reclines on the brook's bank with a fishing pole in one hand and an open book in the other. Valancy sits leaning forward and hugging her knees as she observes the delicious splash of bubbling white water that is cascading over a large rock in the brook. It's shape reminds her of a stout hooded monk that is bent over in prayer. Barney laughs aloud. Valancy revels in the true mirth of that sound even if it's always accompanied by a cynical sort of undertone. She wonders if he has read her thoughts but realizes that he is absorbed in the book that he holds. She relaxes and does not interrupt him as he reads on.
"The writer of this memoir believes that he is a practical man and yet everyone in his family has labeled him to be the black sheep because of his father's reputation. Now, he is setting-out to find out why and if it is more worthwhile to be practical or go ahead and earn the reputation he's been given."
"I can relate to that situation." Valancy muses as she and Barney exchange glances.
"Well, my family has always been practical and so was I before now, even at Christmastime. Two years ago, I got a pair of rain galoshes."
"That is sensible." Barney laughs now with less of his cynical note and more candor.
"I wonder what it would be like to get something frivolous and unnecessary for once. Last year, it was a sewing kit. Oh, it's not that I don't appreciate these things. My cousin Georgiana did very well when she gave me the latest copy of Jack Foster's book."
There's a tug on the line of the wooden fishing pole. Barney leans forward to check it. A stick pops-up and ambles away further down stream. The line stays secure in the water. He remains sitting-up and closer to Valancy now.
"Valancy, I need to let you know. I'll be away for a few days next week. My train leaves on Sunday afternoon and returns Wednesday evening. I've arranged to have the neighbors check-in on you. Will you be all right while I'm gone?"
"I'll be fine. I'll have ways to keep busy although I'm sure that I'll miss you. Is everything all right for you? Is there anything that I can do?"
"Just some matters that I have to tie-up." Barney sets the fishing rod down and takes Valancy's hand up in his. "Are you sure that you will be all right?"
"Honestly, I'm fine. I haven't had any bad spells in two weeks and my medicine bottle is full should I need it. There is nothing to worry about." Valancy does her best to give him a reassuring smile.