Darcy Gets The Point
In this scene cut from the published version of Taken, Elizabeth’s older brother uses his fencing skills on Darcy to drive home a point about love.
Angelo’s at dawn? Darcy knew his cousin sought a piece of his hide.
“Darcy,” Julian began with deceptive good humour as they stood alone in the hall. “I understand that my sister and my parents are willing to provide a second—no, that is a third—chance for you to earn their approbation.”
Darcy, shrugging off his jacket and waistcoat, nodded. “Yes, they are all that is gracious.”
“And me?” A devilish smirk played upon Julian’s lips. “Do you not find me gracious?”
Picking up and flexing his foil, Darcy straightened and addressed his nearest relation. “Julian, you are like my brother. I am--”
“Hold your tongue, boy.” Julian’s foil flew up, resting in front of his face. “I shall have my satisfaction.” He whipped his foil through the air before executing his challenge. “En garde!”
Darcy raised his own foil. “I have no desire to fight, Julian. I know I was in the wrong.”
Touching his foil to Darcy’s, Julian commanded, “Satisfy me.” He advanced, his movements sure and swift. “If not swords, it will be fistacuffs and I would hate to mar your handsome face.” His words, like his movements, were precise. “My mother tells me Elizabeth is fond of it.”
Julian laughed. “Come now, attend,” he barked, forcing Darcy to defend against the challenge. “That is it, Darcy, exert your right to besmirch a helpless woman.” He pressed his foil towards his opponent.
Darcy stepped up his defense against the other man’s anger. “I cannot deny the charge, no matter how bitterly I wish to erase it.” He countered the thrust of Julian’s attack, increasing his fury.
“No, you cannot.”
They advanced and retreated, the clang of steel ringing about the empty cavernous chamber.
“Your skill has improved,” breathed Darcy as he parried a rapid flurry of advances.
“Prince Razorsky taught me.”
“Razorsky? I thought you were in Copenhagen.”
“The Russian court has emissaries throughout Europe,” Julian grunted. “You are fortunate no other heard your shame, or this would not be so feeble a call out.”
Is he joking? Darcy shook an errant lock of hair from his eyes. He was in peak physical condition, but Julian’s government work demanded he work harder and with greater finesse. Darcy stepped up his efforts.
“Now,” Julian executed a difficult movement slicing Darcy’s sleeve. “Explain to me why we should not run you out of town. And do not give me the tired excuse of your Fitzwilliam relations.” He rested his blade lightly atop Darcy’s heart.
“I love her, Julian. I was wrong before, to treat her…any woman such…and shall make amends for that every day of my life.” He looked into the marquis’ eyes. “If you would not grant me your blessing,” he grabbed hold of the blade, holding it above his heart. “Then end it. You know my situation. Without her there is no one. I shall not fight. I confess to you and to the world, I was wrong.”
They stood looking into each other’s eyes, judging the other’s character. Hearing others approach, Julian nodded and withdrew his blade. He stepped closer to Darcy and lowered his voice with decisive calm. “Now you will tell me what possessed you to make such an offer in the first place? This is not you.”
Darcy shrugged his shoulders. “Insanity, hopefully of a temporary nature.” He smirked as Julian chuckled. “But seriously, Julian? I knew only of my duty to protect Georgiana …”
“Father told me his letter went mysteriously astray.”
Darcy nodded again. “Then you must know I faced few to no options. I thought—no, I cannot excuse or explain my motivations; they are nothing. I am ashamed of them and of myself. If not for the hope of your sister’s mercy and forgiveness I would relinquish my suit.”
“That and my father’s astoundingly absurd belief that marriage to you is in Elizabeth’s best interests.”
Startled, Darcy looked to him. “You disapprove?”
“Let me just say that after a lifetime of knowing you,” Julian pressed his finger into Darcy’s chest, “I know you to be an honest, decent man. Those years of history give me hope that you may just deserve her. Or will at some future date.”
“But from what I know of my sister, and what my father has said of Darcy women, I think the best way of keeping you in line,” Julian smiled as his fist punched Darcy’s chest, “is to make Elizabeth your wife.”