Romance & Revolution #1

The First Impression

by Ney Mitch

The First Impression by Ney Mitch As a time traveler, Elizabeth Bennett has traveled back and forth through time, constantly meeting and remeeting the love of her life.

As she meets Fitzwilliam Darcy in a pub in the 21st century, she recalls seeing him for the first time in the 1770s.

Right before the start of the Revolutionary War amid boycotts and upheavals between British colonists in America and British officers sent to repress a rebellion, they have a brief, but memorable encounter.

Darcy, a loyal captain in his Majesty’s service, is sent to assist other officers in the turmoil. Elizabeth is a staunch American patriot.

At their second encounter, as they attempt to deal with each other’s differences, it is undeniable that there is a gulf that might be too insurmountable to overcome.

What will become of a potential star-crossed romance?

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Release Date: April 2, 2024
Genre: Historical Romance



It is a tale, commonly shared by all, that we all secretly want to love...and be loved in return.

It is also a concept that is the most rewarding thing to experience, but the hardest thing in the world to achieve. We all discover it for moments, fleeting moments, and the days roll in and out, as the tide of our individual fortunes bend in and out of formation and once more being hurled into chaos—and we lose it again. Yet, this loss is linear; it comes and goes organically.

But with me—how inorganic it is, how non-linear, and not a cause that has an obvious and logical effect or ending.

No. With me, it is a jumble, a ball of strings that is tied into complex tangles, where there is no beginning. And no ending either.

For a love to be found. To stop and to start. To begin, end, then begin again…at first, it was intriguing. It was an adventure that was unique and made me unafraid of anything that life could hurl at me. It made me brave enough for anything.

Although, that is the pain of being unique. You eventually become jealous of the ‘normal’.

As I walk through the city streets, and I see the person sitting on a bus, their face depressed as they lack significance to their lives, or they are on their phones, trying to flush out the monotony of the day, or doing everything to hide their disappointment of being single, or of never being extraordinary, or trying to suppress their violent nature—until they meet someone, and the two of them discover each other, even if the discovery is brief...yes, I am envious of those. For they will never be aware of how fortunate they are. To have a natural beginning, middle and end. That is the life!

When you become extraordinary, when fate decides that it is you that will have a journey unlike any other, the common person wishes they had your fate, and you wish that you had theirs.

That is another element of being human as well.

For some, falling in love for an eternity is all that they could desire.

For my part, I had been falling in love, losing that love, and finding it again for what I have determined—to be for five hundred years. At least. Some would find that to be the ultimate answer to their happiness.

However, for me—it made me an enemy of love. I was tired of it.

* * *

Sound…that is part of what drives us from out of our dreams, forcing us to wake, be met by strangers around us, and to be aware of how we are in public.

“Lizzy?” the bartender uttered. Hearing him call out my name forced me out of my musings, and I fell back into my environment.

“Oh, sorry,” the waitress named Jenny said as she bumped into me, carrying two trays at once and managing not to drop a sip out of any of the cups.

“It’s fine, Jenny,” I said, my voice lazy, as I needed time to adjust from having to tear my eyes away from the television. It was placed on a shelf that was just below the ceiling so that everyone could see it. “Nothing fell on me. Nothing ever does.”

Jenny stopped in her progression, trays still in hand and she looked at me, quizzically. Next, she looked at the bartender, Clancy. I didn’t have to see her expression; they both thought something was wrong with me.

“Don’t worry,” I said, eerily reading their thoughts, “I’m still alive and sane enough.”

“Lizzy?” Clancy repeated. “Are you alright?”

I gave him a ‘what do you think’ look.

And guess what? The poor man had misread my expression.

“That’s it,” he said, lifting the remote control and about to flip the channel, “no more Quantum Leap for you.”

“Don’t you dare!” I declared, getting the animation in my voice back, and the spirit rising in my cheeks. When seeing me laugh again, they both relaxed and accepted that I was not suffering from what they called, Sci-fi syndrome. They called it a condition where a person gets so obsessed when they watch science fiction, that the rest of the world falls away and they fall down the winding road that is their fantasy. I didn’t need to imagine it; I had already lived it. They just didn’t know my whole story.

I had just finished watching another episode of the show Quantum Leap and now was eagerly waiting for when another Sci-fi show, Forever, was about to come on. These shows were regular watching for me and helped me endure my own immortality.

“You know how therapeutic these shows are for me,” I said to Clancy as Jenny walked to the table to drop off the drinks and appetizers to some customers. Now that she saw that I had fallen back into reality, there was no more of a need to worry about me. “Some people like psychiatrists, and I’ve got Samuel Beckett and Henry Morgan.” I was referring to the lead characters on the shows.

“You know,” Clancy said, “for a pretty woman, you certainly don’t believe in having much of a life.”

I chuckled, looking at my white turtleneck and checkered gray pants. I was dressed plain as a dandelion; what about this was alluring?

“Or am I being offensive?” he asked, worried that he was being too direct.

“Don’t worry,” I assured him, “I’m not offended by a guy calling me that. In my opinion, people get too offended too easily nowadays.”

“I second that one!” he declared.

“That’s precisely what I feel,” Jenny agreed, as she came back behind the bar, with empty trays as she began to pour some more beer into some mugs, “or they spend too much time getting offended at the wrong things.”

“Oh, I have had many lifetimes of that,” I said amusingly, and they both laughed, assuming that I was joking. “And that’s the problem. Have you ever noticed that people are so quick to get offended by things, that they get so preoccupied with being offended by the inoffensive things, that when something offensive does actually happen, they never notice it and just let the offensive thing happen?”

“Exactly!” Clancy and Jenny said together. This made us all laugh.

“I swear,” Jenny said as she put the beers on her tray, “if I see one more person get upset for complimenting someone on their looks, while ignoring another politician or a show being discriminatory, it will be the day that pigs fly. Everyone’s an idiot.”

“Yes, they are,” I said as I began to watch as Forever began to come on. “And Clancy, I know you won’t believe me, but I have lived enough to last over twenty lifetimes, so not having a life is the only reward that I can think of.”

Clancy was about to say something, but a man sat down at the barstool next to mine and interrupted.

“There are other ways to reward yourself,” he uttered with a thick accent. An accent that I was very familiar with. I didn’t turn to look at him because I didn’t need to.

The second he sat next to me, I felt it.

Over the centuries, it became a term that I always called it when I felt his presence:

The Rapture.

I could not describe the sensation, because it was felt, but was hard to put into words.

My body ran hot, and then it ran cold.

I became sensitive to everything that I saw, heard, touched, tasted, and smelled.

All the senses prepared me for seeing him again.

The counter that I placed my hand on was clean, sturdy and I could feel all the thousands of people who had placed their fingers where I did. I felt their urgency and hunger for any food that would come.

I heard Clancy breathing, Jenny laughing at a joke that a customer said, obviously trying to flirt with her.

I felt a fly resting on my shoe, even though it didn’t touch my skin. Its buzzing was very annoying to hear at such a deafening pitch.

And the smells. From the grease and odors that came from the kitchen, to the guests who had entered. It was a warm day, so we all were sweating when we had entered, and now I knew how much the heat had augmented our aromas.

Lastly, it felt as if a gust of strong wind passed through me, the lights dimmed (but only I could see) and only his figure stuck out in my vision.

At last, knowing it was rude to ignore him, I turned to see how he looked now.

His face and figure were completely different, but I still knew it was him.

I was looking into the face of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

* * *

My voice should have frozen. My heart should have been seized.

But time had worn me down. I knew he would find me. He always did. So, this was just another moment for me. Despite being another first moment for him.

How different he looked to how he ever looked before.

He had flaming red hair, was only a couple inches taller than me, and while his figure was fit, it was not striking. Rather, it was comfortable, and he dressed casually. Yet, it was him. It was the man that I had loved for many a lifetime.

“Other ways?” I said with a sigh, “are you about to offer me a social proscription?”

He raised a red eyebrow.

“A social proscription?” he repeated.

“Oh, did I read you wrong?”

“No, you didn’t. I’m just surprised how easy I am to read.”

“And you don’t like being easy to read?” I surmised, based on experience.

“No, I don’t prefer that. But it’s a good look for you.”

“That will make this easier; I have a habit of reading people like you.”

“Do you?” he asked.

“Yes, I do. Can’t say I’m always right. But I do it anyway.”

He looked serious.

“That was a joke,” I clarified.

“Oh.” He smiled and did a little chuckle that was very delayed and a little uncomfortable. I knew that laugh. “Well, what I was going to say that, it is proper to be alone, but you seem like the sort who is lonely.”


“Yes. It’s something that I noticed.” He rolled his shoulders, worried that he was offending me. “I’m going to assume that you won’t be upset with what I said, but—”

“But I’m not,” I assured him, “even if you may be wrong, I am not. Because I don’t get offended easily anymore, but you knew that too.”

“How would I know that?”

“It’s because of the way that you were when you sat down. You looked comfortable, like you had been practicing coming up to me. Therefore, I assumed that you have been studying how to do this for a little while. That could only happen if you had been listening in on my conversation.”

I turned back to him and now chose to analyze his features better. His skin was a healthy peach and pink, his eyes were gray, and his nose was defined. And in his gaze was the burning passion that could melt the strongest of wills. Under that strong face was a passionate man. Also, from what I could gather, he was in his forties.

“Or am I wrong?” I asked.

He sighed.

“Sorry,” he said, “I could not help it.”

“Again, I’m not offended.”

“Well,” he responded, relaxing his shoulders, “you are very different from what I have met before. Now I feel as if I was right to be a romantic sleuth.”

Suddenly, Jenny came between us, inquisitive. She looked at him. Then she looked at me.

“Ew-Ew,” she said, in the way that women coo when they say things like ‘James and Mary sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!’. Darcy and I blushed as she walked away.

“Did she really just do that?” he asked, sipping his Guinness.

“If she didn’t do that, then she wouldn’t be Jenny,” I replied. “She’s surprised that I’m still talking to you. Usually, I’m not in the mood.”

“But you’re in the mood for me?” he asked, his voice husky, unable to mask his feelings.

I was not in the mood to make it easy on him either.

“I’m tired,” I replied. “I just don’t have the energy this time.”

“Yes,” he said, his eyes twinkling. “That’s the tone. By the way, I just realized that I never told you my name. I’m Fitzwilliam Darcy.”

I know, I thought to myself.

“Fitzwilliam, yeah.” He continued, “not my idea, of course. It’s a—”

“Family name,” I finished his sentence.

“Yes.” He looked quizzically at me.

“I made an assumption and ran with it,” I lied.

“Well, top marks for you.”

“And this is where I should give you my name, right?”

“Well, it would help,” he encouraged.

“Elizabeth. I’m Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Nice name.”

“Thanks. By the way, you’re Scottish, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I am. You’re good with accents. Mine is thick.”

I laughed.

“That’s funny?” he asked. “Good. Being funny is good.”

“No,” I replied, quieting down, “it’s just ironic, that is all. Or quite the coincidence.”

“Coincidence?” he repeated. “How?”

I looked deeply into his gray eyes, and I began to lose myself in them—again. Now that I was not in the mood for.

“Sorry,” I said, “but I can’t tell you. That’s one of those things that you don’t talk about when meeting someone.”

He looked down at the counter.

“Well, what man does not like a little mystery with his woman?”

His woman?” I repeated, amazed.

“Oh, bollix!” he hissed. “My bad!”

I chuckled.

“How transparent could you be?” I asked him.

“That was embarrassing,” he responded, covering his mouth.

“Yes, it was.” And when looking at him, I was utterly perplexed. My goodness, this Mr. Darcy was most astonishing. “You are so different from the others.”

“The others?” he asked. “Oh, other men?”

“Yes,” I rushed out, to cover myself. “Yes. Other men.”

“I hope that speaks in my favor.”

“Welcome back to Boston,” I said.

“Back? This is my first time coming.”

I looked back at the television to hide my face.

“Yes, bad wording. That’s the first sign that you picked the wrong girl to talk to.”

“Let me be the judge of that.”

He followed my eyes and looked at the show I was watching.

“What’s this show about?”

“It’s called Forever. It’s about this doctor named Henry Morgan. Every time that he dies, he wakes up again in the nearest body of water. Like if he dies in New York, he wakes up in the Hudson River. He’s immortal. Here at Clancy’s Bar, Clancy always plays the Forever/Quantum Leap marathon. At five o’clock, two episodes of Quantum Leap comes on, and then two episodes of Forever comes on. I like watching it here, rather than at home. It gives me the chance to be social without being social. Have you never seen Quantum Leap?”

Darcy shook his head.

“It’s about a genius named Samuel Beckett. He created a time travel machine that was incomplete. Rather than traveling through time, he keeps falling into the bodies of people who exist and changing their lives for the better. Once he succeeds, he leaps into another body in a different year.”

“Sounds interesting. You mentioned that they were therapeutic?”

I gave him a side glance.

“You really were eavesdropping, weren’t you?”

“Well, according to you, you knew that about me.”

“I did. That’s why I’m not surprised.”

“Why are these shows therapeutic for you?” he asked.

“Because I can connect to the characters. Especially the leads.”

“One man travels through time and wakes up in other people’s bodies, and the other one dies and then is reborn? You connect to them.”

“If you only knew...”

“Then tell me.”

Turning to him, I was about to explain further, about to fall into the very connection that we had.

Then I looked into his eyes.

The very eyes that I had fallen into so many times before.

In them, I saw another chance.

Another possibility.

But then, I also saw the end.

I saw all the disappointment.

All the pain and the loss.

And I remembered why I was alone.

“I’m sorry,” I said at last, “but I can’t do this.”

* * *

When hearing my tone change, Darcy’s eyes shifted to quiet alarm, and he was a little astounded.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

I knew what was in his heart as I saw his hand flex open and closed. I felt heartily sorry for him because this Mr. Darcy was so very much different. This one proved to have nice manners and was determined to make it easy on me this time; this one was eager to fall in love with me and there would be no fighting for his heart. And he really thought that he was making progress.

“I mean that I cannot do this,” I said, stressing the last word. I was shutting him down. Rejecting him. Within the depths of my soul, I knew that I was not only thwarting our destiny, and the road that we must walk down, but also that I was hurting him. And, in many ways, I was hurting myself. I felt my love for him return, and how I was twisting my heart in two, willing to break myself to avoid suffering my fate. I knew that I was there to love him. That I was destined to always love him. Irrevocably and irresistibly. But I was choosing not to care.

“Why not?” he asked, understanding me.

“Because I can’t,” I said, my eyes filling with emotion. My blood was boiling in my veins, my mind crying out that I was betraying myself—but I ignored it. “I just can’t.”

As I stood up to walk away and make a hasty retreat, Darcy turned to me sharply.

“Who was he?” he asked. “The man who hurt you. He really pulled a number on you, didn’t he?”

I looked squarely at him, and I felt my expression burn into his eyes.

“He died. So, in a way, you can say he hurt me very much.”


“Please. Let me walk away.”

He shrunk back into his seat but didn’t say anything.

I saw the pain in his eyes and did everything that I could to resist him.

“Thank you. Goodbye, Mr. Darcy.”

“Goodbye, Elizabeth.”

I nodded to him, slung my bag over my shoulder and raced away. Ignoring Clancy’s look of concern, and Jenny, as she felt sorry for me, I dashed to the door and threw it open.

Once I was outside, the Rapture was building up within me.

Turn around, it cried. Turn around and go back inside.

The Rapture made my blood burn and I felt as if the sky was turning cloudy all because of my actions. My vision was becoming too sharp, and I could see things that were a mile away with perfect clarity. My smell was now inhaling everything, and it was burning my nose, and the sounds of traffic! A bus drove past me, and I had to cover my ears, or its sound would have made my eardrums burst. And the touch of the sidewalk was seeping through my shoes, and I felt it begin to pull my feet down.

To escape the rain, and to suppress the effects of the Rapture, I began to jog down the block. When I realized that the exercise was helping to suppress the symptoms, I quickened my pace.

The deafening sounds were lessening.

My sight was returning to normal.

The sidewalk was no longer pulling me down.

And quickly, I was no longer inhaling every scent that was in the air.

I ran faster.

Faster and faster.

I must have looked mad to all the people as I rushed past them, ran across the street just as a streetlight turned red, and told people to get out of the way.

When I was completely exhausted, I stopped, planted my hands on my knees, and began to gasp for air.

The Rapture was over.

I leaned against a bus sign, to rest and catch my breath better. Removing my heels from out of my flat shoes, I let my feet breathe.

Suddenly, there was a gunshot in the air.

The whole street was in chaos as a gunman raced out of a store, shooting into the crowd, and people began to run.

I stood there, transfixed, and not afraid of the event. In fact, blindly, I only felt compelled to move forward to the tragedy to find out if anyone was still alive and if I could suppress the attacker.

Despite my lack of stature, my experiences had given me surprising strength and I had experience at taking down mad gunmen before while ducking being shot at.

Therefore, I moved my way through the crowd that was rushing against me, and I felt like a fish trying to swim upstream.

From the people who were crying out for where their children were.

Women and men running away from the evil that they never thought would have happened to them.

The horror on their faces.

The devastation of possibly being innocent victims to some villain’s evil.

The News would never show the innocent who died, but the villain who killed.

But I saw their faces as I rushed through the crowds that were pushing me backwards to escape being slaughtered.

I neared the shooter just as he shot another person. Taking a small bat out of my bag, and ducking behind a car that was behind him, I planned how I could throw the contents of my bag at him, distracting him as I would strike him across the face. I saw his victim fall on the ground.

It was a young man. Too young.

The scene of the crowd running. The gunman and the loss of life that fell before me.

And seeing Darcy again.

While I acted, it made me fall back into time. Back to when it all began...


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