This is a 300-500 word work using the word “brash.” I did a re-telling of “Persuasion.” From EverAddams. This is the first draft, which was a bit over 500 words.
William was brash, bold, and confident. Handsome, cultivated, and rich. His wife, the source of his wealth, had died not long before he returned.
Anne was plain, poor, and intelligent. She was a romantic at heart, but knew that she’d thrown away her chance when she said “no” to a suitor who was, she was persuaded to believe, too poor to be worth throwing her life away on. Although he was now rich, riches that he earned through courage, skill, and bravery, he had long since forgotten her and moved on and, she’d heard, he’d soon be married to another woman, one more deserving of his attentions.
William had heard much about Anne in casual conversation with others in their mutual circle. That she was kind, solicitous, and devoted. Perhaps, he wondered, her veneer hid a passion that he would relish suffering for, as he never had for his late wife. He came upon her quite by accident, as they both happened to be attending an event at the Metropolitan Museum. She was among friends and he was alone, the subject of more than a few hopeful glances from eligible daughters and their mothers.
The pair bumped into each other while admiring some Monet Haystacks. They’d not met before that bump, and each endeavored to outdo the other’s apology. When one of Anne’s friends formally introduced him, he took her hand and lifted it for a light kiss. Which drew a blush from her and a gasp from her companions.
He continued the evening by accompanying the others from gallery to gallery, devoting particular attention to her and truly impressed by her knowledge of the paintings on display. At the event’s close, he asked if they might meet for dinner and, with the encouragement of her friends, she agreed.
Anne remained apprehensive about him. He had done some unpleasant things in his past, although that part of him appeared to have vanished. Indeed, she knew his attentions towards her were genuine. That notwithstanding her plainness, poverty, and intelligence, he wanted to share his life with her.
There were two people who did not like William. Mary, a school friend, knew firsthand of his cruelty, having been rendered indigent by it with her late husband. Frederick knew little of the man himself but recognized his type. More important, Frederick had never forgotten Anne and upon seeing her at a different Manhattan event knew that he never would. Never could. Yet he despaired upon hearing, as news spread throughout their circle, that Anne and William were destined to wed. His efforts to find another woman he could love could not be successful so long as she breathed. But he would bear the loss for there was no alternative.
Anne was the last to learn that news and was shocked when she did. For all his attractiveness, there was something at William’s core that she knew would prevent her from ever loving him. And there was something in her own core that would prevent her from loving anyone but Frederick.
Anne and Frederick ran into one another soon thereafter. He was walking his dog in Central Park and she was on a run. She stopped, and he offered his congratulations. She looked at him. “It is not true. None of it.” And while his Lab sat waiting and her sweat began to chill her, they stared at one another and their hands touched.