Up until one of the very final drafts of Time and Tenacity, Jane and her family had to travel to 1965 rather than 1995 to find Dr. Bennet. I thought that the 1960s would be a more distinctive setting for the both the reader and the characters after being in 2015 so long, plus it would be a nice nod to the book’s origins as a “Pride and Prejudice meets Doctor Who” fan fiction, the latter half at least. Here’s what the scene when Jane first wakes up looked like:
“What is going on here?” A police officer shook her. Jane woke up to find herself lying on the grass.
“It’s all right, they’re with me,” Riley said. He was dressed in a purple suit with a white hat.
“Well, tell them to take whatever they’re protesting now somewhere else!” the police officer said.
“You’re adjusting fast,” Riley said, helping Jane up. “You were only out about five minutes this time.” Jane looked around her. She was still on the university campus, but beyond a few familiar buildings, there was nothing but green space. The men and woman walking around were wearing suits and dresses and even hats.
Jane looked at Isabella, who was dressed in short, sleeveless white dress, and Eleanor, who was dressed in a stylish green shirt with white pants. Fly was dressed in jeans and red T-shirt, while Edward was dressed in suit like Riley’s, only blue.
“You look amazing,” she told Riley. “So do you,” Riley said, squeezing her hand. He put a white headband on Isabella and his hat on Edward. Jane took a look at herself in the fountain. She was wearing a beautiful short yellow dress with short sleeves. She tousled her hair. It was the perfect touch.
Differences in details aside, the plot unfolds nearly identically to the final draft from that scene until they get to Darcy House. Obviously Eleanor can’t meet Little Colin fifty years in the past, so she meets little Billy Darcy, Colin’s father, instead.
The woman who opened the door looked like an older Brittany, except with Colin’s face. “What in the world do you need at seven in the evening?” the woman asked.
“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Darcy,” Gillian said. “We got locked out of our house and we need to use your phone to call a locksmith.”
Mrs. Darcy looked at them suspiciously. “I don’t recognize you. Where exactly do you live?”
“Mom, Georgiana’s loose in the backyard!” a little boy cried. Eleanor shivered. He looked like a miniature Colin. His hair was even similarly unkempt.
“How did that stupid gerbil get outside?” Mrs. Darcy cried.
“I thought she needed some fresh air. I put her in her ball in the back porch and it broke.” Mrs. Darcy turned to Eleanor. “Fine, just take care of you business quickly.”
“Probably only one of us actually needs to go in,” Gillian said. “The rest of us will wait in the backyard.”
“You should go, Eleanor,” Jane said. “You know the house the best.”
Eleanor didn’t want to argue in front of Gillian. “All right.”
Mrs. Darcy led Eleanor through the living room and handed her a pink box. “Here’s the phone. Billy, don’t touch that time capsule!” Eleanor picked up the handle of the pink box, and then set it down softly as soon as Mrs. Darcy left the room. She walked toward the backyard.
“Where are you going?” Billy asked. Eleanor was so startled she nearly ran into a gold canister.
“What is this thing?” she asked Billy. “They’re going to put a time capsule in the new museum and open it on the museum’s fiftieth anniversary.”
“Yeah, the 21st century. Bet it will be like The Jetsons, with robots and spaceships.”
“Can I put something in?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Eleanor pulled a pen and a piece of paper off a nearby desk, trying to think of a quick note of apology to Colin. She hastily wrote it, stuck it in the capsule, and slipped out to the backyard where her family waited.
Cute, but not much of a thought process going on for Eleanor, right? As I was furiously trying to polish the final draft, I realized the whole plot hinged on Eleanor coming to a realization about why Colin is the way he is while at Darcy House. Meeting younger versions of Colin’s dad and grandmother just couldn’t provide the same insight into Colin as meeting Colin himself, so little Billy (and the gerbil, much to my regret) had to go.
It also meant deleting another little scene I adored that took place after the Murder Most Genteel, the follow-up to that whole time capsule matter. Instead of Jane and Gillian, the scene featured Dr. Williamson playing sort of a reverse Colonel Fitzwilliam:
Dr. Williamson handed him [Colin] a sheet of paper. “Bob, Nancy, and I were looking in the time capsule after the museum’s anniversary celebration last week and we found something quite interesting.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know. It’s addressed to you.”
Colin opened it.
Please do not be alarmed. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back from 1995, but I want to offer you my sincerest apologies regarding Riley. He has fooled me and my entire family in regards to my mother and the machine, so I am not surprised he fooled you and dearest Brittany as well. You are such a kind brother and I wish all the best for your happiness.
“You sure this was in the time capsule?” Colin said. “You’re not just pulling my leg?”
“Nancy and Bob were there too and you know Bob couldn’t pull a prank to save his life.”
Colin looked back at Eleanor. “Okay, Maggie, what do I have to lose?” he said to himself.
So in the end, I had to murder a few of my darlings, but hey, thanks to the Internet, you still got to read them! The year 1965 still even made it into the book, as you might have caught: it’s the year Edward and Colin’s favorite book, The Gate of the Year, is partially set in. Speaking of that book, there’s quite a story behind it as well, one I’ll share soon!