This is my current WIP, another Regency romance. This is currently the beginning of the first chapter, but when I think through how much the beginning of Petticoats and Promises changed during editing, I do not promise that a single word of this will be in the final story!
The simple fact was, Charity Bellingham should have been born a boy.
Charity, not for the first time, was pondering this as she practised her scales on the piano. C major. C minor harmonic. C minor melodic. She had played these enough times that her fingers knew the positions by rote, leaving her able to mull things over as she played. If she had been a boy, perhaps her parents would have loved her. (C sharp major; all the sharps.) If she had been born a boy, wouldn’t have been thrown out of Forsbury, their old, beautiful house. The entail would have gone to her. (D minor harmonic – easy) If she had been a boy, perhaps her father wouldn’t even be dead. She might have been with him as he toured their estate, able to fetch help immediately he was thrown from his house. He wouldn’t have lain there alone so many hours, wouldn’t have caught that awful chill which led two days later to his death.
If she had been a boy…. E flat melodic minor. Charity thumped the notes down, trying to drown out the voice in her head. Her mother looked up from the chair in which she sat sewing, her lips pursed.
“Charity! There can hardly be a need for that volume. It is unladylike.”
And ah yes, there it was. The fact that in all ways save the only one which mattered, Charity was a boy – or at any rate was boyish. Having been born a girl, she had not even had the courtesy to act like one. To pursue girlish interests with the same enthusiasm as her sister. Rebecca, source of this comparison, looked up from her place at her mother’s side, and gave Charity a sympathetic smile. Becca, like their mother, was sewing: a neat line of stitches to embroider a dress. The best that could be said about Charity’s sewing was that it was serviceable: two edges she sewed together would stay sewn, but they would win no merit for beauty. She preferred reading to sewing, and outdoor exercise to either.