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Re: A Message (Short Story)


Ah yes, short and sweet and it's amazing how the span of only a few weeks has had such a profound effect on Adele and Tom. They write and fulfill part of their longing with words, but it was obvious that nothing would take the place of their next face-to-face meeting. The weight of longing was beginning to take a toll, although a positive one on both of them and nothing short of a passionate clench was going to ease the tension that had built in the weeks they were apart.

The last thing Tom wants to do is keep things slow between them, but when Adele expressed her wishes that they not rush themselves, he intended to honor her request until she bade him to kiss her. All bets were off after that. I have to wonder if they will forego dinner and/or drinks and go straight up to her flat. Or will calmer heads prevail and they pace themselves for the next few days that Tom is on leave in London. Something tells me that they will tamp down their wants and needs for at least another evening. By then I think there will be a true understanding and realization that no one is promised tomorrow so one should grab all the happiness and love they can WHEN they can.

Great chapter, exquisitely capturing all the feelings between Adele and Tom as they come together before his big assignment. I enjoyed it very much. Looking forward to chapter 6! emoticon
9/4/2017, 5:26 am Link to this post Send Email to Pambi   Send PM to Pambi
 
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Re: A Message (Short Story)


Thank you, darling, for reviewing. I sent you an email with my thoughts on your thoughts. emoticon

Now, before you read this chapter, you have to watch this clip because it inspired me when writing this scene. It's from Tom's film "The Deep Blue Sea". The part I want you to see starts around the 35 second mark but you may as well watch the whole damn thing because it is Tom. emoticon

The way Hester looks at Freddie in this scene is how I imagine Adele looking at Tom in the following scenes. She is shy but completely and utterly taken with him.

The Deep Blue Sea



Without further ado, here is chapter six.

Six

February 9-11th, 1944 – London

The first night of Tom’s visit to London had been spent over dinner at a restaurant. They had both looked forward to this dinner for weeks but when the event actually happened, neither of them found themselves very hungry. Adele did not understand her feelings but Tom did. The entire time they sat across from each other he could think of nothing else than making love to her. That red dress and those red lips were enough to drive him crazy but he was trying his very best to be on his very best behaviour.

The incident in the phone box had not helped. Perhaps if they had met at the restaurant, as planned, things would not have gotten out of hand as they did. Now the whole time together was spent in anticipation of what might come next, but once again Tom was putting those emotions on the backburner as the last thing he wanted was for her to think that that was the only reason why he was in London.

“As you can see, I haven’t run away yet”, Adele said when dinner was over and they were enjoying a glass of wine. It was well after midnight but the couples were still dancing to the slow songs and enjoying the company of loved ones, as Adele was enjoying just sitting across from Tom. When he got up to sit next to her, she felt glad he did.
 “I wouldn’t let you run away”, he said, putting his arm around her. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, feeling the lull of the wine go to her head. “You’re more beautiful than I remembered.”
“So are you.”
“You’re not drunk are you?” he asked teasingly.
“Maybe a little.”

He stroked her hair and she was content to rest on his shoulder. She opened her eyes and looked up at him, admiring his cheek bones and the strong profile of his face.

“How did this happen?”
“How did what happen?”
She sat up more: “This.”

He looked at her face, studied her lips and wanted to kiss them. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and all he could think about was how she looked in that dress and how he wanted to make love to her. He put his hand up to her face and stroked the side of it lightly.
“You put a spell on me.”
“I rather think it was the other way around”, Tom said, smiling down at her. She rested her head back down and closed her eyes again.
“I’m afraid to open my eyes. I’m afraid that this will all have been a dream.”
“That won’t happen.”

She opened them and looked at him.

“Your eyes are the colour of the sea.”
“Is that a compliment?”
“No, just a fact.”
“Tell me another fact then”, he said and took a sip of his wine.
“This wine is going to my head.”
“That’s okay…you’ve gone to my head.”
She smiled, kissed him on the cheek and then sat up and reached for her package of cigarettes.

“Now you tell me a fact.”
“You won’t like my facts.”
“Why not?”
“Because they’re truths.”

She lit the cigarette and inhaled. She was not ready for what came next.

“I’m in love with you.”

The words made her freeze for a moment and she felt the effects of the wine vanish. Her mind was sober and her nerves were as calm as she could make them appear to be. She took another drag.

“Don’t talk like that.”
“Like what?”
“That’s a silly thing to say.”
“Why is that?”
“Because it is.”
“Well I’m not going to take it back.”

She looked at him and passed him the cigarette to finish it.

“Please, Tom, I need you to slow down.”
“It’s hard to slow down when life is in fast forward.”

The conversation had turned serious all of a sudden. She could see that he wanted to make a point and she listened.

“I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t meant it.”

She adjusted herself, a bit uncomfortable with the tone of the conversation. She wished she did not feel this way.

“Did someone hurt you before?” Tom asked, his voice gentle but concerned. She looked at him and smiled.
“It’s not that.”
“So there was someone.”
“Not really. He was more a friend than a lover.”
“What happened?”
“I guess I just didn’t feel the same way for him that he did for me. I put nursing first. I always have.”

She was looking down into her glass of wine, avoiding his eyes. He put his hand on her chin and gently turned her head to look at him.
“Is that the way it’s always going to be for you?”
“I can love two things at once, can’t I?”

This put a smile on his face that helped her feel more at ease.

“So you admit that you love me.”
“You’re putting words in my mouth.”
“No, just a kiss.”

He leaned over and kissed her, cupping her face in his one hand, his other arm around her shoulders. She responded by putting her one arm around his shoulder and holding him close to her. His lips started to descend down her neck again and she had never felt anything like this before. She had been with Matthew like this but it had never felt like this, but he was the furthest thing from her mind right now.

“I have a fact for you”, he whispered into her ear. “I want to make love to you.”
She did not respond, at least not with words. She did not stop him from kissing her neck and was slightly surprised when a few moments later, he stopped.
“Let me walk you home.”
“Alright”, she said, a bit surprised that he wanted to leave. He helped her with her coat, paid the bill, and put on his own coat before escorting her out the restaurant.

As he walked her home through Hyde Park, they moved on to discuss their lives with one another. They spoke about their parents, her brother, the fact that he was an only child, and how and where they grew up. By the end of their first night they had both sobered up and parted ways at the entrance to her apartment building.

“Were you not having a good time?” she asked, a bit concerned that he did not want to remain as they were. She regretted the things she had said to him in those moments, wondering if she had hurt him. He took her hand and kissed it, getting a serious look in his eyes.
“I promised myself that I would not try to rush you and I feel I have.”
“I’m sorry if I appear cold. I told you in my letters that I don’t mean to be this way.”
“I’m the one who’s sorry. I don’t want to lose you by trying to rush into something you’re not ready for. I’m willing to wait.”
She looked up at him, touched that he was saying this to her and trying to sound so understanding. She wondered in those moments if he was for real.
“I promised to be a gentleman.”
“And you have been”, she assured him. “It’s not been easy for me either. Seeing you tonight has opened up a flood gate of emotions I’ve never felt before.”
“And I assure you I feel the same way.”

She put her arms around his shoulders and he pulled her by the waist, close to him. She could feel the warm emanating from his body. She liked standing here like this and the fact that she was able to be honest with him. She was learning to fight her feelings less and to open herself up to him more.

“I’d invite you in but my landlady would have many questions.”
“You could say I’m your brother.”
“Not if she saw us in the phone box earlier.”
He chuckled.
“We could always go back to it.”
“That wouldn’t be a very nice place to spend time together.”
“I’d be happy spending time with you anywhere.”
She smiled. She wanted to invite him in but knew it was not such a great idea. Besides, she had to work in the morning and he knew that. They both knew the sensible thing to do would be to part ways then and there, but instead they decided to spend the next hour or so sitting on a bench in the square across the street and just talk.



Last edited by OrlilLicious, 9/6/2017, 1:31 am
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Re: A Message (Short Story)


Their second evening together was spent walking through the streets of London, casually going in and out of shops or museums that they felt like visiting. Tom wore his uniform, as he had the previous night as well, and she could see that people were admiring it. Men often wore their uniforms in the streets while on leave, but airmen were a select group of men and not something one saw in the streets every day. Adele was very conscious of this and felt proud as they walked around together, arm in arm. She had not thought about the future much until this evening, wondering what it held for them. She was too afraid to ask him this question, however, knowing that he didn’t have any answers and worried that he might think of the future too much. She thought about what he said last night, that life was in fast forward. Now that he was in her life, she wanted to stop time from going by. She needed time for the newness of their feelings to set in but she knew that time was not on their side, at least not for this leave. It made her want to hold onto him all the more.



Tom’s last day in London was spent waiting for Adele to finish her shift. She was done by mid-afternoon and they decided to have an early supper, this time a more causal affair than the previous night. She wore her blue dress with the white embroidery on the neckline and her black heels. She walked around her apartment with the curlers still in her hair, waiting for her nails to dry. She was excited and nervous about seeing him tonight but more excited than anything else. For some reason time slipped through their fingers when she was with him. He made hours feel like minutes, and time just flew by. These last few days had been a whirlwind of emotions for her and she had done a lot of thinking as she laid in bed last night. She could not sleep and thought of what he was doing or what he was thinking, knowing full well that he was thinking of her.

Now that her nails were dry, she applied the rest of her make-up, finished her hair, and gathered everything in her purse that she needed. She was out the door and in the taxi, on her way to the restaurant to meet Tom. When she arrived, he was waiting at the table for her, wearing his RAF uniform. She thought he looked very handsome. She saw that he had flowers on the table, a bunch of red roses. He picked them up to give them to her. She blushed and was surprised.

“For you.”
“They’re beautiful.”
“You’ll have to forgive me. I should have given them to you last night but I wasn’t thinking straight.”
She kissed him and he lingered in the moment, not letting her go right away. She loved the way his arm cradled her back and the other on her face.

When they sat down, it was side by side tonight and not across from one another. He wanted to be close to her, and often touched her hand or her face while they waited for their dinner to arrive. It took them a long time to eat their meal as they were enjoying talking and sipping their wine. After three hours, they decided to leave and go to a night club in Piccadilly Circus. Tom walked in with her on his arm and could not be more proud to do so. The uneasiness they had both felt their first night was subdued as they just enjoyed each other’s company.

Tom helped her with her coat and found a booth for them to sit in. Some eyes fell on them as they sat together and as Adele noticed the way some of the women eyed Tom, she felt proud to be with him. Little did she know that he was staying so close for he could also see the way some of the men were eyeing her. Yet after a while, they hardly noticed anything but each other.

The air was full of smoke and the lights were low. A candle was lit on their table and it illuminated her face as he gazed down at her. She looked around the room for a few moments and enjoyed the music.

“You know I don’t want this night to end.”
“Neither do I…and I don’t have to work tomorrow so we can stay out as long as we want.”
“That sounds lovely.”

She took a sip of her wine and then picked up the lit cigarette that they were sharing.

“Where are you staying again?”
“I have a flat in Knightsbridge. Not far from Paddington.”
She mustered up the courage to say what she wanted to say next.
“Perhaps we could spend some time there later…if you want.”

She was too shy to look at him to see his reaction but she felt the intensity of the emotions that passed between them.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?” she asked him, looking at him for the first time since she had suggested it. There was a serious look in her eyes as she held the cigarette close to her face, the smoke rising in a dark white mist. He thought she looked gorgeous and could not resist kissing her. As they kissed, the words of the music played in their ears.

See the pyramids along the Nile
Watch the sun rise on a tropic isle
Just remember, darling, all the while
You belong to me.


With his one arm around her shoulders, he started to follow along to the words of the song, singing softly to her:

See the marketplace in old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
But remember when a dream appears
You belong to me.


She smiled as he sang and felt intensely shy but happy. It was a happiness she had never felt before. When the final verse came on, she tried to sing along:

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too, and blue

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
Watch the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember till you're home again
You belong to me.



Back at his rental flat, she sat on the sofa and watched as he stoked the fire in an attempt to get more heat. It was a small flat and she got up to investigate it, looking around. He turned to see what she was doing and silently admired the view. When she turned to walk back, he was standing in front of the fire place, his hands in his pockets.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, making her way over to him.
“Absolutely nothing.”

While she felt nervous, she tried her best not to show it. She could tell that he was also nervous and this made her feel more at ease. He had only agreed to her coming to his flat because she insisted she wanted to. It was now after midnight and they both had too much to drink yet neither of them were feeling the effects. She felt level headed and knew exactly where she was and what she wanted. She put her arms around his shoulders and kissed him softly on the lips.

“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“I’ve never done this before”, she admitted, but she knew that was obvious enough. “Have you?”
He did not want to lie to her.
“Yes”, he said hesitantly, worried this would upset her.

She felt a jealous knot in her stomach but had already known the answer to this. Men generally had an easier time with this sort of thing than women, this much she knew. Her brother had been with a few women, being older and more worldly than she was.

“And will it be the same with me?”

He put his hands up to her face and eased her face towards him so that she was looking at him.

“I’ve never felt like this before.”
“Neither have I.”

She suddenly broke free from his arms and felt the need to sit down. He joined her on the sofa, taking her hand in his.

“I’ve been truthful with you all along and I didn’t want to lie to you about it.”
“I’m not upset about that.”
“Then why are you?”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me.”
“I want to be with you”, she said, feeling tears well up in her eyes and trying her best to fight them off. She did and was able to sound calm when she spoke the next words. “I’ve done a lot of thinking these past two days and I don’t want you leaving tomorrow thinking that I don’t care for you.”
“Why else would you be here if you didn’t care for me?”

She suddenly got up and he grabbed her by the hand. She stood there for a few seconds until she heard him start to the sing the words from the song earlier:

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too, and blue
Just remember till you're home again
You belong to me.


She smiled and looked at him as he stood up, took her in his arms and started slow dancing. The radio was on low and the fire was the only source of light in the flat.

“Do you know how tempting you are?”
She smiled, resting her head on his shoulder.
“And how much I want to make love to you?...but I want to prove something to you.”
“What’s that?”

He stopped and looked down at her.

“That you’re unlike anyone else I’ve ever met and that I know you’re worth waiting for…all I want tonight is to be here with you, like this, nothing more.”


They spent his last night in London together, talking and enjoying being in each other’s arms. It was not how either of them expected to spend his last night but he knew it was right not to push her. As much as she wanted to, he did want to prove that he was not like other guys and that he could wait for something as precious as she was to him. He needed to prove that to her.

“I promise, I’ll come back. I have too much to live for now.”

She pulled herself further into his arms and inhaled the scent of his body. He felt so good in her arms and she wanted more than anything for this night to go on forever, but dawn was on the horizon and the inevitable would have to happen.

9/6/2017, 1:29 am Link to this post Send Email to OrlilLicious   Send PM to OrlilLicious
 
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Re: A Message (Short Story)


When dawn did come, as it always does, she watched as he packed his suitcase. He did not have much to pack and it did not take him long. Her eyes lingered on his body and she admired him, drinking in every inch she could. She wanted to remember him this way and knew she would fantasize about this night for many nights to come. She was sad that he was leaving but their quiet conversation was comforting in those last moments together.

“I never expected this”, she told him. She grabbed his hand.
He sat down beside her and held her hand in his.
“What didn’t you expect?”
“You.”

He smiled and brought her hand up to his lips. He lingered there a few moments.

“Thank you for saying that. Now I know you’re going to love me one day.”

She smiled and kissed him on the lips, closing her eyes and tasting his lips. They moved closer and he leaned her back on the sofa, kissing her deeply. Time was drawing near for him to leave. Any minute now the taxi would arrive and they would have to leave: she to go home, and him back to duty. It was a wonderful moment and she felt him react to the sound of the phone when it did come.

“Yes, alright. I’ll be right down.”

They both went in the taxi and it dropped her off at her flat in Paddington first. He told the driver to wait as he got out of the car to say goodbye to her. He turned and took her hands in his.

“Thank you for not running away”, he joked, recalling what she had said in her letter to him. How he wished this was not the end of his leave. “I don’t know how long it’ll be this time.”

He watched as she took something out of her purse. It was a small envelope, tied with ribbon.
“I have something for you. You can’t open it until later, when you’re alone.”
“Sounds intriguing.”

He smiled, put it in his pocket, and looked down at her. He put his hands on her arms and pulled her into an embrace. Conscious of the fact that he had to be leaving, he then pulled her into a kiss and they lingered that way for several seconds. When they stopped, he rested his forehead against hers.

“Goodbye then”, she said softly, holding back emotion. She was holding on to his coat and unconsciously holding tighter than she thought.
“I’ll write to you. Don’t forget to write back.”
“I won’t”, she promised.

He stole one last kiss and then got into the car.
“I’ll see you soon.”

There was a lump in his throat as the car pulled away and he felt himself starting to cry. He only let a few tears fall before he wiped them away, not caring if the driver saw or not. He pulled out the envelope from his pocket and decided he could not wait to open it. He tore at the ribbon tied around it and found what looked like a white handkerchief, which opened suddenly when he picked it up, revealing a photograph of Adele inside. It wasn’t a professional photo but rather one where she had obviously cut herself out. He then looked at the back of the photo and she had signed it,

“I belong to you” – Adele



When Adele got into her apartment, she threw her purse down on the table and removed her shoes. She felt like she was in a bit of a daze, happy yet sad at the same time. She wanted to cry but tears would not come. She knew they would come later.

She went to the window and opened it to see that it was beginning to rain lightly. She looked out at the phone box across the street and smiled as she remembered being there with Tom just a few nights ago. She mused to herself at how quickly the time went and wished she could rewind the clock.

She had known that when she met with him again that he would change everything for her. She was much more aware of herself and her feelings than ever before, especially her sexual desires for him. But she knew that there was much more than just that: he had changed her on the inside, too. Even though she still felt the effects of his lips on hers, and the way he felt under her hands, she was happy that they had decided to wait. It would give her something to look forward to for the next time they met, but neither of them knew that it would be nearly three months before they would see one another again.




Last edited by OrlilLicious, 9/6/2017, 3:14 am
9/6/2017, 1:29 am Link to this post Send Email to OrlilLicious   Send PM to OrlilLicious
 
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Re: A Message (Short Story)


This is a very sweet chapter, one of self-discovery and yes, some regret. I admire the restraint Tom managed to keep on his longings to make Adele his own, claiming her with his body as he had with his heart. Adele also had to deal with restraint in addition to her fear that lack of experience might disappoint Tom. The few days she spent with Tom made her quite well aware of a blossoming of emotions that she could keep in check for a while, but not indefinitely. They gave each other kissed tinged with promises of more as time flew by, and when they parted the air was thick with emotions that they could barely keep from bursting forth. I thought it was sweet and special that Adele had written a note for Tom to read alone, and that the words were from the song they danced and sang to each other. I love romance! Speaking of, the video from the movie Tom and Rachel starred in was excellent (the way it used the song's words to express their budding feelings for each other). The part when they were sitting together and singing, then looking into each other's eyes was what I'd call that moment when the world goes away--nothing exists but one another. Very sexy. Thank you for sharing the clip.

I enjoyed chapter 6 very much. I look forward to the next one. Will it fast-forward 3 months later? Inquiring minds want to know! emoticon
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Re: A Message (Short Story)


Seven

April 17th, 1944 - London

The days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months. After a while, Adele became numb to the pain she felt in his absence. Something that she had managed to live so long without was now threatening her: love. Being at the hospital helped but she found that she was more emotional than normal and seeing the wounds of men affected her in a way that it hadn’t before. Being in the surgical unit was a bit trying, even though it had never been like this for her. It wasn’t that she did not enjoy her work, it was rather that every wound she saw, every broken body she tried to fix, reminded her of Tom and what could happen to him.

She stifled her fears for him as much as possible. After his last leave, she realized she found herself more and more concerned for his safety, even though she received regular letters from him. She tried not to read the newspapers too much as they often reported disasters. And then there was the worry about her brother Jonathan, whom her parents reported had been wounded on the SS Dover. The extent of his wounds were not reported so it left her family wondering how serious it was and if he would succumb to the injuries.

As a result of this news, she was spending more time with her mother. She had not seen much of her as she should have in the past few years since the outbreak of war, but she was never close to her and had always been her father’s daughter; whereas her brother had been closer to their mother. Since Jonathan had decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps in the medical profession, there was a gulf in their relationship that simply had not closed.

When she was paged to her father’s office one day, she feared the worst. She took the elevator up to the 10th floor and walked down the hall to the office. Her father was in there, staring at the phone. He looked up at her when she walked in. For the first time in her life she saw her father look afraid.

“What is it?” Adele asked, alarmed.
“Jonathan’s at the Royal Military Hospital in Chelsea. They say he was wounded in the leg.”
“How bad?”
Her father’s face looked pale.
“They tell me he may never walk again.”
“We should go.”
“I’ll get the car and ring your mother.”

Adele felt her heart sink but without hesitation she told him she would get her coat and gather up her things. The three of them drove to Chelsea in London in mostly silence. It was with heavy hearts and a great amount of fear that they entered the hospital. Her mother started to cry and her father decided it was best if Adele went in first. He wasn’t sure if her mother could handle the shock.

Silently relieved that she would not have to worry about her mother, she went into the hospital and found the ward. She was admitted with few questions, it being obvious that she too was a nurse as she was still in her uniform. She found herself wanting to see him but at the same time worried about exactly what she would see.

When she came to his bed, she hardly recognized him. He was almost ghostly white and his hair looked lighter than she remembered. Being part of the navy did not allow for much home leave, so the last time he was home was over a year ago, and Adele could not make the trip to London as she was stationed elsewhere. She had not seen him in two years but it may as well have been twenty. She was looking at her brother, but someone who had aged.

He was asleep and she took the opportunity to review his chart. She could see what type of medicine he was on and noted he was on a fairly heavy pain killer via intravenous. She sat in the chair near the bed and studied his face: he had a substantial amount of stubble on his face and she had never seen him like that before; his hair was short and there was a lot of grey at the sides, making his dark hair look more salt and peppered; there were lines in his face that were not there before.

She could not resist reaching out and touching his hand. He did not stir and it was several minutes before she saw him move. She thought about going to get her parents but then he stirred again and opened his eyes. She could see his green eyes look at her but for a moment she did not think he knew who she was.

She grabbed his hand again.

“Hi stranger”, she said, smiling.
“You must be an angel.”
She wondered if he was too medicated to know who she was, but that worry was quickly dissolved when he spoke next.
“You were never an angel, sis.”

At this she smiled and her heart felt relieved.

 “Where the hell am I?”
“Chelsea. You’re in the best hospital in London.”
“Then that means I got it bad.”
“I don’t know much. I think father is finding out more now.”
“Dear old father”, he said, a sardonic tone in his voice. Then he changed and looked at her, his eyes looking more alert than they had a minute ago.
“It’s good to see you, sis.”
“It’s good to see you.”
“How are you?”
“Surviving….like everyone else.”
He smiled.
“You look beautiful.”
“It’s the uniform.”
“I wish there were pretty nurses here. At least then I could bear it, but they’re all dreadful.”

She smiled when he said this and she was glad to hear the old Jonathan come through.

“And I need a fag. Do you have any?”
“I left them in the car.”
“Well, if you can manage to get me the hell out of here for a few minutes, I would love to have one.”
“Okay, I’ll see what I can do.”

Adele could see that he was more alert now and seemed to be comfortable, as she checked the IV.
“I thought I was going to die”, Jonathan said to her, very matter of factly. He didn’t sound choked up by it at all.
“What happened?”
“The ship was hit by a U-boat torpedo. The next thing I remember was being in the water. I can remember drowning and then that’s it. I thought I was dead until I woke up in some hospital in Dover.”

Adele knew the Dover hospital well, and the types of injuries that were sustained varied from one man to the next, but most of the wounded were sailors from the ships defending the Channel from U-boat attacks and possible invasion by sea.

“In all honesty, I don’t feel too bad.”
“You’re on heavy morphine so I’m sure that’s helping.”
“Is my leg done?” he asked, looking down at his legs that were covered with the bed sheets.
“I don’t know anything yet.”
“Will you find out for me?”
“Of course.”
“How’s mother?”
“Worried. They’re out in the corridor but mother was too upset to come in so I think she will need some time.”

She was surprised at how long it was taking her parents to come and was glad when they did. She was worried her mother was having a nervous breakdown and that her father was trying to calm her down. It looked like that was the case when they walked in, as her mother seemed to be propped up by her father as she held his arm for support.

“My beautiful boy”, her mother said when she got to the bed and nearly collapsed there. She started to cry and Jonathan, always the dutiful son, comforted his mother when it should have been the other way around.

Her father gave her a look that signalled he wanted to talk to her outside. She went into the hallway with him.

“I’ve just been speaking to the head of staff here, Dr. Roberts. He told me he doesn’t see the point in operating on his leg as the damage is too severe.”
“What do you think?”
“I don’t know. I’d have to look at the x-rays and see it for myself.”

Adele knew that Jonathan was not going to like the fact that his father would be involved in his medical care in any way. Her brother was funny that way and the relationship between father and son had always been strained.

“If the leg is to be saved, the surgery has to happen soon, though I fear that it’s been too long as it is.”
“But it’s worth a shot, isn’t it?” Adele asked, looking up at her father. He had very intense blue eyes and even she, his daughter, could appreciate why many were intimated by him. Besides that, he was one of the best surgeons in the country and it was obvious that he would have to be the one to perform this surgery on his own son.
 


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The next day the surgery on her brother’s leg was performed and Adele was one of the surgical team in the room that morning. During the four hour surgery she admired her father’s steady hands and skill, knowing that it could not be easy as this was his own son. Even she felt a bit off about it, knowing that it was her brother she was looking at and not some anonymous young man.

It was a long, arduous surgery and the patient, skilled team that worked on her brother was the best care he could get. This was his one chance if his leg was to be saved and if he was ever going to have the hope of walking normally again. By the end of it, his leg had been saved and there would be no need for amputation, but it would be a slow road to a full recovery. She did not worry about that so much as she knew that her brother was a fighter.

She promised Jonathan that she would be there when he woke up. He felt that it was the only way he would know that he wasn’t dead. She honored her promise and spent the entire day with him after the surgery, by his side for the most part. They had him in his own recovery area, a special favour for the well-respected Dr. Owen’s son. She knew if she got any sleep it would be for a few minutes here and there, but she did try to.

She wrote a letter to Tom as she waited for her brother to wake up, informing him of everything. She had not written in almost a week and felt that she needed to get things down on paper. She had not spoken to him since he left that day in February so she had not heard his voice. The RAF would not allow phone calls from their bases, for security reasons. She would have done just about anything to be able to talk to him right then and felt a longing deep down inside her that she had probably never felt. It seemed that her pain at his absence went deeper and deeper the longer he was away.

Her brother did finally wake up and it was in the middle of the night. She was able to administer his pain medication when he asked for it.

“My very own private nurse”, he said weakly. “And the prettiest one in the whole damn place. Too bad you’re my sister”, he teased, but the more he spoke the weaker he sounded.
“Don’t talk. There’ll be plenty of time for that later.”
“Okay, boss.”

She pulled the chair closer to his bed.

“It went well. Father was able to save your leg.”
He closed his eyes and a few seconds later she saw a tear come down the side of his face. It nearly broke her heart into pieces to see her brother like this. She grabbed onto his arm.
“You’ll be able to use it again”, she said, sounding as positive as she could. She did feel positive about it but she wanted him to as well.
“I’m grateful to the old bastard”, he whispered. Then, he looked up at her and continued. “Perhaps he cares for me after all.”
“Of course he does. He always has. You’ve just been a stubborn ass most of your life.”
“I couldn’t help it.”
“Maybe it’s time to leave the past in the past now.”

She tried to smile but she could see he was weak.

“Go home”, were the last words he said before falling back into a deep sleep.


She took her brother’s advice and decided to go home to get some rest. Her mother came to the hospital to replace her and she knew that would comfort Jonathan to have her there as well. When Adele got back to her flat, she felt she could barely stand. She sat down and threw off her shoes, and as she was doing so it was then that it hit her: a flood of tears started pouring down her face and eventually her neck. She was sobbing, completely and uncontrollably for the first time since news of her brother had arrived and her last night with Tom. She had shed a tear here and there these past three months but never anything like this. It all came out and she could not stop it. Exhausted after getting it out of her system, she laid down on the sofa, not bothering to remove her coat or uniform. She did not have the strength or the will to get up and go to the bed.


When her phone rang it was about five hours later. The apartment was dark and she had a difficult time finding the phone, even though it was right beside her on the side table.

“Hello.”
“Miss Owen?”
She knew the sound of her landlady’s voice right away.
“Yes, Mrs. Wilson.”
“I wanted to let you know there is a letter here for you. It’s been here all day but you never saw it when you came in earlier.”

She went downstairs to retrieve the letter, still in her uniform. She had removed her coat once she stood up and saw she was a bit of a mess, at least her hair was. Her legs felt stiff when she started walking down the two flights of stairs until a sudden panic of fear hit her in the chest: what if the letter was bad news? Unconsciously she had been thinking about her brother’s surgery, which had been a traumatic experience for her. Now she feared that the letter might contain bad news about Tom. Her worry and concern over her brother was causing her anxiety over Tom. She walked more slowly down the stairs and felt fear in the pit of her stomach. She saw Mrs. Wilson downstairs, tiding up the front desk as it was nearly 8 o’clock.

“Hello dear, are you alright?”
“Yes.”

When Adele saw her pick up the letter and pass it to her, a huge sense of relief came over her when she saw Tom’s familiar handwriting on it. She exhaled.
“I thought something was wrong when I saw you come home this afternoon and the letter was still in your mail slot.” The concern in her voice was replaced by a smile. “I know how much you enjoy these letters from your young man.”

Your young man…Adele liked the sound of that and smiled a tired smile. Mrs. Wilson noticed and asked:

“Are you sure you’re alright?”
“My brother just had surgery yesterday.”

That was all she had to say for Mrs. Wilson to understand. She left Adele go back upstairs and when she closed the door to her flat behind her, she went to rip open the letter but decided to get comfortable first by removing her uniform. She then ran a bath and decided she would read it while relaxing in the tub. There was always a deep anticipation upon the arrival of every new letter from Tom and this one was no exception.

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“My beautiful Adele,

I had a dream about you last night. I dreamt that you were with me in my plane, sitting behind me so that I could not see you, and you were kissing my ear. Each time I tried to turn back to kiss you in return, I lost control of the plane. I then had the choice to make between looking back to kiss you and facing death, or ignoring your kisses and not look at your face. Can you guess which one I chose? I chose to have one last look at you and to kiss you before we both died. The dream ended before I crashed. I thought of Orpheus and Eurydice when I woke up and felt happy with my choice and if I had to dream it again, I would have made the same choice. The thing is I knew in the dream that I was going to die anyway, so I decided it was better to have one last look at you. For the record, you looked beautiful in my dream and you were wearing red.

You asked me how things have been here and the only thing I can tell you is that we’ve been doing a lot of patrols on the Channel, mainly to protect our ships from enemy aircraft. Luckily old Fritz has decided not to make much of a presence lately so we’ve been busy but safe. I thought you would be glad to know that most nights I’m as safe as you are in your bed. I’m warm, fed fairly well and enjoy what I’m doing. I hope the same can be said for you.

Now comes the part that is not such good news: I miss you like crazy. The nights are long and there’s little else for a man to do in my situation than to take matters into his own hands, but I don’t know if you understand what I mean completely. I look forward to sharing that, and so much more with you in person. However, that is when you’re ready. I made a promise and I intend to keep it.

My next promise to you is that we will be seeing one another very soon. I’ve saved the best part for last as I wanted to surprise you: I’m coming to London next week for a full week’s visit. That means we will have a whole week to spend together. I’m in the process of arranging to rent a flat for us (I know your landlady is a dragon and would have many questions about a young handsome man like myself staying with you). I hope you are fine with the idea. I am leaving it open for you to join me there but you don’t have to if you feel it’s too much pressure. I just like how we spent out last night together and there will never be any strings attached to my invitation.

I will arrive in London on April 25th. I will telephone you as soon as I get into London that afternoon. I hope you are able to book some time off from work but I’ll understand if you cannot as this is short notice. I hope we can spend as much time together as possible that week and I have a special request to ask of you, but again I won’t rush you and we can talk about it next week. I’ve been thinking a lot about you, especially in the long hours of night when I’m alone with my thoughts. I have so much to say and so much I want to do with you but will have to wait until we see one another in person. Until then, I belong to you and love you.

Yours,
Tom"



By the end of his letter, Adele was once again crying. She leaned her head back in the tub and let the tears fall silently down her face. The stress of the morning and now the happiness she felt at Tom coming to London were too much for her and she allowed herself to cry again. It wasn’t a habit she made time for in her life but today was an exception.

She cried until her eyes and face burned. She sat up in the tub and splashed water on her face to help ease the pain. She wrapped a towel around her hair and body, then walked into the bedroom. There, she saw Tom’s photo beside her bed, the one he had sent her right after he had left the last time. He had signed the back of it as she had hers: “I belong to you” – Tom

She sat on the bed, picked up the photo and a deep longing made her body ache. The thought of Tom alone, describing what he had to her in his letter, left a picture in her mind that she rather enjoyed thinking about. While she was innocent in many ways when it came to men, her work as a nurse often brought her into close proximity to men and their bodies. She did understand a few things that perhaps Tom had not anticipated her to, and she found her thoughts wandering to what he must look and feel like. She determined that night that it would not be long until she would discover the answers to her questions.


*****

Just so you know, Pambi, I came across these photos recently and it inspired the last part of this chapter. If you fail to comment on these I will think you've either gone blind or that you've started pitching for the other team! emoticon

Tom

Tommy Boy


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Eight

April 25th, 1944 - London


The day was foggy and damp. A typical spring day for London. Tom was due to arrive later that day, arriving in London on the 4:25 train.

Adele was with her brother at the hospital all morning and into the afternoon. She was happy to see that he was in good spirits and that he was co-operating with the medical staff regarding rehab and treatment. She was also happy to see that he was conciliatory towards their father when he came to visit and she thought it was a promising sign.

It was good to be with her brother again and they spent a lot of their time together getting reacquainted. He had a lot of stories to tell about his time at sea and she was an eager listener. News of the war had always been censored so it was nice to hear a more accurate description of events. But the war was just one of many topics he wanted to talk about and his conversation was all over the map.

“I’m sorry, sis. I’ve been the one doing most of the talking.”
“It’s alright.”
“You seem distracted.”
“Not really.”
“Let me guess: you’re bored being off work.”
“No, it’s not that.”
“There’s more to life than work.”

She all of a sudden could tell that Jonathan wanted to pry more. She could see a look in his eyes when he did not believe her.

“So, how was Matthew when you saw him last?”
“He seemed happy.”
“I never thought he would get over you.”

She felt uncomfortable with the topic, as she always had, but she did not avoid it. Something new for her.

“I’m sorry, I know you don’t like to talk about that stuff”, he apologized. “It’s just that we’ve not seen each other in so long and I don’t really know what’s going in your life.”
“I’m happy for him. He’s found someone that adores him and they both seemed very happy.”
“And what about you, sis?”
“What about me?”
“Are you happy?”

She smiled and then turned the table.
“Are you?”
“No time for happiness.”
“Anyone in your life?”
“No time for that either…. especially not while I’m in this bloody place.”
“They say you can find love in the strangest of places, even in a hospital”, she said, remembering her first meeting with Tom in Dover.
“I’ll keep my eye out but as of yet there isn’t anyone pretty enough to catch my eye”, he said teasing.

They were outside in the courtyard. She had helped him in the wheelchair and taken him outside. She was the only one who would bring him cigarettes so he always looked forward to her visits.

“I’ve met someone”, she then said, after a momentary lull in their conversation. She could see from the corner of her eye that he turned to look at her when she said this.
“Well that was the last thing I expected you to say”, he said, an incredulous tone to his voice. “I’m curious.”

She thought of the fact that in just a few hours she would be seeing Tom again, after three long months. She felt goosebumps crawling up her arms as an excitement was in her that she was finding difficult to control.

“Are you going to keep me in suspense?”
“Just a pilot I met”, she said, trying to sound nonchalant but when she turned to look at him she could not help but smiling. Oddly, she felt tears in her eyes but laughed them away when she saw the look on her brother’s face.
“Is this for real? My little sister’s in love?”
“I never said I was in love”, she protested but she knew she did a terrible job.
“The lady doth protests too much, methinks.”

There was an excited tone in his voice.

“Who is this mystery man?”
“His name’s Tom. He’s in the RAF. I met him last July.”
“RAF? One of those types, huh?”
“What does that mean?”
“It means he was born with a silver spoon up his ass.”

She laughed because she knew her brother was just being a pest.

“So you’ve known this guy for all this time and you’ve not said a word? Why are you telling me now?”
“Excitement, I think. He’ll be in London tonight. I’ve not seen him since February…73 days to be exact.”
“This sounds serious.”
“I think it is.”

There was a brief pause in their conversation as he was soaking in what she had just confessed to him. This was the first time his sister had ever hinted towards feeling anything like this for a man before. Perhaps he didn’t know her as well as he thought he did but he was happy to see this side of her at last.

Jonathan had a dozen questions he wanted to ask her but the happiness on her face – a happiness that he had noticed this past week or so since his surgery – was enough to stop him from prying too much.

“Is he as serious about you as you are about him?”
She smiled and said: “I think he’s crazy about me.”
“He’d be a fool not to be.”
Then he said: “I’d like to meet him.”

She had never thought of the idea but now that her brother was in London, she thought it might be possible. Then part of her wondered if she was getting ahead of herself. While she and Tom had spoken about their families before, they had never spoken about the future and so she didn’t think too much about asking him to meet Jonathan.


When she left her brother later that afternoon, it was with an excitement in her stomach that she could hardly contain on her way home. She got ready as quickly as she could, not really noticing anything but the way her body was feeling. She was almost in a state of panic at the thought of seeing him. She was feeling excitement, almost to the point where she wanted to cry, but held her emotions in check as best as she knew how.

Inside King’s Cross Station it was busy, as it normally was at this time of day. People were coming and going, trains were entering and leaving the station, and Adele was standing near gate 5 near platform 6, where Tom’s train was due to come in. When the train pulled in at 4:26pm, her heart nearly leaped out of her chest as she waited near the gate. There was little point in sitting down and pretending not to be excited at his arrival.

She didn’t have to wait long. He saw her before she saw him. When she turned around, there he was, a few feet away from her. He dropped his suitcase and pulled her into his arms and held her so tight that she nearly lost her breath.

He buried his face into her neck and he spoke:
“I’ve missed you so much.”

His voice, his words, and the feel of his body against hers brought tears to her eyes and she was unable to stop them from falling. The anticipation of his moment had been bottled up for far too long and it came out. She stifled her tears in his chest.

“I missed you too.”

He then started kissing her neck and she closed her eyes. The train started to pull away and the people started to thin out in the immediate area, but there could have been a million people and they would not have known anyone but the two of them were standing there.

She kissed his face and held him as close as he was holding her. And then came the inevitable kiss that she had waited many long nights for and that they had both dreamt about. He kissed her and the world fell away. It was slow and soft, comforting in ways that words would never be. His hand rested below her ear, his thumb caressing her cheek as their breaths mingled. She ran her hands down his chest, pulling him closer until there was no space left between them and she could feel the beating of his heart against her chest. They did not know how long they remained that way but when they parted, they both had tears on their faces.

She was absolutely surprised to his wet eyes and her heart melted at the softness in his eyes and the way he seemed to be lost for words. He just looked down at her, breathing deeply, and then raising his hand to her cheek he said:

“I just want the two of us tonight. I don’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. I just want to be with you.”

She was happy to hear him say this because she was feeling the same way.
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They took a taxi to the rental flat that he had arranged for them. They sat in the back of the cab, holding hands. He hardly looked at anything but her but they spoke very little on the way to the flat. When they went inside the building, she waited for Tom to speak to the manager of the building and then smiled when he came back, holding up the key.

“I’ve arranged the best flat with the best view.”
“Sounds lovely.”

Arm in arm, they made their way up to the flat. Once inside, he set his suitcase down and closed the door. The flat was dark save for the light coming in from the street. He did not turn on the light but rather moved towards her. He reached for her hand and held it for a few moments before she moved towards him. It was odd because neither of them seemed to know what to say, almost as if they were afraid this wasn’t real. She put her hand up to his face and traced her finger along his chiselled cheek bone, down his nose and to his lips. She lingered there and felt the soft pink tenderness underneath her finger tips. He kissed her finger and then caught it between his teeth, pretending to bite down. She responded to his playful tease with a kiss. She pressed her lips against his and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“You’re trembling”, he said when their lips parted. He held on to her arms and looked down at her. “Are you cold?”
“No, just a bit nervous I guess.”

He removed her coat and then his. She wore the red dress that he liked and he complimented her on it. He then led her to the sofa and they sat down together.

“I’ve really missed you”, she told him.
“I didn’t think it was possible to miss and want something so much as I missed and want you…even if you don’t want to spend the night, I just wanted to be alone with you.”
“I brought an overnight bag.”

He looked over at the door to see that she indeed bring a bag with her and he hadn’t noticed. He grabbed her hands in his and looked at her.

“I told you in my letter there are no strings attached to this invitation.”
There was a sincerity in his eyes but there was something unspoken between them. She tried to find the words to say what she was feeling.
“I’ve been waiting so long to see you and now I hardly know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything.”

There was the sound of rain beginning to hit the window. She was nervous now that she was alone with him. Not nervous of him, but more so her feelings.

“How about you make yourself comfortable and I’ll go get us some take away?”

She wasn’t hungry but she knew he must be so she agreed to let him go. She knew he would be awhile so she went into the bathroom and decided to freshen up. She put on a fresh coat of red lipstick and fixed her hair. She saw herself in the full length mirror and stopped to look at her body. She went inside her overnight bag, which she had brought in the bathroom with her, and found the new negligee she bought for the occasion. It was a pale pink with lace trim and stopped a few inches above her knees. She held it up to her body in the mirror and got butterflies as she did so, a mixture of excitement and nervous fear.

When he returned about 30 minutes later, he saw that she had lit candles so that they were scattered around the flat. She also set the table for the dinner he had bought. The radio was turned on low and she had given the flat a romantic feeling and he noticed.

He went to the kitchen area of the flat and then prepared the food on some of the plates. He remembered a few things she liked to eat from the couple of times they had been out for dinner. He also got some strawberries and cream for dessert, remembering how on New Year’s Eve she seemed to like those. He also bought two bottles of wine and set one on the dining table.

She sat down and he poured the wine into two glasses.

“You make the toast”, he said.
She lifted her glass and he did the same. They were sitting side by side at the table.
“To tonight.”
She took a sip of the wine and the way she looked at him, not to mention her words, put a bit of a lump in his throat. He smiled and toasted to their first night together in nearly three months. She watched as he took a bite of his dinner and she just sat there, admiring the way he looked. He was wearing a white dress shirt that he had rolled up the sleeves. He chewed very slowly. The intensity with which she was looking at him made him pause.

“Aren’t you going to eat?”
“I’m not very hungry.”
He put his fork down and wiped his mouth with a napkin.
“Truth be told, neither am I. I bought the food in case you wanted to have some.”
“Not right now”, she told him, her voice soft and gentle.

She moved her hand and placed it on his thigh, gently rubbing it. As she did so, she leaned in and kissed his neck, asking:

“Will you dance with me?”

He stood up and led her to a spot towards the window where they could dance. The music was slow and he put his arm on her waist, and cupped her one hand in his so that it was against his chest. She could feel his heart beating. She looked up and realized that without her heels she felt small and a bit vulnerable – but completely safe. He kept squeezing her hand, an unconscious action as he felt a bit unnerved by how she was looking him and how her eyes said just one thing to him: make love to me.

Did you say,
I've got a lot to learn.
Well don't think,
I'm trying not to learn.
Since this is the perfect spot to learn.
Teach me tonight.

One thing isn't very clear,
My love.
Should the teacher stand so near, my love.
Graduation's almost here,
My love.
Teach me tonight.


When the song ended she stopped dancing and took her hands away. He watched as she started to slowly unbutton the front of her dress, a shyly seductive look in her eyes that put a lump in his throat. He had flown many missions during the height of the Battle of Britain, and he had fought and survived in many a dogfight in his time during the war, but he had never felt this kind of fear before. He knew that he had to be in control tonight and that he had to show her exactly how he felt about her.

“Adele, I’m not pressuring you into -“
“I know exactly what I’m doing. I would like you to help me remove my dress, and then I want you to make love to me…teach me everything you know.”

He swallowed and saw that she had a look in her eyes that told him there was no turning back from this and that he had to obey her command.

A nervous smile came on his lips and then he reached out with his hand and cupped her face, musing how she could look so innocent and yet so seductive at the same time. Then, with both hands, he stood close to her body and began to unbutton her dress the rest of the way. She too started the process of unbuttoning his dress shirt. He slipped the dress from her shoulders and then brought his lips down to her neck, tasting her skin in his mouth as he started to kiss and gently nibble there.

She felt his hands go around her and he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom, where he laid her on the bed. The lamps were lit low and flicker of the candle she had lit reflected in her eyes. He saw that she was completely willing and at ease in his arms.

She felt herself begin to tremble slightly out of nerves but she was not afraid. She looked at him and saw that he was erect. He was removing his shirt and she started to work on the zipper of his pants, anxious to see him. This was not a new sight to her as she had seen men many times as a nurse, but she had never seen Tom and she was anxious to feel him. When all was revealed, a nervous anticipation overcame her as she knew he would have to take control of her. She watched as he laid down on the bed, his head kissing her breasts once he removed her bra completely. She felt his tongue touching her nipple and she flinched slightly from surprise but then closed her eyes against the wonderful feeling that resulted.

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