The Queen Bee
Summary: A very short Homefront story of how one conniving British
woman ended up married to an American soldier.
Disclaimer: Homefront characters belong to their creators. No
copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made.
Author: Tracy Diane Miller
E-mail address: tdmiller82h...
The Queen Bee
London: September 17, 1940
It was the sound that could be heard all over London. The piercing wail of the air raid sirens filtered through the cool air on a September night. The young and old alike were no longer bewildered by this warning cry; they knew what it meant. It had become the regiment of their daily lives. German warplanes had invaded the sanctity of the city and an onslaught of bombs would be dropped nightly; bombs would soon paint the British sky in an angry explosion of color. There would be screams and chaos as Londoners hurried to the various shelters across the city. Some people refused to leave their homes. If the intent of the enemy were to bring the proud people to their knees, the aggressors would be solely disappointed. The British were resilient. Even in the face of hunger, death, and destruction, they vowed not to give up. London would rise to her glory once again.
In one of the shelters, eighteen-year old Caroline Townsend held her eight-year-old sister Patricia on her lap. Caroline rocked her sister back and forth and tried to comfort her with soft tones. Still, the frightened and hungry child cried. Mum was busy determining how she could ration the single slice of moldy bread and a piece of rotten apple that she had liberated from a garbage can so that it would last as a meal for her girls. It was all the food that she had left to give.
London: August 15, 1945
It was the sound that could be heard all over London: Rejoicing. Laughter. American soldiers were congratulating their military brethren. The bold amongst these soldiers were also lifting and
kissing any woman that they came across in the streets. The women didn't appear to be offended by such presumptuousness. Everyone was happy. It was time to celebrate. Finally, it was over. The war was over.
Charlie Hailey and his best friend Hank Metcalf walked into a London pub. They were meeting a few of their army buddies and planning to celebrate victory over several cold beers. Hank spotted their comrades and he and Charlie joined the men. The bartender brought a round of beers to the table. It wasn't long before the men were loudly swapping war stories and embellishing about their own role in the Allies' victory. Male bravado was completely unleashed; the war talk quickly turned to conversation of their exploits at home with women.
Charlie was about to take another sip of his beer when he saw her out of the corner of his eye. She was sitting alone at a table in the back. She smiled at him as she stirred her drink. Charlie took her cue, excused himself from the table, and proceeded to the table where the attractive stranger was seated.
"Excuse me, ma'am," he began tentatively, "But I was wondering if this seat was taken?"
"Actually, no. I was waiting for a friend, but I don't think that she can make it." The woman explained, her British accent evident. "Please sit down."
Charlie accepted her invitation. "Charlie Hailey." He introduced himself.
"I love your accent." Charlie wanted to kick himself the moment the words left his mouth. This woman must think that he's an idiot.
"Thank you. And you're American, right?"
"American soldiers are so brave. And I'd have to say, they're also very handsome." She added with a coy smile.
Charlie blushed slightly.
"Oh, I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"No, no you didn't."
"What I meant was, I don't think that I could have survived this bloody war without knowing that the soldiers were fighting to keep us safe. Your wife must be so proud of you."
"I'm not married."
"Well, your girlfriend then. A man like you must have a girlfriend."
"Yeah, Ginger. She's waiting for me back home."
"She's a very lucky girl." Caroline made certain to place a long inflection on the word "very". "I'm not married. It is so hard to find a good man. It seems that all of the good ones are already taken or spoken for."
A brief silence.
"May I order you another drink?" He asked.
"That would be lovely. Thank you."
Caroline could tell from Charlie's body language that he was definitely interested in her. At that moment, her mind was working at formulating a plan to ensnare this man. She wanted to go to America. Caroline was determined to leave England as Mrs. Charlie Hailey.
She was the queen bee and he was her helpless drone. Unknowingly, Charlie had been lured into Caroline's hive. He was a goner.