DisclaimerL I do not own Hi de hi or its characters, David Croft and Jimmy Perry do.
August 13th 1959
Richard looked across at Gladys, who was sitting quietly at his side gazing out at the sea.
He had just called her Sarah, again, and he was beginning to wonder if he was only really drawn to her because of the similarity to his late wife that she bore. He wasn't really in love with her, just the memories of Sarah that she brought back. It was cruel to keep her in this situation.
Sighing sadly, Richard knew what he had to do.
Gladys skipped dinner in the dining hall, and went straight to her chalet. Her head was throbbing and her eyes were watering.
As she thought about what had just happened, and overwhelming sense of rejection washed over her. Jeffrey Fairbrother never noticed her, the other yellowcoats resented her because of her authority over them and now Richard, the one person who she thought had cared, and the one person she thought she had a faint chance of happiness with had left her too.
It turned out he didn't care for her at all, he'd just used her to help him get over his wife.
She had been surprised at how calm she was when he told her. She'd replied to him with an even tone of voice, agreed with him, even smiled at him at the end and told Richard she understood perfectly. But now, alone in her chalet, she let her emotions get the better of her. She was alone again, rejected by everyone.
Gladys thought about Ted, Fred Quilley and all the other lonely, sad people who comprised of the Maplin's staff. It seemed now that if she stayed here, she would end up becoming one of them, it was already happening to her. The best thing she could do would be to leave while she still could, while she still had her whole life ahead of her.
'Just look at all those distractions!' Spike was saying, pointing out to Jeffrey why Ted was having trouble with his act. Jeff nodded, pretending to pay attention. Though he was supposed to be watching Ted, his eyes continually wandered over to where Gladys was standing at the bar.
She was alone, he didn't know where Richard was, but Gladys' eyes were downcast, rimmed with black where her mascara had run a bit. As he watched she out down her glass and slipped out of the ballroom.
'What's wrong with Gladys?' he found himself asking.
'Peggy told me she and Richard broke up, I think' Spike said, then changed the subject. 'Look at how that barmaid just crossed the floor in front of Ted. That shouldn't be allowed!'
'I don't really have time to discuss this, Spike' Jeffrey said. 'I have to finish some work in the office; I'd better sort it out now.'
He strolled to the office, glad to be rid of Spike, and concerned about Gladys.
As he opened the door, he saw Gladys seated at her side of the desk, her head bent over some work.
'Ted's act is going down well,' he said, trying to start a conversation but not quite knowing how to start. She ignored this remark completely. He really couldn't blame her.
There was an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes.
'Are you all right?' he asked finally. She shook her head and put her hand over her eyes.
Jeffrey found himself crossing the room and putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. He couldn't stand to see her hurt like this.
If it had been any other day Gladys would have noticed with a little flutter in her heart that Jeffrey Fairbrother had his arm around her, but right now she was feeling too upset and rejected to notice properly.
'I'm leaving' she said in a shaky voice.
'Why?' he asked. His tone was so kind that she found herself confiding in him, about how she really thought Richard cared for her, but he had just used her to get over his dead wife, and she was completely alone and wanted to leave so she wouldn't end up like everyone else stuck here.
He didn't say anything; he just listened patiently as she poured out her heart, stroking her hair comfortingly.
'Are you sure that's what you really want- to leave?' he asked when she had finished. She nodded even though it wasn't.
'Wouldn't you stay…even for me?'
Gladys laughed bitterly. 'Jeffrey, you're better at running this place than you think. You don't need my help anymore. I'm sure you'd be able to manage well on your own.'
'No, that's not what I meant, Gladys. What I'm trying to say is…'
Jeffrey hadn't been expecting to tell her this now; he'd only just realized it himself.
'…I love you and I don't want you to go.'
Gladys stared at him. Perhaps she'd heard wrong, but she thought he'd just said…
'It took me long enough to realize, but yes, I do,' he spoke quietly, but his voice was filled with more emotion than Gladys had known he was capable of. This time the tears that came to her eyes were for joy. She flung her arms around his neck.
'Ohh, Jeffrey,' she whispered as he held her in his arms. 'I have loved you ever since the day you came here…'
Jeffrey looked down at her. His eyes met with hers, and uncharacteristically, for Jeff was not usually one for emotional displays, he acted from his heart instead of his head and kissed her.