Disclaimer: I do not own any of this story, I could never think of ideas that Theresa Breslin does!
Please R&R, I love this book so much I really wanted to carry on the characters but its quite difficult getting ideas on paper!
I sit and wait, waiting for the war to end. It might be for days, weeks... I don't know. Who knows anymore? Does anyone think about the long sufferings that the people who don't fight, the helpless family and friends that wait? The people who love those brave soldiers who fight for our country. Our country; the word seems bitter on my lips......
My father tells me I'm not to express my views so bluntly. He blames Francis for leading me on and encouraging me to read fancy books and poems, but I know he likes Francis really; my father has never been a man of words so when he looked up from his daily newspaper one morning and grunted,
"You've got yourself a good man there, Maggie", I couldn't help grinning and I skipped all the way to the bus stop where my dear friend Charlotte and future sister-in-law stood waiting for me.
She scanned my face and took in my smiling expression that shone out of me.
"I am so glad you are happy, Maggie." I looked at her frozen smile, the damp eyes and the faint flush of her cheeks. We both stood there not talking, but not an awkward silence; the need for both us to be in our own thoughts. I knew Charlotte would share with me when she was ready and I was not about to force it out of her.
Instead I settled on a good conversation of fashion. We laughed together as we climbed onto to the bus on the journey to Edinburgh and chatted about the latest ideas for women. As usual it leads on to my wedding with Francis and Charlotte told me some new inspirations she had longed to share with me and how excited her mother was about her only son marrying.
I was shocked but relieved when Mrs Armstrong-Barnes had plainly told me she would have much rather Francis marry a more high society girl, but as she did not wish to argue and knew very well that Francis was not going to marry anyone else she would support the wedding and graciously accept me into the family. Of course, the event was not going to happen until a few years, as Francis and I had decided that we were to wait until he was released from the army and I had had the time to study to find a new career.
As we left our separate ways from the bus station, I to collect some supplies for the shop, Charlotte off to the hospital, I noticed Charlotte smiling to herself, her soft blonde hair glinting in the fresh sunlight, and I walked to the warehouse fully satisfied from that morning.
I returned home as usual dumping the supplies in the store room. I was just about to settle down in front of the fire with a good book as a companion, when my younger brother Alex ran in breathless, bringing muddy footsteps into the house. I grumbled, knowing too well that I would be cleaning up.
"I just saw Francis and he told me to give you this."
My eyes lit up at his name and I quickly snatched the thick, creamy envelope from his hands. I was just about to break the seal when my mother and father walked into the already crowded living room. Annoyingly, Alex started to tell my parents who he just saw, and I could feel both their eyes boring into me and my cheeks flushed, becoming redder and redder. Thankfully, my mother started ushering Alex up the stairs for rest, questioning him about what he did that day, and father went to close the shop. Using the peace wisely, I crept upstairs to read in private.
An invitation had come through the post from the Armstrong-Barnes inviting them for dinner. I was extremely excited, as even though I had dined with the family several times it had been informal occasions only. Charlotte and Francis had both informed me of their guests, friends and family who were all staying for the weekend along with a few officers Francis had met during the war and were on leave.
The first time I was to be introduced as Francis' fiancée and I wasn't sure how they would react as the station difference in society was dangerously on the border of being inappropriate. One side of me told me to forget the ridiculous rules that the upper class set and just be myself, but the other side I did care what they thought of me, I desperately wanted to them to accept me into their community and that side was overruling. I hate the separation and constantly it breaks hearts every year just like the war.
I expressed my views to Francis expecting him to understand but he just told me not to be silly which annoyed me further; treating me like a child. Even dear Charlotte showed little sympathy more bothered about her new dress then the rules of society. I told her this and she remarked back how could I be so thoughtless and I immediately thought about my brother and apologised profusely.
Slightly depressed, I left the house shortly afterwards informing Anne that I had work to do in the shop. I felt as if I didn't belong there, maybe the people in the village were right that I should find myself a country lad who was at my own station. I loved Francis, I knew that but did he love me? Was I just a stupid girl to entertain him, I told myself to stop but I just couldn't. Lost in my own thoughts I wasn't paying attention of where I was placing my feet and I suddenly stumbled on the uneven rocks and felt myself falling on to the rough pathway below.
"Maggie, Maggie...." a girl screamed, her voice was unrecognisable, lost in the pain that throbbed through me. I knelt down screaming, desperately wanting for it to stop. To end!
I opened my tear stained eyes and looked straight into a pair of deep grey eyes, full of concern.
"Maggie" he said. I felt dizzy again and buried my head into the soft pillow. Again I heard my name more softly this time. A hand came down and I grabbed hold of it, it felt reassuring and familiar somehow as if I knew this person but the memories were blurred. Then the hand retreated, alone once more.
The next day I was sitting up and suddenly my memories came flooding back and when a blonde haired girl came into the room and exclaimed in delight that I was fully awake I recognised her at once. Charlotte came to sit by my bed in silence I think she was waiting for me to speak. Surprisingly,
"Where's Francis" came out me mouth and I blushed instantly. She smiled and with a brief squeeze of my hand, left the room returning minutes later with a harassed Francis, Again surprisingly I started giggling as the sight of him was hilarious the usually clean-shaven man stood there his hair and shirt crumpled, his eyes tired and worried.
Francis glared at me. The look was even funnier and sent me into hysterics. I stopped suddenly when he firmly said:
"Maggie this is not funny" and came closer to me. As he looked into my own his eyes softened, I could tell he had not slept and they brimmed with tears. I immediately felt an extreme longing to hold him again. In the background Charlotte subtly left the room shutting the door quietly behind her. Now there was just me and Francis and nothing in the world between us.