Disclaimer - The characters in this story are mine. Any resemblance to any fictional characters is purely coincidental. This is an uber story and so the two lead characters may be familiar. Some locations contained within the story are real and some are fictional.
Love/Sex warning/Disclaimer - This story depicts loving consensual sexual relationships between women. Some very light BDSM references are contained in the piece. If you are under 18 years of age or if the themes of these relationships are illegal in your country then I suggest you skip this story.
Song/Music Disclaimer - The Songs mentioned in this piece are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks to my Beta reader Lee. Your help has been invaluable.
Thank you to my cover designer Lilien Hoffman.
For my partner Lou. Your help, love and encouragement are my inspiration.
Ego dilecto meo et dilectus meus ( I am my beloved and my beloved is mine)
Song of Solomon 6:3
England - 1950
9:10 Train from Ambleton to London
The lush green English countryside rolled past the train window. Beth looked out, her mind drifting to the circumstances that had brought her to this journey. Elizabeth Bentley was born to Edward and Janet Bentley in a small village outside Cambridge called Middleford. She was young girl when her mother died and Edward was left to raise Beth alone. Edward never got over the death of his wife.
Father and daughter were inseparable. Edward was a professor of ancient history at Cambridge University. As academics were never paid as much as they should be , they didn't have much money, but they were comfortable enough. Unlike many girls of the time, Edward insisted on educating his daughter to a very high standard. Beth was an avid reader, devouring any books her father brought home. She hoped one day when she was old enough, she would gain a scholarship to attend university just like her father. She was 16 years old when she received a telephone call from her father's university to tell her he had been rushed to hospital. By the time she got there Edward had passed away from a massive heart attack. Tears came to Beth's eyes as she remembered the pain of that day.
"Have your tickets ready please!" called the conductor from further down the carriage.
Beth wiped away her tears quickly as she fumbled for her ticket. The conductor looked down at the short blonde; she looked sad and quite alone.
"Going all the way to London Miss?" he asked.
"Yes," she replied, not really wanting to get involved in any conversation.
"That's a long journey from Ambleton; make sure you get a hot cuppa tea from the refreshment carriage."
"Thank you but I have all I need here."
"Very good, Miss," he said as he moved onto the next passenger.
Knowing she didn't have money to waste on refreshments Beth had packed sandwiches and a flask of tea. As she poured a cup of tea she thought back again to the day everything changed.
After she left the hospital with only a small box of her father's belongings she felt like the world had ended. She had nothing and no one. Once she got home, Mrs. Nelson from next door had cooked her a meal and sat all evening with her. She couldn't eat; she felt numb. When she lay in bed that night, unable to sleep, she thought to her father's box from the hospital. Beth got up and rummaged through the box until she found her father's gold pocket watch. It was her father's most treasured possession, a gift from his late wife Janet, when they were first married. As Beth lay back onto the bed she opened the watch and read the inscription as she had many times before. It read in Latin - ego dilecto meo et dilectus meus, which meant I am my beloved and my beloved is mine, taken from the Song of Solomon in the King James version of the Bible. As Beth fell asleep that night, clutching the watch to her heart, she prayed there was someone who would feel that sort of perfect love for her as her parents had felt for each other.
Beth's father had left very little money, just enough for the funeral with a bit left over. Of course, Edward hadn't counted on dying in his early 50's. He had assumed that although he didn't have much to leave his daughter, he would see her married to some nice young man she knew from around the university campus. So this left Beth quite alone and penniless. She remembered as the day of the funeral arrived, Mrs. Nelson and her husband from next door had been a great support to her, in arranging the funeral and the ladies of village made sure there was a nice spread for after at the church hall. As everyone was leaving the graveyard a middle-aged couple came up to her.
"Excuse me, you don't know us but we're your Aunt Ada and Uncle Jim."
Beth had heard her father talk of his brother James on occasion. It seemed that the brothers had a falling out in their 20's; something to do with missing money from their mother's house Beth seemed to recall. Although her father wouldn't talk about him much, Uncle Jim was so like her father tall with a dark receding hairline. Edward had always remarked that he was delighted Beth took after her mother who had been short, petite in stature with the most beautiful blonde hair and sea green eyes. Beth wondered if Uncle Jim's personality matched up to her wonderful father's. Aunt Ada was a short, stoutish woman, wearing very old fashioned matronly clothes. She seemed to have a harshness to her face that Beth couldn't put her finger on.
Her newly discovered Aunt and Uncle had offered her a place in their home in the village of Ambleton. Beth talked it over with Mrs. Nelson and it was decided for a girl alone in her position, there wasn't really much choice. And so Beth left her beloved village of Middleton and went to stay with her Aunt and Uncle. They lived in what had once been a lovely country cottage, but it obviously had lacked care and attention for many years. It also became apparent very quickly that Uncle Jim was nothing like her father. He didn't work, he bought and sold whatever he could get hold of, which had usually fallen off the back of a lorry. Aunt Ada took in sewing and the odd mending jobs.
The cottage had a small allotment on which they grew some vegetable's to supplement their rations. Beth was amazed that Uncle Jim could come from the same family as her father. Her grandmother, she knew, had been a very respectable woman, and her Grandfather an Army officer. Yet they were living hand to mouth and Beth at first did not understand why they had offered to take her in when they had so little themselves. This was very different to the comfortable middle class life she had led.
As she recalled the day she learned of their true intentions, she thought. 'I was such a fool not to see it before.'
Over breakfast one morning Aunt Ada said, "Beth I think it's time we went into town to sort out your banking."
"What do you mean?"
"Well now your living with us it would be best if your uncle and I managed your inheritance, that way your board and lodging can be paid for and we will give you a small allowance every month. A young girl knows nothing of managing money."
Beth was stunned and all at once realised why she was there. They assumed that the young girl had an inheritance. "Aunt Ada, my father left no money. After his funeral was paid for there was nothing left."
She could remember the explosion that then ensued between her Aunt and Uncle, to this very day. They hadn't counted on this. Beth was treated like a pariah after that. She was allowed to stay, but was to become almost like a servant. Beth attended to all the sewing work that came in for her Aunt and she was also sent out to work as a cleaner at the local minister's house. She felt like a modern day Cinderella and felt trapped. Beth had nothing and no one and no other choices.
As the months turned into two years, Aunt Ada became rather too fond of gin to ease her sorrows. This gave her an even crueler streak than she already had. Uncle Jim barely noticed the girl was alive, which suited Beth quite well, but Aunt Ada could say the most cutting things to her and the worst were directed towards her father. She missed him so much, and some nights would cry herself to sleep clutching his pocket watch.
The only bright spot was getting out of the house during the day for Reverend Clement. He was a kindly man who would take the time to talk to Beth through the day. He had heard of the young girls father and had indeed read a few of his published works. He knew what her Aunt and Uncle were like and the circumstances she found myself in. Reverend Clement did the kindest thing anyone had ever done for her. He paid Beth a little over her wages, so she could save the extra without her Aunt finding out, so when she had enough she could start a new life. Reverend Clement had family connections in London and said if Beth could save enough to start her off he would see about finding her a position in London. Beth could get out, and could be her own person. It took her a year but finally at the age of19, she finally had enough to leave.
Reverend Clement had found Beth a position as an office junior at his cousin's firm. She had a letter of introduction and all that was needed was to have a quick interview when she arrived then start the next day. He also arranged a room at a boarding house, which would pay for when she arrived. It was run by a former member of his church and would be a very respectable establishment for a young, single girl to reside.
Beth couldn't begin to thank him enough when she said goodbye to him for the last time and promised to write to him when she was settled. That night at home she went to her room early and packed all her things without Aunt Ada knowing. The next morning Beth came down the stairs case in hand.
"Were do you think you're going girl! You'll be late for work!"
"I'm leaving," Beth said with more confidence than she really felt, and marched out the door. Aunt Ada ran after her squawking.
"You have nothing and no one girl! You'll be back! We've done everything for you, ungrateful child!"
Beth kept my eyes ahead as she marched down to the station for my 9:10 passage to freedom.
That is how Beth found herself on the train travelling to what she hoped would be a much better life. Loud shouts broke her from her memories.
"Last stop, Miss!" shouted the conductor. Beth was here finally and London awaited her.