Always Find A Way

Sometimes Love is so strong that it will cross any boundary; distance, race or social divide. Sometime Love is so unique that it will find ways to survive even when in the greatest peril. Sometimes Love will conquer death.

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1. In The Beginning

England, August 14th 1939.

 

'They say war is just around the corner.' Said a gruff voice from somewhere above him.

 

Carl Bentley-Smith shifted his position and looked up. His glasses slid down his sweaty nose, his face was red and flustered. 

 

'Sorry, sir? What did you say? War?'

 

'Yes!' Barked his companion, a corpulent old General . 'War, boy. I hope you'll be signing up. Never mind this wishy washy rubbish that Doctors are exempt.' The General leaned in close and motioned for Carl to do the same. He obliged and was almost sent to the floor as the old man breathed alcoholic fumes over him. 'I might then, but only then, let you marry my daughter. A doctor - even a Harley Street man - is not a worthy match for her. But a solider. Tall and strong and brave... Well that would be a different matter.'

 

The General leant back in his chair, nodded in a knowing sort of way and looked out over the side of the veranda and out onto the lawn where his wife, three daughters and four grandchildren were playing. The evening was warm and musky, insects were in the air signalling a storm and crickets were playing their melodies from the flowerbeds; it was very peaceful. Agatha, a granddaughter, squealed and laughed and Diane, his wife, looked up and waved. The General smiled and raised his hand.

 

'She's the last one you know.' The General didn't specify about whom he was talking but it was unnecessary as there was only person it could be. 'The other two married early, as they should, but she never showed any interest in the gentlemen brought here. She only ever had eyes for one man.' His voice had dropped low and Carl grew very still as he listened. 'Yes... One man only. She once turned down an invitation from a well respected actor in favour of seeing you.' The General turned and looked hard at Carl, who realised that his mouth had fallen open. He shut it quickly and cleared his throat. 

 

'I, er, I don't recall such a time...' He trailed off as the General glared at him. Carl coughed again and removed his glasses. His face was lean, intelligent and slightly tanned. In a desperate effort to end their current conversation Carl stood up and stretched his legs out. 'I'm finished, sir.' The General eyed him beadily for a second before looking down to survey his handy work.

 

'Bloody good job as usual.' The General complimented. He downed the last bit of his drink, grabbed his walking stick and with a groan hoisted himself to his feet. The bandages wrapped around his left knee were white and clean unlike the ones that Carl was wrapping up to be burnt. 

 

'The swelling is gradually getting better but you will have to continue taking the medicine I have given you. You will do that won't you, General?' 

 

'Yes, yes of course.' 

 

'Good. Well, sir, it's getting late and I will be on my way.'

 

Again Carl was surveyed suspiciously for a second before being dismissed.'Yes off you go. I'll see you in a fortnight.'

 

Carl smiled, relieved, nodded and turned to leave. As he walked across the lawn Diane and the two eldest daughters went up to help the old man inside followed by the young grandchildren.

 

Tabitha waited until her mother and sisters had got her father into the house before running in the opposite direction.

 

'Carl!'

 

Carl turned and upon seeing Tabitha made a strangled noise of half amusement and half vexation and darted further into the trees that surrounded the house in an attempt to conceal their meeting. Tabitha followed him with a giggle.

 

'Miss Bleakley, you know full well you should not be out this late!'

 

'Mr Bentley-Smith, you know perfectly well that it is only seven o clock in the evening and not late at all!'

 

Carl laughed and Tabitha laughed and for several seconds they smiled happily at each other. Then the amusement faded from her face and Tabitha bit her lip and looked worried.

 

'Daddy says war is coming.'

 

Carl nodded. 'Yes, my darling, I believe he may be right. But the politicians seem confident that if it comes to war then it will be quick. Nothing like before.'

 

A cloud passed over Tabitha's face and without thinking Carl took her hand. 

 

'Tabby...'

 

Her eyes darted up to meet his and she blushed with embarrassed happiness at his use of the pet name.

 

'Your father says that I may marry you if I volunteer.'

 

'For the army?' Said Tabitha, shock widening her eyes.

 

'Yes. He said a Doctor would not be a fit husband for you and that... Tabby listen!' For Tabitha had pulled her hand from his grasp and given a cry of indignation. 

 

'You are the best Doctor that I have ever known! Why should daddy say such cruel things to you?'

 

'Tabitha, please, listen. Your father was a soldier himself and that's what he knows and that is what will earn his respect, and God knows if it means that I can marry you then I will fight a thousand wars for him!'

 

'Carl?'

 

'Yes, my darling?'

 

'Do you really mean that?'

 

Carl grabbed her hand again and this time she clung to his too. A desperation had creeped into his voice. 'Tabitha, if fighting for my country is what it takes to prove to your father that I am worthy of you then that is what I shall do. If sailing to an undiscovered land and claiming it for you is what you desire then so be it. If your mother believes me to be no good and orders me away then I will uphold her wishes and I will travel across the world to get away. But, Tabitha, my dearest, if I walk all the way across the world then, eventually, I will only end up back where I started, which is here, in your garden, in these bushes, with you.' 

His voice was soft and pained. His soft blue eyes were earnest and beseeching. They moved over her petite, heart shaped face and met her dark, stormy grey eyes and for a moment it seemed that time stood still and there was nothing in the world apart from them and their beating hearts. 

 

'Oh, Carl...'

 

'Tabby...'

 

 

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