A Tale of Love and War

Rose Burton-Hall is the daughter of a rich English army commander. Her life is glittering until world war two hits Britain and her father and brothers are enlisted. While they are fighting Rose's life changes and she finds solace in Jack. Together they embrace the moto carpe diem; seize the day, and embark on a furious but secret love affair with consequences that mean that Rose's life can never return to how it used be.
After nearly four months the story is finally finished! Please bear with me the first few chapters I promise it does get better. Please let me know what you think, I haven't had any feedback and would really appreciate some! :) xxx

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18. Heart-sickness

My life was filled with loss, loss that I hadn't been able to feel when Father had died, and don't get me wrong I loved father but this was something else. A part of me had died and the fact that there was that small hope that Jack would survive the war was just there to torture what little feeling I had left. Emptiness consumed my being, being at the farm was no longer fun but tormenting, full of reminders of the times that I had spent there with Jack. But I didn't quit, I needed that job, I started to believe like mother that I was actually doing something to help, I had to believe it, I couldn't be helpless.
 The days dragged into a week, two, three, as we entered the fourth week I had confined myself to my room much like mother, in the few hours that I wasn't working. I got ill with what I truly believed was love-sickness, my heart ached like I never knew was possible. Each morning I got up and the wave of despair hit me with greater force each time making me rush to the bathroom to be sick. Here having a vastly reduced number of servants was of huge benefit as no one seemed to notice this, nor my pale face and tired eyes.
 I was sick every morning for a fortnight before it even crossed my mind that this might not be love-sickness, or any kind if illness at all.
 Charlotte and I both had a day off on the Saturday of the fourth week, and given that we barely saw each other any more we decided to take a picnic down to the creek. As children the creek was one of our favourite places to go, there were just enough trees to give shade on a hot day yet also enough plain grass to sunbathe on. The water itself was our playground when we were young and a place to cool our feet off when we were older. Now the creek was a place for us to reminisce on those days and speculate on how much our lives had changed since. I didn't tell Charlotte about Jack, I don't know why but I was scared to jinx what little luck we had to pray on. Charlotte however chattered on about the soldiers she had met and the gifts that they had sent her before returning to the front line. One in particular she seemed quite obsessed with.
"His name is Alex." she said, "He's so handsome, you ought to have seen him Rose, he has blonde hair and blue eyes, the perfect combination don't you think?" I smiled and nodded, unable to say that actually my idea of perfect looked quite the opposite. "He sent me flowers and chocolates last time he was on leave, actual chocolate and you know how hard that is to come by! Do you know Rose I think he might ask me to marry him? He seemed so mysterious when he left like he was hiding something. Can you imagine? Engaged!"
I tried to respond enthusiastically but my mind was on the small ring in my chest of drawers back home, the only thing I had to show for my own engagement as there was no man on my arm any more. The day was a strain really, we had little in common any more, she was the same as she'd always been, bubbly and excitable, whereas I, war had forced me to grow up, taken away the shiny lenses from in front of my eyes and shown me that life was painful and not lined with rose petals. We departed in the afternoon earlier than expected as Charlotte was complaining of stomach cramps and needed to lie down. I told her I understood and wasn't the least bit disappointed at being allowed to return home early. It was as I left her at the crossroads and made my way down the road that led to my house that it occurred to me what Charlotte had meant by stomach cramps. The realisation made my heart freeze as I counted back the weeks, two weeks ago the sickness had started, two weeks before that Jack had left, a week back again we had been in London, I continued to count back another fortnight. Seven weeks ago. My vision blurred and everything seemed to be spinning. I blacked out and feinted to the ground.
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