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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23. Not a secret for long

 Despite the fact that I now knew of Father's return, he still had to stay hidden in the now empty gardeners cottage at the other end of the estate. At first I was confused by this but mother explained that it was in case any of our few remaining servants caught sight of him. So although he was home I only got to see him for an hour each day when I snuck in there after working at the farm. Father was not altogether opposed to my working there as I had first expected as he seemed to recognise more than mother that times were changing and it was now more that acceptable for girls to work. However he didn't like me going there I could tell as it made him feel even more guilty of his own betrayal of the war effort. As a result I tried not to mention it which to be honest I was more that happy to do because I didn't like to talk about Jack; it may sound ridiculous but I felt as if even the way I said his name was giving me away. I had just got used to this new routine in life when our secrecy was given it's first real test: the boys were coming home on leave.
 I wanted to tell them straight away, I was sure that they'd understand, they were my brother, the people who had looked out for me for years, I was sure that all they'd care about was that Father was alive and well. Unfortunately I was the only one that seemed to think so.
So when James, Edward and William arrived home Father was hidden as always in the cottage. The boys themselves seemed happy to have a break, James and William were very subdued, although James had been in the army before the war I could tell this was something different. William seemed very distant, he was much paler and thinner but refused to talk about it. As for Edward he was desperate to return to the font line, he was loving the war - too much I thought - and didn't like being away from it. He said it made him feel like "one of those disgusting deserters" the thought of whom made him feel sick. It made me feel uneasy, if he felt this way about a deserter how would he feel about what Father had done? Maybe it was a good idea to keep him hidden after all.
 It was strange having the boys back again, I had gotten used to being an only child and it was strange to suddenly have people looking after me again rather than me looking after mother. We could almost go back to being a normal family again, like the happier days when I was younger. We went down to the beach everyday and played cricket and swam in the sea. One particular day the sun was shining and it's was gloriously hot, the kind heat you don't tend to get in Britain. The four of us headed down the dirt beaten track that led down to the sea, I remember how the water was so clear I could see all the tiny shells sitting on the bottom. I remember William chasing me along the shoreline with a crab, I screamed the whole way until James rugby tackled him into the sand. We didn't even realise we were hungry until about 2 o'clock when Edward looked around for the picnic basket and found that we had left it at home. I offered to go back and get it with him since I felt as though of all my brothers I had seen least of him since they'd been home. We started back down the path talking about the times we had spent on the beach when we were younger.
"I am proud of you, you know." He startled me out of my memories. "Working on that farm, helping the war effort, doing your bit. I am proud that you're my sister."
I laughed, "Its me that should be proud of you! I'm not the one risking my life out there."
"It's easy for me though, even men who don't want to join are called up now but you don't have to work and still you do."
"You joined up voluntarily long before the draft." I smiled remembering how excited he was to be enlisting.
"True but still it doesn't make what you're doing any less admirable."
I laughed awkwardly and I can still vividly remember how proud I was of my three brothers at that moment, I couldn't imagine what they were going through - William looked like he'd been to hell and back - but still they smiled and didn't complain, they were the admirable ones.
 When we reached the house the door was slightly ajar so I pushed it open and noticing the picnic basket on the hall table I hurried to get it Edward following me in at the same time and a door at the end of the hall flung open and Mother and Father came through it. I heard a sharp intake of breath behind me and glanced over my shoulder to see Edwards face drain of all colour. I tested a smile at him but his face remained cold. "What is he doing here?" He snapped at Mother.
She paled and opened her mouth to respond but before she could Father cut in. "You don't need to explain Elizabeth," he addressed my mother whilst surveying his son, "he already knows what I did, the commanders must have told him, I can see it in his eyes."
And when I looked at Edward I could see it in his eyes too, they were hard and cold and full of disgust that completely contrasted the pity I had felt when I had found out what happened to Father. "He hates me, my own son hates me."
"Of course I hate you," hissed Edward in such a tone I had never heard before, "You let us risk our lives striving to fulfil the operations that you had already told the enemy about, so they could kill thousands of us. That could of been me dead because of you, or James or William."
"You think I didn't know that," Father whispered, "You think it didn't drive me insane knowing that I had given them the knowledge to destroy you, you don't think that if I could have been strong enough to resist their torture I would have. You didn't see the dead bodies of our own soldiers being carried out if their torture cells. Human instinct is to survive and I wasn't strong enough to override it."
"Those bodies could have been ours!" Edward shouted, "Your own flesh and blood. You should have been willing to die for your family, for your country. You disgust me, you make my skin crawl, you betrayed us all out of pure selfishness, you traitor, how can you live with yourself? You should have died!" He turned and stormed out of the house leaving the three of us remaining shocked into pure silence.

*Thanks for reading my story everyone! Please could you read my entry for the poetry competition, it's called Break-Up and it'll only take two minutes to read? Thank you and love you all xxx
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