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


6. What fear does to you

I tried to find a way to tell mother, I honestly did, but she was so happy after Jack's visit and I couldn't bare to have her return to the way that she'd been haunting her bedroom, barely coming out the last few weeks. But also now it was just the two of us I felt very protective of her so I needed to come to terms with what James had told me before I told her. That was the plan anyway, however I was beaten to it. Less than a week after James had left we had a letter in the post, mother opened it: "Missing presumed dead" were the words printed in harsh black ink on the crisp page. I could tell what the letter was by the look on mothers face, pure devastation, a look that haunts me every night, that I never wish to see again. And then she collapsed.
 In the days that followed the change in mother was horrific. She scared me half to death with the way that what little flesh she had just seemed to drop off her. Her face took on a withered look to the point that she was almost unrecognisable. And worst of all she took to her bedroom, it was as if she'd sentenced herself to solitary confinement for letting him go to war. As well as scaring me half to death she also made me feel incredibly guilty, guilty because whilst she was grieving for Father I was coping and carrying on and I shouldn't be, I should be missing Father more. The truth was that I couldn't miss him because I didn't truly believe him to be dead, I still thought he could be alive, hiding or injured or just unable to get home somehow. When I thought about it it was crazy, but I couldn't help it. So I carried on.
 I held dinner for Mother's friends and made the excuse that she was sick and I took charge of the household, pitching in where staff had left to join the war or stay with relatives in these hard times, and as the war had continued there had been more and more of these. But the most significant change in my life during this time was when one evening my mother ventured out of her room to sit with me in the library. I had a servant fetch her blankets and a mug of tea as she looked so fragile. However when she spoke her words were firm.
"The job, go, help them, make them come back alive."
She meant the boys and tears welled up in my eyes as I realised how much they must be under-threat for Mother to change her mind on this. I nodded.
"Tomorrow, I'll go down there tomorrow."
And I did. First thing in the morning I found the most casual pair of clothes that I owned, some last season straight trousers from Paris and a plain white blouse - I know not exactly farm material, and head down to the Downs' farm. It was a fairly small farm, horses, cows and sheep mainly along with all the usual crops, however not one that had any volunteers from the village as Charlotte had informed me, but this made me more likely to be needed. As I approached the farm it seemed pretty empty and I wandered round a bit trying to find some signs of life. Finally when I entered the on of the stables I saw Mr Downs tending to a lame horse. He was rather old, with a shirt white beard and a round red face.
"Um Mr Downs?" I asked nervously.
He looked up startled. "Why Rose Burton-Hall what yer lowering yerself to a place like my farm for?"
I cringed, I knew that the villagers thought families like mine as very high-and-mighty but to have as much said to my face stung.
"Actually I was hoping that I could help? At the farm, I mean. Just whatever jobs need doing, I know it's hard work with the men gone to fight the war and -"
"Hard work?" he interrupted. "You don't know what hard work is young lady. You ain't done no hard  work since the day you were born!"
I took a deep breath. "You're right Mr Downs."  said and he looked quite surprised my agreement. "I haven't but my Father is missing and my brothers are off fighting and I just really need to do something to help the war effort." I said it in a rush worried that he interrupt me again. Instead he was quite quiet and surveyed me intensely. Suddenly realised quite how ridiculous I must look in my last years Paris attire.
"Alright." He said. "I don't want no slackers though, you work here you work hard."
"Of course Mr Downs." I garbled relievedly.
"You can start right away, mucking out the stables across the field, everything you need is in there."
I turned to leave and he added gruffly"I heared about your father and I'm sorry, he was a kind man."
"Thank you." I mumbled and walked away.
I had reached the stable door before I realised quite how far I'd walked. I pushed it open and stopped dead in my tracks. And that was the first time I ever laid eyes on Jack Carter.
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