My mother

Evangeline has always admired her Mother. But her Mother is growing older and older, and becoming more useless. Eva's dad is off to fight in the horrible battle of WW2 - in the navy. When disaster strikes, will Evangeline be able to look after her two younger twin sisters, Rosalind and Marie, who are twelve, and keep an eye on her older brother Jasper who's sixteen?

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2. Date, Danger, Drown

 

It all happened so quickly; I walked round for a couple of weeks after it blocking it out of my mind. I was too shocked to believe it. But it was true, real. He was my future groom.

Seth invited me yesterday to go fishing with him, and his Auntie Jenifer- so we travelled to the row boat harbour and he equipped me with all of the ordinary necessities needed for catching a fish. Rods and bait, all those sorts. His Aunt wobbled onto the boat first to steady it, then Seth, and then lastly I was helped in.  It wasn’t the most romantic setting for a date, but we made it work. I had a long, deep conversation with Jenifer, chatting about school and being a housewife and how sexist the world is nowadays. Seth chipped in now and then but he didn’t really know what we were on about- and besides he was too busy concentrating on rowing the oars and throwing his rod into the opaque crystal blue water. I found out she was a strong feminist, and I like to believe I am too. Jenifer said I have potential to confront the government with all my ideas to help women have rights.

That made my day. More than being with Seth, more than snuggling up with him on the boat.

“Oy!” shouted a boy from another boat over the other side of the river, his London accent very clear,” what’s a large lass like you doin’ on our water, eh? And what about you, you’re a skimpy lassy, aren’t you? What are you two doin’ with Seth?”

“Minding our own business, that’s what. I should hope you will start to do the same soon, learn your manners, you rude little boy. Im Seth’s Auntie and she’s his future wife, all have you know. So why don’t you just scamper off to your mummy?” Jenifer spat, squinting at him through her rectangular glasses.

She stood up, making the row boat shake, and gestured at the large spread of water infront of us for any mean, or rude, intruders to ‘go away’. Whether the boy saw it or not, it was very brave of her to do it. She sat back down triumphantly and fiddled with the straining buttons of her grey cardigan confidently.

She undid the band that held her wet, auburn hair into a neat bun and let it sway around her full figured shoulders. She wasn’t fat, as such, more plump, strong. I liked that word, strong.

“Are you getting cold, Evangeline?” asked my future husband, pulling my shawl that I had removed earlier off the floor and sliding each of my arms in each of the holes.

He looked worriedly at my blue lips and pale face. I shook my head, because the warm feeling I had inside from being with him overwhelmed the coldness I was feeling on the outside, but he didn’t look fooled; neither did Jenifer.

“We will have to start rowing back to shore, my dear, little ones getting chilly,” she said kindly.

I know she meant it in a loving way, but she sounded sarcastic, and that annoyed me greatly.

No, actually. Stay out here, Seth, I am fine, and not, certainly not, ‘little one’, okay? I’m just like you two, a h-a-m-u-n, human.” I stated spitefully, sucking in my lips in like an old age pensioner with no teeth to cover the evidence that my bones were becoming icicles.

They didn’t laugh at me, but I could tell in their faces that I had done something wrong. I soon figured out that I had made a few measly spelling mistakes, but instead of getting angrier at their kindness, I decided to roll around in hysterics. They joined in too, but were wary incase I struck out on one of my famous rants again, that was the last thing they wanted.

Regardless of my claim, they decided to start coming back to shore, and I respected them for that, because I was cold, Jenifer was hungry, and Seth was tired.

Suddenly, I felt my lungs gasp for air desperately. I could hear muffled voices shout pleads for help above the water. Little fish swam around my kicking feet and nibbled my toes hard. That was the least of my worries. My brain automatically was sent into shut-down mode and begged my body to breathe. My heart was pounding against my aching chest. I knew that if I took a breath, I would die.

Rapidly, a pair of tough hands scrambled around me and soon I was pulled out of the water and shoved ashore. Seth saved me.

He pressed down on my stomach until I released the water from my sore body, and I spat it out in his face unattractively.

“You can’t swim?” he panted, sitting me up and rubbing my back comfortingly.

I struggled to find the right words to say.

“Embarrassing, I know, but I can’t swim. I’ve never been taught.” I said quietly, wheezing between each short phrase.

Jenifer was whistling gently while tying a thick piece of rope through a loop on the back of the boat then attaching the other end to a stub of wood that was bolted into the ground. She came over and ruffled my hair affectionately.

“You’re a dangerous little sprite, a real fighter, you are.” Aunt Jenifer crouched down beside us, talking to me as if she really meant it, and that meant a lot to me.

I giggled at the pet name she gave to me and turned to Seth as before I knew he had something to say but he had too much respect to interrupt his Aunt, not that she was mean, or anything.

“Erm... I can teach you, if you want?” he asked sympathetically, holding my hand carefully as if I could snap if he squeezed harder.

“No thanks, I think my experience with water was enough for me to last a life time.”

We all laughed and decided to trudge back, our shoes squelching with the water that had managed to slide inside of them. We made small mutual talk on the way back, finding out more about each other. Jenifer tried not to intrude but I was particularly interested about her stories of when she worked in the city as a homing officer for children that were evacuated in World War 1.  Seth tried not to interrupt then, and I felt mean that he had to tip toe around me talking, but if we were going to live together permanently, he’d have to learn to get some guts and speak up for himself.

“Er... Erm... yeah, that sounds... fun...” he said in between each fact Jen would throw out of her memory.

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