MARCH / APRIL 2013: BY VERONICA LEIGH
I write this no longer sitting in the kitchen sink, but behind a desk, in my very own office which I have dedicated solely to my writing. It offers quite a professional perspective. Yes, at last, after much speed-writing I ventured to write a full-fledged novel, which has been published to critical acclaim. I had completed my last journal entry quite a few years ago, thinking that my story had ended, but as the future unfolds, I must add a little post script.
Rose and Neil are expecting their second child. “If it is a girl this time, you should name her after her Auntie Cassandra,” I teased in one of my letters to them.
Father is visiting America on one of his lecturing tours. Now he speaks on both “Jacob Wrestling” and “The Cat Sits on the Mat.” Topaz accompanied him, but in a missive to me, she wrote that, “American society is stifling and unromantic. And the American women… let me not get started about them.” I think she misses communing with nature.
Thomas received a scholarship to Oxford. He is quite proud and speaks about it every chance he gets.
So, as you can see, I am alone here in the castle, trying my best to capture its present state. An American edition of my novel is to be released. I considered joining Father and Topaz and do a little lecturing of my own.
Or so I thought.
I was listening to the BBC and there was a news bulletin. Germany and the Soviet Union have invaded Poland. Appeasement with Hitler has not worked. England and France vow to avenge the Polish people. War is inevitable. With this new development, I can’t go chasing after my dreams when my king and country needs me. I must do something, anything, to support my country. My dreams will always be there and after this is all over, I may have new dreams. Perhaps I can be a war correspondent.
As I listened to those somber words, I heard the front door open and close. Who could that be? I hastened to the foyer where I found a tall, handsome blond Adonis. His strong features and muscular frame made my heart palpitate.
My mouth gaped. “Stephen?”
He bashfully put out his hand. I disregarded it and hugged him.
“It’s been years!” I said. “What are you doing here?”
“I came home on a holiday,” he said, following me into the parlor. “Then I heard the news and wanted to see you and your family. Where is everyone?”
“On various pursuits,” I replied with a demure smile. “Care for some hot chocolate?”
Stephen nodded. “It will be just like the old days.”
We went to the kitchen. I set straight away to heating it up on the stove while he sat at the table and watched. That look—the one I used to call “daft”—reappeared. I felt self-conscious and hoped to distract him. “How is Hollywood? Meet any famous movie stars… Shirley Temple, Judy Garland or Clark Gable?” I asked.
He answered in the affirmative and spoke a little about his life in exotic California. He was a well-known British actor in his own right, at MGM and I had heard rumors that he was to star in a picture with Vivian Leigh.
My former resolve melted at the sound of his voice and my knees knocked as I carried over two steaming cups of hot chocolate. I tried to pay attention but found myself comparing him to the young man I knew. He was always sweet and very devoted to me but I never noticed him. My heart had belonged to Simon Cotton. Looking back I can’t understand why. I always knew what I wanted from life, but I was still very much a child. And now I am a woman.
“When do you go back to the states?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I don’t, I can’t. My country needs me. I am going to enlist.”
I gulped. “But—what about your contract? Will they allow it?”
“I only signed for seven years and I am not going to renew it. Not until this war is over.”
I’d come to the realization that everything I once believed was wrong. I had never given Stephen a second thought and now…
We reminisced for a couple of hours and then the time came for him to leave. As he was about to disembark, he turned back around. “Miss Cassandra, may I write to you?”
“Yes, I would like that.” I bit my lip. “Stephen, be careful.” I stood on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. Our mouths were only a couple of inches apart, until we closed the gap. Everything tender and beautiful was wrapped up in one delightful kiss.
We parted smiling.
“I’ll be seeing you.” Stephen whispered.
I stood in the doorway and watched him leave in his car. This is a new beginning.
I have loved, I do love, I will love. ♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh is an aspiring novelist, who lives in Indiana with her family and six furbabies. Her obsessions range from Jane Austen to the Holocaust to the TV show Once Upon a Time. She has published two short autobiographical pieces and hopes to see more in print. She also lurks on her blog.