In the Arms of a Pilot
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by Jennah Sharpe
Description: She found the touch she missed in another pilot, but the guilt could prove too much to bear. Emmeline hated the thought of her man going off to war, but that was something she needed to keep to herself. When she received news that he was MIA, she didn't fall into grief as she thought she should have. Instead, she went looking for the arms of another man. She found the touch she missed and craved in yet another RAF pilot. Ethan gave her everything her body missed and craved. But overcoming the guilt was another matter...for both of them. Reader Advisory: This story was released as part of the Camouflaged Hearts Anthology by Total-E-Bound
eBook Publisher: Total-e-bound, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [61 KB]
Reading time: 35-49 min.
1941 came in with a bang. Popping champagne bottles and crackers littered the night with noise. We celebrated New Year's with a flourish at the Jump Club on Broad Street. Streamers, glitter and confetti covered the floor in a slippery blanket. Crowds of wives and girlfriends clung to their army men, under the pervasive cloud of cigarette smoke, as if their very willpower could keep the boys safe.
My own RAF pilot was dapper in his starched army-green uniform and all the girls watched him, waiting perhaps for me to leave. That was more than likely. He was the most handsome man in the club. I wanted to be anywhere but the Jump Club with it's glassy, polished floors and exuberant jive. It really wasn't my style, especially that night. While others seemed to be able to lose themselves in the patriotic atmosphere of the night, I could not. A dark, ominous fog obscured my perception and seemed to follow all of us, waiting for its chance to blanket us with despair, even if no one else could see it.
I took William's hand for comfort, relishing the warmth of his nearness. He wrapped his arm around my waist leading me in a rendition of the Blue Danube. Strangely, the lilting waltz, which should have been romantic and uplifting, seemed to me a haunting death knell for both the men in the room and our country as a whole.
The second Great War was never-ending. The German front was advancing, seemingly unstoppable. I was certain the world would be left barren if it continued much longer. There could be no recovery from the horrors of war. The blackout curtains I'd sewn the day after I first met William at the Women's Royal Naval Service dinner and dance were thinning and faded. I needed new ones for the front hall but black material was next to non-existent. I debated using my grandmother's handmade quilt. It was dark navy and thick but I couldn't bring myself to cut it into two pieces as was needed in the hall. I missed eggs, cold milk, driving to the country on weekends and walking with William in the park without fear of a bomb turning us to dust.
I shared my little flat with two other women working for the Women's Royal Naval service, more commonly called Wrens, and we got along famously. Wanda was moving out in two weeks to marry her beau and live with him. Sarah wouldn't be far behind if the noises from her room at night, when her boyfriend dropped by, were any indication.
The flat featured three small bedrooms, a sitting room and a small kitchenette, just the right size for three single girls surviving in London. We did everything together, Sarah, Wanda and I, right down to finding our men at the same time. That dinner dance would remain in my memory until the end of my days. Then, at the height of the war, our carefree days seemed to be ending and so far away all at once. I was in a bit of a limbo, young and lively one day, solemn and old the next.
We'd let the flat out to another group of young women and were packing for the move to be wives to our soldiers. The new girls would take over within the month.
If our society had been a touch more liberal, we would have seen that staying together while our men left for the front would have been a much more stable situation. It didn't do any of us any good to wander about empty flats or houses, worrying when the black edged letter, signalling the demise of a loved husband, would appear in our mail slot.
The Blue Danube wound to a close. Wanda caught my eye and smiled at me. I smiled back, but it was forced. I wanted nothing more than to take William home and never let him leave, but I couldn't say that to anyone. How patriotic would that be? Not to mention it would start an argument between William and I. Tall and grand in his uniform, I wanted him to leave with a smile for me on his face, not words of how I didn't appreciate all that he was doing for his country and the world in general.