Sue’s gorgeous prompt for this week’s #writephoto…
She looked at him, his eyes pleading with her as well as his words.
“Please, Rebecca, meet me tonight.”
It was Jake’s last night here before he left to join the rest of the local young men, joining up to fight for King and country.
For the last few months, their growing attraction to one another had been hard to control. She had fallen for his chocolate brown eyes, ever since she popped into Farmer Smith’s farm shop for her aunt to pick up any eggs he had available.
Even though she was not a child, her parents had sent her to the village where her aunt lived, as a precautionary measure, alongside her younger siblings.
Jake was a farm hand. It was one of the only jobs available for young men in this farming community if they didn’t have land themselves. Jake had been delivering the milk to Mrs Smith who usually stationed herself in the farm shop, where she was able to learn all of the village gossip from her regular customers.
As Rebecca was leaving the shop, she was busying herself with the business of checking the eggs for cracks, so was looking down, and Jake, with a heavy pail of milk, was concentrating hard on not spilling a drop, as he headed inside.
It ended messily.
Eggs and milk spilt to the ground, and two young people were left, looking at one another. Mrs Smith’s raised voice went unheard, as Jake and Rebecca felt something, that first sweet twinge of attraction.
She paid for her accident over and over. Aunt Violet was certainly not happy that her money had gone to waste, and she made sure Rebecca was aware of her misdemeanour one hundred fold.
Jake had to spend the rest of that day scrubbing the floor clean so no residue was left to create a stink in the shop. It was just as well he was left to do something so mundane. His mind kept going back to that pretty girl. Something in her eyes called to him. He hadn’t seen her around before, but he was determined to find out who she was, and where she was staying.
It hadn’t been hard in the long run. Old Violet turned up at the shop one day, complaining as usual, and she happened to mention her no good niece, who had wasted her money, and Mrs Smith’s lovely eggs earlier that week. Of course, it hadn’t taken Mrs Smith long to duet along with Violet, with her lament about that good for nothing Jake, who had spilt all the milk that day too!
Once he knew where she lived, he took it upon himself to offer to do deliveries to Mrs Smith’s regular customers. The war hadn’t affected their farm animals so far, so there was plenty of produce available for the villagers with money, and they happily agreed to the delivery service.
This ensured him a look at Rebecca at least once or twice a week, and that was sufficient, up to a point. There was no conversation, just furtive glances between the two of them.
Over the months, their crossing of paths was inevitable. It was a small town, after all, and small token conversations were exchanged.
Rebecca began to look forward to those stolen moments where they spoke for a few minutes at a time. Why, she wasn’t sure, but when she saw Jake, her heart would go all aflutter.
She had taken to writing a diary of sorts, with all those things written in there, that she wished she could say to him, but which convention would never allow.
As the war raged on, it crept into the village. There were whispers of rationing happening in the cities, and the fear that they would not be so far from all that horror themselves. The bombing in the cities had opened a floodgate of evacuees being sent to the safety of villages.
Then slowly, the men of the village were expected to sign up. No one was spared. The old, the young… if they were of the right age, those call-up papers arrived.
Jake wasn’t spared.
Yet he was proud to have the opportunity fight for his country. But that would mean leaving his Rebecca behind. Funny that he thought of her as ‘his’. She wasn’t really his sweetheart.
He hoped, though, that tonight that would change. If she agreed to meet him at the small pagoda on the edge of the Manor House.
Then, maybe, he’d have someone to call his own, to think of, when he left.
Rebecca looked around. There was no one around to hear them.
“Ok, Jake, I’ll meet you tonight. But I can’t be late. After supper, at 7 o’clock, I usually go out to empty the bins. I’ll sneak out then.”
She scurried to the pagoda, chacking behind her to make sure no one was following her. Her had gripped the small book that she clasped to her chest. She could not stay, but she would give Jake her book, with all of her feelings written inside. Maybe, after this awful war was over, they would be able to really become sweethearts…