The Last Flight Chapter 24

Temmuz 28, 2022 0 Yazar: admin

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I slept fitfully, waking regularly through the night. Dreams would begin and I would wake easily, nervous, worried about the day ahead or, maybe, the life ahead of me and each time I would be aware of Pascale’s warm body pressed against me, warding off the fears and demons and allowing me to fall back into a peaceful sleep until the nerves took hold again and the cycle would repeat itself. Pascale’s presence at least gave me some sleep, had I been alone I would have probably lain awake all night with my mind churning out a million questions for which there were no answers. At last, I woke to find myself alone and sat up, trying to see the clock but it was too dark. The tiny cut-out in the shutters showed the cold grey glimmer of morning so I knew it was still early. I reached to the side and switched on the little lamp beside my bed which produced enough light to see that it was just after six. Swinging my legs over the side to the floor, I sat for a minute, gathering my thoughts and wondering at what time Pascale had risen when the door slowly opened accompanied by a clinking of cups and saucers. “Ah, you’re awake,” she said. “Yes, just,” I answered her, “How long have you been up?” “Oh, not long really. Just long enough to make some tea for us. Did you sleep all right?” She placed the cups upon the little bedside stand whilst she sat herself beside me. “No, not really but at least the comfort of your presence allowed me some respite. Did you?” “No, I didn’t sleep at all,” she said, almost shyly. “I’m sorry, you must be exhausted,” I put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her to me. “Not really,” she smiled. “I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to savour every minute of being so close to you. I felt you stir a number of times so I just held you tighter until you relaxed back into sleep.” My heart thumped gently but firmly as I realised that, for the first time in my life, someone actually loved me, someone who wanted me just for who I was and not for what I would do for them. I squeezed her more tightly against me for a moment. She smiled and stared at the floor before looking up again, directly at me. “Karen, let me come with you, for a short time at least. I can’t bear to think of you managing alone.” I breathed out with a big sigh. “Pascale, I’m sorry, I really am. bahis siteleri You are a beautiful woman and, along with your mum and sister, are the the most wonderful person I have ever met but it would not be fair on you to drag you away from them and expect you to cope with my ailment as well.” “But Karen…” I stopped her with a finger pressed gently to her lips “No, Sweetheart. This is something I have to attempt on my own.” I removed the finger and replaced it with my lips, a gentle loving kiss. “I love you all very much, Pascale, You know that. I will come come back as soon as I can, I promise.” She gazed for a moment into my eyes, her own becoming a little moist, then she smiled resignedly and threw her arms around my neck. “Thank you for being honest with me,” her voice muffled as she pressed her face against my neck. We remained that way for a few moments until I patted her gently upon the back. “Come on, now,” I said quietly, “The tea is getting cold.” “She gave a half hearted chuckle and released me. “I love you, Karen,” she whispered. “I know you do, Sweetheart,” I smiled. The truth was, I loved her too but not in the way that she wanted. We chatted whilst we waited for sounds of movement from the others. She said she would not accompany me to the airport but would rather make her goodbyes here, at home. I agreed that it was probably better that way. She opened the shutters and allowed the early morning light to fill the room. It was too early for the sun but already the sky was turning a lighter blue as it approached the horizon. I heard the stairs creaking as not one but two sets of feet trod carefully as they descended. Pascale and I went to the door as Françoise and my dad reached the bottom. “Good morning, you two!” They both jumped as I spoke. “Oh, Good morning, Karen.” my dad looked a little sheepish, “We just bumped…” he didn’t finish the sentence as he saw the disbelieving look on both our faces. “Dad, please, it’s all right, honestly. I think it was just the shock that triggered my, um, episode, last night.” I looked at Françoise. “I told him we talked,” she said, “but he is afraid.” I took his hand. “Dad, I will be fine, I promise but I do need to be treated normally, you know?” He smiled. “I will try,” he answered. Breakfast was a hearty canlı bahis siteleri affair, a little like the last meal of a condemned man, as Dominique wasn’t afraid to point out and was swiftly admonished. We busied ourselves for the next couple of hours and I spent a little longer than usual in preparing for the journey. I decided that the best way was to try to behave as though I was going to work. I bathed and then spent ages ensuring that my make-up was perfect until, finally, I dressed in the perfectly ironed blouse and pressed skirt, tying my neck scarf, ensuring that it sat just so and ensuring that the seams of my flesh coloured stockings were perfectly straight and in line with the centre of the back of my gleaming black, patent leather court shoes. Before putting on my jacket I arranged my hair in a neat bun and pinned my hat above it so that it sat neatly on my head with the bun immediately below. Finally, I slipped on the scarlet jacket and stood back to examine my appearance in the mirror. The reflection that stared back was that of the perfect Air Hostess, the ‘S’ winged badge on my left lapel shining as brightly as my hopes. I looked down at my hands. Perfectly manicured and moisturised, having been so careful with them since I had almost damaged them so many weeks before only now, they were shaking, in time with the trembling inside of me. I took a deep breath and turned and left the room for the last time. When I entered the hallway I stopped dead to the sound of a long low whistle. “Wow, look at you, Baby!” I smiled widely and blushed so deeply that I felt my face must surely be the same colour as my uniform! “Good Morning, Doctor Harlow,” I greeting the astonished looking doctor. He was standing, feet apart, in the doorway a few feet in front of me. He brushed a hand back over his Brylcreem’d hair. “Hey, I knew you were beautiful, Karen, but… phew,” he breathed out with a soft whistle. “ Oh, give over, Doc!” I laughed, “You’ve seen Air Hostesses before.” “Hmm, well, actually, only in pictures,” he replied sheepishly, “All my flying so far has been courtesy of the United States Air Force. Don’t get me wrong, those Air force gals are great but they can’t hold a candle to you!” “Well, you are just too kind.” I stepped forwards and kissed his cheek. canlı bahis “I gotta say, though, Karen, I am very pleased. You have gotten yourself into the right frame of mind for the journey ahead.” “Smoke and mirrors, Doc,” I said in return, “Smoke and mirrors. I am terrified, I really am.” “Hey, I know, Kiddo. I would have been very surprised if you hadn’t been but, nonetheless, it shows you are fighting still.” As he spoke the rest of the family appeared in the hallway. “I thought I heard voices, Good Morning, Doctor.” It was my dad who spoke. “And, Karen, you look amazing. I have missed so much of your life that I can never get back.” I took his hand. “A new beginning, Dad,” I assured him. “Time to move on. We are together again and, even though things are not perfect we have so much to be thankful for.” “Yes,” he agreed with a half smile. “Yes indeed. Out with the old and on with the new!” His face brightened considerable as the words left his mouth and he put his arm around Françoise’ waist, holding her tightly against him. She did the same and looked at him, nodding happily. “Right!” Doctor Harlow straightened up, “If we are all ready? Time to head for the station.” I turned to Dominique. “Good bye, Little One,” I said, “Keep an eye on those two.” I indicated her Mum and my Dad. “I will,” she promised, “And you get well and come back to see us soon.” I nodded, feeling my eyes beginning to fill then turned to Pascale who was standing quietly, patiently. I was vaguely aware of Françoise ushering the others out of the door towards Doctor Harlow’s car as I looked into her sad blue eyes. “I know this is so hard, Sweetheart. I promise you, it is for me too but this is not goodbye, merely ‘a bien tot’, until the next time. You are like my sister now and, if our parents are happy too, in the future they will make us legal sisters!” She smiled weakly but it was obvious her heart was heavy. I leaned forward and kissed her gently then hugged her for all I was worth. I felt her cough back a little sob and she whispered into my neck: “I love you.” “I broke the hug very slowly and carefully and whispered: “I love you too, Pascale.” “You do?” she almost croaked the words I nodded. “Now, look after your mum and sister and I will be back before you know I am gone.” I touched the tip of her nose briefly and then, sniffing back a tear before it flowed, I turned and walked out into the bright sunlight, not daring to look back. We drove to the station on Doctor Harlow’s old, black, Citroen light 15.

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