June 6, 2011
The hours ticked by slowly as I lay in bed listening to Charles snoring loudly beside me. The sun was slowly beginning it’s climb into the sky, brightening the darkness that had engulfed us for the past ten hours.
With this new day came hope, hope that Charles would shortly be returning to the war and that Johntathon and I would be left to live our lives together, albeit secretly.
I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t stop thinking about my Johnathon, the way he held me, the softness he used with every touch, the tenderness of every kiss, his soft lips barely kissing the corner of my mouth before he gently rested his lips on mine. I couldn’t help thinking about the way in which time stood still whilst we were together; it were as though nothing else mattered.
Sleep had evaded me for so long now that there really wasn’t much point in laying there lazily, I may as well have gotten up and had some time to myself to get some things done.
As I climbed out of bed I stood at the bedroom window and five gloriously–silent minutes passed as I allowed my mind to swallow me into the dream that I wished were true, that the man lying in the bed asleep behind me was in fact Johnathon. That Charles was no longer a threat to us and that I didn’t have to live in secrecy anymore. That we could live our lives together forever, to have a family together.
I jumped out of my trance as I heard Charles turn over in his sleep, luckily he hadn’t caught me standing there doing nothing, he would have been furious. With a heavy sigh I walked away from the window – and my fantasy of a better life.
“One day.” I promised myself as I walked downstairs to cook Charles’ breakfast.
“Be ready at 6pm sharp,” he ordered, already pulling on his outdoor coat.
Foolishly I dared to ask where he was going.
“OUT! Not that it’s any of your business,” he spat at me. He pulled the door open and walked out without a backward glance. I jumped as the door slammed shut.
Sitting down at the cooked breakfast left untouched on the table, I allowed my mind to wander back to Johnathon’s note, particularly the last sentence: “I will see you tonight.”
How could he be certain that we would see each other tonight. He had silenced me with a kiss before I had been given the chance to tell him of my parents dinner tonight. I had to attend that and I doubted there would be an opportunity to escape long enough to see him.
Putting the note to the back of my mind I decided to get on with my chores, I had to clean the entire house before getting ready for the dinner that evening. I had to make sure I was ready in plenty of time in case Charles returned early.
As I went to collect the cleaning equipment, I noticed some of my vegetables were ready for picking. Pulling on my garden boots I went outside to pick them before the insects got to them. I enjoyed gardening, enjoyed growing my own vegetables; the satisfaction was exceptional when you later sat down to a nice meal cooked with all your own vegetables.
After I’d finished in the garden I began working on the house, washing dishes from breakfast, beating the rugs, cleaning everything meticulously.
Glancing at the grandfather clock on the upstairs landing I noticed that time had flown by today and I only had little over an hour left to get ready.
I swirled some rouge on my cheeks, a faint brown color on my eyelids and some mascara before walking to my wardrobe to find a dress. Fumbling through my dresses I stumbled across one I had nearly forgotten about, hidden at the back. I pulled it out and placed it lovingly on my bed, admiring the beautiful black floor length lace–over dress that covered the emerald green satin dress underneath it. It was, without a doubt, the most extravagant piece of clothing in my possession.
The dress was a gift, from Johnathon. I had been extremely worried about Charles finding out about me having such an extravagant item of clothing, but we had covered that angle quite nicely I thought. On a rare occasions that I didn’t see Johnathon in the evening I would go to Evie’s house and spend some time with her. While I told her about my predicament over a cup of tea she came up with the perfect plan. We would tell Charles that Evie had given it to me as a gift, as she couldn’t fit into it anymore since having the children.
Evie’s parents were quite wealthy and often treated her to beautiful dresses as a young woman, before the children had arrived and they then spent their money spoiling their grandchildren. The dress Johnathon had given me was very similar to one that Evie’s parents had given her.
Stepping into the dress I pulled it up, pushing my arms into the elbow–length sleeves. I loved the feel of the satin on my body. I carefully pulled the lace over dress over my head, and slipped on the matching shoes.
Once I’d finished dressing I slowly walked downstairs, pulled on my overcoat and sat at the kitchen table awaiting Charles’ return.
I didn’t have to wait to long.
After walking through the door he quickly rushed upstairs to change into his uniform.
“Come with me Esme,” my mother said, passing me a glass of champagne and grabbing my other hand to pull me into the large formal lounge. All the furniture had been removed to make room for the dancefloor.
“I want to introduce you to our new neighbours. Esme, this is Mr. & Mrs. Walker, they have just moved in next door with their Son.”
“Good Evening Mr. & Mrs. Walker. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I greeted them, trying to be polite but really just wanting to get away from them. They seemed nice enough, but I knew I had to go and stand near Charles – otherwise he would lose his temper. I was his possession, his property, and he expected me to behave like that at public events.
“I’m so sorry you’ll have to excuse me,” I said softly, rushing to Charles’ side. He turned and scowled at me, then without saying another word he turned his back to me and continued talking to his friends. I stood there amoungst a crowd of people feeling more alone than ever.
During dinner I sat next to Charles and Mr. Walker. He reminded me so much of someone but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. He had black hair that had grey hairs running through it, sort of like salt and pepper. He had dark brown eyes and a strong jawline.
“Have you unpacked everything now Mr. Walker?” I asked, trying to make up for my rudeness earlier. Charles was engrossed in talking to a female next to him. He was being particularly charming. It was obvious what he wanted.
“Yes, thank you Esme. I was hoping my son would be here. I think you would have liked him,” Mr. Walker replied with a genuine smile.
“Where is he?” I asked. I had known that Mr. Walker’s son was meant to be there, but my mother told me he hadn’t turned up.
“I don’t actually know where he is. We think he is seeing someone, but all he mentioned was that he had to meet someone, he said he had promised.” Mr. Walker turned to face me, a look of sorrow filling his eyes. “I’m sorry to burdon you with our family issues, I don’t know what came over me, I just felt so comfortable talking to you.”
“It’s not a problem at all Mr. Walker.”
The dinner was going really well, then we moved into the large lounge room – which was converted into a dancing area. I managed to endure the obligatory dance with Charles. It wasn’t a pleasurable experiance, although he took great pleasure in squeezing my hands a little too tight, smiling as I winced in pain. I tried not to look at him, I didn’t want him to see my pain or the tears that were starting to form. I looked down, pretending that I was trying not to stand on his toes.
“Excuse me, do you mind if I cut in?” A voice asked. I recognised the voice.
I looked up startled. I couldn’t believe it. There he stood in front of me, looking more handsome than ever.
Johnathon. My Johnathon.
“Sure, go ahead, if you don’t mind losing a few toes,” Charles sniggered.
Johnathon took me in his arms and twirled me around the dance floor effortlessly. I couldn’t believe it, what was he doing here.
“Johnathon, I… What… Urm… Charles?”
“Esme, my love,” he whispered, looking down at me. “My surname is Walker, I believe you met my father at dinner.”
I gasped silently. All the pieces were finally fitting into place. His parents had just moved next door. I was the person his parents thought he was seeing. Oh dear, this could get very difficult.
“Esme, please breathe. Nothing will ever jeopardize what we have, you mean too much to me. Yes my parents have moved in next door, but they don’t know anything. And as for Charles, I have a good mind to take him outside and give him a few home truths.”
I gasped again in horror. “Johnathon, please. You can’t.” It was more of a plead than a demand.
“Don’t worry Esme, I promised you I wouldn’t jeopardize anything between us.”
Johnathon continued to twirl me ’round the dancefloor, and I almost didn’t realize he was slowly spinning me towards the back door.
“Come with me. I want to talk to you,” he whispered.
“I can’t. Charles will wonder where I am.”
“I’m sorry to say my love, but Charles left about three minutes after I cut in. He left with the girl who sat next to him at dinner.”
Oh. Well that was a first, I thought. He’d never been so obvious before. “How did you know he sat next to her at dinner?” I asked, curious.
“Well, a friend is also here tonight and he happened to comment on the fact that Charles was paying a lot more attention to a girl who was sitting next to him rather than his wife – who was sitting next to my dad. And then my dad pointed out that he had been sitting next to you as well. So I just put two and two together.”
“Ok, let’s just go… before I change my mind.”
Johnathon led me to the back door and we walked outside into the cool evening air. He took hold of my hand and walked me across the lawn. We stood on the lawn for a little while, gazing up into the sky, looking at the stars with only the moonlight to light our path. We walked to our tree, hand in hand. We didn’t say a word until we got there, scared that someone might here us in the silence of the night.
“Esme,” Johnathon murmured. “I am so in love with you it hurts. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met. Tonight, when I saw you dancing with Charles, I was so jealous and angry I just wanted to walk over and punch him for everything he has done to you. But at the same time I wanted to take you away from him and keep you with me forever and protect you. You look so beautiful tonight. You take my breathe away.”
And with that he gently pushed me against the trunk of our tree, taking my face in both of his hands and gently kissing me. I’d never felt so much passion in a kiss, not even Johnathon’s kisses had been the passionate before.
He gently pulled away and we sat down. Johnathon leaned against the tree trunk while I laid against his chest, listening the beat of his heart.
“It’s such a beautiful night tonight,” I breathed.
Johnathon agreed. “I think so too.”
Johnathon moved, gently laying me down. He moved so he was laying half on top of me and half on the ground, leaning on his elbow.
“Esme, I love you so much. I cannot bare to see how that man treats you. I want to be with you, forever. Esme…. run away with me….”
Love Esme xx
Here are two pictures of the black floor length lace–over dress that covered the emerald green satin dress I wore underneath it. (Pics show the front and back):