look him in the eye: ‘I haven’t takenvows. But yes, I feel it’s my Christian duty to do something, don’t you?’
The question was flung like a gauntlet.
‘Perhaps my cousin feels the same,’ said Lindsay tartly. ‘German bishops say it’s a sin not to fight for the Volk.’
‘My goodness, you do sound confused.’
They stared at each other for a frosty moment, then she reached across and touched his sleeve: ‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to say that.’
He smiled at her: ‘I haven’t forgotten – you like to be direct. But don’t apologise, we’re as bad as each other. And I’m rather protective of my cousin.’
Small white clouds were rolling east over the city now, their cold shadows scudding across the grass. They found the path again and walked on at a brisker pace. Lindsay asked Mary about her family and university and the years she had spent studying archaeology: ‘I can’t imagine you in a muddy hole.’
‘I’ll let you have my paper on Norse burial rites.’
He laughed. ‘Background for the new dark age.’
Mary hesitated, then said, half in jest: ‘My brother may have told you I’m an academic bluestocking. I deny it.’
‘He said men were frightened of you, and now I understand why.’
‘Don’t tease me. James’s friends are frightened of any woman who has something to say for herself but you must stick up for me. We’re both outsiders, thrown into the same den of lions.’
‘Then it is my duty to protect you.’
‘Duty?’ She looked at him steadily, chin slightly raised, daring him to catch and hold her eye. It was an unmistakable, thrilling challenge.
And he held her gaze: ‘Duty? No. Not a duty.’
It was not until the following weekend that they were able to see each other again. By then the Germans had bombed the Admiralty, forcing daylight into dim, remote corridors, shaking even the sub-basement of the Citadel. Yugoslavia capitulated and Greece was on the point of doing the same. Lindsay took Mary to the Coconut Grove night club.
There was an expensive air of hysterical gaiety, with Society girlswrapped around young men in Savile Row suits. The Latin Orchestra was very fine but there was almost no room to dance. They sat at a table sipping martinis, upright and self-conscious and too far apart for conversation. Lindsay said something she took to be an invitation:
‘Yes, if you like.’
‘I didn’t ask you to dance,’ he shouted. ‘We can’t, can we, it’s too crowded?’
He looked ill at ease, unhappy. ‘What’s the matter?’ She reached across for his hand: ‘Come and sit next to me.’
He squeezed in beside her, shoulder to shoulder, and she took his hand again, its palm a little rough and dry: ‘Are you all right?’
‘I haven’t been to a place like this for a long time.’
‘We can go?’
‘No, no, it’s fine.’
He smiled and raised her hand to his lips.
Later, she floated home, his arm around her, drunk with warm anticipation. They kissed in the blackout shadows at the end of Lord North Street, quiet, deliberate, intense kisses. And he pressed himself against her, breathed the scent of her hair and felt the weight of her head against his shoulder.
‘I think I’m falling in love with you,’ he whispered.
At last they broke apart and Lindsay held her hands tightly and bent to rest his forehead against hers: ‘I’m not sure I’ll be able to see you for a while.’
‘Tired of me already?’
He laughed and kissed her forehead: ‘I’m meeting prisoners in Liverpool, the crew of the
and then there are the interrogations.’
‘Winn’s very interested in the commander, Jürgen Mohr. He’s quite a catch.’
‘Perhaps it was your brother’s idea to send me to Liverpool, to save his sister?’
‘Perhaps he’s right.’
It is of the utmost importance that the loyalty and integrity of any officer engaged in this work should be beyond question and that their
Jessica Sorensen, Aleatha Romig, Kailin Gow, Cassia Leo, Lacey Weatherford, Liv Morris, Vi Keeland, Kimberly Knight, Addison Moore, Laurelin Paige