Love Lasts – not the usual dark story, but there is a surprise at the end!
“Good morning, Vic, are you ready for a cuppa?” asked Becky the carer. The pretty young girl smiled from the doorway, teapot in one hand, cup and saucer in the other.
“Oh, yes, please, I’m gasping,” answered Vic, placing the handset back on the outdated dial phone.
“Later this morning we are going for a stroll around the grounds. Do you want to join us?” asked Becky.
“I don’t know yet, hopefully June will come to visit me, I think I’ll have to let you know later, okay?”
“Yes, dear, every day the same, I’ll pop in after breakfast and see if you are free,” said a cheerful Becky.
Vic slurped the hot tea, “Lovely, almost as lovely as Becky.”
Her smile broadened she left to get on with her chores.
“A quick trip to the loo, then I’ll make a call,” Vic decided.
Vic settled slowly back on the armchair next to the bed. Dialling the only number ever used on the black Bakelite antique. Waiting a minute, then Vic beamed.
“Hello June, how are you feeling this bright morning?”
“They have invited me to join them on a ramble. Well, you know, just a wander around the home, really do you think so? It would be marvellous if you could come?”
“Not this time, I understand.”
Vic continued the one-way conversation for another fifteen minutes. Becky waited outside the door.
The handset was carefully replaced.
“Are you coming for a walk with us?” Becky asked.
“Yes, thank you, it seems June won’t be joining us today.”
“That is a shame. Next time?”
“Oh yes, she would love to meet you all,” said Vic.
“How long were you together?” Becky asked.
“We met during the war. A long time ago.”
“I’ve been with my husband for five years now. Sometimes it seems like forever,” said Becky.
“It was different in those days, of course,” said Vic.
“Yes, I suppose so. When our children came along, it all changed for us too. He was happy at first, but now he goes out with his mates all the time. What should I do?” asked Becky.
“I don’t know, I’m not the sort to offer advice. We never had children, couldn’t. June and I spent every minute we could together, sometimes it was awkward. But we managed.”
“You love June the same today as that very first day. How wonderful?”
“Oh yes, that will never change. Okay, I’m here and she’s not, but it bonds us with our hearts.”
Becky grabbed a tissue and dabbed her eyes.
A nurse peered around the door, “We are about to leave, are you both ready?”
“I’ll help Vic dress, we’ll be there in ten minutes,” said Becky.
“Do you mind if I ask a question?” asked Becky.
“No, dear, anything, ask away.”
“Did you live together since the war?”
“It was not that simple in those days. We met up whenever we could. You know a quick kiss and cuddle, then back to our homes, separately. Neighbours love to gossip,” Vic smiled at the thought.
“Were you both married to other people?”
“Yes, both of us were. We were in hastily arranged weddings. Our partners didn’t come home from the war.”
“That is so sad,” said Becky.
“It was, but it meant June and I were free to be with each other.”
“So, why didn’t you live together?”
“It wasn’t the done thing in those days,” answered Vic.
Becky pulled clothes from the wardrobe as Vic reached for the phone.
“I’ve got a quick call to make, okay?”
Someone slid buckets and mops into the bedroom, “Oh, hello, who are you?” asked Becky.
“I’m Bob, the new cleaner, nice to meet you. Do you want this wire plugged in?”
“No, no, please leave it. It’s from Vic’s phone.”
Bob looked puzzled, Becky put her index finger to her lips and shook her head.
“Does she not know?” whispered Bob.
“No, the phone hasn’t worked since Vic moved here ten years ago. I’m afraid Vicky doesn’t know her friend is not on the line.”
I hope you enjoyed the story?
Here are a couple of full-length novels you may enjoy.
Agatha Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’.
Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N. Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide. The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but is preparing to strike again…and again.
Mysteries don’t come much more macabre or puzzling than this. Who were the two victims, and what connection could they have shared that would result in this bizarre double-discovery? But that’s only half the story. The most gruesome moments are much more about Fiona and her curious mental state. There is a complex and very clever double mystery here, and what makes the story unique is the parallel unraveling of Fiona’s own mystery, and it’s her voice, established precisely in the first book but given even freer rein here, that makes it so compelling.