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Excerpt V - Casting Shadows

Hi, everyone!

This will be the second to last sampler I will post for the next book. Remember, everyone I post is still in production and might be slightly different when they are published. However, I hope you enjoy this!

* * * *

During the endless day of ceremonies, someone pressed a few papers in my hands. I did not see who passed me. I pocketed the gift and continued to pay heed to the priest behind the screen. When the space emptied of worshippers, I rose to relieve myself. I found my way to a privy and left my ladies waiting.

The note was from Jerry.

Your Majesty,

Excuse my abrupt disappearance, but duty calls. You should know by now that I am on my way to Lopet. I hope you are enjoying the gift I gave you. This one should be added back to its original home. I carried it with me for years. Now, it has come home.

I turned to the next page. It was colored with dirt and sweat, but was apparently old enough to be much more advanced in years than I am. When I studied the writing, though, I did not recognize it. I had to read it to know the sender.

My Darling Love,

It has been a long year since my brother denied us marriage. Since that time, it has been difficult to ignore your looming presence, even though you are not here. I see you in the corridors, instructing servants. I see you in the kitchens, flirting with the maids. I see you in the gardens, pruning and picking flowers. You are everywhere, my Love, and I cannot escape you.

There are many times this year in which I desired that you went home to Premit. It would have made the heart so much easier to mend. Maybe I could have recovered from the rejection Henry gave us. Maybe I could have forgotten about you and loved another. A year is a long time! Things do change.

Right now, I know it shall never be. I will always love you, now and forever. No matter what husband I am given, I will always think of you. You will be in my heart, carved into the lining along with my compassion and pain. Jerry, I love you, I love you, I love you.

There, I have said it! I love you. I will love no other. In my heart, your name will be carved. When my husband orders me opened up, may it haunt him for the remainder of his days. He took me away from my true love.

Yours as life endures –

Vera Lynn

I traced the spiral letters with my fingers. The old ink did not stain and the sweat drops hardly moved with the pressure. I was elated and frightened all at once. It was not only that Jerry knew that Poppa died and that he was prepared to risk it all to gather forces in Lopet. He understood that any interception of this note will bring an axe to his neck and mine. He understood that I needed something to hold onto, when the going was tough.

I was a sentimental fool over a piece of history and Jerry allowed it to happen.

Damn that man!

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