Like a burst from a machine-gun going off beside his head, rapid-fire clicks shattered his sleep. Kit reared up disoriented. He couldn’t remember where he was. What was he doing in a car? Then he saw Georgina was standing beside his window; at last, he remembered driving to Kirkby. Georgina was peering through the window anxiously and clutching a winter overcoat over her nightgown. Her face was ghostly in the darkness.
Kit waved to her, smiling automatically, and she stepped back as he flung the door open.
“Kit! Why didn’t you come in? What’s happened?”
He took her into his arms, but in doing so realised that she was in her bedroom slippers and shivering. He turned her in his arms so he could guide her back to the house. “Come. You need to get inside before you catch cold.”
They slipped through the blackout curtains and into the front hall. It was chilly here, and Georgina led him into the kitchen, where a residue of heat from the oven took the edge off the air.
“Kit, what happened?” She pressed him again, her eyes wide with apparent alarm. “I heard the car but when no one got out, I thought — I thought it was Adrian coming to tell me — to say something had happened — but afraid to face me.”
Kit pulled her back into his arms and held her closely. He shouldn’t be putting her through this, he reproached himself, but he didn’t ease his hold. He couldn’t. He was too selfish.
“What happened?” She asked again, into the rough wool of his greatcoat.
“Wasn’t it on the news already? We sank the Tirpitz.”
“But Kit, that’s wonderful!”
“Except I wasn’t there. I had to abort due to problems with my intercom. I couldn’t communicate with either my bomb aimer or my gunner. I had to abort, and, yet… It doesn’t look good, Georgina. It’s more than fourteen months since I agreed to go back on ops, and I still haven’t flown one. Being second dickey doesn’t count, and a boomerang certainly doesn’t count. Fauquier took me on the squadron despite knowing about me being LMF. He must be having second thoughts by now.”
Georgina pulled back and looked up at him. “I haven’t a clue what Fauquier may or may not think, and I don’t care. The question is whether you doubt yourself?”
Kit had to think about that, but then he shook his head. “Not really. I know I can do it.”
“Good.” She smiled gently. “Then go back, get some sleep and do it. Should I make you some tea before you drive back?”
Kit was so tired he would have rather stretched out on the kitchen floor and slept there and then, but he knew that he shouldn’t and therefore couldn’t do that. Instead, he accepted the tea, and left about twenty minutes later.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish