The telephone rang.
“I’ll get it!” Georgina offered and jumped up to go into the hall. She didn’t bother switching the light on, as she knew her way in the dark. Well-trained since childhood, she answered with: “Reverend Reddings’ residence. This is his daughter Georgina. How may I help you?”
“Well, I can think of several things, but I’d prefer not to mention them over a public telephone with half my fellow officers listening in,” Kit answered.
“Kit!” Georgina exclaimed delighted.
“Georgina, I hate to say this but—”
“You can’t come,” she guessed instantly, and her joy drained away.
“I wouldn’t go that far, but something is brewing. If leave is suddenly cancelled, I won’t be able to ring, so I thought I better warn you.”
“Adrian and I will come as soon as we can, just don’t plan on us for any specific event, or meal or even day. We will eventually get away, it’s only a matter of when.”
“That’s all right, Kit. I understand.”
“How was the end of term?”
“Almost all the students I helped did better, and Nora showed the most improvement of anyone. Mr Willoughby told me he was glad I’d been assigned to his class, and Miss Townsend seemed pleased in her way. Can you believe it?”
“Of course! I’ve always believed you could do it! It’s just a shame you’re on term break, because it’s no fun beating up Kirkby Grange when no one is there.”
“Nora’s there. And Miss Townsend, of course.”
“Yes, but if we beat the Grange up when you’re not there, Miss Townsend might cotton on to the fact that Adrian fancies her.”
“I’d better go,” Kit told her reluctantly. “A queue is forming.”
“Okay. We’ll have plenty of time to talk when you get here.”
“Yes, of course. Goodbye for now.”
“Goodbye, Kit darling. And good luck!”
“I love you, Georgina.” He hung up.
Georgina replaced the receiver and stood in the dark. He had never said that over the phone before. She couldn’t move.
Edwin found her there several moments later. “Georgina? Is something wrong?”
She shook her head, then changed her mind and nodded.
He moved closer, a concerned look on his worn face. “What is it?”
“I’m afraid I may have heard Kit’s voice for the last time.”
“Ah.” He put his arm around her shoulders and his chin on her head before gently reminding her, “A coward dies a thousand times before his death; a hero never tastes of death but once.”
“No, it’s not that, Daddy. It’s that if I remind myself each day that it may be his last, I cherish every moment and every word more consciously. Because I didn’t do that with Don, I don’t remember what his last words to me were — or mine to him. My last words to Kit just now were ‘Good luck,” and Kit answered with ‘I love you, Georgina.’” She paused, reflected, and then asked rhetorically, “That’s lovely, isn’t it?”
Edwin held his daughter closer for a moment and nodded. “Yes, that’s lovely.”
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