Another Day Without You: Chapter 10

Like Ruby, I'm posting here because the ff.net server won't allow me to log in. Since it's been a while since I've posted, let me bring you up to speed. At the end of the last chapter, Jem was in the hospital waiting room with Anne and Faith's parents when they asked him what had made him and Faith decide to elope in London.


Flashback: November 11, 1917

As the train pulled into London, Jem had to make a concerted effort to remain in his seat, as he felt his high spirits might allow him to miraculously defy gravity. Now that he was about to see his beloved Faith for the first time in more than three years, he couldn’t believe he had, at one time, actually discouraged her from coming to England. While he was still concerned about her subjecting herself to the physical and mental strains of V.A.D. work, he was elated that his beautiful and stubborn fiancĂ©e knew her own mind and always followed her own heart. Based on the letters he had received, Jem knew Faith found her demanding and emotionally draining work fulfilling as it made her feel she was making the greatest contribution she could to the war effort. Being able to ease the visible and invisible wounds of the injured soldiers in her care soothed Faith’s soul and lessened the anguish she felt over the plight of all who were suffering due to the Great Conflict. But as delighted as he was that Faith was satisfied with her life in London, Jem rather selfishly thought the best thing about her being in London was the he would be able to see her every day for the next week while he was on leave.

When he got off the train, she was standing on the platform, waiting for him and looking even more enticing than he’d thought possible. At first glance, she was the epitome of sophisticated female beauty, wearing a ruby red dress that complimented natural loveliness, the way the red roads highlighted the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island. Was it possible that a woman wearing ruby red could look ethereal? Before that moment, Jem would have thought such an effect could only be accomplished by wearing white of some other light, airy color, but he would have been mistaken, for Faith indeed possessed an ethereal appearance.

Yet impossibly, this chic woman wore an almost child-like expression as she searched the crowd, her eyes opened wide in anticipation and hope, as if she were waiting for her fondest wish to be granted and not believing it could be. And when she saw him, her expression turned to one of breathless disbelief, as if she feared the image before her was a mirage, the product of wishful thinking or of a vivid dream.

The next thing Jem knew, Faith was clinging to him tightly and protectively, as she sobbed quietly into his chest. He embraced her almost as fiercely, and they needed to exchange no words to express the love, gratitude, relief, and wonder that was in their hearts.

When they finally let go of each other, he dried her eyes with his handkerchief and said softly, "No tears, dearest. Not on the happiest day I’ve known in more than three years.”

Smiling up at him, she said, “They’re tears of happiness, Jem. Tears for the remarkable joy I can feel only when I’m with you.”

He leaned down and kissed her, and in that moment, the whistles of the engines, the commotion of train station, and the hundreds of people milling about vanished silently into the gray London fog.

*************************************************

Sitting in the back of the taxi with Faith, Jem felt a fierce need to kiss her again, but didn’t as he knew that it wasn’t the proper time or place. Instead, he gently caressed her hand as they gazed dreamily at each other, both completely tuning out the taxi driver who was prattling on incessantly about the war, which at the moment seemed as distant and remote to Jem as the Crimean War and other conflicts of which he had no firsthand knowledge. Was it possible the war was still raging on and that he himself had been in the trenches only a few short days ago, Jem wondered. While the horrific experiences of the past three years could never be forgotten, they seemed to melt away in Faith’s presence. It was as if Jem had stepped out of one world and into another, for his life as a soldier seemed totally separate from his life as Faith Meredith’s fiancĂ©, a role he was anxious to immerse himself in for the next week. He couldn’t wait to be alone with her, to hold her in his arms, to kiss her supple lips, to run his fingers through her golden brown curls, and to share the innermost thoughts and feelings that lovers can whisper to each other only in private.

However, Jem allowed his attention to be diverted from his sweetheart when they arrived at the home of Ludlow and Victoria Wentworth, the elderly couple with whom Faith was staying while in London and whom she had grown to love like grandparents. Victoria Wentworth, who had served as nurse in her native United States during the American Civil War, was a member of the British government’s V.A.D. advisory board and was so devoted to the cause that she had insisted that one of the volunteers stay in her home in order to provide her direct contact with the program on a daily basis. Since her arrival in London, Faith’s letters to Jem had been full of references and stories about Victoria Wentworth, a woman considered somewhat of a rebel, yet still member of standing in London’s elite circles. Jem had been curious about her ever since learning that Mrs. Wentworth had been married four times!

“Faith has told me so much about you that I feel we are old friends, Jem,” Victoria Wentworth said warmly in her distinctively gravelly voice when Faith introduced them. “I do hope that you and I will have the chance to for a long chat while you’re on leave, but right now I’m on my way out to a committee meeting. I’m sure you’ll excuse me as my departure will give you the opportunity to spend some time alone with Faith. Luddie is away on business this afternoon, too. We are planning a special dinner in your honor tomorrow evening though, if that‘s convenient for you.”

“That’s very kind of you, Mrs. Wentworth,” Jem said, noticing the mischievous twinkle in the elderly woman’s eyes. Had Faith not mentioned in one of her letters that Victoria Wentworth was seventy-seven years old, he would have thought her twenty years younger. Not only was she the most beautiful elderly woman he had ever seen, she was one of the most beautiful women of any age he had ever seen. Her complexion was virtually flawless – smooth and nearly wrinkle-free. That, along with her thick, snow-white hair, her china blue eyes, her finely chiseled features, and her gracious smile gave her a soft appearance, much like a very refined version of the stereotypical kindly but dowdy grandmother. “I’m looking forward to becoming better acquainted with you as well. Faith’s letters have been full of stories about kind you and your husband have been to her.”

“My dear boy, please call me Victoria. I’m not one to stand on ceremony unless I have to in order to further one of my causes,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Very well, Victoria,” Jem said a bit uncomfortably. He wanted to abide by her wishes, yet he couldn’t help but feel that calling his elder by her first name was a very disrespectful.

“Even though I’ve known Mrs. Wentworth for only two minutes, I can tell that she is a character, just as you’ve said,” Jem told Faith once Victoria had left the house.

“More like a force of nature,” Faith said, chuckling slightly. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as determined or strong-willed before.” Noticing the amused look on Jem’s face, she added, “And yes, that includes me.”

“It sounds as if you two have a lot in common, except that you will only be married once, if I have anything to say about it.”

“Victoria can’t help the fact that she outlived her first three husbands,” Faith said lightly. But immediately after making the comment, a look of horror crossed Faith’s face, and Jem could tell that she feared she had said the wrong thing, having made a comment that reminded them both that Faith could well outlive Jem under the present circumstances.

“No, I don’t suppose she can,” Jem said quietly. “And I’m sure that none of her husbands would have wanted her to spend the rest of her life alone, mourning for them. If they truly loved her, they would have wanted her to be happy, with or without them.”

Faith said nothing, for no words were necessary as they both knew that Jem was not speaking only of Victoria’s husbands. Jem saw Faith’s eyes well up with tears, but before he could say anything, she put her arms around him and kissed him.
5 Responses
  1. I want to know more! Please continue. I can't wait to know how things end up. I want to read how they elope, and if Faith will live or not. It seems to me, that you're builing up for her die. I hope not, but that would be different.


  2. I loved it. As far as I know, you're the only fanfic writer who has managed to capture the brilliance of the Jem-Faith relationship. Please update soon!


  3. I loved it. As far as I know, you're the only fanfic writer who has managed to capture the brilliance of the Jem-Faith relationship. Please update soon!


  4. I loved it. As far as I know, you're the only fanfic writer who has managed to capture the brilliance of the Jem-Faith relationship. Please update soon!


  5. Rachel Says:

    I am so glad you updated, I enjoy this story very much. I like catching a glimpse into how Jem and Faith's life was while they were away. And you write their banter so effortlessly. I look forward to more.