Photo by Sue Vincent
“You’re in love with my grandson, aren’t you?” Mrs. Walker’s unexpected question startled Marlo and for several minutes, she was at a loss for words. They were sitting in the drawing-room in front of a roaring fire. The older woman had invited her to spend the afternoon with her. She was rather fond of her, ever since she was a child. She had watched Marlo play with her grandson, William and had watched her blossom into a lovely young lady.
There was a pregnant pause, interrupted only by the chiming of the clock and then, Marlo admitted, “Yes, I’m in love with William. I have been in love with him since I was a teenager but how–?”
“How did I guess? My dear girl, I may be old and feeble but my mind is as agile as ever. I have watched you and seen the way you act around him. These eyes don’t miss anything. So, what are you going to do about it?”
Marlo stared at her in surprise. “What can I do?” she asked. “He still thinks of me as that little girl he used to climb trees and gallivant about the countryside with.”
“You are mistaken, my Dear. The way I have seen him look at you, he’s not thinking about that little girl at all.”
Marlo’s heart began to race. “What do you mean?”
“It’s quite clear that William is in love with you.”
“But, what about Louisa Parks?” She had seen him with the pretty brunette on more than one occasion and it had aroused a fierce jealousy in her. She couldn’t help but recall the afternoon when she had returned from a walk to find them together in the garden. They were sitting on the bench, talking and laughing and she stood there watching them for a while before they even noticed her. Louisa was wearing a pretty sundress and hat. She glanced self-consciously down at her tee shirt and jeans. Her gaze shifted to William and their eyes met. He looked handsome in the white shirt and tan colored slacks, his dark hair slightly tousled from the cool breeze.
He got to his feet now and walked over to her. “Where did you go off to?” he asked.
“I went for a walk,” she said.
“You went alone?”
“Yes. You weren’t around so I decided to go by myself.”
“Where did you go?”
“I went to the drugstore—”
“Did you see Tom?”
“Of course. He works there.”
“You know he likes you, don’t you?”
She glanced over at Louisa who was watching them curiously, looking a bit put out. “Why don’t you go back to your guest?” she asked and was about to walk away when he caught her by the arm. Her eyes flew up to his face and she swallowed when she saw his expression.
“Do you like Tom?”
“Why does that concern you?”
“It does,” he retorted. “Do you like him?”
She tugged her hand away from him. “No, I don’t like him. Can you say the same thing about her?” She demanded before she turned and stalked away.
She ran to her car and jumped into it. All the way home, she fumed. What right did he have to question her about Tom when he was seeing Louisa? He acted like he was jealous but in order for him to be jealous, he would have to have feelings for her. No, he couldn’t have been jealous. He was just being overprotective like he used to be whenever a boy showed any interest in her.
The sound of Mrs. Walker clearing her throat brought her back to the present. “I’m sorry,” she said, embarrassed. “I was remembering something that happened between William and me.”
“You mentioned Louisa Parks.”
“Yes, I saw them together in the garden a week ago.”
“They are just friends.”
“It seemed to me that Louisa wants to more than friends.”
“Well, I’m afraid it won’t do her any good. William is in love with you.”
“But, how do you know that?” She wanted to believe it so badly.
“He told me.”
Marlo gaped at her. “He did? But, why would he tell you that?”
“Since he was a boy, William has always confided in me and some time ago, he stopped by, looking very agitated. When I asked him what the matter was, he mentioned that Tom, the Pharmacist, was asking after you. He said that Tom was interested in you. And the way he carried on about it, it was clear to me that he was besotted with you. I asked him plainly how he felt about you and he admitted that he was in love with you but he wasn’t sure how you felt about him.”
Marlo shook her head in a daze. “I never would have guessed?”
Mrs. Walker’s eyes twinkled. “Is that so?” she remarked. “Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?”
“What do you think I should do?”
“Well, I suggest that you take a walk across the Moors.”
“That’s why you’ll find him.”
Marlo glanced through the windows behind her. Dark clouds hovered ominously in the sky. “It looks like it’s going to rain.”
“Then, you’d better hurry before it does. And even if you’re caught in it, I’m sure there’s some place where you can find shelter until it passes.”
Marlo stood up and went over to her. She reached down and hugged her. “Thank you, Mrs. Walker,” she said before leaving the room.
She ran across the Moors, her heart racing. Overhead more dark clouds gathered but she didn’t care. As soon as she spotted him, she called out to him. He turned. When she reached him, he asked, “What are you doing out here?”
“Your grandmother told me that I would find you here.”
“It’s going to rain, you know.”
“I know and it doesn’t matter.”
“You’ll get drenched.”
“We’ll both get drenched.”
“It wouldn’t be the first time.”
She smiled. “You’re right. We got caught out here in the rain one summer. Your mother was furious when we ran back to the house and got the floor all wet.”
“I seem to recall that it was your bright idea to go back to the house instead of finding shelter in those rocks over there.”
“It would have been a very tight squeeze and I don’t like being in small spaces. I’m claustrophobic, remember?”
“Yes, I remember.” His expression grew serious now. “I remember a lot of things. I remember the way you looked when you came towards me as I stood right here. The sun caught your hair and it looked like it was on fire. Your cheeks were flushed from running like they are now. You’re still the most beautiful girl I know, Marlo.”
Marlo moved closer to him. Her green eyes met his hazel ones. She reached up and brushed the dark brown curls from his forehead. “I remember a lot of things too,” she said. “I remember how handsome you looked standing here, with your curls blowing in the breeze and the way you smiled at me. Your grandmother told me how you feel about me, William.”
“Is that why you’re here now?”
“Well, she guessed and I merely confirmed.”
“She told me about Louisa.”
“You don’t have to worry about her. I never wanted more than friendship with her.”
“And you don’t have to worry about Tom. I was never interested in him.”
He smiled. “I was so jealous of him.”
“And I was so jealous of Louisa.”
“We were two jealous fools.”
She laughed. “Yes, we were.”
He took her in his arms. “I love you, Marlo. I always have.”
She put her arms around his neck. “I love you too, William. I always have.”
He lowered his head and kissed her just as the rain began to fall.
Sometimes your childhood playmate can become your mate for life.
This was written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. For more details click here.