A NIGHTINGALE SANG IN BEREKELEY SQUARE.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A GIRL MEETS A G.I IN LONDON DURING THE BLITZ.

Submitted: November 24, 2009

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Submitted: November 24, 2009

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There was an element of innocence about the young girl before Victor Bradman that intrigued him. She was a honey-blonde with eyes that shone bright as she spoke and he thought he caught an underlying cockney dialect beneath the smooth tones she produced while speaking to him. He watched her lips as she spoke.

"And this could be the last time I see you for a while?” Anne Shelley asked looking down at her small hands on the table.

"Yeah, for a while, Honey. Can't say when I'll be back." Maybe I won't get back, he thought gazing at her eyes, at their sparkle.

Anne lifted her eyes from her hands and looked at Victor. Gosh, she mused, isn't he just so handsome. She moved her eyes slowly over his
features. Her eyes taking in his smile, his dark-brown eyes, his black hair, short but shining. What if I don't ever see him again? What if he gets killed? Soldiers do, she told herself, bringing her hands to her face. "How long is it until you have to go?” Anne asked.

"Tomorrow we move south. Can't say exact day. Secret." He looked away from her and across the restaurant.

"If you do come back, will you come and look me up?”

"Sure, I will, Honey." Victor returned his eyes to the girl. "Damned sure I will." Anne smiled at this. It warmed her. "Why you're one of the best little singers I've heard in ages," he added thoughtfully.

She smiled again at this and he remembered the first time he'd heard her some weeks back singing in some small club up West. The way she sang, the way her hips moved, her eyes. "How long have you been singing, Honey?"

"Four years. I first sang when I was twelve." She'd given her age away and knew it. "I’m sixteen now," she quickly added as she saw his eyes widen.

"You look older. Thought you were at least eighteen," Victor said.

"Do I look older?”

"Yeah, Honey, you sure do." He stared at her deeply for a few moments. He had thought her much older. It made him both eager and wary about going further with her now. Her innocence seemed less unusual in the light of this gained knowledge.

"What do we do after we leave here?” Anne asked gazing at the young American officer, sitting opposite her.

"What do you want to do?" he asked his tone wary.

"Don’t know," she said, inwardly knowing, but not sure if she should or could, being such an innocent in such matters.

"Lets get some fresh air and see what we come up with," Victor suggested. Anne nodded. Victor was pleased. Pleased, but also uneasy. Sure it's my last time here in a while, maybe last visit at all, he mused, and I would like to experience the sensation of love-making one last time before...Well just in case. He paid the bill at the small restaurant and they entered the warm evening air. Her arm entered his. They walked down towards Piccadilly at a slow pace.

"Have you any brothers?” Victor asked after a few minutes of silence.

"Two. Ted and Bill." Anne momentarily saw their faces, but they vanished again quickly.

"You’ve not mentioned them before, where are they?”

"They were called up. Ted's a prisoner of war and Bill's in Italy." Anne said no more, but stared ahead at the oncoming crowds. She squeezed Victor's arm tighter against her own.

"War’s no joke." Victor sensed her arm tighten against his own and felt something move within him. A familiar sensation came.

"What did you do before the war?”

"I was training to be a teacher," Victor informed.

"Gosh, a teacher. You must be clever," Anne said surprised.

"Not so clever as you are beautiful," he stated, giving her a quick smile and a warm gaze. She looked away from him blushing. Her eyes looked at nothing, but stared hard at what was around her. She didn't want the evening to end. Her body wanted him closer. She felt strange as she sensed him near her.

They came to Leicester Square and paused. "Would you like to come back to my hotel for a night cap?” Victor said quietly to her.

"Hotel?” Anne repeated. "Would they let me in?”

"I’m sure they wouldn't mind." Anne felt panic enter her stomach. She was unsure what to say or do. What if he wanted to do things? she asked herself. What if he expected more from me than I know? "I’m not sure if I should," Anne finally said. "I mean, what might people think?” Victor smiled. He loved her innocence.

"We needn't if it gives you concern, Honey. We could go see a film."

Anne felt his arm stiffen. She didn't want to disappoint him, but what if he did things? she mused uneasily. There was a tone of disappointment in his voice she thought. He would think her a fool. A mere child. "What film?" she asked. Victor suggested titles. She wasn't sure.

They walked on. He was holding her hand now. She was beginning to think the evening was going to end in disaster, like it did that time she went out with Joe, the drummer in the band she sang with. He was all over her once the lights in the cinema were low. She didn't want to do whatever it was that Joe wanted to do. But Victor was no Joe.

"I suppose we could go to your hotel after a film," Anne said suddenly, surprising herself and Victor.

"Sure," Victor said, "why not. The evening is young." He smiled at her, which made her feel more grown up, although none less uneasy.

"Sure that's all right?”

"Seems great by me."

"No one will mind me there?” Anne asked softly.

"Not a soul, Honey, not a soul." Victor squeezed the hand in his gently. It was a soft warm hand. Small, he thought, like a child's. He turned his head to peek at her and saw a certain purity about her that made him blush inwardly as if he'd crossed a forbidden boundary.

They sat at the back in the cinema and watched a film. Victor put his arm about Anne's shoulder after a while and she felt a mixture of warmth and unease as he did so. Then half way through the second feature film, Victor leaned over and kissed her cheek. She turned and gazed at him wondering if he were going to kiss her again, but he didn't, he just smiled, and she smiled back at him, uncertain what else she should do.

"Did you mind me kissing you a while back?” Victor asked as they left the cinema and walked along Charing Cross Road.

" No," Anne said," of course I didn't. In fact I enjoyed it."

"You didn't seem so sure back there, Honey."

"Well, it was sort of sudden wasn't it," Anne replied.

"Best way to kiss," Victor stated. He studied the young girl beside him. She had a frown about her features and her lips were tight shut.

They walked on for a while in a shared silence. She looking about her, but thinking of what else was to happen to her, and he wondering what he should do or not do as the occasion arose, if it arose. She wasn't sure whether to take hold of his hand in hers or whether he would think her too forward and a bit easy, and so she kept her hands down by her side. Victor laced his arm through hers suddenly and watched her stiffen for a few seconds.

"Relax, Honey, I won't bite," Victor said smiling.

"Sorry, didn't expect you to suddenly to do that," Anne said.

"You’re a bag of nerves," Victor stated easing her towards him.

"So would you be if you'd been in the Blitz," Anne retorted. She stopped and looked at Victor. "Didn’t mean to be so bloody moody, Victor. You see, my mum was killed in the bombing and my dad died back in 1938, so I'm pretty much on my own and get nervous." She paused.

"You never said." Victor's face became serious. The smile gone. "Must be hard to be alone and so young in a big city?" he said.

"Let’s not talk about it," Anne said moving on pulling Victor's arm with her. "I don't want to waste our evening talking about my life. What about we walk about for a bit longer, then we can go to your Hotel?”

Victor nodded. He gazed deeply at her. He wanted to try to get to understand her more, to delve deeper into her mind, but there wasn't time. Then, unexpectedly, she stopped and kissed him.

"You sure know how to surprise a man," Victor whispered.

"You surprised me in the cinema. Thought it was my turn to have ago." Anne gazed at Victor. He drew her towards him and kissed her forehead.

"You know, Honey, you knocked me dead, when you sang that song in the club that night?”

"What song was that?”

"A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square, I think it was called."

"Yes, it's one of my favourites songs, too." Anne said.

They walked and talked. The evening seemed to belong to them alone. Strangers passing by were unimportant to them. Victor wondered if this would be his last free evening with a woman, and Anne sensed a strange feeling inside her each time Victor was near her or squeezed her hand. Victor wanted her now of that he was certain, but whether he should or not, he was less certain. Anne wondered what would happen when they reached Victor's hotel, what he would expect of her.Would he expect more than she knew about? she mused uneasily.

"Here we are, Honey," Victor said as they came to a huge building.

"Bit posh, isn't it?” Anne said. She stared at her surroundings.

"None but the best, so my pa said." Victor looked at Anne and smiled. "Are you coming aboard?”

"Yes, of course," Anne said anxiously. Her stomach churned with nerves. She clutched Victor's hand tightly as they climbed the steps. What a place, she mused, gosh! What would Mum have thought of it? she asked herself, and knew and felt suddenly unsure of walking further, but did.

"My room is on the third floor," Victor said as they went up in the lift. He glanced at her. She seemed nervous, he thought. Anne gazed at the floor of the lift, wondering if she was doing the right thing, and thinking she wasn't, she felt like saying something, but didn't. Victor wondered if she was experienced in matters of this kind, and decided she probably wasn't, which made him feel slightly unsure and at the same time quite elated. "Here we are, "he said,” my room's fourth on the right."

And so Anne followed like a lamb to the proverbial slaughter or so it seemed to her momentarily gazing at Victor's back as he strode ahead eagerly like a lion stalking its prey.

"What a lovely room," Anne exclaimed. "I’ve never been in such a room before." Victor's room was finely furnished and large. Anne went to the window but couldn't look out because of the black out. She turned and stared at Victor. "My mum would have had a fit if he knew I was in a room like this, with a man like you."

"What kind of man am I."

"Don’t know yet, do I," Anne said. Victor came across to her.

"What kind of man do you want me to be, Honey?” Victor said.

Anne didn't know what she wanted. She wasn't sure she should even be there at all, let alone what sort of man Victor should be. He kissed her on the lips before she could reply. He put his arms about her tightly and kissed her again. Then, after a few moments, he released her. "Am I going too fast for you?”

"Is this the nightcap you promised me?”

"No," Victor said. He stood and studied her. "What would you like as a nightcap ?"

"Not sure that I want one really."

"What do you want?” Victor asked. Anne didn't know. She sensed she knew, but wasn't certain if she did or not. If only Victor didn't look at me in that way, she mused; if only he didn't kiss me like he does, she added, looking away from Victor and at the bed across the room.

The room was dark and Victor lay in the bed with his head resting onhis arms. Anne was beside him snuggled down with only her head showing from beneath the blankets, her eyes staring at the outline of Victor in the darkness. She wasn't sure if what had happened was what she had expected, because she wasn't sure she knew what she had expected. It had been a mixture of physical pain and sensual pleasure; a combination of guilt and excitement; a compound of fear and exhilaration.

"You’re no relation to the poet, I suppose?” Victor asked gazing up at where the ceiling should have been.

"Percy Shelley?”

"Yes."

No," Anne said. She moved closer to Victor and placed a hand on his shoulder. "When I sing that song again, I shall think of you."

"When I hear it sung again, I shall think of you." Victor kissed Anne on the lips. He had not known such an innocent with regards to sex, but it went well after a few moments of uncertainty and hesitation. He was glad it had happened, but was unsure if he should have allowed it to happen in the way it did and at the time it did. He sensed her near him now. Sensed her cheap scent. She was still a child he realized now, at least compared with some of the women he'd slept with. "Are you all right?" he asked.

"Yes," Anne replied, her answer came in a whisper. She wasn't sure if he wanted to do it all over again. Her body seemed to want more,but she was uncertain. She moved her hand down Victor's chest and with a finger made small invisible circles.

Anne was still waving when Victor's train finally disappeared from sight. Tears blinded her from seeing clearly. She stood for a few minutes on the platform wishing that the train would return with Victor and he would run to her, hold her, and kiss her again.

But the train did not return and slowly she made her way back along the platform, her head lowered. Will I ever see him again? Will he ever hold me and kiss me once more in the future? She hoped and hoped he would. Her hands dug deep into the pockets of her coat and her feet moved reluctantly along the platform as if she were going to her execution somewhere at the far end of her walk. And in a sense she felt she was. Maybe I deserve it, she mused sadly, maybe I am doomed because of what happened and what I did. She thought of Victor on his train looking out of a window at the passing countryside, thinking of her, she hoped, praying he would survive, unsure that he would.

Anne sat on a seat and watched people pass by to catch trains. She could hear the hiss of the departing trains. Her body felt empty and yet at the same time full. She sensed a soreness about her; a certain soiledness clung to her body. She stared down at her shoes. Her brown shoes seemed dull and mucky. Her body felt the same. Is he thinking of me? she mused. Is he thinking of last night? She didn't know, she hoped he was. It would make it all seem worthwhile if he was, she told herself, closing her eyes, trying to picture Victor, attempting to recapture what had happened, what he had said. But it seemed vague, like a dream. She knew it was no dream, but the vagueness persisted until she finally opened her eyes and stared at a far off train puffing its way from the station in a slow chugging motion, and sensed at that moment that Victor would never return.


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