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Flavour of the Day (22/12)

Title: Truce
Author: lost_spook
Story: Heroes of the Revolution (Divide & Rule)
Flavor(s): Flavour of the Day (22/12) – irenic. (tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory.)
Toppings/Extras: None.
Rating: G
Word Count: 693
Notes: September 1943; Edward Iveson, Elizabeth Long.
Summary: It’s been much too long since Edward has seen his mother…

***

Edward hesitated at the door to the house. It had taken a long time to get here – maybe it was too long. Months since he’d heard about Peggy’s death and decided that this had to be done. Over a year since Peggy had said to him, as had Nancy, that he should go and see his mother. Holding grudges in wartime was even more dangerous than it was in peace time. Four years from the start of the war, when that he’d thought that himself, but still hung back from doing anything about it. More than eight years since his mother had failed to come to his wedding and he’d decided that was it: whatever she’d said in the past, she didn’t care. Somebody who cared would have at least sent a reply. Somebody who cared would have said something when they heard how badly that marriage had ended, and how soon. Yes, it was well over eight years since he’d declared war on her in his heart. And it was an impossible twelve years since he’d last seen her, in the autumn of 1931.

He couldn’t knock at the door now he was here; he turned and walked back down the path. It was too late; twelve years was far too long. He didn’t know what reaction would be worse when she saw him. He didn’t know if he wanted his resentment or his guilt to win out, or if there was any hope of it ending in unexpected peace of mind. He thought not.

He made it to the front gate before he halted himself. He was ashamed of not having come before; he was ashamed of his role in the war, so he could do this now, and take Peggy’s advice, because he knew damn well it was right.

Edward walked back up the path, knocked on the door and waited. What if his stepfather was there? What if no one was? Oh God, he thought. It wasn’t fair to suddenly turn up like this. He should have telephoned. He’d just shrunk even more from that: he remembered too many times she’d promised on the telephone that she would see him, and then let him down again.

An unknown, middle-aged woman opened the door and he wondered in alarm if he’d somehow missed the fact that his mother had moved, before he told himself that she was probably only the housekeeper or daily help. He steeled himself, however, not to run away now. “Is Mrs Taylor in?” he asked. “I’m – well –” He wasn’t sure what to call himself. He didn’t want to lie, but he didn’t want to be refused entry on Mr Taylor’s orders now he’d got this far.

The woman stared at him and then her face softened into a warm smile and she stood back, ushering him in. “I know who you are,” she said as he entered the hallway. “You’re her son, aren’t you? I’ve seen your photograph.”

“Infamous, I see,” said Edward, managing to give a brief grin, even though standing in the dark hallway produced a strange sensation in him. It was smaller, less threatening than he remembered – but he did also remember that last, awful holiday he’d spent here, nineteen years ago, and he felt the echo again now of the fears of an eleven year old. “Will you tell my mother I’m here? I, er, take it that Mr Taylor isn’t?”

The woman seemed to understand that last enquiry. She shook her head, and shut the door behind him. “No, no. He’s away in the Lake District for a few days; you’re quite safe.”

“You don’t need to tell me,” said his mother, standing at a door at the other end of the hallway suddenly. “I heard. Edward.”

He stepped forward. Twelve years had left their mark: in the time between she seemed to have grown so unexpectedly frail that it made something clench at his heart in alarm, but the years also abruptly ceased to matter. It was still Mother, despite everything, much as she’d always been.

Edward gave a slight, apologetic smile as he reached her and said, “Mother. I’m sorry. It’s been too long.”

***

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
winebabe
Dec. 23rd, 2015 03:50 am (UTC)
At only barely 700 words, that was so engaging and I really got a feel for the atmosphere of the piece! I was drawn straight in.
lost_spook
Jan. 3rd, 2016 08:35 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! :-)
fachefaucheux
Dec. 25th, 2015 01:28 am (UTC)
I'm glad he finally went to go see her. Though I'm still incredibly curious about her second husband...
lost_spook
Jan. 3rd, 2016 08:36 pm (UTC)
♥ Thanks. I promise I'll enlighten you sometime, and probably sooner rather than later. ;-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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