Hold Fast To Your Dreams – Episode 14

The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

“Take a leaf out of my book and tell them a tall tale.” He grinned. “Did you know I stowed away aboard ship in order to come to America?” 

She burst out laughing.  

“They believed you?” 

“They did – rat-infested hold and all. Even the part about my hiding in a barrel for hours.”  

“Will Miller, you could talk your way in or out of anything!”  

She looked up at him, loving the mischievous sparkle in his eyes. 

“The funny thing is, if I’d told them the truth, they’d have thought I’d made it up! Who’d believe that I travelled first class as valet to an English lord?  

“Thank heavens the part about working for the railway was true, or I might never have found you, Em.”  

He took a long breath.  

“I feel guilty about having left Witney in the lurch in St Louis. He treated me so well, and gave me a good chance in agreeing to employ me. Lord knows what would have become of me otherwise.” 

Will’s mother had died when he was young and Will had spent most of his time with the Callows rather than with his aunt Hazel, who looked after him. 

When he turned eighteen it was the vicar’s wife who had found the position for him at Farrington House and convinced Lord Witney to give him a chance. Later on, she’d found a job in service for Emily, too.  

“You didn’t leave him in the lurch, Will,” Emily said. “He’d met Thea by then, and soon they were on their way home.” 

“I hope he was OK fending for himself aboard ship,” Will said. “He was sea sick on the way over.” 

“He competed in the
St Louis Olympic Games.” 

“Yes, though he collapsed on the track, poor chap.” 

“He wouldn’t have met the countess if he hadn’t,” Emily pointed out. 

“True. But usually it’s the female who gets rescued, not the other way round!”   

The story had made the front page of the “St Louis Post-Dispatch”.  

New York heiress Thea Allbright had been following the marathon course, cheering on the competitors from her yellow motor car.  

Seeing a runner collapse on the track in the baking sun, she’d screeched to a halt and rushed to his side.  

“I never even wrote to Lord Witney to thank him for everything. He must think so badly of me.” 

“I feel he understood why you wanted to strike out on your own. Maybe even admired you for it.” 

Will shrugged.  

“It was really Miss Allbright who made him see I needed to do that. She was all for my going off and building airplanes. She put me in touch with her father if my grand plans of flying came to nothing.  

“Which they did,” he added sheepishly. “I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t arranged the job for me at the railway. They’ve all been so generous and I didn’t deserve it.” 

“Will, you had a dream, and you did everything you could to make it come true. These people believed in you and were fond of you, and they wanted to help.”  

“No, I’ve been selfish.” 

“Maybe we both have,” Emily said. “Lord Witney could have just taken his family home and given up on me as lost.  

“He didn’t rest until he’d found me, but then I told him I’d decided to stay on. It was a fine way to thank him!”  

She bit her lip in shame.   

“I expect Lady Farrington and Lady Florence were livid. And my family must still be feeling so worried and hurt . . .” She stopped.  

He hugged her. 

“Soon we’ll be finished building the school, and the chaps will be rebuilding other things, or going home.  

“Some are from other parts of the country, and came to help in the relief programme.  

“Housing is in such short supply here, and it’s only right that people who came out to help should want to leave.”   

She sensed what he was about to say, and was uneasy. She could hardly remember a time when Will hadn’t been in her life. She’d diverted him once, but could she do it again? 

“I know you want to succeed with the sewing centre, and you told me before that you’ve got bigger dreams for yourself here, too, with your dress designing and the rest of it,” he said softly.  

“But you don’t have to prove anything. You’ve done a lot of good here already, helping people. We both have. Perhaps we’ve done enough and it’s time to go home.” 

He took her shoulders. She felt comforted and memories of home and her family flooded through her.  

She loved Will, she knew that, though she wasn’t sure what kind of love it was. Whether she felt a magic spark or not, could it be that they were meant to be together always?  

The other kind of love – that soaring, magical kind – might happen later, or maybe it wouldn’t. But did that matter?  

To be continued…

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