Together We Stand – Episode 48

“Do you think she will be all right now?” Madeleine asked as she and Evan left Mari preparing for bed. “She looks terribly pale.”

“I’ve no doubt she is physically well,” Evan assured her. “Thank goodness your brother got them out when he did.

“At least neither of them has breathed in too much smoke, and they have a place to stay. Heaven knows what might have happened otherwise.”

“I don’t like to think about it,” Madeleine said, shivering as she accompanied him to the front door.

He paused.

“I hope this hasn’t made you eager to return to New York?”

“Not in the least. I have made such good friends here, and I have loved helping Tanni and working with the suffrage ladies.

“I thought I had freedom in New York, and in many ways I had less restrictions. But here I find I have a sense of purpose. I suppose it has become my home.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” he replied with rather more enthusiasm than he had intended. He coloured slightly. “That is, my mother will be pleased.”

Madeleine followed him as he turned hastily away.

“And you, Evan?”

The slightly forlorn tone could not, whatever the consequences, be resisted. Evan swung round, his hand grasping hers tight, as if never to let it go.

“I will always be glad to see you, Madeleine. Dear Madeleine. You must know how I feel about you, and if only . . .” He sighed. “My only regret in my chosen profession is that I would have so little to offer you.”

“Offer me?” She frowned. “To be truthful, Evan, I was rather hoping you would offer me yourself. Anything else would be superfluous.”

He did his best to remain rational.

“But Madeleine, much as you were kind to Mari, I can’t imagine you spending your life as a dutiful doctor’s wife, or a nurse.”

“And neither can I. But if you agree to me working for my living in the way that I choose, perhaps, between us, we might be able to afford to employ a nurse to replace my lack of any interest in the profession.”

“You would consider that?”

“Why ever not? It’s the practical solution.” Madeleine gave a mischievous smile. “Though, given the choice, I might stipulate that she is at least twice your age and with a loving husband and family at home.”

Evan laughed.

“Dear Madeleine. You know perfectly well that would never be necessary. I will never have eyes for any other woman. I’m sure a nurse of the most respectable nature can be arranged.”

“Good.” They smiled at each other, suddenly shy and uncertain what to say.

“I’d better go,” Evan muttered regretfully, releasing her hand. “Mama has enough worries trying to get the tearooms opened without thinking I might have been led astray.”

“Don’t worry, Evan,” Madeleine said. “I have a feeling your mother is more than up to the task.”

He smiled, and drew her into his arms.

“I shall always be thankful she taught me to love spirited and independent women. I can’t imagine my life without one,” he added softly, drawing her even closer.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.