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L is for . . .

LONDON suffered an unseasonably cold rain the day Peter and Charles departed. Serves you right, Peter thought spitefully as they boarded the train. Go on and cry.

It was easier to be angry than allow himself to feel the heartbreak. London had been home for fourteen years, the place he had always come back to. Now nothing he owned remained there; it had all be shipped abroad for storage, as if even his very possessions might be contaminated. Never mind all the years of work Peter had done for Queen and country.

How shoddy our foundations. One might think he was building on sturdy rock only to find shifting sand below. A carefully constructed life and career brought down by—

“Say all your goodbyes?” Charles asked quietly.

Peter turned to where his companion sat beside him.

“The letter you mailed.”

“My parents,” Peter answered shortly.

“You could have rang them,” said Charles.

Peter didn’t bother to respond. Charles knew better, or if he didn’t he should have. Not that Charles had ever met Peter’s parents. But Charles must have known Peter never called them either. No, not even when being exiled.

Ah, God, what had Charles done to him? Peter had been so sure his heart was solid ground, and Charles had fallen over it like the very rain of London and made it soft. And now, without the necessary support to hold it, his world was crashing down.

“I might just go get some tea,” Charles said, rising. “Care for any?”

Peter had to swallow hard to move the bitterness out of the way of his reply. “No. Thank you.” And then, as Charles turned away, “Did you?”

“Did I what?”

“Phone your parents? Tell them . . .?”

“No. Perhaps I’ll send them a postcard or two.” And with that, Charles stepped away in search of tea, and the train began its slow pull out of the station.



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