Lillian Blyth was thinking about the call she’d had from Cyril Galloway. She’d been quite prepared to dismiss him out of hand, until he’d mentioned the two words that still seemed to have an affect on her: Jonatahn Harcourt.
Of course, she did wonder how Galloway knew about Harry McFry, and it was certainly news to her that McFry had the medals she’d entrusted to young Danny Longhurst to pass to Laurel. It had been a mistake ever to get the medals valued, she knew now. And maybe even giving them to Danny: if she’d only asked him to locate Laurel – find her address – she could just as well have posted them (anonymously) herself.
But what was done was done. She’d just have to trust that Harry had them safe somewhere. Too many people seemed to know about them for her liking, though. Danny, Harry, someone called Stan in a shop in Birkenhead, Colin McAllistair, Galloway and Dacre Lawrence. She wondered who else might be in on her secret…
Now, this call from Galloway. The thought that he was so close to her, just a few miles down the road, unsettled her. What if he didn’t believe Harry really had the medals? Worse: she’d seen his reaction when he opened out the bond that had been in the medal box. She was beginning to wonder that he might know, or have guessed, that the paper was worth more than the medals.
She herself hadn’t any clue as to its real value, of course. She only knew that Stuart McFry had swapped his entire inheritance for the bond – a huge sum of money, before the war, which he’d pledged to the Republican cause. She knew that stocks and share prices could go up and down, and she guessed the same was true of the value of bonds. If it had just maintained its pre-war value, it would still be worth a tidy sum. If Thomas were still alive, she was sure he would know: he’d maintained a minor interest in the stock market (fuelled by chagrin, she sometimes thought).
She realized that no good was likely to come from her having agreed that Galloway could call to see her again. And yet … she needed to know – longed to know – what little he might know of Jonathan Harcourt.
Her life could have been so different, so full, if only she’d found him after the war. No one before or since had ever come close to touching her the way he did. The decades that had passed had not diminished the strange feeling she had that a part of him was still inside of her. She’d heard people talk about the notion of ‘magnetic attraction’ between people, had read about it, and she knew she’d experienced that with Jonathan. Even across their miles of separation in Spain, she’d felt locked to him and had felt sure they’d be together again, someday. As the years had passed, as Stuart, then Thomas, then Colleen, then Philip had all died, she’d begin to realize that Jonathan, too, must have pre-deceased her. That Colin McAllistair – and now, it seemed, Cyril Galloway – had known of him in the 1970’s hurt her to the quick.
It seemed to Lillian that she’d condemned herself to a life of awful loneliness, except for those few brief weeks in Spain. And that had been a long, long time ago.