“It’s a dream, it’s not real.”
Guy felt the soft hand placed carefully on his chest. The hazy white shape was not recognisable to his damaged eye but the perfume filling the room was unmistakable.
He remembered the woman - a vision of beauty and glamour that always seemed to glow in her drab surroundings. He turned his head away. “It’s a dream, it’s not real.”
“Guy darling, I’ve found you at last.”
The voice was warm and familiar.
“Yes darling it’s me.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to see the man I love of course! I’ve been searching for you. I’ve been hounding anyone who might know where you were. I never gave up and here I am.”
He snapped at her. “You shouldn’t have come.”
“I just knew in my heart that you were still alive. I would have felt it if you weren’t. Why didn’t you write? Why didn’t you tell me you’d been injured?”
“It was better like this – better that I died.”
“How can you say that? I’ve been miserable without you.”
Her hand stroked Guy’s scarred face so gently it felt like a butterfly wing fluttering over his skin. He turned his head towards the wall once more.
“Don’t look at me! I’m a wreck of a man.”
“You’re my man.”
“NO! I’m not! He died months ago!”
“You’re still the man I fell in love with.”
“Look at me then, to see what I’ve become.” Guy furiously snapped his head around to face her, hoping to shock her out of her delusion. “Do you see that man?!”
“Yes! I do.”
He shook his head, “Don’t lie to me and don’t lie to yourself. Go away!”
“Don’t you dare try to push me away. I’m not going anywhere without you. I’ve come to take you home”.
“This is my home now.”
“Well you can stay here feeling sorry for yourself in that wheelchair or you could come home with me and we can make a life together.”
“Half a life.”
“A full life if you let the doctors do their job. Dr Clarkson tells me that you don’t want them to operate on your eye. Guy it can be fixed.”
“Why would I want to see again? There’s nothing I want to look at anymore…”
“Not even me?! The truth is that you don’t want to see yourself! But you won’t let them do more re-construction on your face. They can do so much more but you refused! You are just bitter and twisted but the Guy I know doesn’t give up – he doesn’t let anything beat him… and you can walk again if you want to but you gave up the physiotherapy exercises…”
“What’s the point?”
“The point is you need to be able to stand up with me in church when we get married!”
“Are you mad?!”
“Come on darling, let’s do it – let’s get married and be happy together. We can rent a house by the sea like we always dreamed of. Fight this. Overcome it and allow yourself some happiness.”
“I don’t want you to have to take care of me.”
“But darling isn’t that what people who love each other do - take care of each other? I know you can take care of me too. Guy don’t you remember how it was between us? It can be like that again.”
Cecily perched carefully on Guy’s knee and took hold of his hand leaving it to rest on her breast.
Her lips planted soft kisses on his scarred neck and, despite his determination not to, his hand caressed the familiar curve of her body and pulled her more securely onto his lap.
“You can still make me happier than any man I know because you are still the same man in here.” Cecily tapped her fingers lightly on his forehead and then up into his hair. “You could always make me laugh.”
Guy started to hope, for the first time in months, “Maybe, maybe this is real? Maybe this could work.” “I’ve missed your laugh.”
He said it so quietly that she almost missed it. She smiled at him even though he couldn’t see it because she knew she was getting through to him.
“I haven’t laughed since your last letter and that was over a year ago. There’s been nothing to laugh about. Guy, now I’ve found you, don’t send me away. Let me be happy again.”
“Cecily it’s just not fair for you. You…you’re so beautiful and I’m….”
“Still beautiful to me. Do you really think I was with you just because of the way you looked? How shallow do you think I am?!”
Cecily kissed Guy full on his damaged lips and he could not resist the intimacy he had longed for. Her tongue found his as she grew more confident that he was responding to her.
“Mmm. Well that’s still the same! I always did love your tongue.”
She purred and caught it in another kiss more passionate than the last.
Guy’s body stirred, remembering the hot steamy nights they had spent in those desperate days before he was posted to France. Every night could have been their last and so they had been determined to be together in each other’s arms when they could. Cecily felt his body react to her kiss and broke away into a laugh.
“Well that’s something else that hasn’t changed!”
And as she laughed, Guy thought that he had never heard anything so perfect in his life.
Guy looked out at the sunset of beautiful, vivid colours dancing over a calm sea.
“It’s a dream, it’s not real.”
A hand snaked its way around his waist and a gold band glinted in the reflected light.
“Come back to bed.”
“In a minute, I just wanted to watch the sunset.”
“You took the bandages off?”
“I couldn’t wait.”
Cecily laughed, “Impatient as ever! How is it?” She asked, nervous of the answer.
Guy turned and took in the vision of loveliness before him.
“You look so beautiful in this light. But then you would look beautiful in any light.”
Guy pulled a relieved Cecily close into his body and held her so tightly, half believing that if he let her go, the dream would be over. He felt the growing life between them and his hand moved down to her belly just in time to feel the baby kick. Despite his scars, a radiant smile formed on his lips.
“I can’t wait to see our baby.”
This was no dream. It was real.