It was a scorching hot day. The sun was beating down hard on the Gornetz Platz and the thermometers were edging into the nineties. At a small window on the second floor of the San a slim, elegant woman was staring out across the vista. She could just about make out her old school in the far distance, but she was paying it no attention; her thoughts today were somewhere else entirely.
The door opened and a tall, fair man came into the room. He chuckled as she turned to face him, a mixture of expectancy and apprehension written all over her face.
“You look like you’re waiting for your final sentence! Cheer up, it might never happen!” he teased.
Evadne glared at him. “Not funny, Jack. Stop being an ass and just tell me.”
Jack looked at her and relented. “I think it’s safe to say that you will have some very good news to tell that husband of yours tonight,” he said, his face breaking into a broad smile.
“Really? You’re sure?”
“One hundred percent! In roughly seven months time you will be welcoming another little Watson into the world. Congratulations!”
Evadne said nothing as she tried to take in the news, and for a minute Jack was worried that she might cry. Finally, pulling herself together, she swallowed hard and gave him one of her familiar grins. “See, I told them they were wrong! Not able to have any more children indeed!”
Jack sobered slightly. “Yes, well, it does mean that you need to take extra care of yourself for the next seven months. I want you to go straight to your doctor when you get back to Geneva, and you’re to follow everything he says to the letter. I know you Evvy, you’re as bad a patient as Jo and you can’t afford to take any risks.”
“I may be restless but I’m not stupid! I’ll spend the next seven months without getting out of my bed if I need to! Oh Jack, I can’t believe it. Thank you so much. I just had to find out before going home, I’ve been going crazy not knowing if it was a false alarm.”
Jack smiled at her. “You’re very welcome Evvy. And I’m truly happy for you both, I really am. Now, how about we go and find that wife of mine. She’ll be chomping at the bit to know the news, and you and her need to set off for Interlaken quick smart if you’re going to catch your train.
And with that he opened the door and ushered her out into the corridor.
Sir Edgar Watson shut the door of his office, threw his papers on the desk and sat down in his chair with a huge sigh. That was the third meeting he’d had this morning and as usual they’d got nowhere, the bureaucrats just talking round and round in circles. He enjoyed his job and derived huge satisfaction from being able to help people in the poorer countries of the world, but he was an idealist and sometimes found his morals sorely tested by the penny-pinchers and paper-pushers that crowded the halls of the United Nations.
He looked at the photograph of his wife that he kept on his desk and smiled to himself. She generally reduced his job down to “He farms or something” whenever anyone asked, which always made him laugh. His peerage and his position at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization always attracted sycophants and hangers-on, but she had not been impressed at all. In fact her utter lack of pretension was one of the things that had most attracted him to her in the first place.
Picking up the photo, his smile turned to a slight frown. She was due back from the Gornetz Platz this afternoon, where she had been visiting an old friend who had suffered an accident the previous month, and he was a little apprehensive. A bereavement during the war had cast a shadow over her life that she had struggled so hard to shake off; until, that was, a trip she had taken to Paris following her father’s death just over a year ago. He had never asked what had happened to cause the change, and she had never told him, but he was overjoyed that on her return the cloud finally appeared to have lifted and their relationship since had been as perfect as he could have wished. But for a couple of days before she left on this recent trip she had been preoccupied and distant, and he was worried that the shadow had descended once more. Not that it changed the way he felt about her. It just hurt him to know that he couldn’t take away her pain.
Two hours later, as the train pulled out of Interlaken station, Evadne waved goodbye to Jo and settled herself in the corner of the compartment. The only other occupant, an elderly man who had fallen asleep almost as soon as he sat down, was snoring gently. Smiling to herself, Evvy gazed out of the window as the suburbs of Interlaken rolled by.
Her mind wandered back to a conversation she’d had that morning. She had been filling her friend in on the latest exploits of her family, and as she finished a story involving her youngest stepdaughter Marcia and her attempt to shave the family dog, Grizel had wiped the tears of mirth from her eyes and turned her head to face her.
“You know, I was so jealous of you when I first arrived here.”
“Jealous of me? Whatever for?” Evadne replied, somewhat startled.
“You have everything, Evvy. Looks, money, a wonderful family, a place to call home. Right then I felt that I had nothing and it just seemed so unfair. I even commented to Joey that I hoped you knew how lucky you were.”
Evadne sat back in her chair as she let this sink in. “Do you still feel like that now, Grizel? ‘Cause you needn’t you know.”
Grizel shook her head. “Not any more, no. Now I’m just really pleased for you. You seem so happy. It makes me realise that maybe I could be someday too.”
Evadne smiled. “You will be, you’ll see.” She paused and regarded her friend closely, before continuing. “My happiness didn’t exactly come on a plate, you know. I’ve had my fair share of the bad stuff too.”
“I know, that’s what I mean. Jo put me right on a few things, though I don’t know the details. I’m sorry, Evvy, I really am. I had no idea.”
Evvy shrugged. “Don’t be. You weren’t to know. But things aren’t always as they seem, Grizel. Now, let’s talk about something else,” she said, mischief in her eyes. “Tell me all about Dr. Sheppard,” and with that Grizel turned bright red and the subject was dropped.
Thinking about that conversation now, Evadne acknowledged that Grizel had been right about one thing. She was lucky; very lucky indeed. She thought about her husband and felt a slight pang of guilt. She knew she’d been distant with him before she left, but she hadn’t wanted to tell him what she suspected until she was absolutely sure. Hopefully when he heard the news he’d understand. And she’d make it up to him.
Her mind drifted back further, eleven years ago, to the end of the war. If someone had told her then that she would one day be so happily married with a family of her own she would never have believed them.
Walking down the steps of the Palais des Nations, Edgar turned to the left and strolled along the long pathway through the Botanical Gardens towards Lac Léman. It was such a beautiful evening that, even though it was a lengthy walk home, he had decided to eschew the usual staff car for fresh air and the evening sunshine.
His thoughts returned to his wife, who would by now have just arrived home. She had been away for less than two days, but he had missed her terribly, even for the one night that they had spent apart. He was determined to get to the bottom of what was troubling her. Whatever it was they would try and work through it together, of that he would make sure.
It was funny how life worked out. Eleven years ago, at the end of the war, he had been married to an entirely different woman, looking to spend the rest of his life by her side. Evadne Lannis was merely someone they had once met at a party, a school chum of a mutual friend. He had never dreamt that things would turn out the way that they had.
This is the second part of my Evvy story, that was posted on The CBB many years ago now. I've recently gone back to writing the sequel and am intending on finishing it off, so thought I'd post this up here now. The follow up will come in due course. Hope you enjoy (again, for some of you!) Josie x