|Phoebe stirred, yawned, opened her eyes and blinked up at the unfamiliar ceiling in confusion, wondering where she was. Then in a rush of joy she remembered the day before.|
‘I’m married now, and I’m on my honeymoon!’ she thought gleefully, hugging herself. She looked round. Frank was lying spread-eagled beside her, snoring softly. He looked so much smaller and more vulnerable asleep that she couldn’t help reaching out to stroke his hair. He grunted, half-opened his eyes, saw Phoebe looking at him, murmured; ‘What a nice dream,’, put his arm over her and settled down again. Then he sat bolt upright so suddenly Phoebe gasped.
‘It’s not a dream!’ he said. ‘I thought I was having the most smashing dream where we got married, but it’s actually true!’
‘Maybe you did dream it all over again,’ said Phoebe, smiling. ‘I wish I had, I slept quite dreamlessly. I suppose I was very tired after it all and then travelling here and everything.’ She rubbed her shoulders with a groan. ‘I’m stiff as anything, too.’
‘That’ll be because it’s freezing cold,’ said Frank, sticking a foot experimentally out of bed and then withdrawing it hurriedly. He reached for his watch and squinted at it. ‘It’s only a quarter to seven, so you can’t have been that tired.’
He got out of bed with a shiver and went across to the window to draw the blackout curtains.
‘I say, it’s snowing!’ he exclaimed, looking out at the lightly falling flakes. The streets were still dark, but in the east, the sky was beginning to lighten to grey.
‘I knew it,’ said Phoebe gloomily, as he climbed back into bed and pulled the blankets up hastily to get warm again. ‘You said you betted it would snow the whole of the honeymoon, and now it will.’
‘I can’t help it if I’m a fortune teller on top of my many other talents, can I?’ said Frank in an injured tone. ‘Anyway, the forecast says it’s to be clear over the weekend, so there!’
‘And this is only Thursday, so what do you propose we do in the meantime?’
Frank raised an eyebrow. ‘My dear Mrs Peters, do I really need to elaborate?’
Phoebe laughed. ‘Yes, I think you do.’
The elaboration was in progress when a knock on the door interrupted them. Muttering some unprintable comments under his breath, Frank got out of bed, grabbed his dressing gown and wriggled into it before going to the door. A smirking maid was standing in the corridor holding a breakfast tray, and Frank took it from her with a lofty look.
‘Here we are,’ he said, carrying it to the bed. ‘Breakfast.’
‘I hope it’s good, I’m awfully hungry,’ said Phoebe, sitting up. Frank got back in beside her and surveyed the tray’s contents, then took a piece of toast and munched.
‘On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it a grudging six,’ he remarked after a moment. ‘The butter’s revolting.’
‘You and your food!’ said Phoebe in amusement, pouring herself some tea. ‘And what with the rationing, you’re lucky there’s even any butter on the toast at all!’
‘A doctor needs good meals, my dear girl, since we often go long stretches between them. Therefore a proper doctor is a connoisseur of good cooking. And I consider myself a proper doctor. I’m a specialist!’
‘That’s the most ridiculous excuse for sheer gluttony I’ve ever heard,’ said Phoebe, laughing. ‘But since Debby is in charge of your meals now, you’re in luck. She’s a superb cook.’
‘She is,’ agreed Frank. ‘I’ve never met anyone who can cook like she can. I think I’m going to really enjoy married life with you two looking after me.’
Phoebe giggled. ‘Just don’t ask where she gets her ingredients from, for I have no doubt some of her methods are less than legitimate. She thinks I don’t know, but you hardly need to be a genius to work out that our meals are comprised of far more than the standard ration.’
Frank grinned. ‘Good old Debby. She’s already well in with the butcher and baker and Parry’s-the-shop and half the farmers in Armishire, I believe. And I’ve seen Edmund passing her suspicious-looking parcels after he’s been out for a ‘walk’, so no doubt she’s been using him to get well in with the other – female – half. And speaking of not-quite-legal methods, look what I filched from that box of stuff the Burthill girl sent.’ He got back out of bed, went to rummage in his suitcase, and emerged triumphantly with the bottle of champagne.
‘Champagne for breakfast?’ Phoebe goggled at him.
‘You mean you’ve never tried it? Dear me, you have missed out. Hang on.’ He went into the adjoining bathroom and retrieved two water glasses from the shelf there.
‘We ought to be drinking this out of proper champagne glasses in a five-star hotel on the Riviera with an ocean view, or something like that,’ he observed, pouring the champagne out and handing her a glass. ‘Bloody Nazis.’
‘Instead we’re drinking it out of water glasses in an inn in Upper Aldercott, with a view of snow,’ said Phoebe with a laugh.
‘Ah well, we can’t have everything.’
‘I wouldn’t want it any other way.’ She lifted her glass to him. ‘To the honeymoon.’
They clinked glasses.
This picks up more or less straight after where An Eventful Autumn left off.