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Illingworth House: Chance Child - Part One: 29 - A Meeting Is Arranged

John Illingworth arranges another meeting with Helen, despite his father's disapproval.

John Waddington-Feather continues his story of the complext lives of a Yorkshire mill-owning dynasty. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

John Illingworth arranges another meeting with Helen, despite his father's disapproval.

John Waddington-Feather continues his story of the complext lives of a Yorkshire mill-owning dynasty. To read earlier chapters please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/


Chance Child - Part One: 29 - A Meeting Is Arranged

All the following week, John Illingworth hung about Helen's office but she studiously avoided him. Although he saw her daily, slogging away at her typewriter, he didn't get chance to speak to her. She blamed herself entirely for the fiasco at Illingworth Grange and was too embarrassed to meet his eye. On top of that, Mary Calow appeared as if by magic, every time John Illingworth tried to contact her and that put the kibosh on any explaining. But towards the end of the week, he caught her alone, before she went lunch.

"Helen," he began, and she met his eye for the first time that week and felt her heart beat faster. He looked so boyish when he was hurt, handsomer than ever. "Helen, I want to apologise for what happened on Saturday. It was entirely my fault and I should have known better." Then he ran out of steam and waited for her reply.

She realised she was drinking in his face and staring hard at him. Then, feeling the colour rush to her cheeks, she dropped her gaze, not knowing what to say. When she did speak, it was in a low voice. "It's all right, sir. I should have known better. I was out of my depth and shouldn't have gone with you in the first place. I realise that now, Mr Illingworth."

He bit his lip and brushed a stray lock of hair into place. Time was running out and the other office girls would soon be back from their lunch, so he blurted out, "Helen, I must see you again to straighten things out. Neither of us was to blame for what happened. Why should it ruin our friendship? I'll be in Timpson's Cafe round the corner straight after work. Please meet me there." Further conversation was impossible for Mary Calow came in and made a beeline for them.

Helen glanced up and smiled, then nodded. His whole face lit up and the anguish disappeared. He smiled back and wished Mary Calow a hearty greeting as they passed, leaving her wondering what she had done to merit it. She glanced across at Helen who by then had regained her composure and was tidying papers on her desk before going to lunch. Mary Calow didn't say anything, but she suspected John Illingworth's cordiality had something to do with Helen and she wasn't at all happy.

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