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Illingworth House: Chance Child, Part 2 - 34

John Illingworth has another sad meeting with Ann.

John Waddington-Feather continues his gripping tale concerning three generations of the Illingworths, a Yorkshire mill-owning family.

To read earlier episodes please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/illingworth_house/

When Rosemary fell asleep, they had some precious time alone together in the kitchen to speak openly. She asked again if he'd met another girl.

"No," he said emphatically. "Nobody can take your place."

"You must," she whispered.

"And you?" he asked watching her closely.

She shook her head.

"Robin Clough. Does he still mean anything?"

"He never did," she said. "But he's coming to the party here on Christmas Eve. He won't take no for an answer and he's been pestering me all the time you've been away."

"Don't rush into anything, Ann," he said.

He still felt jealous and was glad she was going to Sir Abe's over Christmas. "I don't feel up to parties, especially that sort," she said, "with Rodney and all his lot there. Did you know he and Vicky Ackroyd are getting married in the new year?"

Their privacy was shattered by her brother coming back. They heard his car draw up outside with a squeal of brakes. He'd been drinking and brought back a friend. As the car door opened they heard his loud laugh. Someone shouted as they got out and Rodney laughed again. John recognised the passenger's voice as they burst laughing into the lounge. It was Robin Clough.

They stopped dead as they came in and saw John, then Rodney asked angrily, "What the bloody hell is he doing here?"

Ann flared up. Her face coloured as she hissed, "Shut up! You'll waken mummy and she asked him here."

"Mummy?" he said. "I don't believe it!"

By this time Rosemary had woken up. She'd heard what he said and as he looked across at her she nodded. Clough said not a word from start to finish, only standing stupid and bullish by the door.

"If he stays, I don't!" was all Rodney could offer petulantly. "And he bloody well doesn't come here again while I'm in the house. That's flat!"

Then he strode out followed by Clough into the living room. There was little point in staying after that, so John made to leave. Ann told him to stay and followed her brother into the next room, where they heard her through the open door putting Rodney in his place. She was sarcastic when he tried to reply and told him to see to their mother while she ran John back home. Robin Clough she ignored completely.

On the way to Prospect Street they made arrangements for Christmas. John had the use of his father's old car while he was on leave and was to pick her up on Christmas Eve to attend Midnight Mass with him and his aunt and uncle. Then he'd run her to Illingworth House and see her on Christmas Day, joining them after his dinner with Joe and Mary some time in the afternoon. Then they'd go to Ilkesworth together to visit her mother for by then Sir Abe would know just how ill she was.


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