“A place you never heard of,” Marie said.
“Which of the United States?”
“You are right. I do not know that one.”
“It’s west of Pennsylvania.”
“Ah, that one I know. Your family must worry about you.”
“I send postcards. And one of my brothers came to see me before being shipped across the Channel. To fight your mighty Führer.”
“So you’re a double-agent. A traitor to your country.” She bit her lip, tasting the ugliness of the word.
Frost tensed. When he spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper. “I love my country, my people.
He pulled Marie to her feet and away from the fish-and-chips stand.
“But the Nazi evil is a cancer, destroying all that is good and proud. Those who allow it are the real traitors. Those of us who fight it are the patriots.”
They walked another block before he broke the silence. “I want you to believe me, Marie. To know that I’m not a . . . a Reich-monster.”
“I do believe you, Frost.”
He stopped and held her close, searching her eyes. She expected him to kiss her, but instead he held her tight and buried his face in her hair. She breathed the slight odor of sweat and controlled fear mingled with his heady aftershave, and found it strangely comforting and heroic. Shutting her eyes, she embraced this momentary respite against danger.
“The safe house is only a few kilometers away.” Frost’s voice broke the spell. “A taxi will take you there. You can return to London in the morning.”
They headed back to the train station, Marie practically jogging to keep up with his long strides. In the dim evening light, his profile looked like chiseled stone, his features expressionless. At the station, he hailed a cab and opened the back door.
“Get in, Marie.” He bent to whisper in her ear. “And go home. Home.” His voice cracked, and he pressed her toward the open car door.
She reluctantly slid in, and he gave the cab driver the address. Giving her a half-hearted smile, Frost closed the door. She turned to stare out the back window as the driver pulled away from the curb.
Frost raised his hand and mouthed the words, “Go home.”
When the cab made a turn, she slumped in the seat, her head throbbing. The driver caught her eye in the rear view mirror. “That bloke. He’s not from around here, is he?”
“Um, no.” Marie stammered. “I mean yes.”
“He talks kind of odd.”
“His mother’s from Denmark.” She smiled engagingly at the driver’s reflection. “He spent most of his childhood there. But his dad is as English as they come.”
“Why isn’t he in uniform then, fighting those blasted Jerries? That’s where a young lad like him should be.”
“He wants to go,” she said with conviction. “But the government wants him here. He’s an industrial specialist. Very good at fixing things.”
The cabbie grumbled something under his breath, but Marie ignored him. She concentrated on the route they were taking, committing the turns and the names of the streets to memory. The exercise focused her thoughts on the present, allowing her a brief respite from the emotional swirl of the past few hours.
Maneuvering another left turn, the cabbie pulled up in front of a row of small houses set close to the road. He gestured at one of the doorways. “That’s the place.”
In the evening dusk, the dark house appeared deserted.
“Miss.” The driver twisted in his seat. “This is the place.”
She graced the driver with a charming smile. “I’m sorry,” she said, her voice smooth and a tad sultry. “There’s been a mistake. I really need to go to Bradford Street. Can you take me there?”
“As long as you pay the meter, I can drive you all around the city.”
“Thank you so much.” She gushed as she recited the address. If she was going to spend the night at a safe house, it’d be a house she knew to be safe.
She had spent her last two weeks of training in Birmingham, staying at the Bradford Street address while living her cover story as a hostess in an exclusive gentlemen’s club. Her final training assignment had required her to find out production data from one of the major industrialists in the city.
Being an American proved to be an asset for that training mission. Her targeted factory owner delighted in what he called her across-the-pond provincialism and encouraged her seemingly innocent curiosity about his business affairs. Marie deflected his advances after their first dinner date, but unexpectedly stopped by his factory the next day. He couldn’t resist taking her on an impromptu tour of the facilities or divulging classified data.
She never saw the industrialist again, but later heard that he received an unofficial lecture from the powers-that-be regarding national security interests.
All that mattered to Marie, though, was that she had impressed the examiners with her detailed report. One more step in her quest to get to France and join the Resistance.
A quest being hindered by Sir Colin Ellington.
The cab stopped before a matronly brownstone, and Marie paid the fare. Standing on the sidewalk, she realized that Frost’s jacket still hung about her shoulders. She tugged at the collar, pressing her chin into the soft lining. Taking a deep breath, she caught the faint whiff of his lingering fragrance.
If only she knew his name.
Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.