PLEASE READ THIS DISCLAIMER: This story is set during World War II, and it depicts an action that many women suffered during war. There is a very short rape scene that is used to set up the rest of the story. The scene is not glorified, nor used as shock value, but to isolate and shift a characterís behavior. I apologize if this offends anyone, and that is not my intention. If this bothers you, then please do not read this story.

Other than that no disclaimers are required for use as the character and plot are my own. This story does depict a relationship between women, and may not be suited for children under 18 or illegal in your given area. Please use your own judgment. Comments, questions or suggestion may be sent to me at

 Mercy that Sadness Brings



Section VIII: Victory Waits on your Fingers


The train rocked slowly back and forth, and Sophie moved closer to the source of warmth that made her feel safe and protected.  In a sort of dream daze she felt her arm slid across fabric and settle tightly around a body.  At that moment it didn't matter who it was, only that she felt safe.

The sound of the train whistle drifted back on the wind, and Sophie found herself slowly climbing to consciousness.  Her eyes opened, and she felt the rise and fall of the American's chest against her arm.  As she slowly began to comprehend her place, a fear rose unbidden in her chest and her instinct told her to move away.  Her body began to shift, but as soon as she moved a stronger feeling of loss replaced the fear, and she lowered herself back against Jackie's body. The American was in a deep sleep, and Sophie studied the woman's profile in the pre-dawn light. 

Her skin was tanned and healthy, although Sophie could see a few scars around her forehead that hinted at childhood chicken pox.  Sophie let herself wonder what Jackie might have been like as a child.  She imagined the girl was a leader.  That quality usually developed early.  Had she been popular with the boys?  She imagined that Jackie would have  had a lot of boyfriends.  Handsome young men who tired to seduce her - - - and she bet Jackie had let them. 

Sophie sat up quickly, her heart pounding angrily at the thought of Jackie with someone else.   The cold hit her immediately, and she didn't realize how warm Jackie was keeping her.  Her green gaze fell on the sleeping woman, and then shifted away.  'I've got to stop this,' she thought.  'She's an end to my means.  That's it.'

But that wasn't it, and Sophie knew it.  It had never been it.  She'd been angry at the American for Henri and for Caron and for what had happened to her.  But it really wasn't her fault.  She'd managed to blame Jackie for everything, and all the American had done was treat her with honesty and kindness.  'After everything I've done to her.  She should hate me.  She should have never let me come back - - -  but she did.'

"Why?" Sophie asked, looking back down at Jackie, wishing the American would wake up and do something so Sophie could find a reason to hate her again.  It was easier to hate Jackie then deal with the strange feelings that seemed wholly connected to the American.

Caron.  The name rose uncalled for in her head, and suddenly Sophie found herself unable to stop thinking it.   The arrival of the Gestapo agent last night had terrified her, as had the control the German's voice had over her.  Hearing Caron barking orders dug past all the defenses she'd thrown up to keep both her memories of Caron and Jackie's actions at bay.  In a second she'd been stripped naked again and she'd found herself torn between two women who claimed rights over her.

Nothing could make her forget the things Caron had made her do, and Sophie was just beginning to realize how easy it had become for her to trade her dignity for survival.  Her body had become her shield, and Caron had never stopped assaulting her.  Somewhere in trying to survive,  Sophie's actions had become natural.  

With Jackie her body had become her weapon.  She used it to keep the American off guard, but every time she'd seen a look of confusion pass across Jackie's face, Sophie had felt incredibly shame.  Yet she couldn't stop herself from trying to control the situation, even at the detriment of their shaky relationship. 

Touching Jackie had begun as a weapon to unbalance the American, but Sophie  found herself craving the contact.  Not once did she feel like she did with Caron.  Jackie accepted her touches with a quiet solitude and never asked for more.  'Then why am I still trying to use her?' she thought, taking in a deep breath to slow her pounding heart and clear her mind.  Her arms closed around her body, trying desperately to give herself the same feeling of safe comfort the American's arms gave her.

"You okay?" the voice made her jump, and Sophie looked down to find the American's blue eyes watching her.

"Um, fine.  Have you been awake long?"

"I got cold," Jackie responded, pulling herself into a sitting position, her knee brushing Sophie's leg.  "How's your arm?"  she asked, her hand gently touching Sophie's hastily bandaged arm.

"I kinda forgot about it."  Sophie looked down at the black cloth tied to her arm.

"I guess that's good," Jackie said, her fingers tugging at the knot.  "But let me take a look."

Sophie flinched slightly as the bandage peeled away from her arm, the dried blood tugging at the skin until it came loose.   A small trickle of blood still seeped from the center, and she watched it run down her white skin.

"It doesn't look bad," Jackie said, and Sophie lifted her eyes to watch the American.  "Looks like the bullet just grazed you." The bandage ran up her arm capturing the slow drop of blood, and Sophie concentrated on the concern she saw in Jackie's eyes.

"It's still bleeding," she breathed.

Jackie nodded.  "I probably pulled it open when I removed the bandage,"  she said,  pushing the cloth against the bleeding part.  Sophie winced, and tried to pull her arm away, but Jackie's hand held her tightly and the girl gave up fighting.  "You've got some bits of the sweater stuck in there," she said, pulling the cloth away and running her finger over it. "I wish I had something to clean it with, but overall it doesn't look that bad."  Her hand dropped, the fingers just brushing against Sophie's leg before falling on her own lap.

Sophie looked down at Jackie's hands, noticing for the first time how strong they looked, but also how feminine.  Despite the fact that her nails were clipped short, Sophie bet she used paint them and let them grow.  She bet the men liked that, too.

"Why didn't you leave me?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the back of Jackie's hands.

"It wasn't an option," Jackie responded.

"It's always an option.  In fact, it's probably been your best option all along."  She looked up.  "Tell me I'm wrong.  Tell me that you wouldn't move faster without me."

Jackie opened her mouth to answer, but she shook her head.  "That's not the point," she said.

"Is it because of the promise you made my brother?"       

"Yes," Jackie answered, and Sophie didn't know why that hurt so badly.  "It was at first," the American added.

"And now?"

Jackie shrugged.  "Because I've promised myself."


Jackie put her hands on the ground and scooted backwards.  "My reasons aren't important, Sophie.  Leave them to me."

"I'd like to know."

Jackie shook her head.  "No."

A deep silence descended upon them, and Sophie wanted so badly to ask again.  She didn't know why she needed to know, but it seemed a dead end.  She inhaled and blew out a deeply frustrated breath.

"Let me tie that bandage back up," Jackie practically whispered, scooting back across the floor and grabbing for the rag on Sophie's leg.

When she reached for it, Sophie noticed the dried blood on the palm of Jackie's hand.  Without thinking she grabbed for it, and flipped it over.  "Good God, Jackie.  What happened?"

Jackie pulled her hand back and studied it.  "I guess I cut it crawling up the tracks last night."

Sophie grabbed her hand again, and let her fingers run over the ragged flesh, hunks of dried blood or dirt flaking off at her touch.  She picked up the bandage from her leg and licked the  edge of it.  This she pushed against Jackie's palms, tightening her hold on the American's hand when she tried to pull away.  She repeated the gesture until she'd cleaned away most of the blood and dirt.  Finally she looked up, not surprised to find Jackie's blue eyes clouded and confused. She released her hands and held out the bandage, gesturing to her arm when Jackie didn't move.

"Take your sweater off," Jackie said, quietly.  "Please," she added.

Sophie didn't know if she should comply or resist, but she found her fingers sliding under the edge of her sweater and lifting it.  Her arm hurt, and Jackie must have seen this, for Sophie felt the American's hands grabbing at the sweater and lifting it slowly over her head.  The sweater fell to the ground, and both woman looked at it with great interest.

Sophie shivered as the cool air brushed against her skin.  "It's freezing in here," she said, hoping to break the palatable tension she could feel between them.

Jackie nodded, and reached for the bandage.  Her fingers brushed Sophie's arm, causing more goose bumps than the frigid air, and Sophie shivered again.

"What?  No spit bath?" Sophie joked, giving a short nervous laugh.

Jackie just smiled and tied the bandage, adjusting it as best as she could to cover the cut.  When she finished, Jackie scooted away, her movements hurried and unplanned.  Sophie watched as she backed herself into a chicken crate, causing the occupant to squawk and throw a mess of feathers that landed like snow in Jackie's dark hair.

Sophie couldn't stop herself and she laughed.  For a long second Jackie scowled at her and then broke into laughter.  With a smile, Sophie crawled over to the American and began plucking the fluffy white feathers from her hair.  She leaned forward, pulling at feathers, and her eyes met Jackie's.  She felt the pull deep down, and without realizing what she was doing, she leaned in and brushed her lips against the American. The touch was light, and for the briefest of seconds Jackie seemed to move into her kiss before pulling back, her face frozen and unreadable.

Horrified, Sophie scooted back, her hands grabbing for her sweater.  She turned her back on the American and quickly pulled it on.  "I'm sorry," she whispered, folding her arms over her stomach, trying to stop herself from heaving.  "I'm so sorry."

She waited, desperate to hear some word of encouragement from Jackie that might make her feel better, but she heard nothing.  No movement or sound came from the American, and a full five minutes passed before Sophie could stand no more.  "Aren't you going to say anything?" she asked, lifting her head.

"No," Jackie said.

"What?!" Sophie cried, turning around.  "Why the hell not?"

"Because I don't know what to say," Jackie said, her voice laced with a lack of control.

"Tell me I was wrong," Sophie said.  "Tell me I'm stupid.  Tell me you hated it.  Tell me you hate me."

Jackie looked away.  "The sun's up," she said.  "We should think about what we're going to do."

Sophie fell silent, her eyes resting on the hard wood of the box car, but very aware that the American was staring at her.  "Fine," she whispered. 

Jackie crawled to her feet, and shaking the last of the feathers out of her hair, moved to the door and pushed it back all the way..  The French countryside sped by, one field after another, and Sophie watched with abandonment.

"Do you know where this train is going?" Sophie asked, her voice hollow and distant.

She sensed instead of saw Jackie shake her head.  "No, but my gut is telling me we should jump before the next stop."

"Fine," Sophie said again, climbing to her feet and standing next to Jackie.  "Now?" she asked, her body leaning forward, poised and ready to throw herself from the speeding train.

"God no," Jackie said, her arms sliding around her waist and pulling her away from the door.  They took a step away from the door, but Jackie's arm remained tight about Sophie's waist and her body so close - - -

"Jackie - - -" Sophie began, trying to move away, but Jackie's arms grew tighter as she forced her body around until Sophie's breasts pressed hard against the American's chest.  Her head lifted slowly, and she barely had time to breathe before the American's mouth closed over her own.  She felt Jackie's hands move up her back until one cradled her neck.

She fought to control the American's kiss, but no matter where she made an attack Jackie's lips countered until Sophie gave up and just let the feeling spread.  There was nothing in this kiss that reminded her of Caron or anyone else.  It was completely unique, and  when Jackie finally released her and backed away, Sophie found herself wanting more.

"There," Jackie said, coldly.  "Now we're even."



The sun glaring in the window woke Caron from an uneasy slumber.  She lifted her head, instantly grabbing for her sore neck.

"Morning, Oberfuhrer," her bleary-eyed Sergeant said.

"Where are we?"

"Pulling into St-Lo."

"Have you seen the train?"

"No, but I think we've beat it here."  He turned slightly in the seat.  "It isn't one of the Reich's fastest trains."

"Fine," Caron said, dismissing his chatter with a wave of her hand.  "Where is the train depot?"

"On the west side of the city."

"Take me there," she ordered, her hands searching the pockets of the car for her cigarettes.  "Damn," she said, tossing her empty gold case onto the seat, her mood worsening.


"Drive, you oaf.  I won't lose them this time, do you understand?"

"Jawohl," he said, pushing harder on the gas and speeding them forward.




"We're even?" Sophie stammered.  "What do you mean?"

Jackie walked past her and stared out the door.  "I know what you're doing Sophie," she said.  "And I don't think you really want this."

"Do you want this?"

Jackie turned around.  "How would I know?" she said, running her hands over her face.  "I haven't even been given time to think."

"Are you saying that you don't like me?"

Jackie shook her head.  "It scares me what you can do to me," she rasped, her voice husky and uncontrolled, but then she shook her head again.  "I just think you are doing it for the wrong reasons."

Sophie turned.  "I'm sorry you think that."

Jackie crossed the distance between them in two steps, her hands grabbing Sophie by the shoulder and spinning her around.  "If it's not some game, then prove it."

"What do you want me to do?"

Jackie released her and stood back.  "I don't know."  She released a breath in slow frustration.  This was all wrong.  She knew it with every fiber of her being.  'She's using you,' she thought, staring out the door. 'That has to be it.  Why else would she have kissed me?'

"I'm not using you, Jackie," Sophie said, as if reading her mind.

"They why did you kiss me?"

"Why did you kiss me back?"

"I didn't."

Sophie stepped closer.  "I felt it."

"Maybe I did," Jackie relented.  "But you didn't answer my question."

Sophie's hand settled on Jackie's arm, the small white fingers curling around and pulling the taller woman slightly.  "I don't know why," she whispered, her voice shaking slightly.  "It just felt right."

"You're playing with me," Jackie said, unable to meet those verdant eyes that always seemed to trap her.

"It's not like that."

Jackie pulled her arm away.  "So you're madly in love with me?" she laughed, hoping it covered the fear.

"No," Sophie responded.

Jackie nodded her head.  "Then what's the point, Sophie?  Why the touches, the kiss - - - Why any of it?"

"I needed you," Sophie said, her voice ringing so strongly with honesty that it surprised Jackie into silence.  "I figured if I touched you - - - If I pretended to find you attractive - - - That you'd help me escape." She turned away.  "That's all."

"But I was already doing that," Jackie said, unable to keep the hurt from her voice.

"And I was unable to pretend," Sophie said, turning around slowly.

Jackie took a step back, her mind fighting to understand.  She shook her head, and moved past Sophie to the door.  "We have to think about getting off this train," she said, rubbing her hand over her face.

"Jackie?" Sophie said, her hand reaching out for the American.

Jackie shook her head.  "I can't think about this now.  No!"  She spun around, her eyes wild and confused.  "No more, Sophie."

The girl looked like she'd been slapped, and she stepped back.  "Okay," she whispered, looking at the ground for a long second before finding those stunning blue eyes again. "But I'm not using you.  Please believe that."

Jackie stared back for a moment and finally forced her eyes away.  "I don't know what to believe," she breathed, looking up.  "But I want to believe that."




The city of St-Lo wasn't much according to Caron Von Rundstedt.  In fact it look pretty pathetic.  "Like most French towns," she commented, staring absently out the window as the sleek Mercedes roadster slid past the first buildings.

It was early morning and the town was beginning to awake and stretch.  The Gestapo agent rolled her eyes as a pig farmer drove his swine down the main street, and one audible expulsion of her breath caused her driver to lean on the horn until the man got his beasts out of the road.

That only succeeded in moving them a little further down the road before they encountered an old man pulling a milk wagon.  Cans of still steaming milk were carefully stacked on the back of the rickety wagon, and if Caron had been driving she would have bumped him off the road.  Instead her driver pulled quickly around and sped down the road, moving them deeper into the bowels of the small city.

A quick turn to the left brought them directly to the platform a large train station.  It wasn't as large as the stations of Paris or Berlin, but the number of tracks impressed the German.  What impressed her more was the group of Waffen-SS that quickly snapped to attention as her car came to a stop.

A peak-capped Captain quickly opened her door and gave her a crisp salute.  Caron raised her hand, and as always felt nothing at the insane gesture. Her god wasn't Hitler, and her current motivation wasn't the Fatherland.  She did, however, accept his assistance from the car, and tried to look as imposing as possible on her crutches.

"Good morning, Fraulein Oberfuhrer.  I trust you had a safe journey."

Caron held up a finger to silence the man.  "I'm not in the mood for niceties," she warned, the sharp jawed Captain.  "What I want is immediate compliance with my orders."

"That won't be a problem, Oberfuhrer. My men are among the best in France."

"Uh-huh," she responded absently, her eyes scanning the station.  "Have any freight trains entered the station this morning?"

The Captain turned to view the tracks.   "A train from Caen arrived earlier.  It was carrying . . . "

"That one doesn't interest me.  Anything from Cherbourg?"

"Aah," the Captain said.  "There are two trains due to arrive from the Cherbourg region this morning." He checked his watch.  "The first should be arriving in the next thirty minutes and one less than an hour behind that."

"Two trains?" Caron couldn't hide her surprise and anger.  "I thought there was only one train!"

The Captain looked uncomfortable, and he nervously pulled at the tight collar on his black uniform.  "I don't know, Oberfuhrer.  There are two trains scheduled."

"Shit!" Caron cried, her morning suddenly growing complicated.

"Do you have orders?"

Caron clenched her jaw trying to decide how to best approach the problem.  "Yes," she snapped.  "I want half of your men to proceed to the Cherbourg tracks just outside town.  They are to stop both trains and search them."

"Do you have the authority to do that?" the Captain asked with caution.

"Captain," she purred sweetly.  "I have all the authority I need.  Do you have the ability to do what I require?"

"Absolutely, Fraulein Oberfuhrer."

"Fine.  Search the cars of every train entering from Cherbourg."

"For what?"

"Two women.  One small and blonde.  The other tall, dark and American.  She's probably dressed in black clothes."

"Do you know how the other is dressed?"

"Sophie?" Caron said, her eyes glazing slightly as she remembered Sophie standing before her in those ridiculously baggy khaki green pants and sweater.  She looked so . . . cute.  The Gestapo agent shook her head, angry at the thought.  "Khaki green," she told the Captain.

"And what shall I do with the other half of my men?" the Captain asked with interest.

"I want you to arrest every French man, woman, and child suspected of traitorous activities in St-Lo."

The Captain ran his hand across his freshly shaven jaw.  "I know we have a local list of suspects," he said.  "But may I ask why?"

Caron weighed the question for a moment, deciding this man wasn't as easy to subdue with her position.  Taking him into her confidence might convince him to complete his task more effectively. She gave him a sweet smile. "Both women have been caught spying, and it is imperative that the Fatherland interrogate them."

"So they are to be captured alive?"

Caron smiled at the thought of the American bitch's dead body being brought to her, but she knew that wouldn't be half as satisfying as killing her herself.  And Sophie?  "Yes, Captain.  Alive."

"Jawohl, Oberfuhrer."  The Captain clicked his heels like an old Prussian officer.  "Where shall I find you?"

Caron wanted to stay at the station, but she knew from the way her leg was throbbing that she needed more medical attention.  "German Command," she ordered, dismissing the man with a wave.

She waited long enough for the Captain to escort the men from the station before lowering herself back into the car and ordering the Sergeant to take her to the command center in St. Lo.  "Maybe they'll have a competent doctor," she said, touching her throbbing leg.




Jackie didn't know how long she and Sophie stared at each other, but to her it felt like an eternity.  She finally made herself turn away and contemplate their position.  Or at least that was what she should have been doing.  Instead she couldn't keep her mind on anything but Sophie.

She wanted to believe in the girl.  Or more specifically she wanted to believe that what she was feeling wasn't because she'd been played a fool.  The girl seemed to be truthful, and Jackie had to admit her kiss hadn't been aggressive.

'Not like mine,' she thought, with a touch of shame.  She didn't know what made her grab Sophie and kiss her.  There was something about having Sophie next to her - - - She shook her head.  'It's the danger and the fear we've experienced,' she told herself, leaning against the open freight door and staring absently at the passing countryside.  'My instructors told me about how tense situations can lead to sexual outpourings.   I was supposed to be immune to that . . .  or so I thought.'  She gave a small laugh.

"Jackie?" Sophie said, and Jackie turned her head, realizing for the first time that the girl was standing next to her. 

Sophie pointed out the train. "There are more houses now," she said.

"Um . . . yeah, I know," Jackie lied.  "We must be getting close to St-Lo."

Under their feet there was a palatable shift in speed, followed by the squeal of metal brakes against the rails.  It wasn't a quick break, but enough of one that Sophie was jolted forward and Jackie found the girl caught in her arms.  Her arms started to squeeze, desperate to feel every inch of Sophie's body, but reluctantly she released her as quickly as she could.

"Why'd  we slow down?" Sophie asked, grabbing onto the door's handle to steady herself. Jackie was already hanging out the door and looking down the tracks.

"Oh God dammit!" she cried, pulling herself back into the car.  "Germans."


"On the track ahead.  Looks like they're stopping the train."

Fear washed over Sophie's face, her eyes darting back and forth like a terrified rabbit.  "What are we going to do?" she said, the tenor of her voice raising slightly.

The American hardly knew what to say, let alone do, and she watched as the grass that had been whizzing by outside slowly became more solid until she could actually see the different colors in each clump.  "We need to hide," she said, looking around. 

The grass wasn't tall enough to hide them . . . especially in broad daylight.  That left the box car.  She turned to the interior, desperate to find anything large enough to conceal them both.

The box car was about half filled with crates of various sizes.  Near the front was about fifty chicken coops, the occupants sitting quiet and unaware of the dangerous situation Jackie and Sophie found themselves.

"The boxes," Sophie said, her body moving towards them.  "We can hide behind them."

Thinking quickly, Jackie shook her head.  The boxes would conceal them from a cursory inspection, but if the Germans entered the car they'd certainly be found.  If the Germans didn't search the car then there was a better than average chance they would slam the door shut, and a quick glance at the door told her they'd be trapped until the car reached its final destination.  "Which could be Berlin for all I know," she said, out loud.

"Jackie?" Sophie questioned.

"We need to get off the train," she said.  "Not get trapped inside."

Sophie stepped away, her back slamming against the wall of the car.  "We need to do something," she said, her voice shaking with fear.  "We've almost stopped."

The American looked outside again.  From where the train was coming to a stop their  car appeared to be hidden from the German's immediate view.  That would give them a little time.  She looked down at the tracks.  "It will be risky," she said, furrowing her brow in concentration.


"Follow me," Jackie said.  "Do everything I do, and don't make another sound."

She felt Sophie's hand on her arm, and she turned slowly with the pressure.  Her eyes immediately found Sophie's green ones, and she didn't even notice the smaller woman's hand on the back of her neck or the fact that she bent down.  All she remembered was closing her eyes and feeling Sophie's lips pressed against hers.  When Sophie released her, it took a second before she opened her eyes and straightened up.

"If we donít make it," Sophie said.  "I donít want you thinking you are a game to me.  I tried to convince myself that I could treat you like that, but I couldn't.  I don't know what this means or where it'll go, but I want more from you."

Jackie ran a finger over her lips, still tasting Sophie's touch. "Follow me," she said, gently grabbing the smaller woman's hand.  "And please, be careful."

Without another word she sat on the wood floor, waiting for the train to come to a complete stop.  As the steel beast rolled to a halt, the American lowered herself to the ground, trying to keep her body flush against the car.  Turning around she put her hand around Sophie's waist and helped lower her. 

Grabbing her knapsack she threw it under the car, and crawled after it.  Turning her head she waited long enough for Sophie to join her before contemplating the undercarriage.  'It might just work,' she thought.

Using her hands she tried to explain what she wanted Sophie to do, and with a smile she watched the smaller woman crawl up and over two iron rods and pin herself against the side of the car.  The wheels were dangerously close to Sophie's head, but they only needed to keep out of sight until the train began moving.  Then she could shift Sophie more to the center.

She wrapped the knapsack around one of her legs and lifted it up over the iron bar, finding a secure spot before lifting her other leg and scooting her body into position.  She'd just stopped moving when they heard the crunch of boots on the rocks.

"This door is open!" a man shouted, and Jackie watched with trepidation as the boots stopped a mere foot from Sophie.  The girl looked over, and Jackie held her finger to her lips.

"Well climb in and look, Private," another voice said, his highly polished jack boots announcing his officer status.

"Jawohl," the first voice said, and his feet jumped, swinging in at Sophie before disappearing into the train.  She could hear boxes being moved around overhead. "It's empty, Lieutenant."  His boots stopped directly over her.  "Lieutenant, here is a blood stain. It looks fresh."

"Fine," the officer said. "Get out, and finish the search.  They probably jumped."

The soldier's boots reappeared, dangling over Sophie before sliding to the ground.  The car over them rumbled as the door was slammed shut and the soldier moved off down the train.  The lieutenant stood near the car for another minute before turning and moving towards the front of the train.

Jackie looked over at Sophie.  The girl had gone totally white, and a light sheen of perspiration clung to her face.  Jackie watched as Sophie jammed a hand over her mouth and her body convulsed several times. Thankfully she made no noise, and all Jackie could do was watch helplessly as Sophie's body finally relaxed.

She was about to give the girl a smile of encouragement when she heard the boots of the soldier crunch on the gravel behind her.  The soldiers gait was slow and methodical, and Jackie just knew he was checking under the cars.  His step slowed next to her and came to a stop.  She closed her eyes, waiting for the soldier's voice to order her out from under the car, but instead she felt a warm liquid splash on her face.  Her eyes opened to a yellow stream of urine crashing against the ground just in front of her head.

"Private," the lieutenant yelled.  "Front and center!"

The soldier gave one last squirt before running off up the train.  'Probably stuffing it in his pants,' she thought, shaking that mental picture from her mind.  She looked over at Sophie and smiled.  The girl opened her mouth to speak, but Jackie held her finger up to keep silence. 

The train groaned forward, their car slamming into the car in front before pulling back.  Both women had to hold on tight to avoid being shaken to the ground. With the speed of a dying snail the train lurched forward, and Jackie motioned for Sophie to stay exactly where she was.

"Don't move," she hissed.

The girl nodded, her hands gripping an iron rail until the white's of her knuckles could be seen.  Jackie longed to say or do something to help Sophie, but she couldn't risk giving them away.  Not when they were so close to escaping.

Her head turned towards the outside, needing to see when they passed the Germans.  She guessed they were positioned about 30 yards up the tracks, but she didn't dare risk moving until there was no chance of being caught.

The train was moving a little faster, and Jackie strained to see boots or truck tires or anything . . . She smiled when she caught the a flash of sunlight off the officer's boots.  In her head she began counting to thirty before holding her hand out to Sophie.  She only got to fifteen.

"Gimme your hand," she cried, just loud enough to be heard over the clack of the tracks.  "You've got to move more towards the center."


"Just do it!" Jackie ordered, feeling Sophie's hand slap into hers.

She pulled the girl closer, fighting to keep them both balanced over the tiles.  Once she got Sophie in the middle of the train she wrapped an arm about her waist to keep her safer.

"What now?" Sophie cried.

Jackie looked down at the track that was beginning to speed by and she could just  make out the individual rail ties.  This was looking like it might have been a bad idea.

"We've got to drop to the track," she said, her eyes pleading with Sophie to not argue.

"Oh no!" Sophie responded.  "I can't do that."

"You can and you will," Jackie ordered.  "If that Gestapo agent has sent Germans out here, how many do you think she has at the station?"

"We could be killed."

"We'll definitely be killed if we enter the station."

Sophie closed her eyes.  "Fine," she said.  "What do I do?"

Jackie didn't have the guts to tell her she really didn't know.  This was hardly an area covered in training.  Taking a quick swallow to keep the taste of fear and bile out of her mouth she put on her most authoritative face.

"It's tricky, but you can do it Sophie."  She looked behind.  "You have to lower your legs first.  That's going to hurt, but only long enough to pull yourself back and drop all the way to the ground."

"You're joking, right?"

"Keep your head down, and lay flat until the train passes."

"What about the Germans we just passed?"

Jackie shook her head.  "I'm hoping we're far enough away they won't see us.  The track turned a little back there so we should be out of sight."

Sophie clenched her jaw, her eyes boring into Jackie.  "If I die, I'm gonna kill you."

"Just be careful." She reached out and settled a hand on Sophie's back.  "Ready?"

The girl's eyes were locked on the ground, but she turned her head and nodded. 

"Okay, start by taking one leg off and try and don't let it drop yet."  Sophie did what Jackie ordered, her body twisting slightly as she pulled her leg off and held it up.  "This is the hard part," Jackie yelled.  "You've got to slide forward on this bar and then back before your drop both your legs.  Understand?"

"Don't let me fall," Sophie yelled back, her face distorted in fear.

"I won't," Jackie said, digging her fingers into the fabric on Sophie's back.

"Here I go," Sophie said, pulling herself forward.  She overcompensated and Jackie felt a sudden jerk on her hand and Sophie tilted, her body dipping face first towards the ground.  Jackie didn't have much leverage, but she held on, struggling to pull Sophie back.

The girl's entire weight was balanced on her stomach, and Jackie could see that it was hard for her to hold her legs parallel to the tracks.  It was hard for her to keep her tenuous hold on Sophie's back, but she couldn't let go.  Not yet.


Sophie closed her eyes and nodded her head.

"Move back just a little.  I've got you, don't worry."

Sophie edged her body back until the tip of her rib cage was pressed against the iron bar.

"Put your hands on the top of the bar," she ordered, watching as the girl complied.  "Now drop your feet and slide off."

She felt the incredible drag on her hand as Sophie's feet hit the ground.  The girl screamed, but the sound died away as her body was sucked under the train. Jackie strained to see if she landed right, but couldn't get the right angle.  Her heart pounded and she sent up a silent prayer that Sophie had made it.

"My turn," she said, trying to pull her leg off,  but she couldn't move.  Her body twisted to get a better look and Jackie saw that the knapsack she'd wrapped around her leg was stuck on something.  She tried to tug it, but she nearly fell forward and onto the tracks.

"Shit," she murmured.  "Okay, I can do this."  She put her hand against the side of the box car's undercarriage and gave her leg a hard yank.  It took two more pulls before the canvas of the bag ripped away and fell, but in falling it pulled her leg with it, and Jackie felt the bag bumping against the ground.  She shook her leg until the bag came free, and she quickly copied Sophie's moves before letting both her legs fall to the ground.

The pull from the tracks was strong, and she felt her body being yanked under the train.  She let the momentum carry her until her hands were clinging to the rail.  Holding her breath she released and tried to cover her face before she hit the tracks.

Overhead the train rattled on, but Jackie's head was buried in her arms and it wasn't until she heard nothing did she lift it.  She smiled as she watched the train's caboose shake its way down the tracks.

"Ow," she said, rolling over and sitting up.  Her legs stung, and her black boots were scuffed beyond repair.  Her eyes ran down the track until she spotted Sophie's body.  The girl was still laying on the tracks, and with fear in her heart Jackie scrambled to her feet and broke into a run.

She quickly covered the distance, and fell to her knees by the girl.  "Sophie," she whispered, her hand resting on the girl's back. Sophie lifted her head, and Jackie couldn't stop herself from scooping her up in a big hug.  "Oh God you scared me!"

Sophie pushed herself back a little.  "You were scared?  What about me?  I had to fall from a speeding train!"

Jackie didn't want to burst her bubble by telling her the train wasn't moving all that fast, but still she couldn't hide her smile.  "Yes you did," she said, reaching out and brushing some dirt from Sophie's face.  "You were fantastic."

Sophie smiled back.  "You certainly know how to show a girl a good time."  Her hand closed around Jackie's.  "Are all your dates like this?" she joked.

"I'm a little new at all this, but I thought dinner would be boring."

"So now what?" Sophie asked.

Jackie let her thoughts return to more serious matters.  "We need to locate an SOE operative in St-Lo.  His codename is Anastasie."

Sophie nodded.  "And I assume you know where to find him."

"I can contact him through a dry good shop near the center of town."  She looked behind her.  "We should get moving before the Germans change positions."

Sophie climbed to her feet and held a hand down to Jackie.  "No more trains for awhile, okay?" she asked, her free hand brushing dust from Jackie's shirt.

"That's fine with me."  She gave Sophie's hand a squeeze.  "C'mon, let's get off the tracks."

"We need new clothes," Sophie announced.  "Your shirt is filthy and," she motioned to her ripped pants.  "Those tracks shredded my pants."

"We also need food."

Sophie put her hand over her stomach.  "That would be a good idea.  I'm starved."

Jackie smiled, suddenly feeling like things were going right for a change.  Standing here with Sophie's hand in her own and the girl's green eyes shining on her Jackie felt good.  It was almost easy to forget that their ordeal wasn't over. And even easier to forget to ask herself the question of what in the hell was she doing.  At that moment everything felt right, and with a playful tug she started them walking.

The small city of St-Lo loomed less than a mile away, and it was with both trepidation and excitement that she approached.  Finding Anastasie would be hard, but when they did he'd be able to either contact London or pass them onto the underground.  'With any luck we could be on our way back to England as early as tomorrow,' she thought with a smile, that froze and fell from her face.  'We?'  Would Sophie want to go to England with her?  Or America for that matter?  'And what am I thinking?  I don't even know her!'

"Should we try and find clothes before we get to the city?" Sophie asked, breaking Jackie's thoughts.  "There are a lot of farm houses around here."

"Um . . . I think we should just buy clothes in town.  Only one of us should go, though."

Sophie's hand tightened.  "I don't want to leave you," she said.

"And what about when we get out of this, Sophie?" Jackie heard herself speaking.

"What do you mean?" the girl asked, furrowing her brow.

"Are you going to stay in France or - - -" her voice trailed off.  "I mean I need to tell our contact so he can plan."

"I don't know," Sophie responded.  "I've always wanted to go to America.  Henri promised to take me there after the war."

Jackie nodded.  "I could take you," she said quickly, looking over.  "If you wanted to go."  She bit at her lip.  "I know the OSS would help you get set up."

"What about . . ." her voice trailed off.  "Let's talk about it later."

'That was probably best,' Jackie decided, but her mood dampened a little.

They walked in silence for a few minutes, their steps leading them to an unpaved road.  Here Jackie debated about using the road, but seeing how it was morning, they stood as much of a chance of being seen in a field as on the road.  At least on the road they were less conspicuous.

As the city grew closer the houses became more numerous, they saw several people working outside, but Jackie made sure they kept their heads down and passed at a good pace.  It took them about thirty minutes to reach the first brick building, and Jackie felt her mouth go dry. Her training made her want to wait until dark, but by then it might be too late to find the Resistance contact.

"What do we do now?" Sophie asked, following as Jackie led them into a narrow alley.

"My gut is twisting on me," Jackie said, rubbing her hand over her stomach.  "Something doesn't feel right."

Sophie stared back and Jackie knew she didn't know how to respond.  That was fine.   It was probably her own over-excited senses that were playing tricks on her.  The town seemed calm enough, and she was sure it was only because he training really hadn't extended to this level.  She was a covert operative which usually meant move in, destroy something or gather information and then get the hell out.  Right now she was leading them by her wits, and they were growing frazzled.

"I need you to wait here," she told Sophie, her eyes darting around the alley for a safe place.  She saw a partially boarded up doorway near the back and grabbing Sophie's hand walked her over there.

"Why can't I come with you?"

"I need to look around," Jackie responded.  "And two of us will cause more interest."  She turned her blue eyes on Sophie, desperately fighting the urge to touch the younger woman's face.  "Especially if the Germans are looking for two women."

The girl nodded in understanding, her hand grabbing for Jackie's arm.  "Promise me you'll come back."

Jackie furrowed her brow for a moment, and gave into her need to touch Sophie.  "As long as I'm able, I'll come back for you."  She smiled, her thumb caressing the younger woman's dirty cheek.  "I promise."

Relief washed over the girl's face, and she leaned into Jackie's touch.  "How long do you think you'll be?"

"I'm going to look around and try and buy us some clothes and food." Jackie stuffed a hand into her pocket and brought out the Reichmarks.  She roughly divided the money and handed half to Sophie.  "If I can't come back," she held up her hand.  "If something happens and you don't see me by dark, then take this money and try and get out of here."

"Jackie, please . . ."

"Promise me you'll go."

Sophie took the money, and stuffed it into her pocket.  She looked up her green eyes suddenly darker than Jackie remembered.  "Come back soon, please," she whispered.

Jackie nodded, pointing at the doorway.  "Try and stay here as long as possible," she said.  "If someone comes and you have to leave then meet me Ö" she thought for a minute.  "Meet me just outside town on the road we came in on.  Remember that irrigation ditch and a small bridge?"  Sophie nodded her head in understanding.  "It looked deep enough for you to hide, if necessary."

"I'll go there if I have to."

"Alright," Jackie said, taking a deep breath.  "Wish me luck."  She stood there for a long moment debating herself over what would be an appropriate way to say good-bye to the girl, and unresolved she gave her a quick nod and walked off. 

It didnít feel right, and she turned her head to find Sophie watching her with a dejected look on her face.  She stopped and without a further thought walked back and scooped the girl into her arms.  Sophie's arms closed around her, enveloping her in a band of safety that bored right through all of Jackie's defenses and she felt herself pulling the girl even closer.

"Please come back," Sophie whispered in her ear.  "I think I need you."

Jackie couldn't admit it out loud but she was beginning to need Sophie, too.  "I will," she ended up saying, releasing Sophie with one last hug.

She didn't look back as she exited the alley.  She felt Sophie's eyes on her all the way, and she fought with herself to keep moving alone.  It tore at her to leave the young woman alone, but the danger of them traveling together was real, and she knew that the Germans didn't have a good picture of her looks, but the Gestapo agent definitely knew what Sophie looked like.

She was beginning to get a better idea of what Sophie had been through, and every time she thought about it an angry bile rose in her throat.  It didn't take too much to figure out that the Gestapo agent had made Sophie use her body for safety.  No wonder she tried the same thing with her.  Jackie still wasn't sure if Sophie's feelings were genuine, but they had reached some sort of understanding and Jackie found herself insanely concerned about the girl.  So much so that she hadn't gotten a block from the alley before she found herself turning back, but the sound of an approaching motorcycle made her look up.

A German cycle and sidecar was moving up the street manned by two goggled soldiers.   Jackie turned around slowly and jammed her hands in her pockets before walking down the street, hoping she looked inconspicuous.  The motorcycle drove past, and with her heart pounding in her throat Jackie knew she had to complete her tasks.  Sophie was safer off the streets.

The city of St-Lo looked run down and Jackie wondered if that was because of the war or the shift in industry prior to the war.  It really didn't matter, but as she found herself turning onto the main shopping street a lot of empty shop windows stared blankly back at her.   With a sigh she continued to walk, keeping her eyes to herself whenever she passed anyone.

About halfway down the street she found a small dress shop that had a few items.  Crossing her fingers she pushed the door open.  A matronly woman emerged from the back at the sound of the bell and smile gently.  The inside of the shop wasn't well stocked, but maybe Jackie would be able to find something for Sophie.

"How may I help you?" the woman asked, and Jackie saw the suspicion in her eyes.

"I need a dress."

The woman shook her graying head.  "I'm sorry, but I don't think I have anything that would fit you."

"That's fine," Jackie responded.  "What about something for a woman about Ö" she held her hand out to her chin level.   "This high."

"It would be easier if you just brought your daughter in," the woman answered.

"I'm mailing it to her," Jackie lied.

"Fine.  Then how much does she weigh?"

Jackie's brow furrowed, and let her hands fall open to Sophie's waist size.  "Maybe 110 pounds," she said.


Jackie tasted blood in her mouth as she bit her tongue.  "I should go," she said, stepping backwards, her hand feeling for the door knob.

The woman stepped forward.  "What ever your business is, it's not mine," she said.  "I need money."

"So I can buy your trust?" Jackie said, the cool brass of the knob pressed against her hand.

The shop owner shrugged.  "You can buy a dress.  I won't lie if anyone asks me, but I won't offer information either."

"I don't have much money."

"And I haven't had many customers.  No one has been able to afford the luxury of new dresses in quite awhile."

"You know what I want," Jackie replied, her gut not sure if she should run or stay.

"Show me your money."

The American pulled the Reichmarks from her pocket, amazed at how wide the woman's gray eyes grew.  "My God," she breathed.

"I can't give you all of it."

The woman shook her hand.  "I only need enough to buy my daughter and me some food and wood."  Her fingers reached out greedily pulling five or six bills from Jackie's hands.  She stared at the money with a quirky smile on her face.

"The dress?"

"Oh yes, absolutely."  The woman stuffed the money in her apron pocket and turned to survey her inventory.  "Something simple," she said out loud.  "You don't need to draw any  attention."  She pulled out a simple calico dress.

"Do you have pants and a blouse?"  Suddenly Jackie was having a hard time seeing Sophie in the dress.

"The size might be off, but Ö" the woman grabbed a pair of gray wool pants followed by a simple white blouse.  She handed these to Jackie before reaching for a small black belt.  "Here," she said.  "That will do."

Jackie looked the size over, deciding they would probably fit.  "I'm sure they will," she replied, handing them back to the woman to be wrapped.  She pulled off two more bills.  "Are you sure you donít have anything for me?"

"This is a woman's shop, and you're dressed like a man."

She pulled one more bill off.  "Can you look?"

The woman nodded and disappeared into the back.  Jackie grabbed the dress and was mentally counting to 100.  If the woman didn't appear before then she was going to take off quickly.  She'd reached 89 before the woman pushed past the curtain carrying a dusty tweed jacket, a tie and a fedora.  She handed these over with a shrug, grabbing the bills off the counter and stuffing them away.

"With your height, you make a better man than a woman," she said, passing her hand down Jackie's clothes.  "Best to continue the illusion."

Jackie chose to not make a response, and she quickly shrugged her arms into the jacket and stood while the woman's bony fingers tied the bland brown tie.  She handed Jackie a piece of string.  "Use it to tie your hair up and then wear the hat."

The American did as she was ordered, checking out her appearance in the mirror while the woman tied up Sophie's outfit.  Jackie waited for her to finish and took it without a word.  She was about to turn and leave, but the woman's hand on her arm made her stop.  "Thank you for the money," she said.

"You're welcome," Jackie responded.  "I was going to pay anyway."

The woman bit at her lip.  "You must be the reason the Germans have been running around town all morning arresting people."

"What?" Jackie said, every inch of her body alert.

"Any German suspect has been arrested."

Her gut told her not to reveal anything to this woman so she just nodded.  "Thank you."

"Be careful, Cherie."

"I will," Jackie said, opening the door and exiting without looking back.




The German Command center wasn't as impressive as the grand Chateau of Valognes.  It was more like a filthy little office building and Caron shriveled her nose up in disgust as her car came to a stop.  A Wehrmacht soldier jumped forward to open her door, and she gladly accepted his help from the car.  Her leg was killing her and she needed drugs and a good doctor.

"I need a room," she told the soldier.

"All personnel stay at the Grand Hotel, Fraulein."

"I also need a doctor."

"Let me get my lieutenant," the soldier said, waiting for Caron to dismiss him with a wave.

A few minutes later a middle aged lieutenant exited the building.  "How may I help you, Fraulein?"

"You may address me as Oberfuhrer," Caron ordered, pleased to see the man's smug expression slip from his face.  "Now as I told your private, I require rooms and a doctor.  See to it."

The man nodded quickly.  "The private will show your driver to the Hotel and I will call ahead to have a suite arranged and our best doctor sent to your rooms immediately."

"Good," Caron said, taking the man's hand as she maneuvered her swollen leg back into the car.  "I have given orders to a Waffen-SS Captain somebody," she called from the backseat. 

"Captain Stromburg, yes."

"Have him bring his report to my rooms as soon as he returns."

"Yes, Oberfuhrer.  Please call me if you need anything else."

Caron reached over and slammed the door in response to his offer.  "Drive," she ordered her Sergeant, barely glancing at the tiny head of the private who now sat in the front seat.

The so-called Grand Hotel wasn't grand at all, Caron decided hobbling into the shabby lobby.  The Sergeant made the arrangements and Caron followed him to an ancient iron elevator that shimmied its way up to the top floor.

Her suite was nothing more than two semi-clean rooms, and Caron immediately dismissed the Sergeant and collapsed on the large bed.  She stuffed two pillows under her leg and stared at the ceiling.  There was a water stain near the window that drew her attention and she concentrated on it with all her strength until a knock at the door made her jump.

"Enter," she called, pulling herself up slightly.

A elderly white coated doctor walked in followed by a rather cute, blonde nurse.  The doctor dipped his head in greeting and the nurse smiled brightly.  Caron's eyes narrowed tightly and her face set.  The nurse smiled like Sophie.

"Get her out of here," she ordered, pointing at the nurse.

"But why?" the doctor asked, his face perplexed.

"I donít want her here," Caron said, her hand grabbing a small flower vase on the bedside table and throwing it at the nurse.  "Get out."

The doctor turned.  "Wait for me downstairs," he said calmly.

Caron scowled and refused to watch the frightened woman flee the room.  Once the door clicked shut she turned her eyes on the doctor.  His white hair was still wavy, and he pushed it off his forehead in a confident but absent manner as his dark brown eyes searched the room for a chair.  His hand was steady as it clung to his black bag, and Caron quickly surmised that he looked a great deal more competent than that boob in Valognes.  "Fix my leg," she ordered.  "It hurts."

"I'm sure it does," the doctor replied, setting his case on the bed and opening it.  He withdrew a pair of scissors and laid those on the bed next to her leg.  "I need a chair."

"Use the one from the desk," Caron said, motioning to the desk near the door.  The doctor nodded and claimed the chair from the desk and sat down next to the bed.

His hands slid under her leg and lifted it gently from the pillow.  The scissors were used with quick precision to remove the bandage.  Once her leg stood naked before him, it only took a moment for him to look up.  "Gunshot?"

"Yes," Caron replied dryly, irritated by the obvious.  "I suppose the bullet has been removed, but it still hurts."

"You should be off this for at least a week, Oberfuhrer.  It needs time to heal."

Caron's body jerked upright in the bed.  "Listen to me, you little medical person," she took in a deep breath.  "I can't do that now.  Make it well enough so I can continue on my mission."

"But Oberfuhrer - - -" A knock at the door drew Caron's attention and she motioned the doctor into silence as the door opened and the Waffen-SS Captain entered.  "Just do something," she said to the doctor before turning her attention to the Captain.  "Report."

"We did not find the fugitives," he said crisply.

Caron felt her body go rigid, and she fought to control herself.  "Was there any sign they were on the train?"  She couldn't bear to hear that Sophie wasn't in St-Lo.

"The first train had blood stains in one box car.  The door was open and my lieutenant reported that it's his belief they jumped."

"Any idea where?"

"Private?" the Captain called over his shoulder and the door opened, admitting a young man carrying a bag.  This he took from the boy and dismissed him.  "This bag was found on the tracks approximately 2 kilometers from the search point."

Caron's hands snapped for the bag and she couldn't stop herself from pressing it to her chest.  When she noticed both the Captain and the doctor staring at her she pulled it back and opened it.

"It's a pair of black pants," the Captain announced as Caron removed the cloth.  "It's also been ripped.  Maybe to bind a wound, which would explain the blood in the train."

"Do you know who was wounded?"

"No, Oberfuhrer."

Caron nodded absently, her fingers idly rubbing the canvas bag.  "So they escaped you?" she asked, not looking up. "And what of my other orders?"

"We have arrested nearly all suspects in St-Lo."

"Why not all?"

"We are looking," the Captain said.  "Information of our plans has leaked and many have run.  We will find them."

Caron nodded again.  "Keep me informed," she said.  "I need to rest."

"Do you have further orders?"

Caron closed her eyes for a long second the rate of her breathing increasing with the pain that spread from her heart.  It was on the tip of her tongue to call off the search and return to Berlin, but then she felt her hands closing around the American spy's pants and smoldering gray eyes turned on the Captain.  "Begin a door to door search," she said.  "Use whatever force you think is necessary to terrify anyone in this miserable town to exposing my fugitives.  If you suspect a person of lying - - - arrest them."  She narrowed her eyes.  "Bring them to the hotel and I will see them personally."

"As you wish, Fraulein Oberfuhrer," the Captain said, clicking his heels.

"Go," she ordered, turning her attention back to the doctor.  "Well?" she demanded.

"There's not much I can do," he said.  "Healing will take time."

"I don't have time."

"You need rest, Fraulein."  He held up his hand.  "Don't try and bully me, young lady.  I know your uncle, the Field Marshall, and I'll call him if I have to."

Caron clenched her jaw before forcing a sweet smile on her face.  "Fine, Herr Doctor.  I will rest until I'm needed again."

The doctor nodded his head in approval.  "I will send up something for the pain and to help you sleep."

"Donít send that nurse," Caron warned, knowing she couldn't bear to see someone who reminded her of Sophie.

"Fine," he said.  "I will also give you something to take later."

"Thank you, Doctor," Caron cooed, knowing better than to push this man.

"Now close your eyes while I re-bandage this."  His warm hands lifted her leg.  "I don't think that obnoxious splint in necessary."  He smiled.  "But you must continue to use the crutches."

"Uh-huh," Caron said, leaning back against the headboard, suddenly feeling exhausted and weak in the doctor's presence.

"Do you want to tell me about these fugitives you've turned our little town upside down for?"

The Gestapo agent lifted her head and stared hard at the elderly doctor.  "It's my business," she said.

The doctor nodded.  "Of that I am most assured," he said, looking up over his work.  "Do you have the authority to do what you're doing?"

Caron just stared back in silence.

"I'm not going to get you in trouble, girl," he said with a smile.  "I was just curious."

"It's important to me," Caron relented.

"And who is this girl that makes someone as hard as you lose concentration?"

"It's none of your business."

"Again,  Caron, I'm merely curious."

"How dare you call me by . . ." her voice tapered off and she pulled her arms tight across her chest a pout settling on her face.

"You look just like I remember you."

"I know you?"

"From very long ago.  I told you I know your uncle.  We are old friends." A far away look settled in his eyes for a quick second before he looked back down on her. "I met you once at his estate in Bavaria."  He smiled.  "You were probably seven, but you had that same expression."

"I don't remember you."

The doctor shrugged.  "You were bossy then, too."

Caron didn't know what to say so she remained silent.  It disturbed her that this old man knew her.  She felt some of her authority undermined.  Her scowl deepened.

"So who's this lass you're chasing?"

"Some one who betrayed me," Caron answered.

"That's not what your face says."

"What do you mean?"

"She's hurt you, that's easy to read," the old doctor said.  "But she's also touched you somewhere else."

"That's untrue.  I . . . " She stopped and regarded the old man.  "It's none of your business," she repeated.

"No," he conceded.  "It's probably not."  His hands revolved around her knee wrapping a white bandage, and for a moment both just watched in silence.

"I have to find her," Caron finally said.  "I need to discover something."

The doctor finished tying off the bandage and reset Caron's leg on the pillow.  "My dear," he said, giving her thigh a gentle pat.  "I think you already know."

Caron looked up, unwilling to confirm verbally that he was right.  She let her eyes drift to the window.

"I'll have something sent up," he said, picking up his bag.  "Call me if you need anything."

"Thank you," Caron said absently, not moving her eyes from the window until she heard the door click. 

When she was again alone she let her head fall back and as hard as she tried to fight it she couldn't stop herself from thinking about the doctor's words.  Was it that obvious?  She knew it was.  It angered her that anything which reminded her of Sophie could distract and hurt her.  Even seeing the American bitch's pants had caused her heart to seize.

"She's with her," Caron said, picturing the American touching Sophie.   Her hand lifted and slammed against the bed.  "I'll kill her."



 End Section VIII

Continue to Section IX

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