Disclaimer is on the Introduction Page.
Italics denotes thought
"Mr. Pruitt! What are you doing here?"
"I heard about Mr. Sherwood's unfortunate demise. Poor Miss Roberts. The love of your life is gone forever."
"How do you know my feelings?"
"It was obvious."
"Even to a person as cold as you?"
"Come now, I'm going to do you a favor." He pulled out his gun and pointed it at Betty. "Now you can join your beloved."
Betty couldn't think of a way out of this horrible situation. Then a voice called out from the hall. Mr. Pruitt averted his eyes from Betty. In his brief moment of distraction, Betty grabbed the gun from his hand. Jeff walked into the office seconds later.
"Betty! Rollie Pruitt!"
"I doubt you can aim that right, Miss Roberts," Pruitt growled.
"Maybe she can't, but I can." Jeff took the gun from Betty and directed it straight at Pruitt. "Betty, call the police."
"What were you doing here?" asked Betty.
"I went down to O'Malley's. I was going home and realized I forgot my hat here. A boy was delivering this telegram as I came up to get it. It's from Scott."
"He sent it before he died? I don't want to read it."
"No. Betty, look at the time it was sent. The telegram saying he was dead was sent before this one."
"I think so."
"Oh, Jeff!...Wait. He could still be dead. The telegram may not have been sent immediately, or one of Mr. Pruitt's entourage may have claimed to be Scott when they sent it."
"You're right. Come on, Betty, you should get home."
Betty turned to Jeff on the way out. "Will you go to London?"
"Someone must, for Victor."
"I wish, for Hilary's sake, that it wasn't you."
"Anyone who goes would probably be leaving loved ones."
"You only just got remarried."
"And America only recently entered a war."
"...I'm going to win this thing for all the Betty Roberts in this country, even if that means I have to do without the one I care about for awhile."
"Jeff, may I have the telegram?"
By the next afternoon no one was in high spirits. Hilary was the only one who still acted like herself.
"Jeff, I won't allow you to go!"
"Hilary, I must."
"You must stay here. You belong here."
"I belong where the government sends me."
"You belong with me. Pumpkin, I need you."
"You've always been independent. If we don't win this war, the world may not be safe. I want you to be safe."
"I want us both to be safe. Will the government order you to go?"
"I feel it's my duty. They won't force me."
"Then, find someone else," she screamed as she left the room.
"What should I do about Jeff?" asked Hilary.
"I haven't a clue. It is for our country, but Jeff has done this before..."
Hilary finished Betty's sentence. "And it always ends in chaos. I can't let him go. He could...Oh...I'm sorry. I shouldn't be insensitive about Scott. It's funny. Whenever everyone else is upset about a tragedy, I'm too concerned with Jeff. Like when we thought Victor died. Don't worry, Betty. You got over that with time. You'll get over this too."
"Betty Roberts, you trust me?"
"The pain will lessen, but this isn't like when Victor died."
"How is it all that different?"
"I never told anyone this before. I think I knew all the time I didn't really love Victor. It was just that I thought I could love him. Then, just when I was beginning to let myself know of my growing feelings for Scott, Victor came back. If I just hadn't been so foolish..."
"It's hard to let go of feelings you never got out. It was better for you and Scott that you know without doubt your feelings for Victor were gone, and maybe were never there."
"Betty, maybe it's time that we buried the hatchet."
"Hilary," Jeff called as he came into the room, "I'm not going to London."
"Oh, Jeff, how wonderful," Hilary said embracing him. Who is going?"
"Mackie? Are you sure?" asked Betty.
"This is my chance to do my part for this war, just like I did my part for the last one."
They went to tell the others, leaving Betty alone.
"I don't know, Betty. I think we need you."
"Scott, I wish you were here."
Hilary went into the writer's room at the end of the day.
"Everyone else went home, Betty."
"I'm just getting my things."
"Would you like some company? Jeff went with Mackie to help him pack."
"I can't believe Mackie won't be here.
"Neither can I. So many of our..."
Hilary stopped, and an uncomfortable silence temporarily came over them.
"I kept thinking: What would it be like coming home to a girl named Betty Roberts?"
"Hilary, should I go to London?"
"What?! What for?!"
"I could look in the hospitals. Scott may be delirious and not know his name."
"Betty, Scott wouldn't want you in mortal danger."
"You might as well catch that train home, Betty. I'll face the music for both of us."
"It was a silly idea," sighed Betty.
"Let me get my coat. We can talk on the trolley."
Hilary left, allowing Betty to collect the rest of her own things, and thoughts.
"Gosh, Betty, if I were to read one of your memos, I'd have to read them all."
Betty had to deal with all the sponsors even more than usual with Scott gone. Betty was grateful for any distraction, but, to her surprise, she was more thankful for Hilary. Somehow Betty found her presence comforting. Although Betty had plenty of distraction, she was behind on the scripts. She decided it would be all right to stay late. She had no intention of plunging herself into sleep deprivation like she had when they thought Victor had died.
"You go without sleep so that you won't dream any new dreams."
Betty just couldn't keep her mind on any script. She got up from her desk and paced the room. She finally stopped with her back to the doorway. She couldn't look there. It reminded her too much of the kiss she shared with Scott. All her memories of Scott just kept flooding over her. Suddenly, one memory seemed all too real.
"Station's closed. Time to go home."
Slowly she turned around. Her heart pounded. Her blood raced for fear it was a dream. Scott was standing by the door.
"They told us you died," she managed to stammer.
"I had no idea," he said with surprise.
"We were all scared that it was true."
"Sorry for the scare."
Betty wanted to tell Scott how she felt, but before she had a chance to, Hilary reappeared.
"I'm Hilary, and you're dead!"
"Just for calling you Hildy?" Scott said sarcastically.
"A couple of days ago, we got a telegram stating that you were probably dead."
"Well, I'm not."
"Hilary," reprimanded Betty.
"I'm kidding. Welcome home, Scotty."
"Hilary," Betty questioned, "where were you all this time?"
"I was fixing my face."
"Hilary," Jeff called entering the room, "Mackie finished packing."
"Where's Mackie going?" asked Scott.
"It's good to see you, Scott."
"I hate to break this up, but I believe we should all get home," said Hilary. Hilary saw to it Jeff escorted her out in order to leave Scott and Betty alone. However, Hilary decided to lend another helping hand. She dashed back into the room under the pretext of getting something.
"Wait untill the others see you, Scotty. You know for all our worries, Betty was the most concerned."
Betty blushed as Hilary left the room. Scott didn't want to press Betty for the meaning of Hilary's words. He purposely assumed Hilary was teasing. Scott was determined to push his feelings for Betty aside.
"Well, Betty, you should go home and get some sleep."
"To sleep, perchance to dream." She knew that only in her dreams could she tell Scott all her feelings without knowing his. "I really did hope you were all right."
"Fair be all thy hopes, and prosperous be thy life in peace and war."
Into the Fire Series
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