by Shalla Wilson
Disclaimer: Remember WENN and all its characters are owned by Rupert Holmes and Howard Meltzer Production, AMC. I only own the simple piece of work.
Gertie pulled on the front doors to WENN, but found them still locked. Strange, Betty's almost always here before I am. Gertie rummaged through her purse and finally pulled out a key to the station.
"Here, Gertie, let me get that for you," said a cheerful Scott Sherwood. Gertie stood gaping at Scott. 7:30 in the morning and Scott Sherwood is here with a package that looks amazingly like flowers. "So was last night that bad?" asked Gertie with a hint of sarcasm to her voice and a sly smile on her lips.
"No, actually it was quite an exceptional evening," Scott replied, and then headed down the hallway to the Writer's room. Gertie stood still for a moment, watching him. Something was wrong. Gertie knew everything that went on at the station, and therefore knew all the moods of its people. Scott was hiding something, something big. He was in a good mood, but the twinkle that was ever-present in his eyes was gone. Where is Betty? It's 7:45. The door flew open and a voice broke her train of thought.
"Good morning, Gertie, is Mr. Sherwood in yet?" asked a calm but almost always gone Victor Comstock.
"Ye...yes he is, he's down in the Writer's room, but....."
Victor cut her off quickly. "Good, tell Betty that I want to see her as soon as she arrives." He moved quickly down the hall towards the Writer's room.
OK, I'm getting to the bottom of this. Just as she started to head down the hall, the cast of "Bedside Manor" began to file in. Gertie handed out their scripts one by one as they went by. Hilary and Jeff were bickering about something or another. One thought that after the third time marriage would be a charm. Mackie came behind reading Mr. Foley's paper to him, much to Foley's silent disgust. Maple brought up the rear, rolling her eyes about the whole scene and smiling at Gertie. The small band that Gertie had found more likable than she would ever let on headed into Studio A and began another days programs. She smiled to herself as she remembered what she was just about to do. She once again headed towards the Writer's Room, but the switchboard began to buzz.
"Mr. Medwick, if you will hold for just one moment I'll have Mr. Comstock on the line." Gertie said setting down the headset and slowly approached Scott leaving the switchboard to buzz. "Scott," she tentatively asked, "are you OK?"
"Yeah, I'm fine, Gertie." She could see the glimmer of tears in his eyes. He put a strong hand on her shoulder and she could feel the tension and fear that was inside of him. "I'm just going to run down to the Buttery for a cup of coffee. Be back before you know it," he said quickly and flew out the door before she could protest, heck before she could even breathe. Suddenly she was no longer nosy, she was downright worried. She looked up at the clock, 8:15, and no Betty Roberts. She headed back to the switchboard, which was now buzzing quite fervently, to call Betty's apartment. Just as she picked up the headset and plug the door swung open and a flushed and glowing Betty Roberts wandered into the station.
"Good morning, Gertie," she said dreamily. "Sorry I'm late. I just couldn't seem to get moving this morning." Betty picked up her mail and slowly drifted down the hall towards the Writer's room. For the second time in thirty minutes Gertie found herself gaping and speechless. What's going on around here? She sat back down and picked up the headset to see if Mr. Medwick had given up yet, or if he was still hanging on, when she remembered that Victor wanted to see Betty right away. Gertie trudged down the hall and quietly knocked on the Writer's Room door. When Betty didn't reply Gertie slowly turned the knob and stuck her head in the door.
"Betty, Victor want to......" She stopped in mid sentence. Gertie immediately sensed Betty's mood had changed drastically. Betty looked up from the paper she was reading and large tears streamed down her face, a face that was full of fear and regret.
"Betty, what's wrong?" asked a very worried Gertie. She saw that look once before on her own face when her husband went to war. Betty didn't look at Gertie. She just continued to stare at the paper in her hand. She let the paper fall out of her hand and suddenly burst past Gertie and down the hall. Gertie went inside the room and picked up the paper that Betty had dropped, hoping it didn't say what she was almost sure it did.
March 24, 1942
My Darling Betty
I've been meaning to tell you something for the last four weeks, but I just haven't been able to find the right time. Time is what I have little of. Last night was too wonderful to ruin it with this trivial information. I've enlisted in the army and am leaving for training approximately the same time you read this letter. I don't know what I'll be doing, or where I'll be going, but I know I have to do my part. I'm a con-artist, Betty, and I always will be, but that doesn't mean I won't fight for what I honor and prize, my way of life, my country, my darling Betty. I promise to keep in touch as much as I can, and you must promise to keep this station running just as smoothly as you can till I can get back and shake things up a bit. Please give everyone my love and tell them not to worry. Oh, will you look at the time, my train will be leaving shortly, so I must close. I once told you that I loved you, and Betty, I meant it. I don't expect you to love me, I just hope for the best. I've left you my heart with this letter. Please keep it safe until I return to claim it, which I fully intend to do.
Through tear-filled eyes, Gertie looked over at the table where the envelope lay and next to it was the largest, reddest rose she had ever seen. She set the letter down next to it and slowly left the Writer's room and headed down the hallway.
"Gertie, isn't Betty in yet?" asked a demanding Victor.
"She isn't with you? Oh, where did she go?" Gertie asked anxiously and started heading into the Green room.
"What do you mean where did she.....Gertie she didn't go to the Writer's room when she got here?" asked Victor with a hint of urgency in his voice.
"Well, yes, she did. I didn't have a chance to catch her before....." Gertie let the statement hang. She just couldn't bring herself to admit Scott had marched off to war.
"She's read Scott's letter then," Victor said sadly. "I was hoping to break the news to her gently."
"You knew this whole time and didn't tell her?" Gertie exclaimed, becoming irate. Men, they could make disasters out of anything.
"Yes. Scott told me right after he enlisted. I guess he wanted someone to know what he was going to do. He made me promise not to tell her. I didn't think it was right, but that was his wish, not mine." Victor replied sternly. Damn Scott Sherwood, I knew this would backfire. Both Victor and Scott had been courting Betty, but Victor knew, even if Betty didn't, that she cared much more for Scott than she let on.
Victor stormed past Gertie and out of the Green room into Studio A, causing a slight disruption in the broadcast. Victor looked around, but she wasn't there. He walked over to the window of the control room, but no one was there except CJ, who smiled, puzzled, at him. He ran out of the Studio and headed towards Studio B to check there.
"She's not there, either. She's left the station," replied a worried Gertie.
"I've got to go find her," Victor insisted with a great amount of concern in his voice.
"No," answered a calm Gertie.
"What do you mean no? I can't let her wander around Pitt....." but he was cut off by a very cool Gertie.
"No, I'll go look for her. You and Scott have already done enough damage. She needs a friend now, a female friend." The icy words came out like daggers, to the point where Victor even backed up from her. Gertie grabbed her coat and left the station, leaving her switchboard buzzing and Victor standing in the hall, wondering what Ms. Gerturde Reece would have done to him if she had the time.
She buttoned up her coat as the elevator doors slid shut. Men think its so much easier to write a little letter and then march off to war, never giving a girl the chance to say her last.....NO, I'm not going to think about that now. Betty. I must find her. Gertie moved quickly out of the elevator and out the lobby doors. A spring snowstorm had begun and the cold wind bit into her face. Great, what next? It's suppose to be sunny and 50 degrees. She bent her head into the wind and trudged down the street.
The first place she came upon was The Buttery, and decided this was as good as anywhere to start her search. Only a few customers were left from the breakfast rush, and she just glanced quickly and then turned to leave. Something made her think twice, and she decided to take another look. As she came upon the last booth, she found what she was looking for. Betty sat there with her hands buried in her face, sobbing. Gertie quietly took off her coat and slid into the seat opposite Betty. The waiter came over tentatively and asked if they needed anything, to which Gertie ordered two cups of coffee. He returned quickly with them and left just as fast, afraid that he might get involved with whatever disaster had happened.
"Betty," Gertie said gently, "Betty, I read the letter....please talk to me." Betty slowly lifted her head out of her hands. Her face was red and streaked and her eyes looked so sad that Gertie wasn't sure she could keep herself composed.
"Gertie," Betty said with a catch in her voice, "why and I so upset? I mean I care for Scott, but he's just another part of the family that I have at WENN. Why am I crying like I've lost something terribly precious to me?"
Gertie stared at the young woman. When will she get it through that thick skull of hers what he really means to her?
"Betty, I think he means a little more to you than the rest of us, but that's not just it. Men have a terrible time with saying good-bye and they usually louse it up some way or another. You're just going through some shock and sadness at his leaving. You don't know, they may send him back," Gertie said hoping to get a smile out of Betty, which worked. Betty chuckled a little to herself.
"You have a point there. I guess it was shock. I just hope he's OK. I don't know if I could live.....well I just know we'd all miss him terribly if....." Betty tried but couldn't finish.
"It's OK, Betty. It all takes time," Gertie answered and then started to get out of the booth. "We better be getting back. That is, if you're up to it."
"I have to. I don't have this afternoon's scripts written yet. Remember, Scott told me I had to keep the place going," Betty answered with a sad smile. "Gertie, thanks for looking for me. I probably would have sat here all day if you hadn't come along. You're a great friend. I just have to think positively that he'll be all right." The two women headed back out the door as quickly as they could as the snow that fell in big fluffy flakes promised to stay only a few days and then spring would arrive. As they entered the building WENN was in Gertie paused a moment and looked up at the steel-colored sky. Please keep him safe. Don't fail me this time. A cold wind then swept her into the warm building.
"Oh, Brent, when I received that telegram that you were missing, I was fraught with worry."
"Elizabeth, no need to worry anymore. I've come home to you and I promise never to leave you again."
As the dramatic music swelled, Betty reached over and snapped off the radio. She sighed as she sat down to start writing tomorrow's scripts, but instead let her eyes wander to the dried and brittle rose that lay next to her typewriter. It had been three months since she heard from Scott, and as each day went by she got more and more agitated. She wasn't sure of where he was or what he was doing, and that frightened her. His last and only letter was chock full of Scott Sherwood's charm and con-artistry. How he was able to con all the men in the company including the drill sergeant and that he'd had a harder days work at WENN reading scripts with Hilary Booth. He even made sure to include at least one "Oh will you look at the time" and two "Very exciting stuff, Betty."
She chuckled quietly to herself. That letter was full of fear, exhaustion and homesickness. She learned quite along time ago to read between the lines he so often delivered, and his letter was no different. She just prayed he paid attention during basic training. His charm alone wasn't going to keep him alive. A knock at the Writer's room door brought her back to the present.
"Come in," she answered. Gertie stuck her head in.
"Betty, I thought you and I would go down to the Buttery for a quick lunch," she persuaded cheerfully.
"Oh, I don't know," Betty replied wearily "I have to get at tomorrow's scripts."
"Which you can't do properly on a hungry stomach," Gertie retorted insistently. "Come on, the special is meatloaf sandwich."
"Oh, all right, for a quick one." Betty couldn't say no to Gertie. Gertie had become a second mother, a confidant, a true friend to Betty, and it made her love the women even more. As they stepped into the elevator, Betty remembered how Gertie had come to find her the day Scott had left, and how she had stood by her as she told the cast what had happened. As they left the building and went out into the cool autumn day Betty silently thanked God for Gertie and her strong will.
"We'll have two meatloaf sandwiches and two cups of coffee," Gertie told the waiter as she and Betty sat down in an available booth.
"Make mine a glass of milk," Betty quickly interjected to the waiter.
"Betty, last night I saw the greatest movie," Gertie began, but the waiter interrupted them momentarily as he brought them their lunches.
"Thank you," Betty said sweetly to the young waiter, who blushed, and then hurried off to help the next customer. "Go on, Gertie."
"Oh, yes, well it starred Spencer Tracy and that wonderful actress Katherine Hepburn. 'Keeper of the Flame' was the title....."
Betty was no longer listening. At the mention of movies she found herself thinking back to her last date with Scott. Now she understood why he head let her choose the movie, a Gable-Lombard feature that she couldn't remember the name of, but she was quite sure it didn't involve football. He also took her to one of the classier restaurants in town. What baffled her the most were the final moments of the evening. Most dates with Scott she spent trying to avoid his advances, but this time he was a total gentlemen. When the time came to say good-night, she had decided to give him a kiss on the cheek for being so nice. As she leaned towards him, he gently pulled her towards him. She began to protest, but as she looked into his eyes she saw something more than the usual Scott. At the time she wasn't sure what it was, but now she knew it to be fear. She began to tremble as she stared into those eyes, not from fear but from the emotions she was feeling. Without saying a word he encircled his strong safe arms around her and bent down to slowly, gently, but passionately kiss her, a kiss that went to the ends of her fingers and the tips of her toes. When they finally parted he took only a moment to gaze at her and then turned and walked down the steps and into the dark, leaving her stunned and warm on the stoop to her apartment.
"Betty...Betty..." Gertie's cheerful voice was bringing her back to the present. "You haven't even touched your lunch. Are you OK?" Gertie cautiously asked. "I'm sorry. I didn't even realize....It's just that lately I've been in another world. I can't seem to keep my mind on the here and now," Betty confessed.
Gertie smiled at her. "That happens when the one you love is gone and possible in danger."
Betty's head snapped up to look at Gertie. She began to protest but Gertie politely cut her off. "I know, you care for him just as much as the rest of us." Gertie sighed. "Betty, when will you let yourself realize that you love Scott Sherwood, and that you miss him? It's OK to feel that way. It's OK to admit what deep down you know is true. Take a chance."
As Gertie got up to pay and have the waiter wrap up Betty's lunch, Betty sat there dumbfounded at what had just taken place. Could Gertie be right? Could I be in love with Scott Sherwood?
"Come on. We have to get back," Gertie said returning to the table. The two women silently walked out of the Buttery and back to WENN. As Betty headed down the hallway to the Writer's room, Gertie finally broke the silence between them.
"Betty, there's a letter here for you!" Gertie excitedly called after her. Betty turned so fast she almost knocked herself off kilter and raced back down the hall towards reception. She snatched the letter from Gertie's hand and very carefully opened it.
September 6, 1942
My Darling Betty,
First off, I must apologize, which mind you isn't easy for a Sherwood, for not writing sooner. Your weekly letters have been a Godsend to me, but I find myself so busy these days. I've been bused and hiked all over this country. I'm to the point where I'd give anything to curl up on the Green room couch and sleep for days. You think a man of my character and intelligence could be used for a better purpose than trampling dirt, and maybe in the near future I will be. Betty, we are being shipped over seas in two weeks. Our orders haven't fully come through, so I'm not sure where they're sending us, but don't worry. I'm sure I'll be fine. I live to hear from you, so please continue your letters, and I promise to try and write more. I long to hear your sweet voice and see your shinning smile. Hang onto my heart, and I'll return soon to claim it.
Betty gripped the paper, trying with all her might to feel his lingering touch on the worn letter. As she slowly let her grip subside, she was hit with many emotions, but the most prominent one was love. It was true, she loved him. As she looked up into Gertie's face, her eyes told the revelation the receptionist had waited months for. Gertie opened her arms and a tired Betty walked into them, letting Gertie encase her in a safe area, at least for a few minutes, until she was ready to face the rest of the day.
.....Hilary and Jeff have become more and more bearable the longer you are gone, although the occasional spats occur. Married life certainly agrees with them, even if they won't admit it. The most exciting news to tell you is that Eugenia and Mr. Foley finally got married last weekend. It was a beautiful but quaint wedding. Mr. Eldridge gave her away, Maple played the organ, Hilary organized everything, and I even sang at the ceremony. Of course, that makes us shorthanded here, with the two of them off for the week, but I've become pretty handy at sound effects.
I'd better go, but I find my pen lingering. I guess if I keep writing, I'm hoping you will appear in my doorway. Scott, please keep yourself safe. I've had friends from home march off to this war with a sparkle in their eye and a spring in their step, only to come home battered and bruised, or in wooden boxes. I'm sorry, I don't mean to send sad thoughts to you, but as this war drags on I become more and more worried for those I love. Yes, Scott, I do love you. I've known since you were shipped overseas but was afraid to tell you, but when Gus Kahana was listed MIA, I decided I had to let you know, in case...well, just be careful, and come home to me soon. I'm keeping your heart safe for your return.
As the wind whipped through his hair, Scott stared blankly at the paper in front of him for a few minutes before he reread the last paragraph. It was true, she did love him. A smile slowly formed on his lips and he gently placed the letter back into the envelope and put it in his shirt pocket. As he stared out over the rolling sea he closed his eyes so he could see her, longing to touch her silky hair and smooth face.
"Sherwood? Hey, are you in there?" Scott's dream was broken by the voice of one of his buddies.
"Yeah, I'm here. Where else would I be?" Scott retorted to his friend Al.
"Oh I don't know, maybe in some radio station with a girl who had soft brown hair and big brown eyes," replied Al teasingly. He ducked as he saw Sherwood's fist come at him. "Whoa, big fella, I was just kidding." Scott looked at his friend and realized he'd better get a hold of himself.
"Sorry, I'm just tired," Scott apologized.
"And you want to go home," Al added sadly. The two just looked at each other and then silently back to the ocean. There was nothing to say on the subject. Everyone wanted to go home. No one could.
"Say, did you hear something big is going to happen?" asked Al, finally relieving the silent tension.
"No, what?" lied Scott. He knew something was up, that was what he was best at, but he wanted to know what the rest of the ship knew.
"Rumor has it they're finally going to launch a big assault in the next couple of days. The head honchos are being briefed as we speak," Al told him.
Scott knew the whole Seventh Army wasn't being shipped east for a tea party. After playing cards with some of the Captains aboard, he figured out that the Allies were about to make another big push into stopping this war. Scott was probably going to be in the first wave.
"All men are to report to the mess hall on the double!" barked the loudspeaker. Scott and Al looked at each other remorsefully, and trudged down below to the mess hall.
Later That Evening
A small storm blew up, and the ship was now being tossed about the ocean, making most of the soldiers seasick. Scott was holding his own, though he even admitted he didn't feel great. Not from the sea, but mainly from the briefing that had happened earlier. He had to write Betty, but what was he going to tell her he hadn't a clue. He had just found out she truly loved him, and now he was suppose to write and tell her he may never see her again, not likely. At least he had a new feeling of life in him. It had been a couple of months since she had written and all the letters were the same. He was about to give up hope, which in turn meant giving up on himself, when this mornings mail came and that wonderful letter. He gently patted his shirt pocket and smiled. Betty, I have so much to tell you but I won't let them scare me to death. I'll be home. I promise. He stopped pacing around the cabin he shared with eleven other guys, plopped down on his bunk, and started writing the most important letter of his life.
July 7, 1943
My Darling Betty........
"Betty, I need today's script of Valiant Journey in, say, the next five minutes, or it will no longer be Valiant Journey but Valiant Static!" Hilary bellowed as she burst through the Writer's room door. She found the room dark and Betty nowhere is sight. She turned and stormed out of the Writer's room and down the hall towards reception.
"Gertie, where is Betty? I'm on in three minutes and I don't have the script yet," Hilary said exasperated. Gertie began to give a well-thought-out reply when the door to WENN opened and Betty walked in.
"Betty," Hilary exclaimed, "where have you been? More importantly, where is my script? I'm on in...now!" Betty looked at Hilary a bit puzzled.
"Hilary," Betty said very calmly, "I left all the scripts with Gertie before I went to lunch." Betty began rummaging through Gertie's desk and quickly produced Hilary's script, all the while giving Gertie an I-know-what-you're-up-to look.
"Here you are, Hilary," Betty said, handing her the script. Hilary stood, staring daggers at a smiling Gertrude Reece. Mackie's voice came over Gertie's small radio announcing Valiant Journey. "Hilary, you'd better get to the studio," Betty said sweetly.
"Gertrude Reece, I'm going to..........ARGH!" Hilary stammered, and then turned and stormed down the hall muttering to herself the whole way.
"I don't envy the cast after that escapade. Gertie, how could you? You know that riles her up," Betty asked, trying to stifle the grin that was forming on her face.
"Well, she didn't ask which script she needed," Gertie stated innocently, and turned to answer the buzzing switchboard. The door to WENN swung open. The mailman came in, dumped the days mail on Gertie's desk, and left as the door was swinging shut. Betty began sorting through it carefully, hoping that there was a letter for her. It had been almost too long to remember since she last heard from Scott, and as the war picked up speed she grew more and more worried. On the bottom of the pile was a worn and tattered envelope addressed to her. With shaking fingers she gently opened up the seal and pulled out the letter inside. It was written on the back of the first letter she wrote him. She quickly sat down and began to read the haunting words.
July 7, 1943
My Darling Betty,
I write this as our ship is being tossed in a violent storm, so please forgive my shaky hand. Words alone cannot convey my feelings when I received your last letter. You made me the happiest man in the whole US Army and gave me a new reason to live. Living is what I'm going to try to do in the next few days above anything else. Betty, as I write this I am getting ready to be sent into battle, a battle that is going to be hard to win. I can't tell you where we are going, but I promise to keep myself safe for you. You are my life, my reason for living, and I fully intend to come home to you and spend each morning waking up to your sweet face. Don't lose faith in me. This letter is an affirmation of our love and a proposal of marriage (although I do promise to do it properly when I return). Keep my heart very close to your for the next few weeks and I will claim it soon.
P.S. Betty Dear, as it so happens, I've picked up something interesting for our resident cook. Tell Hildy...(sorry I've picked up a cough) salami is cut in long yards.
Betty quickly scanned back to the beginning of the letter for its date, July 7. "My God, he could be dead," Betty whispered to herself, and let the letter flutter to her lap. Gertie looked up as she heard Hilary come storming back down the hall.
"Gertrude Reece, you better explain why you let me stand here and waste my time while all the while you had the script right here," Hilary asked with a touch of venom in her voice. Gertie wasn't paying the least bit attention to Hilary. Hilary followed her gaze and found Betty sitting in the reception chairs, staring back at Gertie with tears rolling down her cheeks. Hilary very cautiously walked over to Betty and sat down next to her. She picked up the letter and began to read it out loud.
"Oh, Betty," Hilary whispered when she finished, finding herself at a lose for words. If there was one thing she understood it was not knowing where the man you love is, or if he's alive.
"What does the PS mean Hilary?" Gertie quietly asked. The whole letter made sense except that part. Hilary reread it and reread it, finally she looked up at Gertie.
"I don't know. Why would I care about salami?" Hilary wondered completely puzzled. Mackie's voice broke her train of thought.
"Hilary dear, wouldn't you like to return to the studio and finish Valiant Journey with us?" he asked through clenched teeth. Suddenly Hilary's face lit up.
"That's it, its Jeff and my code!" Hilary said excitedly. She reread the letter one more time. "Danger, S-I-C-I-L-Y. Sicily." Hilary looked at Gertie and Mackie with fear in her eyes and then turned to Betty. "Betty, I'm not sure, but I think he's trying to tell us he was in the Invasion of Sicily," Hilary said, gently placing her hand on Betty's. Betty finally tore her gaze from Gertie and focused on Hilary.
"That was a month ago! He could be......." Betty let the words trail off as she broke down and sobbed. Hilary gathered the small women in her arms.
"Gertie, couldn't we call the local recruitment office and see if there's a way to find out about casualties of a campaign or something along that line?" Hilary asked firmly as Gertie had already picked up the phone and dialed.
"I'm calling Victor in Washington. If anyone can track down this information, he can," Gertie said with a small quiver in her voice. Mackie looked solemnly at the three women and then turned to head back to the studio to finish Valiant Journey with Jeff.
One Week Later
Betty let herself into the station. It was early, almost too early, but she didn't really care. They tried for a week to get a hold of Victor and find out what might have happened to Scott. In the meantime, the staff was doing an excellent job at trying to make Betty feel good, and she wished they would stop. She appreciated their help, but she was even beginning to miss Hilary and Jeff's fights.
She sighed as she slowly trudged down the dark hallway. She didn't bother with the lights. She knew her way all too well. She quietly turned the knob on the Writer's room door and entered, flicking on the light switch. She walked over to the typewriter, sat down, and started to put in a piece of paper, when she finally noticed the bright blooming red rose laying across the machine. She stared at it for a moment in shock, and then started to search for the old dried brittle one that lay next to her typewriter, it was gone. Very carefully, with her trembling hands, she reached out and touched the rose on her typewriter, it was alive and new. She quickly jumped up from her desk and burst out of the Writer's room. She ran into the Green room first, but it was empty. This can't be a dream. He has to be here. She left the Green room, and a little more cautiously entered Studio A. Over in the corner she saw a man in uniform with his back to her gently running his hand over Eugenia's piano.
"Scott," she fearfully whispered, silently praying that the man in front of her was indeed the man she loved. The man slowly turned to face her. She stood and stared at him for a moment so afraid that the minute she touched him the dream would end. The left side of his face was bandaged, but the tears that flowed freely from his eyes told her that it was Scott Sherwood. She quickly ran to him, and he enveloped her in his arms. They stood for minutes, crying and hanging onto each other. She finally pulled away from him.
"Scott..." she began, but he quickly cut her off with a long passionate kiss. When they broke apart, Betty found herself speechless.
"Betty, I wasn't even sure I was alive until just a moment ago," Scott said. She hadn't realized until he spoke how much she had missed him and how long he was gone.
"You're home now, Scott, you're home," she said soothingly. "What happened to your face?" she asked cautiously.
"It'll heal. It's just a gash I got in battle," he answered quickly. "Betty, I don't want to talk about the war, Sicily, or even the Army. Some day I'll tell you what I went through, but now I have more important business to attend to." He gently let go of her and pushed her away from him. "Would you go and get me Mr. Foley's stool?" he asked her. She looked at him, puzzled, but did what he asked, and set it down in front of him. "Now sit down, please." She obliged, but was full of great curiosity. She sat there, looking at him, and decided that she had loved him for much longer than she really knew.
"Betty, I can't do this properly, because the one thing that I got from this war is this bad leg." As he moved closer to her, she finally noticed the cane in his hand and the limp in his step. It made her heart ache as she watched him and her mind realize what war could do.
"Betty." His soft voice brought her back to his face. "I love you more than life itself. I want to share the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?" he asked as he lifted her left hand, and gently slid a sapphire and silver ring on her finger. She jumped up from the stool and kissed him.
"Yes, you silly fool, I'll marry you!" she said, chuckling. Scott smiled down at her and gently wrapped his arms around her, silently vowing never to leave her again.
Gertie slowly turned from the doors to Studio A and headed back down the hallway to her desk. She came in early this morning because she was beginning to get very worried about Betty, but now she knew there was nothing to worry about. She sat down at her desk and slowly pulled the top drawer out. From the back of the drawer she retrieved a very old and worn photo of a doughboy. A silent tear slipped down her cheek as she stared at it.
"Thank you, George," she whispered to the room. She quickly turned the photo over and placed it back into the drawer and shut it. She got up and quietly left the station to get some breakfast. As she stepped into the elevator she remembered the words that were written on that photo, words that were always present in her mind and heart.
My Darling Gertie,
I'll return home soon, I promise. Don't lose heart.
I will love you forever.
George Anderson 1885-1918
Authors - W
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