AMIENS

A James and Mary Allen Short Story

By Roselle Zubey

James Allen was very surprised that he was caught up with all his work. It was his day off so he didn't have to worry about going out on patrol until tomorrow. He decided that he would go to see Robin Milne at the Abbaye de Ste. Marie. James had never forgotten the terrible crash that had left Milne so badly injured so it was about time that he went to see him. There was another bonus in going to Ste. Marie. Mary was stationed there. He regretted not going to see her since she was close by. It was just that his duties allowed for little time off.

"Baker," James called out to the flight office sergeant.

The door opened and Thomas Baker entered at a fast pace.

"Yes sir?" Baker asked.

"Find McElroy for me," James said.

"He's right here in the mess, sir," Baker said.

"Good," James said. "Send him in, please."

Baker closed the flight office door. Very quickly after that, there was a knock on the door.

"Come in," James said.

"You wanted to see me, sir?" asked as he stuck his head in the door.

"Yes, I did, McElroy," James said. "Please come in."

McElroy came into the flight office and closed the door.

"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked.

"I want to visit Robin Milne and see my wife at the Abbaye de Ste. Marie field hospital," James said. "You're C Flight's most experienced and senior pilot after me so you will be the acting flight commander while I'm gone. I'll be back early tonight since it is technically my day off."

"Understood, sir," McElroy said. "Have a good day."

McElroy saluted James and went out. Then James got ready to go.

Mary was catching up on work of her own. She was Chief Surgeon of the field hospital at the Abbaye de Ste. Marie. Her responsibilities were great so she took them very seriously. It was true that she had funded the hospital out of her own money. But she was still surprised when Dr. Elizabeth Henderson, the Chief Medical Officer, had asked her to be the Chief Surgeon because she had so little experience operating on men. But everyone said she had brilliantly risen to the occasion. If the truth were told, Mary was glad of the extra work because it distracted her from thinking too much of how she missed her husband, James. Even though he was close by she didn't get to see him because his duties didn't allow him time off to see her.

What Mary didn't know was that James had just arrived at the Abbaye de Ste. Marie. He felt very unsure of himself because ever since his only sister, Sara, had died he hated hospitals. That was ironic because Mary was a doctor. He wondered if Mary was there. James hoped so. He tried not to dwell on it too much because he had to concentrate on his flying to simply stay alive. But the truth was that he missed Mary very much. James knew that he had to think of Robin Milne, too. Just as he entered the lobby of the field hospital James saw Mary walk up and talk to one of the nurses. When the nurse walked away James walked over to her.

"Hello, Mary," he finally said.

Mary's face lit up with a beautiful smile when she turned and saw her husband standing in front of her.

"Oh my gosh, James," Mary said. "It's good to finally see you. What are you doing here?

"One of my pilots is a patient here," James said.

"I'll take you to where he is," Mary said. "I hope there will time for us to talk too."

"Of course, there will be," James said. "There will be time for talking and much more."

"What's your pilot's name?" Mary asked.

"Lieutenant Robin Milne," James said.

"He's one of my patients, as it turns out," Mary said. "I can take you right to him.

As James and Mary were walking the halls together, James reached out for Mary's hand. When she noticed what James was doing Mary took a hold of his hand and held it like she didn't want to let it go.

When they reached Mary's ward, she led James right to Milne's bed.

"Hello Robin," James said.

Milne tried to sit up straighter in bed, but couldn't because of his injuries. James gave him a gentle squeeze on his shoulder. Milne instantly relaxed.

"It's good to see you, sir," Milne said. "Thank you for coming to see me."

"I'm glad to," James said.

"I'll leave you two to talk,' Mary said. James kissed Mary on the cheek before she walked away.

"So, you know Dr. Allen, sir?" Milne asked.

"You could say that, Milne," James said. "Mary is my wife."

Milne just nodded. James watched the younger man closely. He was concerned. He had been with the squadron since the beginning of the war and was one of its leading aces. James was saddened that Milne had suffered an injury that would leave him paralyzed for life. James knew that Milne was lucky to be alive. But he wondered what kind of life it would be.

"I'm going back to Blighty tomorrow, sir," Milne said. "Despite everything, I'm actually looking forward to it."

"I would like to keep in touch with you," James said. "I would like to help you in any way I can, financially, a place to live, whatever.

"Thank you, sir," Milne said. "My mother is a widow so it will be hard on her financially to have me back home in this helpless condition.

James took a piece of paper from the tablet that was on Milne's stand. He wrote an address on it and handed it back to Milne.

"This is my lawyer's address in London," James said. "Until I get home, he is handling my affairs for me. I will let him know about you so you must not hesitate."

"This really means a lot to me, sir," Milne said. "You know that I'm worried about taking care of my mother while being stuck in a wheelchair."

"Yes, I know," James said.

As he spoke James was overcome with the feeling that he was doing the right thing for this young pilot. He was startled when one of the nurses put her hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry, sir," she said. "But visiting hours are over for the morning."

James reached out to shake the young pilot's hand.

"God Bless You, Milne," he said. "Take good care of yourself and please keep in touch."

"Thank you, sir, I will," Milne said

.

Just as James turned around to look for her, Mary came into the ward to find him.

"I'm off duty now," she said to James. "I'll see you in the morning to say goodbye, Milne. If you need anything the nurses are right nearby."

"I understand ma'am," Milne said

Then Mary and James walked out together. As he watched them go, Milne couldn't help but smile.

"Why don't we go and sit in the garden while we decide what to do?" Mary asked. "It's a very peaceful and calming environment."

"Is my feeling tired and devastated that obvious?" James asked.

"It is to me," Mary said. "That's because I'm your wife who loves you very much. I'm also a doctor."

"I would like us to get a room if we can," James said. "That way we can have more privacy."

Mary knew without him saying it what James wanted to do. To be honest, so did she.

When they got to the room, James and Mary undressed one another and laid out on the bed. Their lovemaking was beautiful and passionate for both of them. When they were finished James and Mary were both in tears because what had happened meant so much to them.

"I don't know what to say," James said. "I love you very much. Having you in my life, Mary makes it so much more precious to me."

"But I know the odds are against you," Mary said. "I have never forgotten the fact that your life expectancy is three or four weeks. It haunts me, James, especially when badly burned or shot up pilots come into Ste. Marie for treatment. I always wonder if the next badly injured pilot will be you."

"There is that chance, darling," James said. "I have to be honest about that so I don't know what I can do to help you.

Mary cuddled closer to James so he wouldn't see her tears. But James knew that she was crying all the same. Then Mary moved aside and looked at James.

"I hope and pray that I get pregnant," she said to James. "It would help me if I had your baby. If anything would happen to you a part of you would still be with me."

James held Mary close again when he started to cry himself. Damn this war, he thought. Before they knew it, James and Mary were making love again.

Later, James was hungry. But he was reluctant to move because Mary was sleeping comfortably in his arms. He said a quick prayer that he would survive the war so his life with Mary would continue and grow. If he and Mary had babies, he wanted to be a part of their lives. At that moment Mary began to stir.

"I'm sorry I fell asleep," she said. "I must have been more tired than I thought."

"It's all right," James said. "Now that you're awake I was wondering what you want to do for supper."

"The hotel has a lovely dining room," Mary said. "Could we eat there? It will save us time."

"We can," James said. "Maybe we can find someplace to go dancing. I don't want this day to end."

"Neither do I," Mary said. "But at some point, it will have to."

When Mary and James made their way into the dining room people that were there looked in their direction and saw the dashing aviator and his beautiful wife. Many of them couldn't help but smile. James and Mary sat at the nearest table for two. Once they got their food, they ate it in silence just taking in each other's presence

When supper was done, Mary and James realized that their time together had come to an end. They walked outside to find James's car

"I'll take you back to Ste. Marie," James said. "I don't want you to walk home alone."

"Thank you," Mary said.

Then James and Mary couldn't think of anything to do but to kiss each other. They did so with great feeling and passion. When they broke the kiss, Mary stepped back from James.

"Do you ever take joyrides?" Mary asked James as he opened the car door for her.

"Sometimes I do when my duties permit," James said. "Why?

"I would like to go up with you sometime," Mary said as she got in the car and made herself comfortable. "As much as I'm scared for you, I've been fascinated with you being a pilot."

"We can arrange it," James said. "I'd love to share flying with you. I'm sharing my life with you and flying is a big part of it."

"That's good," Mary said.

By that time Mary and James made it back to Ste. Marie. It was just on time, too, for ambulances were coming and going at a great rate.

"I love you very much," Mary said to James. "Please be careful."

"I promise I will be," James said. "I love you very much, too.

James and Mary gave each other a quick and passionate kiss. Then Mary paused for a moment to look at James to imprint his face on her memory in case something should happen. Then Mary jumped out of the car and ran off to help her colleagues. James watched Mary for a moment. Then, suddenly, he drove off.