Emma

Emma by Rosie Clarke

Book: Emma by Rosie Clarke Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rosie Clarke
for one of her special cures. But supposing Paul came back after I’d done it? How could I tell him I had killed his child?
    I didn’t want to kill my baby. I wanted to marry Paul and have the child as his wife.
    If he knew I was pregnant he would marry me. Of course he would. He loved me. Hadn’t he told me so? I was sure he would marry me if he knew.
    ‘Where are you, Paul?’ I whispered into the darkness as I turned out my light and crawled into bed. ‘Why don’t you come? Please come. I need you.’
    Why hadn’t he tried to contact me? If he was too busy he could surely have written. Was he ill?
    I wished now that I’d found the courage to ask his cousin if he was ill. He had looked quite nice. Not handsome like Paul, of course, but nice. I had been silly to let the opportunity slip.
    I had to do something. I couldn’t just let things drift. I had to see Paul, talk to him. He was sure to do what was right when he knew … and if he didn’t? A shudder went through me. I couldn’t bear to think about that, not yet.
    Paul loved me. He would marry me. Of course he would!
    I came to a decision. If he wasn’t waiting for me in church the next morning, I would catch a train and go to his house the following Wednesday afternoon.
    The next few days were the longest of my life. I had been sure Paul would be in church that Sunday, but he wasn’t. He didn’t come to the shop that week either.
    Had he deliberately deserted me? Perhaps he’d had an accident. I convinced myself it was the latter. Paul wouldn’t break his promise without a good reason – would he? He had gone to so much trouble to get me to go out with him. Surely he must have cared for me a little!
    Did he think I was cheap because I’d let him make love to me? My father spoke of girls who were easy with contempt, dismissing them as trash. Did Paul think I was easy?
    All I felt like doing was weeping, but I couldn’t, not during the day. I was terrified that my father would suspect something, but he seemed preoccupied with his own concerns. I’d noticed him grimacing a few times, as though in pain.
    Mother had guessed there was something wrong, though. I had seen the worried expression in her eyes. Sometimes I thought telling her would be even worse than telling Father. He would be angry, but Mother would be upset.
    Oh, why had I been such a fool?
    On Wednesday morning I was up early. I had all my jobs done before I went upstairs to change into my green costume.
    ‘Wearing your best costume to visit Gran?’ Mother gave me a long, hard look as I came out of the bedroom.
    ‘Yes. She asked to see it.’ My cheeks felt warm as I avoided her eyes. ‘I might go for a walk afterwards. Don’t worry if I’m a little late back.’
    ‘Emma – is there something I should know? You would tell me, wouldn’t you?’
    ‘I’m going to see Paul. I’m going to find out if it’s over.’
    ‘Emma …’ She looked at me sadly. ‘Don’t run after him, love. Don’t lower yourself that way.’
    ‘I have to.’ My voice almost broke. ‘I have to, Mum. I love him.’
    I ran down the stairs and went out the back way. Mother called for me to come back but I ignored the request. I had to see Paul again, even if it was for the last time.
    I just had to!
    I took a taxi from Cambridge station out to Paul’s house. It was extravagant and cost most of the money in my purse, but I was too restless to wait for a bus and I thought it might be a long way to walk.
    It would have taken ages. I hadn’t realized it was as far out of town as this – at least five or six miles. Looking ruefully at the few pennies left in my hand, I knew I would have to walk back to the station. I hadn’t enough money left for a bus, let alone a taxi. But perhaps Paul would take me – or at least provide the money for my fare.
    What would he say when I turned up uninvited at his house? Perhaps I ought to have written first, just to say I was coming. I had attempted it once or twice but

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