At the sight of Fiona’s worried face, Georgina feared bad news and burst out, “Please don’t say you can’t take notes today. The later trains are so impossibly overcrowded.”
“It’s not that, Georgina. I’m happy to take notes. It’s just …” Fiona drew a deep breath as if to give herself courage and announced: “It’s that I don’t think you should be doing this.”
“Doing what?” Georgina asked confused. “Skipping class?”
Although clearly uncomfortable with what she was about to say, Fiona continued resolutely: “No. I don’t think you should be spending the weekend with Kit Moran.”
“But he’s staying with my parents. I can’t very well leave him there alone the whole time.” Georgina countered, as she pulled a small, fitted, felt hat over her head. She knew it was not particularly flattering combined with her combed-back hair, and it made her look like a schoolgirl of sixteen or so, but she didn’t care.
“He’s only staying at your parents’ because you invited him,” Fiona pointed out.
“I invite people home all the time,” Georgina answered glibly. “You must remember the Swedish exchange student, and that girl who was preparing for her National Horse Association instructor’s exam.”
“That’s not the same!” Fiona countered, irritated by Georgina’s evasiveness. “Nice girls don’t invite boys home. Not unless they’re serious about them; and for the last eight months you’ve been telling me that you aren’t serious about Kit Moran.”
“I’m not! How could I be? I’m not ready to get emotionally involved with anyone. I’m still raw and wounded inside. It’s because Kit knows how I feel that I’m willing to see him at all. You know I’ve been avoiding men ever since Don was killed, but Kit’s different; he was Don’s best friend. And he knows exactly how devastated I was, if for no other reason than because I’ve written scores of letters to him that laid out my feelings in gruesome detail.”
“Georgina, you’re not listening to me! It’s precisely because you aren’t interested in Kit that inviting him home to your parents is misleading.” Fiona stood her ground. “You are being very unfair to him.”
Defensively, Georgina snapped back, “That’s priceless coming from you! You were the one who ditched him when he needed you most.”
“That’s not true! You know as well as I do that I only went out with him because you were infatuated with Don but afraid to go out with him alone. So, we did all that double-dating in the beginning, and yes, I did become fond of Kit in a way, but I was never in love with him. Never,” Fiona stressed unrepentant. “Ending the relationship was the only honest thing to do. Maybe it hurt him at first, but it was fairer than dragging things out and keeping his hopes for an engagement alive.”
“I’m not blaming you for breaking up with him,” Georgina countered. “Just for the timing of it. Why did you have to announce your rejection of him while he was officially LMF? It was like trampling on someone who was lying wounded at your feet. You could have stood by him as long as he was under a cloud, then, when he was back on his feet again, gently suggested you weren’t suited to one another.”
“You don’t understand men, Georgina. If I’d stood by him then, he would only have become more dependent on me. That would have made it harder to break up later. We were never going to be happy together. The sooner we faced that fact the better.”
“Don’t you see that rejecting him while he was LMF was like saying you agreed with the Station CO? It was like calling him as a coward?”
“Nonsense. I respected him more for refusing to fly than for volunteering for a second tour, much less returning to ops again now. I’ll never understand why men think they have to prove their virility by killing other men.”
“That’s not what this is about!” Georgina replied flabbergasted.
“What is it then? Why should Kit return to operations after having the sense to refuse last November? What has changed?”
“Kit feels he owes it to Don.”
“Owes what to Don?”
“Completing the tour, contributing to the defeat of Hitler, putting an end to this horrible war.”
“You are so naïve, Georgina. If that’s what Kit’s told you, it’s pure malarkey. He’s just trying to make you admire him — which shows he is interested in you, and you shouldn’t be leading him on.”
“I don’t think you know Kit better than I do, and I certainly don’t think you have the right to tell me how to treat him. So, let’s say no more on the subject. Are you going to take notes for me or not?”
“Of course, I’ll take notes,” Fiona responded with a shrug, but her face showed resentment.
“Thank you,” Georgina said in a clipped, frosty tone. “I’ll be going then.” She grabbed her small, wicker suitcase and pushed past her roommate and through the door.
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