Evergreen Falls

Read Online Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman - Free Book Online

Book: Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kimberley Freeman
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    “Ah. I see.” He tilted his head a little to the right. “That’s cruel.”
    “Father’s not cruel. He’s sensible. He wants to make sure Samuel is safe.”
    Tony nodded, then he pulled her close against him and bent his lips to her ear. “You will be all right. Don’t you worry.”
    “How do you know that? You don’t know that for sure.”
    He didn’t reply. Instead, he began to croon to her slowly, softly.She loved it when he sang to her. La Boheme or Tosca or any other bel canto tune. She closed her eyes and leaned in to him; his tennis whites smelled like lemon and sunshine.
    “Do you really think everything will work out?” she breathed after a time, when her heart didn’t feel so trapped behind her ribs.
    “I promise you it will.” Then he gently pushed her away from him. “But I can’t stay another day. I’ll take the afternoon train down to Sydney.”
    “You’ll be back?”
    “As soon as I can. A few days. I have business that won’t wait as prettily as you.” He grazed her cheek with the back of his hand. “Gorgeous girl.”
    She couldn’t help but smile. “Sam said he’ll let me take him to a doctor. That’s good, isn’t it?”
    “It sure is, Florrie. Don’t stop hoping.”
    They walked hand in hand back towards the tearoom. Don’t stop hoping. She wouldn’t. Not as far as Sam was concerned. Not ever.

    A grumbling gray sky awaited Violet when she stepped off the train at Evergreen Falls station. She pulled the collar of her wool coat up high and tightened her silk scarf: the rust-colored one with hieroglyphics on it that she had bought the day before. It contrasted beautifully with her structured white dress. Scarves and hats were her weakness. And dresses. And also shoes. She needed to slow down and save her money, especially as the Evergreen Spa had only promised her two months of work. They were closed over the winter, and she would be sent back to Sydney then.
    But still. She had a job after only a week out of work. Bless Clive.
    Where was he?
    He had promised to meet her. She searched the platform but couldn’t see him. She sat on the long painted seat and waited. People arrived, collected loved ones, headed off. Noise and movement. Motorcars and sulkies on the road. Then just Violet, left by herself. A rough wind drove dry leaves skittering up the platform. Cold gray clouds moved in and started to spit.
    Of course she didn’t have a brolly. Planning ahead was not her forte.
    The clock on the station wall told her forty minutes had passed.She couldn’t wait here in the rain forever. Violet pulled her hat down tighter over her ears, grasped her suitcase in one hand and her gramophone in the other, and went to the porter’s office for directions to the hotel.
    It was raining hard by the time she had walked the half mile to the Evergreen Spa, a cream-colored building of arched windows and colonnades, flanked by a row of pine trees. Her clothes were damp and her shoes were squelching and sodden from deep puddles. Her suitcase seemed to weigh a ton, wearing a deep, purplish groove in her hand. But at last the doorman pulled open the tall front door and ushered her in.
    “Thank you,” she said to him, water dripping off her nose. “Do you know where Clive Betts is?”
    The doorman shook his silvery head. “No, ma’am. I don’t know that name. Is he a guest?”
    “No, he’s a carpenter. A handyman. He started work here recently.”
    “Sorry, ma’am. There’s many of us works here. Nearly a hundred. If he’s new, I mightn’t know him.”
    The doors closed behind her and she found herself standing in an ornate foyer, on a gleaming parquetry floor. Dark red wallpaper, flocked with Oriental designs, covered the walls all the way up to the remote ceiling, with its dazzling white plaster and relief pictures. Despite the miserable weather outside, the high windows were designed to catch and reflect light,

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