To Train A Wild Rose

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Epilogue - Letters

It’s my birthday - my eighteenth birthday - and nobody seems to have noticed.

I find myself staring out of my window at the dreary grey day that perfectly matches my dreary grey mood. It is as if all the colour has gone out of my life. The rain has started again, beating down on the overgrown garden and on the rows of dismal houses.

I let out a sigh. I almost resent the fact that my Master has shown me that there could be more to life than this - almost but not quite.

I was sure that he had promised to get in touch when he left me at that private hospital but I was in so much pain that I’m now afraid I might have been mistaken. I have made some efforts to get back in touch with him but the hospital administration could only give me the details of the solicitors who paid the bill. The solicitors would not give me his details, though they did agree to forward a letter.

I return my attention to the book I’m trying to read but just can’t summon the enthusiasm to turn the page. Instead my mind wanders back to where I was just a couple of weeks ago - to who I was with just a couple of weeks ago - to how he made me feel.

I’m shaken from my daydreams by a knock at the front door. I go downstairs, shaking my head sadly at my mother who is sprawled out on our ratty sofa. She’s already incoherently drunk - or possibly still - it’s hard to tell; she doesn’t exactly keep regular hours. It’s only nine o’clock in the morning.

“Good morning mother,” I say with as much grace as I can manage.

She slurs something incoherent back to me by way of reply.

There was a smart young man at the door and my heart surges when I see he is holding a single, perfect, red rose in a simple but elegant glass tube.

“Good morning. Delivery for Miss Rose Symonds,”

“That’s me,” I said with a smile. He handed me the tube and a letter and my heart surged when it confirmed what I already knew. On the front of the envelope was a single word, ‘Babygirl’.

I thank the young man and resist the temptation to tear the envelope open on the spot. Instead I carry both rose and letter up to my room; set the rose on my rickety table, between the a pile of university prospectuses and the small orangutan; and sit down in the approved manner before opening it. That is what my Master would expect me to do.

My dearest Babygirl,” I read.

“I would like to wish you the very happiest of birthdays. I wish you every happiness both for today and for the rest of your life.

“Of course, I need to thank you for the discretion you have evidently shown in answering questions about the last few months. If you had given anything like a complete account of what had happened, I would, beyond doubt, currently be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. I’m sure you channeled your inner ‘Ro’ in responding to the official enquiries.”

He was right, of course. The authorities had asked all sorts of questions about where I had been and what I had been doing but, as I knew they weren’t going to start hanging me from the light fittings by my eyebrows, I had no intention of answering them. And yes, I had channelled my inner Ro but balanced it with all the poise and self control that my Master had taught me. When combined with his killer use of silence the effect could be… significant pause… devastating.

I particularly remember one interview with a young social worker who came to visit me in hospital.

“Where did the money come from, Rose?” She had asked.

“Why have you been going through my personal possessions?”

“We had to find out who you were.” She did a poor job of concealing her smirk.

“Do you often find people writing their names and addresses on bank notes?” I asked innocently.

“Is it stolen. We may have to take it away from you.”

“It you have any…” pause, “evidence that it was stolen, I’m sure you will present it to the court when you attempt to seize it.”

“I ask again. Where did the money come from?”

“I was given it by a friend, together with the book and the orangutan,” I said at last. Another significant pause. “I guess the same person who is paying my hospital bill.”

“The money’s coming from a firm of solicitors and they won’t provide their clients details without a court order,” she snapped. It looks like I hit a sore point.

“Well, that’s the way to go then, isn’t it?” I said gently. “All you have to do is get a court order and everything will be clear.”

She looked flustered and returned to her notes. “You really have to tell us where you were, Rose.”

That only called for a momentary pause. “Why?”

“People were worried about you.”

I gave her a look and tried to copy my Master’s eyebrow twitch. “Who?”

She consulted her notes. “Your mother.”

“The mother who still hasn’t seen fit to…” pause, “visit me here yet?”

She looked back at her notes, clearly becoming flustered and could find nothing there to help her.

“You put the authorities to a great deal of inconvenience,” she said at last.

Another pause, another eyebrow twitch. “Perhaps those...” pause... “authorities should have paid a little more attention when I was growing up with an alcoholic mother,” I suggested mildly. “Maybe much of that…” pause... “inconvenience could have been avoided.”

That was too much for her. She was trained to deal with people who were rude and abusive. She just couldn’t cope with me being polite and thoughtful! She went off in a huff of self importance.

Eventually they gave up asking.

“I hope you understand why I have chosen not to contact you until now,” the letter went on. “You are now an independent woman and I wanted to give you the space to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life - one of those silences that, I know, you have come to appreciate as much as I.

“Should you wish to include me in that life, there will be a car waiting for you at noon today. Please join me for lunch. The car will, of course, be available to take you home at any time you choose.

“I will, however, completely understand if you never want to see me again. I enclose a note from my lawyers with information about a small trust fund that I have set up in your name…”

I looked briefly at the second sheet, then looked again. That ‘small’ trust fund would pay for this shabby little house several times over.

“I have done this because I love you and because I don’t want you to feel forced to come back to me for financial reasons. If that is your choice, then you go on your way with my blessing and my unfailing love. Go to university, Rose, and learn more about those beautiful patterns that mathematics can make.”

I glance at the pile of prospectuses and smile. My Master still knows me better than I know myself.

“My love forever,

“M”

I don’t have to think. I had made my decision within days of leaving hospital.

I take a page from the memo pad that I’ve been using to take notes on the books I have been reading.

“Dear Mother,” I write.

“I’m writing to let you know that I am leaving home and will not be returning. I would, of course, have spoken to you in person but you are already too drunk to hold a coherent conversation.

“I have met somebody. I love him and he loves me. He makes me happy and he makes me a better person.

“While it is not my place to tell you what to do with your life, you need to get help for your drinking problem. We will provide the money to pay for that help, when you are prepared to accept it.

“But until that time, I cannot allow you to be part of my life. It is too painful for me to watch you slowly killing yourself.

“Your ever loving daughter,

“Rose

At five to twelve, a black limousine pulls up outside the house. I slip on the beautiful leather jacket, put my book into an inside pocket and collect my rose and my orangutan from the table. I’ve already looked around the room - scrupulously tidy for the first time in the eighteen years I’ve lived here - and decided there is nothing else that I want to take with me.

But just as I was stepping through the door, I changed my mind and grabbed my skateboard. Maybe there is one thing I can do better than that infuriatingly arrogant man.

And, if not, I can always scratch his car again.


I hope you enjoyed my book. The tale is continued in the sequel ‘A Wild Rose Unleashed’ and, to better understand Rose’s Master, you may wish to read the prequel, ‘To Turn a Car Around’.


Then I can offer you my take on a Mafia romance with ‘A Kitten Called Cat’ or a crossover Office Romance / Post-Apocalyptic work, ‘Beyond The Wave’. (It’s clearly a genre the world has been crying out for!)


They are all available from my home page.


Please let me know what you think. Likes and reviews are always welcome!


- GN -


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