This takes place about 18 months after Ilona's fiance was killed during the Battle of Britain. She has since become reacquainted with Francis. They have been home for Christmas and are now returning back to their respective stations.
“Ilke.” Francis’ whisper intruded on her peaceful, dreamless darkness. He shook her shoulder gently. “Ilke, wake up…your stop is coming up.”
She opened her eyes and felt the coarseness of wool beneath her cheek. It smelt of rain and aviation fuel. For a moment, she had trouble remembering where she was. Only the sound of rain against the windows and the cold grey light brought her back to reality. She sat up, blinking as the train began to slow. “Already?” she smothered a yawn. “That didn’t seem to last long.”
Francis retrieved her bag from the luggage rack. “You’ve been asleep for a good hour,” he told her. “I guess you must have needed it.”
“I suppose so.”
“Come on, I’ll take your bag for you then you’re on your own, I’m afraid.”
She managed a smile as she followed him along the narrow corridor to the nearest door. The train was easing to a stop and the wind was blowing through the open window full of rain and cold and winter. He opened the door and stepped down onto the platform and she followed, shivering as the full blast of winter hit her. Doors were slamming open and closed along the length of the train as it idled in the station. “That’s Christmas over and done with,” she sighed. "Thank you for your company, Francis. I really enjoyed it”. She kissed his cheek and stepped back.
“The pleasure was all mine.” he lifted her chin and kissed her, swiftly. “Goodbye, Ilke, look after yourself.” His eyes were dark and unreadable.
“And you,” she replied. “Be careful, please.”
He grinned, then, “I will, as long as your bomber boys behave themselves.” He stepped back onto the train, closed the door and leaned out of the open window as it began to move, “Safe journey.”
“Thanks.” She waved until the train was out of sight, swallowed by the dark bulk of another train. With a sigh, she picked up her bag and walked slowly along the platform, oblivious to the rain as her hand strayed to her lips. She did her best to dismiss the gesture but his lips had been warm and firm and she admitted to herself that she enjoyed it.