Anna's Return

Anna's Return by Sally Quilford Read Free Book Online

Book: Anna's Return by Sally Quilford Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sally Quilford
    “Yes, yes, we will do that some other time,” said Miss
Bazarova. “For now I need to take this girl to Madam Voronina so she can stop
worrying. The doctor is already concerned about her blood pressure. Oh do not
look so worried, Miss Templeton. Your commission will be sent immediately. I
will take care of it myself.”
    Realising that she had no arguments left, Miss Templeton
nodded. Anna, Florentyna and Miss Bazarova left the agency together. “We will
get a taxi back to the embassy,” said Miss Bazarova.
    “The Russian embassy?” asked Anna.
    “Yes, Madame Voronina is the wife of a diplomat.”
    “Does that mean we will be going to Russia?”
    “Not if my employer can help it,” said Miss Bazarova,
    “Florentyna,” said Anna, turning to her friend. “Thank you
so much for your help.”
    “You’re very welcome, Anna. As you English say, you fell on
your two feet there.”
    “Yes, I did rather,” said Anna, with a smile.
    “Do you have clothes or belongings?” asked Miss Bazarova,
frowning, as if she had only just realised that Anna carried nothing with her.
    “No. There was no time,” Anna said vaguely, hoping that Miss
Bazarova would not press her for details.
    “Never mind, we can find you something. You’re about my
size. Come, we must go.”
    Florentyna crossed the road, waving, as the door to the
future Carmichael’s hotel opened.
    Janek had opened the door to be free of some of the dust. He
saw the young girl crossing the street, and looked beyond her to see two young
women standing on the opposite side of the road, watching her. He was about to
go back inside when he realised exactly who one of the young women was. She had
grown since he last saw her but it was unmistakably Anna.
    “Anna?” he said, going out onto the street.
    The girl faltered slightly then said, “Janek? Is that really
    They met in the middle of the street, two strangers who had
once been friends through adversity.
    The young woman standing on the other side of the road tapped
her feet, as if she were in too much of a hurry to witness friends reuniting.
    “It really is me,” said Janek. “How strange, I was only just
thinking about you and wondering how you’re getting on.”
    “She’s getting on very well,” said the other, older woman.
“Or she will be if she hurries.”
    “I’ve just got a job as an au pair to a Russian diplomat,”
said Anna.
    “Well, that’s wonderful,” said Janek. “I’m glad to see
you’re doing so well.”
    “Yes … yes, I am. And you? Are you well?”
    “I’m busy trying to clean this place up ready for opening, which
is why I’m so dusty, but yes, I’m very well.” He could not help noticing what a
pretty young woman Anna had become. He would have liked the chance to talk to
her more, but her companion was once again tapping her feet. “Well, don’t let
me keep you.”
    “It was good to see you, Janek,” Anna said, awkwardly,
following the other woman towards the corner of the road. “I’m glad you’re
    “Excuse me,” said the young woman who had been crossing the
road when Janek first saw Anna. “My name is Florentyna. I’ve come about the
chambermaids’ post. Can I speak to the boss?”
    Janek barely heard her. He was too busy watching as Anna got
into a taxi. “What? Oh yes. You’re already speaking to the boss. Come on in.”
    At least he knew Anna was well. It helped to salve his
conscience a little. He could get on with what he wanted to do now, without
worrying about her anymore. And if he noticed that she looked very pale and
frightened, just as she had appeared when he first met her, then he put it down
to the nervousness of starting her new post. The woman with her had looked very
frightening indeed.
    “Come on, Florentyna,” he repeated. “Can you start straight
    “You hardly know me, sir. Don’t you want to interview me?”
    “You’re a friend of Anna’s, aren’t you? I saw her

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