Four Seasons of Romance

Four Seasons of Romance by Rachel Remington Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Four Seasons of Romance by Rachel Remington Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rachel Remington
    “You sure you want me to have it?” he asked.
    She smiled. “You’re special to me.” She nudged him. “C’mon,
open it.”
    Leo popped open the locket so it was two perfect
half-hearts; inside were two photographs, the first a current photograph of
Catherine, the senior portrait her parents had insisted she take. She wore a
demure black dress with a string of pearls around her creamy white neck, her
skin pale and smooth, eyes full of fire, her lips curving into the faintest of
    Leo kissed her on the cheek. “You’ve never looked lovelier,”
he whispered.
    The other picture was a portrait of Catherine from fourth
grade, the year they’d met. By now, she knew that Leo had been in love with her
since that first meeting.
    “This way, you can preserve me the way you first knew me,”
she said, “and the way you know me now.”
    He closed the locket and held it tightly in his fist. “I’ll
always keep it with me,” he said. “I swear to you. Whatever happens, this
locket will never leave my side.”
    She caressed his cheek and cupped his chin in her hand. “I
wish I were the one going with you, not the locket,” she said. He held her
while she cried.
    Leo left for basic training in early April of 1944, buoyed
on a stream of heartfelt promises after the two lovers swore they would be
together again, that they would write to each other, daily. And they swore
that, when Leo returned from war, they would be married, their promises far
beyond the objections of Catherine’s parents now.
    Meanwhile, Catherine would go to school to learn a trade so
she could find employment, and when Leo returned, he would open his own sculpture
studio. He left his beloved Coupe behind, a car that held so many memories for
    In the weeks after Leo’s departure, they kept their promise
and wrote each other daily. However tired he was after a day of military
drills, Leo found the energy to pen a few lines to his beloved, sharing his
thoughts, fears, and the dream of coming back to her one day. Catherine kept
him going, day after day, and gave him the strength to face whatever was to
    But once Leo was shipped across the ocean, his letters became
less frequent. Sometimes, it was a shortage of materials—he couldn’t get paper
or ink. Other times, he had no access to a post office for days. And often, the
strains and horrors of the war were taking their toll.
    Slowly, as Leo’s letters became less frequent, Catherine’s
father began to use the situation for his aims, watching for Leo’s letters in
the mail. They were easy to spot—the angular block print, the foreign stamps,
the battered shape of the envelopes that had been to hell and back.
    At first, Josiah was selective about which letters he
destroyed, opening every other letter, reading it, and then throwing it away
before Catherine ever had a chance to see it. He destroyed half of Leo’s
correspondence, then starting to burn every two out of three and eventually,
stopping the flow altogether.
    The judge knew the postman and made a deal with him. It
didn’t take much conniving—no one in Woodsville wanted to cross the judge;
Josiah stopped the flow of Catherine’s outgoing letters the same way. Catherine
didn’t know that, when she left the letters in the Woods mailbox or dropped
them off downtown, the postman saw that the letters never made it out of the
post office.
    As the letters dried up on both sides of the ocean, the
lovers sank into despair. Each thought the other was writing less and less. Leo
feared Catherine had met someone else and forgotten him. After weeks and weeks
with no news, Catherine feared the worst.
    In late May 1944, Josiah Woods stopped their communication
altogether, but Leo continued to send letters, hoping to get a response.
Catherine’s father continued to read each letter before destroying it. Then,
one day, he read in one letter that Leo would be part of a secret mission in
France. The letter arrived on

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