Part 6: Secret

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When I was a young girl around eleven or twelve I always dreamed of how magical my first kiss would be. There would be fireworks, and music, and I would be wearing a beautiful gown and he would be wearing a classic suit. Well, here I am in a rowboat during the Civil War wearing an ugly brown nurses outfit that is ready to fall apart at the seams but this kiss is much, much better. His lips were perfect, super soft and slightly plump. They fit perfectly with mine, and no matter how cliche it sounds I swear my heart stopped for a moment.

I’m not quite sure how long we would’ve stayed like that because I heard the loud voice of Isabel calling my name.

"Cathleen! Cathleen, is that you? I need some help- what the heck are you doing Cathleen?" She shouts from the dock of the lake.

"Um, Isabel it’s not what it looks like! I was choking and William..." I began rambling on an unbelievable story from across the lake. She didn’t say anything, but just listened to me try to explain why I was kissing one of my patience.

Eventually I ran out of things to say so I just stared at her. "Well, I guess I’ll go ask Mary for some help then. You two can finish whatever it is you’re doing." She said simply and walked away.

"I’m surprised she didn’t freak out on us." William says simply looking over to me.

"She’s mad, I can tell. But I kept secrets for her, so she has to do the same for me. I have to go talk to her." I quickly stand up forgetting I’m on a tiny boat and fall right into the lake.  "Ah! This water is freezing!"

"Cathleen! Are you okay?" He pulls me back out of the water and wraps his jacket around me, trying to stop me from shivering.

"Yes, I’m fine. We need to get back to camp. This wasn’t a good idea."

The disappointment on his face was very clear as he began rowing back to the dock. "I’m sorry, this is all my fault."

"No, it’s mine. I know the rules, and I shouldn’t have led you on when I knew we couldn’t have a relationship." By now we are at the dock and walking back to camp. The next ten minutes are filled with silence until we get to our tents.

"Cathleen?" William suddenly says looking at me. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure." I answer trying not to look into his blue eyes.

"If you weren’t a nurse and I wasn’t a soldier, would you want to be my girlfriend?"

I think for a moment, even though I know the answer. Should I say no and have him live with rejection? Or do I say yes, and have him know that he can’t have me even though we both want to be together? Either way, he won’t like the answer.

"Yes, I would. But since we can’t, why bother thinking about it? You need to focus on healing, not a relationship that won’t happen. I’m sorry Mr. Reynolds, but I think we should forget about this." I say in my professional nurse voice and walk to my tent.

Luckily, nobody else is in here so I lay down on my cot. I hear someone walk in, so I pretend to be sleeping. "Cathleen, I know you aren’t sleeping. We need to talk about what I saw at the lake." Isabel walks over to my cot.

"You didn’t see anything." I sit up and face her. "We were talking and all of the sudden he kissed me."

"Are you sure?" She asks unconvinced.

Guilt washes over me until I finally burst out. "No, I let him! I know I should’ve said no, I shouldn’t have even let him stay here. He’s not hurt! He was faking because he was scared of going back and then he said he liked me. He took me on that stupid boat ride, and then we kissed."

Isabel looked stunned, "Do you know how much trouble you can get in? Be glad it was me, not Lillian. She would’ve fired you!"

"I know, I know. Please don’t tell her." I beg.

"Of course I’m not gonna tell her." She rolls her eyes. "It was just a one time thing- an accident. It’s not like you liked it or anything." She turns to get ready for bed.

"Yeah." I say quietly.

"Oh my goodness." She looks over while finishing buttoning her nightgown. "You did like it!"

"No I didn’t." I protest.

"You like him, don’t you?" Isabel gives me an accusing smile.

"So what if I did? It’s not like I’m gonna to kiss him again." I answer simply and climb into bed.

"Whatever you say."

"Goodnight Isabel." I say while turning off the lantern.

"Night Cathleen."

William’s POV

I can’t believe she likes me. I also can’t believe I sat behind her tent and listened to her whole private conversation. She’s just faking because she knows she would get into trouble with her boss. If only we could find a way to be together, I would be the happiest man alive...

"Will, what are you doing?" My friend James walks over to me and helps me up off the ground. He has a broken arm, so it was a bit hard to get me up.

"Um, I’m not really sure." I act confused, playing up the whole head injury bit.

"Maybe you should go to sleep. I’ll have a nurse come look at you." He says concerned, leading me to my tent.

"Thanks but, I think I’ll be okay."

"Alright Will." He says, while getting into his bed.

Before I know it, I’m slowly drifting off to sleep, thinking about Cathleen and how I’m going to win her over. This won’t be easy, but I think I have a plan.

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