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56261044 Anne Mather White Rose of Winter

56261044 Anne Mather White Rose of Winter

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Published by: Sivakumar Karunakaran on Jul 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/19/2013

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ANNE MATHERWHITE ROSE OF WINTERC H A P T E R O N ELONDON AIRPORT seemed drab and miserable after the colour andvitality of Kuala Lumpur, its illuminated buildings sheltering in a mist offine rain. There were no exoti-cally patterne d
cheongsams
here, not eventhe tantalizing glimpse of a
songbok
among the throng of people bustlingtowards waiting relatives and friends. It was as cold and alien as Malaysiahad seemed six years before, thought Julie unhappily, hunching her slimshoulders beneath the soft sable coat which she had bought onBarbara's advice for the homeward journey.And yet London no longer looked like home. Home was a single-storieddwelling on the shores of the South China Sea, and although when shehad first seen it she had thought she was going to hate living there, hateeverything about her new life, in fact, time and affection had served tomake it the reality and her life in London merely the hopefully forgottenpast.But now she was back in England again, and somehow she had to acceptthat the bungalow outside of Rhatoon was no longer the refuge it hadbecome. It was up to her to adapt to her changed circumstances quicklyso that Emma should not find it all too painful.An attractive stewardess was urging her passengers forward towardsthe Customs and clearance buildings, smiling as she bade some of themfarewell, saving a particularly warm expression for the small girl holdingJulie's hand.
 
'Good-bye, Emma,' she said, bending down to take her hand. 'And thankyou for your assistance during the flight. I don't know how we shouldhave managed without you.'Emma glanced mischievously up at Julie, her grey eyes dancing. Thenshe looked back at the stewardess. 'Did I really help? Mummy said I wasprobably more nuisance than I was worth.'The stewardess's smile widened. 'On the contrary. Who else would havehanded out all those magazines, if you hadn't been around?'Julie's lips turned up at the corners. 'It was kind of you to let her help,'she said. 'It made the journey so much less arduous for her.'The stewardess made a deprecatory gesture. 'That's all right, Mrs.Pemberton. We enjoyed her company.''Well, thank you again.' Julie bit her lip. 'Say good-bye now, darling. Weshan't be seeing Miss Forrest again.''G'bye, Miss Forrest,' responded Emma politely, and Julie smiled beforewalking on.The stewardess had been kind, but then most people were kind toEmma. She was one of those children that attracted attention wherevershe went. It wasn't that she was a particularly rosy-cheeked individual;on the contrary, her skin was pale and did not respond to sunlight, andher hair was black and completely straight, yet for all that she possessedthat certain something that singled her out from the ordinary. In thebeginning, this knowledge had caused Julie no little anxiety, but as timewent by she realized it was simply a family resemblance and notsomething that belonged ex-clusively to Emma's father.Their luggage was being cleared, their passports checked; everyone wasso friendly and polite to the attractive young woman who was travellingwith only her five-year-old daughter as companion. But beyond the glasspartitioning a throng of people were waiting impatiently and Julie
 
hugged her coat closer about her suddenly, feeling cold andapprehensive. She avoided looking in that direction. Somehow shewanted to delay the moment when she must take up contact again withMichael's family, and only when Emma tugged her hand and demandedexcitedly: "Where's Grandma? Can you see her, Mummy?' did she cast acur-sory glance towards the reception lounge.'Not yet, darling,' she murmured faintly, glancing round to ascertain thattheir cases were all together. Most of their heavier luggage had gone bysea, in trunks, but they had a couple of cases with them containingnecessary changes of clothing.'But you did say that Grandma was coming to meet us, didn't you,Mummy?' Emma asked persistently. 'I 'spect she's waiting with thoseother people, don't you?''I expect so, darling.' Julie heaved a deep breath. 'Come along. We'll goand see.'Disdaining the use of a porter, Julie picked up a case in each hand anddirecting Emma to carry her airline bag they emerged into the receptionarea. Lucy Pemberton, Michael's mother, had said she would meet themat the airport, but she was notoriously unreliable and Julie was notsurprised to find no sign of her. She sighed. Were she not feeling sohollow already. Lucy's non-appearance to meet the daughter-in-law shehad not seen for almost six years might have aroused a distinctlyunpleasant ache in the region of her heart, but the events of the pastthree months had been so traumatic anyway, she felt almost empty ofemotion.Only Emma's small face drooped with disappointment.'She's not here!' she announced indignantly. 'Oh, Mummy, why? Whyisn't she here like she said she would be?'Julie bent to the child, putting down the cases with a sigh.

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