This week’s #teasertuesday is from On Wings of Song. The tags are deliberate.
Hawthorne poured himself a mug of tea and sipped it slowly. He stretched out his legs. “I’d be happy with a hot bath. I keep telling myself I should be more disturbed than I am with the realisation that I can no longer smell the stench I could when I arrived.”
“That’s probably because you’re now a part of it,” Stephen said with a straight face.
“Thank you for that revelation.” Hawthorne poured another mug of tea and handed it to Stephen. Their fingers brushed briefly, and Aiden could have sworn their touch lingered. “Here, it should be muddy enough for you now.”
No, it was definitely his imagination. He’d been thinking of Jochen, and that moment between them kept replaying in his mind.
He wished they’d had more time to become friends. Watching Stephen and Hawthorne interacting brought it home. Although Aiden thought of Stephen as a good friend, it wasn’t the same as what he’d felt for Jochen. If he could only work out what it was he had felt that day.
“Thanks, Simon.” Stephen sipped his tea. “Are you nervous about tomorrow’s offensive, Aiden? I’m bloody terrified.”
“Bloody terrified about describes it.” Aiden helped himself to tea. Like Stephen, he preferred his to steep awhile before drinking it. “I still have nightmares about Loos and that gas.” He’d wake up sometimes gasping for breath, sure he’d been caught in another attack. The attack itself wasn’t what drove his dreams, but the stories he’d heard about what it could do to a fellow, the damage it could do to lungs and vocal cords. Although he hadn’t sung for months, he still clung to his music like a life raft. Without it, he was nothing.
Stephen shuddered. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. I’m never going to get used to any of this. I see some of the other chaps, and I wonder how they harden themselves to all this death.”
“I doubt they actually do,” Hawthorne said. “Just because a man doesn’t show how he’s feeling doesn’t mean he’s not feeling it.” His long fingers curled around his mug. “Stiff upper lip and all that.”
You can read more of this story here.