I spent the rest of the week alternating between crying and doing chores. I don't know why I missed my brother so much, most of the time he got in the way and annoyed me but without him the house felt empty. Mother hadn't left her room since Sebastian left, which left me to do everything. I had to stay strong.
It didn't stop me from hoping everytime I heard the sound of hoof-beats coming into the village. I ran out to see who it was, but everytime it wasn't him. I had given up hope when there was a knock on the door. I ran to answer it, foolishly thinking it was Sebastian and the war was over. Instead there was another man standing at the door.
'Are you Alexandra Ford? Sebastian's sister?'
'Who wants to know?' I wasn't going to trust this man simply because he knew my name, although my heart did leap when he said Sebastian's name.
'I'm Jon Hanway. I work for your brother and he asked me to bring this letter to you.' He held out an envelope which I snatched from his hand, hurriedly opening it. I laughed for joy when I saw Sebastian's handwriting, hugging Jon as I invited him in.
I sat down and read Sebastian's letter hungrily, saving every word.
My dearest sister,
I am sure you have been waiting every day for this letter and I also know you will have been worrying yourself silly about me, which you shouldn't. I'm alright. In fact I'm better than alright. I have been put in charge of communicating with the enemy. The other part of my job is something I shouldn't tell you about but if you swear not to tell anyone about it, which I know you will, then I can tell you about it.
I am in charge of the network of spies that send us information about what's going on behind enemy lines. It's very exciting and also incredably dangerous. You can talk to Jon about it, he's my recruiter and you may see a lot of him in the months to come as he is also a messenger.
I can't write more now as I have a lot of work to do but send my love to Mother and be reassured that I am safe and well.
All my love
I folded the letter back up and tucked it into the waistband of my skirt. Jon had made himself at home and was busy making a cup of tea.
'Oh don't do that.' I ran over and took the kettle off the stove before he could get there. 'I should be doing that. I'm such a bad hostess, and you must have travelled for miles. Sit down, I'll get you some tea.' Jon took a seat at the table and I got down two chipped and battered mugs down and filled them with tea leaves and boiling water. 'Here you go, this should warm you up.'
'Thank you.' He gently sipped his tea and I watched him intently, studying his every feature. 'What?'
'Nothing. So you work with my brother.'
'It's OK he's told me about the spies.' Jon let out a sigh of relief.
'I'm glad he told you, this could have been a very awkward visit if he hadn't.' He laughed slightly before sipping his tea again.
'So who are you recruiting as spies? Are there any places going?' Jon looked taken aback by my bluntness.
'I'm not sure Sebastian would be happy if I recruited you as a spy. It's dangerous work.'
'But I need a bit of danger. I can't spend the rest of my life here when men get the chance to fight for their country. Besides, the enemy would never suspect a woman of being a spy. What do you say?'