Chapter: Shattered Dream
Author: Guardian of Hope
Summary: In an instant, Susan Pevensie's life is shattered. She must pull herself and her life together and continue on.
The church near her parents’ home was nearly identical to many featured in pictures, with its white walls, and cross on the steeple and stained glass windows. Susan hesitated as she looked up at it, wondering if she could have the courage to enter. “The church and grounds are barred to no one,” a voice announced. Susan jumped spinning to find a man in priestly clothing approaching from around the side of the church, “I apologize for startling you, I am Father Ryan.”
“Susan Pevensie,” Susan replied, she smiled, “and I was already nervous about coming here.”
“Ah, now I do know you,” Father Ryan said softly. “I think the whole county knows you now.”
“Yes,” Susan said, remembering the funeral this man had presided over.
“It must comfort you to know they are in heaven,” Father Ryan said, “and are, no doubt, waiting for you.”
Susan shrugged, “I have not the faith they did,” she temporized, remembering the long ago days when they had spoke of Aslan’s Country. “But I thank you for the sentiment.”
“That is a sad thing,” Father Ryan replied, “is there anything I can do to help?”
Susan hesitated, and then smiled, “I was interested in seeing the church,” she said. “I’ve wanted to find my faith again. The churches in London that are near my home are large and seem impersonal, or heavy with history. I know my parents liked this church, so I thought I would come here.”
Father Ryan smiled, “You are welcome here, Ms. Pevensie; as are all who come seeking the Lord. Will you stay for the Sunday service?”
“I would like to,” Susan replied with her own smile.
“Then welcome to St Francis,” Father Ryan replied. “Welcome home.”
That winter, Susan found out just how right Father Ryan was. Although she still worked in London, she came to the Lake District every other weekend to spend time with the church and to get to know her neighbors. Carefully, through long talks with both the church elders and Father Ryan, Susan began to put together a new life. It wasn’t easy, and there were times when Susan longed to just go out with her friends like she once had, but she was working for something better, a new future.
As spring came, Susan began to look seriously into moving into her parents’ home, she was tired of London, and tired of feeling sick at heart every time she had to leave the Lakes. Not that there were many jobs, but she believed that the chance would be worth it.
Then, as the first full moon of summer approached, and Susan began to make plans to spend a week at the lake house, Father Ryan approached her after Sunday service, “Susan,” he said.
“Yes?” Susan asked as she turned and smiled at her friend.
“There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” Father Ryan said, gesturing slightly. “I told you that I had served with an army surgical unit correct.”
“I remember,” Susan said.
“This is one of the doctors from that unit, Phillip Benbow; he’s recently moved here to take over the practice from Dr. Marsh,” Father Ryan said. A man came up from behind Susan and she turned slightly, preparing to give a polite greeting.
Then her bible slipped from her hands as she got a good look at the man. He was tall, and appeared to be in his early thirties, with black hair that looked as if he’d run his hand through it a time or two, and dark skin. For a moment, Susan’s mind spun, superimposing another man’s face, and she barely managed to keep from either crying out or naming him by another’s same. “Are you all right?” Phillip asked, and his crisp, English tone brought her back to England.
“Yes,” Susan said, clenching her teeth and organizing her thoughts. “It’s only that you startled me. You look like someone I knew as a girl.”
“Really?” Phillip replied, “I would ask if it’s a good memory, but you looked so frightened.”
“No,” Susan said, she smiled, “he was a good friend for the short time I knew him.” At the man’s raised eyebrow, she added, “He died. It would be more accurate to say that I thought I was seeing a ghost.”
“Do you believe in ghosts, Ms. Pevensie?” Phillip asked.
“’There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy,’” Susan quoted with a smile. “Does that answer your question, doctor?”
“Completely,” Phillip replied, “But I find I must insist that you call me Phillip.”
“And I am Susan,” Susan replied with a slight nod of her head.
“I asked Ryan if he knew of someone looking for work in the area,” Phillip said, “Dr Marsh’s receptionist, Mrs. Kline, is leaving as well. He told me you were looking for a job?”
Susan smiled, “I am. After my parents’…death, I inherited their home here and I find that I would much prefer to live here than in London.”
“Perhaps we could discuss further details over lunch?” Phillip asked with a hint of a flirtatious smile.
Susan bowed her head to somewhat conceal her blush, “That sounds nice,” she managed.
“Then in one hour, let us meet at Mario’s, do you know the place?” Phillip smiled at Susan’s smile and nod, “Good. That will give me time to change. As often as I wear a suite and tie, I find that I often cannot stand them.”