Jane arrives at the funeral nervous, but full of hope.
Jane was perfectly turned out in her uniform when Marion's father pulled up outside Terry's house the next day. She had brought some casual clothes with her from Uxbridge, but she thought them unsuitable for the funeral. She got in the back of the car with Marion for the short trip to her brother Tommy's house in Limehouse.
"You haven't told them, have you?" Jane said.
"No, of course not, I haven't even seen them."
"I thought it might be best if I leave it till after the service. To tell you the truth, Marion, I'm a bit frightened."
"I'm sure it'll work out fine. Don't go worrying yourself, it'll only upset you. You look really smart in that uniform, really impressive, so let's try and keep it that way."
Jane smiled at her. "Thanks, Marion, I don't know how I would have coped without you."
Marion's father dropped the girls at the corner near to Tommy's house. He didn't drive down the street because the wreaths and sprays were covering the pavement and a large crowd of the people were standing in the road. Marion knew many of them and exchanged greetings, but Jane began to feel awkward, feeling that she stood out in her WRAF uniform. She felt that everyone seemed to be taking an interest in her, wondering who she was.
The terraced houses were set back off the road and because the ground floor was a semi-basement, the cast iron spear railing had escaped the salvage drives of the war. Half a dozen steps led up to a large front door on the first floor. Jane's brother Tommy walked out and stood at the door, looking around. He was the eldest of the brothers and only a year younger than Carol. He noticed Marion and he walked down the steps and across the street to greet her. "Thanks for coming, Marion, it's good to see a friendly face. They are all arguing in there about the cafe, can you believe that? All that can be sorted out another time, can't it?"
Marion shrugged her shoulders as if to let him know that it was none of her business. "We've got no transport. Can you fit us in with someone?"
"Of course. You know Betty, you can get in with her and Trevor." Tommy looked at Jane. "I don't know you, do I?"
"My name's Jane; I used to work for Carol in the cafe."
Tommy stared at her. "I'm sorry, it's just that I don't seem to recall you working there."
"I wasn't there long, and it was seven or eight years ago now."
"Well that explains it. I was still in the Royal Navy then." He took hold of her hand. "I'm Tommy, Carol's brother, pleased to meet you, Jane." He looked down at her hand. "Goodness me, you're shaking like a leaf. You're looking a bit pale as well. Do you want to go inside and have a sit down?"
Tears filled Jane's eyes as she looked at him. "I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me." She turned and hurried back along the pavement.
"It's all right, I'll see to her," Marion said.
Tommy stood and watched as Marion ran along the street and caught up with Jane. He watched as Jane dropped into Marion's arms and he wondered why the girl seemed more upset than anyone else, even though all his family were fond of Carol. He shook his head in bewilderment and went to find Betty to arrange the girls' transport.
The hearse turned into the street. It pulled up outside the house and all the flowers were put into place. Tommy's brother came out of the house with his mother.
"That's her," Marion said. "That's Nellie, that's your mum."
Jane stood watching the woman as she got into the limousine. She was not as Jane had imagined her. The picture in her mind was of a strong upright woman, but she looked old and frail although she was only in her early sixties, and it was obvious she had trouble with her eyesight.
The cortège began to move off at a walking pace and the girls went with Betty and her husband for their journey to Plaistow.
The chapel was almost full and the two girls sat in the back row. The service in the chapel and at the graveside was, as expected, a sad affair and the girls were a comfort to each other.
Eleanor walked from the graveside with one of her sons on each arm. Jane saw the tear stained eyes of her brothers, but her mother seemed unaffected. When the woman got to where Jane was standing, she stopped and smiled. Jane's heart began to pound, believing that her mother had recognised her.
She turned to her son Tommy. "Is he an American soldier?"
"No, Mum, that's a girl who used to work in the cafe."
"Well why is she dressed like an American soldier? I thought for a minute that it was... Oh never mind."
Tommy looked at Jane and smiled. There was something about her. There was something familiar in her face as she looked back at him, but he had no idea where he had seen the look before, though he was sure he had seen it. He looked away and the group continued on their way.
Betty and her husband dropped the girls back to the house. The girls stood on the pavement talking, with Jane showing mixed feelings of eagerness and reluctance.
"Well, Jane, are you going to tell them, or do you want to leave it for a bit? We can go for a walk for a while, if you like."
"I'll go in. I've got to go in. I'll just go straight up and talk to her. Wish me luck, Marion, I'm bloody terrified."
"Of course I wish you luck. It's going to be all right, Jane, I'm sure of it."
They walked up the steps and along the passage to the front room. It was spacious with two large dividing doors opened up between the two rooms. The rooms were full of people and Jane felt nervous, feeling as if all the eyes were on her. Again, she regretted wearing her uniform, thinking that it made her conspicuous.
Eleanor was standing talking to another woman on the far side of the room next to the window. Jane walked over and Eleanor turned to look at her.
"Hello," Jane said, dearly wishing to say more, but a little reluctant.
"And who are you?" Eleanor asked. "And why are you dressed like an American soldier?"
"I'm your daughter." An embarrassing silence spread across the room as the woman stared at her. Others were also staring and Jane felt as if everyone in the room was staring at her. She suddenly felt vulnerable, as if she were a wingless bird in a room full of cats.
"I have just buried my daughter. Why are you saying such a thing?"
Eleanor laughed. "Marvin. You are Marvin, and why are you wearing a skirt?"
"No, I'm Jane. I'm your daughter. I'm Carol's sister."
Fear and shock quickly followed disbelief as Eleanor suddenly became agitated. "No, no, Marvin. You can't do this to me. It was wrong, you were wrong. Go away, get away from here."
"Mum, please, please, I need to talk to you."
The youngest brother grabbed Jane's arm. "I think you had better leave."
"Leave her alone," Marion shouted.
The man looked at her. "I might have known you were behind it, you've been fiddling Carol for years. So, I suppose this is your bright idea, trying to swindle some money out of my mother. You know she's not well and you're trying it on. Well your evil little scheme won't work. Get them out of here."
The girls were led, manhandled, to the door. Jane looked back at her mother, but the woman was looking away. When she got outside, Jane became highly distraught and close to becoming hysterical. Some of the women were outside with Marion, trying to calm Jane down.
Tommy was in the kitchen during the disturbance and his brother told him what had happened. Tommy remembered the look she had given him at the cemetery, he suddenly realised where he had seen the look before, and he rushed out to the street.
Jane looked at him frightened by the look of rage on his face. Her own face was flushed and puffy, her mascara had trailed down her cheeks and her tunic was wet from the continual stream of tears that had flowed down her face.
"Please don't shout at me," she sobbed. "Don't be angry with me."
"Oh, Jane, it's not you I'm angry with. Come here. Come here and give me a hug."
Jane was pleased with her acceptance by at least one of her family and was overjoyed when Tommy asked her to call round to see him the following day.
She left her uniform at Terry's house and was dressed in a jacket, blouse and jeans. Terry was with her and he held her hand throughout the long walk from his house in Bow. Jane was wondering how her brother's discussion had gone with the rest of the family. Clearly, he believed that she was his sister and she thought he might have convinced the other brother, Ronnie. Maybe Ronnie would be there to meet her as well.
Tommy's wife greeted them at the door. She was a friendly woman who Jane remembered as one of the women helping Marion to calm her down the previous day. Tommy was in the dining room and greeted Jane with a hug and then introduced her to her two young nephews. Tommy's wife took the two boys to another room and went out to the kitchen to make a pot of tea. Jane sat with Terry on the sofa and she looked across to Tommy as he relaxed back into his armchair.
"Will Ronnie be coming?" she asked hopefully.
"I'm afraid not, Jane. It didn't go too well yesterday. Unfortunately, his brain has been clouded by greed. He seems to think you and Marion are telling lies to try and get some of the proceeds from the sale of the cafe. That cafe's a gold mine. It was a rundown dump when she bought it, but she spent a lot of time and money to build the trade back up, and as Carol bought it freehold, it's worth a fortune. Then there's the money she's built up in her bank account over the years."
"I don't think Jane's interested in the money," Terry said. "What if she signs something giving up any interest in Carol's estate?"
"Why should she? It's early days anyway, we haven't been all through Carol's papers and things yet, perhaps a will might be found, but there is another problem. Mother had a breakdown during the war. Dad was in the navy and was killed when his ship was attacked in the Atlantic. She never got over it, and she has been irrational and inclined to forget things ever since. She even went through a phase when she hated Americans, blaming them somehow for the death of our dad. Mother is adamant that you died suddenly as a child. Ronnie knows that if what you're saying is true, then she is clearly telling lies. My brother won't have that. He prefers to think you are lying."
"Well, let him call the police then."
Tommy laughed. "Oh he won't do that. You know, I've always known something was wrong. I was thirteen at the time, but Ronnie was very young. I never believed it and it wasn't just because of my grief. There was no funeral, no grave, and apart from the disturbance caused by the council moving us almost straight away, mother seemed to carry on as if nothing had happened. Then there were the people, mother said, were from the clinic, calling round all the time, visiting us at our new house. I knew it wasn't right, but I had no one to talk to. I couldn't talk to Carol, she was absolutely devastated. It was months before I could even mention your name without her bursting into tears."
He looked at his wife as she walked in with a tray full of cups, as he looked back he saw Terry put his arm around Jane to give her a bit of support. "I'm sorry, love. I didn't mean to upset you again." He walked over and knelt down in front of her. "We don't want any more tears, we had enough of them yesterday. Look, I'll tell you what we'll do. You give me all the details and information that you know, then when I get a bit of time I'll go down to the public records office and get it all checked. If what you tell me is true, and I'm sure it is, then we'll soon find some way to get it confirmed."
"What about the adoption people?" Tommy's wife said. "Won't they tell you?"
"I don't think we'll get any help from them. Have you got any paperwork from your adoption, Jane?"
"Yes I've got some papers. My adopted mum threw them at me."
"Well, get someone to copy the details and get them sent down to me. With the papers that I have from when you were a baby, I should have plenty to go to Somerset House with. It's all going to work out, Jane. Thank God we've got you back. I only wish Carol could have been here to see it." Jane threw her arms around him and they hugged each other tightly.
Terry was choked. He looked over to Tommy's wife and gave a small laugh. "Have you got a tissue," he said.