Lady Sybil,

I am glad to hear you are enjoying your work in York. I must confess, I was surprised when Anna passed me a letter from you. I do not believe we parted on bad terms; I may have been a little sore from being put down but I understand now that I should never have put you in that position. Giving up your family is a hard decision to make, and not one to make in the heat of the moment.

Know this though: everything I said on that day still stands. I think about you daily. I am striving to make a better career for myself, so that I may someday promise you more than just love. Yes, I did say love. I am not afraid to admit it. I love you. Me a chauffer and you a Lady. It's unheard of, I know, but it's the truth. And I know that somewhere inside you, you love me too.

I am not sure that it is appropriate for you to contact me in this way, Lady Sybil, but I must say that I do not care! I will look forward to letters from you, should they continue.

Yours always,

Tom Branson

Sybil had waited a few days after receiving Tom's letter before writing her reply. She had been taken aback by his outright confession, though she had suspected he felt that way. She found though that she did not know what to say in return. She cared for him, she knew that. She missed him deeply, she knew that also. But did she love him?

The night after she had read his letter she looked up the definition of love in the dictionary, hoping it would help her clear her thoughts. Not that it helped. It simply said "An intense feeling of deep affection".

So she'd asked Giselle and Sarah. They'd told her they believed love to be when one wants to share things with that person. If an event happens, and they think, "Oh, I'd love to tell this person about that." Or when you achieve something, and you can't wait to tell them. You think about them almost all the time, and wonder what they could be doing when they weren't with you. When in their presence you smile a lot. They should be your best friend, and they should respect you. There should be fights, because it shows how passionate you are about one another.

None of their words helped comfort her. They only made her believe that she could be in love with him. But she couldn't help but wonder what her family would say. How would they react to their relationship? Would they cast her away?

It wasn't merely the thoughts of what her family would do if she admitted to being in love with a chauffer, but more whether she cared if they cast her off. That thought scared her more than the idea of loving him.


Dearest Mother,

I apologise for not writing in such a time, but my nursing duties have had be snowed under! I felt the need to write now, for I have some news for you.

I have met a man.

I know you may now be very excited and wish to meet him, but I'm afraid you cannot. You see, you would not approve of him. He is not a Duke, or a Lord, or even a Sir. But I think I am in love with him.

I do hope that someday you may meet him, and approve of him.

Sybil

Putting the pen down, Sybil sighed. Her hair was down – she never bothered braiding it at night anymore. She pulled her fingers through her hair and reread her letter to her mother. It was short, and she wondered if it sounded harsh, but she couldn't think of any other way to write it. Before she could change her mind, Sybil wrapped the letter in an envelope and sealed it. She put it with Tom's letter to post.


Dearest Tom,

Do stop calling me 'Lady'! You know as well as I do, that in situations such as this where nobody can read our private letters, nor hear us speak, that I am simply Sybil to you.

I must apologise for the delay in my reply. I wish I could give you an excuse that my nursing had me overrun, but the truth is I was afraid of what to write. Your confession, though I suspected you felt that way, took me by surprise. I spent the days pondering my own feelings and I must confess that you are correct; I feel the same. By all definitions of the word, I am in love with you, Tom Branson.

That was one of the hardest things to admit to myself, but not because it meant that I had proved you right, or because my family would disown me. It was because I did not care what they thought. I still do not care what they think and that frightens me. I will break the news softly to them, tell them first that I have met someone, but I am unsure that they will approve. Eventually I will admit to them that I am in love with a chauffer. Then I shall tell them it is you, and that we wish to get married. However, I will wait until I am back at Downton before I confess the last part to you. It would not be fair to leave you to their wrath alone!

I must go now, I still have to write to mother and then I have an evening shift.

All my love,

Sybil

Tom gently folded the letter from Sybil back up and added it to his drawer that contained all her letters. He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. His heart was thumping wildly in his chest. He didn't know what to make of her confession. Tom had waited so long to hear her say those words, that he didn't know whether it was the truth or the fantasies of a young woman. He knew that he had told her that he knew she loved him, but the truth was that the statement was merely hopeful. He reminded himself that she is only young, and that she had only had one season before the war. She was barely 19, and he was 26. He was much older, and more experienced.

But he didn't care. He decided he didn't care at all. He was going to be selfish. He wanted Sybil, he loved Sybil. And he knew how calm and controlled she could be when it was needed – she wouldn't have confessed love to him easily. It would only be real. With a smile and a slight chuckle, Branson returned to cleaning the motor.

He wondered when she would send the letter to her mother, and what her reaction would be. He wondered if Sybil would change her mind, and not tell her mother at all, and decide that the life she wanted didn't include struggling and working with him, but with money and luxury.

He soon banished any thoughts like that when they entered his head. He loved Sybil, and she loved him. He knew that she understood what she would be getting into by marrying him. She knew that she would still work, and that they wouldn't have the fine food and materials that she was used to, and that they wouldn't be able to afford any staff.

Surely she understood all that she'd have to give up?


Author's Notes: I'd just like to say thanks for the interest in this story! I wasn't expecting reviews or the amount of hits that I got! :) Thanks guys!