So my main characters are Anne (Annie) and William (Will). Set during the first world war, and in between each chapter will be a memory. I wanted to get feedback on all the memories, so I put them altogether and pasted them below. Every time there is a '~' it marks the end of a memory and the beginning of a new one. (There is a large-ish age gap, but back then it was normal)
Anne had been playing the piano at the ‘Nursing Home for the Old’, since she was 12, on a volunteer basis every Sunday afternoon. Her father thought it was a great way for her to practice and do something nice for the senile folks at the same time. And all the old grandparents thought it was lovely, listening to the wonderful melodious music while talking to the joyful and inoffensive local girl whom they teased about boys, feeling young once again in her presence. It was a happy, satisfying relationship, if somewhat one sided. Whatever the seniors asked for, Anne played. From afternoon teatime to past Sunday supper time.
When she was 15, her older brother, Sam, brought her to the local pub that William often frequented with his friends, and set her up playing some jolly tunes to liven up the Friday and Saturday evenings. Eventually, those two days every week turned into Dance night, with chairs and tables being dragged across the room to make space for all the spinning, dipping and joyful dancing. Two other pianists (and occasionally a violinist) would take turns with Anne so she could have a break. Oftentimes, she would dance with her brother, her long, curly auburn hair fanning out behind her.
It was here that William had become acquainted with her, and even taught her a few steps to an American dance he'd learnt from a traveler.
Anne had an accident once, and her dog was killed. She was 14, and William was 19. It was late at night, Sunday evening, and she had been skipping home after playing for her older friends. William had left his buddy’s house after supper and had spotted her chatting in French to her dog as the puppy darted around her legs. William was walking alongside her on the opposite side of the road, when a large horse drawn carriage came thundering by. He didn’t see what had happened, only that he heard her cry out, and the yelp of the black Labrador as it disappeared under the horses’ hooves. When the dust cleared and the carriage was further up the road, William spotted the girl crying on the side of the road–dress torn–and her limbs scrapped up.
Hurrying to her side, he gently dusted off the grit, wiping her cheeks dry. Her dog, whom she had had for 3 years, lay in the middle of the road. Shocked and filled with grief she moaned about her ‘Meilleur ami’, refusing to move. Eventually he scooped her up and carried her in his arms, rocking her as he strode over to her house. Exhausted from playing earlier and then crying, she drifted off in his arms. Leaving Anne in the arms of her brother, William returned to where the dog—Noir—lay, ribs broken, paws crushed.
He remembered that late evening precisely, every detail, every smell, every feeling. As William knelt beside the dog’s broken body, it's tail thumped weakly, a small whine emitted from its closed jaws. Noir died as William lay his hand on its soft coat.
At 2 am William had finished shifting the dark earth back into the hole he’d dug in the backyard of Anne Mackay’s house. He didn’t know why he’d stayed, why he went back for the dog.
He knew the reason later that morning. Just before leaving for work after only getting four hours of sleep, Anne showed up at his door with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, a bag of tea leaves and a small bread bun, still warm from the oven. Her eyes were slightly red from crying, but she smiled tiredly up at William. She’d thanked him with a kiss on the cheek, handed him the gifts and left. Heading to the bakery for her work. He stared after Anne, long after her form had disappeared.
She was 16 when he’d asked her out to the Cinema to see a silent movie. William couldn’t remember what the film’s name was, but there was something about the World War, encouraging young men to join and become heroes. He could remember the smell of bread and flour when Annie (she’d insisted he called her that, as she thought Anne made her sound old) laid her head on his shoulder, her hair tickling his cheek.
This was the first of many times they would spend together. Walking home from the pub or the Nursing home. Through the woods or streets. She smuggled him little sugar buns of her own recipe, and he stole little kisses from her cheek and forehead.
It was late March in 1916 when William told Annie to meet him under the willow tree outside the bakery. William told her two things; First; he wanted to marry her. She threw her arms around him, getting flour all over his front from her apron, but he didn’t mind. He was nervous that she wouldn’t have accepted his proposal, but she agreed with their first kiss on the lips. William could taste the dough she sneakily ate when the head baker wasn’t looking. Pulling away he laughed, spinning her around once.
Asking about the second thing he had to tell her, he pulled out a letter to show her.
He was to join the army May 20 and receive military training for the war.
This immediately dampened the mood. She sat down heavily, leaning against the tree truck. William kneeled in front of her and pulled Annie into his embrace. Quietly he started telling her how they could marry early May, he would go and come back a hero for her. She would have a hero for a husband. He kept muttering reassurances, rubbing circles on her back.
Quiet before, she was crying now. Sam, her brother, had joined when the war first broke out in 1914, and he had been killed within the year. She didn’t want William to go, but he had to. He promised he would be alright, that the war was ending soon, that it was likely that he wouldn’t see the battlefield. Annie quieted to sniffles, but she wasn’t eased. Tilting back, he pressed his lips onto hers tenderly. His second kiss tasted just as sweet as the first.
They got married the next month.
Soon after, he left Annie with a kiss and a gift of love, off to war.
What do you think? Any feedback would be helpful<3