Jimmy Kent, Downton Abbey
On the train away from Downton Jimmy had more than enough time to think. His few years there had not been the success he had hoped for. He always seemed to be on Carson's bad side; something he knew wasn't really Carson's fault most of the time. He bloody got up my arse almost from the first day. My name's Jimmy, you old twat. I should have known then.
With a sigh he leant his head back against the seat cushion, closing his eyes and listening to the sounds of the train. He was glad to be rid of Downton and there was nothing he was going to miss about it. No, that's wrong. I'll miss Thomas. His smile, the way his forehead wrinkles when he worries, his uncanny knack for mimicking Molesley, his bawdy sense of humour, the way he laughed at my jokes, no matter how feeble they were. And so much else.
He smiled when he realised that the one person that he had at first the most reason to dislike had become the only person he really cared about. The change had been gradual. Even after the beating he still regarded Thomas with some suspicion, but that soon gave way to friendship. Then his feelings changed again, but this time to something he couldn't let happen. Thomas was his only regret, but obviously not important enough to matter. And that was the pity. When Anstruther's offer came he was only too glad to accept because, as always, he would rather escape his emotions than face them.
He wished that yesterday had gone differently though. When he shook Thomas's hand he knew there should be more; he wanted Thomas to make it more. He didn't have the nerve himself, but he hoped Thomas would. As their hands slipped away until only their fingertips briefly touched, it was almost as if he could read Thomas's mind. He won't chance it. Why would he? Once burned ... And I'm a bloody coward Not even this once, this final time. Thomas is better off without me. He shivered slightly at the memory.
That night after he had packed, he sat down and wrote Thomas a letter. In it he told him everything he couldn't say in person. He read it and reread it, then folded it into an envelope and put it into his suitcase. What good would it do? Writing it hadn't made him feel better or helped him understand and sending it would only make life worse for Thomas. If he couldn't find the strength to stay, he could at least give Thomas some peace and not torment him with what could never be. He had once told Thomas he could never give him what he wanted. Of all the things that had changed, that hadn't.
When he arrived at Lady Anstruther's he tucked the envelope away at the back of one of his dresser drawers. Over the years, no matter where he went, the envelope went with him. Every now and then he would pull the it out and read it. Sometimes he considered sending it, particularly when he got a letter from Thomas that bled sadness between the lines. Thomas should know someone loves him. He never did.