A first-time piece from me on this occasion. Some of what follows is taken from my own personal experience -- I'm just not saying which parts!
Although Tom has just returned from a defining, life-changing experience, I deliberately avoided detail of what he saw and did during that short, intense conflict in 1982. After all, this ain't a war story, so I kept all of that out and focussed on his virginity and the outcome of being met by Rita upon his return.
The scene is a little short on the summer theme, and I can only apologise if you're expecting blazing skies, bikinis and sun-lotion. But in that year Tom's summer began in the Southern Hemisphere, a completely different setting to the scene in which he and Rita visit the pub beer-garden and then walk home, and I did think it might just qualify as an entry into the contest.
I'm not eligible for any prize, nor would I expect anything, but I still hope you enjoy the piece enough to cast a vote. Oh, feedback, leave feedback, please. If you do make a comment and want a response to it, then email is best -- but do give me an address to respond to!
Anyway -- jibber-jabber, jibber-jabber -- enough chat from me. I hope that reading the following is an enjoyable experience. If there are typos or any kind of fuck-ups still contained herein, I hope you can put them aside.
Okay, here it is.
GA -- Benissa, Spain -- 24th August 2013.
He had the window seat, was watching the patchwork of Oxfordshire drift beneath the aircraft when an elbow nudged him.
"We'll catch a bit of summer, eh mate?" The voice came from Tom's left, Pete Vallance in the middle seat of three. "It'll make up for being fuckin' cold and fuckin' wet, won't it, eh?" A chuckle, loose and phlegmy from years of hand-rolled cigarettes. "It won't make up for being shit-fuckin'-scared, though." And then perhaps as an afterthought, a concession to Tom's youth and inexperience before it had all happened: "But you were fuckin' magic down there, mate. Got stuck in, didn't ya."
He didn't turn his face from the window, Tom's eyes remained fixed on the sight of England sliding by, an odd experience since he was looking at where they'd been rather than where they were going, a quirk of the Royal Air Force, configuring the seats in the VC-10 to face the rear of the plane.
"Warmer back here than it was down there, Pete."
Pete Vallance snorted. "Fuckin' bastard cold, wasn't it," a statement he delivered in the nasal tones of his native Liverpool. "Like Sennybridge in fuckin' November. I couldn't believe it was June. What sort of place is it that has winter in June?" He cast an appreciative glance over Tom's shoulder as the plane banked in for its approach. "Great to be back, isn't it? Can't beat Blighty in the summer." He nudged a shoulder into Tom. "The birds are gonna be all over us, kid. Wait and see, mate. The birds are gonna go mad for it. I'm gonna make the most of this leave. I'm gonna shag my way through Liverpool."
Tom turned to see a lewd grin on Pete's face as the man rubbed his hands together, a ferret-faced Fagin in army uniform smirking with lascivious glee. He wondered at Pete's ability, rough of manner and coarse of tongue yet able to charm the knickers off the girls with breath-taking ease. Even with teeth like a fighting patrol -- blackened and unevenly spaced -- there was no doubt whatsoever that Pete would manage to attract a willing partner when he went marauding through his home town.
So why did Tom find it so difficult?
He pondered the irony of his recently won status as a veteran and the dilemma of his persistent virginity, considered the combination of his age and virginity well past a joke. Now, the homecoming imminent, he decided to do something about it. Even if it meant a visit to Soho and spending fifteen quid for time between an anonymous woman's legs, he was determined to do something.
These thoughts occupied his mind during the bus ride along the M4 Motorway, displaced only when he stepped off the coach when it arrived at its destination -- Montgomery Lines, home to 5 Infantry Brigade. It was an emotional welcome -- wives, parents, girlfriends and children, tearful and so obviously relieved their loved ones had returned home unscathed. He entertained a brief notion his father might be there to welcome him, but dismissed the though almost as soon as it popped into his head.
Detached from the hubbub surrounding him, and avoiding the possibility of being stiffed to join one of the work parties unloading baggage from four ton trucks, let the rear party skivers enjoy that privilege, he moved away from any over-zealous NCOs, towards the low concrete platform in front of the Quartermaster's stores.
It was strange being back, not that he'd had time to settle in before they'd left England, three weeks in the battalion, barely time to unpack and learn the names of the other blokes whose room he shared before he'd found himself involved in a whirl of activity, organised chaos as the entire brigade prepared for a hurried departure to a heretofore unheard of cluster of islands in the South Atlantic.
But there he was, back, he'd made it, and now it was over he was glad of being thrust so quickly and violently into his trade. He'd performed well, done the business, and as a result had been accepted, totally integrated, a living cell in the organic life of the section, a blooded member of the platoon, noticed by the Company Sergeant Major and the Officer Commanding in a good way.
He idly observed the tearful reunions all around him, his mind slipping back to the subject uppermost in his mind. Tom again pondered his immediate future and considered what to do, uninvolved as he was in the cacophony of jubilant chatter, squeals of delight and shouts of greeting. There would be a short period of chaos as kit was returned to stores, weapons cleaned -- again -- and put away in the armoury. Form-filling and other bullshit would have to be endured before the lads, champing at the bit, would be let loose among the civilian populace.
There were limited options available to him. He could take a flight to Germany to visit his father or he could stick to his original plan and remain in barracks with the handful of other self-titled 'orphans', men who for a variety of reasons had no desire to return to the towns and villages they came from or had nowhere to go to in the first place. Staying in camp would undoubtedly involve him being sucked into drinking in the Traf or the Queens or the Exchange, listening to already well-worn stories of what they'd done on those cold, confusing and oddly exhilarating nights in June. But visiting his father didn't exactly fill Tom with joy either.
He was just contemplating the train journey to London from Aldershot when he saw her walking towards him.
He blinked and then wondered why he was surprised to see her. It shouldn't have been a shock that she'd come. All it would have taken was a phone call, a simple matter to find out when the battalion, and his company were due to return. She would have taken a taxi from Guildford, her and the Jack Russell terrier.
He said nothing, bashful as ever at these first meetings. He'd warm, would loosen-up after a few minutes in her easy company, her effortless friendliness pushing aside Tom's shyness.
Then she was there, smiling and elegant, her little dog on the lead sniffing Tom's boots.
"Hello, Tom," Rita breathed. "Welcome home."
He moved into her hug, the embrace that changed everything for him.
Tom heard her voice coming up from the floor below, muffled and indistinct while he gloried in the luxury of a comfortable bed. Three mornings under Rita's roof and he could picture the scene downstairs. He knew Rita would be speaking nonsense to Megan, chattering away to the Jack Russell terrier while, from the radio on the windowsill, Terry Wogan's brogue gently cajoled breakfast show listeners to life. He lay in the big bed, hands behind his head and pictured Rita sipping her breakfast tea as she smoked the first cigarette of the day. His thoughts then shifted to how good it felt not to be sleeping in a hole in the ground, piss-wet through and freezing cold, or stuffed with four other blokes in a cabin designed for two on board a ship that heaved up and down in the huge, rolling swells of the South Atlantic.
The new day, full of summer promise, backlit the curtains while Tom pondered his feelings, the sudden realisation of Rita's sexual allure and her attractiveness as a woman.
He muttered a curse to himself for the weakness. "Bollocks. Stop it. Stop it now." It was wrong to think about Rita the way he did.
He flung back the thin cover and, with the aroma of grilling bacon tempting him downstairs, shook his head in further denial of these newly discovered emotions before he covered his nudity with a tee-shirt and shorts. It didn't do to think too much, it would be best if he got up and got on with it. Better all round if he went downstairs and tucked into breakfast and behaved in a normal manner.
Pushing disturbing thoughts aside, looking forward to the repast being prepared below, Tom left the bedroom and padded barefoot to the bathroom along the landing. He pissed a stream into the toilet bowl, flushed it away and then washed his hands, and when he walked into the kitchen, into the cosy domesticity of it, Rita was standing in front of the stove.
She threw a smile at him over her shoulder.
"Morning!" Rita trilled, full of the joys. "There's tea in the pot. You're just in time. I was about to call you. Breakfast will be ready in a couple of minutes."
Tom found himself staring at the feminine shape of her, his penis reacting to the sweep and curve of Rita's hips and buttocks when she turned back to the stove and unwittingly gave him free reign to look.
It was happening again and he didn't want it to. It was wrong to sexualise Rita, to reduce the kindness she'd shown him -- not just over the last few days but all his life -- to something sordid.
But he couldn't help it and was confused at this new perception of her as a woman, a sexual entity. It had never occurred to him before, in the past she'd simply been 'Rita', his mother's friend from way back, but since she'd hugged him close to her outside the Quartermaster's store, ever since he'd felt her body pressed to his, recognised the ripe, voluptuous body and sniffed the scent of her hair, he'd seen her in a different light.
That was the first occasion of these disturbing sensations, the first time his cock had swelled and thickened for Rita.
Despite his body's urges and the sudden, unexpected flare of desire, it had felt wrong to Tom. Hell, Rita was like family, and it disturbed him that he could now see her through adult eyes, was able to recognise her as an attractive woman.
In fact, and Tom was flabbergasted that he'd never noticed -- how could he have been blind to it? -- Rita's appeal went far beyond attractive.
Disconcerted in the extreme he moved towards the kitchen counter. Fortunately Rita's attention remained on her task and she didn't notice Tom's trembling hand as he poured tea from the pot into a mug. Thus spared any awkward questions, with the tea poured, Tom thunked the pot down onto the counter and, with his mind reeling with all manner of emotions concerning Rita's sexual appeal and his body's response to it, carried the mug across the kitchen.
He placed his brew on the table, liquid sloshing, almost spilling it across the cloth-covered surface due to the tremor in his hands. He sat in one of the ladder-backed chairs, its feet scrawking across the tiles when Tom shunted forward to tuck his knees under the table.
The struggle to supress the internal wrangling continued as Rita prepared his breakfast. Tom willed his erection to subside when, attempting to speak normally, he croaked, "You don't have to cook for me every day. I don't want to be any bother to you."
Rita chuckled and, still facing the stove, turned bacon on the grill with deft, efficient movements of the tongs. "Don't be silly," she called back. "You're no bother at all, darling. As I keep telling you, it's lovely having you here."
Being called darling by Rita was nothing new, not from her. Tom had heard it hundreds of times over the years. He knew it was just the way she was, sprinkling endearments like darling and sweetheart with casual abandon in her everyday conversation.
Then Rita turned, her torso swivelling, presented to Tom in three-quarter profile. The button-fronted blouse stretched tight across her bosom, the rounded hint of the inner flank of one breast visible, a crescent of skin that drew Tom's eyes. He gulped, forced to physically supress the moan that threatened to bubble out of him. His instinct was to stand and go to her, to take hold of her and pull Rita close. He wanted to kiss her and rip the buttons from her blouse, to bury his face in that flesh and inhale the scent of her.
What would her tits look like? How would they feel cupped in his palms?
In his head Tom saw Rita's boobs swelling over the cups of her bra, one nipple peeping over the diaphanous material -- a thick and elongated teat he could suck between his lips.
He imagined Rita grinning at him, teasing him with her breasts, her eyes sparkling with devilment as she pulled the bra down and exposed herself to his hungry stare.
"Feel them," Rita murmured.
She hefted her heavy breasts with both hands and offered them to Tom.
"Suck my tits, darling. Kiss me. Feel me ... Oh fuck, Tom ... I'm so fucking horny for your touch. Lick my nipples, my lovely boy."
Her hand reached for the front of his shorts.
"So hard," she breathed, eyes flashing with arousal. "Is it for me? Are you going to fuck me with this?"
Rita's voice brought Tom back to reality. "Like I said last night, Tom, I'm glad of the company. It's wonderful having you here. I'm pleased you came home with me." Her head tilted as the look she gave him stretched to a stare fixed on Tom's face. "I know you said you should really go and see your dad, and maybe you can ... in a few days. But I hope you'll keep me company for a little while longer. Megan's all right but her conversation's limited."
Rita heaved a sigh and shook her head, looking fondly at the little dog sitting by her feet while the animal's snout pointed upwards towards the frying pan.
"Anyway," Rita continued, regarding Tom again. "You're welcome here whenever you feel the need to get away from the army. I'd like you to feel that you can come and see me any time." A beat before she continued. "And since your mum..." Rita paused and blinked, eyes glistening. "Well, I'd hate to lose touch with you because she's gone, Tom." Rita sniffed and cuffed at her eyes. "You're very special to me, darling. I want you to know that."
He sat there when Rita turned away and busied herself in front of the grill, his mind a whirl of impressions and vague memories of other times he'd been a guest in Rita's house, before Rita's divorce and his mother's death. He blinked and said nothing, unable to form a coherent sentence when Rita plonked the plate in front of him, her hand touching his shoulder as she moved past.
Tom's body tensed when Rita's fingers squeezed his shoulder.
"I'm going to the hairdressers this morning," she said, her tone brighter. "And I thought we could go out tonight? It's been ages since I dressed up and I'd love to go out. Would you like that, Tom? Would you take an old bird like me out for a drink?" Rita dropped an eyelid onto her cheek in a slow and theatrical wink. "We could pretend it's a date!"
A laugh tinkled out of her.
"I'll get my hair done, have a little girly pampering and get all dolled up. I'll make myself gorgeous for you, darling."
The hairs on the back of Tom's neck rose. Rita was right there beside him, hands on her hips, looking so beautiful. So sexy. If he dared to do so he could reach out a hand and...
He could still feel her touch on his shoulder, the pressure of her fingers when she'd squeezed. The words came out of him, thick and clotted: "You're already gorgeous, Rita..."
Silence lengthened between them.
"You lovely man," she murmured eventually, taking a step towards him. Rita hesitated and then tipped forward, bending at the waist to lean in before kissing the top of his head. Her hand squeezed his shoulder again. "That's so kind of you to say."
He could have said it wasn't kindness, Tom could have simply told Rita he meant it. He couldn't deny it any longer, not to himself. It was so simple --Tom fancied the arse off her.
The images came to mind, lewd and vulgar and very arousing: Rita's round buttocks on the table as she perched there, legs folded at the knee, labia splayed with her fingertips, pussy sodden and pink and gaping. He pictured himself kneeling and lapping at her sex, tasting her desire, breathing in the musk of her yearning.
Would she moan and gasp, head lolling back, eyes closed, breasts thrust towards the ceiling while Tom fucked into her body and Rita's insides clenched around him? Would the piston of his cock cause Rita's body to squelch and fart around his girth while they fucked? Would Rita whisper obscenities into his ear and goad him with a potty-mouthed litany, exciting him to orgasm, begging him to fill her with his seed?
But Tom daren't give voice to those base desires. How could he? How could he tell Rita that he thought her so sexy, so fucking desirable he wanted to lift her skirt and yank her knickers to one side? It was impossible, there was no way he could tell her he wanted to turn her around and have her bend over, elbows on the table, her rump thrust rearward, cunt angled towards the arrogant jut of his cock.
"Just look at the time," Rita said, shattering Tom's reverie yet again. "I've got my appointment at the hairdressers. I'd best get ready."
She turned and left Tom sitting there staring at her back as she hip-swayed away, the breakfast cooling on his plate.
Rita couldn't be sure, but she had an inkling he fancied her, that -- for whatever reason -- Tom had realised she was more than his departed mother's friend. She entertained a quick notion of him alone in bed, wondered if he ... thought about her.
"Stop it," she chided. "It's nothing. He was just being kind."
You're already gorgeous, Rita. The way he'd said it, instinct told her he'd meant it. It was in the sound of his voice and the set of his face. But instinct wasn't certainty, she could have it wrong, so very wrong, and it was the uncertainty that shackled her.
We could pretend it's a date. Her face warmed, the blush rising from her throat to burn in her cheeks when she recalled the silly little laugh that followed the girlish flirting.
"Silly bitch. Behave."
But the insistent desire wouldn't be denied its voice; she couldn't help the liquid heat between her legs, the pulse of her clitoris and breasts aching to be touched.
God but she wanted his touch.
When had it changed for her? She knew exactly when it had happened, when her perception of Madeline's son had shifted to the carnal. The precise moment had come when she'd seen him at his Passing-Out Parade, when Tom had graduated from that awful grey barracks in Aldershot after his basic training. He'd been so full of pride as he'd shown off the partitioned room that smelled of floor polish, accommodation for eight of them divided into two spaces of four by a painted plywood wall. Tom had given them the tour, Rita and that miserable-faced sod of a father, regaling them with horror stories of torture in the gymnasium, recounting humorous anecdotes of the barrack block, him doing his best to impress his dad while the man's jealousy, so obvious to her but fortunately to which Tom was blind, showed in his sneer. Rita had experienced a rush of tenderness towards the boy as she'd studied his profile, him bursting with acheivement, that when he'd turned and noticed her appraisal, when he'd smiled at her, Rita was shocked at the sudden and near overwhelming urge to kiss his mouth.