Willie's War Ch. 10bySnurge©
By morning Willie was coming to terms with Jeremy's duplicity and felt it incredulous that he had fallen so hard for his charm. He had been so sure of him, but in the end the wretched man had proved himself to be fickle and no different to so many others he had known in the past.
'Get a grip', he told himself, as the English sometimes did. The phrase had convulsed him with mirth when he had first heard it, and he only had to say, gruffly, 'Get a grip, Willie,' into the mirror to make his solemn face relax into a smile. Now it was a reminder for him to say alert, buck up and fit in.
Toast and well brewed Ceylon tea at breakfast did nothing to cheer him. He was suddenly feeling homesick, hankering after German food, Holstein ham, roast goose, which he'd not tasted for years, simple meals of sauerbraten, smoked meats and pale tea in fragile small cups.
A new dawn heralded a new day, but his melancholy was hardly eased by the arrival of Jimmy Hyde, dressed in khaki and wearing one of the swashbuckling black berets that were unique to Tank Men.
"You haven't brought Toby with you today." Willie observed.
"He's been caught for Duty back at Foxley Wood, but he'll be coming down tomorrow. You look pretty washed out and wretched. Is something troubling you?"
Willie gave a little hump of his shoulders. "Oh, This and That." his voice was dispassionate, remote. "Deborah as gone to Liverpool and Jeremy as returned to London."
"I see. So you're at a bit of a loose end. Can't have you moping about you know, what you need is an outing."
The concern in his voice warmed Willie's heart. "An outing?"
"Yes, we'll go out for the day, just you and I. War is not all patriotic duty."
For a moment Willie hesitated. Jimmy Hyde was a moody man subject to morbid predictions of his own death and not the kind of person for a broken heart to cling to. But the house was quiet when he was alone, leaving him as prey to his thoughts, and there was a core of bitterness in his heart in respect of Jeremy that he was loath to probe. A meaningful day out would do a lot to soothe him, and there was Jimmy standing there as smart as paint in his captains' uniform.
"You are not suffering a bad mood today?"
"Not in the least, I feel as sparky as a pup and I'm not going to let the ambition of some rotten Nazi housepainter spoil things for me."
"I can't think why you should want to spend a day out with me."
Jimmy's eyes narrowed. "Coming from any other girl, I wouldn't believe a word of that, but from you..." his voice became friendly and warm. "Look, I haven't had a day out myself for a long time, and I need a break. Wrap your head in a scarf or you'll feel wind in your hair. I haven't made full use of my petrol ration for ages."
Willie seized the chance to go with him. As long as he was in good spirits the man was pleasant enough company, and he needed a distraction.
Jimmy had a small open-top motor car with only two seats, and not only did it make a noise like an aeroplane but he drove it along the narrow, hedge-lined country lanes of Essex as if he intended to make it take to the air. Having been warned of what was intended Willie wore the minimum of makeup, just a dusting of ivory eyeshadow to highlight his eyes and a little mascara, and he carefully tied his hair back so it would not be raked by the slipstream.
For someone with the shadow of death hanging over him Jimmy Hyde was strangely adept at planning all kinds of treats that day. Suddenly there was fun to be had in viewing the ruins of an ancient abbey and feeding the ducks in a village pond.
Restrictions on food outlets were not as severe as those for households, so they lunched at the British Restaurant in Malden – steak and kidney pudding and jam roly-poly – two courses for eleven pence. A delicious experience.
Afterwards they took in an art gallery where Willie was joyously able to take his time expressing his criticisms and admirations, and in the evening they went to see a film at a cinema in Nuttsford. The main feature starred a man with a broad smile and big teeth called George Formby, who played a ukulele, sang jolly songs and made everyone laugh. Willie laughed along with everyone else, even when he didn't quite understand all the jokes.
Jimmy Hyde found the little laughs infectious, whispers of a giggle that bubbled up from inside her and took on a life of their own, and her charm quickly dispelled his customary dourness. The little Dutch girl was so natural and unspoiled by her beauty, he thought. In his experience beautiful women stayed aloof and wore their looks like a badge of rank, expecting compliments like an officer looks for a salute, but there was no such vanity with Willie.
He quickly concluded that the girl didn't have a hard edge on her; she was all woman with a vulnerability that reflected in her liquid blue eyes. And those shining eyes! He could have gazed into those eyes forever.
On their return to Brascombe later they were singing on the top of their voices as they drove along at top speed, and when Jimmy drew up at the side of the house he hovered, wishing very much to say something meaningful at the end of their day, but unable to think of what. He wanted to use words that had never been used before, but he knew that they would have to be words not yet invented.
"Jimmy..." Willie had barely whispered his name, but he must have heard because it certainly registered. His body tensed as if there was something in that one little word that needed an anti-tank gun to repel. Anyway, Willie had a soft pink mouth that seemed to invite kisses more than conversation, and so that's what he did. He kissed him.
Previously they had always been stiff with each other, meticulous and careful during any incidental physical contact... but this time Willie sagged against him, his body trembling, and Jimmy kissed him as tenderly as he'd ever kissed anyone. Willie's lips were cool, as moist as the air, and they tasted of peaches. The girl drew back fractionally, made a little sound. "Oh" and what began as a chaste doting-uncle kiss became something else. It became a lengthy and though kiss, but not at all invasive. No tongues, no groping, no fumbling with clothes. To Captain Hyde the young Dutch girl was an innocent fair maiden, and he himself, it seemed, was determined to be the quintessential English gentleman.
It was slightly different for Willie. He was aware of the issue of male pheromones as the man leaned against him. It was frighteningly seductive, and the taut lean body clothed in khaki was even more seductive. When they drew apart he was utterly lost in the smell and the feel of him and the sensations he called forth so powerfully, but against his will he felt an emotional tug on his heartstrings and determined not to give into temptation himself.
It occurred to him that unlike Jeremy de Vere, Jimmy had never realised or even suspected that Wilhelmina Naarden wasn't really female, and he didn't wish for any expressions of disgust from him now. He simply wanted to be cherished in the man's memory as a girl he had once known.
Afterwards they ate a late supper with Sir Mortimer, who seemed glad of their company, and when they joined him in the drawing room the elderly Member of Parliament revealed a prized bottle of malt whisky.
"I'm pleased that you two hit it off today," he said. "With Deborah being away I'm all too aware of what it's like to be lonely." His hand gave a sharp twist to the top of the bottle. "Still, the dear old thing will be back tomorrow with all her American friends in tow, and I dare say we'll have a little party to celebrate when they arrive."
His devotion to the tall, brown-haired athletic American was well known by most people, and his addiction to beautiful transvestites had long ago caused him to be discounted from any recommendation for High Office. But there was no point in crying about it, he had decided, and he accepted that kind of thing these days with an air of nonchalance.
Willie declined the whisky, so Mortimer poured out only two measures.
"You could do worse than make a thing of it with this fellow, y'know." he said to him. "Jimmy as a sharp mind and he'll go a long way in the army, just like old Sir Neville. I've always been a disappointment to the rest of the family, you see, and everyone relies on Jimmy to make amends for my own wish to remain a civilian."
As he finished speaking he stopped and paused and his eyes lifted to the ceiling. All three looked up as a faint droning hum began to invade their hearing. It came from outside, high in the night sky.
"Jerries." murmured Mortimer. He went to the window, hauled down a blackout blind and closed the heavy drapes.
Willie wet his lips nervously with the tip of his tongue. "Are they going to bomb us?"
Mortimer gave him a reassuring glance. "Shouldn't think so, they never have in the past. We'll be safe enough as long as the windows are screened. Mrs Whippet will look after the rest of the house."
The droning of heavy-engined aircraft increased until it became a deafening crescendo, then as the aircraft passed overhead it slowly eased and began to fade away.
"We're lucky," remarked Jimmy, "Some poor townie's somewhere are going to get it hard tonight."
"I love the sound of aircraft, or rather used to." Mortimer said, reaching for his glass and taking a hefty swig. "The war ruins all kinds of simple pleasures."
He and Jimmy soon became engaged in a discussion about America's dissatisfaction with Japanese conduct in China, the embargos and trade sanctions that had been imposed, and how it could all eventually lead to a hostile confrontation between the two nations. Not wishing to learn anything about yet another possible theatre of war, Willie made his excuses and went to bed.
He dozed lightly enough to hear Sir Mortimer go to his room, and later he awoke more sharply when he became aware of a noise outside on the stairs.
It was a noise like a man makes when having a discussion with himself, and when he went outside to look he saw Jimmy halfway up the steps, clinging to the banister rail, reeling and staggering with uncharacteristic clumsiness, legs not moving properly. He was in trousers and shirtsleeves having lost his jacket somewhere, and he was as drunk as a lord and looking very much the worse for wear.
Willie stared at him, his big blue eyes growing bigger. Dragging him up onto the landing he scolded him like a harridan wife. "You shouldn't have stayed up so late drinking on your own. Mortimer went to bed ages ago."
The man reeled back against the wall and groaned, and Willie then became concerned. "Are you feeling ill?"
Leaning against the doorpost Jimmy's posture was lazy but his eyes were tight on Willie's face. "You don't understand, Willie. You just don't get it."
Willie frowned. "Oh, I think I do. You have a 'black dog' mood tonight."
A shadow seemed to pass over the man's face and he stared at Willie while he groped at his already dishevelled hair. "My tank brigade is going away soon, and I think this is it, Willie. This time I'm not going to come back. But I'm not afraid and I'm not going to funk out. I'm bound to Mithras, the soldier's god of Duty. You heard what Uncle Mortimer said, everyone expects me to live up to the tradition of Sir Neville."
At last Willie did understand. Jimmy Hyde's brush with death in France had changed him. He sensed that when he said he was not afraid to die he meant it, and that was the problem. Men who lacked fear refused to recognise danger and exposed themselves to death much too readily, which was just as much a sickness as chickenpox or measles.
"It's your life and you must live it for yourself," Willie whispered urgently. "The way you think is wrong. You must get help."
Jimmy's somewhat severe face mellowed at the obvious sincerity and he stroked back a lock of Willie's hair with one finger. "Dear Willie, you still don't understand, do you? I must live up to that tradition of Sir Neville for myself. It's important to me. It's what I want, even if it means I die."
Willie didn't understand and he didn't want to understand such a foolish way of thinking. "Oh no. Oh please, that's crazy. You must see a doctor. Life is sweet, life can be so sweet. You dwell on things too much. Stop thinking so deep. Everything will be fine if you seek help now."
Jimmy smiled, listening to the girl; he wasn't going to argue with her. She was young and beautiful. She was an innocent houri from an Arabian dream and still had much to discover and learn. It was always an odd feeling to know more than anyone else when it came to the subject of his own fate.
Willie put an arm around him and gently but firmly he guided him to his room. The ceiling light was off when they arrived, a warm glow from a table lamp in the corner of the room the only illumination.
The man slumped across the bed and rolled sideways. "I'll be all right in a minute. Leave me."
The front of his shirt burst open and moonlight streamed in through the window, leaving a silver trail on his naked flesh. Willy traced it with his finger, frowning as he found the scar of a former wound, and at that moment he knew he couldn't leave him.
Overwhelmed by his feelings, he bent his head and placed his lips against the puckered ridge of skin. Moved by a profound sadness to protect and care for him he wrapped his arms around him, pushing the warm comfort of his breasts against his ribs.
Just at that moment the lonesome drone of a single aeroplane made itself known, and Jimmy tensed. "Luftwaffe. They're above us and circling," he said, "They've probably been told there's an armoured brigade laagered nearby and the fool's are trying to spot a sign of it in the dark."
He didn't know his face was revealing his thoughts, but as he turned his gaze back to Willie his eyes had turned as black as ebony. Suddenly their faces were very close and on impulse he said. "I could easily fall in love with you."
"That's silly." Willie chaffed, "I mean it. You're not thinking properly. You are tired, emotionally and physically. Don't go on punishing yourself tonight. Go to sleep. You can dream of me as long as they are good dreams, okay?"
Jimmy Hyde made no effort to answer; instead he put his arms around Willie and buried his face against his neck. So delicate and so sweet. His embrace became urgent has his hands slid down from Willie's shoulders to his waist, and then lower to begin circling movements at the base of his spine. Willie shivered involuntarily, loving the touch and knowing what it could lead on to.
Jimmy's hands caressed the girl's throat and slid beneath the robe to cup the softness there. She was gorgeous, as beautiful as anything he'd ever known. Her soft flesh filled his hand as his thumb caressed the taut peaks.
Enflamed with passion Willie allowed his nightdress to be peeled back until the twin pinnacles of his small breasts became exposed, and he shuddered with a mixture of pleasure and apprehension, hoping he was beautiful for Jimmy, good enough for him.
Hauling him down Jimmy took a nipple in his mouth, his tongue stroking. Until that moment he didn't really know just how little he knew about pleasing a woman. He'd always thought of them as a sort of different species, wonderfully satisfying in bed, but totally alien to his mind. His relationship with the opposite sex had never progressed far enough to make such knowledge important.
He couldn't breath, kissing one breast and then the other. Worlds apart in the way they lived, but together that night, each eager, willing and passionate. He relished it all, knowing the lovely girl was responding wildly to his touch. She was bubbling radiant energy, and he wanted to take that energy and transform it into passion. His tongue played over her mouth while one hand banded her tiny waist.
Willie began to exhale in a rush. He smiled, but his lack of control appalled him. What kind of message was he sending? Jimmy only had to touch him and he melted, but he didn't know the sort of person he was dealing with. He still believed Willie Naarden was just a pretty girl from Holland, and he didn't want an affair that could only end in horrified rejection. That would be worse than Jeremy leaving him.
Outside the night sky gave birth to the thrumming of aircraft. Not just one now, but many. They were gathering in a multitude and streaming in like ravenous vultures over a carcase.
But events outside held no interest for those indoors. The man's mind could only think of the girl. Her full lips were like an invitation, and the next moment his mouth was pressing gently on hers. Her lips were satin-soft and sweetly yielding. She put an arm around his neck, and as their bodies met in an embrace he felt a shudder of passion run through her. When their long kiss ended she gave a little laugh and murmured. "Willie, I want you."
He tried to reach up, but Willie held him in a tight grip, soothing him like a child, one hand stroking his head, the other pinning his hands. As he caressed him Willie pulled his shirt wide open and trailed his fingers over his chest, enjoying the feel of firm manly flesh. He tugged at his belt, struggling to get it unbuckled, and having succeeded just a few strokes with his hand raised a tower of male desire. Everything was tense, and Jimmy's manhood didn't disappoint when it stood stiffly to attention like a well drilled soldier. The man moaned almost imperceptibly as a hand took a grip and slid up and down the engorged shaft.
Willie was very heated himself, and he did want to give the man's tortured soul a few moments of sublime happiness before he went away to fight in his war. In the half-light of the room he believed he could at least do that. Slumping forward he pushed back Jimmy's foreskin with his lips and held the moist round tip in his mouth.
When his body was hard and ready Willie shifted, twisting and hitching his leg so he was astride him, facing him. He wanted Jimmy to take his pleasure at that moment. It could be done so easily. His buttocks were open and ready and Jimmy's stiff flesh was nestled, hot and hard between them. He squeezed himself down a little and rejoiced at the resultant tiny gasp. Jimmy had responded. He radiated pleasure.
Willie turned his head a little and felt compelled to look away, hoping that in his confusion the young man wouldn't detect the difference between a boy and a girl?
Jimmy's pulse roared and he reached up for him, but Willie gently laid him back. "Don't move. Let me do this. I'll do everything."
Taking the standing flesh in his hand and guided it onto its place, rotating his bottom, relaxing himself before squeezing down onto its tip.
Somewhere in the near distance a bomb exploded, then another and another. That night it seemed the enemy had chosen to destroy completely the little part of Essex in which they lived and the noise and vicious flashes came at them like a thunderstorm spawned by the devil.
Blind and deaf to everything around him, Jimmy made a soft sound of pleasure in his throat; an aching recognition of what was happening to himself, without knowing what was really happening. The whisky he had consumed combined with his state of mind made confusion complete. His senses told him he was in bed with a beautiful girl who was bestowing on him her most intimate and personal favours, and Willie took care not to disturb that illusion by exposing too much of his body. He was determined that Jimmy would never know the truth about what was happening.
Once established he found a rhythm, rising and falling, romping up and down while the man lay on his back, cherishing every movement the girl made, returning the passion, thrusting up hard with his hips in heated sexual collusion.