Interlude: After One Man's WarbyJames Cody©
He stood at the intersection that was indicated on the crumpled piece of paper he'd held on to more tightly than the lifejacket that kept him afloat after the transport ship bringing him back to North America was sank by a wolf pack of u-boats -- left would lead him down the path he recognised well: alone with only his thoughts to accompany him. Right would lead him to something he thought many times he would forever lose. A chance for happiness. He hoisted his heavy bag over his shoulder, tightened the collar of his overcoat and turned right on Wellington street towards the house number he stared at each night before grabbing the little sleep allotted him in the sweltering heat of North Africa.
you don't think about that number when the shells a droppin' on yer head like pigeon shit in central park, boy, you jes' make sure yer shots are as straight as the hell yer sendin' the bastard shootin' back at ya to
He walked slowly down the street. The weather was unseasonably warm for February as far as he knew, and the streets and the sky shared the same shade of gray. He wondered if people were looking at him from behind their veiled windows: a 6"1 lanky piece of green haunting their quiet street with echoes of past invasions. The trees seemed to be petrified with sadness -- long icicles dangling from the tips of branches like frozen tears. The houses themselves were cookie cutter copies of one another, the sole marked difference the colour of the bricks and the occasional buick or chevy in the driveways. He finally came upon 945 Wellington street. It was like the others, a two story bungalow with a patch of yellowish lawn in front of it. The roof was black shingles, the first story was aged red bricks while the lower half was exemplary stone work. He looked to the sky, took a deep breath and walked up to heavy wooden door.
"Oui?" a small elderly woman asked as she looked up at him, she pushed her glasses up her nose and closer to her squinting eyes.
"Isabelle Si-roy, silvuplay?"
"Euh ... un instant. Isabelle! Y'a un homme qui veut t'voir. Yé grand. C't'un américain pis yé ben grand."
The elderly lady stepped aside and he hesitantly stepped past her and entered the house. He was facing a narrow staircase leading upstairs to 2 rooms. On his left there was a closed door and on his right he looked on to a well furnished living room dominated by a stone fireplace and heavy french wooden furniture. The living room was darkened as thick wool curtains filtered what little daylight was left. But light did emanate from the kitchen at the back of the house; from there he heard muffled voices and the rustling of people as they rose frantically from the table.
"Qu'est-ce qui a m'man?" he heard coming from the lips he dreamt about since that faithful day of shore leave nearly a year ago. She emerged from the kitchen with the same grace she'd demonstrated when he first saw her in La chaudière bleu, swerving around luxurious tables, snatching up empty plats with one hand and depositing mouth watering dished in front of grateful patrons with the other. Then and there, he'd known he wanted to watch her move forever.
Isabelle froze in her steps as she saw the tall man in green standing in her hallway. "William," she whispered as he dropped the sack from his shoulder to the floor. From behind her a patchwork coloured cat trotted up to the bag, sniffed it, and then rubbed itself against his legs. William picked the cat up with a quick gesture as Isabelle approached him carefully. The animal curled up in the crook of his right elbow as if it was the most natural thing in the world and began to purr with an intensity that startled the elder woman.
"William?" Isabelle asked as she came within arm reach. She reached out and touched the cat reassuringly.
"Hi Isabelle. I'm William Payton. Once, I was a soldier and you said you'd never forget me. I'm just a man now -- do you remember me?" His voice trembled.
"Âllo, William Payton from Brooklyn. Born in 1913, November 1st, the day after me. I'm 21 now. So are you. I could never forget something like that." Her voice was quiet now, like the cat's purring was. The entire house seemed to listen with intense focus as they spoke.
"Isabelle Si-roy. The third of seven children. This must be your mother Claudette and this ball of fur has to be Matou."
"Yes. But my name is pronounced Seer-Waa. Sirois."
"Oh," he stated awhile she took Matou from his arm and set him down on the bag. The cat tucked its legs under its body and curled its tail around its body. "I was wondering ... if you remembered what I told you before I shipped out."
"You said you were probably going to start loving me the farther you were from me. You said that if you survived your tour of duty you would come back to me. But you stopped writing and I thought you'd died."
She reached out and touched his rugged face.
"I almost did. But I survived by saying to myself I had to keep my promise to you. Of all the promises I made, I couldn't break this one." He closed his blue eyes and she caressed his eyelid with her thumb.
the rattle of machine gun fire, the smell of cordite, hot lead and blood filling his nostrils, orders being shouted as shells hit the ground before their feet, rushing to his feet and hoisting the high caliber gun, remembering the importance of taking this hill from the sniper, chasing up the hill, unhitching a grenade from his webbing while the kickback of the gun fought to throw him down the hill, enemy bullets tearing the flesh of his arm and the presence of intense heat as his limb stopped responding, words screamed in a language forever unknown to him as the explosive fell in the midst of the enemy and did its job, rendering flesh and searing bone, thinking about Isabelle as the blowback from the explosion tossed him back, reminding him of how he felt the first time he saw her
"I love you," he said, his eyes were still closed. "I don't expect you to say the same. But I ..." Isabelle put a finger to his lips and he opened his eyes.
"Je t'aime.." she whispered as she pulled him down to her height and she stood on her tip toes. "Mon amour, ça fait si longtemps que je t'attend pour te dire ces mots. I love you so much, William!"
They pressed their lips together delicately at first. They were oblivious to the other members of the household gathering around them to witness this reunion -- their kiss soon became a passionate embrace and he hoisted Isabelle off the ground and held her tight and like a cliched picture he twirled her around as she laughed with glee through the kiss, much to the astonishment of her parents and the cheers of the 2 other young women who followed her from the kitchen and the bemused regard of Matou.
"Ahem!" resounded from the living room. William slowly deposited Isabelle and stood at attention as a elderly man deliberately made his way to the hallway. He was a bit taller than Isabelle, but still only came to William's nose. Isabelle stood close to him and held his hand tightly and Matou curled around his legs.
"William, eh?" he stated with a slightly accented English.
"This my father,William," Isabelle said. "Archibald Roland Sirois."
"It's an honour to meet you, sir."
"I've heard a lot about you, jeune homme," Mr Sirois said as he examined William's uniform. "My Isabelle has waited a long time for you." He reached in to his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. "You know how to drive?"
"Roland!" the elderly woman yelped. "Tu peux pas juste les laisser partir comme ça!"
Mr Sirois walked past the young couple and took his wife's hand. " Claudette, she's old enough to know what she's doing. And I know he loves her. Pis on vas être tout seule, ce soir. Just you and me."
Claudette laughed and winked at her husband. Mr Sirois patted William on the shoulder while Claudette reached behind a door and picked up Isabelle's coat and handed it to her. Mr Sirois then ushered them out the front door and lead them to the garage. The Ford hardtop rested quietly, waiting for its passengers to rev it in heat.
"There's a map to te Eastern Townships, my boy," Mr Sirois said. "The drive should only take about 40 minutes. Isabelle, I love you. I trust your heart and I think you made the right choice with this young man. It won't be easy. You haven't known each other long and he is still wounded, but the heart is rarely wrong." He plopped another set of keys in Isabelle's hand: "I hope you both like the gift I have left for you when you get get there."
As William started the car and put in gear, Claudette joined Roland -- she carried a box full of blankets. "Oubliez pas Matou," she said as she handed the mewling cat to her daughter who slid onto the back seat with William's sack. The cat raised it head and examined its surroundings, satisfied itself, and curled up in the blanket for a nap. After putting the car in gear, William backed the car out of the garage and Isabelle squeezed his hand tightly and pressed her lips to his cheek. Alone at last in the car as he drove towards the bridge that would lead them to the south shore, he allowed himself to feel a familiar stirring in his groin that had been dormant since he gave her that last kiss on the dock.
"William," she whispered as she rested her head on his broad shoulder. "Is this for real?"
He let a hand fall from the wheel and rested it on her lap and gave her thigh a squeeze. She blushed and closed her eyes and took a deep breath and released a low sigh. "I don't know," he said as she rubbed her thighs together around his fingers. "As long as your with me it's a dream come true."
there was a hiss as he heard his name being called by others, were they friends? he didn't care as colours danced and clashed before his eyes, he wanted to move but his body wasn't listening, he was moving but it wasn't his will, what he wanted was to dance with her, as his arms and legs were moved he thought they were sweeping her off her feet, he thought the warmth he felt spreading across his chest was the weight of her body as she consumed him, his eyes grew heavy and his thoughts grew dimmer and his dreams were of her
They pulled out onto route 112 and the lights of Montreal faded and the sky filled with the first stars of the evening. They drove through rural villages, the road meandering around lakes and rivers. William felt like he'd crossed some barrier to enter an alternate world where life was slower and easier, and fundamentally peaceful -- something he sought out all his life. While he pondered the countryside he as Isabelle stared in awe at the night sky. He took that as a cue and pulled off the road so he could review the map. When he cut the engine Isabelle got out of the car and observed the sky with an intensity he'd never seen cross features as delicate as hers. After he noted they were right the cross road that would lead them to Knowlton, he joined her as she reviewed the stars. "There are so many," she declared. He imagined he could see the reflection of each star in her eyes.
"So beautiful," he said with a sigh and took her hand.
"You are." He grabbed her by the shoulders and swung her around so they were facing each other. "Isabelle. I love you. I can say it once, I can say it everyday. In the morning when I'll see you I'll love. At night. Love. Sunrise to sunset I love you." He pulled her close -- she surrendered to his embrace and their lips touched. The tenderness that had populated their brief hugs and touches was replaced with unbridled passion as their tongues escaped their mouths and danced with a sensual obscenity they had never known before. Under the moonlight, in the crisp winter air their hands travelled across their bodies, looking for the warmth of flesh through their layers of winter bodies. They kissed with violence and madness for minutes before the cold finally broke through their desire and brought them from their embrace.
"We're going to freeze," Isabelle said while catching her breath and holding William at bay with a weak push."Is it far?"
"No. About 2 miles and we'll be... There."
She winked at him and released him so he could get in the driver's seat while she took hers. He gunned the engine and took the left fork in the road and drove to their destination.
A few minutes later, they pulled into the driveway of a stone two story house. The driveway circled a grove of maples and willows and when they stopped and got out of the car they admired the quality of the stone work of the old Victorian cottage. The porch extended the whole face of the house, with columns that stretch up to touch the roof. William, carrying his bag, followed by Isabelle -- with Matou -- walked up to the forged iron door and slipped a key into the lock. He swung the door open and they walked in; Isabelle ran her hand across the wall and found a light switch. The house lit up and they saw they had entered a broad living room dominated by a massive fireplace. In front of it was a heavy sofa and two easy chairs. Opposite the fireplace was a tall library waiting to be filled with books. Isabelle dropped the cat and walked around the living room -- to William she seemed disoriented and almost drunk with happiness. Matou followed her, rubbing his jaw against the hard surfaces of the furniture, marking this place as his new territory. William dropped his bag by the door, walked over to the fireplace, took off his heavy coat and cap undid his regulation tie, rolled up his sleeves and began to stack some of the logs that had been left in the foyer in order to get a fire going.
Isabelle took her coat off as well and kneeled next to him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders and rested her head next to his. In turn he wrapped an arm around her slim waist and managed to stoke the flame with one hand. As they watched the flames crackle and dance, they breathed in the atmosphere of this cozy house.
"How long do you think we can stay here?" she asked as she stroked his short blond hair. William kissed her cheek and stood up; Isabelle watched as he reached for an envelope he had noticed resting on the mantle of the fireplace. It had her name on it.
"You tell me."
"It's my father's handwriting," she said as she tore the edge of the envelope. She scanned the sheet of stationary and gasped."It's mine ... Ours!" she exclaimed. "The house is a gift from my father. It was his grandparents' home and he's giving it to me and whoever I love... Papa..." she let drift from her lips as a tear slowly rolled down her Cheek.
She ran to William and he picked her up and held her tight: "We're home!" she screamed.
eyes open and he cried as dust settled past his eyelids, he couldn't move to rub the dust from his eyes, there was a numbness to his arms and legs but he was able to raise his head, fire galloped across the sky as people ran past him, shrill screams like the song of hysterical birds, he looked down at himself, things that were supposed to be inside of him were now outside
"Home is where the heart is, Isabelle," William said as he took her face in his and rubbed the tear away. "And you have my heart."
They kissed. And now there was no cold night air to cool their desire. Their tongues burst through their lips and began to make love even before they touched. William pushed Isabelle back till she giggled and stumbled back to the sofa. Her fingers reached for the buttons of his shirt and she struggled with a few of them until se tore at them with all her strength and they popped from they eyeholes with a sudden jolt. William was momentarily stunned by her sudden strength wile she took the time to admire his finely cut chest and abdomen -- then in a swift yank from her neck to torso her silk blouse tore open to expose her sumptuous bosom. The pointy brassiere seemed almost out of place over her slim waist. They locked eyes for a moment till Isabelle dragged William down and they smothered each other's faces with mad kisses bordering on violence.
He ran his hands up the sides of her body and down her thighs, each time pushing her quilted skirt up higher till her garters and panties were exposed. Under the power of the shivers his touch triggered across her sensitive skin, she sat up slightly and reached behind her back and unclasped her brassiere. He paused a moment to pull her restraining garment off and saw for the first time her full, heavy breasts. They fell invitingly to each side of her chest. His breathing became shallow as her large areola and nipples gushed with blood and excitement.
"What is it?" Isabelle asked, a sign of worry creeping in to her voice.
"I ... " he stammered and slowly leaned from her for a moment. "You're so beautiful," he whispered. "I knew from the first time I saw you how magnificent you were ... but I never thought..." He closed his eyes and dived forward he swept her breasts up and pushed them together and plunged her ripe nipples in to his wanton mouth, tracing figure eights from their tips down to her aureolas.
Isabelle moaned and grabbed fistfuls of his hair as electricity circuited from her nipples to that secret place between her thighs -- sensing the bulge in William's trousers she arched her back to force more of her breasts into his mouth and began to grind her crotch against his. He groaned and let go of her chest and kissed her frantically across her eyes and lips. As her tongue sought his her hands slid to his belt and she undid the buckle and she slid them and his boxers part way down his thighs. His engorged cock bounced against her flesh.
"I want to look at it," she whispered.
William reluctantly reigned in his kisses and rolled away from her and moved to sit on the couch. Isabelle stood and faced him and undid her skirt and let it fall to the floor. He shook his pants off and tossed them aside and pulled his socks off. He watched her, silently observing each of her movements while he stroked his shaft with his equally long fingers. She undid her garter and stocking and slid them off with a mischievous gleam in her eyes.
"Don't stop," he begged as much as ordered. His stroking of his cock quickened while she removed her panties and undid the bun of her hair. Finally, she was naked before him. He stopped jerking his member and drank in her image as she approached him: her beautiful face surrounded by a halo of dark brown hair; large brown eyes and a fine nose and full lips; large breasts begging to be kissed and touched; her slim waist leading to curved womanly hips and long, slender legs; and finally her moist triangle of dark hair at the gate of her pussy. Wetness sparkled in the light of the fireplace.
Isabelle knelt before him and took his cock in her hands and moved it from side to side. William sighed and closed his eyes and leaned his head back when Isabelle took her first tentative lick at his glans. Her lick changed to a kiss and finally she engulfed the head of his cock fully in her mouth. His eyes snapped open and he arched his back and gasped while she slid her hand up and down his shaft and flicked her tongue in circles around his tip. He bit his lower lip felt his nipples harden while she traced the length of his shaft with her lips and kissed his balls and nuzzled them. He began to thrust his hips upwards to accentuate the pleasure she was giving him -- he did so a few times until he touched her shoulders and pulled her up. He twisted so he was lying on the sofa and guided her hips. She parted her legs and braced her knees on both side if his head -- she simultaneously lowered her pussy to his mouth and her mouth to his cock. William lapped at her moistness, regaling in its tartness as it flowed from her depths. She halted from sucking his member when his tongue found her cunt lips and flickered across their velvety smoothness.