The Paul & Jenny Stories Pt. 15hbyPAUL C©
The Paul & Jenny Stories Pt. 15h: Another June Wedding Part 8
(Copyright 2001 by Paul. All rights reserved).
All events and characters are fictitious.
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I awoke at seven o'clock with the sun streaming through my window. I could do with a cup of tea.
I slipped into my dressing gown and visited the bathroom, cursing the noise the cistern made as I flushed it and crept downstairs. The back kitchen door was open and somebody had already made a pot of tea. I looked out and saw David sitting at the table they used on their patio when they ate or sat out. He had a steaming mug of tea in front of him. That was for me.
I made myself a mug of tea and went outside.
"Good morning Jenny." He said as I approached.
"Good morning." I replied taking the offered seat to his side and looking out over his garden. "You're up early."
"I couldn't sleep." He took a sip of tea. "It's silly really."
"Paul's grandfather telling him about the civil war in Spain. It's all best forgotten."
"Will you tell me about it?"
He looked from his tea to the garden then at me.
"You don't want to hear about that. It's your wedding day."
I knew that.
"Well I'm not going to be able to sleep now. Please."
He was silent for a few seconds as if lost in his thoughts.
"Alright." He said finally.
My father and Roddrego had gone into Spain from Gibraltar to persuade Roddrego's father to leave the country before the violence became worse and a full-scale war developed. We had hoped they would be back by nightfall the same day but they didn't return.
Mother had been quiet at dinner the previous evening when my father and Roddrego hadn't returned. She was even quieter this morning. She ate little and looked up expectantly whenever somebody entered the dining room or, later, the anteroom where we had gathered.
Alistair spent most of his time with George in the Regiments Headquarters building. Every hour or so he would return to shake his head and tell us nothing had been heard yet.
The morning dragged on and on. Mother didn't want to talk and Alistair, when he was there didn't stop long. I was bored. Bored and a little worried. Not too much so because Alistair and George had assured us that it was simply a short trip into Spain and back for them through an area of the country so far untouched by the troubles further north. I thought everybody was over-reacting. What if they had just broken down?
I went out and stood on the veranda at the front of the mess as the staff laid the tables for lunch. There was a lot of activity on the main square. Trucks were pulling up and being loaded with troops carrying rifles and tin helmets. I saw the Commanding Officer and his Second in Command climb into a car outside the headquarters building and then saw Alistair walking briskly towards me. Or should I say us. I looked around in response to a movement by my side and saw my mother. She slipped an arm around my waist. I did the same to her.
Alistair stopped in front of us. His face looked drawn.
"Let's go inside." He suggested.
Mother led the way back to the anteroom and I sat by her side on a sofa. She held one of my hands between hers.
"Well." Mother said after Alistair had remained quiet for a few seconds.
"I don't know anything specific at present." He started. "Two nights ago trouble flared up in Malaga. There has been a lot of looting of shops and I'm afraid some people have been killed."
My mother gasped.
"We haven't heard anything about Rolly and Roddrego yet. There are huge crowds of refugees building up at the border and this Regiment has been ordered to go there in support of the border authorities. I am afraid the situation is very confused at the moment. All communications with the Malaga area have ceased. We just do not know what's happening."
My mother was squeezing my hands so tightly I almost cried out.
"Is there nothing we can do?" She asked.
There was a trembling in her voice I'd never heard before.
"I'm sorry." Alistair stood closer and placed his hand on her shoulder. "There isn't. All I can do is remain in the Regiments operations room and hope to learn something from the radio traffic. I'm afraid that now the Regiments been deployed they do not have much time for us anymore."
There was a knock on the door and a steward announced that lunch was being served.
Mother played with her plate of salad whilst I looked for seconds. After lunch we went for a walk around the camp. It was strangely quiet. And it was very hot. Back in the Mess we sat in the anteroom and I read some old newspapers and started a book.
Mother couldn't settle. Every few minutes she'd get up and go and look out of the window or open the door and look down the corridor. I tried to get her interested in the book I was reading but I could see her mind was elsewhere.
"I know what happens." She suddenly said.
"What?" I asked.
"In revolutions and civil wars. Old scores are settled. People take what they want and the old and weak suffer."
"Was it like that in South America?" I asked.
She smiled weakly.
"I was fortunate to have been heavily pregnant with you. Nobody wanted me when they ransacked the Presidents Palace. There were so many other woman there for them to take. I saw some terrible things. Things done to people I knew who were my friends. Some committed by men who I had used to call friends."
There was a movement in the corridor and she hurried to the door. It was only a mess steward passing carrying some clean bed sheets.
"Roddrego had a sister." She continued after resuming her seat. "The men came for her that first evening. We could hear her screams; they seemed to go on for hours. Then they brought her before us, naked and shot her. I know what will happen out there."
She nodded in the direction of Spain.
There was another sound in the corridor. This time she didn't move until the door opened and Alistair entered the room.
"We have news." He said slumping into an armchair. "George has had some of his men moving amongst the refugees at the border asking about Rolly and Roddrego. They were seen on the road to Malaga yesterday. Also there were reports of shooting from near the Villa on the night before they left and yesterday afternoon. The truck was seen again yesterday on the road to the old Convent."
"What can we do?" I asked.
"Officially nothing." Alistair replied looking out of the window to where the officers parked their privately owned vehicles. "The British government cannot get involved by sending in troops to search for them."
He looked at me then out of the window again. I could sense he was forming a plan.
"Unofficially?" My mother asked gently.
"Somebody must go in and try to find them and if possible help them to get out." He answered, looking out of the window again. "Do they teach you to drive at that school your parents have sent you away too?"
I was quite taken by surprise by his question.
"Well, yes, but not exactly." I said. "My father showed me how to drive the car and I have taken some flying lessons and we have a motor-bike at school that we are stripping down and re-building. I've had a go on that."
"What are you planing?" My mother asked, standing up and walking to the window to peer out. "No."
"Apparently Malaga is quiet now." Alistair looked into her eyes as he spoke.
"How would you get there?" My mother looked out of the window again.
"By boat." Alistair explained. "We hire one of the fishing boats in the harbour. One of the larger ones, with a Derrick. We travel overnight. They land us at first light near Malaga. We take the road up into the hills and we will be there in thirty minutes. We could be there and back in an hour and a half, two hours at most. That really is as long as it need take. At least to find out."
"What about the bands of armed men you've mentioned."
"At that time in the morning they will still be sleeping off the excesses of the night before. They won't be organised yet."
My mother nodded. I thought of what it must have been like for her to hear the screams of the Presidents daughter as they did what they did to her and then to see her killed in front of her. She knew what was out there. I had read in the history books about this and other glorious struggles for freedom in the past fifty years. The bland facts of who was in command when any particular battle was fought and won hid the true cost that had to be paid in human suffering. I was beginning to realise that.
"I'll look after him." Alistair touched my mother's shoulder again. "I promise."
"We'll look after him." She said, turning to me. "You can drive a motorcycle?"
"I don't know about this." Alistair interjected before I could reply.
"Can you speak Spanish?" My mother asked him.
"A little." Alistair admitted.
"I speak it very well."
I knew that from our previous visits to the Presidents Villa. I could speak a little. My father could speak it a lot better than me but mother was best.
"Come here David." Alistair beckoned.
I went to the window and looked outside. Parked up against the wall beneath the window was a motorbike with a sidecar containing a wicker basket seat.
"Could you drive that?" He asked.
"I could." I confirmed.
I wasn't that confident. I'd never driven a motor bike with a sidecar and the bike I had driven hadn't looked quite so big as this.
"Can I practise." I suggested.
"We don't have the machine yet. I must go and talk to somebody."
Alistair was gone over an hour. When he returned he smiled broadly.
"There is only the Regiments Admin officer left on the camp with the barracks guard. I think I have everything I want from him. I had to spin him a bit of a yarn but I think he bought it. The officer who owns the bike is away with the Regiment and they certainly won't be back tonight. I managed to speak to George and he knows a Captain who owes him a favour who he will get a message to that we will be meeting him at six on his boat. We're to leave at four thirty and visit George on the way to the dock's. George will provide us with Bone Fide documents describing us as representatives of the pres. The kitchen staff will pack a bag of provisions for us before we go. As for practising on the machine. Go and look at it by all means but don't start it up just yet."
"You don't have his permission to take it?" Mother asked.
"The admin officer was certain all the junior officers would like to help in any way possible." It was a bland reply and Mother didn't pursue the point.
I went outside a looked at the machine. I felt certain I could ride it. I beginning to feel quite excited. I hadn't expected this. Adventure. Dramatic rescues. This would certainly liven up my 'what I did during the holidays' essay when I returned to school.
Mother came out and joined me once carrying a small 'Box Brownie' camera and took my photo standing next to the machine. She told me it was part of our 'cover story' and wanted to make sure she knew how it worked.
I walked around the camp and talked to the 'Bombardier' Guard Commander in the guardhouse. He told me that Gibraltar was the most God forsaken hole he'd ever been posted to and couldn't wait for his move back to Blighty the following year. Throughout our conversation he would turn and swear at a prisoner who was cleaning the floor behind him. He never seemed to be satisfied with the man's efforts. I felt sorry for him and felt I should offer to help.
A bell chimed somewhere and I looked at my wristwatch. I told the Guard Commander that we would be going out for a little ride later on one of the officers motor-bikes and left to return to the Officers Mess.
Back at the mess Mother and Alistair were waiting for me in the anteroom. There was a wicker basket with a cloth cover and an Army knapsack with a shoulder strop on the table. Alistair was holding a map case and was studying a sheet in the open section.
"Where have you been?" Mother asked. "We were starting to get worried about you."
"I went for a walk and spoke to the Bombardier at the Guardroom." I replied. "I told him we would be going out for a ride on the motor-bike later."
"Clever lad." Alistair patted me on the back with his artificial hand. It hurt.
"Right." He continued. "Let's go."
He opened the window at the rear of the room.
"This way, I think." He said, offering his hand to mother.
I was last through the window after passing through the basket and knapsack. Mother was sitting in the wicker basket seat. I switched on the fuel, adjusted the mixture and opened the footrest on the kick-starter. I pushed down hard with my foot. It hardly moved. I tried again. This time lifting my whole weight from the ground. The lever moved and the engine turned. Bang. It exploded into life. Keeping my hand on the throttle grip I swung my leg over and sat on the forward seat. I undid the fuel tank cap and peered into the tank. It appeared to be about three parts full. I tried to do some calculations as Alistair climbed onto the seat behind me.
"What's the matter." He asked.
"Just checking on the fuel." I replied. We should have enough for at least one hundred miles. I hoped.
"We'd best be away before somebody comes." He urged, gently.
I engaged first gear and released the clutch. We bumped off. Nearly stalled as I let the revs fall then picked up speed. I changed into second. Then back into first as we pulled up outside the Guardroom.
He had a lovely voice. It was quiet yet strong. Paul always dismissed him as just being an Accountant. There was a lot more to him than that.
He was staring out over the open fields to the Hills and high moors in the distance. His lips would soften into a smile or stiffen sternly as he spoke. He was a very attractive man. But then his parents had been a very attractive couple. His grandfather still was a very good-looking man. I wondered if he would ever take up with another woman. It had been nearly eighteen months since she had died. I wondered if he blamed me. None of the family had mentioned it being my fault but I had been driving. Tommy and his cousins may have tampered with the breaks but I had been driving.
I started filling inside.
"Am I boring you?" He asked.
"No." I sniffed. "I was just thinking about something."
"What?" He asked gently.
"Oh. I see."
"I wish she were here today."
"Do you know something?" He was looking at me. "So do I."
"If we hadn't gone out shopping that day." I wanted to cry.
"Hey." He placed one of his hands on top of mine. "You weren't to blame."
I could feel the tears running down my cheeks. He turned away and sniffed.
Suddenly, I wanted to comfort him. I stood up and moved behind his chair placing my arms around him. My dressing gown feel open as I held him tight, my breasts against his shoulder blades. He smelt so clean and fresh. I could feel my nipples hardening. Please go down.
He looked up at me and I kissed his cheek and pulled back.
"What was that for?" He asked.
"For being Paul's Dad." I replied, gathering the front of my dressing gown together.
I could have moved faster to cover myself. Had I wanted him to see my breasts? I wasn't sure that was what I had but there was no denying he had certainly looked.
I resumed my seat suddenly conscious of my nakedness beneath the flimsy material. I crossed my legs. Had I just shown him my pussy? I didn't know where to look. He did. He was staring back towards the high moors. Paul would have been looking between my legs hoping for a second sighting. I knew he wouldn't do that.
I could see how Mary would have fallen for Alistair despite their age difference now. Easily see.
Somebody was moving in the kitchen. Mary was standing in the doorway.
"You'll catch a cold sitting out there dressed like that." She said to me. "Come on in and have something to eat. You've got a busy day ahead."
I suddenly hoped for a long and interesting night as well. Paul. You were going to impress me tonight. I hoped you were well rested.