Willie's War Ch. 05bySnurge©
As midday on Sunday approached, Willie appeared in the sitting room looking very regal in his red dress, with a handsome string of pearls around his neck, and small diamonds in his ears; borrowed, curtsey of Herr Haushofer's late wife. He had also managed to borrow a little black bolero jacket with chic square-cut shoulders, and to top the whole thing off, a perky little black hat with a feather in it. And velvet gloves. No self-respecting girl ever went on a date without gloves if she could help it.
Herr Haushofer smiled his approval. "Take a key with you. I shall be out myself for the rest of the day, and I won't be home till late."
Willie waited for half an hour after the old man had gone, then there was the honk of a car horn outside, and when he looked he saw that Viktor had called to collect him in a taxi.
"My, my. How vivacious and elegant you look today." the man enthused, "Just the right image for making an appearance at the Europaischer Hof. Come along, we must hurry, we are already late."
"The Europaischer?" queried Willie with some alarm has he clambered in beside him.
"Yes, we are going to there to lunch with my mother and my sister Rita. I wish to introduce you to them."
Willie's hands flew to his face, but Viktor only smiled.
"Don't get upset. I've told them that I'm bringing a young lady to lunch. They are expecting you and wish to meet you. I'm certain they will at once fall in love with you."
Willie groaned inwardly. He knew he was not in for a cosy meal but an interrogation by Viktor's female relatives, and women in general were very adept at identifying frauds and impersonators of their own gender. Despite his smooth features and the mild piquancy of his voice he knew he would have a tough job to remain undiscovered. And even if he escaped exposure, as highborn citizens of Heidelberg they were going to want to know everything about him. They would poke and pry until he made a slip that would identify him as not being the right quality of person to be in their company, and that must mean he would lose Viktor as a friend.
It took only ten minutes to reach the hotel in a taxi. Once inside Viktor led the way across a richly carpeted foyer and into the dining room.
The Europaischer Hof was the swankiest hotel in the district and was much too splendid for Willie's comfort. It was a place of white marble columns, potted palms and red banquettes, lavishly moustached elderly waiters and tables jammed with men in Prussian field-grey displaying the black and white tunic ribbons of the Iron Cross.
The soldiers were all shouting and flirting and calling for more wine, and there were other men there in morning suits, and women, eyelashes fluttering like fans, with short hair and knee-length skirts, wearing lipstick and smoking cigarettes.
Viktor's mother and sister were already seated at a table and Willie assessed the older woman first. Her face looked serious and startlingly pale, but she was beautifully dressed in purple. She was wearing black suede shoes. Her suede gloves were obviously hand-made and she was wearing an impressive emerald necklace.
The younger woman, Rita, was very pretty and seemed very fashion conscious and chic. Unabashedly Willie took inventory of her short black hair, her smooth triangular face, and the thick dark eyebrows that shadowed her very brown eyes. She was slightly older then himself, he thought, and was clearly so accustomed to being noticed that she herself was no longer aware of it.
They were just finishing their soup course when they arrived and the older woman looked up with an expression of displeasure, but Viktor cleverly managed to get in first words.
"I apologise for being late, mother. I was delayed in collecting Wilhelmina from her home. Please forgive me."
He clicked his heels as young men of the higher classes sometimes still did, and he bowed politely and kissed her hand. Quite correctly, he did not make the same gesture to his sister, as she was unmarried, and hand kissing was a courtesy only offered to married women.
"Louis XVIII once said that punctuality is the politeness of kings." the older of the two women said, scowling. She was bent over the table sucking aggressively at her soup, holding her spoon with short, thick fingers to scoop up the pieces of eel, which she was consuming without any pretence of genteel grace.
Viktor gave Rita a small bow and a smile, and then turned his attention back to his mother. "Those Frenchmen! Always so quick to corner we Germans with their quotations, but always finding it tough to stand up to us in a fight."
He was humorous, so polite, so solicitous, so ingenuous and so warm and kind the woman didn't have the heart to rebuff him when he formally introduced Willie.
Rita glanced at her watch. "The meal will be here in a moment," she said, "We took the liberty of ordering – I hope you don't mind, it's better if they are given time."
Willie spent the whole meal looking dazed and feeling tortured. He went through the motions of eating as if in a dream. But he managed to tell funny stories about his family and his last summer holiday with them in Baden-Baden, sedate family walks along the Lichtenthalerallee, and how they took coffee in the Casino gardens where the orchestra played. All that was true.
And he described his family's home as that of Ravenskopf in Upper Silesia with estates that stretched to the Oder, which was untrue but sounded impressive, and he hoped it would be too far away and be too obscure to be known by anyone there. He told them that at present he was taking a holiday with his uncle. He didn't make any slips, and he made no romantic overtures to Viktor, and there was nothing sneaky or sleazy about him.
Viktor's mother listened but said little. As far as she was concerned he was just a very nice girl on a vacation, and her son was drawn to very nice girls. She was more interested in consuming her food than anything else. His sister Rita didn't question his story in any great detail either, she gave off an unmistakable aura of privilege and she was plainly wrapped up with the importance of her own life.
"Holidays are such wonderful events, but the war as ruined them for us." she complained, "We usually go to Switzerland; the Alps are beautiful at this time of year, and father as many friends in Zurich and Geneva. But this year we shall have to settle for Vienna."
"That's good," the older woman interjected, wiping her lips with a napkin, "The Viennese make delicious pastries."
A piano somewhere began playing what sounded like the Parisian boites, bouncy, almost march-like music, and a crowd of SS officers came in dripping with insignia – skulls and axes – chins held high, girlfriends hanging on their arms. But only on their left arms, their right arms they kept free for heilhitlering each other. Suddenly the Europaischer Hof was a Nazi heaven.
Directly after the meal, much to Willie's relief, Viktor ordered a taxi. But he didn't take Willie directly home. He had the taxi drop them at the river bank where they had first met so they could walk the rest of the way.
"Thank you for coming to lunch, you were so nice to my mother and sister." he said.
Still flummoxed by the strain of the event Willie gave him a mild reprimand. "You could have warned me that you intended for us to meet them. I was quite taken by surprise. And I don't think we should see each other again. I don't belong to the same class of people as you."
He snorted. He had a devils smile and the eyes to go with it. "To hell with class. I take company with whom I wish. My mother as become quite used to that. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you by insisting that you meet them, but appearances are only of secondary importance to my family. Being a Nazi is the vital element." he glanced sideways. "Are you National Socialist, Willie?"
The question seemed a very serious one for Viktor, and Willie, caught off guard, fumbled for a positive reply. "Um, well, I think I am, but I've yet to become a Party Member. So many things need to be sorted in my mind. Do you believe it makes good sense to make war with Russia?"
"Naturally," said Viktor. He was gazing out over the river but there was no trace of doubt in his voice. His reply was very positive. "If the Fuehrer has decided it to be proper, then it makes sense. A great leader always possesses vision, and the people who follow him demand visions."
"It will cause so much devastation, so many deaths and so much grief."
Viktor's gaze returned to Willie, probing for the cause of his concern. "Yes, of course it will," he conceded, "But whether we like it or not such things will always be with us. Politicians who claim they can eradicate them are doomed to duplicity; they cannot help but fail."
He produced a dazzling smile. "Politics is dead, Willie. Can you remember an election that actually meant something? Before Herr Hitler revealed himself every year saw clever new pretenders swept into power with a mandate to revive democracy and make urgent reforms. But what followed? Nothing but the same tired debates, pointless opposition and old compromises."
"The Fuehrer is all powerful, but didn't someone once say that power corrupts." Willie replied levelly.
"No," Viktor said gently, "'Absolute power corrupts absolutely'. The Roman Emperor Tacitus said that centuries ago, but he was wrong. It is democracy that corrupts, because the very act of begging for votes is a corrupt practise. Who can respect someone who spends his life toadying to strangers and asking them to elect him? Napoleon would never have done that."
Willie had never really taken a deep interest in politics. He had always thought it a subject too devious to understand properly, but he had always believed he supported the idea of democracy more than anything else. Now, as Viktor spoke, he found it increasingly difficult to trust his own judgement. The man was so...what? He was so persuasive.
"I expect I shall join the Party soon." he mumbled. Then in an effort to hide his uncertainties he changed the subject. "Your mother and sister were very nice to me. Rita is very beautiful and will no doubt break many men's hearts."
Viktor agreed. "She will be married before too long, and that will settle her down. She's more or less in love with someone at the moment and I'm sure she'll be engaged by the end of the year."
"But no marriage for you, Viktor?"
He reflected. "I enjoy myself too much," he said finally. "I have a young man's urges that I shall carry into middle age, and I hate the thought of denying myself."
When they had strolled along Dresdener Allee and had come up level with the bookshop he smiled wanly. "There are too many important things to do before I choose marriage." He glanced at Willy thoughtfully. "I'm due to attend a rally at the university this evening, but I'll have time on my hands until then. I was hoping you would ask me in for coffee."
Willie hesitated, for the first time feeling slight shame at where he lived. "It's not very plush inside, not what you will be used to."
Totally undaunted Viktor scrutinised the shop front with the carefree gaze of an adventurer. "Oh, I suppose everything could do with a fresh coat of paint, but it looks inviting enough. And I expect it's rather cosy inside."
Willie stood beside him offering lavish glances, while the man gazed down at him with hungry eyes. Something unseen and dangerous sizzled in the air between them. Willie couldn't see it, but he could feel it. Inside he was trembling, teetering on a tightrope of sexual excitement.
"We have no real coffee, but we have tea." he said. He unlocked the door and led him through the shop, and then into the tiny sitting room. There he paused. "I can't get involved with you, Viktor. I mean, not intimately. It's not just the class thing. There are other reasons why I can't get involved."
"Then, you must tell me why." the man demanded. "You're not a Jewess I'm certain, so stop avoiding it. I don't wish to hurt you, I want to understand. What is it you can't tell me?"
Wishing to avoid explaining Willie turned his head away. "It's too complex."
Viktor nodded as if he understood. "I think you are a lost child who cannot find her way. You have loved before and now love means too much pain. It's true, isn't it? You did love a man once, didn't you? It's impossible to hide that; it shines in your eyes." His voice resonated with the emotions that burned in him. "How can so much love be lost forever? Tell me. I can't bear not to know."
And now Willie looked up at him directly. "Yes, I once loved a man desperately. Far more than anyone can ever understand."
Frantically Viktor shook his head. "And so it didn't work out the way you wished. Even so, it is important not to dwell on disappointment. You must overcome it."
Goaded beyond endurance he gave in to the overwhelming impulse to shake him, and only when Willie slumped against him did he stop.
"Oh, Viktor, don't. It's not just the past, there is something else."
Viktor's answer was stark and immediate. He lifted Willie's head, his fingers hard along his jawbone; his tongue touched his lips and then pierced his mouth, crushing his mouth beneath his own just as he crushed the resistance.
"I know all your other secrets. I'm not stupid." he muttered, his mouth covering every inch of his face and throat. "I know you are not completely a woman. I've known it since we first met"
The revelation made Willie catch his breath. "And you don't mind?"
Viktor smiled. "Why do you think I'm so reluctant to marry? I'll tell you why. It's because I prefer people like you."
A gasp of amazement shook Willie. "You know what I am, and you still took me to see your mother and sister?"
The man chuckled gleefully. "Yes, I'm quite outrageous, aren't I? But there was no risk of you being discovered. They live in a different world to the one we inhabit, and it's inconceivable to them that a man could dress up and live as woman."
Willie turned away. Something in the timbre of his voice touched a nerve that he didn't want touched and caused a reaction he didn't want aroused. He surveyed him discreetly, the man who had tricked him and tricked his own family too. Beautiful, yes, but somehow spoilt by such childish games. But he was masculine; the word handsome seemed too tepid, too indefinite. So it was possible; a man could look like a hero, but not necessarily behave like one. Greek gods are quite misleading, he thought; statues in museums could easily represent a lie.
When he turned around, Willie's face was close to his and his eyes were almost shut. His mouth tantalised. Moist, warm and extravagant, and very soft. Their mouths dusted together and barely touched before he drew away, and for a time they stood apart, arms by their sides. Then Viktor settled his hands on Willie's hips and moved towards him.
Without giving any warning his hands smoothed Willie's body, touching his breasts, enticing his flesh, just as Eduard had touched him in the past. Willie's recollection of Eduard was vivid, timeless in its power. It had stayed with him constantly, the angry ecstasy, his sensation of utter defencelessness. No man had touched him like that since, until now. Suddenly his body once more craved such wicked caresses.
Behind him he had the hardness of a heavy wooden door, and in front he suddenly had the hardness that was Viktor. A deep shudder tormented him as the man started to explore the delicate whorls of his ears, his thumb on the pulse at the base of his throat.
"Relax with me." Viktor gave voice to a restraint that had tested him. "Be a woman for me now. I know what you are, and I want to make love to you because of what you are."
"Incredible." Willie murmured.
"I think you're incredible." Viktor said, putting his arm around him.
Viktor pulled the androgynous body towards him. "Yes."
Willie looked into the blue eyes that were staring straight at his own, and he could feel the strength of the arms around him. "I'm not incredible. I'm very ordinary."
"I say you're incredible," Viktor said again. He squeezed tighter. "And you're very lovely."
A sense of relief engulfed Willie. For so long he had hidden his sexuality, afraid that those attracted to him would be repulsed by what he really was. But Viktor accepted what he was and gloried in it. For the first time since Eduard he now felt free to offer himself unreservedly. "Up the stairs," he urged heatedly, "Herr Haushofer won't return until the evening."
Halfway up the stairs he asked himself bitterly why, after what he had done and the tricks he had played he should be ready to comply with him, but the reaction of his body to the knowledge that he was close behind was of longing and not rejection.
They went into Herr Haushofer's bedroom because it was more spacious, and Willie felt a great wave of desire descending on him, deep and towering. He let Viktor slip the buttons of his dress and cup his breast against a chemise so thin it might have been a second skin.
"Viktor." he experienced a sudden pang of erotic desire that seduced him into a long trembling sigh. The touch of his hand, the caressing of his tightly furled nipple, was exquisitely strong and arousing. He felt the pull of it to his body's core, and he gave a sharp, electrified moan as he stiffened.
The man stared down at his upflung face, his full, sensitive mouth faintly swollen by the violence of his kisses. "Don't stop me." he gritted, his handsome face full of a terrible frustration. "I may just strangle you. You deserve it. If you were more desirable you wouldn't be human."
If Willie's mind wasn't yet sure about sharing sexual intimacy at that moment, his body knew different. It knew, for instance that if he reached out and touched Viktor the way he was now doing, just the merest brush of his fingertips, slowly, oh so slowly against the tight bulge he could feel in the man's trousers, that instead of leaping away he would draw closer to him.
In his own way Viktor was fighting his own devil. He shouldn't be doing this. Oh, he shouldn't be doing this, he warned himself. Not with a boy in a skirt. His mother would be horrified, and his sister would have hysterics, and his father would disown him. But the mere prospect excited him, and the provocative touch Willie was subjecting him to, just the slight brush of delicate fingers against his erection, was more than he could stand. And it was true that being with a beautiful boy-girl was the kind of thing he enjoyed most.
Nor did he just wish to touch and taste, he wanted to take that naughty little cross-dresser primitively as though every layer of civilisation had been stripped from them both. Hot, urgent, immediate sex – that was what he wanted with him. He wanted to fill him and spill a great reservoir of his seed inside him.
Automatically Willie stepped back. His mind and body were tearing him apart with the ferocity of the conflicting messages they were sending. He wanted to go somewhere quiet and dark and stay there until he felt able to cope. Instead, taking hold of Willie's hands, Viktor pushed him against the wall and pinned them above his head while his body leaned against him. Willie could see his expression clearly and a fast, furious surge of shocked excitement raced through him. He had lost control now. He could see it in the man's eyes and he could feel it in the way he was grinding his body against him – and he loved it.
He let his red dress slither to the floor, and as Viktor felt the hips of the androgynous beauty lift and rise against him he knew there was no going back. Fingers were touching him again, and this time they were tracing his erection, gauging it – measuring it?
Suddenly Willie was kneeling up on the bed, presenting himself for a man's pleasure. His chest tightened as an uncertain touch revealed to him just how much a man Viktor was. When he felt his pants being removed shocked pleasure surged through him on a riptide.