Hopelessly interbred Kate discovers the joys of first love during the Second World War in an English village so secret even its name is censored. Sexual references, bad language. 18+
Overhead the lumbering Lancasters limped back to the airfield, one with a portside engine on fire, one wavering perilously, almost falling from the sky, but most were intact. They just looked – weary.
Kate Harpington-Smythe looked eagerly at each tired ‘plane, hunting for the name on the nose. And there it was! K for Kate! Algy’s ‘plane! If she looked carefully she fancied she could see Algy, the tail-end Charlie, waving at her.
She waved frantically in return, her heart thudding absurdly. He was safe!
Kate helped out on a volunteer basis at the canteen at the airfield at Upp*r F*ttock (the name was top secret, and censored), which was how she had met Algy in the first place.
It was her first night at the canteen, and she had been handing out cups of tea with slightly shaky hands, self-conscious in front of the hundreds of young men who either eyed her comely bosom leeringly, made lewd jokes, tried to get a date with her (especially those Americans!) or shyly accepted their cups with hands just as shaky as her own.
And then there was Algy. His blue eyes had locked into her brown eye and green eye in a cacophony of colour. She caught her breath, and poured so much tea in his cup it overflowed, scalding her.
“Ouch!” Kate dropped the cup and it shattered. Her hand felt as if it were on fire and she doubled over, gasping.
“I say, are you alright?” Algy’s voice was very concerned as he put a hand on her shoulder. She was dimly aware that, hunched over her hand as she was, the top of her breasts were on display for any airman to see. She heard wolf whistles.
But not from Algy.
He was a perfect gentleman. He put her hand under cold water and waited patiently until the worst of the pain had subsided.
“Now can I have my tea?” he smiled.
Despite the fact he was absolutely capable of getting his own while she was nursing her hand, Kate gladly poured him another cup with her throbbing hand.
“What’s your name?” said Algy, pouring a generous slug of rum into the tea from a battered silver hip flask, totally unaware that he was holding up the airmen in line behind him.
“Kate,” Kate replied, unable to tear her gaze from his tall, dark, handsome frame. His lips looked just made for kissing, she found herself thinking, and then realised how horrified her mother would be if she could know her thoughts.
“Kate,” repeated Algy. “My ‘plane is K for Kate. What a coincidence! What time do you come off duty?”
“In about an hour,” she replied.
“Can I take you out for a drink?” he said, gulping his tea.
Kate’s heart felt like it was flying away with all the speed of a Spitfire. She knew her parents would be horrified – after all, she was only twenty three – but also knew she would regret it for the rest of her life if she didn’t meet Rear Gunner Algernon Pratworth for a drink. But what harm could one sherry do?
* * *
Surreptitiously Kate crept into the lounge of The Spotted Dick behind Algy, terrified in case any of her parents’ friends reported that she had been out with a man, and one not known to the villagers! Upp*r F*ttock was a closely-knit community. Relieved, she saw nobody she knew in the pub, and soon Algy had put Glenn Miller’s In The Mood on the jukebox and was buying drinks.
Feeling very bold, Kate went into the tiny Ladies’ and put on some lipstick which she kept hidden in her bag.
“Mummy would be awfully cross with me,” she said to her reflection, which suddenly looked twenty five instead of sixteen, “she’d say I was cheap, or even common, but I don’t care. I’m with Algy.” She rolled his name off her tongue. “Algy.”
The man himself had bought her a sherry. Still dressed in his flying suit, he looked incredibly handsome, his dark hair tousled and his mouth turning up idly at the corners, as if laughing at some private joke.
“You look much better,” he said gallantly. “I’ll get you some nylons from the Yankees if you like so you won’t be afraid to wear your party shoes sometimes.”
Guiltily Kate looked at her feet, clad in old Aunty Pearl’s wellies. They didn’t really go with her beautiful wool suit, bought with three months’ clothing coupons, that she had worn in honour of her first day at work. She didn’t want to tell Algy she hadn’t enough coupons to buy shoes as well, and the only other ones she possessed were the childish black flat shoes she had worn to school or old Aunty’s Pearl’s awful lace up Victorian boots (when old Aunty Pearl had died Kate had had last pick of the old lady’s wardrobe, and had, regretfully, missed out on the better clothes).
Algy misread the pink embarrassment on her face for barely curbed sexual desire. His hopes (among other things) rose dramatically. She might look like a demure, virginal little miss but he’d bet she was hot stuff between the sheets!
“I’ll buy you another drink,” said Algy. Sherry loosened a girl’s dress and her legs, he thought with a grin and winked at the barman.
“Gosh, Algy, thanks!” gushed Kate. “I’ll be quite tipsy in a minute!” In the darkness of the pub she looked quite beautiful, Algy reflected; her eyes, with their huge pupils, looked exactly the same colour.
“Hurry up and drink it,” he urged. “It’ll be closing time soon.”
Algy put a protective arm around Kate’s swaying shoulders and guided her down the street and up a track to Farmer Palmer’s haybarn.
“Algy,” reproved Kate, “Where are we g-going?” she hiccuped.
“Up in the hay,” grinned Algy.
Kate assessed the situtation blearily. “I don’t think I should, you know. It’sh not very nische to be alone with a man, eshpecially a shtranger.” She stood her ground, and lashed her arms around a fence post.
Oh dear, thought Algy. It’ll take more than one date with this one to get anywhere.
“I promise nothing’ll happen to you,” he said seriously, tilting her face to meet his. “I might kiss you on the lips, like this -” soft as thistledown, his lips pressed to hers, and, feeling her respond ever so slightly, he increased the pressure, and slid his arms around her, holding the length of her body against his.
Kate felt Algy’s dick pressing hugely against her. Alarm bells went off in her head and she stiffened under his beguiling kiss and tried to twist away.
Algy sighed. “Or, we might just hold hands. Would you mind that? Just holding hands?”
Kate shook her head. “I – I’d like to hold hands.”
And, in the darkness of the barn, sitting in the warm hay, they did. Algy taught Kate a very special handshake. He called it The Secret Handshake, and said you could only do it in the dark. Kate had never realised Algy had such a long, thick thumb before that.
And she didn’t know what the warm, sticky stuff was, but it certainly made her burned hand feel better.
That had been six months ago. They had done The Secret Handshake many times since. Kate was sure Algy’s thumb must grow in the dark. Like a mushroom.
* * *
Now she ran to the airfield at Upp*r F*ttock in her new shoes, bought triumphantly with four months’ clothing coupons. They were high heeled and pretty, and gave old Aunt Pearl’s heavy dark grey gaberdine Edwardian mourning dress a new lease of life.
Lancasters and Flying Fortresses were disgorging their human cargo in waves of air force blue.
Gasping for breath, Kate leant against the wall of the canteen and searched for K for Kate. There she was! And there was Algy!
But what was that attractive little redheaded WAAF doing running into his arms? She must have made a mistake, thought Kate, she’s running to the wrong man.
But Algy swung the WAAF into the air and kissed her passionately.
Kate’s heart thudded so fast she felt it would burst from her chest and fall to the ground in a million pieces. Tears flooded her eyes and made sad trickles down the powder she had carefully patted onto her cheeks.
She dabbed at her eyes with old Aunt Pearl’s holey lacy handkerchief, and looked at the couple carefully.
The girl looked a lot like Algy, she realised. She had the same firm, resolute chin, and the same straight nose.
She must be Algy’s sister!
Kate’s heart returned to normal and she let out a sigh of relief.
Crying out “Algy!” she tore across the tarmac and flew into his arms faster than a swift, faster than a Spitfire.
Algy spat,”Bloody Nora!” as Kate covered his face in a volley of rapid kisses and left a trail of the illicit red lipstick on each cheek.
Finally she paused for breath. “Nora? Is that her name? Your sister?”
“I don’t ha -” Algy began, and he suddenly winked at the pretty WAAF over the top of Kate’s head. “Yes, it is, Kate. This is my sister – Nora.”
Kate hugged Algy until she thought her arms would break. It WAS his sister he had kissed so passionately! What a caring brother he was! What a fine husband and father he would make!
Eyes glowing with pride, she raised her face to his and saw his face wreathed in a huge grin.
“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” she cried.
“Of course.” Algy solemnly lied: “Kate, this is my..er..sister, Nora. Nora, this is Kate Harpington-Smythe. I’ve told you about her.”
Nora giggled. She looked SO like Algy, despite the fact she was red-haired and green eyed, and Algy had dark hair and blue eyes.
Kate gushed her hellos, blushing with joy at actually meeting one of Algy’s family at last. Mind you, he hadn’t mentioned a sister before this, but that didn’t worry her.
“Nora’s here on a transfer for a little while,” Algy went on smoothly, “so I’ll probably be seeing quite a bit of her. You don’t mind, Kate?”
“Of course not!” Kate exclaimed. She laced her fingers through his, touching his thumb teasingly. It was astonishing how big that harmless-seeming thumb grew in the darkness. Kate blushed again just thinking about it.
Nora seemed such a jolly girl; she was laughing openly and linked her arm through Algy’s. Algy appeared to be a bit nonplussed but soon recovered his composure.
“Well, ladies, shall we go for a drink? I could murder a pint, after that last raid.”
Kate’s heart lurched. She hated hearing Algy talking about bombing raids; it made her forever conscious of his frightening job – tail-end Charlies didn’t, as a rule, have a very long life span – and was dreading the day when she would hear he had been shot down over Germany. For that day would come. She KNEW it. Every mission he flew and survived was taunting Lady Luck, thumbing a nose at fate, especially when, like today, he flew daytime missions. The cooling bomber standing in huge metallic glory next to them seemed impenetrable… but Kate knew in her heart it was really as strong as gossamer. Especially that perspex shell which covered Algy’s precarious little seat in the rear of the ‘plane.
Algy unwound his scarf and the three of them headed off the tarmac.
“I have to go and debrief,” he told Kate and Nora. “I shan’t be long. Wait for me at the canteen?”
Both girls nodded.
Kate noticed Nora’s badge said “Lt Anne Bridges.”
“I thought your name was Nora,” Kate said in surprise.
Nora glanced down at her badge and said something that sounded like, but couldn’t possibly be, “Oh, shit!” under her breath. She turned to Kate and whispered,
“I’m doing undercover work. You mustn’t tell a soul. I shall be sent to work for the French Resistance when my posting here is up.” Nora’s shoulders shook as she turned away from Kate, and Kate heard what seemed to be a giggle but what must have been a sob.
“Gosh,” Kate gasped. “You’re secret’s safe with me. Loose lips sink ships, as my Daddy says.”
“Men always prefer girls with tight lips,” remarked Nora with a smirk.
It seemed ages before Algy emerged from his debrief. “I could murder two pints now,” he declared, squinting into the sunset as a formation of American Flying Fortresses from one of the nearby bases flew low overhead on the beginning of a night raid.
Algy was SO pleased to see his sister, Kate thought proudly. All they could do was giggle at each other. It was a wonderful thing to be part of a close family. Kate’s family was very close; her father had married his sister, as her grandfather had married his.
Algy bought Kate a sherry and Nora a very large whisky. Kate was privately horrified – her mother was disgusted with girls who drank whisky, in fact girls who drank at all. It was only because her mother felt sorry for Algy living a life that must shortly end that she allowed her daughter to see him at all.
“Kate,” said Algy seriously, as he finished his third pint and Nora her sixth whisky, “I must walk Nora home to her billet. She’s only just arrived in the area and doesn’t know her way very well. Do you mind walking home alone?”
What a caring brother he was! Kate beamed at him. “Not at all. I could find my way home blindfold, after all I’ve lived here all my life.” She sipped the last mouthful of her only glass of sherry. “You WILL take me to the dance on Saturday, though, won’t you?”
Nora thought something was extremely funny – she couldn’t stop laughing. Algy dug her in the ribs.
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, darling,” returned Algy smoothly, giving Kate a resounding kiss on the cheek that turned her legs to jelly and made her breasts ache to break free of old Aunty Pearl’s dark grey gabardine Edwardian mourning dress.
She watched Algy and Nora stagger down the village high street together, their arms around each other’s waist.
“What a smashing family,” she said to herself, her cheek still tingling from Algy’s kiss.
* * *
When she arrived home her mother, wearing old Aunty Pearl’s wedding dress, was listening to the radio and knitting patriotic socks for The Boys At The Front, using the wool from some of old Aunty Pearl’s ancient sweaters. The socks were pink and yellow. Mrs Harpington-Smythe was an extremely fast knitter as she had six fingers on each hand, and the wool simply flew through her fingers.
“How was Archie, darling?”
“Algy, Mummy,” Kate corrected.
“Ssh,” said her father from his chair by the fire. “Loose lips sink ships. Mustn’t say the chap’s real name, what? Huns might be hiding outside.”
“Really, Daddy!” exclaimed Kate a little scathingly. “Not in Upper Fittock!”
“Walls have ears!” roared Mr. Harpington-Smythe. “I’ve told you a hundred times, while we’re at war it’s Upp*r F*ttock!”
“Algy’s sister is staying in the village,” Kate went on. “Under an assumed name, too, because she’s on secret work. Algy was so pleased to see her.”
“Didn’t talk shop, did she? Remember to tell her loose lips sink ships,” grumbled Mr. Harpington-Smythe.
“My lips want some supper,” said Kate, thinking, they could do with Algy as well, kissing them frantically.
“You can have half an egg, a runner bean and some newspaper, dear,” said Mrs. Harpington-Smythe. “We’re a bit short again. Ration books aren’t due in until Friday, and we ate that stray cat yesterday, if you remember.”
How could Kate forget? It was the biggest meal they’d had in weeks. Her stomach rumbled in anticipation of the runner bean and she made up her mind to ask Algy tomorrow if he could get them some black market food. Although the thought of black eggs, black bread, black chicken and black vegetables wasn’t particularly appetising, it would be tastier than newspaper.
Kate said, through her mouthful of paper, “Algy’s taking me to the dance on Saturday night.”
“Don’t talk with your mouth full, dear,” her mother replied.
“Shut those lips tight!” bawled Mr. Harpington-Smythe. “Loose lips sink ships, you know!”
Kate surveyed her parents fondly, her mother looking like an ageing bride in the old wedding dress, her father looking like an ageing transvestite in old Aunty Pearl’s frilly pink dressing gown.
She went to bed hearing the dreadful sound of bombers overhead.
* * *
The next day she was rostered on the day shift at the canteen, and cheerfully dispensed tea to hundreds of thirsty airmen.
Algy’s skipper, an American named Skip who’d joined the RAF at the beginning of the war, lined up for his cup. She noticed he wouldn’t meet her eyes.
“Where’s Algy this morning?” Kate asked cheerfully.
The other members of Algy’s crew turned away or looked at the floor, red-faced.
Skip cleared his throat. “He’s – uh – gone on a – uh – night – uh – raid, Kate.”
Kate’s head reeled. “But he only came off duty yesterday afternoon! He’s not supposed to go straight back out!”
“He -uh – volunteered, Kate,” said Skip, sadly, hesitantly. “And so far, he -uh – hasn’t come back!”
Visions of Algy being shot down over the blood-red fields of Germany swam before Kate’s eyes. She reeled against the hot urn, lightly burning her arm, and remembered the first time she met Algy. She’d burned her hand then, and he’d shown her The Secret Handshake and made it better.
Would she ever see him again?
Kate’s head reeled; she gripped the ugly, initial-carved bench top and upset the teapot, scalding herself – again.
She sucked her burning fingers and gasped, “Oh, no, I don’t think I can bear it! Don’t say he’s been shot down! Please!” Once more she upset the teapot and it cascaded tea all over the front of her clothing.
“Why…uh.. ma’am…” ventured Skip, knowing full well Algy was in the clouds, but not in the flying sense. He was holed up in Farmer Palmer’s barn with luscious Anne/Nora, probably having a whale of a time. Skip envied him wholeheartedly, but hated him for his duplicity, telling lies to a nice girl like Miss Kate here. “Well, ma’am, no-one’s said he’s been shot down, not yet, ma’am.” The rest of the aircrew were sniggering and crossing their eyes. One of them pretended he had six fingers on one hand and tried to pick his nose with all six. Skip could see them out of his peripheral vision; they were in stiches.
“Look, ma’am, well, Kate,” said Skip shyly. His brown eye and green eye met her brown and green eye in a way that made Kate’s heart leap guiltily. It hit her like a ton of bricks and she gasped. Why had she never felt this way towards Algy? Never felt this burning between her thighs? True, she’d never spilt a full teapot of scalding tea on her lower abdomen before this moment, but she was sure the burning she was feeling was quite different to the now usual pain of hot liquid. Absently she mopped at old Aunty Pearl’s pink sequinned 1920’s Schiaparelli evening gown and gazed into Skip’s eyes. One of them oscillated just a touch; less of a twitch than a tickle, thought Kate, dumbstruck.
Skip, too, could barely stammer. He had heard Algy ridicule Kate many times in the past for being backward, but here he was, Skip Stones, looking at the girl of his dreams.
“K-kate,” gulped Skip nervously, his green eye quivering more than ever, “say, ..uh, will you dance with me….uh.. now?”
Kate dropped the teapot totally and finally. For once it scalded someone else. In a dream she left her post, uncaring that she was shirking her wartime duty, only aware of Skip and the dance floor.
“He’s got eyes of blue,” squawked the clapped-out jukebox, “I never cared for eyes of blue, but he’s got eyes of blue, and that’s my weakness now.”
“He’s got eyes of green and brown,” carolled Kate, clapsed hard against Skip’s rough flying suit, his wings bruising her cheeks and something very large pressing into her burnt abdomen. “Ouch.”
“What?” said Skip instantly, his face contorted in concern.
“I’m sore… just here,” said Kate shyly, pointing.
“Why, Kate, I could sure make it better for you,” promised Skip, becoming even larger at the thought.
“Gosh, really? That’d be great,” enthused Kate, twirling painfully, the pink spangled ballgown shimmering. “Now?”
“Absolutely,” Skip assured her, guiding her from the scuffed and scarred makeshift dance floor amid a volley of wolf whistles and lewd comments. Skip paid no attention to them except to reach out and calmly punch the loudest whistler right on the nose. Kate thought her heart would burst with pride. Never had Algy cared this much for her! Algy wouldn’t dream of risking his knuckles on someone’s nose!
* * *
The exquisite sounds of an English spring morning** were music to their ears as they walked, hand in hand, through the back street of Upp*r F*ttock. Skip had some lodgings in the Widow Brown’s house and, as he opened the latch as silently as possible he could have sworn he heard a nightingale sing. (** birds squawking in fright as the flyboys took potshots at them, Farmer Palmer’s tractor choking on fuel made from fermented radishes, Mrs Batty screaming at Mr Batty as she chased him down the street with her hair in curlers and a frying pan in her hand, Postie swearing volubly at the neighbourhood dogs…those that hadn’t been eaten that is. You get the picture!)
Skip carried Kate to his room.
“Is it still sore?” he said.
“Aching,” Kate replied, unable to take her eyes from his face, unaware that he had set her down and was slowly, gently, peeling off her darned lisle stockings beneath the rustling gown. It was only when he started trying to remove old Aunty Pearl’s whalebone-enhanced camiknickers that she came to her senses.
“Skip! What are you doing?”
Skip turned red and his dick sagged just a little. “Why, Miss Kate, I was just…”
“You were going to do IT to me, weren’t you?” shrieked Kate, enraged, gathering her stockings and nearly knocking Skip over with the smell as they wafted past his nose.
Skip saw firstly red and then a way to get Kate into his bed. “Yes, OK, I was. I was going to make violent, passionate love to you, Kate, turn you from a girl into a woman. And do you know why? For the WAR, Kate, for the WAR. The boys like me who are fighting for Britain need girls like you, Kate. You’re doing this for Britain. For Upp*r F*ttock, For the Allies.” Skip paused for breath. It was the longest speech he had ever uttered without saying “uh”.
Kate’s eyes shone. “Oh, Skip, when you say such things, I would do anything, anything….”With a violence he didn’t realise she possessed she ripped apart his flying jacket, threw it across the room, scrabbled at his Air Force Blue shirt until it was in tatters, drove her fingers into his short dark hair and pulled his face to hers, pressing her body so close to him he thought he would explode.
Hesitantly Skip fumbled with the back of Kate’s dress, but the expected denial never came. Instead she tore his trousers ferociously from his body. Skip could barely contain himself enough to triumphantly liberate Kate from the ballgown and atrocious cami knickers, her erect nipples quivering like jelly, and then they fell on the bed in a wet, hot, sticky, tremulous, trembling, panting embrace and xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx(Censored by the Home Office).
“Gosh,” said Kate, three hours later, when Skip was cross eyed with sated lust and totally knackered with effort. “That was jolly fun. What have I been missing out on all these years?” She grabbed Skip’s hapless head and kissed him again. “I love you, Skip. More than anything in the whole world. Even more than the War Effort. Even more than England!”
“Say, I love you too, Kate,” breathed Skip, exhausted, and promptly fell asleep.
Kate couldn’t wait to take Skip home to her parents. Here was the man she was destined to marry, she was certain.
She felt her scalded abdomen. It certainly didn’t hurt anymore. Skip was a true genius! She lay down beside Skip and slept the sleep of the sexually satisfied.
* * *
Hours later they woke to find darkness creeping through the window. Heedlessly Kate switched on the bedlamp.
“You must come and meet Mummy and Daddy,” Kate pleaded.
“You must,” Kate insisted.
There was a roar from outside: “Turn that bloody light off!”
“Gosh!” exclaimed Kate, “It’s Daddy!” She looked out the window and saw her father in his ARP Warden’s hat glaring at her.
“No rogering with the lights on!” roared Mr. Harpington-Smythe. “Loose lips sink ships you know!”
“Say… uh.. sorry,” called back Skip.
“Daddy, this is Skip!” shouted Kate merrily, sticking her totally naked top half out the first floor window and waving at her father. “He’s awfully nice and we’re going to be married!”
“Don’t mention names!” fumed Mr. Harpington-Smythe, “Loose lips sink ships!”
“Oh, dear,” said Kate sadly. “I think we’ll get more sense out of Mummy. Come on, Skip, darling, put some clothes on and we’ll go to my home.”
Skip reluctantly dressed in his RAF uniform. It looked like it had been in a tug of war with a Bengal Tiger and definitely come off second best.
Neither of them noticed Algy, walking down to the Spotted Dick for a quick chat up with the barmaid, but Algy’s eyes popped when he saw Skip’s clothes and the way Kate’s arm was linked firmly into his. He followed them back to Kate’s place at a discreet distance, but he needn’t have bothered. They wouldn’t have noticed a German patrol 6 feet in front of them.
Skip was quaking in his boots (the only part of his clothing Kate hadn’t ripped) as he met Mrs. Harpington-Smythe, who looked radiant in old Aunty Pearl’s christening dress (let down and let out by a few sizes).
“Why, ma’am, I’m real pleased to meet y-” he drawled, and then stopped. Mrs. Harpington-Smythe was looking at him very weirdly.
“Oh, my God,” she said, putting a six-fingered hand to her throat. “It can’t be!”
“What, Mummy?” demanded Kate.
“Kate, you can’t marry this man! He’s your brother! We adopted him out at birth to a nice American couple!”
“Gee,” said Skip sadly. His heart was breaking.
“But Mummy, ” Kate pointed out, “You married Daddy and he’s your brother. There’s nothing wrong with me, and nothing wrong with Skip. It can’t hurt… can it?”she beseeched.
Mrs Harpington-Smythe assessed Skip’s twitching eye and Kate’s permanently burnt fingers. She wiped a tear from each eye.
“You have my blessing,” she said finally, and the christening gown finally gave way as she hugged them both to her.
Algy, listening at the window, was so incensed with rage that Skip had succeeded where he had failed that he shot himself in the dick with his service revolver and died from blood loss.
“Hurrah!” cried the Harpington-Smythes and Skip. “Fresh meat!”
Kate said joyously as they opened their very last bottle of dandelion and nettle wine, “Oh, Skip, this is such a wonderful day, but if only this beastly war was over, too!”
A couple of years later, it was.
© Copyright Caroline Sully 1993
Reproduction without the author’s permission is strictly prohibited
Author’s note: This was the first of a few whimsical and silly stories I wrote specially for a friend of mine who was living interstate and wanted something funny to read “that had sex in it”. I sent them to her in serial form over several weeks with my letters. As time progressed they got sillier and occasionally naughtier at my friend’s request – other of these are She Loved Riding Sidesaddle and Guinevere and the Knights on the Round Table.