Love is Blind

Part 5

© 2013-2014 Sam Lelliott

This Story is works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

These stories are copyrighted by Sam Lelliot, all rights reserved. Distribution, including but not limited to: posting on internet sites, newsgroups, or message boards, or in book form (either as a whole or part of a compilation), or on CD, DVD or any other electronic media, is expressly prohibited without the author's written consent.

My thanks to Matt for taking me to task and editing for me.

From the end of part 4:

"I worked out a while ago, Ted, never knock on an adult's door when the door is locked and the curtains are drawn. Come on, time for an ice cream."

It took a minute for the truth to dawn on Ted but when he did he hit Jimmy on the arm and did his famous, "YES!"

Part 5

The boys discretely moved away from the chalet and made their way to the amusement arcade to play the penny one armed bandits. They changed a shilling into 12 pennies and took turns in feeding the machine they had chosen. It turned out to be their lucky day as half an hour later they walked away with ten shillings between them. They were rich, by their standards, so they had yet another ice cream.

As they sat by the pool, Ted decided he wanted to know a bit about Jimmy's life. He knew about his parents dumping him but not much about the children's homes he had been in.

Jimmy was reluctant to talk but finally decided that he really wanted to get that part of his life out of his system. So he started from the day he arrived at the first place where he was abused almost as soon as he walked through the doors, followed by all the 'Uncles' who would take them out for the weekends. Tears started to run down Jimmy's cheeks as he told of the older boys and staff abusing all the younger children.

Ted tried to stop his boyfriend from carrying on but Jimmy said no, he wanted to get it all out. So it was that Ted heard the story of five years of the most horrific life one could imagine. At the end of the story Ted and Jimmy hugged each other, not caring what people might think. Slowly they calmed down again and Jimmy felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

They decided enough time had passed and went back to the chalet to find everything back to normal. Curtains open and door unlocked, but no mum or Tommie. The boys took their chance. An hour later a much enlightened Ted emerged with his boyfriend.

The four of them finally met up at dinner. Ted's mum had a glow on her face she hadn't had for some time and Tommie looked like the cat that got the cream.

Janice didn't miss the happy faces of the boys either, and said,

"Did you have fun boys?"

Doubtless they tried not to but they did blush just a tad, just enough for Janice to know they did really enjoy themselves, long before Jimmy answered.

"Yes, Mrs Willis, thanks, we had a great time."

Tommie read the tone of the reply and said, "Good for you, boys. I hope you had a pleasant liaison," dragging out the word pleasant. "Anyway, boys let's sort out what we want for dinner tonight. Janice said there was chicken soup so I'll have that."

The boys decided to have the same. The waitress brought the soup quickly and bowls were empty in no time at all. For the main course there was a stew and a shepherd's pie. This time everyone went for the pie. Not a scrap was left on a single plate. Dessert was the same choice and so they all had cheese and biscuits. Tea followed in a large teapot but Janice and Tommie decided on an alcoholic drink. The waitress went and got them from the bar and then left the table for the night, her task completed.

Ted asked Jimmy if he was staying. He said he would but needed to leave fairly early as he was back at work the next morning. Ted also decided on an early night if his mum could look after Tommie.

Janice said she would and so the boys left at eight pm. Ted walked back to the Redcoats accommodation with Jimmy and would have kissed him goodnight but it was very busy around the doors. They just said goodnight and Ted reminded Jimmy of the competition the next evening.

"I'll be there love. I have to be because I am in the junior Redcoats' talent contest. It is on before the main event. I shall have a surprise."

"Really. Can Tommie play piano for you?"

"No, it's fine, I perform unaccompanied."

"Well goodnight, Jimmy," and in a whisper said, "Love you."

Jimmy pursed his lips and went indoors.

Ted wandered back to the chalet to find his mum waiting for him.

"Hello, darling, are you alight?"

"Yes, Mum, I just miss Jimmy already."

"You'll see a lot of him soon enough. Remember, dear, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I need to talk to you, Edward."

Ted thought, 'something is up, mum hasn't called me Edward for ages' Then another thought came to him. 'She wants to marry Tommie.'

He smiled to his mum and said, "I bet you want to marry Tommie."

Janice was a bit taken aback, but realised her son was no fool.

"You are a very perceptive boy, so what do you think?"

Ted got up and put his arms around his mother and said,

"Mum, I would like for nothing better for you. He will be my dad as well. I have hoped this would happen since you went off to the pictures together a while back. So what I think is," and here he raised his voice and shouted, "YES!"

Janice hugged her Edward back and thought, 'Yes son you will have a father again', and started to cry.

Tommie was sitting in a chair reading a Braille book version of 'Moby Dick' but not really into it. His time with Janice had gone as he had hoped. They felt the same about each other and he had asked her to marry him. Love at first sight was a bit of a silly saying as far as he was concerned but he had other senses now, like feel and sound and smell. All those senses told him all he needed to know about Janice. Her voice was soft and loving, her body, judging by feel, was slim and beautiful, and she smelled delicious. He wondered what Ted would think of the prospect of them getting married. Would he block it? After all he was ten years younger than Janice and only Eight and a half years older than Ted. It was hardly a difference in age a father would be.

He knew young Ted had tried to push them together a while back but would he be happy about him and Janice being husband and wife?

The sudden knock on the door brought him out of his thoughts.

"Who is it?"

"It's Ted, Tommie, can I come in?"

"Of course, Ted, the door is unlocked."

The door opened and a smiling Ted entered and with a cheeky grin said,

"Hello, DAD!"

"I take it from that, Ted, that your mum has told you the news."

Throwing his arms around Tommie, almost throttling him he said, "Yes, I have and I am ever so happy. I hoped you and Mum would like each other. Now I guess though, you love each other, like me and Jimmy?"

"You don't mind I am not much older than you, Ted?"

Ted giggled and said, "You're an old man of twenty five, Dad. An old geezer is what you are."

That got Ted a severe tickling.

"Stop, Tommie, or I will pee myself."

Tommie stopped tickling and Ted broke away from him.

"Seriously though, Tommie, make my mum happy, please."

"You have my word, Ted, from an old geezer, to a young geezer. Shake on it?"

Ted took Tommie's hand and shook it, like the growing lad he was.

Jimmy lay in bed trying to get off to sleep but it wouldn't come. His mind was too active reliving the day. He had risen from an orphan with no one, to having a boyfriend and a new job, and soon there would be the added bonus of accommodation. Also he was to live with three grown men in a posh house. He had so much on his mind but nothing would get into order for him to process.

The morning news had been good from Mr Graham. It was funny how he had the same Christian name as Tommie. Deep down Jimmy was a bit wary of the man as he had been in the clutches of some right nasty types. Well, if it turned out to be too creepy he could run away, but he had to trust someone.

Ted was the one he had hoped to find one day. He might have been a bit naive but he had known what he wanted at the chalet when they were together.

Jimmy had loved showing him how to love, it was not that Ted didn't know how to love; it was just the finesse he lacked. He chuckled to himself as he remembered their antics.

Suddenly sleep came and he was at peace with the world. That was until he sensed someone by his bedside. A hand lifted up his blankets and suddenly self-preservation set in and he screamed out.

"NO! NO!"

Most of the others woke up to see what was happening and four of the friendly Redcoats grabbed the man and wrestled him to the floor. One of them asked if he was alright. He was shaking so hard, as bad memories returned.

The Redcoats all rallied round and the intruder was escorted away. They called the manager, Anton, who assured everyone that security would be stepped up around the Redcoat's quarters. Jimmy was sobbing and his colleagues tried to settle him down. Slowly he calmed and fell back to sleep. It would take another six months for him to get over the incident.

The next morning brought very sad news. Uncle Bill had finally given up his fight for life. Aunty Rose had found him dead alongside her when she woke in the morning. Although shaken up, she had been expecting his death to come sooner rather than later. His heart finally gave out trying to pump a small amount of oxygen around his body and had worn itself out.

Aunt Rose stayed with Janice and Ted while the ambulance and police did their duty. By nine thirty his body had been removed to the local hospital for an autopsy. Aunt Rose decided to go home as there was a lot to do, arranging the funeral. It would take the hospital some days to complete the autopsy in any case.

Janice packed up her luggage for her. Rose decided to leave all Bill's belongings behind as it would be impossible to manage his stuff as well as her own. Janice and Ted went with her to the station in a taxi to see her safely on the train. When they returned it was quite late in the morning.

Janice and Ted had popped their heads into Tommie's, to say they were taking Rose to the station. Tommie had been on his own all that time except for a visit from Jimmy who was looking for Ted. The boy had seemed very upset but didn't want to talk so Tommie let it drop. It was quite late by the time that the two of them returned and called in to see Ted again. Tommie told Ted of Jimmy's visit and how upset he sounded, and that he would see him later on. Ted was now worried about what was wrong with Jimmy but lunch was due and he was hungry. As it turned out they all just picked at their food, all of them deep in their own thoughts.

After lunch the three of them went down to the beach to lie in the sun. Janice and Tommie snuggled up together while Ted lay on his back wondering about Jimmy. In the end he got up and left the beach, telling his mum he was going to find Jimmy.

Ted looked all over for Jimmy when one of the older Redcoats noticed him and asked him if he was looking for Jimmy. Finding he was, the Redcoat directed him to the children's paddling pool. There was Jimmy in his trunks playing and having fun with the children. He saw Ted and waved.

Ted went over to the pool to find out what was wrong with Jimmy, only to find himself talked into getting his trunks on and playing with the children alongside Jimmy. To say they all had fun would be an understatement and in some ways made Ted sad that he didn't have a little brother or sister. Finally at five o'clock the pool closed and they both went their own ways until getting to the Redcoats contest at six in an hour's time.

Ted went back to his chalet. His mum was out, and he guessed she was at Tommie's. He changed, ready for the evening, and then went to Tommie's chalet. Sure enough his mum was there, dolled up to the nines in her best frock. He greeted them both with a hug and they all headed off to the restaurant for the Redcoat's competition.

The competition started on time and Jimmy was on at number four. He hadn't told Ted what he was going to do so it was a big surprise to all of them when he walked on with a tenor saxophone.

Ted looked at Tommie and said, "He's got a saxophone, Tommie," who, like himself, looked a bit bemused at being told.

Then Jimmy started to play. Oh and how he played. A whole five minutes of jazz improvisations. At the end, Jimmy took a bow to huge applause. The last four Redcoats were good also so it would be a difficult choice for the judges who were made up of guests.

After another fifteen minutes, all the Redcoats came back on stage to be given the results. Finally there were two left standing.

"And in second place..."

Ted held his breath. Jimmy was still there.

"And in second place, Charlie and his magic."

Ted couldn't hold back any more, he was near tears.

"Tommie, Mum, he's won, Jimmy has won!"

Before they could answer the announcer continued. "And in first place, the youngest Redcoat on camp, please give it up for Jimmy, who wins this trophy and a cheque for £100."

The applause went through the roof, Ted clapping and hooting the loudest of all. Jimmy acknowledged the applause and when it died down he gave a reprise. There was a further big round of applause after which the stage was cleared ready for the youngest of the holidaying competitors to start.

Despite hoping to see Jimmy, he didn't appear in the restaurant as the buffet meal was served so that the competitions could go on undisturbed.

The very young competitors were finished by seven forty five giving plenty of time for Ted to get ready for his group. He talked with Tommie about what he should play and he said to do the old war songs again. The audience would sing along and enjoy it.

Ted's turn came and he asked the audience to sing along if they would like to.

Janice watched him sit at the piano, smile at the audience and start playing. The normal time allowed for a performance was five minutes. Ted finally played his last note at the fifteen minute mark. As Ted stood at the end, the applause said it all. Tables were banged and there were shouts and screams.

Finally it died down and in another twenty minutes the competition was all over. The section had overrun in time and so the results were kept back until after the adults had completed their section. Ted returned to his seat still quite flushed and had something to eat and drink.

After he had eaten, Tommie and his mum told him he had done really well but would not comment more, although inwardly they both had a good feeling about the results to come. They had to wait a further hour before it was Tommie's turn on stage. Fifteen minutes before, Ted had helped Tommie to get ready behind the stage.

As they stood there the compare came up to Tommie and said, "Sorry, Mr. Thompson, I can't allow you to be in the competition. I understand from the manager, Anton, that you are a professional piano player."

Ted gasped but Tommie had to agree with the compare.

"Not quite yet, my friend, but you are right, I am soon to be a professional player for George Graham, although not until November 11th. That is the birthday of young Ted here."

The compare scratched his head and then seemed to make a decision.

"I'll tell you what. Your old mate, Jacko, said you were playing for your mates during the war. I have discretion to pay an entertainer at the end of the competition. How about you take that slot from eleven until twelve thirty?"

Tommie thought and said, "I will but only if Jimmy and Ted can join me and get half fee between them. Jimmy can play sax and Ted can sing, plus give me a rest."

"Problem, Jimmy is doing the night crèche tonight until eleven. I'll check with Anton to get him off early so he can get here on time. He will also have to get the day off tomorrow because of his age and work hours."

He called another Redcoat over and sent him off to see the manager. He quickly returned with Jimmy in tow. Jimmy was happy to see the pair and, when told what was to happen, he was overjoyed. Ted got the chance at last to ask Jimmy about the saxophone.

Jimmy laughed and said, "Some of those 'Uncles' had their uses, Ted," and left it at that. "I heard you playing Ted, did you win?"

Ted smiled and said, "I don't know yet, the results are after this session."

He took Ted's hand and said, "You should, I heard the crowd going mad, and you played for such a long time. Normally they stop you after five minutes. I bet you've won."

"We'll wait and see, Jimmy."

The adult competition overran a little and a guy who did conjuring won hands down. There were lots of singers, some good, some really yuck. When the presentations for that section were over, Ted's group were asked to return to the stage.

There had been eight competitors and the results started with number eight. Ted was still in the last three when third place was announced. That left Ted and a ginger haired boy, a bit younger than Ted. He had sung, and sung well. It could be touch and go.

Then what happened next, amazed Ted!

The crowd started chanting, "Ted, Ted, Ted, Ted" non-stop until the compare had to hold his hand up.

"In second place is Sammy!"

There was polite applause for Sammy but when the compare announced that in first place was Ted, the room really erupted and shouted out, "Ted, Tommie. Ted, Tommie," for ages.

By then, it was very late but the compare mostly ignored the chants for the time being and presented Ted with his trophy and money prize.

After the presentation, and Ted got his applause, everyone left the stage. There was fifteen minutes before Ted, Tommie and Jimmy were due to perform for the rest of the night until twelve thirty.

Back at the table with Janice, they discussed what to do with the allotted time. They decided that with an hour and a half to fill it would be best if they started with fifteen minutes each solo and then a break of fifteen minutes. With only half an hour left to fill, that created a difficulty as there was only one piano. Ted said he wouldn't be able to play as well as Tommie so they couldn't double up. Janice supplied the answer.

"I can sing, not that I have for some time. In fact, not much since your dad died, Ted, except with you. However, I know that Ted and I duet well and, helped by the audience, we could keep the momentum going. How about that, gang?"

"Okay by me, Janice. You happy with that, Ted?"

"Yeah, not half. Me and Mum like to sing together. Don't we, Mum?"

"We sure do, love. Remember last Christmas at Aunty Rose's when we sang all those carols?"

Ted laughed and said, "I do Mum. Aunt Rose kept singing out of tune and sounded like the wicked witch of the west."

"So let's work out a selection of songs then."

They quickly worked out the order of around ten songs that the audience should know. Each wrote them down in the order they would be played and sung.

In no time it seemed, eleven o'clock was upon them and time to get to the stage. Janice remained seated until she joined them later for the final half hour. Ted helped Tommie to the stage and get seated at the piano while Jimmy got himself and his saxophone ready. Anton appeared just at the right time and introduced them all. The hall had emptied a bit but those that remained gave loud applause. Tommie set the programme off with a jazz recital that hushed the crowd. Jimmy followed, again with Jazz, but more modern than Tommie. And finally, Ted decided to play the classical piece he had played when Tommie and his mum were at the pictures. He wasn't brilliant but the crowd were polite and applauded him for his effort.

They all took a bow and retired for a break into the dressing room on the side of the stage, joined by Janice. Drinks were brought by the manager, congratulating Tommie and the boys on their performances.

The break took twenty minutes in the end and then all four of them returned to the stage.

Anton again introduced them, including Janice this time. The audience had thinned out a bit more but plenty had stayed to see the end out.

The bulk of the people at Watts' camp were working class, many from the East End of London. The local football team there was West Ham United and their theme song was 'I'm forever blowing bubbles.' Tommie counted 'one, two, three, four,' and they all went into the tune.

The audience went mad, clapping and cheering, then finally joining in. The half hour flew by and they had to perform an encore. Finally it was over and the hall slowly emptied. Ted and Jimmy were nearly on their knees with exhaustion so Janice packed them off to bed. Ted looked questioningly at his mother. She realised what he was silently asking and nodded her head in agreement.

"Come on, Jimmy, you stay with me tonight."

Jimmy smiled and the two went off together leaving Janice and Tommie alone to have a quiet drink.

As they sat there, almost alone in the hall now, a friendly face appeared. It was Anton, the manager of the camp.

"May I join you both?"

"Of course, Anton,"Janice replied. "You're up late?"

"Yes I am. There is always a lot to do and check late at night. My assistant manager is off today so I get a late night. Then he starts early tomorrow so I get a lay in. Anyway I wanted to have a chat with you. I hear on the grapevine that George has given you a job, Tommie?"

"He has indeed, Anton. A very nice job indeed. I shall be rotating nightly around his London clubs."

"How will you get around then, Tommie. Surely it will be difficult for you?"

"George has covered that. He is sending a car to take me and bring me back home afterwards. I had thought of Ted to help me during those times but, thinking about it, in all common sense he can't. He will have school in the mornings."

"I never even thought of that, Tommie. Of course he has school. What were we thinking of?" asked Janice.

"How about Jimmy then, love? Maybe he could cover Ted at night time. I can't cut Ted out altogether, he would be heartbroken. He has set his heart on being my helper."

"Judging from what George said to Jimmy it would be a strain on him to cover you late at night as well."

Anton spoke up, "I may have a solution. We have a redcoat here, a bit older than Jimmy but also from the state care system. he also had a bad experience during his ten years. I noticed you weren't adverse to homosexuality.

"This boy is what is commonly known as a 'queer'. Fortunately a word to describe him, 'Gay,' is nicer. So that is how I shall address him to you. Now, down to the nitty gritty. Sam, that's his name, has to leave here at the same time as Jimmy. They met in the care system some years ago and are firm friends. Not in any sexual way, just genuine friends. Sam could solve your problem for you. If you could afford to pay him, say £9-00 per week. He could be self-employed and pay his national insurance stamp from those earnings. That would leave him with enough to pay rent and to eat plus have enough left over to save. What do you say, Tommie?"

"I will pay him £15-00 a week, or at least George will. That was the amount he was going to pay Ted. I will personally look after Ted's 'pocket money' so that he doesn't miss out. Send young Sam around to Janice's chalet in the morning at ten AM. We will be up by then and so will the boys."

"Thanks, Tommie. That will be a load off of my mind if he is suitable."

"Just a minute, Anton," Janice said, "Where will he live? It would have to be nearby to Tommie."

"Janice, do you think Rose would take in a lodger now that Bill has gone?" Tommie asked.

"I'll phone her first thing in the morning and see what she says. Although she has just lost Bill I am sure she could use the money." Turning to Anton, she said, "Rose lives just two streets away from us so right on the doorstep really."

"Great, Janice, let's hope tomorrow goes well. I had better get to bed now, so good night to both of you."

"Goodnight, Anton, I think we are off as well. It's been one heck of a busy day."

Tommy and Janice arrived back at Tommie's chalet and the decision was made. Sleep came quickly to both of them.

At nine thirty there was a knock on the door.

"Hi Mum, Tommie. You up?"

Janice's voice replied, "Yes, boys, come on in. There's a lot to tell you."

The boys entered and hugged the adults.

"What news, Mum?"

Tommie spoke to Jimmy, "You have a friend, Sam, Jimmy?"

"I sure do, Tommie. We've been friends for donkeys. He might be in trouble when the camp closes for the winter."

"He will be here in a minute and what we need to work out affects us all in the end."

"Tea, Mum?" asked Ted.

"Yes please, love. Sugar, Jimmy?"

"Thanks, Mrs W. Two spoons please."

"Oh and make one for Sam, Ted, please."

"Yes, master," Ted said jokingly.

The boys were dying to know what this was all about and, despite them fishing, the adults were not letting on.

Finally there was a knock on the door. Ted dashed to open it to find a scraggly looking lad standing there looking very nervous.

Ted said, "Hi, you must be Sam, Jimmy's friend. I'm Ted, come on in and meet us all. Jimmy is here already."

"Thanks, Ted. The boss said to come round here at ten o'clock and I might have a nice surprise." Seeing Jimmy he said, "Hi, Jimmy, love, you okay?"

"Yes, Sam. Here, have some tea that Ted made for you."

"Cor, thanks, I'm parched."

Janice introduced herself and Tommie and invited Sam to have a seat. Once he was settled it was left to explain all by Tommie.

"Okay, lads, to explain, Anton made a suggestion last night that I could give Sam, who will be homeless when this camp closes for the winter, a job with me as my helper when I start work in the nightclubs."

Ted interrupted and said, "I thought I was going to do that to start with but I remembered that I would have school every day in the week."

"That's true, Ted and that is the reason that Sam would be a better person to do the late nights. In addition to school, Ted, you will have music lessons and practice to get done. Now, Janice has spoken with her sister and she will rent you a room with board, Sam, for £3-00 a week. She lives just two streets away from us so you will be close by. Next. Your terms of employment, if you want the job. First, you will start work at 7pm and work until the car drops us off back home, probably around 2am. That will be six days a week. Sunday is your day off. For your labours you will get £15-00 a week. You will start on the 11th of November on Ted's birthday. How do you feel about the offer?"

All the boys were near hysterics with joy as Sam said, "Yes please, Tommie, provided Ted doesn't mind."

"Mind? Are you joking, Sam? Go for it, my turn will probably come."

"Thanks, Ted. In that case, yes please, Tommy, I will love it."

Janice spoke next and said, "I will phone Rose later and tell her to expect you when you leave here. I will give you her phone number, son, and you can contact her when the time comes."

"Ted, you will be paid £12 a week for being my normal helper as long as you promise to practice hard and to save some money."

"That is too much, Tommie, because I will be at school a lot of the time and won't be around."

"No, Ted, it isn't too much. You will have a lot to do to help your mum arrange our wedding on the 9th of November."

"What! Wedding on the 9th of November? When did that happen?"

"Err, last night, Ted. Are you alright with that date? Oh did we forget to tell you, Ted." And with a wicked grin said, "We meant to, Janice, didn't we?"

Janice laughed and replied,

"Indeed we did, Tommie. Must have slipped my mind."

"You two are the terrible two, do you know that? November the 9th it is. Now let's see. Guest list. Err number one, Tommie. I will have to be his best man or he won't make it down the aisle. Then there's Jimmy and Sam and, let's see, George to give Mum away?"

"Ted, love, you're a genius. I didn't know if I could find anyone to do that for me. I wonder if he would."

"Tommie could phone him and ask him. He has to phone about Sam anyway."

"Hmm, yes I do. I'll ask when I phone him, no problem. Now, is there anything else?"

Janice spoke up and said, "I sincerely hope not. This has been one heck of a morning for all of us. Sam, you go tell Anton you will be okay. Ted, you take Tommie to the bar for a drink and, Jimmy, you can keep them company. I will meet you in the bar when I have phoned Aunt Rose."

With that they all went their separate ways.

End of part 5.

Comments welcome.

Part 6
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