Love is Blind
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 part 5
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.
Few people were in the bar when they arrived. Yet, when they ordered their drinks, the barman said they were paid for. Apparently many of the audience had left money for drinks behind the counter for them to take when they wanted. The barman said there was over £40-00 in the kitty for them.
Ted led Tommie to a table and Jimmy brought the drinks over - two Cokes and a pint of bitter for Tommie. They got to talking about the future. Ted and Jimmy talked so fast that Tommie had to slow them down.
Over a period of two hours, in which time Janice had joined them, they discussed what the future might hold for them all. All that was really confirmed was that Tommie and Sam would work together and that Ted needed to show Sam how to lead Tommie. Obviously Tommie and Janice were to tie the knot on the 9th of November. Jimmy would be starting his new job on the 1st of November.
Ted brought up the living arrangements after the wedding. Neither flat was big enough for three people plus two pianos. That set the cat among the pigeons. It was Jimmy that came up with a suggestion.
"What if George will give you an advance to buy a house in Carshalton Village, near The Ponds?"
"That, Young Jimmy, is a good idea. What do you think, Janice, Ted?"
"Love, if George will go for it, what a brilliant idea. We could kill a lot of birds with one house, so to speak. Jimmy and Sam could live with us and make one big happy family. I would love to mother the boys, especially if I no longer have to work. What do you say Ted?"
"Mum, that would be absolutely brilliant if it can happen." Then with a smile he said, "That's if you and Tommie can put up with three poofs."
Tommie quickly came back at the remark. "Ted, please never say that word ever again, even in fun. Life will be difficult enough for you without using derogatory names on yourself. Okay?"
Ted looked a bit dejected but knew in his heart that Tommie was right. "Sorry, Tommie, you're right."
"Good lad. Now, I'm going to strike while the iron is hot. Ted, help me to the phone and I'll phone George while I am hot to trot, as they say."
Ted helped Tommie as asked and dialled the number for him. He couldn't hear the conversation on the other end but finally Tommie said, "Thanks, George, I owe you one."
Ted, on hot bricks, wanted to know what he said.
"Sam has his job and George is transferring £1,000 to my account at the bank for us to buy a house. How about that, Ted?"
"Wow, really? He must think a lot of you. Let's go and tell Mum."
They made their way back to the bar and the smile on both their faces told all to Janice and Jimmy.
As he sat down Ted said, "£1,000, Mum, for the house."
Janice went white. "£1,000, are you kidding me?"
"No, love, that's what he promised. He said £500 was not enough. As you know he is a philanthropist and he is as interested in helping the boys as we are. So, he said that his only lien was that we help as many boys as possible. Oh, and he said it would be an honour to give you away at the wedding. With the boys paying a rent of £2-50 a week, times two, it will help toward the mortgage. I will be earning enough for us to buy a five or six bedroomed house for around £6,000. I can't help much with looking at , but you and Ted can, Janice. Just remember my mobility problems though."
"We have two more days here, love," Janice said. "That means we could start looking next Monday. I'll have to give notice at work because a big house won't look after itself."
"Bag the second biggest bedroom for me and Jimmy," Ted piped up.
To which Tommie came back quickly with a grin. "You two can have a small single room. That will be nice and cosy, cuddle up, for you both."
Ted, not to be outdone said, "So can you and Mum. But then I suppose you will need just one room for all of Mum's new shoes and dresses."
"Cheeky monkey," Janice said. "But then that might be a good idea, son."
Ted suddenly sat up and with a quizzical look said, "Mum, you remember that great big house on the edge of Carshalton park?"
"Yes, love, been up for sale for ages. An old Victorian house of four stories with a basement area once used for servants. Didn't I read it had eight bedrooms?"
"That's the one, plus all the basement space. It's a bit run down but it was up for sale at offers around £4,500 for a quick sale. I wonder if it's sold yet?"
"I passed by last week, son, and it still had the board up. Why don't you and Jimmy find the phone number of the estate agents from directory enquiries, and give them a call. Their name is Shinners of Sutton."
Janice fished into her purse and gave them some pennies. The boys went off leaving Janice and Tommie to chat.
"Are you sure we'll be able to afford the mortgage, love?" Janice asked.
"If I earn what was promised, love, we will be able to pay off the mortgage within two years and still have plenty to spare. The money I'll get is top entertainer's money."
"I have to be honest, Tommie. The idea of helping young lads to get their lives together really appeals to me."
"Me too, love. I had great parents and I'm amazed at the number of kids that are in the care system. If we can help in some small way, then that's what we shall do. The state has a lot to answer for, but of course they never do."
"True enough, but the state can only do so much, I guess. Things are better now than they were years ago; there has been some improvement."
Ted and Jimmy returned from the phone call. Ted related the news from the Estate Agents.
"The house is still up for sale. The Estate Agent wasn't going to talk to me until I said my dad was interested in it if the price was right. Finally he told me, in strict confidence, that the house could be bought for only £3,500 and the sellers might even go lower for a really quick sale. He did say though that the house needs a lot of repairs and he reckoned that would cost around £1,000."
Janice and Tommie looked at each other and just nodded.
"Take me to the phone again please, Ted. We will phone George first and then, depending on what George says, I will call them straight away with an offer of £3,000."
No way was Janice just going to sit there; she and Jimmy went as well.
Tommie phoned George and put a plan to him. Basically, that he would pay back on the full loan inside three years. George agreed to that provided that Tommie, along with the boys, did one charity concert a year for those three years. The money raised was to go to buying more houses to be used as hostels for homeless teenagers of both sexes. Tommie, along with the boys, readily agreed to the deal.
After hanging up he then contacted the Estate Agents and made an offer of cash, within the week, of £3,000. The Agent had permission to accept an offer of that amount and accepted the deal for his client. Tommie promised to be at the Agent's early on Monday morning with the cash. Deal done and their new home was sorted out.
An elated family went in for dinner that night and were joined by Sam. His eyes lit up at the news of the house and wanted to know when the house would be ready. He was told not to worry as he had a room to go to even if the house was not ready by the time he left the camp.
They all had a wonderful and happy meal. Anton came by to tell Jimmy that he was to take on the children's sand pit area the next day and put his magic with them to good use. Ted asked if he could help and was told he could.
Janice and Tommie decided that if they were free they would take advantage of the organised mystery coach trip. It would stop for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. More important to Tommie was that it stopped for lunch at the local town. There he fully intended to buy an engagement ring for Janice.
After dinner, the entertainment was by a visiting comedian who, although slow to warm up, had everyone in stitches for the hour long show. That was followed by dancing to the resident dance band. Jimmy and Sam had work the next day so they went off to bed. Ted, as he would be working alongside Jimmy, retired at the same time.
Janice, taking the lead, danced with Tommie and, when he was resting, others took a turn with her. Janice had energy for dance unsurpassed by others and she hardly took a break from the dance floor.
Midnight brought an end to the night. The band finished playing and people drifted off back to their chalets. Tommie and Janice sat together chatting and finishing their drinks.
"We have a lot to get sorted by the end of October, Janice, love. There is the house to sort out. Ted has school and music lessons. I have to rethink my plans. There isn't much of a chance for me to teach piano when I'm working late nights. We have two more days here. Can we sit down and work out some sort of plan tomorrow afternoon, then we can enjoy the last day here?"
"Love, I was thinking the same thing. We must put some plan together, especially for Ted. He'll miss Jimmy until the lad finishes here. It's only two months, I know, but I suspect Ted will be on tenterhooks."
"I'm a bit concerned that the house might not be ready in time for when Jimmy and Sam finish here, Janice. We'll have to cross that bridge if we come to it. I suppose we had better make a move; the night cleaners will be here any minute."
"Come on then, love." And with a giggle asked, "Your place or mine, my Lord Thompson?"
"Yours, Lady Willis, just this once."
Ted didn't hear them come in, he was dead to the world, and it wasn't until the morning he realised that Tommie was in the chalet as well. He smiled to himself when he heard the male cough coming from his mother's bedroom. Then thought, 'at last we will be a proper family.' He had just set about making some tea for them all when the front door opened and Jimmy walked in.
"Morning, sexy. Can you make me one please love?"
Taking Jimmy's hand, Ted pulled him into a hug and said, "Payment first, not too much, just a kiss will do."
Jimmy didn't need asking twice and promptly took Ted in his arms and kissed him.
A voice interrupted them as Janice, smiling, said, "Get a room, you two. Did I hear the kettle go on?"
The boys broke apart and Ted said, "Yes, Mum, the kettle's boiled and ready."
"Morning, nice day out. What time you going into town?"
"Good morning, Jimmy. Just after breakfast I think. We're going to spend the day there and get back around five o'clock tonight. Will you two be okay?"
"Yes we will be, Mrs. W. I'll have breakfast with you and then open up the playground at nine thirty with Ted as my lovely assistant. We shall entertain the little darlings until midday, break for lunch and start again at two. We'll work through until five, just in time to meet up with you and Tommie to inspect the ring."
"That sounds very organised, Jimmy, and before we go any further, it's not Mrs. W, it's Janice or, if you like, Mum. What will you do for lunch?"
"Today is the day the mobile chippy comes to the gate. So we can buy a lump of cod and a portion of chips each, Mum.
Just then Tommie appeared and said, "Have we acquired another son then, Janice? That sounds nice."
"It does, doesn't it, love. Sort of rolls off the tongue. 'My sons, Ted and Jimmy.' Then there's me old man, his name is Tommie, you know."
The boys laughed at the joking and Ted put his pennyworth in saying, "My older bruvver is also me luvver but we keep that a secret."
"That's enough of that, younger son. Finish that tea and let's get to breakfast."
After breakfast Jimmy and Ted headed off to prepare to entertain the children.
Tommie and Janice waited outside the camp with a few other holidaymakers for the hourly bus into town. It appeared dead on time and, although crowded, two youngsters stood to give Janice and Tommie their seats. Arriving in town twenty minutes later the pair decided on a coffee before traipsing round the jewellers. They stopped at a pleasant café with outside seating and, after settling Tommie, Janice went into the café to order two coffee things called cappuccino, something Janice had heard of but never tasted. She regretted doing so once she got the bill for them - 2/- each. Later in life she would look back on that day and think how cheap they were.
While she was away Tommie was wrestling with a problem. Janice still wore both her wedding and engagement rings on her finger from her marriage to Ted's father. He thought he had an acceptable answer and would speak with Janice about it when she came back.
He broached the subject as soon as Janice returned.
"Janice love. You still wear the rings from your previous marriage. Can I make a suggestion that I hope will be acceptable to you and of course Ted?"
"I had already thought of it love. I shall get a nice silver chain and wear them on it round my neck."
"Snap love. That is the same solution I was going to suggest. Will you and Ted be happy with that?"
"I will love and I suspect Ted will be happy if I am happy, so we'll consider that resolution carried."
After coffee they started the hunt for an engagement ring. The jeweller showed Janice one that was a three diamond cluster on a gold ring. As much as Janice loved it she refused saying that she would prefer a simple ring so that more money would be available for the house. In the end they both settled for a lovely ruby that looked as if it was on fire. In addition Tommie bought the nice sturdy silver chain chosen by Janice for her old rings.
Tommie had another two items to buy. He asked about silver chains and finally decided, with Janice's help, on two bracelets for Jimmy and Ted, each etched with love from the other.
Janice loved them and loved the boxes that came with them as well. They both decided that they would give them to the boys on Ted's birthday.
The town wasn't all that large and, by the time the two had had some lunch, they decided to head back to the camp instead of staying as planned. With his new found senses Tommie was suffering from an overdose of noise and was glad to get back to the relative quiet of the camp area.
He and Janice passed the boys entertaining the little ones. They worked like naturals at the task, with the nippers loving everything put before them.
Later that evening Janice showed off the engagement ring, getting compliments all round.
On Saturday morning as they got ready to leave, there was a phone call from George saying he would meet them at the big house on Monday morning at ten o'clock, with the estate agent. He added he was going to repair and furnish it for them. After some extra thought he had worked out that, by doing the three concerts, they should get the funds from his charity. After all, it was going to be largely a home for desperate youth, with the family using it as their own home. That was a bonus as both Tommie and Janice thought they would have to pay for all the repairs from the loan from George. So, that had the house sorted out with the added help from George to repair and furnish it.
George also said the deeds of the house would belong to Janice and Tommie in equal shares, whether they married or not.
Uncle Charlie arrived to pick them up on time and told them that Uncle Bill's funeral would be on Wednesday coming. On arrival back home they called in to see Aunt Rose. She was looking well and seemed to be on top of everything. One of her spare rooms was already being decorated for Sam's arrival in October. It was then Janice told her of what had happened and that maybe she might like to live with them for company when the house was finished. She asked to think it over and she would let Janice know. She didn't get much chance when Tommie and Ted added their insistence to Janice's.
Tommie's phone was now installed so he was less isolated when at home alone. Not that he was home much. He spent more time with Janice and Ted than at home. The idea of teaching was gone, now that a permanent job as an entertainer was to happen soon. It had seemed a long time to wait from last week but, in fact, it was only eight weeks away. With so much to be sorted out, time would fly by.
Ted practised piano all day on Sunday until his fingers hurt. Tommie had to tell him to stop before he damaged them. Ted wanted to be as good as Tommie and would practice as hard as he thought necessary to achieve that goal.
Monday morning came. Janice first phoned her work and told them she was not going to be available again and was leaving. The company had wanted her to work notice but when she told them her plans, they waved that part of her contract.
At ten o'clock they were outside the big house waiting for George and the estate agent. Not only did George turn up with the estate agent he also had in tow a builder, plumber, carpenter and electrician. To say the house was in desperate need of repair was an understatement. However, by the end of two hours they had a report from the tradesmen. A rough estimate, just to bring the house back to its original state would be £700.
George gave them all the go ahead with a six week deadline. George and the family then went to a local cafe for tea and coffee. Janice told George about her sister Rose joining them to which he gave his blessing. George then changed tack to the wedding and confirmed he would be happy to give Janice away.
Looking at Ted he said, "I know you have the responsibility of organising the wedding, Ted, and I am proud of you for taking it on. I have a suggestion though, if you agree. As your mum has asked me to do the honour of giving her away to Tommie, I want to say thank you and organise all the venue and catering. That will leave you with lots to do with invites and organising people. What do you say?"
Ted was amazed. Why would this man do all this? Why do so much for them? And so he asked George.
Georges reply was equally straight forward.
"When my parents found out I was gay they disowned me and, at the age of seventeen, I was thrown out of home midway through my A levels. A teacher at school, along with his wife, took me in and gave me a start in life. I now give back as much as I can to young gay people. You may think, what is that to do with your family? Simple. You all have made gay boys welcome. You have a boyfriend now and will no doubt grow together with the love of your mother and Tommie. I just have a gut feeling that in a few years' time this family will be heavily involved in helping underprivileged gay youngsters.
George paused a minute and wiped a tear from his eye.
"It was Sam that finally got to me. He reminded me of what I had gone through and what might happen to him at the end of the season. He could likely have gone on a downward path to survive. Now that won't happen and he will be safe."
Ted asked what was meant by a downward path and George explained without the graphic detail. Ted couldn't imagine having to go with men to survive and shuddered at the thought.
That short chat, listened to by Janice and Tommie, instilled in them a sense of dedication that would make sure that, in the future, if they could, no boy would have to go through such trauma in his life.
They all parted company at 11-30 am and the family caught the bus back home.
Time flew by toward the wedding day. Tommie spent most of his time with Ted and Janice at their flat rather than his own. Ted was back at school and was doing well. His piano practice went well and Tommie entered Ted for his grade four exam. The big house was finished and furnished and the family, including Jimmy and Sam, had moved in.
Ted and Tommie waited at the front of the church for Janice to arrive. Finally the music started. Janice, escorted by George, walked down the aisle and looked a picture. Ted leaned in to Tommie's ear and described every detail of her wedding dress, until she was standing next to her groom. She looked ravishing in a daffodil coloured dress and veil. He sense her smile under the veil and he smiled back. The vicar then went on to give a wonderful service.
Outside, for the photos, the sun was shining, making the photographer's job easier.
At the reception Ted gave his best man speech like a pro.
"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to give the best man's speech. Today, for me, has been a joyous moment in my life. I sadly lost my father in the war. Tommie has taken his place. He loves me as much as any man could. More importantly, he loves my mother, now his wife. I blame myself for getting them together. With Tommie's permission, I give you the toast.
As he raised his glass, he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, charge your glasses. The toast is. 'Love is blind'".
Everyone called out 'Love is blind!' and cheered.
Later, back at the big house. Jimmy and Sam, relaxing after the wedding, sat together talking while the family had a late get together before bed.
"Jimmy, I have never met such loving people in my life before. As soon as I arrived Janice and Tommie let me pick out a room to live in. The one I picked is amazing. It's down in the basement and it has everything. All I have to do is move in."
"I know, Sam, Ted and I have the other one. His mum wanted him to have a room with a window but he said that he would only be in it at night so that wouldn't matter. I love it and I can't wait to start my job as well. Ah, sounds like they have finished the family chat. Here they come."
Janice, Tommie and Ted came into the lounge and Janice apologised to the boys for having to leave them alone. Jimmy said that was okay, he and Sam had a good chat.
Janice spoke up, "I am going to the kitchen to make some chocolate, anyone else want one?"
Everyone said yes and Ted elected to go with his mother to help her.
The phone rang although it was quite late. The caller asked for Tommie. It turned out to be George checking everyone was well. He had left early as he had an appointment in London. Tommie told him all was well and thanked him on behalf of everyone for his generosity.
After hanging up with George, Tommie turned to talk with Sammie and Jimmy while Janice and Ted were in the kitchen.
"Right, boys, while Ted is away, it's only two days to his 14th birthday. He doesn't know what is planned, despite his fishing to find out. As you know, Sam, it is our first night of work and George has organised a bit of fun for Ted. We are giving our presents to the car driver and Janice will give them to Ted through the evening.
"Now, what Ted doesn't know, and must not know, is that he will be performing a duet session with me in front of the club audience, plus another surprise that I am not telling anyone. Secrecy is very important, okay?"
Both boys replied in the affirmative.
Ted and Janice returned with the hot chocolate. Ted sensed some excitement within the family but thought it would be about the upcoming birthday. He was looking forward to it for sure. His mum had already given him some new clothes which he had been allowed to pick out for the day. He had enjoyed the new privilege of selecting his own clothing and Jimmy gave him lots of help.
After the chocolate everyone retired for the night, totally exhausted from the busy day.
The next day went by without incident but there was a feeling of excitement in the air as the big day got closer.
Tommie's début, Ted's birthday, the trip by Limo to London. All these things combined to gee everyone up.
Finally it was THE day. Ted got up early, along with Jimmy and Sam. The three of them created a breakfast to be proud of and even cleaned up the mess. Tommie and Janice had nothing but praise for the boys and thanked them profusely. Ted received just one present. It was from Janice and Tommie.
Tommie had the privilege of giving the gift over and said, "This gift we were going to give you tonight but, having talked about it, we decided that this morning would be better."
Tommie handed Ted the two bracelets they had got on holiday. On opening the boxes Ted quickly teared up and showed Jimmy his twin bracelet. Each put the other's bracelet on and hugged each other. Then they both hugged and kissed Janice and Tommie.
Jimmie asked a question of the two adults, "Can I please call you mum and dad? You are all the family I have and I would be honoured to be your adopted son."
Sam chimed in and said, "Me too, please?"
Tommie and Janice answered without a thought and said, sharing the answer, "We would love you to be part of the family and, although we will not adopt you, you will be equally our sons along with Ted."
That did it. The three boys leapt up and jumped around saying, "Brothers, yeah!"
Janice turned to Tommie and said with a very big grin, "Looks like that was the right decision, love."
End of part 6.
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