The Wind

A story of unknown length by Sam Lelliott
© 2012-2013
Your comments are appreciated.

Part 7

Neither felt like explaining there and then and with a final wave bade goodbye to David for the night.

The drive back to Angela's parents was almost done in silence. Once there they got out of the car. The evening was still muggy from the heat of the day as they went into the house. Both parents smiled in greeting and asked if it had been a good day.

Jamie answered first. "It was brill my best friend David was in the hospital and we all went out together and had fun and fish and chips and I had a pea fritter and it was smashing" All coming out so fast that it sounded like one word.

"That was nice dear." His grandma answered. "I am glad you got out with your mum for a change, and what about you two Angela?" She asked giving one of her knowing looks.

"They held hands grandma." Jamie butted in.

Angela's mother smiled and looked at her husband and winked. He returned it and for someone who didn't say a lot said. "Courting then?"

His wife said in a frustrated voice "George! Mind what you say."

Angela ignored her father and spoke to Jamie saying. "Come on Jamie, time for you to go to bed. I have to go out but I will see you in the morning."

"Where are you going then mum? You usually stay home when you are not working."

Telling a little white lie she replied, "Tony has asked me out and it will make a nice change for me to go out. I promise next time I will stay in with you, alright love?"

Jamie felt a little sad but realised his mum didn't go out very much and went over to give her a hug and said. "You go and enjoy yourself mum. Just tuck me in before you go."

"OK then, up you go and call me when you are ready. I won't be long, Tony."

"Take your time love, there's no rush."

The family noticed the use of the word love and Angela's dad raised his eyebrows towards his wife as if to say 'See'. She smiled and said nothing.

Tony thought he would use some of the time getting to know Angela's parents better and asked. "Have you both lived here long?"

George answered and replied, "Yes Tony, we got this house as a council house 25 years ago and five years ago we asked to buy. The council gave us a price too tempting to pass up and with Angela's help we bought it, well at least mortgaged it. Angela is the actual owner and we have right to live here until we die. Angela was renting a place at the time so it made sense for her to put her money into this house. We have improved it a lot since we bought it with a loft conversion for Jamie.

"Angela was very pleased with the conclusion as at the time she had greater problems getting Jamie to and from us from work. Now she is happier because she knows Jamie is with family and although she is not here herself, he is not with strangers."

"That sounds wonderful George. I have a small terrace down lower Brighton. I love it there as it is near the seafront and I can keep myself fit and enjoy the sea air."

George got serious for a minute and said to Tony. "Angela was destroyed when James was killed. It took mother and me all our time to get her back to how she is now. I am mentioning this, not because I don't trust you but to warn you just how vulnerable she still is, despite her husband dying nine years ago. She struggled to look after Jamie and with our help and her inner strength she managed to get where she is today."

"I understand that George and I will look after her and most definitely won't hurt her. Just please trust me."

"OK Tony, stay happy." George said just as Angela returned to the lounge.

"Are you ready then love?" Tony asked. "We can stop at the off licence and get a bottle of wine and a pizza to go with it because I am starving."

"Yes, alright Tony that sounds nice."

Tony smiled and took her arm. "We aim to please. Night George, mum."

"Gladys; please dear." mum replied. "

"Goodnight then Gladys."

They stopped at an off licence and got a good bottle of wine and then in the town centre at one of the new pizza places opening up and got a large pepperoni pizza. Arriving at Tony's house Angela slipped off her shoes and sat at the table while Tony cut up the pizza and opened the wine.

When he came back he poured the wine and placed the pizza in the middle of the table. They chinked glasses together without a word and just sat enjoying the food. Tony broke the silence and told Angela from start to finish what had happened to date. She sat in silence during this time just listening. When Tony had finished, to say she was stunned was an understatement.

She broke her silence saying, "That is unbelievable Tony, all that has happened in two days? Wow, I think I will have a refill."

Tony poured them both another glass of wine while Angela let out a long breath.

"Apart from all the other stuff, are you going to take the job? Ha, ha, you will be my boss." Angela said.

"I don't know yet Angela. I want to sleep on it. I probably will, because it sounds like something I will really enjoy and it will be a challenge."

Angela, given courage by the wine asked. "Can I sleep on it with you Tony and yes I want to?"

"I could think of nothing nicer love. Apart from me, I have a feeling that there are members of your family who would not be upset."

Angela smiled. "Now let me see, all three of them. They are right it is time I let James go to rest. It has been 9 years and I can think of no nicer man to return to the world with."

They both stood leaving the glasses and cardboard debris from the pizza on the table. They headed hand in hand upstairs.

During the night they both had similar dreams, a family of four two parents and two boys were running up a very tall hill and on reaching the top they all disappeared and then reappeared older. The parents were really old and the boys were grown men with women and children of their own.

In the morning they dressed and went to the same cafe around the corner for the big English breakfast. Walking there they walked arm in arm and sneaking the odd kiss. During breakfast both Tony and Angela talked of their night together. The consensus being that they had both thoroughly enjoyed each other's company and comforts. Afterwards Tony drove Angela home, kissed her goodbye and arranged to meet her later at the hospital. Jamie ran out to meet her and waved to Tony and he waved back with a smile.

Later Tony arrived at the children's services offices to meet with Miss Archer again. The office opened at 9am and it was now 9-45am. At reception he asked for Miss Taylor and within 3 minutes he was in her office and sitting across from her.

"I have news for you Mr Andrews. I have spoken with Colonel English and he had nothing but praise for you. I also spoke with your old RSM and if he could he would have signed your application there and then. I have sent your application up to Mr Hepworth our senior director to look at. If he rubber stamps it we can short cut the application."

"That is great Miss Archer, thank you. If I am approved, how long will it take for David to be placed with me?"

"I am afraid it is a case of 'how long is a piece of string'. However, normally once approval has been given then a house check has to be carried out before final approval, usually about two weeks after."

Tony thanked her and left to go to the estate agents close to the station. He parked up and went inside.

"Hello Tony." One of the men in the office said.

"Hello Roger, it's nice to see you again." Tony replied

"Not moving already are you?"

"I might just be Roger. I am not sure yet but I don't want to get caught with my trousers down."

Roger gave a cheeky answer and said. "Well not in Brighton Eh?"

"Your jokes are worse than last time Roger. Now can we get down to business?"

"Yes of course Tony. What is it you are after?"

"I am not certain yet but I know the location above Moulscombe estate. I want a nice house on the top of the downs with a lovely view and at least 4 bedrooms and plenty of land. A project will be alright but one ready to move into would be better."

"Tony I can't believe what you just asked for. Only just this morning a big farmhouse with 8 acres of ground came onto our books. It is right on the top of Moulscombe hill, 5 bedrooms, a barn, 5 outbuildings 3 of which are stables. There is a bridleway 40 yards to the left of the property and it has just been fully refurbished by the present owners. They want to sell quickly as they are going to Australia in 2 weeks' time. Hang on I will get a picture of it and I can take you out there if you like?"

"Please, if you would be so kind. I will appreciate that."

"A pleasure Tony, ah, here is the photo and I have the keys to show you round. The present owners are in London for the week"

He handed over to Tony a picture of an old farmhouse taken from the front.

Tony's eyes popped open wide awake. It was just what he wanted but wondered if he could afford such a lovely building. Then decided that with his present house paid for then that would be a large deposit on this one and if he took the offered job at the hospital then it should be within budget.

"I like the look of that Roger, let's go then."

They went to Roger's car, a brand new Triumph Herald convertible with the hood down.

"Nice car Roger. Business must be good?"

"Funny you should say that Tony. Houses in Brighton and surrounding area are selling like hot cakes. I've not known it like this for years."

The short journey was mostly in silence apart from the odd curse by Roger towards other drivers. Finally they arrived at the farmhouse. Roger stopped the car in the small driveway and got out along with Tony.

Tony just stood there and looked at the imposing building thinking to himself, 'If I ever dreamed of a dream house this would be it,' and turning to Roger he said. "I love it, how much?"

"It is on the market for £170,000 but I am certain the owner would take a bit less than that for a quick sale. Let's go inside and have a look at what else it has to offer."

Roger unlocked the big old oak door and they stepped into a large hallway with beautiful oak floors. Tony was impressed and the more he saw the more he fell in love with the house. The uninterrupted views from the bedroom windows were a delight. All the rooms were large and the kitchen was to die for, a country kitchen with a plus.

Roger could see from Tony's expressions that he liked the inside so he then suggested they go and look at the outside. They went to the outbuildings first. All were in good order, some recent maintenance obvious. The stables allowed for 3 horses with room to expand if needed. It was then that Roger remembered something in his car and went to get it. No sooner had he rounded the corner than the wind swirled around Tony again and seemed to say. Home, home, with an elongated o sound. Tony, no longer surprised by the wind's messages knew what his answer to the question that the returned Roger said to him.

"What do you think Tony?"

Tony came back to earth and said. "Are you in a rush Roger?"

"Well no, not really. It is quiet in the office until midday actually."

"Can you come with me and pick someone up and bring them to see it, it won't take long and I want her opinion on it?"

"If it makes me a sale I will travel to Yorkshire if you like?"

Tony smiled, he liked Roger's attitude. "Moulscombe estate will do, Roger. Is that OK?"

"Sure, won't take any time at all. Where about is it?"

Tony gave him the address and they were outside in less than 15 minutes. Tony went up the path and rang the bell. In no time Jamie was at the door and jumped into Tony's arms.

"Hello Jamie, is mum still home?"

"Yes, shall I get her?"

"Yes please."

Jamie dropped from Tony's arms and went inside and came back with Angela.

"Hello Tony, I wasn't expecting you back so soon."

Tony smiled and said, "Slip on something casual. I want to show you something and bring Jamie with you."

Looking surprised Angela said. "As long as it doesn't take too long. I need to sleep this afternoon."

Tony looked at his wrist watch saw it was 10-30 and said. We will be back by 11-30 is that will that be alright?"

"Yes that's fine, hang on while I slip on some shoes and get Jamie."

In minutes Angela was back with Jamie in tow, who, when seeing the little open top Herald, jumped for joy and said, "Cor! What a car, can I sit in the front?"

Roger said he could if his mum didn't mind and of course, Angela seeing his excitement said he could.

"That leaves us in the backseat love." An amused Tony said.

"Ooh, am I safe with you kind sir?"

Tony winked and said, "As safe as you were last night wench," and smacked her on her behind.

"Where are we going mum?" Jamie asked as the car moved off.

"Yes, where are we going love?" Angela wanted to know as well.

Tony put his arm across her shoulder and just gave a smile and said, "Wait and see fair maiden. All will be revealed ere long."

"Seems we have to wait and see Jamie," she said. "Exciting eh?"

Jamie didn't answer as he was enjoying the wind in his hair and the feeling of speed the open top gave.

They arrived at the Farmhouse and Tony let Angela and Jamie out of the car.

They both looked at the farmhouse and the view. Both said almost at once. "It is wonderful. Whose is it?"

Tony's next words virtually floored Angela. "Ours if you like it."

"What did you say, ours, what do you mean ours."

"Exactly what I said, we belong, together here, on the top of this hill. I know it, you know it this house knows it. I don't want a decision yet but this is our house."

Angela ran crying to the nearby gate where she stopped and sobbed. Tony left her for a minute for what he had said to sink in. During that time the leaves in the trees rustled in the wind with more and more vigour. Then it happened, it wound round Angela's weeping body and she felt its power. It seemed to say 'yesssssssssssss' and almost immediately she knew what to do as a lovely calm came over her. All her loneliness and sadness left her, she felt alive for the first time in years. She wiped her eyes to find Tony standing beside her. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him hard on the lips. Breaking slowly away Tony asked in a low voice. "Was it the wind?"

"Yes love, I feel so happy for the first time in years. Can we look round the house now?"

"Yes love, that's why I asked you to come here."

Jamie came over and asked. "Is this your house Tony?"

Tony picked him up and said. "Not yet Jamie but if it was would you like to live here, maybe with David as well?"

"Ooh yea its smashing. Look at all the space and if David lived here too we could have lots of fun."

"Right then young man let's go and have a look inside with mum shall we?"

Roger who was standing to one side came across to them when Tony called him. They all went to the front door; Roger unlocked it again and held it while the three went in to look around."

Angela and Tony discussed those things which are important with a house while Jamie went off exploring on his own. Angela and Tony found him upstairs in one of the bedrooms looking out of the window. He heard His mother and Tony approach, turned and said. "The wind just said this was my room, can I?"

"If the wind says it is yours, then yours it is, Jamie. We can't possibly argue with the wind can we?"

Jamie jumped up and down and then went to hug them both. "I know which is going to be David's room as well. Come and see." Dragging both Tony and Angela they ended up in the room next door. "See, look mum there is a bathroom just for us in between them."

Angela and Tony were dumbfounded. Had the wind visited Jamie again while he was on his own up here?

They all continued the tour of the upstairs room and Angela was excited over the way the whole house was designed. Roger waited outside until they came back out and he could tell by the look on everyone's faces he had made a sale.

Tony and Angela went over to him and Tony said, "SOLD! Call the owner and tell him I offer 165 thousand pounds cash tomorrow. I don't want a survey and I am ready to move in almost straight away."

"Let me see." Roger said. "I think the phone is still working inside. Let me see if I can get hold of him."

Roger came back out 5 minutes later and said, "Have you got a solicitor Tony?"

"Yes 'Bonners' in London Road, why?"

"Here is the number of the owners solicitors. He would like to meet with your solicitor on Monday morning to finalise things."

"OK thanks Roger that is three days away, time to go Angela. Roger, can you get us back to your office?"

"Of course I can, not a problem Tony, all aboard the skylark. Bye the way are you selling your existing house Tony?"

"I am not sure yet. I think I might let it out. What sort of rent might I get?"

"Furnished? Probably about £120 to £140 a calendar month, a lot more for summer let."

"I'll let you know tomorrow Roger."

"No problem Tony and no rush, I need to get a move on now, clients to see at midday."

They all got into the car again and Jamie wouldn't stop talking. Before they knew it they were back at the estate agents. Tony asked Roger to use his phone and contacted his solicitor who agreed to be available Monday morning. After coming off the phone Tony bade Roger goodbye with a handshake followed by Angela and a very grown up looking Jamie.

"Do you want to go back home now Angela?

"No, not yet I am too excited to go home. Can I ask you how on earth you are going to afford to pay for that house in cash Tony?"

"Well Angela I am not rich but I am fairly well off. I was away so much in the army that I never needed much cash. So what I did was to make a regular payment into a fund that my solicitor recommended. Over 15 years it grew to be over £700,000. So when I left the army I bought the small terrace house for £90,000 and so I still have plenty left to buy the house on the hill. What about that for a name, it's not quite original but 'The House on the Hill' sounds right?"

"Bit of a mouthful on letters Tony but I like it, Jamie perked up and said

"I like that name as well mum." Then cheerfully shouted, "I live in the house on the hill."

Tony and Angela laughed at his antics and Tony ruffled his hair saying, "Then that is what we shall call it. 'The House on the Hill' on a lovely piece of wood in great big letters. Right, now my wealth is settled and the house name settled shall we go and visit David, a vote."

All their hands went up and they got into the car and set out up the hill to the hospital.

When they arrived and went up to the ward, Angela stopped off to see the day sister. Tony asked Jamie to go and get some coffee for Tony and Angela and he should get a couple of milk shakes for himself and David.

David then went on to the ward and to David's bed. David was sitting in a chair his body heaving in what looked like sobs. David felt tears begin in his eyes as he looked at the boy.

"What is wrong David, please tell me?"

David didn't even look up but continued to sob his heart out. Tony attempted to put an arm round David but he shrugged it away and said.

"Don't you touch me; you're just like those men."

Tony kept as calm as he could and said. "Men, what men David who were they?"

"Horrible men they said they had come to help me. They said they had a nice children's home for me to go to and I would love it there. Then they took me into the bathroom and took my 'jamas off and took pictures of me nude. One of them, the big fat man said I would be good business. Then the thin one touched me in a nasty place."

Tony tried to keep calm and gently asked David. "What did they do then David?"

"They dressed me and left me. I hate them."

Tony took David in his arms gently and told him he would never do anything like that to him and he would make sure the two men or anybody else would not hurt him like that ever again.

David's tears slowly ebbed as Angela entered the ward.

"Seeing David crying she asked Tony what was wrong.

"Later love, look after him while I go and see the day sister."

"Of course love." She said.

Tony, beginning to lose it by the time he got to see the day nurse but tried his best to keep as calm as possible. He found her sitting at her desk doing paper work. Tapping her on the shoulder he asked her about the two men who had visited David earlier. She told him they were the Director and Deputy Director of children's services. They visited the children's wards quite frequently. They weren't liked much but nobody could stop them visiting the wards.

Tony asked for their names which she gave him on a slip of paper.

Tony then thanked the sister, still fairly calm outwardly but fuming inside. He went along to Bill Kent's office and knocked.

"Come in." A voice said.

Tony entered and Bill greeted him. "Good morning Tony, well afternoon really, what can I do for you?"

"In a nutshell, I will take the post you offered I can start in one weeks' time but I will have to move house soon after."

"Brilliant Tony, Start in three weeks' time while we get an office for you and introduce your name to all the staff."

"As a matter of interest, what does the post salary Bill?"

"The salary is just a mere £10,500 a year Tony. Could you manage on that?"

Tony smiled thinking of his previous pay and said, "I'll struggle on Bill, now I need a favour. Do you have the addresses of the director and deputy director of the children's services?"

"Yes I have. I don't socialise with them but I have both of their home addresses on cards they gave me." He took out his wallet and handed 2 cards to Tony. "Anything else I can help you with Tony?"

"Not for the minute Bill and thanks. I have something to do but I will be back in touch soonest."

"Good-bye then Tony."

Tony went back to the ward and found David slurping on a banana milk shake with Jamie while Angela soothed David drinking a coffee.

Tony was feeling better now. He asked if there was a coffee for him. Angela passed him one off the tray and he took it and drank it down in one swallow. He made a sign to Angela that she saw and they walked a little way from the boys.

"Angela I have something I have to do straight away. Will you look after the boys for a while, I won't be too long."

"What is it Tony? You look like thunder, is something wrong?"

"Yes, very wrong love and I have to sort it right away, it won't wait. I promise I will tell you later so don't worry."

He gave her a kiss and a hug and left the ward down to his car. As he drove he knew what he had to do. He knew he couldn't but there were friends who could. He parked outside his house got out, locked the car and went inside.

Once there he went up to his bedroom and got out a book with a few names and phone numbers. He chose one and went downstairs and called the number.

'Please be in he thought.' The phone at the other end rang a few times then a voice answered. "Zulu 1."

"Hello. This is Zulu 5, I need a favour badly."

"Fire away Zulu 5."

Tony spoke quickly and quietly to Zulu 1 giving the details that were needed by him. When he had finished a voice said.

"Roger that Zulu 5, it will be done."

End of part 7

Part 8
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