Albert Dowling
by BobbyG  

Chapter 30   

Albert flew over the Penton family plot “telling” Ben he was home and then turned into the wind and landed on what would have become his airfield but Albert was about to fly a passenger and airmail service from Farnborough, so they put cows on it instead.

They had found a retired Blackburn RT1 Kangaroo which had seen service as a twin-engine torpedo bomber but now converted into a 7/8 passenger/airmail carrier and would fly to all parts of the country including the Channel Islands and then into Europe when they got another RT1.

Jonnie stood just in the entrance to the hangar watching Albert land and then taxied to him. Albert switched off and at that very moment his war came to an end, he may be an RAF reservist but when he climbed out of his cockpit and his feet touched the ground, he became a civilian once again.

Albert walked slowly towards Jonnie and both smiling hugely at one another. Albert was about there but Jonnie stepped backwards right into the hangar, now they would be completely hidden and private. Jonnie stopped and Albert just walked straight into him and both men clung together knowing this time there would never be another separation, ever again.

Much would happen in the following years but the most important thing to say is, no matter what the age either of them were currently at, they would never become older than 15/16 or 23/24 when they went to bed. Every time they made love it was like the first time and my word there would be hundreds of first times!

They moved into Paulet House and Mathew virtually changed overnight as he began his new life in his garden. He got his two young lads from the village to help him but would include an afternoon off to go to the athletics club every Wednesday. Albert just smiled and wondered.

Donald was already at the manor and was able to supervise the move and place paintings, furniture, ornaments and lots more where he thought they were best located and also appointed the housekeeper/cook and the maid and after settling in, it was obvious Donald had made the right appointments, it was a very happy home for all of them.

Jonnie found out that Kurt had gone to Thailand to study their culture, which included young boys it seemed, and also wrote many books many of which were published. He called himself “Albert Penton!”

Jonnie spent most of his time overseeing the estate but also following the manor conversions into 25 apartments all of which were occupied as they were completed. But he also spent time keeping himself in good trim because that’s what Albert would expect, as well as himself.

They flew up to Parkway and met the many men going through rehabilitation most of whom were dreadfully scarred both physically and all mentally but most retaining their sense of humour which was pretty much a British trait regardless of their situation.

 Albert would be a monthly visitor and would fly all day giving the boys a half hour trip around the area or just sit and talk. The residents were given training in new skills and many would leave eventually to earn their living by them. Sadly many would add to the numbers of war dead but at least they died pain-free with friends surrounding them as they left this world.

But before any of that happened and still 1919 they found out which war grave Trevor and Namu were buried in and flew to Belgium just outside the town of Ypres and stood in the middle of 5,000 other headstones looking at the names of these two handsome young men.

Albert had never become emotional over those difficult years of his service and simply because everyone else just went on with their business and hoping they would not add to the numbers who would die.

Jonnie stood some distance from Albert so he could give him space to be private with his two friends, he knew he needed time on his own to be with them.

Albert looked around the cemetery then at Jonnie.

“Look at this! Just look at it!” Albert waved his arm over the whole site. “5,000 dead just in this one cemetery… I don’t think I will ever understand any of it for as long as I live.” He smiled a sad smile. “At least after this carnage no fool will ever let this happen again!”

A certain former corporal of the German army had not been heard of just then.

He knelt down and placed the two small poppy wreaths at the foot of the headstones and kissed each one them. Jonnie just looked on knowing that Albert needed to release and he knew it would be soon.

But, there was yet another headstone to visit, Andy’s. Jonnie still remained a distance away looking at Albert as he knelt and whispered his words. He stood up and took his cap off and bowed his head and after a while went to Jonnie.

“Let’s go home, I need to tell Ben we found Trevor and Namu. I just wished we could find William.”

William would never be identified and would be buried like many thousands of unnamed soldiers from all nationalities.

“A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR”

Jonnie put an arm around Albert’s shoulder and led him away knowing that even though he had fought for most of the war, the young man was only now able to see the true horror and sheer stupidity of those years as he stood there looking at all those headstones. Jonnie knew Albert needed to let go and he would say something that would be the start of Albert’s recovery.

They were sitting in front of the fire the day after they had got back from Belgium with Jonnie holding Albert. Albert was leaning against Jonnie staring in the fire, his mind was still with his friends in Belgium.

Jonnie kissed Albert’s head and got up. “I need a pee my love.”  He found Donald in the kitchen and spoke to him for over ten minutes.

Jonnie got back and kissed Albert’s forehead. He knew exactly what was about to happen.

“Albert?”

The young man looked at Jonnie and kissed his cheek then squeezed him as tightly as he could, but it was very weak.

“I think I can understand what is going on in your mind and it will have something to do with guilt? You coming through without a scratch but the boys have gone? Tell me, what do you think William, Ben, Trevor, Namu, Andy and all the chaps you have lost would be saying to you now if they could, because I know they would be telling you, you should have nothing to be guilty of my dear Albert. Only those who wanted war are the guilty ones and you are a million miles from them even though they took you and many others down a dreadful path to regain peace?”

It took over an hour with Jonnie holding onto his brother while Albert sobbed his heart out. The 21-year-old was letting his war leave him and all because of the man holding him and saying the right thing that would allow him to move on.

With Jonnie holding him firmly into his body, Albert was able to rid himself of the guilt which he should not have had anyway. From now on he would think of his friends as he remembered them, young, beautiful and full of fun. They would remain alive within his memories and would never speak about them in wartime again.

Eventually Jonnie was able to lay Albert down, he was already fast asleep and totally drained. He would hold Albert close to him for the entire night without sleep but knew Albert was on his way back.

Albert woke up late and kissed Jonnie good morning.

“Never speak about last night brother Albert. We will be getting up soon and going away for a few days.”

Albert laid onto Jonnies chest smiling up at him.

“The cabin?”

“Donald has packed for us and we should have enough food to last a few days, so we don’t have to go out to shop, just walks.

Jonnie taking Albert away for this time was just what this still very young man needed. It was like closing the pages of the past four years and turning new pages into a new life.

The walks they went on every day was a massive help and even turned into cross country runs with Albert often having to stop and wait for Jonnie to catch up.

The lovemaking was intense, long and beautiful but when they began to fight again Jonnie knew Albert was almost out of that dark tunnel that Namu told him he would emerge from.

***

Donald was at the front door as Jonnie came to a stop and welcomed them back, he would see to the luggage while his two lovely men went inside but with Albert thinking hard. They stood in front of the blazing fire hugging one another.

“Jonnie, I start at Farnborough next month but I can’t get there unless I ride Prince every day.”

“Why not?”

“I never learnt to drive.”

“Not even during the war!?”

“I flew AIRCRAFT!? So I did not need a bloody car!?”

“Oh right, better get Mister Hicks out of retirement in that case.”

“Why can’t you teach me?”

“Absolutely no chance, I have flown with you and if you think I am going to ride with you at the wheel, you have a very long wait.”

“Bloody coward!”

“No my love, I just want to live a bit longer!”

The fight was long, very long but at the same time glorious for both of them… Albert had come home!

Much later in bed, Jonnie was on his back with his arm around Albert’s shoulder. Albert was laying on Jonnies chest with a wicked smile on his face.

“Jonnie?”

“Yes Albert?” Albert looked up into Jonnies face and smiled which told Jonnie something daft was on its way and another indication that Albert was on the mend.

“You never did get to seduce me did you, want to try now? I don’t think Papa will mind!”

They looked at the portrait of their father hanging over the fireplace, they kissed and Albert spoke the last words of his and Jonnies story.

“Close your eyes Pappa… And keep them closed!”

THE END

 

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