SONS Chapter 9
We spoke very little as we made our way back to Fair Oaks the next day. I had driven us to the station in Milford in the old Bentley from the manor. Finally, in the car on our way back to the manor, Miles opened up.
“It was just before I enlisted. About a year after we declared war on Germany. I moved to London after me Gran died and couldn’t find a job. I met a man in a pub who took me home and gave me money to suck my cock. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was making money selling myself. It lasted about a year. I couldn’t stand myself no longer; so I enlisted. Towards the end of it I was making a pretty penny letting guys take me to dinner and have their way with me. I was passed around like a party favor and it made me sick. I figured death in France was better than what I was doing.”
I spent the rest of the drive telling Miles of my life in the SS.
“Did you ever meet Hitler?” He asked.
“I never met him, but was in the same room with him and other people. Very ordinary man. Obviously there was something about him that drew others to him, but I never understood what it was.”
We arrived at Fair Oaks, pulling up to the front of the manor. Miles and I unloaded our luggage and packages in the entry. Mrs. Sellars met us as we were climbing the stairs.
“I hope your trip to London was uneventful and productive, Mr. Reid.”
“Yes, Mrs. Sellars. Thank you.” Miles kept walking up the stairs keeping his face turned away from the housekeeper.
“Let me know if there is anything I can do.”
“Certainly, Mrs. Sellars. Thank you.”
Miles stayed in his room for the next few days. I brought his meals to him. We talked very little.
“Can I take the car into the village?” he asked on about our fourth day after our return.
“I suppose.” I replied.
“I’d like to pick up a few supplies to finish fixing up the hut.”
“Is there anything else you need?”
“No, just a few pounds is all.”
“I want to start paying you for your time around here and keep track of your expenses. Mrs. Sellers will reimburse you.” Something had been nagging at me since we got back from London. “May I ask you something?”
“When you saw me on the boat when we were making the crossing, why did you come over to talk to me?”
Miles stood there staring at me. His eye was discolored, but the swelling had gone down. His lip was slowly healing, but it would leave a scar. He turned away from me and looked out the window.
“There was sadness in your eyes,” he said. “And I thought you were handsome.”
I walked up behind him as he stood at the window and put my arms around him, resting my head on his shoulder.
“I saw the same thing in you.”
The next day Miles left for Milford before I came downstairs. He was gone all day and had not returned by the time I went to bed that night. In the morning I went to the garage and the car was there but there was no sign of Miles. I began to worry. Miles had become very important to me and I had to admit that I loved him. I loved him more than anyone or anything. I walked out to the hut and saw that he had slept there. I called out for him but to no avail. Slowly I walked back to the manor, walking past the pond on my way.
“Oh, there ya are, Mr. Reid,” Lettie cried out as I walked into the kitchen. “I was beginning to worry that there was no one here to eat my breakfast.”
“Have you seen, Miles, Lettie?”
“Not since you came back from London, sir. And even then I never actually saw him, you know. Is he alright?”
“I believe so, Lettie. He took the car into Milford yesterday and I haven’t seen him since he got back.”
“Did you check down at the old gamekeeper hut? He’s been spending a lot a time down there. Fixing it up and all. He wants to start raising chickens again he told me. He’s such a sweetheart, that Miles. It’ll be nice to have fresh eggs again, that’s fer sure. So good looking too.”
“Yes, I did check the hut.”
“Do you or he hunt, Mr. Reid? Fresh game would be nice too. The master’s old guns are around here somewhere. I could ask Mrs. Sellers to look for ‘em if you like to go a hunting.”
“Maybe I’ll do that, Lettie. I used to hunt with my grandfather in Germany.”
“Germany?” Lettie looked up from the stew she was stirring. “When were you in Germany, Mr. Reid?”
I decided to come clean, telling Lettie how I had been born in Germany while my mother was visiting there.
“Oh, Mr. Reid. How sad for you and for Mrs. Reid. All this time I thought you had been living here in England. Mrs. Sellers told me you were from Mrs. Reid’s first marriage.”
“I was from her first marriage, although my parents just weren’t married.”
The back door to the kitchen opened and Miles walked in carrying a brace of a dead rabbit and pheasant.
“Poachers shared a little of their wealth with me this morning.”
“Well, I was just telling Mr. Reid how nice it would be if you and he started hunting and look who shows up with tomorrow’s dinner. The devil himself.” Lettie took the carcasses from Miles. “Although plucking and skinning takes a whole heck of a lot longer than a trip to the butcher. Breakfast on the porch or the dining room, lads?”
“The porch would be nice,” I said.
“Let me go clean up,” Miles said as he made his way to the dining room and upstairs.
“Where were you this morning? I went looking for you at the hut,” I asked as we ate our breakfast.
“Got in late last night. I don’t have a key, so I slept in the hut. Heard some gunfire early this morning, so I investigated. Poachers have been having their way with the property fer years now. You have to decide if you want to allow them to keep at it or share their kill with the manor.”
“Well, we need to get you keys as soon as possible. I’ll have Mrs. Sellers tend to it. What do you think? Lettie says there’re rifles around here somewhere. Can you keep up with it? I’m not too keen on hunting myself.”
“I say we let them have at it and drop off a brace or two to Lettie every now and then.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Miles was finishing up his breakfast by wiping his plate with his toast. “I’m having some chicks delivered this morning. I better go see to it.”
“That’s wonderful Miles. Lettie will be glad to hear it. She’ll be happy for the fresh eggs.”
Miles wiped his mouth and stood up, dropping his napkin on his plate. “You’ll excuse me.”
“Let me know when the chicks get here. I’d love to see them.”
“That I will.”
He walked back into the house. There was something distant about him again. Whenever he felt in the least bit vulnerable, he would withdraw. I was beginning to see a pattern.
When the chicks arrived I ran into the kitchen.
“Lettie, come see. Miles has some new baby chicks.”
Lettie wiped her hands and followed me out to the front of the manor where Miles was finishing up with the delivery man. He picked up a wooden box with a chicken wire lid and carried it over to the front porch and set it down. There were about twenty chicks chirping away in the box.
“Would you look at the little darlings. Have you raised chickens before, Miles?” Lettie asked.
“Sure, all my life. My Gran and me had them all the time. Would you mind if I keep them in the kitchen, Lettie, just until they get a little bigger? They need to keep warm without their mum.”
“Sure. I think I have a lamp that John used to use somewheres.”
“Who’s John?” Miles asked.
“John, the old gamekeeper. He used to raise chickens out at the hut too. Surely I told you all about him.”
“Right, I just never heard his name. Do you know whatever became of him?”
“Went back up north I heard and then made his way to America. A local gal got a letter from him once. Boston I think it was.”
The chicks grew into chickens and every other day or so there was fresh meat on the table and soon we had fresh eggs daily. Life at Fair Oaks fell into a routine. Miles was happy tending his chickens and growing vegetables. He would sometimes stay out at the hut for days, eventually making his way back to the manor to bathe and gather supplies. He took the car into Milford about once a week; spent the night, returning to the manor the next day hung over from a night of drinking. He would often return with cuts and bruises from brawling. He seemed determined to destroy his beauty and I felt powerless.
Spring turned to summer. The oaks filled with leaves, the roses bloomed and I busied my days with acquiring furniture for the manor. With Mrs. Sellers help, using what little decorating skills I had, I began to bring the manor back to its former glory. One room at a time.
One morning a few weeks before midsummer, I awoke and realized I had not held Miles in over a fortnight. I hungered for his touch, his kiss, his scent. With the warm weather he spent more and more time at the hut. His once alabaster white torso was turning a beautiful golden tan. My body on the other hand, was in grave need of exercise and less of Lettie’s wonderful cooking. As I lay in the bed my cock grew hard thinking about Miles. I began to stroke myself but stopped hoping to finish with Miles.
As I drew a bath that morning, I looked out on the grounds of the manor and realized it was in desperate need of attention. The roses were covered with rose hips, the water in the pond was filled with algae and leaves and the boxwood was in dire need of trimming.
I bathed and had my breakfast in the kitchen with Lettie.
“I’m afraid he’s been drinking a lot, sir.” Lettie was cutting vegetables while I drank my tea. “My Charlie says he sees him at the pub in Milford with some tart. Bit of a scrapper too, he says.” Since the affair in London, Miles had pulled further and further away. It seems I had lost him and I determined I would have to bring him back.
I thanked Lettie for the breakfast and made my way to the hut. Before leaving the manor, I checked to see if the Bentley was parked in garage. The garage was empty. Fearfully I passed through the gate into the forest. The verdant soil and moss made little sound as I made my way to the hut through the lush vegetation. Foxglove and ferns covered the forest floor and there were brambles blooming everywhere. The path was overgrown in areas. The scent of the soil and flowers was overpowering. Crows called out to one another almost as if in warning as I made my way. The chickens made a fuss as I passed the coop. It all made me feel unwanted or as if I was trespassing. Fearing what I might find, I approached the hut cautiously, listening for any sounds that may be emanating from there. Hearing nothing I walked carefully up the creaking stairs to the porch and rapped softly on the door. There was no answer, but as I opened the door I heard Miles groan.
“Miles?” He lay on his back and was still in his clothes. I walked to the edge of bed and shook him. He moaned and rolled on his side. The room reeked of alcohol. “Miles.”
“Miles, please you can’t go on like this.”
“Leave us alone.” He said belligerently. It was obvious he was very drunk.
“Miles, did you drive like this?”
“Took a cab. Car’s in town. Now shaddup and leave us alone.” He pulled a pillow over his head.
I stood there contemplating my options, finally deciding to take him back to Fair Oaks and put him to bed. There was a pitcher of water sitting on the table. I picked it up, grabbed the pillow from him and threw the water on his face.
“Get up. I will not sit idly by while you destroy your life. You’re coming back to the manor with me.”
“Leave me alone, goddamnit!” He sputtered.
“No!” I grabbed his arm, pulling him off the bed. He swung with his other arm, missing my face by an inch. He rolled onto the floor.
“Miles, I can’t stand to see you doing this to yourself.”
He grabbed hold of the side of the bed, attempting to stand. He swayed for a moment and then sat on the bed holding his head in his hands.
“You need to congratulate me, Stevie. I was just doing a bit of celebrating last night.” He was still bent over staring at the floor as water dripped from his head.
“Celebrating? Celebrating what?”
He looked up at me with his bloodshot eyes. “I’m gonna be a father, Stevie. She’s up the duff. In the pudding club.”
“What are you talking about? Who’s pregnant?”
“My Rose is, Stevie. My beautiful English Rose is. He looked at me and smiled drunkenly.
My head began to spin as I stood there stunned. I turned and ran out the door, not stopping until I reached the manor.
“Mrs. Sellers, I’m afraid Miles will be leaving the manor. Can you arrange for someone to take over his chores here at the manor? And while you’re at it, I think we need to hire someone to help you out with the housekeeping. Not that you’re not doing an excellent job, I just think that it might be a bit overwhelming for you. Maybe a couple would be suitable. There are spare quarters are there not?” I said catching my breath. She nodded. Mrs. Sellers was standing in the entry as I made my way from the back porch. She held a feather duster in her hands.
“If that’s what you would like, Mr. Reid. I can see to it immediately.” She took off the apron she was wearing. “I noticed the car is not in the garage. Do you know where it might be?”
“Mr. Sheffington left it in town. Please make arrangements to have it brought back. He’s out at the hut. You might check with him as to its exact whereabouts. I must warn you though, he’s very drunk and ..” I couldn’t continue and turned away, walking up the stairs very slowly.
“Yes, Mrs. Sellers?” I replied, keeping my back to her so she could not see the hot tears coursing down my face.
“I’m very sorry, Mr. Reid.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Sellers. So am I.”