It was the best and the worst day for young Clara. She'd been to the doctor who confirmed that she was with child, her first. Then the Royal Air Force messenger had come who gravely informed her that Christopher, her pilot husband of less than a year, had been reported shot down over the English Channel. There was no sign of him and he was presumed dead.
While she had always known it was a highly probable event, she still screamed and wept. The courier fled and her landlady ran to her.
Clara rented a small cottage on the farm of Martha, herself a war widow of longer standing, whose husband had been in the infantry and was reported missing in action at Dunkirk. She was in her mid-thirties, a solid and no-nonsense country woman. Martha consoled the young woman from empathy, knowing there was no way to stem the grief.
"My dear, my dear. I'll leave you for a while. I have a visitor in a bit and I'll fetch you when he's gone. You can sup with me," Martha said as soothingly as possible.
The two women ate quietly in front of the fire. Martha had offered a small glass of war-rationed wine and it was gratefully accepted. They spoke little but when time to retire approached, Martha offered, "You sleep with me tonight. You oughtn't to be alone. Go get your nightgown and I'll straighten up the bed."
When they were ensconced under the covers, Clara said, "May I ask you some personal questions? Feel free to refuse if you wish."
Martha reached out and took her hand, "We are sisters in grief. Ask away if it will help you."
Clara said, "I'll be direct. Am I correct that you are having sex with the young men who visit you?"
Martha smiled and squeezed Clara's hand more tightly, "Yes I am. And I'm sure you noticed that there are different ones also. When my husband went missing in action I was devastated, as you are now, but my need for intimate companionship returned after a while. I didn't want to get into a serious relationship but needed that special male closeness. Since we are just a short bicycle ride from the airbase, I volunteered there to do what I could against the enemy. I met some of the young pilots who were scared to death. I ascertained that many were virgins and I couldn't bear that they might die without experiencing what we women have to give."
Clara then related the other news she had received that day. More hugging and tears. Martha said softly, "You know that I have no children. We tried for years, even enlisting my husband's brother who had sired many. Now I felt that my barrenness could be a blessing, with fertility worries not limiting my gifts to our brave young pilots.
"All in all, it has been a good experience. The only bad part is when I hear that one of my proteges has been lost. I have several going at any given time so I can seek solace by releasing my feelings with another. At least I have accomplished my mission for the departed one."
She kissed Clara on the cheek and they hugged as they fell asleep.
It was late the next afternoon when Clara heard a knock at her door. It was Robert, Christopher's wingman. He stood, cap in hand, "May I speak with you?"
"Oh, please come in. Would you like a sip of Scotch?" That was Christopher's favorite libation. Robert nodded and took a seat on the small couch, thanking his hostess as she brought a small tumbler holding the brown liquid.
Christopher raised the glass, "To a wonderful friend and brave pilot!" He downed it in one gulp and turned to Clara next to him. Putting the glass down, he wrapped his arms around her and they both wept.
"I was with him on that last patrol. We were jumped by a bunch of ME109s. Christopher downed two but a third one had got behind him. His plane went almost straight down. No smoke so they must have hit him. I got that bastard though. Those were Christopher's fourth and fifth kills so he is an ace. There will be a ceremony at the base soon and I will escort you."
They talked for a long time until Clara suggested he stay for supper. She would like the company. He also accepted some more Scotch while she sipped on wine as she cooked.
She had always liked Robert. His presence was soothing and her feelings loosened as she sipped more wine. By the time dinner was finished she asked Robert to stoke the fire and sit with her.
Christopher had been her only suitor. She was not particularly comely of face, but her well-hidden body had delighted her husband. His ministrations were exciting and she sought after them often. It was easy for her to transfer her feelings to her late husband's partner in combat.
"Will you stay with me tonight?" she asked softly.
He leaned over and kissed her, "Whatever you wish is my command."
They undressed each other by the fire and ran for the cold bed, shivering as they snuggled close together. No words were spoken, body language was plenty. Their hands explored first, then Robert ducked his head under the covers and found her breasts with hardened nipples. Her breathing quickened as he nibbled and sucked them.
Reaching down to ascertain that he was hard (silly question), she spread her thighs and, with tight shut eyes, whispered, "Christopher, make love to me.
At first taken aback, he understood and positioned himself to enter her. He'd had only a little experience with an older woman, but enough to know what to do. As he sank deeper and deeper with each thrust, Clara mewed in pleasure. "Oh, Christopher, you feel so good. You've made a baby in me. Enjoy me."
That news nearly distracted Robert, but he bravely ploughed on. Clara shuddered and groaned with her climax and then he spewed his seed deep inside her. They slept coupled, waking to repeat twice more before dawn.
He had to hurry to get to the flight line in time, and after he left Martha knocked on the cottage door. "Who was that?", she inquired.
"That was Robert, my husband's wingman. He was there when Christopher went down."
Martha nodded, "I think you let go a lot of feelings last night. Am I right?"
Clara looked down in embarrassment, "I even called him Christopher right in the middle of it."
Martha laughed gently, "Did it stop him?" Clara shook her head. "I did that too at first. Enjoy him but just don't fall in love on the rebound. By the way, I've got more candidates than I have time for, so if you are interested in my morale building campaign just let me know." Clara nodded.
Robert visited when he could. Clara did catch herself "falling in love" and counseled with the older woman. The best solution was to have several partners.
Clara worked on the airbase, going in early to pack parachutes and dispense them to pilots leaving on missions. She thus met many of them. Deciding that she was most comfortable with the shy ones like her husband had been, she figured out how to invite them to her cottage to help with the maintenance that it required. It was then easy to have them stay for dinner and more. These were not the brash and cocky Americans, but well-mannered young English gentlemen who could keep things confidential.
Although they likely surmised that they were not the only ones invited to her bed, they never mentioned it, even when waiting a week or two for a return visit. Many didn't live long enough to make more than a few seminal deposits. Those that did were also given another incentive: score a confirmed kill and you could spend an entire night with Clara. She might have had another visitor earlier that day, but no one dared complain, and she enjoyed them all greatly.
In time her belly grew so much that she had to stop her mission of mercy, although it had not dissuaded any of her pilots from being affectionate to her. Charles had remained a regular until he was transferred across the country. Leave time for fighter pilots was difficult to obtain so he rarely saw her. When he did he was greeted with open thighs, of course.