Copyright© 2008 by Kaffir
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Although starting in 1946 the bulk of the story takes place in 1960s England. It has a military background and tells of the joy and vicissitudes of a privileged couple's romance in England and Libya. A box of tissues would be a handy aid to the reader.
Mark Bowers, aged eight, lay rigid in his bed with his teddy bear, Sebastian, clutched to his chest. It was five o'clock in the morning of 20th September 1946. He had hardly slept all night because today he was to start boarding at a Harrogate prep school. He had spent all of his short life here at the family home of Craig Hill with his mother, Elspeth, and younger sister, Selena. Only recently had his father returned from the war and now Mark was going to be taken away from all he loved to go to this horrid boarding school. He blinked back the tears for the umpteenth time. He would not cry. Big boys didn't and big boys couldn't take teddy bears to boarding school either. That was sissy. He wondered whether Selena would look after Sebastian for him. He was not sure he wanted her to. Mummy would take better care of him. His body convulsed as he stifled another sob.
The Bowers had lived at Craig Hill since 1068 when King William I, Duke of Normandy, had granted Claude Bouviers a baronetcy for services in the Norman Conquest of England. It was during the Civil War that the name had changed to Bowers. Landed gentry with Norman names had difficulty proving to Cromwell's Roundheads that they were not Roman Catholics and therefore loyal to Charles I. The estate comprised the house, a granite Georgian building, the farm adjoining it and four hundred acres bordering the south bank of the River Nidd.
Mark's father, Sir David Bowers, Bart (Abbreviation for Baronet), MC and Bar, had had a good war. Although as a farmer he could have avoided call-up, he had a strong sense of patriotism and duty boosted by the fact that his father had been killed in the Great War. He therefore volunteered for service as soon as war was declared and joined The Green Howards, his county regiment. On D-Day he was a company commander in 6th Battalion. That day Company Sergeant Major Hollis of his battalion won a Victoria Cross (VC), the highest award for gallantry, at Mont Fleury. David's company passed through Hollis's position and against a determined defence secured the ground half a mile further on. David Bowers was awarded the Military Cross (MC) for his bravery. He earned the bar to his award, effectively a second MC, some months' later at the Rhine Crossing. It was not until the spring of 1946 that he was demobilised and could return to his family at Craig Hill.
During the war he had had only brief periods of leave at home and the outcome of one was the birth of Mark's sister, Serena, in 1942. In his absence with only the help of the foreman it was Elspeth who kept the farm going during the war. In 1946 she was still a beautiful thirty-five year old but thin as a rake and prematurely lined.
As far as Mark was concerned Spring 1946 brought the greatest happiness he had ever known. All his family was together again. He worshipped his father, loved his mother and tolerated his tiresome sister. He gloried in his freedom round the farm, walking with his parents and the dogs, helping, as he saw it, with the lambs. Indeed he was an adept at bottle-feeding the orphans. Then in July the knell had sounded. He was told he was going to boarding school in September. His mother tried to excite him with the purchase of his new uniform and his sports kit. It worked to an extent but there was still the underlying dread of being separated from all that he loved. His parents were deeply aware of it but saw it as one of the necessary ordeals he would have to face. Elspeth in particular dreaded losing her little boy.
At seven o'clock she knocked on Mark's door and went into his room. Ever since he had graduated from a cot to a bed she had knocked. It just seemed the right thing to do. She was immediately aware of his drawn, white face and convulsive grip of Sebastian.
"Oh God!" she prayed silently, "Give me the strength to deal with this: to go through what I hate but know to be right and to give my darling boy the strength to cope."
"Wakey, wakey!" she said as she always did. "Time to get up."
Mark did not answer but just stared at her. His pale face was emotionless but his eyes were filled with pleading. Elspeth sat on the bed beside him.
"You're frightened, darling, aren't you?"
Mark gulped and nodded.
"I don't blame you. It's a big step in your life."
Mark nodded again and sniffed convulsively. He was not going to cry.
"Daddy had to do it too. He hated it at the time but he said that it soon got better and he enjoyed boarding school. There was so much to do."
Mark looked at her but still said nothing. There had been discussion about what it was like to go to boarding school but it had always been positive. No one had ever said that his father had been miserable at the time. His eyes questioned her.
"Granny was miserable about it too."
Mark spoke at last. "Are you miserable?"
"Yes, darling. Of course I am. I shall miss you very much but I know that as Granny missed Daddy and that he was worried about going away it all worked for the better in the end."
Mark relapsed into silence.
"It's not as though we won't see you very often. There's an exeat every three weeks and the middle one is a full two days at home at half term. The other thing is that we are only twenty minutes away and can always come over if you really need us."
"Why will it be better in the end?"
Elspeth smiled gently at him. She longed to stroke his forehead in comfort but knew this could cause tears that she knew he was fighting.
"I've never told you this before, darling," she said, "but before you were born I had two miscarriages."
"That's what they're called when babies are born," she hesitated, "dead."
Mark gasped and his hand flew to his mouth.
"It's a very, very hard thing for parents when that happens," continued Elspeth, "and even more so for the mother because she already cares for her unborn child."
"Like a ewe with a stillborn lamb," exclaimed Mark. "They always cry."
Elspeth nodded. "But," she said, "if those two babies had been born we'd never have had you and Serena."
She paused to let that sink in. Mark stared at her, his brain going round in circles.
"So you see," she said, "life isn't straightforward and easy. Sometimes horrid things happen but they can then turn out for the good. I'm so happy that I've got you and Selena despite the grief of losing the two other babies because I couldn't have produced two children I love more."
Mark bit his lip to stop any emotional tears. Big boys didn't cry.
"Now," went on Elspeth, "Daddy and I made this choice for you. We made it for good reasons. Daddy now realises that boarding school was the best thing that ever happened to him and he wants that for you. It was horrid to start with, leaving Granny and Grampa, but soon he was enjoying it. He said it was so much fun that sometimes in the holidays he'd get bored and wish he was back at school with his friends doing all the things they did together."
"What sort of things?"
"Ask him at breakfast. Now, come on. Up you get. Go and wash and dress and we'll see you downstairs in ten minutes."
She leant forward and kissed him on the forehead, stood up and left the room closing the door behind her.
"Phew," she said to herself. "Thank you, God. I think that worked."
Mark lay there his mind racing. It had never occurred to him that life could ever be anything else than well ordered and pleasant. It must have been horrid for his parents with those miscarriages but he was jolly glad he was alive. AND, if his father had got through going to boarding school so would he.
He leapt out of bed and ran to the bathroom, washed and dressed in a hurry and was downstairs for breakfast in eight minutes.