Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Frank Savage et al were originated by Sy Bartlett and Beirne Lay in their book
Twelve O'Clock High. I just extrapolate.
Rating: R sexual content,
Acknowledgement: My heartfelt thanks to TAE for her
role as beta, sounding board, and slave-driver. Most of these works would not
have been finished if not for her.
12, 1943 London
Helen Morse tied her straight blonde hair back into
a ponytail of sorts. She looked at herself in the mirror, noting the pale purple
circles under her eyes and the crow's feet creeping out towards her hairline.
She looked tired and felt tired. Helen had been working for almost two years without
a break, but it wasn't the work schedule that was sapping her strength. She had
been born in 1915 in St. Louis. Her father was a diplomat who traveled extensively.
Her mother died when Helen was ten. Her father hired a tutor and took his daughter
wherever he went. By the age of nineteen, Helen was fluent in three languages
and more comfortable in hotels than private homes or apartments. At twenty-one,
she got her first job as a stringer for the International Herald Tribune. From
there she became a reporter and correspondent. Helen was known for her personal
perspectives on the people behind the story. Helen slipped into her short blue
jacket which accentuated her slim hips. She chose to wear trousers while working,
as she never knew how the day would pan out and where her job would take her.
Today was a typical London day in 1943. A heavy fog quieted the city after another
series of night bombings. Helen picked up her satchel and walked into the hallway.
Shutting and locking her door, she walked downstairs for a coffee and toast before
heading out for the day.
Frank hollered to his exec through the closed door of his office. The door opened
quickly and Major Harvey Stovall walked in closing the door behind him.
General?" Harvey replied.
"What do you mean I don't have enough crews to put
up nineteen planes?" Brigadier General Savage asked, looking up at him through
a cloud of cigarette smoke.
"The replacements have not arrived yet, sir. In
addition, Sgt. Nero said that he is only able to ready fifteen planes today."
"What?" Frank said, jumping to his feet. Harvey unconsciously
took a step backwards away from the desk.
"He simply doesn't have the parts,
sir." Harvey replied quietly, trying to diffuse his furious commanding officer.
"Get me General Crowe," Frank said, stalking to pour himself another cup of
"Yes, sir." Harvey said, beating a hasty retreat to his desk. Frank
walked to the window, sipping his burnt coffee, looking out onto the airfield.
"General, General Crowe for you." Harvey said over the intercom. Frank grunted
and picked up the phone while sinking into his chair. He put the coffee down and
was lighting a fresh cigarette when Wiley Crowe spoke to him.
Wiley greeted him.
"Wiley, I cannot put nineteen birds in the air tomorrow.
I don't have the personnel and I don't have the parts." Frank said tersely, sitting
on the edge of his chair looking at the paperwork in front of him. Silence answered
his vent of frustration.
"Wiley, are you still there?" Frank asked.
General Savage, I'm still here. Are you done?" Wiley asked softly. Sighing Frank
said, "Yes, I suppose I am. It can't go on like this, Wiley. We get clobbered
in the air by the Germans and then we can't even make a dent to fight back because
we don't have the resources."
"Frank I hear what you're saying. Let me ask
you one thing though, did you get any sleep last night?" Wiley asked. Wiley always
knew how to cut to the chase with Frank.
"No, I've been going over the strike
reports and Rosen's forecast for the next couple of days." Frank replied quietly.
"Then you are aware that the 918th is not flying today and perhaps not tomorrow
as well." Wiley said gently.
"Yes, but that doesn't mean there isn't work to
be done." Frank said, taking a hit on his cigarette.
"I agree, but how much
work can you do when you're dead on your feet? Humour me Frank, get some sleep."
"I'll try, Wiley." Frank said, sighing.
"You'll do more than
try, Frank. I'll have Kaiser ground you, if that's what it takes." Wiley said,
raising his voice.
"That won't be necessary, General." Frank replied a bit
"Fine, well then, good night, Frank," Wiley said.
Wiley," Frank said, taking the phone from his ear.
"Oh, Frank? I nearly forgot.
Are you still there?" Wiley shouted into the receiver.
"What? Yes, Wiley, I'm
here." Frank said.
"I have to go to some cocktail party tonight, an order from
General Pritchard. Would you like to come to London and go with me? It will be
fun." Wiley asked.
"No, it won't be fun, but it will get me off the base which
is probably what you wanted to do. When and where?" Frank asked, picking up a
"Why don't you pick me up at the Gramercy at six and we'll head out."
"Six it is. See you later, Wiley.
" Frank said, putting
his cigarette out.
"Good night, Frank," Wiley said.
the receiver briefly and then called back to the 918th Bombardment Group to speak
to Major Kaiser, the chief medical officer.
"Yes, General? What can I do for
you?" Doc asked, sitting for the first time in several hours. It's General Savage,
Doctor," Wiley said.
"Oh?" Doc asked, not too surprised.
"He's burning the
candle at both ends, Doctor. He didn't sleep last night and the 918th is standing
down today due to weather. Can you look at him?" Wiley said.
"I'll go look
in on him right now, General. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Good
bye."Kaiser said, hanging up the phone immediately, before General Crowe had a
chance to respond. Kaiser grabbed his bag and stopped at the pharmacy for some
sleeping pills in addition to a hypodermic before heading towards the Operations.
He walked quickly into the building, and spotted Harvey up to his elbows in manila
"Hi, Doc, what's up?" Harvey asked, removing his glasses.
general in?" Kaiser asked.
"Yes, but I'll warn you, he's in a rotten mood."
"Let me worry about that." Doc said, knocking on the door.
Frank barked at the door. Doc walked in to the smell of cigarette smoke and stale
air. He shut the door behind him and walked to the desk. Frank looked up and then
back down as his papers. Taking a drag from his cigarette he blew it out in a
"Hullo, Doc, I'm pretty busy, what can I do for you?" Frank asked, hedging.
"You can go to sleep, General." Kaiser said, holding his ground.
not you, too? Did General Crowe put you up to this? I'm fine. I'll sleep later."
Frank said, irritated.
"General Savage, could you look at me, please, sir?"
Doc asked, setting his kit on the desk. Frank looked up at him slowly and winced.
He reached his left hand up to his neck trying to relax the tight muscles. He
lowered his head and resumed his work. Kaiser hadn't seen him looking this rough
since February when he had his breakdown.
"How long have you had the muscle
spasms?" Kaiser asked, opening his kit.
"Now, Doc, don't make a mountain out
of a molehill." Frank mumbled, inhaling on his cigarette.
"General, I have
the authority to ground you if I don't find you fit. Right now, I wouldn't let
you ride a bicycle, let alone fly an airplane. General Crowe said you didn't sleep
last night. I'll wager that the only 'food' you've ingested in the last forty-eight
hours has been coffee, cigarettes and scotch. You have two choices; go to your
quarters and sleep or come with me to the hospital for some forced sleep and food."
Kaiser said firmly. Frank stood slowly to his full six-foot height and looked
down at Kaiser. The two-day growth of beard, dark circles, and pale face concerned
Doc. Frank shifted his weight, trying to decide what to do. The problem was he
was so tired and it was difficult to think.
"Come on, Frank, just lie down
here in your office. How about that?" Kaiser suggested gently.
"Yeah, all right
Doc, you win. I'll just take a nap." Frank said, walking to the cot in the corner.
He sat down, wincing again at some pain and lay back on the bed. Within minutes
he was asleep. Kaiser walked out to the outer office.
"Harvey, I'm sedating
him. He's through for the day." Doc said and walked back into the office. Harvey
"Is this General Crowe's order?" Harvey asked.
I concur. Jesus, Harvey, just look at him. He's a wreck. I'm giving him a low
dosage of the sedative just to keep his dreams in check." Doc said, preparing
"I'll call General Crowe." Harvey said, walking to the desk.
"I mean it, Harvey, no work today at all. If he resists, call me. I think two
majors can control one general." Kaiser said, rolling up Frank's sleeve.
might be true with some generals, but not this one." Harvey said, picking up the
"General Crowe," Wiley answered.
"General, Major Stovall, here,"
"Yes, major, what is it?" Wiley asked.
"Doc is grounding General
Savage for the day. He is not to work at all." Harvey said.
"How did he take
that?" Wiley asked, smiling.
"He doesn't know, he's sleeping now and Doc is
about to sedate him to keep him quiet." Harvey replied.
"Just tell Doc that
Frank is to meet me in London at six tonight." Wiley said.
"Will do, thank
you General." Harvey said.
"You're welcome, Major." Wiley said, hanging up
"He has to be up at four this afternoon to meet General Crowe in
London at six." Harvey explained.
"I'm not socking him, I'm just trying to
let him truly sleep, not dream this nap away." Kaiser said, finishing with the
needle. Doc closed up his kit and headed out with Harvey on his heels.
changes, at all, call me." Kaiser instructed.
"Don't worry." Harvey said.
Helen finished taking photographs of the
London Road Viaduct. It had been completed in 1846 and was a vital egress for
the war effort. She then interviewed Joe Goss, a butcher who had a shop on Campbell
Road. He spoke to her of the hardships of the war and the increasing traffic over
the Viaduct. He feared the Germans would learn of this road .She assured him that
would not happen Helen took the tube to her office, or that which her editor called
"Morning, Helen. How goes the prize-winning?" Doug Schmidt asked.
Ever since she won a local award for both her article and photographs, Doug Schmidt
had been on her back.
"Very well, Dougie. Any calls?" Helen replied as she
walked by him to her desk.
"Yes, an American General Pritchard called to remind
you to attend the cocktail party at St. John Smythe's house at six tonight."Doug
"Right," Helen said, dumping her satchel on the desk. First she needed
to develop her photos. Most correspondents didn't develop their own film but she
was a perfectionist and insisted on doing it herself. She was very good at both
taking a photo and perfecting the print. She shrugged off her jacket and took
her camera into the dark room. For the next three hours she processed and printed
her images until she was satisfied. Next, while the prints dried, she washed her
hands of the chemicals and poured herself a cup of coffee. She sat at her desk
and took out her notes. Glancing at them quickly, her story came to her. Helen
put the paper in her Royal typewriter with carbon firmly in place and started
to type. By three she had finished. Standing to stretch, she picked up a large
envelope and went to the dark room to get her prints. She walked in to find Jake
Stratton, her editor, looking at the photos.
"These the London Road photos?"
he asked, gruffly.
"Yes," she replied.
"Is your piece done as well?" he
asked, softly this time.
"Yes, I was just coming to put the whole thing together
to show you.
"Helen said. Jake turned to look at her. For the first time, she
was aware of him as a man, not a boss. His brown eyes, set into a dark face, were
highlighted by the shaggy grey hair that surrounded and threatened to overtake
"Helen, this is a very important piece."Jake said, staring into her
"You always say that, Jake."Helen replied, trying to figure him out.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" Jake asked, changing the subject.
"I am disappearing
for the next two days. I've had it, Jake."Helen said, her voice betraying a bit
too much of her fragile emotional state.
"All right, all right, just check
in with me once a day, please. That's all I ask."Jake said, mysteriously, before
leaving the dark room.
"Fine," Helen said, taking the photos off the drying
line and placing them in the envelope. Then she took the dry negatives, cut them
into manageable pieces, and placed them into glassine sleeves. Helen gathered
both envelopes and went to her desk. She pulled the article from the typewriter.
The carbon copy was set aside and the master was put in the envelope with the
photographs. She sealed the large envelope and laid it on the desk. Helen reached
for her jacket and slipped it on. She took the carbon and the negatives and put
them in her satchel. She closed it, picked up the envelope and went in search
of Jake. Ten minutes later she found him in the hallway coming out of the men's
"Here's the London Road piece, Jake." she said handing him the envelope.
"Thanks, Helen, take care." Jake said, taking it from her. She looked at him
oddly and left the office, heading for home. It looked like she had enough time
for a long bath before getting dressed for St. John's cocktail party. She had
been to one of these before and found it deadly boring. Everyone was much older
and attached and military. Not that she had a problem with the military. No, that
wasn't it. It was that when they found that she was a reporter, she was persona
non grata. Helen sighed as she continued her walk home.
Harvey walked in to check on Frank. He hadn't moved an inch
since Kaiser had given him the sedative. No dreams, and no nightmares, but a slightly
scary deep sleep. Harvey knew Frank had to pick up General Crowe at six. It was
an hour drive to London and Frank still had to shower and shave. Well here goes.
"Frank!" Harvey said loudly. No response.
"Frank!" Harvey repeated,
louder. Frank opened his eyes slowly. He groaned in spite of himself.
me, didn't he?" Frank asked.
"Yes, but you know he needed to do it." Harvey
"What time is it, Harve?" Frank asked, sitting up slowly.
sir." Harvey said. Frank swung his feet to the floor and put his face in his hands
with a sigh.
"Are you all right, sir?" Harvey asked gently.
"No, but that
hardly matters any more. I have to get going. Would you have a driver pick me
up at my quarters at five, please?" Frank said.
"Yes sir." Harvey said leaving
the general alone. Frank wiped his face with his sleeve and stood slowly. He reached
his hands out to steady himself in space. He walked to his desk and took his lighter
and cigarettes, putting them in his trouser pocket. Frank walked to the coat rack
and put on his A2 jacket. He reached for his hat and put that on as well. He walked
out of office and left without saying a word to Harvey.
Helen reached her hotel with a sigh of relief. She walked upstairs
listening intensely for someone in the bath room. Blissful silence. She entered
her room and promptly laid out her bathrobe, slippers and smelly bath salts. Quickly
she stripped down and then put on the bathrobe. She gathered her bathing items,
including the towel and went to draw her bath.
walked into his quarters and fought the desire to go back to bed. He tossed his
hat and jacket on his bed. Slowly he took off his clothes and walked into the
bathroom. He turned on the water to tepid and then hot. He chuckled thinking that
this was a general's shower; unlimited hot water. He stepped in and groaned at
both the heat and the pressure on his tight muscles. He stood for several minutes
before taking the soap and actually bathing. Frank turned off the water and stepped
out of the shower. He grabbed a towel and tied it around his waist. Padding to
the sink he took his shaving soap and wetted it. Making lather he took his shaving
brush and dipped it in the lather. Frank brushed his beard with the shaving soap.
He put the brush down and then spread the soap on his face with his hands. He
picked up his razor, stropped it a few times and shaved, never looking at the
steam covered mirror. It was one of the few luxuries that he afforded himself
in the Air Corps, a good shave.
Helen walked into the
bath room and shut the door, locking it securely. She put the bath salts in the
tub and started the hot water. Humming to herself, she removed her watch, putting
it close enough to monitor the time and yet far enough away that it did not become
a victim of the bath. Shortly the water filled the old tub. Helen turned the water
off, removed her bathrobe and slipped one pale foot below the surface. Willing
herself not to yell, she watched as her foot turned pink up to the point where
the water touched it. She put the other foot in and felt the perspiration start
on her face. Smelling the lovely chamomile and garden flowers, she sat in the
bath, finally stretching out in the hot water. Helen sighed happily. She may never
Frank washed his face with the wash cloth and ran his
hands through his hair. He toweled off the rest of his body and walked back into
his room. He pulled his uniform from the closet and laid it on the bed. He checked
his fruit salad and then pulled his dress shoes from the closet, checking their
shine. Passable, he thought. Finally he pulled out a clean shirt and tie. Frank
dressed at normal speed and was just collecting his cigarettes and lighter when
there was a knock on the door. Frank walked to the door and opened it.
I am to drive you to London.
"Corporal Evans said, standing at attention.
Evans, I'll be right with you." Frank said. Frank reached for his hat, took one
look in the mirror and left his room.
Damn, she thought.
It was five minutes past five. Where had the time gone? Slowly, Helen stood in
the tub and reached for her towel. Stepping cautiously to the mat on the floor
Helen reached out and un-stoppered the tub. She toweled off, leaving her skin
glowing. Helen put her bath robe on and leaned over to clean the bath tub as she
had been taught to do. Satisfied it would pass even her father's strict rules;
she gathered her belongings and headed back to her room. Helen walked in and locked
the door behind her. Depositing her things on a chair, she walked to the closet
and chose a sleeveless, charcoal linen dress and dark pumps. She felt better but
still tired. Dressing slowly, she tried not to perspire on her clean dress. Finally
she was ready to go. Grabbing her purse, and jacket she headed to the bus stop
for her half hour ride.
As always, Frank
arrived on time. Wiley stood outside the Gramercy smoking a cigarette. He looked
different to Frank, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Frank got out of the
car, leaving the door open and Evans at a loss what to do.
"Let the car
go, Frank. Harvey called and confirmed that the 918th will stand down tomorrow
as well, due to weather. You might as well stay here tonight if you wish." Wiley
"All right, do you want to walk to this thing tonight?" Frank
"Yes, it's only a few blocks." Wiley replied.
"Well then, Evans you
have a reprieve. You may return to the base." Frank said.
"Yes sir." Evans
said; shutting Frank's door. He ran to the front and drove off before the General
could change his mind.
"You all right, Wiley?" Frank asked, lighting a cigarette.
"No, Frank, I have a headache. Right now it's manageable." Wiley said.
you want me to step on your foot hard so you'll forget your headache?" Frank asked.
Wiley looked at him for as long as he could before breaking into a big smile.
"No thanks, Frank. You're a big enough headache just the way you are! Come
on, we want to be fashionably late." Wiley said, walking down the street.
are we going?" Frank asked.
"St. John Smythe's house. He's a big mucky muck
in the Air Ministry." Wiley said.
"And where is General Pritchard?" Frank asked.
"He has the flu and to be honest looks awful. You, on the other hand, seemed
to have rebounded a bit." Wiley said with a smile.
"Thanks, a sedative always
does the trick for me." Frank said with a grin.
"Here we are," Wiley said,
ditching his cigarette.
"Wow, we are really close." Frank said, doing the same.
"Straighten your tie," Wiley advised, walking up to the door. Wiley dropped
the knocker twice and the door opened. An old man in butler's uniform opened the
"Ah, General Crowe, good to see you, sir." The man said.
Laurence. This is my friend, General Savage." Wiley said, pointing out Frank.
"Pleasure to meet you, sir," Laurence said.
"Good to meet you, Laurence,"
"General Crowe, you know the drill." Laurence said.
sir, I do. Frank, follow me." Wiley said. Frank followed Wiley to a closet filled
with top coats and hats. They placed their hats where they hoped they'd be easy
to find. Wiley led Frank toward the noise of the party, and to Frank's relief,
"What's your poison tonight, Frank?" Wiley asked.
"Scotch with one
rock, I haven't eaten in a while." Frank said with a smile.
"Bourbon with a
splash of water, please, as well." Wiley said. Wiley took his drink and turned
to look at the room. There were some other military personnel that he recognized
but of the seventy or so people present that was it. He did make out St. John
Smythe in a dark suit with his school tie.
"Let's go meet our host." Wiley
"Great and then we can beat a hasty retreat!" Frank replied.
then Churchill said 'no I said squabs not squids!'" Smythe said chuckling. The
people he was speaking to laughed politely and move away, seeing Frank and Wiley
in uniforms approaching."Wiley, good to see you and you brought him, Good show!
General Savage, I am your host, St. John Smythe." Smythe said extending his hand.
"Good to meet you, sir. This is a nice party." Frank said, searching for the
"No it's not but it's nice of you to say. There are about fifteen
people who are interesting and the rest are coming for the free drinks and hors
d'oeuvres." Smythe said, sipping his drink. Frank looked for Wiley, who had finished
his drink and was going back for another.
"Excuse me," Frank said, following
"Wiley?" Frank asked, concerned.
"I'm not sure, just let me drink
this." Wiley said. They walked to the glass doors going out to the balcony. Wiley
opened the door and Frank followed. They stood in a dark area as Wiley rapidly
drank his second drink. Frank turned away from Wiley and lit a cigarette. Turning
back he handed it to Wiley.
"Thanks," Wiley said, taking a hit.
"Yeah, I'm sorry Frank." Wiley said.
"No problem, Wiley. I
hate these things anyway." Frank said.
"No Frank, I'm sorry because you must
stay here at least for ninety minutes as per General Pritchard." Wiley said, taking
another hit from the cigarette.
"Ah, well, shall I call you a cab?" Frank asked.
"No, Laurence will make sure I get home. I'll see you tomorrow. Please give
my apologies to Smythe." Wiley said, handing Frank his glass.
"Take care, Wiley."
Frank said with a sigh. Wiley left the balcony, holding a hand over his eyes to
block the bright light. Frank followed and went to the bar.
with one ice cube, please." Frank asked.
"Yes, sir," The bartender replied.
Frank took his drink and went in search of his host. He found Smythe talking to
a blonde woman in a grey dress. Frank stood to the side, trying not to interrupt
but to be within sight lines.
"Yes, General?" Smythe asked.
sir. Wiley wanted me to convey his apologies but he had to leave the party." Frank
"His migraines again? He looked rotten when he walked in but then so
did you so I thought it was the bloody war." Smythe said, taking a sip of his
"Dear Lord, where are my manners? Helen Morse, may I present Frank Savage."
"Madame," Frank said, reaching for her hand.
"General, please call me Helen."
Helen said, holding his hand in return.
"Frank," Frank said, with a smile.
Smythe looked at the two of them and felt uncomfortable. He excused himself and
walked to the bar to refresh his drink but he doubted they knew he had left.
you like a drink?" Frank asked, releasing her hand.
"Not yet, thank you." Helen
answered. He was mesmerized. Her blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail with
small sprays escaping at her temples. She filled her dress well but it was her
hazel eyes that he found captivating.
"I'm sorry, what?" Frank said, hearing
the tail-end of her question.
"What do you do in the war?" Helen asked.
a pilot and I command the 918th Bombardment Group." Frank said, sipping on his
scotch. She couldn't help but stare at him. His left hand was casually in his
trouser pocket, his right hand firmly around his drink. The circles under his
eyes and a certain unsettled quality led her to believe that he was probably very
good at what he did, and perhaps he'd been doing it a long time.
is a group of people I would like you to meet. General, if I may?" Smythe asked,
returning from the bar.
"Uhm, of course sir." Frank stammered.
anywhere, Frank." Helen said, looking at him with those eyes. Frank smiled and
sipped his scotch as Smythe steered Helen to a group of stiff old men in the corner.
Frank turned around and walked back to the balcony, checking his watch, 1900h,
almost over. Frank lit a cigarette and sat in a chair by the railing. He could
hear the party and look at the stars. Frank sipped his scotch, smoked his cigarette
"I don't want to be so cliché as to ask
'penny for your thoughts' but you seemed very far away." Helen said dragging a
chair to sit opposite him. Frank didn't move a muscle; he simply opened his eyes
and looked at her.
"I suppose I was." Frank said.
"How is your group?" "Miss
Morse, here is your scotch and a fresh one for the general." A waiter said, handing
them fresh drinks.
"Thank you, Eddie," Helen said, taking the glass.
Helen said, raising her glass.
"Cheers," Frank replied, taking the glass from
the waiter and touching it to hers.
"My group, as you put it, was the same.
They are diplomats who know my father and feel amused to speak to me as if I were
still ten." Helen said, looking into her drink. They sat together listening to
the party, drinking their cocktails.
"Are you hungry? I haven't eaten all day?"
Frank asked suddenly, sitting up in his chair.
"What? You must have eaten something."
"No, I've been up for two days, planning missions, drinking coffee
and scotch. That's it. Although I did nap for the better part of the day today."
"Well that explains why you look so tired. But there's something
else..." Helen said. Frank stood slowly and walked to the balcony railing.
I'm sorry Frank. Sometimes I forget to turn off my work brain." Helen said, touching
his shoulder. Frank turned to look at her.
"What do you do, Helen?" Frank asked.
"I am a journalist for the International Herald Tribune." Helen said quietly.
Frank paused, shifting his weight.
"So, Helen Morse of the International Herald
Tribune, are you hungry?" Frank asked.
"Yes, Frank Savage, of the 918th, I
am. Where shall we go?" Helen asked.
"I need good food, if you don't mind.
Do you know Rules?" Frank asked.
"Yes, but I've never been there." Helen said.
"No better time than the present." Frank said, putting his arm easily around
her waist. They walked side by side to find Smythe to bid their farewells and
then went to get her coat and his hat.
"Laurence, did General Crowe get home
safely?" Frank asked with concern.
"Yes, sir, I had one of Mr. Smythe's cars
drive him to the Gramercy and then General Crowe's physician met him there." Laurence
said, handing Frank his hat. Feeling relief for the first time that night Frank
smiled at Helen.
"Ready to go?" Frank asked.
"Yes, what was that about?
If you don't mind me asking?" Helen said, allowing Frank to help her with her
"My best friend had to leave early with a bad headache. I just had to
make sure he was okay." Frank said. Helen reached her right arm to interlock with
Frank's left and they walked down the sidewalk toward Covent Garden. Fifteen minutes
later, they were at Rules. Helen walked in and took a breath; Frank was a step
"Sir, do you have a reservation?" the man behind the desk asked.
"General Savage?" a voice called.
"Deering, how are you?" Frank asked.
am well sir, and you?" Deering replied, extending his hand.
"Very well, thank
you. Deering, I'm afraid I don't have a reservation." Frank said, shaking his
"Just the two of you? I think we can squeeze you in!" Deering said, looking
at the seating chart to see what was open.
"Follow me, please." Deering said,
leading the way. Frank touched Helen's back, feeling a certain electricity from
her, as he directed her to follow Deering.
"Here you are," Deering said, seating
them with a view back into the restaurant.
"It's wonderful," Helen said.
this your first time at Rules, miss?" Deering asked.
"Yes, it is." Helen replied,
looking at the stuffed fowl that perched everywhere.
"Have a wonderful time,"
Deering said, winking at Frank. Frank sat opposite Helen at the small table. Their
knees almost touched and at times he felt short of breath looking at her. The
menus came with two glasses of champagne, courtesy of Deering.
"Do you come
here often?" Helen asked.
"No, but I made an impression with a friend here
once." Frank said, mysteriously.
"Cheers," Frank said.
"Cheers," Helen replied.
They gently touched glasses and sipped the champagne. Helen stole glances at Frank.
He moved like an athlete or a dancer; quick to pull out her chair or place his
hand on the small of her back. She watched the way his uniform hung over his chest.
It hung loosely as if he had lost weight while in the army.
asked, bringing her back to reality.
"Sorry?" Helen replied, blushing. Chuckling
Frank reached over and took her hand, squeezing it. A natural, non-scripted moment
that made her like him even more.
"What would you like for dinner?" Frank asked.
Helen blushed again, trying to concentrate on the menu. Frank rubbed his thumb
on the back of her hand while he read his menu. She was having a hard time concentrating.
"What are you going to have?" Helen asked, dodging the question.
I would have the quail, but I'm really too hungry. Are you hungry?" Frank asked,
looking at her.
"Yes," Helen said, softly.
"All right then I suggest a feast
of sliced roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. I know it's May but they do it really
well here." Frank said.
"Sounds perfect. May I choose the wine?" Helen asked.
"Please do," Frank replied, watching her study the vast wine list.
excellent, all right. I'm ready." Helen said. Frank motioned to the waiter.
would like the Roast Beef with Yorkshire pudding and the lady will be ordering
the wine." Frank said, with great satisfaction.
"Number 45," Helen said, handing
the wine list back to the waiter.
"Thank you, miss." The waiter said, leaving.
A few minutes later, the waiter returned with the bottle of wine and showed it
with grave drama to Helen. She nodded, winking at Frank. The waiter uncorked the
wine and poured a small amount into a glass. Helen took the glass and swirled
its contents for a few moments. She sipped it and then took a mouthful.
wonderful." Helen pronounced. Frank smiled and stared at their hands, which were
still together. He moved his hand to his wine glass and toasted her. Helen held
hers in the same manner and they both sipped from their glasses. Over dinner they
talked about everything except the war. Time had no meaning as the wine and conversation
"General, we must close. I am sorry." Deering said.
have to hurry to beat curfew, I'm sorry Deering." Frank reached into his wallet
and paid the bill with a handsome tip.
"Thank you, General, miss." Deering
said. Helen and Frank stood and they walked with arms around each other to get
her coat and his hat. They walked outside to the cool night.
"Taxi, sir?" a
"I think we'd better," Frank said. He held the door for Helen
and then walked quickly to the other side to sit next to her holding her hand.
"162 Great Russell Street," Helen said, easily.
"Yes, miss." The driver
replied. Ten minutes later, the taxi arrived at Helen's hotel. Frank got out first
and opened her door. Reaching in, he took her hand and helped her to her feet.
He shut the door and handed the cabbie a five pound note, twice the fare. The
cabbie smiled and drove away. Frank gently pulled Helen to him, holding her hand
near his shoulder, and kissing her fingers.
"I had a wonderful time, tonight,
Helen." Frank said softly. Helen looked up at him and made a decision.
you like to come up for a nightcap?" Helen asked.
"Love to," Frank said, kissing
her on the lips for the first time. Helen melted against his touch. He was gentle
and yet assured. Again she felt his hand at the small of her back directing her
ahead. They walked up the two flights of stairs, holding hands. Helen opened the
door and walked in to her room. Frank waited until she had turned on a light.
He walked in and closed the door behind him. He took his hat and uniform jacket
off and laid them carefully on a chair. Next he loosened his tie and undid his
cuffs, pushing his sleeves to his elbows. Helen watched this as she got the bottle
of scotch and found two glasses in the bathroom. He kicked off his shoes, a bachelor
habit, she decided, and collapsed on the sofa, putting his feet up on the table.
She put the bottle and glasses on the table and filled a third glass with water
from the tap.
"A little al fresco, I hope you don't mind." Helen said, pouring
a hefty glass of scotch with a splash of water and handing it to Frank.
I don't mind much, really." Frank said, relaxing. Helen poured her own scotch
and sat next to Frank tucking her feet under her. He sipped his scotch and she
watched as he continued to relax.
"Frank?" Helen said, a few minutes later.
"Oh, sorry, I must have dozed off." Frank murmured.
"Okay, Frank. Let's
get you into bed." Helen commanded. Frank smiled, raising an eyebrow and put his
glass on the table. Placing his feet on the floor he stood slowly. Helen put her
arm around his waist and he put his arm over her shoulders. They walked together
into her bedroom.
"Clothes off, Frank." Helen said, gently. Frank looked at
"Helen, I'm sorry. You must think..." Frank started.
"Frank I think
you are very tired and need to go to sleep now." Helen said. Frank sighed, his
emotions in turmoil. Helen reached up and removed his tie. She helped him unbutton
his shirt. He reached for her face and kissed her deeply. She responded as well,
feeling his bare back beneath her hands.
"Keep going, Frank before you fall
asleep standing up." Helen said when they broke. Frank undid his belt and stepped
out of his trousers. He removed his socks, standing in his shorts, while Helen
turned down the bed. Frank walked by Helen and got into bed. She pulled the sheet
to his neck and the blanket to his waist. Taking the back of her hand, she stroked
"Good night, Frank," Helen said.
"Good night, Helen. Thank you
for taking care of me." Frank said almost asleep.
"You're very welcome."Helen
said, quietly. Helen walked around the bedroom and picked up Frank's clothing.
She held the shirt and simply smelled him. She turned off the light in the bedroom
and walked into the living area. She picked up his shoes and placed them near
the door and locked the door while she was there. Helen finished her scotch and
after cleaning up some more felt tired enough to join Frank. Helen removed her
dress and hung it up in the closet. She found her nightgown and put it on. Turning
out all the lights in the apartment, she went into the bedroom and listened to
Frank breathing. She pulled back the covers and got into bed. Helen got comfortable,
close enough to Frank to feel the breath on her neck but not touching him. She
fell asleep quickly.
May 13, 1943 London 0300h
woke up when she felt Frank's body pressing against her back. He had pushed all
of the covers off on his side and was now cuddling in his sleep to stay warm.
His right hand was on her belly. She took it in her own and felt the calluses.
Shortly she fell back to sleep again.
woke up from a nightmare, sitting bolt upright in bed, sweat streaming down his
face and chest, breathing as if he had just run a marathon. Helen walked in quickly
from the other room with a glass of scotch, no water.
"Frank? You're all
right. You're here with me." Helen said from the end of the bed. Frank looked
at her, still not entirely awake, still confused.
"Drink this, you'll feel
better." Helen said, handing him the glass. Frank took a sip of scotch and held
it, as was his custom, until his tongue was almost numb and then swallowed. His
heart rate slowed and the sweat started to cool. Frank shuddered involuntarily.
Helen got into bed, carefully and brushed his hair off of his face.
Helen." Frank said, still trying to calm down.
"Frank you do not need to apologize.
Finish your scotch and we'll get back to sleeping." Helen instructed. Frank finished
his scotch and put the glass on the side table. He lay back on the bed, the pillow
under his head. Helen lay down as well and Frank lifted his left arm to put around
her shoulders as she rested her head on his chest.
"You're quite remarkable,
Helen." Frank said, reaching his right arm across to draw her nearer.
you, but now you need to go back to sleep." Helen said. But Frank was already
asleep with Helen in his arms.
over and her hand landed on Frank's bare torso. She woke up and began to trace
her hand slowly over the scars and muscles that marred the surface of Frank's
"Morning," Frank said, in a low voice, opening his eyes.
how are you feeling?" Helen asked.
"Much better, thanks to you." Frank said,
sitting up on one elbow, looking at her.
"How much better?" Helen asked, playfully.
Frank leaned over and gave her a deep kiss that took her breath away. He reached
his hand down and gently traced the right side of her body through her night gown.
He continued to kiss her gently on her neck as she began to trace the muscles
in his back with the edges of her fingernails. Helen reached down to his face
and gently guided his mouth back to hers. They continued to kiss and touch. He
sat up on his knees slowly and slowly brought her up to face him. Frank traced
her jaw with his right hand and then took her face in both hands, kissing her
again, feeling her body against his. She moved her hands down Frank's back to
his waist, sliding her thumbs under the waistband of his shorts. He freed her
night gown and pulled it over her head. Seeing Helen in the dim light and feeling
her touch was almost too much.
"Helen, you're beautiful," Frank said so softly
she almost didn't hear him. Helen lay back on the bed, her blonde hair fanning
out on the pillow. She reached out to Frank, pulling him down on top of her, feeling
his warmth. He supported his weight on his elbows, leaning back to look at her.
Frank smiled and brushed some stray hairs off of her face while her hands traced
his back, feeling the muscles as he breathed. She smiled back and Frank kissed
her again on the mouth, deeply and slowly. Helen responded, her tongue touching
his shyly. He reached his left arm behind her shoulders and Helen's right hand
found the small of Frank's back pulling him to her. Frank traced her left breast
as she continued to kiss him, or he kissed her. At this point neither knew who
was doing what, only that it felt wonderful. Helen brushed her hand over the front
of his shorts, causing him to let out a low growl into her mouth. Helen broke
away, giggling. Frank smiled back, not knowing what to say. He leaned in again
and kissed her, moving his hand down the side of her body, feeling the curve of
her hip as she turned her body slightly. Helen reached to his waist and traced
a line to his navel, feeling the hair in her fingers and following the line of
hair that disappeared beneath his shorts and touching him again. Temporarily paralyzed,
Frank groaned again in pleasure. His hand traced her flat belly and came to rest
on her warm center. Helen's hand encircled him as Frank's fingers entered her
very slowly. Her breath caught in her throat as he touched her and still they
kissed, although sometimes their pleasure below distracted their tongues above.
Helen's breathing increased as Frank's fingers touched and teased. Not to be outdone,
she continued her investigation of him as Frank's breathing increased to match
"Frank? Frank, now please?" Helen directed, panting. He removed
his hand and looked at her as she opened her eyes and gazed up at him. He positioned
himself above her and then entered her exquisitely slowly. Frank looked at her
and smiled before kissing her gently. She smiled at him until her ecstasy overrode
her vision and her eyes closed. Frank kissed her and Helen responded fiercely.
They made love slowly but their passions got away from them. Helen came first
with a short cry and Frank came moments later, collapsing onto his elbows, his
head in the crook of her neck, panting. Helen leaned up and kissed his ear lobe,
licking the sweat at his hair line.
"Ah, Helen," he groaned, "please, you're
killing me." She leaned up again, her abdominal muscles clamping down on him and
causing him to groan again. Helen giggled and hugged him. Frank's breathing started
to return to normal as the sweat on his back dried in the early morning air. He
moved and cautiously removed himself from her, lying on his back. Helen reached
over across his stomach and laid her head on his shoulder.
"Are you feeling
better, Frank?" Helen asked, teasingly, after a few minutes.
"You are a vixen!"
Frank said, reaching over and rolling her on top of him.
"I'm too tired, I
can't do this." He said, quietly.
"Oh, really?" Helen said, giggling at the
rise in his shorts.
The sun streamed in the
window and Frank turned away from the bright light, grasping Helen tightly. She
breathed their scent in as she smiled.
"Did I wake you?" Frank asked, softly.
"No, I wake up with the sun." Helen replied, squeezing his arm that she held
across her chest.
"Hmmmmm."Frank said, burying his head in her hair.
you like some breakfast?" Helen asked.
"Coffee would be fine."Frank replied.
"Well, we need to forage, then. This isn't the base."Helen said, moving away
from his touch. She sat up, her legs over the edge of the bed, and stretched.
Frank moved behind her, hugging her, and kissing Helen on the back of her neck.
"Frank, bathe first and then coffee?" Helen asked, arching her body back to
"Sounds fine. Lead on," Frank said, following her off the bed. Helen handed
Frank a towel and put on her bathrobe, grabbed her bath things and led the way.
They walked into the unoccupied bath room and locked the door. The tub had a shower
nozzle. Helen put the stopper in and turned on the hot water. She turned back
and Frank met her. He undid her bathrobe and reached around her waist, drawing
her bare chest to his. He kissed her slowly and Helen loved it, kissing him deeply
in return. He pushed her bathrobe to the floor as she untied his towel. They kissed
standing up, letting their bodies touch each other in the fresh air from the open
window. Frank broke away and stepped into the tub, reaching over to turn the water
off. He settled and invited Helen in. Helen got into the tub and lay back against
Frank, warm and cozy. He reached to hug her, pushing her hair away, revealing
her left ear, and kissing her neck passionately. Helen was helpless, so at the
opportune time she turned over and floated towards Frank, taking his face in her
hands and kissing him passionately. He hugged her fiercely, answering her kisses,
reveling in the feeling of her slick body against his. She reached for him, touching
and teasing as before. Helen sat up in the tub as Frank reached for her breasts,
feeling their fullness, trying to keep control against her touch. Suddenly she
slipped him inside of her. Frank's eyes locked with the hazel eyes above him.
Helen leaned over and kissed Frank deeply as she started a rhythm. He placed his
hands easily around her waist; not letting her stray too far from him, looking
for any signs that she was ready. The water was sloshing in a familiar rhythm.
Frank held back for a second and Helen's eyes opened immediately, looking at him.
"Just checking...."Frank said with a smile. Helen growled and ground into him
harder. Frank shut his eyes and came quickly, Helen followed. Frank was spent
and happy and tired all at the same time.
"Do you know how wonderful you are?"
Frank said, cautiously. Helen raised her head up and looked at him before kissing
him intensely. She lifted herself from him and sat back against his chest.
I wash your hair?" Frank asked as he kissed her head. Helen nodded as they repositioned
themselves so Frank had the shower nozzle in his lap. Gently he wetted her hair.
Kissing her neck, he put the shampoo on her hair and carefully kept the soap from
her eyes before rinsing with warm water. She purred with pleasure, her back against
Frank's chest. He then bathed her intimately as her eyelids simply fluttered with
happiness. When Frank finished she took the wash cloth and reciprocated, watching
him lean back, his eyes closed, feeling everything. Frank stood and retrieved
a clean towel for Helen. She stood and he folded it around her, hugging and kissing
her softly as he did so. He rubbed her through the towel, drying her before gathering
her bathrobe and helping her dress. Helen took the other towel and dried Frank
carefully before trying it around his waist. They gathered her bath things and
walked back to the room. Frank shut the door behind him.
"I'm ready for coffee
now, Frank. Get dressed and we'll go out. I have to call the office as I suspect
you do, too." Helen said, leaning up against him and therefore the door. Helen
turned away to walk into her bedroom to change. Frank took several breaths trying
to clear his head from this amazing woman. He looked around and started to locate
his clothing. Piecemeal, he started to dress, finally finding his tie. Helen reached
up and brushed back his hair with her hands. He smiled.
"What's wrong?" Helen
asked, stepping back.
"Nothing, that's just what I do as well," Frank said,
kissing her. Helen gathered her purse and jacket and they headed out for the day.
They stopped downstairs for coffee. Frank finished his first cup while Helen talked
to her editor. When she returned he called the base.
"Hi, Harvey, it's Frank."He
"Uhm, yes sir, everything all right, sir?" Harvey said, flustered and
looking at the man at his desk.
"Yes, Harvey, everything's fine. I'll be in
London for the day. I should be back around nine this evening." Frank said, looking
at Helen sipping her coffee at the table.
"Yes sir, thank you, sir." Harvey
"Talk to you later, Harve," Frank said, chuckling.
sir." Harvey said, hanging up the phone.
"How is he? How would you describe
him?" Kaiser asked.
"I'd say Mata Hari has some competition." Harvey said,
with a big grin.
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