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charliecochrane [userpic]

On the occasion of their 105th anniversary

November 15th, 2010 (12:18 pm)

It's 105 years ago today Orlando and Jonty met (that's their Sanatogen anniversary, I think). In honour of the day, here's a short story:

Cambridge, 1909

Jonty wandered along the Madingley Road, breathing in the scents of wet leaves, bonfires and early November. He loved the autumn; season of mists and mellow fruitfulness indeed, the trees a patchwork quilt of warm colours and the sky piercingly blue.

“Like your eyes.” Orlando always swore the sky was only ever this colour in spring or autumn, some prosaic combination of the angle of the sun’s rays and the dust in the earth’s atmosphere producing a shade that was so beautiful it could almost bring a man to tears.

Jonty would never settle, of course, for the commonplace facts about light refracting off motes of dust. The bright banner from horizon to horizon was God’s gift, and he’d blessed this time of year royally. Late autumn would always be special for them, anyway—time of that fatal first meeting over a particular chair. How could they not cherish November and all the memories it held?

Now their fourth anniversary was looming large, hull up on the horizon and not a present bought. Not by Jonty, anyway—no doubt ‘himself’ had been down to the sweet shop and found some fabulous confection, or been more commonplace and raided the tailors for a well-cut tie, either or both to be wrapped in tissue and ribbon and left on Jonty’s desk. Their reciprocal had been thought about but wasn’t yet in evidence. What to buy the man who seemed to have all he wanted?

Liquorice Allsorts were becoming a bit passé, or at least mundane in terms of being an acceptable present. Champagne was nice but also a bit lacking in inspiration, as were socks, pens, notebooks, perfumed soap or any other things which sprang immediately to mind. And none of them were really romantic, the sort of things to get the juices flowing.

Not that Orlando seemed to need a lot to get him into the mood for testing the springs on their double bed. Wine, seafood, soft lights and softer music were said to be the fuel of seduction, yet they were superfluous at Forsythia Cottage. The sight of Jonty with the bonnet of the car up, bent over and poking into some deep crevice of the engine, was usually enough to make his lover extract a promise of delights to come. Maybe some part of Orlando’s brain, some deep hidden cavity where no maths had ever penetrated, had sprung into operation when they’d met and now was occupied permanently with thoughts of lovemaking, more Jack Tar on leave than distinguished fellow of a fairly distinguished Cambridge College.

As Jonty turned down Grange Road and caught sight of the high tower of St Bride’s Old Court up over the tree line, he clapped his hands together, applauding his own inspiration. That was it, all problems solved. He began to whistle and picked up his step—he had some research to do and plans to put into action, but November 15th couldn’t come soon enough.

***
“Why can’t you be there to see this man? And why aren’t you getting Hudson to sort your car out? I thought you didn’t trust anyone else to tinker with it.” Hudson was Mrs. Ward’s nephew and the only man, apart from Jonty, allowed to fiddle about under the bonnet.

“I have an important meeting down at the department to discuss what may be an unknown John Donne sonnet that’s come to light. Probably just a forgery, but we have to take it seriously.” Jonty was polishing his spectacles carefully, as befitted the solemnity of such a discussion. “Anyway, you said that you’d be here tomorrow, working on that lecture. He won’t disturb you, the mechanic. You just need to make sure he’s got everything he needs.”

“And why can’t…” Orlando stopped in mid sentence, remembering that it would be Mrs. Ward’s day off. Not wanting to risk being laughed at for forgetting, he changed tack. “Why can’t Hudson do it as usual? Answer me that.”

“He’s got appendicitis.” Jonty nodded, as if that settled the case. “And my automobile won’t wait. Tomorrow it is, then.” He rose, leant over to kiss his lover’s brow and made ready to leave. “You just let him get the car sorted and concentrate on your lecture. It’s our anniversary tomorrow, in case you’ve forgotten, and we’re off out for dinner.”

“Thank you, I’m not getting so absent-minded I couldn’t bring either or both of those facts to mind.” Orlando took refuge in another cup of coffee. “Fine, I’ll make sure he’s settled over the metal monster. But he’s not to disturb me, do you understand?”

“I’ll ask him to make a point of it.” Jonty stole one last slice of toast and sauntered off, looking unusually contented, even for him.

***

Orlando had his nose in a thesis about Fourier series when Mrs. Ward knocked on his study door. She responded to his grunted “Come in,” by peering around the door.

“You don’t need to fuss yourself over that mechanic lad—he’s here early. I saw him on my way out and I’ve made sure he knows what’s what.” She withdrew back into the hallway before Orlando could even say thank you or ask about Hudson’s appendix.

Good. That would mean he could keep his mind on his lecture, without having to worry about the wretched metal monster or anything to do with it. He could vaguely hear some clanking and banging outside but it wasn’t intrusive, just the comfortable sort of sound of men at work. It was only when a loud, Scottish sounding exclamation of a swear word rent the air that Orlando looked up from his work towards the window. The volume of clanging had risen astronomically—what on earth was going on out there?

Orlando got up and went over to the window, where he had a prime view of the metal monster, with its bonnet open and an overall clad figure bent over it. The clanging seemed to have been caused by a large spanner—and other implements—hitting the ground, rather than the engine having been smote to pieces, which is what Orlando would have preferred.

He also had a prime view of the mechanic’s backside, which was wiggling and jiggling in a disturbing manner as he evidently tried to loosen or tighten something. Jonty never quite gyrated in such a marked manner, although—as Orlando realised to his embarrassment—the backside on display was just as rounded and perfectly shaped as Jonty’s was. In fact, there was something about the shape of it in the tight brown overalls that seemed a bit of an improvement on the backside that normally graced the position, usually decked out in baggy old golf trousers.

As if aware he was being watched, the mechanic swung round, too fast for Orlando to dive behind his curtains. The man had a scarf around his neck and half over his face, probably protection against fumes and oil, with a cap pulled down firmly over his ears. “Can I help you, sir?” A west Scottish brogue rang through the air.

Orlando, flustered at having been caught ogling, opened the window. “No, no. I was just thinking.”

“Ah, you’re not to be doing too much of that. It’ll put lines on your handsome face.” The mechanic picked up a rag and began rubbing his hands on it, coming over towards the window as he wiped. “You can tell Dr. Stewart I’ve sorted the problem. Might I just use your cludgie? Sorry, your toilet?”

“Um, yes. The front door’s open. Just come through and it’s the first door past the stairs.” Orlando closed the window again, seating himself at his desk and determining to stay there. Well away from the soft, attractive, rolling accent and the soft, attractive, rolling backside. The sound of footsteps was followed by the sound of flushing and then footsteps again.

A sudden rap to the study door made Orlando nearly jump out of his chair. A muffled face peered into the room. “Your housekeeper said she’d left a wee cake for me in the kitchen and that I was to help myself to a drop of coffee while I was about it.”

“Oh, I’m sure that’s fine. Go ahead.” Orlando looked down at his papers again, trying to evade the bright gaze that peeped out between scarf and hat.

“Well, you’ll have to show me where to go, I’m afraid.”

“Oh.” Orlando got up, worried that the mechanic hadn’t stepped back from the door sufficiently to let him pass without rubbing up close. “Come this way.”

There were cakes in the kitchen, and coffee keeping warm on the stove. Orlando felt obliged to pour a cup for both of them, intending to take his straight back to the study. He’d hardly got his hands on the pot when he felt a hand on his bottom.

“You’ve a fine car and a fine house and this is another fine thing.” The pat on Orlando’s backside was followed by a little squeeze. “Would you be interested in delaying that coffee for a while? I’ll warrant you’ve a fine bed upstairs.”

Orlando thought he was going to faint. How dare this man proposition him, here in his own house? On the fourth anniversary of his meeting the only man he’d ever loved? “I beg your pardon?” It was all he could think of saying. This was even worse than Matthew Ainslie and the honey buzzards. So outrageous, so disgraceful…so exciting. He swallowed hard and thought of Jonty.

“Och, Dr. Coppersmith,” the accent was getting strangely broader, “don’t play so innocent. I can see such a lusty look in your eye—and there’s something further down I can see, too. You’re ready for a romp.”

Orlando wasn’t sure whether to lump this saucy rogue over the head with the coffee pot or run straight out of the front door. The tiny little voice which suggested there was a third option, namely dragging the mechanic upstairs right away, was firmly ignored.

“Haway, man, can ye nay make up yer mind…” The Scotsman suddenly sounded as if he was choking. Or laughing. He began to unwind the scarf from his face. “Oh, Orlando, I can’t keep up the disguise a moment longer.”

“You! You tinker. You rogue. You villain!” Orlando thought he might just lump Jonty with the coffee pot; he might have done had he not started laughing himself. “A fine anniversary present this is.”

“That’s what I thought.” Jonty’s smiling face had emerged from all the layers. “Something unusual.”

“Unusual. You’re lucky you didn’t get scalding hot coffee all over you. Especially when you goosed me.” Orlando thumped the table. “I hope it amused you to put me through merry hell.”

“Merry hell? Oh, so we felt tempted, did we, Dr. C, by the car mechanic’s muscular frame?”

“Yes. No. That’s not the point.”

“It’s the very point. You were tempted and you didn’t succumb. What better present could a man need—proof that he’s still above the commonplace temptations of the world?” Jonty tried to look virtuous but failed. “Anyway, you have a very goosable backside. Now, there’s more to this present.”

“Is there?” Orlando was wary now. Would likely be wary all the way until next November.

“We have the house to ourselves. When have we ever made love here in broad daylight?”

“Are you suggesting we go to bed now? At barely ten o’clock in the morning.”

“Absolutely.” Jonty’s handsome face creased into a lascivious grin. “Give me one good reason why not or else get up those stairs.”

Orlando could think of several reasons, although none of them were good enough to overcome the undoubted lure of the double bed. He took his lover’s hand. “Just one request.”

“Of course. As it’s our anniversary, anything.”

Orlando could feel himself blushing, but it was worth all the stick he was bound to get. “Those overalls. Keep them on as long as possible…”

Comments

Posted by: Lokei - a little mischief now and then (lokei)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
austen-corrupted

How delightful! Jonty is the most irrepressible imp. (Though Orlando's quite justified--Coffee on the head would have served him right.)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
Jersey 3

:)

I just wonder how Orlando's going to take his revenge...

Posted by: Wren Boudreau (wrenboo)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)

Wonderful! When does Jonty get Orlando's gift?

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
ammonite

When they get up the stairs? *g*

Posted by: Wren Boudreau (wrenboo)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)

Posted by: atthe_algonquin (atthe_algonquin)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 04:06 pm (UTC)

Jonty, you are *awful*. Dreadful. I hope he throws you over the bed and does terrible things to you.

xxx, to you and the loveliest of boys.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC)
hunting

I haven't dared ask the boys what they did upstairs. I hope those overalls weren't borrowed...

xxx 2 u 2.

PS Just watching 'that' try again.

Posted by: atthe_algonquin (atthe_algonquin)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:59 pm (UTC)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: LynnF (otterdance)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
River Otter

What a lovely start to my morning!

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
tommy boy

Fairly lovely start to orlando's morning, too!

Glad you liked it.

Posted by: Tea (trusea)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)

Happy 105th/4th anniversary, boys!

Naughty naughty Jonty, he really does enjoy acting, doesn't he? I'm glad to know that Dr C is still as gullible as ever ;)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC)
jonny

Dr C will always be gullible, bless him. Trouble is his mind is so often elsewhere.

PS Happy birthday. *mwah*

Posted by: Tea (trusea)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 04:59 am (UTC)

Posted by: lee_rowan (lee_rowan)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 06:10 pm (UTC)

bent over and poking into some deep crevice

Words fail me.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
wimsey

Dirty words never fail you... :)

Posted by: sandra_lindsey (sandra_lindsey)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 08:43 am (UTC)

Posted by: Jess Faraday (jess_faraday)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)

Awwwwww! Happy anniversary, lads!

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
tudor garden

The lads say "Thank You". Alas they can't say it in person as they've retired to bed, slightly the worse for wear.

Posted by: Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll)
Posted at: November 15th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC)
History by sallymn

Oh, what fun!

Incidentally Dad has bombarded me with his classic car writings today, some of which may be more useful to you than to me. Let me know if there are any particular facts you might need checking as he's threatening to send more as soon as I've read this bunch.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
sherlock

Ta, love.

And thanks for the offer on the cars. Got anything about 1919 Morgans? (Do they go back that far?)

Posted by: Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)

Posted by: The massive continuity of ducks (essayel)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
strawberry tux

Oh, I just love 'em.

I've taken to reading Jonty and Orlando when I'm feeling down. They always cheer me up.

Happy Anniversary to them.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 08:45 am (UTC)
groke

They say, "Thank you for the kind wishes". I'm glad they raise your spirits - they always cheer me up, too.

Posted by: Aglarien (aglarien1)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 04:34 am (UTC)
09Fall Park by aglarien

What a delightful surprise to have more Jonty and Orlando! Lovely little story.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 08:47 am (UTC)
Jersey 3

Thank you. This story originated a a prize for someone at a chat I did and just took on a life of its own.

Posted by: Anne (darthanne)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 05:18 am (UTC)
butterfly

I loved this. I just knew it was Jonty teasing Orlando. I'd love to see Orlando get his own back at some point.

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 16th, 2010 08:48 am (UTC)
True Love

Well spotted. He doesn't diguise himself well, does he?

Orlandos revenge? Remind me next November...

Posted by: anteros_lmc (anteros_lmc)
Posted at: November 17th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC)
Archie Horatio mutiny wardroom

Awww how sweet, I started reading about your boys on their 105th anniversary! I shall look forward to reading about their anniversary later :)

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 17th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
sherlock

:) How appropriate. If I'd have had any sense I'd have made their anniversary 21st October but that would have been an injoke too many.

Posted by: anne_barwell (anne_barwell)
Posted at: November 24th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)

Wonderful! I knew it was Jonty right from the beginning, as it's totally something he'd do.

I hope we're going to see Orlando's anniversary present to Jonty.

Posted by: anne_barwell (anne_barwell)
Posted at: November 24th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)

Shows how good my memory is that I didn't twig I'd already read it. I've just had a full on weekend playing two orchestra concerts. Blame that.

Anyway perhaps take the comment as a reminder to write Orlando's 'revenge'?

Posted by: charliecochrane (charliecochrane)
Posted at: November 24th, 2013 09:06 pm (UTC)

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