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You will remember from the last chapter that my friends Dennis and Sean had been involved in a car crash, and that Dennis was sitting a vigil at Sean's bedside in hospital. After a long fight during which he rallied for a time, Sean did not survive the coma and died from his injuries. Anything I say here sounds so trite and feeble. Dennis, this book is about love. I dedicate this chapter to Sean, to his love for you, and to yours for him. As I write the start I do not know the end. I hope you approve. The dedication will stay whether the chapter is happy or sad.
I got near the voice. It was still shrill. Totally recognisable. So far I hadn't acknowledged that I could even hear it. Billy Tranter. This had to be him, Geoff's baby brother. The unpleasant little shit who'd broken my nose. Revenge was tempting, very tempting. Only I was scared of Geoff. And of myself, too, if I was truthful.
"I've had enough of this." John strode over to the kid. "Who're you talking too, you nasty little shit?" John wasn't large by any means. Not tall, and not wide. Billy Tranter was almost as tall, but he backed away. He would have reversed totally away, but there were wooden pillars supporting a sort of canopy roof. He found one of those with his back, which stopped him dead. John didn't give him time to answer. It wasn't a question that asked for an answer. Answering it would have been a huge error. "I'll tell you what I think, shall I? I think you must be talking to me. That's what I think. And it's because my friends and I broke up your little unpleasantness with Andy. And just so you know, kid, just so you know, I'm Mike Simpson's big brother. And Mike didn't like what you were doing to Andy any more than I did." He was looming over Billy. The younger boy seemed to have shrunk. "Do you understand me, Billy Tranter?"
"What d'ya mean?" His voice didn't; sound scared, but his body told a different story.
"I'm going to make it very plain. So listen." He paused. "No-one bullies Andy Giles. No-one calls people names, like just now. No graffiti. Nothing. Capisch?"
"But he's... "
"Hmm." John was quiet. Controlled. "Which of the words I just used didn't you understand?"
"All of them. I mean none of them!" Billy's voice was urgent, worried. "I mean yes, I understand."
"Let's just be clear, shall we? What are you going to do from now on?"
"Not make fun of Andy. No name calling. No graffiti. Nothing."
"Even if he is a poof!" It came out as a defiant squeak.
I could see that this wasn't endable. Not as it stood. It was fine, the tough stand that John was taking, but this squeaky kid wasn't as cowardly as he seemed. Well, not cowardly, not as cowed. "John, don't rise to him," I said quietly.
"This is the little shit who broke your nose, Chris."
"Yeah. I know. I don't think you'll get everything through to him, though."
"I reckon I can, you know."
"Only by hurting him. I think I've the right to do that rather than you."
"Be my guest, Chris."
I took his place. I knew what I was going to do. Well half. It was deeply tempting to hurt the boy. But I couldn't do it. I would have if he'd tried to hit me. 'Get your retaliation in first' was something my Grandpa used to say. Only I couldn't. I stood in front of him, though. Bigger than him, big enough to seem menacing. I looked at him, not so much down, but round my nose. I wanted to say something really clever to him, something to make him seen how hurtful he'd been.
Only I couldn't think of it.
My mind was blank.
I didn't even dislike him. Well I didn't like the pain in my nose, but that didn't mean I didn't like him. He seemed to be a nice kid, somehow. I couldn't quite work out why I felt that, but I did.
"Relax, Billy," I told him softly. "I'm not going to do anything to you. Nor's anyone here." I watched him relax a little. "I just want to know why?"
"What, why I broke your nose? It looks broken."
"It is. No, not that. Why you picked on Andy. He's a nice kid. I met him at John's a few days ago. Seems all right to me."
"Just don't like poofs." His jaw jutted as he said it.
"I suppose you're entitled to your opinion. But why start what you did?"
He didn't answer. Clamped down, sort of. Eyes filled with something, something I couldn't work out. It wasn't directed at me. It looked a little like fear, a little like anger.
"You'd better go. You'll be late."
"You're not going to hit me?"
"Told you already. No. I don't do that. Let's just say you got a lucky hit, OK?"
"You're all right." He slipped through the gap I made for him, and went. Not running, not walking either.
I was thinking about his eyes as he slipped away. About the very odd look that passed across them. I was quite relieved, too. I've never liked confrontation. This hadn't been easy. I felt drained.
"You let him go, Chris." John sounded frustrated "I thought you were going to get some of your own back."
"I won't say I didn't want to. At first at least. Only I couldn't bear to. He's just a scrap of a kid." I kept the 'something else' to myself, the bit I saw in his eyes. If I couldn't put words to it in my head, then I wasn't going to use the wrong ones from my mouth. "Anyway, it's just a broken nose."
"I'm proud of you, Chris." The only person who could hug me in public hugged me then. Carol. "Really proud."
"What, for doing nothing?"
"For standing up to him, and then for doing nothing. Yes." She let me go.
I looked at Nigel. He was smiling at me. I suppose he could see the incongruity of it. He and I should have been hugging, but only Carol could hug me in the school. John and Carol were smiling too. "Look, unless that kid starts something else, I think I'm going to leave him well alone," I told them. "I don't think he will, though." A thought struck me then. "Has anyone seen Andy today?"
"I saw him first thing," Nigel said. "He seemed OK. Was keeping a bit to himself."
"Not surprising. Anyone would after that."
"Where were you this morning, Chris?" My fiance looked at me, almost prising open my newly opening eye with his stare. "I missed you."
"I had to see Mrs Wilding." The bell rang for end of break. "Look it was a good talk, OK? I'll tell you at lunch."
We went our separate ways. Not for the first time, nor for the last I wished Nigel was as good at schoolwork as I was. It was odd, being apart from him but in the same place. But we had to get through every lesson except PSE like that, just catching each other at breaks or before and after school.
Lunchtime lurched into my day at last, only I didn't get to sit with Nigel. I got surrounded by some of the group from the sets I was in, all wanting to know what had happened. I got a variety of opinions from them, ranging from people congratulating me for sticking up for a younger kid in trouble to the expected question about why I stuck up for a little poof. I didn't really want either reaction. Mind you, it seemed that any answers from me were unnecessary; the group made up its own mind about it. Seems I'd done the right thing whether Andy was a poof or not. Well on a majority of six to four, anyway. I didn't press the poof part.
At the end of school that day, as I was sorting stuff out in my locker very slowly so that I could wait for Nigel, I sensed a presence kind of through the locker door. Wasn't hard to sense it. It was a fairly large presence.
I eased the door to with a sense of foreboding.
A Tranter. No, two Tranters, the large one in front.
I wasn't going to show anything. No emotion, nothing. Geoff Tranter terrified me, just terrified me. Inside I was starting to tremble, shake like a leaf.
"I wanted a word," the bully said.
"Yes?" Short words are easiest when the voice is going to tremble.
"Yes." He hesitated. I looked at his face. Not a lovely sight. But it didn't look menacing. It had never not looked menacing before. "Billy told me about this morning."
"What about it?"
"I told him you had the chance to get your own back," Billy said.
"Yeah. But you didn't," Geoff finished. "I would've. You didn't."
"I nearly did. Suddenly I didn't want to. That's all. Well almost all. He didn't deserve it, being hurt in return. And I couldn't do it."
"That's what he said." I could almost see that Geoff was trying to thank me.
"Look," suddenly I wasn't afraid of Geoff Tranter. Something changed inside me, and I knew I'd never be afraid of him again. "Look, Billy's OK. I think he made a mistake about Andy. Maybe I wasn't so clever wading in, too. Billy may have started it, but it all got out of hand. Maybe if I were better at fighting I wouldn't have got hurt."
"Billy doesn't like poofs. Nor me." Not the same expression as Billy's earlier, but something flashed across his face. Something that hurt him.
"You can't kill a kid because he's gay, surely?" I was heading for uncharted waters. I was also hoping Nigel would be late. I knew he'd get worried and maybe start something to try to protect me. Only I didn't need protection.
"So he is gay?"
"Geoff, that isn't what I said. Any kid. I mean gay kids are just kids who are gay, right? Heck Andy's only about twelve anyway."
"I don't like poofs. Nor does Billy." He looked sullen. I wasn't going to get through.
"You could just live and let live?"
"Why? They're not natural. Stands to reason."
That was a facer. How could I argue that they were natural. That I was natural. It wasn't, isn't natural, not unless it's natural for you. Trying to explain how a boy is the most beautiful thing in the world is impossible when the world says that boys should find girls attractive. I took the safe course. "I don't know one way or the other. I really don't."
"Drop it. I just wanted to say thanks for not hurting Billy back, OK?"
"OK." I was relieved. "Can I ask a favour in return?"
"It's not for me. It's for Andy. Can you leave the kid alone? Please?"
"Dunno. Like I said, we don't like poofs."
"Billy," I turned to the younger boy, "I'd appreciate it if you would. Really."
I got a nod. "OK. Yeah. I can do that. You're OK."
"Thanks Billy." I nodded to Geoff, "Geoff."
"You're all right, Chris. Tough. I like tough kids." And Geoff led Billy away.
I didn't think I was tough. I had an urgent need for the loo suddenly. Not for a pee, either. I just made it. And all the toughness drained out of me.
I got back to the locker to find Nigel waiting for me. "Where've you been?"
"Come on, let's get out of here, and I'll tell you."
There wasn't much to tell. It took as long as the walk to the gate for me to tell him, then we went our separate ways home. We each had a fair bit of homework to do, so we didn't; hang about. "Phone me when you've finished," Nigel called.
"If I can. See you tomorrow." I wanted to yell 'I love you' but couldn't. Didn't dare.
I did phone him that night. We spent ages saying nothing on Dad's phone bill. Ages. But I did tell him how much I loved him. I wish we'd been older, old enough to have a place of our own. Being committed to each other was one thing, but being able to do it was another.
Friday came and went. Routine stuff. My nose was a load better, less swollen, and I could open my eye properly. Otherwise nothing much. Nigel wasn't in the match on the Saturday, so we planned to spend the day together.
No alarm clock on Saturdays. So why the bell was ringing was beyond me. "Chris! Phone!" Mum's voice.
I struggled to the surface, and made contact with the phone and grunted to her. "Hello?"
Oh that voice. Soft. Quiet. Giggly even when he wasn't giggling. I could see his smile juts by hearing his voice. "You're up early." Mum was standing there still.
"Aren't you going to tell me you love me?"
"Well, what's stopping you?"
"You mean your mother's standing right beside you?"
"Right in one."
"One day, you nit, we're going to say it in public."
"You're right. And I do. Only... "
"Yeah, I know. Now get on your bike and get over here."
"I haven't had breakfast yet."
"Tea and toast suit you?"
"Then get over here. For the day."
"I love you."
"She's gone, then?"
"Well, no. I just got brave." She hadn't gone. She blushed though. "Sorry, Mum, but I do."
"Don't apologise, Chris. It just takes getting used to is all. You'll find out with your kids. Oh." Now she was bright red. "Oh Chris I didn't mean... I'm sorry... I wasn't thinking... "
Down the phone came "Chris?"
"Hang on, Nigel." Then, "Mum, don't worry. It's OK." It didn't look it. She gave me a watery smile and went away. "OK, Nigel, I'm back."
"What's going on?"
"Something and nothing."
"Well get on your bike. Er, can you stay the night?"
"Dunno." Oh heck. Can I stay the night. Oh please can I stay the night. "I can ask. Look I need to have breakfast here. Got something I need to sort out with Mum. I'll get going in half an hour, OK?"
"Hurry. I need to touch you."
"Me too. I will. Honest." And I hung up.
I followed Mum into the kitchen, where she was holding Dad and had tear streaks on her face. She saw me come in. "Chris, I'm sorry. I was stupid... "
"Mum, it doesn't matter. Really."
"But I... "
"Mentioned kids. And gay couples don't have kids. Yes. I know." Dammit why did I have to be grown up so suddenly? It was as if she was the child and I was the father at times. "It's too early to worry about kids, Mum. We haven't even talked about them, Nigel and I. It doesn't matter."
"I'm still sorry. I'm making so many little mistakes, Chris. I'm trying really hard. I do love you. I just have so much to get used to."
"I'm not used to it yet, Mum. I just know it's right for us. He's mine and I love him." Not the right thing to say. I saw more tears on her face. Heard a stifled sob. Oh heck.
"There's tea in the pot, Chris," Dad said quietly. "Pour us all a mug, and I'll put some toast on."
I looked at him. Just a silent look. An 'is everything going to be OK?' look. I got a slight nod in return, so I poured the tea. Gave them each a mug. Nothing much more was said at breakfast. Except that I told them I was going to Nigel's for the day. They agreed that I could stay the night, too.
Dad saw me off, rucksack on my shoulders, cycle helmet firmly ready to be taken off. "She'll make it, Chris. She'll cope."
"She's really not happy about us, Dad. I can feel it."
"Happy or not, she loves you. You know she'll support you, and fight like hell to make sure you're all right, that you have what you need. She won't stop trying to understand. Now get going. Er, will you be OK if I take mum out for the day?"
"Of course. Don't worry. I wont need anything."
"Got enough money?"
"I've got a fiver. Should be enough."
"Better have another one to go with it." Dad got his wallet out. "Ah. Er, give me the five and I'll give you this ten, OK?"
"You sure, Dad?"
"I'm sure. I just need to go to the hole in the wall before I take Mum out. Pub lunch I thought. Now you get going. Oh. I've said that before."
Just as I reached for the door to knock it opened. "You've been ages. I've been looking out for you."
Why did I feel awkward? My fiance was standing in front of me, door open, smile, crown of amazing hair and those eyes. He was so beautiful. I'd been wanting him in my arms so much, wanting to kiss him. And I felt awkward.
I heard his voice. Why're you standing there with your mouth open? It's OK to kiss me you know."
Now I knew why I felt awkward. "Your parents?"
"I don't care. Not now we're engaged. I don't care. Come here." He didn't grab me. He just moved backwards and I followed him into the hallway. Seductively, almost snake like I saw his eyes on me, his smile just crinkling at the corners. I watched his eyes, and felt the soft brush as his lips just touched mine. No hands, just lips, tantalising, brushing, not damp yet not dry. Soft and warm, mildly scented of toothpaste. Just a flick of his tongue as it met my lips, and then I melted into his, opened my lips to let his tongue in, yielded to him as he enticed me to him. No pain anymore from my nose, and my eye was open, if blackened like his. And we fused together, locked by gentle mouths, there in his hallway, eyes open, struggling to focus, yet defocused. Peaceful. Alone. We must've been like that for at least five minutes.
I heard a quiet cough. Couldn't be me. Wasn't him.
It came again. I felt a reluctance as Nigel eased gently back. Lips unlocked.
"Ah. Dad. Yes. Er, Chris is here."
"So I see." James was smiling quietly. "I'm not sure I'll quite get used to seeing that for a while, but it looked rather nice anyway."
I blushed bright red. Nigel didn't. "Well, Dad, he's mine, and I love him."
"I know. Which is what I wanted to talk to you about. I promised to sort something out for you. I think I have, in town, in the jewellers."
"Well, if you'll both get in the car, you'll find out."
"Will we like it, Dad?"
"Well, I hope so. But nothing's paid for yet, nothing's ordered. I just found something that seems to be right, so I asked the jeweller to set it out for us."
"It isn't, well, obvious, is it?" I was worried. I didn't want any clues. Well, I did, too. I wanted to shout to the world that I was Nigel's. One day I'd dare do it. One day. Damn, I'd nearly done it when I waded in to help Andy.
"You'll have to get in the car and come and see," James said. "Nigel, give Mum a yell, would you? I think she's choosing something to wear."
"Half an hour to go, then! I'll get her!" Nigel ran upstairs.
It didn't take half an hour.
At least five minutes longer.
Then we piled into the car. It wasn't far to the town centre. Just the Saturday shopping traffic. I felt Nigel's hand slip into mine. "I'm a bit nervous," he said quietly, inaudible to his parents in the front. "I really do want something. I just don't want to look stupid."
I squeezed his hand. "Well, I trust your Dad. I think. At least he hasn't bought anything. You feel weird too?"
"Just a lot, yes."
We were still swapping reassurances when James parked the car. I so wanted us to be holding hands as we walked down the high street. Instead we'd had to let go to get out of the car, and neither of us dared to take hold again.
The jeweller was a small shop. A private one, not a large chain. "Ah, Mr Cropper," came a voice from the back room after the assistant called him over. "Good. I've got the selection you asked for. And I can engrave them today if they're right." And he ushered us to a small table. "Sit, please."
We sat. Well, Nigel and I did. His folks stood. The man came back with a tray, and uncovered a selection of silver name bracelets. Chunky. Masculine.
"These are OK." Heck how could I look him in the eyes and see what he was thinking. This was public. I wanted to feel what he thought, not just hear it.
"Do you like the idea?" I could hear what he felt better that I realised. He liked it. I could feel it in his voice as he asked me.
"I think I do. Yes."
"Could you leave us a little space to choose, please?" James asked the chap from the shop. Then, as he moved away. "Sorry. I didn't realise this would be difficult for you," he said to us quietly. "What I had in mind, if you like the idea, was each of you had your name on a bracelet, and wore your name until the day you swap them over when you get married. If you like the idea, that is."
I had the space to look at Nigel properly now I didn't feel supervised. "I love it. It isn't poofy. And no-one can guess anything if we have our own names."
"I do, too." He was looking into my eyes. I was drowning in blueness. "I really do. If you do?"
"I said I love it. I do. How do we choose?"
"Do we want the same design? No, wait. Two different ones."
"So we don't look... "
"Exactly. But we each have to like both of them."
"Not those four, then. That one's too chunky, and I just don't like the others."
"Suits me. I'm going to choose the one I want you to wear. I'm going to look at it for the rest if my life. Will you choose mine? The one that gets your name on it? Please?"
"No decision there. This one's yours." I picked out a silver oval, slightly pointed ends, the chain was broad, made of light links. Definitely not sissy, and one I'd wear with pride until we swapped. "I want you to have this one. If you like it too?"
"You silly boy, I adore it. It's only the second best one here."
"Yes. This one's the best. It's the one I'm going keep warm for you." He pointed out a rectangular, slightly heavier shield, with square-ish links to match. "If you like it?"
"Like it? It's perfect. Even if it isn't as nice as the one I've chosen for you!" I know my eyes were glinting. I knew it because I could almost see the reflection in his.
"Dad?" Nigel turned to James. "This is going to cost a fortune."
"Well, maybe," James said. "But your only son doesn't get engaged every day. And I want it to be special. And I want it to be right. For both of you."
I was suddenly embarrassed. I went red. It was money. We never had much to spare. "James?"
"It's just that I don't think, well, isn't it too much, oh heck... "
"You're worried about the money, Chris, aren't you?"
"I feel like being selfish. No, listen a moment," James said. "My son is in love with you. I've never seen him so happy. So I want to be selfish and help his happiness, and I want to make you happy too. And since you've made him so happy, I love you too, just like I love him. So I want to do this. If you'll agree."
"What do I tell my Dad?"
"You leave that to me. He knows already. We talked." James was smiling. It was a soft smile. I felt loved by him, too.
"Chris, just say yes, please?" Nigel was looking at me hard as he spoke.
"Yes. Yes, please. Oh yes. Oh heck, did he say they can be engraved today?"
James called the jeweller back. "Please will you help us choose the engraving style?"
He brought us charts, looked at each bracelet, and showed us which styles wouldn't work, leaving us two or three to choose each. Nigel chose a flowing script which suited his name and the rectangular shield. It had a very fancy 'N', and the rest flowed from it. That style didn't suit my name. I chose a squarer style, contrasting with the shield, yet suiting it well at the same time. Better, he could do them there and then. And get them the right size for our wrists, and make sure we had the spare chain links to grow with.
We waited in the shop. It didn't take long. Well, not very long. And they were done.
And we put them on. Well, after working out which wrist to use. Both right handed, so away from the wristwatch and on the right wrist.
"Feel good, Chris?"
I looked back at him. "Awesome. Amazing." Shop or not, I took his hands in mine. "I don't care who sees us, who hears us. I love you. And I'll keep this safe until we exchange them. For all my life I'm yours." And then I gave myself a shock. Almost kissed him, and then hugged him tight. There, in the shop. And I felt my eyes let go as tears slid down my cheeks. Not crying, but tears flowed as I held him close. Not for the first time something flowed between us as our arms were around each other. My voice stopped working. Nothing else would come out of my mouth.
I felt, rather than heard, him say to me "For ever, Chris. For ever." And he held me as tight as I was holding him. It seemed like for ever. Perhaps it was. It wasn't as though anything had changed. And yet, somehow, something had. Just with the putting on of two name bracelets something good had happened.
"Lads," James was patting me on the shoulder, probably Nigel, too, "Do you think we should be getting along?" I knew what he meant. We weren't exactly being subtle. Mind you we hadn't kissed each other. It was dead tempting, though. Nigel felt so soft and sweet in my arms, so strong, too. We broke, gently. Eased apart.
I turned to James. "I don't really know what to say. Except thank you." I looked into his eyes. They were damp. So I hugged him, too. "Gonna have to start calling you Dad as well, I think."
"Just James will do fine, Chris. Just James."
"I can't believe how lucky I am." I felt so happy, floating on air, fizzing, buzzing.
"I'm the lucky one, you know," Nigel said as we left the shop. "I've got all I ever wanted. All I ever want. I've loved you for so long, Chris."
"I wish I'd known. Only I wouldn't have understood, not then. I only discovered in France. And I was scared, then."
"Sometimes. Yes, sometimes." We were a little behind his parents. "Scared it's a dream, or that it'll all go wrong, or something daft like that."
"You're not scared I'll go off you?" Nigel had a gift for looking worried suddenly.
"Never. It's not that. It's just so exciting. I wish I hadn't missed the bit I didn't know about, somehow. And I like the scary feeling." I hadn't realised that before, but I did like it. It was like a drug. "If we ever get some time alone I'm going to show you how much I like it!"
"Ah. Yes. Alone. Mmm. But I think we may have a problem with that."
"Well, I have a feeling that we're going to your house to show your parents these rather lovely bracelets."
"Ah. Well, I suppose they deserve the chance to see them, too. But how the heck are we going to get any time to ourselves? And where?" A stupid thought struck me. "You do like yours, don't you?" I was worried suddenly, they were so different, and we were each wearing the one we wanted the other to have.
"No. Oh your face! I love it! I don't like it. It's wonderful. They both are. I just want your name on my wrist as soon as possible."
"You rotten sod!" I didn't know whether to hit him or hug him. "You had me going. I nearly believed you. Just you wait!"
"Got to catch me first!" Nigel skipped round me and ran towards the car park, me in hot pursuit. He was laughing, turning round to taunt me as I was giggling after him, breathless and daft as he was.
I caught him. But only when he stopped at the car. My right wrist felt odd with the new bracelet on it as I ran. A weight I wasn't used to. The reverse of when you forget to wear your watch, but can feel it as though you're wearing it anyway. It felt good. Really good. "I want to make love to you. Like now. Here in the car park!" I was breathless from running.
"Idiot! I know what you mean though. I want to celebrate. Only this is just getting the bracelets. I want to celebrate swapping them. I want to swap them. Only I don't dare have your name on my wrist yet. But I want to."
"I want something from me to you engraved on the back first. I'm not swapping until I have it right, and I'm paying to have it done. No-one else is going to pay for this part. This part is mine. I want it to be personal. Something only you will see. Private."
"You're wonderful, Chris. Wonderful. I never dreamed... I mean I knew I loved you, but I never dreamed how wonderful you really were. I had no idea... "
"I'm not." I was pleased though. A bit embarrassed, too. I was smiling. The only thing wrong with the whole day was that I couldn't get into the car with Nigel and drive him away to a place of our own, to live there for ever. Only I couldn't drive, and we were too young. So complicated when you're in love. We relied on parents turning a blind eye, and going out for the day. Or being very tactful at night if we could arrange a sleep over. And I had a huge need for Nigel, to feel his kiss, to touch his skin, to touch his body, to smell his scent, to hear his heartbeat, to taste his lips. A huge need. It was like a physical pull. I could feel it, feel drawn irresistibly to him. I wanted to open myself to him, to be dominated by him that day. And I couldn't see how. Especially as his parents caught us up.
"Would you mind, Chris, if we dropped by your house on our way home? To show your parents what you've chosen?"
"Well, no, only I don't think they'll be there, James. Dad was taking Mum out for the day, I think."
"Well, let's pop by anyway. If they're in they're in. I think your parents would like to see them," James replied.
We did. They weren't. They couldn't. So we headed for Nigel's place. I spent the journey fiddling with, well, was it his bracelet or my bracelet? Anyway, it was the one I was wearing. It felt strange. Not used to wearing anything there. Felt good, too. Very good.
"You, too?" Nigel asked.
"Me too what?"
"Can't get used to it, but it feels good?"
I just looked into his eyes and smiled. I think I said "Wonderful," but I was just feeling dreamy, and I've no idea if anything passed my lips.
I hadn't realised it was well past lunchtime when we arrived. Not until cheese on toast arrived with a large glass of milk. "Ketchup?" Claire asked, putting the bottle in front of me. Not easy to mumble a thank you during a large swig of milk! I like cheese on toast with ketchup. At home we had it with Worcester Sauce, but ketchup's better. Or was it that I was sitting opposite Nigel who was digging his way through a plateful like there was going to be a famine tomorrow?
I think probably James and Claire were having the same problem Nigel and I were. It can't have been easy to work out how to leave two young lovers alone together without telling them that you know what they're going to be doing, and we couldn't ask them to go out, or even just go to Nigel's room without telling them what we were going to be doing. And there was nowhere to go that was safe to be together except at home. And my home was tantalisingly empty. Only it wasn't available. Anyway we had no idea where my parents had gone or when they'd be back. I wasn't about to get caught stark naked in bed with Nigel. And I certainly was going to get more than just stark naked. And boy did I want to be more than just stark naked. I had plans for the afternoon. Or I hoped I had.
"Nigel, how do we get to be alone?" I was whispering, even though it was only him and me in the kitchen.
"I've been wondering the same thing." He was wiping the grease away on a piece of kitchen roll. "I want to celebrate. So far all I can think of is riding our bikes out into the country. I know where, but it'll be crowded, no busy, on a Saturday. And I don't want to be disturbed. Not by anyone."
"It's a bit chilly for the countryside. Anyway I want a luxurious time with you on crisp sheets."
"You'll have to make do with an unmade bed! I don't have crisp sheets."
"Which brings us back to how we get to be alone."
"Yes. I was hoping they might go out shopping for something. Or out to the cinema. Or out for a meal. Or anything."
"I suppose you could ask them?"
"Oh yeah. I can just see that. 'Would you two just go out so I can get down and dirty with Chris, please?' That'd work."
"Well, it might." I looked at the glower coming from him. "OK, no. It wouldn't. Not a chance." He stopped glowering. "Are you teasing me?"
"A little. Shall I put you out of your misery?" He was twinkling. "No. I don't think I will."
He smiled again.
"I'll swing for you Nigel Cropper. Tell me!"
"This is like pulling teeth!"
"They said they might go out."
"Would go out. Mum guessed we might want to be alone. So... "
"So she's going with Dad to Worthing to see his sister."
"Worthing's a fair way. What, sixty, seventy miles?"
"Less. Well, I think less. We're only about forty miles from Brighton, and Worthing's not that far past Hove and Shoreham. And it's never seemed to take that long to get to Jennifer's place. But they're going to stay the night."
"How the heck did you manage that?"
"I didn't, my love. I didn't. Mum and Dad did. They're a bit special."
"Just a bit." I was already thinking ahead. Heck, he'd said 'my love' again. I felt all squirmy. "Oh wow. When do they leave?"
"Not impatient or anything are you? Wanting to have your evil way with me?"
"I have something in mind, yes. Well, rather a lot in mind." I was almost licking my lips. I could see him in my mind's eye, that silver gold blond hair, those blue eyes. I could see him, I knew what I wanted him to do. It wasn't almost any more. I was licking my lips after all. "Only... "
"Well... Oh heck it's going to sound silly."
"Nothing's silly, Christopher. Nothing."
"Well, I feel shy. Asking I mean... " At which point I was interrupted.
"Now, will you boys be all right until we get back?" Claire had poked her head round the kitchen door. "There's a casserole in the oven on really slow. It needs some potatoes peeled and boiled, but that's about all. Put them on at about twenty to seven, and it'll be ready at seven."
"Can we raid the freezer for pudding, Mum?"
"There's loads of ice cream, if that's what you mean," she said, laughing. "Now listen, you will be all right, won't you?"
"That wasn't what I meant." She blushed.
"Wasn't what I meant either, Mum." He was smiling a lot. A wicked smile, and mostly aimed at me.
"Idiot child. You get a goodbye kiss for that, in front of Chris, too. What I meant was to ask if you know where everything is, especially Aunt Jennifer's phone number?"
"Smarty-pants. Yes, it's in the address book. Now here's the kiss you deserve!" And she was as good as her word, on the lips.
"Mum," Nigel said as he blushed, "thanks. You and Dad are fantastic."
"Yes, well, I don't suppose everyone would agree with you. We just thought you'd... Well, it's all rather special... Things've all happened pretty fast these past few weeks. Anyway, well, Dad and I couldn't see how..." She took a breath. "Oh heck. Boys. You need to be able to be together. In safety. Not wondering who's listening. It's obvious you love each other. It's natural to want to share each other's love." She coloured again. "Well, you need to be together and Dad wants to visit Jennifer. So that's settled. Only be careful with each other." And the door closed quietly behind her, and then the front door, and then the car door.
"Wow. Your mother's quite something."
"Isn't she though?" He looked into my eyes. "Chris?"
"Mmm?" I was wondering if mine would have done the same. Somehow the answer was no. Dad, maybe. Mum? No.
"What were you going to ask me? The thing that sounded silly?"
"Ah. Mm. Yes." Odd. I could ask this boy for anything I wanted. And this was so simple. I didn't speak.
"You want to do something special?"
"You'll laugh?" I knew he wouldn't laugh. I was just having trouble speaking.
"If you don't tell me, I'll never know." His voice was soft, and he'd taken the only hand he could reach into both of his.
"Well, it's not really special. But it is, too. For me. Today."
"Just tell me? Whisper if you need to."
"I just don't know how to describe it. I want to give myself to you. That sounds wrong. I want you to take me in your arms and kiss me. I want you to undress me... "
"Well, that's easy, Chris."
"I know. I want you to take me and make love to me. I need to feel you inside me. I want it all to be you. Oh heck... Nigel, Please make it like that first night, only this time with me knowing how much I need you, only I need to be underneath you. I need to feel you on top of me. I, oh this is so stupid... "
"No, my love, no isn't stupid. It's what you want."
"It is. I want to feel it, Nigel. I need it to hurt me. A little. I want you to be tender, but I want you to be strong. I need you to be a bit rough, not listen if I say stop. And I want to swap bracelets the moment you undress me."
"I'm not sure about not listening if you ask me to stop. It may hurt too much. Or, well, anything."
"Oh. Well, er, look, maybe it's stupid... " I needed him to be rough with me. Somehow I knew I'd always need him to be rough sometimes. I just didn't know how to say it properly.
"No. It isn't. Not stupid. I think I know what you mean. It's just that you may really need me to stop. You know how it can hurt at first sometimes. Look, choose a way of saying stop and meaning it and you're on."
"Yeah, a place in Yorkshire."
"No, I mean stop if I say 'Barnsley', that's what I mean."
"I'm going to be careful as well, you know. I love you. If it really hurts you have to stop me."
"I really need this. I don't know what it is but I need your mark on me somehow. I want to be yours, know I'm yours, feel possessed by you, be your property. Having it hurt seems so right. It's, oh, it's, I can't explain it."
"It's fine. You explained it. I sort of knew, I think."
"I think so, yes. Chris, the only thing I'm going to stop for is to swap the bracelets, and the whole of Yorkshire. Otherwise I'm going to fuck you senseless."
"You mean it?"
"I mean it. You want it, you've got it."
"I want to be on my back."
"You will be. I need to see your face."
"Christopher, if I'm going to do this, just take you as mine, suddenly, then I need to see your face. I have to know what's happening, have to see your eyes. I don't want to hurt you, but I love you. And if that's what you need, then no-one else is going to hurt you but me. Er you know what I mean."
"I know." I was getting desperate to feel him. "I need you. I feel empty without you. Soon, Nigel. Please take me soon." I hadn't expected to beg. I wasn't prepared to be holding back tears either.
"My way, then. We'll do it my way. I've something I need to do for you, too. Well for me. Something I really want to do. And today's the day I want to do it."
"I'm not going to tell you. I'm going to do it. Only one condition."
"Shower is what."
"Will you wash me?" I wanted that suddenly
"No. I'll dry you. I won't wash you."
"I don't want to get carried away. If I wash you I'll get carried away." He was already half way out of the door. "Aren't you coming upstairs?" And he'd gone. And I heard the water running. As I got to the top of the stairs no time later a wet Nigel was just towelling himself dry. "Come on. Your turn."
"That was fast!"
"Yep. Your turn." Nigel was being businesslike. I'd never seen him like this before
I hurried. Mind you I was still fastidious. But I hurried. And he wasn't there to towel me dry, so I dried myself. Then I headed for Nigel's room.
I have no idea how he'd done it in the time. Maybe he'd prepared it earlier. As I opened the door, the curtains were tight shut, and candles were lit. It looked soft, wonderful. There was just the hint of safety match in the air, mixed with the smell of newly lit candle. Fat candles, ones designed to last. I stepped inside and he eased the door shut behind me. "Nigel... " I was awestruck. "It's wonderful... " I felt his breath on my right cheek. "For me?"
"For us." He kissed my cheek. "For us, my love. It's for us. Both of us. With all my love to you."
"Oh Nigel. I love you so much. I need you so badly." There was something pulling me so hard to him. Like a winch winding me in. Damn that sounded so stupid. It did feel that way, though. I could feel myself ready to open for him. "Bracelets." I started to fumble with mine, er his. "Will you do it? I can't seem to do it." My fingers were all thumbs.
"I'll do it. You hold mine and I'll put yours on." He seemed as dextrous as I was somehow feeble. Then he took his from me and put it on. "There. Look." And in the light of the candles he showed me my name on his wrist, and then I saw his on mine. "What do you think?" And we were naked except for a bracelet each.
I had no words. None. I just looked at him. Ages passed. Ages. And I moved my lips to his and touched his with mine.
Just a taste, no more. A brush of lips which brought my voice back.
Or thought I did. "Oh." Damn, a tear nearly made it. I had to get this right. "Nigel, listen a minute?"
"What is it my sweet boy?" He was facing me
"Can we marry today? Just you and me? Privately? When you make love to me? Before you make love to me?"
"We'll do the formal thing another time?"
"This is for us. Just us. The formal thing can come whenever it wants, whenever we need to. I haven't got the words I want for the back of your bracelet yet. I just want, oh... "
"I know. I do, too." He was holding both my hands. "Christopher Jenkins, I am yours for ever. Today and always. I love you. I am married to you."
"Nigel Cropper, I promise my life to you. I am yours, only yours, now and for ever." It sounded so formal. It was formal. There, naked in a candle lit suburban bedroom. No witnesses, but it was our marriage. We were married. As simple as saying some unrehearsed words.
"May I kiss you now, Chris, please? And then may I make love to you the way you need me to?" he didn't wait for an answer.
He kissed me. Hard, on the lips, his tongue driving into my mouth like a dagger, his body against mine, the back of my head held between both his hands. Fierce, like a tiger. Urgent, holding me so tight I couldn't move even if I'd wanted to. And I didn't want to. I never wanted to move again.
And then he stopped kissing me. "Will you do something for me, my love? Please?"
"Anything. Anything at all."
"I want to do something special. Something you did for me, something I want to do for you, only properly this time. I know you'll approve."
"What?" I was almost breathless already, just from the promises, just from the kiss.
"No more words. I'd like you to lie on the bed, mostly on it, please. Legs dangling onto the floor. Oh, face down, please."
"But I need to see your face!" I did. Not face down, no.
"You will. Oh Chris you will. I promise you will." He looked crestfallen. "I just, oh it doesn't matter."
"I'm sorry." I turned to him, and took his hands in mine. "It does matter. You matter." I moved to hold him "I apologise, Nigel."
"Me too," he said. "Me too. I wanted to surprise you, and I just confused you." There was a smile there, too, though. "May I try again, Chris, please?"
"Will you kiss me again, please? Slowly. And then I'll lie down for you."
"I'll kiss you, but you'll lie down for us, not for me. Deal?"
Oh that kiss. If the first one was fierce then this was an attack. I felt his power then, his real power, I think for the first time. Felt what I'd seen on the rugby pitch, felt the hidden strength under his skin. I'd only been held by a gentle Nigel before. This one had fire. I never realised he was so strong. It was scary. Good, but scary. Oh. I'd told him to be rough with me. I was trembling with anticipation.
This time he didn't ask me to lie on the bed when the kiss was over. He just led me.
I felt his hands running down my back, each side of my spine, and felt his lips touch each of my thighs, just gently. "I need this, Chris," I heard him murmur, and he was spreading my thighs apart. Then I felt him, felt his tongue, felt him lick my balls, and then felt him draw it upwards, along the hidden shaft, the internal shaft of my cock towards, no, right to my hole. He was going to kiss me, and kiss me there! And then I felt his tongue licking round the ridges, and felt it drive to the centre. He was going to, no he had put his tongue at the entrance, no inside!
I half flinched, half pressed back, opened up to him, felt him press, twist and lick his way inside. Indescribable. Wet, dry, writhing, hot with his breath, cold with his saliva, and his tongue was inside me, totally inside me, his face so hard against my cleft that he could hardly breathe. It felt awesome. And it was so personal. I was moaning with the pleasure of what he was doing, and with anticipation of what was to come.
As suddenly as he started, he had finished. I felt him withdraw, and then his tongue was replaced with a cold feeling. I flinched then. "Sorry. K-Y. Cold" I heard him whisper. And then, bone hard, I felt a sudden intrusion, followed by a press down and a pull forward. His finger. He knew where to hit, and set me on fire
"Aahhhh!" Oh sudden. Wriggly. Fierce. "Ooooorrghhh!" He did it again. Out, then in. And left it in, deep inside me. I thought I was excited before, but oh, wow...
"Are you ready for me?"
It was already incredible. Ready? Oh heck. Ready? I was ready. That finger was still inside, deep inside. "Keep your finger in. Please keep it in."
"Can you get onto the bed on your back?"
I didn't answer. I wriggled instead. On my hands and knees onto the bed, with my, heck, husband, partner, boyfriend, soulmate, lover still impaling me with his right index finger. Each movement was exquisite. He wasn't just following dumbly, he was thrusting in and almost out as I wriggled. It was impossible, almost impossible, to move. Or too tempting to stay still and be rogered by his finger.
"I want more than my finger inside you, Chris. Much more."
"Is it that much more, then?" I was gasping.
"Show me!" I wanted him so badly, and so hard.
"Now. Please now. Oh Nigel, show me now."
His finger suddenly pulled out. And I mean suddenly. Empty.
"Lie back, then." He sounded flat. His face was smiling as I turned over, but he sounded flat. No, businesslike. Not flat. In the candle light I could see his eyes shining. "I want you to remember this the way you need to, want to, Chris. I love you. I'll love you for the rest of my life."
And he moved to be between my legs as they lay on the bed. There was a glow in his eyes. A light burning so brightly. He wasn't businesslike any more. I could feel power radiating from him. His need to possess as strong as mine to be possessed. It was a fire from within each of us.
I watched as he slicked his hardness with more lube, as he withdrew his foreskin and made it shine in the flickering candles, not dark like the night in the room, but dark with the curtains drawn against the daylight.
I watched and felt as he lifted my feet.
I felt the bed dip as his knees approached me, advancing so slowly between my thighs.
Then I felt it. Oh then. Hot and slippery as he placed the tip so carefully between my legs, so carefully centred on the secret spot that was for ever his, only his.
I wanted to push down onto him, to impale myself on him. I needed him inside me, hot, tight, feeling huge.
I had no need to push.
Suddenly. In a rush. Powerfully. It felt as though my world was being ripped from its moorings. Hot, fast, too fast, probing, tight. He rushed my defences, just as I needed him to.
"No! Too fast. Stop!" I was trying to beat his chest with ineffective fists. "It hurts, oh it hurts." And I felt safe that he wouldn't stop.
He didn't stop
Out in a rush, then in, deep inside, stretching me, hitting what always seemed to be rock bottom, the place where with a careful angle change he could go deeper. The out, then in.
It hurt fiercely. I remembered the day in France I'd impaled myself on him, and this was more. More because he was in charge. I know it wouldn't do more than hurt. Somehow I just knew. I knew the muscles would relax soon enough and we would make sweet love, but I wanted this fierce, tight, straining pain. I held it to my heart as he thundered into me. "Aaarrrrrggggggh!" Oh it was a high pitched yell. "Stop! No, don't stop. Harder! Oh! I can't stand it, it hurts!"
His face looked concerned, but he was as good as his word. Not a change in rhythm except to go almost harder and deeper. "You feel so good. Tense. If you can stand it, I'm carrying on. Only I can't last long, Chris. This is awesome."
"I'll take as long as you can give me." I was gasping. Each thrust was trying to rearrange my insides, and my ring was still searing with tension as his friction didn't let me relax. "I don't mind if you can't last, but don't stop until you've finished." I was gasping and squealing each time he pulled out and thrust back in. The neighbours must've been able to hear. Sometimes I screamed on the instroke as well as the outstroke.
The tension eased. Eased enough to turn from exquisite agony to pure pleasure. I felt him inside me, felt him sliding easily now into me. Felt his body bottom out on each instroke, and felt the weight and power of my wonderful lover on top of me, gripped between my thighs. In return I felt my own body open to receive him, open so wide I almost thought he would fall inside me. I could feel his sweat running down and dripping down onto me, could see the effort he was making to keep going, but felt his legs start to vibrate, felt his rhythm leave him as his knees locked together, his buttocks clenched, and he launched his seed deep inside me, firing, pulsing, hot and deep into me, into my soul.
I reached down to my erect spear.
"No, Chris. That's mine. It will have to wait for me." He was raised on locked elbows, pressing his body deep into the place I so needed him to be.
"I can't... "
"I have plans for us tonight. You didn't intend to sleep, did you?"
"No. And I don't think we'll need Barnsley, either."
If you liked this chapter, If you like the story, find more at my website http://www.iomfats.org/, and from there also link to the Teenage Gay Boy Love Stories Webring where we have gathered authors who write fact and fiction about teenage male romance. And if you are an author yourself, please don't hesitate to go to the Webring Signup page at http://www.iomfats.org/ringmaster.htm and submit your own website for consideration for membership. Our Webring gets in excess of 3,000 hits a week. We must be doing something right! Click here for the list of TGBL Webring Sites [if your browser does not show this link, simply visit my website's links page].
Section 28 of the United Kingdom Local Government Act 1988 MUST go. Those who want it kept say that it stops our kids being "taught to be homosexual". Well I have a son, a teenage son. If you read my life story on the website you'll see and understand. My son knows I am gay. It hasn't made him want to try being gay out. You don't try it out, however well informed you are, you just don't. And he's well informed, because I answer any questions he asks me. Being unstr8 is one thing; choosing to be unstr8 is quite another. Of course it must happen, but it is so rare as to be statistically irrelevant. Section 28 is about scaring good teachers away from helping the kids who need their help. This is a bad UK law. If you want to join the campaign against it, there is a page on my website, accessible from the home page. Please join this campaign. Whatever country you live in, please join the campaign.