Chapter 7 Cuffs
It was the autumn, and the leaves were just beginning to turn golden. Tony was in Sardinia, trying to buy suitable property for conversion into a hotel in Buggerru. Chris had gone back to school alone, only Tim of his close friends would be there now, Tom and Justin having left, so Justin and John were left behind at home. Justin was out in the garden helping Sandy pick the apples from the orchard to store them for the winter; the two of them got on famously, and Justin was becoming a very competent gardener. He was due in a day or two to travel to Scandinavia for his first modelling shoot abroad, and was rather nervous.
The doorbell rang, and it was a young lady in a suit. It was Sue Pepper, a social worker who had called from time to time to see how Chris was getting on: John had thought it best to register as a foster carer in order to take care of him. Sue and John got on very well indeedperhaps she was something of a fag hagand they had also met on many social occasions. Tony was especially interested in her, and John encouraged this, hoping that somehow his heart would be mended. But this time, it was not a social call.
‘Look, John, I was wondering if you could help us out.’
‘What can I do, Sue?’
‘I was wondering if you’d care to give a lad a home, for a short time at least. I think he’s in desperate need of some stability and affection, and his case is particularly difficult. You’ve got the advantage of being young, but have experience enough to be able to ride the rough with the smooth.’
That sounded ominous.
‘I think you’d better tell me some more.’
‘Okay. This lad is, we think, about fourteen. It’s only a guess, because he hasn’t a clue who his parents are. From what he has told us, we think he was born in a travelling hippy commune, and they were so high most of the time, they probably didn’t know who his father and mother were, even during the birth! In all probability his birth wasn’t registered, which causes problems at all turns. At some point, he seems to have left; perhaps he was abandoned, or lost, or simply ran away. In any event, he found his way to London and earned his living as a rent boy for some considerable timewe don’t know how long, and he is vague about it himself. He is very street-wise and can be very difficult. Of course, he was never educated, and although his sexual vocabulary is probably huge, he can’t even read or write. He’s got no diseases, fortunately; we always dread the kids catching HIV. Look, I’m not going to beat about the bush; this lad will be a real handful for whoever takes him on; he needs constant one-to-one attention, or he gets into trouble again. If he is not given this attention, his future will be prison for the rest of his life, I should think. He’s still with the police in London; they think that his best chance is to get him right away from the city.
‘John, you’re the only person who has the sufficient leisure to give him a chance. All our other foster carers work, and cannot be around during the day. If you could make this lad your work, you might perhaps be able to do something that would stand to your credit forever. I genuinely think you are his only hope.’
‘Oh, so no pressure, then?’
‘I’m sorry, John. There’s something about this kid that gets to me.’
‘Do I get to know his name?’
‘That’s one of the weirdest things; he doesn’t have one.’
‘Well, he likes to call himself “Cuffs” for some reason. He says that he’s been called so many things that he has no idea which is his real name, so he’s chosen that for himself. There’s certainly no surname. Will you at least meet him?’
‘Sue, I’m not going to commit myself even that far without talking to those who live with me. This sounds like it’s going to be a major disruption to all our lives, and I want to hear what they have to say.’
‘Okay, I suppose I can understand that. Will you ring me tonight?’
‘This has to be settled quite quickly, not just for the boy’s sake, but because I’m going away for a couple of weeks very soon.’
‘Oh really? You wouldn’t be going anywhere near Sardinia, by any chance?’ John grinned at Sue archly and raised his eyebrows.
Sue smiled back ‘Well, you never know, I might just drop in.’
John managed to speak to everyone about Cuffs over the next few hours. The only one who was a little dubious was Jules.
‘Look, heart-face, I know the under-age rent-boy type. We’ll have endless trouble, especially you, John. These kids are very street-wise; they live by lying, stealing and goodness knows what else. It’s the only way the poor things survive; they have a very wretched life, some of them.
‘I’m not saying don’t have him, because perhaps we can do some good here, but we are all going to have to buckle down for a rough ride!’
Chris, whom John phoned, was enthusiastic. He was fed up of being the baby of the family, and wanted a little brother. John thought that he had absolutely no idea what he was letting himself in for; this was no little brother type; he had experience far beyond the rest of them put together.
The London police delivered a sullen Cuffs to the door a week later. Tony was away with Sue in Sardinia, Justin on his Scandinavian shoot, Chris at school, so that left John, Jules and Sandy to welcome the new inhabitant, and Jules and Sandy had already retired to their own home for the evening. The lad, Cuffs, on arrival had his hands tight behind his back, and the reason became apparent as the police released him from a pair of handcuffs. That was enough to make John immediately nervous.
Cuffs, rubbing the circulation back into his wrists, was a medium-height, slight lad in dirty denims, with very long dirty hair of indeterminate colour tied back in a ponytail held with an elastic band. The thing that struck John straight away was that his eyes were not unlike Seán’s; a penetrating intense blue, as they regarded him warily. He had a bag, which he refused to let John carry, and so after the police had left, they went upstairs to the room that had been selected for him.
John had expected some interest in the house, but there was none, aloud at any rate. Just the eyes looking around all the time, taking everything in. John fervently hoped that they were not making a burglar’s inventory!
Cuffs had still not said anything, and John was getting a little nervous.
‘Here’s your room, er…Cuffs. I hope you’ve got everything you’ll need. The bathroom’s through here; I dare say you’ll want a shower after your journey.’
Cuffs might not want a shower, but he definitely needed one. He smelt sour and rank, and John felt a little nauseous.
‘Chuck your dirty clothes in the hamper there, and they’ll get washed. Put something clean on, and come downstairs when you’re ready. I’ll be in the kitchen, getting you something to eat.’
Cuffs gave a quick smile of gratitude.
‘That’d be nice; I haven’t eaten today.’
‘Nothing at all?’
‘No; I reckon the police were keen to get rid of me! And they had my hands cuffed behind my back since this morning.’
‘Oh.’ John’s heart sank. If the police found him too much, how was he going to cope? The lad had a nice voice, though, not London, as John expected, but more a West Country burr.
‘That must have been awful!’
Cuffs shrugged. ‘No, it were cool, really. I don’t mind it. ’Cept when you wanna piss.’ He looked round the room.
‘Who else lives in ’ere?’
‘No-one; It’s all yours.’
John smiled encouragingly.
‘I ain’t never had a bed before, let alone a whole room, ’less you count a cell. And right next to a bathroom!’
‘Your own bathroom.’
‘My own bathroom?’
This was better. They were actually talking.
‘For as long as you stay here, and you can stay here for as long as we get on.’
John left Cuffs to unpack his bag and to shower. He went downstairs and began to prepare a meal for the lad. A short while afterwards, Cuffs reappeared, his hair wet, but still dressed in the same tattered 501 jeans and denim jacket that he had worn before. The smelly miasma still hung around him.
‘Cuffs, I really think you ought to change your clothes, too. Frankly, they pong a bit. Do you mind?’
Cuffs looked disconcerted, and trailed off again. He was a long time, and John was getting worried, when he reappeared, this time in rather familiar khaki trousers and a t-shirt. Both were ridiculously too big for him, and it was unfortunate that John knew just whom they belonged to. He knew every item of their owner’s wardrobe, having looked so often and so longingly at them.
‘Cuffs, I think you ought to have put on your own clothes; those are Justin’s and I don’t think he’d be too pleased to have you raiding his cupboards.’
‘I didn’t; these are mine!’
John strode across and took the t-shirt by the neck. There was Justin’s school name-tag.
‘Put on your own clothes, Cuffs, please. And I think you’d better take another shower; you’re still pretty high.’
Cuffs looked frustrated and confused, and wandered off again. After fifteen minutes, John thought that he had better go up to him, and see what was going on.
Cuffs was standing in the middle of his room, dressed once again in his Levis. This time there were tears in his eyes.
‘Cuffs, what’s wrong?’
‘I just can’t get this right! I’ve never done any of this before! I just don’t know what to do!’
‘What’s the problem, soldier?’
‘The shower thing, for a start. How do I do it? And then the clothes; look…’
And he opened his bag and held it upside-down over the bed. Nothing fell out.
‘The bag’s all for show. What you see me wearin’ is all I got.’
‘Cuffs, how old are you?’
‘Bollocks! Cuffs, how old are you?’
There was a little voice.
‘I don’t really know.’
John suddenly realised that whatever he had feared, here was simply a frightened and confused little boy trying to put on an air of cynical confidence. He was going to have to go extremely slowly. He went to Cuffs’ bathroom, and looked in; there was a mess everywhere; the water was all over the floor, and Cuffs had tried to wipe it up with his towels but only succeeded in making it look worse.
‘I’m really sorry; please don’t send me back to London!’
‘No, don’t worry, Cuffs, not for that. That’s easily sorted out. But I think that we need to get you clean first, and find some clean clothes for you to wear. We can buy you some of your own, tomorrow.’
‘I ain’t got no money, neither.’
‘That’s all right, I have, and as long as we’re friends, you’ll have everything you’ll need.’
A loud rumble from Cuffs’ stomach reminded John that he had had nothing to eat.
‘Look, Cuffs, come to the kitchen now, and I’ll make you a sandwich; we can eat properly after we get you clean.’
After Cuffs had devoured an enormous sandwich, John took him to the gym bathroom; he thought it would be more sensible to go somewhere where there was a lot of room. As soon has he got in the door, he turned on the water in the vast shower and adjusted the temperature. Cuffs saw the steam arising, and said in wonder
‘Yes, of course. Wasn’t the water in your bathroom hot?’
‘No; it were freezing.’
No wonder he hadn’t got very clean; he hadn’t even managed to work out the temperature control. But it was a little complex, and Jules had written out instructions and put them in the visitors’ bathrooms. Then John remembered that Cuffs was unable to read. This was going to be a steep learning curve for everyone.
‘Right, let’s get started.’
And John pulled off his t-shirt, then pushed down his football shorts, and stepped out of them. He saw Cuffs give his cock an appraising look. No doubt he had seen a great many more of them than John had! John was reassured when Cuffs nodded appreciatively.
‘Come on, soldier, get undressed.’
Cuffs looked panicked. ‘Undressed? Here?’
‘Yes, you have to undress if we’re going to get you clean. Surely you’re not nervous of undressing in front of a stranger? You must have done it loads of times.’ John was surprised to encounter modesty all of a sudden.
‘Well yes, but you’re not exactly a trick, are you?’
‘A customer; you’re not planning on paying me for sex, are you?’
‘Well, then!’ Cuffs looked satisfied with his logic.
‘Look, Cuffs, just get undressed, now. Or I’m going to undress you, and I’m a great deal bigger than you!’
‘Okay, okay, keep your hair on!’
Cuffs kicked off his shoes, worn without socks, then slowly began to unbutton his jacket, giving John sultry looks under his eyebrows.
‘Look, Cuffs, spare me the striptease act, and just get undressed!’ John strode across to him, and took over the unbuttoning. Cuffs looked a bit disoriented, as if someone had interrupted his flow, but did not fight.
Off came the jacket, which John threw into a corner, then the t-shirt. John stood back when he saw the lad’s bare chest; each nipple was pierced by a large, very heavy-gauge, ring. He took hold of one and looked at it.
‘Wow! Aren’t they really uncomfortable?’
Cuffs looked calculating, trying no doubt to find out what turned John on. ‘Only for the first few months. They hurt like hell at first. I got used to them now, though, and they can feel really sexy. Besides, the tricks like to play with them.’
I’ll bet they do, thought John. They were actually turning him on a little, so he let the ring go before his interest started to show, and turned to the trousers. Cuffs pushed him away gently.
‘Okay, okay, I’ll do it, just let me do it myself.’ But he showed a marked reluctance, and eventually John just grabbed the buttons and undid them. The 501s fell to the floor. There was no underwear, of course.
John took a deep breath.
Cuffs shrugged his bare shoulders, and the nipple rings bounced up and down. ‘Yup.’
Secured tightly around the root of Cuffs’ substantial penis and behind his scrotum was one half of a pair of handcuffs. The other half dangled free.
‘Why don’t you take that off, Cuffs?’
‘It don’t come off.’
‘The key only works in the other cuff; the lock got broken on this half.’
‘How long have you been trapped like that?’
‘Year or so.’
‘Did someone put it on you.’
‘Sort of, it weren’t my idea, anyway; I worked in a team for a while, and the boss gimme the cuffs, as a gimmick, like. I locked them round my balls, like this, and the other cuff hung outside of my fly buttons. If a trick was interested, they could take hold of the outside cuff, and pull me along by my balls. Some of the kinky ones used to lock the other cuff on their wrist. I got a lot of tricks that way. Walking by, you don’t miss a handcuff on a young bloke’s cock! But then it broke, and I was stuck, but the other half still works, so I still got business. Good job it’s stainless steel; chrome can really fuck you up.’
‘Well, perhaps we can get the hospital to take it off?’
‘No, I tole you, it won’t come off! It’ll have to stay there till I die.’
‘Rubbish! Doesn’t it hurt?’
Cuffs shrugged indifferently. ‘Sometimes. Lots o’things hurt. This ain’t the worst. You should try a large dry cock straight up your arse! That really hurts!’
‘Er…quite! Look Cuffs, you’ve already got some impressive equipment there for a lad your age and size, but the chances are very good that it’s going to get quite a bit bigger as you get older. It might really cause you problems.’
‘Well, we’ll have to face that one as we come to it, won’t we?’
John looked at the boy’s packagehis penis also was pierced with another large ringand then decided to let the argument ride. They got into the shower together. It was quite clear that Cuffs had not the slightest clue as to what to do, so John ended up washing him. Years of grime came off with the help of the shower gel as John rubbed his hands all over the young man’s body. Cuffs clearly found it very sensuous, for he developed an erection which purpled quickly as the blood was restrained in his penis by the handcuff. As John rubbed his pectorals and brushed against the rings, Cuffs groaned softly, and his penis hardened even more, the veins standing out painfully. John ignored that, and washed the cock and balls clinically, trying to move the cuff a little to clean under it, but the erection had made it impossibly tight.
Finally, John moved to the boy’s ponytail. He battled with the elastic band, and finally had to resort to the pair of scissors he found in the bathroom. The hair stayed in a sodden clump. With a sinking heart, John realised that it was full of grease. Again and again, John shampooed and rubbed, but he made little progress; the hair was simply too matted and tangled.
‘Cuffs, are you really attached to your ponytail?’
‘Not really; it were the boss’s idea. Besides, there was never any money for barbers; boss took all I got.’
‘I think I’m going to have to cut it off.’
Cuffs shrugged indifferently.
So John used the scissors, and cut off the ponytail as high up as he could go, then, with Cuffs squatting and dripping on the floor in the bathroom, John tried to trim up the result as best he could. A barber could sort it out tomorrow. As he worked, John kept glancing at the handcuff dangling from the boy’s groin. Bizarre!
Back in the shower, things were much easier, and the remaining hair finally came unmatted and clean; it was a soft light brown. Cuffs ran his hands through it.
‘That feels so much better; it’s really light and wonderful. I feel fresh and smooth all over!’
He turned to John and began to rub his chest.
‘You’re really built! I like that. And real handsome! Most o’ my tricks were pretty ugly.’ Then before John knew what was happening, Cuffs dropped into a squat again, the loose cuff clanking against the shower floor, and took John’s cock into his mouth. John was too taken aback to move, but almost instantly he was erect. Cuffs grabbed him by his buttocks, and took the whole length of his penis down his throat. The feeling was indescribable, and John was unable to do anything except gurgle a little. The boy obviously knew very well what he was doing, and he was very good indeed at his job. In short order, Cuffs had brought him off and swallowed the proceeds, and John sank down to a squat, too, spent. He and Cuffs looked into each other’s eyes.
‘Well, that was nice, Cuffs, if a little unexpected. Nobody has ever done that to me before.’
‘No? Nobody never washed me before, neither. Well, it’s the only way I know how to say thank you; there’s nothing else I can give you, unless you want me manky t-shirt.’
‘Definitely no thanks! But it reminds me that we’d better find you some clean clothes.’
‘Hang on: I ain’t cum yet!’ And before John’s amazed eyes, he bent right over at the waist and managed to take his own still hard penis into his mouth, giving himself a blow job.
‘That’s quite an accomplishment, Cuffs!’
John threw the boy a towel for his waist, and pulled on his own shorts. He explained that most of the household, being fond of sailing, tended to dress very casually. No underwear, and often only shorts. Cuffs could do as he liked, but he said that he would prefer to do as every one else did. John found him some gym shorts that Chris had grown out of, and Cuffs pulled them on. John offered him a t-shirt, but he declined, enjoying the feel of the air on his clean skin. The spare cuff dangled rather obscenely from the leg of the shorts, but as it was only the two of them that evening, John made no objection.
As they sat and ate a casserole which John had made, he and Cuffs discussed a possible schedule of studymostly reading and writingfor the lad to follow. Cuffs was entirely out of his depth, but would never admit it, and so just nodded and carrying on eating.
That was a first thing that was going to have to be sorted; his eating habits. The lad seemed never before to have used a knife and fork, and his pathetic efforts to imitate John were not impressive. He spilt food everywhere, but mostly down his bare chest, onto his thighs and the floor. And that made him more nervous, which made it worse. In the end, John gave him a spoon, which was easier, but he hadn’t used one of those often before, either.
‘Cuffs, how did you eat this sort of food before?’
‘Never ’ad this sort o’ food before. Just burgers and things, and ’ands is fine for burgers. But this is real tasty. I prefer this.’
‘Thank you. What did they give you at the police station?’
‘Only sangwiches and tea.’
They cleared the table together, and John showed Cuffs how to wash dishes, after the boy had cleaned the food off himself. Cuffs seemed particularly amused by the fact that a piece of meat had lodged in a nipple ring, and wanted to leave it there. Then he wanted John to remove it, but John wasn’t falling for that one.
As darkness fell, they sat on either side of the fire, talking. Cuffs was reticent about his past, and John thought that perhaps it was better to wait until some trust had been built up on both sides before opening that one up.
Sue was right; the boy had never had any schooling of any kind. Clearly there was no way he could go to school now; his life would be made a misery. So there was no alternative; John and the others would have to teach him at home. Sue had been right again; this really was going to be a 24/7 job. And he looked weedy and unhealthy; there had been too many years of the wrong sort of food and the wrong sort of exercise. John also suspected there had been drugs; not that there was any physical evidence, just that he was aware that the culture was rife on the streets, and many bosses in rent-boy circles used drugs as a means of keeping the boys compliant.
John looked at the boy, so vulnerable in his shorts, his nipple rings glinting in the firelight on his thin bare chest. He sat crosslegged on the leather sofa, playing with the cuff that dangled from his groin. John’s heart went out to him.
‘Cuffs, do you like it here?’
‘Yeah, I reckon.’
‘Look, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to stay with me and the others as long as you want.’
‘Others?’ Cuffs looked alarmed.
‘Yes, there’s Chris, who’s almost eighteen, who’s away at school at the moment, and his boyfriend Justin, who’s already eighteen, and works as a model. He’s away on a shoot.’
‘A model, eh?’ Cuffs brightened up.
‘Then there’s Tony, who’s my best friend.’
‘Your problem or his?’
‘His problem, my decision.’ There was no point being coy with this lad, even though he was only young; he knew more about homosexual relationships than John would ever know. But then John wondered; perhaps not relationships, only sex.
‘And then there’s Jules and Sandy. That’s not their real names, but nobody uses those any more. Jules looks after the house, and Sandy looks after the garden; they have their own house in the grounds, but you’ll meet them tomorrow.’
‘So everyone’s gay here?’
‘I didn’t say I was.’
Cuffs just turned a look of scorn on him.
‘Don’t be stupid! Yes you did. Anyway, I can recognize a trick from a hundred yards!’
John decided that this was not the time for a lecture on speaking respectfully to one’s elders. Cuffs was going to have to learn one thing at a time.
‘Okay. You’ve got me. But Tony is bisexual, and though he is my best friend, I sadly can’t return the feelings that he says he has for me, and I hope one day that he finds someone to love him back.’
They went shopping the following day, Cuffs wearing some more of Chris’s old clothes; Arundel had nothing suitable, so they drove back to Chichester. John had measured Cuffs at home, and was planning to buy off the shelf, because he had no wish to explain the handcuffs to a tailor or shop assistant. The boy proved to be as particular as Chris about the clothes he liked, only in the opposite sense; he wanted nothing light or tailored, but wanted rough and heavy clothes, a taste John could understand, though he went far beyond what John liked. No blue denim, though; he said that he had had enough of that for a lifetime.
He was particularly keen when they found that a shop was marketing what they called ‘Convict Chic for Men’: imitation convict gear from the nineteenth century; roughly tailored sackcloth or canvas trousers and jackets with printed arrows all over and numbers on the breast and back, or in wide black and white stripes. Cuffs was so keen that John weakened and bought him a set of each. Then he wanted army combat gear, including the boots.
He was problematic when it came to choosing ordinary clothes. He wanted no t-shirts or underwear or socks
‘Buy ’em if you want, but I won’t wear ’em!’
and adamantly refused to wear trousers with zips; he only wanted buttons.
‘Why won’t you have a zip, Cuffs?’
‘It’ll trap me tackle!’
‘Not if you’re careful!’
But John suspected there was more to it than that. He remembered that Cuffs used to attract trade by hanging the loose end of his handcuffs out of his fly.
‘Look, Cuffs, there’s no way you’re going back on the game. So you’ll have zips or nothing.’
But somehow Cuffs managed to exchange the trousers on the way to the till, and John found himself paying for heavyweight button-fly trousers instead of the smarter ones he had chosen. The lad was obviously very quick. Even the sizes were smaller than the ones Cuffs ought to wear. He clearly liked his clothes on the tight side.
They visited a camping shop; John rarely needed any excuse, for they sold the rugged Abercrombie and Fitch clothes he loved. When Cuffs saw the heavy nylon waterproof suits, he begged again until John relented and agreed to buy him one. Somehow on the way to the till again, one had become two, and a size tighter. John also got him some shirts and a pullover or two, and a warm jacket.
What John did not know was that Cuffs had also stolen from the climbing department a handful of crampons, shackles, and a length of chain.
The sports shop was next. ‘What for?’ said Cuffs. ‘I ain’t doin’ no sport!’
‘You may surprise yourself tomorrow morning!’ said John, buying him all the necessary outfits. Cuffs wasn’t co-operating, so John chose the colours and styles, while Cuffs wandered around. There was only one assistant on duty, attending to John, and so Cuffs was able to sneak another pair of waterproof trousers under his shirt; these were shiny royal blue nylon with white stripes down the legs, and somehow they appealed to the lad.
As they went through the door, the alarm went off; John turned back in consternation, while the assistant checked all the purchases in the bag John was carrying; Cuffs continued into the street, where he stood laughing to himself at how easy it had been.
‘Man, these people are going to be such a push-over!’
Cuffs, the moment he saw Jules, thought that he had his number. He was content now that he had found somewhere warm to sleep, and food to eat, and he could see that those he lived with should be easy game for a few months until they first grew wise to him, and then sick of him, and then, inevitably, finally threw him out. What he lacked in the short term was money. John would not give him any, no matter how hard Cuffs begged, though he said that he would provide whatever Cuffs asked for, within reason. And the whole household had been at least wise enough not to leave money lying around.
So Cuffs thought he would try his trade on Jules, who was, as Tony once commented, ‘as camp as a row of chiffon tents’, and therefore, thought Cuffs, a walk-over.
Jules was in the kitchen, in his tight jeans and t-shirt, doing a pile of ironing and humming contentedly to himself. Cuffs walked in, barefoot, in his new convict jacket and trousers.
‘Er… You must be Jules… ’
‘That's right. And you must be Cuffs.’
‘Yeah; er, is it all right if I call you Jules?’
‘Everyone else does here, sweetheart, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t. I rather like it, really.’
‘Er… I was wonderin’ what ’appened to my own cloze? I ’ad some old jeans when I come.’
Jules shuddered. ‘In the bin. I tried to get them clean, but it was impossible, as well as revolting. Honestly, my dove, you’re far better off without them, I can tell you. How you ever managed to get work with those on, I can’t imagine!’
Cuffs was unabashed.
‘Yeah, well some people like it grungy, really. Not that I could help it. They were all I ’ad.’
‘Where did you work?’
Cuffs thought he would try shock. ‘I didn’t; I was a rent boy.’
‘Well, it didn't take me long to work that one out, petal. I wasn't born yesterday.’
‘Oh. Sorry.’ (Oops!) ‘Well, I worked the ’Dilly.’
‘Yeah. You know it?’
‘Oh yes, heart face: extremely well.’
They chatted amicably for a few minutes about London, and then, rather ostentatiously, Cuffs said
‘It’s ’ot in ’ere, ain’t it’
‘That’s the Aga, heart-face!’
‘The stove, Cuffs. It’s on all the time.’
‘Oh. Well, if you don’t mind…’
And without waiting for a reply, Cuffs pulled off his convict jacket. He had no shirt underneath, and his nipple rings, which Jules had not seen before, were now connected with shackes and a length of heavy chain, the loose end of which dangled down Cuffs’ chest and disappeared under the waistband of his trousers. Jules’ eyes bulged for a minute, but he never stopped ironing; indeed, he picked up speed. Conversation no longer flowed, so Cuffs felt he had to up the ante.
He sat on a stool, then sensuously, but as if thoughtlessly, undid the bottom buttons of his fly and produced the loose handcuff. He did up the buttons again and strolled around the kitchen, the loose cuff dangling, noting that Jules’ eyes followed him. Then Cuffs returned to his stool, and toyed with the chain hanging from his nipples in one hand, and with the other hand, tugged gently and repeatedly on the loose cuff to make his hardening genitals push and relax against the fabric of his canvas convict trousers.
Jules had stopped ironing now, and was staring, his face unreadable.
‘Come on, Jules, you know you want it! I won’t charge you much, I’m cheap, and very adaptable!’
Jules came slowly across the kitchen to Cuffs. He took hold of the loose cuff as the boy put on his most sultry expression. Then Jules gave the cuff a hard yank
‘OW! What the fuck…?’
Jules dragged the boy by the cuff across to the window and pointed to where the handsome, muscular, figure of Sandy was raking leaves in the autumn sunshine.
‘Look there, you little shit! That’s my man, Frank, or Sandy as they call him here. Do you think even for a second, having that gorgeous man, I would even look at a little gobshite like you? That’s a man! You said it; you are cheap, a cheap dishonest little tart. You may have fooled John, but I tell you, you haven’t fooled me, not for one moment. Yes, I know the ’Dilly, and I know your sort. Pay you for sex? Even if I wanted a filthy, lousy, scrawny little tart, I could do a great deal better than you, without paying! Now, learn your lesson, you little bastard, and I tell you, if you hurt me, or anyone else in this house you will have me to reckon with. The others who live here are good people, and if you learn from them, you may still have a happy life. But it’s your choice, Cuffs, or whatever your name is. I know your type only too well, and believe me, I’m going to be watching you like a hawk. One step out of line, and you won’t know whether it’s Tuesday or half-past Friday. Believe me, sonny Jim!’
And Jules reached down inside Cuffs’ waistband and put his hand around his genitals; there he squeezed the cuff around them so that it closed even more tightly around Cuffs’s half erect member.
‘Ow! ow! That really hurts, you fucker!’
And he tugged Cuffs across the room to the Aga. He took the end of the chain dangling from Cuffs’ nipples and threaded it onto the open cuff, and closed the cuff tightly around the bar that ran along in front of the stove. Cuffs was bent forward at the waist, trying to reduce the strain on his nipples, and standing on tiptoes to reduce the strain on his groin. But Jules was not finished; he took a length of washing line and tied Cuffs’ wrists behind his back. There was no way Cuffs could struggle, as every effort he made simply tugged painfully on his balls and nipples. Finally Jules stepped back to admire his handiwork.
‘I’ll release you in an hour. Meanwhile, you can think about what I have been saying, you little sod!’
He returned to his ironing, and there noticed that John was standing in the doorway. Jules was immediately mortified, but John silently gave him the okay sign with his fingers, and tiptoed out. Cuffs never saw him.
While Cuffs was attached, sweating, to the Aga, a lot of thoughts were going through his mind. He had clearly underestimated Jules, and the more he thought about it the more he conceived a huge awe for the little man. Cuffs had certainly been tied up and abused before, but never without a financial or sexual motive. This was different. For the first time, there was nothing here he could manipulate. And though he was in considerable discomforthis nipples, toes and balls shrieked at him as he tried to give each of them relief while keeping as far as possible from the hot stovehe had been in far worse pain for far longer from tricks or from the Boss. But he also found this experience highly erotic. He had done bondage scenes often, the handcuffs on his genitals were an open advertisement to the tricks that bondage was his speciality, but that had been the Boss’s idea to get trade, not his own preference. He found that he was considerably turned on now by what Jules had done, and that increased the pressure in his groin.
And then there was Jules’ comments about ‘real men’. Was he now outgrowing the chicken stage? Was it time to become a twink? Would some muscle help? Perhaps he should do something along the lines John was suggesting, and get fit, and more built. John was a real hunk, if a walkover in other ways. So was Sandy. Perhaps he ought to co-operate, at least for the time being. If he were more like that, it would give him more leverage all ways round; if John and Sandy were athletic and built like that, the chances are that they liked it in others.
But Jules on the other hand… Jules understood him. Perhaps he could even become a friend…
‘Strategy, Cuffs, Strategy!’ he muttered quietly to himself, as his body screamed discomfort at him.
At the end of the hour, Jules asked Cuffs where the key to the cuffs was.
and he was released with a sigh of relief. Jules noticed with interest that despite what had happened, Cuffs seemed to bear no ill will towards himself, and so was intrigued, impressed even. So he told the boy to sit down, and he made him a cup of tea and gave him a cake.
‘Look, Cuffs, how did you get your name?’
‘Well I should’ve thought that was obvious!’
‘I can see that it’s a trade name, but don’t you have another name? Didn’t your parents give you a name, like Peter or something.’
‘I had one in the commune I was in as a little boy. It were a bit weird, though.’
‘Well what was that?’
‘I don’t wanna say.’
‘I’ll give you another cake!’
‘Well, okay, but you mustn’t laugh!’
‘They called me Willow Moon-Blessing!’
Jules was crippled inside from wanting to laugh, but instead he said gravely, pushing another cake towards the lad,
‘I think perhaps we’ll stick with Cuffs for the time being.’
‘Right, now you understand! Imagine how that name would o’ gone down at the Dilly! Otherwise, I was just ‘the boy’ or ‘the kid’. The other lads at the Dilly called me Cuffs, and it kind of stuck. I haven’t thought of myself as anything else ever since. And it kinda suits,’ he said, once more tugging thoughtfully at the free cuff sticking out from his fly.
Cuffs and Jules chatted amicably until Jules said that it was time for him to get on with his work.
Cuffs’ lessons began that day, with John beginning to teach him how to read. He could already recognize the letters in his own name, and that was a start. He proved very intelligent and a quick learner; John was surprised that, since it took so little effort, nobody had ever tried to teach him before. But then, Cuffs said, there had never been any need before.
‘You don’t need to be able to read to be good at sex!’
The other surprisingly easy thing was getting Cuffs to agree to taking exercise. The first morning, John had expected to have to drag him out of his bed by his hair, but Cuffs, having decided to become a muscular twink, was already awake and dressed in his new combat suit and boots. It took a little persuasion to convince him that running would be much easier in shorts and trainers, but finally Cuffs joined John at the foot of the stairs wearing the proper gear. Seeing that John was shirtless, Cuffs pulled his shirt off too. What with his nipple rings and handcuff dangling out of his shorts’ leg, John prayed that nobody would see them.
They had only run a short distance when Cuffs started running awkwardly. He could not work out what to do with the free cuff. He tried carrying it in one hand below the leg of the shorts, but that was not satisfactory as he wanted to move his hands when running, and it gave him a sort of awkward hunched gait. Then he tried pulling it out over the waistband of his shorts, but the chain was not quite long enough, and it started to tug his shorts down and to flap and bang uncomfortably against his cock.
‘Stop, stop,’ he called breathlessly to John. While John looked on, unbelieving, Cuffs dropped his shorts completely and took the spare cuff, locking it with the other one around his cock and balls. He then pulled up the shorts again.
‘There, that’s the bugger taken care of!’
It made his crotch bulge rather, but it made it possible for Cuffs to run in relative comfort. The lad was very unfit, of course, and John did not get much of a run, but Cuffs was young, and over the weeks as his diet improved so did his overall health, and he soon picked up speed and stamina. Once back at the house, John put Cuffs through a strenuous workout in the gym, then gave him a massage to help the aching his muscles would probably feel later. Finally, the two of them kicked off their trainers and shorts and swam in the pool naked. Surprisingly, Cuffs could swim well, though he said he had not done it since he was in the hippies’ commune.
They showered together as before; John thought it sensible to shower with Cuffs to make sure that he got used to taking a shower every day though, much as he begged him, John would not wash Cuffs, but made him do the job himself.
Within a month, Cuffs’s muscles were beginning to fill out, and his skin began to take on a more healthy colour. He noticed the difference himself and was pleased.
Tony, it seems, had got to know Sue Pepper a great deal better than he had let on, and when they returned from Sardinia he moved in with her, to both the regret and the relief of the rest of the family. They all loved Tony very much, but his unhappy longing for the impossible with John had cast a gloom on their friendship. Perhaps now he would find some happiness. Tony had failed to find a suitable property in Buggerru, and he and Sue were going to have to consider building an entirely new construction. That would take a lot of money, and Tony wanted to think about it. There was no doubt that John could write a cheque straight away, but Tony was starting to feel that he wanted a certain independence, and wanted to do this thing on his own.
Justin arrived back from his model shoot one afternoon and joined John and Cuffs for dinner. John had phoned him most days to give him the news, and so Justin was not surprised to see this strange young man, Cuffs, making himself so very much at home.
Cuffs, on the other hand, was very surprised. He had known that Justin was a model, but nothing prepared him for the vision of masculine beauty that appeared through the door. Justin was in the family uniform of simply shorts, and Cuffs developed an instant and embarrassing hard-on.
‘Man!’ he said quietly to himself. ‘That one I’d do for free! Hell, I’d pay him!’
From that moment, he would hardly leave Justin alone, but followed him around everywhere like a dog. He would wait until Justin went out, and would then go into his room and try on his clothes, looking at himself in the bathroom mirror and masturbating. As to this, Justin was none the wiser, but he found his clothes disappearing regularly, and for a while this puzzled him, until he saw Cuffs one day wearing a favourite t-shirt of his. From then on, he would discover his clothes turning up in Cuffs’ wardrobe, and sometimes in his bed. At first he treated it like a joke, but then it started to annoy him. He and Cuffs had a blazing row; it was always difficult, becaue Cuffs always denied knowing anything at all about how the clothes got into his room.
‘It must o’ been Jules putting the washing back in the wrong room.’
‘Well, let’s go and talk to Jules, then.’
‘Oh no, no, there’s no need for that, surely,’ and Cuffs would end up chained to the Aga by his privates once more.
Justin came to wish he had let Cuffs have all the clothes he wanted, for the next thing he stole was Justin’s credit card. Not stolen permanently, of course, because Cuffs was anything but stupid; if Justin had missed his card, he would have cancelled it. No, thought Cuffs, I’m only borrowing it. And that is what he did, carefully replacing it when he copied the number and the expiry date to make his purchases on the computer. John had not realised that teaching him to read would enable him to go shopping on the web!
Cuffs would watch out for the postman, and waylay him on the drive, offering to take the post in for him. He would deftly extract his parcels (carefully addressed to a false name, just in case a parcel should slip through his net) and smuggle them off to his room, sometimes forgetting to place the rest of the post in the usual place, but losing it, or throwing it away.
Most of his purchases were clothes, or membership of internet gay porn sites, but he found a site or two with merchandise that interested him very much indeed.
Waking in the middle of the night, Justin thought he heard a noise. He slipped quietly out of bed in his shorts and went out onto the landing. He waited, and heard nothing. It must have been a floorboard relaxing; old houses are full of noises at night. He was about to go back to his bed, when he saw a light on under Cuffs’ door. He felt a little bad about his row with the lad, and wondered whether he was unable to sleep. So softly he opened the door and went in, to get the shock of his life.
Cuffs was fast asleep on top of the bed, wearing a pair of Justin’s treasured and now rare nylon retro soccer shorts. His erection tented the shiny blue nylon, which was stiff with recent cum, but it was not this that drew Justin’s eyes. Cuffs’ ankles were fastened into leg irons, of the sort that are like handcuffs with a long chain between them, used by Americans to transport prisoners, and the length of this fetter was wound through the bars at the end of the bed, holding Cuffs’ legs spread apart. His wrists too, were in two pairs of handcuffs, each fastened to one of the bars at the extremes of the top of the bed. So Cuffs was sleeping spreadeagled on his back.
Justin looked closer, fascinated, and saw that Cuffs had attached a key to the bedpost with blu tac where one chained hand could reach it. Presumably, he could release one hand that way, and then proceed to the other limbs. Justin, unaccustomed to malice, but in this case unable to resist, quietly removed the key and put it just out of reach, then went back to his own bed and awaited developments.
In the morning, Cuffs did not appear as usual for his run. John and Justin waited in the hallway, going through their stretches for a second time. John got impatient;
‘He hasn’t slept in before; I’m going up to get the lazy bugger.’
As Justin waited, holding his breath, there was a long and ominous silence. He went up to join John, trying to suppress his glee. Malice was not something that Justin often experienced, but he had put up with a lot from Cuffs and was rather guiltily happy to teach the lad a lesson.
Cuffs lay just as Justin had seen him last night, only this time scarlet with mortification. His wrists were chafed red as his hands had frantically struggled to reach the key that Justin had repositioned. Cuffs knew that discovery was inevitable now, and he had spent the waking time desperately trying to think up a plausible explanation. There simply wasn’t one, and he waited for Nemesis to strike.
John said nothing, but turned on his trainered heel and walked out of the door, bumping into Justin. He turned again, and said to the mortified Cuffs;
‘I’ll speak to you later.’
Then he and Justin went for their run.
It was afternoon when John finally went up to see Cuffs again. The lad had obviously tried to get some pleasure out of the situation, for he had clearly cum at least twice again, wriggling his hips to stimulate his sensitive cock inside the semen-stiffened shorts. In fact, Cuffs had derived the kinkiest pleasure out of it all; he was really trapped in steel bondage now, wearing the shorts of the man whose body he yearned for, and though he knew there would be a reckoning, he was storing away in his memory every sensation of the steel tugging at his flesh.
‘Cuffs, where did you get these handcuffs and irons?’
‘Found them didn’t I.’
‘Oh, round about.’
‘I never lie.’
‘There’s another lie; you’re always lying. The irons look new; did you buy them.’
‘How could I? You never give me any money.’
John was determined to leave Cuffs lying there until he told the truth. In the end that was impractical; Cuffs was simply enjoying himself and the situation too much. Hours later, he had to hold a bottle for Cuffs to urinate, but when Cuffs threatened to defecate on the bed too, he relented. If he had known of the hold that Jules maintained over the boy, he would undoubtedly have involved him, but that discovery lay in the future.
He knew that something had been going on, but he had no proof, other than the appearance of these mysterious irons, and felt it would be unjust to punish Cuffs further until he knew more. So he moved the key where Cuffs could reach it, and in an unbelievably quick time Cuffs had released himself, and was rubbing at his chafed wrists and ankles.
John confiscated all the steel items; the leg irons and two pairs of handcuffs; Cuffs was left with only that single pair dangling from his groin.
‘That one too, Cuffs. I want it.’
‘I tole you; it’s stuck.’
‘I really don’t think I believe you any more.’
‘Please yourself, but it ain’t comin’ off!’
And that had to be that, until a fortnight later, when Justin received his bank statement. He came in to see John one afternoon.
‘I think I’ve solved the mystery of Cuffs’ mysterious purchases, John.’
‘But how did he manage it?’
‘By the looks of it, on the computer.’
‘But he can’t even read!’
‘I suspect that’s just another lie. Maybe he can’t read very well, but you’ve certainly taught him to do it well enough to find his way around a computer and the internet.’
Cuffs, when confronted, was alternately defiant and tearful. Though he did not understand bank statements, he had known that the truth would have to come out some time.
‘Well, if you’d gimme some money, I wouldn’t have to steal. You drove me to it, it’s your fault, not mine!’
‘I’m not giving you money until you develop some responsibility.’
‘And how am I going to do that until you give me some money of my own?’
Which was unanswerable, so John did not answer it, but sent him to work for Sandy in the garden until he should pay back all the debt.
‘Can I have the leg irons back?’
‘I won’t be any trouble to Sandy, if you do!’
‘Meaning you will if I don’t give them to you? Have you any idea how much Jules loves Sandy, Cuffs? Don’t you think that he might take an interest in how well you work for his man, with or without leg irons?’
This point went home, but Justin said
‘Why not give him the leg irons, John? There’s no harm in it, surely, and if it makes him happy…’
‘Well all right, you can wear them, but Justin will put them on you and keep the key, and the irons too, when you’re not wearing them.’
A beatific smile broke out on Cuffs’ face. John reflected on how seriously weird the boy was, but thought that perhaps the leg irons might also serve to keep him out of trouble while he was working for Sandy; he would certainly not be likely to run off! And Cuffs’ smile reminded him that the boy needed to see a dentist sometime soon.
That afternoon, Cuffs appeared in his striped American convict uniform and army boots. Justin saw him coming and thought to himself ‘What a drama queen!’, but, squatting down, he took the leg irons and fitted them around Cuffs’ ankles, putting the key into his own pocket. His face was mere inches from Cuffs’ groin, and it was impossible not to notice the swelling hardness there as Cuffs felt the steel capturing his feet, and also the hands of his fantasy man holding his legs.
Cuffs worked extremely hard, to do him credit. No doubt he was away in some private convict fantasy of his own, but the work got done in good time, and even Sandy was moved to say a few words in praise. Cuffs turned on him a look of purest gratitude, and would do anything for him thereafter.
After their exercise the following morning, John took Cuffs to the dentist. His teeth were basically in good shape, despite years of neglect, and were regular and nice-looking. The dentist took a couple of x-rays, seeing that there would need to be a filling or two, and while he was wating for the anaesthetic to take effect, he took John aside into another room.
‘Mr Scott, did you say that, er… Cuffs was about fourteen?’
‘Well, we think so. Nobody really knows; he was born in a communune and then lived on the streets for not even he knows how long.’
‘Well, I may have a surprise for you. He’s certainly not fourteen; he’s more like sixteen or even seventeen. Perhaps older. I can see the development of his wisdom teeth quite clearly, and I’m sure about that. He’s clearly underdeveloped physically for his age, though. Perhaps you should see a doctor and get some growth hormones for him.’
‘Well, that is a surprise! I wonder if I should tell him? He’s hard enough to handle now, but if he were to know that he’s legally able to do an awful lot more, we might have no end of trouble!’
‘Well, I suppose that’s your problemnot meaning to be dismissive. But my advice would be to tell him; it might give him some sense of responsibility. Why are you laughing?’
But John did decide to tell Cuffs. Perhaps the dentist was right, and it might give him a sense of responsibility if he thought that he might have to earn a living in a short period of time. John had considered taking Cuffs into the family, as he had Chris and Justin, but he thought that he just could not face this hassle for the rest of his life. The only thing that made the disturbance bearable was the thought that it might end one day.
He did not hate Cuffs; far from it. In fact he was genuinely fond of the lad, despite everything. It wasn’t so much what he had done, since he was watched like a hawk, and had very little opportunity to get up to anything very serious except the use of Justin’s credit card, but it was the worry about what he might do, if the vigilance was relaxed even for a moment. However, Cuffs continued to work each afternoon in his convict uniform and chains with such diligence that Sandy thought he might even make a gardener one day.
It was decided that Cuffs would have a birthday, just like everyone else, and Cuffs asked for it to be the day the police brought him to Arundel. It was agreed that that would have been his sixteenth birthday. Both Justin and John were suspicious when Cuffs asked for that date; was this another attempt to get around them and make them relax their guard? But they said nothing to the boy.
He was growing now; he had been put on a course of hormones by the doctor, and the good nutrition and exercise were beginning to rectify in his healthy body what had been stunted for so long. Cuffs spent a long time in front of the mirror in his bathroom admiring his new body, and in truth was beginning for the first time to feel a little better about himself.
Chris’s half-term holiday fell that year in November, and coincided with his eighteenth birthday. He drove himself home from school, and fell into Justin’s arms, barely saying hello to John. John smiled to himself; he knew that Chris would make it up to him later, and went off to prepare a celebration meal for the homecoming.
The meal was eaten in family style, which is to say, wearing shorts and barechested. Even though the weather was getting chillier, it was important for Chris to really feel he had come home. Cuffs was strangely silent through the meal, foregoing his usual cocky banter; he and Chris had not met each other yet, and he watched his every movement carefully, as if he was trying to learn from him what it was that made Justin love him. But in fact he was fascinated with Chris in himself. Chris was nearly as good-looking as Justin, and as well-built; however, there was also some undefineable vulnerability about him that Cuffs sympathized with instinctively. This guy, too, had seen hardship in his life.
They sat by the kitchen fire that evening, drinking whisky (well watered for Cuffs) and talking. Cuffs seated himself opposite Chris, who nearly bit through his glass when he saw for the first time the handcuff dangling from Cuffs’ groin. Cuffs saw the look and moved his legs so that Chris could see his tackle up the leg of his shorts, and he gave the free handcuff a tug or two.
He had not noticed that the conversation in the room had ceased until he noticed that Justin, next to Chris, was looking thunderously at him, and John was sighing with exasperation. Justin took Chris’s hand possessively and laid it on his own groin, to make the point to Cuffs that Chris was his. John frowned at the indelicacy, (as well as feeling a pang of his own) but understood it.
The group broke up after that. Chris took Justin to his room, and the two of them made passionate love until the small hours. Chris, however, could not get out of his mind the image of Cuffs with the handcuff round his tackle, gently tugging at it with the other cuff. And Justin loved in Chris the likeness of John, so while their lovemaking was frantic and passionate, each of them felt passion for another and was too preoccupied in his own thoughts to notice the absence of the other’s soul.
Cuffs took his opportunity, and spent the night in Justin’s bed, wanking into tissues until he was dry. Then he set the alarm for very early, so as not to be caught, and slept heavily and as happily as he could.
Chris had been sent instructions for his eighteenth birthday. He had always known that it would be an important day, though he was not quite sure what it would entail. He knew that he would be legally independent of his mother, and that was important to them both. They had not seen each other since the fateful Mediterranean boating holiday more than fifteen months previously, though they had spoken on the phone and discovered that distance healed some of the bad vibes between them.
Chris had received a letter from a firm of solicitors in Manchester, asking him to present himself on his eighteenth birthday at their offices. His mother would also be present. So Cuffs was left in the more than capable hands of Jules and Sandy, while John, Chris and Justin drove up north a few days before the event, and checked into a hotel. They all thought they could do with the break.
When John had seen the name of the solicitor dealing with Chris’s case, his heart jumped. He was gaining in certainty now. The solicitor was the old friend of his own father’s, the same who had continued to deal with much of John’s own business affairs, whom he had last seen just after his own eighteenth birthday. This was going to be a most interesting meeting. The evening before, the three friends went out for a meal. Chris and John were in the bathroom, barechested, shaving together at the basin. John looked at their two reflections in the mirror.
‘Don’t you see?’
‘Yeah. Love you!’ And Chris gave John a foamy kiss on the cheek. He had to bend his head down now to do it, for he was a few inches taller than John.
On the morning of Chris’s eighteenth birthday, Chris and John dressed in smart navy blue suits and ties and set off for the solicitor’s office. Chris had asked John to accompany himhe would have liked Justin to come too, but they all thought that would be overkill. In any event, John would have come whether Chris wanted him or not. He had a pretty good idea that a revelation was going to be made; he had now guessed what it was, and he wanted to hear it for himself.
Linda had already arrived at the office, and she had Stephen, her most recent boyfriend, with her. Stephen was a remarkably resilient man, for he and she had been an item for some eight months; a record for Linda. But she had calmed very considerably once Chris had left to go and live with John, and was finding life very much easier. This naturally brought out her many good qualities, and the occasional display of temper and spite was becoming rarer and rarer. In Stephen she had found someone who loved her for herself, and she returned that love with all her heart. Almost for the first time, she was truly loving, and not merely fancying a man, though he wasn’t bad to look at either, and was quite comfortably off, owning his own small business.
Arriving at the office, the secretary sent Chris and John on in, and told them that Linda and Stephen had already arrived. Chris went in first, and saw his mother. She got up, held out her hand and said
‘Hello John, it’s been a long time. I’m glad you came too!’
Chris was speechless. John came into the room then and said,
‘Actually, I’m John. This is your son, Chris.’
Linda gasped and fell back into her chair. The last time she had seen her son he had been a short and hugely overweight and unhappy lad. This beautiful tall god stood in front of her now, and she was utterly taken aback.
‘F.B.! is that really you?’
‘Yes, Mum. It’s really me. You look good; it’s nice to see you!’
And for the first time in many years, he leant down and gave his mother a kiss on the cheek.
John and Chris sat next to each other opposite Linda and Stephen. Linda, still very much startled, said to them
‘Have you two worked it out yet?’
Chris looked puzzled, and John answered ‘I think that I have, but Chris still hasn’t a clue.’
‘Yeah, well he was never that bright’ she answered, with a hint of her old waspishness.
‘You’re wrong there, Linda. He’s very bright indeed; he’ll probably be going to Oxford next year. But sometimes people just can’t see what’s right under their noses.’ That could apply equally well to Chris and Linda.
The solicitor came in at that moment, and greeted everybody.
‘Ah John, how nice to see you again! I wondered if we might see you here today. I take it, then, that you now know all about it?’
Chris exploded ‘Know about what? I wish somebody would just tell me what’s going on here. You’ve all got this big secret that concerns me, and nobody will tell me anything!’
The solicitor smiled gently. ‘Well, Mr Sanders, er, … may I call you Christopher? …that’s what we’re here to do. Amongst other things. Now who would like to tell him?’
‘I will’ said Linda. ‘I think I owe it to him.’
She paused while she lit a cigarette with trembling fingers.
‘F.B., I mean, Chris; your father was a lovely man called Terence Scott. I was never allowed to tell you this until today.’
There was a loud exhalation of breath from John. Chris looked puzzled; he still hadn’t worked it out.
Linda snapped ‘God! The boy’s slow!’
John spoke. ‘Chris, Terence Scott was my father too.’
‘Yes, Chris, we’re brothers! Well, half-brothers. It explains so very much. It explains how we look alike, it explains why my mother and father never got on latterly, it explains all those cryptic remarks of your mother’s, and of my mother, too. What I don’t understand, Linda, is how you ended up renting my boat last year in Nice. Was it really coincidence? Or did you know all about me?’
Linda replied ‘The answer is no to both questions. Terence, your father, would never speak about his other family. I knew there was a son and a difficult wife, but nothing else. Then I saw an article about you and your boat in the Telegraph Colour Supplement one Sunday, and I knew that it had to be you. The likeness to your father, though he was a big man, was extraordinary in youand in you too, F.B., as it happens. I was curious to meet you, John, and rather turned on, actually, when I saw your shirtless photographs,’ she smiled for a moment, ‘so I persuaded Tony to hire the boat for a couple of weeks. And the rest, as they say, is history.’
John had been prepared for all this, but Chris had not. He sat, slack-jawed and stared at his mother, then turned and looked at John, as if seeking confirmation in his face.
‘You okay, bro?’ said John, and saw Chris’s face beginning to pucker up into tears.
Linda was about to make some nasty comment, but she was quelled with a glance from Stephen, who then shot John an amused look. They exchanged knowing glances, and John suddenly felt confident that Linda was in the best of possible hands.
Chris mastered himself and looked at the solicitor. ‘Is there anything else I should know?’
‘Oh yes, Christopher, quite a lot. Your father was very concerned that you should have as good an upbringing as he could contrive for you. He began by making an arrangement with your mother, an understanding that she would proceed with, er… with the pregnancy and undertake your care until your eighteenth birthday in return for a certain unspecified financial consideration, but which would keep her comfortably for the rest of her life. What I have to ask you, Christopher, is whether you consider that your mother has fulfilled her end of the bargain. In a minute I will ask you to sign a statement to that effect. If you do not feel able to sign it, then your mother will be responsible for her own support from today, and the funds set aside will be at your disposal to be sent to the charity of your choice.’
Chris went very still. This was the moment he had been longing for for many years; the moment to wreak revenge on his mother for all the petty spitefulnesses that had littered his childhood and made it so unnecessarily miserable. He looked at his new brother, whose steady eyes he now saw to be the image of his own, and he thought of the love and care that he had shown him. He had taught him so much more than just how to be fit, and how to sail. He had taught him to love and respect others, and had given him his faith, which meant more to him than anything. But that same faith taught him to forgive. He thought back to the conversation he had had with Father Smith just after he and Justin had had their first fight, on Justin’s eighteenth birthday, and about how spite and vengefulness were worse sins than sexual ones. How could he repay such love with spite now? And even his mother had played her part in his present happiness; introducing him to John, and enabling him to live with the one he now knew with certainty to be his brother.
‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I’ll sign.’
Linda sat back in her chair, terrible tension gone out of her body. ‘Thank you, Chris,’ she said softly. She never called him F.B. again.
When Chris had signed the paper, the solicitor spoke again.
‘Well, Ms Sanders; I am pleased to be able to tell you that you are a wealthy woman. The sum of money which I am empowered to give to you today is two million pounds. Terence Scott was a very wealthy man indeed, but he did not like people to know the extent of his wealth, so I imagine this is something of a surprise to you.’
Linda had gone white; she had expected nothing like this. For once, she was speechless.
John whispered wryly to Chris ‘if I knew that it would shut her up, I would have given her the money ages ago!’
‘Now Christopher,’ the solicitor said. ‘Your father, as you know, left money to cover your upbringing. A certain small amount was paid to your mother each month, and your school fees are paid in full, up until the time you leave in eight or so months’ time. And if you need to spend another year there, that, too is covered. All these matters have been dealt with by this office, and we have been delighted to see you making such good academic progress. We feel our care, though necessarily distant, has been justified. But your father also made further provision for you. He was very keen to remember, and now acknowledge, that he had two sons, even though he fully intended that you two should never meet, or even know about each other, for fear of distressing either of you. However, I think that he would have been very joyful indeed to see you both together now, and that you are both so happy to know each other. But, Christopher, the fact that he acknowledged you as a true Scott means that today, on your eighteenth birthday, you too become a wealthy man. Your father has settled on you personally the sum of fifteen million pounds, with the ownership, plus a directorship, if you care to accept it, of UKDistribute, which brings in a very substantial annual income. You don’t need to decide about the directorship now; you need to think about it with John and let us know your decision some time in the next few months. In the meantime, I have taken the liberty of opening a bank account for you where your money is kept earning interest until you decide what to do with it. There is, of course, considerably more than fifteen million by now.’
It was Chris’ turn now to be speechless.
The solicitor turned to John.
‘There is one more piece of business that I can transact today, seeing that you are here as well, John. Your father made one more careful arrangement that you know nothing of. He and I, as you do know, were dear friendswe were at Whitefriars togetherand he made me the main trustee of the trust that has looked after your affairs. You have up until now had access to probably more money that you need.’
‘That’s certainly true!’ said John.
‘But I must tell you now that this is simply the tip of the iceberg. Your father left it in my discretion to decide when you had reached sufficient maturity to pass on to you the remainder of his estate. There are another five companies which are now yours, the value of and combined income from which makes you one of the ten wealthiest men in this country.’
‘I don’t want them’ said John immediately. ‘I have, as you said, more than enough money.’
‘John, listen to me. You remember when your father died, you sold off that large construction company? I and everyone else advised strenuously against it, but you were adamant. That company was sold off piecemeal, and has now folded entirely. Most of the workforce are now unemployed. John, that was your fault. You made an immature decision, and that was why I did not at that stage pass on to you any more of your legacy.’
John had gone white with shock. He had never considered the impact of his decisions on others.
‘John, with wealth comes responsibility. I can see that you are learning the meaning of responsibility now; Christopher is turning out to be a fine young man, despite what I know…’ and here the solicitor looked over the top of his glasses at Linda ‘…was an unprepossessing start in life. This is mainly thanks to you. And so I think that maybe you are now ready to assume some responsibility, and will stop this lazy life you lead at the moment. These companies give you the chance to do that.’
John was horrified.
‘But I have no head for business at all; I hate it! Chris and Justin do all the accounts at home. If the present companies’ set-up works, why fix it? I’ll take your advice and retain ownership, but please don’t expect me to run them. I’d bankrupt the places in a month! I’m afraid I don’t take after my father in that way, but after my mother, who had no head for figures at all. However, I am very concerned indeed about the town where I sold off that business. I am certainly prepared to invest something there to create new jobs; I think that perhaps if I find the right people to run it, I might be able to put something right that I certainly seem to have messed up.’
The solicitor looked pleased. ‘Would you like us to look into it for you? The whole information technology thing is likely to provide both jobs and income if you are prepared to put up the capital, which I believe you can easily afford.’
John agreed happily, and all was settled.
‘You know,’ John said, ‘I find it difficult to believe that the old man was that wealthy. We lived in quite a large home, I suppose, but it certainly wasn’t a palace, and our lifestyle wasn’t a wealthy one at all.’
Chris just laughed at his brother. ‘That’s exactly what we have always said about you!’
And that concluded the business side of the meeting.
Champagne was brought in, and everyone was offered a glass. Linda took orange juice; she caught surprise on John’s and Chris’s faces.
‘Yeah; you don’t know, do you? I haven’t been drinking for six months now.’
John looked at Stephen and, when Linda was turned away, raised his glass to him in congratulation.
A few months later Stephen and Linda were married, and stayed together very happily for the rest of their lives.
When they got back to the hotel room, Justin was not in. Once they had shut the door, John and Chris folded one another in each other’s arms and wept for a long time.
Chris said ‘I told you that I always wanted a big brother. Well it seems I had one all along.’
Justin came in just then, and joined in the hug. The others filled him in on the morning’s events, and then they all went out to celebrate.
‘You know,’ said Justin, ‘I’m surprised, but I’m not suprised, if you know what I mean. It’s really weird that everybody except you two could see how similar you look.’
‘No,’ said John. ‘We could both see it all right; isn’t that true, Chris?’ Chris nodded. ‘It just seemed like too much to wish for, too improbable. Chris and I both had very lonely childhoods, and we each longed for a brother to share it with. Perhaps it was yet another similarity between us that we refused to admit to ourselves the evidence of our eyes. And in my case it took a long time for me to get used to the idea that my father had committed adultery. Though I came to suspect it, I only really finally accepted it this morning, when I saw the name of the solicitor we were going to see. For Chris and me to have acknowledged each other earlier would simply have been too emotionally costly for us both. Whereas now, when Chris is no longer dependent on me in any way……’ Tears came into his eyes, and he looked at his brother with such happiness.
That night, the three of them were in their shorts brushing their teeth in front of the mirror in the bathroom. Faced with the three handsome reflections, Chris was a little embarrassed to find himself getting an erection. The others noticed, and teased him about it. John said
‘Well, Chris, I hope that’s for Justin, not for me!’
‘Why? You’re not so bad looking. Runs in the family, you know!’
‘No, but yesterday we could have had fun. Tonight, it’d be incest!’
Chris laughed. ‘Well, you know what they say; “Vice is nice…”’ and he kissed Justin,
and then kissed John ‘“…but incest is best!”’
The following Saturday, in Arundel Cathedral, Sue Pepper married Tony. John was Tony’s best man, and he was thrilled for his friend. They had all been out for a stag night a few evenings before, and John managed to get a quiet word with the groom.
‘Tony; you’re not just doing this on the rebound, are you?’
‘Well, yes and no, John. I suppose it was rebound that forced me to get out and meet Sue in the first place, but I can honestly say that though I still love you so very much, I love Sue even more. I’m really happy with this, John, and though I’d rather have you both……
Tony had a wicked glint in his eye at the thought
‘……I’ll certainly settle for this.’
Both Tony and Sue looked blissfully happy, and after the reception, they left for their honeymoon in Sardinia.
Although Cuffs had spent a large part of the week working fettered in the garden, and a not insubstantial part of the rest chained up to the Aga by his balls for one offence or another, he was not unhappy, but had actually relaxed with the departure of the others. For all his strictness, Jules was affectionate towards Cuffs when he behaved himself, and the boy had begun to trust for the first time, and to tell the sad story of his life.
He had not the slightest idea which of the traveller women was his mother, still less which of the men was his father. All the children of the commune were brought up in common, and as a result had no particular bonds with any adult. This meant that they were treated with equal indifference by all. And, said Cuffs, all had ridiculous names.
‘My best friend was Marigold Sky-Blue; and he was a boy! I got off real lightly with Willow Moon-Blessing, I reckon.’
Cuffs had neither been abandoned nor had he run away from the group; simply he had got lost one day, and since there was nobody in the group to particularly look out for him, nobody had searched.
‘How long ago was that, Cuffs?’
‘Dunno. ’Bout six, seven year praps.’
He had slept in a doorway that first night; it was spring, and not too cold. He was also used to sleeping on the ground; all the children in the commune were used to it, curling up together like puppies. And he had grown accustomed to stealing his food; the adults would frequently be too stoned to remember to feed the children, and they often had to fend for themselves. Cuffs found a market place where he could steal this or that to eat, and he managed to survive. But London was a real lure, and one day he managed to hitch a ride into the big city. On his first night, he was rescued from his doorway by a fat man who had taken him home, and offered him money for certain intimacies. The sex had hurt Cuffs a lot, but the money was good, and he was able to buy burgers on the following day, though he had to stand to eat them. That man was only the first of many. As the sex grew less painful, and at some times even enjoyable, Cuffs moved his pitch nearer and nearer the centre of London, and eventually found Piccadilly Circus. Here he also found trouble, for the Dilly was rigidly controlled by several rival gangs. The other boys beat Cuffs up, and he found himself in hospital. A strange man came to pick him up, and took him to his home, where he tried out Cuffs’ talents, and agreed to take him into his gang of boys. ‘You pay your money to me, and in return, I will give you protection, and pocket money.’ Cuffs was still feeling sore, and agreed. He was taught all about safe sex, taken to a crooked doctor to be checked for disease, given his trademark handcuffs, and sent out to the Dilly to earn his living. A year or so later, his Boss had had his nipples pierced, and after that, replaced those piercings with the current heavy rings, and had his penis pierced and ringed as well.
There was no doubt that he was considered to be good at his job. He had a number of regular clients who liked to tie or chain him up and use him; he had grown accustomed to this, and found it quite stimulating himself. This situation had gone on for some time, until his gang was set upon by another gang and badly beaten. Cuffs had fled, and established himself far away south of the river. The money was not so good, but at least he could keep it all. Finally he had been picked up by the police,
‘and ended up ’ere a couple of month ago.’
Jules, with tears in his eyes, hugged Cuffs and kissed his head. He poured him another cup of tea and gave him another slice of cake. At that moment, Cuffs would have done anything for the little queen.
The return of John, Chris and Justin brought a return of routine. Chris returned to school, and then Cuffs began to retreat into himself again. Jules saw all this, and worried about it, but he was not sure that it was his place to comment. John was Cuffs’ carer, not he.
In the first week of December, there was a ring at the door in the middle of the night. John went down to answer, and found the police, holding between them a frightened and belligerent Cuffs. His hands were secured behind his back, and he was swearing sulphurously. From the flies of his trousers hung the loose handcuff, so John knew exactly what he had been up to. His heart sank.
The police told John that they had caught Cuffs soliciting in Chichester. They understood that John was his guardian, and asked him to keep a more careful watch over the lad. John got quite a stern talking-to about his responsibilities, and was very embarrassed. Cuffs was released, and the police left. John looked at the boy angrily.
‘We’ll talk in the morning. Go to bed.’
In the morning, instead of going for their run, they shouted at each other. Cuffs was in tears, but still adamant that he had to get money somehow.
‘I don’t get no money, and I don’t get no sex. I ain’t ’ardly ’uman! This ain’t a life for anyone!’
John and Justin discussed what to do, and they decided in the end that the best plan was to confiscate all Cuffs’ trousers that had flies, and just leave him with the longer shorts, tracksuits and waterproof trousers all of which had elastic waistbands and no fly opening. That way, even if he did get out, he would be unable to display his trademark wares. That Cuffs found this unbearably humiliating did not deter them, but they took and locked away all garments that might be considered provocative. It didn’t leave much.
Cuffs mooched around the house miserably in a pair of nylon waterproof trousers in which he sweated uncomfortably. He was beginning to consider running away. But that would take planning. And money.
That night, when everyone was asleep, he sidled into Chris’s room and searched until he found a pair of trousers. They must have been old ones, because they fitted him quite well. He slipped out and into Arundel; he needed to save money if he was going to successfully run away, and that meant going on the game again. How else was he to get it?
But a little Sussex market town is not the Dilly, and no matter how long he stood with the cuffs hanging out of Chris’ flies, he got no custom at all. Disconsolately he trudged his way back home. He managed to get into his room undetected, hid Chris’s trousers, and, after masturbating joylessly, fell asleep.
Chris came home the following day for the Christmas holidays. Immediately the fascination that he had felt for Cuffs during half term returned redoubled, and Cuffs knew it. He also knew that Chris had money, and he needed money. Looking at Chris watching him, he sensed power. He made some plans, then suggested one afternoon that Chris might like to join him for a run; Chris agreed, though it was an odd request, both having already run that day. However, Chris was hoping for a chance to speak with Cuffs alone about the strange bits of hardware decorating his body. So, dressed only in shorts and t-shirts, the two set out.
They didn’t go far. Cuffs turned off the path before they had even left the grounds of the house, and led through a thicket of trees to where there was an old shed or hut. He had found this when performing his convict penance, and he was fairly sure that nobody else knew it was here. It smelt a bit musty, but it was dry, and Cuffs had put some old sacks and things that he had found to make it a little more comfortable.
‘Wait a tick,’ he said, and turned to reveal an old iron stove. He had earlier filled it with wood, and stacked some more handy. He lit it, and soon the hut was warm. He pulled down his shorts to reveal that underneath he was wearing another pair of Justin’s brief shiny blue soccer shorts, from the leg of which dangled the famous handcuff.
‘Better, ain’t it?’ he said. Chris nodded, not trusting his voice.
Cuffs lifted off his shirt slowly to reveal his now quite defined abdomen, and his muscular chest, set with its large rings. Chris swallowed.
‘Don’t they hurt?’ he asked Cuffs.
‘My nipples? Not any more. They used to, though, when they was first done.’ Chris’s eyes widened.
Cuffs had his number now. ‘Oh yes, absolute fuckin’ agony! They tied me down, then they push this hot needle through, then wiggle it about a bit to make the hole bigger, then shove the ring in and fasten it. I was screaming! That was at first. Then, when I got used to that, they made the hole bigger and pushed these ones in. I had to move the rings every day, and that was pretty bad.’
Chris had an erection now. Cuffs took his hand, and brought it up to his nipple rings. ‘Feel that; pull them up and down. Chris did, and felt as if he would cum there and then in his shorts. Cuffs pulled him into a kiss, and he knew how to kiss. Justin had never kissed him like that! He took the hem of Chris’s shirt and lifted it up over his head from behind, throwing it with his own on the earthen floor. He took each of his nipple rings and held them against Chris’s nipples, the two boys’ hard abdomens rubbing against each other.
‘They look good on you, Chris. You should get some rings of your own.’
He took Chris’ hand again, and guided it down to his shorts. He placed the loose cuff in Chris’s hand.
‘You like this, don’t you? I seen you looking at it. Want to try it?’ Chris nodded again, tugging gently as he had seen Cuffs doing.
So Cuffs took the loose handcuff, and, pressing himself close to the other lad, he lifted up the leg of Chris’s shorts; he took hold of Chris’s rock hard penis and balls, passed the cuff around the root, and clicked it shut.
‘There; we’re locked together now.’ And gingerly, the two of them sank to the floor, onto the sacks, savouring the rough pulling of each other on their private parts. They rubbed against each other and kissed, their tongues fighting each other, and their hands rubbing everywhere they could reach. The frequent painful tug from their groins sent them both into ecstasy, and they began to tear at each other, pulling hair and scratching as they practically tried to devour each other. Finally, Chris grabbed Cuff’s nipple rings and pulled hard just as Cuffs pinched Chris’s nipples firmly; both lads came at the same moment, and lay still, one on top of the other, sated.
The two stood up with great difficulty, and Chris asked ‘Where’s the key, Cuffs?’
‘Back in the house.’
‘My God! You’re joking!’
‘Yeah, I am; it’s right here.’
And he released Chris.
That was the first of many meetings in the shed. They found an excuse to go there most days, and grew more and more adventurous in their activities. Chris found the suppliers of leg irons and other exotica on the internet and used his own card to order them to be sent. Since it was near Christmas, mysterious heavy parcels arriving caused little comment, and Chris and Cuffs were able to smuggle them down to their den and try them out.
Cuffs was always the more adventurous. He was always urging Chris to secure him tighter, tighter. When a heavy steel chastity device arrived, Cuffs revealed for the first time that he was able easily to remove the cuffs on his balls; he just put the key in and turned it, getting Chris to substitute the heavy device that completely covered his equipment in bright stainless steel. It was very heavy, but Cuffs loved the feel of it. Finally, he secured the cuff again around himself.
‘Why do you always wear those handcuffs, Cuffs?’
‘Well, partly because it’s, like, who I am, but more importantly, Jules may want to tie me up to the stove again, and I don’t want to admit that the cuff can come off. You won’t tell anyone, will you?’
That was something else that was changing. Cuffs, for the first time in his life, was wondering whether he was falling in love. He had been planning on using Chris, firstly for sex, since Chris, as the youngest of the group, would be most open to influence, besides being very good looking indeed, but also as a means of financing his escape. Now he was not so sure he wanted to escape any more. He found in Chris a sort of soulmate; they had both been abused, though in different ways, and both found a sort of catharsis in putting each other in heavy steel bondage.
Slowly Chris came to trust Cuffs, too, and would now allow him to restrict his body in heavy rigid irons, after which Cuffs would gently take Chris’ cock into his mouth and bring him to the most ecstatic climax. He taught Chris how to pleasure another man, and after Chris had pleasured him one day, he said
‘You know, Chris, you wouldn’t make a bad rent boy!’
Chris took it as the compliment it was intended for, and told Cuffs about the time that he and Justin had been taken for rent boys at the Dilly. Cuffs laughed and laughed.
‘I know those two who beat you up’ he said. ‘They was always trouble, and we always used to get lost when we saw them coming. You’re lucky they didn’t take you, because you would have been in a still worse state afterwards! Though mind you, dressed the way you were, no undies and the lining cut out, no wonder you were taken for rent. Tricks always look at your groin for that sort of thing, and they’ve got practised eyes, believe me. By hanging around at the Dilly dressed like that, the two of you were practically yelling “Fuck me”!’
Justin was surprised but not that disappointed that Chris seemed no longer to want to sleep with him; his own sexual interest in Chris was simply Chris’s likeness to John, now, although Justin still loved him dearly as a sort of brother and his closest friend.
It was the custom in the family, dating from the time that John, Chris and Tony had shared a bed in the Chichester flat, that if any of them was lonely at night, he would simply go to one of the others’ room and get into bed with himnothing sexual, but simply for comfort and affection. One night, about two o’clock in the morning, Justin was unable to sleep, and began to reflect on his situation. He felt such a conflict of emotions; he was in the midst of people whom he loved and who loved him, and yet he now felt so very lonely, for the first time in his life. He hadn’t even spoken to Chris for several days, since Chris seemed utterly bound up in Cuffs (so to speak), and Justin was feeling depressed and alone. The loss of his parents was still weighing heavily on him also; everyone else had forgotten about it, and thought that because he was externally cheerful, that he had ‘got over all that’. But he had simply buried it, as so much else. Above all he had buried his ardent love for John, the suppression of which had only served to make the fire burn more intensely. He needed to get out of his own company! Chris and he might no longer love each other in a passionate way, but they were still dear friends, so he padded along the corridor and opened the door into Chris’s room. The room was in darkness, of course, but the light from the doorway showed not one but two faces in the bed. The air was stuffy and smelt of copious sex. Cuffs and Chris lay entwined in each other’s arms, and looked so natural and right there that Justin gasped out loud. The two in the bed stirred, but did not waken.
Justin had received a shock. He had become aware of the growing friendship between Chris and Cuffs, but this was evidence that Chris was not just falling out of love with him; he was dumping him for someone else! Justin felt very sorry for himself indeed, and his loneliness deepened. He briefly gave some thought to going and getting into bed with John, but as always before, he dismissed the idea immediately. It would serve only to torment him, to lie next to the man he loved, without hope that it would ever go any further, or that his love might be returned. All sleep was banished now, and he went downstairs to make himself a hot drink.
He was surprised to find the fire lit in the kitchen, and a solitary figure sitting in its flickering light. The figure had its back to the door, and did not turn round, but Justin could tell by the shape of the bare shoulders that it was John.
‘Hi, Justin. Don’t turn on the light, please. Couldn’t you sleep, either?’ John’s voice sounded strained, thick, somehow.
‘No. How did you know it was me?’
John could recognize Justin by his smell, his tread, his breathing; every feature of the young man had been carefully studied, analyzed and stored into his memory, to be mulled over night after night when everyone else had gone to bed.
‘Who else would it be? If it were Cuffs or Chris, no doubt there would be the rattle of chains or some other kinky noise. So it had to be you.’
John sounded lonely and bitter. He was sipping some wine, but had been going so slowly that he was still almost entirely sober.
‘Come and have a glass of wine. It may help you sleep.’
Justin got a glass, and came over to John, who handed him the bottle, keeping his head turned away. Justin poured himself a glass and sat down opposite John. As his eyes adjusted to the firelight, he was shocked to see that John’s cheeks were wet. Justin had never seen John cry before, and it rocked him. John was the stable point for so many people, that his tears somehow seemed almost an offence against the natural law. No doubt that was why he didn’t want the light on. Justin first assumed that John was drunk, but the bottle had been only half empty, and there was no evidence of any other bottle around.
‘What’s that about Cuffs and Chris?’ Justin asked.
‘Cuffs is doing his utmost to turn Chris into another rent boy’ said John. ‘I allowed him into my home so that he might become like one of us, have a chance of a decent life. It seems that I have achieved nothing but on the contrary he is thanking us by stealing Chris from us instead. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had to be everything to Chris; a father, a mother, a brother, a friend, a provider, a protector, even a personal trainer! But what’s it all worth? He’s obsessed with that gutter rat, and none of us mean a thing to him any more!’
‘I don’t think that’t true, John, that we mean nothing to him. He loves us all very muchthough you’re right that he’s obsessed with Cuffs; I’ve seen them in bed together, just now.’
‘Did you lift back the covers? Underneath, they’re chained together at the wrists, the ankles and even the balls. In bed. They’ve got it bad, Justin. And I…, I… too, have got it bad. For the first time in my life, I am passionately in love with someone and I cannot even say anything about it; I don’t even think that person thinks of me as anything but a friend. And I dare not say anything for fear of ruining even that friendship. Oh, how did I fuck it all up so badly?’
John was crying with self-pity now. Justin was shocked; John had sometimes been emotional over some friend or another, but he had never seen him like this. And Justin was horrified that John was in love with someone. Who the hell was it?
‘Is it Cuffs?’
John exploded with a mixture of anger and derision ‘No!’
‘I’m sure it’s not Chris, which only leaves Tony. But you encouraged Tony to pursue Sue! I was there!’
‘Justin, you can be fucking dense sometimes!’
Justin was baffled. John was obviously cross with him, and he hated that. He said very quietly;
‘I’m really sorry I upset you; there genuinely isn’t anyone else I’d less rather not upset. I just don’t know anyone else you know that well, Unless it’s Jules or Sandy.’
And suddenly the emotion of it all caught Justin, and tears began to rain down his cheeks also. ‘John; I think I’m in love with someone too, and it isn’t Chris! I thought I was in love with Chris, but these things are relative, as I know now. I think I hardly scratched the surface of how it feels to love.’
‘Did you know this before you saw him with Cuffs?’
‘Oh yes! Several months ago.’
There was silence for a while, both men crying with frustration and unrequited love. After a while, John spoke;
‘Justin, I’m so very sorry I snapped just now. I wouldn’t want to hurt you for the worlds.’ He lowered his voice to a whisper, so Justin wasn’t sure whether he heard correctly or not. ‘Especially you.’
They hugged gently and held each other, not passionately but fraternally, and before long fell asleep in each others’ arms.
The following morning, things were rather chilly. Cuffs and Chris had come down as usual in their running things and found Justin and John asleep in the kitchen, still entwined together. Cuffs was amused and woke the two with a cold wet cloth, but Chris behaved very coldly to them both; he made it clear that even if he were going to hang around with Cuffs, Justin was not thereby released to dance attendance on anyone other than himself. Justin found this position unreasonable, and was shaken that Chris had thought he had anything going with John anyway. If only!
So Chris and Cuffs set off for their own run alone, and John and Justin followed after once they had pulled themselves together. Unusually, they said nothing at all to each other, each still embarrassed at being found together, and still unwilling to confess to the other what was in his heart.
As the days went by, the emotional temperature dropped more and more sharply. John and Justin were hardly talking to Cuffs now, each blaming him for Chris’ coldness to them both; Cuffs could not fail to notice, and became more and more withdrawn, spending all his time either with Chris or alone in his room. Jules watched it all, and grew more concerned, particularly for Cuffs. He became afraid that either Cuffs would be asked to leave, or else would find the whole situation so intolerable that he would leave of his own accord. He sat down with Sandy one night, when both of them had finished work, and they discussed together what might be done. Sandy had, like Jules, become very fond of Cuffs as they worked together in the garden, and both men decided that if the worst were to come to the worst, that they would give Cuffs a home themselves.
‘Though, darling,’ said Jules, ‘it might put us rather in the poo with John and the others, because Cuffs would still be on site, even if he were in our house and not in theirs.’
Sandy thought about this, and simply said ‘Well, it seems to me that it is a question of priorites. If it’s a choice between Cuffs going back onto the streets or us finding a new home, then we’ll have to find a new home, won’t we? I’ve loved it here, and I love John, Justin and Chris, but they don’t actually need us. They can find another housekeeper and gardener if they want to. Cuffs on the other hand might well need us, Dennis baby, and I want to be there for him if that is the case. We can’t have kids of our own, more’s the pity, but perhaps we can make a life another way.’
‘I do love you, Frank, you great macho hunk. You are my life, and I really don’t know what I would do without you.’ Jules crossed the little room and sat astride Sandy’s thighs, facing him. He took the big man’s head in his hand and gently kissed his forehead. ‘You are such a good man, and I love you with all my soul. What you’ve said is just the way I feel. But I think that Cuffs’ best chance is still with the others; they all love him, even if they don’t know it yet. It isn’t only Cuffs who has changed; they are changing, too, maturing. None of them have much life experience yet, they’re still kids, really, like puppies, exploring life as they go. John particularly has a difficult job, because the others think of him as their father, in a way, which he really isn’t mature enough to be. I think we’d better think of ourselves as their fairy godmothers for a bit, and become a bit more hands-on. Maybe they can all be our kids if we’re discreet about it, and don’t let them know that’s how we think of them.’
‘Fairy godmother, eh? Gimme a proper kiss, you bloody fairy!’
A day or two later, out of habit the four young men had taken their usual exercise together in the early morning; this time, however, they showered and dressed in their own rooms; before, they had always done this together in the gym bathroom, but the relations between them had become increasingly strained, and now they avoided each other as much as possible.
Chris dressed himself in a pair of Cuffs’s waterproof trousers; he always wore those now, in solidarity with Cuffs, whose regular trousers were still held in pound by John, and both would reproach John and Justin with silent glares. That morning, Chris was doing his best to walk steadily, but it was not easy as Cuffs, on dressing, had locked his cock and balls into the solid steel chastity device, and also fitted him with some device of his own creation, which connected cuffs on both of Chris’s ankles with heavy chains running up the inside length of the trouser legs to his groin where another cuff was fitted, like Cuffs’ own, tightly behind his privates. Chris was afraid that his package would be terribly visible, but the sheer weight of the chastity device kept the bulk hanging low into his nylon-covered crotch. It was quite painful, ‘but a good pain’, he told himself.
He walked carefully into the kitchen, trying not to let the chains rattle audibly, and sat himself carefully at the table, wincing as a fold of skin got caught behind an edge of the steel contraption. John and Justin were already at the table, sitting close together, each engrossed in a section of the newspaper. Neither greeted Chris or acknowledged him in any way. Cuffs came in then, and greeted everyone cheerfully, but only Chris replied; Jules, busy at the other end of the kitchen, blew him a kiss but said nothing.
The tension in the air was horrendous. All four young men were hurting badly, feeling rejected by at least one of his housemates. John in particular was feeling especially sore, believing that Cuffs had stolen away Chris’ love for himself and for Justin, and thinking that his own love for Justin was unrequited. Chris was furious with Justin and John for their treatment of Cuffs. Justin was furious with Chris for dumping him so unceremoniously, when he had gone to such pains to conceal his love for John for Chris’ sake, and he was furious with Cuffs for being the cause. Cuffs was simply feeling rejected and unloved by Justin and John; the hostility of Justin, particularly, hurt him. At the breakfast table nobody said a word, but the air crackled. Finally Chris broke the silence. He looked accusingly at John and Justin.
‘Why do you two hate Cuffs so much?’
John took down the newspaper from before his face and shifted uncomfortably. ‘What do you mean? We don’t hate Cuffs at all! He lives here; he’s welcome here.’
‘Well, you’ve a funny way of showing it. You treat him like shit!’
Justin who had been thinking of saying something himself, now lost his cool, a most rare thing for that even-tempered and amiable young man:
‘Hang on a fucking minute; how dare you speak to John like that! Just consider what he has done for every one of us here round this table. What would you have become, Chris, if he hadn’t rescued you? I’ll tell you; you’d still be that revolting tub of lard and you’d probably have slit your wrists by now. I’d be on the streets, probably, after my brother made me homeless. And you, Cuffs, you ungrateful bastard, nobody wanted you, nobody would take you in except John. He opened his home to you, stuck his neck out for you, and what have you brought to our home in return? Nothing but fucking trouble, hatred, bitterness, unhappiness, perversion……’
‘JUSTIN, SHUT THE FUCK UP!’
Everyone looked in shock at John who was purple with anger. Nobody had ever seen him like this before. Justin, white with shock, looked at John and opened his mouth to speak, but John yelled again
‘NOT ANOTHER FUCKING WORD!’
Justin folded his arms and looked mutinous. Cuffs was sobbing, with Chris’ arms around him. Chris was red with anger too.
‘Well, I can see we’re not wanted here,’ said Chris. ‘But fortunately, thanks to my father’s money, that’s no longer a problem. Don’t worry, you two, we’ll get out of your hair. We’ll be gone in an hour or so, and you’ll never have to worry about us again. Have a nice life!’
Chris stood up, and John stood too, taking hold of Chris’ arm, a deep appeal in his eyes.
But Chris shrugged John’s arm off and turned his back on him.
‘Right; that’s enough, the four of you!’
Everyone turned in suprise to see Jules, hands on his hips and legs astride, looking daggers at them all.
‘All of you sound like adolescent schoolgirls. I really don’t know what’s wrong with you, but we’re not going to leave this room until we’ve sorted it out. Sit down, all of you. Sit DOWN, Chris, I mean it.’
Abashed, Chris sat, and Jules tittupped over to the table and sat at the head.
‘Okay, better. Now we’re going to say together an Our Father and a Hail Mary; that’ll put a barrier between that disgraceful scene and the civilized conversation we are about to have.’
Cuffs growled ‘I ain’t saying no fuckin’ prayers. That’s all bollocks, like everythin’ else ’ere.’
‘Yes you are, heart-face, or you’ll be taking part in this conversation from the Aga, cuffed by your balls again.’
‘Promises, promises,’ quipped Cuffs, and actually managed to raise a small smile from everyone.
Jules led everyone in the prayers, and the familiar words restored a certain calm to the company. At the end, they made the sign of the cross, and Jules made a fresh pot of tea, pouring everyone a mug.
‘Now,’ said Jules. ‘To business. This has got to be done, darlings, or you will never repair the damage. Right now you are all hurting badly, and the thought uppermost in your minds is that you want to stop hurting. The easy way to stop hurting in the short term is for everyone to go their separate ways; for Chris and Cuffs to move out, in other words. But frankly, within twenty four hours, I can guarantee that you would all be feeling very much worse than you do now, and it would all be very much more difficult to put it right, because you have said some pretty awful things to each other this morning. So we’re going to do our best to put it right here and now. And that means that we are going to have to speak the truth to each other, even if it hurts. And some of it probably will hurt. But, let’s be quite clear, that is only because there is real love here; if none of you cared for each other, then you wouldn’t care so much about what has been going on, so perhaps the first thing we must do is to sort out truth from fiction. I want all of you to promise me now that you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this conversation.
John, do you promise?’
‘’Spose.’ He shrugged.
‘Yeah, all right. Okay, okay, yes, I promise I’ll tell the truth.’
‘Yes, though I’m still furious! This has got to be going somewhere.’
‘Well, we’ll see. Chris?’
‘Yes. I’ll tell the truth. It’s not me who’s the liar, Justin!’
‘Enough, Chris! I, too, promise to tell the truth. Good; now let’s see where we’ll go now. I think the first thing is to establish just what everybody means to everybody else. Cuffs, since Chris made a particular charge against Justin and John in your respect, I think you ought to go first. Would you tell everyone what they mean to you, please?’
‘What do you mean? I mean, what do I say?’ Cuffs looked confused.
‘Do you love them, do you hate them, what?’
‘You don’t know whether you love or hate them, or you don’t know how to put it?’
‘I dunno how ter put it.’
‘Okay, sweetheart; let’s see if I can help. Imagine you were walking along and saw Justin and John being set on by a gang. What would you do? Would you just walk by? Would you phone for someone else to come and help? Would you join the gang and fight them? Or what? The truth, Cuffs.’
‘That’s easy. Anyone lays a finger on Justin or John, I’d fuckin’ kill ’em. I would, I’d fuckin’ kill ’em.’
Justin and John both looked with amazement at Cuffs. Jules continued
‘And now John. Even if you hadn’t heard Cuffs say that, if Cuffs had walked out of here today……’
‘ ’Ang on, ’ang on,’ broke in Cuffs, ‘It weren’t me who wanted to walk out. No-one ever asked me, didjer, Chris?’
Chris looked stupefied. ‘But… but… they treat you like shit.’
‘Well, no-one said I was exactly easy,’ mumbled Cuffs. ‘And they don’t treat me like shit. They never ’ave. I’ve been treated like shit plenty of times in my life, and this ain’t one of ’em. They ain’t never raped me nor beat me, though I reckon I deserve it sometimes. They gimme cloze, an’ food, and a room of me own, which I ain’t never ’ad before. And they talk to me, till recent, like, like I was a human bean, like no-one done before. No, no-one ain’t never been better to me nor them, unless it be Jules or Sandy, or you, Chris.’
Jules seized control again. ‘John; if you were ever to find Cuffs back at Piccadilly Circus, the cuff hanging out of his flies, hungry and abused, what would be your instant reaction?’
John looked horrified and confused. Chris jumped in
‘I can tell you. My beloved big brother would just say that he had brought it on himself and crawled back into the gutter where he belongs.’
‘Is that right, John?’
‘Oh my God, never, never, never! Chris, how you could even think it? No, never in a million years! Cuffs, if I were to find you like that, I would hug you and beg you to come home. In fact, I’d probably lock that cuff around my wrist and make you come home, unless I thought you really didn’t want to.’
‘Cuffs, does that surprise you?’
‘’Course not! Why do you think I’ve been yankin’ on his chain a bit? ’Cos I knew ’e’d never let go the other end.’
Chris leapt to his feet.
‘Cuffs; he called you a gutter rat! Justin told me.’
‘Oh, don’t bring me into this.’ Justin sounded still angry.
‘So? I’ve bin called a lot worse’n that. Anyway, I reckon I deserved moster it.’
‘What? What for? How have you ever hurt John? What have you ever done to deserve being called a gutter rat?’
Cuffs’ voice dropped with shame.
‘I ’urt ’im real bad, Chris. I s’pose I was tryin’ to make him throw me out, ’cos it’s what I was expectin’, like.’
‘Bollocks! How did you hurt him, then? What are you supposed to have done? He looks fine to me!’
‘I can see what you can’t, Chris. Sometimes you can be really dense! I coulder burnt this ’ouse down, stolen every penny ’e’s got, and it wouldn’ter hurt ’im half as much as what I actually did. I can see what he really loves, and I couldn’t stop myself spoilin’ it. It weren’t deliberate; I couldn’t stop myself. I took what he loved most, and tried to take it away from ’im and change it into somethin’ else……’
‘What? What, for pity’s sake? What have you ever taken that John loves?’
‘What the fuck do you mean?’
‘Chris, you and Justin mean more to John than anything else on earth. Ain’t that right, John?’
For the first time, everyone looked at John. John was speechless, but the tears were running hard down his face, and he was gulping air hard, trying to get control of himself. Justin stood up with a cry, knocking his chair over backwards, torn between beating Cuffs to a pulp and running to the comfort of John. John suddenly let out a sob, and Justin ran and flung his arms around him. He looked across at Cuffs, whose head hung down, ashamed.
Justin yelled: ‘I hate you, Cuffs! I despise and loathe you. John may forgive you, but I never will. You were trouble the moment you came into this house, and now finally it seems you have destroyed this family you profess to love, and who have shown you nothing but care. Fucking well done!’
Cuffs hid his face in his hands. Chris was white as chalk. He turned in his chair to Cuffs, and took his hands away from his face. They looked each other in the eye, and Chris said, his voice bleeding pain,
‘But Cuffs, we’re in love. All that we’ve done, we’ve done together. If we love each other, what does anything else matter? Let’s go away from here…’
‘What do you mean, no?’
‘No, Chris, we’re not in love. Neither of us.’
‘You don’t love me?’ Chris’ voice was breaking with pain.
‘I didn’t say that. I love you as much as I love John and even Justin. In fact, I think I love you more than them, more than anyone else on earth. But being “in love” is something else. We had fun, we had sexwhich you’re really good at now, by the waybut spending the rest of our lives together…… And I couldn’t hurt John and Justin any more, because I love them too. No, Chris, you’re my best friend, but we’re not “in” love.’
Chris spat back ‘You fucking well speak for yourself. Don’t tell me what I feel.’
‘No, Chris, you’re not in love with me. I’m sure you love me, but it’s the same way I love you. You’re simply obsessing about me at the moment, the way you particularly do when you start loving people. It’s your way. Look at the way you modelled yourself first on John, then on Justin, and finally on me. There’ll be someone else along soon.’
‘I don’t model myself on you. That’s rubbish! I’m myself and always have been.’
‘Chris, stand up.’ Chris looked puzzled, but obeyed.
Cuffs stood next to him; they both had short buzzed hair, were both in identical white t-shirts and navy blue waterproof trousers. Suddenly Cuffs yanked down Chris’ trousers and spun him to face the others; they could all now see the stainless steel chastity device and the chains going down to Chris’ ankles.
‘Q.E.D.’ said Cuffs. Quod erat demonstrandum, point proven.
There was sudden shock around the room. Everyone just stared at Chris in his weird and kinky chains, whose face was bright red with embarrassment. There was a gasp from Justin, and then another. Everyone looked at him as he reached for his tea and took a huge mouthful. His face contorted as he tried to master himself. Suddenly he snorted and twin fountains of tea shot out of his nose and over John; he was overcome with choking, coughing, laughter, his towering anger quickly vanishing. John was first alarmed by Justin’s spasms, but began to smile through his tears as he looked from Justin to the mortified half-naked Chris, and finally a chuckle escaped him. Cuffs grinned with relief, and finally even Chris began to see the funny side. All of a sudden, he felt utterly ridiculous.
Jules, who had been silent through all this exchange asked John
‘John, now you know the absolute worst, do you want Cuffs out of your home and out of your life?’
‘God, no! It’s not “my” home; I thought I’d always made that clear. It’s as much Cuffs’ home as my home, and yes, I want him to stay. I love him.’ He smiled wryly. ‘And besides, life would be awfully dull without him!’
Cuffs made a choking sound and tore round the table, flinging himself into John’s arms, Justin stepping back just in time. Cuffs and John held each other tightly, showing the affection they both truly felt, for the very first time.
Jules spoke again. ‘Now Justin, heart-face. A few minutes ago you said some very hard things to Cuffs, though perhaps he deserved some of them at least. I want to ask you the same question. Do you want Cuffs out of your home and out of your life?’
Cuffs looked up from John’s shoulder anxiously. He knew that his relationship with Justin had been the most difficult of all the family from the very beginning. Justin thought hard, and then said
‘No, I feel like John. Cuffs is my brother, as much as Chris is. I guess families do say dreadful things to each other sometimes, and do dreadful things, too. Cuffs was testing our love to destruction, I suppose, to see how strong it is, to see the point at which it would break. I think that perhaps if I had had the life he has had, I would have done the same thing. I hope he sees the answer now. I may still be angry with you from time to time, Cuffs, fucking angry, actually, but you are my brother. Anybody who hurts you will answer to me. I mean that. I love you, bro.’
Cuffs then launched himself at Justin, and the two hugged hard. Justin kissed Cuffs’ cheek gently. He went on;
‘And actually, Cuffs, I think we owe you an apology. John and I, or at least I do. Chris was right in a way; we did treat you badly, man, if not quite like shit. You only saw our annoyance with you, and we never, or rarely, showed you our love or encouragement. That’s true, and perhaps if we had encouraged you more, we woudn’t have had this horrible row. We criticized and punished you too much and praised you too little, which is pretty mean, because you have achieved so much in a short time. In particular, I think you’ve been really brave today; you told the truth despite not knowing what effect the truth might have on us, and I think we owe you, big time. You really belong to us now, Cuffs. Welcome home, really home, my brother.’
Chris cleared his throat. ‘Er, I’m sorry to break up the Waltons’ touching reunion, but I’m feeling pretty ridiculous here. Besides, this bloody chastity thing chafes like hell. Cuffs, would you please get the keys and release me?’
Everyone laughed, including Chris, and Cuffs left to get the keys from his room. He reappeared, and within a few seconds had removed Chris’ ironmongery. He then surprised everyone by pulling off his own t-shirt and waterproof trousers, standing completely naked in front of them, but for his trademark cuffs around his genitals, his nipple rings and penis piercing. There was no embarrassment, because they had often seen each other naked.
‘Look, everyone. I think this will speak for itself.’
He took a key and to his family’s surprise unlocked the trademark cuff around his cock and balls, laying the cuffs on the table. He then fiddled with his Prince Albert cock piercing and removed that too. Finally he took out each of his nipple rings and for the first time in many years stood as God made him, bar a few punctures. He grinned, pulled the pile of metal into his hands, and turned to Jules.
‘I think you should keep these, Jules, in case you want to hook me up to the Aga again!’
Jules, overwhelmed, pulled the lad into a strong hug and kissed him. ‘No, darling, somehow I don’t think you’re going to need that any more.’
‘Jules,’ Cuffs continued, ‘you’ve been one of the best things that ever happened in my life. No, the absolute best thing. I love you and Sandy so much.’
‘You know, heart-face, if the unthinkable had happened, and John and Justin had wanted you out of here, Frank and I were going to give you a home, even if it meant leaving here ourselves. We decided it between us a few days ago. But please think of us as your second family, because we both love you to bits, you pervert.’
There were more tears, and then finally Cuffs turned to Chris. Chris had stood away from all this, full of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, he had lost the person he thought was his lover, but on the other hand, he had gained so much more. Not only did he have his family back, he felt he had himself back as well. He knew now that Cuffs was right; he was not in love, merely infatuated, and that infatuation had disappeared like morning mist, the moment his family were confronted with what he had under his trousers.’
‘Chris, I’m so sorry to have hurt you; but it was fun, wasn’t it? And I really do love you!’
Chris laughed. ‘It was a hoot from beginning to end. Well most of the time, anyway. And I love you too, my brother.’ They hugged. But Chris had not finished.
‘Er, since we’re all being honest here, perhaps I’d better show you all something else…’
He was still standing up, wearing only a t-shirt. Now he pulled the shirt off, and stood completely naked. Everyone gasped when they saw that he, too, had recently had his nipples pierced. Everyone, when they had recovered, laughed and laughed; finally, Chris unscrewed his rings, and put them in Jules’ hand along with Cuffs’ metalware. While Jules made another pot of tea, Chris and Cuffs went upstairs to dress properly; John gave Cuffs back all his trousers, and the family met together in the kitchen a little afterwards. Cuffs spoke to them;
‘Guys, this is really important to me. I want you to listen. This day is one of the most important in my life, and I want to mark it. When I was with the commune, as most of you know, I was called Willow Moon-Blessing. No, don’t laugh, Justin! Then, I was given the name Cuffs, which made sense at the time. It doesn’t any more, though; both those periods of my life are ended. I have a new life, so I need you to give me a new name. A real name now. A name like real people have.’
John spoke; ‘Of course; we’ll call you whatever you want to be called.’
‘No; I want you to give me a name. It’s what families do. If I really am a member of your family, and for the first time today I really feel as if I am, I want to be marked as one of you; Cuffs is dead; this is somebody else, this is one of you guys. I want you to christen me for my new life.’
Justin thought and said; ‘Well, the common factor here, the one who holds us all together, is John. Perhaps you could take his surname, Scott, if John doesn’t mind.’
John said ‘I’d be honoured!’
Chris said ‘You want to “mark” this occasion; why not be called Mark?’
Cuffs tried it out. ‘Mark Scott, Mark Scott. Yeah; I like it. Even I can spell that.’
They all laughed, because Cuffs/Mark had come on by leaps and bounds with respect to literacy, and was now a voracious reader.
Mark continued; ‘I really meant it, what I said about getting christened. I really want to join you guys. Will you help me?’
All of them said together ‘Absolutely!’