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Jimmy the Love-Virus.
By John T. S. Teller.
My Dad has been my rock… always there when I needed him, and my inspiration when I needed a lift, and always with a smile. It’s a large part of how I remember him… that smile. This is the first time I’ve suffered real grief, and I’m truly heart-broken. Mum is as bad as me; more so, because they’ve never been apart since they married. What makes it worse is the shock. Dad was just fifty-four-years-old, and previous to the heart attack, had been in exemplary health. It’s unbelievable, and I’m bashing myself about the head because I didn’t visit them more often. My grief is joined by self-loathing and anger. And while all this is going on, I have to arrange everything. There’s an autopsy, and arranging the transport of Dad’s body back to the UK, and the death certificate, and arranging things with the funeral director back in the Peak District, and a thousand-and-one other things to attend to. Monaco used to represent a place of beauty to me, but now, it will always be a place of death. Once I leave here, I’ll never return.
Every day I’m away, Jimmy rings me twice: lunch, and in the evening, and sends me a text every night. It’s always the same message. ‘I love you. Take care. J. XXX.’
It’s twelve days before Mum and I return to the UK on Monday, 11th August. Aunt Susan, Mum’s sister, is at the cottage waiting for us. A tearful reunion. I stay with Mum, and the funeral takes place on Thursday 14th of August. Aunt Susan decides she will stay with Mum for a while, and I decide to go home now that I know she will have company. I phone Akhtar, and arrange for him to pick me up on Friday 15th August at midday. He arrives, and we drive back to my home. It’s been almost two weeks since I last saw Jimmy, and I need him, desperately. I hope he’s not busy.
Akhtar drops me off, and I walk into the house. Jimmy is waiting for me in the hall. He’s in my arms, and we both break down as we come together: tears and two broken hearts, and, when we walk into the house, I’m led to the sofa by Paula and Debbie and Sam and Pauline and Tracey, and while I sob, with Jimmy in my arms, they, the so-called dross of society - ‘the under-classes’ - pat me and stroke me and kiss me and comfort me, and now, part of the reason I’m crying is because of the love that surrounds me.
Debbie sits by my side, orders me to blow my nose into a teacloth, wipes away the snot and tears, and then gets me a mug of coffee. Sam sits beside me, takes my arm, and rests his head on my shoulder. I now have two young men hugging me, and two women, and two other youngsters fussing over me. I expected nothing of them, and I’m overwhelmed. Finally, I recover, sip my coffee, and smile at them all. “Sorry for being silly. I’m just a bit tired, and the last thing I expected was to be greeted by a load of Social Housing dwellers.”
Paula is kneeling in front of me, stroking my knee. She smiles. “We might be Social Housing dwellers, but we know how to look after our own.”
I smile, kiss both Jimmy and Sam on the head, and then hug them close.
We all have dinner together, and, afterwards, we spend a while in the lounge, until Paula says it’s time they were going. Akhtar arrives. I thank them all, and see them out, and they all cram into his taxi, and are gone.
As soon as the taxi has left, and I’ve closed the door, Jimmy grabs my hand, drags me to the sofa, cuddles closely to me, and begins to cry. I join him, and soon, our faces and clothes are soaked with our grief. After a while, Jimmy gets up, and leads me to our bedroom.
My beautiful Robert lies on his back on the bed, and looks up at me. Around his eyes are black rings, and he looks ill. I know how he’s feeling: the helplessness; the emptiness; and, worst of all, the knowledge that you will never again see, or speak to, or touch someone you love deeply. I know how he’s feeling… I’ve been there when I lost Chris. I had Mum to get me through the worst of my awful and hellish feelings of utter despair, but she was never able to heal me completely. How could she? What I needed then was what is now available to my lover: his lover, me. I’ll know every time he’s falling into the pit of self-pity, and each time he needs to be specially loved. As I look at him now, I know this is one such moment, and I stroke his face, and gently kiss his lips, and drink his tears, and tell him a hundred times that I love him more than anything in the world, and that I cannot live without him. Now isn’t about sex, it’s about love; but, because sex is part of the love between two people like us, I need to relieve him of his tensions, and, while both of us are still crying, I take off all his clothes and stroke his beautiful body. And then I take him in my mouth, and bring him to a climax, and when, afterwards, I tell him that I haven’t been able to do it since the day he left, he strips me naked, and allows me to feed him my love. Afterward, we come together and cry for a long time; an outpouring of shared love and grief. More loving; gentle loving; each of us knowing that the only way we can face the future is together; and together means completeness of everything we need; unselfishly giving and taking. Eventually, we fall asleep in each other’s arms… the first time either of us has slept properly since the day Rob’s dad died, and when we wake in the morning, and Rob kicks me out of bed and tells me to take a shower while he makes us a jam tart breakfast, I know I’ve started the healing process.
Jimmy walks into the kitchen, wearing my dressing gown, and sits down. He looks tired, and I know it’s not the wonderful night we’ve just spent together that’s making him look that way. I was amazed when he told me during the night that he hadn’t knocked one off during the whole of our separation. If nothing else told me how worried he’d been about me and how much he’d missed me; that did. I pass him some toast, place the coffee tray on the table, and sit down. “Thank you for last night, Jimmy.”
He looks hurt. “Where are my jam tarts?”
I grin. “Do you really want jam tarts?”
He grins. “No. I wanted to see you smile.”
I grin again, but, this time, a few tears accompany my amusement, and I hold out my hand, and Jimmy takes it. “Sorry, Jimmy, I just can’t stop being silly.”
“Silly?! You mean crying? That’s not silly, that’s the real you; the reason why I love you. Mum says you’re the most sensitive man she’s ever known, and that makes you the only real man she’s ever met. Was your dad like you?”
I smile through my tears. Jimmy’s nibbling at his toast, and I do the same. “Yes, he was. He was the most quiet and inoffensive man, and yet he was so sure about everything. He used to plan things meticulously, and he’d always explain his thinking to me. He smoked a pipe. I remember when I was a small boy, I’d sit on his knee, and he’d blow smoke rings for me. Mum used to tell him off, and we’d giggle together. I remember when Mum was ill with gallstones, and she was in the hospital. I was about seventeen. (Tears are streaming down my face now, and Jimmy is gripping my hand, tightly.) I came home and found him sitting on the sofa, and he was sobbing. I went to him, and we both sat together, crying like two little girls. (I laugh through the tears now.) Afterwards, we went to see Mum, and she was a lot better. When we got home, I said our tears were for nothing. I remember his words now: ‘Tears are an expression of love, Robert, so never be ashamed of shedding some for those you do.’ I loved him dearly, and that’s why I can’t stop crying.”
“Mum was right about you. I think I would have loved your dad, too. I wish I’d had a dad like him. Mine was shit. If I cried when I was little, he used to call me a girl. Can we go and see your mum today? I want to meet her.”
“I haven’t told her about us, Jimmy, and I don’t think the time is right at the moment.”
“You don’t have to tell her. You can tell her a white lie and say I’m just a kid who’s a friend of your cleaner, who likes cars, and that you’re taking me for a ride, and that you decided to drive to your mum’s house to show me how the car goes.”
“You’re a crafty little sod. Ok, but not today. Tomorrow we’ll do it. We need to sort some stuff today, like booking our flights to Portugal.”
“Why don’t we combine going to your mum’s with meeting Carl and Charles? We can go and see your mum, and then meet at The Crown and have dinner with them. We can stop overnight if you want.”
I pick up a piece of toast, and throw it at Jimmy. “You scheming little sod! I’m going to have to keep an eye on you. Is there anything else formulating in that clever mind of yours?”
Jimmy laughs. “Go and get a shower, and I’ll meet you in bed… Superman.”
I laugh again. “I wish I was.”
“You are, and what I give to you every time we make love, is your Kryptonite.”
We’re both laughing and giggling, as we clear away the breakfast things… and he’s waiting in my bed when I’ve had a shower. Our loving is especially passionate, but also tearful. Afterwards, we spend some time talking about our holiday to Portugal, and we decide that Thursday 20th to Saturday 29th August will give us a good few days together before Jimmy and Sam begin the new school term on 7th September.
Jimmy looks a little concerned. “Are you really ok about Sam coming with us?”
“Sam coming with us will do me a favour. I need to catch up on some work, and I’ll be taking the laptop with me. You two can do your own thing at times, and leave me to get on with mine. You’ve got the swimming pool, and it’s only a short walk to the beach. We’ll eat out most nights, and snack during the day. And three in a bed is going to be a novelty to me. I haven’t done that before.” Jimmy gives me a huge, pre-dad-dying grin, and I know, albeit slowly, we are healing.
While I sit by his side prompting him what to enter in the boxes, I allow Jimmy to do the online booking. When that’s done, we surf the web and explore The Algarve. It’s only when we’re doing this that I discover that neither Jimmy nor Sam have flown before. Afterwards, Jimmy rings Carl, and if they can make it, he tells him that we’re available to have a meal with him and Charles on Sunday evening. Carl says he’ll contact Charles, and ring back. Jimmy’s phone rings about thirty minutes later, and Carl says dinner at seven-thirty will be super, and he’ll book us the same table. When he asks if we’ll be staying overnight, and will we need a room, Jimmy doesn’t consult with me; he just says that we will. Carl says he’ll book that for us, too. We have a Pizza delivered for dinner, and then settle down in front of the TV for the evening. Jimmy is flicking through the channels, and stops at the History Channel. It’s a program about Auschwitz: Mengele in particular. I ask Jimmy if he really wants to watch this macabre stuff, but he doesn’t reply. When it’s finished, I get the most grown-up statement from him that I’ve ever had.
“We’re lucky, aren’t we, Rob. Despite all the shit you and me have had, it’s nothing compared to what they went through. Everything is relative, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is. I’ve got to go to Europe, including Krakow, in September, and I’ve decided that I want you to meet me there. Krakow is near to Auschwitz. We can visit the camp if you like. I went there while I was at Uni. It’s not easy, but if you stand back, you can sort of get an understanding of the place, especially in the wide-open spaces at Birkenau. Would you like to go there?”
“I think I would. If I’m going to be a writer, I’ll need to experience things… even bad ones.”
“I reckon you’ve had enough bad experiences to write a book, without having any more. Are you really serious about being a writer?”
“I’m not sure, but I think I’d like to. Maybe I’ll try to be a writer, and do something else as well to make a living, and if I’m any good at it, I can do like you do.”
“That sounds sensible! You may only be sixteen-years-old, but you’ve had enough good and bad experiences to fill a volume of books already.”
“I won’t know where to start.”
“Start at the beginning. That doesn’t mean you have to start with your earliest memory; you can start at a point of meaning in your life, and build around it. Write it in the first person, as if you were sitting on the sofa telling someone everything you’re thinking. Use dialogue and flashbacks. Be honest, and if you need to say something that will shock your readers, don’t be afraid to do it. If you need help, I’m here for you. Well?”
“I’ll think about it when we get back from Portugal. I’ll pretend I’m talking to you, and if you get some funny texts in when I’m at college, you’ll know I’m thinking out loud.”
“That sounds good. I have a feeling in my water that you’re going to be a good writer. If you’re serious, I’ll make sure you are.”
“How do you choose a name for a story?”
“Leave that until you’re finished. I always do. When I read my finished MS, I can usually pick out something of what I’ve written that describes the whole. I’d best ring mum now to tell her I’m visiting tomorrow. I won’t mention you… you’ll be an afterthought. (Jimmy gives me one of his big grins. His teeth are perfectly white, and he has a small gap between his two front teeth.) You’re going to be rich one day.”
“What makes you say that?”
“You’ve got a gap between your two front teeth. That’s what my mum always says, anyway. How many times a day do you clean your teeth?”
“About four. Why?”
“They’re perfect. Like the rest of you.”
“I eat Kryptonite, instead of sweets… Superman.”
I laugh, and ring mum. Aunt Susan is still with her, and it’s she who answers the phone, and then passes me onto mum. We chat for quite a while, and she’s really pleased that I’ll be seeing her tomorrow. I don’t mention Jimmy. She’ll make of it what she will. Maybe she’ll be too upset yet to notice anything. We watch the TV for a while longer, and Jimmy texts his mum to let her know what’s happening.
“Right, James, it’s eleven. Time we were getting to bed. I want to leave here at nine in the morning so that I’ve got some time to spend with mum before we meet Carl and Charles. Are you ready?”
Jimmy puts on a cheeky face. “I thought you’d never ask.”
I’m nearing mum’s, and passing through a small village, when Jimmy tells me to pull up.
“Can I borrow a tenner, Rob, please?”
“Sure. What do you want it for?”
“We’ve just passed a flower shop, and I want to get some flowers for your mum.”
I give him twenty; he runs back to the flower shop, and returns with a dozen red roses, beautifully presented, and he hands me four quid change. “I’ll give it back to you as soon as I can.”
“You bloody well will! Sixteen bloody quid for flowers! I’m going to start a book for you, and put everything down that you owe me.”
Jimmy laughs. “Carry on, Superman, unless you want to stop in a field somewhere, and I’ll feed you some Kryptonite.”
“I had enough of that last night to fly me to outer space, thank you.”
Jimmy starts to giggle, and it turns into uncontrollable laughter. I stop, and he relieves himself at the side of the road. While he’s doing it, I remember Paula’s words: ‘It started when he was about nine. It’s his lifestyle’. I’m beginning to comprehend the ‘lifestyle’ bit, but it starting when he was nine-years-old is a puzzle. He didn’t start having sex with Chris until he was eleven. There’s a part of the jigsaw missing somewhere. Perhaps he was penetrating himself before then. I don’t have time to dwell on it, because he’s back in the car, and we’re giggling our way to mum’s.
Mum is waiting at the door when we arrive, and as soon as I get out of the car, we’re in each other’s arms. I manage not to cry, and so does Mum. It takes a while before we part and I can introduce Jimmy. “This is Jimmy, Mum. His mum is a friend of Debbie, and he’s into cars, so I’ve brought him along for the ride.”
I can see the shyness in Jimmy as he approaches mum and hands her the flowers. “Hello, Mrs Spencer. I’ve brought you these to say how sorry I am about your husband passing away.”
She takes them, and thanks him for being so nice and thoughtful, and we follow her into the house, where Aunt Susan greets us both, and tells us to sit down and she’ll make us a drink. Jimmy is quiet and reserved as we drink our lemon tea and chat about things: the perfect non-lover, I think. We have lunch, and talk about things: about my work; and how I need to catch up to meet publishing deadlines; and how I’ve decided to go to Portugal for a few days to recover; and how I have to go to Europe in September to do some publicity work; and how mum is coping, and that she’s going to stay with Aunt Susan for a few weeks, starting next week, and that I have to go and visit them if I have time. Its late afternoon when I say we have to be getting back, and mum asks Jimmy to take a walk in her garden before we do, because she wants to pick a few flowers for him to take to Debbie. I get up to go with them, and mum says I’m to ring Uncle Peter before we go, and I’m to do that now while she and Jimmy go into the garden.
“How old are you, James?”
“Sixteen, Mrs Spencer.”
“How long have you known Rob?”
“Not long. About a month.”
“He’s very fond of you. I can tell. (I don’t know what to say, so I say nothing. She puts an arm on my shoulder, as we wander about in the garden, occasionally stopping to pick a particular flower she likes.) Will you do something for me, please? (I say I will.) Look after him for me. He’s very precious to me, and I know how he’s hurting. You and I can be honest with each other. I know you haven’t just come along for the ride, because I’ve seen the way he looks at you, and how you’ve looked at him. I know my son better than he thinks I do. Mums know these things.”
I look into her eyes, and I know she’s certain what Rob and I are to each other, and I decide not to lie. “You’re like my mum, Mrs Spencer. I can’t hide anything from her, either. I’ve loved Rob for quite a while, but we’ve only been living together for about a month. It was after I was sixteen. He’s done nothing wrong, if you know what I mean. (She nods, and smiles.) What do you want me to do?”
“Just don’t tell him that I know, yet. We’ll keep it our secret, and you can keep me informed how he is. I’m worried about him. Emotionally, he’s not very strong.”
“I know. I haven’t let him out of my sight since he came home, and I think I’m making him a bit better. Even though he’s missing his dad terribly, he’s worried about you more than anything. He hasn’t done any work since he got back.”
She smiles. “Well done. I’ll get by as long as I know Rob’s ok. I’m the strong one in the family. It looks like I’ve found another member who’s like me. I look forward to seeing more of you, and getting to know you better. In the meantime, I’ll slip you my mobile number, and you can keep me up to scratch on how he’s doing. Will you do that for me, James?”
“Of course I will. (I decide to be absolutely honest with her.) Rob will tell you that we’re going back to his place now, because he doesn’t want to hurt you by telling you about us. We’re not; we’re going to Castleton to meet some friends, and we’re staying the night there, so it will be a waste of time phoning him until late tomorrow morning. We’re also going to Portugal together.”
Rob’s mum puts her arm around my shoulders, and lays her head on mine. “Thank you, James. I think I’m going to be very fond of you if you make a life together. Shall we go in now?”
I nod, and she collects a few more flowers, and we return to the house.
The meal, and our stay at The Crown in Castleton, is an extension of the last time we were here: more talking and discovering things about our new friends. Carl and Charles are super throughout the meal, and because I’d already told them about Rob’s father’s death, they are judicious in their conversation, so as not to spoil the evening. Afterwards, our loving is special, but this time, I have no inclination for more secret revelations. Instead, I make the most of Rob while he’s awake. From the moment we left his mums, I’d been teasing him about how randy I was feeling, and, while we were eating, he had to keep removing my hand from his zip, which I’d opened well before we got to the pudding. Now, as soon as we get into bed, Rob just surrenders to my needs, until my sperm shoots up my belly, and after the sensuality has receded, Rob can’t stop giggling, and neither can I. I like it when Rob has been drinking. It sort of dulls his senses, and he lasts longer. On this occasion, he lasts three of my climaxes longer.
When Rob falls asleep, I surrender my consciousness to his warmth. I’ve never, ever been so happy in my entire life. But, I’m also worried. I’ve been happy before and had my love dashed to smithereens on the jagged rocks of life. Surely lightening won’t strike twice, will it?
To be continued…
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