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Jimmy the Love-Virus.
By John T. S. Teller.
I feel guilty as I sip my coffee and watch Rob across the table. Eccles is a mess. My temper was at its peak when I bit into him, and it was only supreme willpower that stopped me biting him in half. I'm sure that had it been anyone else but Rob, I would have done it. I'm going to have to watch my temper in the future. This is Rob I'm dealing with, and not someone who doesn't matter. Had I gone through with it, I think I would have chucked myself under a train. The amazing thing is that Rob didn't try and stop me. I understand now, after I've been thinking about it all day. It had been a test of wills, and Rob won; I'm glad he did. Jimmy Fucking Turner needs to be taken down a peg or two, before he loses big time. I'll learn from it... for Rob. He's worth any sacrifice I have to make to keep him.
Tonight, he had to take two painkillers, because the sexual excitement of what we were doing was giving Eccles a hard time. After some persuasion, I managed to cure him, to a degree, by very gently relieving him the way I know he likes best, without bashing him about. Afterwards, Eccles settled into a state of semi-consciousness, which was good, because it allowed Rob to do what he loves doing - pleasuring me. What a man! God, I love him so much that I want to get inside him and make love to his heart. This big, gentle guy spent a lot of today researching stuff so I wouldn't feel bad about myself, and that after I'd almost bitten his cock off. Look at him now. He's leaning on the table... head in his hands, watching me intently, with that half smile on his face that makes my heart feel warm inside. I can feel his love. I hope he can feel every bit of mine that I'm sending back to him. Look at his beautiful, dark, wavy hair that I love to rub my nose in as often as I can. It always smells of his shampoo. If he ever left me, I'd be sick inside every time I smelled it. And those hazel eyes that are like amber jewels, and the warm, full lips that belong exclusively to me now. When they caress my face and settle onto my own lips, I have to close my eyes, because nothing else exists. They can do things to me that a hundred dildos couldn't. They touch my very soul. I love this man so deeply that I'd sacrifice myself to hellfire to keep him safe. He holds out a hand to me, and I grip it firmly.
"What are you thinking, James?"
"You know what I'm thinking . . . I love you. I could die in your arms now and be perfectly happy. What are you thinking?"
"The same. I'm still coming to terms that we found each other. I don't usually believe in miracles, but you're one. And it's nothing to do with sex. I'd be perfectly happy to just sit here and look at you forever. I get great comfort from just looking at you."
"What do you see, Rob?"
He smiles that wonderful smile. "Not perfection. You've got one ear slightly bigger than the other, and you've got a small birthmark right at the top of your sexy left inner thigh."
I laugh. "You can't see that. You're cheating."
"I am not. I can see every square centimetre of you with my eyes closed, and I can see exactly where I'm going to put the thermometer when you're poorly."
"Haha. You've fallen in love with Cute Boy, haven't you?"
"I have indeed. Wait a minute." He gets up, goes into the lounge, returns with the photo, sits down again, studies it, and keeps glancing at me.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm comparing you."
"Can you tell it's me?"
"Of course I can. But this little boy isn't you. He resembles you, but he isn't you."
"Don't be silly. Of course he's me."
"You don't understand, Jimmy. Cute Boy has your genetic makeup and many of the traits you have now, but humans are like snakes shedding their skin. Every now and then, they become new again. Sometimes the `new' is negative, and sometimes it's positive. We all think we're ourselves, when, in actual fact, the older we get, the less individual we are. We become a conglomeration of events and traits we learn from others. Every person we meet in life, and every experience, changes us, if only slightly. And the more people we meet and the more experiences we go through, the less we're like what we were when we first entered this world. Take you for example. I think I'm right in saying that the two most traumatic events in your life have been meeting Chris and me. Think what you were like before you met Chris, and what you were like after, and then ask yourself this question: are you now the same person who walked across my lawn?"
I think about Rob's wise words for a while. "No. You're right. Before I met Chris, I was sort of carefree. After he died, I was a wreck, and I hated the world. I was certainly never really interested in life after, even though I got on with it, until I saw you in Tesco's, that is. And since the day I walked across the lawn, I reckon I've become a different person. So, you're dead right... as usual... smartarse!"
"I'm not always right. I'm learning, too. Actually, I was rather naïve before I met you. I thought I understood most things about human sexuality. As it turns out, I was an ignoramus. But it's good to be ignorant sometimes. I've enjoyed learning about your sexuality. Do you know what I like best about it?"
"I think so, but I'd like to hear it."
"Giving you pleasure. It's as if I've won a gold medal. But it's a good job we live in a detached house. We'd have the noise abatement society knocking on our door every morning if we were semi-detached."
We're both giggling now. And then I blow a raspberry at him. "I'm just a passionate lover."
"Does that mean I'm not?"
"Sort of. You've got inhibitions. Why won't you let me do you?"
"Anal, you mean? That's not an inhibition: I just don't like being penetrated. A bit of gentle tickling when I'm about to come is ok. Eccles, when he's not being bitten in half, is my G Spot. I don't think I've got an erogenous zone on my body except him and the little tickle. It's the way I'm made. That's another thing that I love about you: you have loads of erogenous zones, and I enjoy playing with them. What does it feel like when I kiss your nipples? I know it makes your jaw quiver."
I start laughing. "It isn't just my jaw quivering. I reckon if you stayed at it a bit longer, and did a bit of nibbling as well; and if you just moved your chest a little bit while you're lying on Willie, that would be it."
"Fantastic. I'll try it sometime: another arrow to my bow. Do you want something to eat: a pizza, or shall I do us some spaghetti on toast?"
"I'll just have toast, Rob, please. Shall I make it?"
"If you don't mind. I want to study Cute Boy some more. Make some coffee while you're at it."
I begin making the meal, and Rob is silent while I'm doing it. I can sense something is bothering him as he sits gazing at the photo of me as a kid. When I ask him what he's thinking, he gives me one of his silly half-grins, and pretty much ignores me. Even when the toast and coffee is done, and we're eating, he's still studying the photo. I've learned that there are times when I need to leave him to his thoughts, and this is one such time. It happens when he's thinking deeply about something. Whatever it is, he will tell me, or just dismiss it, and act as if nothing has been going on in his mind. He finishes his toast, and is sipping at his coffee, and then he looks at me - directly in the eyes. This is one of the times he's going to tell me what he's thinking.
"I've changed my will today, James."
"What have you done that for?"
"It's important I do, and it's important I tell you what's in it, because if anything should happen to me, I don't want any surprises for you. Most of my money and stuff is left to you. (I put on a scowl, but he raises his hand to stop me speaking.) Just shut up and listen, will you! Most of it is left to you, but there are a few exceptions. I've got to add a codicil to it as soon as we've bought the houses for your mum and Debs, but that's not a problem. All it will be is that you will own the properties, and they have security of tenure while they want to live there. Even you won't be able to chuck them out. Some is left to mum, so that she has no money worries during her life, and some I've left to a children's charity. I've done it all in percentages, so as our wealth grows, their value grows, too; and if for any reason our money gets less, so their share will devalue. But there's one part of the will that will shock you if I don't disclose it now. Part of our money will go to my son, Benjamin."
I am shocked, and I sit open mouthed! "Who? How? When?" That's all I can say.
"When I was nineteen, I met a girl, and we had sex. She had our child, Benjamin. He was seven on the 13th of March this year. It was a fling, nothing else; but we created a child. Carol and I had no intentions of making a long-term relationship, and she called all the shots. It was good that we were able to talk about it without spite, and Carol's decision was that she would have the child, and I was not going to be its father. It was as simple as that. She refused to name me as the father to her parents, and, to this day, except for you, now, nobody knows who the father is. That doesn't mean that she just told me to fuck off. I get regular letters from her telling me how he is, and since I've become successful, we've devised a way of me getting funds to her without anyone knowing where they come from. She got married about a year after Benjamin was conceived, and now has two other children. Apart from the times when Benjamin was conceived, we've never met again. Her husband, who's a good man, has accepted Benjamin as his own, and life goes on. But, if anything should happen to me, I want him to have security without even knowing I'm his biological father. How does that sit with you?"
I can't answer him, except by holding out a hand for him to grasp. He takes it, and we stare into each other's eyes, and I detect a sadness that I've never seen before, and it's that which hurts me. Holding hands isn't good enough, so I get up and go to him, and grasp his head in my arms, and rub the side of my face on his. The shave he had earlier is wearing off, and my own hairless face rubs on his stubble, and all I can hear is our breathing and the sound of the stubble as we rub faces, and I feel the tears welling up.
He turns to me, and stares into my eyes. "I love you, Jimmy."
Tears are rolling down my face now as I stare into his sad eyes. "I love you, too, Rob. I feel sick inside for you. What's he like?"
Rob picks up the photo of Cute Boy. "He's got blond hair, like you."
I can't disguise my surprise. "Have you got a photo of him? Does she send some to you?"
"Sometimes. I haven't got one with a thermometer sticking out of his bum, though."
I don't laugh. Rob's comment is one of regret, rather than fun. I wipe away the tears. "Can I see them?"
"Sure. Go up to the bedroom, and in the top box of the wardrobe, at the back on the right, you'll find a leather folder that's tied up with a silk ribbon. Get it, and bring it down here."
I go to the bedroom, root in the top box, find the folder, take it down to Rob, who is now on the sofa in the lounge, and hand it to him. He pats the seat beside him, and gives it back. My hands are shaking as I try and undo the folder, so Rob takes it from me, opens it, and gives it back to me, and I pull out a large number of letters and photographs. He tells me to read the letters, as well as look at the photos. Right at the top is a photo of a young boy blowing out seven candles on his birthday cake. I can't help it; I burst into tears, and fall into Rob's arms, and it's a while before I can look at the photograph again, and when I do, I'm amazed at the likeness between the boy and Rob. Apart from the different colour hair, he could be Rob as a child, just like the photos at Rob's mum's house. "He looks like you, Rob. He's beautiful. I love him already."
Rob hugs me. "Yes, he does, and he is beautiful, and that's both of us who love him now."
We spend the next hour looking through the photographs and reading the letters. There's no outward display of affection in them, but I can sense a caring in the words Carol has written. It's obvious she understands Rob's position, and is doing her best to ease whatever regrets he's feeling while his son is growing up without him. "You must miss him terribly, Rob."
"I have my moments, but they're selfish ones. The important thing is that Benjamin is happy, and he is. That's all that matters. He loves his mummy and his daddy. That's good enough for me. I can take the other shit as long as he's ok."
"I'm beginning to understand some things now. Benjamin is the reason why you don't approve of boys having sex, isn't it?"
"It's part of it. Not all of it, but as we were talking earlier, the experience of actually having a child changes one's perspective on things. It's bound to. It's the reason why I partly understand what your dad did. I don't condone what he did for a moment, but I can understand a bit of his reasoning."
I look up at him. "Robert Spencer, I'm beginning to think you're a saint."
He looks down at me, and grins. "Don't be bloody daft. A saint wouldn't want to have that eleven year old Jimmy Spencer in bed with me now."
I laugh. "So, you do fancy him, and all that talk about you having to be fourteen was just bullshit. You dirty old man."
"I'm afraid I am. Well, do you like our Benjamin?"
Those words hit home. "Our Benjamin?"
"Yes, you and I will never have children, but I've got one I'll share with you, if you'll adopt him. If you don't, I won't mention him again, and we'll carry on as normal."
Hurriedly, I move all the things we've been looking at, straddle myself on his knees, put my arms around his neck, and I kiss him. "Rob: two things. One: I love you. Two: don't think I'm being daft when I say this, but something's been bothering me for a while ever since I really got to know you. I know I'm a proper gay, but you aren't, and I know how much you care about kids, and I've often wondered if having me all your life will spoil things for you, because we can't have them. Now I know you've actually got one, you don't know how relieved I am that I'm not stopping you from having one. I know that's complicated, but you're clever and can work it out."
Rob kisses me, and smiles. "I understand. So, is he our Benjamin?"
"You're dead right he is. Can we ever get to see him?"
"I don't think so. But, who knows. Maybe one day Carol will reward me for my abstinence, and let me have a peek at him. Incognito, of course."
"She knows you're part gay. Some of the things she says in her letters tell me that. She doesn't know about me, does she?"
"Actually, she does. The last letter I sent her, I told her about you."
"What did you tell her?"
"Not a lot; just that I'd fallen head over heels in love with a young man, and that he's the most beautiful person I've ever met in my life, and that I intend to spend the rest of my life with him."
"Now you're telling me lies!"
"No I'm not. I don't tell lies, as well you know. Why should I lie to her? She's not part of my life now, except by mail.
"Does mum know about Benjamin?"
"No. And you're not to tell her. In fact, you tell no one, not even Sam. Is that understood?"
"Of course I won't. I know I joke about stuff, but what you and I do is nobody else's business at all."
"We haven't spoken about it before, because there's been nothing of this importance to bring it up. Now I have your word, I'm fine. I trust you. Gosh, it's been a long day. Shall we go to bed with our new friends?"
"Yes, I'm tired, too, but I'm not interested in our new friends. Let's talk ourselves to sleep tonight. Besides, I think I need to let Eccles have some rest. Do you think he'll let me kiss him before he goes to sleep?"
"I'm sure he will, but do you like the taste of Dettol?"
"Ugh! No I don't! I'm going to sleep in the other room with our new friends if you're putting Dettol on him. It'd be like going to sleep in a hospital."
Rob laughs. "I'll use Germolene then. But I suggest you don't kiss him, because it's not for internal use. I'll keep my underpants on tonight so you don't become contaminated."
In bed, we chat and talk about many things, but the main topic is our child, Benjamin. I'm thrilled to bits to have him in the family. As we're about to go to sleep, Rob tells me to remind him that tomorrow is `financial day', because he needs to sort things, in case he's ill.
I punch him. "This is crazy. Here we are - two lovers lying in bed, kissing, and generally messing about, and all you can think of is bloody financial matters. You're becoming a boring old fart. I'll go out tomorrow and buy you some Long Johns. Fleecy ones in scotch plaid."
Rob laughs, and nibbles my nose. "Maybe I am, but I'm your boring old fart. Think yourself lucky, young man."
I know I am, as I drift off to sleep, tucked under the arm of my boring old fart.
When we wake, the first think I do is go down and check on Eccles. "I think he's improving, Rob. He's not as swollen as he was. Do you think he could do me a quick favour? My special place is yearning for him." The next thing I know is that me and the duvet are sprawled on the floor at the side of the bed, and Rob is looking down at me, grinning, and I have to dash to the bathroom before I wet myself, because I'm laughing so much.
We spend most of the morning sorting out our financial affairs. Jimmy signs a few documents that I got from the bank and the solicitors, which gives him access to all I am, and then I reveal all my passwords on the PC, so he can go wherever he likes, or needs to go. I get the usual protests that he doesn't need `this shit', but as I go deeper into the complexities of my life, including looking after Benjamin, he begins to realize that not death, but a long term illness, now that we're an item, requires him knowing what to do, and he accepts it. It's now that I find out how clever he is, because he asks searching questions that even I hadn't thought about, and I discover a serious side to him that I know will serve him well in his life, whether it's with me or not. And, later, while I'm making coffee for us both, I can feel his eyes boring into the back of my head.
"Rob, you really trust me, don't you?"
"Yes. Is there any reason for me not to?"
"No, but if I was untrustworthy, you've just thrown most of your life away."
"No I haven't. The only thing I could possibly throw away is my future, and, without you, I don't have one of real consequence. So, if you want to make off with all I am, it wouldn't really matter. Having said that, if anything happened to you, I would have to get on with life, because I have other responsibilities besides you. I have Mum, Benjamin, the kids I've adopted abroad, and now your family and Debbie's. You'll have the same responsibilities, so you'll have to do the same thing. Neither of us would want to, but we have to. That's what this morning was about. It would be a very shallow life if all it was about were love and sex. That's not all we are, Jimmy. Now I want a promise from you. If anything happens to me, I want you to promise me that you'll sort stuff and get on with your life. It won't be easy, but it's important that you do. Well?"
"Can we skip this?"
"Unfortunately, we can't. What you're doing is turning the subject onto a morbid one. You shouldn't look on it like that. This is pragmatic. Most probably, we'll live happily ever after, but it's possible that an airplane could drop out of the sky onto my head... or yours. That's what we're talking about here: possibility, and not probability. So, do I have your promise?"
There's a long silence from Jimmy, and then, "I suppose you're right. It's just that it's a horrible subject."
"The world is a horrible place at times. I shouldn't need to remind you of that. You've been through horrible shit yourself. Can I take it as a `yes', then?"
"Good man. I'm taking you out this afternoon to buy you some new clothes. We'll go to the city and get some good gear for you. Besides, you need your hair cutting. It's in your bloody neck; that's why I've booked an appointment for us at 1 o' clock. I'm not taking my lover to Gianno's, looking like something that's fell off the back of a bloody Tesco lorry."
"Do one, you snob. What are you going to buy me?"
"A suit; shirt; silk tie; shoes; a nice Crombie with red lining, and some hankies for your snotty nose. You're going up market, Lover Boy."
"Sounds good. All the blokes will fancy me then."
"They'd fancy you if you were dressed in rags. Well, I would."
Later, after we've got back from the city, I help Jimmy dress and adjust his clothing, and then I take him to the back wall of our bedroom, put my arms around him, and adopt the `book pose', and we look at each other through the mirror. Jimmy's smiling at me. I smile back at him, and rub the side of his face with mine. "You look fantastic, Kryptonite."
"So do you, Superman. I reckon you and I will be the best looking gays in town. Do you want to kiss me?"
"I daren't. Really! My heart is racing, just looking at you. Let's go."
Akhtar drops Jimmy and I off at Gianno's, and when we walk into the restaurant, all my Social-Housing Gang have arrived, and are seated. Gianno takes our coats, and leads us to our table. Two seats together have been left for us, but I change the seating, and place Jimmy between his mum and Sam on the opposite side of the table, and I sit next to Pauline. I intend to talk to her about the business venture this evening. Only after we've finished the main course do I give James the nod.
He puts his arm around his mum, and taps the table with his spoon. "Can we have a bit of quiet please? I've got an announcement to make: Rob and I are getting married. (The stunned silence at the table breaks me up, and I howl with laughter. Through my tears of amusement, I point a warning finger at him, and he gives me a massive and beautiful smile.) Well, maybe not, but I have got some important news to tell you all: you've got your new houses."
There are whoops of joy, and even tears from Debbie, which surprises me, because she's usually the most pragmatic of us all. Gianno senses the occasion, and comes to us, and I order Champagne to celebrate. When we lift our glasses, I look at Jimmy, and he looks at me, and I signal with my eyes, reminding him of all those with us. He understands, and nods imperceptibly.
The talk we had earlier about our responsibilities is now clear to him. Our lives also belong to the company we're with. It's more consequential for me. The exigent events that are about to change these people from perceived dross to social recognition, are ones that I've imposed on them - for perfectly decent and unselfish reasons - but if I have one worry, it's that they may not cope with the changes. I spoke to Jimmy today of responsibilities: add another five to my own now. I hope I'm up to this enormous responsibility.
To be continued...
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