Now Am I In Arden

A story by Ivor Sukwell and Kyle McKenzie. A story about a boy and a man with all that such entails. The setting is modern and based around the theatre, Not your thing? Sorry about that, we're sure you'll find something that is.  Whatever your choice, please remember Nifty needs your donations.

                                  Now Am I In Arden

Chapter three




"This is how I would have played Puck, if they had let me." I rolled over the back of the chair and shook out my arms and legs. "You can be Lysander, you get two lines so I hope it's not too complex for a Director!"

Settling myself I got ready to show him how I had played Puck in the privacy of my bedroom when Mum had been out.

"Up" I flipped myself backwards, "and down" I dropped to one knee, my face a picture of innocence.

"Up and down," I swirled around the room, going from low to high, getting closer to Richard Williams as I spoke.

"I will lead them up and down,"

"I am feared in field and town," with that I sprang forward my hands slamming onto the arms of his chair either side of him in an effort to make him jump.

"Goblin," I thrust my face forward so he could feel my breath on his, "lead them up" I pushed myself onto tiptoes, "and down" I sank to my haunches between his legs.

"Here comes one," before he could react I vaulted back away from him, waiting for him to give the line on cue.

I didn't give him the cue he wanted, though I was wondering just what he'd do if I had. Instead I laughed, a genuine laugh, a chortle that grew into a full blown belly laugh.

"Pansy wouldn't have liked that one little bit," I chortled. "Yes, I do believe there is hope for you, even if it's in a circus doing acrobatic tricks."

"So what should I do differently?" I sniffed a bit, but was curious all the same.

"Forget Puck, he's over and done with till the next time. Now, if you intend to stay, we must first think of lunch. Something like a take away pizza do you? Good, I can phone for that in a moment. While I do that you can fix more drinks and ................. if it's the sort of thing you're into, then there's some very good weed in the cabinet top drawer. We will sit and talk of cabbages and kings, or of boy actors and old farts of directors if you prefer."

I smirked and got off the floor.

"I'll keep out of sight when the delivery guy gets here," I promised, going to the cabinet.

In truth Richard Williams had more than a little weed, and I had a root around to see what else I could find. No harder drugs it seemed, but then i guessed he might not want to share those with me.

"We sharing, or you want me to roll you a separate one?" I rolled a spliff and held it out.

"If we share, we'd have to be sitting closer to each other than we are," I grinned at him, "So I think that's a decision I should leave to you." I took the offered spliff, grinned again, "Jacob Brat," I smiled, "I do believe I am beginning to like you."

I smirked and flopped down next to him, taking the spliff from his mouth and taking a long drag on it before blowing the smoke in his face and handing the roll back.

"This going to be your first taste of boy Mr Williams?" I wondered how much he had done with boys my age, or just guys in general. If the rumours were to be believed he had never had a boyfriend, so he was either very discrete or very closeted.

"Boy actors and old directors, not cabbages and kings it seems," I said, loving the closeness of him to me, almost squashed together in one over-sized armchair. "Never before have I had a naked boy in my presence, nor a naked anything else either. As to my tasting a boy for the first time, well, that is more up to the boy than me."

Do I want to taste him? I have craved for that taste for more years than I wish to count. "You have sitting next to you, young Jacob, an aging theatre director of some minor competence who is also a complete and utter virgin."

I dragged deep on the spliff and hoped this vision of wonder would not fade like Prospero's island.

"You're a virgin?" I tried to keep the incredulity out of my voice. He didn't deny it and I suddenly felt guilty for sounding so shocked.

"That's cool," I told him. "I'm a virgin to. Well my bum, I've sucked and been wanked and fingered girls and stuff."

Taking a longer drag on the spliff I handed it back.

"Suck on that and you'll taste me," I told him giggling, "and if you wanted to take your clothes off that's cool with me as well."

"It's not cool, it's horrifying and humiliating," I sighed and dared to put out an arm and encircle the boy's shoulder. The feel of his skin was electrifying and I moved my hand quickly away as if that electric feeling was real.

"As for my clothes, my costume, my mask, they had best remain in place for a while yet. You wish to talk of boy actors and old directors, and, whilst I will try my very best to do that with you as you are, I would be unable to utter a single word were I similarly unattired."

I gave him a reassuring smile and wrapped both arms around his neck.

"If you want to touch Mr Williams, then you can touch. I like boys my age and girls my age and men your age most of all. I like the way they look at me, go all tongue tied around me and try to hide the looks they give me. But I like their hands most of all."

I smiled at him again and settled back. "You're not corrupting me if that's what you're thinking. I saw porn online when I was 10 and was wanking every day when I was 12. Last year I wanked my cock for a man on a webcam until he tried to blackmail me and I told him I would go to the police. Since then I only do it in real life."

"For this relief, much thanks," I smiled softly and, with far more courage and daring than the boy could possibly guess at, slowly slipped an arm back round his shoulder and left it there. "You did not need to tell me that," I said in almost a whisper.

I took a deep breath, left my hand where it was, and launched into a boring, for a boy of fourteen, account of times past.

"I began in what was known as weekly rep," I told him. "One week you played a farce and rehearsed a Shakespeare which you would play next week and at the same time you learned the lines of something modern and awful. You had two choices, do all three in the same, wooden way, or try to act and not get the plays confused. Whichever way you chose you forgot a role the minute the last curtain came down. You had to. In a single year you'd give as many as twenty or thirty plays. But, by Christ, you learned your business or you quit. That's why I said forget Puck. He's gone and done. You don't want him creeping into Rosalind or into anyone else you give. Each one must be new and original, and if you ever go back to do Puck again it must be a different Puck because you will be a different you."

I slowly stroked his shoulder, adoring the feel of him and frightened by how he felt and what it meant to stroke his shoulder.

I settled back in the chair, close enough for him to put his arm around if he wanted. "How did you learn all the lines?" I was seriously impressed, it was hard enough to learn one part in advance of a play let alone three.

His hand went shyly back round my shoulder and I tried to give him a reassuring smile, putting my own hand on top of his and stroking his fingers to show I liked his touch. He wasn't ready to get naked but I was sure he would be before I left.

"I like you touching me, don't feel bad." I told him, giving his cheek a little kiss.

"Easy enough to learn the lines," a little smile of recollection of times past creeping onto my lips, Remembering which play they came from was the difficult thing."

My hand was on his shoulder, his, much smaller hand on mine as the warmth of his skin flowed through my finger tips, and I was I heaven and hell at the same time.

All my adult life, indeed even before that, from late teens, I had determinedly and even desperately, avoided any moment like this. Too many, and even one would be too many, of my acquaintances, people in my business, had fallen foul of the over-strong arm of the law simply because they gave in to inclinations and the temptation of fresh, young, eager faces.

I'd known from about the age of sixteen that my particular pendulum swung only one way, that it was magnetically attracted to boys, and even when I was young, boys were forbidden fruit. Now they are jail bait for real. Look at a boy and you risk being locked up. So I stopped looking at boys, tried so hard, so very hard, to cast them from my mind, and the only way to do that was to hate them instead of adoring them.

I am, and I know it, I don't try to hide it from myself, a coward. The fear, not of being discovered as a man who likes boys, that was irrelevant, but found to be a man who wants boys, was far too great a fear for me to live with, so I became a man who was well known to despise boys. In that self-denial was safety.

Boys, I even came to believe, were all secret agents of the sex police, that behind every boy lurked a policeman waiting to pounce on the unwary fool who dared to look for more than a contemptuous second at a boy.

Now I had a boy, a naked boy, a boy who had made himself naked of his own choice, sitting close to me with my hand on his shoulder and his hand on mine, and he wasn't blowing his whistle to summon up his controlling secret sex policeman, he was telling me not to be afraid, to enjoy touching him and that he wanted me to touch him and I didn't know if I should shit myself with fear or kiss him with the adoration I knew I felt.

"You are a whore, Jacob Brat, a lovely, beautiful natural born whore." It was meant to be a thought, but it came out as a soft whisper.

"I don't want paying if that's what you think." I pulled away from him angrily.

"And I don't want the best part, or the best lines or any of that shit! But call me a whore if that makes you feel better about yourself!" Getting up off the chair I was about to storm away when the door bell rang, announcing the pizza had arrived.

"It wasn't an insult, Jacob Brat," said quietly as he fiercely chomped his way through his pizza, sitting now safely away from me in his own chair. Still naked though. In his righteous anger he'd forgotten to put his clothes back on. "You weren't meant to hear it, it was a private thought, but it was anything but an insult. You aspire to enter our profession, be good at what you do, and what you do, if you are any good, will be to whore yourself, not to one person at a time, but to hundreds, perhaps thousands; maybe millions if you go where the money is and sell yourself to Hollywood.

We're all whores, Jacob Brat, each and every one of us, and only when we come to realise that, to know it as the truth of our being, can any of us become good at it. You don't have to work at being a whore, as most of us have had to work at it, learning how to sell ourselves and still retain something of the real us so that we can survive in the real world of make believe as well as the comfortable make believe world of the stage. You already have that knowledge, all you have to do now is to know that you know who and what you are and then, in a year or two, make sure your offshore accounts are in the right hands."

I didn't suppose he understood a word of what I said, but I said it anyway.

"I thought you were having a go at me." Apologies were difficult and I couldn't quite bring myself to say sorry, but I did feel bad for shouting at him.

"You mean I have to sell myself as the part whatever I'm playing but still be me underneath?" I thought I understood what he meant and it kind of made sense.

The pizza finished I stretched back in my chair. "You really think I'm a brat?" The question was playful and I was smirking a so asked it.

"This morning you hated me," I smiled at him and tossed the cigarette packet into his lap, followed by the lighter, "Later you didn't hate me and now you're not quite sure if you should hate or not. Three very different roles, played with total conviction, by the same boy, and each one utterly credible. And me? I called you Jacob Brat at first because you totally convinced me in that role, now, though I frighten myself by saying it, it has become a term of affection. Make of that what you will."

I caught the cigarettes and lighter when he tossed them back and lit one, a much needed one. Dealing with a boy was much harder that coping with a self-obsessed prima donna queen of an actor.

I puffed on the cigarette, enjoying the look he gave me. In truth I didn't really enjoy the taste of the fag, but Mr Williams obviously seemed to like boys who smoked and I liked the look the sight of the cigarette in my mouth made him give me.

"You like bratty boys Mr Williams?" I asked in my best bratty voice, teasing him a bit. He was clearly nervous, still stealing looks at me as if he was going to be found out.

"You are the only boy I have ever had anything like an acquaintance with," I confessed, "So I am unable to give you anything approaching a definitive answer, I'm afraid." I chose formal, almost pompous words deliberately, safer than saying what I was beginning to think of him.

I did wonder about his motive for smoking yet another unwanted cigarette; clearly he enjoyed the flavoured variety, but plain, 'get them from the shop' ones were obviously not high on his 'like these' list.

He was now sitting with legs crossed and his empty hand modestly, but seemingly carelessly, in his lap, covering an area I really wished he'd not cover, though his posture did draw attention to his legs, which, I had to confess to myself, were worth looking at in themselves. And not, I only half tried to conceal the thought, in a purely aesthetic way.

I smirked and covered my privates, not that they were particularly private at the moment, and stretched out my legs instead.

His gaze followed them, hungrily, and I enjoyed the feeling of danger knowing that he wanted me. I doubted he would do anything to hurt me, he was far more afraid of me than I was of him, but knowing that I was doing something forbidden was thrilling.

"So why did you agree to direct these plays?" I asked him, stubbing out the cigarette. "Just money?"

"Like you, dear boy," 'dear boy' was safe - it was actor speak and didn't have to be taken as if I really meant it, which I was more than just starting to do "I am a whore. You are, as yet, but an apprentice whore, whilst I am the full blown article. The dear, sweet tax man said 'Give me some money', so I am obliged to resort to the only way I know of making the money to give him."

I sniggered, "so the chance to work with Jacob Wills wasn't incentive enough?" I was enjoying playing the bratty actor, and I thought he was enjoying the performance.

"Sandy said I need to do shit like this raise my profile, he wants to get me into big budget TV and said this is the sort of thing you need to do first." I tried to sound dismissive and arrogant, smirking a little as I spoke to tease him. "Guess he thinks I need to do my apprenticeship as well."

"Sandy, sweet youth, is not so much a whore as a pimp. His sole concern is making money by hiring out whores. You made him a nice little packet from that 'Dream' and his cash register mind saw more to be made by you working with me at the Globe. Richard Williams is well known to be a heartless bastard who destroys pretend actors, and slays, by drip feeds of venom, any who dare to set foot in his presence who are unable to speak the words of the Bard as they were meant to be spoken. If you were to be able to survive that, then his fortune would be made.

And if you call the works of the sweet bard of Avon 'shit' once more the venom heaped upon you will be instant death!"

I smirked. "It's not like when you grew up Mr Williams. Today people my age have got human rights so you couldn't touch me if you wanted." I didn't actually know anyone my age who ever talked about `human rights' but the phrase seemed to wind people his age up no end so I teased him with it.

"So what are you going to do when I call Shakespeare the most boring old shitty-shit?" I smirked, daring him to take the game further.

"Firstly, you are not human, you are an actor, or a wannabe actor to be more precise, and if that is your opinion of sweet Will, then all I can say is that perhaps you should concentrate on making soap commercials or, even lower than that, try for a part in 'EastEnders' or 'Coronation Street.'

Obviously it is not worth my while to wonder if I should compare you to a summer's day as the words would have no meaning for you."

I smirked, though the fact that he would say something critical, (even as a joke), was a bit disconcerting.

"We did sonnets in English last year," I told him sniffily, not wanting him to think he knew more than me.

"Did you?" I was more than a little surprised that he'd even spotted that the words were Shakespeare's never mind that he'd placed them as coming from a sonnet. "A carefully censored version probably," I sniffed derisively. I knew he was trying to play with me, the mere fact that he hadn't put his clothes on again was evidence enough of that, but to try to play games about Shakespeare with someone well known to openly proclaim worship of the bard was evidence of either sheer, arrogant stupidity, or, just possibly or, of trying to show me that he really was just a little bit more than ordinary.

"And summers lease hath all too short a date," I didn't inject the line with much, just gave it to him straight like I was reading it in class.

"I like that one," I admitted. "It's beautiful and sad at the same time."

"Why is it sad?" I pounced. "You left some important bits out, but never mind that. Why is it sad? Tell me, why do you think it is sad?"

Please give me the right answer, I pleaded in my mind, anything but ordinary and dross, anything will do. Show me you have, even at your tender age, some inkling of an understanding of emotions.

I looked at him, at his elfin face, at his slender chest, at his long legs and thought Will could well have had a boy like you in mind when he wrote those sonnets.

"Because summer is short, it's like being at the start of the school holiday but before you know it you're back in September. It's over to too soon."

I looked at him as he admired me. I hadn't liked him at first, and I wasn't sure I totally liked him now, I still felt sorry for him. He had spent his whole life avoiding what he wanted, and that had left him alone.

"And often is his gold complexion dimmed," I continued, him watching me across the table. "I guess he meant people change too, whether you want them to or not. So maybe you shouldn't let life pass by in front of you?"

"And what about the final couplet?" I demanded, trying to search his mind, "It's not a sweet Helen make me immortal with a kiss is it, more I'll make you immortal whether you kiss me or not. Is that sad? Or something else entirely?"

And I could make you an actor whether you kiss me or not, was really what I was saying, and, one never knows, the boy might even discern that.

"It's the memory of the kiss which is immortal, and as long as men can love it will continue." It was the answer we had been given in class but it had struck me as probably what Shakespeare had meant.

"So whatever happens, however people change, you will always have the memory of the love. But only having a memory of love is sort of sad, but I guess better than only being able to imagine it

He looked terrified and I guessed the sonnet game was his way of covering his fear, keeping us in a place he understood and could control. Problem was that had kept him a virgin for 40 odd years, so I got out of my seat with a stage yawn and stretch.

"The spliff made me tired," I told him, "I'm going to go lay down on your bed."

I left it with him if he wanted to follow me.

'This last is the greatest treason," I whispered to his departing back, "To do the right deed for the wrong reason.' He'd gone through the door by then so I don't suppose he heard me, and he wouldn't know Murder in the Cathedral even if he had heard me.

But now, I said to myself, you are asking me, or is that tempting me, to do the wrong deed for the right reason.

His intention was plain, even to my closed and closeted mind. He wanted me to follow him upstairs, up to and into my bedroom, lie down with him on my bed. But why? Because, by his own admission, he was a boy who liked the attentions of men? Because if I did go after him then he'd have a hold over me so tight I could never escape from it? Or was he sorry for me? Felt, in some way or other, that no man should reach my age and never have experienced the pleasures of the flesh?

To not follow him would be to reject him, totally and utterly reject him, and working with him after that would be impossible. To follow him would be to place myself in his power, and would it be possible to work with him after that?

The safe thing to do was to go into the lounge and pour a huge malt.

He was naked on the bed when I went into my room.

I smiled at him reassuringly as he finally made it upstairs.

He had taken an age, and brought a large drink with him, and I saw his hand tremble as he set it down on the nightstand.

"If you want me to stay here you got to promise me one thing. When you direct me you've got to treat me like every other cast member. If I'm shit you have to say, no special treatment. Promise and I'll stay."

His bed was huge, compared to my own single bed any double felt huge, and covered in a fur throw and I stretched out on my back. I didn't try and hide anything, my cock flat up against my stomach in a semi.

He looked scared, and I guessed he had good reason. What was happening would destroy his life, ruin his career and see him in prison if it came out. Part of me felt bad for bringing him here, but I also knew what we both wanted even if only one of us wanted to admit it.

"The wrong deed for the right reason," and this time I said it out loud.

He was beautiful. No other way to describe what I feasted my hungry eyes on. This was what I had denied myself all my life, and should, in any sane world, be denying myself now. But he was beautiful.

"I'll promise that if you make a promise as well," I said, my eyes lingering on his body, and on one part of his body in particular. I suppose he thought I was going to ask him to promise never to tell, but that was far too crass for now. I wanted him to make a promise he could keep. "Promise me that you'll try to let me make an actor of you," I said, "A real actor, not a Hollywood whore."

"Who says it's wrong?" I gave him a reassuring smile and patted the spot beside me. If he wanted to just look he could look, but it was also close enough for him to touch if he dared.

"I'll let you try I promise. I can't promise you'll succeed, but if you fail I'll just make blockbusters and make Sandy a happy man." Another pat to the bed, another smile. I knew he wanted to, but he was the adult and that boring world meant that sometimes you didn't do things you wanted to because you were doing the right thing.

"Oh, it's not wrong that I should want you," I shrugged as I finally sat down beside him, close enough to touch when I grew the courage to touch, "Nor is it wrong that you should like the attentions of a man. That's just life. It is wrong because you are here, in my charge, under the outside belief that you are safe from molestation, and you are not anywhere near safe from that. But if you were safe, and I behaved as I ought to behave conventionally, then I would destroy both you and me by rejecting you. Well, perhaps not you, but certainly destroy and chance that we might work together."

I reached out a tentative hand and stroked his nearest leg. It felt wonderful. More wonderful than I had dreamed a leg could feel. Why had Will never written a sonnet about a boy's legs?

I smiled as his hand finally made its way towards me and stroked my leg. The touch was no more affectionate a gesture than he might give a dog, but the look on his face made it clear just how brave he had forced himself to be to make it.

"You're not molesting me," I tried to reassure him, though I knew Mum would take a very different view. His hand lingered on my thigh and I stroked the back of it with my own hand, smiling when I felt it tremble at my touch.

"No, I don't believe I am," I smiled, relaxed a fraction and stroked his thigh more. I wanted to ask him why, why was he doing this? But that was a question for later, much later.

"You are beautiful," I told him instead, "But so, it is said, was Lucifer. Are you a devil come to tempt me to damnation, or an angel come to lead me to pastures wondrous?" I asked that with another smile, so he would know which one I thought he was.

"Oh I'm an angel," I smirked at him, "but isn't that exactly what the devil would tell you?"

"Of course. But then he'd be telling the truth, wouldn't he, as he was the brightest angel of them all before he tripped and fell."

I did then what I have so often dreamed of doing, and woken from those dreams with wet patches on my sheets. I leaned forward and, without asking for permission, opened my mouth and took the glory of his boyhood inside it.

I'd no experience of doing what I did, and doubtless Jacob Brat had been dealt with many times before and far better than I was dealing with him, but, then, I didn't care about that, all I cared about was having him in my mouth and how wonderful it felt and how unbelievable he tasted, and, when he finished, how sweet was the milk he fed me.

"Fuck yeah" I lay back, my eyes still screwed closed as the last of my cum was sucked from my cock.

It wasn't the best blow job I'd ever had, an older lad from drama club had that honour because of what he could do with his tongue, but it hadn't been terrible. He had been hungry, that much was obvious, and at times he had sucked me like he wanted to take it clean off my body. Not that I was complaining.

"Want me to show you how it's done?" He was still fully dressed, wiping my cum from his lips as I asked him.

"Not yet," I smiled to show it was only a temporary refusal, "First let me glory in the cumming of Jacob Brat before I try to cross over Jordan properly." He sniggered, obviously not too offended by my taking a rain check on his offer. "More must we say before more we do, and some confessions make, perhaps also." I spoke deliberately in blank verse so he might get the idea that what I wanted was both serious and not serious, that some soul baring was in order so we could work as well as play.

I smirked, sure that I would be sucking on him soon enough.

"Ask away and maybe I will confess," I told him, unable to come up with rhyme to match his own but trying to join in with his mock Shakespearean verse. It made him feel comfortable, and I wanted him to relax.

"Of course if I don't I am but a boy, and you could torture me most vilely if you did choose, if a confession is what you seek."

"No need, methinks, to put you to the question," I teased back, delighted that he was joining in now and, perhaps, beginning to understand that learning could be fun. "But duty you have as page to perform, you must, with haste. Repair again to lounge, there to roll, with skill unbounded, spliff more, for of it will we have need, And drink also, for with spliff thirst doth come. Hence now, boy, and with you will I be soon."

If I was going to fall from grace further than I had already fallen, I was going to fall with a bang. I was going to do what Jacob Brat had done and get rid of unsightly and unwanted hair. When, or if, he shared my bed he was going to find a foolish fond old man who was as smooth as the elfin boy he lay beside.

I giggled and headed downstairs, getting some weed from his stash and rolling two spliffs. I didn't normally smoke like this, only having a spliff at parties, but Mr Williams seemed happy to provide and I was happy to take his hospitality.

"Getting bored, Mr Williams," I called up the stairs in my best bratty voice.

"Not too bored I hope," I said when I went back into the lounge, dressed now only in a silk gown tied round the waist. "Idle hands find mischief to do and I'd rather your hands didn't get up to that sort of mischief. Not for a bit anyway."

It's amazing how the first taste of boy can liberate one, I grinned to myself as I sat again in that over-large armchair.

I smirked as he reappeared in a silk gown. "Sandy would turn down that outfit as too camp" I playfully taunted him, playing up to the `brat' name he had given me.

"So what do you want to know?" I flopped in the chair opposite him, legs wide as I lit the spliff.

"My confession first," I had no reservations now about admiring the view he gave me.

"Before you entered my house I was determined to dislike you. Nothing personal, dislike you simply because you are a boy and boys threaten and frighten me. When you arrived you were easy to dislike and brat you were. So I did what I could to drive you away, but you wouldn't be driven. Now I don't dislike you, I like you instead. Like you far too much. And not because of just now, but because I have come to see in you what I have, for forty years, longed to see in a boy. Jacob Brat, I want you to stay."

There, said, and he could make of it what he would.

I smiled at him and took a drag on the spliff.

"I only took this job because Sandy made me," I confessed back, "and before breakfast this morning I called him and tried to get him to fire you because I bought you were a complete arsehole."

I took another drag on the spliff, wondering how he would react if I sat in his lap. "I mean I fancied you as soon as I saw you, and wanted Mum to fuck off so we could be alone. But I well thought you were an arsehole, but now I think I quite like you."

"I am an arsehole," I agreed with him, "Ask anyone in the business and they'll tell you that calling me an arsehole is being nice. I tried to drive you off because, even though you were so obviously a conceited brat, I knew I was in danger of changing my mind, liking you instead of despising you, and, fuck it, damn well falling in love with you!"

I smiled at him then, not a smirk but a proper smile, and crossed over to him and, before he could object, sat on his knee.

"You might be an arsehole, but I think I like you as well Mr Williams." I wrapped an arm around him, more to reassure him than anything else. "And you're the one person who has the balls to call me a brat, so you're an honest arsehole."

"I was in love before your mother left," I said, knowing how stupid that sounded, and pulling him in close as I said it so he couldn't see my face. "Now give me some of that bloody spliff, for fuck's sake!"

I left the arm wrapped around him and passed the spliff, pretending not to see his face.

"They've offered me a place at some fancy posh school in September and Mum wants me to go. Sandy wants me to go and make some superhero movie instead, they argue and argue and neither asks me was I want."

I wasn't sure why I suddenly told him that. Maybe it was the weed and the drink, but something about the way he called me brat, however playfully, and refused to pander to me made me think he would give me his honest opinion.

"What do you want?" I took a deep drag of spliff and let him think for a second before carrying on. "No, not about whether to go to some drama school or make a ridiculous, talentless movie, I mean what do you WANT? Why are you here? Who do you want to be in ten year's time?"

Another drag of the spliff before passing it back, and, as my hand had somehow made its way down to his waist, I gave that a squeeze of pure admiration.

"I want to be an actor, and Sandy said if I was determined to make no money I should at least do it in one of your plays."

I took the spliff back and was inhaling as his hand squeezed me. If we hadn't both been almost naked it would have been an innocent enough gesture, and I nuzzled into his neck as he did it.

"I do want to be an actor though, not just next summer but in ten years time."

"Sandy's right about that, you won't get rich by doing legitimate theatre, but you can learn how to act. Example," I indulged in more boy waist, "Imagine this scene, It's Shakespeare, of course, but try to put up with that for the moment. A king is standing on the battlements of a castle, down below is an army come to usurp him, no escape, he's completely done for. And the castle wall falls down leaving the actor standing on a plank balanced on some scaffolding. What happens if it's a film and what happens if it's live theatre?"

Somehow his waist had become his hip, but never mind, that was worth squeezing as well.

"Well in a film you do another take, but if it's a play you've got to carry on. Unless the set fell on the audience and then you," I wrapped an arm around his neck, "are getting sued!"

I giggled at my joke but understood the point he was making. "So you've got to be a better actor, or at least not freeze on the stage because you can't do it again."

"Actually happened, long time ago. At the Old Vic in London. Richard Two and I was fifteen and in the audience. Guy playing Richard, looked at his castle on the stage floor, looked up at the audience, down the wreckage of scenery again, then back to the audience, all done very slowly. Then he gave a big shrug, skipped a load of lines and came out with the start of a speech further on, 'What must the king do now', was the line and the audience collapsed with laughter. Play saved."

There is a point where hip becomes thigh and my hand crept beyond that point.

"Is that when you knew you wanted to be an actor?" His hand was slowly moving down my leg and I guessed he was daring himself to feel more.

"I'd been in school plays by then, already found that I liked to hide behind masks and in costumes, but I supposes the moment of pure genius settled it. So simple, so inspired. Get the audience to join in with the cock up, and then you can start again.

I wanted to get his cock up and start on that again, but it had remained defiantly deflated, beautiful to look at in repose, but, to my inexperienced mind untouchable because it was at rest.

Also my mind was working as though I was dealing with a play, which, in a way, I suppose I was. The plot didn't have me taking pleasure from that essential part of him again now. If that were to happen again, then the plot I envisaged had him coming to my bed later, coming unasked, coming because that was where he wanted to be.

"My confession is done, Jacob Brat, time for yours now." My hand reached his knee - why had I never before realised how wonderful knees are, a boy's knees, anyway?

I smiled as he plucked up the courage to put a hand on my knee. His palm was a bit clammy but I liked his touch and stroked the back of his hand with my own.

"So what do you want me to confess to? What made me want to be an actor or what makes me want to sit on your knee?" I wrapped an arm around his shoulder to steady myself, squeezing the far one a little.

"Both, Jacob Brat, because, just perhaps they are both the same. No," I hastened to prevent him taking my words wrongly, boys, I was learning, are less subtle in some ways than adults, see more in black and white and less in the grey shades, "I don't mean that you are sitting, gloriously, wonderfully naked on my knees because you think that may be a way to secure a part, that we both know you have already; but because the motive may be the same for both. Whatever it is inside Jacob Brat that drives him to wish to reveal his soul to audiences drives him also to sit, naked, innocent and knowingly desirable on the aging knees of a man who has secretly adored boys all his life and never had the courage to admit it, even to himself."

"I don't really know, I've just always liked the way men look at me. I mean it used to scare me a bit, sometimes it still does, but when I see a man your age I fancy him like I fancy a fit boy or girl."