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A small sermon. Nothing in life is free. Everything costs, and Nifty is no different, so please send them a couple of $'s/£'s to cover costs and stuff. They're very discreet, and you won't get your name in lights if you do.
The Angel of Pie Jesu.
By John T. S. Teller.
Book one – Star in the Hood.
We're all sitting around the breakfast table when dad says he has something to discuss. Because he very rarely does this, I know it's important. When we're all quiet, he tells us of Gareth's proposal to go into partnership with him, and he asks what we all think.
I'm tremendously excited, but I'm very nervous when Gunther speaks. "Why is he doing it dad? He's only just met us."
Dad tells us the stuff that Gareth said to him and mum about when we met in Berlin, and why he said it - because dad had been angry at him. Although there are the other things, it all rings so true with me. I'm beginning to understand Gareth better each time we meet or talk, and I know his offer is a genuine one, and I also know that even if I broke off our relationship he would still go through with it. I can't help it; I begin to cry. Gunther, who is next to me, puts his arm around me. I shrug him off and run out of the room and up the stairs to my bedroom, and throw myself onto the bed and sob into my pillow.
After a short while, I hear the bedroom door open and close, and when I look round, I see Gottwin coming towards me. He sits on the bed and strokes my hair. "Don't cry. It's OK. I understand."
I give him a puzzled look. "What do you understand?!"
He continues stroking my hair, and he's smiling at me. "You love Gareth, and you don't like Gunther thinking Gareth is a horrible person who'd use the family to get to you. You told me last night that you loved him. I won't tell, I promise, but I have to get a few things clear. This doesn't just concern you and Gareth; this is about dad. What happens if you two stop what you have? What happens to dad then? In another six months; another year; and you could have gone off him. What then? Will he end the partnership with dad?"
"No. He's not like that. He hasn't wanted anything from me. In fact, it's the opposite. All he cares about is me being happy. I'm the pushy one. I'm the one who's insisted he's here now. If I told him to go away, he would. What he told mum and dad was the truth. What he didn't tell them was that I fell in love with him the first time I saw him. Now I've told you this, do you still think I'm not gay?"
Gottwin smiles. "I don't think you're all gay, but I think there is a bit of gay in you. And in Gareth."
I'm amazed, and it shows on my face. "How do you work that out?!"
"He must be a bit gay if he loves you, and you must be if you love him."
Our talking has drawn me out of my crying episode. "I don't think Gareth is really gay. Honest! I think if he'd never met me, he would never have discovered what he was."
Gottwin gets on the bed and pulls me into his arms, and I snuggle into him. I look up at him, and he smiles and kisses me gently on my forehead. "Maybe you two were just meant for each another. Sex isn't really important. We did it last night, but it was only fun. I don't love you that way, and you don't love me that way either. But it was nice. But wake me up properly next time you want to do it."
I decide that now is the time to share my dirty secret. "It's OK. I don't mind doing it with you, because it is fun. It's Herr Biermaier I hate doing it with."
Gottwin holds my shoulders, pushes me away, and gives me an incredulous stare. "Herr Biermaier!"
I'm so ashamed now that I can't look my brother in the face, and I drop my head when I answer him. "Yes. He's been doing things to me for a while. That's why I wouldn't let you join the choir."
Gottwin grabs my chin and lifts my head up so he can look into my eyes, and his face is twisted when he says, "Herr Biermaier is doing that to you! I'll kill him!"
I sit up in bed and grab Gottwin by the shoulders. "No you won't! I've made up my mind that he's never going to do it again, and that's because I love Gareth. I don't want to stop singing in the choir, and Herr Biermaier has told me he'll get rid of me if I say anything. You can help me. We can work on things, and decide what's best for all of us."
"But he's been doing stuff with you!"
I giggle. "Stop being such a prig! If Gareth wasn't such a wet arse, I'd let him do lots of things to me. And you and me have done it, so Herr Biermaier isn't much worse than either of us. Herr Biermaier has a favourite saying: It's only sex. Well, it is! We don't have to be gay to do stuff. As a matter of fact, you can come with me when I stay with Gareth, and you won't say anything if I sleep with him."
Gottwin stares at me. "You crafty sod! You've got it all worked out!"
I grin. "No I haven't. I didn't have a clue how I was going to wangle things to get to stay with Gareth. If you and I go together, mum and dad won't suspect anything. Anyway, now we can plot stuff together. I think Gareth going into partnership with dad will be great for dad. Gareth has so much money that he doesn't know what to do with it."
Gottwin stares at me again. "Is that why you like him so much... for his money?"
His comment makes me angry. "No! If he had nothing, I would still love him. You don't understand!"
Gottwin hugs me. "Yes I do! OK. We'll go down now and tell the others what we think. We'll say you were upset because it was all too much for you. What do you think?"
I hug him. "I think I've got the best brother in the world."
Gottwin hugs me, and grins. "I know you have. Maybe we can both sleep with Gareth."
I giggle. "Sod off! You can bring Frau Adenauer with us."
When we go downstairs, everyone else is still sitting at the table. I look at mum and dad. "I'm sorry. It was all too much for me." I go to dad and sit on his knees, and then I kiss him. "Me and Gottwin think it would be a great idea, and when I get older, you can teach me and Gottwin how to become proper fishermen, and Gunther can be our mechanic."
Dad laughs. "Hold your horses, young man. Let's do this one thing at a time. Hands up all those who think we should go for it!"
We all raise our hands... except dad. He looks at us all, and then raises his hand slowly, and when he does, everybody hugs him. I'm not sure, but I think I detect a tear in his eyes as he hugs us, and I'm thinking again that Gareth is having a strange affect on us all.
I've been up since seven. I needed to get up early so I could go into Greifswald and buy presents for the Hahn family. I'm about to get in my car when my business mobile rings. I'm not pleased until I see that it's Kurt ringing. He sounds excited when he says, "Good morning, darling. And how is your love life?"
I chuckle. "Mind your own business. Why are you ringing me this early in a morning?"
"Because I've got some exciting news to tell you! Guess what it is."
Another chuckle. "You and Heindrich are getting married."
Kurt laughs. "No. Better than that!"
I laugh. "You're pregnant!"
Kurt can't speak for laughing, and then he says, "Almost, darling. We've only gone and arranged for Hansie to come and stay with us for a few days to see whether we're suitable to foster him, and then adopt him!"
I'm astounded, and it reflects in my voice when I say, "You're kidding me!"
"No I'm not, darling. I couldn't believe it when we had the phone call. And then a lady from Children's Services called to have a word with us and confirm it. On the 27th. That's when we're to pick him up."
Immediately, my mind is in overdrive. The cogs are clicking. Hansie: Aleric. This might be just the opening I was looking for. If I can get Aleric's parents to agree, I can take Aleric with me under the pretence that it will help Hansie because they're friends. I don't even have to say Aleric will be staying with me. I can say he's staying with Hans at Kurt's place. And I say, "Why don't I pick him up and bring him down to you? Aleric can come with him. He can stay at your place."
Kurt starts to laugh again. "You naughty boy! And might Aleric just stay at Billionaire Towers instead?"
Now I'm laughing. "Something like that. Anyway, the offer is there if you want to take it. What do you think?"
Kurt gurgles, "Super! I'll make the arrangements as soon as you let me know your lover boy can come. By the way, how is your liaison progressing?"
"I'm just going over to Aleric's now. After I've done some shopping that is. I'm on a stayover, I think."
"Niiiice! Don't do anything I wouldn't do, sweetheart!"
I laugh. "Go away. Oh, by the way, Kurt, I'm really pleased for you and Heindrich. This news has made my Christmas."
"I thought it would, sweetheart. And I love you, too. Byeeee!"
When the phone goes dead, I'm feeling on top of the world, and it's not just because I may have a chance to get Aleric to Berlin.
Getting the two phones is easy. They're both different types, and Aleric's is different than either of the one's I've bought so they won't get mixed up. Getting the Lego is a bit more difficult, but I think I've got it right. I get Blackbeard's ship - Queen Anne's Revenge - for Aleric. With a bit of luck, he'll let me help him build it. Choosing an embroidery kit for Gretel is far more difficult. Thankfully, it's made easier when I mention to the lady who is serving me that it's for a friend: Mrs Hahn of Wieck. Immediately, she becomes very friendly, because she and Gretel are also friends, and she knows just what Gretel would like. She goes into the back room, and comes out with a kit of a harbour scene, and tells me Gretel has had her eyes on it for a while, but hasn't bought it because it was too expensive. I buy it, and with an assortment of bags in my hand, and following the directions the lady in the embroidery shop gave me, I go to a small shop which sells the finest wines and liqueurs, and get the best bottle of peach schnapps I can buy. I hope Ralf likes peaches. I do, so I'll drink his share if he doesn't. I'm about to go back to the car when I remember that I need to wrap this stuff up, so I divert to a supermarket and get gift-wrapping paper and bows and tags and a Scotch Tape dispenser with tape.
Back at the hotel, I wrap all the presents, and when I'm finally done, I look at my watch and realise I have only thirty minutes before I'm due at the Hahn house. I'll need at least an hour to shower and change and dress and get to the house, so I ring Aleric.
He sounds really happy when he answers the phone. "Hello billionaire. What do you want?"
I laugh. "Your stretched underpants."
He giggles. "Done. What else do you want."
"I'm going to be thirty minutes late. Apologise to your mum for me, please."
"OK. See you soon." Then he whispers, "ILY."
I whisper back. "ILY."
I'm about to put all the presents in the car, when a thought comes to me. Ralf and Gretel will have scraped all their spare cash together to buy the kids' presents, and very probably, when I give the kids what I've bought, their presents could easily be set aside for my more expensive items. That's wrong. I think about it for a few moments, and then decide to make this Christmas slightly different to what they would normally experience. The boys can have theirs on Christmas day, after they've opened the presents their parents have bought them on Heiligabend, which is the normal day for opening gifts in Germany. So I take out the bottle of schnapps and the embroidery set and put them in one bag in the floorwell of the passenger seat. The others I put in the boot of the car, and then drive to Aleric's house.
Holding just the one bag containing Ralf's and Gretel's presents, I scrunch my way across the frozen snow to the door where Aleric is now waiting for me. He grins at me, and says, "You're late!"
I push him into the house and close the door behind me. "It's polite to not be exactly on time."
When I was last here, there were no Christmas decorations up, but now there's a superbly decorated tree in one corner of the main room, with a number of presents underneath it, and the rest of the room is festooned with all sorts of garlands and streamers and paper-chains, and I'm feeling nostalgic for my own childhood back in Wales, especially when I see the hand-crafted, beautiful Nativity crèche that's lit up by a small lamp on a bed of pure white cotton wool on a side table.
When everybody has said hello to me, Aleric and Gottwin show me the Christmas decorations. Ralf is in his rocking chair in front of the blazing fire, so after the boys have shown me the Christmas decorations, I settle into `mine'. Aleric squats on the rug between us, sneaking glances at me, because I'm wearing the silver suit I had on when we met after the second time I saw him at The Schiller Theatre. I'm hoping Aleric will understand the meaning of me wearing it: I've done it just for him. I know he does when he runs his fingers through the fabric on my trouser legs, and I wink at him, and he rewards me with a knowing smile.
I'm beginning to understand Gareth better as time goes by, and I know he's wearing the suit and clothes he wore when we first met to make a statement. In this case, he's reminding me of the time when we fell in love, and my emotions stir when I think that our first kiss was when he was hugging me to him wearing the same suit. I touch it, and look into his eyes. He winks, and I know he understands. As I squat on the rug, I feel content knowing the two men I love get on so well together. Listening to them chatting and laughing is music to my ears. I decide to go and help mum in the kitchen, and as I get up, Gottwin settles onto the rug where I was.
Mum looks at me. "What do you want?"
I smile at her. "I've come to help you mum. What can I do?"
She points to the cutlery drawer. "Set the table." She goes to the old pine cupboard, roots in one of the drawers, and hands me the best table cloth. "Put that on first, and make sure its straight. Then put the cutlery and glasses on. When you've done that, get back here and you can help me prepare."
The dining table is at the back of the lounge, and as I'm going backwards and forwards with the cutlery and stuff, I listen to dad and Gareth talking about fishing. Dad gives no hint that we've all decided to accept Gareth's offer to buy a boat for dad, and Gareth never asks. That will probably come later, when dinner is over. I can't wait to see Gareth's face when he knows dad is going to take him up on his offer.
I'm helping mum with the preparation when she says, "You two seem to have hit it off."
I grin at her. "He's a nice bloke."
She comes behind me, rests her head on my shoulder, kisses me on the cheek and hugs me. "I know he is."
Something about the hug and the way she said `I know he is' tells me she understands more than I've let on. I've tried my best to keep a distance between me and Gareth, but I can't help some of the things I say and do when I'm talking about him, and if anybody really knows me, it's mum. She doesn't mention anything else, so I say nothing, and get on with helping her.
When Ralf asks me if I'd like a beer, I'm not sure what to say. I've no intentions of getting drunk again, and starting this early could easily lead to it. I decide to be honest. "Just the one please. I want to stay sober today."
Ralf nods. "I agree. This is the kid's day. I never have too much beer on Heiligabend. Tomorrow I might share a few extra beers with you."
Gottwin has slotted into the space Aleric vacated when he went to help his mum in the kitchen - sitting on the rug between us - listening to us talking, and he says he'll get the beers for us. When he gets up, his t-shirt moves up his body, revealing the milky-white skin of a waist that is as slim and curvaceous as Aleric's, and for a split second, the feelings go to my dick. It's not difficult to envisage the rest of what lies beneath the blue jeans he's wearing. He's a beautiful looking boy, and there are times when I wouldn't be able to tell them apart except that they're wearing different clothes, especially when they speak or laugh. They sound perfectly alike. But even though he's just made my cock twitch, I don't feel the special attraction to him that I feel for Aleric. Gottwin is identical in build, and except for the slight squint Aleric has, he has the same eyes, but they don't contain the special component Aleric's have; the ability to touch my soul. I'm trying to digest the reasons for this when Gretel shouts Gunther, and then calls us to the dining table.
While Aleric is telling me which seat to have, out of the corner of my eye I watch Gretel and Gunther lift Ralf out of the rocking chair and carry him to his seat at the table. It's expertly done, but because Ralf is not a small man, I realise it had taken two years of caring to be able to do it that easily. The more I see of this family, the more I'm impressed by them.
The seating arrangements are as they were the last time, and when I sit, Aleric rests his leg against mine. I press his to let him know that I want his closeness.
As I expected, this mid-day meal is a simple one of warm crusty bread; potato salad made with chives, mustard, and bacon; Knockwurst sausages; and sauerkraut. As in most of Germany, the main meal will come later, probably around six, after all the presents have been opened.
I'm surprised when we're all seated, and Ralf says, "Let us pray."
Everyone lowers their heads, and he says a few words; asking The Lord to bless the fare on the table; thanking Him for the gift of his wonderful family, and, finally, thanking Him for sending a new friend into their humble home. I'm almost afraid to lift my head after the prayer, because, although I'm not religious, I'm deeply moved by the moment. Aleric notices that I am, and he puts a hand on my arm. I try to smile, but it's a self-conscious effort. Ralf saves my bacon. He tells us all to tuck in, and when I feel Aleric's knee press really hard against my leg, I'm able to smile properly.
When I hear dad thank God for bringing Gareth into our home as a new friend, and when the prayer is finished, I look at Gareth. I want my eyes to tell him how meaningful the words are to me, but I can see that he's upset, and he won't really look at me. Except me, nobody at the table knows how easily it is to get deep into Gareth. The way to do it is by words or an action from someone he really cares for, and dad has just been able to penetrate him, because I know by now that he has a great deal of affection, not only for me, but also for all my family. What I really want to do is hug Gareth and tell him how important it is to me that he's now part of us. But I can't do it openly, so I press my knee against his. It seems to work, because he gives me a warm smile, and once we've started eating, he opens up completely when I ask him how he manages to keep his designer stubble without shaving it off.
He reaches over and pulls down the neck of my shirt. "No hairs there. I reckon you might be about twenty-five before I can teach you."
I pull his down. "I think you're related to a black bear."
He laughs, then growls at me and sniffs the air. "I smell Lynx. Is there an axt about the house?"
I burst out laughing at our in-joke, and Gareth has to pat my back to stop me choking.
Mum looks at us, and shakes her head.
I look at Ralf, who is giggling at them having fun, and I know for a fact that he hasn't got a clue what's going on between our son and Gareth. He never could see what's staring him in the face. Twenty three years ago, when we met, it took me two months to get him to even notice me. He was always too busy drinking and talking about his blasted fishing with his mates. I only managed to capture him when he was half drunk and got him to take me to look at the boat he worked on. Even then he was in his element telling me about what did what, and it was only when I grabbed him and kissed him that he realised there was more to this world than fishing. By the time I'd finished with him in the wheelhouse, he knew what his pinkler was really for, and like most men, once he'd discovered the delights it could bring him, he couldn't get enough. After that night, he was forever knocking on my door. I was surprised myself at what a randy man he was! He almost matched me in the randy stakes. Almost, because when it comes to sex, I can never have enough.
When he had his accident, one of my greatest worries was that he would be completely paralysed from the waist down, but God has been good to us. Although he's almost useless on his legs, the thing between them has been spared from paralyses. But we have to do it different now. I have to be the one who does all the hard work. But it's fun; and we both appreciate sex as much as we've always done.
My boys. I love them all, passionately. We lost a child, Norbert, when he was one year old. That had been a terrible blow. He was born three years after Gunther, and it took me a long time before I would try for another, but I think God stepped in when he decided to split Norbert's spirit into two and present me with identical twins. Now, when I look at the twins, I see Norbert, too, and I'm content.
Gunther. My first born. He's a wonderful son, and I wouldn't have coped with Ralf's problems without him. My biggest worry is that he won't leave home if he finally finds a girl he wants to marry, rather than wanting her just for sex. He's had a number of girlfriends, but nothing has come of them. But he will find one, one day, and then what will I do? The twins will be older, and they'll help me, but they'll also leave the nest one day. All these things have been uppermost in my mind after Gareth made his offer to help us, and I have to admit to myself that a certain amount of selfishness has tainted my thinking about the situation. But why shouldn't I be selfish? Am I not entitled to some comforts in life? I sacrifice enough, so accepting Gareth's offer is a way of helping me as well as Ralf, and indirectly, it will also help all three of my boys. But part of accepting Gareth's offer will mean I have to be less protective towards them. Especially Aleric. Gareth said his offer was unconditional, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't be devastated if I kept him and Aleric apart. I'm going to have to play that one by ear and hope it all turns out fine. The strange thing about their affair is that I don't think either of them is gay, which I haven't quite grasped yet. I don't think Aleric is gay, but I do know he's in love with Gareth, and I know Gareth is in love with him. They haven't fooled me with their plotting. Gareth being here is no coincidence. They've worked it between themselves, the pair of clever sods. But what do I do about it? Well, I've already made my mind up; I'll let them get on with it. Why? Because I actually believe Gareth is a good man, and his revelations about how he fell in love with Aleric came from the heart. He said he'd fallen in love with Aleric's voice. Well, I'm sure Aleric's spirit was in his voice when they first met, but Gareth has fallen in love with the complete Aleric, and not just with his voice. Another reason is because I'm almost sure Aleric is the driving force in what they have. Nobody could get in my Aleric's heart unless he wanted them there. He's no fool. During his time in the choir, especially this last year, he will have been well aware that some men fancy boys. There was that man who wanted to come and visit us here. The one when they were singing in Warsaw. Aleric told me about him, and he was disgusted, because he knew what the man really wanted. But Gareth is different.
What does Gareth really want? If he just wanted boys, he could have had as many as he wanted. He has more than enough money to buy what he wants, but I genuinely believe him when he said the things he did. It's the little things that make a difference. He could have bought clothes for just Aleric, but he was thoughtful enough to know the jealousy that would have been created if Aleric had all the fine clothes and Gottwin had been left out. So he bought double of everything. And I can't fault him in his thinking about how all of us will be enriched if Ralf can go to sea again. It really will be fulfilling to all our family. I suppose the devil will be in the detail. If Gareth makes the deal one that leaves us financially sound, even if Aleric decides he no longer wants to see him, it will prove he's genuine in his thoughts. Maybe we'll find out later today when Ralf tells him he'll accept the deal if the terms are right.
While I've been mulling over my thoughts, my man and my boys and Gareth have been enjoying the meal and having fun, and I've been watching Gareth and Aleric. I remember the Aleric who arrived home after the trip to Berlin. Normally, he's always pleased to be home, but that evening he'd been sad. I sensed it in him. Now as I look at him, and the special smiles and looks he and Gareth give to each other, and their obvious joy of being together, I understand why he was so melancholy. They must have met up in Berlin away from Herr Biermaier and sorted things between themselves.
The meal is over. I get up to clear the table. Aleric gets up to help me. He always does. Although I'll never admit it to anyone on this earth, he's my special baby.
I help mum clear away the table. She seems unusually happy as I help her. When we've finished and I've folded the table cloth and put it in the drawer, she comes to me and hugs me. As always, I melt into her arms. She lifts my chin and kisses me on the lips. I smile, and give her one back.
She hugs me again, and asks, "Are you happy?"
I look into her eyes. "Yes. Are you?"
She kisses me again. "Very happy. Shall we open the presents now?"
I grin at her. "I think we'd better. I can't wait to see dad's face when we pretend he's only got socks."
Mum chuckles. "And Gareth's face when we tell him we're taking him up on his offer. Shall we go in and have some fun?"
I can't stop giggling when I say, "Let's have a party!"
To be continued...
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