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The Angel of Pie Jesu.
Book one – Star in the Hood.
The shop is a shambles. Not only do I have my normal Saturday morning customers, I also have the result of Gareth's planning: the S****** Boys Choir wandering about the place. He'd invited Herr Biermaier to `Bring your boys to Beyersdorf Fashions for Men and Boys on the Unter den Linden. Then you and they can choose a garment of your choice to remind you of your visit to Berlin.' The result of Herr Direktor's acceptance of the offer was that they arrived about half an hour ago in a large coach, which is parked outside, darkening the place. Gareth is paying for everything the boys have. They're enjoying their surprise, and my four Saturday staff are being kept busy. I'm in the office, chatting to Herr Biermaier, but not taking too much notice of what he's saying. He's only in my office because I waylaid him to get him away from Gareth and his new love. Planning in advance... again! His chair is facing me, which means he can't see what's going on in the shop.
I've never regretted Gareth's insistence to take up the next door shop when it became vacant. Gareth bought the place, and then had the one that I own knocked into one with the other. Now, as Gareth had said, the three sections: Men's; Boy's; and a discreetly partitioned Gay Section is like having three shops. I pay Gareth a small rent for his part of the shop, and that was only done to satisfy legal requirements about ownership.
I can see Gareth from where I'm sitting. He's with Aleric and my little Hansie Drescher, who I've fallen in love with, and who I want to cuddle in a platonic, motherly way. They're laughing as Aleric tries on my most expensive bomber jacket. If the boy has it, it will set Gareth back the best part of a thousand Euros. I can make that two thousand; Hansie is trying one on, too, but if Hansie has it, I'll pay for that. I've told Heindrich all about Hansie, and when he saw his picture in the program we got from the Schiller Theatre, he also fell in love with Hansie. While I was mating up Gareth and Aleric, I wasn't neglecting myself. I managed to get little Hansie on his own during the reception, and I quizzed him about his home life. When he told me he was a foster child, I could have fainted. Apparently, he was taken into care for reasons he didn't expand on, and he's being fostered out while he's waiting to see if someone will adopt him properly. I dropped most of my womanly ways when I was talking to him, and I showed him the real side of what I was. By the time we parted, I think I'd made quite an impression on him. I even told him that Heindrich and I were looking to adopt a child, and in part fun, I suggested I would love to have him as my new baby. I expected an `Ughhh!', but I didn't get one. Instead, he looked into my eyes and smiled at me, and just as were parting, he actually took hold of my fingers and squeezed them. But the nicest part was when we were leaving. He came to me and gave me an unsolicited hug.
Gareth looks so happy. In fact, although he hasn't said much, I've never seen him so happy since he met Aleric. Again on the drive home after last night's performance, he said little, and again he didn't come in for a drink. But I'm worried about him. He's an enigma when it comes to sexuality, and getting into his head is almost impossible when it comes to his love life. He's always been secretive that way. The only time I've known him to drop his guard was the night we met at the A-Trane when he rejected me, and, eventually, told me when he was drunk that all the women he'd met only wanted him for his money, and that he was still a virgin. Then, just as now, I wanted him. I've always wanted him. I'm in love with him, and I have been since I set eyes on him.
To say that I was surprised when Aleric affected him as he did, would be a massive understatement. Boys! Well, I reckon, boy – singular. Aleric is the key to Gareths love life. All this time I've been wondering what the hell is up with Gareth and his sex life, and then it drops on me like a bomb when he falls in love with a boy. Very probably, even Gareth wasn't aware of his sexual deviation. That's what makes it so amazing. I'm a horny, randy bastard, and my fantasies are Gareth riding me like a bucking bronco. But the boy won't want that. Or will he? I just don't know Aleric well enough yet to make that judgement. Maybe he's impressionable and has a crush on Gareth that will fade in a few weeks or months. I need to have a long talk to Gareth. Very probably, Gareth already knows that. He's no fool. But I could be wrong about this being a schoolboy crush. Maybe Aleric is one of those special loves. They have existed. Maybe their love will last because it's not all about sex. Well, it might be sexual, but not bucking bronco sexual. Or it might be. Fuck... this is complicated even for me!
I don't like Herr Biermaier. I never have since the moment I set eyes on him, and a few things this morning have added to my dislike. The first thing he did when he arrived was to order and pay for ten pairs of boys' white underpants. They were all one size: to fit a younger member of the choir. I know this, because the screen in front of me logs up every sale. Since he's been in the office, I've quizzed him on his life, and I've discovered that he isn't married. `I've devoted my life to music, and then the choir, Kurt'. So, in my very experienced opinion, since he was an adult, he's devoted at least thirty years of his life to getting into boys' pants. No man, not even a father unless he really had to, and that would be under sufferance, would buy ten pairs of underpants for a boy. That's a mum's job. They look after their little boys and wash their dirty underwear. No, the pants he's bought are for a favourite member of his choir, and the size he's chosen would not fit Hansie, but they would fit Aleric; perfectly! It could be another couple of boys, but it could be Aleric. If it is, then is it mutual, or is it abuse?
All this shit is putting me in a very difficult position. If it is Aleric he's having it off with, then that's devastating. Do I keep all this information to myself, or do I share it with Gareth? The consequences of telling Gareth could be horrible. But if Aleric is being used by Herr Biermaier, then he has the right to know. But knowing Gareth as I do, although he's only thirty two, he's one of the most insightful and perceptive people I know, and if there's anything to work out, he will. When I pass on the information that Herr Biermaier is unmarried, that will set the alarm bells ringing, and I may not have to mention the underpants. All I can say is, if Aleric is being abused and Gareth finds out about it, I wouldn't place any bets on Herr Direktor enjoying much more of an easy life. I've seen the dark side of Gareth when somebody crosses him, and it's not a pretty sight. He didn't make his millions by being Mr Nice Guy. And that was just business dealings. God knows what he'll do if someone messes in his love life!
As soon as we go into the shop, Gareth comes to us, makes us all welcome, and tells us all to select a couple of items of clothing to take home with us, and that it's his treat because we've impressed him so much. He doesn't come directly to me, but the sly grin on his face tells me it won't be long before he does. Hansie takes my fingers, and he and I pair off to look at the clothes. That's after Herr Biermaier whispers to me that he'll get me some underpants, and it isn't long before Gareth sidles up to us, and says, "And what do you two young men fancy?"
Hansie is shy, but I look Gareth straight into his gorgeous eyes, and say, "I want a white silk shirt, Sir."
Gareth grins. "That can soon be arranged." I grin at him, and waggle the crushed up carrier bag in my hand to indicate that my t-shirt is in it. He understands, and winks at me. As we're wandering around, he takes the carrier bag from me when I look at an item, and slips it into his coat pocket. Then he whispers to me, "My shirt will be packed with your goods." And then he turns to Hansie. "What's your name, young man?"
"Hansie Drescher, Sir."
"Well, Hansie Drescher, I thought your performance in Rock Around the Clock was the best part of the evening. It was wonderful!" He holds out his hand for Hansie to shake.
Hansie becomes shy, but shakes Gareth's hand, and then moves closer to me. "Thank you, Sir. I was really surprised this morning when Herr Direktor said you'd invited us here."
"Call me Gareth. Both of you." He looks at me. "You're Aleric. I know that because I read your name in the program before you sang Pie Jesu. That was wonderful, too."
Hansie sidles off to look at some shirts, and I remain talking to Gareth, just out of earshot of Hansie. I've got the giggles. "Thank you, Gareth! Would you like my autograph?"
Gareth's eyes narrow, and his answer has me giggling even more. "I've already got it. When you were in POLE – land."
"I've never been to POLE – land, Gareth!"
Gareth pretends to look puzzled. "I could have sworn it was you. Maybe not. The picture I have is a boy very much like you, wearing blue pyjamas, and almost revealing his cassock."
I gurgle out the words, "Would you have liked to have seen his cassock?"
Gareth is serious, and his voice is soft when he says, "The picture I have of you is perfectly good enough for me. ILY."
I look around to make sure we're not being watched, and then I sidle up alongside him and take his hand. "ILY."
He smiles. "Give me your phone."
I stare at him. "What for?"
He winks. "Just give it to me, and then go and get the box."
I go to the coach and get the box and charger, and take it to him in a carrier bag. He takes it from me, and grins. "Don't worry; you'll be having it back very shortly. I've thought of a way so you don't have to hide it from anyone."
We spend some more time in the shop, and Gareth insists that everything I buy, I also have a different colour duplicate for my twin brother, Gottwin. I even have two bomber jackets: a dark brown one for Gottwin, and a black one for me. And then Herr Biermaier comes out of the office where he's been talking to Kurt, and says that it's time for us to go. Just before we leave, Kurt stands by the door and holds up his hands like a lady; and he speaks like one. "Boys! I've been asked by an anonymous person to present this mobile phone to Aleric Hahn for his performance of Pie Jesu." He grins. "That anonymous person is me. The naughty boy made me cry, so I'm punishing him for smudging my mascara." He comes to me and gives me a big hug... and also the Blackberry in its box, and then he says, "I wish I was your mother!"
Everyone is laughing at me, but I'm only pretending to be embarrassed. I decide to turn the tables on Kurt, so I grin at him, and ask, "Can I have a kiss, too?"
Kurt's face is a picture. "Ooooo, my little sweetheart. Of course you can!" He wriggles his body, takes my head in his hands, and plants a small peck on my lips. "Ooooo, I've gone funny all over!" He waggles his eyelashes and pretend sniffs. "You naughty boy! I'm going to smudge my mascara again now!"
Gareth is standing back, almost doubled over laughing, and I manage to give him a pretend dirty look. He winks at me. And we're all still laughing as we board the coach. I know the rest of the boys will give me some stick for it, but I can now copy what Kurt has done, and it will become an in-joke rather than something to be embarrassed about. But the main thing is that with Kurt giving me the phone, nobody will suspect anything. There's no way anybody would dream something was going on between me and Kurt.
The coach pulls away. Aleric, unfortunately, is sitting with Hansie on the far side as it does, but I see his wave to me and Kurt. Kurt goes back into the shop, but I remain watching the coach until it disappears from view. Only then do I go back into the shop and join Kurt in the office, and he asks, "What are you going to do now, sweetheart?"
I shrug my shoulders. "He'll ring me when he's ready."
"And in the meantime... until he does?"
I smile at Kurt. "I'd best settle my bill first. How much has that little lot cost me?"
Kurt spends a few moments punching numbers into his keyboard, and then he grins at me. "That, sweetheart, has just set you back €10,670 plus a few cents. The price of true love has gone up since I was a young man. But I've deducted the price of Hansie's bomber jacket. I'll pay for that."
I laugh, push Kurt away from his computer, log on to my personal bank account, and transfer the money into his. "There, you've got it before I go bankrupt."
Kurt returns to his computer, punches in a few details, and the internal till-roll spews out a long list of items the boys have bought. I look at it, and smile. The bomber jackets and clothes for Aleric and Gottwin make up 30% of the bill.
When they left, Hansie and Aleric both insisted they wear the bomber jackets, and they looked super with the collars turned up as they walked to the coach. Aleric's hoody is in one of the carrier bags he's carrying, along with my shirt and two other shirts for him and his twin brother, and pullovers I'd selected for them; one blue and one white for Aleric, and a green one and a brown one for Gottwin; roll-neck woollen ones that will keep them warm this winter in the cold northern temperatures where they live.
Choosing them had been fun. I'd seen them when I was wandering around the shop before the boys arrived, and I asked Kurt if they had Aleric's size. He said he had, but Aleric would have to try them on. After the boys had chosen their bomber jackets, I led him to them, and told him I wanted him to have a couple.
He gave me that look with his gorgeous eyes. "I'll wear anything if you want me to."
I grinned. "Maybe we should slip into Kurt's gay section of the shop?"
He laughed. "No! I meant anything except that stuff!"
My eyes were as laughing as his when I said, "Shame. There's some lovely leather in there."
When I helped him strip off his coat and jumper, I tickled him under the arm, and he was helpless with laughter. I fitted each pullover and adjusted it. When I fitted the second one - the white one - I went on my knees, pulled it down to fit snugly on his bum, making sure I felt at one of his buttocks, and said as I was looking up at him, "That's perfect, and as it should be. It covers everything from your beautiful face, right down below your cassock."
Aleric's stare as he looked down into my eyes, and his comment, was unambiguous. "For everyone else it's perfect. But not for you. I don't need to hide anything from you." Before I could answer, he turned away and went to look at some other things in the shop.
I chose Gottwin's pullovers, and while I was doing it, I was having a rush of blood to my nether regions because of what Aleric had said, and I'm becoming very aware that my feelings for this beautiful boy go beyond the bounds of a simple, even special friendship.
Just before he left, Aleric squeezed my fingers, and his look told me he wasn't pleased to be leaving, and although I tried to hide it, I couldn't disguise the fact that I was feeling pretty sick at heart that soon my boy would be three hundred kilometers away from me.
Kurt looks tired, and I feel an overwhelming urge to want to care for him when I ask, "How did it go with Hansie?"
Kurt's face lights up. "Super. He's got a bagful of clothes, and a new mobile phone."
I laugh. "You crafty sod! I suppose your private number is on it?"
He grins. "Of course!"
I squeeze his hand. "Come on, I'll take you to lunch. Maybe we both need to celebrate?"
I detect a slight mistiness in Kurt's eyes when he smiles at me and says, "I hope so."
During lunch, Kurt says to me, "I've never seen you so happy. I hope it lasts, sweetheart."
I feel sick at his words. I've considered Aleric may have a crush on me and that it could fade as quickly as it came, and I know that Kurt is trying to protect me from myself. I shrug my shoulders, and say, "I've considered it. It may not, so I'll just have to make the best of it while I can."
Kurt smiles. "Then again, it may be one of those special loves."
An even warmer smile now from Kurt, and he adds, "Oh yes! They've existed throughout the history of time. Wars have been fought, and Kingdoms lost because men and boys have fallen in love."
I smile at him. "Then that's what I'll hope it is. We're halfway there, because I'll always love him."
Kurt places his knife and fork on the table, sits back in his chair, and stares at me. Then, after a while, he says, "Do you want my honest opinion, sweetheart?"
I take a bite of chicken, and look at him. "I'm going to get it whether I want it or not."
Kurt takes a nibble at his coffee, and then returns his cup to the table. He leans forward, and says, "I'll stake my shop that it's one of those special loves."
"And why would you do that?"
Kurt smiles. "I recognise the symptoms."
Kurt nods. "The symptoms. Love at first sight. Genuine love at first sight. If I'd been Aleric's age, I would have acted exactly as he did if you'd fallen in love with me. But I'm a grumpy old queer, and I've learned how to protect myself. I just pretend it doesn't matter."
I'm feeling shit now, and I say, "I'm sorry, Kurt." I put my own knife and fork down, take a nibble of my own coffee, and look directly at him. "I think I owe you an explanation. I have a confession to make. I wouldn't swap you for all the tea in China... as a friend. Sex has meant nothing to me all my life. I've lived in a vacuum of work, and I must have one of the lowest sex drives known to man. Then a boy comes into my life... a fucking boy, and I'm hooked. I didn't even know I was attracted to boys. I had no idea. I've been in far off places where I could have had any of them, but I wasn't interested." I shake my head. "And then along comes Aleric and blows my sane life apart, and to be honest, I don't know whether to get on a slow boat to China and save myself a lot of heartache, or whether to follow the dream that is Aleric. What makes it more difficult for me, is that I've denied a beautiful friend something that I now find myself involved with, and I don't want to hurt him."
Despite the restaurant being full, Kurt reaches across and takes my hand. Although I can see that he's near to tears, he smiles at me, and says, "Thank you, sweetheart. Don't feel guilty. This is how it happens. I'll be fine. If it was a man you'd chosen, I think I wouldn't want to live, but I don't feel the slightest bit jealous of you and Aleric. It was meant to be, and in all my life, I've never seen anything more beautiful. I have just one question for you... will you still love him when he's not a boy?"
I nod. "I think so. I'm mixed up. I think it's the spirit of what he is that attracts me to him, and that spirit will still be in him when he's older."
Kurt squeezes my hand. "Do you want his body?"
Kurt's question rocks me to the core, and I think very carefully before replying, "I'm not sure."
Kurt squeezes my hand even harder. "Because you're afraid of the consequences?"
I nod. "Not just that. I want to sleep with him, but... (I hesitate) ...I wouldn't want to do to him what... (again I hestitate) ...gay people do?"
Another squeeze of the hand. "You mean anal?"
"Yes. It wouldn't be right. He's just a small boy."
Kurt smiles. "No... he's not a small boy... he's a young man. Like you, he'll probably be mixed up, but he's at the cusp of his life when things are becoming clearer to him." Kurt lets go of my hand, takes a sip of his coffee, and stares at me. Then, after a while, he says, "That night when you first saw Aleric, when we parted, I spent a lot of time thinking about the situation. My main concern was for you. I didn't want you be hurt more than you already were. If I thought the situation would lead to that, I would never have arranged for you and Aleric to meet again. The deciding factor wasn't what you were feeling, but what Aleric was feeling. I told you during the intermission that he was hot for you. I saw it in his face; in his eyes, and the way he was reacting to you being upset. A young man who wasn't interested would have walked from the stage completely unaffected by you, but I could see that Aleric was feeling exactly like you. And then I put two and two together, or in this instance, boy-man, and came to the conclusion that I was witnessing something very special. So, although he's a small young man, I was well aware of the parts of him that you were disturbing." Kurt grins. "And I can tell you from experience that it's not just his heart that's been moved by you, and I can also tell you that he might like to... experiment?"
I grin at him. "You're a disgusting tart! I don't think you understand how I feel about things."
Kurt sits back and grins at me. "Of course I understand, you stupid Welsh bastard! Do you think us Germans are all club wielding troglodytes?" He picks up his coffee cup, pushes it at me, and waits for me to clink mine with his, and when I do, he says, "Here's to true love. Long may it reign over bodily needs." Then he laughs. "Well, sort of. We can't do without our bodily needs... can we?"
I laugh. "Before Aleric, I thought bodily needs were a very irregular five finger exercise."
Kurt can't stop laughing as he says, "You always were backwards. Aleric will sort you out. He's pure German, as randy as fuck, his hormones are in full swing, and we Germans know a thing or two about bodily functions. I almost feel sorry for you."
We're still giggling when I drop him off at the shop, and his final words are, "Beware the Hun!"
In my apartment, with a glass of malt in my hands, as I stare at the symbols of Germanic superiority; the Brandenburg gate and the Quadriga atop it, I think about the day.
Beware the Hun. Up to now, my experience of them has been all positive. Apart from my parents, The Hun make up my life. I'm not a fool. Some of them are shit, but they're a rump. The evil deeds of the past were committed by that shit rump, but the majority of them were ordinary folk, susceptible in certain conditions to be manipulated by that shit rump, just as humans all over the world can be. But they're a fantastic people, and I've now fallen in love with one of them. A little Hun has stolen my heart, and I'm now like his kinfolk who could be manipulated. All it takes to be manipulated is devotion to a cause, and in my case, it's the cause of the course of true love. I can only hope that I don't end up like his ancestors: a casualty. Only time will tell. I raise my glass and toast my beautiful little Hun: Aleric Hahn.
To be continued...
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