An American general was in charge of reconstruction in Cologne. By the end of March, the General had heard about our makeshift orphanage. He stopped by with his staff and they inspected the house; mainly our attic where Nigel, the boys, and I lived. One of the men on his staff; a brown-haeired lieutenant in his mid-twenties, hung at the General’s shoulder, but his smile at me, and the way he looked at the boys made me think he might be homosexual like us.
It was one of the first, truly nice days of spring. The boys were playing soccer in the street. The General stopped to watch them for a moment as he was leaving. “These were all street boys?” he asked.
He nodded. “The people at the Red Cross tell me they aren’t anxious to put these boys anywhere else.”
I glanced at him, surprised.
“They tell me these boys are all queer from selling their asses on the street before you took them in,” the General said, and then watched me for a reaction.
It was like a kick in the gut. Dietrich with the Red Cross had never spoken that directly to me. I glanced at Nigel, who looked as shocked as I.
I cleared my throat and answered the General. “The street affected them, General,” I acknowledged. “That’s why we don’t take in boys who haven’t been through the same experiences.”
The General’s gaze returned to the boys’ soccer game. “Damned shame,” he said, frowning. “They look normal enough now, though. Good work!”
“Thank you, sir,” Nigel said.
“Yes, thank you,” I echoed. The General was, after all, an important man.
The General looked back at the house. “Let’s see if we can find room somewhere else for some of the men who live here. You need more room for these boys than that attic.” He glanced at his aide, the lieutenant. “Make a note of that Jamison.”
“And make sure they get licensed as an orphanage.” The General’s gaze returned to Nigel and me. “Both you men also work full-time for the reconstruction?”
Nigel and I nodded. He looked at us, appraisingly, and then nodded. “Rebuilding this country requires long hours from us all. I’m going to tell your supervisors to give you whatever time they can for this work, here, though. Make a note of that, too, Jamison.”
“Yes, sir,” the lieutenant said with a smile for me.
The General started down the steps toward his car. The lieutenant quickly came up beside me. “My name is Ben,” he said. “I have a friend… a wealthy friend, who might be interested in helping out your orphanage. He’s due over from the states in a few days. I could bring him by.” Then he looked me directly in the eye. “I’m sure he would enjoy getting to know one or two of your boys.” He watched my eyes to make sure I caught the implication. “He could help you a lot,” Ben Jamison said.
Before I could react, the lieutenant bounded down the steps after the General.
“What the hell? Do you think that means what I think it means?” Nigel asked, stepping up beside me.
“Yeah,” I said, “I think it does, but even if the guy offers us a lot of money, we aren’t going to prostitute the boys, Nigel.”
“Agreed, ol’ bean,” he said, patting my back. His gaze fell to the boys on the street. “However,” he said, thoughtfully. “We could ask for volunteers.”
I nodded. I hated that I nodded, but I did. We were dirt broke. We were always dirt broke. We never had enough of anything. Nigel and I weren’t spending a cent on ourselves.
I pushed those thoughts from my head, though, as I always did.
“Do you think Dietrich really told the General those things?” I asked.
Nigel shrugged. “Possibly.”
“Why hasn’t he ever talked like that to us?”
Nigel, his hand still on my back looked at me. “Perhaps, Michael, he’s guessed that we’re queer, too.”
Within a week, the General had four men moved out of the house. The extra space was a mixed blessing. Two of the displaced men had been friends to our boys, and had given us money for food more than once. We were very sorry to see them go.
That Saturday afternoon, Nigel and I worked to get the two freed rooms ready for boys. Somehow, it didn’t seem right that he or I would take one of the first available rooms when they were clearly intended for boys, even if we did have boys sleeping with us. The General certainly didn’t need to know about that.
It was a nice day. They boys were in the street again, playing soccer. Nigel worked with me in the first room, sweeping and dusting. The windows were open. It was spring. We were young men. As we worked, my mind wandered more and more to Nigel’s compact body. We worked independently, but touched frequently as we moved around the room… and it wasn’t just my imagination, most of those touches were on purpose. I grew hard as a rock. Then Nigel bent over to change the sheets on the first bed. He stayed bent over a long time.
It was an impulse. I don’t remember giving it much conscious thought except that I thought Nigel wanted me to, and I could pretend I was simply clowning around if not, though we’d never clowned that way. I came up behind Nigel, and pressed the hardness inside the front of my pants to the back of his.
Nigel rose up, leaning back against me. I wrapped my arms around his belly and kissed the nape of his neck. There was no pretending anything.
He melted back against me. “Oh Michael,” he whispered with a sigh. “Please don’t be teasing me.”
I slid a hand lower. He was hard; I could feel the hardness of his erection, pointing toward his left hip. I squeezed it. He turned in my arms, throwing his arms around my neck. His lips met mine and our mouths opened to each other. Our bodies pressed.
I had one of those moments, right in the middle of things, when I could have stopped. I wondered whether this was wise. How would it affect our relationship? How would it affect the boys? But the moment passed as my hands roamed the surprisingly hard muscles of Nigel’s back and bottom.
We were close enough to the door that he kicked it shut. We pulled at each other’s shirttails. “Michael,” he whispered in my ear, his hot cheek pressed to mine, “do me like you do Günter at night. Put me on my back.”
We almost ripped our shirts off. We kicked off shoes without untying them. We dropped our pants and underwear, stepping out of them; not bothering to remove socks. Nigel dropped back onto the bed, lifting his knees and pulling them out to the sides.
Actually, at twenty-one, Nigel wasn’t all that much older than the boys. His skin was as smooth and soft, his complexion as flawless. But he had lean muscles, clearly defined and hard beneath that soft skin. He was a young man, just like Peter was a youth and Günter was a boy; each perfect in their differences.
I knelt at Nigel’s bottom, looking down at his cock which pointed pink and fat-looking up his belly from a thick pubic patch as small and tight as Peter’s, and at his balls that nested so large between his outstretched legs, I’d never felt harder in my life. Was I so hard for Nigel? Was it because I was finally going to have sex with someone my age? Another man?… a man? I laid my cock onto his balls and cock, and my cock throbbed. I was hard for all those reasons.
He spit into his hand and spread it on the end of my cock. I spit and applied it to his bottom. I backed my hips, lowering my crown to where the seam of his perineum dropped down into his crack. I pressed my crown there and felt him give.
He was hot inside, and tight; surprisingly tight. The firmness of his muscles included those in his rectum. His bottom bones were hard when they pressed at the base of my cock. I fell forward onto him and he wrapped me in his arms and legs. We were muscle and sinew and sex. Our mouths met and I began to pound.
“Damn, you took a long time,” he murmured in my ear as I lay atop him, still in his arms, spent. “And I don’t mean just now. I mean us getting around to doing this.”
I rubbed the side of my cheek against his. “Yeah, I know.”
“You aren’t going to have regrets now are you, old boy?”
He swept the hair back off my brow and looked up into my eyes as my softening cock slipped from inside him. “Michael, lad, we need to talk,” he said quietly.
“Okay,” I told him, rolling us to our sides, still belly-to-belly, but with my top leg between his two legs, and our noses almost touching on the pillow.
“Why haven’t you asked me to come back after my discharge?” he asked.
I frowned. “I didn’t know you were waiting on me to ask.”
“I wasn’t,” he said with a bittersweet smile, “but it would surely help if you asked.”
I shrugged. “I figured you would come back if you wanted to. I want you to come back. You have to know that.”
Nigel kissed my lips softly and laid his palm on the side of my face, much like Günter often did. “Don’t you see?” he asked quietly, “if I come back, it will be as much for you as for the boys.” He smiled sadly. “You really are a remarkably beautiful lad.” He kissed me softly once more, and then pressed the side of his face to mine.
Nigel took a deep breath and sighed, his breath washing down the side of my neck. “You plan to stay,” he said. “I know you plan to stay for a long time. But if you stay until the littlest ones have grown or you’ve found a home for them all, do you realize how long that could be?”
“Yes,” I whispered.
He rubbed the side of his face on mine. “How long do you want me to stay with you, Mikey?” he asked.
“The whole time,” I answered, without even having to think about it.
“Years?” Nigel asked.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“These boys will grow up, Michael,” Nigel said. “They will move away. They’ll find jobs, and perhaps marry. Even Günter and Bruno might do that. But you and me, especially if we take on any more of your strays… we could become old men together.”
I felt his hand at the back of my head, cradling it as he rubbed his cheek on mine. “I love you, Michael. I’ve never met anyone like you. I can stand being broke for the rest of my life. I can stand being surrounded by children and having no life of my own. But I don’t think I could stand being close to you for the rest of my life if you don’t have for me, at least some small portion of the love I have for you.”
I pulled him more tightly into my arms. “I love you, Nigel,” I told him honestly. “I thought you knew that.” I slid my hand to the back of his waist and pulled his belly to mine. “I’ve never had a friend like you. We’re a team; what the hell would I do without you? I want you back, Nigel. I really want you to come back after they discharge you.”
“What if I can’t find a job?”
“You’ll find a job. Even if you don’t, we’ll make it work somehow.”
“How? We’re barely making it on our combined pay.” He chuckled. “You need my pay as much as me.”
“No,” I said simply. “I need you.”
“I’ve been thinking, Mikey,” Nigel said thoughtfully, stroking the back of my head. “It’s a little like being married, you and me. I mean, we’re parents together, to a slew of lads, and we depend on each other. We need each other. We’re a team.”
“It is like marriage, Nigel. We’re just as close, and when you come back to me, we’ll be just as committed.” I tightened my arms around him again. “Come back to me after your discharge, and I promise to stick with you, Nigel, no matter what, until the kids are grown, or we find homes for them all, or you decide you need to move on, or we become old men together.”
“My, my,” Nigel whispered, “old men together. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather do that with.” He kissed my neck. “Why would I want to move on? I love you, Mikey.”
“I love you, Nigel.”
We entwined our legs more tightly.
“So if it’s like marriage,” Nigel said, and I could hear the smile in his voice, “does one of us have to be the wife?”
“We can take turns,” I told him with a chuckle.
“Well,” he said, “I’d be glad to take a turn at wifey again. That was damn fine buggering the first time around… damn fine!”
I pulled my head back to look at him. He was grinning. So I kissed him again, and covered his mouth again with mine as I rolled him to his back.
We kissed and ground, and grew hard. I lifted my head. “You know, Günter is still number one for me. I’m going to adopt him, Nigel; him and Alby and Franz, because he’s Alby’s brother. Even if they move away when they grow up, I’ll love them.”
Nigel smiled and traced his fingertip over my lips. “I’m adopting Bruno. We’ve already talked about it. I’m twenty-one and can do it. I’m making him my younger brother.”
“What about Oscar?”
“Yes, I think him, too,” Nigel said. Then his brow furrowed. “But we are going to do this again, you know; you and me. Every once in a while, we’ll tell the lads to bugger off and let the dad’s play.”
“We’re going to do it again right now,” I told him with a grin and a grind. I pressed the side of my face to his. “It’s sort of scary, you know, us planning to keep the boys until they grow up.”
“It’s hardly the future I planned for myself,” Nigel agreed.
I pressed my cheek to his once more. I kissed his neck, and the side of his face. He was dear to me. I was realizing how dear. He had basically, promised ‘till death do us part’.
“Maybe it’s not so scary,” I whispered, rubbing my cheek on his. “As long as you stick with me.”
Nigel gave me a squeeze, then pulled his legs up. “Bugger me now, Mickey, you gimpy Yank. Let’s seal the deal.”
I told Günter, of course, and Alby. They didn’t seem surprised. Nigel told Bruno and Oscar. Word got around, and the next evening, Peter joked about Nigel and me in German, when it was only the boys and us at supper. I knew enough German by then to get the gist of what he said… “We wish to watch you two old men have your sex. Heinrich says your bones squeak.”
The boys all laughed.
“Their bones make less noise than your sloppy butt,” Bruno retorted.
The boys laughed again.
“Quiet!” I cautioned. “Others in the house will hear you.”
“Kiss him, Michael,” Peter whispered loudly. “Kiss Nigel.”
I glanced around the boys. Many were grinning, some waiting expectantly. But I saw another look on some faces, like Oscar’s… aversion? Panic? I wondered why. They preferred the status quo? They liked things the way they were? And then I wondered... boys playing sexually was not the same as two grown men making homosexual love. Some boys might not be ready for that. Not now; maybe never.
I kissed Nigel on the cheek and clapped his back. I stood and looked around. “What you boys need to know is that Nigel and I aren’t simply the very best of friends. We are committed to each other, and to you. Nigel is coming back to us from England after his discharge.”
The boys cheered, not the least among them, Bruno and Oscar.
“But before he comes back,” I continued, “he is going to visit friends around England; friends who might be able to help us with a little money and supplies.”
The boys cheered again.
I was in favor of moving the little brothers, Willie and Siggy into one of the new rooms. It was too late, of course; they’d already seen things, and the other boys were quick to point that out. In the end, we gave one of the rooms to Peter and Heinrich, and the other to three other older boys who slept together. Initially, the boys seemed excited, but then, as they moved their things down from the attic, their enthusiasm began to cool.
“It’s really not so bad for all of us to be in the attic,” Heinrich said in German. But by then, we had almost finished moving them.
The other boys missed them that first night. The second night a couple of the other boys wanted to spend the night with Peter and Heinrich.
“Ask them,” I told the boys. “It’s fine if they say yes.”
The following night, the attic was half empty because of boys staying with the older boys downstairs. For several days, it was like that; boys taking turns sleeping with the older boys downstairs. I’m sure there was some sex involved. But mostly, the boys wanted to be together. It came home to us then, just how much of a family the boys had become.
Ben Jamison, the lieutenant in his mid-twenties, whom we’d met with the General, dropped by my work on Friday that week. He had a list of things he needed, to complete the paperwork for our orphanage licensing; mainly everybody’s name. “And the name of the orphanage itself,” he added.
“Engelheim,” I answered. Nigel, the boys, and I decided on “Engelheim.”
“What’s that? Angel House?”
“Angel Home,” I corrected.
Ben dutifully wrote it down. Then he glanced up at me. “Let me take you to dinner tonight,” he offered. “I’d like to tell you more about my rich friend.”
His smile was a little too warm, and he reached across to squeeze my forearm when he made the invitation. He wasn’t an unattractive man by any means. But I had all the lovers I could handle. And yet, if Ben had a rich friend who could help us out, I certainly ought to listen. Maybe, I thought, I could take Nigel along to chaperone.
“Alright,” I told him. “But I have no car. Can you pick Nigel and me up at the house tonight?”
“Not Nigel; just you,” he said with a slight frown. “I’ll pick you up at seven thirty.”
There were restaurants by then, in Cologne. Actually, there were restaurants open as soon as the ally advance had passed through. I don’t know how they managed in those early days, except that they catered to the soldiers and their camp. Ben took me to one on the Rheine and we ate in a corner of the terrace, under a string of party lights.
“His name is Harrison Caldwell,” Ben told me, after we ordered. “I don’t know how many companies he owns, but two or three of them have contracts, here on the continent, for reconstruction work.”
“And he likes boys?”
Ben frowned. “He’s like us, Michael. You like boys, too.”
He fished a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and offered me one.
I shook my head. “No thanks.”
“You don’t smoke?”
“No,” I said, smiling apologetically. “I quit when I got here. I saw a line of GIs waiting to see a show. Every time one of them tossed a cigarette butt to the sidewalk, men and boys would fight over it.” I shook my head. “Somehow, I couldn’t do that.” I grinned. “Now, cigarettes are more valuable for trade.”
Ben lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply. “I don’t smoke many,” he said. “But hell, sometimes you just need something to relax.” He looked around. “Especially in this shithole of a country.”
Ben took a sip of wine and leaned back in his chair. “Did you know that in the upper classes of ancient Greece, every man took a boy as a lover? He would woo and court the boy, like a guy does a gal these days. The man became the boy’s mentor, and it was his responsibility to make sure the boy grew up to be noble and brave.”
I eyed him skeptically.
Ben laughed. “I assure you, it’s true.” He leaned forward. Resting his chin on his fists, he looked into my eyes. “Men have always liked boys, Michael. And boys like boys, and young men like… ” There was a twinkle in his eye. “ …young men.”
I dropped my eyes, studying the table cloth, which was remarkably clean.
My arms were on the table and Ben dropped a hand to my right forearm. “I can help you, Michael. I can introduce you to Harrison, and perhaps, to others like him.”
I smiled at the irony. I was worried about our boys prostituting themselves for a rich American, and here it looked like I might need to prostitute myself for a poor lieutenant before we could ever meet the rich man.
Ben squeezed my forearm. “Michael,” he said quietly. “I’ve been over here for months without a friend… a friend who is like we are. Be my friend. I can help you.” He leaned even closer over the table. “I won’t pretend, Michael. I want to make love to you. It’s been so long since I’ve been with someone, and you… frankly, you’re very, very good looking.”
My brow furrowed as I considered.
“Don’t tell me that you have only one lover over at that house of yours.”
He had me there.
Ben patted my arm. “Relax for now. Let’s get to know each other. Let’s enjoy the meal.”
There’s a truth, even more ancient than the Greeks; that often, very often, young men sleep with older or richer men for what they can get from them. I joined that group that evening.
Ben returned me home the next morning, and I had a bit of explaining to do. “We’re going to meet a rich American,” I told them. “He might help us out.”
Alby didn’t seem fazed, but Günter was unhappy that I had slept with Ben. I understood. Sex with others in the house, even with Nigel, was entirely different from having an outside lover.
“But, Günter,” I told him that night as we undressed to bathe. “Ben says he thinks he can also help me with yours and Alby’s adoption papers.”
Günter bit his lip, and I could see some of the same conflicting emotions go through his mind that had gone through mine, earlier. I pulled him into a hug.
I did like Ben, but for all his savvy, he was not a very experienced lover; that is, he only knew a couple of things. That first night, I had showed him more.
I turned down his next invitation, and when I accepted his third invitation – primarily because we still hadn’t met his rich American – I made it clear that we were not lovers. That night, though, I showed him more things. It was enjoyable, actually; teaching someone a couple of years older about sex.
We had our first broken bone at the end of May. Zeppelin fell from the attic window, but managed to slide partway down the roof and into a tree before breaking one of his wrist bones. It was a wonder he didn’t at least break a leg.
That meant a new rule, of course; no clowning around near the windows. However, we realized there was no way we could protect the boys from everything. Boys needed to be boys. We resigned ourselves to it.
Nigel was able to get a doctor with the British troops to take care of Zeppelin. When Dr. Hamlin visited our attic for the first time, he became our instant ally. He came back to look all the boys over. He gave us money, and told others about us. In a sense, if you didn’t count the men in the house, Dr. Hamlin became our first patron.
Nigel left for home in June, taking Bruno and Oscar with him. Ben Jamison’s rich American arrived nine days later.
We had discussed the possibility with the older boys; with Bruno, Oscar – but now they were gone – and with Peter, Heinrich, and a couple of others; the possibility that the man might want to sleep with boys. Nigel and I had had no idea if the man would really be interested in helping out our pseudo orphanage. It was agreed that we wouldn’t allow him to sleep with the younger boys and we wouldn’t force any of the older boys to entertain the man.
“I’ll do it,” Peter had said right away. “Heinrich will, too.”
“You don’t have any idea what the guy even looks like. He may be an ugly, leprous old fart,” I pointed out, though Ben claimed that he was handsome… ‘for an older guy’.
“He’s rich,” Peter said. “Rich men aren’t ugly.”
I shook my head. I’d seen rich men in Chicago.
Two chapters to go. :) Let me know if you enjoyed this chapter. I always appreciate hearing when someone likes a chapter. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks for all the encouragement!