By Mickey S.
This is a fictional story. Most of the characters and events are figments of the author's imagination. However, some of the fictional characters take part in real events and some real characters take part in fictional events. In spite of that, this is a fictional story. My thanks to Tim and Drew for all of their help. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at NJMcMick@yahoo.com.
Cousin Alice was waiting when Terrence and I got off the train in Axbridge late Tuesday morning. It had been a pleasant ride through the countryside, bumping along the rails, jostling against Terrence, listening while he gave a flowing description of where we were and where we were going. He'd never been out this way but he'd studied up on it so he could be my tour guide. It didn't really matter to me where we were, as long as I was with Terrence. Just being out of the city was a positive thing, although the prospect of staying with Alice still made me a little nervous.
She looked much more relaxed than when I'd met her at Christmastime. At any rate, she was all smiles as she hugged us both and that made me feel much better. She led us around the small building to a deep red convertible.
"Wow, very nice car, Alice!" Terrence immediately began to circle the auto. I knew nothing about cars but I liked the color.
"Thanks, Terrence. It's a Morris Eight, Series E, last year's model. Our old car, a 1924 Austin, needed to be repaired nearly every time we took it further than town, so Mary and I bought this. I wanted a two-seater convertible and Mary wanted a four-seat sedan, so we compromised."
"It's a beauty." Terrence really seemed quite taken with it. He'd never before expressed an interest in cars but then, living in the city most of what we saw were taxicabs.
"If you boys come back in the summer we can put the top down for a ride, although with rationing we can't use too much petrol."
We put our bags in the car and got in, Terrence in the front, me in the back.
"The cottage is over that way," she waved an arm, "as the Mendips start to rise, but I thought I'd take you through the town first, give you an idea of where you've stranded yourselves for two weeks."
Alice followed a street that continually narrowed as we got further into the town. It wasn't very long until we came to a large open space.
"This is the square, the center of town. Not very much, is it?"
"It's very old." I didn't know much about architecture through the ages, but on one corner of the square was a typical half-timbered Tudor building.
"Yes, the town goes back to the thirteenth century, though none of these buildings are anywhere near that old. Did you lads have anything to eat on the train?"
"No, it wasn't much more than an hour to Bristol so we didn't bother. Besides, Woody insisted on a snack at Paddington Station. He may not look it but he's a ravenous growing boy."
"Then let's stop at The Lamb for a spot of lunch."
She parked the car and led the way to a pub in an old three-story building on the square. Inside, it was just what I thought an English pub should look like with a fireplace, wooden beams and a stone bar along one wall. I'd been to a lot of restaurants in London with Mother and Dad but this was my first visit to a pub. The bartender greeted Alice by name and seated us at a table by the fireplace.
"Usually it isn't proper for unescorted women to patronize a pub, but Mary and I had no one to escort us but ourselves and we used to come here a lot. By the time she passed away I was a regular."
"How long have you lived here?"
"Mr. Hallstead bought the cottage for Mary around the turn of the century and I was hired on a few years after that, so I've been spending at least part of my summers here for over thirty years."
Terrence and I ordered tea to go with our meat pies, but before she ordered Alice asked if either of us knew how to drive. When we both shook our heads, she ordered tea as well.
"I love a nice pint now and then but as I'm the only driver I'd best stick to tea today."
After lunch we drove back out through town, across the railroad tracks and then up into the hills. It wasn't really all that hilly but the town itself was flat and, looking back, the land on the other side of it was as well. After about half a mile Alice turned off the road into a dirt lane that went up a slight grade to the cottage.
Ever since I'd heard of this `cottage in the country' I'd been imagining something out of a Middle Ages European fairy tale. As we drove up the dirt lane to the cottage, I could see that it was just a small, stone house, maybe a hundred years old. It was well-kept and charming, though it wouldn't have been out of place in rural Connecticut. Off to the right and somewhat behind the house was another building, a shed or garage, with a set of large double doors. Alice drove up to that building and stopped several feet from the doors.
"This isn't the most attractive time of year. In another month there will be flowers blooming all around and then you'd see how lovely the place really is. Wait until you come back in the summer. I'm really rather proud of my garden."
Terrence and I took our bags from the car as Alice opened the garage doors. She moved the car into the garage and closed it up, then led us to the house. Once inside she gave us a quick tour of the place. We entered a small sitting room. Behind it was a very large kitchen with a huge fireplace. There were also two bedrooms, the larger one with a double bed and the smaller with a single.
"The large room is mine, of course. Originally it was the Hallsteads' and mine was the smaller one. After seeing you boys sleep on the floor in Finchley I know you could make do with the small bed, but there's something better upstairs."
I'd noticed a steep staircase in the kitchen but from the outside it didn't look like there was a second story to the house, although there had been a window over the front door.
"Watch your heads up here," Alice said as she led the way upstairs. "I don't have a problem but you boys are taller."
We came out into one large room, where the roof came down to within a few feet of the floor on the sides. Down the middle, a width of about twelve feet, the ceiling was high enough to stand without hitting our heads. The sides of the room were obviously used as storage but at one end under a window was a large featherbed.
"Yes, it's an attic, but the bed is comfortable and you'll have privacy up here, something lads your age value."
"It's fine, Alice." Terrence put his bag on the floor by the bed and I did the same.
"I'll leave you boys to unpack. The top drawers of that chest of drawers over there are empty."
Alice went downstairs and Terrence and I quickly emptied our bags into the drawers. We found a rod to hang some things up on. Once done, I carefully crept onto the bed and looked out the window.
"The house is pretty plain, but just look at this view. Terrence. We're just high enough to see the whole town. And there's a big lake over there to the east."
Terrence climbed onto the bed and lay beside me, close enough so that our shoulders were brushing.
"You're right. This is great. I could lie here looking out on this all day."
I agreed, but my feelings had more to do with his presence than the view.
"Yes, but it would be rude to leave Alice alone downstairs. Besides, I've got to ask her if there's a bathroom in this place. I didn't notice one on her tour."
"I'm sure there must be."
We went downstairs and Alice directed me to a door off the kitchen. I breathed a sigh of relief when I found, not only a sink and a toilet with a cistern above it, but a bathtub as well.
When I went back into the kitchen Alice was smiling.
"Does it meet with your approval? Terrence was telling me you were worried that you might have to go out back."
"I didn't expect that but this is an old house and we are out in the country."
"When the Hallsteads first bought the house it was very primitive. But while Mary loved quaint, she didn't like rustic at all. Long before I was hired they had `modernized' the place, mostly installing electricity and plumbing. Even then, it was pretty basic. For years we had to heat water for the tub on a wood stove over there in the corner. And the only heat in the house was the fireplace, although that didn't matter since we only came here in the summer."
"So obviously you've modernized the house again since then," Terrence observed.
"Yes, a few years ago. An electric hot water heater, a new stove and electric heaters in each room. I'd rather have gas, but there's no service this far out of town. No heat upstairs, I'm afraid, but there are plenty of blankets if you get cold. And, as you're sharing a bed, you can share body warmth as well."
That comment and the look accompanying it reminded me that she'd seen us cuddling at Christmastime, the reason I'd been apprehensive about this visit. But her smile made it clear that by her comment she was teasing, not accusing. As for Terrence, he seemed oblivious to any connotations, but then he'd slept through her late night observation of us.
Over the next several days, Terrence and I did a fair amount of walking. Though only the first week of April, Alice was starting work preparing her gardens and we helped out in the mornings, but in the afternoon we explored the area, sometimes walking into town, sometimes into the hills behind the house.
On Sunday Alice took the car out and we accompanied her to St. John the Baptist Church in town. When we got back from church she had a surprise for us.
"I want to visit a friend in Cheddar who has been ill lately but I'm sure you lads would be bored to tears with us, so I thought you might like to spend the day hiking in Cheddar Gorge, a spectacular part of the Mendips."
"Is it full of cheese?" Alice had told us that Cheddar was a village just to the east of Axbridge and had a large number of dairy farms which produced cheese. The lake we could see from the house was actually the recently completed Cheddar Reservoir.
"No, Woody, there's no cheese in the gorge, but there are some cliffs and caves for you to explore. I could drop you off and then pick you up later."
As we'd been doing so much hiking lately I wasn't all that excited by the idea, but then she added, "And I think it's time you two learned to drive, so I thought I would let one of you drive out there and the other drive back."
"Do you mean it? Really drive? But neither Woody nor I know how."
"There's nothing to it. You've been watching others drive all your lives so you know more about it than you realize. It takes a little time to get the feel of the pedals and wheel, and changing gears can be a bit tricky at first, but it's not all that hard. After all, even I can drive."
Alice's self-deprecating comment made us both laugh. We'd learned in our few days at the cottage that there was very little Alice couldn't do. She was petite and looked fragile but she could do just about anything around the house that a man could.
While Terrence and I changed into hiking clothes Alice prepared a light lunch. She ran through some of the basic rules of the road with us as we ate. I decided that Terrence should go first, driving to Cheddar. He was older and besides, I was too nervous. Alice backed the car out of the garage and turned it around, then let Terrence get behind the wheel. I climbed into the back seat and paid rapt attention to Alice's directions. He stalled the engine twice driving down the lane to the road, but once we got up to speed on the main road he was fine. Of course he drove very slowly and carefully but there were almost no other cars on the road so that was okay.
It took nearly ten minutes for Terrence to drive the two miles to Cheddar, and once we got into the village he slowed down even more and started stalling the car again. We finally made it through the village and into the gorge. He seemed proud but relieved when we stopped and got out of the car. Alice warned us about climbing the cliffs then waved as she drove off, promising to pick us up in the same spot in two hours.
"So how was it?"
"Good? Just good? You're practically bubbling over you're so excited. I think it was better than good."
"Yeah, it was great. I know I was just inching along, but the power. Wow! It just felt great, feeling that power in my hands. You're going to love it, Woody."
The southern side of the gorge was steep cliffs but the northern side was more like a steep, craggy hillside, so we limited our exploration to that. It was still rough going in places. Terrence had an amazing amount of energy and kept urging me to climb higher and higher. At one steep point he was behind me and I was struggling to move up. He put both hands on my butt and pushed.
"Move that cute little arse, Woody!"
Cute? I knew my arse, as he put it, was little, like the rest of me, but cute? I didn't have time to wonder what he meant as he pushed and practically lifted me to the top of the rock we were climbing. He followed and we both collapsed, gasping for breath.
"I can't go any further, Terrence. My ribs are starting to hurt." I rolled over and looked down to the road below. It had to be nearly two hundred feet down. "And it's been over an hour since Alice left. We've got to start back down."
"Damn, I forgot about your ribs. You've still got them wrapped but you haven't said anything about them in days. I assumed they were all better."
"So did I, but I guess not quite. Don't worry, they're just sore, not in pain like a few weeks ago. And maybe they needed a good workout after all the babying I've done lately."
We took it easy climbing back down and got to the road just a few minutes before Alice pulled up.
"Okay, it's your turn, Woody. Just do as I tell you and you'll be fine."
I wasn't exactly fine, in the beginning anyway. The first three times I let the clutch out, the car stalled. I finally got it moving and by the time we'd stalled our way through Cheddar I got the hang of it. As we passed the reservoir we were going nearly forty miles an hour and I felt like we were flying. I understood that surge of power that Terrence had felt at the gorge. Even after we got back to the cottage, I still felt like I was flying.
I was too excited to sit but Terrence kept trying to talk me down. My ribs did a better job calming me down. I didn't want Alice to know I'd aggravated my injury so I sat at the kitchen table and wrote a letter to TR. That way I got to relive my driving adventure while resting.
That night I lay in bed for a long time, unable to fall asleep. I was still excited about my first driving experience, but that wasn't the whole reason. While my ribs hadn't bothered me much in days, I'd overdone it on our hike and they were very sore. I wasn't feeling comfortable but I didn't want to toss about too much or I'd disturb Terrence, so I forced myself to lie still. His breathing indicated he'd dropped off pretty quickly, but then I heard a slight rhythmic sound coming from his side of the bed. Puzzled, I listened intently, wondering what he was doing. When he moaned it suddenly hit me. I gasped as I realized the intimate act he was performing. All sound from his side of the bed stopped immediately.
"Woody, are you still awake?"
"Yeah." I was too embarrassed to say anything else.
"I guess you caught me red-handed," Terrence chuckled. "Maybe not red exactly, but definitely in hand."
"I, um, ah ..." I couldn't think of anything to say. My mind was spinning, thinking about what he had been doing.
"Relax, it's a perfectly normal thing for lads our age to do. After the bath I helped you with, I know you've done it yourself."
It was true, I often pleasured myself, usually thinking warm thoughts of Terrence as I did, his smile, his arm around my shoulder. But I'd never allowed myself to think about him doing it. That seemed too much an intrusion into his privacy. Now, just thinking of it, hearing him talk about it, made me more aroused than I could ever remember, even more so than after that bath.
"Uh, you're right, I guess. It's just, well, it's so personal."
"Yes, it may be a universal act, but it is very personal. But we're best mates, Woody. I've never had a friend so close. If I can't get personal with you, who can I?"
"I suppose, it's just ..." I realized it was more than just the excitement of thinking about Terrence doing it. It was also the fear that somehow he'd sense how excited it made me. He was talking about how natural it was. I was thinking about how unnatural my feelings for him were.
"Look, I have an idea. We both have these urges we want to act on, but on a trip like this, with our being together all the time, it's hard to find any time alone to act on them. So why don't we do it together?"
"Together?" I was astounded. The idea nearly made me explode instantly.
"Sure, why not? We both want to do it and rather than trying to squeeze it into a quick moment when we might find ourselves alone, we can lie here together, take our time and enjoy it. I've never done it with anyone else around but I've heard talk about some of the boarders at school. And, as I said, we're best mates. Almost like brothers."
Although I was afraid of giving away my true feelings, I couldn't say no. It was too tempting, too exciting. And he was the one proposing it, not me. So I agreed to try it.
So we lay there, side by side in the inky darkness, each stroking. I was acutely aware of his presence and movement and, without meaning to, stroked myself in time with him. I was afraid that I'd climax as soon as I touched myself so I tried to think of what we were doing as clinically as possible. Even so, I knew I wouldn't be able to hold off long.
I was glad it was so dark that Terrence couldn't see me because I was desperately squinting through the darkness trying to see something of him. I couldn't, but that didn't stop my mind from imagining. I'd seen him naked many times, though never aroused. Knowledge of my own body made me aware of how different that was. Imagining Terrence aroused was all it took to bring me to climax. He followed seconds later, leaving us both lying there gasping for breath, much like when we were on the rock that afternoon, although the feeling was so much better.
In our haste and excitement we had left our pajama shirts on so they were a wet, sticky mess. We stripped them off and used them to clean up any remaining wet spots, then fell asleep almost immediately, cuddled in each other's arms. I felt like I was in heaven.
Unfortunately, that euphoric feeling was replaced by those of guilt and paranoia when I awoke the next morning. Yes, I'd loved every minute of it and wanted more, but I knew it could be a step in the wrong direction, a step toward ruining my beautiful friendship with Terrence. As long as our relationship was strictly platonic I felt I could block out my unnatural feelings for him. But now that we'd crossed the line into a physical relationship, no matter how slight, I was afraid I'd give myself away. And I was sure that once he'd slept on it, he'd probably have guilt feelings as well, maybe even twist it around in his mind that I'd instigated the whole thing.
As I lay there I decided there could be no repeat performance, ever. The pleasure was great but the risk was greater. I couldn't take a chance of losing my best friend.
All of that resolve went right out the window when Terrence awoke a few minutes later. As soon as he opened his eyes and saw me he smiled.
"Good morning, Woody. Sleep well?"
"Yeah, great." Actually, I had slept very well. I don't think I woke up once the whole night.
"Me too. Must have been that little workout we had. We'll have to try it again."
Here was my opportunity to put an end to it. Instead, I found myself saying, "If you want."
"I do. And from your reaction last night, I think you do, too. As I said then, don't worry about it. Just a couple of mates having a little fun."
When I got up I realized that not only were my ribs sore, my legs were also aching from all of the climbing we'd done. Terrence was feeling it too so we decided to take it easy for the day. Mother Nature cooperated by providing an off-and-on drizzle which kept us in the house reading most of the day.
That night Terrence seemed eager to repeat our mutual masturbation. I was too but I didn't want to appear so. This time, since it was anticipated, we were a bit more prepared. We removed our pajama tops and Terrence had brought along a rag to clean up our mess. It seemed less strange and more natural, lying beside each other, stroking our erect members. It also lasted longer. And this time Terrence was the first to climax. Hearing his grunts and groans as he did excited me to no end and I reached orgasm right after him. We cleaned up and once again we fell asleep together, my head lying on his chest, his arm around me.
Tuesday I felt far less guilty when I awoke. Terrence and I were both feeling better physically, so in the afternoon we went out walking. We took it easy, though, sticking to flat land, and hiked around the reservoir. When we got back to the house we found Alice sitting at the kitchen table looking grim, listening to the radio.
"What's the matter, Alice?"
"It's the war, Terrence."
The war. That strange phony war. It was always there, in the back of everyone's minds, with the blackout, the minor rationing, the political speeches. But there really wasn't a war. No fighting, no battles. Just political posturing. You couldn't ignore it but it rarely made you stop and think the way Alice was.
"What's going on? Is someone actually fighting somewhere?"
"I'm afraid so, Woody. Germany attacked both Denmark and Norway at dawn this morning. It looks like the real war has finally begun."
I was stunned. Even with all of Dad's travels and information on what was going on politically, somehow, deep down, I never thought the war would really happen. I'd always assumed people would come to their senses and fix things. But now I had to face reality. The war was real. It was happening just the way Dad said it probably would. As Terrence pumped Alice for details, I sat there wishing I could talk to Dad. He'd know what was happening. He'd know what to do.
"It doesn't look good for Denmark. The Germans have swept in and it's expected the government will fall in a day or two. The BBC says Norway can probably hold out longer. Britain was planning to use Norway as a base, too, but the Germans beat us to it. Maybe we can hold them off there." Alice didn't look very confident.
"We've got to stop them somewhere. We didn't even try with Czechoslovakia and Poland so it was easy for them. This time they'll meet up with some real resistance." Terrence sounded much more positive.
The rest of the afternoon and evening we listened to the wireless. None of the usual entertainment programs were on. It was all news of the suddenly real war. Terrence's positive mood rubbed off on Alice but by bedtime I was still feeling a bit lost and pessimistic.
"I know something that will take your mind off world events," Terrence smiled as we undressed for bed.
"I'm not sure I'm in the mood for that."
"Nonsense, teenage lads are always in the mood for that.' Terrence turned out the light as he got into bed. "Lie down, I've got an idea that I think will get you in the mood."
I got into the bed wondering what his new idea was. Despite my dour mood, I couldn't help but be intrigued. When it came to Terrence lately, my body did as much thinking as my head. As I lifted my hips to push my pajamas down to my thighs I felt Terrence move over closer to me. I could feel the heat of his body on mine. I began to get hard in spite of myself. Suddenly, his hand grabbed me and I jumped.
"What are you doing?" I gasped. The feel of his hand around my erection left me practically speechless.
"Relax, Woody. I just had the idea that maybe we should help each other out a bit. I'll stroke you and you stroke me. Add a little variety to spice things up."
If his point had been to take my mind off the war he had certainly succeeded. All I could think of, if think was the proper word, was his hand firmly gripping me. And the idea of me touching him there, well, I couldn't even begin to grasp that.
"C'mon, Woody, don't be shy." He fumbled around with his left hand until he found my hand and directed it toward him. He placed it on his very hot, smooth rod. I very gently explored it, running my fingertips up and down the shaft before wrapping my hand around it. He groaned as I squeezed it. "That's right, make yourself at home. Pretend it's yours you're working on."
With that be began to slowly stoke my hard penis, moving his hand up and down, squeezing the head a bit each time. I followed his lead, doing the same to him, trying to picture him in my mind. His felt about the same length as mine, though a little bit thicker. As I slid the foreskin up and down I could tell that the head was definitely bigger than mine. Terrence's hand felt like magic as he worked me over. I'd never felt anything so good in my life. He'd taken me from depression over world events to sexual ecstasy in a matter of seconds. In no time I exploded in one of the greatest orgasms of my young life. I stopped stroking him as I came but apparently I'd taken him far enough as I felt his dick throb in my hand.
We took our hands off each other's rapidly shrinking penises almost immediately. My hand was wet with his semen and without thinking I rubbed it on my wet chest, mingling our fluids together. I heard Terrence cleaning up and then he dropped the damp rag on me to use.
"You see, I know what's really on your mind," Terrence chuckled. I hoped he didn't really. Yeah, teenage masturbation was one thing, but sex with another male, well, that wasn't the way he looked at it and I hoped he didn't know that I did.
When I woke up early the next morning it was still dark. Thoughts of war and sex were swirling through my mind, fighting for dominance. Both worried me but as the sex was personal, I was dwelling on that more as I became fully wide awake. As the first glow of daylight came through the window I decided I wasn't going to sleep anymore, so I got up and quietly dressed. Terrence slept on as though he didn't have a care in the world.
I quietly crept downstairs and was surprised to see Alice sipping a cup of tea at the table. I mumbled `Good morning' and headed straight for the bathroom. When I came back there was a second teacup on the table.
"You're up early this morning, Woody."
"Yeah, I woke up thinking about the war." I couldn't very well explain the other half of my tortured feelings.
"Well, that's on my mind, too, but try not to dwell on it too much. One thing I've learned in my life is that it doesn't do any good to worry about things I have no control over. Some things are going to happen no matter how much I worry. It's better to focus on what I can do something about."
"Personal relationships, for one thing. I could see right from the start what a very special relationship you have with Terrence. I love him very much, so I had to make an effort to get to know you, to find out if you were good for him."
I'd been on edge about Alice when I first met her, but in the week we'd been in Axbridge she had been welcoming and wonderful. Now I was getting nervous again. I'd sensed she'd been carefully examining when we met. Now she was admitting to it. What was going on in her head? I kept quiet, my eyes on my teacup.
"I don't have much experience with Yanks, or with any young men for that matter, but I like you, Woody. You obviously care a great deal for Terrence, and that's good, as he absolutely adores you."
Adores? That wasn't a word I normally associated with friendship. In fact, it would probably better describe how I felt about him, not the other way around. Maybe because she was a woman, Alice used words differently. The confusion must have shown on my face.
"Yes, he adores you, Woody. You should see the way he looks at you when you're not looking. It's the same way you look at him. You boys are very lucky to have found each other."
There it was. She'd seen right through me from the beginning and knew everything. She knew how perverted I was. But for some reason she wasn't condemning me. She seemed to think it was all right. But she was wrong about Terrence. There was nothing sick or immoral about him. He was normal. I knew that as well as I knew anything.
"Yes, we're friends, Alice, but I don't understand all your talk about adoring. We're friends. He's like a brother to me and I suppose he feels the same way about me. That's all."
"I know it's hard to recognize and come to terms with some things, especially when you think they are wrong. But I think you know it's more than just friendship."
Why was she pushing me this way? Why was she trying to get me to admit my twisted feelings? Why couldn't she just leave me alone? Or, if she was going to ruin my life, just get on with it. Just call Terrence down, expose me, show him what a queer I was and send me away. What was the point of toying with me this way?
"You're wrong, Alice. Yes, I know what a special friendship I have with Terrence, but to him, we're just mates, just pals."
It was one thing for her to see the unnatural urges in me, but I couldn't let her think the same of him. I had him fooled and he shouldn't be judged because of me.
Alice was quiet for a few minutes. I hoped that I had convinced her and she would drop the whole subject.
"I think that you may be more aware of your feelings than Terrence, but believe me, he feels just as strongly for you as you do for him. He just doesn't see it yet." She hesitated. "I know, because it took years before Mary and I recognized the depth of our feelings for one another."
She couldn't possibly mean what that sounded like. That she felt toward Mary the way I did toward Terrence? And that Mary had felt the same? But women weren't sexual like that. Yes, I knew the facts of life, where babies came from and all that. But women weren't carnal. That was a male weakness.
"Yes, Mary and I had a special friendship, too." Alice smiled, a bit sadly. "We never told anyone, of course. One just doesn't talk about something like that. No one could possibly understand, or so we thought. But now when I look at you and Terrence, I see familiar feelings. I also see fear in you, and confusion in him. And I feel I must say something to try to help you, to let you know you're not alone."
"You may be right about me but you're wrong about Terrence. He's normal, I just know it." Alice had confessed her secret to me and there was no point in denying mine anymore.
"I think that in time you'll see I'm right, Woody. And who's to say what's normal? I prefer the word natural myself. And what's natural for me may not be what's natural for someone else."
"Well, my feelings do feel natural to me, but that doesn't prove anything."
"Love is always a wonderful thing and we shouldn't deny it. But that's not to say we should always be open about it. It's very personal and sometimes should remain that way. Most people would never understand."
"And you really think that Terrence is like me, like us?"
"Yes, I do. Just give him time. Some people, especially you men, don't connect with their feelings very well. But if you just give him time I'm sure he'll realize his love for you."
Just then there were footsteps on the stairs. Terrence appeared, looking a bit disheveled. He glanced from Alice to me and back again.
"You two look like you're conspiring something. Anything I should be concerned about?"
Alice gave me a surreptitious wink. "Nothing you have to worry about, dear."
To Be Continued