Island Summer - Part 4
    by Jack Rowan

For people, places and things mentioned in this part, please see the end. Further notes about the story appear at the end of part 8. Copyright information is at the start of part 1.

Stories by Jack Rowan:

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The diana awoke me, and I got up, full of excitement. Life was perfect, and I was going to grab it with both hands.

Adam and I sat opposite at breakfast, and I spent the time playing footsie, looking at him and laughing. It was fiesta Sunday, and I was in love. I could see that the others noticed, and that Adam was both touched and embarrassed by how obvious I was, but I didn't care.

The horse display on Sunday morning always has a slightly different feeling; fewer visitors, more domestic, more us. The riders prefer it, I know; it's not so crowded and people aren't so drunk. Adam and I with Pere and Bisbe stood on the outskirts of the crowd and let the younger teenagers get closer in. Joan made his turn, and we all cheered.

Then Adam and I went back to our house. My parents were preparing to go to church for the mass which celebrates the fiesta.

"Church?" said Adam.

"Yes, dear," said my mother. "We aren't Catholics, but today our presence would be appreciated."

My parents normally wore the sloppiest of clothes, but today my father had a neat cream suit, suitable for the weather and the festival, and my mother a frock, and even a hat. They looked as if they were going to a summer garden party in England, circa 1955, and I loved them for making the effort, for respecting the village in this way.

"Should we come too?"

"That isn't expected. Off to the bars with you."

Peter and Peggy hailed us in the square.

"Off to do your duty, then?"

"Yes, Peter. There's no reason for you to come, though, not at all. No-one will expect it."

"All right," said Peggy, "Why don't you boys show us some of the low life?"

I laughed, and we led them off to a bar which I knew would be reasonably quiet. The floor was still slick from the festivities of the morning, and the place smelt of stale pomada, but it was cool. I introduced them to the Island gin and, to my surprise, Peter rather liked it.

"So, Adam tells me that you have a place ready at UCL?"


"What will you be taking?"

"Romance Languages and Literature. But I'm planning to take a year out."

"Really? Doing what?"

"Spend some time here, to start with."

"I'd have thought you could have enough of the beaches and bars fairly quickly."

"I'll get a job. I have a permanencia, a residence certificate, it's not difficult; buy a small motorbike, go into The Port each day. The tourist companies, they're always glad of someone who can speak the languages and knows the Island."

"I wouldn't have thought you needed the money."

"I can't expect my parents to support me indefinitely."

"Very proper." His voice had the vestige of a sneer. "Anything else?"

"I need to spend a few months in Italy. I need to learn Italian. For the UCL course."

"In a few months?"

"A course, some serious reading, and living in the country - yes, that'll be enough. I don't have much trouble picking up languages."

"You seem - very confident."

"It's a knack. It's nothing to be proud or modest about. I can do it, that's all."

He laughed.

"Okay, Kip. That's fair enough."

Adam was looking at me with an expression of exasperated sympathy, and I smiled at him.

"Hey Tofol!"

A voice from the bar called me, and my heart sank.

"Hello, Josep."

"Having a good fiesta? Looks as if you're having a very good fiesta."

"Yes, I am."

He wandered over.

"Please introduce me to your friends," he said, in fairly respectable English.

I did it. He was all courtly politeness.

"Oh, yes, Adam, Bisbe has told me all about you. He's my brother, you know. Oh yes, all about you. Did you nearly get hurt yesterday? By a horse?"

"They pulled me away. I don't think I was in danger."

"Someone was killed by a horse in the fiesta at The Port last year. I think there is some danger, yes, if you are not experienced."

"Adam!" said Peggy. "You never said!"

"I wasn't hurt at all."

"However, you should be careful," said Josep. His raw-boned face leant across to Adam. "I think you should be very careful indeed, if you don't want to get hurt."

"Charming," said Peter, quietly.

"But now I must go to lunch. And then maybe - down to the beach? Who knows?" He looked round the table. "Bye, Tofol," he added in the Island speech. "Don't enjoy yourself - too much."

"You don't like him," said Adam.

"No. Not at all. I've never liked him; he was pretty nasty at school, a bully. Now he, um, goes with gay tourists. For money, and sometimes he robs them. He has a thing about gay people, he's always ranting on about them. No, I don't like Josep at all."

"It sounded almost like a threat, what he said to Adam," said Peter.

"Amateur dramatics," I said. "He likes to play the big man."

"I see. Not everything here is perfect, then."

"It's scarcely news that Islanders are members of the human race."

He was irritating me; I snapped at him, and instantly regretted it. But he laughed.

"So, you can bite if have to, Kip? Thank God for that." He laughed again. "Come on, let's go and get some lunch."

"Don't mind him," said Peggy on the way.

We were speaking Welsh, and I didn't hold back.

"He seems to be trying to annoy me all the time."

"Don't worry. He's okay. But he's an important man, and he respects strength."

"So do I. But that doesn't mean breaking the furniture all the time to show how strong you are."

She laughed, and tucked her arm in mine.

"I like you. And you'll be very good for my Adam. I'm delighted you've met; he - hasn't always had a good time of it."

"Yes, he said something about that."

"That's part of it for Peter. He's very protective of Adam. Really, no-one's good enough."

She squeezed my arm. "Don't worry about it, Kip. You'll do."


"We can go along to the nude section if you like."

Adam and I were at the beach, a traditional excursion on fiesta Sunday afternoon. The area near to Sa Tanca was crowded, and the bar itself was full of families, feasting noisily. We scuffed along the top of the beach, already drowsy with the heat.

"Do you go there?"

"Sure. The Islanders don't, though, so it won't be crowded."

I wanted to spend some time just with him. There hadn't been much chance so far.

"Um. Not sure I'm too keen. I'm - well... Kip, I'm shy."

"What, after last night?"

I laughed.

"Not shy of you, idiot. The others."

"You don't have to strip off. Lots of people don't."

"Okay. Let's go... What's happening over there?"

Further along, behind the beach, there was a flat, sandy area, dotted with low clumps of mata and juniper. Even from here we could see a few men moving amongst them.

"It's - well, gay tourists go there to meet up and have sex."

"Good God! A cruising ground!" He laughed.

"The Islanders all know about it, but pretend it doesn't exist. I think Josep goes there sometimes. To find, um, clients."


We found a good patch on the beach and unrolled our mats. Most of the other people there were Germans, and a good distance from us.

I lay on my back, and watched with frank lust as he stripped to his swimming costume. Last night had been beautiful, but I wanted to see him in bright, shining sunlight. It was worth waiting for. Long, solid legs, flat stomach with a hint of muscle, wide, strong shoulders. His nipples nestled in blond fur, but otherwise he was covered only in an exquisite golden down. His dick pressed intriguingly against his lycra costume.

"My God, you're wonderful. You're a hunk! Do you play sports?"

"Rugby." He smiled at me. If he was shy, it didn't show.

"Wing?" I said, looking at his build.

"Got it in one. Your turn."

He lay down and crossed his hands behind his head.

"Come on. Dazzle me with your beauty."

I laughed, and stripped in my turn. But I didn't stop. I went on till I was naked, and stood, enjoying the feeling.

"Turn round."

I lifted my arms and slowly rotated.

"You'll do."

He closed his eyes in a bored sort of way. I jumped him with a yell, and then we were rolling over and over in the burning sand, shouting. It ended with him astride me, tickling mercilessly, and me screaming with laughter.


"I - I surrender!"

"Then let me tell you that you're the most beautiful little elf that I've ever seen. And - I love you."

"I love you too," I whispered.

Holding my hands above my head, he bent down and kissed me. Fifty yards away a group of Germans cheered.

I insisted on him using sunblock - he was going to chance it - and I supervised it carefully. I sat across his waist, my balls pressed against his shifting muscles, and rubbed it into his back, his shoulders, his neck, his ears. It was delicious.

"You're a fanatic about this!"

"Dozens of cases of sunburn in hospital every year. Occasionally there's a death. It's no joke. And you're fair."

"How about you, then?"

"Just a few danger spots left." I anointed them carefully, including my dick, which intrigued him.

By now the sun was getting to us, and for a while we lay and soaked in it. It was companionable and very reassuring to me, and I was starting to move into the sun trance which I can get so easily. I snapped myself out of it, and rolled onto my side, propped on an elbow.

"So, I'm not your first?"

"You really want to do this?"


"Does it worry you that you're not my first?"

I thought.

"No, not a bit." I rolled onto my front. "I've got you now. Sad for those other guys, I guess. I win."

"Other guy. And no, he wouldn't be sad at all."


"I'll tell you the story." He sighed. "I was eighteen then, your age, just starting at Imperial. I met this man, Paul, he was twenty-nine and gorgeous. He was a city guy, very wealthy and with a pretty wild and glamorous lifestyle, I was completely new and naive, and I really fell heavily. He was kind and looked after me, helping me find my way, and I really learnt a lot from him, I'll give him that. For a while it was champagne and fast cars, good clothes, expensive holidays. We had a lot of sex, and it was good, but he would never let us fuck. I used to beg him, but he'd never agree to do that.

"Well, we started to get serious, and we decided to rent a flat together. Later we were going to buy. My dad was really happy for me and chipped in some money for the deposit, and also gave me a fairly big sum to keep things going. We'd been together for a year and a half, and I was twenty. The night we moved in, he finally agreed to fuck me. He was gentle and careful, it really was wonderful, and I thought: This is it, the beginning of the rest of my life.

"The next day I went off to Imperial feeling as if I ruled the world, and when I got back, he was gone."


"There was just a note. I can remember it exactly."

He rolled over to face me, and I did the same.

"It said: 'Cheerio, kid, I'm off now. I hope you have a good life, it's been a lot of fun. Nothing personal, it's just my rule, I never stay with anyone after I've fucked them. All the best, Paul. PS: You were a great fuck.'"

He was crying now, and I reached out a hand to touch him.

"I broke down. For a while I was really a mess - I missed a year at Imperial - but dad can afford the best shrinks, and they got me sorted out in the end. But since then, I've found it really hard to trust people, and I've - never been with anyone. Not till you."

I rolled him over onto his back and kissed him, hard and long.

"Thanks, Kip. You've no idea how good you are for me."

I kissed him again.

"Listen," I said. "I've said I love you, and I do. I don't know what will happen to us - how can we say? Maybe we'll last for years and years, till we're old, and die. Maybe - maybe that won't happen. But I swear to God I'll never treat you the way that - that cunt did!"

He giggled a little. I rolled onto my back.

"Anyhow," I said, "You can fuck me whenever you want."


In fact, until that moment I'd never even considered it, and my thoughts and fantasies about him had been quite ethereal and abstract. Now I was confronted by this very concrete and very earthy possibility, and even though it fascinated me, I was terrified. But he needed what I was saying; I couldn't fail him.

"Sure you can. My parents' house is just along the beach - we can go there and do it right now, if you like. And don't think for a moment that once will be enough, either."

I meant it. I was frightened out of my wits, but if he wanted it, I would do it.

"Oh, Kip."

"And if you want me to, I'll do you too. I tell you, we're going to root like rabbits."

He started to laugh and laugh, convulsing with it, rolling over and over. I waited, and finally he calmed down.

"But," I said, "You'll have to show me how. Because I don't know. And you, thanks to Paul - you do."

He was quiet for a long while, and I asked myself if I had gone too far.

"So I win," he said finally, and in wonderment.

"Yup," I said. "You get to go with cute guys like me, and fuck them just whenever you want, and he gets to zoom around in a fast car, fucking each guy once and then throwing him away. You get to fall in love, and he gets hated. You get a life, and he gets old and lonely. It's hard to see how you could win more, it seems to me."

"You're right, you know."

"So give the man a break. Say a quick prayer for him, if you like, and forget him. It's over, Adam. You've got me now."


We were silent for a long while.

"So, boss," I said finally, "This business about fucking. When do we do it?"

He started to laugh again, and once again I waited. Then he rolled over on top of me.

"God, Kip, you're so good."

"Yes, I know. C'mon. When?"

He looked into my eyes; I don't know what he saw there, but his voice was kind.

"Not yet, little Kip. Soon, but not yet. Is that okay?"

"You're the boss. Let's swim."


This evening we were going to eat in their house; we changed and went next door. Most of the villagers were at the local football match, and the darkening streets were empty and quiet. Later the football pitch would be used for a dance.

Peggy had produced a wonderful meal for us, and we sat outside in the back yard and ate it. There were several bottles of wine, and we had a good time, with my parents telling stories of their life here; the time when Richard and I got measles, the endless problems with taxes, dealings with the councils and the guardia. I'd heard them all before, but I was in a happy mood, and chimed in at the right places to help the stories along. And all the time I was catching Adam's glance, sending him messages.

"So, what were you up to with Adam today?" asked Peggy, when I went in to the kitchen to help her.

"Talking, mostly."

"Really? What about?"

I narrowed my eyes and looked at her, and she laughed.

"Oh, okay, Kip. Whatever it was, I haven't seen him so happy for a long time. Do you know, I saw him go into the church! What was that? You aren't a particularly holy person, are you?"

"Oh, no." I laughed at this wild thought. "No, I guess he had some - unfinished business, maybe."

She paused for a moment, and when I said no more, she laughed.

"You're no fun. Oh well. Let's get this stuff out to the back, shall we?"

We finished the meal with a beautiful farm cheese and fruit: pears, nispros and grapes; and then Peggy brought us coffee and brandy. I felt replete and relaxed. Occasionally a beetle would boom round the lights, and in the background we could hear the sound of the dance. For once, I preferred to stay here.

Peter and my father were arguing about politics. The discussion went on and on, friendly but animated, and occasionally my mother joined in; I listened, but stayed silent. For some reason they were annoying me.

"Peter," said my father finally, "You are the most ghastly old Tory."

"Not a bit of it. I'm a ghastly new Tory, and you, my friend, are a crumbling old lefty. It's the 1980's now, and your day is done!"

My father laughed, and poured him another drink.

"But we haven't heard much from you, Kip," said Peter suddenly. "What do you think?"

"Oh father," said Adam. "You're impossible sometimes. Must you really do this?"

"No, no," said Peter, "I'm sure he's not just a pretty face. He's got History A level, hasn't he? Let's hear what he has to say, if his father hasn't completely addled his brains."

He leant across to me, smiling, but his face was far from friendly. Surprisingly, my father laughed. I lit a cigarette. Peter was making me cross.

"Let me tell you about my friend Venancio," I said. "He works the farm at the end of the avenue of pinetrees, maybe you saw it on the way into the village. Sos Pins, it's called."

Peter nodded. He was enjoying himself.

"He works all the hours of daylight, and his wife works the dairy, looks after the animals and makes sausages and cheeses. They work seven days a week, and they just manage to make ends meet. Between them, I guess they make as much as a waiter in a bar. Do you consider this admirable? Enterprise, looking after themselves? Taking nothing from the state?"

"Yes. Naturally I do."

"But they're going bust. Slowly but surely, and their children will not follow them. That way of life will die, and this cheese we're eating, for example, won't exist, and all we'll have will be plastic cheese from that factory in The Port."

"If that's the case, that is very sad, but inevitable. The market is a hard master, but in the end, it works for the best."

"But in fact, what they get is a fraction of what they make. They're sharecroppers. Forty percent of what they produce - not of their profit, of what they produce - goes to the owner of the farm."

"That's the nature of private property. They're able to rely on his capital to increase their output, and naturally he benefits."

"No, he does nothing. Nothing at all. He's never turned a hand, and he inherited the farm. How his family came to own it is lost in the mists of time."

"That's right," said my father. "That sort of thing should be stopped!"

"They had a war," I said. "Hundreds of thousands of people were killed to make sure Venancio paid his forty percent, in the name of The Dictator and Authenticity and Traditionalism and so on, and the end of it all is that awful plastic cheese, while Venancio goes to the wall." I turned to my father. "And suppose the country had taken the communist route. What then? Collectivisation? Like they had in the Soviet Union? Millions and millions of people dead?"

"The Soviets had no alternative!" said my father.

"The trouble is," I went on, "This century, people keep having Big Ideas, and they always say that there's no alternative. Communism. Fascism. And now it's Free Market Economics. They all think they've got the Answer to Everything, which you can apply everywhere, and get paradise on earth. But in fact every time it turns out to be hell."

"The point is," said Peter, "That it turns out that you simply can't go against the market, whatever you want. It just happens to be the way things work. There's nothing you can do about it."

I was a bit tipsy, and I had the bit between my teeth now.

"Like Historical Inevitability," I said. "And the Racial Imperative. Now it's Market Forces. They're all just excuses for getting out of responsibility for your actions, Great Big Ideas that tell people they're not to blame for what they do. You say people should look after themselves, and take responsibility for themselves. Okay. It always comes down to a guy with a gun. He's responsible for what he does. He pulls the trigger and shoots a kulak or a Jew, or he doesn't. He sells the shares and bankrupts Venancio, or he doesn't. And if he does, whatever kind of inevitability he worships, he is a wicked man."

I looked straight at Peter, and for a moment there was silence.

"You're an idealist, Kip."

"No, I'm not. I'm a pragmatist. Use whatever tools you have, to make people's lives better. When the market works, use it. If it doesn't, try a bit of socialism. If that doesn't work either, try something else. They're all just tools. It's you who are the idealists, and your Great Big Ideas which have trashed the world for a hundred years."

Peter shouted with laughter.

"My God! You cheeky little bastard!"

"You asked. I was quite happy to sit here and watch the beetles."

"I should have warned you, Peter," said my father. "It's not usually a good idea to stir Kip up."

Everyone laughed, and Adam stood up.

"I think that's my cue to go upstairs with Kip and take him to bed. Do I hear any objections?"

I went and stood by him. I could hear my mother giggling.

"Then, good night everyone. Thanks for a brilliant meal, Peggy."

"Wait," said Peter. "Wait a moment. Kiss him, Adam. I've been - looking forward to seeing you kiss someone again."

So he kissed me. I think we must have put on a good show, because everyone cheered.

We made ourselves scarce.


I could hear him choking as we mounted the stairs, and the moment we were in his room, he doubled up with laughter.

"Oh God!" I said. "Your father will be furious!"

"Oh no, he won't," said Adam, still giggling. He put his arms on my shoulders and licked my nose. "No, he'll be delighted. You were exactly right with him. Just exactly right."

We looked into each others' eyes, and started to laugh.

"Now, boy," he said lewdly, "Strip! I want you naked!"

Then it was a race, clothes flying. I won, and flung myself on the bed, spread-eagled. I was in fantasy land, this was what I had always wanted, and it was all new, brand new and shining; what we were doing had never been done before in the history of the world, and it was excellent and astonishing.

"Ravish me!" I laughed, and then he was on me, his mouth on mine, my arms round him, our chests and bellies together and I could feel his dick plunging between my thighs. I ran my hands down his back and over his arse, and then my fingers were between his cheeks, I scarcely even realised what I was doing when they touched his hole, and he gasped and jerked.

"You like that?" he said.

"Yes," I whispered, amazed at what I had done.

"Then try this!"

And in a moment he had my legs over his shoulders, my arse was before him, spread, and he was onto me, licking and sucking my dick and balls, and licking further and further back, and then he was onto my hole, licking it. Stabs of wild and unexpected pleasure shot through me and I writhed, but he was relentless, I could see his blond hair covering my groin, I felt his tongue press deliciously into me, and I screamed. I was on the point of coming when suddenly he sat up and grasped both our dicks in one hand, and he was pumping us, madly, frantically. I flung my arms above my head and looked up at him, his face grinning, and then slackening, his eyes closing, as he moved towards his orgasm, and then we both came.

He collapsed onto me, and for a while we were still. His face was close up to mine, and I kissed him gently.

"God Almighty," he said, and licked my eyes. "I've wanted that all day."

"Me too. The beach was almost too much to bear."

"I did it, you know. I went to the church and I did say a prayer for him."

"Yes, Peggy said."

"You didn't tell her..."

"No, of course not. That was between us."

He smiled at me.

"Adam," I said, "Fuck me now."


"Why not?"

"I want you to - think about it for a bit," he said. His voice was mischievous. "Besides, I have other plans for this evening."

I was hard again, fascinated by him.


In a moment he had me astride his chest, facing his dick, his feet.

"Suck me, Kip. Come on, suck me, you lovely man..."

I leant over, and his dick was in front of my face. I licked it gently; it tasted of his come, a taste I already knew. Then I took it in my mouth, and at the same moment he licked my hole, and I shuddered. I let him move back and forth; this position was completely comfortable, and I seemed to know without thinking what to do, how to caress him, to draw him in.

I felt his hand on the back of my head. He pressed me gently, and suddenly I gagged. He released me at once.

"Don't worry. Try again."

He pressed me again and again, and then his tongue plunged into me; I convulsed, and he slipped into the top of my throat. He held me there for a few seconds, and released me again.

"Oh! I can't breathe when you do that!"

"I know. I won't forget. Just trust me. And breathe through your nose."

Once again he pressed me down, and this time he slipped into me easily, filling me, cramming my throat, moving inside me up and down, his shaft pressing my tongue; after a few seconds he let me go, and I snatched a breath, and then down again. His blond fur was at my lips now, and I realised that I was in his hands, he could literally smother me with himself if he wished. It was a fantastically arousing thought.

He was moving in me vigorously now, holding my head and bucking his hips, sliding deeply and out.

"Take a deep breath now!"

Then he held me down firmly and surged into me again and again, jerking me with his other hand while his tongue slid in and out of me. It was hard, almost painful, I felt my lungs rebelling, I couldn't breath, I couldn't cry out... And then I came gigantically, and I could feel him flooding my throat as I swallowed and swallowed, and he shouted aloud.

He turned me round bodily, gripped me on top of his body, my come between us. I collapsed into him, unable to move, and he kissed me as I gasped into his mouth.

"How about that?" he said. "Will that do to be going on with?"

For I while I couldn't speak. I was completely overwhelmed.

"Oh my God!"

He laughed and hugged me.

"You were... you were quite fierce!" I said.

"Yes, but you don't mind that, do you?"

"No," I whispered in amazement. "I liked it."

"I thought you would. It's just here, you see? When we have sex. Sometimes a person wants to - to let go a bit. To lose control."


"There's all sorts of sides to sex. We can do whatever you want. But only what you want. Don't let me do anything you don't like. Not ever."

I just hugged him.

"We're going to be so good, Kip. So, so good."

We rolled over and he held me against him, spoon fashion, and we drifted off.


I staggered from his bed early the next morning and went for a shower. I had had a fretful night, unused to sharing a bed, sweating in the heat but hungry to hold his body. When I returned to his room he was still asleep, curled on his side under a single sheet.

I got on the bed and sat cross-legged, looking at him. His blond hair was tousled and his mouth a little open, slightly smiling. I loved the way his ear folded the hair back, its intricate curls and whorls, the long line of his neck. One hand, clenched tightly, lay beside him on the pillow, childlike. The sheet clung to him, outlining his body, the curve of his back, the rounds of his arse and his legs, bent like a runner's, one above the other. I felt languid, quiet, blissful. How strange it was that this one particular body, this one particular person, could have this effect on me, reducing me last night to boneless, amnesiac ecstasy, and leaving me now entranced like this! How odd it was, how different to what I expected, to be in love! I hummed gently and touched his hair, let it run through my fingers; he stirred, but slept on.

A long time later, he opened his eyes and smiled.

"How long have you been sitting there?"

I looked at my watch.

"Dunno. An hour or so?"

He straightened out, lying on his back, and the sheet clung to him.


I lay on him, flat on his body, his arms enfolded me; I could feel his dick hard against me.

"I was so tired," he said. "I seem to have been tired for so long. But you - you make me feel better."

"Oh God. You can't imagine how good you make me feel."

"If only - if only we had more time."

It was like the house falling on me. I had completely forgotten. In not much more than two weeks he would be away, back to England, leaving me behind. I stared at him in horror.

"Don't worry about it," he said, and kissed my nose. "We can fix, somehow or other. Now. You go and talk to my dad, he'll be up by now, and I'll go and get showered."


"Perhaps I misjudged you, Kip."

Peter and I were drinking coffee in the kitchen. Upstairs I could hear the shower working.

"I'm not a pretty face after all?"

"Oh, you're that all right. But I was glad to see that something was happening behind it, even the sentimental sixties tosh you gave us."

I refused to rise to the bait.

"You're unhappy about Adam and me getting together?"

He leant back and breathed out smoke. He smoked just one cigarette a day, he said, at breakfast, something which impressed me greatly.

"Not unhappy, no. Adam - Adam has had a bad time. I expect he told you?" I nodded. "I'm delighted that he finally seems to be getting over it, and getting together with you is another step, and a big and important one. Clearly you aren't a fool, and that's good too. I'm also pleased and possibly a bit surprised that he chose someone younger than himself. Am I right in assuming that he takes the lead in your, er, relationship?"

I blushed.

"In some parts of it, yes."

"In bed?"


I was surprised to find that I was not ashamed to say this; on the contrary, if anything. I met his eyes.

"Well. I hadn't expected that, but I think it's very positive for him just now. All that makes me very pleased."


He took another drag and looked at me closely.

"What is Adam to you? Is this just another holiday shag? Just another tourist to boast about in the bars?"

I felt a flash of anger, and then realised that this was what he wanted. I replied evenly.

"Hardly. This is my first sexual relationship of any kind."

"Really? You surprise me."

"And it isn't something you could boast about in the bars on the Island, I can assure you of that." A crawling feeling of insecurity stirred inside me. "If it became common knowledge..."

"Your position in village life would be threatened?"

"More than that. Wrecked. My parents would have problems too."

He paused.

"Maybe it'll be a relief when we go back to England. Sad, of course, but a relief? A relief that it's all over?"

"Peter, I'm gay." I paused. "I only really accepted that this week. It's all new, and - very special. If we're separated now, it will be awful. Really awful. I - I really don't know what to think about that now."

"But you can see why I'm concerned, can't you? Adam's well-being is absolutely paramount to me. Nothing is more important. He's already been hurt once. I can't be happy with the thought that it might happen again."

"I'll never hurt him. I swear, Peter. Never."

He looked at closely, and then smiled.

"You're a child, Kip, I mustn't forget that. Of course you'll hurt him, some way or another. It always happens; everyone does it." He sighed. "But at least you'll try, and that's as much as one can expect."

He patted my hand.

"Just try. That's all I can ask."

    People, Places and Things


Christopher Branford
(Kip, Tofol)
TAWF-oolour hero
Eileen Branford his mother
Max Branford his father

Adam Yardley
Peter Yardley his father
Peggy Jenkins their housekeeper

Pere (Pedro)PAIR-uhKip's best friend
Miquel (Miguel) el BisbeBEEZ-buhfriend of Kip
Joan (Juan) de Na CionJoo-AHNfriend of Kip

Josep (Jose)Joo-ZEPbrother of Bisbe
Venancio uncle of Pere, l'amo of Sos Pins

The Dictator a dictator (now dead)


Sant PauSahnt POWSt. Paul; the village
also called San Pablo (Spanish name)
Sos PinsSaws PEENSa farm
The Portcapital of the Island
Sa TancaSuh TAHNK-uhbeachbar near Son Fadrí

   Other things

caragolcuh-ruh-GAWLhorse manoeuvre of the fiesta
dianadee-AHN-ah(Spanish) reveille
guardia(Spanish) guardia civil, paramilitary
police force
mataMAH-tuhlentisc (?), a grey-green bush, grows
nisproNEES-prooa yellow-orange fruit
pomadapoo-MAH-dhuha mixture of gin and lemonade

    Jack Rowan